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Mike Shanahan On The Importance Of Draft Picks

Posted by Matt Terl on February 25, 2011 – 10:05 am

Nothing sends fear shooting through a Redskins fan quite like the suggestion of trading away a draft pick. Fans have been agitating for an increased emphasis on youth and building a team through the draft for the last several years (at least), and every year at about this time cynics and fatalists begin muttering grimly about how the team is inevitably going to swap picks for veteran players.

But there’s some good news for those cynics and fatalists at the end of the long interview Larry Michael conducted with Mike Shanahan yesterday in Indianapolis. You’ll be able to watch the whole thing on Redskins.com today — here’s part 1 — (and on Redskins Nation in the coming days), but here’s the relevant excerpt:
First, actually, some quick setup: one of the themes Shanahan keeps returning to in his conversation with Michael is the importance of depth. “The only depth we have is at the tight end position,” he says at one point, and that (in case you couldn’t guess) is not a good situation to be in.

Late in the interview, Michael asks Shanhan how he’d like to set fan expectations. “Well, you’ve gotta do things the right way,” Shanahan starts — and then he returnsto his themes of depth and, in doing so, says something that certainly appears to resonate with exactly what the fans tell me they’d like to see.

“In order to win a Super Bowl, win a championship, you have to have depth on your football team,” Shanahan says. “If you don’t have depth, the chances of winning consistently are not very good. We can’t give away our draft choices. We’ve gotta make sure in free agency we get the right quality guy — not necessarily the best athlete, but when you take a good look at a guy like London Fletcher, Phillip Daniels … hey, you go for character, you’ve got a chance for good things to happen. You can’t make those mistakes and at the same time be a championship caliber football team.”

I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but “we can’t give away our draft choices” sounds to me like the exact right way to start meeting fan expectations.

The interview will be available for viewing on Redskins.com today, and on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet in the coming days.

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