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Shanahan: A Good Year To Skip First Round


There may never be a good time to not have a first round draft pick in the NFL, but considering the depth of this year's talent, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan says it won't be too bad.

Draft gurus have called this one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, without the "elite prospects" that normally headline a draft class (a la Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Reggie Bush).

Especially considering the talent expected to be available beyond the second round, Shanahan told the media he was satisfied with the team's position headed into Thursday night.

"I think so, I do," he said, commending the depth of the draft. "I think you are getting offensive linemen and defensive linemen if you are the top 10 picks, it is a pretty good year; a few receivers in there as well. I think everyone sees the obvious ones.

"Each year is a little bit different. There is always value. It all depends what your team needs are and you get the guy that you want to help your football team."

For the Redskins, this has been a fortuitous scenario playing out over the last five drafts.

In 2009, the team needed to upgrade the pass rush, selecting linebacker Brian Orkapo with the 13th overall pick.

Orakpo offered instant gratification, being selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. He enters 2013 as one of the veteran leaders on defense.

In 2010, head coach Mike Shanahan sought to rebuild the foundation by selecting a franchise left tackle with the No. 4 overall pick.

Trent Williams struggled with consistency over his first two seasons, but developed into one of the NFL's top tackles in 2011 and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2012.

In 2011, the Redskins had a number of options, but chose to select linebacker Ryan Kerrigan as a complement to Orakpo in the pass rush.

During his two seasons on the team, Kerrigan has a team-leading 16 sacks and was elected to his first Pro Bowl last season.

In 2012, the Redskins had a glaring need at quarterback and made the blockbuster trade necessary to select Robert Griffin III.

His accolades need no introduction, but his contributions to the team's NFC East Championship justify the loss of this year's first round draft pick.

While the identity of the Redskins' first overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft will likely not be known until tomorrow evening, the Redskins appear to be in good position to address the team's top needs.

Despite the coincidence, Shanahan insisted it was nothing more than that: a lucky coincidence.

"We know where the strength of the draft is and sometimes you are really lucky when it does play into your hands," he said. "You never know how many juniors are going to come out. That is a big question mark.

"I think everyone has a feel for the seniors, but you are not really sure how many juniors will come out. They influence the draft drastically."

In preparation for tomorrow night's pick, the Redskins decision makers will likely spend the evening adjusting the team's draft board and trying to find a gem at No. 51.

"Sometimes you are lucky enough to find guys like that, other times you miss out. That's what we are looking for and that is why we look at a lot of film," Shanahan said. "There are guys that make it in the second, third, fourth round that you say, 'Why aren't fourth-round players a first-round player?'

The Redskins had good fortunes twice last year, selecting Kirk Cousins three rounds after where Shanahan projected him to go, and finding a franchise running back in the sixth round.

"Why wasn't Alfred Morris a first-round player?" Shanahan asked rhetorically. "He should have been with his production.

"You try to look at all the scenarios and you try to figure out why a guy does last until the sixth round and you try to find those guys out there."

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