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Buying the Draft a drink

The Redskins have long since scorned the Draft as a means of player acquisition, accumulating fewer picks in recent years than anyone in our division; probably close to anyone in the league. The Redskins have also experienced disappointing relative failure to its peers in the division and throughout the league on that same time period. And although correlation is hardly causation, the relationship deserves additional discussion. Many fans, myself included, think it's about time we sack up with the Draft, or at least buy it a drink.

Master4Caster knows what I'm talking about. In a recent article at Running Redskins he calls out the team's ownership and demands a change of direction: Daniel Snyder, lose the "win now" attitude. Part and parcel of his commentary is a criticism of our exiguous draft, typified this year by lacking a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks:

Restore the draft as a source of talent. The Redskins overvalue free agency as a source of talent. Think about this. Stalwarts Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels, Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot, LaVar Arrington, Sean Taylor and Jason Campbell (maybe) came to the Skins by the draft. In your ownership, Santana Moss is the only traded player better than the man he replaced. Shawn Springs is good, but he's no Champ Bailey. Clinton Portis was traded for Bailey. He's one of the top five at his position, but Bailey is simply the best...

Don't be so quick to give up those multiple draft choices for trades. Maybe when you see what Mike Shanahan, a consistent contender, does with that third round draft he got from you through Atlanta, you will start to get it.

And, simply, Hogs Haven agrees. Brandon Lloyd didn't just cost us a third and fourth round pick; he also came with an attendent 29M dollar contract that he cannot possibly earn with 365 receiving yards. And while I recognize the value in picking up a "proven" (in Lloyd's case, "proven" does not denote guarantee of any kind, as he hadn't done anything noteworthy in San Fransisco. But ignore that for a moment) talent in Free Agency, we can get Lloyd-esque production from a late round draft pick without paying them umpteen millions of dollars. That is if we had the draft picks to spend on WR if we hadn't trade them away.

What do you think Gil Brandt?

Back in the early 1970s, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney made a decision. His long-struggling franchise would no longer try to rebuild by trading away draft picks for veteran talent. The Steelers would build a foundation of young players through the NFL draft. And so they did.

Whether it was first-round picks like Terry Bradshaw or fourth-rounders like John Stallworth or fifth-rounders like Mike Webster, the plan worked to perfection, and a dynasty was born.

Well, Gil, I'm not yet convinced. Data is not the plural of anectode...
Going back to the very first draft in 1936, history proves this to be true. At the time, there were nine teams in the NFL, and each team drafted nine players.

Of the nine players taken by the Philadelphia Eagles, none ever played in a regular-season game for Philadelphia. It's not a coincidence that over the next five years, the Eagles won a total of 10 games, with no winning seasons.

Well that's just one example, Gil. You're going to have to do better than that to sell...
During that same draft, five of the nine players drafted by the Chicago Bears played in the NFL -- including future Hall of Famers Joe Stydahar and Dan Fortmann. The Bears won 40 games in that five-year span after the '36 draft, all winning seasons.
Ok, I get it...
From 1956-1958, the Green Bay Packers won a total of eight games. But during that time they drafted five future Hall of Fame players -- Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Ray Nitschke and Jim Taylor -- and four more players who earned Pro Bowl honors -- Ron Kramer, Jerry Kramer, Bob Skoronski and Dan Curry. From 1960-63, they were responsible for 43 victories and two NFL championships.
Gil, please...
In Super Bowl X, of the 87 active players on the combined rosters of the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, 86 were drafted or signed as undrafted free agents by those teams.
You've made your point...
This year's Super Bowl was another good example. Both starting quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman, were acquired via the draft, and a combined 50 players on the Colts and Bears -- including key performers such as Marvin Harrison and Brian Urlacher -- were draft picks.
But but but...
Of the 97 players in this year's Pro Bowl, one was acquired via trade (Champ Bailey) and nine were free-agent signings. So 87 Pro Bowl performers were "homegrown talent" -- playing for the team that originally picked them up.
On Gil's behalf, QED.