Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 5, 22 days before the April 27 NFL draft.
—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 12
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 37
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 49
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 149
Will the Redskins go for an offensive lineman in the first round?
The Redskins will have some interesting options with the 17th overall pick. They could justify drafting at just about any position on defense. We all know about the line, where holes abound despite the signing of two free agents. The top three inside linebackers are all likely to be free agents in 2018. You can’t have too many good edge rushers and you can say the same about cornerbacks. Nobody is sure if the Redskins have a free safety on the roster, with both D.J. Swearinger and Su’a Cravens both possibly better suited to strong.
On the other side of the ball there has been plenty of chatter about taking a running back in the first, some of it coming from the head coach. With Terrelle Pryor on a one-year deal a wide receiver could be under consideration. And if the Redskins are certain that Kirk Cousins won’t be back in 2018 they have to look hard at a first-round quarterback.
The offensive line is another story. The tackle spots are set with Morgan Moses and Trent Williams with Ty Nsekhe as the swing backup. Brandon Scherff may not miss a snap at right guard for the next five years. They seem to like Spencer Long at center.
And while I could see the Redskins using a draft pick on someone to be Shawn Lauvao’s successor at left guard I strongly doubt it will be the first-round pick.
There are a few reasons why. For one, Jay Gruden might punch someone if the Redskins take a guard in the first round. The day after last season ended, Gruden lamented the lack of impact the team has received from first-round picks in his tenure in Washington.
"We’re getting there, but we’ve had, what, two first-round picks since I’ve been here? One of them hasn’t played a down, or played one game, and the other one is a guard," he said. "We have got to utilize our picks."
The word “guard” was said rather dismissively, almost disdainfully. He certainly likes Scherff but guard is simply not a high-impact position. Of the eight guards who were picked for the Pro Bowl last year, two of them, Scherff and Zach Martin of the Cowboys, were taken in the first round. The other six were taken, on average, in the third.
If you can get a good guard either late on Friday night or on Saturday, why take one in the first?
You mention Lauvao’s salary as a factor in taking Forrest Lamp. But the No. 17 pick in the draft will get a deal that has a $2.1 million cap hit in 2017. Cutting Lauvao would save $4 million so you’re saving just $1.9 million this year. That’s not insignificant but it’s only about 1.1 percent of the $167 million cap.
Over the course of the four years that first-round pick’s contract will rise to a $3.7 million cap hit. On the other hand, a third-round guard will carry a $670,000 cap hit as a rookie and the entire value of his deal over four years will be $3.2 million with the cap hit never going over $1 million in any season.
The better course of action would be to find a mid-round guard who can take over for Lauvao in a year. I have to think that this would be Gruden’s preferred course of action and he has a loud voice in the draft room.
With all of this said, I also was dubious that they would take Scherff fifth overall two years ago. Perhaps I am making the mistake that many analysts make in assuming the organization views my way of thinking is common sense, so why would they do otherwise? But the way Gruden said “guard” in that press conference gives me some confidence that I will be right this time around.
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