Mailbag: Draft needs at corner, safety, tackle and more . . .

Andrew Hawkins, DeAngelo Hall

How could the selections in the draft impact DeAngelo Hall’s role, one reader asks. (John McDonnell, The Washington Post)

Thanks again for all your questions over the weekend. With draft weekend approaching, many of the topics on your minds are along those lines — the team’s needs, the decision-making process, and how selections could impact the roster.

Let’s dive in:

In last year’s draft we potentially got 3 first round quality players. Who were the people that were mainly responsible for that?  Are they still in place?

– Adrian Rivera

That team of evaluators and decision makers is comprised of a number of people, and yes, it remains intact. General manager Bruce Allen, coach Mike Shanahan and his assistants have input based on the homework that director of player personnel Scott Campbell and his scouts do during the college football season, during the all-star games and leading up to the combine where team officials and scouts conduct individual interviews with prospects. During an interview with Campbell back in January at the Senior Bowl, he laid out how it all works. Here’s the link to the story.

Why were the Redskins not interested in Charles Woodson or Ronde Barber ?

 – Tom Sexton

That’s a good question. A number of people told me that when there were rumblings last offseason that Woodson could be released, Raheem Morris told people he would be perfect for Washington’s secondary. But Woodson wasn’t released in 2012. Then, even though he was released this year, the team decided not to pursue him. To tell you the truth, I haven’t heard Woodson’s, nor Barber’s names linked to anybody as of late. It could be a combination of age and the money they’re looking for.

With all this talk about safety being our number one priority in the draft what are the chances we draft a corner and see how D. Hall plays safety? Hall is a smart player and a ball hawk, i think it would work towards his and our (skin fans) advantage. The real question is would Hall be up for a position change?

– Hunter Smith

This is a pretty deep draft for the safety positions, so they shouldn’t have trouble finding a quality player at that spot in the second, third and/or fourth rounds of the draft. There were times last season where DeAngelo Hall did shift back to free safety, but not a lot. He didn’t appear to be the most comfortable at that spot. He was open to roaming around in the secondary to some degree, but there haven’t been any discussions as of yet regarding switching him full-time to safety, I’m told. I think his primary role will remain cornerback, and nickelback when offenses have a receiver lined up in the slot.

What are your thoughts on the Skins using a no-huddle offense this year?

 – Tom Peckins

There are times where the Redskins go to it – particularly when running the two-minute drill. It can be a good way to keep the pressure on the defense, but I don’t think they’ll go with it exclusively.

If you were Mike Shanahan, knowing that the next decade of your success and your son’s success depends on the health of RGIII, knowing if Trent Williams is injured then RGIII is truly vulnerable, and knowing that Polumbus, Trueblood and Pashos are among the worst in the league, what round would you pick an OT?

 – Don Crehan
Darnestown, Md.

It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Redskins take a right tackle in the draft. Although Polumbus has experience in the zone-blocking scheme, having played in it here, Seattle and Denver, he does struggle with consistency. Trueblood and Pashos are unknowns at this point. Trueblood lost his starting job last season, and isn’t considered one of the most mobile tackles out there. Pashos was out of football with a serious foot injury all of last season. Tom Compton – a sixth-round pick from last season – remains on the roster and could compete for time at that spot. A couple local players, like U-Va.’s Oday Aboushi or Virginia Tech’s Vinston Painter, rank among the right tackle prospects that could be available to Washington in the third or fourth rounds of the draft.

What decisions, if any, have been made regarding the field at FedEx? Also, this past season we lost Tanard Jackson, Cedric Griffin, Jordan Black, and now we start off the 2013 season without Rob Jackson. And this came after the previous season where we lost Trent Williams and Fred Davis all due to “substance abuse violations” of one form or another. What have the Redskins done, or will do to ensure that this “trend” goes no further?

 – Joseph Howell

The Redskins have decided not to go with some type of alternative surface, like field turf, for their field this season. They’re fans of natural grass. Allen blamed the terrible late-season field conditions on their decision not to re-sod the field during the Week 10 bye. He said the team will be sure that mistake isn’t made again, and they believe by doing so, the field will be in better shape this time around. We’ll see.

