Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Redskins Have Connections to '21' In Draft

  1. It's a number with great meaning to the Redskins at this point in the franchise's history.

It was Sean Taylor's jersey number, of course, at the time of his tragic death last year. And it was the margin of difference in the Redskins' 27-6 playoff-clinching win over the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 30.

In 2008, No. 21 is the Redskins' first-round draft pick.

Surprisingly, it is the first time the Redskins have had the 21st pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.

In looking back at draft history, the 21st pick has several connections to the Redskins franchise.

Redskins left guard Pete Kendall was the 21st overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 1996. Kendall joined the Redskins last year as part of a trade with the New York Jets.

A year later, defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn was taken at No. 21 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wynn moved on to play for the Redskins in 2002 and has had a solid NFL career.

Redskins cornerbacks-secondary coach Jerry Gray was the 21st overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 1985. He was a four-time Pro Bowler during his playing career.

Another intriguing connection? In 1980, the Miami Dolphins drafted defensive back Don McNeal at No. 21. Two years later, McNeal would go down in NFL history as the player who could not stop Redskins legend John Riggins on his game-clinching, 43-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XVII.

The 21st pick in the draft has historically produced solid NFL players in the last 30 years.

NFL DRAFT: No. 21 Picks
Year Player/Pos. NFL Team
2007 Reggie Nelson, S Jaguars
2006 Laurence Maroney, RB Patriots
2005 Matt Jones, WR Jaguars
2004 Vince Wilfork, DT Patriots
2003 Jeff Faine, C Browns
2002 Daniel Graham, TE Patriots
2001 Nate Clements, CB Bills
2000 Sylvester Morris, WR Chiefs
1999 L.J. Shelton, T Cardinals
1998 Randy Moss, WR Vikings
1997 Renaldo Wynn, DT Jaguars
1996 Pete Kendall, OL Seahawks
1995 Rashaan Salaam, RB Bears
1994 Johnnie Morton, WR Lions
1993 Robert Smith, RB Vikings
1992 Vaughn Dunbar, RB Saints
1991 Harvey Williams, RB Chiefs
1990 Eric Green, TE Steelers
1989 Bill Hawkins, DT Rams
1988 Clifford Charlton, LB Browns
1987 Roger Vick, RB Jets
1986 Tim McGee, WR Bengals
1985 Jerry Gray, DB Rams
1984 John Alt, T Chiefs
1983 Gabe Rivera, DT Steelers
1982 Gerald Willhite, RB Broncos
1981 Ted Watts, DB Raiders
1980 Don McNeal, DB Dolphins
1979 Jerry Robinson, LB Eagles
1978 Randy Holloway, DE Vikings
1977 Robin Cole, LB Steelers
1976 Tim Fox, DB Patriots
1975 Tim Gray, DB Cardinals
1974 Lynn Swann, WR Steelers

Reggie Nelson, the Jaguars' pick last year, had a strong rookie season logging 63 tackles, one sack and five interceptions.

Running back Laurence Maroney, drafted two years ago at No. 21, has rushed for 1,580 yards in two seasons, with a 4.4 yards-per-carry average. He also has 12 career touchdowns for the prolific New England offense.

The Patriots were successful at No. 21 in 2004 in drafting defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, the Miami teammate and close friend of Sean Taylor. Wilfork has been a steady presence for the Patriots, earning a Pro Bowl berth last season.

The Patriots had the 21st pick in 2002 and chose tight end Daniel Graham, a solid pass-catcher who now plays for the Denver Broncos.

In 2001, then-Buffalo Bills head coach Gregg Williams chose cornerback Nate Clements with the 21st overall pick.

In seven seasons, Clements has 27 career interceptions, five of which he returned for touchdowns. He earned a Pro Bowl berth for the Bills in 2004, but now plays for the San Francisco 49ers.

Through the years, wide receiver has been a position that has fared well at No. 21.

In 1998, Randy Moss fell to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 21. The mercurial Moss, on track to be a Hall of Famer, has 774 catches, 124 touchdowns and six Pro Bowl berths to his credit.

Johnnie Morton was the Detroit Lions' pick at No. 21 in 1994. Morton, the older brother of former Redskins running back Chad Morton, played 12 seasons in the NFL and caught 624 passes and 43 touchdowns.

Tim McGee, the 21st overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1986, played 10 seasons in the NFL, including the 1993 season with the Redskins. Known as a speedster, McGee totaled 321 catches and 28 touchdowns in his career.

The most famous wide receiver ever selected at No. 21 was in 1974: Lynn Swann, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Swann was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, despite modest career numbers (336 career catches and 51 touchdowns).

Swann, of course, secured his spot in the Hall of Fame with memorable highlight-reel catches in the Steelers' four Super Bowl titles.

In years past, running back is a position that has been a focus at No. 21, with some success stories and notable busts.

Minnesota's Robert Smith, the Vikings' pick at 21st overall in 1993, rushed for 1,000-plus yards from 1997-2000 before his abrupt retirement. He finished with 6,818 rushing yards in his career.

Kansas City's choice of Harvey Williams at No. 21 in 1991 proved solid, but not until he was with another team. Williams would get his chance as a starter with the Oakland Raiders in 1994, and he responded with several strong seasons.

One of the more notable draft busts at No. 21 was running back Rashaan Salaam, a former Heisman Trophy winner and the Chicago Bears' pick in 1995.

Salaam rushed for 1,000 yards as a rookie, but he could not sustain it. His career was shortened due to injuries and a recurring fumble problem.

The Chiefs found success at No. 21 in 1984 when they drafted offensive tackle John Alt. He played 12 seasons in the NFL and went to two Pro Bowls.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.