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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Washington Redskins: All-Time Biggest Draft Day Regrets

There is, tragically, quite a long history of "we sohuld have taken...." for the Washington Redskins. At first, they hit gold.

Quarterback Sammy Baugh

Superstar, hall of fame, championship quarterback Sammy Baugh was the Skins first round pick in 1937. Baugh remains the only rookie quarterback in NFL history, to lead his team to a title in his first season. 

Running Back Jim Brown

Fast forward 20 years to 1957, they could have made a trade with the Packers for their  #4 overall pick and had their choice of Hall of Famers: Quarterback Len Dawson or HB Jim Brown. The Packers had already picked, taking hall of fame HB Paul Horning #1, so at the right price, the Redskins could have moved up.

Tight End Mike Ditka

In 1961, they had the #2 and #3 picks overall. They took QB Norm Snead who had a respectable career but missed out on TE Mike Ditka who, had he been a Redskin, may have moved into a coaching position. But then Gibbs may not have been coach and they wouldn't have won three Super Bowls.

A sad Cowboys mascot

They could have struck a blow to their biggest rival, though. With their second pick the Redskins chose DT Joe Rutgens, but DT Bob Lilly was right there. Had they taken Lilly, the Cowboys would not have selected him and who knows how that could have affected the Doomsday Defense?

Chargers great Lance Allworth

1962 they had the first pick and chose Ernie Davis (who?) but should have taken WR Lance Allworth, future hall of famer.

TE John Mackey

1963 TE Richter was their first rounder but they could have traded it for two second rounders perhaps, and picked up a better tight end in John Mackey, taken in round two by Baltimore and used the other pick to add depth.

WR Charley Taylor

1964 was a year they got it right. They took consecutive future hall of famers with their first and second round pick:  WR Charley Taylor & DB Paul Krause.

A second rounder, their first pick in the 1965 draft, would have been better used on WR Fred Biletnekoff, who was chosen in the third round by the Detroit Lions.

Imagine the offense the Redskins would have had entering the Super Bowl era: QB Len Dawson, HB Jim Brown & TE Mike Ditka would have certainly become a vicious trifecta. Toss in what could have been a 1960's "Posse" of wideouts Lance Allworth, Charley Taylor and Fred Biletnikoff. Perhaps Vince Lombardi comes to the Redskins earlier than 1970 and the Skins appearance in Sjuper Bowl VII ends up not being their first.

Vince Lombardi

Sporting a championship caliber squad headed into the 1970's, the Skins would not have had such a need to trade away early round picks for players, as head coach George Allen did. Case in point: the Redskins did not have a pick higher than round 4 from 1973 to 1979.

That's not the world we live in. That harkens back to a long ago time when just about everything was different in the National Football League. However, it shows just how close we were to a Redskins dynasty in the 60's - 70's, had they made their picks right.

Art Monk looks at his Hall of Fame bust in quiet, humble awe

In 1980, head coach Jack Pardee had taken wide receiver Art Monk in the first round. No regrets there.

Redskins legend Joe Gibbs in front of the championship banners he made happen in DC

1981 brought Joe Gibbs to town and he soon became known for trading away the first round pick to add later round picks, allowing the team to add depth where needed. This was a brilliant strategic move by a brilliant coach.

Redskins CB Darrell Green made his presence known his rookie year, chasing down and tackling Cowboys RB Tony Dorsett from behind. The Skins knew they had a special player.

In 1983 the Redskins took cornerback Darrell Green in the first round, no regrets. Gibbs did not use a first round pick again until 1991 when he took DT Bobby Wilson. Wilson fared decently and since he was a mid first rounder at #17, wouldn't qualify for "bust status".

The 1990's were not good years for Redskins Nation. A lot of people point to Joe Gibbs' decision to trade up in the 1992 draft to snag wide receiver Desmond Howard, as a colossal bust. Howard actually enjoyed a long career that spanned all the way until 2002. The Redskins were reigning Super Bowl champs in 1992 so this was more of a "candy pick", frosting on a championship cake.

