In advance of the 2013 draft, all the talk and expectations were that the Redskins would shore up their secondary. With the 30thrated pass defence in 2012, this was surely a no-brainer.
Going in to this year’s draft, the Redskins had no first round pick, having to wait until past the halfway stage of round two before making an impression, pick #51 to be precise. Some articles looked at previous #51 picks such as Clinton Portis, but now that the draft is over, and we know we have three new Redskins competing for positions in the secondary, what can we realistically expect from our new recruits?
Round 2, pick #51: David Amerson CB
Round 4, pick #119: Phillip Thomas SS
Round 6, pick #191: Baccari Rambo FS
My personal expectation is that all three will make the roster and contribute significantly to the team with at least one starting the majority of the games. But looking back at our drafts since 2000, our history of selecting defensive backs is chequered, and with very few hits with players selected in round 3 or later which does not bode well for Thomas or Rambo.
Round 3, pick #64: Lloyd Harrison DB. Played 2 games for the Redskins in 2000 before being picked up bySan Diego where he played 12 games in 2001 with one start. He was with the Dolphins for the 2002 season where he played just two games before being out of the league.
Round 5, pick #155: Quincy Sanders DB. Never played a game for the Redskins.
Round 2, pick #45: Fred Smoot CB. Enjoyed two spells with the Redskins from 2001-04 and 2007-09 with a couple of seasons with the Vikings in between. Was a fan favourite with his outgoing personality starting all but one of the games he played in his first spell in the B&G, snagging 16 interceptions. His two years inMinnesota were marred with controversy before he came “home”. Smoot never really recaptured his form in his second spell but finished his career with 21 picks and 450 tackles.
Round 3, pick #79: Rashad Bauman CB. Two years, 28 games, three starts and two interceptions withWashington before spending two years inCincinnati.
Round 5, pick #159: Andre Lott, S. Lott showed some promise but his three years inWashington were marred by injury, limiting him to just 31 games. He started three out of the four games he played in 2004 before injury sidelined him again. He wound up inSan Diego in 2005 but played just one game for the Chargers.
Round 1, pick #5: Sean Taylor FS. I don’t need to go into detail about the history of Sean Taylor, a fan favourite before his career was tragically cut short in 2007. In just 55 games (53 starts) he amassed 12 interceptions, two sacks, eight forced fumbles, 306 tackles and a touchdown, not to mention the intimidation factor of receivers who dared to go over the middle. Our secondary has still not recovered from his loss.2005:
Round 1, pick #9: Carlos Rogers CB. Adding another high draft pick defensive back to the pick of Taylor (and two years later Laron Landry) should have ensured an elite secondary for many years.Rogers was beginning to play at an elite level but some inconsistency and his terrible hands paved the way for his departure after six seasons inWashington. He managed just eight picks in those six years compared to seven in two with the 49ers where he was voted to the Pro Bowl after his six-pick, 2011 season.
Round 6, pick #173: Reed Doughty S. A long shot to make the roster in 2006, Doughty defied the doubters to latch on with the Redskins. Each year fans expect him to be cut but he consistently defies the odds especially by coming back from a serious neck injury in 2008. Unspectacular but steady, Doughty has been called upon many times and always works hard and tries his best and is hoping to spend his eighth year with his only team in 2013. Not naturally gifted or as athletic as some, but he has proved dependable and a special teams stand out. Doughty started 46 of his 92 games and amassed an impressive 387 tackles and two picks.
Round 1, pick #6: Laron Landry S.
Area 51, the intimidating section of the field where you would encounter Landry and Taylor, if you were brave enough to enter. This should have been and could have been the top safety duo in NFL history but lasted only a handful of games. Landry certainly made an impression and became a fan favourite with his intimidating style and hard hitting, but he was prone to the occasional blown coverage. After five years in Washington, nearly 500 tackles and four interceptions, and a number of injuries, Landry left via free agency to join the Jets where he was also voted to the Pro Bowl.
Round 4, pick #124: Justin Tryon CB. After two seasons of nearly earning the coach’s trust, starting two games, Tryon joined the Colts in 2010 where he made six further starts. He seemed to have found his niche in the NFL but was traded to the Giants midway through the 2011 season. He played in all 16 games last year with no starts and will be battling to remain in the NFL this year.Round 6, pick #180: Kareem Moore FS. The Redskins took a bit of a gamble withMoore due to his chequered injury history but seemed to have found his role by 2010, starting 11 of 12 games. But injury struck again and he was eventually released, but wasn’t able to hook up with any other team.
Round 7, pick #249: Chris Horton SS. The Redskins thought they had found a gem in the later rounds when Horton impressed during the 2008 preseason making some impressive plays and eventually earning a starting spot. With three picks in his rookie year the future looked bright but his play dropped off the following year and he was cut halfway through the 2010 season. He signed with the Giants early in March 2012 but failed to make the active roster.
Round 3, pick #80: Kevin Barnes CB. Barnes was another DB that showed promise with some good plays early in his career before fizzling out rather abruptly. Barnes played in 29 games, starting just three and collected three interceptions. He tried some time at safety during the 2012 preseason but was traded toDetroit prior to the season for a conditional draft pick. He appeared in just two games for the Lions before he too, was out of the league.
Round 5, pick #146: Dejon Gomes S. Gomes has stuck around the Redskins for two years now and must surely be on the bubble with the influx of talent early in 2013, with the drafting of three DBs and the acquisition of free agent EJ Biggers. Gomes has had a number of chances to make the safety position his own but has failed to do so, partly with a number of niggling injuries, and partly due to his inconsistent play. He will have a tough job to make the 53 man squad this season.
Round 7, pick #213: Brandyn Thompson CB. Thompson never made an impression in his rookie year, playing in six games, recording just two tackles after being promoted from the practice squad. He was waived four days later but re-signed to the practice squad the next day, before making it to the active roster once more. However, he failed to make the squad in 2012 and also failed to sign on with another team.
Round 7, pick #213: Richard Crawford CB. Crawford’s only real impact came in the return game when he took over punt return duties. His most memorable play came in the win over the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens when he returned a punt 64 yards to set up the game winning field goal. Crawford is likely to struggle to make the 2013 squad with the influx of DBs.
Round 7, pick #217: Jordan Bernstine S. Bernstine’s contribution was even less than Crawford, dressing for just one game before landing on IR. As with his Crawford, his chances of making the team are small.
So looking back over the years, the only DB that has hung around for more than two or three years, that was taken in round three or beyond is Reed Doughty. There is a long list of players that hung around for a couple of years or so making a few starts, but it is only the first round picks plus Smoot in round two that have made a major contribution. This would suggest that the future is pretty good for Amerson, but Thomas and Rambo will struggle to make an impact. But judging by their athleticism, scouting reports and gradings, along with the dire need for help in the Redskins’ secondary, their odds are greater than most who have gone before them.