Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers Show Importance Of Keeping Draft Picks

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The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers will play in the Super Bowl in two weeks, and it's tempting for Redskins fans to look for lessons that explain their success. The obvious one is that both teams play 3-4 defenses, which should give Mike Shanahan, Jim Haslett and company hope that their massive transition last season will pay off down the road.

But to me, the lesson here is much more fundamental. It's one we've harped on before, but it's worth noting again and again and again until the Redskins get it. That lesson? Don't trade your draft picks.

Both of these teams are stocked with players that were drafted by their team, which makes it look like their scouting departments are just better than the Redskins'. But really, they're giving themselves many more chances by not trading away the picks they get. Just look at how many actual draft selections the two Super Bowl teams have made since 2005, compared to the Redskins over that same period:

  • Green Bay: 57 (six first-rounders, eight second-rounders, six third-rounders, eight fourth-rounders, 10 fifth-rounders, nine sixth-rounders, 10 seventh-rounders)
  • Pittsburgh: 51 (six, four, eight, seven, 11, 7, eight)
  • Washington: 39 (five, four, two, three, four, nine, 12)
Notice the huge disparity in the middle rounds. The Redskins have combined to make just nine picks in the third, fourth and fifth round in the last six years, compared to the Packers (24) and the Steelers (26). That's how those teams get quality depth and find guys to plug into starting positions so easily. The Redskins? They'd prefer trading those picks for veterans. 

Once again, loud and clear: the lesson here is keep your draft picks, especially those in the middle rounds.

Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:

Today on SB Nation D.C.: Scott Jackson recaps the week that was in D.C. sports, and Jack Anderson tells us it's not time for Washington Capitals fans to panic.

Reminder: Come on out for the SB Nation D.C. Wizards/Caps viewing party at Madhatter on Feburary 1. Click here to RSVP.

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