Dexter Manley remarked on the John Riggins Show last week that Vince Young’s childish outburst vindicated Charley Casserly who was widely criticized by the sports media for selecting DE Mario Williams over Young for the Houston Texans in the 2006 NFL Draft.
That’s a good point, but it won’t sell in Texas. Young is still a hometown hero in Houston and he might have thrived there by being so close to his momma and all. Williams is a Pro Bowl defensive lineman for Houston. The Texans chose him over Young to better defend against Peyton Manning. The Texans are 2-8 against the Colts since drafting Williams.
Houston would not have done better with Young. Tennessee is 3-5 against Indianapolis since 2006; Young’s personal record is 2-4 against the Colts.
I like Casserly’s thinking in building a foundation by selecting a top drawer defensive lineman over a quarterback. But linemen like Williams don’t give the immediate payback that comes with drafting–and starting–a skill position player like Young.
The New York Jets picked left tackle D’Brickashaw Furguson with the fourth pick, right after Vince Young, of the 2006 Draft. They were already ripe for the 10-6 season that followed, but only now are they serious threats to reach the Super Bowl.
The Cleveland Browns picked left tackle Joe Thomas in the first round of the 2007 Draft. They went 10-6 that year when QB Derek Anderson caught lightning in a bottle. They’ve only won 13 games since.
The Washington Redskins drafted Chris Samuels in the first round of the 2000 Draft. Samuels would be named to six Pro Bowls, but Washington finished 8-8 in each of Samuels’ first two seasons. The ‘Skins finished 2009 at 4-12 in spite of the efforts of rookie DE/LB Brian Orakpo who was selected in the first round of last year’s draft. Washington sits at 5-6 with first round pick Trent Williams on the line. Williams is Washington’s first real attempt to strengthen the offensive line since 2000.
There’s no one lineman on offense or defense who can propel a playoff run the way a single back can. Outstanding lines are no assurance a team will make the playoffs. Yet, no team will even sniff the Super Bowl without excellent lines.
Quarterbacks are no guarantee of success, either. Five years after Casserly made his pick, we still debate whether he should have taken Young. Nobody debates the merits of linemen.
That’s a quandary for GMs like Bruce Allen. The Redskins need offensive linemen. There is no immediate payback for picking one in the first round, especially when they have so few draft picks to use. Linemen picks are a get rich slowly strategy. Picking skill players is a get rich quick strategy. Picking lineman can get you fired sooner.
How Allen negotiates that course will teach us a lot about how to, or how not to, run a football team.