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Four Storylines to Follow On Draft Day '07


The Redskins have spent the last two months preparing for Saturday's NFL Draft, a process that includes the scouting combine, college pro days, private workouts, film study and one-on-one visits.

All of the evaluations may not mean a thing come draft day, though. Why? More so than in years past, anything could happen when the Redskins go on the clock at approximately 1:15 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Get ready for a wild ride.

Here are four storylines to keep an eye on as the first round unfolds:

-- Where will Calvin Johnson end up?

Johnson, the Georgia Tech wide receiver, is regarded as the consensus best player in the NFL Draft.

Are the Redskins interested? For several years, the Redskins' offense has lacked a wide receiver with height, and at 6-4 and 210 pounds, Johnson fits the bill. He would be an excellent complement to Santana Moss.

The Oakland Raiders, owners of the top pick in the draft, appear to have narrowed their choices to LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell and Johnson.

If Johnson is available at No. 2, when the Detroit Lions pick, the trade offers could come fast and furious. The Lions have an elite receiver in Roy Williams, so it appears that Johnson would not be a good fit in the Motor City.

If the Redskins want Johnson, they will likely have to make a swap with the Lions. The price, likely to include some of next year's draft picks, will be steep. Perhaps too steep?

Most draft experts think the Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will complete a trade in which the two clubs switch draft positions. The Bucs have the fourth overall pick, two spots ahead of the Redskins.

-- Where will Brady Quinn end up?

If Russell goes No. 1 as expected, there could be a number of teams angling for the services of Quinn, the quarterback out of Notre Dame.

The Lions would appear to be a good fit for Quinn. So would the Cleveland Browns, who have the third overall pick. Quinn grew up in Dublin, Ohio rooting for the Browns.

If Quinn falls to No. 4, then things could get interesting. The next three teams--the Bucs, Arizona Cardinals and Redskins--have starting quarterbacks in place.

It's possible that Quinn could still be on the draft board when the Redskins pick at six. If so, the Redskins would be in prime position to negotiate a draft day trade for Quinn's services.

A number of teams in need of a franchise quarterback, including the Minnesota Vikings at No. 7 and Miami Dolphins at No. 9, could look to trade up to acquire Quinn.

-- Who's the top defensive player in the draft?

Given the needs of teams picking in the top five of the draft, the Redskins could be in position to select the top defensive player on the board at No. 6.

Who will it be? There's no consensus player, but there is an abundance of talent.

At defensive end, Clemson's Gaines Adams and Arkansas' Jamaal Anderson are the top two prospects. Gaines is regarded as a speed rusher, logging 22 sacks the last two years. Anderson is thought to be solid in run defense, although he had 13.5 sacks last year.

Defensive tackle prospects include Louisville's Amobi Okoye and Michigan's Alan Branch. Okoye is 6-1, 317 pounds and intelligent enough to graduate college at 19 years old, so he has tremendous upside. Branch is 6-5 and 324 pounds and regarded as a dominant run-blocker.

The crop of linebackers in this year's draft is thought to be relatively weak, with Mississippi's Patrick Willis regarded as the top prospect. Willis is a 6-1, 242-pound middle linebacker who had 137 tackles and three sacks last year.

Michigan's Leon Hall is expected to be the only cornerback selected in the top 12. Hall is 5-11 and 193 pounds and has recorded 12 interceptions and 31 pass break-ups in four seasons at Michigan.

Safeties have been drafted in the top 10 with increasing frequency in recent years, and this year it appears LSU's LaRon Landry could be in that category. Landry started four years at LSU and recorded 12 interceptions and 22 pass break-ups in his career.

-- What's the status of Lance Briggs?

In late March,'s Adam Schefter reported that the Redskins and Bears were negotiating a trade involving Briggs, the Chicago Bears' two-time Pro Bowl linebacker, and the Redskins' No. 6 pick.

For now, those trade talks are either on hold or completely off the table.

"We don't anticipate anything," head coach Joe Gibbs said on Tuesday when asked if a trade for Briggs was still possible.

Briggs has let it be known that he is unhappy that Chicago assigned the one-year franchise tag to him, thereby limiting his options in free agency. He has vowed to never play another down for the Bears.

This week, Schefter reported that interest in Briggs is picking up again, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers exploring trade options.

Briggs' future could play itself out this weekend, so his status will bear watching. It's possible that Briggs could end up staying with the Bears. He could sit out until mid-season, then return in Week 10 so that he can be eligible for free agency in 2008.

If the Redskins are still interested in acquiring Briggs, then it's possible the two clubs could renew trade talks on draft day. A trade could end up being palatable to both sides even if the Redskins trade out of the No. 6 spot.

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