Fauber: Redskins explore draft options

The NFL draft is less than a week away and the Washington Redskins have plenty of holes to fill after last season’s miserable 3-13 season.

The offensive line was a weak point last year and that need will likely be assessed in the draft, and grabbing a player who can bolster the Redskins’ defensive pass rush will be a focal point in this year’s draft, as well. Washington also figures to be in the market for a safety or cornerback to help strengthen a secondary that ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass yards allowed.

But the bad news — depending on how deep you consider this year’s draft class to be — is that Washington doesn’t have a pick until early in the second round, as the Redskins dealt away three first-round draft picks to St. Louis in order to land star quarterback Robert Griffin III in the 2012 draft. The good news is that Washington’s second-round pick this year comes very early — at No. 34 overall — and the draft is indeed considered to have the deepest pool of talent in years.

The Redskins will have some interesting decisions to make in the draft, especially considering that they don’t have a scheduled first-round pick this spring. Washington currently has six total draft picks this year, and the Redskins could opt to stick with the order they are in and draft to their needs accordingly. But with the apparent depth of this year’s group of prospects, this is a year where the Redskins could trade down, add a few extra picks and stockpile young talent that they could then grow into productive NFL talent.

Washington doesn’t necessarily have to draft a player who will start in Week 1, which is fine because the Redskins likely aren’t going to grab an immediate superstar in the second round of the draft anyway. This is a prime chance to go with quantity over quality, only in this case the quantity may be of a little better quality than usual.

I’m not going to pretend to know who the Redskins should draft and when — most NFL general managers probably don’t even know exactly who their own teams will take at the moment — but it seems like Washington would still have plenty of talent to choose from if it chooses to trade down to later in the second round.

Of course, there is always the option that Washington actually trades up in the draft to get a pick in latter third of the first round, but it’s kind of hard to imagine the Redskins coming up with a package of players/draft picks that would entice such a trade from teams drafting late in the opening round, unless Washington general manager Bruce Allen sees the chance to grab a player that the Redskins simply have to get and makes a bold move. Again, no specific player in mind, but think high impact outside linebacker or safety that would be a Week 1 starter in Washington.

Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins immediately comes to mind when mentioning potential trade chips for Washington, but the window for working out such a deal with a team which has a quarterbacking need is fairly small. This year’s draft is loaded with quarterback talent, and those teams that are in the market for a starting quarterback should feel confident that they can fill that need with someone in this year’s class.

Cleveland seems to be the only team with a pick in the 20-30 range (26th overall) of the first round that has a glaring quarterback void, but the Browns also have the No. 4 pick and will have plenty of options to choose from between quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Even if the Browns go the non-quarterback route with their first pick, more than one of those quarterbacks will likely be available late in the first round when Cleveland’s turn comes up again.

Cousins is definitely a piece that Washington needs to move soon, but I’m not sure the Redskins can get enough value in return for him next week to justify a draft-day trade. Instead, the ‘Skins should take advantage this year’s depth and stockpile as many picks as possible.

Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD