The 10 Most Disappointing Redskins Of The Past 20 Years Or So

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Brian Orakpo’s season ended this week, another torn pectoral muscle ending another underwhelming campaign. That likely ends his time with the Redskins, too.

He had some decent seasons — including a few Pro Bowl campaigns — but I’ll always think of him as somewhat disappointing, because he wasn’t supposed to be decent. He was supposed to be a dominating sack machine, the missing piece to the pass rush, and somehow there was always some excuse why that never happened.

So this depressing news got me thinking about disappointing Redskins players. I immediately convened an emergency meeting of the Mr. Irrelevant Redskins brain-trust to determine who the MOST disappointing Redskins player was.

(Note: This is not to be confused with Dan Snyder’s top 10 offseason champs. That is a different but related thing.)

This turned out to be a very long meeting. There has been a LOT of disappointment in the last 20+ years.

We briefly considered dividing the disappointments into various subsets — draft busts separate from free agent disasters, or failed wide receivers separate from failed defensive superstars — but in the end decided that one consolidated list was the way to go. Here’s the top 10, along with others receiving votes.

(Note: There was some talk given to including RG3 pretty high up on this list, but I … I just can’t. Not yet. I’m unilaterally moving him back to others receiving votes for at least a little while longer.)

When you get to the end, you can vote for your own biggest disappointment, or write in someone we missed in the comments.

10. Patrick Ramsey

Arrived as the 32nd overall pick in the draft. Started 24 games in a four-year Redskins career. Somehow signed with seven other teams over the next five seasons but never started another game.

9. Reggie Brooks

Arrived as the 45th overall pick of the 1993 NFL Draft. Started 16 games in a three-year Redskins career, fumbling an insane 7 times. For further detail we go to Unsilent, who demanded with unsettling zeal that Brooks be included on this list: “He was one of the few bright spots on a bad ’93 team who averaged nearly 5 yards per carry while eclipsing 1,000 yards as a rookie. Then he never did anything right ever again and the entire franchise went to shit.” Fair point!

8. LaRon Landry

Arrived as 6th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. Was supposed to form a terrifying safety tandem with Sean Taylor for years to come, which obviously never happened for reasons that go beyond “disappointing”. Spent five seasons with Washington and never really lived up to his ludicrous physique. Had a monkey. Has been with two teams since leaving Washington and is currently serving the least surprising PED suspension of all time.

7. Michael Westbrook

Arrived as the 4th overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft. The FOURTH pick! I had forgotten that! Spent seven years in Washington while somehow only having one good season (1,191 yards with 9 touchdowns in 1999). Better known for punching Stephen Davis in the face — was like Steve Smith Sr. in the punching teammates department, but not at all like him in the amazing onfield performance department. Has had infinitely more success in International Brazilian jiu-jitsu than he ever did in the NFL. The FOURTH PICK! He should probably be ranked higher on this list.

6. Dana Stubblefield

Arrived as a big-ticket free agent signing in February of 1998 on a six-year $36 million contract. Immediately began attempting to lower expectations, presumably to avoid winding up on a list like this. “I don’t want these guys coming in thinking I’m going to be the turnaround man,” he said. “I don’t score points. I stop the run. I have linebackers who will help me out. I got defensive backs who will help me out. Sometimes I’ll come up and make a big play, but I expect everyone to keep playing as hard as they have been.” Had 7 sacks in his three-year Redskins career, less than half as many as he had in his contract-earning 1997 season alone.

5. Brian Orakpo

Arrived as the 13th overall pick in the 2009 Draft. Unlike most of the clowns on this list, he is disappointing more for not being as great as we wanted rather than for being generally awful, although I’ve been personally disappointed in him since that stupid GEICO Scrabble commercial. Is currently shut down for the year with a torn pectoral muscle for the second time in three seasons. (His first torn pec, in 2011, came in Week 17, so he didn’t really have the chance to be shut down.)

4. Albert Haynesworth

I just can’t go through all the Haynesworth stuff again. I can’t. Here’s a very brief summary: He signed a huge-money free agent contract and was unrelentingly awful from then on. The only reason he’s not higher on the list is because we all pretty much figured he was going to fail from the jump — it’s tough to disappoint when expectations are that low. I suspect Snyder, Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan would rank him much differently.

3. LaVar Arrington

Came to town as the second overall pick in the 2000 Draft. Had several good seasons (including 11 sacks in 2002, of which I remember exactly none) and concussed Troy Aikman out of the league back in the days when it was still socially acceptable to be happy about brain trauma. But he was supposed to be Lawrence Taylor and wasn’t, and then he clashed with St. Joe Gibbs and got run out of town, and from there it was all motorcycle accidents and failed restaurants and terrible, terrible radio.

