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Washington Redskins Draft: Youth Movement Continues To Be Served

Another draft in the books. The endless debate on how teams did this past weekend begins. The Skins simply had little to work with in this draft, an altogether too common occurrence in recent years. In the second tour of duty for Joe Gibbs, a re-emphasis on the draft--or at least a more serious focus on the kinds of players you bring into town--was seemingly established. This is not to say the Redskins are a team that will rely solely on the draft. They continue to prove that they believe in aggressive free agency activity. But Dan Snyder's word that they would not trade next year's #1 was upheld. And finally, a top pick was used to draft a highly touted defensive lineman. I have been a broken record since the end of Round 2 in last year's draft. Mostly for my own sanity's sake, I agreed to be okay with drafting 2 WR's and a TE all in the 2nd round of one draft as long as in the next draft, they used their highest pick(s) on linemen. Offensive, defensive, don't care. I thought that since it takes receivers longer to adjust to the pros than linemen (especially defensive linemen), why not get at least one or two pass catchers into the program and learning and then bring some OL/DL studs into the fold.

This draft will be judged by the performance of Brian Orakpo on the field. But before we get there, let's celebrate the refreshing nature of identifying an impact defensive lineman, and then when the chance to actually select him fell into our lap, we did not overthink it or get cute.

KevinE thinks we did a B- in this draft. I have a hard time giving the Skins anything worse than that. To me, Cody Glenn, Robert Henson and Eddie Williams are exactly the kinds of players you have to take in the late rounds because everything you read and watch about them suggests they love playing football. They better. Because they won't be getting any mega-deal to sign. They won't be on the cover of any video games. And they won't be on the tips of anyone's tongues in debates leading up to the regular season. But their contribution could be significant. And since Vinny drafted 'em, Vinny ain't cutting them. So they will get a chance.

Let's say Vinny learned his lesson last season and won't keep every single guy he drafted this weekend. For argument's sake, we'll cut Marko Mitchell just because he was the last guy picked. Then let's take a look at the list of current Redskins who were born in 1983 or later (rough cutoff date plucked that keeps the list at or around 25/26 years old).

Lorenzo Alexander, DT
Anthony Alridge, RB
H.B. Blades, LB
Colt Brennan, QB
Alex Buzbee, DE
Devin Clark, OL
Fred Davis, TE
Dominique Dorsey, RB
Alfred Fincher, LB
Kedric Golston, DT
Michael Grant, S
DeAngelo Hall, CB
Stephon Heyer, OL
Chris Horton, S
Rob Jackson, DE
Malcolm Kelly, WR
LaRon Landry, S
Anthony Montgomery, DT
Will Montgomery, OL
Kareem Moore, S
Rueben Riley, OL
Chad Rinehart, OL
Devin Thomas, WR
Justin Tryon, CB

Chris Wilson, Rocky McIntosh, Chris Cooley and Dave Rayner would be guys that just missed being on this list (1982) but we will include them anyway. If you add in Orakpo, Barnes, Glenn, Henson, and Williams, and--again, for argument's sake--knock out Alridge, Dorsey, Grant, and Riley, we have a total of 27 players on the Redskins roster all in that 25/26/27 age range. That is over half of the opening day roster. And the overwhelming majority of these players were drafted here in Washington. Looking up and down the list, there is a healthy mix of first-class talent, starters that make strong contributions, role players, and guys we still don't know anything about.

I feel like this is an area that the Skins have been lambasted for in recent years. This list includes young offensive and defensive linemen, a young group of receivers/tight ends, role players in the secondary and special teams, and now a stud defensive end that should start right away. We just might be on to something here. This is a promising core group of players.

They say you can't grade a draft for 3 years. I will refrain from getting too high or low based on our picks this past weekend, but it seems to me that guys we have been drafting in the last few years are sticking around. Last week I mentioned that it was possible Vinny is learning on the job. The movement to make this team younger each year seems to be paying off. The next step is getting these young bucks on the field. Rinehart, Thomas, Davis, Kelly, Heyer...we have to see what they can do on the field this year. It is coming time for this list to have a higher percentage of starters on it.