Commentary

Redskins have a new head coach and lots of draft needs

Scouts Inc. puts the Redskins on the clock, breaking down their offseason moves and looking at what questions still need answers.

Originally Published: March 25, 2008
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.

As the NFL draft approaches, "SportsCenter" is putting every NFL team with a first-round pick "On the Clock," and Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering.

Free-Agent Tracker
Steelers
For a complete list of all of the Redskins' free agents and all their offseason signings, check out Scouts Inc.'s free-agent tracker.
Who they signed
Who they lost
Complete free-agent tracker
Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs has retired and Washington hired first-time head coach Jim Zorn as his replacement. Of course his experience pales in comparison to that of Gibbs, but Zorn should bring a fresh and energetic outlook to this organization. Zorn probably will call for more passing plays, which could open up the offense a bit more. QB Jason Campbell showed marked improvement before his late-season injury, but once again, he needs to quickly get acclimated to a new coaching staff. The young signal caller has faced coaching staff changes year after year. Washington finished the season very strong after Sean Taylor's tragedy, but this is a brutal division and we would be hard-pressed to say Washington is better now than it was last year.

Key Additions

Washington re-signed QB Todd Collins, which is important considering Campbell is now forced to learn yet another new offensive scheme. Collins has extensive experience and proved to be a very capable backup signal caller. Obviously this has been an extremely uncharacteristic offseason for the usually free-spending Redskins, but they were crippled by their plethora of former signings and just could not compete financially for the bigger names on the market.

Mock Draft: Redskins
The Pick (No. 21 overall):
DE Phillip Merling, Clemson
Insider

Merling
Todd McShay:The Redskins' top priority is to add a big, playmaking receiver. But with Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas off the board, expect them to address that need later in the draft. In the meantime, they could either take a chance on Merling, who is dropping due to a recently discovered sports hernia, or fill the void at safety by taking the only potential first-rounder this class has to offer, Kenny Phillips. When healthy, Merling has an outstanding combination of size, quickness and power, which would make him a good fit in a rotation with veteran Phillip Daniels at left end.
Complete mock draft Insider
Vote: Team needs

Key Losses

The release of WR Brandon Lloyd should end up being an addition by subtraction. Plus, the loss of Mark Brunell to New Orleans in free agency is minimal because he was an aged No. 3 quarterback for Washington. By keeping Collins, Brunell became of little use. Washington still has a few depth players who are unsigned, but none of them stick out or should be considered mandatory to lock up. This is a very uncharacteristic offseason for the Redskins, but they have not been ravaged by free agency by any means, so their core will remain in place.

Remaining Questions

Washington could go a lot of different ways with its early draft selections. However, that is both good and bad. The Redskins are not pigeonholed into one glaring position of need, so that should allow them to take the best athlete available. But that also is a sign that Washington could use help in a lot of areas. Washington could use a safety, line help and probably another cornerback on defense. The Skins also could use offensive line depth and a big wide receiver, which is probably their most prominent need if we had to choose just one. The other obvious remaining question is how Zorn will handle his new duties.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.