News & Politics

Dan Snyder Gets Older, Dan Snyder Gets Smarter

Maybe Dan Snyder has finally figured out how to build a winning football team.

After spending free-agency money like a drunken sailor with little to show for it, the Washington Redskins owner may finally be growing out of his fan phase—as in “Let’s sign Deion Sanders—he’s a star!” The Redskins have been wallflowers at this year’s free-agency dance.

With his team already capped out and with every starter signed for next year, Snyder resisted the temptation to bring in some fading star by private plane and sign him to a multimillion-dollar deal. The early signings always are the most expensive and the most overpaid.

Instead the Redskins appear ready to concentrate on the draft. After having just one pick in the first four rounds each of the last two seasons, they go into the draft this year with picks in the first three rounds.

Because they don’t have any gaping holes, they have the luxury of taking the best player available. But they’re in a tricky position picking 21st in the first round. The blue chips will be gone.

If a good defensive end is on the board, they may grab him. When the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, they showed the value of a good pass rusher.

The Redskins need another one to complement Andre Carter, who led the team with 101⁄2 sacks last year.

Two defensive ends to keep an eye on: Derrick Harvey of Florida and Calais Campbell of Miami. Both came out after their junior seasons.

Campbell, a six-foot-eight, 280-pounder, saw his stock drop when he had six sacks as a junior after having 101⁄2 as a sophomore. He didn’t shine in the scouting combine. But if he falls to 21, the Redskins may figure he has too much potential to pass up.

Harvey is a six-foot-five, 271-pounder who had 81⁄2 sacks last year and is quick off the ball.

The Redskins also could look at wide receiver, where James Hardy of Indiana, Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma, and Limas Sweed of Texas are possibilities.

There could be two good options at offensive tackle: Sam Baker of USC and Jeff Otah of Pittsburgh. Both have good size.

This is a critical draft for the Redskins. They finally get that the draft is the foundation for good teams. Now let’s make the most of it.

This article can be found in the April 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.