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Redskins by the (Jersey) Numbers: #45 - Mike Sellers

Over a decade of service in Washington marks Seller’s career

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The choice at #45 presents another dilemma.

Which do you prefer: One brilliant season, or a career of consistent, thankless, solid play?

I’m siding with the latter.

But let’s look at that season of brilliance first. Barry Wilburn has the highest “Approximate Value” rating among Redskin players who wore #45. He has a decent margin over Jeris White and Gerard Williams, in fact.

Wilburn’s breakthrough season was his third. As a 24-year-old corner for the Redskins, Wilburn led the entire NFL in interceptions with 9. Remember that he did that in a 12-game “season,” as one game was lost to the strike, and replacement players played three others. Wilburn added three more picks in the playoffs, including two in Washington’s 42-10 Super Bowl triumph over the Broncos.

Yet, Wilburn played only 18 more games with the Redskins after Super Bowl XXII. He was out of the NFL after 1989, played with Cleveland in 1992, then returned in 1995 and 1996 with the Eagles. But, thanks in large part due to injuries, he never again reached the All-Pro heights he achieved in 1987.

Then there’s Mike Sellers. Sellers came to the Redskins as a free agent after playing in the CFL for three seasons. Incredibly, Sellers was playing in the CFL when he was just 19 years old, becoming the youngest American player ever to play there. He moved over to the NFL in 1998.

The problem with Sellers, as I’ve explained before, is that a lot of his contributions were as a blocking fullback. The AV metric doesn’t measure that type of player very well.

Sellers began his career in Washington, and, except for a brief, nine-game detour in Cleveland, spent his entire NFL tenure with the Redskins. He played 165 games with the Skins, but he only carried the ball 50 times and caught 116 passes during that entire span with Washington.

It’s the contributions that don’t show up in the box score that made Sellers special. He was an excellent blocker, helping to open holes for three different 1,000-yard rushers—Stephen Davis, Clinton Portis, and Ladell Betts. On top of his fullback / H-back duties, Sellers was also a good special-teams player.

But players like Sellers are squarely in the “unsung hero” category when it comes to NFL football. Still, Sellers was the starting fullback in the 2009 Pro Bowl, and was widely considered among the best lead blockers in the league.

Somehow, his feats only add up to a total AV of nine. Nine! Even the year he scored eight touchdowns only netted Sellers a single AV point. His best season ever was worth only two points, and even the Pro Bowl year was worth just one.

My view is that this isn’t a fair assessment that fully takes into account the contributions Sellers made to the Redskins for more than a decade. With all due respect to Barry Wilburn, I think Sellers is the pick at #45.

Agree? Disagree? Vote and comment below!


Who is the greatest #45 in Redskins history?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Mike Sellers
    (188 votes)
  • 16%
    Barry Wilburn
    (38 votes)
  • 0%
    Jeris White
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Gerard Williams
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Other (comment below)
    (0 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now