Redskins Release Devin Thomas

We've read lots of articles about the best drafts in NFL history. How about the worst drafts in NFL history? The 2008 Redskins draft has to qualify. They had no first-round pick, but they had three second-rounders. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly were total busts. Fred Davis looked bad until the second half of last year, but isn't building on his improvement (only three catches in 2010). Third-round guard Chad Rinehart is on the Jets practice squad. Fourth-round cornerback Justin Tryon was cut and now plays for the Colts. Seventh-round safety Chris Horton was supposed to be a steal, but had a massive sophomore slump and is now just a backup. A team with tons of old guys took the opportunity to build youth on the roster, and face-planted.

Who has some other nominees? The 2007 Patriots draft was pretty bad, although that was partly due to the absence of picks in the second and third rounds.

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61 comments, Last at 11 Oct 2010, 11:49pm

1 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

stick with the same team, 2007 Patriots gave us brandon merriweather who is off and on but no one else decent for the pats. did anyone else make the pats roster?

10 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Whoa, 2006 and 2007 really bad. I never liked Meriweather. All he does is over-agressively lower his shoulder. Takes horrible angles, bad tackling. I didn't like him as a rookie, and that feeling has persisted ever since.

Chung is less agressive, but apparently a better tackler (G1 against Cincy ... he got a lot of snaps, looked like he spied on the TE, never deflected a pass, but his tackles looked solid).

I never understand why Belichick doesn't get real heat for the abysmal secondary. The players may be bad (honestly, the probability that all of them are bad is tiny), but the scheme looks like the issue to me.

If I was Belichick, I'd only coached tackling - football fundamentals 101 - two weeks in training camp. That would improve the defense by an order of magnitude. If I compare the quality of the tackling from a good Colts defense a couple of years ago with the quality of the tackling of the pats (yards after first contact et al), the Patriots look to be way worse.

And don't tell me there should be a huge difference in quality between Butler and Vontae Davis. Butler isn't even starting.

My impression is: you don't get a good player or a bad player from the draft. The coaching has a massive influence on whether a player succeeds or not, and Belichick's secondary is a mess for years now ... exactly since they got rid of McGinest and Law.

23 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

i think you're being overly harsh on the secondary and ignoring the real problems in their pass rush.

1) the Pats safeties are very good. Sanders and Chung look to be excellent, and Merriweather would start for most teams.

2) Butler is only a second year player, and while he is overly aggressive, he's still someone that many believe could be an excellent corner.

3) McCourty looks like he could be very good.

If Leigh Bodden doesn't get hurt at the end of preseason, this Pats secondary looks like one of the top units in the NFL imo (Butler as a nickel guy, McCourty as the 2nd CB, and some very good safeties behind them).

Unfortunately, the Pats are not able to generate a pass rush without blitzing heavily. Cunningham has looked promising in a small sample size so far, but Banta-Cain should not be your top pass rusher on a successful team. Moreover, Pats have trouble rushing 3-4 and succeeding. Methinks that at least 2 of the top 8 picks the Pats have in 2011 go to DE/OLB to try to shore that up. Although getting Ty Warren back could help them a lot there as well.

Yes, Pats whiffed heavily on some guys b/w 05 and 07, but I think it's too early to judge McCourty and Butler, it's wrong to say the Pats safeties are bad, and it also appears incorrect to say that Pats scheme is bad, when Bodden among others had success in it.

3 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Too lazy to do the research right now, but the Rams drafts from 2006-2008 have to be up there. I'm not totally sure about this, but I think I heard the Rams don't have any players left from their 2007 draft. How else do you win 6 games in three years without atrocious drafting?

13 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

I was going to say the same thing. Looking it up, the Rams 06 Draft was even more pathetic than originally thought.

