Redskins Recognizing Homegrown Talent
- Updated: July 31, 2012
For quite some time the Washington Redskins have neglected homegrown talent in the Metropolitan area. Whether that be players that grew up here or players who attended colleges in the surrounding areas. Under head coach Mike Shanahan that has begun to change.
During the past five seasons the Washington Redskins have had a total of 15 local players on their rosters, five of which are still members of the team (Hall, Barnes, Wilson, Royster and Hightower). Currently there are a total of 13 players who can claim they’re playing for the “home team.”
While local players don’t always tend to pan out, such as Stephon Heyer, Marcus Mason and Justin Hamilton, others have become what appear to be vital tools for the future of the football team.
Evan Royster (Fairfax, VA) in his short time with the Redskins has shown he has the lethal cutback which is a major necessity for Shanahan’s offensive scheme. Will Montgomery (Clifton, VA) has shown to be promising role player for the Redskins. Playing center, and both guards for the team exceptionally well. Josh Wilson (University of Maryland) ranked top-25 in every CB category for Football Outsiders during the 2011 season.
Though the Redskins are now taking a closer look at local talent, whether that be because the scouting is better or has started paying attention to local schools, there was a time when the Redskins paid little to no attention to them.
A prime example of this happened during George Allen’s regime, the man who notably traded away all of the teams first-round picks during his time in Washington. There was a dominating defensive-end coming out of the University of Maryland named Randy White. A player who not only racked up numerous college awards, but also said he wanted to play for the Washington Redskins.
However, due to Allen’s first-round draft pick trades, the 9x Pro-Bowl-Super Bowl Champion went on to play for the rival Dallas Cowboys, where he would dominate the Washington Redskins during his career (1975-1988).
Had Allen been more focused on the future in Washington, rather than the “Over the Hill Gang (which ultimately cost them the Super Bowl),” he may have brought the Lombardi Trophy to Washington, along with extending his coaching contract.
Without Allen there would be no rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys (who he was 7-8 against), nor would the comical drafts of sending the same multiple picks to different teams more than once, but to think what his Washington Redskins could have done had they kept their picks and drafted White is heart wrenching.
That same feeling has happened quite a few times during the Redskins existence. Byron Leftwich, Leigh Bodden and Josh Cribbs most recently are players the Redskins could have either drafted or picked up as UFA’s, but failed to do so.
The Washington D.C area through time has put out some very exciting and immediate impact players, who unfortunately had gone either overlooked by the Redskins or were never given the thought.
All of that has now taken a complete 180 with Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins scouts. Washington now has two possible starting running backs in Hightower and Royster, along with two starting corners (Hall and Wilson), as well as a possible future star in Chase Minnifield.
A dependable offensive linemen in Montgomery, something Washington has been missing for decades, along with wide receiver Joshua Morgan who has been known for getting the important yards after the catch (another missing element in Washington).
Those are just some of the players who will have an immediate impact. Players such as Travon Bellamy, Madieu Williams, and Antwon Bailey will bring in competition needed for not only camp, but also a possible roster spot on the team.
Players often talk about how they hope to have a “good game” when they head back home because their friends and family are there watching them. While there are no statistics to prove whether this works, one thing that is certain is that it gives them extra motivation to play harder — which we should see this season.