Redskins draft: The case for a trade

Three teams have contacted the Washington Redskins about trading for the No. 5 pick, according to a source. If anything happens, it will likely be on the clock and obviously based on who is available. If the Redskins want an edge rusher, they would have to stay in the top eight, one executive said. For a long time I’ve said, and written, that Florida linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. would be their target. I had heard a while back that he was the top edge-rusher on their board. Smokescreen or real? We’ll find out tonight -- if he’s still around at No. 5.

Why it makes sense: General manager Scot McCloughan said he would like to turn their seven draft picks into 10. Considering that multiple analysts say teams might only have first-round grades on maybe 16-20 players, there is value in adding more picks after the first round. If McCloughan can add multiple picks in rounds 2-4, he’ll improve the Redskins’ rebuilding efforts. After free agency started, McCloughan said they did not go for the big splash signing because they did not view themselves as being one player away. They could apply that same belief to the draft; they need more good, young players. They can always keep the first pick and trade others, perhaps moving down with their second-round selection. But if another team picks, say, Fowler before the fifth pick, the Redskins might have more desire to move back. It would help if quarterback Marcus Mariota is still around. That way, if they want to pick him they can. But it could also prompt teams that like him, but not enough to trade to No. 2, to call. Clearly, conversations with other teams take place all the time, so it would be zero surprise to learn they have talked to other teams about the No. 5 pick.

Why it doesn’t: You don’t trade back just to do so. Adding picks increases your odds of finding good players, but not always. The Redskins had 12 picks in 2011 and only two remain on the roster. They had 10 in 2008 and only one remains in the NFL. Granted, other people were making those picks, and that is sort of a big difference given the respective competency levels. Still, the goal is to find excellent players, and if they have a chance to grab one at No. 5 -- at a position of need no less -- then it’s tough to pass up. Again, as one executive said, there could be a run on pass-rushers in that area. So if the Redskins trade back several spots they might miss out on players they want. However, if they really want those players, then they will stay in a certain range. I doubt McCloughan trades out of there unless he feels comfortable with what the Redskins might end up getting.

Chances of it happening: Medium to high. My guess is that it will depend on if a certain player or two is already are gone (Fowler?). But they would like to add another strong pass-rusher and improve their offensive line. The more picks they can spend on these positions early in the draft, the better. Keep in mind, if they trade out of the top eight -- if that's the magical area for pass-rushers -- then the target could be Iowa lineman Brandon Scherff. He fits the description of what McCloughan wants in an offensive lineman, and if they feel he can start at right tackle, then it's easy to see it happening.