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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' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.