Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 2, six days before the NFL draft. Nickel coverage Could the Redskins be looking for a defensive back in the draft? Here are the five best defensive backs the Redskins have drafted since the advent of the common draft in 1968 (per the career Approximate Value metric used by Pro Football Reference).
1. Champ Bailey, Round 1/7 overall, 1999 (Career AV 114)—You can debate the circumstances of his departure and the impact of Clinton Portis compared to Bailey. But Bailey has had one heck of a career.
2. Darrell Green, 1/28, 1983 (CAV 100)—Feel free to take a shot at the CAV metric here. Although Bailey has been great, I’m not sure an objective observer would take him over Green in their primes. And they both had long primes. You could blame honors voters during Green’s career for this as well. They voted Bailey to more Pro Bowls (12 for Bailey to 7 for Green) and named Bailed first-team All-Pro more often (3-1). Those honors affect the CAV calculation.
3. Carlos Rogers, 1/9, 2005, (CAV 47)—It’s quite a drop from the top two on this list to here, from Hall of Fame caliber to above average. Rogers was notorious for dropping potential interceptions; he had only eight in six seasons with the team. But I always pointed out that the dropped picks meant he was always around the ball.
4. Fred Smoot, 2/45, 2001, (CAV 43)—He made an immediate impression with his outgoing personality and distinctive Southern style of speaking and he was a pretty good player to boot. He ended up playing seven of his nine NFL seasons with the Redskins.
5. LaRon Landry, 1/6, 2007 (CAV 38)—Two words here—unrealized potential. He would have had a chance to team up with Sean Taylor until he was tragically lost. Then Landry was frequently lined up 30 yards deep from the line of scrimmage, leaving him too far away to utilize his aggressive skills. Then, after looking like an all-world safety in the Redskins’ new 3-4 scheme in 2010 for half a season, an Achilles injury and subsequent disagreements over treatment ended his Redskins career.
Update: Since I've already received inquiries about Sean Taylor's spot on the list, I should note that he he is ninth with a career AV of 33. Of course having a long career is key to that metric and it certainly wasn't the fault of Taylor or the Redskins that he didn't have a long, productive career. You'd have to think that at this point in time he would be third on this list had he lived, well above Rogers and perhaps on the way to closing in on Green and Bailey (although corners to tend to have longer careers than safeties).
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—It’s been 124 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 127 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.
—Days until: NFL Draft 6; Training camp starts 82; Preseason opener Patriots @ Redskins 98
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