The Redskins have been linked to every quarterback (past and present) under the sun this offseason, and the hypothetical selection of a defensive player might be met with a bit of angst. So, here’s why this prediction makes sense:
1. There’s no way to predict draft-day trades. The Redskins traded all over the place last year, a reflection of Redsknis scouting and other teams seizing on a need. At least at this point in the process, it makes sense to look at who will still be on the board. In April, the team may trade up for a player they like or trade back for a player that makes more sense.
2. Free agency happens first this year. Much of the mock draft mojo has been twisted by the return of the regular offseason scheduling. With the draft occurring six weeks after the start of free agency, a number of needs could already be filled or altered by the time April 28 rolls around.
3. The Redskins have a number of needs to fill. Cornerback may not be the one that springs to mind in February, but it wouldn’t be outlandish to consider that position if a playmaker is available.
That’s a general forewarning for any mock draft between now and April. Because of myriad possibilities, no expert has ever nailed his/her predictions.
With that in mind, here is Kiper’s review of Claiborne, and why he makes sense for the Redskins:
The Redskins are a team I could certainly see moving off this pick, but if the draft broke this way, the pick makes a lot of sense on both need and value. And obviously, what the Skins could do in free agency for their offense is something I’m considering. Tyrann Mathieu got the headlines at LSU, but the best cornerback on the team was Claiborne. He’s the top corner in the draft, and while the Skins have offensive needs, they should also be willing to draft best available when possible because the roster needs more talent, period. While not quite the athlete, Claiborne is actually a better pure cover corner than Patrick Peterson, the No. 5 overall pick from last year.
This review is interesting for several reasons. In his first burst of key strokes, he predicts that the Redskins could trade up or down from No. 6, telling NFC East Blogger Dan Graziano they could be in play for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Secondly, he predicts that the Redskins will be active in free agency, fulfilling several needs that change their draft day strategy. Before the Combine and Pro Days settle the comparisons, Claiborne is the top-rated cover corner in the draft, and he would be an asset to the Redskins secondary.
In 2011 alone, he had 51 tackles, 12 passes defensed, six interceptions, and a touchdown on defense, winning the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back. He also averaged 25.1 yards per kickoff return, and registered a touchdown on return.
Here’s a highlight reel of Claiborne’s greatest plays from 2011:
All of this is not to suggest that this is the Redskins plan to draft Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick. But what would you think if the Redskins did that?