Analysis: Taking Cyrus Kouandjio makes sense

Cyrus Kouandjio runs a drill during Alabama football's second 2014 pro day, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Cyrus Kouandjio runs a drill during Alabama football’s second 2014 pro day April 8 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt)

ANALYSIS | The opening round of the NFL draft Thursday night unfolded nicely for the Washington Redskins by leaving a couple of offensive tackles projected by many to be first-round picks still available at the outset of Friday’s second round: Virginia’s Morgan Moses and Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio

The Redskins should use the second selection of the night on Kouandjio and pencil in the DeMatha High School product as their starting right tackle for the 2014 season.

The Redskins made moves in free agency to address significant needs at wide receiver, in the interior of their offensive line, at linebacker and in their secondary. Tyler Polumbus probably did a better-than-expected job at right tackle last season. But some talent evaluators in and around the sport said finding a new starter at the position was a must on the Redskins’ offseason to-do list, and so far it hasn’t happened.

Teams that draft well in the NFL stick to the premise of selecting the best player available rather than drafting players to fill current needs. They look at existing needs only when they have similar grades on multiple players who are left. But taking Kouandjio — or Moses — with the 34th overall choice is far from a stretch. Either would be a good value at that pick.

Moses played part of his college career at right tackle. Kouandjio didn’t. But many within the sport project Kouandjio as a right tackle in the NFL. There have been reports that some teams have concerns about knee issues for Kouandjio, but members of the medical staff at Alabama have said any concerns are unfounded.

There are good players left at a wide variety of positions, and there are enough highly promising offensive tackles still available that the Redskins could trade back, add picks later in the draft and still get an immediate starter at the position. But if they stay put, taking Kouandjio makes sense.

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