- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

In an ideal world, every draft pick would become an impactful player, a starter, a Pro Bowler, an All-Pro or Hall of Famer. That simply doesn’t happen, of course, as any Redskins fan can attest.

Of the 1,212 draftees in the team’s history, only nine have gone on to make the Hall of Fame. Just 94 played 100 career games, according to Pro Football Reference.

The numbers only reinforce the old cliche that the NFL draft is truly a crapshoot. Some picks are better than others.

In the Redskins’ case, here’s a look at the franchise’s 10 best picks ever. Note: No players who went on to play the majority of their careers elsewhere, like Hall of Famers Champ Bailey and Paul Krause are included.

Sammy Baugh, quarterback (1st round, pick 6, 1937)

Baugh helped put football in the District on the map, becoming the face of the franchise the season after the team moved from Boston. You can’t do much better than that. In 16 seasons with the Redskins, the Texas Christian legend made the Pro Bowl six times and won the NFL championship twice. In the fall, he was one of 10 quarterbacks named to the NFL 100 all-time team.

Darrell Green, cornerback (1st round, pick 28, 1983)

Besides Baugh, Green was the only other player drafted by the Redskins to make the NFL’s all-time 100 greatest roster. It was an easy choice. The cornerback’s longevity spanned three decades — playing 20 seasons until his retirement at age 42 in 2002. In that span, the former Texas A&I star owned his side of the field, once ran down Tony Dorsett from behind and, oh yeah, won two Super Bowls with the Redskins.

Art Monk, wide receiver (1st round, pick 18, 1980)

Monk is Washington’s all-time leader in receiving yards and it’s not particularly close. In 14 seasons, the Syracuse product caught 888 passes for 12,026 yards — almost 3,000 yards more than the next receiver (see: No 8). Monk made the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Sean Taylor, safety (1st round, pick 5, 2004)

Taylor’s career can’t be discussed without mentioning the tragedy of his murder in 2007. Yet despite only playing in two-plus seasons, Taylor was likely on his way to becoming an all-time great. Talk to practically any safety in the league today and they’ll mention the influence the former Miami Hurricane standout — with his aggression and bone-rattling hits — had on there approach to the game. It’s hard to find players that special.

Russ Grimm, guard (3rd round, pick 69, 1981)

The former University of Pittsburgh All-American was the anchor of “The Hogs,” the Redskins’ bullying, era-defining offensive line of the ‘80s. Grimm made four consecutive All-Pro teams from 1983 to 1986. He was an excellent find in the third round, as well. Grimm and the Redskins won three Super Bowls together. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dexter Manley, defensive end (5th round, pick 290, 1981)

Oklahoma State’s Manley turned out to be another mid-round steal for the Redskins from the1981 draft. He might be missing the Hall of Fame credentials, but he is Washington’s all-time leader in sacks with 91 and started 113 games over his nine years in Washington.

Chris Hanburger, linebacker (18th round, pick 245, 1965)

The NFL switched to its seven-round format in 1994, but long before that, the league featured as many as 32 rounds. In 1965, when there were just a modest 20 rounds, the Redskins found North Carolina’s Hanburger in the 18th — a linebacker who played 14 seasons and made nine Pro Bowls. The latter leads the Redskins all-time.

Charley Taylor, wide receiver (1st round, pick 3, 1964)

The Redskins drafted Taylor to be a running back, but the future Hall of Famer from Arizona State made his impact as a receiver. In 1966 and 1967, Taylor led the league in receptions with 72 and 70 respectively. His 9,110 receiving yards trail only Monk in franchise history, and in a neat bit of trivia, Taylor served as Monk’s position coach during Joe Gibbs’ tenure as coach.

Ryan Kerrigan, linebacker (1st round, pick 16, 2011)

Up until last year, Kerrigan had a consecutive streak of 139 games snapped when he missed a week with a concussion. Before then, the Purdue product had quietly been one of the league’s most productive pass-rushers — having the fourth-most in the NFL. He is one sack short of tying Manley’s record, as well. In the Dan Snyder-era, the only Redskins who have made more Pro Bowls than Kerrigan are Trent Williams, Chris Samuels, Bailey and London Fletcher. Let’s give Kerrigan’s durability the nod here.

Len Hauss, center (9th round, pick 115, 1964)

Georgia’s Hauss was another iron man for the Redskins. He made 194 consecutive starts after moving to the starting lineup a few weeks into his rookie year. The five-time Pro Bowler’s 194 starts are also the second-most in team history behind only Green.

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