2. Heath Shuler

Arrived as the third pick in the 1994 NFL Draft and was immediately awful. Split time with John Friesz to start the season, then completed 36.7% of his passes in his first full game, a 34-7 loss to the Cowboys in RFK Stadium. Two games later, he would somehow throw five interceptions to the Cardinals, four of which went to guys named Williams. Started a total of 13 games in his three years with the Redskins and was never, ever any good. Yet somehow, because these are the Redskins, they have a player even more disappointing than one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history.

1. Desmond Howard

Howard is more disappointing than Shuler because the franchise was already terrible when Shuler got here. Howard joined the reigning Super Bowl champions and was supposed to provide an instant offensive upgrade. Instead, he spent three years proving that he couldn’t be a wide receiver on the NFL level and then left the Redskins. He would be named Super Bowl XXXI MVP as a returner for Green Bay, primarily to further annoy Redskins fans. To this day I can’t watch ESPN College GameDay without feeling a faint sense of sadness and loss because of his presence. He is the most disappointing Redskins player ever, an award I’m sure he will put on his shelf right next to his Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl ring.

Others receiving votes

These are the folks who were mediocre even in how disappointing they were: Malcolm Kelly, Adam Archuleta, Deion Sanders, Jeremiah Trotter, Mark Carrier, Jason Campbell, Brandon Lloyd, Fred Davis, Jason Taylor, Devin Thomas, Antwaan Randle El, Rod Gardner, Chad Morton, and John Hall. Oh, and Robert Griffin III. Him too.

42 thoughts on “The 10 Most Disappointing Redskins Of The Past 20 Years Or So”

  1. Disagree with Ramsey. He wasn’t even a top 15 pick, which I think is a sad commentary on the fact we were ever expecting him to be a franchise QB. He performed admirably given his background and pedigree.

    1. dude, he was a first round pick so I’m not sure how you wouldn’t have high expectations for him. when did he perform admirably? aaron rodgers was the 24th pick, brees was picked in the 2nd, wilson in the 3rd, kaepernick in the 2nd, brady in the 6th, romo undrafted… just to give you a few examples from today’s NFL.

  2. Today I turned 24. That means the disappointment is just expected at this point. I remember talks of Area 51 in our defensive backfield, then one died and the other sucked at the most important job a defensive back can have (coverage).

  3. I went with Landry. I’m probably unfairly ascribing my MEAST sadness to him (RIP Area 51), but he should have been a great one by himself. Instead he was completely mediocre and a totally unlikeable jackass who grandstanded after tackling someone after a 45 yard gain.

    The disappointment over Shuler gets diluted because of the millions of first-round QB busts that have come after him on the ‘Skins and elsewhere. Similar for the 1-round WR busts.

    LaVar was still very good.

    The free agents…I’m just too numb to feel anything about them.

  4. I’m old enough to remember some earlier disappointments. For me, Duane Thomas was the most disappointing Redskin of all time.

  5. Yeah, Ramsey does not belong on the list. He was taken so low in the draft that he was one pick away from being in the second round. He’s closer a second rounder than anything in the elite portion of the first or even middle of the first for that matter.

    I think Sean Taylor should be 1 on the list.

    1. “I think Sean Taylor should be 1 on the list.”

      I think this comment should be 1 on the Most Disappointing Comments to this Post list.

      1. I second This Guy.
        Sean Taylor was arguably the best player for the Redskins in the 2000s, and died in his prime before ever really having the chance to disappoint the fans. I’m REALLY dispapointed in Eric Rivera Jr. though.

  6. I voted Landry. Perhaps its the recency of it, or more likely the almost gleeful idiocy in refusing to tackle in any way other than as a handless cruise missle. Or the mean mugging after tackling a dude who just broke a huge play because he got fooled on a double move for the millionth time. Or maybe the way he seemed far more interested in looking like Mr. Olympia than his football craft. Or it could’ve been that stupid fucking monkey he owned. Or that his lack of any interest in doing his job competently reminds me of JaVale McGee, who I also loathe.

    Whatever it is, I really hated/still hate Laron.

  7. Totally disagree with Reggie Brooks. You can’t put him on the list, and ignore our actual 1st round pick, Tom Carter. HE was the original Carlos Rogers. Who should also be on the list.

  8. -I kind of liked Ramsey. He always looked like a #32 pick, he lost his job only due to injury, and then he immediately stomped out the Giants when called to duty in 2005 with that bomb to Moss.

    -Who cares about Brooks? He was never potentially going to be as good as Terry Allen was for us anyway.

    -No way Desmond Howard is the most disappointing Redskin.

    -This list needs Donovan McNabb and Fred Davis.

  9. So Reggie Brooks was never going to be good for the Redskins (despite being good for the Redskins for one year), but McNabb should be on the list? Only fucking idiots thought McNabb was anything more than a desperate stop-gap.

