In all the hoo-hah about the trade for the second pick in the draft – and the three first-round choices it cost the Redskins – it’s been forgotten how many No. 1s the team traded away when it was going to Super Bowls a few decades ago. Indeed, the Redskins were without a first-rounder 17 times in the 21-year stretch from 1971 to ‘91. Here’s what they got for those selections (and here, while we’re at it, is a link to my column on this subject):
● 1971 (10th pick) – Part of the megatrade with the Rams (seven players, seven draft choices) after Allen moved from Los Angeles to Washington. The pick ostensibly brought DT Diron Talbert, who started for the Redskins for the next decade and made one Pro Bowl.
Who the Rams drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: LB Isiah Robertson. As good a tackle as Talbert was, Robertson, a six-time Pro Bowler, was an even better ‘backer.
● 1972 (20th) – Part of the compensation for the signing of free agent DE Verlon Biggs, previously with the Jets. Biggs held down the right end spot for the Redskins for four seasons.
Who the Jets drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: LB Mike Taylor. Taylor was a major disappointment who lasted only two years in the league.
● 1973 (25th) – To the Colts for WR Roy Jefferson. Jefferson was a solid receiver for Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen, catching 201 passes in his six seasons in Washington and earning Pro Bowl honors in ‘71.
Who the Colts got: QB Marty Domres (after trading the Redskins’ No. 1 to the Chargers). Domres was nothing more than a journeyman, but he did graduate from Columbia.
● 1974 (20th) – To the Rams for SS Richie Petitbon. Petitbon, 33 at the time, played just two more seasons. In the first of them (‘71), though, he had five interceptions.
Who the Rams got: WR Dick Gordon (after sending the Redskins’ No. 1 to the Bears as compensation for signing Gordon, a free agent). Gordon had led the league in receptions (71) and TD catches (13) in 1970 but caught only five more NFL passes after joining L.A.
● 1975 (22nd) – To the Chargers for RB Duane Thomas. The talented but troubled Thomas spent the last two of his four NFL seasons with the Redskins, rushing for a grand total of 442 yards. He did go for 108 in his final game, though. What might have been.
Who the Chargers drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: CB Mike Williams. Williams was a San Diego regular for eight seasons, intercepting 24 passes.
● 1976 (17th) – To the Dolphins for QB Joe Theismann (then playing in Canada). We all know what Joe T. did here. He led the Redskins to two Super Bowls and won the first – over Miami, fittingly, the club that traded him to Washington.
Who the Dolphins drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: LB Larry Gordon. Gordon was a steady player for Miami until 1983, when he dropped dead while jogging. His brother blamed it on cocaine use.
● 1977 (19th) and ‘78 (19th) – To the Cardinals as compensation for signing free agent DT Dave Butz. Butz, a 6-foot-7, 291-pound monster, was a mainstay of the Washington defensive line for 14 seasons, going to three Super Bowls, winning two rings and making the Pro Bowl in 1983.
Who the Cardinals drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1s: QB Steve Pisarkewicz and S Ken Greene. Pisarkewicz, who was supposed to succeed Cards legend Jim Hart, was a bust. That’s why the team had to draft Neil Lomax four years later. Greene had a bit more success, but he was still out of the NFL by the age of 28.
● 1979 (12th) – To the Bengals for CB Lemar Parrish and DE Coy Bacon. Though both players were in their 30s, this was a good trade for the Redskins. Parrish was a fine cover guy (and went to two more Pro Bowls), and Bacon provided pass rush from the right side.
Who the Bengals drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: RB Charles Alexander. Alexander proved to be nothing special, rushing for 2,645 yards in a largely uneventful seven-year career.
● 1982 (14th) – To the Rams for an ‘81 No. 3 (OG Russ Grimm), two ‘81 No. 5s (don’t ask) and an ‘82 No. 2 (CB Vernon Dean). One of the best deals Bobby Beathard ever made. Grimm is ensconced in the Hall of Fame, and Dean started at right corner for 4 ½ seasons, picking off 21 passes.
Who the Rams drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: RB Barry Redden. Redden was a slightly lesser version of Charles Alexander (1,735 rushing yards in nine years with three teams).
● 1984 (27th) – To the Giants for a No. 2 (DT Bob Slater) and No. 5 (LB Jeff Pegues). Slater’s career was wrecked by injuries. Pegues never played in the league.
Who the Giants drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: OT William Roberts. Roberts survived 13 seasons – the first 10 with New York – and started at both tackle and guard. He was a Pro Bowler in 1990.
● 1985 (24th) – To the Saints for RB George Rogers and New Orleans’ No. 5 (S Raphel Cherry), No. 10 (TE Terry Orr) and No. 11 (OG-C Raleigh McKenzie) in ‘85. Rogers gave the Redskins a couple of 1,000-yard seasons, and the versatile McKenzie spent a decade in Washington before moving on to Philadelphia, San Diego and Green Bay. Orr and Cherry also contributed to the cause.
Who the Saints drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: LB Alvin Toles. Toles, out of the NFL by the age of 25, was one of the many regrettable draft decisions made by New Orleans before Jim Finks took over as general manager.
● 1986 (17th) – This was the infamous Tory Nixon trade. In a second-round trade-up in ‘85, the Redskins shipped their No. 2, their ‘86 No. 1 and RB Joe Washington to Atlanta for the Falcons’ higher No. 2 (Nixon) and their ‘86 No. 2 (DT Markus Koch) and No. 6 (which, through another deal, yielded RB Lionel Vital).
Nixon couldn’t make the Redskins’ roster and was unloaded to the 49ers for an ‘86 No. 6 (G Jim Huddleston, who couldn’t make the Redskins’ roster, either). Koch was a sometime starter for six seasons at tackle and end. Vital was one of the stars of Washington’s ‘87 strike team (three games, 346 yards rushing), but that’s the sum total of his NFL experience.
Who the Falcons got for the Redskins’ No. 1: LB-DE Tim Green. Green was just an ordinary player (and is an even more ordinary TV anaylst). As for Joe Washington, he had only one (538-yard) season left. The Redskins’ other No. 2 was turned into DE Mike Gann, a nine-year starter.
● 1987 (27th) and ‘88 (12th) – To the Bears as compensation for signing free agent LB Wilber Marshall. Wilber wasn’t quite the force with the Redskins that he’d been with the freewheeling Bears, but he helped them win Super Bowl XXVI and was a consensus all-pro the following year (1992).
Who the Bears drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1s: WR Wendell Davis and DE Trace Armstrong. Injuries limited Davis to just six seasons, during which he had 207 receptions (with a high of 61 in 1991). The more durable Armstrong lasted 15 years, racking up 106 sacks and going to the Pro Bowl with the Dolphins in 2000.
● 1990 (20th) – To the Falcons for RB Gerald Riggs. Riggs rushed for a 221 yards in his second Redskins game, still the franchise record, but he couldn’t stay healthy. Joe Gibbs ended up using him mostly as a short-yardage/goal-line back in his last two seasons (1990-91).
Who the Falcons drafted with the Redskins’ No. 1: RB Steve Broussard. An undersized (5-7, 201) change-up back, Broussard stuck around for nine years with Atlanta, Cincinnati and Seattle, gaining 3,507 yards from scrimmage.
In case you’re wondering, the Redskins’ four first-round picks during this period were WR Art Monk (1980), OL Mark May (‘81), CB Darrell Green (‘83) and DT Bobby Wilson (‘91). Not bad, huh? Monk, May and Green all played at least a decade in the NFL, and all were Pro Bowlers. And Art and Darrell, of course, have taken up residence in Canton with Grimm.