What if Willie Smith and Mo Hurt are the future of this team? The thought of a late round guard, and an undrafted tackle must make your stomach turn, but not so long ago, there was a good line in DC made up of one 1st round pick(OT - May), one 3rd round pick(G - Grimm), one 11th round pick(OT - Stark), and two undrafted players in C, Bostic and OT Jacoby. Yes, I'm talking about your beloved Hogs.
The corp group, Bostic, Grimm, May and Jacoby were all aquired between the 1980, and 1981 seasons, and all were either draft picks, or undrafted free agents. Stark, who was originally drafted in 1971, lasted only a short time with this group, before retiring in 1984.
How good did the Redskins coaching staff think this collective group would be? Not nearly as good as they would become .
What does this have to do with todays line? Nothing, except the notion that you need all high drafts picks to be successful as a unit. The one things the Hogs of the 80's and 90's had in common, was they played together as a unit. The corp group has two higher round draft picks, and two guys who went undrafted(this in a run heavy NFL), but that did not matter. This group stayed together, and grew as a unit from the early 80's, into the early 90's. They had some departures, and they had some additions, like guard McKenzie, who was an 11th round draft pick in 1985, tackle Simmons, who was a 6th round pick in 1987, Lachey, a 1st round selection by the Chargers, who was aquired in a trade with the Raiders in 1988, and tackle Simms, who was a 6th round pick in 1987, but throughout the course of a decade, the corp group remained intact.
Turn to todays team. What can we learn from the Hogs of the 80's and early 90's? We can learn that we will never be the Hogs again, and that it's time to move on from those glory days, and start a new tradition in D.C. We can also learn that chemistry, and trusting those next to you, have just as much importance, as where you were drafted. Finally, we can see, that even today, it doesn't require five high draft picks to make an offensive line successful, rather cohesion, trust, stability, good coaching, and the ability to perform as one, plays and equally important role.
This current line, which has been decimated with injury(and now suspension)this season, has endured the tough road it encountered, and is playing its best football late in the season, and guess what, it is doing so with two rookies, one a 7th round selection, and one who went undrafted, a center who most in the league wouldn't even recognize, a free agent guard, who wasn't even amongst the top 2 guards on his former team, and a right tackle, who joined the team a few weeks ago.
We all know Trent Williams is the future of the team at one tackle spot, but besides him, things remain up in the air. Mo Hurt has exceeded all expectations after being pressed into action as a rookie, following an injury to starter Kory Licht. Center has been alright, with Montgomery having made a pretty smooth transition to the position this season. Right guard has been steadily improving, as Chester has seemed to have gelled with this unit, and has been playing well down the stretch. Right tackle is somewhat of a mystery, but Willie Smith, who has filled in for the suspended Trent Williams at left tackle, might very well be a consideration there next year.
Could the staff have enough faith in one first round draft pick, two late round, or undrafted guys, a free agent, and a possibel upgrade at center, to move forward into the 2012 season with a line who could grow together, develop chemistry, and possibly continue the tradition of solid line play that was started 30 years ago by Joe Bugel? Yeah, these guys would certainly not be the old Hogs of the 80's, and early 90's, but just like those players under Bugel 30 years ago, someone gave them a chance, and they stuck together for the good part of a decade; and guess what, it worked!
Maybe a little of what we are missing these days in D.C., can be found right under our nose, if we just take the time, and effort to help develop it.