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Ron Rivera Shares His Philosophy For Possible Draft Trade Scenarios


Ron Rivera has a philosophy when it comes to the NFL Draft: the first five picks offer the rare chance to select an "immediate impact" player. He has the opportunity to get one of those players in his first year with the Redskins, who possess the No. 2 overall pick.

All options, including trading that pick away for more draft capital, are available, which Rivera has said on multiple occasions. But when it comes to deciding whether to pass on a top-tier prospect, he has another philosophy: the player he takes in exchange has to validate that decision.

"Did you really get value, or did you just get a whole bunch of picks?" Rivera said to local media via video conference on April 7.

Rivera has a history of finding players who contribute right away. His pool of players selected in the first round includes Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson, Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore.

Rivera never traded away his first-round pick in nine years with the Panthers, and it paid off for him in the case of all five of those players. He's not afraid to play young players, he said, and it's safe to assume that whoever the Redskins select at No. 2 overall will see significant action in 2020.

But there are several things to consider in Rivera's first draft with his new team. Despite bringing in 13 new players in free agency, the Redskins have needs that one pick does not feasibly address. They also don't have a second-round pick this year because of a trade to acquire Montez Sweat in 2019.

There are also a bevy of scenarios that could play out on draft night that could change their initial plans. That's why Rivera, vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith and their staff are going through the process of preparing a plan for every possible situation.

"Kyle and I [are] going through the board, resetting the board, looking at it, going through our own mock draft," Rivera said. "So we've got to be fluid with that, most certainly."

Rivera laid out a hypothetical scenario: "if you're going to pass up on Player A, and you go back and you take Player B, Player B has to equal Player A." In the Redskins' case, both players must be able to bring immediate impact.

There are some mock drafts that have the Redskins trading out of the No. 2 spot to take other players. Both Walter Cherepinsky of and CBS Sports NFL Writer Ryan Wilson have Washington trading with the Miami Dolphins to take either Jeff Okudah or Isaiah Simmons at No. 5.

Most mock drafts, however, have the Redskins staying put and taking Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. But Rivera believes there are several players in this draft class who can "come in and really change our football team." And while Young's reputation has impressed Smith, he and Rivera are looking at all options with the pick.

"We're the first of 32 teams that has three potential options: moving up, moving back or taking a pick, taking the guy that we want," Smith said. "[Young] is obviously one of a lot of players. It's a good draft. There are a lot of really good players that will be in consideration."

There is also a chance the new parameters of this year's draft, which will be done completely virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will alter the Redskins' plans for potential trade discussions. Rivera told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael he believes there will be fewer trades this year.

"I think people will go with this in the back of their minds that, 'Hey, we can't screw around,'" Rivera said. "And if for some reason the other side is dragging their feet, just pull the trigger and make your pick.

"To me, that's the attitude you have to have. If you're the one that's trying to make the trade, if you want to get value, if you want to get benefits, if you're the one that's holding the piece, you don't want to waste it. So, to me, if whoever I'm dealing with is dragging their feet, I'm moving on. I'm not gonna waste my time."

Rivera said he would like to think he has an idea in the back of his mind as to what the Redskins will do on April 23, but there is a process that needs to happen before they're on the clock. He wants to look at every possible option before the pick is made because this is a chance to bring top-level talent to Washington.

Either way, no one is truly certain what the Redskins will do in the first round. That's just how Rivera wants it.

"The less people know what we're doing, the better things will be for us," Rivera said at the combine. "So, I'm going to be careful with that."

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