With the second and third picks in the 2000 NFL Draft, the Redskins selected LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels, respectively. The two combined for nine Pro Bowl selections, and for Samuels, this season marked the tenth that began with him as the team’s starting left tackle.
By sheer coincidence, the two are also pretty much at the center of two internet discussions from today.
The first is straightforward: as the decade comes to a close, Yahoo! Sports’ Shutdown Corner blog put up their list of the decade’s top ten draft busts, and Arrington comes in at number 7, just behind his college teammate Courtney Brown.
Two Penn State defenders went with top two picks in the first draft of the decade. Neither have played in the league since 2006
I have trouble classifying Arrington as a draft bust. He may not have become the ultra-megastar we were all envisioning when he was drafted, but he was a Pro Bowler, a strong contributor, and a presence on the field. He’s been out of the league since 2006 because of injury, so that hardly seems like a fair knock.
The other debate is a bit more complicated, but also a bit more interesting.
Over at ExtremeSkins, a poster named The-Rock asks a question that seems easy to answer: “Is drafting linemen early necessary?” The answer really does seem obvious. All season, we’ve heard how the team has neglected the offensive line in the draft, how the only sensible decision next year is to take an offensive tackle, even if Samuels recovers from the injury that ended this season.
But The-Rock looks at a few of the successful, well-regarded teams this season — the Ravens, Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Saints, Vikings, and Eagles, as well as the much-maligned Redskins — and where they’ve drafted offensive linemen over the last five years. The results are … not what I expected, to say the least.
You have to see the actual numbers and names to really appreciate the breakdown, but of the 30 O-linemen drafted by those teams in rounds 1-4 over the last five years, there are just four first rounders. Nine of the players are second-rounders.
The numbers are far from conclusive, but they make the argument about how to use next year’s first-round pick — likely to be a fairly high selection — much, much more interesting to me. (My decision to start up the Draft Russell Okung Campaign, for example, has been put on hold for the moment.)
I’m interested to hear what other people think after perusing the numbers, though.
There’s a third debate, or the start of one, but it has nothing to do with franchise left tackles or draft busts: Awful Announcing is projecting the December 27th Cowboys at Redskins game as the only Sunday Night game with a chance of being flexed out of primetime. AA thinks that Cowboys/Redskins is probably a big enough draw even though the Skins are having a down year; I tend to think that either Baltimore/Pittsburgh or Jets/Colts would be a likely switch.
Either way, we’ll find out in about a week about that one. The draft-an-offensive-lineman debate … that’s going to go on for a while longer.
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