1-Tye Hill: In 2009 was traded for a 7th rounder.
2-Joe Klopfenstein: cut in 2009.
3-Claude Wroten: out of football in 2008.
3-Jon Alston: cut in 2007.
3-Dominique Byrd: out football in 2008.
4-Victor Adeyanju: still on the team.
5-Marques Hagans: cut in 2008.
7-Tim McGarigle: out of football in 2008.
7-Mark Stterstrom: still on the team.
7-Tony Palmer: cut in training camp.

10 picks and 6 of them were gone within two years. That's truly terrible drafting.

4 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

2007 Bills have to be high on the list. Marshawn Lynch traded, Posluszny underachieving, Trent Edwards cut, Dwayne Wright failed to make the Hartford Colonials' roster, John Wendling is a backup in Detroit, Derek Schouman reached an injury settlement and is out of the league, and CJ Ah You is a depth player in St. Louis (though admittedly, one with two more sacks than Aaron Maybin).

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

27 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

that's not terrible. Lynch was "Beast Mode" for 2 years, and is still at least a marginal starter in the NFL (and maybe much more, if it was just Buffalo that sucked that much). And Edwards as a 2+ year starter (even if he was really bad) is pretty good for a 3rd rounder. Out of 7 players, you ended up with 2 starters. That's not the type of draft that makes you a top team, but it's also not one of the worse drafts out there.

6 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

This has to be up there as well. 10 picks among which the highlights were George Foster and Nick Eason.

7 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

2005 Vikings draft was pretty awful too. They had 2 first round picks thanks to the Randy Moss trade, but they ended up with Troy Williamson and Erasmus James. Marcus Johnson started 18 games in his 1st two years, but none since and is now out of the league. Dustin Fox never played a game with the team.

Honorable mention to the 1999 Dolphins too.

9 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Packers 2001
Round 1 Jamal Reynolds DE Florida State
Round 2 Robert Ferguson WR Texas A&M
Round 3 Bhawoh Jue DB Penn State
Round 4 Torrance Marshall LB Oklahoma
Round 5 Bill Ferrerio G Wisconsin
Round 6 David Martin WR Tennessee

Reynolds - One of the all-time busts; #10 overall pick, 3 career sacks, released after 3 years/23 games, couldn't make roster on 2004 Cleveland Browns.
Ferguson - Inactive list entire rookie season, best season was 38 catches/4 TDs, only 151 catches over 8 pro seasons with various teams.
Jue - Never lived up to potential because of injuries. Best season was as rookie, when he replaced an injured LeRoy Butler. Mostly a special teams guy by third year and then let go.
Marshall - A real head case who was released after 2004 season. Only started because of injuries to others.
Ferrerio - A reserve for 2 years before release
Martin - The best player of this draft. Mostly backed up Bubba Franks. 87 catches/ 766 yards/ 9 TDs in 5 years.

FWIW, the 2004 Packers draft is almost as bad. First four picks were Ahmad Carroll, Joey Thomas, Donnell Washington, and B.J. Sanders.

8 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Malcolm Kelly showed improvement last year. He could have been a candidate for the 3rd year receiver bounce if he didn't get hurt. So did Thomas though. Could just be a case of not meshing well with the new staff.

15 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

As a Redskins fan, the thing I always fear with players who seem to have potential but don't ever get anywhere is that it's only our erratic coaching and general cursed-ness as a team that is holding those players back. I'm still kind of afraid that Jason Campbell will turn out to be amazing for some other team (though I don't think it'll be the Raiders--they're shittier than we are, sorry Raiderjoe), and now I'm worrying the same thing where Devin Thomas is concerned.

11 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Miami 2002

Seth McKinney Randy McMichael
Omare Lowe
Sam Simmons Leonard Henry

Miami 2003

Eddie Moore
Wade Smith
Taylor Whitley
Donald Lee
J.R. Tolver
Corey Jenkins
Tim Provost
Yeremiah Bell
Davern Williams

Er, so that's Randy McMichael and Yeremiah Bell then. The Wannstache has much to answer for.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

12 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

I know he didn't do much with Miami, but Donald Lee's been a nice little roleplayer in GB.
189/1816/16 - decent for a 5th rounder. Also: saw the field in 109 games in 7 seasons.

