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Redskins report: Inside slant


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Deion Sanders once said Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder liked shopping at Versace better than K-Mart. Well, vice president of football operations Joe Mendes is hitting the blue-light specials in the coming draft.

Mendes is bargain hunting with the No. 18 pick in the April 20-21 draft. The team could take a guard, defensive tackle, receiver or quarterback in the first round so the Redskins aren't committed to one position. If someone is much better than the 18th pick and fell to them, the Redskins won't care what position he plays. It's the classic "best player available" line that is really true.

"The whole key to the draft is to get the best value that you can," Mendes said. "You don't do that by eliminating excellent players. How do we know we don't need a player at any position?"

The same goes for the other rounds. The Redskins are missing their third rounder (part of a trade for former coach Marty Schottenheimer) and have an extra seventh (compensatory). A pre-draft trade for Chicago quarterback Shane Matthews is also possible that could take their fifth rounder.

The Redskins' draft strategy is simply get the best ones available and plug them into the many holes. Sounds simple enough. So why hasn't the team found a starter below the second round in the last three drafts? It's also the first draft for coach Steve Spurrier and the first for Mendes as the top guy. That leaves Snyder as the only one back from last year's war room.

TEAM NEEDS going into draft -- Left guard, defensive tackle, receiver, quarterback, safety.

LG -- A left guard is desperately needed, though the team can always sign a cheap veteran after doing so at right guard and center. If Nebraska guard Toniu Fonoti is still available, the Redskins will be greatly tempted.

DT -- The Redskins may use end Renaldo Wynn inside, but they'd rather get a young stud and keep Wynn outside and release end Marco Coleman. There's enough depth at this position in the draft to wait until the second round or the team can wait another year.

WR -- Coach Steve Spurrier likes small, quick receivers and has flooded the roster with former Gators. Washington can stand pat with Rod Gardner and Jacquez Green, but the Redskins might be tempted to take Florida's Jabar Gaffney with the first rounder.

QB -- Tulane's Patrick Ramsey has drawn the Redskins interest. He'll certainly be there at 18. He should be there at 28. It's a bit of a reach for the first round, especially for a team that doesn't buy green bananas to mature.

FS/SS -- The Redskins want to replace both SS Sam Shade and FS David Terrell. Look for Terrell to probably move to a nickel package and Shade to leave next year. The second-rounder could be used here.

DRAFT STRATEGY -- The Redskins are going to be conservative for the first time in Snyder's three drafts. No blockbuster deals or sexy picks.

Instead, the Redskins will be flexible. There's plenty of needs. The first rounder could be a receiver, guard, quarterback or defensive tackle. Mostly, it's who's the best player on the board of the four positions. The second rounder may also be a safety.

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I really hope we dont give a up 5th rounder for Matthews. Not that we've been able to get anything out of our 5th rounders recently but i dont like giving up picks for a guy that isnt all that and at a position that we could have filled through free agency.

give them a 7th. if they want anything more then make it a conditional for next year. if he starts more then half the game give them a 5th.

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I'd give them NOTHING until after the draft's first day. Then, on Day 2, if you see you have Harrington, or Bledsoe (just for Kevin PRF to show I still read his posts :)) or Ramsey, you don't make another move. If you don't have another body here, you go ahead and ship them the pick in Round 6 or 7 and don't fret. Matthews IS worth a late round pick just as a mentor who has done more as a pro than anyone else we're likely to have on the roster :).

But, wait for the draft to fall out to you before making a trade. We don't need four bodies and Sage does probably deserve at least a mild chance to get involved here, so, let's hold firm and see what happens before making this move, because this move will be available to us just about any time we want it.

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This "Best Player Available" strategy is always the way to go, unless you are a position or two away from contending immediately for a Super Bowl.

And still, many teams pay lip service to this strategy, but then on draft day, they throw it all away and reach for some kid like, oh, say, Quincy Carter.

Let's hope our draft isn't similarly bungled.

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I've been with the "best available" crowd. To me, the only positions where a rookie can't start are CB and OT. While some positions (DT) are needed worse than others (say, LB), this is definatly the year for bargains.

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in regards to Shane Matthews, I hope the Skins are smart and just wait for the Bears to release him. Since they signed Chris Chandler, it's obvious they have no real need for Matthews. Why give up a draft pick (a 5th rounder no less) for a QB that isn't wanted by anyone?

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