The NFL Draft is a crapshoot. No matter what the film and stats show, so many variables go in to determining whether a player will succeed at the highest level. The Washington Redskins have tried their best at this glorified guessing game through the years -- with notable booms and busts along the way. Today, Breaking Burgundy takes a look at the franchise's three best fifth-round draft selections of the 21st century. This is where we start to get into "core" players region according to current general manager Scot McCloughan.
3. Anthony Montgomery - 153rd overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft
In four years with the Redskins, Montgomery played in 42 games, including 22 starts, and recorded 78 tackles, six passes defended, and three sacks. The 300-pounder was Washington's defensive tackle for the 2007 season, but struggled to stay on the field later in his career leading to his eventual waiver. Considering Montgomery played in nearly as many games (44) as 2006 first round pick John McCargo, a defensive tackle from NC State, and recorded more tackles (52), passes defended (5), and sacks (2.5), Washington got a relatively solid return on this fifth round pick.
2. Niles Paul - 155th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft
Originally a wide receiver, the Nebraska product has been a special teams phenom beyond just a return man. His impact on defending the return game is what makes him a coach's favorite beyond his versatility to also lineup at fullback when asked upon. Paul made a name for himself as a receiving threat in 2014 when filling in for Jordan Reed by accumulating 21 receptions for 313 yards in the first four games of the year. The 6-1 receiver was projected by coaches to start at tight end for the Redskins prior to the 2015 season because of his dual threat strengths in both the run and pass game. Were it not for a season ending ankle fracture dislocation in the first preseason game, Paul may be topping this list.
1. Robert Royal - 160th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft
Royal had the majority of his production away from Washington after Chris Cooley's arrival, but it is apparent that the Redskins could have been visionaries by starting the two tight end trend before the Patriots with Gronkowski and Hernandez. The LSU product recorded 31 catches for 249 yards and five touchdowns as a starter, when available, between 2003 and 2005 with Washington. Royal was a better run blocker but had his best receiving days in Buffalo where he totaled 832 yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons up North. Royal played in the most games of all Redskins fifth round picks this century, 110, which is nearly double the next closest competitor (Niles Paul - 60). When talking about best late round draft picks, teams are looking for a player that will at least be around long enough to contribute.
None of these players are 1981 fifth round pick Dexter Manley, but still were serviceable talents for the Redskins franchise.
Additional Draft Classes
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