Redskins

10 of the Redskins' most unsuccessful draft decisions from the last 20 years

Redskins

League sources have confirmed to NBCSportsWashington.com that the NFL Draft is... difficult.

Every go-round, can't-miss prospects end up missing — like a QB throwing a pass eight yards over his receiver's head and drilling the third-string linebacker on the bench missing — and front offices and coaching staffs make choices that end up looking ridiculous a few years later.

To illustrate that point, it's time to go through some of the Redskins' most unsuccessful selections from their last 20 seasons of drafting. This list isn't necessarily meant to criticize the team, either; instead, it simply serves as a reminder that the event that's commencing on Thursday is one of the wackiest parts of any sport.

Hopefully, Ron Rivera and Kyle Smith's first foray into the draft produces picks that fare better than these 10 guys did as pros:

Rod Gardner — 15th overall, 2001

There's a first-round receiver later on in this story whose numbers look paltry compared to Gardner's, but Gardner's numbers are still paltry, too.

While the Clemson star never totally bottomed out in Washington — he never had fewer than 46 catches, 600 yards or four TDs in a season for the Burgundy and Gold —  he was still an outright disappointment. 

When taking a wideout in the middle of the first round, the goal is to secure a playmaker for the next decade. The Redskins, unfortunately, ended up with a guy who would earn the nickname "50-50" because throwing to him was essentially a coin flip when it came to whether he'd hold on or not.

 

Patrick Ramsey — 32nd overall, 2002

If anyone ever wants to start a college course called How Not To Develop a QB, the Redskins' handling of Ramsey should be featured in the 101 section of the class. 

After taking Ramsey with the last pick in the first round out of Tulane, the organization proceeded to switch coaches following his rookie year and then let him get mauled throughout the 2003 campaign. From then on, he started in spots before bouncing around between approximately 23 other franchises.

Taylor Jacobs — 44th overall, 2003

Jacobs was a star at Florida under Steve Spurrier, so Spurrier couldn't help but nab him in the second round of the 2003 Draft. Things didn't work out nearly as well in the NFL as they did in the SEC.

The receiver caught just three passes for his old coach that season and totaled only 30 overall for the team before he was traded in August 2006. Just for reference, Kelvin Harmon had 30 grabs in 2019 on his own.

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Devin Thomas/Fred Davis/Malcolm Kelly — 34th, 48th and 51st overall, 2008

Whiffing this hard on a trio of second-round picks conjures up what Ron Burgundy said to his dog, Baxter, when he learned that Baxter had eaten a whole wheel of cheese from the fridge: "Actually, I'm not even mad, that's amazing."

Davis was the best of the three, but off-field issues and injuries prevented him from ever exceeding 800 yards. Thomas and Kelly, meanwhile, combined for 71 receptions and three scores in the NFL.

Leonard Hankerson — 79th overall, 2011

Hankerson is the lone third-round prospect to show up on this list, so perhaps he deserves a little slack. Even so, he was an imposing wideout who topped Michael Irvin's single-season record for receiving TDs at Miami, so he clearly had talent.

That talent, though, never really popped with the Redskins. Hankerson had two IR stints and one PUP stint in Washington and his hands were just as shaky as Gardner's were. Plus, there were times where he just looked really slow on the field.

In his four-year tenure with the team, No. 85 compiled only 81 catches. 

David Amerson — 51st overall, 2013

Amerson led the country in interceptions as a sophomore but saw his stock drop after his junior year at NC State, which is why the Redskins were able to pick him up in Round 2. 

His stock would continue to drop from there.

The corner was actually waived in the early portion of the 2015 schedule, meaning he appeared in just 33 contests for the Burgundy and Gold. That's, uh, not ideal value.

Josh Doctson — 22nd overall, 2016

Here is what sure seems to be the Redskins' biggest draft mistake in quite some time.

At TCU, Doctson was an acrobat in the air, so Washington added him to their roster despite already employing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Some wonder if Scot McCloughan made the choice in panic.

Regardless, the pairing seemed doomed from the outset. A myserious Achilles injury cost Doctson nearly his entire rookie season and he never truly seemed to recover from that obstacle. His time with the team ended on cut down day in 2019.

 

Every once in a while with the Redskins, Doctson would create an absurd highlight, indicating he might be on the edge of breaking out. But then, he'd go silent for a month, indicating he wasn't on the edge of anything.

Su'a Cravens — 53rd overall, 2016

In golf, they say if you hit a bad shot, you're supposed to do everything you can to end the streak there. Don't follow one error with another, essentially. That is exactly the opposite of what the Redskins did when they took Cravens after Doctson.

Yes, Cravens showed promise in his first year, but injuries held him back from being the truly versatile defender Washington wanted him to become. Then, of course, his whole dance with retirement happened, which completely washed away 2017. He has since officially retired from the sport.

Note: Robert Griffin III did not make this list because, while the Redskins gave up an awful lot of picks to land him, RG3 delivered the greatest season D.C. has seen in the last two decades. If you want to put him on your list, go right on ahead, but he's not getting a spot on this one.

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