For Washington Redskins, the 2008 draft is best forgotten

The Washington Post's John Feinstein and Rick Maese talk about injuries and personnel issues facing the Redskins as the team enters the 2010 football season.
By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 1, 2010; 12:26 AM

Before the 2008 draft, owner Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, then Washington's executive vice president of football operations, led a Redskins contingent that attended the final workout of standout Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly.

The Redskins needed bigger wideouts - and more playmakers in general - and the sure-handed, 6-foot-4 Kelly seemed an ideal fit for the team's new West Coast offense, especially after his impressive showing at the workout. Washington's medical/training staff, however, raised concerns that a knee problem could hamper Kelly's career.

On Tuesday, the Redskins placed the injury-plagued Kelly on the season-ending injured-reserve list because of a severe hamstring injury that sidelined him for all but three days of training camp and the preseason.

"It's just really bad news and it's tough for everybody," wideout Devin Thomas said. "I was drafted with Malcolm and we've been through a lot of trials and tribulations together. We never expected any of this."

As the holdovers from Washington's 10-member 2008 draft class prepare for their third season, the group appears no closer to fulfilling management's once-high expectations. Injuries, maturity issues and lack of talent have slowed the first class chosen after Cerrato, who resigned in December, was promoted to head of the football operation. Not a single draft pick from the class is expected to start Sept. 12 against the Dallas Cowboys, and only three may be on the opening 53-man roster. It seems the success of the class hinges on the performances of Thomas, pass-catching tight end Fred Davis and safety Kareem Moore - who is sidelined to open the season.

"Our class, there are a lot guys with talent, but that doesn't mean it's always going to work out," Davis said. "It's about the opportunities you get out there and making the most of them. But even then, you don't know what's going to happen."

Kelly will be paid $470,000 in base salary this season. On April 1, he received a $391,000 bonus for total 2010 compensation of $861,000. By the end of this season, the Redskins will have paid Kelly a total of almost $3.2 million.

As the 2008 draft unfolded, Cerrato executed a questionable plan in an effort to bolster the receiving corps. He traded out of the first round, sending Washington's picks in the first, third and fifth rounds (Nos. 21, 84 and 154 overall) to the Atlanta Falcons for the Nos. 34 and 48 picks in the second round and a fourth-round pick, the 103rd overall.

With three second-round picks, the Redskins selected Thomas, Davis and Kelly. After Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley was injured last season, Davis emerged as a force in the passing game.

Washington released punter Durant Brooks (sixth round) during the 2008 season, and quarterback Colt Brennan (sixth round) was released early this August. Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart (third round), cornerback Justin Tryon (fourth round), defensive end Rob Jackson (seventh round) and safety Chris Horton (seventh round) may not make this year's team.

"The worst thing people can do is keep a draft pick just to keep a draft pick," Coach Mike Shanahan said. "What you do is you keep the people who give you the best chance to win."

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