The Washington Redskins look poised to acquire their first franchise quarterback since Brad Johnson was under center in 2000.
The traded their top two picks in this year's draft, along with two other number one picks to the St. Louis Rams to move into the second slot in the draft. With that pick the Skins will land either Sanford's Andrew Luck, or more likely Baylor's Robert Griffin III.
Luck is, by all reports, going to be selected first and go to the Indianapolis Colts. Griffin is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and will certainly be a great prize for Washington. Whichever guy is the quarterback, the Redskins did him a huge favor by bringing in 25-year-old Pierre Garcon to solidify the receiving corps.
After the Skins add Griffin they don't have a pick until number 69, early in the third round. But that is where they will need to show some guile in the draft to fill some needs on the cheap.
Needs like replacing 37-year-old defensive stalwart London Fletcher, who is still with the team but who will not continue to play at a high level much longer. The Redskins also need to get some help on the right side of their offensive line where the oft-injured Jamaal Brown is currently the starter.
They may also look for some help at safety; the team cut O.J. Atogwe and brought in Bears castoff Brandon Meriweather this offseason. While he will probably lock up one of the starting safety spots, Tanard Jackson, Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes are not likely to fill the other.
At middle linebacker, players like Cal's Mychal Kendricks or Nevada's James-Michael Johnson stand out as possibilities. Kendricks is a bit undersized at 5'11 and just 240 pounds but concerns about his strength vanished when he put up 225 pounds 24 times at the combine. He played both inside and outside linebacker for Cal and could do both in the NFL.
Johnson is a more prototypical size for an NFL middle linebacker standing at 6'1 and weighing 241 pounds. Johnson is an excellent run stuffer who is excellent when going north and south, but he does not play well sideline to sideline and is vulnerable to misdirection's and stretch plays.
At tackle the Redskins are looking at players like Osemele Kelechi from Iowa State or Jeff Allen from Illinois being available when they select at 69.
At 6'6 the awkwardly spelled Osemele is one of the biggest specimens in the draft. He stands 6'6 tall and weighs in at 333 pounds and he uses that massive frame to devastating effect when he is run blocking. As a pass blocker he has lacked the quickness and athleticism of the elite players but he is still serviceable.
Allen is a more manageable 6'4 304 pound offensive tackle who was lightly recruited out of high school. He is very polished and started 47 games in his four years at Illinois, at both right and left tackle. The major knock on his is that he may not have the physical strength to compete at the NFL level.
If the Redskins choose to go the safety route they will be looking Harrison Smith from Notre Dame or Brandon Taylor from LSU. Smith may end up being selected before the Redskins pick but if he does fall to them he would be a steal who would upgrade their defense immediately.
Smith looks the part with a 6'2, 213-pound frame, but he is not a prototypical safety. He played some linebacker and safety at Notre Dame. His skills are a bit more downhill, face the play, hard-hitting instincts of a linebacker, but his body says safety at the NFL level.
He needs to learn to be better in coverage to play every down for an NFL defense.
Taylor is a three-year starter on the very formidable and impressive LSU defense. Though he is on the small side at 5'11 and 209 pounds he is a very physical presence on the football field who love to lay out his opponents with big hits.
He has been a bit of a liability in man coverage throughout his career, but as a safety in that concern is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he will mostly be in zone coverage.