Need vs. best player available. It’s an age old draft day dilemma, and it’s one the Redskins may be confronted with Friday night in the second round.
Their most pressing need is at safety and, at No. 51, there’s a decent chance a good one will be on the board.
What if a wide receiver or a tight end that Coach Mike Shanahan and his scouting staff had rated as a first rounder is there for the taking?
“At the end of the day, you may have a position need and, if it’s close between two guys, you go with the position need,” Shanahan said earlier this week.
Although the Redskins did not own a pick in Thursday’s first round, things unfolded about as well as team officials could have hoped. Three safeties – Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid and Matt Elam – were picked.
That means John Cyprien – a prospect some considered to be a first round talent – will still be on the board when the second round commences at 6:30 p.m.
Which brings up another question about the Redskins’ draft strategy. Would Shanahan consider trading up? It’s possible, but it seems likely Cyprien will go quickly, potentially leaving a logjam of second-tier safeties such as Phillip Thomas, D.J. Swearinger and Bacarri Rambo on the board.
If that happens, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Shanahan go in the opposite direction.
If “you think you’ve got a guy you don’t want to lose, then you don’t trade back,” Shanahan said without referring to a specific position. But “you may trade back because there are three or four guys you like and you think you may be able to get one of those guys, and you look at those guys the same. So you trade back, knowing you will get one of those guys and you get an extra pick or two.”
What Shanahan said he aims to avoid doing is “reaching” for a player. But even that rule, he conceded, has its exceptions.
“You try not to reach,” he said. “You might have a position need and you push the envelope a round or two [because] you are looking for that one piece to what you consider a championship team.”
Well, the Redskins did win a division title last year. And they are returning 21 of 22 starters from that team.
Any guess what position the only starter not retained played?