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The Potential Impact Of Seventh Round Choices

Posted by Matt Terl on April 28, 2010 – 2:09 pm

When the Redskins selected two offensive linemen with the their seventh-round selections in the NFL Draft — on top of fourth-overall selection Trent Williams — I figured fans would be happy. (In fact, I used a headline that was meant to convey exactly that, although the syntax threw more than a few people off.) Here they are, O people: the offensive linemen for whom you have cried out. Repeatedly!

And, for the most part, that was correct. People were happy. There was new offensive line depth. Birds chirped, rainbows bowed, and all was right with the world.

Except… the emails keep trickling in suggesting that being happy about two seventh-round picks is ridiculous. That these guys — Erik Cook and (pictured above) Selvish Capers — are never going to contribute. That Williams is the only guy from the draft who really matters.

The only mainstream media member I’ve seen get in on the act is Rick Snider, the venerable Redskins beat reporter currently with the DC Examiner. The morning after the draft, Snider tweeted:

I wouldn’t get too caught up in #Redskins taking 3 OL. 2 were in 7th. Probably never see the field. Count it as 1 OT in draft.

(To Snider’s credit, he was there well ahead of my emailers. I may not agree with his conclusion, but at least he reached it swiftly.)

Once the number of emails in accord with Snider’s sentiment reached a certain, undefinable critical mass, I figured it was time to just stop vaguely disagreeing and start looking at some numbers. Fortunately, they weren’t too tough to find: I really didn’t have to go much beyond the basic arithmetic of counting last year’s starting lineups.

Here’s how it broke down, and it really isn’t particularly pretty: Read more »

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It's Trent Williams At 4

Posted by Matt Terl on April 22, 2010 – 7:38 pm

With the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Redskins select Trent Williams, OT out of Oklahoma. Thank goodness. Read more »

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Getting Things Ready For The Draft

Posted by Matt Terl on April 22, 2010 – 5:44 pm

Just a few pictures of what’s going on around Redskins Park as everyone and everything gets into place for this evening’s excitement. Most of the primary players in the drama — the GM, the coach — are hidden from even my prying eyes as they get ready for the first round, which is most definitely a good thing.

But ESPN Radio’s Al Galdi? He is right out in the open, poised and ready for action.

Read more »

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Draft Day Does Not Bring Transparency To Redskins Plans

Posted by Matt Terl on April 22, 2010 – 10:42 am

You would think, given that the start of the NFL Draft is a scant eight hours away, that the picture would be resolving. That things would be settling into place, the smokescreens of the last weeks and months would be lifting, and we would have a much, much clearer idea of who is being selected.

This would not be correct. Here, for example, is Mike Lombardi of National Football Post, writing this morning:

Many people in the NFL believe the draft will start with Washington at the No. 4 pick. No one really has a feel for what the ‘Skins will do, and they can head in a number of different directions. But I keep hearing offensive tackle is not one of the positions they’ll pick – no smoke screen. I have a hunch, and it’s only a hunch, that it might be safety Eric Berry.

Or Peter King, in the introduction to his final mock draft yesterday (which he considers “the mock draft of record,” for whatever that’s worth), noting that “Washington GM Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan have always been pros at disguising their draft intentions,” and:

Washington has a crying need for a tackle, its biggest need by far. There are three or four very good ones projected as top picks. Washington has the fourth pick in the first round, its only pick in the top 100. Shanahan twice shocked the world with Denver, picking John Mobley (1996) and Jay Cutler (2006) when no one had a clue he cared about either. His son, new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, has been talking about how swell he thinks his line is, particularly tackles Stephen Heyer and Artis Hicks. Allen and Mike Shanahan have said they might take a quarterback at number four.

So here’s where things stand right now, if you read the internet: the Redskins are either taking an offensive tackle, taking a safety, taking a quarterback, trading up to take a quarterback, — and whatever they do, they’re controlling the entire draft. Awesome.

Some of the reports: Read more »

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How The Redskins Might Trade During The NFL Draft

Posted by Matt Terl on April 19, 2010 – 12:11 pm

There was exactly one thing in general manager Bruce Allen’s predraft press conference that was definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, true. Heading into the Q&A portion of the event, he asked the assembled media to “understand that I’m not gonna get too specific” and followed up by noting, “I’m gonna attempt not to lie to y’all. Keyword: attempt.”

It’s the time of year when nothing an NFL executive says can fully be believed, and it’s good to hear Allen being upfront about that. So as I list some quick bullet points of what else was said, remember that they could all be completely untrue.