Plus: He was really good in Madden '06.

16 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Does anybody know a good study about what is average for a draft? Something like out of seven picks you should get one starter and two backups? Or you should expect to get so many games played?

19 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

PFW say they conducted a five year study of the NFL and say that the average NFL team gets two starters out of each draft. Which is way less than I suspect most fans think. Obviously that doesn't include valuable role players which you do need to find (Mr Snyder).

21 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

PFR did a study back in 2008 in which they found the mean AV of every player drafted between 1970 and 1999 at each spot, then produced a logarithmic best fit curve to smoothe things out. A #1 overall pick should average a career AV of 73; a mid-first rounder in the high thirties or low forties, and a seventh rounder 5. The blog post includes a number for each spot, as well as the graph, so you should be able to work out the expected total career AV for any given set of picks. Obvious caveats: AV as a metric is far from perfect, and does a better job on elite players than marginal ones; things may have changed over the last decade. But it's probably still not a bad guideline.

22 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

A short but masterful work from Charlie Casserly:

2005 Texans

1 (18) Travis Johnson, DT Florida State
3 (73) Vernand Morency, RB Oklahoma State
4 (114) Jerome Mathis, WR Hampton
5 (151) Drew Hodgdon, C Arizona State
6 (188) C.C. Brown, S Louisiana-Lafayette
7 (227) Kenneth Pettway, LB Grambling State

When plausible candidates for the title of best player in a draft class include a wife-beating kick returner and C.C. Brown, you know it's not a good draft class.

25 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

The 1986 Dallas draft.

OK, it's not really their fault that knee injuries kept Mike Sherrard off the field for most of his time there, but everything else was beyond putrid.

Their second round pick got them Daryl Clack, a sucky KR who barely saw the field as a RB.

Third rounder was a DT Mark Walen. Who?

Then they drafted one of the two lesser Zendejases: that's a 4th round pick spent on a kicker who went on to make 0 kicks for them!

With their three sixth round picks they managed a backup TE; QB Stan Gelbaugh who somehow managed to play in 21 games in his career, none with the Cowboys, and a G who didn't make the roster.

11th round pick Garth Jax did at least have a ten-year career as a special teamer and backup LB with various teams.

And, actually, looking now at the history over at PFR, Dallas's 1982 draft was probably even worse.

26 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

2003 49ers:
1 (26) Kwame Harris OT
2 (57) Anthony Adams DT
3 (89) Andrew Williams DE
4 (124) Brandon Lloyd WR
5 (161) Aaron Walker TE
6 (197) Arnaz Battle WR
7 (241) Ken Dorsey QB

2002 49ers:
1 (27) Mike Rumph CB
3 (69) Saleem Rasheed ILB
4 (102) Jeff Chandler PK
4 (128) Kevin Curtis FS
5 (164) Brandon Doman QB
5 (173) Josh Shaw DT
6 (202) Mark Anelli TE
7 (239) Eric Heitmann G
7 (249) Kyle Kosier OT
7 (256) Teddy Gaines CB

In the 03 class, I think Lloyd was marginally ok with the 49ers (and now has magically emerged this season) and Battle was a decent pick for a 6th rounder. In the 02 class, Heitmann was a nice pick.

But they whiffed on just about every other pick, including all of their 1-3 rounders.

37 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

2003 draft is not a bad one, after 7 years there are still 2 starters Adams for Bears and Lloyd for Denver. Battle is still playing after 7 years. Kwame started for 4 terrible years with 49ers and 1 for Raiders.

2002 seems not so bad in round 7. Heitmann and Kosier are pretty good picks for round 7.

