For years, the Redskins were one of the top spenders during the free agency period, snatching some of the marquee names off of the board before other team’s could even promote the benefits of coming to their franchises.
However, a shift in the primary focus of building the roster through the draft began in 2010 when the franchise tabbed Mike Shanahan to be the 24th full-time coach in the illustrious history of the Washington Redskins.
During Shanahan’s tremendous 14-year tenure with the Denver Broncos, he quickly built a reputation across the league as one of the best talent evaluators not only of early round talent, but deeper into the draft, to build a competitive winner week in and week out.
Today, Shanahan and company have an additional fifth round pick from the Albert Haynesworth trade from 2011 to work with.
Shanahan’s history shows that this pick may soon being seeing the field at Aloha Stadium at the Pro Bowl.
In his first offseason in Colorado, Shanahan got one of the biggest draft day steals in league history, selecting University of Georgia running back Terrell Davis in the sixth round of the 1995 draft. Davis became a man of legend in preseason that year after laying a mammoth hit, of all things, on special teams. However, his role quickly expanded beyond special teams coverage, as he found himself in the starting lineup on offense. The three-time All Pro became a key contributor to an explosive offense that would capture back-to-back Lombardi Trophies in the late 1990′s.
As Davis’s career was winding down, Shanahan once again looked to the later rounds of the draft to find a replacement for his workhorse back and selected Utah running back Mike Anderson in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Anderson burst onto the scene during his debut campaign, rushing for almost 1,5o0o yards and 15 touchdowns.
Think Shanahan’s success with sixth round backs stopped in the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains?
When a player gets traded for a future, late round draft pick, most believe that the team acquiring the picks is simply giving up a player for “nothing” in return. In 2011, after failing to meet expectations in his lone season in Washington, the Redskins shipped quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2012 sixth round pick. Many had felt that the Redskins had simply given up McNabb for “nothing” in return.
With the McNabb pick in-hand, the Redskins selected seldom known Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris in the 2012 NFL Draft. After winning the running back competition out of training camp, Morris was chosen to be the starting running back in Week 1 against the Saints. After breaking the franchise record for most rushing yards in a season held by Clinton Portis (another running back that was drafted by Shanahan in Denver) and McNabb not taking a single snap for any team, its safe to say that the Redskins ended up getting the better end of the swap.
In 2009, the Redskins signed two-time Pro Bowler Albert Haynesworth to a lucrative deal just minutes after the free agency window opened up. After a rocky two year stint in Washington, Haynesworth was sent to New England for a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. Haynesworth appeared in only six games in Massachusetts before being placed on waivers and spending the rest of the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent the 2012 season out of the league.
If Shanahan’s previous late round draft selections are any indication of what is to come and Haynesworth not currently on an roster, I think its safe to say that the Redskins will once again get the better end of a player-for-draft pick deal.
Tags: 2013 NFL draft, Alfred Morris, mike shanahan
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