Each year, NFLteams have numerous issues and concerns prior to the end of the regular season and look forward to free agency to solve their needs. And this NFL offseason (or lack thereof) is no different. However, due to no Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), normal football offseason transactions are terminated until a new agreement is in place.
Quarterbacks, offensive linemen, skilled offensive players, and linebackers are constantly at the top of franchises’ wish list and normally, teams rather add experienced vets to their roster because of their proven record of accomplishment.
In terms of the Washington Redskins, they are sorely in need of – everything. The Redskins have six selections for upcoming draft and if the business of football was normal, they would had the opportunity of trading quarterback Donovan McNabb for additional picks, but that scenario is out the window.
Unfortunately, teams do not have the luxury of courting, trading or sign free agents – for now. Washington was not expecting to rebuild through free agency because they went down that road before and bombed, so rebuilding by way of the draft is their answer. Because of the NFL lockout and the need to add young talent in key positions, is this interruption hindering the Redskins’ progression of rebuilding a solid squad quickly?
Case in point about the lockout causing NFL franchises to probably made draft decisions that will ultimately alter their plans:
Other than the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys (and depending on the soap opera in Cincinnati whether or not if the Bengals will grant their thought-to-be franchise quarterback Carson Palmer’s wish to be traded), eight out of the top ten drafters needs or want a quarterback. And for the heck of it, throw in the Minnesota Vikings who host the 12th-overall pick. McNabb and Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Kevin Kolb are two of the hottest field generals rumored to be on the trading block.
The Arizona Cardinals, the San Francisco 49ers, the Vikings and perhaps, the Tennessee Titans are squads that are just a quarterback a way of making an immediate impact for the 2011 season due to the talent they have on their current roster. If the new CBA was established, some movement within the top ten draft selections may have happened already. The 49ers would have made a play for Kolb and McNabb by now.
The inability of not being able to trade for a prize quarterback has effect the draft already in a major way for some squads. McNabb would have probably been the Brett Favre of this purgatory of an offseason for the NFL. The Cardinals and 49ers could use the 34-year old signal caller of the Redskins, but Minnesota has been labeled as the likely destination for McNabb since the end of the regular season. Most likely if the business of the NFL was normal and the Eagles were willing to part ways with Kolb, the Cardinals and the 49ers would have been in the hunt for him, and perhaps McNabb, which would have probably eliminated the talks of drafting two or three quarterbacks within the first twelve picks.
Since the new CBA is not in place, teams cannot trade. However, picks can be traded in this year’s draft, but only for other draft picks. Selections in the 2011 NFL Draft cannot be change for players and drafted players could not be exchange for other players either. With this in mind of no free agency and no trades to be made, this means that the only possible way for teams to make additions, as of now, is by way of the 2011 NFL Draft. Bummer.
This scenario spells doom for some teams in the NFL. However, for the Redskins who were not looking to rebuild through free agency this season anyway, it is not too late for them to gain more picks to establish a foundation. The Redskins needs to address their quarterback issue, but they don’t necessarily have to draft a signal caller in the first round. Washington host the ninth-pick in the second round and they could select the 6-5 quarterback from Nevada Colin Kaepernick who has a big arm, could make the deep throws and is pretty accurate.
The Redskins should trade down (although they will not) to collect at least two additional picks which would give them eight choices. To bring a young high profile quarterback, like Blaine Gabbert from Missouri (who the Redskins are favoring, according to some reports) or Jake Locker from Washington, into a situation where the offensive line struggles to protect their field general consistently, will only set them up for failure.
The 2011 NFL Draft is a great year for teams to build or restructure their defense due to the heavy talented class of defensive talent. According to several mock drafts, the first two rounds (64 selections) project an average of 35 defensive players being picked on Day One of the three-day event.
With a defense-heavy draft, the Redskins could accomplish a great deal by having more picks to get the athletic defenders to play the 3-4 scheme that the team desperately want to implement, along with a decent running back and a wide receiver. The NFL lockout has forced teams to make critical decisions, but the Redskins are not hindered by the league’s current situation and can still achieve their goal of rebuilding through this year’s draft.
There will be several players who will make an impact in the NFL from this draft that will slip through the cracks in the later rounds, but it would be great for the Redskins’ franchise to get a couple of those athletes and more picks will give them that opportunity.