April showers us with beginnings and endings… with college hoops and the Wizards in our rear-view mirror…the Caps making their annual April surge before their annual May backslide…Nats and O’s starting to get in gear and the NFL Schedule Announcement and Draft marking the league’s territory on our sports couch.

The NFL Draft has grown with the league and ESPN over the years…transforming from a Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning 12-round marathon to the current Thursday-Friday-Saturday showcase. I preferred the first three rounds on Saturday…last four on Sunday, but that’s just me. I don’t know when all the talking heads and analysts and experts became white noise…but sometimes less is more. It’s easy to fall into overanalysis…especially with the draft being an inexact guessing game where franchise histories turn on a dime.

What if Chicago wins the coin flip with Pittsburgh in 1970 and takes Terry Bradshaw?  Or if the Steelers pick Robert Newhouse instead of Franco Harris two years later?  Dallas picked tight end Doug Cosbie in 1979 when Joe Montana was the highest remaining player on their board–one of the few times they deviated from “the board”.  And San Francisco traded its first rounder in 1985 to move one spot ahead of the Cowboys in 1985 to take Jerry Rice.

The Redskins don’t have a first rounder– and given the production and franchise-changing mojo Robert Griffin III provided last fall, it appears worth it.  They do own seven picks… the first being a second rounder (51st overall).  Now pick #51 isn’t completely foreign to the Skins or Mike Shanahan.  They’ve had that choice as recently as 2008…as Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly was the “hurt one” in the famed receiver triumvirate. (Devin Thomas was the untalented one, Fred Davis the sleepy one).  Linebacker Greg Jones (1997) didn’t stay long in burgundy and gold but did start 15 games for the 1999 NFC East champs.  Mike Shanahan had the 51st selection three years in a row (2001-03)…and while RB Clinton Portis produced LB Terry Pierce played just 18 NFL games and DE Paul Toviessi didn’t play a regular season down in the league.

Interesting #51’s include one Hall of Famer:  New Orleans linebacker Rickey Jackson (1981).  Three other linebackers of note:  NY Giants Pepper Johnson (1986), Minnesota’s Matt Blair (1974)–a special teams dynamo as a kick-blocker, and current Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett (1979, Buffalo).  My favorite #51?  Green Bay’s Max McGee (1954), the guy who skipped bedcheck the night before Super Bowl I and caught 7 passes for 138 yards and 2 TD’s against Kansas City.

 

 

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