Power Ranking the Top 12 Washington Redskins of the Past Decade
Being a fan of the Washington Redskins over the last 10 years hasn't necessarily been the easiest task for sports enthusiasts.
Beyond the horrendous record of 79-101 and just two brief playoff appearances since 2000, Redskins fans have been put through the wringer with a reckless owner and a disastrous general manager.
Since the arrival of Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen, both in their second year with the team, the Redskins appear to be a team that is turning the corner and moving in the right direction.
Although there isn't a lot to say about the team's production as a whole, the Redskins have seen some very solid individual players over the last decade or so. The following is an attempt to identify the very best of that era.
12. Shawn Springs
Arguably one the best cornerbacks the Redskins have had in quite some time, Shawn Springs was a solid contributor from 2004 - 2007 and served as an effective shutdown corner.
During his five seasons in Washington, Springs registered seven sacks and 12 interceptions.
In 59 starts, Springs was also able to break-up 53 passes, force three fumbles and register 223 tackles.
Although Springs didn't make a Pro Bowl during his stay with the Redskins, he was a reliable piece of Washington's defense.
11. LaRon Landry
It's very possible that we're talking about LaRon Landry being in the top-five of a list like this in just a few seasons, but until then we'll try and stay grounded and rational.
After being selected sixth-overall by the Redskins in 2007, Landry has been nothing shy of spectacular when on the field. Through five seasons, Dirty 30 has registered four sacks, snagged four interceptions and forced six fumbles.
Landry is in a much better position now that he's playing his more natural strong safety position and his 341 tackles will rise quickly. Landry plays close to the line and loves to put his nose in on every play, which means his production will increase and his stat line should explode.
10. Marcus Washington
When the Redskins acquired Marcus Washington in 2004, fans knew that they were getting a young and versatile linebacker. But I'm not sure if anyone thought Washington would be as good as he was in his five years with the Redskins.
Washington was an effective pass-rusher (19.5 sacks), a linebacker with the ability to cover (20 pass deflections) and a reliable tackler (373). Washington also forced 10 fumbles in his years with the Redskins, recovering five of them.
In his first season with the Redskins, Washington made his only Pro Bowl after registering 4.5 sacks and over 100 tackles in 2004.
9. Stephen Davis
Selected by the Redskins in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL Draft, Stephen Davis was taken with the idea of being the youthful addition to a backfield that was being currently held down by Terry Allen. What the Redskins got instead was a Pro Bowl running back that put together some of the best stats one can in a consecutive three-season span.
After seven seasons, Davis finished his Redskins career with 5,790 yards on 1,383 carries (4.2 ypc) and 45 touchdowns. Davis also contributed as a receiver, catching 146 balls for 1,168 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
From 1999 to 2001, Davis carried the ball 971 times for 4,155 yards and 33 touchdowns—the perfect example of the desired workhorse in a team's backfield.
Davis made Pro Bowl appearances in 1999 and 2000.
8. LaVar Arrington
By far one of my favorite Redskins of all-time, LaVar Arrington was the first piece of the Redskins' first-round draft class in 2000.
After being selected second-overall in 2000, Arrington made his presence felt early—starting 11 games, making 43 tackles and registering four sacks.
Arrington would spend another five seasons with the Redskins before leaving the team after alleged stories that he wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
In his six seasons in Washington, Arrington registered 22.5 sacks, grabbed three interceptions, forced six fumbles, recovered seven and made 321 tackles.
Arrington made Pro Bowl appearances in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
7. Clinton Portis
When healthy, Clinton Portis was regularly one of the top running backs in the NFL. Unfortunately, three of Portis' seven seasons in Washington were cut short due to injury. A combination of that, and the fact that I'm still bitter about the trade that landed Portis in Washington, is all the excuse I have for why this ranking isn't a little higher.
After trading away Champ Bailey to Denver in exchange for the 2004 budding young star, Portis was asked to change his style of play in order to fit head coach Joe Gibb's running scheme. Not only did Portis alter his style, he produced in a major way.