28 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

The Eagles' 2003 draft was pretty gruesome:

1st - Jerome McDougle DE Miami (traded up a 1st and a 2nd to get him! On the all-time SACKSEER bust list!)
2nd - LJ Smith TE Rutgers
3rd - Billy McMullen WR Virginia
4th - Jamaal Green DE Miami
6th - Jeremy Bridges G Southern Mississippi
7th - Norman Lejeune S Louisiana State

Green, Bridges, and Lejeune (cut in training camp) never played a meaningful snap for the Eagles. LJ Smith was a five-year mediocrity. McMullen was putrid and McDougle was the biggest drain of money and suckitude in the entire Reid era.

Funny thing was, awful as the 2003 draft was, the Eagles' undrafted class that year produced the following useful NFL players:

Quinton Mikell
Jamaal Jackson - that's two 2010 opening day starters.
Greg Lewis
Artis Hicks
Rod Hood

33 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

It's funny, sometime in the off-season, I was having a long discussion (ok, argumnet) with a Cowboys' fan about the Eagles' drafting: his point, the Eagles don't draft nearly as well as their reputation. I disagreed, but thinking it over, I think he was right. Where the Eagles excell compared to other organizations, is the incredible production they get out of undrafted free agents. It's really remarkable - 2003 is not so different from any other year for them. They frequently get more starters from undrafted free agents as they do from the draft. A big part of that is that Jaun Castillo can spin straw out of gold with o-lineman (2 in 2003 would be very productive for the Eagles, for example.) 2010's draft class seems to be a big exception in that they kept almost everybody they drafted...

58 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

If you include the whole roster (Active and IR), the Colts drafted 36 of 62 guys. The remaining: 23 were Free Agents, 1 was a trade, 1 was an undrafted free agent, and 1 was claimed off waivers.

I don't know how that stacks up against other teams, but it's something.

I'd be willing to bet that when it comes to drafting, the best teams hit on their first round picks and free agents, collegiate and otherwise.

54 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

McDougle was shot. It's kinda harsh to bury a guy when he's just grateful to be alive. Yes, he never produced on the field beyond the occasional flash of what might have been, but you take a bullet in the guts and see if it doesn't affect your atheleticism.

LJ would have been a bust as a first rounder, but as a second rounder, The Eagles probably got about average production out of the guy.

Jamaal Green, if I recall correctly, managed to hang around the NFL for several years as a backup on a few teams. Again, probably about average production for a 4th round pick.

Jeremy Bridges developed into a starter. Just not for Philly. Not an awful pick, just a guy who got caught in a numbers game and didn't get his shot until he moved elsewhere.

Really, the only flat-out bust was Billy McMullen, and having been living in VA at the time, I could have told you that on draft day. I don't know what they were thinking with that pick.

29 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Between Horton (7th) + Kareem Moore (6th), the Skins did get 17 starts at safety in 2008-09. Moore is the current starter.

Tryon was dealt for a pick.

Not the worst draft ever, but pretty bad.

30 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

1998 Chargers
1st Ryan Leaf
2nd Mikhael Ricks
5th Cedric Harden
6th Clifford Ivory
7th Jon Haskins
7th Kio Sanford

Mikhael Ricks is the only player who would have anything resembling a mediocre NFL career.

35 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

worst drafdt ever either 1998 chargers or 1975 chiegs

1975 chiefs
Elmore Stephens
Cornelius Walker
Morris LaGrand
Dave Wasick
Wayne Hoffman
Dale Hegland
James Rackley
John Snider
Gene Moshier
Mark Peterson
Mike Bulino

36 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

How is this even a discussion? Matt Millen recently ran drafts for the majority of a decade. End of story.

38 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

If you remember Blogging the Boys using p-f-r's AVs to evaluate drafts, their worst were the 2005 Vikings (which is nominated above in #7):

1/7 Troy Williamson
1/18 Erasmus James
2/49 Marcus Johnson
3/80 Dustin Fox
4/112 Ciatrick Fason
6/191 C.J. Mosley
7/219 Adrian Ward

followed closely by the 2002 Cardinals:

1/12 Wendell Bryant
2/49 Levar Fisher
3/81 Josh McCown
3/98 Dennis Johnson
4/113 Nate Dwyer
5/149 Jason McAddley
6/185 Josh Scobey
7/223 Mike Banks

A couple of very worthy contenders.

