Redskins Are Rolling the Dice with Only 8 Offensive Linemen

When I think of the Redskins OLine last year, a lot of image-related similes come to mind - the gushing BP oil cap, the Arizona/Mexico border, and George Costanza's defective blue condom. Given the amount of injuries this team went through in 2009 and the lack of quality depth, one would think Shanahan would carry 10 OL like Zorn did last year. That's why it surprised me a bit the Redskins are only carrying 8.

Redskins 2010 OL Depth Chart
LT LG C RG RT
T. Williams Dockery Rabach A. Hicks J. Brown
S. Heyer Lichtensteiger Lichtensteiger W. Montgomery S. Heyer


So, Stephon Heyer is the backup Tackle in both spots (Artis Hicks has Tackle experience in the past). Both Will Montgomery and Kory Lichtensteiger can ball at Guard and Center if called upon, so there is a lot of options for shuffling should the Redskins need to...although McNabb should take out a second life insurance policy if Rabach or Williams goes down. To give you an idea, the Saints and Cowboys have 10 OL and the Eagles and Giants have 9. Three of the Redskins OL are 30 or older (Brown will be 30 in March),  which makes me think Shanahan is a guy that would enjoy a craps table. Selvish Capers got worked over in pre-season, so based on the last two years, we know what talent practice squad players bring in a starting role.

Should it be a disappointment that 0 of the Redskins four 6th and 7th round draft picks made the roster? YES. On one hand, putting them on the practice squad saves rooms for a veteran that we couldn't keep otherwise, on the other hand, it's a failure of a pick. The fact is there are players in these rounds that turn out to be starter quality and the Redskins missed the mark. I'm actually a little shocked this was the case since Shanahan had the entire year last year to watch the college game, visit schools, and assess players.

One.Cool.Customer, a blogger for the Cowboys' SBN site, Blogging the Boys, did a fantastic post summing up the success rate of the NFC East draft picks over the last two years. The Redskins not only have the worst average round pick (4.9), but they have a DISMAL 38% survival rate on the current roster (the purging of Vinny's picks is a significant part of this). 

NFC East 2009 & 2010 draft pick survival rate

Cowboys

Eagles

Giants

Redskins

No. of picks

19

21

16

13

On 53-man roster

79%(15)

67%(14)

75%(12)

38% (5)

Employed by an NFL team

89% (17)

81%(17)

88%(14)

69% (9)


BTB sums it up nicely:

The Redskins this year had only two of their six draft picks make the 53-man roster. The four cuts were all 6th and 7th round picks, but still: Where the Redskins are 0-for-4, the Cowboys are 3-for-4 on 6th and 7th rounders, the Eagles are 2-for-4 and the Giants 2-for-2 if you count Adrian Tracy (on IR) as part of the 53-man roster.

I agreed with the statement Shanahan made two days ago:

"The worst thing people can do is keep a draft pick just to keep a draft pick," Shanahan said recently. "What you do is you keep the people who give you the best chance to win."

But at the same time, we need some young players that can play. If we look at Super Bowl winners, they hit homeruns in their drafts. The Redskins are of course without their 3rd and 4th round picks next year and due to those trades, have multiple 6th and 7th round picks. Let's just say I won't be sprinting to the TV when those picks come up next April. OK, yea I will.

It shouldn't have to come down to injuries, but if a lineman gets banged up early, it's pretty safe to say a trade will need to be made. The question then is asked, ‘Can the Redskins do it without trading any draft picks?"

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