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Bobby Beathard Describes The Thought Process Over Trading First Round Draft Picks


The Rams and Titans turned heads this week when Tennessee decided to trade away the first overall draft pick to Los Angeles for a plethora of other draft picks. Arguments can be made for how this move made sense for both teams, but the case won't be closed for at least a couple years and with some more perspective on this.

Someone who already has it – not about this trade in particular, but on others like it – is Bobby Beathard, the Redskins former general manager from 1978-1989, essentially responsible for creating the dynasty that existed in the 1980s and into the early 1990s (He also knows the risk in drafting the wrong No. 1 quarterback).

Some more credentials in case you were interested: Beathard was part of seven Super Bowl teams, starting with Kansas City in 1966. He led the Redskins to three Super Bowls in seven years, two of which they won and although Washington's Super Bowl championship team in 1991 was manned by GM Charley Casserly, it was composed primarily of Beathard's players. Then he shipped off to San Diego and won a championship in 1994, taking a perennial loser in the Chargers and whipping them into elite form.

But his relevance to this transaction comes in the fact that he traded out of the first round seven consecutive times in his career, not necessarily the most popular move depending on the players available. On a recent interview with Talk of America Sports network, Beathard explained some of the reasoning that went into those moves.

"I don't know," he said of whether a team could succeed today with those methods. "I think people think first round draft choices are so valuable and I always looked at it as they were valuable, it depended on what the rest of the draft was like. If it was a great draft filled with players in later rounds after the first round, I was certainly willing to trade down. It wasn't because of the money that was given to a first round player."

When asked about who he was most proud of drafting, Beathard thought a moment and then picked somebody most people would probably agree with.

"Probably Darrell [Green] would be," he said. "In fact Darrell, we have that Redskins reunion every year and every year I see Darrell, he honestly looks exactly like he did then, like he could play, and if you ask Darrell, he would play now, and I wouldn't doubt that he could."

Back then, Beathard explained, his draft philosophy wasn't dependent on the talent level of the offensive linemen he was drafting once he hired Joe Bugel, the team's offensive line coach.

"When we got Joe Bugel, we knew whatever offensive lineman we drafted, whether it was a 12th rounder or a first rounder, he would work with him just as hard, and that's when we had the Hogs," he said. "We had Joe Jacoby who was drafted late, Russ Grimm and all those guys, they weren't drafted high and he just made them into a great unit, great players."




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