Once upon a time, before I ventured into the world of sports writing, I wanted to buy a jersey of my favorite player on one of my favorite teams. That player was entering the final year of his contract. I waited. The next year Champ Bailey was traded for Clinton Portis. While I disagreed on the deal for the home team (buy me a drink and I'll talk about this one for as long as needed), I applauded my own jersey decision. Imagine the disaster of getting only one-year worth of use. Hey, at least RGIII fans could strut for a full presidential cycle.
Having long since graduated from the jersey wearing in public crowd, I rarely think of such matters unless asked for a suggestion or am randomly part of such conversations. The latter happened recently. The specific topic: If you were to buy a Redskins jersey knowing you must wear it for every game for at least two years, who would you pick.
I present my top 10 list. React accordingly.
10. Ryan Kerrigan -- When the Redskins need a sack, No. 91 often delivers. When media members need a safe interview with no chance of going off the rails, they call for Kerrigan. The latter devalues the former when it comes to the "wow" factor needed in jersey decisions.
9. DeSean Jackson -- The true wild card. Coolest cat in the room, but will the upcoming free agent be in the locker room next season. If not, then Redskins fans could end wearing the jersey of the top receiver for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.
8. Will Compton -- For something of an outside the box choice we go to the middle of Washington's defense. Compton is as smartly instinctive on the field as he is engaging off it.
7. Josh Doctson -- First round pick that plays wide receiver equals jersey gold, Jerry, gold. However, the Achilles heel in this plan is the never-ending pain/discomfort in Doctson's left foot. I'm sure everything will work out eventually, including those end zone fade passes. It's not like there's a history of D.C. athletes suffering injuries that lead to...oh, let's move on.
6. Trent Williams -- The good thing about a No. 71 Williams jersey is that it arguably represents the best player on the team now -- who also just signed a long-term deal -- and a future classic version. Offensive linemen are old school from the start.
5. Kirk Cousins -- Quarterbacks are the BMOC, the face of the franchise. After a record-setting first season under center, that's essentially the deal here whether you like that or not. Thing is, there's that tricky contract negotiation coming up. Will the Redskins play hardball with another one-year franchise tag? Will Cousins demand a long-term deal? Will he prove worth it or (gulp) not so much? Buy the upside and he escapes after the season, ouch. Therefore, that leads to a question.
4. Preston Smith -- The sacks are coming and when they do, they won't stop.
3. Jordan Reed -- The touchdowns are coming and when they do, they won't stop.
2. Josh Norman -- I've already used my GIF budget on Clint Eastwood or I'd go with Russell Crowe's Gladiator yelling, "Are you not entertained?!?!" Almost every week there's a new controversy involving the Pro Bowl corner, but largely the fun, get your popcorn kind. Whether he's defending the opponent's best receiver each week or not, Norman is the defensive focus for Washington's opponents. He's the go-to quote, he backs up the talk and he's here for a while.
1. Su'a Cravens -- The selection of the linebacker-safety hybrid probably seems reactionary to the moment seeing as the rookie sealed Sunday's win with a game-clinching interception. Wrong. Seemingly, from the moment Washington selected the USC product in the second round, everyone quickly grew fond of Cravens. Kids clamored for autographs in Richmond. Grown men all over the DMV developed man crushes. One famous former porn star living in enemy territory who roots for the Burgundy and Gold talks him up. Cravens is Washington's entree into the trendy "Moneybacker" position. The 21-year-old loves Seinfeld and didn't yada yada over the explanation about why he and his Cowboys-rooting mom weren't talking during Dallas week. Also, Cravens can play. That he's not the most obvious of choices only adds to his cool factor for this category.
One last thing: He chose to wear Sean Taylor's number. That recognition is special. If Cravens keeps this up, the next generation will want to wear his No. 36. Get a head start now.
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