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Shanahan: 'We're A Better Football Team'

Posted Apr 29, 2013

The Redskins were able to add talent, depth and competition with their seven picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, leading HC Mike Shanahan to declare the team had improved.

The Washington Redskins addressed both areas of need and roster depth with their seven selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, causing head coach Mike Shanahan to declare that the defending NFC East Champions had taken a meaningful step forward.

"I feel good about the guys we did get," he told the media during his post-draft press conference. "When you get done with the draft, you’re trying to look for some depth and some competition for your football team and I thought we were able to do that.

"What it does is it gives guys a chance to compete against one another. We’re a better football team today than we were yesterday. I thought the draft went well."

The Redskins did not execute any draft day trades for the first time under Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen, standing pat with seven selections in six rounds.

That was, in part, because each time the Redskins were on the clock, they wer comfortable with the talent available at the given selection.

"A lot of times the guy's not there and you move back five, ten picks and you pick up an extra pick," Shanahan told the media. "This year, when it was our pick, we had a guy in mind and that guy was available.

"It doesn't always turn out that way. Sometimes you do move up, but we didn't feel like we had enough draft picks to do that. We needed to fill a few holes and we were able to do that."

The team's first round pick was part of the package traded to St. Louis in exchange for quarterback Robert Griffin III last season.

The Redskins acquired New England's fifth round (162nd overall) pick two years ago in a trade with the New England Patriots for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. That selection was spend on Florida State outside linebacker Brandon Jenkins.

Jenkins joined fellow Seminole alum Chris Thompson and Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo as players whose draft stock likely fell because of injury (Jenkins, Thompson) or suspension.

“Sometimes it’s not only one round but sometimes it’s two or three, or three or four," Shanahan said, talking about draft slides. "At the end of the day, I had a great feeling about our draft. You don’t have great feelings all the time; you just miss a guy here or there.

"We were lucky enough in this draft to get the majority of the guys we wanted and that doesn’t happen very often because a lot of the time your position needs just doesn’t coincide with the way guys come off the board. So overall I was pleased."

Shanahan and the Redskins front office did not allow last year's division title to change their draft strategy, selecting seven players for the ninth time in the last 20 years.

Washington has now selected 28 players in the past three drafts, the most of any three-year period in team history since the institution of the seven-round format.

Three of those picks were devoted to the defensive seondary, a unit responsible for the team's 31st-ranked pass defense last season.

Shanahan said he was pleased with the versatility that the players bring to the secondary, as well as the quality competition at all positions.

"You're always looking for guys that can catch a football, but you're looking for speed, you're looking for a guy that's physical," Shanahan explained. "More importantly I think we got a little bit more flexibility.

"You got a guy like [cornerback E.J.] Biggers and a guy like [cornerback David] Amerson, you’ve got the flexibility with a guy like D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall]. I like [cornerback] Josh Wilson to work inside as well.

"We’ve still got speed on the outside, a little bit more flexibility on the inside with our nickel and dime packages, combined with our two new safeties and the possibility of Brandon Meriweather coming back full speed. There's Tanard Jackon, [Jordan] Pugh, [Jerome] Murphy, we got a lot of guys that are competing and that's what gives you a chance."

The Redskins' also bolstered the offense with the addition of a pass-catching tight end in Jordan Reed, and two running backs to add to the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack.

This is the first time since 2003-05 a Mike Shanahan-coached team has selected five running backs in a three-year span (2011 – Roy Helu, Jr., Evan Royster; 2012 – Alfred Morris; 2013 – Chris Thompson, Jawan Jamison).

One area that head coach Mike Shanahan did not address for the first time in his tenure in Washington, was drafting an offensive lineman.

According to Shanahan, this is a testament to the depth and development of the team under his supervision.

"When we first got here, we needed depth in the offensive line and defensive line," he said. "Going into this draft, I thought we had depth at both, at the defensive line and the offensive line.

"You take ten or 11 guys that you feel can compete at a position in your offensive line then you've got some great competition and that's what you look for. Any time you are three or four deep and you're able to keep those players, that's some really healthy competition.

"So I think we'll get better as a football team."

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