It's hard to find immediate starters in the draft

It's hard to find immediate starters in the draft
March 1, 2013, 1:30 am
Share This Post

A lot of my friends on Twitter seem to think that if the Redskins have a strong draft they will be able to fill any holes in the starting lineup that may result from losing players as cap casualties or being unable to bring back some of their own free agents.

My friends need to think again. It’s time for a little myth busting.

The Redskins should get one starter out of this draft. If they do their homework very well and if they have some good luck they might get two. Anything beyond that is pretty much a pipe dream.

Let’s look at the record. How many players from each round of the 2012 draft wound up being starters for their team? Let’s give the rookie a few games as a sub to get his feet wet and then a few more to lose to injury and say that 10 starts constitutes being a starter for the year.

Round 1, 18 starters: That means that 14 first-rounders were not starters so about 45 percent of those selected in the first round did not start for their teams. That doesn’t mean that they are busts. Some, like guard David DeCastro of the Steelers and Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, were injured and others, like 49ers wide receiver A. J. Jenkins and Giants running back David Wilson, were brought along slowly by design. (Redskins: Robert Griffin III 15 starts)

Round 2, 12 starters: The odds of getting a starter here go down significantly. And in the last half of the round, where the Redskins’ initial pick, 51st overall, is, just three of the 15 players picked were starters. (Redskins: No second-round pick)

Round 3, 3 starters: In this round you have seven players who played in four or fewer games—not started, played in—so your chances of getting a spectator are twice as good as they are of getting a starter. (Redskins: Josh LeRibeus 1 game, 0 starts)

Round 4, 4 starters: More players who didn’t even get into a game, five, than starters (Redskins: Kirk Cousins 1 start, Keenan Robinson 0)

Round 5, 3 starters: (Redskins: Adam Gettis 0 starts)

Round 6, 2 starters: This is, of course, where the Redskins drafted Alfred Morris, who started 16 games and set the team single-season rushing record. And this is what prompts people to say that Mike Shanahan can find starters in the late round. Perhaps he can find another but planning your offseason based on believing that you can is a fool’s errand. He’s not so much better than everyone else that he can pick sixth-round rookie starters year after year. (Redskins: Morris 16 starts, Tom Compton 0 starts)

Round 7, 0 starters (Redskins: Richard Crawford 0 starts, Jordan Bernstine 0)

That is a total of 42 starters (using the generous 10-game standard to define that) out of 253 players drafted. And just 15 from pick 51, where the Redskins get their first selection, through the final selection, a total of 203 picks. Again, the chances of getting more than one, especially when you don’t have a first-round pick, are extremely slim.

This doesn’t mean that the other draft picks were busts. Later-round players are taken with the notion that it will take them a few years to develop. Some will develop into starters over time, others will become solid backups and role players and others will hang on the fringes for a few years before falling out of the league.

The better solution for the Redskins would be to pencil in some of the 19 draft picks from 2011 and 2012 into the line up. If a player drafted this year can beat one of them out, great (well, except for the second- or third-year player who got beaten out by a raw rookie).

The bottom line is that drafts are not about that season but about seasons two or three years down the road. The Redskins could have an excellent draft next month and still have plenty of holes to fill in their 2013 lineups.