Washington Redskins: 15 best first-round draft picks of all time

Trent Williams, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /
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Trent Williams, Washington Redskins
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

If there should be any sign of hope for a Washington fan pitying the doomed state of a losing franchise, it is this: Teams build up from the trenches, and the Redskins seem to do fairly well drafting offensive linemen.

After the retirement of six-time Pro Bowler Chris Samuels, the Redskins entered the 2010 offseason with a clear need at the most important position on the front five. The team solidified their quarterback position (or so they thought) by trading for veteran Donovan McNabb in early April, so that in the NFL Draft, they only had one route to take at No. 4: Offensive tackle.

It’s almost lucky that Washington traded for Donovan McNabb. Otherwise, they may have tricked themselves into picking Tim Tebow or Jimmy Clausen. Instead, they secured a perennial All-Pro talent at left tackle in Trent Williams, one of three Oklahoma Sooners to go in the top four that year.

Regardless of the need at quarterback, Williams had a résumé that made it hard to pass him by. Possessing a 6-foot-5, 315-pound frame, as well as 4.88 speed in the 40-yard dash, Williams entered the draft with an inhuman athletic profile. He had already employed these traits successfully at Oklahoma, blocking for Sam Bradford, and the Redskins then drafted him at No. 4, confident that he could seamlessly fill the void left by Samuels.

He has.

In eight seasons, two less than Samuels, Williams has accrued the same amount of Pro Bowl berths, going to six Pro Bowls in the last six seasons. In both 2016 and 2017, Williams was recognized as a First-Team All-Pro.

His level of consistency has mirrored and even surpassed that of his successor, and his toughness is unmatched throughout the league. He played on a knee that need surgery for 10 games in 2017, and he still didn’t allow a sack.

In the NFL Network’s annual Top 100 Players series, voted on by the players themselves, Williams has received the respect concurrent with his reputation. He’s been ranked on the list for the past five years, falling in at No. 99 in 2013, No. 60 in 2014, No. 47 in 2015, No. 45 in 2016 and No. 47 again in 2017.

Talent recognizes talent. And in terms of talent, there are few who can compete with Trent Williams. The burly bookend has already cemented himself into D.C. sports lore as a titan among men. And he hasn’t even turned 30 yet. With more time, and continued dominance, he could be recognized on a larger stage.