Robert Griffin III isn’t officially a member of the Washington Redskins yet, but at this point all he’s really missing is his jersey, a locker, and a key to the team’s facility. He’s already signing Redskins helmets, and his parents are proudly and bravely flying a burgundy and gold flag even though they live deep behind enemy lines.
Much like Andrew Luck with the Colts–who was officially declared Indy’s pick earlier today–for Griffin it’s now a matter of waiting for a formality Thursday night. Beyond Luck and Griffin, the intrigue of the first round will begin to unfold, with blinding black smoke surrounding the Vikings and their likely Matt Kalil pick, while no one knows what the hell Cleveland will do at No. 4. But the top two picks are cemented, and despite a feeble smokescreen from Jim Irsay, they have been for months.
The question now becomes whether or not the Redskins sacrificed too much for Griffin in their haste to finally secure a franchise QB in a passing league. The 2011 Heisman winner looks like a sure thing, but the quarterback position has always been notoriously unpredictable on draft day.
The Redskins shipped four picks (their sixth overall pick this year plus two more future first rounders, and a second-round pick this year) to St. Louis to move up into the second overall slot and take RG3. We spoke to Kevin Ewoldt, the managing editor of Hogs Haven, and he thinks the return on Griffin will easily justify Washington’s steep investment.
1. Let’s get this one out of the way first. Did the Redskins give up too much for Griffin? Or will we look back years from now and think the price paid to St. Louis was steep but fair, and RG3 was worth the investment?
I thought the Skins gave up too much at first, but I’ve come around. Did the Giants trade too much to acquire Eli Manning from the Chargers? I bet no one remembers the Giants also gave up a third-round pick that year and a first and fifth the next year.
The Redskins can’t afford to mess around with average QBs that have “upside.” It’s easy to look at the Super Bowl winners the last nine years and see a common thread – franchise QBs. The QB is the most important position on the field since they touch the ball every offensive play, so no, the price wasn’t too high (especially since Cleveland offered the same trade).
2. All signs point towards Griffin’s game translating well to the pro level. How confident are you that he’ll be successful as a rookie, and that he has the tools to sustain that success?
I’m confident RG3 can hit the ground running for a couple reasons. First, after a shortened offseason last year, rookie QBs like Andy Dalton and Cam Newton were able to pick up the system and be productive immediately. Griffin is a hard-working, cerebral guy, so with five months of learning with the Shanahans, he should be able to grasp a good part of this offense.
Shanahan is not the type of coach to throw the whole book at him. He’ll play to his strengths.
3. What about your level of confidence in the Redskins’ offense? Have the pieces been put in place for a rookie QB to thrive?
I don’t expect the Redskins’ offense to be a well-oiled machine. The Redskins have two new starting WRs in Pierre Garcon and Josh Brown, so chemistry won’t be immediate. The RB position is a “B” grade at best, and the O-line can use some improvements.
However, Shanahan calls for a lot of quick throws and bootlegs, which Grossman did well with, but he just couldn’t avoid dumb decisions that led to crushing turnovers.
4. There’s a 67-pick wait until Washington’s next pick in the third round. Will that be used to improve the offensive line after Grossman/Beck were sacked 41 times last year?
With the current state of the Redskins secondary, and the high usage of 3-WR sets in the NFL these days, the Skins must pick-up a cornerback. If DeAngelo Hall or Josh Wilson were to get injured, the Redskins have no quality depth to step in.
I expect the Redskins to draft Casey Hayward (Vanderbilt) in the third round. Shanahan also values offensive lineman who can play two positions with high leadership. Jeff Allen is a tackle Shanahan coached in the Senior Bowl who might be there in the fourth round.
5. What other needs would you like to see addressed?
The Redskins needs as I see it: CB, FS, OL, WR, RB. They have a massive hole at free safety, and Markelle Martin would fill that nicely.