Shanahan: Redskins prepared for multiple draft scenarios

Mike Shanahan believes the Redskins can find quality players in the draft despite not having a first-round pick. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Mike Shanahan believes the Redskins can find quality players in the draft despite not having a first-round pick. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan addressed the media on Wednesday on the eve of the NFL draft and said although the team doesn’t have a first-round pick this year, they have prepared for multiple scenarios.

Shanahan said the team has ranked players just as always, and that if a pick is close between best available and position of need, then need would take the priority.

“What I’ve learned over the years is, you’ve got to be true to your board, and you’ve got to look at every player,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan said it’s possible to get first-round type talent in the second round, where Washington holds the 51st overall pick. He recalled that Clinton Portis was a 51st overall pick back when the coach selected him for the Denver Broncos.

Shanahan said that this year’s draft, like many years in the past, is very deep in rounds two through four.

“There’s a lot of guys that will be picked in that third, fourth, fifth round that are football players,” Shanahan said. “You just hope you get the right guy. … Other times, you miss out.”

Shanahan said it depends on talent and a player’s “football-related intelligence,” but that it’s definitely possible for a rookie cornerback or safety to come in and start this year if the team should select one.

“Shanahan said it would be “a long shot … like one-hundred million” that the team would trade into first round.

Shanahan said the team will closely monitor the first round, and that he and his staff will be hoping that players on their board will drop into the second round.

Cornerback and safety seem to rank among the team’s top needs to address in the draft. But Shanahan said that DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers all are quality players and will compete. He also is hoping that Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson will be back this year to help at the safety position.

Hall, Wilson and Biggers all are entering the final year of their respective contracts, so the team could look to address long-term needs with the cornerback and safety positions.

Shanahan said the team has done its homework on all the players in the draft. When it comes to evaluating talent and calculating the risk of taking a troubled player, Shanahan says, “If you think it’s a problem, you stay away from him.” The coach said everything would be taken into account and that “if it’s a big risk, we’re not going there,” when it comes to off-field issues.

Shanahan says the Redskins have “a game plan” for how they will sign their rookies despite having about only $30,000 in cap space.

Shanahan says Robert Griffin III is still doing well, working to strengthen not only his anterior cruciate ligament, but the muscles and ligaments around it. Shanahan said he tries not to get too excited about the progress he sees in Griffin because he doesn’t want the quarterback to risk a setback. “Do what you can with the muscles around the knee,” he said. “But don’t push too hard, because you don’t want a setback.”

Shanahan said going forward, “What we’re going to make sure, is we’re never going to play Robert if he’s not 100 percent.”

Shanahan said Roy Helu had a setback to his recovery from the toe injury that forced him out of most of last year, but he’s hoping he’ll return.

Discussing the condition of FedEx Field, Shanahan said “any time you have a field like we had, we’re going to take care of it ourselves,” and that the team has upgraded it’s drainage system, and will re-sod the field at midseason if needed.

More Redskins coverage:

Early live-tweet excerpts from Shanahan press conference

Opening Kick: How much draft day movement can we expect?

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Shanahan on the draft: Trading into first-round a long shot