After finishing the 2011 season with a 5-11 record, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan knew that the team could not be complacent going into next season.
Rather than enjoying the customary vacation during the playoffs, Shanahan and his staff volunteered to coach one of the squads at the 2012 Senior Bowl.
"It was very important for us, and we weren't going to get a chance of coaching it unless we volunteered," Shanahan explained. "Last year, I think 100 percent of [game participants] were in an NFL camp."
The experience in Mobile, Ala. granted them unparalleled access to the nation's best seniors, which paid dividends in last weekend's draft.
In total, the team drafted three players that appeared in the game, two from Shanahan's South Team (Keenan Robinson, LB; Alfred Morris, RB), and one from the North Squad (Kirk Cousins, QB).
Each of the three was considered to be a value-pick at their position in the draft. But no matter how valuable those players become, the more important picks could be the ones the team avoided.
"Any time you're around people for a week, sometimes you eliminate a guy, and sometimes obviously they anhance their value," Shanahan explained. "That's a big advantage for us, and it really helped us a lot."
All told, 82-of-104 Senior Bowl participants were selected in the seven rounds of the NFL Draft. Most of the remaining players will be invited to NFL camps this summer.