On the eve of another pivotal draft for the Redskins, NFL.com has turned a critical eye to the draft classes of the last five years. Breaking down each year’s Top-10 draft picks, the various writers “re-drafted” the players based on what we know now.
Hindsight is 20/20, after all.
Redskins fans should take comfort in the fact that, given the prospects available, the team made good decisions, selecting quality players to fill areas of need. Earlier this month I posted on the 2007 draft, and how the Redskins rightfully selected LaRon Landry, independent of the fact that he’s no longer with the team.
It turns out that the Redskins actually got a steal in 2009, as Brian Orakpo should have gone No. 3 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. NFL.com’s Jason Smith likes the development of defensive end Tyson Jackson, but Orakpo’s résumé is undeniably better.
And so are his Geico commercials:
Jackson became a very good run stuffer and the Chiefs’ defense was better than everyone thinks it was. But Orakpo is a monster who was selected to Pro Bowls in each of his first three years (he was an alternate last season).
He gets to the passer and is a game-changing disruptor. Jackson’s solid. That’s nice, but I can get “solid” guys easier than I can get someone who can sack the quarterback, play Scrabble and win a showdown with a caveman.
So if anyone complains about the up and down stats of ‘Rak City, just remember that the Redskins filled a major need at pass rush. They also got a player ten spots after he logically should have gone.
In 2010, the Redskins selected Trent “Silverback” Williams with their No. 4 overall pick. Williams was the heir to big shoes (figurative and literal) at left tackle, and has gradually developed into one of the best young tackles in the league.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks makes the argument that if the Redskins had a do-over in 2010, they would still sit pretty with Williams:
The Redskins have struggled offensively, but Williams has been one of the bright spots along the offensive line. A combination of strength and athleticism gives him a chance to become an all-star at the position, but he must manage off-field concerns to reach his true potential.
Following a four-game suspension for a violation of the substance abuse policy, the pressure is on Williams to show his maturity and leadership in Washington this season.
This is a big season for Williams, and an opportunity for him to take the next step that many projected of him. Two years removed from the draft, the confidence is still high with Williams, but that could change depending on how he develops.
Lastly, NFL.com put together a list of the best first-round draft classes of all time. Without question, the top class was the 1983 draft, which featured 15 Pro Bowlers and six Hall Of Famers in the first round (John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Bruce Matthews, Jim Kelly Dan Marino included).
Selected at the end of that round was an undersized cornerback from Texas A&I, one Darrell Green. Curious, that 29 years later, his son Jared will be waiting to hear his name this weekend. To read more about Jared’s path to the pros, read his pre-draft diary, located here, here and here.
Officially eight hours to go until the lights go on at Radio City Music Hall on tonight’s 2012 NFL Draft…