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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Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

Slingin’ Sammy Baugh wasn’t your average Biff Loman.

Baugh played in the days of muddy, unkempt fields, leather helmets, and black and white movie tape, but there was nothing black and white about Baugh’s football career. Baugh could do it all.

In college, Baugh was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. He originally thought about playing professional baseball, but after receiving an offer to play in the NFL with the Redskins. After reaffirming his confidence in such a venture by shutting out the Green Bay Packers in the college All-Star game, Baugh decided to give it a shot.

It worked out. Baugh immediately flourished as a starter for the Redskins, winning an NFL Championship in his very first year. In his ensuing 15 years with the team, he would win another NFL Championship in 1942.

Over his career, he threw for 21,886 yards, 187 touchdowns and 203 interceptions. In that grueling era of football, those stats are more than satisfactory. And while Baugh may be listed as a quarterback, he didn’t just do that.

He also played defensive back. In 1942, Baugh led the league with 11 interceptions. He also led the league in passing and average yards per punt that year. Scot McCloughan would have loved this draft pick. Baugh was a ‘football player’ (insert gruff general manager accent).

To not only last 15 years, but to sustain success over that time, was a rare feat in the early days of football, and Baugh accomplished this feat. He was recognized as a Pro Bowler in six seasons, as an All-Pro in four. In 1947 and 1948, he was the NFL Player of the Year.

Baugh’s impact goes beyond stats. In a running league, Baugh was the first to win using the pass, and he was the first to bring excitement to the Washington franchise. Baugh was a rare player who evolved the game of football.

He was accordingly recognized for this in 1963, when he was one of the first players to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His No. 33 is the only jersey to be officially retired by the Redskins. When you see the next two names on this list, you’ll know how much that means.