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Too Early to Judge the Draft

Apr 24, 2005, 2:15 AM EDT

Comments Off on Too Early to Judge the Draft

To start out with, I have to state that it’s been my firm belief ever since I knew what an NFL draft was that it takes at least three years, probably four, to judge a draft. You have to see how the players who were selected actually play on the field for an extended period of time before you can say if the player’s performance justified the pick.

Even in the days where the analysts weren’t so plentiful and so instant, everyone ink-stained wretch out there still had to come up with an immediate judgment on what had just been concluded. These days, with so many out there calling themselves draft experts and with an ability to offer an opinion for all the world to see within seconds of a pick being made, it’s gotten truly out of hand.

That being said, there is a legitimate case that can be made for analyzing what a team was thinking about when it made a given pick, what they might do with a particular player drafted and what effect it might have on the players currently on the team. Those aspects are in the here and now.

In this draft, the Redskins shattered two myths about the team, although this will certainly not make the mainstream media change their template they have used for the past five years in their coverage of the team. First, they did not go for the big splash or the flashy player. Certainly, a move up to nab Braylon Edwards would have been a headline-maker. They passed on that move. Mike Williams would have been the sexier pick at #9, but they weren’t swayed from their convictions and took Carlos Rogers. The cornerback didn’t have as much spectacular footage as did Williams, but isn’t the whole idea of being a great cover corner to stay out of highlight films?

Second, despite what was said in this space a few days ago, they are not necessarily gunning to win now at the expense of the future. Jason Campbell may or may not become a stud NFL quarterback, but if he does it will likely be after Joe Gibbs is back in NASCAR. He made what he thought was the best choice for the future of the franchise.

There is only one legitimate argument against the selection of Rogers and that’s the presence of Williams on the board. The former USC receiver would have been a good compliment to the team’s current corps of receivers, which lacks a red-zone go-to move-the-chains kind of receiver. Apparently, Gibbs (who to repeat is the decision-maker here) believed that the hole at corner was more critical than the lack of a big receiver.

There’s a lot more room for discussion about the selection of Campbell. After a few hours of trying to digest it, I just can’t figure it out. Ramsey is a good QB prospect, perhaps a very good one, they type of signal caller that Gibbs has built into Super Bowl quarterbacks. The Skins spent a first-round pick on him three years ago. Why not make him your main guy and then take your project QB later in the draft?

It’s hard to see how Gibbs is going to spin this to Ramsey, who he says is his starter at QB. It wasn’t as though they were just sitting there at #25, minding their own business when Campbell, who they had rated as the best QB in the draft, just fell into their laps. It’s obvious that the Skins wanted Campbell enough to make the deal with Denver to get a pick where he’d almost certainly be available. And certainly you can say that it takes a quarterback a couple of years before he will be ready to start in the NFL, but that would put Campbell as being ready right in the middle of what should be Ramsey’s prime. Sure, you need two QB’s in today’s NFL, but two first-rounders?

To his credit, Ramsey came out a couple of days ago and said that it didn’t matter to him if the Skins drafted a quarterback, that he just wanted the team to do what it thought was best. In retrospect, all but the most thick-headed among us (including yours truly) probably took this as a signal that the Redskins were indeed going to take Campbell as they probably wouldn’t have let Ramsey say something like this unless it was pretty certain that this would happen.

Big Media didn’t have a very good handle on this in the past few days. Many, including the Washington Post, drank the Braylon Edwards Kool-Aid, in fact they gulped it down with great glee. Such a move would not leave them with the means to take Campbell so all but ESPN, who seemed to be circling the wagons around its writer Len Pasquerelli since he broke the story that Gibbs had visited Campbell last week, had abandoned that line for the most part.

This space had a good take on the #9, saying that Rogers would be the pick albeit with some serious qualifiers about the possibility of taking Williams if he was on the board or trading down. Again, Campbell at #25 was not on the radar screen here at all, thinking that it was either a smoke screen or just the prudent exploration of very outside possibilities.

  1. mbarnes202 - Apr 24, 2005 at 7:51 PM

    I agree that we’ll have to wait to pass judgement on this year’s draft.

    If Campbell turns out to be the next Tom Brady, or Joe Montana, then obviously it was an absolute STEAL to get him with the 25th pick of the first round.

