His career with the Redskins didn’t last as long as some had hoped, but Penn State’s LaVar Arrington, for several years, provided the game-changing play every team wants from their first-rounder.
It helps that Arrington wasn’t just a first-round talent; he was a top-three talent. Arrington played out an esteemed college football career with the Penn State Nittany Lions. He played there for three seasons, carving out a historic tenure that left him as one of the faces on the “Mount Rushmore” of Penn State football, per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
Known for his unique combination of athleticism, size (6-foot-3, 253 pounds), and playmaking ability on the field, Arrington was widely viewed as a can’t-miss pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, and so the Redskins selected him at No. 2, just before selecting Chris Samuels with the No. 3 overall pick.
In a woeful first-round history, 2000 stands out as a strangely successful year for the burgundy and gold. While Samuels would go on to lock down the left tackle position for almost a decade, Arrington would provide an explosive playmaking presence early.
In his first four years, the linebacker went to four Pro Bowls, racking up 281 tackles, 21.5 sacks, three interceptions, 20 pass deflections and six forced fumbles.
After his fourth-year, Arrington signed an eight-year, $68 million extension with the team, and conveniently enough, his play quality plummeted after that deal.
Injuries decimated his playing time, and after missing most of the 2004 season, he was relegated to a part-time starting position in 2005. After that year, he was released to the free agency market, where he signed a massive seven-year, $49 million deal with the New York Giants. 2006 would be his last year in the league.
Arrington’s stint in D.C. was relatively short, but the Penn State product had a considerable impact, nevertheless. As the only linebacker drafted in the first-round in Washington history, it’s safe to say that the Redskins’ hit rate is 100 percent at that position.