Redskins: Remembering Sean Taylor, Poster Child for drafting best talent regardless of need.

Redskins: Remembering Sean Taylor, Poster Child for drafting best talent regardless of need.


Redskins: Remembering Sean Taylor, Poster Child for drafting best talent regardless of need.


Redskins personnel executive Doug Williams blew up every mock draft in existence when he said the Redskins would always pick best talent available over need when it comes to the draft picks. In his words,

“At the end of the day you get the best football player. And if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go.”

The staff at Hog Heaven loves this approach.

Picking best available talent gives a team the best shot at building strength on strength, the key ingredient for what some call a team’s character.

Mock drafting to need is an average down tactic. It plugs a weakness in the roster. You never get ahead that way. That brings us to the sainted Sean Taylor.

The Redskins had a crying need anything offense after two years of Steve Spurrier’s Fun ‘n’ Gun turned out to be Pass ‘n’ Gas. Mock drafts had Joe Gibbs – Do you remember where you were that glorious day in January 2004 when you heard Gibbs was back? – to pick offensive talent with most targeting Miami tight end Kellen Winslow II as that guy. The ‘Skins needed receivers and Gibbs coached Winslow’s father, THE Kellen Winslow, when both were with the San Diego Chargers.

Gibbs fooled everybody and picked Taylor, the best available talent over the screaming need for offense.

Taylor was a smash hit from day one, the embodiment of what teams want from first round Draft picks – an impactful, playmaking starter on a defense that was already very good — strength on strength. The Redskins ranked third in total defense in 2004.

Talent over need is the way to go. It’s a happy coincidence when need coincides with the talent on your Draft board as it did in 2015 when the Redskins picked Brandon Scherff in the first round. Like Taylor, Scherff was a fifth-overall pick and a future Pro Bowler. Dump those mock drafts that push need over best talent.

The ‘Skins are coy about where players fall on their big board. So, we have no clue who they take with their first pick, 13th overall. Lets substitute Pro Football Focus’ Top 100 Ranking and Draft Scout’s Top 100 Big Board as stand-ins for Washington’s Draft Board. The Draft can flow in any direction, so look at players ranked 11th through 15th to guess at Washington’s choices.

11 Bradley Chubb, Edge Defender, NC State Roman Smith, ILB, Georgia
12 Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama Derwin James, SS, Florida State
13 Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
14 Mike McGlinchey, T Notre Dame Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
15 Connor Williams, T, Texas Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-El Paso


Ten names. Three are D-linemen. Three are D-backs. Two are O-linemen. One is a linebacker. One is a QB. Those are the odds for which position the ‘Skins select in Round One.

It’s an easy win when you need help at every position but quarterback.

Payne and Chubb are popular picks on Mock Drafts. If Baker Mayfield falls to the 13th pick, not likely, expect the Redskins to get a trade offer they will not refuse.

We close with a video of that time the Redskins mortgaged everything in a chase for need.

Try ESPN+ for Free!

ESPN+ Free Trial!

More Sports

More NFL