Keeping Tabs on Washington's Team

Redskins Address O-Line Sooner Than Later

Trent Williams to help protect McNabb

By Jim Iovino
|  Friday, Apr 30, 2010  |  Updated 12:33 PM EDT
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Agree With Redskins Picking Williams

Getty Images

NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Trent Williams (R) of the Oklahoma Sooners poses with NFL Commissoner Roger Goodell as they hold a Washington Redskins jersey after Washington selected Williams #4 overall during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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In past years, the Redskins would have gone for the big name in the first round of the NFL Draft. But this year, when everyone said they should forget the Bradfords and Claussens and draft an offensive lineman to protect Donovan McNabb, Dan Snyder's brain trust chose to ... draft a lineman.

Let's hear it for sanity!

The Redskins selected offensive tackle Trent Williams of Oklahoma with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft.

Williams, a 6-5, 315-pounder who made 38 career starts for the Sooners, will help to solidify a porous offensive line that helped end Jason Campbell's career in Washington.

"I'm just looking forward to getting into camp," Williams said. "Being with Malcolm (Kelly) again ... I'm just ready to make Coach Shanahan proud."

With Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy off the board, the Redskins had several options -- pick an offensive lineman, safety Eric Berry, or trade down. They chose Williams.

Coach Mike Shanahan said the Redskins had targeted Williams before the draft.

"Not only can he play the left side, but he can play the right side as well, and he played the center position in our zone blocking scheme that we run," Shanahan said. "Obviously we run the power scheme as well, but we thought he fit in very well. The guy's got a lot of experience. Hopefully he can come in here and compete right away and show us what he can do."

Williams could help fill the void left by Chris Samuels's retirement, but there's some question as to whether he may be better on the right side of the line. National Football Post, for one, thinks that's the case:

"A flexible lineman, Williams displays a decent initial kick-step off the ball and does a nice job initially remaining balanced toward the corner. But he isn't fluid enough to hold his own on the left side at the next level."

Williams is a better run blocker than pass blocker, and he's very athletic for a lineman.  He ran one of the fastest 40s at the NFL Combine (4.88) and had the best 20-yard shuttle.  He also recorded the best vertical jump at the combine (34.5).

"There aren't many athletes who are 315 pounds who can run in that 4.8 range and show the type of athleticism we look for," Shanahan said. "We do run that zone blocking scheme. A very agile offensive tackle is something that we looked for. Sometimes it's hard to find unless you do pick early in the first round, and we think we found a guy who can help us."

The scouting report on Williams at NFL.com breaks down his strengths and weaknesses:

Williams has great height and a wide enough frame to support more bulk. Plays angry and finishes blocks. Strong enough to push defenders. Sets feet quickly and can slide with athletic d-lineman. Hits hard and establishes great position run blocking. Three-year starter with solid feel and instincts.  ... Needs to fill out his frame or will struggle with the bull rush at the next level. Feet are only above average and he may have limited range in pass protection. Does not always take proper angles when run blocking.

The Williams pick meant Oklahoma became the first school in history to have three picks in the first four of the NFL Draft. Bradford went to the Rams with the No. 1 pick, and McCoy went No. 3 to Tampa Bay.

"We went through some rough times at OU this season, but it says a lot about our program," Williams told the NFL Network after being drafted.

Barring a trade, the Redskins now have to wait until the fourth round to pick again. The Redskins have selections in rounds 4, 5 and 7. So picking up a lineman in Round 1 was crucial if the team wants to make sure McNabb can survive an entire season.

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