On the first night of the NFL draft, Washington Redskins fans either let out a loud scream of joy or a huge sigh of relief. Either way, it was a good feeling. Once Washington drafted offensive tackle Trent Williams out of Oklahoma, fans were finally assured that the team is in good hands. Coach Mike Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen earned the trust of Redskins fans.
Everyone knew that the rebuilding of the team had to start with the offensive line. In fact, most have thought that for a while now. Washington hadn't drafted an offensive lineman in the first two rounds of the NFL draft since drafting Chris Samuels in 2000. Everyone outside of the Redskins organization has known for several years that the o-line needed to be addressed. The horrible moves made over the last decade even inspired fans to make videos like this. So after Jason Campbell was sacked 81 times in two seasons, they just had to address the offensive line this offseason, right?
But how could anyone trust the team owned by Dan Snyder? He and former vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato had severely damaged the hopes of Redskins fans for years. Even after Cerrato the Catastrophe resigned, after Snyder hired a legitimate general manager, after hiring a Super Bowl winning head coach, it was still too difficult to tell whether the men in charge would lead the team in the right direction.
In March, it became even more difficult to buy into what Shanahan and Allen were doing. Both had kept the team under the radar during most of free agency, but then decided to sign veterans Willie Parker, Larry Johnson, Phillip Buchanan and Rex Grossman. Fans were skeptical and very confused. On April 4, 2010, the front office shocked the football world and made a deal with the Eagles for quarterback Donovan McNabb. For a moment, fans were convinced they were definitely going to draft an offensive lineman now that there seemed to be no need to draft a quarterback (even though there wasn't a need before the trade). Yet, the rumors were still out there and Bruce Allen even said so just days before the draft -- the Redskins could easily still draft a quarterback.
In what had been an unusual offseason for the Redskins franchise, nobody really knew what they were going to do with the fourth overall pick. Allen and Shanahan made sure nobody knew. The constant spreading of rumors kept everyone alert. Is Albert Haynesworth going to be traded? What about LaRon Landry? Are they going to draft Jimmy Clausen? Russell Okung or Trent Williams? What is going to happen with Jason Campbell? Eric Berry? Trading up? trading down? Sam Bradford? There were too many possibilities and ways to screw this up.
But they didn't. They came through. In a shocking move, they actually did something that made the fans happy. It may not seem that shocking at first, but Redskins fans aren't used to smart, competent people running the organization. Although Shanahan and Allen probably won't bring immediate success to the Redskins, it still feels good to know that the future probably won't be nearly as miserable as the last 10 years.