The Redskins enter the 2019 NFL Draft Thursday night with a lot of holes to fill and a lot of question marks. They will all not be addressed through the draft, but the Redskins’ draft board is full and ready to go, according to Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams.
“The board is up but I’m sure there is going to be some tweaking over the next couple of days,” he said. “Once you sit in the room and look at more tape and look at it from the standpoint of wondering, ‘Do we have it right?’ I think we got it as close to right, as the way we see it, as it’s going to be.”
With Alex Smith not expected to play this year while recovering from a broken fibula, the biggest uncertainty remains at quarterback. The team traded for Case Keenum this offseason and has Colt McCoy under contract as well.
The team expects McCoy and Keenum to compete for the starting job this summer in training camp, but with both quarterbacks entering the final year of their contracts, it’s very possible that the Redskins add a passer in this week’s draft.
“The National Football League is a quarterback league,” Williams — a former quarterback himself, of course — said Monday. “We needed a quarterback, and we were able to trade for Case; but that does not put us out of the realm of picking a quarterback if there is one there we like at 15 (overall draft pick).”
A lot could depend on what happens in the first 14 picks of the draft, especially if Arizona decides to draft Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray with the top overall pick. The Cardinals could then make second year quarterback Josh Rosen available via trade.
Ohio State quarterback (and Bullis high school graduate) Dwayne Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Duke’s Daniel Jones are all expected to be drafted in the first round as well.
Given the Redskins’ many needs, the possibility of using multiple picks to deal for a higher one is highly unlikely, according to Williams.
“The chance of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” he said. “I think where we are and what we’re trying to do here with this football team, you know, we don’t make a move either way. We got to work with what we have.
“If we got a chance to trade back, it all depends on who’s there … and whether or not you really like that guy and you want him on your football team, or you put yourself in a position to get a couple more draft picks or some other players that are out there,” Williams said. “I’m going to go on record and say that’s a possibility that we won’t trade up, but there’s a great possibility we’ll trade back if that opportunity came.”
Williams said the defensive line group of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis is the one position that doesn’t need to be upgraded in the draft.
“It’s our strength,” he said. “I think when you’re talking about defense, you got to put all the strength on the front line, that’s number one. We don’t know, we still don’t know at linebacker, we don’t know at secondary, we don’t know offense so I think at the end of the day if you want to pick just one position, you pick the D-line.”
The Redskins got some good news when inside linebacker Reuben Foster was removed from the Commissioner’s Exempt List and made eligible to play this season, taking away one of those question marks.
On the offensive side, the team could look to address wide receiver and left guard this weekend. The Redskins didn’t have great production at the receiver position a year ago and lost Jamison Crowder to free agency.
“When you talk about a receiver, basically what I think what we need and what we’ve talked about is what you call a ‘go-to-guy,’” Williams said. “And that guy, you know in tough times, no matter the situation, he’s going to be able to make plays for you. A tough guy who will go across the middle, a guy that will block for you, a guy that wants the football. You don’t want to be all-the-way divas, but you want somebody who wants the football.”
The team signed free agent tackle Ereck Flowers this offseason and Williams said they want to give him the opportunity to play left guard.
“If he can do that, we have a left guard,” he said.
The bottom line is the Redskins have a lot of needs heading into the draft this weekend, where they own nine picks. A lot will transpire between Thursday night and Saturday when the draft is complete.
“There are a bunch of positions at this time that we have to get better at,” Williams said. “I think it would be unfair to just name one. I’m not going to sit here and say we got to get better at any position, (when) we know we have to get better overall as a football team.”
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