Draft Grades – 2012

Draft Grades: Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins draft was all about one player. And while they made some questionable choices later on, the selection of RGII is all that matters.

Robert Griffin immediately becomes the face of the franchise in DC. But fans who expect him to immediately turn things around are going to be disappointed. He’s still very raw and there will be growing pains. What sets him apart though are his intangibles. We’ve seen players with his raw ability before, but no one with his combination of athleticism, arm strength and accuracy has also had the worth ethic and leadership qualities that RGII possesses.

Josh LeRibeus was a reach in the 3rd round. But they did need to attempt to upgrade the interior offensive line and he should be given an opportunity to win a starting job.

The “controversy” surrounding the selection of Kirk Cousins was purely a media creation. Cousins is a backup quarterback, and he was always going to be a backup. So does it really matter if he’s backing up a 10-year veteran or a rookie? That said, the Redskins could have addressed another need with the 102nd pick. There were still impact players on the board, and Cousins may never see the field in Washington.

Keenan Robinson was a nice pickup in the 4th round. He fits well in their defense and will be a capable backup to Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.

I like Adam Gettis more than LeRibeus. Both prospects will compete with each other for playing time.

Alfred Morris was a reach. There were better running back prospects on the board in the 6th round. But Mike Shannahan loves his sleeper running backs, so he’ll give Morris a fair shot to earn a job.

Tom Compton will compete for a backup job at tackle. They don’t have an obvious choice for Trent Williams’ backup, so Compton could be in the mix.

Richard Crawford and Jordan Bernstine are both long shots to make the roster. The Redskins secondary is crowded and they’ve already signed two cornerbacks this offseason. Bernstine has the size to play safety as well, so he may actually have the edge to earn a job if he can demonstrate the necessary versatility.

The Redskins only added one difference maker in this class, but when that difference maker is a true franchise quarterback, that’s all you need. They definitely missed some opportunities in the 3rd and 4th round to build around Griffin, but they still receive high marks overall.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Redskins 1 Comment

Washington Redskins draft backup QB in 4th round

The Washington Redskins wasted no time finding a backup quarterback for Robert Griffin. The Redskins selected Kirk Cousins in the 4th round, and will likely allow him to compete with Rex Grossman for the backup role.

Despite some overdramatic reactions around the league, there will never be a competition between Griffin and Cousins. No matter where Cousins was drafted, he was going to be a backup quarterback. So does it really matter if the guy ahead of him on the depth chart is a rookie or a 10-year veteran?

Cousins has limited physical tools and will  never be a long-term starter at the next level. However, he is an intelligent player and exactly the type of guy you want on the sidelines. He should have a long career as a backup, but he will never seriously challenge Griffin for playing time.

The only concern I have with this pick is the fact that the Redskins have so many other holes. Were they really in the position to draft a backup quarterback with other impact players still on the board?

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

Redskins select Robert Griffin III, Grade A+

The Washington Redskins would have loved to get Luck, but Robert Griffin is a very nice consolation prize. He fits perfectly into the Shanahan offense and already has a few decent weapons to work with. This is exactly the pick Mike Shanahan needed to turn things around in Washington, and despite the lack of picks in upcoming drafts, I have no doubt that Daniel Snyder will make sure his franchise spends the money necessary to give Griffin every opportunity to succeed.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

5 teams that will draft a quarterback

1. Indianapolis Colts/Washington Redskins
This is a done deal, so I’ll group these teams together.  We know that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin are headed to Indy and Washington, respectively. But I will add this, don’t be surprised if Colts draft another quarterback to compete for the backup job with Drew Stanton. They own six picks in the final three rounds of the draft, and could add a guy like Russell Wilson or B.J. Coleman late in the draft.

2. Miami Dolphins
I’m not convinced the Dolphins will take Ryan Tannehill, but they will draft someone to compete with Matt Moore for the starting job. If they pass on Tannehill, Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins could be options on Day Two.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are another candidate to land Tannehill. But even if they miss out on the Texas A&M signal caller, they’re likely to bring in someone to groom as Matt Cassel’s replacement in the 2nd or 3rd round.

