Do you select a big-name wide receiver early? Or do you choose a linebacker or defensive back for depth? And, if you choose a kicker, dare it be another Zendejas?
During the 18 hours of the National Football League draft all day Tuesday and early Wednesday, the Washington Redskins will make these decisions to choose 11 players, barring any last-minute trades.
Still smarting from the disappointing performances of Calvin Muhammad and Malcolm Barnwell last season, the Redskins' first priority is a wide receiver, said Coach Joe Gibbs. But, when the league rolls around to the 30th pick, which is Washington's first, that doesn't necessarily mean Illinois' David Williams or Boston University's Bill Brooks or Oregon State's Reggie Bynum will be chosen.
"This is a stock answer," assistant general manager Charles Casserly warned, "but we're going to take the best guy there."
It could be nearing lunchtime before the Redskins make their first selection. For the 15th time in 18 seasons, the Redskins do not have a first-round pick. This one was traded to Atlanta for the Falcons' second-round choice in the Joe Washington deal on draft day 1985.
There's always a chance the Redskins could trade up in the draft. But Casserly said the Redskins value their later picks "quite a bit" and would hate to part with one or two to move up a few spots.
A glance at the team roster illustrates his point. Defensive tackle Darryl Grant and safety Ken Coffey were selected in the ninth round; running back Keith Griffin in the 10th; linebacker Monte Coleman, tight end Anthony Jones and guard Raleigh McKenzie in the 11th, and tight end Clint Didier and defensive tackle Dean Hamel in the 12th, and last, round.
In fact, if the Redskins make any deal, it could be to move down in the draft.
"If there are four or five or six guys we like still available as we come close to picking in the second round , we might trade down for a fifth or sixth round choice ," Casserly said.
Otherwise, the Redskins view their first pick as a "first-round caliber" choice. There is little difference between the 27th choice (the last of the first round) and the 30th.
"We want a first-round pick in this draft," Casserly said. They'll get the equivalent.
The Redskins hold their own draft of sorts before the real thing, figuring who will take whom in the first round.
"When you look at who's left over from the first round, we'll look at who's in our first round, and see who's still available," Casserly said.
If it's a wide receiver, the Redskins are likely to go for him.
"I'm not comfortable with wide receiver," Gibbs said of his team. "That's an area everybody knows where we have our biggest concern."
Of the Redskins' needs, Gibbs said: "Wide receiver probably sets itself a little above everything else, and then after that, everything else falls below that, and our two lines are last.
"About every other place other than offensive or defensive line , we're in a situation where we need help. In any other position, we would take somebody."
The cream of the receiving corps is Walter Murray of Hawaii, Tim McGee of Tennessee, Ernest Givins of Louisville and Mike Sherrard of UCLA. All are likely to be gone by the time the Redskins draft.
The next wave of receivers includes Williams, Brooks, Bynum and John Taylor of Delaware State.
Linebacker is another top priority.
"We would like a couple young linebackers to go with the guys we have," Casserly said.
Alonzo Johnson of Florida, Kevin Murphy of Oklahoma, Anthony Bell of Michigan State and Joe Kelly of Washington are considered the top linebackers and likely first-round choices, Casserly said.
John Offerdahl of Western Michigan, Pat Swilling of Georgia Tech and Thomas Johnson of Ohio State probably will be available if the Redskins want them.
What about the other positions: running back, quarterback, kicker?
The Redskins recently flew in Ohio State running back Keith Byars, who had a broken little toe, for a physical exam at Redskin Park. They were one of several teams to examine him. Byars is considered a top first-round selection. This has been called the "Year of the Running Back," and it's possible five of them will be selected in the first round, Gibbs said.
If Byars somehow slips through, the Redskins likely would take him, Casserly said, despite having George Rogers and the rights to Kelvin Bryant.
"That's why we brought him in," Casserly said. "In case he's there, we wanted to have a report on him. We felt it was a positive medical report. He will be healthy at some point."
Bryant, meanwhile, is trying to get out of his contract with the U.S. Football League's Baltimore Stars.
"All we are is a bystander," Gibbs said. "Obviously, if Kelvin was to get freed up, that'd make us feel awful excited. We're interested bystanders, let's put it that way . . . I'd buy some Redskins stock if Kelvin got out of there."
The Redskins have several quarterbacks -- Jay Schroeder, Joe Theismann, Babe Laufenberg -- but they might choose another late in the draft, figuring there's safety in numbers.
"It's not a high priority in this draft," Casserly said. "We have two young quarterbacks we like."
The Redskins' kicking situation is anything but settled, yet it doesn't seem that more help will come from the draft.
"We are finding competition for Mark Moseley outside the draft," Casserly said. "We've got a couple kickers on our draft board, although our philosophy is that we don't usually draft a kicker high."
The two kickers on the Redskins' board are UCLA's John Lee and Arizona's Max Zendejas. Zendejas is the cousin of Tony Zendejas, who was traded to Houston after a highly publicized training camp competition with Moseley last season.
Would the Redskins take another Zendejas?
Casserly wasn't talking, except to say: "It would be ironic."