“You take a look at your board at each position and try to get a priority of which guys you feel are a certain skill level — first-round draft choice or second,” Shanahan said. “And you get a game plan, and if a certain player’s there at that time, you’re going to take him. If not, you try to go back, you try to go forward. A lot depends on how things fall into place. You never know. You have to be ready for a lot of different scenarios.
“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 added, also remarking that when the team is on the clock and it comes down to a player with only a slightly higher draft grade than a player at a position of need, Washington likely would draft for need.
After that 51st pick (21st selection of the second round), Washington has six picks in the five remaining rounds.
The Redskins retained 21 of 22 starters this offeseason — re-signing 12 players — but still have needs at several positions:
● Cornerback, where starters DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson return, but the third cornerback role remains undetermined.
●Safety, where strong safety Brandon Meriweather is coming off of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and would-be starting free safety Tanard Jackson is suspended indefinitely and isn’t eligible for reinstatement until Sept. 3.
● Right tackle, where Tyler Polumbus re-signed and is expected to compete with offseason additions Jeremy Trueblood and Tony Pashos, but none of them seem to be the long-term solution.
● The team also could possibly use additional speed and explosiveness in their wide receiver and running back units.
Shanahan believes starting-caliber players can be found in the top half of the draft, even without a first-round selection. He recalled how his Denver Broncos selected running back Clinton Portis 51st overall in 2002. Portis wound up starring for Denver and Washington, rushing for a total of 9,923 yards over nine seasons.
However, 51st overall is also the pick the pre-Shanahan Redskins used to select wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, who lasted only two seasons in the NFL.
The Redskins obviously hope to hit on all of their picks, discovering gems such as starting inside linebacker Perry Riley (fourth round, 2010) and running back Alfred Morris (sixth round, 2012) as they try to fortify a roster that went 10-6 and won the NFC East last season.
“There’s guys that make it second, third, fourth round and you say, ‘Fourth-round player, why wasn’t he a first-round player?’ Why wasn’t Alfred Morris a first-round player? He should’ve been based on his production. So, you back through your mind and look at all the scenarios and try to figure out why a guy does last to the sixth round and try to find those guys out there. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a guy like that, and other times you miss out. That’s why we look at a lot of film.”