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Drafts Gone Bad!

April 1, 2018
The Redskins officially pulled the plug on the short lived Su’a Cravens era this week, trading the troubled second-round pick from less than two years ago to Denver for a package of picks.

By now, you should realize that the larger issue is that Cravens represents another high-round, high-value swing-and-miss by the Redskins in the Bruce Allen era.

By “high-round, high-value” I mean the first three rounds of any given draft.

There’s been plenty of them. If you want to remind yourself of the sobering truth – here’s what it looks like.

2010 – 2 nd round pick, # 37 overall, traded to the Philadelphia Eagles as part of the Donovan McNabb disaster.  The Redskins organization also did not have a third-round pick because they selected Jeremy Jarmon in the supplemental draft (2009).

2011 – 2 nd round pick, # 41 overall, Jarvis Jenkins, was promising until he blew his knee out in his first training camp and was never really the same after that. Jenkins had two total sacks in three on-field years with the Redskins.

Leonard Hankerson was the # 79 overall pick in the third-round and flashed at times, but could never consistently stay healthy and the Redskins gave up on him after 81 catches and six touchdowns over parts of four seasons.

2012 – The Redskins trade for Robert Griffin III reeked of marketability and desperation more than common sense, before it even happened. The notion that you trade whatever it takes to get a quarterback that you believe is your franchise guy, doesn’t make complete sense to me. Especially if the people picking the quarterback have a very shaky history and if the prospect has some major question marks.

Before you accuse me of hindsight, I was screaming about this on ESPN 980, the Redskins owned and controlled radio station from inside their building. Trust me, my opinions did not make me many friends.

It worked brilliantly for a short while and then became symbolic of the Redskins struggles for 25 + years.

The Griffin trade cost the Redskins the # 6 overall pick, the # 39 pick in the second-round and two first round picks the next two years (# 22, 2013 & # 2, 2014.)

With no second-round pick in 2012 after the Griffin trade, it was important for the Redskins to hit on a high third-round pick and they did not. Josh LeRibeus is a great guy and had versatility. He tried hard but he never fit what the Redskins needed and drafted him for. He’s still in the league as a backup in New Orleans.

2013 – Pick # 51 in the second-round and the Redskins first of that annual selection was David Amerson. He flashed a couple of times in Washington, but the coaching staff soured on him for more than just his play. He ultimately was benched for a game in 2014 and then released early in 2015. Another top-60 pick wasted.

2014 – The Redskins were poised with the # 34 overall pick to make their first selection of the draft (because they traded away the eventual # 2 overall pick in the Griffin trade) but instead traded the pick to the Dallas Cowboys. In turn, Dallas selected DeMarcus Lawrence who has steadily been improving and had a breakout season in 2017, totaling 14.5 sacks.

The Redskins selected Trent Murphy (# 47 overall) and he had one very good year with Washington (2016), two decent seasons and then was suspended for a PED violation before tearing his ACL in August of last year. He missed the entire season and then was signed to a multi-year deal by Buffalo. It is important to note that the Redskins netted a third-round pick in this trade, which netted Spencer Long in the third round.

It could be argued that this was a good pick/trade for the Redskins. However, because both Murphy and Long are now gone and certainly were not great while here and Lawrence’s production has surged, ultimately this is a negative in my eyes for Washington in the long run.

2015 – Brandon Scherff is a Pro-Bowl guard and Preston Smith was pretty consistent in 2017, by far, the best of his three seasons in the NFL. Although Scherff was originally drafted as a tackle and paraded around as one, he was quickly switched to right guard early in his first camp.

The move was publicly discussed as more of a promotion for Morgan Moses, rather than a demotion for Scherff but it was pretty strange, despite Scherff’s best position clearly being inside. The problem? Many draft analysts knew it at the time and the Redskins seemed to think otherwise. Or they did what they always do. They tried to sell the public a bill of goods and were exposed ultimately in the end.

The only failure in the top three-rounds of 2015 was Matt Jones, who was selected at # 95 overall after a trade with Seattle. Jones was viewed as a fifth or sixth-round prospect and the Redskins took him towards the end of the third-round.

Scot McCloughan was very high on Jones. As a rookie, he couldn’t hold onto the football. In his second season, after being completely handed the starting job without earning it, he showed some glimpses of stability but then ball control issues and injuries, along with an inability to play special teams ended his playing days in Washington. Jones was with the Redskins for a little more than two years.

2016 – The Josh Doctson era has provided mixed results so far, but more frustration than positives. If he can stay healthy, he should be fine.

Su’a Cravens was selected with the # 53 overall pick and as you know, that turned out to be a complete disaster and debacle for the Redskins, who can’t be blamed on one end but ultimately have to take responsibility for ANOTHER high-round selection that blew up in their face.

Kendall Fuller was selected in the third-round, # 84 overall, and was great in his second season in the NFL. He was a huge part of the Alex Smith deal. His first season was not very good.

2017 – Jonathan Allen, if he can stay healthy, will be a key cog in the defensive line for ten years (knock on wood). Ryan Anderson, the Redskins second-round pick # 49 overall, was a significant disappointment in his rookie year.

Fabian Moreau, # 81 overall, is expected to contend for the starting right cornerback job or possibly the slot position.

If you’re keeping track, the Redskins have had one successful second-round pick in the Bruce Allen era (Preston Smith), unless you are counting Trent Murphy, which is very much up for debate.

ONE-and-a-half?? Jarvis Jenkins, David Amerson and Su’a Cravens would all qualify as either busts or not-good picks. They didn’t have second round picks in 2010 and 2012 because of failed trades for quarterbacks. Of course, it’s way too early to truly judge Anderson but the early returns were not great.

If you go back even further, the Redskins did not have a second-round pick (again) in 2009 because of the Jason Taylor disastrous trade.

They had three second-round picks in 2008 (Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly) and all three ultimately were failures. Davis had some success but self-destructed and Thomas actually won a Super Bowl…with the New York Giants.

Once again, they did not have a second-round pick in 2007 (they also didn’t have third and fourth-round picks as well).

That’s the last 11 drafts and combined, they’ve generated sustained productivity from Preston Smith and Murphy’s up-and-down contribution when you look at the entirety of their second-round decisions. 

Some Redskins fans will bash me for being overly negative, as they always do. This is NOT opinion. This is bottom-line facts. Reality. It’s harsh but indisputable.

Of course, the Redskins hit on Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed, Morgan Moses and others previously mentioned in the early rounds of the draft and that’s great. It really is.

Five or six hits in 11 years is NOT good enough. It’s NEVER going to allow you to sustainably compete.

If you want to know why the Redskins are consistently average to below average (that could be kind), this is the number one pure football reason. And then there’s everything else.

If Bruce Allen was also serious about his quote earlier this week that everybody is judged by a win-loss record, well, if the shoe fits pal. Wear it.

  Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN