It's July and besides the predictable Tanard Jackson suspension, the highly anticipated supplemental draft, and daily Johnny 8ball updates, there really isn't much going on. Which means it's the perfect time for fans, bloggers, and NFL media personalities to make lists for everything and blindly predict the outcome of the upcoming season. I have pulled out 3 different top 100 lists from the bloated blogosphere for your perusal.
First up is Mr Pete Prisco, who many consider to be a Redskins hater. While this may be true, it is just as likely that he is a click hoarding writer who loves to troll all fans for his own amusement, especially on twitter. Prisco also consulted with 4 current NFL General Managers when making this years list.
Pete Prisco's Top 100 Redskins:
NFL GM No. 2 on Williams: "Has some inconsistencies to his game, but physical tools are all there."
78. Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: He led the NFL with 113 catches in 2013, even though the Redskins' passing game struggled.
Garcon stat: In his first season in the league in 2008, Garcon had four catches for the Indianapolis Colts. He's had 341 in the five years since.
86. Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington Redskins: Coming back from an injury-shortened season in 2012, Orakpo had 10 sacks, which is why the Redskins placed the franchise tag on him this spring.
Orakpo stat: Seven of his 10 sacks last season came in the final eight games, showing he was fully recovered from the torn pectoral muscle he suffered in 2012.
88. DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins: His big-play ability is second to none. Look at his 16.2 per-catch average.
Jackson stat: Since 2008, no player has more catches of 40 yards or more than Jackson, who has 35.
Just Missed: Jason Hatcher, DE
Total Redskins on List: 4
Next up we have his counterpart at CBS Sports, Pat Kirwan. Kirwan spent 25 years in football at all levels before moving on to writing books, hosting radio shows, and writing articles for NFL.com, CBS Sports, and other outlets. His list comes from a different, and some would say more knowledgeable, perspective than Prisco's. So how many Redskins players make Kirwan's cut for 2014?
Pat Kirwan's Top 100 Redskins:
83. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins: A big-play guy who was shown the door in Philly, but will rebound in Washington.
97. Trent Williams, OT, Redskins: He never gets any help and gets the job done.
Total Redskins on List: 3
And finally we'll look at the Top 100 list that most people have already seen and complained about. NFL.com has turned a simple Top 100 list into a month long summer time programming event, dragging out the list into 10 spot shows, followed by reaction shows, accompanied by anonymous NFL players reacting on twitter, and finished off with more reaction shows after the final list is revealed. It's truly the crown jewel of their June-July programming. This list is voted on by current NFL players, and takes into account past performance and future projections.
NFL.com's Top 100 Redskins:
60. Trent Williams, LT, Redskins:
The Hogs Haven write-up following his selection:
63. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins:
The Hogs Haven write-up following his selection:
The next Redskins player to make the list is former Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson. He is coming off of the best season of his career, starting 16 games and getting 82 receptions for 1332 yards and 9 TDs. He was also voted into the Pro Bowl for the 3rd time in his 6 year career with the Eagles. Jackson was cut from the Eagles after attempts to trade him before free agency failed. Jackson was quickly signed by the Redskins, and joins RGIII, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Jordan Reed, and Alfred Morris in Head Coach Jay Gruden's new offense. Expectations are high with Griffin another year removed from his ACL surgery, and with Jackson in the mix to be the deep threat the Redskins have been needing to open up their offense.
80. Pierre Garçon, WR, Redskins:
From my write-up when this selection was announced:
Pierre Garçon is the first Redskins player to be named to the NFL Top 100 list, coming in at #80. In 2013 Pierre Garçon led the NFL in catches with 113 receptions, and he also broke Art Monk's single season receptions record with the Redskins. His 1,346 receiving yards were the 8th most in the NFL last year, and Garçon was one of the few reliable weapons on the Redskins' offense in an otherwise forgettable year. Last season was Garçon's best season as a pro, but he was not voted into the Pro Bowl. One reason for his Pro Bowl snub was despite his high volume of catches and yards, Garçon only reached the endzone 5 times last season.
Total Redskins on List: 3
Now let's get an overall list of which players were picked between the three very scientific lists that we are looking at today.
Total Top 100 Selections:
Trent Williams: 3(P: #46, K: #97, N: #60)
DeSean Jackson: 3(P: #88, K: #83, N: #63)
Pierre Garcon: 2(P: #78, N: #80)
Brian Orakpo: 1(P: #86)
Alfred Morris: 1(K: #55)
Some obvious takeways from looking at this compilation of prognostications:
- Robert Griffin III's lost 2013 season following his ACL injury has seriously affected how he is viewed in the league among media, players, GMs, and fans. Griffin was #15 on last years NFL.com Top 100 list, this year there are 14 QBs on the Top 100 list and Griff is not one of them. He was recently rated the 19th best QB in the NFL by NFL "insiders", but was also grouped with other young guns like Kaepernick, Wilson and Newton by NFL.com's Chris Wesseling. He needs a solid, healthy year to prove the doubters wrong, and erase 2013 from everyone's memory.
- Alfred Morris continues to not get respect in the NFL for his production in his first two years in the league. He was a 2nd team All-Pro in his rookie year, and played in the Pro Bowl in his 2nd year. He has 2,888 yards in his first two seasons. He had the 2nd most rushing yards in 2012, and the 4th most rushing yards in the NFL last season. The major questions that come up with Morris are his ability to catch passes, his ball security, and how he will perform when not in Mike Shanahan's RB friendly offensive system. Morris, like Griffin, could use a big season this year to get some credit around the league.
- Trent Williams continues to be one of, if not the most talented players on the Redskins. He is considered a top OT in the league by most observers. Imagine how good he could be with some actual help on the offensive line.
- Pierre Garcon was the receptions leader in the NFL last season, but he was only included on 1 list this year. He didn't make the Pro Bowl or receive much acclaim outside of Washington for his 2013 season performance. A lack of touchdowns, and his lower yards per catch average were knocks on him last season. He was the only reliable target besides Jordan Reed last season, and his high number of targets showed this.
- DeSean Jackson is coming off of the best season of his career under 1st year Head Coach Chip Kelly. He was a priority signing for the Redskins once he became available, due to their lack of a deep threat who could demand coverage. They made him the highest paid WR in free agency, and now it's Jay Gruden's job to maintain Jackson's high production from last season.
- Brian Orakpo had 10 sacks last season, and was productive in his return from his 2nd pectoral injury. Outside linebackers are usually judged by sack totals for lists like these, which would give Orakpo the 20th most in the league among all positions. When you look at his total pressures among 3-4 OLBS, he was a top 10 player. The Redskins will be looking for Orakpo's best production to justify the kind of contract that a top 10 OLB will demand.
- The Redskins were 3-13 last season, and that affects the perception of the team and the players around the league. But in 2012 the Redskins were 10-6 division champions and they only had 4 players on NFL.com's Top 100 list. People are left off of these lists that deserve to be on them every year, it happens.