Every year I have a favorite draft candidate that I'd like to see the Redskins draft. This started around 2004 when I actually found the draft interesting and had time to actually give NFL Football the fanatical obsession that I give it now (before then school got in the way).
Anyway here are my picks from past years:
2004- Sean Taylor
2005- Antrel Rolle or Carlos Rogers
2006- (2nd rounder) D'Qwell Jackson
2007- Amobi Okoye
2008- Branden Albert
Before I announce my choice I want to write about this year's spot at #13. Personally it's a tough choice. Obviously there is/will be talent at that spot. However, each candidate isn't a "sure-fire" pick. Also, the Skins have three big areas of need: RT, DE, SOLB and despite the claims of Best Player Available it's pretty clear cut that one of these positions must be addressed with pick #13 (barring a trade back).
Quarterback really should be a non-factor this season whether Jason Campbell succeeds or fails. This is his year to prove it one way or another.......and if he falters why not give Colt Brennan a shot (even my wife said this when I mentioned that the Skins will be having a private workout with Sanchez. "What about Colt Brennan, why isn't he playing?" she said)?
Linebacker is clearly a need. Fletcher is getting older. We don't have a starting SOLB. HB Blades looks more of a MLB than a SOLB even though he's versatile. Past him, there's little depth. Linebacker would make sense but I'm really not sold on Cushing at #13. Experts say he's very stiff and has limited pass rush ability, but he's a hard worker/blue collar type and a decent tackler. Maualuga has similar problems......injury concerns, poor Wonderlic score but a big hitter, a leader and some have compared him to Junior Seau. But he plays inside and we need a outside LB. Neither were three down LBs either which you'd hope for in a early 1st rounder.
Defensive End is another key need. If you've read my post on ExtremeSkins or here, you probably know that Dexter Manley is my all-time favorite 'Skin. So obviously I care a great deal about DEs. Matter of fact the Redskins haven't had a real elite DE since the days of Manley and Charles Mann. It would be nice to have a talented young pass rusher to go along with Albert Haynesworth and Andre Carter (when Carter is playing well he can dominate, problem is we've only seen it in 2007- 06' and 08' were not his best years). So let's look at the class of 2009.
Brian Orakpo is a monster. The only drawback to him has nothing really to do with him: Vernon Gholston. He probably will be the 1st DE/OLB 'tweener off the board and I see him going as high as #3. Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin are interesting prospects but both may struggle against the run and may be better suited for a 3-4 scheme (as a OLB). Tyson Jackson would be a great run stuffer but is limited as a pass rusher and some think he might excell the best as a 3-4 DE (more of a run stuffer and pocket collapser than a edge rusher). Then there's Robert Ayers and Larry English who are rising up draft boards but while some consider them top picks, others consider them huge reaches at the 13th spot.
So then comes the other need position.......offensive tackle. Now when you look at stats you can argue that the need at DE could be greater than OT because the Skins were 28th in the league in sacks (24) but if you look at Jason Campbell he was sacked 38 times last year (10th worst in the league; #1 was the 49ers who gave up 55 sacks). 38 sacks is a big number and that doesn't count how many times Campbell was hit. Also, you may have noticed that this team lives and dies off of the run game and as Portis got hit and the season progressed the line started showing its age. The Redskins made the right move bringing back Derrick Dockery when he became available, but the team still needs some youth especially at the tackle position.
Obviously Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are the best prospects at the position and both will probably be long gone before #13. Andre Smith has a great deal of potential. He has the frame that may make him a four position player on the line (something that Joe Bugel loves) and while there are questions about his future as a left tackle he might be a great talent at RT and either guard position. But there are serious red flags. Smith's work ethic must be questioned and unless he radically gets in shape for private team workouts it will remain a huge issue. Also, one must be concerned of his smarts/common sense and/or who's giving him advice. Preparing for the draft is nothing new and each year there seems to be more focus on training for the combine. Smith wasn't ready at all.......but he has great game tape.
This brings me to my choice: Michael Oher.
Oher has amazing upside as a talent. You can read his profile on NFL Draft Countdown here
He seems to be able to dominate and should be a valuable asset. The problems are that there are concerns about intelligence and learning the scheme, that he's inconsistent and that he needs to improve upon his technique. Well, we just learned that Oher actually had a better Wonderlic score than Andre Smith (Oher scored a 19 which is pretty good) and was close to the scores of Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe. Help with technique and learning the scheme shouldn't be that bad if he comes to Washington. I mean Joe Bugle will be coaching him. He'll be working with guys like Jansen, Thomas, Dockery, Rabach and multi-time pro bowler Chris Samuels. I think in a season or two he'd be ready to take over for Chris Samuels, but until then he'd be a great right tackle learning with some great players. In my opinion he'd be a great fit in Washington and the Redskins may be able to allow him to develop to his full potential as an all pro left tackle.
If the Skins don't trade back and he's there at #13, or if they trade back and somehow he's still there....I think he's the guy. Here's some more footage of Oher via You Tube: