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Getting Little Bang for their Buck: Offense Struggles Despite Heavy Investment Pt.1

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A look at why the offensive struggles for the Redskins are so frustrating.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

When Mike Shanahan took over the Redskins in January of 2010 the hope was he could return the Redskins back to their glory years. The thought was that with his track record and offensive genius the Redskins could again have a top offense to go along with what had been a quality defense. Shanahan was supposed to be the mastermind to fix the Redskins offensive woes. After four years though the results are mixed and still show a unit with a number of holes.

Given his background it's not too surprising that the defense took a back seat, but given the defensive results these last four years it is clear this wasn't the best approach. The defense may be the bigger liability, but overall it's been more ignored than the offense. The Redskins have used more money and more draft picks on fixing the offense and they just don't seem to be getting the return on their investment that they were hoping  for.

Draft Picks- This includes picks/players utilized in trades (note the Jeremy Jarmon supplamental pick isn't included since Mike Shanahan didn't make that move):


1st- Offense- OT Trent Williams, 4th overall

2nd- Offense- Trade for QB Donovan McNabb

4th- Defense- ILB Perry Riley

5th- Defense/Offense- Traded for DE Adam Carriker and a 5th and 7th round picks. They then traded back from the 5th round to the 6th round and took three offensive players (see below) with the picks from this deal.

6th- Offense- FB Dennis Morris

7th- Offense- WR Terrence Austin

7th- Offense- OL Selvish Capers

7th- Offense- OL Erik Cook

Recap: The Redskins added two defenders in Riley and Carriker in this draft, but added six offensive players. This is despite the fact that the Redskins were shifting to a defensive system and didn't have the personnel to fit it. Trent Williams has obviously panned out and Perry Riley has been a nice starter, but other than that the Redskins have nothing to show for this draft. Adam Carriker was an average rotational end for two years before the Redskins re-signed him to a bigger deal.


1st: Defense- OLB Ryan Kerrigan

2nd: Defense- DE Jarvis Jenkins

3rd: Offense- Trade for OT Jammal Brown

3rd: Offense- WR Leonard Hankerson

4th: Offense- RB Roy Helu Jr.

4th: Offense- QB Donovan McNabb

5th: Defense- S DeJon Gomes

5th: Offense- WR/TE Niles Paul

6th: Offense- RB Evan Royster

6th: Offense- WR Aldrick Robinson

7th: Defense- CB Brandyn Thompson

7th: Offense- OL Maurice Hurt

7th: Defense- OLB Markus White

7th: Defense- NT Chris Neild

Recap: Even with trading away their own 3rd and 4th round picks, the Redskins had a lot of selections in this draft with some wheeling and dealing. They did spend their top two picks on the defense, but after that only utilized one 5th and three 7th rounders on that side of the ball. In terms of actual draft picks it's 6 on offense and 6 on defense, but add in the two trades and it becomes an 8-6 advantage offense. Kerrigan has been a stud so far, but outside of that they only found role players or back-ups, as well as a few washouts in this class.


1st: Offense- QB Robert Griffin III

2nd: Offense- QB RGIII

3rd: Offense- OG Josh LeRibeus

4th: Offense- QB Kirk Cousins

4th: Defense- ILB Keenan Robinson

5th: Offense- OG Adam Gettis

6th: Offense- RB Alfred Morris

6th: Offense- Trade RB Tim Hightower

6th: Offense- OT Tom Compton

7th: Defense- CB Richard Crawford

7th: Defense- S Jordan Bernstein

Recap: The RGIII deal will obviously highlight this draft class as the top two selections were used on him. The Redskins found a star late in Morris, and might have a potential trade chip in Kirk Cousins, but that is probably the best case scenario. This was a heavy offensive draft with 8 picks being used on offense to just three on defense. As an odd side-note, all three defenders have suffered serious injuries so far in their careers, so their already limited chances for impact have taken a hit.


1st: Offense- QB RGIII

2nd: Defense- CB David Amerson

3rd: Offense- TE Jordan Reed

4th: Defense- S Phillip Thomas

5th: Offense- RB Chris Thompson

5th: Defense- OLB Brandon Jenkins

6th: Defense- S Bacarri Rambo

7th: Offense- RB Jawan Jamison

Recap: Obviously the Griffin deal looms large here still as it accounts for the first round pick, outside of that the Redskins were pretty even here with 4 players on defense and 4 on offense (including Griffin). Can't make too many determinations about the class so far. Right now Amerson and Reed are getting the most playing time.


1st: Offense- QB RGIII

Recap: We don't know how the draft will shake out entirely, but we do know that the first pick is already accounted for, and once again it's on offense.

Total (not including 2014): 26 picks used on offensive players or in trades to acquire them compared to 15 on defensive players or trades. Even if the Redskins remaining 6 picks in the 2014 draft go to the defensive side of the ball the 5 year total will be 27-21.

Distribution of picks:As bad as the total is in favor of the offense, the value of the picks really widens the gap.

Offense: 3 1st rounders (4 if you count 2014), 2 2nd rounders, 4 3rd rounders, 3 4th rounders, 3 5th rounders, 6 6th rounders, 4 7th rounders

Defense: 1 1st rounder, 2 2nd rounders, 0 3rd rounders, 3 4th rounders, 3 5th rounders, 1 6th rounder, 6 7th rounders

That is a massive talent gap that has left the defense starving for talent. In the first round in 5 years, four of the five possible picks will have been used on the offensive side of the ball. That might have landed a premier LT and hopefully a future star quarterback, but it means that the defense is lacking premium picks. Even if the Redskins use their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks on the defensive side of the ball this year, they would be at a 4 pick deficit among the first four rounds. It will take a couple drafts to really get back to a balance, but with so many needs on offense it is unclear the Redskins will go that route.

For a team that wants to build through the draft, it seems to be a pretty one-sided affair so far under Mike Shanahan, while some pieces have emerged due to this strategy, the Redskins haven't gotten enough offensive value from these picks/trades.

Check back tomorrow for Part II when I look at the money discrepancy and  where the offense goes from here.