3 Most Overrated Washington Redskins in Franchise History
Draft season brings hopeful visions of the future for every team and jaded memories of the past. Once fans have gotten past the initial salivation or anger over their team's selections, the mind often turns to memories of past players.
Most fans can detail two distinct lists for their teams: (1) the best players in draft history, and (2) the worst. The hype and expectations that come with the selection of players is sometimes too much, and reality eventually catches up.
Here we will examine three of the most overrated Redskins in franchise history. It is important to note that overrated does not necessarily mean these players failed to perform or were complete busts. But when considering expectations, draft position and other outside factors, these players failed to reach the bar set for them.
It's not necessarily a fair system, but then again, neither is the game of football.
1. Heath Shuler, QB, Tennessee
While the Redskins are no strangers to quarterback controversies, there is perhaps no bigger headache in franchise history than Heath Shuler. After finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1993, Shuler was selected third overall by the Redskins in the 1994 draft. After selecting Shuler so early, the Redskins finished off the seventh round by selecting Gus Frerotte, who would turn out to be a much better pick.
Shuler became a problem child for the Redskins almost immediately, as he held out in training camp until receiving a seven-year rookie contract. Shuler's on-field performance would take care of the rest as he carried the Redskins to a 1-7 record in his first eight starts. Over this span, Shuler produced an abysmal completion percentage of 45.5 with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Shuler would go on to start only another five games in a Redskins uniform over the next three seasons. Finally, after the 1996 season, the Redskins were fed up and traded Shuler for pennies on the dollar. This ended up being a great move for the Redskins, as Shuler would only last two more years before washing out of the NFL all together.
2. Michael Westbrook, WR, Colorado
Michael Westbrook was one of the hottest receivers coming out of college in 1995, and the Redskins could not resist taking him in the top five. At No. 4 overall, Westbrook was brought in to be the replacement for future Hall of Famer Art Monk. After averaging nearly 20 yards per catch in his senior season at Colorado, Westbrook's 6'3", 200-pound frame looked to be the next great receiving story in Washington.
Despite the high selection and lofty expectations, Westbrook never truly rounded into form. After battling injuries for the first few years in the league, Westbrook looked to have finally turned the corner in 1999 when he started all 16 games, catching 65 passes for more than 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns. Nevertheless, injuries reared their ugly head in 2000, leaving Westbrook to only start two games that season.
Westbrook would go on to have a successful 2001 campaign before departing Washington for Philadelphia the next season. There was never a shortage of talent with Michael Westbrook, but injuries, a questionable work ethic and a propensity for fighting lands this former Redskins atop the list of most overrated players.
3. Andre Johnson, T, Penn State
Heralded as one of the biggest draft busts of all time, Andre Johnson could not escape this list. After trading up with the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins general manager Charley Casserly selected Penn State offensive tackle Andre Johnson.
Johnson would go on to only start three games in his entire career, none of them with the Redskins. After being selected in the first round (30th overall) in the 1996 draft, Johnson was a clear failure as a player and was cut after his rookie season. Johnson would go on to start three games for the Detroit Lions in 1998 before calling it a career.
Andre Johnson does not hold a place in many fans' memories because of his quick departure from the organization. Nevertheless, the Redskins took a big gamble on a player who was not even qualified to hold a practice squad position.