2011 NFL Draft | Washington Redskins Team Needs
It seems like every team with a top 10 pick in the draft started the season with realistic playoff hopes, no?
The Washington Redskins are no different, as the Mike Shanahan-Donovan McNabb era got underway. Needless to say, the season didn’t go according to plan.
Things got off to a rocky start during training camp, when Shanahan and $100M defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth were at odds over a seemingly insignificant conditioning test.
Then, the relationship between Shanahan and McNabb soured as the season went along, eventually leading to the head coach replacing McNabb (who was curiously signed to a contract extension in the middle of the season) with perennial spare Rex Grossman for the final two games of the regular season.
So, personal problems and off-the-field issues aside, how can the 6-10 Redskins improve their on-field output?
Biggest Needs: QB, WR, OL, RB
Really, the only area in which the Redskins don’t need an upgrade is at tight end.
Assuming McNabb is traded or released, I find it hard to believe that owner Dan Snyder would sign-off on Grossman starting the season as Washington’s starting quarterback. Plus his contract is up, so they’ll almost certainly address the hole at some point in the draft.
Jake Locker, who, had he come out last season, may have gone No. 1 overall, has been linked to the Redskins of late. His draft stock has been falling, so they may be able to wait until the second round to get him, if they so choose.
One reason that McNabb struggled so mightily was that his wide receiving corps left much to be desired. Santana Moss is a productive player, but he’ll be 32 in June, and is a free agent. Alabama’s Julio Jones (the No. 2 receiver on Keet Bailey’s Big Board), would be a perfect fit and has the ability to contribute from day one.
The group of running backs for the Redskins was in flux all season long, as none of them were able to consistently stay healthy. Clinton Portis played in just five games, and he’ll be 30 in September. We know what 30 means to running backs. Ryan Torain showed flashes of being a solid back, but he’s always had injury problems of his own, and missed four games in the middle of the season. Rookie Keiland Williams had one very good game, but you aren’t building an offense around him.
So, obviously, the Redskins should be looking to upgrade here, as well. Mark Ingram is the top back, but they won’t take him at No. 10, and he’ll be gone by the time their next pick rolls around. Kansas State’s Daniel Thomas may fall to them in the second round. He’s a north-south runner, with a style similar to that of Torain. Kendall Hunter, Mike LeShoure and Ryan Williams are also possibilities for them.
Last, but certainly not least, the offensive line needs help. Trent Williams, the No. 4 overall pick last year, had a good rookie season and looks to be a potential franchise left tackle.
So, with the most important position seemingly covered, they have other holes to fill. Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt, Ben Ijalana and Danny Watkins may all go somewhere in the first four rounds.
Biggest Needs: CB, DE, ILB
The defense has fewer holes than does the offense, but it still needs some help.
DeAngelo Hall (Pro Bowl MVP) and Carlos Rogers are both free agents at corner, and they don’t have anybody on the current roster that appears capable of stepping up and starting. They’d surely love to snag either Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara, but they likely won’t be able to get either without trading up. The next best options are Brandon Harris, Jimmy Smith, Aaron Williams and Rashad Carmichael.
London Fletcher has been an extremely productive and underrated inside linebacker for years, but he is 35 years old. Illinois’ Martez Wilson and Maryland’s Alex Wujciak are some decent prospects there.
They could also use some help on the outside of their 3-4 defensive line. Former first-round pick Adam Carriker came over from St. Louis, but he didn’t make much of an impact at all. 35-year-old Vonnie Holliday started opposite Carriker. Adrian Clayborn will likely be a first-rounder, and he may be available at No. 10. North Carolina’s Marvin Austin, who was suspended for his entire senior season, was a very highly-touted prospect, and may be able to effectively shift to the 3-4 in the NFL.