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Posted at 10:33 AM ET, 04/18/2011

NFL draft: Trading down makes more sense than trading up for Redskins

Mike Shanahan has to be sitting back and smiling to himself, because every day, there is a different report about what the Washington Redskins are supposedly trying to do in the NFL draft.

Last week, word was the Redskins were trying to trade down from their 10th overall pick in the draft, which takes place April 28-30. Then this past weekend, there was a report that the Redskins were “trying like crazy” to move up in the draft so they could land a quarterback.

What does it mean? That Shanahan & Co. are doing a good job of sending mixed messages so no one knows what exactly their plans are.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear the Redskins are exploring options to make a move in the draft. Remember, at the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans last month, Shanahan himself said, “We’re exploring all of our options. Moving up, moving down. We look into everything.”

It would be more of a surprise if Washington did move up in the draft, because they don’t have the full complement of picks in this year’s draft, thus lacking a lot of bargaining chips.

The Redskins have eight draft picks right now, but most of them (two fifths, a sixth and three seventh-rounders) are of little value when it comes to trades. The Redskins could package their No. 10 and No. 41 picks, but that still wouldn’t likely be enough to get them a top five pick.

They would likely have to throw in next year’s first-round pick to move up, since they don’t have a third or fourth this year. And if they were to cough up this year’s first and second, then that’d basically be giving up two potential starters for one.

For years now the Redskins’ progress has been hindered by limited draft picks. Shanahan has discussed that. It seems like if anything, his goal is to get them back on track with building through the draft, and that would seem to mean not mortgaging the future by parting with valuable future picks.

That’s why it seems more likely that the Redskins would either hang onto No. 10 and No. 41, or that they would try to move down to acquire more picks. Former NFL executives Charley Casserly and Michael Lombardi both said last week that they look for Washington to move down.

And on Saturday while at a Redskins-sponsored Easter egg hunt at Deanwood Community Center, Bruce Allen hinted more in this direction.

“We have eight draft choices right now for this draft, and if we do well in the later rounds, then we’re not going to miss anything. Could there be some trades to acquire new picks? Yes, possibly. We’re going to deal with the picks that we have.”

Allen called this year’s quarterback class “very good,” and didn’t sound like a GM that was under pressure to move up to land a franchise passer. Instead, he pointed out quarterbacks that have gone later in the draft than some and still develop into winners.

“It’s interesting, quarterbacks — and we’ve gotten to visit with a number of them — so much of it has to do with what team you go to and what time, on how it will work out for you,” Allen said. “I think the Aaron Rodgers story is one of the great success stories of the NFL: a player that got drafted much lower than the media predictions at the time, and sat on the bench for three years, and now has become one of the elite quarterbacks.”

Allen later added: “I’m a big fan of our history, and our league, and the Redskins obviously, and NFL Films just did a great production on Tom Brady. I could go back with you, Johnny Unitas, I believe went in the 17th round. You can find greatness in any round.”

Call it a poker face, or call it honesty. But this draft does seem to have quarterbacks — Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett, Colin Kaepernick — that analysts believe are capable of breaking the trend of second-rounders that never deliver. Do the Redskins believe so as well?

By  |  10:33 AM ET, 04/18/2011

 
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