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Posted at 3:42 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Introducing Oshiomogho Atogwe

By Evan Bliss

The sneaky Skins were able to shuffle under the radar, during all the looming lockout conversations and mediations, to scoop up one of the best turnover cookers in the entire league over the last couple years. Bruce Allen had a big day reeling in former St. Louis safety Oshiomogho Atogwe while attending the billionaires versus the millionaires cat-fight. Well done, Bruce! D.C. really stuck it to St. Louis on Thursday with the help of Atogwe, Allen, and the new old center Jason Arnott from the Caps.

So far Shanahan’s been pretty good at getting rid of players that aren’t a good fit for his system. Last year he dumped some vets with a little too much seasoning on them: Smoot, Griffin, Randle-El, Betts, Cartwright, Collins and Thomas. This year he’s dumped some vets that were square pegs to his round holes: Portis, Dockery and Carter. Problem is, once you get rid of those players you actually have to replace them with better ones, and the multitude of empty round holes indicate that Shanahan has yet to do so.

Enter in Thursday’s Atogwe signing. Reports and opinions are uniformly stating that the Redskins did not over pay and that Atogwe gets checkmarks across the board for talent, work ethic, and character. Am I crazy in thinking there must be some sort of catch or fine print or man with a waxed mustache and his fingers crossed behind his back waiting to spring out and make rain on my sunny day?

Atogwe’s play on the field has gotten him 22 interceptions in six seasons for the Rams, clearly the best player on an underachieving team (a team that always tends to play the Redskins close). He played college ball at Stanford, a top academic institution showing he’s got some smarts off the field. Finally he’s from Windsor, Ontario (Canada), so we know he’s got good manners and won’t mind playing in the snow (unless his four years in California and six years playing in a dome spoiled him a bit). He also shares a birthday with Redskins defensive great Dave Butz and yours truly, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. 

Additionally, one of the first things Atogwe mentioned on his new Redskins Twitter account (blessedskins) was that he won’t even be asking for Sean Taylor’s number 21. Whether or not this town is ready for another player to wear 21 on game days, even though D.C. may never be ready, that’s a pretty classy move and the fans have noticed he’s paying attention to the bigger picture (not the new HD scoreboards).

Personally, safety was a need, but not a pressing one. Kareem Moore struggled after coming back from his injury last season, but he’s still shown flashes of being good enough. You don’t get to pick which players hit the market, you just have to get the right ones when they do. For now it looks like Shanahan and Allen got the right one, but there are many round holes left to fill on this big roster before football begins again, whenever that may be.

By Evan Bliss  | March 4, 2011; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  
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Next: Ignoring the burning wreckage, part 4: the strikers

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