48 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

I do remember that (in fact, I reference it above) but I found it pretty much useless because of how wildly it over-rated Pro Bowl appearances. Any system that says that Michael Lewis and Lito Sheppard were more exponentially more valuable to the Eagles than Sheldon Brown is broken.

Still, that shouldn't hurt their bottom-of-the-barrel rankings. And those 2 drafts do indeed look awful. Is that Josh Scobey the kicker, though? Josh McCown also played (and won) a few games, so it's hard to rate that one along some of these were nobody did ANYTHING positive.

40 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

I still think the whole of the 2002 draft deserves mention, the worst class of quarterbacks ever.

41 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

The worst part of this 2nd round is that at the times when Thomas, David, and Kelly were taken, DeSean Jackson was still available, but good ol' Zorn wanted tall receivers more than he wanted good ones.

45 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Hindsight is 20/20.

With Randle El and Moss already on his roster, I bet if Zorn had taken Jackson, he'd have taken heat for drafting a guy whom he already had two of. Also: That Thomas-Davis-Kelly-Jackson group had scouts devided pretty evenly IIRC.

50 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

You left out one of the juiciest tidbits of that draft. In the 6th round they take punter Durant Brooks. The incumbent was Derrick Frost. The Redskins have the two compete thru the preseason, and in final cutdowns they release Frost.

Frost then tells the Washington Post that he won the competition, Vinny only cut him to pad his drafting stats! So Vinnie could say "x of y players I drafted made the team." This was Zorn's rookie year as head coach. Most of the time you hear a player say he wasn't really beaten out, and it's sour grapes. You take it with a grain of salt. But this was a completely believable indictment of Vinny. That's exactly how Cerrato operated.

Brooks goes out and is terrible. The Redskins cut him after 6 games, and he was never heard from again. Frost is vindicated. Frost punted in 12 games for the Packers that year, so the Skins were without an alternative at punter. They signed Ryan Plackemeier, who at least was not an embarassment.

It was an amazing sequence of events.

59 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Frost was also quite bad for the Packers, who themselves screwed up in releasing Jon Ryan to replace him with Frost. If anything this just shows that the Redskins (and the Packers) did not do a good job at evaluating punters that season.

52 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Can someone with a LOT of time on their hands put together the bottom 16 into a seeded tournament tree, so we can see who really is the queen of putrescence (to steal a phrase from the Princess Bride).

56 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

They desperately needed to change over their receiver corps. At the time I thought it was smart of them to trade down into the second round in order to draft an extra wide receiver. Very unRedskinslike move.

Wide receivers taken in that second round (in order):

Donnie Avery
Devin Thomas
Jordy Nelson
James Hardy
Eddie Royal
Jerome Simpson
DeSean Jackson
Malcolm Kelly
Limas Sweed
Dexter Jackson

So with the 3rd, 17th, and 20th picks in that round, they managed to pick the 3rd and 4th worst receivers available. Hindsight is 20-20, but if you're a team with a reliable deep threat in Moss and you desperately need a reliable possession receiver, I don't understand how you don't go after Nelson or Royal with your first pick and then take a flier later on a developmental burner.

This is at the time of Zorn's hire, when he was supposed to have been busy installing a "west coast" offense. Devin Thomas, aside from being just generally not good, is also a terrible fit for that system. Which makes him double extra awful.

I hated this pick at the time and I'm glad they're releasing him now. And in hindsight, I'm glad they traded down for the pick because they could just as easily have spent first round money on him. It's about as savvy as Vinny Cerrato ever got.

57 Re: Redskins Release Devin Thomas

Lost in the shuffle in this comment is the fact that they had a first rounder but traded down to pick up these busts.