We have not been writing too much about the football around here lately because none of us get paid, or give a fuck to mock draft nonsense thirteen times in nine days before the actual draft happens. Armchair Linebacker is very much a place for bizarre tangents in life, but these should be wholesome, drug-induced frenzies that put your bare feet into the tall grass, not busting open 13 page Excel spreadsheets on every available college player and pretending you know about them all. Good fucking lord man, what is wrong with people? Has the internet exploded our brains into retardeddom completely?
Anyways, there have been things that have made me feel very good about being a Redskins fan lately. First off, due to the lockout, the Redskins players held their own little mini-camp recently, led by London Fletcher, and featuring Rex Grossman at QB, who is not even signed to the Redskins right now. Fletcher ran shit tight, and god bless that little well-spoken spark plug motherfucker. If they made Chris Samuels' false-starting ass a coach after retirement, there better be a fucking spot in the coaching hierarchy for London Fletcher. (Sadly, I would assume he'd go chase that carrot under his boy Gregg Williams tutelage, whether that still be in New Orleans or elsewhere. I would not imagine too many people want to hang around D.C. after being done cashing the last Snyder check.)
And then the draft. Probably the greatest benefit to having the lockout going on is Dan Snyder couldn't start having little fits and trade like Chris Cooley, two radio stations, three future 1st round picks, a roller coaster, and Tom Cruise's next baby's middle name to the Panthers to draft Cam Newton. I fully expected things to be normal Redskins things on draft day, and they to trade a bunch of draft picks to move up and get a shitty QB who would follow in the great tradition of Heath Shuler and Patrick Ramsey.
And there I was last Thursday night, seeing the Redskins (or watching the talk of it online) at the #10 pick and Blaine Gabbert still available. I thought to myself, "Well, here we go. I hope Blaine Gabbert does not end up being like every other Blaine I have ever known in real life (meaning, a piece of shit), and he somehow without an offensive line or RBs or WRs is able to stay upright and not be concussed into oblivion." I actually cut it off and went outside to fuck around in the yard, that's how sure I was this was going to happen. Not a fucking doubt in my mind.
And then I come back in and see the Jags picked Gabbert at #10. What? So I read they traded down for an additional pick. And then get some goofy whiteboy DE/OLB hybrid to complement Brian Orakpo on the other side. So I look up said whiteboy on the interwebs, and it appears he is a super hard worker and slightly goofy, sort of a defensive Chris Cooley so to speak. Plus, likely to have shaggy hair I would say, in the right locker room. Amazing.
Then they traded down again, and juggled, and a team with no 3rd or 4th round picks somehow ended up being a team with picks in every round and, at one point, a total of 13 draft choices to make. Shit man, we haven't made 13 draft picks in the past five years.
Actually, let me look that up, because I would not be surprised if during the Cerrato reign, that's true... Well, there was a three-year period where you could say that, but looking back through the drafts was painful. A lot of picks are hit-or-miss, except tons of misses for the Redskins. Tons.
But they made moves this year and ended up with 12 new faces (after trading up in the 4th round to draft a RB, using one of the extra picks they had acquired). And really, after using their head and drafting a bookend OT in Trent Williams last year, I am shockingly of the belief that maybe, just maybe, somebody in Redskins office has an actual plan.
Now I am not one to grade drafts because that is fucking stupid, just as stupid as doing mock drafts. You want to grade it with actual grades, but I am a homeschooler so don't think that way. You take these 12 guys and let them contribute the first year. If many do, even on special teams, then good. Years 2 through 3, they should start developing into something in particular, preferably in a role beyond special teams, maybe even a couple of surprise starters from the lower picks and the upper picks panning out fairly well. Years 4 through 7, if you are getting solid contributions from half of these guys, you have fucking won. Do that every year and you are the Patriots, in six years time. Seriously.
Of course, the very fact there seems to be a plan in motion, combined with the egos of Shanahan & Son and Dan Snyder, but with Snyder holding the deed to the car, I would honestly expect the Shanahans to be run out of town at the end of this year if they do not deliver at least wild card. Again, seriously. Dan Snyder is a little-dicked fucking idiot, and the best example of a shithead ultra-rich dude the NFL currently has. That guy is currently suing somebody who wrote basically a truthful article about his reign of terror just to tie up the little newspaper it came out in legally and cost them money and try to run them out of business. So fuck Dan Snyder, always and forever. He can't get enough cancers or be locked out of hanging with the player long enough to make me feel bad for him.
