A Look Back: The 2001 Draft
Although I often complain about Daniel Snyder, I must admit that the Redskins have drafted very well during Snyder’s tenure as owner of our beloved franchise. Some people say Rod Gardner is not that good of a receiver and even more claim that the Redskins have not drafted well in the later rounds the past couple of years. I could not disagree more.
Considering that Snyder has had a role in drafting Patrick Ramsey (over the objections of Steve Spurrier) in the first round, Derrick Dockery (who I think Joe Bugel will turn into an excellent run-blocking guard this year) in the third round, Darnerien McCants in the fifth round, and Rock Cartwright in the seventh round, I’d say Danny Boy has done a pretty good job at bringing talent to D.C. not only through free agency, but also through the draft (that is, when we have draft picks).
Just consider the 2001 draft as an example of Snyders’ ability to draft quality players.
With their first pick (#15 overall), the Redskins selected Rod Gardner. Though many gripe about how Rod Gardner is not that good of a receiver, I think he was an excellent choice. Gardner has the third most receptions and receiving yards (only Koren Robinson and Chad Johnson have more) and has scored more touchdowns in his career than any other wide receiver selected in the 2001 draft. He achieved such accomplishments despite lining up against our opponents top corners, being coached poorly, and enduring perennial quarterback, coaching, and scheme changes. Does anyone remember how Gardner was the only receiver open on a fairly regular basis in 2002?
Consider the other receivers drafted in 2001 at or after the 15th overall pick (Washington’s first rounder). As alternatives to Rod Gardner in 2001, we could have chosen Santana Moss, Freddie Mitchell, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, or Quincy Morgan. Santana Moss had a breakout season last year, but has yet to show that he is consistent enough to be called a true top wideout. Freddie Mitchell has been a bust in Philadelphia. Reggie Wayne is a decent #2 receiver, but then again he has had Marvin Harrison drawing double and even triple teams, Peyton Manning throwing to him, and Edggerin James drawing the Colts’ opponents’ defenses closer to the line of scrimmage. Quincy Morgan is also a decent receiver, but can hardly be considered elite. Chad Johnson is the only receiver drafted in 2001 at or after the 15th overall pick that has developed into a true #1 wideout (having produced 2,850 yards, 16 TDs, 15.2 ypc, and 187 receptions).
In sum, in hindsight, Chad Johnson was definitely the best receiver to come out of the 2001 draft, but I would say there is a strong argument to be made that Gardner was the runner-up. At #15, considering the other wideouts available, I think Gardner was a good pick. He certainly is not a bust.
With their second pick (#45 overall), the Redskins selected Fred Smoot. In my opinion, Fred Smoot is the best cornerback to come out of the 2001 draft. Smoot has more interceptions (13) and tackles (129) than any other corner in his draft class. Though statistics are not everything when it comes to assessing corners, Smoot was a very good choice by the Redskins and has developed into a solid starting cornerback.
Will Allen (#22 overall), Willie Middlebrooks (#24 overall), and Jamar Fletcher (#26 overall) were chosen before Fred Smoot. While Will Allen is a very good young corner, Middlebrooks and Fletcher have both turned out to be busts. Chosen after Smoot (in rounds two and three) were corners Michael Stone (#54 overall), Andre Dyson (#60 overall), and Tay Cody (#67 overall). Andre Dyson is a decent young corner, but Michael Stone and Tay Cody have been unproductive.
Though us Skins’ fans have been spoiled by Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot is a darn good corner. Is Smoot a Pro-Bowl quality player? Not yet. Is he a bust? No way. Was Smoot the best corner taken in the 2001 draft’s second round? Certainly. Was Smoot a good choice? Without question.
With the 109th overall pick, the Redskins selected quarterback Sage Rosenfels. Okay, Rosenfels never threw a single ball in a regular season game for the Redskins. Was he a bust? Yes. But, considering he was the 109th player drafted (Jesse Palmer, Mike McMahon, Josh Booty were the other quarterbacks drafted in the mid-late rounds), a bust is not a serious loss of money or opportunity.
