Jimmy Clausen

Will the Redskins Draft a Quarterback?

Every year there’s one or two teams in the top 10 that don’t have an obvious need, and their decision ends up playing a significant role in shaping the draft. This year, that team is the Redskins.

The ‘Skins most obvious need is left tackle due to the likely career-ending neck injury to Chris Samuels earlier this season. However, Jason Campbell is far from an elite quarterback and Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen may decide to go in a different direction.

While the Redskins could certainly win with Campbell, provided they surround him with a few more weapons, I fully expect them to select either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen.

The reason is simple: Mike Shanahan loves big arms.

Obviously Shanahan inherited John Elway, so we’ll exclude him from the list, but consider who he selected as his primary post-Elway quarterbacks. While Brian Griese’s arm strength was just adequate, Shanahan wasn’t making the personnel decisions in 1998 when Griese was drafted. However, it was Shanahan’s call to sign Jake Plummer and draft Jay Cutler – both of whom could chuck the ball all over the field.

Perhaps his selection of Cutler is most noteworthy, since he was the only quarterback Shanahan has drafted in the 1st round. It shows Shanahan’s decision to have a quarterback capable of making the necessary deep throws.

Now this doesn’t give us much insight into their decision between Bradford and Clausen since both have above average arms, but it would appear to rule out Jason Campbell as a long-term solution for the Redskins (not that this comes as a shock to anyone).

Ultimately, while I believe Campbell is an adequate NFL starting quarterback, he simply doesn’t have the skill set to allow Mike Shanahan to run his offense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

Who’s No. 1?

Now that the draft order is set, we can begin to narrow down the candidates to go No. 1 overall. The one obvious candidate is Ndamukong Suh. He is the top rated player on my draft board and many others.

There’s no denying that Suh is an elite talent. Personally, I think he may be the top defensive prospect in 15+ years, perhaps since Dan Wilkinson was the No. 1 overall pick in 1994. But is Suh really a good fit in St. Louis?
Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan were their starting defensive tackles this season and the Rams have been pleased with both. Ryan is a restricted free agent, so it is possible that an opening could be created if he signs elsewhere. However, if Suh were not an option, it is likely the Rams would make every effort to re-sign Ryan.

The question Rams have to ask themselves is: is Suh such an elite prospect that he is worth selecting despite the fact that his position one of the few strong areas of their roster?

Another option would be move Carriker, Ryan or Suh to defensive end. Leonard Little is an unrestricted free agent and appears unlikely to return, creating a hole on the defensive line. Carriker would be the best option to move outside, since he played defensive end for the majority of his career at Nebraska. However, he’s bulked up to make the transition to defensive tackle and may no longer be capable of providing the pass rush that the Rams need on the outside.

The Rams recorded just 25 sacks this past season and desperately need someone capable of getting to the quarterback. As good as Chris Long is, he will never be a consistent 10+ sack guy. He is a run stopper, not a sack artist. Putting Carriker, Ryan or Suh opposite Long at defensive end would only further limit the Rams ability to pressure the quarterback.

What the Rams really need is a franchise quarterback. Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen are both options but few, if any, teams will have them higher than Suh on their draft board. Are the Rams willing to pass over higher rated players to reach for a position of need? General Manager Billy Devaney is only in his second year on the job so its too early to know how he’s likely to handle this situation.

The best case scenario for the Rams is to entice a team to trade up for Suh. The Bucs would appear to be the most likely candidate to make that move. If the Rams pass on Suh, the Lions will take him without even thinking twice, meaning the Bucs have zero chance of landing Suh in their current position. The Bucs would have to package this year’s 1st and 2nd-round picks at a minimum to move up two spots, but its possible that they will covet Suh enough to make that move.

Ultimately its too early to tell who the Rams will select, but it would be difficult to imagine a scenario where the to pick is someone other than Suh, Bradford or Clausen. Its likely that this is a rare year where we really don’t know who will go No. 1 until the day of the draft. The Rams should keep their phone lines open until the time on the clock runs out

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Rams Comments Off