We all know that NFL teams should draft the best available player when they are on the clock. But how you define that term is very much open to interpretation. Is it the guy with the best measurables, the biggest, fastest, strongest? How much does character count? Should you factor in if you think you can get a player nearly as good later in the draft? Should your team’s needs factor into you evaluation of the best available?
Sometimes, teams overthink things. The quandary of what constitutes being best available can often be solved by answering a simple question:
Which player would I most regret passing over three years from now?
For the Redskins, that player could be guard Xavier Su’a-Filo of UCLA.
Yes, we know that the Redskins don’t draft guards that high. They did take Josh LeRibeus in the third round in 2012. Before that, the last time they drafted a guard at all was in 2008 when they took Chad Rinehart in the third round. They haven’t taken a guard in the second round since 1994 when they took Tre Johnson with the 31st overall pick (that was a second-round pick back then).
Johnson was the only guard they have ever drafted as high as the second round. Mark May, who played tackle at Pitt and played both guard and tackle for the Redskins, was a first-round pick. But Johnson is the only pure guard the team has ever taken before the third round. And we’re not just talking about post merger, we’re going back to 1936 here.
But perhaps they should change modus operandi in this case and take the 6-4, 307-lb. Su’a-Filo if he’s still on the board. Why? Frank Cooney of NFLDraftScout.com explains it well:
“Let's see what you want in an offensive lineman. Size? Check. Athleticism? Check. Reliable character? Double check. Draft him, suit him, play him. Take credit for making an easy decision.”
Some team is going to take Su’a-Filo right around the 34th pick and will likely never regret it. He might not be a home run but Bruce Allen could probably do a lot worse with his initial draft pick after taking control of the Redskins’ draft.
We’ll see what happens but Allen might best be advised not to overthink this one.