With the 154th overall selection, the Redskins drafted tight-end turned wideout Darnerien McCants. Considering Vinny Sutherland (#136 overall), Alex Bannister (#140 overall), Scotty Anderson (#148 overall) and Onome Ojo (#153) were receivers all selected before McCants, I think he was an excellent pick. Anytime you develop a fifth rounder into a red-zone threat and solid #3 wideout, you made out like a bandit.
With the 186th pick, we drafted DT Mario Monds. Okay, he’s a bust.
In sum, I think Danny Boy did a very good job in 2001. Though others had a role in deciding who the Redskins drafted, the buck stops at Danny’s feet and he has to be given some credit.
OTHER QUICK DRAFT GRADES:
The 2004 and 2003 drafts are too recent to assess how well we drafted but Sean Taylor (#5 overall) is a good pick, Chris Cooley (#81 overall) seems like a perfect fit for the ‘Skins, and Derrick Dockery (#81 overall) will become a run-blocking monster this year under the tutelage of Joe Bugel.
Some 2002 draft Picks:
#32 overall-Patrick Ramsey, TREMENDOUS value at #32 (A+)
#56 overall-Ladell Betts, the jury is out but he has showed some promise when healthy (B-)
#87 overall – Clifford Russell, we haven’t seen any of him in the regular season (Incomplete)
#160 overall – Robert Royal, he has showed potential when healthy (C)
#257 overall – Rock Cartwright VERY GOOD value as a late seventh round pick (B+)
Well I'm certainly in the pro Snyder camp and I think some of his choices like Ramsey and Rock are fine ones but I'm pretty sure that 2001 is the year that he took a back seat and let Marty run the draft
Let's go Snyder (with help FROM MY BOY SPURRIER) the acquired quite a bit of talent.
As far as Sage Rosenfels being a bust, I'm not so sure. In pre-season he looked like the top QB on our roster at the time. I think he's a talented QB that hasn't gotten the chance he needs. He should have started that year, but didn't. Granted, it was preseason, but Weurffel and Mathews did a whole lot of nothing that year.
Very good write up, Ramseyfan!
My hat is off to you, finally someone gives Rod Gardner some credit. At the time we drafted him we needed a WR. And I agree the only one better than him turned out to be Chad Johnson. Yes, Rod could be better but like you said he was the only 2001 draftee that went through QB and offensive system changes more than most NFL players change there socks. Is he great no, but I would not hang him like many do on other posts.
Well. Ive got a bunch of things to say but im pressed for time right now so im going to just say one of them. In that draft, of the receivers you listed I dont think I would agree that as of now Chad Johnson was the best pick. But I will bet anyone of you that after next year that Santana Moss will be at worst the second best receiver out of that group, perhaps first since Johnson has a rookie QB throwing to. I know you are all going to just say its because hes a Cane, but try to prove me otherwise. He didnt have a chance to play at receiver until last year. He was drafted essentially to be a returner, which he has excelled at. People always said hes to small. Which is kinda ironic becuase they started Coles over him and people say that about Coles to, but last time I checked Coles has done pretty well for him self. Santana being two inches shorter than most people means nothing for two reasons, hes the fastest receiver in the NFL, and can jump higher than any receiver in the NFL. He had some crazy number like a 44 inch verticle coming out of college. So whos going to contest that, Jordan?!? He has a ton of natural instincts and as soon as they put him in last year because they needed help at recevier, he dominated most people that covered him. He was kinda in limbo for the jets last year, but im pretty sure he'll be there number one guy this year. Last year he had 74 receptions and over 1100 yards for ten tds. I hope Gardner does start to shine even more and have a great year next year. But Ive been saying for three years, alogn with a couple close friends that follow football a lot as well, that as soon as Moss gets the nod at receiver hes going to become a top receiver in teh NFL. We all saw Coles last year in the open field, it was amazing. But with Santana starting next year Jets fans arent going to miss him. (which is good because hes ours now)
Santana Moss got a lot more playing time than you would like to give him credit for, Skins. He played WR fairly often and he didn't do very well. As of now he's the Jet's #1 receiver, but remember, that was with Vinny. For all we know Pennington still might not be comfortable with him, and if he gets bumped up to #1 receiver expect to see every DB in the league beat the hell out of him in the first 5 yards.
I'm not trying to take anything away from Santana, he's a great player with quickness and ups, as you mentioned. However, I think Rod is much better in the long run.
