I know what everyone is thinking...but I just don't think Albert Haynesworth is the right answer. Adam Archuleta and Deion Sanders are also on the cutting room floor.
In all seriousness, this question is interesting because if you look at the roster, and you really try to figure out what position could benefit the team the most by being upgraded to "former great"...it is tough. I would love to bring back a Russ Grimm or a Joe Jacoby, but when I think about the net impact of one offensive lineman on this squad, I feel like teams could still exploit us. It kind of underlines the plethora of holes we have--which is kind of unfair, because we are also playing a decent amount of young players in the hopes they develop.
In answering this question, I tried to keep developing players on the field. I attacked this from a "leadership" and "locker room presence" angle because I really do think one of our biggest problems is institutional culture. On one hand, I would take Champ Bailey in his prime all day. He could improve our secondary single-handedly just by suiting up (again...in his prime). I think he led by example, and his example was class. I would not be afraid to ask him to be a mentor, but I want a little something different. I landed on two prospects: Darrell Green and Brian Mitchell.
Darrell is Darrell. He played at a high level, was a community hero and every player looked up to him. Still...I need more fire and charisma in the kind of leader I am looking for, and Brian Mitchell is my man.
Brian Mitchell was the kind of player that every good team has...the kind of player that every championship team has. He gave it all for his teammates on the field every Sunday, and he did just about anything the coaches asked him to do at a high level. He was a god to the fans, and as time went on, you just had the feeling that with him on the field, good things were going to happen. In short, he was kind of the key cog to our entire team. I feel like we could really use something like that right about now.
I appreciated the way B-Mitch would talk trash. Some people hate that kind of thing. Some people think it is grandstanding or a me-first style of play. I never saw it that way with Mitchell. When he got into it with the other team, there were always plenty of Redskins surrounding him. I remember Doc Walker telling me (no, they did not play on the same Redskins team), "You know why Brian Mitchell yaks at everyone and their mother? Because he knows nobody is going to touch him without every single man in burgundy and gold rushing to his defense." This conversation took place shortly after Jeff George was dragged on the carpet by opposing Dallas players...and nobody came to his defense.
I am not suggesting this current Redskins team has a problem sticking up for one another, but I am suggesting that Brian Mitchell would help this squad fully embrace the backs-to-the-wall mentality that goes with being 3-5. Sure, there are better former greats that might hit the stat line a little harder than B-Mitch, but I can't think of anyone who would increase the fight in this team more than he would. With him in the fold, I would happily predict a wild card appearance in the playoffs.
***Part of me would love to see what Sammy Baugh would do on this team.