When Mike Shanahan was hired in 2010, he inherited a team that was in transition. Despite only being 24 months removed from Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs’ second stint that featured two playoff appearances in four seasons, the memories of being a constant playoff contender seemed little more than a bleak memory that the youngest of Redskins fans would never have known if it weren’t for blurry YouTube highlight videos.
Fast-forward nearly four years after the Shanahan era kicked off in memorable fashion with a 13-7 victory over archrival Dallas Cowboys that nearly never happened if it weren’t for a nullified touchdown due to a holding penalty, and the Redskins have built one of the deepest rosters in the league. While it took four years to get to this point, the Redskins resurgence has an overnight sensation feel to it.
Whether it be Shanahan’s penchant for assembling homegrown, Pro Bowl talent, the salary cap penalty, simply wanting continuity inside of his locker room, or a combination of all three, the Redskins are returning 21 of 22 starters from a year ago (Brandon Meriweather is included in this 21 while Adam Carriker is not). But it isn’t just the starters that the franchise has been able to keep nailed down, as the backups have found a niche on the roster as well. Whether it be outside linebacker Rob Jackson or wide receiver Santana Moss, the team has keep its core intact over the last 12 months.
John Keim, who’s been covering the Redskins for almost two decades, did a fantastic job breaking down the roster as follows:
Draft choices under Mike Shanahan: 20
Draft choices by the Redskins: 24
Draft choices from past three years under Shanahan: 19
Draft choices by the Redskins on the opening day roster in Shanahan’s first season, 2010: 16
Draft choices by the Redskins on opening day roster in 2009: 27
Draft choices by the Redskins who are currently starters: 9
Draft choices picked by Shanahan who are starting: 6
Former undrafted free agents: 9
Players who have played for another team: 22
Former first-round picks: 9
Players picked in the first three rounds: 20
Players picked in rounds 6 and 7, or who went undrafted: 22
Former first-round picks starting: 6
Picks in rounds 1-3 starting: 9
Former 6th-7th round picks starting: 6
Now the team has obviously lucked out over the fact that some of these players were discarded by other franchises, even division rivals, and have happened to reach their full potential here or have had the opportunity at the very least to play. The next question remains is can the team repeat the success in similar fashion to the last seven games last season.
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