Thursday, April 5, 2012
Skins' draft could focus on offensive line
By Dan Graziano
Part of the fallout from the Philadelphia Eagles' signing of tackle Demetress (nee Demetrius) Bell is that the Washington Redskins, who'd wanted to sign Bell to fortify their offensive line, will not. The Redskins, as Mike Jones points out, have missed on a number of offensive line targets in free agency this year and right now would start the same five offensive linemen they started in Week 1 last year. That's okay from the standpoint that the line played very well in the first four games before injuries set in. But it's less okay from the standpoint of left guard Kory Lichtensteiger trying to recover from two torn knee ligaments and right tackle Jammal Brown dealing with a persistent hip problem.
So, while we know the Redskins' first pick in the draft three weeks from tonight will be a quarterback, and that they don't have a pick in the second round, I don't think it's unfair to suggest that, once they start picking again in Round 3, they start picking offensive linemen.
The aforementioned quarterback -- be he Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck -- is going to need help. As great as those guys project to be down the road, the Redskins' starting quarterback in 2012 is going to be a rookie, and he's going to need protection. The Redskins' offensive line last year, when fully healthy, played fairly well. It blocked for the running game and did a good job of protecting the passer. But the passer, in those first four games, was a veteran NFL quarterback somewhat used to the speed of the game and the complex looks he was seeing from opposing defenses. The offensive line in front of Griffin or Luck will have to be even better than it was in 2011.
The Redskins know this, and it's why they were looking at upgrades over Lichtensteiger and Brown. They wouldn't mind finding a new center, moving Will Montgomery out to guard and deepening their personnel across the whole line -- maybe even giving Lichtensteiger and Brown a little more time to get whole. Best available offensive lineman, regardless of position, looks like the way for Washington to go in the third round, and maybe even with one of their fourth-round picks as well. The only other area I think they'll specifically target is the secondary, but they actually had some success there in free agency, so it's less of a priority than the line.