In 83 games over seven years, Portis finished his Redskins career with 6,824 yards on 1,667 carries (4.1 ypc) and 46 touchdowns. Portis also hauled in 176 receptions for 1,340 yards and three touchdowns.
Portis represented the Redskins in the 2008 Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,487 yards and nine touchdowns.
Although debatable, for me Portis has been the Redskins best running back since the days of John Riggins.
6. Santana Moss
In 2005, the Redskins made a move that would land them a 26-year-old speedster with signs of potential.
At just 5'10'' and the general idea that he was more of a No. 2 receiver, Moss stepped in as the primary target in Washington and apparently embraced the role.
Including this season's four games, Moss has 463 receptions in his seven seasons with the Redskins for 6,388 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Moss deserves a ton of credit for his ability to handle the pressure of a No. 1, his sure-fire hands and his reliability of missing just four games as a part of the Redskins.
Moss' best year was his Pro Bowl season in 2005 when he hauled in 84 catches for 1,483 yards and nine touchdowns.
5. Chris Cooley
Besides being the fan-favorite, Chris Cooley has gone from being a third-round pick in 2004 to one of best tight ends in the league.
In 2009, Cooley suffered a broken foot and was forced to miss nine games—the only games he has missed in his entire eight-year career.
And while on the topic of reliability, Cooley has some of the better hands of anyone the Redskins have employed over the last 10 years. When he's not flattening the opposition with blocks, Cooley is working on his 427 catches, 4,704 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Cooley has made Pro Bowl appearances in 2007 and 2008.
4. London Fletcher
Since joining the Redskins five years ago, London Fletcher has been one of the most crucial Redskins players on either side of the ball.
Fletcher has 560 tackles in his five seasons with the Redskins and his reliability after the age of 32 has been very impressive, as Fletcher hasn't missed a start since suiting up in the burgundy and gold.
Other than being the stonewall tackling machine, Fletcher has also added five sacks, six interceptions and five forced fumbles to his Washington resume.
3. Champ Bailey
By way of a bad trade, cornerback Champ Bailey wasn't able to finish his career in Washington and retire as a part of the Redskins.
The Redskins selected Bailey with the seventh-overall pick in 1999 and his contribution was felt immediately, as the rookie Bailey picked off five passes, registered almost 70 tackles and scored a touchdown.
The law behind supply and demand is the easiest way to explain my disliking of the Champ Bailey trade. Although the Redskins gained one of the league's best young running backs, it doesn't take a Vinny Cerrato to realize that shutdown corners are in higher demand and the supply of productive running backs appears to be plentiful.
Bailey finished his five years with the Redskins with 18 interceptions, five fumble recoveries and almost 300 tackles.
Bailey made the Pro Bowl as part of the Redskins in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
2. Sean Taylor
Perhaps this ranking is based off of potential as much as it is actual production, but either way I believe it to be honest and deserving.
Taylor's life was tragically cut short in 2007, but his legacy on the football field will forever remain strong.
Taylor was selected fifth-overall in 2004 before becoming a legitimate threat on the football field whether he was making the play or not. Before the end of his rookie season, the league knew about Taylor's intense style of play and his ferociousness towards opposing offenses.
In four years, Taylor brought in 12 interceptions for 242 yards, deflected 43 passes, forced eight fumbles and recorded 244 tackles.
Taylor made the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2007.
1. Chris Samuels
When you spend a first-round pick on a left tackle, you hope for him to hold down the blind side for the next decade. This is even more the case when you select that guy third-overall.
Chris Samuels delivered.
After being selected third-overall in 2000, Samuels stepped in right away as a rookie and started all 16 games. Samuels would miss just eight games over the next eight seasons and he was considered by everyone to be the one anchor on the Redskins' roster.
Although ranking the left tackle position seems uneventful and boring, one has to remember the importance of Samuels on the line. Samuels was so good that fans didn't even worry about the left side of line, knowing for sure that Big Chris was holding it down.
Samuels retired after 10 years, all with the Redskins, and Pro Bowl appearances in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.