WASHINGTON — The Dan Snyder era has seen its shares of highs and lows. Okay – there have been a lot more lows since he bought the Redskins in the spring of 1999.
Washington’s drafts since Snyder purchased the team have been volatile. Snyder entrusted personnel decisions to coaches he trusted (Joe Gibbs, Mike Shanahan) and relied on a general manager (Vinny Cerato) who was in over his head. Team president Bruce Allen ran the show in 2014 and stepped back for two years as GM Scot McCloughan did the heavy draft work. It’s all added up to a checkered draft history. But here are five picks the Redskins nailed under Snyder’s stewardship:
4th round/102nd overall
The same year Washington took Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick, it confused everyone by taking Cousins in the fourth round. The Shanahans loved him and weren’t sold on Griffin anyway. After a brilliant rookie season followed by years of drama, the Redskins turned to Cousins. A player who thought he’d be traded in the spring of 2015 has set the franchise record for passing yards in two consecutive seasons and led his team to an NFC East title, a playoff berth and two winning seasons.
1st round/5th overall
His life was tragically cut short when shot to death in his Florida home in 2007. The organization in some ways still hasn’t recovered. Taylor was that rare safety who had immense range in coverage, but could play in the box, too. He had 12 interceptions in just 55 career games and had eight forced fumbles. He was a playmaker whose intensity made him a fan favorite. They still mourn the loss of a player who had Hall of Fame potential.
1st round/4th overall
Every team dreams of landing a reliable left tackle. The Redskins hit the jackpot in 2010 when they chose Williams from Oklahoma over Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung. Williams has made five Pro Bowls now and is as reliable left tackle as there is in the NFL. Yes, he’s had his issues with suspensions. But he’s as respected as anyone in that locker room and provides great comfort that the quarterback’s blind side will always be protected.
1st round/3rd overall
Another great pick that cost the Redskins four draft picks to move up to get Samuels. It was worth it. Samuels played in six Pro Bowls and was an anchor at left tackle in the days before Williams. Also had to retire at age 32 because of chronic injuries or he could have put together another few years of production.
1st round/16th overall
The Redskins stuck to their guns and avoided trading up for three quarterbacks who wouldn’t make it (Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder). Instead, they got a consistent pass rusher who now puts up double-digit sacks almost every season. Kerrigan hasn’t missed a game in his career. He has 58.5 career sacks and had 13.5 (2014), 9.5 (2015) and 11 (2016). He won’t turn 29 until August and at least has an outside shot at the franchise record owned by Dexter Manley (97.5).
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