The NFL Draft is a little over 1 week away. All fans of sports that have drafts know that selecting the correct player is a very imperfect science. Yes, they watch hours of videos, do tons of interviews, perform athletic and cognitive ability tests, even meet with family members occasionally. Despite all of this rigorous evaluating, sometimes players still turn out to be a “bust”.
I think the 3 major questions any NFL team asks themselves before they select a player in a draft (there are way more than 3 questions but these are some of the more important ones) are: 1) Is his talents transferrable to the NFL type of gameplay? 2) If not, how much room for growth and development does he have (i.e. is he “coachable”) 3) Does he fit the type of offensive/defensive systems we have intact? So those are the big 3. Other major questions would include: 4) Is he injury prone? 5) Are there any major character issues that may lead to future conflicts? 6) Is there a need at that position? Etc etc etc…
As the English proverb goes “Hindsight is 20/20”; meaning it is easy for one to be knowledgeable about an event after it has happened. So now let’s take a look at the Redskins 1st round draft picks for the past 5yrs and see how good the selection process has been by our front office and coaching staff.
So the criteria I’ll be using is as follows: How has the player we selected with our 1st round pick performed/is performing compared with players selected later in the 1st round and if we could go back should we make the same decision again? (I’m not going to speculate things like “We should have traded up to get Cam Newton” etc… only players that were on the draft board when our pick came around).
Starting with 2007, remember wayyyy back then? When the economy was prospering and then…. JaMarcus Russell being selected 1st overall happened (Yes, I’m blaming the economic collapse of the US on the Oakland Raiders). This 1st round was loaded with talent and future pro-bowlers (He’s not 1 of them). So with the 6th overall pick the Redskins selected Mr. LaRon Landry (who is no longer with the team). LaRon was/is a great talent but injuries plagued his entire career and he was asking for too much money to only play 6-8 game per season. So who was still left on the board? Let’s see: Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Darelle Revis, Dwayne Bowe amongst many others. Hands down, if the Redskins could do it over again AP should be our guy, or maybe even Revis, sorry Clinton.
Let’s move to 2008 where in the 1st round the Redskins selected…. Wait… no one *insert sad face here* Welp on to 2009…
In the 2009 draft the Redskins selected Brian Orakpo with the 13th overall pick and I wouldn’t change a thing. A solid pickup and the only defensive player in the 1st round that has reached his levels of performance has been Clay Mathews.
In the 2010 draft the Redskins selected Trent Williams with the 5th overall pick. I’m still skeptical but at the time there was a definite need at that position. BUT if you look at the performance of some of the players selected after we selected I think Jason Pierre-Paul would’ve been a phenomenal addition with Orakpo already back there. Nevertheless, the Redskins handled the defensive needs in subsequent drafts.
Now let’s take a look at last year. It might be too soon to tell their success but the Redskins selected Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th overall pick. Again, I consider this a great addition. He’s performed at the level, if not better, than the players selected after him in the 1st round.
I know this is a lot of speculation, since some players successes may be because of their systems and surrounding talent but speculation is what makes the NFL fun & exciting.
So if the Redskins selected differently over the past 5 drafts they would have Adrian Peterson/Darelle Revis/Patrick Willis, Brian Orakpo, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Ryan Kerrigan. Definitely a formidable defense. And we all know “Defense Wins Championships”
Looking forward, the Redskins are taking aim at RG3 hoping that he becomes an NFL and not an NFL bust. Only time will tell.
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