All News & Blogs
Redskins have needs to fill in draft
FILE/Jose Luis Magana/ASSOCIATED PRESS
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
BY RICH CAMPBELL
ASHBURN--Nine first-round draft picks have been introduced at Redskins Park since that mid-April day in 1997 when defensive end Kenard Lang arrived wearing brown alligator-skin shoes and declared he was a "puppy going to a grown man's game."
None of those nine was a defensive lineman. In fact, Lang was the last defensive lineman the Washington Redskins have selected higher than the fifth round.
It is part of what has become a stunning trend. The Redskins' neglect of their offensive and defensive lines during the top of the draft has been a hallmark of their player acquisition methods since Daniel Snyder took ownership of the franchise in July 1999.
The team during Snyder's tenure has addressed its lines almost exclusively through free agency and trades, a risky approach considering the increased injury risk for older linemen and the relatively low bust rate for highly drafted lineman compared with skill-position players.
But the Redskins probably will have a grand opportunity to end that streak and fill a need tomorrow when a handful of quality defensive ends are expected to be available for their scheduled pick at No. 13 overall.
"If you could get two offensive tackles and a defensive line, you can pretty much assure yourself you're going to have a good football team," said former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly, who drafted Lang and is now an analyst for CBS Sports. "That, to me, is what the priority is."
Washington since 2000 has drafted only one lineman (left tackle Chris Samuels) higher than the third round, the fewest of any team in the NFL. Philadelphia and Minnesota each lead the league with 10 such picks.
Detractors of the Redskins' approach believe it is why the team ranks 28th in sacks in the 32-team league since 2002.