2012 NFL Draft: Washington Redskins Have to Trade Up to Draft Robert Griffin III

Samuel GoldContributor IIIJanuary 26, 2012

WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears looks to pass during a game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Floyd Casey Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Waco, Texas. The Baylor Bears defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 45-38.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins need a franchise quarterback. This April two very talented quarterbacks will enter the NFL draft.

Andrew Luck is seen as the next greatest NFL prospect since Peyton Manning, and Robert Griffin III is also a great NFL prospect with a mixture of superior arm strength, pocket presence and athleticism.

Luck is a sure lock at being the first overall selection this April, but Griffin's selection is uncertain.

The Redskins have a decision to make regarding whom they want as their franchise quarterback of the future. Up to this point there have many articles written on whom the Redskins should choose to fill this position.

However, this article will not address why the Redskins should draft Griffin, but why they have to trade up in order to draft him.

To do this, we need to first analyze the needs of the teams selecting before the Redskins.

Pick Team Needs Selection Based on Need
1) Colts QB, G, RT, CB, SS Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2) Rams LT, WR, CB, OLB, FS Matt Kalil, OT, USC
3) Vikings LT, CB, WR, FS, G Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
4) Browns WR, RB, RT, DE, QB Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU
5) Buccaneers CB, OLB, RT, WR, RB Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal throws a pass against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Oklahoma State won 41-38 in ove
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Looking at the top needs of each team selecting before the Redskins, it can be concluded that the Redskins do have a shot at landing Griffin by staying put at the sixth overall pick.

However, this is a misconception.

The above table only takes into account selections based on the most pressing need by each of the five teams.

The NFL is a passer-friendly league. Out of the four teams that made the conference championships this season, all four teams are set with a franchise quarterback.

Teams like the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks all need a franchise quarterback in order to be successful in this league. This, combined with Matt Barkley and Landry Jones staying in school this year, drives the value of a top-tier quarterback up even higher.

Additionally, with the new collective bargaining agreement and rookie wage scale, drafting a top prospect is not nearly as risky as it was before the rookie wage scale.

For example, even a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars could cut ties with a first-round selection like Blaine Gabbert after one season without taking too much of a cap hit because he is a sunk cost.

Teams like the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings understand this and will use it to increase the bargaining power of their picks this offseason.

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29:  Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans walks on the field after the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 38-3.  (Photo by Jeff Gold
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

The major reason why RG3 will not be available when the Redskins pick is that both the Rams and the Vikings are set at the most important position in football. For the Rams, Sam Bradford will be the starting quarterback next season and Christian Ponder will be the Vikings' starting quarterback next season.

This means that the Rams or Vikings could use their selection to trade down and bolster other needed positions on both sides of the ball.

If, for some reason, the Rams select Matt Kalil, the Vikings select next and also desperately need a franchise left tackle.

The next best offensive linemen available are Iowa’s Riley Reiff and Stanford’s Jonathan Martin. Both of these players should be available at pick six this April. This means that whichever team trades the pick down could select either one to fill this gap while securing later-round draft picks in the process through the Redskins.

But let’s say both do not follow my advice above and take the best available player, and Griffin falls to the fourth pick this April.

Although the Browns have Colt McCoy, he has yet to prove himself as the franchise quarterback of the future for the Browns. This is not entirely his fault as he does not have anybody else around him besides Greg Little, as Peyton Hillis was injured throughout most of this season and will most likely be gone next season.

Even though this is the case, the Browns could select Griffin to make their offense more explosive.

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Justin Blackmon #81 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys makes a reception against Jarek Lancaster #35 of the Stanford Cardinal during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In my opinion, the Browns should draft a player like Justin Blackmon or Trent Richardson at fourth instead to see if McCoy will do better with a better supporting cast. If he does not perform better, they can replace him in the following year’s draft, which looks to have one of the deepest quarterback classes in NFL history with Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray all eligible to enter the NFL.

These scenarios above involve the Redskins trading up to draft Griffin to make sure the Browns do not get the chance to draft him at fourth.

The next major concern for waiting until the sixth pick is that the Redskins and the Browns are not the only QB-needy teams in this draft.

The Dolphins have already been very vocal about finding a franchise quarterback this offseason. Many have them linked to Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and Griffin, and of those three, I think Manning is the most likely scenario if they do not start Matt Moore next season. However, I would not be surprised by them signing Matt Flynn, either.

Seattle is also another team desperate for a quarterback. Although a player like Matt Flynn or Ryan Tannehill is probably equally enticing to Pete Carroll, I would have to imagine he would definitely consider trading up for RG3.

Same argument holds for the Kansas City Chiefs, as they recently fired Todd Haley and the new head coach will have no allegiance to Matt Cassel.

There is a very small chance Griffin falls to Washington at sixth. Yes, this would be a blessing, but if the Redskins' main goal this offseason is to draft him, why risk it by waiting to see him being taken by another team?

Let me know what you think, and I thank you in advance for your comments.

Update 2/7/2012: A number of comments below asked what it would take to move from the 6th pick to the 2nd pick.

This will cost roughly the Redskins 2012-1st/2nd round and the 2013-1st round at a minimum. We also have two 4th round picks, so I could imagine us using one of those to make sure we land the pick.