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"We Could Have Fortified our Franchise with the Picks We Forfeited for RG3" (False.)


"We should have never spent picks on a QB until we had the rest of the team solidly in place."
That's what a few regular posters on this board would have us believe. Let's analyze them this before I add any more F words to the title.

We gave up 2 first rounders and 1 second rounder to swap 1st rounders with the Rams.

Let's see what that 2nd rounder could have been expected to net us. Here's our most recent 2nd round picks:

Our recent 2nd Rounders:

Have any of these guys been real difference makers, guys who we could build a franchise around? No offense, Fred, but I have to admit the answer is no.

But that still leaves those two "precious" 1st rounders we let slip through our fingers, those two "can't miss" cornerstones who could have made all the difference to our rebuilding franchise. Let's analyze how our past 1st round picks have worked out in terms of franchise building:

  • Kerrigan - Terrific pick.
  • Orakpo - 3 years of productivity, and now there's a considerable risk his career may be over due to a recurring injury. But we'll give him a pass, even though he won't be able to contribute this season.
  • Silverback - One toke away from a year's suspension. (He hasn't made a Pro Bowl, still gets beat, and I'm not convinced this will be a Pro Bowl season either. But I readily admit he's one of our best players. I'm happy to give him a pass too.)

Things are looking a lot better now that we're into the first round picks. (if we ignore Rak's injury and Silverback's drug history) this is looking pretty encouraging. ...until we expand this small sample size to a more comprehensive listing of our first round draft history:

  • Laron Landry: Not the difference maker we so wanted and needed. He turned into a "Cap Killer" instead.
  • Sean Taylor: gone.
  • Carlos Rogers: Didn't work out either, and couldn't get the turnovers needed from a franchise corner.
  • Jason Campbell: I liked Jason. On the other hand, where did he get us?
  • Patrick Ramsey: Nice Guy, but that's about all.
  • Rod Gardner: Nope.
  • Lavar Arrington: Tremendous for 3 seasons. Over the course of his Redskins career Lavar averaged less than 4 sacks a season, only 1.7 forced fumbles per season and he intercepted only 3 passes the entirety of his Redskins career.
  • Chris Samuels: Terrific.
  • Champ Bailey: Awesome.
  • Kenard Lang: Nope.
  • Andre Johnson: Nope.
  • Michael Westbrook: Nope.
  • Heath Shuler: Nope.
  • Tom Carter: Nope.
  • Desmond Howard: Nope.
  • Bobby Wilson: Nope.

It appears only about a third of these first round picks resulted in a cornerstone career player. This begs the questions, "What about the NFL as a whole? Surely the Redskins are the exception to the rule?!" Sorry, prepare to be disappointed. "Hit and miss", even on 1st rounders, is the rule of NFL drafts, even when drafting in the 1st round.

Of the 319 first-round picks taken in the last 10 years (the Patriots forfeited their 2008 selection as a penalty for "Spygate"):

— 98 made at least one Pro Bowl (31 percent)

— 55 made more than one Pro Bowl (17 percent)

In other words, less than a third of projected "franchise building" 1st rounders have gone to a Pro Bowl. Less than one in five earned more than 1 Pro Bowl appearance. That means out of the entire first round, despite all the intense film scrutiny and the comprehensive measuring and testing, only five or six guys taken in the entire 1st round ever live up to fans' and coaching staffs' expectations.

Did you notice something else? What does a team without a franchise QB do with its 1st round picks? It repeatedly spends those 1st round picks every few years drafting a QB the team hopes against hope will be "the guy." Take for example our 1st round picks Campbell, Ramsey and Shuler. Unfortunately a team's chances of landing a multi-year Pro Bowl QB in the 1st round are less than 1 in 5.


Some posters on this board like to argue the picks we gave up for RG3 would have provided a "solid foundation" for our franchise. History shows those picks were far more likely to net us one or none cornerstone player, and that's only if you assume the Skins didn't draft any QB in the 1st round this year of the next two, choosing instead to go with Rex or another veteran, and drafting players with all three 1st rounders and the 2nd. In my book one cornerstone player does not a franchise make.

As much as I would have loved to see the Redskins dramatically improve the talent all around RG3, those few high round draft picks had little statistical chance of doing so. I readily admit Robert by himself is not a "dynasty." He's probably only the bedrock, foundation and catalyst for one.

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