Redskins8588: I don't think many people are really giving Rod Gardner a bum wrap. We understand he's a decent player, a solid receiver (who needs to work on getting softer hands) but we also realize he's our only shot of a trade. We have depth at WR and Rod is the only expendable player that might bring any sort of intrest from WR depleted teams. Most people agree Rod is going to be our #2 receiver, I on the otherhand feel Jacobs will be lining up there by late this year or next year.
Ramseyfan, wow! You should do a show on George Michaels' Sports Machine. Very impressed! I agree with you about Rod. He hasn't been outstanding as far as stats, but he's never had a decent qb throwing to him (other than Ramsey). Yes, Snyder has done well in the draft. Let's not be fooled. We know that Snyder has had heavy influence on the draft every year since he's been with us, even with Schottenheimer. And yes, he's done a fine job. I don't agree with you about Derrick Dockery. He was the most inconsistent, undisciplined OL last year and was a liability. You might as well roll out the red carpet between center and tackle. I hope that you are right about him being developed under Bugel, though. I'm worried about that position.
Snyder is also getting better in free agency. He started out terrible (remember the AARP all star team of 2001?, ex.Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jeff George, etc.). He stole all of the talent from the Jets last year (excellent move), and the free agent signings this year were good. Yes, Snyder is learning, but what do I love about him? He wants to win and will do what it takes to get it done. I'm so pumped up! I can't wait until the season starts!
Does anyone else recall that Snyder was very high on Santana Moss coming out of college and he really wanted to take him, but of course Marty went with Rod instead.
It's still yet to be seen who will have the better overall career, but I thought it was worth pointing out that I agree with RF's assessment that Snyder does seem to have somewhat of an eye for talent, and Ramsey was also his pick as RF previously mentioned.
Santana will miss more games due to his small frame, as he did his rookie year, but hes a playmaker, where Gardner is not
i think jacobs was a good pickup too, though i'm pretty sure that was spurrier having known him and thinking he was better than a 2nd round receiver... that wasnt the most pressing need, but i believe he was a solid pick anyways. Him and taylor are the two skins i'll really be watching in preseason (as well as our QB's and portis and well, everyone else ;) )
But i don't think you can argue mccants and cartwright, true late round gems, and ramsey is probably one of the best pick danny's made. A lot of people seem to be up on betts (new coaching staff included), but it seems like he's happier in the hospital than on the field, so my expectations for him are pretty low.
I don't think McCants and Cartwright are necessarily late-round gems in the sense that they have developed into Jessie Armsteads, Brad Johnsons, et al. What I was saying is that considering the number of late round picks that make the team that drafted them, let alone become valuable contributing members of the team, they are excellent pick-ups.
As to Sage Rosenfels being a bust.....When we drafted him I was excited. I thought he had a lot of potential. However, when I got a closer look I realized that I was wrong. Outside of the preseason, the only time I've seen him play was when Jay Fiedler was injured, Ray Lucas was injured after filling in for Fiedler, and Sage came in and looked god awful. I can't judge him based on his performance in the preseason and that one Miami game, but Washington apparently didn't think much of him. We were not exactly flush with good quarterbacks when we traded Rosenfels to Miami for a 7th round pick in the trade (remember, he was a fourth rounder). So, in my book, Rosenfels was a bust.
As to Santana Moss being a great wideout.....He looked very, very good last year. However, prior to week 3 or 4 of last season, Moss was very inconsistent. Jets fans hated Moss and often complained about how he was a wasted pick (I read the NY Time Sports Section; Online NY Jets Fan Discussion Forum). Remember the Jets brought in Curtis Conway last season to replace Coles. There was little talk of Moss filling Coles' shoes. Perhaps he just took some time to develop, but I think that overall (from their rookie years until the present) Gardner has been a better wideout. I'm not saying Gardner is an elite receiver, just that he was the second best WR from the draft.
I definately stand by my comment that Chad Johnson is best receiver to come out of the 2001 draft. I watched about 3 or 4 Bengals games last year and this guy has good hands, excellent agility and speed, and produces. Johnson is perhaps one of the best, young, underrated and emerging WRs in the league.