    Short of a pro-bowl type of player, though, it’s hard to see why you’d pick Campbell. I mean, Ramsey as it is seems like a median QB in the NFL, right? With the skills to get better? It’s not like Campbell adds a huge dimension Ramsey lacks, does he?

  2. J_B - Apr 25, 2005 at 1:02 PM

    Personally, this cements in my mind that the Redskins need to remove the team president title from Joe Gibbs and go out and get a real GM to run the personnel side of things.

    Campbell will have to turn into a Pro Bowl QB to justify what the Redskins did in this last week to get him (give up 3 draft picks, especially next year’s 1st rounder and bypass players like Heath Miller at 25) and I’m not sold on the fact that he’s THAT good.

    I see Campbell more as a game manager that is able to “not screw things up”. But, I don’t see him as a guy that can win a team games on a consistent basis. And given what they had to give up to get Campbell, that’s the kind of QB I want for that price.

    Plus, I have a lot less confidence in the decision making ability of Gibbs and the offensive staff given what’s happened over the last year and a half.

    It’s obvious to most that Gibbs’ first QB decision was a HUGE bust. Not only did they give up a 3rd round draft pick to get Brunell, but they also gave him a huge contract and he was quite possibly the worst starting QB in the NFL last season.

    Given that decision, how confident should we be in Gibbs’ 2nd personnel decision at the QB position? Especially since I read somewhere that the Redskins had Campbell rated as the top QB in the draft ahead of Alex Smith. I can buy having him ahead of Aaron Rodgers, but I can’t buy that he’s a better pro prospect than Alex Smith.

    The whole Mike Williams vs Carlos Rogers decision is a little bit easier to swallow. I can buy that Rogers was the best CB in this year’s draft given that Williams and his staff gave him that grade and what they like to do on defense.

    Rogers seems to be a lot like Shawn Springs who fit in perfectly here last season.

    I just believe that WR, especially a TD machine like Mike Williams, was a much bigger need than CB. Especially since Gibbs came out and said that Rogers won’t start right away at CB.

    A 6-10 team that adds a 2nd 1st round pick by giving up a future 1st needs to get a lot better quickly. And I don’t see the Redskins having done that this offseason.

    Unless, all the offensive problems last year were on Gibbs, his staff, and the O-Line issues at center and right tackle.

    The two spots on offense that I have confidence in the Redskins being better next year are center (with the Rabach signing) and right tackle (as long as Jansen can stay healthy).

    Maybe next year they can draft Scott Pioli……………

  3. Anonymous - Apr 25, 2005 at 2:29 PM

    Supposedly, Gibbs thinks that in order for a QB to mature and improve, he needs to have lots of competition. He needs to be pushed to excel by other QB’s on the team. What QB on the team is going to push Ramsey to improve? Haselbeck? Brunell? Gibbs also thinks that if a QB gets upset enough by things like the team drafting another QB, then he doesn’t have the type of temperament necessary to excel in at the position at this level. Is is possible that Gibbs is correct? He did take some average QB’s and make them excel at the NFL level. Maybe he does know what he’s doing. Another thing, does anyone know what kind of offense they use at Auburn? I read that it is somewhat similar to what Gibbs is trying to do, such that Campbell’s transition may be easier. Finally, don’t forget McCants. He is in the second year of a 2 year contract – this is a contract year. If he can get his head right, maybe he will be the big, possession type receiver, threat in the red zone that the Redskins need. Its still too early to judge Gibbs at this point. When you consider the magnitude of the mess that he stepped into when he arrived last year, it would be silly to think he could have the whole thing corrected in a year or two. It will take a minimum of 3 years for Gibbs’ efforts to have any impact on this disaster of a team.

  4. J_B - Apr 25, 2005 at 4:20 PM

    If it’s going to take 3 years for Gibbs to turn things around, then it was a HUGE mistake to trade next year’s 1st round pick, along with two other picks, to get the 25th pick in this year’s draft.

    If things get worse, they could have traded Matt Leinart and two picks for Jason Campbell.


    Gibbs had better get this team to at least 8-8 this season or the deal to get the 25th pick will be horrid in retrospect unless Campbell turns into a Pro Bowl QB. Archives

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