4. Cleveland Browns
The Browns will have the first crack at Tannehill, but they’re unlikely to pull the trigger at No. 4. In fact, the Browns may simply chose to stick with McCoy and pass on most of the top signal callers in this draft. But that doesn’t mean they won’t find someone. Mike Holmgren is a quarterback guru, and is likely to pick out someone in the 3rd round or later that he would like to develop.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Obviously the Steelers aren’t in the Tannehill sweepstakes, but they’re also unlikely to enter the 2012 season with Jerrod Johnson and Troy Smith as Roethlisberger’s backups. Look for them to add a quarterback at some point, potentially as a early as the 3rd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Chiefs, Colts, Dolphins, Redskins, Steelers Comments Off

Rams should learn from Broncos mistakes

The St. Louis Rams have received a nice little package of draft picks from the Washington Redskins. And while it certainly looks like a great trade, rookie GM Les Snead’s work is far from done.

While the trade certainly looks like an easy win for the Rams, they still have make the right selections with the picks they acquire – and a lot can still go wrong.

Just ask the Denver Broncos.

In 2009, the Broncos traded Jay Cutler to the Bears for a very similar package. But here’s what they ended up with: Kyle Orton, Robert Ayers, Richard Quinn, Demaryius Thomas.

That’s not exactly a crew to build around.

The Rams need to be smart with their picks and recognize that they still have holes all over the field. The Broncos tried to get cute, gambling on one-year wonder Robert Ayers and then using a pick they acquired from the Bears to trade up for Quinn, a blocking tight end. Even Demaryius Thomas, who is beginning to blossom into a quality starter, was a very risky selection for a team with so many holes.

To avoid similar mistakes, the Rams should use these picks wisely and play it safe. There’s no need to reach for a specific area of need, and there’s no need to trade up to land someone they covet. Instead, Snead should stay put and let the draft board come to him. Add talent – at any position – and the rebuilding process will slowly work itself out.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Rams, Redskins Comments Off

Redskins should have learned from Jay Cutler trade

The Washington Redskins gave up an awful lot for the right to draft Robert Griffin III. In fact, it was the first time a team parted with three 1st-round picks since the famous 1989 Herschel Walker trade (ask Vikings fans how that turned out).

But while the Walker trade may be the best comparison, a more relevant example may be the Chicago Bears trade for Jay Cutler prior to the 2009 NFL Draft.

The Bears have failed to give Cutler the support he needs.

The Bears sent their 2009 and 2010 1st-round picks, a 2009 3rd-round pick and Kyle Orton to the Broncos in exchange for what they believed was a franchise quarterback (Cutler).

And while Cutler did lead the Bears to the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago, the Bears haven’t exactly risen to the join the game’s elite.

So what went wrong?

The Bears thought adding a franchise quarterback would answer all their problems, but Cutler joined a franchise with an aging and struggling offensive line and an undersized and ineffective receiving corps. And without 1st-round picks in 2009 or 2010, the Bears had to wait until the 2011 draft before spending a meaningful draft pick on either position (Gabe Carimi).

The Redskins are now in a similar position. RG3 may be on board, but he’s just one man. And, unlike Cutler, Griffin is an unproven commodity who still needs a good deal of development.

I wholeheartedly believe that  you need a franchise quarterback to win in the NFL, and RG3 might be that guy. But you also don’t win with just a franchise quarterback.

Until the Redskins surround Griffin with talent, they aren’t going anywhere fast.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bears, Redskins 1 Comment

Redskins show interest in offensive linemen

According to Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft, the Washington Redskins have been showing some interest in offensive linemen at the combine.

The fact that the Redskins may consider an offensive lineman is not a surprise, but Martin and Adams are both 1st-round prospects. This interest could indicate a chance coming at right tackle.

Jamaal Brown is coming off another disappointing season and he hasn’t been himself since a hip injury in 2008. And despite signing a five-year contract last offseason, there is no guaranteed money remaining on the deal.

