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Looking back on the Redskins’ 2008 Draft Class

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(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Grant Paulsen Grant Paulsen
Grant Paulsen is the Redskins beat reporter for 106.7 The Fan and...
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The Redskins made 10 picks in the 2008 draft, half of them in the first four rounds. Having added double-digit players, all of whom made the team to start the 2008 season, the thought at Redskins Park was that this was going to be the draft class that changed the team’s direction.

This was the infusion of youth, and talent, Redskins fans had feverishly been clamoring for.

Three football seasons and forty months later, the results are still trickling back in but it isn’t looking good for Vinny Cerrato and his scouting staff.

Only four of those 10 players are still with the Redskins. What’s worse is that just one of the first six players Washington drafted is still with the team and nobody from that draft class will start on Sep. 11th if the team is fully healthy. There’s a couple seventh-round success stories but that’s not enough to save a draft bad enough to set the team’s development back a couple years

Here’s a glance at the 10 players taken with a look at where they are now:

Devin Thomas – 2nd round, 34th pick

The Redskins released him four games into the 2010 season. Thomas has played in 39 games with three teams in three NFL seasons, starting just 11 while catching only 40 passes. His last reception in a regular season game came in week-14 of the 2009 season and he’s scored just four professional touchdowns. Thomas is currently battling for a roster spot with the New York Giants, the team that signed him after he was released by both Washington and Carolina last fall. Upon releasing him Mike Shanahan hinted at the fact that Thomas cared too much about non-football aspects of his life and said that he needed to learn to be a professional.

Fred Davis – 2nd round, 48th pick

The most accomplished of Washington’s 10 draft picks to this point, Davis has been working with the Redskins’ first team while Chris Cooley has been nursing a preseason knee injury. Davis has played in 43 of Washington’s 48 games in the three seasons since he was drafted, catching 72 passes for 852 yards and nine touchdowns. His best work came during a cameo as a starter after Cooley suffered a season-ending ankle injury during the 2009 season, but he’s been a secondary tight end option ever since, diminishing Davis’ value. He tallied just 23 receptions in Mike Shanahan’s first season at the controls, a total he is expected to surpass in 2011.

Malcolm Kelly – 2nd round, 51st pick

Released by the Redskins on Tuesday, Kelly spent the entire preseason and most of Washington’s training camp on the sidelines with yet another injury (sore foot). He missed more games (27) than he’s been healthy enough to play in (21), and he registered all of 28 receptions in his first three years in the NFL. Kelly, who missed the entire 2010 season with a hamstring injury that landed him on Injured Reserve, has yet to score a professional touchdown. A prototype receiver with ideal size (6-foot-4) and plus-hands, Kelly looks the part. He just wasn’t able to stay healthy and the Redskins couldn’t keep waiting for him to develop.

Chad Rinehart – 3rd round, 96th pick

The artist formerly known as ‘Rhino.’ Released by the Redskins on the final day of 2010 roster cuts, Rinehart played in four games and made three starts with the Buffalo Bills last season. Rinehart had previously started and played in four games in a two-season stay with Washington after he was drafted out of Northern Iowa. Rinheart’s only stint as a starter in DC came after multiple injuries to guards listed ahead of him on the Redskins’ depth chart. But his run as a first-teamer abruptly ended in a week-11 game at Dallas back in November 2009, when the 320-pound lineman suffered a broken leg.

Justin Tryon – 4th round, 124th pick

Traded to the Indianapolis Colts on final cut-down day last September, Tryon ended up playing in 12 games and making six starts for the AFC South champions. He even logged considerable play time in the postseason for the Colts, who traded a draft pick to Washington that ended up becoming the 21st pick of the 7th-round of this past April’s draft. (The Redskins used that pick to draft outside linebacker Markus White, who could be in line for a practice squad spot at the end of the preseason). Tryon played in 29 of the Redskins’ 32 games during his time with the team, but he mostly saw action on special teams. Speedy but undersized, Tryon defended just three passes and made just one interception in burgundy-and-gold.

Durant Brooks – 6th round, 168th pick

What is there to say about this pick? Brooks lasted all of six games and 26 punts with the Redskins back in 2008. He averaged under 40 yards on his punts and had two of his kicks returned for touchdowns before Washington pulled the plug on the former Ray Guy award winner’s time in Washington. Brooks didn’t punt in the NFL in either of the last two seasons and was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month. He spent roughly a week punting in the team’s training camp this summer. His NFL ineptitude is baffling considering how elite he was in college. But drafting a punter in the 6th round is a bad idea almost every time anyway, right?

Kareem Moore – 6th round, 180th pick

One of the four 2008 selections still with the team, Moore is currently on the physically unable to perform list. He has yet to participate in a practice since the lockout ended and is a candidate to miss the first six games of Washington’s season as he continues to recover from a knee injury that ended his 2010 season prematurely. He started one game in each of his first two seasons with the Redskins before elevating to the top free safety spot on the team’s depth chart prior to training camp last season. He ended up starting 11 games but because he was playing through pain he wasn’t an effective tackler and didn’t breakup enough down-field passes from his centerfield position.

Colt Brennan – 6th round, 186th pick

Jim Zorn’s quarterbacking project. A preseason sensation, Colt Brennan never took the field in a regular season game for the Redskins. He ended up throwing four touchdown passes and being intercepted three times in two years of preseason games with the club. He signed with Oakland after being cut by the Redskins in the opening days of training camp last August (after Washington traded for John Beck) and completed his only pass attempt of the exhibition season. A personable guy who fans adored, Brennan was supposed to have played in the UFL this fall, but the team he was going to play for folded.

Rob Jackson – 7th round, 242nd pick

Has spent the bulk of two of his three seasons on the Redskins’ practice squad, but he’s responded well to the limited opportunities he’s been allotted. Drafted as a defensive end, Jackson had a strong preseason as a rookie that was accentuated by a multi-sack game. He’s still never made an NFL start, but he’s played in three, five and two games over the past three seasons. When Brian Orakpo missed a game in Jacksonville last season, Jackson replaced him at outside linebacker and recorded a sack and a forced fumble. He’ll likely be Washington’s third outside linebacker this season, the first guy the team brings off the bench on passing downs to spell Orakpo or rookie-starter Ryan Kerrigan. He was a nice project and he’s become a nice prospect.

Chris Horton – 7th round, 249th pick

Horton burst onto the scene as one of the top defensive rookies in football back in 2008. He played in 14 games, starting 10, racking up 76 tackles, defending five passes and intercepting three others. But Horton’s health has been in consistent turmoil since. He’s made just five starts over the past two seasons, playing in only 15 games and with Horton’s diminished health has come a decline in productivity. He’s made fewer tackles and defended fewer passes in each of his years with the Redskins. But Horton has finally returned to 100 percent health and he’s made starts with OJ Atogwe out with injuries this preseason. He’s on the bubble to make the team this year but should be able to battle his way onto the Redskins’ 53-man roster based on his special teams abilities and the fact that Kareem Moore will likely begin the season on the PUP list.


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