QUOTE: “The path to perfection is difficult to men in every lot; there is no royal road for rich or poor. But difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.” -- William Ellery Channing
‘Skins are now in the front of the draft
Based on the recent workout of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, all indications from the Rams are that they’ll make him the first pick in the draft. If this is true (and I believe it is), that means the Lions and Bucs will play off each other and select either Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy at two and three. I’m not certain which tackle the Lions will pick first, but it seems likely that defensive tackle is their choice. Then the Bucs, who have made it no secret that they also want a defensive tackle, will choose whoever is left on the board. That leads us to the Redskins and the fourth pick, and this is where the draft will essentially start.
The ‘Skins have scheduled a workout with Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, which makes sense but doesn’t shed any light on their genuine interest. With all the reporting from Internet sources about which players are going to visit teams and which teams are going to work out players on their campuses, it’s hard to determine genuine interest. Teams are allowed to bring in 20 players to their facilities to give them physicals or just spend time getting to know them, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to draft them. Some teams bring in the high-rated players on their board and some bring in their lower-rated players and try to start the recruiting process for free agency after the draft. But the one commonality with all the visits is that it’s hard to determine if a team is actually interested -- or just interested in collecting more information. Which leads us back to the ‘Skins and whether their workout with Clausen is genuine or a fact-finding mission.
Vinny Cerrato, the former GM of the ‘Skins, loves Clausen and defended him this week in the Washington Post, attacking several of the draft gurus who believe Clausen doesn’t have the necessary leadership skills or maturity to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. As GM, Cerrato was commissioned to spend time learning all about Clausen. He had several conversations with Mike Shanahan during the season, and Cerrato actually thought he would remain in his position once former head coach Jim Zorn was fired. But Cerrato had the rug pulled out from under him when he was also dismissed, and even though he’s on the outside, he is still a consultant for the team. So his information on Clausen will be used and will be considered valuable, in large part because he still remains friends with the owner and the new head coach.
The Redskins’ private work out on April 15 with Clausen at Notre Dame will be the last bit of information they need to make a final decision. The ‘Skins have many needs that the fourth overall pick can address, and their owner (according to the Washington Post, through Cerrato) wants them to select a perennial Pro Bowl player with that pick. So they must make sure they feel Clausen is that player.
I like Clausen as a player, but I don’t have the feeling he’s going to be a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback. However, I do feel that Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung has those skills, as does Tennessee safety Eric Berry. And both players are scheduled to visit Washington.
So does all this mean that the ‘Skins are genuinely interested in Clausen? My sense is yes, but they’re now the wild card team in the draft, and we might not know whom they’ll pick until just before the draft.
On Tuesday, I wrote that concerns about Dez Bryant were not as an athlete but more as a mature, responsible athlete. And lo and behold, he forgets to bring his cleats to the workout. Now, for everyone who thinks their team should just pick Bryant, you might want to consider what life would be like coaching him once he’s been paid large sums of money.
Bryant is a great player, but forgetting his cleats confirms that his maturity level, along with questions about him being a responsible person, is still a huge concern.
Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi
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