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Redskins To Balance Need Vs. Best Available

Posted Feb 28, 2013

With the roster overhaul under head coach Mike Shanahan, the Redskins have finally put themselves in a position to balance need vs. the best player available.

The hallmark of any talent-laden team in the NFL is the ability to follow the team's draft boards and take the best player available rather than being burdened by areas of need.

This is how perennial contenders are built, with young players developing behind and eventually supplanting aging stars.

The Packers drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 draft, letting him sit behind future Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

Bronco Clinton Portis was drafted to replace Terrell Davis. Raider Nnamdi Asomugha was drafted to replace Charles Woodson. Eagle LeSean McCoy filled the void left by an aging Brian Westbrook.

Over the last decade, the Redskins have had myriad areas of need, focusing on top draft picks that fill major voids in the roster.

While the front office could focus on improving a secondary that ranked near the bottom of the NFL last season, Redskins' director of player personnel Scott Campebll said the team has the ability to consider the best player from any position.

"[Our strategy] is a cross-section of both [need and best player available]," he told Redskins Nation's Larry Michael. "I think maybe if we had two or three players rated at different positions at the same grade, you can go to a position that you feel that needs to be upgraded or improve the depth."

Campbell explained the cyclical nature of need vs. best available, and how the Redskins have rebuilt the depth of talent on the roster under head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen.

In Shanahan's three drafts in Washington, the team has selected 27 players. First-round picks have been invested in the franchise's three biggest areas of need: left tackle (Trent Williams), pass-rusher (Ryan Kerrigan) and quarterback (Robert Griffin III).

All three were voted to the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season.

"Before Coach Shanahan and Bruce got here, it was really that you could take the best player available. We were trying to build a foundation for this football team," he said. "I think now as we’ve escalated and got better at a lot of positions.

"The main focus right now is getting the best players that fit our scheme and system."

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