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Draft Day Trade? Trading Down More Likley

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With the NFL Draft less than a month away, Redskins coaches and personnel official continue to zero in on top prospects.

The Redskins have the 21st overall pick in the first round, and executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato has identified wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line and defensive back as need positions.

To hear Cerrato tell it, any one of those positions will be a consideration when the Redskins go on the clock at No. 21.

What about a first-round draft day trade?

Cerrato has said the Redskins are more likely to trade down--and acquire additional picks--instead of trading up in the first round.

Trade offers won't come until draft day, though. For now, team officials continue to review film and interview prospects.

"It should be a productive draft," Cerrato told Redskins Radio recently. "It's the first time in a long time we have this many picks. We have to take advantage of that opportunity. There will be trade opportunities come draft day. I could be a situation where we trade back and add more picks.

"You really don't know about trading on draft day until you get going. Maybe around the 15th pick or so, team will get interested in No. 21 and come up in the second round. Maybe somebody is dropping and they want to move up.

"If we have that many areas that we like, then that could be an option. We're open to anything to improve the football team."

Cerrato gave a general evaluation of the draft's strengths and weaknesses by position.

The draft is deep in offensive tackles, defensive end and cornerback, Cerrato said.

It�??s not so deep at wide receiver, though.

"Receivers are strong in the second or third round," he said. "There's not a top 10 pick [this year]. I don't know if there's a top 20 pick."

With the Redskins going to the West Coast offense, it is thought that a tall, rangy receiver is needed. The draft has several candidates who fit that bill, including Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly, Michigan State's Devin Thomas, Texas's Limas Sweed and Indiana's James Hardy.

Defensive end is often mentioned as a top Redskins need, but Cerrato expressed confidence in Andre Carter, who had 10.5 sacks last year, and the pass-rushing duo of Marcus Washington and Chris Wilson, who combined for nine sacks opposite Carter.

Still, the Redskins are expected to take a close look at Florida's Derrick Harvey, Miami's Calais Campbell, Clemson's Phillip Merling and Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis.

With the Redskins' offensive line set at the top of the depth chart, personnel officials are looking for a versatile lineman to develop into a starter.

"We're looking for a young [lineman] who can play center-guard or guard-tackle," Cerrato said. "You want to develop someone."

Quality interior offensive linemen can often be found in the second round of the draft. The Redskins drafted guard Derrick Dockery in the third round in 2003.

Virginia's Branden Albert, Boise State's Ryan Clady, Vanderbilt's Chris Williams, Michigan's Jake Long and Pittsburgh's Jeff Otah and Mike McGlynn are among the top offensive linemen in the draft.

Cornerback is a position the Redskins could consider if they trade down in the draft.

"Cornerback is deep, but not at the top of the draft," Cerrato said. "It's deep late in the first and early in the second round."

South Florida's Mike Jenkins, Troy's Leodis McKelvin, Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers and Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are the top cornerback prospects.

Of course, there's a good chance the Redskins will settle on the best player available.

It may be cliche, but it's a strategy that has worked in years past for team officials.

"We've always had the most success taking the best player available," Cerrato said. "Last year with LaRon Landry, we felt like he was the best defensive player on the board. That's why we took him. You're looking for a perennial Pro Bowl guy when you draft in the top 10.

"The later you get in the first round, the harder that is. But we have enough positions we're looking at when we pick at No. 21. So I think we'll have an opportunity to get an outstanding player.

"We have to get a player that can help us, if not right away then in a year."

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