Friday, April 29, 2011

A Draft Recap all about the Redskins

The NFL Draft is an event unlike any other in sports. Fans, players, coaches and front offices all wait expectantly with the hope that one single decision can sway the direction of their franchise for the next decade.

But more than that, you get the rare ability to connect with college kids on a deeply emotional level. You can see a 22 year old, who has worked his whole life to reach one goal - playing in the NFL - finally realize his dream. You get to see his every emotion as Emperor Palpatine Commissioner Goodell calls his name, "With the 2nd pick in the NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select: Von Miller."

The uninhibited reactions, the tears, the overwhelming sense of pride, and the jack-o-lantern grins smeared across the faces of young men when they feel their phone ring in their hand, look down and hear on the other end, "Son, how do you feel about becoming a New Orlean Saint?". It's unreal. It's why we watch. It's what makes the NFL the most popular sport in America.

It's why my twitter feed was filled with comments like, "Why does the NFL draft make me wanna cry!?".

To be fair, most of those were from 49ers fans realizing their front office is as inept as a blowfish throwing darts.

I won't go pick by pick, I will spend too much time on the Redskins, and I will do everything in my power to entertain you and convince you my opinions are right (some things never change).

Quarterbacks in the Draft
Drafting a quarterback is more exciting than seeing Tony Romo in a "Face Punching Booth". Everyone can talk themselves into any quarterback being the savior of the franchise. Why? Because of that pretty boy jerk, Tom Brady. Drafted with the 199th overall pick he became on of the top 5 QBs of all time. Now I'm expected to believe that Blaine Gabbert (worst QB name of ALL TIME, by the way) is going to be the franchise savior for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Really?

When had anyone even heard of Blaine Gabbert before Andrew Luck declared he was staying at Stanford another year? Same with Christian Ponder. In 2010 they said Jake Locker could have gone #1 overall in this draft, then he put together (another) unimpressive, sub-par, losing record season and STILL got drafted 8th. Andrew Dalton? Still on the board for a reason. Ryan Mallet? Can't run, can't speak coherently, and will probably be suspended his first year for actually smoking a joint between drills at mini-camp. Cam Newton? Boom or bust. Likely bust, especially in Carolina.

Here's what happened. NFL fans love quarterbacks. We also love the QB Camp show Jon Gruden does with the prospective players. So draft pundits hype these guys up so much that teams are forced to take them because their fans absolutely must have them. Then, for the first time since Prince was partying like it was 1999, three quarterbacks were taken in the Top 10.

So, am I happy the Redskins traded away the #10 pick to the Jaguars so they could draft Gabbert? Absolutely. It's a position where you must get the right guy, and when you have so many holes to fill (like Washington does) you can't risk it on a chance player. Trade that pick away to someone who is grasping for a QB, get another second round pick and move down just 6 spots in the draft. It's a no-brainer.

Here's the simple litmus test I apply. Can you imagine hearing, "Blaine Gabbert has just won the Super Bowl!" or "Blaine Gabbert is a lock for the Hall of Fame when he retires"? No way! That's the worst name since Tim Couch! Couch!! If the name doesn't work, the player won't work.

That said, Ryan Kerrigan could turn out to be a Nancy....

Get it? Nancy Kerrigan?

I'll be accepting my Nobel Peace Prize for Comedy in 2012.

With the 16th pick in the draft, the Washington Redskins select...
I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted the Redskins to do before this draft. I knew they shouldn't trade up, and I didn't want a first round quarterback. For a while I wanted a sexy pick, like a wide receiver, or a smart pick like an offensive lineman. The more I thought about it, however, I realized (or was told by my friend Michael) that our defense is close to being great. We have play makers on that side of the ball and if we get a few more pieces we can be a force on the field. Remember the 2001 Ravens? They won a Super Bowl with the best defense on Earth and Trent Dilfer (Dilfer!) as quarterback.

Ryan Kerrigan is going to be a good fit on this defense, he was, by the way, the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. You know another Redskin great who was named Big 10 Defensive PotY? A stud named Lavar Arrington. You never know.

I love the idea of Kerrigan rushing the passer with Brian Orakpo. That gives us two stud edge rushers who are quick, strong, and love getting after the ball. Kerrigan tied a Big 10 record by forcing 14 fumbles in his career. He was 2nd All-Time at Purdue with 33.5 sacks, and 4th in the nation with 57 tackles for loss. This is a guy who makes plays in the backfield. Stops up the run, and gets after the quarterback

More importantly, he brings something to the Redskins we don't see too often with our new player acquisitions: strong character, a high motor, and an unrelenting work ethic.

I know another white pass rusher in the league with long hair and an unquenchable thirst for getting after the quarterback: Clay Matthews, who is busying brushing his hair, polishing his Super Bowl ring and feasting on the flesh of quarterbacks.

Above all, Kerrigan's character, work ethic, and resolve prove to me he's a solid pick that will improve our defense, add depth and give us something to build on.

Second Round/McNabb?
The Skins still have two picks in the 2nd round and can do some damage and fill a few holes with their picks. They can afford to take a look at a guy like Andrew Dalton or Ryan Mallet if thats who they like and still get an offensive tackle or skill player if they're available. For the record, I do not like Dalton or Mallet.

Here's one more thing I think is worth talking about. Where is Donovan McNabb going? Is it just me, or are the only people propagating his departure the media? Has anyone on the Redskins addressed them parting ways? Or has it just been talking heads on ESPN and local sports radio who are so certain this relationship is finished?

He didn't have a good year last year. He didn't and he got benched. That happens when you try to get your receivers to catch the ball with their feet. Plus, we only sat him for the final three games after we were already eliminated from playoff contention. Call me an optimist but I see that as protecting as asset from getting his kneecaps bashed while scrambling away from rhino sized defensive ends in a game that doesn't matter.

Sure McNabb never got benched in Philadelphia. His back up QBs were also a garbage man and my librarian's mother (read, just slightly worse than Rex Grossman (Grossman!!) ). Not to mention he always had talent to throw to and a strong offensive line to protect him.

Why gamble on a QB in a draft that is weak on them when you have McNabb (serviceable) and Grossman (a good punching bag) around for another year. We don't need to win the Super Bowl this year. We just need to raise the talent, fix the holes, and right the ship. Create a culture of winning and of developing good, young players. Protect our draft picks and get on the right track for the future.

Or we could throw every game and try to get Andrew Luck next year...who knows.

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