Redskins could take tight end or safety

Mel's latest mailbag takes a look at the first-round strategies of four different teams and examines this year's top two offensive linemen.

Originally Published: January 13, 2004
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
YOU'VE GOT MEL | Kiper's Mailbag
Q: With coach Joe Gibbs taking control of the Washington Redskins, what area do you see the team addressing in the draft?
Red, Centreville, Va.
Kellen Winslow
Getty ImagesMiami's Kellen Winslow would be a good fit in Washington as a pass-catching tight end.
KIPER: First of all, player personnel director Vinnie Cerrato has done a great job stockpiling talent in Washington. But Joe Gibbs will have plenty of input into the team's draft decisions, and despite surrendering numerous picks in the deals they made with free agents last offseason, the Redskins can still improve with the fifth overall pick. A pass-catching tight end like Kellen Winslow of Miami would make sense at that spot, or they could go with a safety like Winslow's teammate, Sean Taylor. The team's most glaring need is on the defensive line, but the question is whether any of the available linemen are worthy of such a high pick. Oklahoma's Tommie Harris or Ohio State's Will Smith could be possibilities, but in terms of value at No. 5, it looks like Winslow or Taylor would be the best fit.

Q: I am a New York Jets fan, and I must say, with the exception of last year, I have been disappointed with the team's draft decisions. What do you see the Jets doing with the 12th overall pick?
Adrian Suarez, San Juan, Puerto Rico
KIPER: The Jets could use another wide receiver and could go in that direction at No. 12, but defense is the biggest problem right now, despite the fact New York used four of its first five picks on defensive players last season. The cornerback position needs to be shored up, and the Jets could look to someone like South Carolina's Dunta Robinson or USC's Will Poole. The Jets also need linebackers with speed, which is where Miami teammates Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams would fit in nicely. Should they decide to go with a wideout, though, Reggie Williams of Washington and Michael Clayton of LSU might rate high enough to go at No. 12, or the Jets could get a quality receiver like Ohio State's Michael Jenkins, Oklahoma State's Rashaun Woods or Wisconsin's Lee Evans in the second round.

Q: Is the No. 6 pick too early for the Detroit Lions to take a running back? If so, who would available in the second round?
Lance, Taylor, Mich.
KIPER: The Lions should probably wait until the second round to take a running back. Steven Jackson of Oregon State and Kevin Jones of Virginia Tech are borderline first-round picks, as is Chris Perry of Michigan, so there is a good possibility that one of those players will fall to Detroit in the second round. And should players like Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams of Auburn and Cedric Benson of Texas decide to enter the draft, there will definitely be some quality backs available at that point.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst
Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.