Friday, May 11, 2007


Landrys always cause problems for Gibbs

Ed. note: Curly R begins begins the long climb back into game shape with this post on the Redskins' draft. Like those pesky OTAs, Curly R got lazy with 'voluntary' posting and blew it off.

*whew* I'm already huffing after just one sentence. Good thing I keep a tank of
nitrous oxygen right here by the bench.

This was a terrible pick and the Redskins drafted weakly overall. More on the terrible draft later, so let us focus for now on the sheer terribleness of the LaRon Landry pick.

Curly R aside: LaRon Landry is terrible like the plague and any ballcarrier that wanders into his gravity suddenly moves at half speed and now the Redskins will need at least two ambulances in the tunnel on gameday, one for LaRon's hits and one for Sean Taylor's revenge hits. I must say that despite badmouthing this pick watching the video linked here makes me happy.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to drafting players in the NFL. In one, teams pick the player or position they want. This is how Mario Williams wound up drafted number one last year despite the Texans' glaring need at running back. The Texans did not slot running back high in draft order and so Reggie Bush's availability was irrelevant.

The other school of thought says you pick the best player available at the time. Although this is a good strategy for middle and late rounds in the draft (good players always fall to later rounds but by day two Mel Kiper has snorted so much meth cut with Old Bay that his tongue is the size of a kielbasa and he can't articulate so teams are on their own), it can be disastrous if a team drafts a position that is already filled.

After two years of lighting it up with Warren Moon in Houston, the Oilers went out and used the third overall pick in the 1986 draft on...Jim Everett. Because he was the best player available with that pick. He never played a down with the Oilers and using that pick for a QB when Warren had been demanding a top shelf receiver for two years just made for offseason hassles that team didn't need (they went 5-11 that year).

Here is why the LaRon Landry pick was terrible for the Redskins:

1. They already have an all-pro hitter at safety, and for such a big dude he's kind of a baby.

Coaches, GMs and owners like to sit around conference tables and talk about how personalities don't play into player selection but in reality they do. Sean Taylor famously did not return Hall of Fame Head Coach Joe Gibbs' phone calls in the 2004 offseason, then did not show for minicamp, then started complaining about his contract before the ink was dry. As Skin Patrol points out, Sean is now the 8th highest paid defensive player on the team, and by the season opener won't even be the highest paid safety on the team (in fairness he was not last season either with the Adam Archuleta experiment). This is Champ Bailey waiting to happen all over again.

Further, we already saw this movie with the Redskins putting the same type of player at one position. Santana Moss/David Patten/Brandon Lloyd hasn't worked so far, and maybe someday when I'm old someone will realize that the Redskins need a possession receiver taller than 5 feet 10. Both LaRon and Sean will want to do it all; cover, play run defense, make big hits. But someone has to stay home, stay on the routes, cover the deep man, not take chances and risk giving up the big play. Neither will want to do that. I guarantee someone's ego is going to get bent this season if the defense is not simply stellar.

2. They may be preparing for the eventuality losing Sean Taylor but if they do it will be from mismanagement and not from money.

Dan Snyder has a well-known habit of casting aside his toys before they have worn out. When the newness wears off and the next free agent player at any position comes available, Dan is perfectly willing to give up a young player for the potential of another player. It is as if Dan does not see draft picks as a finite resource, and when you use a valuable pick to replace an existing resource that you may lose before it is depleted, well that's a zero-sum mindset and that's how you wind up being the Raiders.

Whether it's ADD and he gets bored, Dan does not make his players feel wanted, makes them hate him or just feels like he can keep replacing them, I don't know but look at Ryan Clark. He was a fine player, complemented Sean and the amount he was asking for to stay with the Redskins was considerably less than the team wound up paying to a player that sucked so hard the Redskins made history with his coming and his going.

As if by magic, Howard Bryant must have been reading my mind. In today's Washington Post, he writes about Sean's frustration with the Redskins' attention to the safety position. Since not giving role-playing Ryan a new contract the Redskins are looking at a 25 million dollar ballpark on the other safety spot, hurting Sean's play and destabilizing the position. Most importantly though to $ean, none of that 25 million is going into his pocket.

Right or wrong, arrogant or reasonable, Sean feels snubbed a bounch of ways, and it fits the Dan Snyder plan: resent everyone around you, especially the ones that take your money and always remind them who is in charge. Oh Ryan and Sean are a good team? How's about we get rid of Ryan and pay the new guy more than Sean and just see how he likes that. He's like Tony Soprano. Funny thing is if Dan reads this he will think that's a compliment.

Whatever it is, it's a pattern of squandering team experience that no free agent buying sprees have been able to replace. See also Antonio Pierce, Fred Smoot and Champ Bailey.

3. They have completely ignored the defensive line going into 2007.

Now any 19-year old player should give an NFL GM pause so we can argue all day whether Amobi Okoye or Alan Branch would have been good picks at number six. I would not have used the sixth pick. If there was some sucker out there that wanted to go all Mike Ditka and trade nine picks for number six then have at it.

But no one did and for my part, I can't square Dan's incessant need to feel like he won.This deal went down exactly like the Nationals botched non-trade of Alfonso Soriano last season. The Redskins were so vocal about listening to deals and put such a premium on the sixth pick that nothing anyone came to the table with would have made Dan feel like he was getting proper value, which is another way of saying the Redskins overvalued that pick and the opportunity cost was a reasonable deal.

What would I have done with the pick? I sure as hell would not have taken another large rangey safety that prides himself as a hitter. Alray got one. I would have found a trading partner in the first round, and for all I read that this draft's 'real' first round was only about 20 players, it would have been someone below that Tropic of Starters, swap first round picks and ask for a second, third or fourth, whatever they could get. The Redskins could have found some defensive line talent with the lower pick and gotten one or two other picks to replace those that flew out with the Rocky McIntosh draft pick, TJ Duckett and Brandon Lloyd trades.

It can be done. Look at the Chargers-Giants trade that put Eli Manning (lol) in New York and Philip Rivers in San Diego. That deal netted the Chargers Shawne Merriman, a man so fierce the league suspends him once a year for his own good, and Nate Kaeding, a Pro Bowl kicker on top of Philip.

Of course this presupposes that the Redskins brain trust actually knew how to select a quality player lower than the 8th pick in the draft (yes that's a dig on Carlos Rogers, but also the overall retention rate of Redskins draft picks).

Stacking at LB (London Fletcher-Baker and two draft choices, with Lance Briggs rumors still swirling) and safety (Sean and LaRon) and improvement at corner (Loveboat Freddie Smoot) without serious improvement of the miserable defensive line is like trying to sandbag the city AFTER the dam breaks.

Congratulations geniuses, you wasted a good pick on a good player in the wrong place at the wrong time.

LaRon Landry and Joe Gibbs on draft day 2007: uncredited Washington Post photo from here. Linked image of Ricky Williams with Mike Ditka looking like a fool in dreds, AP photo via Sports Illustrated here.