If history dictated the Redskin’s 2011 draft plan


As all of us anxious football fans wait around to see whether our beloved teams will actually see the field next season the one thing that seems to keep us going is the (enter buzz word here) NFL Draft.  From the day our team’s season is finished, whether it is 6 weeks into the season or the Monday after the Super Bowl, we ponder, predict, and analyze, what our team needs to do in next year’s draft.  Draft “experts” do the same, and with the combine and pro-days galore the NFL draft becomes the NYSE, where some players rise to the top of draft boards from obscurity while others see their stock plummet to disheartening lows.   Every year there are great picks, and there are terrible picks, and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has made plenty of each in his day.  Currently the Redskins hold the 10th and 41st picks, with needs across the board.  Let’s take a look back at the history of Coach Shanahan’s early round selections and figure out which positions and players the Redskins should pick, based on the past.

In 14 drafts, with 12 first round picks and  15 second round picks coach Shanahan has picked 5 LBs, 6 DBs, 2 RBs, 1 QB, 1 TE, 5 DEs, 4WRs, 3 OL.

Breaking down the successful picks:

Linebackers: Shanahan has had some great success picking LBs in the early rounds, coming up with John Mobley, Ian Gold, DJ Williams, and AL Wilson.   All were extremely successful draft picks (assuming DJ Williams doesn’t drink and drive his way into the bust category).   With Terry Pierce being the only bust, that leaves an 80% success rate for Shanahan when it comes to picking LBs in the draft.

Running Backs: As second round picks Clinton Portis looked to be headed to Canton during his time with the Broncos, and Tatum Bell was more of a one hit wonder with the Broncos in his first couple of years.  It gives Shanahan a 50/50 chance when it comes to picking a successful RB in the early rounds but also makes it seem like he’s better off picking one up in later rounds…(Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Peyton Hillis…the list of 1,000 yard rushers goes on and on). 50% success in the early rounds.

Quarterback: He’s one for one Redskins fans.  In 2006 he traded up to get Jay Cutler and picked up the best of a highly touted class of QBs (Vince Young and Matt Leinart aren’t turning out so well).  It could mean he has an eye for the position or it could mean that he got lucky.  News as of late is that he could he be looking to make a similar move to pick up Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert this year?  Let’s hope it doesn’t happen but if it does lets hope we get the same result or Shanahan might be packing his bags a little earlier than he may have expected.

Defensive Backs: Tory James, Deltha O’Neal, Darrent Williams, and Kenoy Kennedy were all solid, though unspectacular, professional football players, although Willie Middlebrooks (CB) and Eric Brown (S) flopped during their NFL careers. Overall, solid picking on Coach Shanahan’s part in the defensive back category with 67% success.

Tight End: One for one, can’t ask for much more out of a second rounder than a starting, productive TE and Tony Scheffler is just that.

Offensive Line: With three early OL picks Shanahan hit a home run with Ryan Clady who will anchor the left side of the Broncos line much like Chris Samuels did with ours, for years to come.   The other two picks,  Lennie Friedman (C) and George Foster (OL), were strike outs, neither living up to their early round selection.    33% success

Wide Receiver: Until Eddie Royal came along in 2008, Shanahan had some serious issues drafting wide-outs high in the draft.  Marcus Nash and Darius Watts were both big busts and Ashley Lelie, who had some serious talent, never really put it all together to live up to the hype and his first round selection.  25% success

Defensive End: Trevor Pryce stands out as a fantastic pick early in Shanahan’s coaching career, since then he has  failed to draft a early round quality defensive line player in 4 tries (Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, Monate Reagor, Paul Toviessi).   20% success

While this sampling of players does leave out late round gems (i.e. Peyton Hillis, Elvis Dumervil, Brandon Marshall, and Terrell Davis) that Shanahan has picked up throughout the years, it does give us some insight into what is going on in his head and what should be going on in his head.  Shanahan has had trouble with receivers, but been wildly successful picking up Pro Bowl caliber linebackers in the early rounds.  If we are fortuitous enough to have the choice of Robert Quinn OLB from UNC, and Julio Jones WR from Alabama, I say go the safe route based on the history.  Setting up a dynamic pass rush with Osackpo and Quinn would have the Redskins D headed in the right direction and make our 3-4 far more formidable in year two.  WR is a big risk, and even though Julio Jones can do things on one good leg that many professional athletes dream of doing on two, I have a terrible feeling that his talent will go to waste with the likes of Rex Grossman throwing to him.   We’ll see what happens come April 28th and 29th but if history tells us anything, it’s that Shanahan’s early round focus should be on filling the Redskin’s needs at LB, QB (can he find the next Cutler in one this years less heralded QBs?), or DB.

With top tier QB’s Gabbert and Newton almost certainly gone by pick #10, the Redskins look to trade back to pick up their future QB Jake Locker or Andy Dalton later in the first round but have trouble finding a trade partner.  Stuck at #10, the Skins send in their pick, Robert Quinn, who will start immediately opposite Brian Orakpo and give opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks nightmares for years to come.

Sound good to you?