About a week before the 2005 NFL Draft, I wrote the following in an article about the possibility of the Washington Redskins drafting Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James:
Redskins' defensive coordinator Greg Blache has let it be known that he would love it if the Skins would add James to his unit. There's no question that James would be a good fit in virtually any NFL system, including that of Gregg Williams. He could have instant impact when it comes to the pass rush and would be all over the field on every play. With a rotation in place with James, Philip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn, James' durability questions would be less of an issue than they would be in a place where he was expected to play every snap.
It would be a terrific reach to take him with the #9 pick, however, if he falls to #25 that would likely mean that, players such as Marcus Spears, David Pollack and Dan Cody are gone. Would they take James, probably the most talented of the group or pass due to the health concerns? It depends on how much of a voice Greg Blache has in the draft room.
As it turned out, the Redskins did not have a shot at James in 2005. The Minnesota Vikings drafted him with the 18th pick. After a mediocre rookie season, he suffered from injuries in 2006 and 2007.
The Vikings waived him last week but they rescinded the waivers and traded him to the Redskins for a conditional seventh-round pick.
So, Blache, now the true defensive coordinator after Williams' departure, gets his shot at seeing what he can do with James. There is even less tread on the 25-year-old's tires after a knee injury in 2006. He hadn't yet fully recovered last year and he played in just six games.
As mentioned in the excerpt from the 2005 article, there were health concerns about James during his years in Wisconsin. He missed all of the 2003 season with a hip injury and a portion of the '04 campaign with an ankle problem.
It's a no-risk move for the Redskins. If James can't get healthy or otherwise can't make the team, the Redskins keep the seventh rounder.
The Redskins anticipate that James will be ready to participate fully in training camp.
He is still working off of his rookie contract, which has one more year to run at $1 million.
Since the Redskins are at the 80-player roster limit (this excludes draft picks until they sign), the will have to cut a player to make room for James.