Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 31, 12 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.
Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back.
The most valuable Redskins over the past five years
This post was originally published on January 29.
My go-to site for NFL statistics, historical information and so much more is Pro Football Reference. They present all of the conventional stats and some others that are unique to the site. One of those in the latter category is calculating an approximate value (AV) for every player. AV is “their attempt to attach a single number to every player-season since 1960.” If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of how the number is calculated you can take a look here.
The post notes that the metric is far from perfect, but I think you’ll agree that better, more impactful players score higher than those with lower AV’s.
That said, here are the Redskins with the highest cumulative AV’s over the last five years.
OT Trent Williams, AV of 47—As you see right off the bat, AV does have the ability to incorporate offensive linemen into the equation. Williams has missed 10 games over the last two years but when he is in there he is among the best in the business.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan, 44—The only player in the last five years with more sacks than Kerrigan’s 55.5 is the Cardinals’ Chandler Jones (58). His 2017 AV was a career-high 11 as he got a pick-six and forced three fumbles to go with his 13 sacks.
QB Kirk Cousins, 41—This isn’t hard to figure out. Quarterbacks who perform well have a high AV because of the impact of the position. Cousins actually had an AV of minus-2 in 2013, the first year in this sample. But he has been able to make up for it since then with his three straight 4,000-yard passing seasons.
WR Pierre Garçon, 29—It’s a significant drop off from No. 3 to Garçon but we are getting into players who were here for four or fewer of the last five years. Garçon’s peak AV seasons were 2013 when he caught 113 passes to set a team record for receptions in a single season, and 2016, when he went over 1,000 receiving yards for the second time.
OT Morgan Moses, 27—Moses has been on the team for only four years and he barely played as a rookie. There is a team aspect in the AV scores, so like the other linemen, his score fell from 2016 to 2017 due in part to the increased number of sacks and the team’s decline in performance in the rushing game.
G Brandon Scherff, 27—Pro Bowls count in AV so Scherff’s two selections in the past two seasons help him. He probably would have edged ahead of Moses if he had not missed two games due to a knee injury.
I think this list is solid. I might move Cousins up because of the impact of the quarterback position but his standing over the five-year period is impacted by the fact that he was thrown in at the end of the year for a bad team in 2013 and then struggled in spot starts in 2014.
If you want to compare how the Redskins stack up compared to the rest of the league, one way to do it is to see where Williams, the team’s top-ranked player, ranks in AV. As you might suspect, it’s not a favorable number. Over the last five years, there are 57 players who rank higher than Williams in AV. This indicates that while the Redskins have been able to acquire some very good players, they don’t have multiple high impact players. Until they do, the likely will continue to struggle to achieve consistent playoff contention.
The rest of the top 10: CB Bashaud Breeland (23), DL Chris Baker (22), TE Jordan Reed (22), WR DeSean Jackson (21)