by Chuck Sapienza, special to Breaking Burgundy
With the 21st pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select ...
I have no idea whom the Redskins will choose but I do know who will not be a Redskin.
Sheldon Rankins No chance.
Jarran Reed? Not this year.
A’Shawn Robinson? Thanks for playing.
While those young men would all look great in burgundy and gold, if history is any indication, the Redskins will not select a defensive tackle in the first round of the NFL Draft. You can put money on it. Why am I so sure? Since 1991, the Redskins have taken a defensive tackle in the first round exactly once: Bobby Wilson in ‘91. That’s 25 years ago. To mark the anniversary, the Redskins’ marketing department should release a silver Bobby Wilson coin so collectors can display it next to their “rare” Bruce Smith sack coin.
The Redskins have undervalued the defensive line at the top of the draft for so long, it borders on insanity. Since 1991 -- not coincidentally, the last year the Redskins won a Super Bowl -- they have drafted four true defensive linemen in the first three rounds of the draft. Yes, only four: Wilson, Shane Collins in 1992, Kenard Lang in 1996 and Jarvis Jenkins in 2011 (I am not counting players who played defensive line in college and were converted to linebacker in the pros). During that same time period, the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants have drafted 46 defensive linemen combined, an average of more than 15 per team. Those 46 players have produced 985 sacks while the Redskins’ four draft selections produced 38.5 sacks. 985 to 38 was not the final score of the UConn women’s first round game in the NCAA Tournament. It’s a stunning disparity that points to a major reason why the Redskins have struggled mightily over much of the last 25 seasons.
Now, you could argue we live in a “take the best player available” world and you would be correct. However, the Redskins could have certainly traded up or down to get a player at a position of need, and need at defensive tackle is an understatement. The Skins have had two defensive tackles make the Pro Bowl since 1974: Dave Butz and Diron Talbert. You know what those men have in common? Neither was drafted by the Redskins. Butz was signed as a free agent from the Cardinals while Talbert was acquired by George Allen from the Rams. The last Redskins defensive tackle who was drafted by the team AND made the Pro Bowl was Joe Rutgens in 1965, two years before current head coach Jay Gruden was born.
When Roger Goodell steps to the podium Thursday night, card in hand with the Skins’ first-round selection written upon it, just as sure as Chelsea Handler will post nude selfies on her Instagram, the Washington Redskins will not select a defensive tackle.
Chuck Sapienza is the Executive Producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP/Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the network’s Executive Producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com
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