Draft History: Redskins Sleepers

While the Redskins have drafted fairly well in the top of the draft in the past half dozen years, they have been unable to land the diamond in the rough, the mid-round pick who becomes a star or the late round guy who exceeds all expectations. This has not always been the case. Here's a look at some sleepers that the Redskins have uncovered in the draft in the past 40 years:

C Len Hauss (Georgia, drafted in 1964, 9th round, 118 overall)—The scouts couldn't measure his toughness and durability, the assets that carried this Bulldog through 14 seasons, 192 consecutive starts, and six Pro Bowl appearances.

LB Chris Hanburger (North Carolina, 1965, 18th, 243)—He wasn't big, he wasn't fast, and he wasn't very athletic. When he became a professional, however, he could spend all of his time off the field studying game films. That's what gave him the edge he needed to always be around the ball. Hanburger's knack for making the big play earned him a team-record nine trips to the Pro Bowl.

RB Larry Brown (Kansas State, 1969, 8th, 191)—During training camp as a rookie, Brown was showing some good running ability but he was a step slow getting off the ball. Coach Vince Lombardi thought he might have a hearing problem. Of course, St. Vincent was right. Brown was outfitted with a special helmet with a hearing aid and went on to break the team career record for rushing yards.

T George Starke (Columbia, 1971, 11th, 272)—Any football player coming out of Columbia is lightly regarded and Starke was no exception. Like most coming out of the Ivy League, though, Starke was smart and, after a couple of years on the bench he worked his way into the starting lineup. He didn't leave until he had a Super Bowl ring he earned in 1982 as the elder member of the original Hogs.

LB Monte Coleman (Arkansas St., 1979, 11th, 289)—He was drafted for his athletic ability and was fortunate to come to work for a defensive coaching staff that best knew how to utilize it. Richie Petitbon installed Coleman as the linebacker in long-yardage situations, a role that suited him well enough to last 16 seasons and appear in 216 games—both team records until Darrell Green broke them—and earn three Super Bowl rings.

DT Darryl Grant (Rice, 1981, 9th, 231)--Bobby Beathard tapped Grant as a long snapper even though the Redskins had Jeff Bostic there. It might have been a throwaway pick, but Grant went to the other side of the ball and became a fixture at defensive tackle for over 10 seasons.

C-G Raleigh McKenzie (Tennessee, 1985, 11th, 290)—His build didn't make him a favorite of scouts, but his low center of gravity turned out to be a great asset when it came to pass blocking. McKenzie was an anchor for the second generation of Hogs and was a starter for two Super Bowl teams.

QB Mark Rypien (Washington St, 1986, 6th, 146)—When he came out of college, Rypien was a strong-armed quarterback with limited mobility. When he left the Redskins after the 1993 season, he was a strong armed quarterback with limited mobility—and a Super Bowl MVP trophy. Joe Gibbs designed his offense around giving Rypien maximum pass protection, a scheme that helped the quarterback to two Pro Bowl trips and the aforementioned Super Bowl title.

KR Brian Mitchell (SW Louisiana, 1990, 5th, 130)—The college quarterback's times in the 40 weren't particularly impressive, his upright running style didn't look very good on film and there was no certain role for him to play in the NFL. These factors pushed Mitchell's draft status downward. His role turned out to be that of kick returner and he led the team in both kickoff and punt returned every year from 1991 through 1999, scoring nine touchdowns in kick returns.

RB Stephen Davis (Auburn, 1996, 4th, 102)—Davis' production fell off between his junior and senior years at Auburn as the team switched from a run-oriented offense to an attack that featured the passing game. The Redskins already had 1,000-yard rusher Terry Allen and would draft Skip Hicks in 1998 to take Allen's place. Davis, though, won the job in 1999 and twice broke the team record for rushing yards in a season.

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