The Redskins rolled the dice again Thursday night in the first round of the NFL draft. The Washington Times’ columnist Dan Daly runs down their greatest hits, misses and other notable first-rounders (*Hall of Famer):
QB Sammy Baugh*, TCU (1937, 6th overall) - Quarterbacked the Redskins to the title as a rookie. By the time he was done, he owned practically every team and league passing mark.
RB Charlie Taylor*, Arizona State (1964, 3rd) - A Pro Bowler at running back and receiver (where he became the NFL’s all-time receptions leader). Also a lights-out blocker.
CB Darrell Green*, Texas A&M-Kingsville (1983, 28th) - The perennial NFL’s Fastest Man played 20 stellar seasons at arguably the most difficult position on the field. His punt-returning was top shelf, too.
WR Art Monk*, Syracuse (1980, 18th) - Consummate Go-To Guy for a succession of QBs in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Like Taylor, he held the receptions record for a time.
QB Norm Snead, Wake Forest (1961, 2nd) - Might not have been a great quarterback for the Redskins, but they were able to trade him for a great quarterback (Sonny Jurgensen*).
QB Heath Shuler, Tennessee (1994, 3rd) - In the end, he couldn’t beat out the quarterback drafted that same year in the seventh round - Gus Frerotte. Has been much more popular as a U.S. congressman.
OT Andre Johnson, Penn State (1996, 30th) - The Redskins moved up (at the cost of two picks) to get him, but he never stepped on the field for them. Played in only three NFL games.
DB Jim “Yazoo” Smith, Oregon (1968, 12th) - Had to retire after one season because of a neck injury. Later sued the league over the draft, calling it a restraint of trade, and won.
RB Ray McDonald, Idaho (1967, 13th) - At 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, he was supposed to be a Riggins-type back. Alas, he rushed for a mere 223 yards in his brief career.
WR Desmond Howard, Michigan (1992, 4th) - Granted, he was the Super Bowl MVP for the Packers as a kick returner. Was so lacking as a receiver, though, that the Redskins let him go in the ‘95 expansion draft.
THE (FILL IN THE BLANK)
RB Ernie Davis, Syracuse (1962, 1st) - One of just two No. 1 overall picks Redskins have had, he was traded to the Browns for WR Bobby Mitchell* (among others). Died of leukemia in ‘63.
K Charlie Gogolak, Princeton (1966, 6th) - An early soccer-styler, and the first kicker ever drafted in the first round. The Redskins insured his foot for $1 million. A leg injury kept him from fulfilling his promise.
QB Jim Hardy, Southern Cal (1945, 8th) - Five years later, with the Cardinals, he became the only NFL player to commit 10 turnovers in a game (eight interceptions - still the record - and two fumbles).
RB Spec Sanders, Texas (1942, 6th) - Signed with the New York Yankees of the rival All-America Conference. In the single wing in ‘47, he rushed for 1,432 yards (18 TDs) and passed for 1,442 (14 TDs). Wow.
RB Cal Rossi, California (1946, 9th) - The pick was voided when it turned out Rossi still was a junior. Undaunted, the Redskins drafted him in the first round (4th) the next year. He decided not to play pro ball.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at email@example.com.
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