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Mid-Round Draft Strategy: Trade Options?

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In 2004, the Redskins had targeted tight end Chris Cooley as a third-round talent.

Problem: the Redskins didn't have a third-round pick.

Problem solved: the Redskins traded a 2005 second-round pick to be able to draft Cooley with the 81st pick in the third round.

It proved to be a great move by the Redskins' front office. Cooley has led the offense in receptions each of the last two years and earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2007. He was rewarded with a long-term contract extension last July.

With that move in mind, team officials would have no qualms about trading up in the mid-rounds of the draft.

"We have always been an aggressive team, so if there is somebody there that we like, we have made efforts to go get them," executive vice president Vinny Cerrato said. "Like with Chris Cooley--we didn't have a pick and we really thought he was talented, so we went and got a pick.

"I don't think we're afraid to do anything. We are willing to do anything--move up, move back, get picks, go get a player. Whatever is the best interest to help the football--that has always been our philosophy."

After picking 21st overall in the first round, the Redskins have eight more picks, including the 51st overall pick in the second round. They have two third-round picks, fifth- and sixth-round picks and three seventh-round picks.

That should provide the Redskins with ammunition to move up in the draft, even on the second day.

Asked about the overall depth in the late rounds of the draft, Cerrato said there was "more depth this year than there was last year."

"I know we have more names on our draft board this year," he said.

Most players who fall to the fifth round and beyond are developmental, Cerrato said.

That's where the Redskins' experienced coaching staff comes into play. With veteran coaches Joe Bugel and Greg Blache on the staff, the team can afford to take a chance on a player with untapped potential.

The 2006 draft class is a prime example. The Redskins drafted defensive tackles Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston and safety Reed Doughty in the fifth and sixth rounds that year.

Last year, the Redskins found linebacker H.B. Blades in the sixth round, and he has shown promise in limited action.

"When you have a good teaching staff, you can take those [developmental] guys like Anthony Montgomery or Kedric Golston," Cerrato said. "They can develop into players quickly because we have good teachers. Our coaches are not in the frame of mind that we have to draft a proven product.

"They say, 'Give me somebody that I can develop.' They have done that and proven that. That's why I think we do get some quality guys later."

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