Yes, Snyder was very high on Moss but went with Marty on Rod. We know Rod will always be a number 2 guy, and I'm curious to see how Jacobs fits in this season. He's healthy, but will he have enough to take the three spot away from McCants?
what do you notice about all of the players in the 2002 draft listed in the first post? all offensive players. Snyder has put too much influence and pressure and drafting offensive players, when we could have picked up D lineman. I still stand by Ladell Betts, Cliff Russell, and Taylor Jacobs being absolute wastes of picks. We could have taken Mike Doss with that Jacobs pick, and then we could have taken Winslow this year and have had SS and TE locked down.
[QUOTE=Bergman14]what do you notice about all of the players in the 2002 draft listed in the first post? all offensive players. Snyder has put too much influence and pressure and drafting offensive players, when we could have picked up D lineman. I still stand by Ladell Betts, Cliff Russell, and Taylor Jacobs being absolute wastes of picks. We could have taken Mike Doss with that Jacobs pick, and then we could have taken Winslow this year and have had SS and TE locked down.[/QUOTE]
It's way, way, way to early to say that Taylor Jacobs was a wasted pick. He was considered a mid-first round talent. Sure, Mike Doss would have been a nice addition to the team, but I agree with the philosophy that you take whoever is the best player on the board. Remember, people thought Ohalete would develop nicely and Bowen would be a solid addition. So, I don’t think criticism of the Jacobs pick is warranted.
Also, you are right that Snyder helped pick a lot of offensive weapons and few defensive weapons in 2002. However, we only had three picks, Taylor was a great bargain in the 2nd round, and Spurrier was an offensive-minded coach. Can you blame Snyder for wanting to give Spurrier the tools he needed to win?
Ladell Betts showed a LOT of promise in his rookie season. It is true that he was injured for much of last season, but I think we’re going to need him this year. Would you prefer Chad Morton or Trung Canidate as our backups to Clinton Portis? Gibbs is a run-first coach and he needs solid depth at RB. I feel safer with Betts backing up Portis. Plus, I don’t think you can say how good Betts really is. Have you seen enough of him? I sure haven’t.
Cliff Russell has the makings of a bust, but like Betts, what have we seen of him? He’s been involved in maybe a dozen plays in regular season games. Plus, I think he played alright in the preseason game against Jacksonville last year. People were giving him crap about not making a catch in the endzone in that game, but the game tapes clearly show defensive pass interference. I also remember Russell burning a corner in a preseason game last year but unable to catch the ball. People also gave Russell sh-t about that play. However, it is unclear whether Rob Johnson (who threw the pass) threw to the right area of the field or simply overthrew Russell. In any event, I have not seen enough of Russell to declare him a washout.
More importantly, we Redskins fans are a little spoiled. We have gotten Champ Bailey, LaVar Arrington, Chris Samuels, Patrick Ramsey, Sean Taylor, Fred Smoot, Rod Gardner, and Jon Jansen in our early picks the last several years. Of those, I can’t think of a single bust. Take a long hard look at the high picks of other teams and you will find a TON of busts. The ability to draft well in the early rounds is just as important as drafting in the later rounds. Sure, you can build a good, cheap team if you draft well in the later rounds, but for the most part, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th round picks are crap shoots. Conversely, if you screw up early round picks, you’re team is going to be hurting in more ways than one. You cap is going to be shot up (See Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, David Terrell (of CHI-town), Gerard Warren, et al) and you’ve wasted an opportunity to draft an impact player.
I think we’ve done a damn good job of drafting over the past five years.
I agree that it's way too early to write off Jacobs as a bust. Betts is getting close to being a bust, but I think we need to see a little more of him.
Jacobs was rated as a first round pick by a lot of teams and we were originally targeting him at #13 overall before the pick was traded to NY for Coles, so to have him available with the 44th overall pick was a steal. Again, I think it's way too early to write him off, he barely played last year after his freak injury. To be fair to him, he never really got started.
As for the discussion about Rosenfels, I really can't call him a bust simply because he was a project pick, and a big reach in the 4th round. To me a bust is someone you expect to pan out and doesn't, did anyone really think Rosenfels was going to develop in to a starting quality QB? Who knows, he may eventually, but I highly doubt it.
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