If the Redskins hold on to the sixth overall pick in this weekend's NFL Draft, they will not necessarily draft a player at a need position.
Instead, team officials will go with the best player available.
"When you're picking at six, when you're picking high like that, the thing you don't want to do is draft for need and take somebody who's not worthy of that pick," vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said on Tuesday.
Owner Daniel M. Snyder, head coach Joe Gibbs and Cerrato discussed the team's draft strategy at the Redskins' pre-draft media briefing on Tuesday at Redskins Park.
Continued Cerrato: "What you want to do with the sixth pick is draft [a player] who has Pro Bowl potential. You want an impact player. It does not matter what position. To take someone at a need position that should go [later in the draft] is not smart.
"If we are picking at six, we will be looking for the best player available."
Just because the Redskins want an impact player does not mean that rookie will start right away, though.
"With the sixth pick, you're looking long term," Gibbs said. "Can this player play for 10-12 years? So even though it may be crowded [at the position] where that player comes in, you feel he's going to be playing here for a long time and he'll have a chance to go to Pro Bowls.
"That doesn't mean he's going to do it the first year. Sometimes it's a learning process and sometimes he goes into a position where there's already a lot of talent.
"You'd like a guy to come in and make an immediate impact, but if you look at our football team, where could a player just step in right now and say, 'I'm taking over.' Where is that? So that makes us feel that we don't have to draft at any one position."
The Redskins' strategy opens up a number of scenarios on draft day.
It's widely believed that the team needs to address the defensive line with the No. 6 pick--and some quality linemen should be available in defensive ends Jamaal Anderson and Gaines Adams and defensive tackles Amobi Okoye and Alan Branch.
If elite players such as wide receiver Calvin Johnson or safety LaRon Landry are within their grasp at No. 6, the Redskins may consider drafting either one of them.
For the last month, team officials have attended workouts and hosted meetings with many of the draft's top prospects.
"We have probably had dinner with 25 of the first-round picks," Snyder said. "Workout days overlap with each other, so you can't see as many as you would like to. You try to make the rounds as best you can. You try to get to know them. You try to have a meal with them and understand their backgrounds."
All offseason, team officials have made it known they would be willing to field trade offers for the sixth overall pick.
To obtain Johnson, it's increasingly evident that the Redskins would have to trade up in the draft. A more likely scenario has the Redskins trading down in the draft and acquiring additional picks in the second or third round.
The Redskins do not currently have picks in the second, third and fourth round of this year's draft.
Asked about the possibility of trading down, Cerrato replied: "I would say it all depends on who is there. It all depends on what happens in the top five. If somebody falls that another team has an interest in, then I think there's a chance of movement."
One trade option that appears to be on hold is a deal for Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. According to Adam Schefter of NFL.com, the Redskins and Bears discussed a trade last month involving Briggs and the Redskins' No. 6 pick.
"We don't anticipate anything," Gibbs said when asked if a trade for Briggs was still possible.
No matter what the Redskins do on the trade front on draft day, Gibbs wants the franchise to hold on to all of its remaining draft picks for 2008.
The team already dealt a 2008 mid-round draft pick to Denver as part of the T.J. Duckett trade last August.