As far as the substance abuse violations go, every situation is different. For example, Black claimed his violation was for a prescription he’s been taking for years with the league’s approval. Rob Jackson says his was for an unprescribed pain medication for a bad tooth, and Griffin’s was believed to be for the use of Adderall. Tanard Jackson, Davis and Williams, meanwhile, were suspended for marijuana use. Mike Shanahan has said that he’ll continue to stress the importance of strong character, the importance of making wise decisions, accountability and the impact players’ selfish choices have on their team. Players have to take responsibility.

 Because the Redskins have such little cap room, would it make sense for them to pick one or two needs in this year’s draft and maybe try and trade their other draft picks to another team to get more picks in next year’s draft?

– Chris Cozza

 If the Redskins have a player at the top of their list that they don’t believe will be available by the 51st pick, then they could try to package picks to move up to get him. But, I don’t think it’s likely that they would trade away picks to save money against the cap. They still need to continue to upgrade depth. Most of those draft picks’ salaries wouldn’t be big enough to rank among the top 51, which is all the team needs to account for during the offseason. Mark Maske laid out the situation in a story that ran today.

I would consider Trent Williams the second most important player to our long term future, after Griffin. Given the Redskins’ salary cap situation, are they working on a long term extension for Williams to reduce his cap number ($7.9 mil) this year?  It seems like this is an obvious place we could free up some space.

Jackson Schreiber
Springfield, VA

Yes, Williams (whose deal is up in 2015), along with Josh Wilson ($5.3 million in this final year of his deal), Josh Morgan ($5.1 million) and Orakpo ($5.1 million in this final year of his deal) would seem to be candidates for restructuring, but the team isn’t believed to have pursued such options as of yet.

Just curious if you have any info on how close of friends Terrance Williams and RGIII are. Because of the possible chemistry between the two of them, could you see us drafting him with 51st pick and waiting for 85th pick to take cornerback or safety? …  Also, could you put in the Redskin section, each selection the Redskins have (i.e. 2nd round 51, 3rd round 85, etc … )

– Rich Wickman

Williams and Griffin did develop a close friendship while at Baylor. And their chemistry carried over onto the field. Williams (6 feet 2, 207 pounds) caught 11 touchdown passes from Griffin in the quarterback’s final season at Baylor. Williams, who is projected as a second-round pick, was on the receiving end of Griffin’s most famous pass in college – a last-second touchdown pass to beat Oklahoma. Washington did have people at Baylor’s pro day, where Williams did well in position drills. While cornerback and safety seem to be pressing needs, you can never rule out wide receiver. Garcon still is recovering from his toe injury, Morgan had surgery on his ankle and both hands and isn’t yet 100 percent, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson both struggle with consistency, Santana Moss is getting up in age, and Dez Briscoe can’t get onto the field. The Redskins have done their homework on a number of receivers in the draft. This is a deep draft for corners and safeties, so if the team’s top choices are off the board and they don’t believe the remaining players at those spots are worthy of the 51st pick, they could certainly look at another area of the roster in the second round. … As far as the Redskins’ picks, here they are:

Round 2 – 21st (51st overall)

Round 3 – 23rd (85th overall)

Round 4 – 22nd (119th overall)

Round 5 – 21st (154th overall), 29th (162nd overall – from New England for Haynesworth)

Round 6 – 23rd (191st overall)

Round 7 – 22nd (228th overall)

More Redskins and NFL from The Post:

D.C. Sports Bog: Mike Shanahan looking happy while out in Clarendon

Opening Kick: Trade a pick this year for a better one next year?

Redskins’ salary cap issues not as bad as they appear

Redskins meet with CB Quentin Jammer

Bucs get CB Revis from Jets for No. 13 pick

Sports Bog: RGIII Twitter Q&A on Will Ferrell, Redskins uniforms, Brittney Griner

Draft coverage, position previews: Safety | offensive line | cornerbacks | running backs | inside linebackers | wide receivers | pass-rushers

Team-by-team draft needs | Prospect reports, sortable by position & school

Redskins’ schedule predictor | Game-by-game breakdown

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