If Redskins general manager Bruce Allen is anything like his father — late Redskins coach George Allen, a master at trading draft picks — then Washington has a chance of moving up from its 34th overall selection to gain a valued offensive right tackle in the first round.
It seems quarterbacks have been largely devalued since Washington spent three first-round picks (including this year’s) and a second to move up to draft Robert Griffin III in 2012. Instead, four of the top five teams drafting may wait until the second round to take a passer.
And that could lead to the opening the Redskins need.
Should Houston (first), Jacksonville (third), Cleveland (fourth) or Oakland (fifth) want to hold off on a passer, they may be willing to trade their high pick in next month’s draft. If Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles didn’t wow general managers enough to be taken over impact players like South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack and Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans, then maybe someone will be willing to trade for Washington’s early second-round selection. It only takes one team.
Why would anyone take the risk of waiting to grab a quarterback? Mostly, it’s about money. There’s a world of difference between paying a passer top five money and second-round cash. Millions of dollars can be saved, and the team could still land the quarterback it wants.
It’s risky, but then the NFL draft is one big guess anyway.
Washington badly needs another anchor tackle to play on the other side of Pro Bowler Trent Williams and would love to draft Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson. That combination would resemble Washington’s line from a decade ago when it sported Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels and solid right tackle Jon Jansen.
Taking a right tackle with a top five pick is overpaying. But after recently spending $24 million for receiver DeSean Jackson, the Redskins have the firepower to be a top offense if Griffin has time and protection on option runs. They’ve been getting by with right tackle Tyler Polumbus for two seasons, but this is a chance to solidify the most important unit, which has been mediocre for years.
Still, this won’t come cheaply. Teams will want a first-round pick in the deal and Washington doesn’t have one unless it swaps next year’s selection along with its current second rounder. In a competitive market, the deal might also require a sweetener, say backup quarterback Kirk Cousins. A cheaper fallback could be gaining Buffalo’s No. 9 pick to take Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews.
It’s a daring, possibly costly deal, but if Washington really wants to win now, it needs that offensive tackle.