It’s bad enough there’s only one Redskin – soon to be ex-Redskin Donovan McNabb – ranked among the NFL Network’s Top 100 players. (And McNabb, at No. 100, brings up the very rear.) What really drives you crazy, though, is when you consider how many of those guys could have wound up right here in Washington … that is, if the people making the decisions had had a better eye for talent.
As you’ll see below, the Redskins could have drafted 10 of the top 13 – and could have drafted or signed out of college 17 of the top 25. Think their roster (and recent history) might look a little different if they had gotten their hands on even a few of these players? The details:
● 1. QB Tom Brady, Patriots (sixth round, 2000) – The whole world could have drafted Brady. He was the 199th player picked. The Redskins’ last chance to get him came late in the fifth round, but they opted for FS Quincy Sanders (155th overall), who never played in the NFL.
● 3. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings (seventh overall, 2007) – The Redskins could have selected Peterson at No. 6, but took SS LaRon Landry instead.
● 4. LB Ray Lewis, Ravens (26th overall, 1996) – The Redskins originally had the sixth pick in the round, but traded it for DT Sean Gilbert.
● 5. FS Ed Reed, Ravens (24th overall, 2002) – The Redskins originally had the 18th pick, but moved down twice – first to 21, then to 32 – and wound up drafting QB Patrick Ramsey.
● 6. SS Troy Polamalu, Steelers (16th overall, 2003) – The Redskins originally had the 13th pick, but gave it to the Jets as compensation for signing restricted free agent WR Laveranues Coles. (Coles, of course, was later returned to the Jets in exchange for WR Santana Moss.)
● 8. CB Darrelle Revis, Jets (14th overall, 2007) – Another player the Redskins could have chosen instead of Landry.
● 9. QB Drew Brees, Saints (32nd overall, 2001) – Brees was the first pick of the second round, so everybody passed on him in Round 1. The Redskins had the 15th pick but went for a receiver, Rod Gardner.
● 11. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers (24th overall, 2005) – The Redskins, picking ninth, took CB Carlos Rogers.
● 12. OLB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys (11th overall, 2005) – Another direction the Redskins could have gone in with the Rogers pick.
● 13. RB Chris Johnson, Titans (24th overall, 2008) – The Redskins originally had the 21st selection, but traded out of the first round and, with the two second-rounders they acquired, took WR Devin Thomas and TE Fred Davis.
● 18. CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders (32nd overall, 2003) – The Redskins could have drafted him at 13 if they hadn’t given up the pick for Coles.
● 19. OLB Clay Matthews, Packers (26th overall, 2009) – With their first-round choice (13th), the Redskins, like Green Bay, took a pass-rushing linebacker (who has since moved to end): Brian Orakpo. (Both have flashed early. We’ll see, over the next decade, who has the better career.)
● 21. OLB James Harrison, Steelers (undrafted, 2002) – Was totally up for grabs when he came out of college. The Steelers signed him initially, though the Ravens also had him briefly before he returned to Pittsburgh.
● 22. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers (undrafted, 2003) – A year after Harrison, Gates – better known as basketballer – was ignored in the draft. San Diego wisely grabbed him.
● 23. ILB Patrick Willis, 49ers (11th overall, 2007) – Another player the Redskins passed up in favor of Landry.
● 24. WR Roddy White, Falcons (27th overall, 2005) – … And another guy the Redskins passed up in favor of Rogers.
● 25. RB Arian Foster, Texans (undrafted, 2009) – After the entire league said “no thanks” at the draft, Houston gave him a shot – and hasn’t regretted it.
If you can bear to keep reading, here’s a selective listing of other Top 100 players the Redskins could have had:
● 29. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles (49th overall, 2008) – The Redskins could have had him at either 34 (Devin Thomas) or 48 (Fred Davis).
● 30. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (60th overall, 2006) – The Redskins traded up from 53 to 35 and selected LB Rocky McIntosh. They could have stayed put, saved themselves the expense (two No. 2s) and drafted Jones-Drew.
(They also could have drafted the 32nd-ranked player, KR-WR Devin Hester, who went 57th that year to the Bears, or the 56th-ranked player, RB Ray Rice, who went 51st to the Ravens.)
● 31. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts (31st overall, 2001) – The Redskins were looking for a wideout that year, too, but they spent their first-rounder, 15th overall, on the forgettable Gardner.
● 42. RB Michael Turner, Chargers (fifth round, 2004) – Turner was the 154th pick. The Redskins, picking 151st, chose TE Mark Wilson, who played a grand total of two games in the league.
● 53. WR Marques Colston, Saints (seventh round, 2006) – Colston (252nd overall) was still on the board when the Redskins made their two seventh-round selections. Both, as it turned out, were washouts – G Kili Lefotu (230th) and LB Kevin Simon (250th).
● 57. C Andre Gurode, Cowboys (37th, 2002) – The Redskins traded to the bottom of the first round and took Ramsey at 32.
● 75. DE Jay Ratliff, Cowboys (seventh round, 2005) – Dallas hit it big with Ratliff, the 224th player selected. The Redskins had a higher pick in the round, 222nd overall, but swung and missed on FB Nehemiah Broughton.
OK, that’s enough.
Top 100 Breakdown
First-round picks: 57
Second round: 11
Third round: 7
Fourth round: 7
Fifth round: 4
Sixth round: 1
Seventh round: 2
The 11 overlooked in the draft: Steelers OLB James Harrison (ranking: 21), Chargers TE Antonio Gates (22), Titans RB Arian Foster (25), Patriots WR Wes Welker (50), Colts C Jeff Saturday (59), Dolphins OLB Cameron Wake (61), Titans FB Vonta Leach (65), Chiefs G Brian Waters (67), Cowboys WR Miles Austin (70), Cowboys QB Tony Romo (72), Browns KR-WR Josh Cribbs (84).
7 – Packers
6 – Colts, Cowboys, Ravens
5 – Chiefs, Falcons, Patriots, Saints
4 – Browns, Eagles, Jets, Steelers, Texans
3 – Chargers, Dolphins, 49ers, Giants, Raiders
2 – Broncos, Browns, Bucs, Cardinals, Lions, Panthers, Titans, Vikes
1 – Bengals, Jaguars, Rams, Redskins
0 – Bills, Seahawks
Other Redskins notes:
● 2003 – In Steve Spurrier’s second season as coach, they swapped a fourth-round pick, 107th overall, for RB Trung Canidate. Had they hung onto the pick, they could have taken DE Robert Mathis (ranked 44th in the Top 100, drafted 138th that year), CB Asante Samuel (ranked 54th, drafted 120th) or even WR Brandon Lloyd (ranked 58th/drafted 124th).
● 2006 – WR Brandon Marshall, the 61st-rated player, was drafted with one of the picks (fourth round, 119th overall) the Redskins sent to the Broncos for a 2005 No. 1. They used that first-rounder, you may recall, on QB Jason Campbell.