  • The team is continuing to explore trading Jason Campbell, and has had “some people interested.” (Gary Fitzgerald covers this well on the Redskins.com mothership.)
  • Other than that, the team has not explored trading its own players.
  • Like head coach Mike Shanahan yesterday, Allen said that the team is looking forward to Albert Haynesworth coming in and contributing.
  • The Redskins haven’t ruled out selecting a QB in this draft.
  • The team seems likely to keep their fourth overall pick, because it’s tough to move a top 5 pick.

Actually, that last one is almost certainly true as well, and Allen explained the reason why. “You know, that point chart that whoever came up with some years ago is really a deterrent to trading. If you analyze that, it takes so many draft choices just to move a few slots somewhat.” Read more »

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Matt Bowen Disagrees With Peter King On That Sean Taylor Thing

Posted by Matt Terl on March 29, 2010 – 10:26 am

Last week, I got a little cranky when Peter King included Sean Taylor in an argument against taking a safety early in the NFL Draft. The next day, I failed to get un-cranky when King offered an unsatisfactory explanation of his reasoning. Some people seemed to get the impression that I was upset that King was speaking poorly of the deceased, but that was really not what it was about.

Here is my point, much more concisely: the reason that Taylor did not make the contribution you would want from a top 10 pick is because he was murdered three and a half years into his career. Therefore, including him as a datapoint in your analysis of ANYTHING from a football standpoint — not just the 2004 draft or taking a safety in the top 5, as King discusses — is pretty much pointless.

What happened to Taylor didn’t happen because he played safety. Or because he was drafted in 2004. Or because he went to Miami, changed his number, played for the Redskins, or because he didn’t always answer questions from the media, or anything like that. So it probably shouldn’t be factored into conversations about those things.

That was one point that I was trying to make that got a little lost. But another point, and the one that most of the people who emailed me agreed with, is that Taylor was well on his way to being EXACTLY the kind of franchise player that you would want to draft at fifth overall. And it’s not just fans saying that.

Matt Bowen played for the Redskins for three years, overlapping with Taylor for two of them. He saw Taylor’s rookie campaign, saw him change his number, and saw him start to develop into a Pro Bowl player. (That’s him in the background of the picture above, wearing number 41.)

Now Bowen writes for the National Football Post, and today he addresses the same topic that set Peter King off: is Tennessee’s Eric Berry worth the fifth overall pick, where he is widely projected to go. He reaches part of the same conclusion that King did — that safety can be a risky pick in the top 10, although unlike King he believes Berry might be worth the risk — but with one glaring, glaring difference.
Read more »

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A Small-School Draft Day Prospect

Posted by Matt Terl on March 19, 2010 – 10:54 am

I get emailed a lot of suggestions that I’m asked to forward to ownership and the personnel department. Most of these are unprintable because of language and decency constraints, and almost all of the rest are uninteresting in the extreme. Every so often, though, I do get one of those rarest of beasts: an unsolicited email that shares something interesting that I didn’t know about.

Case in point: Elon University wide receiver Terrell Hudgins.

Now: I think that wide receiver is actually one of the lowest priorities for a Redskins team that certainly has a bunch of needs. I remain optimistic about Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas, still think Santana Moss has something left in the tank, and continue to be curious about Marko Mitchell. Still, an email with the all-caps subject line “ANOTHER JERRY RICE FROM A SMALL SCHOOL” is bound to catch the attention.

Especially when it turns out to be fairly accurate.

An inability to follow a ton of college football is (somewhat ironically) one of the downsides of this job, but I started to get the sense that Hudgins is kind of a big deal when I stumbled across this eight minute video profile of him.

And this ESPN U interview: Read more »

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More People Predict Jimmy Clausen To The Redskins

Posted by Matt Terl on March 15, 2010 – 5:08 pm

Well, the NFL draft rumor mill continues to churn, and the latest churning has once again churned Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen to the Redskins’ pick at number 4. Last week, Mel Kiper was reporting this, and people were not pleased. Now, National Football Post’s Michael Lombardi has weighed in on NFL Network with the same conclusion.

Here is what Lombardi had to say (as transcribed by Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog):

“Shock pick here. My man Mike Shanahan, he sat there in Dove Valley all those years with quarterbacks, he moved over to the Tech Center [neighborhood] where he had an office. Jimmy Clausen, scouted him a lot, went through all the quarterbacks. He knows he needs a quarterback. He is the pro style. Fits him perfectly.”

Well, if two guys are saying it, it’s a done deal, right? And one of them is Michael Lombardi, who — according to ESPN NFC East blogger Matt Mosley in his post entitled ‘Clausen to Skins Gaining Steam’ — “tends to have a good feel for these things”. Might as well get your Clausen jersey printed up now, I guess.

Except … well, Lombardi’s a smart guy. He’s been nice enough to chat with me in the past, so he’s got that going for him. But just how good a feel does he really have for these things? I decided to dig up his 2009 mock draft to see. Read more »

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