Friday, April 23, 2010
Shanahan likes Williams' versatility
By Dan Graziano
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan kept bringing up Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady's name while discussing his new left tackle, Trent Williams. Shanahan took Clady early in the first round and he's emerged as one of the best offensive linemen in the league.
The Redskins believed that Williams was a better fit for their zone-blocking scheme than Oklahoma State's Russell Okung. And the fact that Williams can play pretty much any position on the line didn't hurt, either. His former Oklahoma teammate Sam Bradford talked about Williams' willingness to move to center for a game last season. Shanahan is obviously hoping Williams can start at left tackle immediately, but if he's not quite ready, it sounds like there will be an opening for him at right tackle. The Redskins' new coach said that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops influenced his decision.
"I wanted to get a little reinforcement from him," said Shanahan of Stoops. "He’s been around a lot of good football players throughout his career. There are not many athletes that are 315 pounds and can run in that 4.8 range and show the type of athleticism that we look for. We do run that zone-blocking scheme. A very agile offensive tackle is something we look for. Sometimes it is hard to find unless you do pick in the first round or early in the first round and we think we found a guy that can really help us."
Here's what Shanahan said when asked where Williams would line up in 201o:
"Well I think the left tackle is the hardest position to play. So we would like him to come in and compete at the left tackle position. But he has a lot of experience at the right tackle position. He has played the center position. I think he’s got the ability to play the guard position as well, very effectively. We will pencil him in at left tackle and hopefully he will help us there."
I know the Redskins were intrigued by the playmaking skills of Eric Berry, but Williams was the right pick. You can't send Donovan McNabb into a season without a decent left tackle. I've actually heard arguments lately about how left tackles are overrated. Well, try telling that to Jason Campbell. By the way, I'll visit with Campbell on Friday and see if he's heard anything on the trade front.
We'll also keep our ear to the ground on a potential Albert Haynesworth trade. That could certainly happen during the second round.