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Pawns in the Shanaplan: Off the Field, In the Locker Room

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There were a lot of refreshing things about this year’s NFL draft for the Redskins. From the number of picks to some of the steals we made. But most refreshing in my mind are the types of players that Shanahan drafted.  A lot these guys are team captains, hard workers, good teammates, and active in the community. The character of the men drafted for the Skins cannot be overstated enough.

Other teams follow similar plans, for example out of the Patriots past 21 picks 11 of those have been team captains on their college squad.

Ryan Kerrigan: Kerrigan’s leadership and hard work have been well documented.  He is a three-time Academic  All Big Ten performer and this past year was the team captain and won the Bulldog Award which is for the individual that exemplified and sustained tenacity and intense play.

Jarvis Jenkins: Jenkins was also a team captain at Clemson. His maturation and leadership skills were praised by his coaches leading up to the draft.

Leonard Hankerson: The one thing you hear about most when someone brings up Hankerson is his work ethic and how he has matured over his time at Miami. That is huge for a guy that will likely have a heavy load on his back for his rookie season. He also had no off the field issues, which is really saying something at the "U".

Roy Helu: In talking with Nebraska fans it was clear that Helu was the leader of the Nebraska offense on and off the field. His hard work has been praised and he is extremely active in the community.

Dejon Gomes: Gomes is one of the most respected players on Nebraska and has developed into more of leader. Nebraska fans have told me that he is near impossible to get out of the film room and team facilities because he is always looking to improve his game. He also has no history of off the field issues.

Niles Paul: Paul is the first pick that does come with some past off the field issues. In 2009 he was charged for a DUI and missed spring practice, and then in June 2010 he was arrested for possession of alcohol as a minor and public urination (really Nebraska you couldn’t get him off a peeing in public and underage drinking charge? Aren’t you supposed to do that in college). Nevertheless, Paul is a very good student and is also very active in the community.

Evan Royster: Royster is a local kid and a smart kid, he has already graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems (sidenote: this is the same major Tiller tried at PSU before he found out that he could major in fashion). Royster’s work ethic has been questioned though when he showed up this past year out of shape.

Aldrick Robinsion: Robinson was suspended with three other players in 2008 for "minor infractions", but has matured since then and became one of the team’s primary leaders this past year.

Mo Hurt (Just sounds cool): Hurt is supposed to be a very reserved and quiet individual (I hope his locker isn’t next to DHall’s), but he is very passionate about the game and is constantly trying to improve himself.

Markus White: White was a team captain at FSU and a very good leader. His work ethic and drive to get better has been praised.

Chris Neild: Neild was the captain and heart of the West Virginia defense. In 2009 he won the John Russell award for outstanding leadership skills.

Does anyone notice a trend? It will be interesting to see how some of these guys interact with certain players in the locker room (cough Albert cough DHall). I can’t stress enough how refreshing this is as a whole.