Let’s compare the two tackles so far:
From the moment that Mike Shanahan arrived in D.C. and began putting together a staff, draft aficionados were speculating about which player the Redskins’ new brass would select with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. It was generally predicted that the ‘Skins would take an offensive lineman to replace the recently-retired Chris Samuels as their franchise left tackle. The team followed through on that prediction, though they raise a few eyebrows by drafting tackle Trent Williams from the University of Oklahoma instead of Oklahoma State’s more-widely regarded Russell Okung (who was eventually selected a few picks later by Seattle). And with eight weeks of football in the record books, did the ‘Skins make the right choice?
We’ll start with Williams. The rookie showed up to camp and was immediately inserted at the left tackle position. Since then, the young player has put on a good display of athleticism, strong footwork, and strength that really bodes well for his NFL future. Sure, he’s been flagged for a handful of false starts and holding penalties, but for the most part he has demonstrated an ability to handle the speed of the pro game against some of the game’s best pass rushers (in his first five games, he’s already faced the likes of Mario Williams, Trent Cole, Dwight Freeney, and DeMarcus Ware). There have been some down moments, such as giving up the occasional sack/pressure on a one-on-one inside move; but there have also been many positives, such as Williams’ athletic performance while both blocking defensive ends around the pocket and blocking in the second level on running plays (just watch the play against Dallas where he forces a safety all the way over the sideline). He’s also been able to put his two-game absence because of a knee bruise behind him and doesn’t appear to be experiencing any lingering issues. All in all, a promising start.
Now let’s move on to Okung. His rookie season started late after a training camp holdout and a preseason ankle injury slowed his integration into the Seattle offense. But in his limited amount of playing time, Okung has more than shown his talent as a left tackle. He’s blocked well on the left side, showing poise and intelligence in not falling for the inside move trickery that opposing rushers love to throw at rookies. He’s also displayed more athleticism than he was expected to and has become much more confident blocking in the second level in the run game, but the jury is still as to whether he can keep it up. Perhaps his best performance came during the Seahawks’ surprise win over the Chicago Bears a couple of weeks ago. In that game, he held his own against veteran DE Julius Peppers, despite giving up a sack. Unfortunately, Okung has had trouble adjusting to the physical nature of the NFL and is currently questionable to play with another high ankle sprain. But the rookie has shown plenty of capability playing on the line.
I’m going to say the ‘Skins made the right call here. By taking Williams, they got a physical and athletic left tackle that has played well against a tough slate of pass rushers (despite the occasional penalty flag). Williams has also proven to be a quick healer and has avoided any significant injuries, whereas Okung has missed chunks of time with nagging ankle issues. Now, I do realize that Okung can’t necessarily control when or how he gets injured, and that, apart from those injuries, there’s no reason that Okung’s talent wouldn’t have also matched up well against the same slate of DE’s. I’m not blaming Okung for that. My point is that he has come with some headaches (injuries, a contract holdout) that the Redskins are probably glad they didn’t have to deal with. If those issues had happened to them, they likely wouldn’t be tied for second in the NFC East with a record of 4-3 right now.
So I don’t think that anyone at Redskins Park is thinking that the grass is greener in Seattle.
But what do you guys think?
Which OL should the Redskins have drafted?
Trent Williams (73 votes)
Russell Okung (10 votes)
83 total votes