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Redskins playing waiting game in NFL Draft

Rob Carr/Getty Images A year ago, the Redskins took the best player available when quarterback Kirk Cousins was still there in the fourth round.

With no first-rounder, Washington has lots of uncertainty

They knew what they would do last year. Everyone else did, too. The Redskins had traded up for the second pick in the draft; Robert Griffin III would be available. There was no drama, just jubilation for the Redskins.

When the NFL Draft begins Thursday, however, it will be a little different for the Redskins. They won't pick until 51st overall Friday, a byproduct of the Griffin deal. That will make it tough for the Redskins to know who will be available until later in the second round.

"You have to be ready for different types of scenarios," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said.

Slowing down RGIII
The Redskins like that Robert Griffin III remains ahead of schedule. They just want to make sure he stays that way -- and they will do so by making sure he's not going too fast in his return from an ACL tear in his right knee. Griffin is participating in the Redskins' offseason workouts, which began last week. "There is a time frame, and the ligament takes time to heal," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "We have to make sure he doesn't go too quick. We don't want him to do anything too quickly because then he can set it back." Shanahan also said that as he gets to know players better and they get to know him more, it helps in knowing when to pull a guy. Griffin consistently told the coaches and trainers he was OK, and the medical staff cleared him. "The thing we'll make sure of is that Robert never plays if he's not 100 percent," Shanahan said.

The Redskins need to strengthen their secondary -- and this happens to be a draft deep at cornerback and safety. But they also could use better depth at receiver, another offensive tackle, perhaps another tight end or a linebacker, both inside and outside. With seven picks in Rounds 2-7, the Redskins can address multiple positions.

However, operating under the best player available theory, the Redskins could select someone at just about any position when it's their turn in the second round. That's how they got quarterback Kirk Cousins last year. They gave him a first-round grade, so when he was around in the fourth, even though they had selected Griffin, they selected Cousins.

"Sometimes a guy will fall a little bit further than you think he will, and if you are lucky enough to get in that situation, you gobble him up," Shanahan said.

What likely won't happen is a trade, at least one into the first round. The Redskins lack the ammunition to move up, and even Shanahan called it a "one in a million" chance.

The Redskins return 21 of 22 starters, so this draft is different than his first three with Washington. It's possible whomever they select in the second round won't start initially. But Shanahan and the Redskins hope this 51st pick turns out like one he made in 2002: running back Clinton Portis, who was upset that he didn't go in the first round.

"That is the kind of mindset when you do pick a guy in the second round, that he feels like he is a first-round guy and he is going to prove to everybody that he can play," Shan?ahan said. "Hopefully you get that kind of guy."