Since Mike Shanahan became the coach of the Redskins, there has been a major emphasis on acquiring talent through the draft. That has been particularly true over the past two drafts where they selected a combined 21 players, the most in the NFL over that time.
However, they are recovering from over a decade during which the organization had a propensity to try to build a winner by whipping out the checkbook for free agents and by trading away draft picks for veteran players. They have a long way to go before they can say that they were build through the draft.
In fact, in 2011 no NFL team had fewer games started by its own draft picks than the Redskins. Of a total of 352 starts (22 starters times 16 games), draft picks made 121 of them.
In contrast, 266 of the Panthers’ starts were by their own draftees as were 264 of the Steelers’ and 257 of the 49ers’.
There does appear to be a link between being successful and having home grown players make up the bulk of your starters. The top 10 teams in terms of starts by their own draft picks had a combined record of 89-71 while the 10 teams with the fewest drafted starters went 72-88.
It should be pointed out that this is not any kind of ironclad rule. The two Super Bowl teams, the Giants and Patriots, ranked 20th and 26th in starts by their own draft picks, respectively.