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Smith, Sanchez and other draft thoughts

Smith, Sanchez and other draft thoughts

The NFL draft takes place in a week from Saturday and the Washington Redskins will be on the clock at pick number 13. They also have picks in the third (80th overall), fifth (150), sixth (186) and a compensatory pick in the seventh (243). The second- and seventh-round picks are vaporware, having gone in trades for Jason Taylor and Erazmus James respectively. The fourth-rounder was used to obtain Pete Kendall.

Those are all the picks they have for right now. There is a lot of talk about trading down to pick up some extra selections as the Redskins did last year. Of course you have to find a partner to do that and in most cases a team won't commit to trading up until the pick that they may want is on the clock to ensure that the player that they covet will be there.

If, say, quarterback Mark Sanchez is on the board at #13, the Redskins' phone could well be ringing off the hook. The Jets need a QB, and they pick at No. 17. They could slide up to get Sanchez and give up their third-round pick to do so.

They could trade out of the first round altogether like they did last year, but that seems unlikely. It would take three second-round picks to get the 13th pick and as of now no other team has the ammo to be able to pull this off.

Another way to gain up additional picks is to trade selections in future years. While I don't think that Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn are on the hot seat to the extent that some do, I wouldn't be shocked to see them pull the trigger and use the team's 2010 first-round pick a year early. The standard formula is that next year's first gets you a second this year and if there is a player that the Redskins want sitting there and a team is willing to deal, they could well do it.

If the Redskins do pick at 13, who will they take? If I had to take a guess right now—and, unlike others, I will admit that this is just a guess—I'd say Alabama tackle Andre Smith. Yes, he blew off the combine, and he appeared to be a fat tub of goo at his pro day. Yes, he was suspended from the Crimson Tide's bowl game for a violation of team rules. However, if he's there he's the best player on the board, hands down. I'll take three years of game film showing a guy who has produced more pancakes than IHOP over the past three years over a couple of months of suspect behavior. Certainly, the Redskins would have to do their homework but in the absence of any red flags prior to February of this year they should pull the trigger.

It appears that more and more teams are starting to look at film of Smith rather than examine his pro day girth, however, and Smith may not be there at 13. Another choice at offensive tackle, Michael Oher of Mississippi, is sliding in the opposite direction so the Redskins may not be able to upgrade the tackle position in the first round. The worst mistake you can make is to reach to fill a need.

Will they take Sanchez? Mel Kiper created an uproar on Redskins message boards by listing the USC product as the Skins' selection at #13. I think that there is about a 10% chance that he is right. You have to look at the fact that Jason Campbell is in the last year of his deal and the recent Jay Cutler pursuit has to make you believe that the Redskins think that they can upgrade the position. While they say that Campbell is their man, I don't think that they'll hesitate to pull the trigger on Sanchez if he's by far the best player on their board.

My dark horse for the pick is running back Knowshon Moreno of Georgia. I think that they have to have someone who can be productive in spelling Clinton Portis, and they need to look beyond the Portis era. If there is no salary cap in 2010, in fact, that era could end sooner rather than later.

Things should settle down in the next week or so and I'll post a revised guess prediction for the pick. I am planning on doing a live blog for both days of the draft so check back for details on that.

The first excerpt from my new book The Redskins Chronicle has been posted. Go here to take a look. To find out more about the book and to sign up to get notified when it gets published, go to RedskinsChronicle.com.

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus. 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.