At the NFL draft, Redskins will play the role of wild card

The Washington Post's Rick Maese and Jason Reid highlight the Redskins' needs heading into the 2010 NFL Draft.Photos courtesy of The Washington Post, AP, Getty, Reuters
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 22, 2010

NEW YORK -- One by one, they strolled through Redskins Park on job interviews these past several weeks, and Thursday night, the top prospects of the 2010 NFL draft finally will find out which will be tabbed as a cornerstone of Mike Shanahan's rebuilding project.

As they prepare to take the Radio City Music Hall stage, the players have about as much inside information as fans.

Asked about his prospects of landing in Washington, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, expected by many to be the draft's No. 1 overall pick, said he thinks "it's a possibility."

"It was great," Bradford said of his recent visit to Redskins Park. "I had a good time in Washington. Obviously Coach [Mike] Shanahan has had some success; he's had quite a bit of success in the NFL. I thought their staff was great."

The Redskins are viewed by many as something of a wild card entering the three-day draft, which gets underway Thursday night with the first round. They currently hold the No. 4 pick but could trade up if they have sincere interest in Bradford, a player who had private workouts with just two teams -- the Redskins and the St. Louis Rams, who hold the draft's top overall pick. Washington could attempt to trade down and stockpile more picks (the Redskins enter the draft with only four picks, fewer than any other NFL team). Or they could stand pat at No. 4 and address one of their myriad needs, such as left tackle.

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock predicts "the most movement we've seen in 10 years in the first round of the draft. I think people are going to be all over the place."

But that doesn't necessarily include the Redskins, he said.

"They don't have a whole lot of ammunition obviously except for that fourth pick," Mayock said. "They've got [Albert] Haynesworth, and they're creative. The way I look at it is, it's a lot simpler than that. I look at it, okay, they've got [Donovan] McNabb, who is not as old as people think. I think he's got three or four years left in him. They've got a solid defense. They've got a running attack, and because of what Shanahan does, it'll be a better running attack.

"They need a left tackle. I happen to think Trent Williams fits what they do better than Russell Okung. But they're both very good football players. I think they stay put at four."

Williams is an athletic, versatile tackle out of Oklahoma who's enjoyed a quick climb up many draft boards. Though Oklahoma State's Okung is rated by many as the draft's top tackle, the Redskins might find Williams to be a better fit in their zone-blocking scheme.

"I think he's probably one of the most athletic big men I've ever seen," said Bradford, who played behind Williams the past three seasons. "Just his footwork, his quickness, his strength. He's the total package. He was able to pretty much do everything for us at Oklahoma. He played center for us his last college [game]. I mean, how many guys can go from left tackle to never playing center to play center -- and to look really good doing it? He's just an impressive athlete. I think he's got all the potential in the world."

Williams said he felt at home during his visit with the team. He's already friends with Redskins wide receiver Malcolm Kelly and safety Lendy Holmes, former college teammates, as well as Robert Henson, a high school friend.

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