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With holes to fill, Shanahan says Redskins might trade down

ASHBURN, Va. -- On the eve of the 2011 NFL Draft, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan talked a whole lot more about trading down than he did about trading up.

The Redskins have the No. 10 overall choice in the draft that starts Thursday and lots of holes to fill, making it a believable proposition that Shanahan will want to move down to acquire more picks. Even if he wanted to move up, the coach wouldn't have much to offer because his team doesn't have any selections between Rounds 2 and 5.

"Obviously, it's a little bit tougher when you don't have multiple picks, especially in the third or fourth round," Shanahan said Wednesday.

Of course, no coach is ever going to reveal his plans going into the draft, so Shanahan could just be throwing up a smoke screen to preserve the element of surprise. He summed it up for every team when he said: "You've got to have a game plan for all those scenarios."

Shanahan said the Redskins could be expected to draft any position except safety and tight end in the first two rounds. Quarterback is definitely on the priority list, especially after Donovan McNabb's disappointing 2010 season, and the coach said this year's class of quarterbacks is "much deeper than what I'm accustomed to."

When it comes to picking a quarterback, Shanahan said he doesn't necessarily have to choose one that fits impeccably into the team's current offensive scheme.

"A lot of times you have to adjust your system to the talent of the quarterback," Shanahan said, "and normally that's what you have to do in the National Football League -- because you're not going to get that perfect guy. You've got to be able to do what he does and adjust your offense accordingly."

Shanahan said it's a "little bit different" preparing for a draft without first going through free agency, but he noted it's a hurdle faced by all teams because of the NFL labor situation. He said his job has been "business as usual" and indicated that a lockout's full effects would start to be felt in May, when players would usually report for a series of spring practices.

Like most NFL teams, the Redskins are not allowing players to work out at the facility, although a judge in Minnesota lifted the lockout earlier this week and on Wednesday denied the league's request for a stay.

"What we're looking for is a little clarity as far as what the rules are, so we can operate on the same page," Shanahan said. "So we'll just have to wait and see what those rules are."

Shanahan addressed several other topics in his news conference:

» Asked about the misdemeanor sexual-abuse charge levied this week against defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, Shanahan said he can't say much because he isn't allowed to speak to Haynesworth or Haynesworth's agent during the work stoppage.

"Any time that somebody's name that's out there that's associated with this organization that's not positive, obviously, you don't feel very good about it," Shanahan said. "But you want to get the facts first, and I haven't been able to talk to Albert. Therefore, I don't feel comfortable talking about it."

» Asked about the plans for McNabb, who was benched the final three games of the season and isn't expected to return, Shanahan gave essentially the same answer: "I'd like to be able to share with you, but when I can't talk to Donovan, I can't talk to his agent, I can't really give you an honest answer of exactly what we are going to do."

» Shanahan said he was pleased to learn that some 30 Redskins players had gathered on their own at a local high school for two days of practices earlier this month.

"We've got some leadership out there," Shanahan said. "You watch it, you're always proud of your players that they take the initiative to go out and do something as a team. You're always hoping guys are working out individually, but to see that does put a smile on your face."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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