The Washington Football Team could really use a left tackle. Perhaps they have been a bit spoiled over the years. Washington may not have dominated the league for the last two decades, but they have always had a great left tackle. And before that?
The 2021 NFL draft is considered deep at the position. Picking 19th overall, Washington will have an opportunity to land one of the top players in the country at any position.
So what does history tell us?
Trent Williams was a bonafide stud for almost ten years in Washington.
He was drafted in the first round, fourth overall in 2010. He dominated week-in and week-out, even when injured. He was a leader.
Were it not for internal disagreements, he would still be Washington’s left tackle, ten years after drafting him.
He played well enough for the 49ers last year, to earn his EIGHTH Pro Bowl selection.
Williams was drafted when another pretty good left tackle was forced to retire.
Washington selected Chris Samuels with the third overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
He was immediately installed as the starter, and earned SIX Pro Bowl visits in ten stalwart years. A rock at the position. Always dependable.
Were it not for stenosis in his spine, he would not have retired, and played even longer.
A Bump In The Road
Here’s where history perhaps needs to be observed the most.
Washington drafted Samuels because they had a revolving door at tackle for a few years. Names you may or may not remember… like Andy Heck (1999), Brad Badger (1998), Shar Pourdanesh (1997), and Joe Patton (1995, 1996).
All of these guys share the distinction of lacking distinction. Heck was decent in ’99, but it was the former first rounder’s tenth season. The other three all hung around for a few years and got starts inside at guard or at right tackle. None of them instilled the confidence that your quarterback was very well protected.
But before that?
It would be near-negligent to not mention The Hogs at this juncture. * wink *
And how the position of left tackle for the Washington Football Team, is a storied one.
On opening day in 1988, Washington made one of the best trades in franchise history. They sent backup quarterback Jay Schroeder to the Oakland Raiders for starting left tackle Jim Lachey. For historic accuracy, the Raiders also received two conditional draft picks in the deal.
Talk about studs. Lachey anchored The Hogs v2.0, that produced arguably the most dominant offensive line season in NFL history. They allowed just seven sacks during the entire 1991 season, en route to a Super Bowl XXVI victory.
Lachey was with Washington for seven years, but missed all of 1993 with a knee injury. His career was cut down three games into his seventh season in Washington, and he never played again. In five healthy seasons, he was a three time First Team All Pro and made the Pro Bowl twice.
The former first round pick of the San Diego Chargers (1985) also earned a Pro Bowl nod for them in 1987 .
Only injuries derailed the career of one of the best tackles the NFL has ever seen.
When Lachey originally arrived in Washington in 1988, he started on the right. It wasn’t long before Lachey moved to left, and the old left tackle moved inside to guard.
This is the first name in this exclusive list, that wasn’t a first round draft pick. In fact, he wasn’t drafted at all. But he was definitely a stud.
Folklorish as it may sound, Jacoby only got a chance to play in the NFL because Joe Gibbs thought he was a defensive tackle. Big Jake didn’t correct him, and the rest as they say, is Hogs History.
That history includes all three of Washington’s Super Bowl trophies, four Super Bowl appearances, FOUR Pro Bowls, and 170 games with the franchise.
Insert your favourite should be in the Hall of Fame rant here. Jacoby was one of the most dominant offensive linemen of the eighties.
Add It All Up
Four names – Jacoby, Lachey, Samuels, and Williams.
Two of them were selected by Washington in the first round, two of them weren’t.
Lachey was drafted in the first round, just not by Washington. Jacoby is well, one of a kind. The two most recent players, were actually drafted by Washington in the first.
Collectively, the four have protected the Washington quarterback’s blind side for more than 30 of the last 40 years.
Together, they amassed TWENTY-ONE Pro Bowl appearances in that time – 19 of them, for Washington. That means the NFL Pro Bowl has had a Washington left tackle, about half of the time over the last four decades.
The draft is unpredictable, and the chips will fall where they fall. Washington will obviously have to see how the tackle prospects fare before they pick.
However, if one of them is available for their 19th overall pick…
History says that they should do so.