By: Joe Pohoryles
In the Washington, D.C. Metro area (affectionately known as the DMV), NFL football is in two polar camps. The Baltimore Ravens were amongst the NFL’s best, and with 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson at the helm, look to contend for Super Bowls for at least the next few years. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins are among the worst teams in football, and are perennially looking to claw their way back to the top.
However, DMV football is not limited to its two NFL franchises. The DC area’s presence can be felt across the league by the players who grew up here. Stefon Diggs’ catch in the “Minneapolis Miracle,” was celebrated not only in Minnesota, but also in Maryland, where the Vikings’ star receiver attended high school at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md.
Vernon Davis spent years in San Francisco as a star tight end, before making a brief Super Bowl-winning stop in Denver, followed by four final seasons with his hometown Redskins. Both Diggs and Davis grew up in the DMV, played college football for the University of Maryland and each developed their own successful careers. Davis retired after this season, but Diggs remains one of the best active players to come out of the DMV.
With this, I present the NFL All-DMV team, assembling the best active players from DC, Maryland and Virginia. The players were selected based on where they played high school football, so not all of them are necessarily born-and-raised in the area, but they still represent the DMV.
These are all active players, and do not include soon-to-be standouts like Chase Young (DeMatha) and Diggs’ brother, Trevon (Wootton/Avalon), who are both expected to be selected in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft.
QB – Russell Wilson, Collegiate (VA) / Seattle Seahawks
RB – Carlos Hyde, Fork Union (VA) / Houston Texans
WR – Michael Thomas, Fork Union (VA) / New Orleans Saints
WR – Stefon Diggs, Good Counsel (MD) / Minnesota Vikings
WR – Zach Pascal, Wise (MD) / Indianapolis Colts
TE – Logan Thomas, Brookville (VA) / Detroit Lions
OL – Duane Brown, Hermitage (VA) / Seattle Seahawks
OL – Anthony Castonzo, Fork Union (VA) / Indianapolis Colts
OL – Donovan Smith, Owings Mill (MD) / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
OL – Morgan Moses, Fork Union/Meadowbrook (VA) / Washington Redskins
OL – Rob Havenstein, Linganore (MD) / Los Angeles Rams
DE – Cameron Wake, DeMatha (MD) / Tennessee Titans*
DT – Jonathan Allen, Stone Bridge (VA) / Washington Redskins
DT – Jarran Reed, Hargrave (VA) / Seattle Seahawks
DE – Yannick Ngakoue, Friendship Collegiate (DC) / Jacksonville Jaguars*
OLB – Zach Brown, Wilde Lake/Hargrave (MD/VA) / Philadelphia Eagles*
ILB – Tremaine Edmunds, Dan River (VA ) /Buffalo Bills
OLB – Leonard Floyd, Hargrave (VA) / Chicago Bears
CB – Joe Haden, Friendly (MD) / Pittsburgh Steelers
CB – Kyle Fuller, Mount St. Joseph (MD) / Chicago Bears
S – Antoine Bethea, Denbigh (VA) / New York Giants
S – Rodney McLeod, DeMatha (MD) / Philadelphia Eagles
K/P – Michael Badgley, Fork Union (VA) / Los Angeles Chargers
QB – Dwayne Haskins, Bullis (MD) / Washington Redskins
RB – Ty Johnson, Fort Hill (MD) / Detroit Lions
WR – DaeSean Hamilton, Mountain View (VA) / Denver Broncos
OL – Quinton Spain, Petersburg (VA) / Buffalo Bills
OL – Bobby Massie, Liberty Christian/Hargrave (VA) / Chicago Bears
DL – Shaq Lawson, Hargrave (VA) / Buffalo Bills
DL – Eddie Goldman, Friendship Collegiate (DC) / Chicago Bears
DB – Kareem Jackson, Fork Union (VA) / Denver Broncos
DB – Adrian Amos, Calvert Hall (MD) / Green Bay Packers
DB – Ronald Darby, Potomac (MD) / Philadelphia Eagles
K – Joey Slye, North Stafford (VA) / Carolina Panthers
*= current/pending free agent
Breaking down the representation by state/district, Virginia leads the way with 20. Maryland is second with 13, and DC has two. (Zach Brown played in both Maryland and Virginia, so he’s counted as one for both states).
When it comes to NFL teams, the Chicago Bears lead the way with four. The Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins each have three. (The Eagles would also have three, but Brown was released mid-season).
Looking at the team as a whole, this team could wreak havoc in the NFL. Michael Thomas just broke the single-season reception record and won Offensive Player of the Year, and Russell Wilson was an MVP contender at quarterback. The offensive line is tricky, as all five starters are technically tackles, but the individual talent is there.
On defense, the loaded front seven looks absolutely scary, and a secondary led by All-Pros Joe Haden and Kyle Fuller would keep opposing receivers on lockdown. The only real weakness appears to be special teams; while Michael Badgley is a fine kicker, there’s no real punter. Tight end is scarce as well. Davis would have likely been the option here, but he’s no longer active.
A big reason for the swell of talent, especially from Virginia, is thanks to Fork Union Military Academy, which you can see is well-represented on this list. While states like California, Florida and Texas churn out the most NFL talent year after year, it’s Fork Union that has sent the most players to the NFL all-time, with 70. Fork Union also has 14 active alumni in the NFL, according to Pro Football Reference, which is behind only St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale (15). Fork Union isn’t the only local powerhouse, however, as both Hargrave and DeMatha are among the top 10 schools nationally when it comes to producing the most NFL players all-time.
What makes Fork Union tricky, though, is their program attracts top players from all over the country, not just the DMV. For example, Thomas spent just one season playing at Fork Union through their one-year post-graduate program. Perhaps the Los Angeles native is not the best representative of DMV football players, but based on the parameters I laid out, he fits. As does Carlos Hyde, who played high school ball in Ohio and Florida before taking a detour at Fork Union.
Perhaps the Fork Union players can be taken with a grain of salt, but Wilson grew up in Richmond despite being born in Cincinnati. Cameron Wake is one of the best pass-rushers of his generation, and he was born in Beltsville, Md. Even with the Fork Union boost, true DMV natives can still be found amongst the NFL’s best.
The Ravens may be on the rise, and the Redskins really have nowhere else to go but up, but the DC Metro area remains an underrated hot bed for individual NFL talent, and the All-DMV team should prove just that.
(Cover Photo Credit: Diggs- Jim Stout; Ngakoue- 247 Sports)