While there is no question that quarterback is still their main concern, this could be an alternative route if they can’t land Robert Griffin.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

Why Browns don’t need to trade both 1st round picks to move up for Griffin

The general consensus is that the Cleveland Browns will ultimately win the bidding war for Robert Griffin III due to the fact that they own two 1st round picks, and therefore can offer more than the Redskins or Dolphins. However, the Browns should be able to win the Griffin sweepstakes without parting with the 22nd pick.

For starters, the Browns also own the 37th pick, two spots higher than the Redskins 2nd-round pick. If the Redskins offer their 1st and 2nd round selections, the Browns can out-bid them simply by matching the offer.

On top of that, the Rams may not be interested in dropping all the way to No. 6. By sliding to No. 4, the Redskins are still guaranteed to get either Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon –  most likely the top two prospects on their draft board. Any GM would be thrilled to land one of their two favorite prospects at No. 4 and pick up an additional second-round pick in the process. So whatever the Redskins offer to sweeten the pot beyond the Browns 1st and 2nd round picks may not be worth it to St. Louis.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Rams, Redskins 1 Comment

Quarterback Search: Washington Redskins

Few teams have a more crucial and glaring hole to fill than the Washington Redskins need for a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately for the ‘Skins, their surprising early-season success left them with the 6th-overall selection, and potentially without any viable quarterback options in the 1st round.

However, owner Dan Snyder has never been shy about parting with draft picks, making them a legitimate candidate to trade up for Robert Griffin III. But before we assume the Redskins will attempt to move up (possibly to No. 2) to acquire Griffin, they first need to be sure he fits into Mike Shanahan’s offensive scheme.

As a former offensive coordinator, Shanahan likes to hand pick his quarterbacks, and has been reasonably successful in his efforts (at least prior to joining the Redskins).

While it’s tough to sum up all the quarterbacks Shanahan has used in 20+ years as a head coach/offensive coordinator, the one commonality between his primary signal callers has been their mobility. John Elway and Steve Young obviously stand out but Jake Plummer and, to a lesser extent, Steve Beuerlein, Jay Cutler and Brian Griese fit the mold as well.

Based solely on this trait, Griffin clearly fits the Shanahan profile. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Redskins will jump at the chance to move up.

Shanahan has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and isn’t shy about waiting until the later rounds to fill crucial needs. Other prospects such as Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles and Brock Osweiler also possess many of the same traits as Griffin, and could interest Shanahan in the late 1st (should the Redskins chose to trade down) or in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

NFL Draft Trade Scenarios: Minnesota Vikings

There’s been a lot of early focus on the St. Louis Rams potentially parting with the No. 2 overall pick, but perhaps the rumors should be focused on the Minnesota Vikings.

For starters, the Rams and Vikings are likely interested in the same players (Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne, Justin Blackmon) and if the Rams trade down to No. 4 or No. 6, there’s no guarantee they’ll get the guy they covet. The Rams most glaring hole is at left tackle, and Kalil is the only true franchise left tackle available in this draft class. If the Rams were to drop to No. 4, and especially if they fell to No. 6, Kalil would likely be off the board.

On the flip side, there’s also no guarantee that the guy the Vikings want at No. 3 will be there if the Rams stay put. If the Rams select Kalil second overall, the Vikings may feel No. 3 is too early for a cornerback or receiver, and would be willing to trade down.

The Vikings also have more holes to fill overall than the Rams, who are just one year removed from nearly making the playoffs. One could argue that the Vikings simply need the extra picks more than the Rams.

Here are some potential trade scenarios:

Browns get: No. 3 pick
Vikings get: No. 4 pick, Browns 2nd-round pick

Redskins get: No. 3 pick
Vikings get: No. 6, Redskins 1st-round pick in 2013

Dolphins get: No. 3 pick
Vikings get: No. 9 pick, Dolphins 2nd-round pick, Dolphins 1st-round pick in 2013, Dolphins 3rd-round pick in 2013

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Dolphins, Rams, Redskins, Vikings Comments Off