With the NFL draft approaching, we’ll examine the needs that each team has to address. Up next is the team that traded up for the second pick, the Washington Redskins.
Quarterback: There’s not much surprise about what ranks as the biggest need on the Redskins’ roster. Mike Shanahan has run through three different starting quarterbacks in his first two seasons without much success and the fortunes of the Redskins won’t change until they settle things down under center. That’s why the team paid a hefty price to move up to the second pick in the draft for a shot at Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.
All signs point to Griffin being the pick. The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor has drawn high marks for his arm, legs, leadership and everything else you want to see from a franchise quarterback. There are other areas of need on the Redskins roster, but they will look less glaring with Griffin leading the offense.
Safety: The Redskins said goodbye to both of last year’s starters — LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe — this offseason. They signed Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams and Cedric Griffin (a corner who could move to safety), but could still use higher end talent at the position. It might be hard to get one without a second round pick, but they should have their eyes open in the later rounds for a player they can bring along.
Offensive Line: Left tackle Trent Williams is a failed drug test away from a year-long suspension, right tackle Jamaal Brown has a hip injury, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger has knee problems and there’s little in reserve. The Redskins need to add bodies who will be able to step in when needed so that their investment in Griffin doesn’t go up in smoke. Right tackle would be the most obvious spot to upgrade, but, given the St. Louis deal, the Redskins might have to settle for a player who can provide depth now and start later.
Cornerback: DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are decent starters, but the ‘Skins need better depth to succeed on defense in today’s NFL. Kevin Barnes hasn’t been productive enough in the nickel role so replacing him would be a good start. Virginia product Chase Minnifield has fallen down draft boards thanks to shoulder surgery, but the Redskins could find some value in looking in their backyard in the fourth round.
Inside Linebacker: The team is still expected to re-sign London Fletcher, but grabbing a player to mold into his replacement wouldn’t be a bad idea. With inside backers somewhat devalued in the NFL these days, they could find an intriguing prospect in the latter half of the draft.
No matter what else the Redskins do in the draft, their future relies on how Griffin does at quarterback in the future. If he hits, there’s a good chance everything else falls into place.