A ton of interest in the draft this offseason -- and in Part I of the Washington Redskins mailbag. Danny Shelton? Trade down? Best player available? It's all in here, with a little Trent Williams mixed in. Enjoy.
John Keim: Too many warts? Every player in the draft has warts, even Shelton. There is concern about his consistency -- and the reasons for that inconsistency. The knock on him is that he looked great against lesser players (I need to study more; he obviously stood out at the Senior Bowl and there is a lot to like). So let's not deify him just yet. But I think the reason why he doesn't project higher is because the pass-rushers are considered better -- and they play a premium position. Shelton is a great fit for certain defenses -- the Redskins happen to play one.
Keim: More Shelton. Cool. I answered part of this above (pass-rushers considered better and they play a position that evaluators consider more important). However, there has been some -- only some -- talk linking the Redskins to Shelton, but only if they trade down a few spots. Chicago could be a team to watch for him, and the Bears pick seventh. But I have no idea how the Redskins' board stacks up at this point (no one outside the organization does) and having a potentially dominant nose tackle would certainly help their defense. Nothing is for certain as far as what side of the ball they will pick -- nothing is ever certain on February 27th when it comes to the draft. But the reason so much is focused on defense at No. 5 is because that is the strength of the draft up high, especially with pass-rushers. But there is a long way to go.
Keim: Provide competition? No. If you draft a quarterback at No. 5, he is now your starter. If they like Marcus Mariota and want to go in that direction, they should either trade or cut Robert Griffin III immediately. It would not work. I can't imagine Griffin would respond well to this, and it would only increase the circus around the organization.
Keim: Missing out on what? If there is a guy they like that much, then they would stay at No. 5 and draft him. If they trade back it's because there is no one at No. 5 they feel they must have. Therefore: you don't miss out. Someone they pass on will be good; it happens to every team every year. It all depends on what they want and how their board sets up: If they want a pass-rusher, for example, there are some intriguing players after the top group, so you could justify trading down. If they really want safety Landon Collins or a tackle, there is no reason to stay at 5.
Keim: As of Thursday afternoon, there had been no movement toward a new contract and I don't think there is great urgency on either side. The only reason I'd consider it now is if they A) want to lower Williams' cap figure of $13.7 million this season, and B) are sold that he'll play at a certain level for the next several years. I thought he was good this season, not great. Injuries played a part in that, as they have in other years. If they can increase their cap space in other ways, then I can see them waiting to better gauge where his play is headed.
Keim: It's hard to call it a primary draft strategy. People seem to forget that every team drafting in that range has "so many needs" and therefore would benefit from trading down. The key is can you do it? And it's something that you likely won't know until draft day. In San Francisco, Scot McCloughan did not trade out of the top 10 on draft day (the one time they lost a top-10 pick stemmed from a trade the previous year, anticipating a much better season). But if it were me, if there is not someone you must have there at No. 5, I would look to trade back and if you can't, it's always best player available (preferably at a position of need; this draft matches up with one of their needs).