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NFL draft 2011: Redskins open to trading down from 10th pick

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With the top two quarterback prospects apparently out of reach and a shortage of draft picks to address a wide range of needs, Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday that he is open to trading down in the NFL draft that begins Thursday.

Washington currently holds the 10th pick of the first round and will pick again at 41st overall (nine picks into the second round). But from there, the Redskins will be without picks in the third and fourth rounds and won’t be back on the clock until the fifth round.

In addition to quarterback, the Redskins also are believed to be in search of help at outside linebacker, defensive end, nose tackle and wide receiver. Because of the NFL’s ongoing labor dispute, Washington hasn’t been able to address any of those needs through free agency, and could use the 10th pick on the best player available.

But Shanahan said at his pre-draft news conference that it might be in the team’s best interest to trade down from No. 10 and pick up additional draft choices. Under the terms of the sport’s lockout, trades can be made only for draft picks; they cannot involve players.

“If somebody comes up and all of a sudden at that tenth pick [a team has] something they want and we can move back and pick up additional picks, yeah that could be a . . . reality,” Shanahan said. “Especially if we’re able to get real value.

“For some, it could be a wide receiver, outside linebacker. A team feels very good about their football team, they’ve got multiple draft picks and they move up and take him. And if that happens, they say ‘We need that one guy and that will be the difference in our football team,’ then they can make that decision very quickly, and a lot of times, it ends up being best for both teams.”

Any statements made shortly before the draft are notoriously unreliable. Teams often send mixed signals to maintain competitive advantage and disguise their true intentions. According to some reports, the Redskins may be trying to move up to land one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, Auburn’s Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert. But Washington has little to offer in exchange for a higher pick, so its chances don’t appear to be good.

“Obviously, that’s a little bit tougher if you don’t have multiple picks, especially when you don’t have picks in the third and fourth round,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan declined to discuss specific needs, but said if the Redskins are unable to trade down, they have identified “three or four” players they would select with the the 10th pick.

“You have to have a number of different scenarios,” Shanahan said. “There’s always differences of opinion. You go through these mock drafts because you’re never really sure what’s going to happen. You present one scenario and you’re saying, ‘Hey, that’s our guy.’ You go to another scenario and it’s ‘That guy’s gone, and that guy’s gone, but we weren’t expecting this guy to be here. What person would help our football team the most?’”

Redskins notes: Shanahan declined to comment on defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who was indicted Tuesday on a charge of misdemeanor sexual abuse for a February incident involving a waitress at the W Hotel. “Without me being able to speak with him, I don’t think it would be fair for me to speak,” Shanahan said. The NFL’s lockout rules have restricted coaches from contact with players or their agents. . . . Citing the same reason, Shanahan also declined to reveal the Redskins’ plans for quarterback Donovan McNabb, who isn’t expected to return for a second season. . . . Shanahan said that he is proud of the 30 players who organized their own informal minicamp last week. “It just shows you what type of guys we’ve got. We’ve got some great leadership. . . . To see that puts a smile on your face,” he said.

© The Washington Post Company