Washington Redskins: How Does the First Round Affect Their Draft Strategy?

Dilan AmesCorrespondent IApril 26, 2013

Cyprien is definitely an intriguing name heading into day two.
Cyprien is definitely an intriguing name heading into day two.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The first round of the 2013 NFL draft saw seven of the top defensive backs go off the board. Although players like Eric Reid and Matt Elam are long gone, the Redskins will still have their pick of some pretty quality prospects. 

Guys like Phillip Thomas, D.J. Swearinger and Johnthan Banks are all viable options at No. 51. All three of these guys have displayed the ability and talent that the Redskins are looking for in a defensive back. 

Although the Redskins knew that DBs like Dee Milliner and Kenny Vaccaro were out of the question, Reid and Elam were two guys that were definitely on their radar. 

Now that they are all searching for homes in their new cities, Washington must be sure to make the right pick with their second-round selection. 

There has been much speculation as to who they would draft, but the names that seem to rise to the top most are Swearinger and Banks. 

One name that has not been mocked to the Redskins as much is Johnathan Cyprien, the safety out of Florida International. This is largely because not many people thought that he would escape the first day of the draft. 

Cyprien is the type of player that the Redskins need. He is very athletic, has a high ceiling and can play some damn good football. 

He will probably hear his name called early on the second night of the draft, and the Redskins will likely have some sort of strategy planned out to try and jump up in order to select the former college star. 

While Washington may not have much ammunition, they could possibly be able to package some picks to a team in the 33-40 range in order to draft Cyprien. Don’t be surprised if the Redskins front office is exploring trade options in order to take the small school gem. 

The best-case scenario is that Washington is able to trade up and get their guy; the worst-case scenario is they stay put and draft a guy like Banks or Swearinger. 

No matter how this works out, it’s hard for the Redskins to lose. Although they were without a first-round pick this year, they will still be able to bandage their decimated secondary with a solid defensive back prospect on Day 2 and beyond. 

Let’s say that (although unlikely) all three of these players are gone, what should they do then? 

Well, they could trade down and get better value for the next player on their board, or they could stay put and still feel just as comfortable with a guy from the next tier of corners and safeties. 

Someone like Blidi Wreh-Wilson would be a great fit for the Skins’ secondary. He is a long-limbed corner who has tremendous ability when it comes to defending passes. Wreh-Wilson has great size for a corner and is big enough to play bump-and-run against the bigger receivers. 

As the draft rolls on and on, the talent level of the remaining prospects may decrease, but there are still plenty of guys with potential. 

One player in particular that has enormous potential and has certainly been on Washington’s radar is Ray-Ray Armstrong. A lot of people don’t give the safety much of a chance because of his off-field issues, but there is a lot to be happy about with him. 

As it is, Armstrong is probably a sixth-round pick at best, but his potential and ability is too much to ignore. For years Armstrong has been compared to former Redskin Sean Taylor; he even went to the same college (Miami) and wore the same number. 

The murmurs coming from many Redskins fans is that they don’t want another hitter; they need someone who can cover, and I’m inclined to agree. 

That being said, the Armstrong pick just makes too much sense. 

Although he doesn’t have the same ball skills that Taylor did, he is every bit of a hitter that No. 21 was; not many people can move someone backwards like Armstrong can. 

To me, this seems like a kid without much direction. If he was brought into a locker room with a coaching staff aimed at bringing out the best in him, there’s no way he would not succeed. 

Washington has the necessary veteran leadership to aid his development as well, namely in guys like London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall

The bottom line is this: While the best players at the Redskins’ most-needed positions may be gone, they still have plenty of solid options heading into Day 2 of the draft.