    Also, fuck off, Richard.

  10. Wow, Kogod is angry…

    I’m saying Brooks is not a disappointment in hindsight, because when he started sucking he was immediately replaced with a total beast in Terry Allen. Not saying he didn’t totally shit the bed. I just think a lot of people didn’t really care about it, because he didn’t leave a void of talent at the position.

    Also, yeah, Donovan McNabb was 33 and the team sold him hard as the franchise QB for the new coach, Shanny. Sorry for being disappointed when he fucking sucked and was benched for Rex Grossman.

  11. I’m surprised nobody voted for Andre Johnson. The Skins traded up to pick him at the end of the 1st round in 1996, thinking he would help solidify the left tackle position. Instead he was inactive every game of his rookie year and was cut the next training camp. I can’t find the link, but I recall Casserly later admitting they wanted to cut him at the end of his rookie training camp but they didn’t want to deal with the fan backlash.

    1. i came to nominate Andre Johnson as well.

      they gave the cowboys the #6 overall pick in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to move up 6 spots to select Johnson with the last pick of the first round.

      Honorable mention: That same year, the Skins sent St. Louis their first round pick (#6 overall) for the legendary Sean “God told me to holdout for mo’ money” Gilbert.

  12. I remember watching a game during Michael Westbrook’s rookie year where I vaguely remember flying all over the place, running reverses and him scoring a touchdown and looking awesome in one game. (Sue me, I was like 9).

    All of this happened right after Jerry Rice had just broken the all-time career TDs mark on national television. I remember thinking at the time, “this Westbrook guy’s awesome, he’s so going to break that record.”

    L
    O
    L

    If by “that record” I meant, “number of times I’ve died laughing at that ridiculous memory,” then, yes, I was absolutely right. Thank you for nothing, Michael Westbrook. The RICH MAN’s Rod Gardner.

  13. Instead of players, can you add “redskins talent scouts” to the list? Unbelievable how badly we’ve drafted since 1992. I’m surprised we haven’t drafted a sack of footballs yet. We’d be better off than most of those listed above.

    1. I actually think we would, on occasion, be better off passing rather than drafting in certain situations. This would at least spare us the disappointment of watching another below par pick.

  14. So much pain on this list. Could you imagine writing the opposite of this? Can we come up with a list of surprisingly good or exceeded expectations list? Now that’s one to consider.

  15. Seconding the poster above, the draft picks post ’92 have been awful. I voted for Heath, but my top 10 are as follows. I don’t count the free agency guys b/c mostly they just cost Danny a lot of money, and that makes me happy. Failed draft picks are death. Oh, and LaVar is way too good to be top 10.

    1. Heath
    2. Westbrook
    3. Howard
    4. Campbell
    5. Andre Johnson – you must have forgotten about him. That’s really healthy.
    6. Landry – but #1 on list of most annoying!
    7. Gardner
    8. Kennard Lang
    9. Carlos Rogers
    10. Ramsey

  16. Shuler seems the obvious #1, but the only Redskin whose awfulness inspired multiple fantasy football team names in my leagues was Haynesworth. He’s my #2.

    1. Wow…..I’m not gonna lie I must have blocked those out of my mind until you said that. I was soooooo high on Malcolm Kelly being the answer for our wide receiver woes too haha. At least Fred Davis had a single solid season though.

  17. laverneous coles needs to be on the list. that dude played 1 year and then they realized they traded for the wrong guy, traded him back to the jets and got santana moss in return. which coincidentally is probably one of if not the best off season move in the last 20 years.

  18. Your list could honestly be 100 people.
    Here’s more:
    1. Jason Campbell (how can you have Ramsey on your list and not this guy?)
    2. Jason Taylor
    3. Adam Archuletta
    4. T.J. Duckett
    5. Malcom Kelly (huge failure and wasted pick.)
    6. Donovan McNabb (Mr. He-Said-He-Said)
    7. Gibbs part II (let’s be honest).
    8. Dan Wilkinson
    9. Antawn Randel El
    10. Rod Gardner
    11. Jarvis Jenkins
    12. Leonard “alligator arms” Hankerson
    13. Carlos Rodgers (people forget he was the No. 9 pick of the draft where another Rodgers was chosen at No. 23 (Aaron Rodgers)… Would it surprise anyone if Vinny confused Carlos with Aaron?

  19. TJ DUCKETT! Can we do another one of these lists made up of the most obscure Redskins from the last 20 years we can think of?

    Zeron Flemister.

  20. Orakpo is the doppelganger for LaVar. You can’t convince me they aren’t the same person.

    High pick, lots of hype, occasional flashes of brilliance, and totally irrelevant.

    Credit where it’s due to George Allen. He clearly didn’t want to give him a long-term deal. Cerratto would have re-signed him last year at 5 yrs $125mm.

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