Mayday! Broncos Draft Up in Smoke

The more things change, the more they stay the same, at least according to Broncos Update Columnist Sam DeWitt.

It all seemed so promising. A draft stocked with talent. A reasonable first round pick. Needs that could have been met.

The lesson: When Mike Shanahan says, "I will turn this car around," he means it.

Apparently the only way to save this franchise is to burn it to the ground.

I've never been the sharpest pencil in the box, but let's just be crystal clear on this one; the Broncos trade their first round pick this year for Washington's first round pick next year, evidently hoping and wishing that the Redskins continue their run of mediocrity (now in it's award-winning 5th straight year) for one more season so Denver can collect a high first-rounder. What I don't understand is how this helps us improve now. Why not trade corner Lenny Walls and a shoulder injury to be named later to the ‘Skins for this year's first-round pick, at number nine? That pick is likely to be Adam "Pacman" Jones from West Virginia, also known as the Best Shutdown Corner in the Draft.

The Bronco Brain Trust (if they can still be called that) claims that this was a great move, stopping just short of saying they put one over on the Redskins. Are you looking for a congratulatory handshake? Putting one over on Washington is like hitting a blind man in the back of the head. With a hammer.

"I'm very excited about this trade; our guys did a great job," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said Tuesday. "Everything is falling into place. We (restructured) Trevor Pryce, added more to the defensive front and now we made this deal."

Remind me again how picking up one of the worst defensive lines in the league, then following up that move by trading our one first round pick away is an improvement? Ted Sundquist?

"We had the nets out there," said the Broncos' General Manager. "Washington was interested, and we thought it was something we wanted to do."

Right. Mr. Sundquist, President Bush called and asked you to stop being so vague.

"We're looking real good next year," Sundquist said. "We have a lot of flexibility."

If you want flexibility, take a yoga class.

If you want to win, find the problems with your team and then draft young talent to make the team better.

The problems (and there are a lot of them) are that the Redskins are not as bad as Sundquist and Bowlen and Shanahan hope they are, and they play in a much easier conference than Denver. I look at it this way: Washington finished 6-10 last year, but are only a few players away (quarterback, offensive linemen) from making the playoffs. With the wealth of cornerbacks in this draft, I look for the Redskins to take Aaron Rodgers (if he's still on the board) at No. 9 and a quality offensive lineman with Denver's No. 25. St. Louis made the playoffs last year with an 8-8 record, and Seattle got in at 9-7. Going from 6-10 to 9-7 shouldn't be that much of a challenge for this Washington team, and that's my worry.

Of course, all of this could be moot if the Deadskins go in the tank and lose all but a few games. Given the brief history of Daniel Snyder's ownership in Washington, this is a distinct possibility, but not a likely one. Head Coach Joe Gibbs does not accept failure, and he is going to work around the clock to make the ‘Skins competitive in '05.

Best case: Snyder's hands-on ownership style continues and Washington finishes 4-12, near the bottom of the league and we get a top-ten pick.

Worst case: The moves that Gibbs makes, combined with the new talent influx (keep in mind that the Redskins already have some top-tier talent in halfback Clinton Portis and cornerback Shawn Springs) makes Washington good, even excellent, and they challenge for a playoff spot. Then we get a pick – you ready for this? – right around the 25th overall.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Sam DeWitt is a columnist for and has been writing his own columns about life, entertainment and sports on his own website for the past two years. E-mail him at

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