Draft bust Heath Shuler now lives in the past, remembering the college years in TV commercials

The biggest bust in Redskins history is 1994's number three overall pick, quarterback Heath Shuler. Shuler was an objectively terrible NFL quarterback. Lawrence Taylor, doing commentary for a TNT network broadcast of a Redskins vs. Eagle game, said, "If I was out there on defense and looked across the line and saw Shuler, I would have no doubt we would win. He doesn't inspire a lick of fear in me, and likely no opponent either."

The Shuler pick was monumentally bad because the very next pick, number four overall, was defensive end Willie McGinest. This is significant because the next year the Redskins could have traded down from number four overall, taking Tampa Bay's two first rounders, which the Bucs used to draft two hall of fame defenders: DT Warren Sapp and LB Derrick Brooks.

Headed into the 1995 season, the Skins would have had the makings of a great defense. Quarterback Gus Frerotte, taken in the seventh round in 1994, was an ideal quarterback for this developing scenario. Frerotte was a good "game manager" and with a strong defense, he would have brought more wins to the nation's capital.

Power back Stephen Davis in the throwback uni's from 2002

Power back Stephen Davis, drafted in 1996 would have given the Skins added clock management ability, further taking pressure off of Frerotte. Consider this, in 1996 the Redskins started 7-1 with Frerotte at quarterback. They collapsed to a 9-7 finish, mostly due to their lack of defense. Now imagine a defense that still had cornerback Darrell Green, plus McGinest & Sapp on the line, with Brooks roaming the middle of the defense.

Teacher & Student- Darrell Green teaching Champ Bailey the nuances of being a great cornerback

Then in 1999 the Redskins added cornerback Champ Bailey to complement Green. They also added tackle Jon Jansen who, despite injuries, was a mainstay of the offensive line for years.

In 2000, they had the number 2 and number 3 overall picks for the second time in franchise history. They took tackle Chris Samuels and linebacker Lavar Arrington. Remember how the Redskins could have been an offensive juggernaut in the late 60's - early 70's? Look at this defensive lineup: CB's Darrell Green & Champ Bailey. LB's Lavar Arrington & Derrick Brooks, defensive linemen Willie McGinest & Warren Sapp.

Dan Snyder & Schotty

Mix in some 'actual history' and say that in 2001 Dan Snyder still hires Marty Schottenheimer. Marty would have the toold in place to run his "Marty Ball" offense, he'd just need to hire a competent defensive coordinastor. We'd be looking at a Redskins vs. Patriots Super Bowl in 2001.

Obviously the Redskins should have / could have drafted QB Tom Brady prior to the sixth round in 2000, but so could thirty other teams. They could have made up for it, though, had they drafted quarterback Drew Brees to give incumbent starter Gus Frerotte, some competition. (Obviously Brees would have won that one) Which means....

Saints quarterback drew Brees hoisting the Lombardi Trophy 2002 the Redskins would not have even considered drafting QB Patrick Ramsey with the #32 overall pick. They could have taken wide receiver Deion Branch, whom the Patriots took at the end of the second round. Branch, as you may remember, played out of his mind in Super Bowl XXXVIII, catching 10 passes for 143 yard and a touchdown. Had the Redskins picked him, would New England have out scored the Panthers? Perhaps...

WR Deion Branch

....because the Redskins actually let running back Stephen Davis test free agency, and he signed with the Panthers. His running in the 2003 season was a large factor in Carolina's surrising Super Bowl run. However, with an already championship level team, would Davis have left at all?

Darrell Green retired in 2002 but the 2003 draft held a plethora of talented defensive backs, many of whom are still playing today. Okay, enough fantasy. Let's get down to it.

The BIGGEST draft day regret for the Washington Redskins?

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers won Super Bowl XLV over Ben rothlesberger and the Steelers

NOT drafting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2005. In reality, the Redskins did pick a quarterback in the first round, Jason Campbell. Also in reality, they picked him right after Green Bay took Rodgers #24 overall. The Skins could have had him, easily. The Redskins had two first round picks in 2005 and could have used that number 9 overall, to pick Aaron Rodgers.

In 2005, Joe Gibbs was in the second season of his second run with the Redskins. Imagine Joe Gibbs with his first legitimate, star quarterback since Joe Theismann.


One can dream, right?




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