A little this and that about the NFL draft:
I really don’t know what direction the Redskins will go in the second round and nor do they. Too many factors involved at this point. But very few positions would surprise me if addressed with this pick.
The only spot defensively I’d rule out would be nose tackle. After that? It’s all up for grabs -- with an edge toward pass-rusher. Offensively, I can see right tackle first and foremost. But this also depends on who falls to this spot, of course.
I get the feeling that adding another pass-rusher would be highly desirable and there are several at 34 that they like, including Dee Ford, Kyle Van Noy and Jeremiah Attaochu. Van Noy’s versatility would be appealing; he can play all over and the Redskins do think he can play inside in a 3-4 as well. When he played outside, Van Noy did a good job disengaging from blockers. The belief is that skill would transfer inside.
But if a top corner or inside linebacker fell to 34, the Redskins would consider taking them, even though at corner they have their top three already. I know some, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, have projected inside linebacker Chris Borland to the Redskins but I would be surprised if that happened. Borland’s speed and inability to play in space would not be a good fit. My sense is they’d rather take Van Noy and move him inside. But, again, I think they go pass-rusher before these spots. They can also trade down a few picks and still find a pass-rusher they like, if that's truly the direction they want to go. Just keep in mind that they're intent on bolstering the pass rush.
Will quarterback Kirk Cousins be traded? I’ve always leaned toward no and that’s the sense I’ve gotten from others. But it’s still a legitimate question because it’s well-known what Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan thinks of his former player. But it’s not known what sort of pull Shanahan has in the organization. There are a few layers above him. It also depends what the Browns truly think about Brian Hoyer – is there that big a difference between he and Cousins, enough to surrender a draft pick?
I know Bill Polian said on "NFL Insiders" that Cleveland should trade the No. 26 pick to Washington for Cousins. I think it would take the Redskins about one second to say yes. And I really can’t imagine the Browns making such an offer. That’s a steep price for a former fourth-round pick who still has a lot to prove. One NFL executive said he thought Cousins’ value was closer to the third round (maybe even the fourth; but it’s not as if this person had closely studied him).
What if the Redskins used Cousins to move up eight spots? The Redskins would have to get back more than just 26; they’d also need another pick in return. Last year, Atlanta moved up eight spots (from 30 to 22) and surrendered their first, third and sixth while also receiving St. Louis’ seventh.
By the way, I would not like that move for Washington. There are a handful of players they like in this draft and it’s hard to imagine them all being gone by the time the Redskins select Friday. While Bruce Allen and company might like Colt McCoy, they also like having three quality quarterbacks (potentially at least). With Robert Griffin III’s durability concerns, it’s wise to have excellent depth at this position. Very wise.
The bottom line is trading a guy you like at quarterback to move up eight spots is not worth it. Now, what if Cleveland offers its second pick (35th overall)? Again, that’s an awfully high pick to surrender for Cousins in my opinion (which no one involved in any deal would care about). Maybe Shanahan would do it, but would general manager Ray Farmer? They will take Shanahan’s advice on whether or not he thinks Cousins can play, but not on what pick they should give up.
Kansas City ended up trading two No. 2s to San Francisco for Alex Smith last offseason (one was a conditional third that turned into a second), but he had a deeper track record and was coming off a good season. Has Cousins really played himself into being worth a high No. 2? That still seems high, though we are talking just one pick compared to the two that Smith fetched. Arizona traded a sixth-rounder last year and a seventh-rounder this year for Carson Palmer.
Whether or not this trade happens I don’t know. But it has been discussed and does bear watching. The Browns can end the suspense by selecting a quarterback fourth overall.