A week removed from the 2016 NFL draft and a week away from the team’s lone NFL sanctioned rookie minicamp– let’s take a look at the seven worst Redskins draft picks over the last 3 decades. A cautionary tale if you will.
In compiling this list, I chose to rank the draftees in reverse order from worst too whatever term you choose to use for worse than that. So without further ado…
With the 7th pick in the Washington Redskins worst to something worse than that, modern draft era draft– the burgundy & gold selected:
Michael Westbrook, WR – Colorado (1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4)
Westbrook, a consensus All-American coming out of college, had the measurables all teams were looking for in a WR. At 6’3″ 220lbs w/4.4speed, the man on the receiving end of the “Miracle at Michigan” appeared on paper to be a great pick. But a rash of injuries, uninspired quarterback play, and questions of his temperament & desire, derailed any hopes of a promising career. If I had two shots at this pick, 7a would be Patrick Ramsey.
With the 6th pick, the burgundy & gold selected:
Bobby Wilson, DT – Michigan State (1991 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17)
At 6’2″ 280+, Wilson was viewed as the ideal defensive tackle. One that makes a living, wreaking havoc in the backfield. As the first, first round selection the Skins would make since 1983, he was looked at as a key cog to help guide the defense for the next decade. Alas although he won a ring with WAS, he never lived up to the hype. Hanging up his jersey after a back injury at the end of his rookie deal. Amassing 11 sacks over 5 seasons.
With the 5th pick, the burgundy & gold selected:
Devin Thomas, WR – Michigan State (2008 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34)
An alumnus of the Tshirts and Shorts Hall of Fame, also known as the Underwear Olympics (bka the NFL Draft Combine), Devin was drafted in the second round sheerly off of measurables and one good year at the D-I level. A chiseled 6’2″ specimen, Devin’s pro career was done in by spotty QB play in Washington. Spotty coaching. And his inability to run routes or catch the ball. He did go on to win a SB ring as a member of the Giants, where he served as a spot special teamer. 482 yards receiving over a 5 year pro career.
Devin is one of my favorite, worst Skins draftees of all-time. As he was picked ahead of not only WRs Desean Jackson and Jordy Nelson, but a # of other players drafted in the same round that year who have gone onto have good to great success in the league (i.e. Brandon Flowers, Matt Forte, Calais Campbell). He played two full seasons in WAS, before being released during the 2010 season. The highlight of his career? Being the love interest in the video for Fantasia’s hit single “Bittersweet”.
With the 4th pick, the burgundy & gold selected:
Ed Bunn, P – UTEP (1993 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80)
A professional football organization coming off of a 9-7 season, drafted a 25 year old punter in the third round. He never played a down in the league.
With the 3rd pick, the burgundy & gold selected:
Heath Shuler, QB -Tennesee (1994 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3)
The one position that all NFL talking heads say you absolutely can not miss on in the first round, is quarterback (So where are Ramsey and Campbell you ask? Ramsey suffered thru Spurrier. Shanny gave up on Jason as soon as he was hired, despite back to back years of positive progression). So much for that. A mobile scrambler with zero pocket presence, the former Heisman runner up, came into the league and that was pretty much it. He lasted three seasons in WAS, throwing for a combined 13 TDs to 19 INTs with a completion percentage of 47.7%.
With the 2nd pick, the burgundy & gold selected:
Desmond Howard, WR – Michigan (1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4)
The Skins panicked in 1992, trading their two #1’s that year (picks 6 and 28) for the opportunity to move up to 4 and draft the Heisman winner out of Michigan. What they got for their actions was a return man. In Desmond’s final year in DC (’94), he had his best year as a WR. Amassing 40 catches for 700+ yds and 5TDs. His career numbers however tell you all that you need to know:
1,597yds receiving | 10,854yds (combined KR + PR)
Desmond would go onto become a 1st-Team All Pro (1996), Pro Bowler (2000), and win SB MVP in 1997 for Green Bay. All as a return man. In short, WAS gave up 2 1’s in the same draft, to acquire Ted Ginn (who has actually gone on to have a much better career for what it’s worth).
I had to slate Desmond ahead of Heath, because of the move the team made in acquiring him. Additionally, all of his success as a return man, happened away from WAS.
And finally, the pièce de résistance. The worst draft pick in the Washington Redskins modern draft era. The burgundy & gold selected:
Andre Johnson, OT – Penn State (1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 30)
After trading away their first round pick in 1996 to acquire Sean Gilbert from CAR (who played for the team for one season), WAS had to trade into the back end of the first round to select Johnson. The big tackle, never played a down of NFL football for the Washington Redskins. Not because of health concerns, but because he was ungood. He was so ungood in fact, that he was released after his rookie season.
Johnson would go onto play three (3) games in the NFL, all with the Detroit Lions.
The NFL Draft is a crap shoot that is as much luck, as it is skill and in-depth research. For every athletic freak there is a fringe level talent, with more will and the attention to detail needed to succeed. And even then you can miss on a prospect, if a number of things aren’t in place to support them (quality coaching staff, stable front office). Here’s to the 2016 class, mirroring the 2015 one in terms of on-field success.
Agree or disagree with my list? Feel free to let me know.