Dozen-player draft haul didn't hit Redskins' biggest need

What was more peculiar about the Washington Redskins' draft: That they actually added picks along the way instead of pawning them off as they typically do, or that they bypassed on a quarterback?

First off, the Redskins are probably better off for doing both. Getting the proper defensive personnel early in the draft was huge and not reaching for a quarterback that they didn't like was prudent. That in itself is a sea change of sorts.

They still need a quarterback. Donovan McNabb is gone as soon as Washington is allowed to part ways with him and Rex Grossman is a free agent. Being conservative with their evaluation of talent and aggressive in acquiring players through trading back to get additional picks might signal Washington has paid attention to some of the other more successful franchises.

NFC East draft grades

Bucky Brooks hands out draft grades. Did the Redskins miss the mark by not adding a quarterback, or did the team get better thanks to its draft haul? **More ...**

Washington entered the draft with eight selections and finished with 12. For that franchise, that is nearly historic.

The Redskins had six picks in each of their previous two drafts, but had dealt away key second-round selections in both. In 2008, the 'Skins had 10 picks, but not a first-rounder. In 2007, they traded away picks in Rounds 2 through 4.

Coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen have only been around for two of those drafts -- former vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato was in charge of the others. Free agency and the big-splash seemed part of past protocol. Shanahan got caught up in it too when he traded two picks, one a second-rounder, for McNabb. The 'Skins seemingly couldn't help themselves -- until now.

Keep in mind, lockout rules prevented teams from trading draft picks for veteran players this time around, so there could have been some forced restraint.

As for the quarterback situation, Shanahan spoke highly of backup John Beck and how much he's valued him since he was a second-round pick of the Dolphins in 2007. In paraphrased terms, Shanahan said he knows what Beck can do. In veiled coach-speak that translates to he's good enough to be a fallback guy.

If Beck was as good as Shanahan claimed, the Dolphins wouldn't still be in search of a quarterback and Beck would not have gone the past three seasons without throwing a pass in a game.

The Redskins will be in play to move on a quarterback in free agency or through trades. Shanahan has coached the likes of Steve Young, John Elway, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler and tried with McNabb. Beck doesn't fit the repertoire, at least as the starter, in a division that features Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Michael Vick.

Grossman, who stepped in for McNabb and wasn't awful last season, could be re-signed. The Redskins could aim higher and acquire someone like Marc Bulger or Matt Hasselbeck in free agency or trade for someone like Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton.

Of course, if they make a trade, it probably will be for draft picks in 2012. That scenario would pretty much put them back in the mode of how they've done things and make this year's haul in the draft an aberration.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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