Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen says although the NFL lockout has made for a very different offseason, the team’s draft plans haven’t been impacted in any way.
Allen and the Redskins will enter the NFL draft – which takes place April 28-30 – with more needs than usual because lack of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has kept teams from filling out their rosters with free agents. Normally the free agency period would have gotten underway March 4, and then most squads would have turned to the draft to meet needs they weren’t able to address in free agency.
The Redskins addressed one need by signing free safety O.J. Atogwe just before the 2010 league year ended on March 3. But they haven’t been able to attempt to re-sign offense starters Santana Moss, a receiver, and Jammal Brown, a right tackle, or cornerback Carlos Rogers. And they still need a quarterback, nose tackle and pass-rushing help.
The Redskins have the 10th overall pick in the draft and the 41st overall pick (which is in the second round), but lack third- and fourth-round picks. They have two fifth-round picks, a sixth and three seventh-round picks, but the chances of landing an immediate starter in rounds five through seven aren’t great.
Some draft analysts have surmised that the lack of a free agency shopping period will cause teams to “over-reach” or draft players at need positions significantly higher than they are rated.
But Allen said the Redskins are approaching the draft as they would in any other year.
“I think the draft process is pretty standard. [The lockout] really hasn’t changed the way we evaluate the players,” Allen said while taking a break between leading children on a Redskins-sponsored Easter egg hunt at Deanwood Community Center on Saturday. “We miss seeing the players in our building. That’s different, and you miss that camaraderie, but the preparation doesn’t change.
“A lot of people, in previous years, go by the draft board, and go by the rating. Don’t try to over-reach on a player. Obviously, if you thought someone was going to go, you might have to take him a half-a-round higher than you would have projected. We’re going to follow our draft board. And I think that’s the safest way to do it. If it’s a position we feel we have a need, then that works out even better for us.”