But I digress. So first round we get this crazy whiteboy from Purdue. Second round, they draft a giant negro DT from Clemson, hopefully to end our painful relationship with Lord Albert Haynesworth, who only dates white girls apparently. Not sure about the Jarvis Jenkins, DT pick, as Da'Quan Bowers was still available, but I'm going to do something completely un-internetty of me, and I'm going to give whoever was making these decisions in the Redskins war room the benefit of the doubt, simply because they traded down and got extra picks and didn't waste everything on a QB. It looks like somebody knew what they were doing, so I'm going to assume they did so when they picked Jarvis Jenkins. Plus we already have a D-lineman named Jeremy Jarmon, who also is a big black dude, and I think having a Jarvis Jenkins and Jeremy Jarmon side-by-side would be funny.
3rd round they got some dude named Leonard Hankerson from The U(niversity of Miami) who apparently was considered by football eggheads a steal at that spot, and has freakishly large hands. He is already being prognosticated as a potential great. Whatever. I just want him to not be Devin Thomas or a Malcolm Kelly. Like if he can actually play as a starter and maybe catch a few passes, he has already cleared the bar set by the past five years.
But they used other later picks to grab WRs in the 5th and 6th round as well, which is great, because we all saw Brandon Banks and Anthony Armstrong rise up from nowhere last year. If anything, this team needs more unproven longshots to clear out the lockers of the highly-touted and often overrated check cashers that Dan Snyder tends to drool over and attract. Santana Moss, as great as he has been, has a certain stink of that on him.
Additionally, Mike Shanahan was always famous for plugging RBs into his system in Denver and getting big results. Thus, him moving up in the 4th round to grab some dude I never heard of named Roy Helu, hey, I will trust this move. He's done it before, and trading late round picks to move up in the 4th is a huge difference than trading your future 2nd and 3rd round picks for aging veteran who won't be here when you don't have those draft picks anymore, which has been more of our recent history. And on top of this, Shanahan drafted some chump dude from Penn State as a second RB, to fill up the backfield, and keep Ryan Torain surrounded, being that dude will probably injure himself by week 4 anyways. It's a far better plan than stockpiling stars from 2005, like they did last year with Larry Johnson, Clinton Portis, and Willie Parker.
And with their last pick, Mr. Co-Irrelevant, as he was the next-to-last pick of the draft, the Redskins picked a big, knuckleheaded, non-stop white dude DT from West Virginia named Chris Neild. Like I watched two youtubes on this guy, and he's already one of my top ten favorite players on the team. That's what you get with those late round picks - guys that might fill a role but will be crazy and spirited and work hard as fuck to chase their dream and fire up the fans and might could fill the middle of the D-line or return punts or play nickelback (the position, not the band) or something. Try to get something.
And we got 12 new faces. Shit man, just having fresh blood makes me happy. This is not a team that is one or two players away from being good. This team hasn't been in that position for years, although every year the standard operating procedure is to pretend that's exactly what we are, and a McNabb or Haynesworth or Jason Taylor or whoever it was the year before that, that's all we need to be Super Bowl champions again.
Now, if only someone else could own this team, I could actually let this momentary excitement take root in my soul, without the fear of it all being ripped next January because Bill Cowher likes to cash giant checks with Dan Snyder's signature on the bottom right. And that is what I end up with, the dread and pain that although it certainly looked like someone had a plan this past week, and it certainly looked like the remaining players bonded in the locker room enough to hold their own spring practices, it's all going to get fucked up by Dan Snyder, eventually. And he'll further exploit the name in merchandising and gouge fans and just generally piss all over it all, but do his little fucking media parades where he's all like, "Aww, I'm just a Redskins fan. All I want to do is win. Really, that's all." He's shown Redskins fans time and time again that's bullshit.
Sometimes I hope that the Redskins end up moving to L.A., so Snyder can be with his Hollywood buddies, and D.C. gets a new franchise, without the racist nickname, and without the retarded owner who is only a few years older than me and most likely will be around for far too long of my remaining life. When there is a team you have followed and loved all your life, and you are contemplating switching them with a fucking expansion team, that's a serious lack of quality ownership.
But I will always pull for these dudes, and I like the ragtag batch of fuckers they drafted, and hopefully the youth infusion will further what happened last year, where anybody could earn any position, and nobody was granted their spot because of who they once were or how big their paycheck was. I can briefly pretend that this team is built with hard work and earning your role, and not just given to the dude who cashes the biggest check.