Examining Commanders' unhappy draft hunting ground at No. 2 overall

Will general manager Adam Peters have more luck in 2024?
Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III / Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
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Norm Snead - 1961 NFL Draft

After the Riley Smith pick, the now-Washington Commanders would not have the second pick for 26 years. For many of the intervening campaigns, thanks to the presence of Sammy Baugh, they were too good to pick that high.

Washington did have the No. 1 overall pick in 1948. However, that was the result of a short-lived league experiment that awarded the top pick via lottery.

By 1961, Washington was among the worst teams in the history of the league. The expansion Dallas Cowboys were even worse, and the newly minted-Minnesota Vikings were given the first selection. Washington then traded for the Cowboys pick and therefore had both the second and third picks in the draft - something that would be repeated later in franchise history.

Tall, big-armed quarterback Norm Snead, from Wake Forest, was the choice.

Washington had been trying - and failing - to find Baugh’s replacement for more than a decade. Snead seemed like the one who might finally end the drought. He was tough. He could throw deep. But he was sabotaged by a dreadful roster. The signal-caller was harassed constantly and threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns during his rookie season.

But he hung in there. And the following year, when owner George Preston Marshall was finally forced to integrate his roster, Snead formed a special bond with newly-acquired star receiver Bobby Mitchell. He would show a great deal of promise through the 1962 and 1963 campaigns.

After three years in Washington, he was traded for a much better quarterback. The Philadelphia Eagles were growing tired of the antics of Sonny Jurgensen and thought Snead was a better option. How wrong they were.

Snead would have a long and decent career, mostly with the Eagles. But Jurgensen was a sensational acquisition.

Snead was the best selection Washington ever made with the No. 2 pick. Not because of what he did with the franchise, but because of what he fetched them in return.