Redskins are overspending draft capital on offense

In the NFL, teams need to build though the draft to succeed. Just ask Redskins’ general manager Scot McCloughan when he was interviewed back in 2015:

“[Free agent splashes] can look good on paper because it’s a quick fix and fans can say, `They’re trying to get better,’ but you can’t lose sight of the bigger picture,” McCloughan said. That bigger picture, McCloughan believes, is building the core of a team through the draft and adding supplementary parts through free agency.

Assuming this belief is key, one would naturally assume that the Redskins, like other teams, would spend equally on offense and defense in the draft to build a well-rounded team. For the Redskins, it’s the opposite actually. Washington has outspent their offense versus defense in draft capital in a three-to-one ratio.

Compare this to a very successful team over the past five years: The Seattle Seahawks. They have spent almost exactly a one-to-one ratio in draft capital on offense versus defense.

Side Redskins Seahawks
Offense 6500 pts (23 players) 2787 pts (24 players)
Defense 2240 pts (24 players) 2752 pts (24 players)


Some notes on the table:

  • The Seahawks have been generally more successful in the past five years, so their picks have been at the end of rounds whereas the Redskins picks have been at the beginning.
  • This table was created using the NFL Draft value trade chart created by Jimmy Johnson. Some argue that it overvalues first round picks, but generally speaking it’s a good guide.
  • For this calculation only the actual pick that was spent was used. So the Robert Griffin III (RG3) trade only counted as the 2nd overall pick in 2012.

In the last five years under Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden, the team has clearly favored drafting offense early. This has led to the team being ranked 5th in offense and 25th in defense according to [FootballOutsiders.](

The Redskins recently fired their defensive coordinator, Joe Barry, and are looking to replace him. Some names have floated around like forner Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley or the Denver Broncos defensive coordniator Wade Phillips. Regardless of who they choose, the team needs to spend more draft capital on their defense in order to become a contender.



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