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Sporting News: Draft Dish: Redskins' Draft Analysis


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Redskins' Draft Analysis



He has the size of some linebackers (6-2 1/2, 228) with the speed (4.53) and athleticism of a cornerback. He isn't seen as an overly physical defender, but his tackling is sufficient. A big playmaker, he can anchor a defensive backfield for years to come. The Redskins have addressed defense heavily in the free-agent market and safety was the last position that needed a major upgrade. Taylor, along with corners Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot, puts their secondary at an elite level. --The War Room

Taylor is a prototypical free safety. He has excellent size, outstanding range and good hands and can deliver punishing hits. Barring an injury, he will be a starter.

His ability to move from sideline to sideline and cover for any mistakes made by the corners means the team can put an extra man in the box either to play the run or put pressure on the quarterback. Taylor also has the ability to blitz or cover a slot receiver man-to-man. --Paul Woody


Given coach Joe Gibbs' desire for depth, trading down and getting extra picks is a possibility. It would not be surprising for the team to trade out of the first round entirely. By trading the fifth overall pick, the team would be able to obtain a middle to late first-round pick and probably a second-round choice.

Should it keep the first-round pick, the team feels it can get an outstanding starter at any of several positions.


The team's most obvious needs are at H-back, defensive end and defensive tackle. It always seems interested in adding safeties, too, even though Matt Bowen and Ifeanyi Ohalete are capable.

If the Redskins keep the No. 5 pick, the obvious options are Kellen Winslow, who might become a great tight end/H-back, or Sean Taylor, who might be the safety the team has been looking for. The most glaring need on defense is at end. The team signed Phillip Daniels, but he is seen more as a backup and is not a big-time pass rusher.

The team could justify taking a pass rusher with the fifth pick, but there is not a player at that position worthy of being taken so high. Regardless, the team should address this position as early as possible. A run-stopping defensive tackle such as Oklahoma's Tommie Harris might be a better fit at No. 5.

The team needs to fortify its depth at middle linebacker and add special teams players. It could use its fifth- and sixth-round selections to address those needs.


1. Tight end. Unrestricted free agent Zeron Flemister should be back, but Byron Chamberlain was released after a disappointing season and Flemister drops too many passes. Walter Rasby and Brian Kozlowski also are in the mix. If Washington doesn't draft Miami's Kellen Winslow with its first pick, it could grab Georgia's Ben Watson in Round 2.

2. Defensive end. Renaldo Wynn isn't a productive pass rusher, and Regan Upshaw is undersized. Bruce Smith was released. Unrestricted free agent Peppi Zellner is expected back but needs to be a better pass rusher. The Redskins could use the No. 5 pick overall on Southern Cal's Kenechi Udeze. They also could tab someone such as Alabama's Antwan Odom in the second round.

3. Defensive tackle. The team needs a player who dominates at this position. Lional Dalton was cut, Jermaine Haley is coming off a season-ending thumb injury, and Brandon Noble suffered a potentially career-ending knee injury last year. While the team signed former Giant Cornelius Griffin to man one tackle, Oklahoma's Tommie Harris is a possibility in the first round, as are Clemson's Donnell Washington, Florida State's Darnell Dockett and Texas' Marcus Tubbs in the second.

4. Safety. Matt Bowen doesn't make many mistakes, and Ifeanyi Ohalete excels in run support. However, they aren't great in coverage. The team also decided not to re-sign David Terrell. Kansas State's Rashad Washington, Utah's Arnold Parker and Florida's Guss Scott are developmental prospects who could be available on the second day.


The Redskins have only two non-compensatory draft picks. With their first-round selection, they must decide which of the following six positions to address: defensive tackle, cornerback, defensive end, running back, tight end.

Joe Gibbs always has featured the tight end in his system, and Winslow clearly is the most gifted in this draft class. But Gibbs also could draft Harris or Udeze with the fifth overall pick. The Redskins can be cautious to address corner because they got Springs to replace Bailey for the moment.

With only a fifth-round pick on Day 2, the Redskins will look to draft the best available player at one of the four aforementioned positions that weren't addressed on Day 1. Barring a trade that brings in multiple draft choices, the Redskins won't come close to filling their needs unless they continue to spend cash on free agents.

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