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Skins draft a numbers game

Apr 28, 2008, 12:16 AM EST

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It’ll take a wide-angle lens to take the class picture for the Redskins’ 2008 draft.

Ten new players were selected Saturday and Sunday. That ties for the most players drafted by the Redskins since they started the seven-round draft in 1994. They also took 10 players in 2002.

As the ’02 draft indicates, a lot of picks doesn’t always mean that you better your team considerably. From that haul, only Ladell Betts (second round, #56 overall) and Rock Cartwright (seventh, #257) still are with the team. Tight end Robert Royal (fifth, #260) and quarterback Patrick Ramsey (first, #32) are still on NFL rosters. A few others may be bouncing around trying to catch on but the most are moving on with their post-football lives.

The hopes for the current crop are much higher. It’s easy to see the top four picks—wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, tight end Fred Davis and guard Chad Rinehart—still contributing with the Redskins or elsewhere in 2014. In addition to those four, sixth-round pick Durant Brooks could make a string of appearances in Hawaii as the Pro Bowl punter.

Thomas and Kelly will have the perfect opportunity to work themselves into the lineup. Moss and Randle El will start and the two rookies will get a healthy but not overwhelming workload. Davis will be able to work in situations where he can be successful as well. Rinehart will have a year to learn under Joe Bugel and then step in to the starting left guard spot when Pete Kendall is gone in 2009.

As for the rest, time will tell. Cornerback Justin Tyron is not lacking for confidence. How can you not like a fourth-round pick who says, “I bring wisdom to the game. I bring heart to the game. I was made for this. I was made to play football. I was made for this … This is all I can do.”

If his game is anything like his talk, he’ll be a nice surprise. He will compete with Leigh Torrence for time as a nickel and dime back.

Colt Brennan is who he is—a developmental quarterback. All of the records he set at Hawaii combined with five bucks will get him a latte at the Ashburn Starbucks.

His sidearm delivery doesn’t need tinkering, it needs an overhaul. He certainly was overmatched against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, but so was the entire Hawaii squad. One quarterback, no matter how good he is, is good enough to lift his team to the level of an SEC team that had a legitimate argument that it should be playing for the national title.

He could develop into a solid backup quarterback in a couple of years or the Redskins might have to find another Todd Collins.

The chances of Kareem Moore, Rob Jackson, and Christopher Horton making the team or sticking with the practice squad depend largely on their special teams abilities.

My favorite pick was Rinehart. The scouting reports talked about his mean streak and his aggressiveness. He was taken with the compensatory pick awarded for the loss of Derrick Dockery in 2007. Dockery had the size and athletic ability, but he played timidly, even soft at times. If Rinehart lives up to his nasty billing he’ll be an excellent replacement.

I like the Brooks pick as well. This offense will struggle at times while learning a new system and working the rookies into the mix and you can’t rely on a fortuitous roll to get you out of the hole. Brooks can both boom the ball and place it inside the 10.

You do have to wait three years to get a good handle on how successful a given draft was but we’ll have some kind of idea in late August when the 53-man roster is finalized. If at least seven or eight of these guys are still around that will be a good start.

  1. Sports Scatter - Apr 28, 2008 at 8:55 AM

    I agree on Rinehart being a solid move, but mostly because I think the Redskins finally have a backup lineman who can pull and lead the running game. It should be interesting to see what the Redskins can make of him. He’s coming into the perfect situation for a guy with his skills, as Bugel has done some things with guys like him in the past. He is not really a project player the way recent picks like Molinaro, Dockery, and Wilson were, other than he will probably have to learn to play a new position on the line. He isn’t probably as physically gifted as Dockery, but he is more mobile and far more aggressive.

    I don’t think receiver was such a great need for the Redskins, but it doesn’t hurt at all. It was brilliant getting out of the inflated salaries of the first round. The Redskins drafted good athletes to take a chance on without the need to foolishly guarantee a bunch of money. They can lock up their entire draft for less guaranteed money than several teams will no doubt give to #1 picks this year, only to see many these #1 picks released in 2 to 3 years. In my mind, 2nd round draft picks and 3rd round draft picks are typically about as likely to be good NFL players as first round picks, though perhaps not as many turn into greats of the game.

    I don’t believe the Redskins really had any ‘holes’ so to speak going into the draft, merely some areas that could be upgraded, a few open backup positions, and some areas that are a bit aged. It is curious to me how many ‘draft experts’ on those big media sites are talking about how the Redskins failed to get a LB. Once again, as with the Briggs conversation, I don’t really see why the Redskins would need a new starting LB in 2008. I’m glad to see you’re one of the few people out there not talking about what so-called ‘needs’ didn’t get filled.

    Anyways taking 10 cheap picks and then adding some rookie free agents into the mix should give the Redskins a lot of options to fill their open slots. If the players don’t work out they go into 2008 no worse off in talent, a bit more experienced, and perhaps healthier than 2007 (we can hope). They don’t need many of their picks to be good, only a few to be good enough to fill roles.

    Of course we all hope that a few of the picks will be great. You never know with receivers, they’re always risky picks. But they got the guys they wanted.

    I’ll enjoy seeing whether opponents choose to put extra safeties, cornerbacks, or linebackers in when the Redskins go into two tight end sets. I haven’t seen a team with two tight ends with such receiving skills before, closest being Pollard and Dilger and Clark combinations in Indianapolis I suppose (which doesn’t really come close at all if Davis turns out half as good as Cooley). If teams go DBs Portis and Betts should have field days. If they go LBs, the West Coast system should be at its best.

    An intriguing thing to me is the overload at WR and KR/PR. If the rookies are good at their main positions some popular veteran special team players are going to get cut.

    I like the QB pick. He reminds me of Andre Ware, except that the Redskins have no intention of putting the guy on the field in the next two years to get brutalized, and the Redskins have a good offensive line. Colt should have plenty of time to show if he is a system QB or a good QB who was stuck in a bad college situation. He represents a change in approach from drafting project guys like Hamdan and Rosenfels in late rounds, or mediocre college players without any particular skills, such as Husak.

    This isn’t the first time they’ve brought in a punter who could kick the ball a long way in recent years, but he’s the first one who has a history of doing it consistently. I suspect Frost will be asking for his release so he can hook up with another team.

    The other late picks are really basically going to be competing on an even field with the rookie free agents, so I completely agree that they’ll have to be good on special teams. I also think they will have to show themselves ready to start if needed and not embarrass themselves at NFL level because the depth chart is over-booked. I predict there won’t be any late-round players making the roster this year that are ‘potential’ guys. For the first time since Snyder’s first season there is too much depth on the roster for carrying project players (except maybe the emergency QB slot).

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