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HARRIS: With pick No. 51 in NFL draft, Redskins could use a Clinton Portis
Question of the Day
So Shanahan definitely upgraded with his second try at 51. Ah, but then he slipped again. Denver took linebacker Terry Pierce in 2003. He at least played, 18 games worth, before injuries ended his career.
Look at it this way: Shanahan is due for a hit at No. 51.
If the Skins get a Portis type at No. 51 (regardless of position), that would be a quality pick.
They can aim higher, too. You can get a Hall of Famer at No. 51. Well, once someone got a Hall of Famer at No. 51. In 1981, the Saints selected linebacker Rickey Jackson out of Pittsburgh. In 2010, Jackson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jackson is easily the king of the No. 51 club.
This will be the fifth time Washington will make the 51st pick of the draft. Bonus points if you can name two of the previous four without a trip to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Or even one. If you can name all four, you probably need to get out more.
In 1945, Washington used No. 51 on John North, an end from Vanderbilt. He probably was very bright. He was a solid player. Mr. North played three seasons with the Colts, starting in 1948. He caught 38 passes.
Nick Carras went to Washington in 1953 with the 51st pick. A back from Missouri, there’s no indication he ever played in the NFL.
It was years before Washington selected 51st again, and the team took Greg Jones, a linebacker from Colorado, in that slot in 1997. He lasted four years with the Redskins and six in the league. He had 3.5 sacks, more than half his career total, as a rookie.
The most recent No. 51 by the Skins was receiver Malcolm Kelly out of Oklahoma in 2008. Injuries cut short his career after only two seasons and 28 catches.
Finally, there is some recent history to give hope to the Redskins‘ biggest apparent need. Green Bay took safety Nick Collins 51st in 2005. He played 95 NFL games, all starts. Collins was a second-team all-NFL choice three years in a row, from 2008-10. He had 21 career interceptions.
Sadly, a severe neck injury suffered in the second week of the 2011 season ended Collins’ career.
This is a key pick for the Skins. Improved as they are, they still need help. No one is expecting another RG3. But the team needs to get closer to a Portis and a Collins than it does to a Toviessi.
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About the Author
Washington Times sports editor Mike Harris has more than 30 years experience in the business as a reporter, columnist and manager. He’s covered a wide variety of events including two Olympics, horse racing, auto racing, professional and college sports. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow the section on Twitter @WashTimesSports.
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