The 2007 NFL Draft has come and gone. For Redskin fans, it was hopefully about quality as opposed to quantity; Washington had just five picks, and only one of them was on day one. After selecting safety LaRon Landry with the sixth overall selection on Saturday, the Redskins went after some depth in round two.
With the 143rd pick overall, Washington's fifth round pick, the Redskins selected linebacker Dallas Sartz from Southern California. That's right, a guy named Dallas will be at Redskins training camp this year. Sartz is a smart football player with 4.5 forty-speed, and will likely compete at strong-side linebacker.
He played 53 games (34 starts) in his college career, and logged 194 tackles (106 solo), 12.5 sacks (-71 yards) and 22.5 stops for losses (101 yards). He was a two-time defensive captain for one of the top teams in the country, and graduated with a communications degree, and a business law minor.
He's also a good special teams player, and special teams are key to earning a roster spot for many young, mid-to-late round draft picks. Establish some worth on special teams, and get a chance to develop into something more. Sartz understands that, "I know I'm gonna be a special teams guy for a while."
Some draft pundits thought that Sartz might actually be converted to a safety at the NFL level, but that isn't likely to happen in Washington.
The Redskins had two sixth round picks thanks to the extra they picked up from the Bears for Adam Archuletta.
With their own pick in the sixth round, the 179th overall, the Redskins took linebacker Horatio Benedict Blades from Pittsburgh. Blades was a tackling machine for Pitt. In his senior season, his 147 tackles (86 solo) were the fourth most in the entire country and the most by a Panther for over twenty years*. H.B. was the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year and was a semifinalist for both the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Dick Butkus Award. He was also a first-team All-American, All-Big East and an ECAC All-Star, as well as being selected as the team's MVP. Pretty impressive credentials for a sixth round pick.
Blades will compete at middle linebacker where the Redskins could use some depth. London Fletcher-Baker is solid as the starter, but Khari Campbell has struggled when asked to do more than fill roles, and he's about the only other depth Washington has. Obviously Lemar Marshall could back-up the position that he started at for the last two seasons, but he'll likely be starting outside where he belongs.
Blades also blocked two kicks in his senior season (three in his college career), which might prove valuable.
If the name sounds familiar, the 'Blades' part not the 'Horatio Benedict' part, it's because his father Bennie played in the NFL (Detroit Lions), and so did both of his uncles, Brian (Seattle Seahawks) and Al (San Francisco 49ers).
With the sixth round pick that Washington got from Chicago, the 205th overall, the Redskins chose quarterback Jordan Palmer. In yet another entry in this year's draft-name-game, he is the brother of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.
Jordan put up impressive numbers in a pass-happy, pro-style offense at UTEP. He set school records for career passing yards (11,041), and career total yards (11,084). At 6'6", and 231 pounds, he certainly has good size; but his decision-making is questionable with 33 fumbles and 89 sacks in 46 college games.
It's a mysterious selection considering that with quarterbacks Jason Campbell, Mark Brunell, and Todd Collins already on the roster, Palmer's likely playing for a practice squad spot at best. Washington also has Casey Bramlet playing over in NFL Europa right now.
Washington's final selection of the 2007 NFL Draft was used on Michigan tight end Tyler Ecker. Ecker missed six games of the 2006 season with an ankle injury, but at 6'6" and 269 pounds, the Redskins are hoping to find a serviceable back-up to Todd Yoder, who is the only real blocking tight end on the roster.
Ecker has the frame to carry more weight and perhaps play on the offensive line, but Joe Gibbs said in his post-draft press conference that Washington has no immediate intentions to do so.
All in all, the Redskins got some potential depth and an interesting project or two. It would have been nice to see some 'project' linemen for either side of the ball, but hopefully, most or all of these selections can stick.