Redskins Blog: 'Who Do You Trust More: Mel Kiper or Mike Shanahan?'

The Washington Redskins had a relatively uneventful 2010 draft, though it wasn't without a little bit of controversy. With the fourth pick, the Redskins drafted Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams, though Oklahoma State's Russell Okung was thought of as a slightly better prospect by media types like Mel Kiper. Passing on Okung, then, seemed to some to be akin to passing on the top tackle possible.

Hogs Haven, however, had one big question for those who didn't like the pick:

So when all of us said we wanted Okung over Williams, why was that exactly? Here's what we knew about both -- Okung is perceived as the more complete player. He put up better strength numbers at the combine. He's the "sure thing." (So was Robert Gallery.) Williams is perceived as the better athlete, perhaps the best athlete in the draft at his position (Bruce Campbell, maybe). He is versatile, as he played both sides of the line in college. Many commenters in here have acted like that's a bad thing... Is it? He played this entire season at left tackle and did a good job there, obviously, if he was picked so high. 

The next thing I have to say is the most important thing in this entire post. Are you ready for it? Ok. Who do you trust more, your gut, Mel Kiper or Mike Shanahan? 

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay had Okung rated as the higher pick -- by a nose (Williams was #6 overall, Okung #5 overall on Scouts Inc). Mel Kiper also had Jimmy Clausen as his 4th best available player overall, and every team in the first round passed on him. These guys also saidRobert Gallery was the best tackle prospect in 2004, when the Raiders passed on Phil Rivers, Sean TaylorLarry FitzgeraldDeAngelo HallBen Roethlisberger, Jonathon Vilma, etc.

My point is that you, me, and Mel Kiper all are just not 1/100th as good at evaluating TEAM-SPECIFIC NFL talent as Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen, and the underrated Redskins scouting staff (that used to never have a say in the Cerrato era). Mike Shanahan knew what he wanted in his tackle. Do you think he said, "Oh damn, I wish I had known Russell Okung was still available!" after he made his pick? No. Those ratings on ESPN's "Best Available" are total BS. Williams doubters: did you personally break down the tape and say Okung is the better player? If you did, would you be qualified to do so and have an opinion for a zone-blocking scheme that requires the kind of players who are fast, mean and athletic (ie, Wiliams?) We got our man, the man that our Hall of Fame Coach believes was the best tackle for the Redskins in the draft, and with that I finally get to the Redskins grade for pick 1: A for taking the player that best fits their scheme at a position of extreme need. 

Man, that felt good.

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