Each year during NFL Draft season, you’ll hear pundits and analysts throw out the classic “this prospect is NFL ready” line. Sometimes, the future professional football player is indeed ready to interject himself into the starting line, or, at the very least, be an early contributor.
Chris Samuels was ready to be that instant impact player.
Samuels' legendary blocking skills were initially put on display from 1996 to 1999 at the University of Alabama, where he didn’t allow a sack on a Crimson Tide quarterback during his final 47 games.
After his senior season, his best statistically, Samuels was selected as a first-team All-American and won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top collegiate interior lineman.
Holding the No. 2- and No. 3-overall picks in the 2000 NFL Draft, the Redskins wanted to bolster their top-10 offense with the acquisition of a player that didn’t require a steep learning curve.
They got it in Samuels, the No. 3-overall pick. 14 years after his selection, Samuels was recently named the best pick of the 2000 NFL Draft by Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.
Samuels appeared and started in 141 games over the course of 10 seasons. He paved the way for seven different 1,000-yard rushing seasons to include Clinton Portis’ 1,516-yard season which, at the time, was the franchise record for most rushing yards by an individual in a single-season in franchise history.
By the time he announced his retirement in March 2010, Samuels had appeared in six Pro Bowls, most by a Redskins offensive lineman in franchise history.
During his retirement press conference, Samuels thanks those in the organization for their support, but said that the “best fans in the NFL” are what drove him to be his best each Sunday.
“To the fans, I love you guys,” Samuels said in front of a packed press conference room at Redskins Park. “It’s been real. It’s been a long time, you know for me to be out here, just going out on the field and playing in front of 90,000 people is just a great experience, and 10 years of it, it’s been a lot of fun.”