2012 is about looking forward for the Washington Redskins. The "Shanaplan" is starting to reach the end of its term. It's high time the Redskins find their quarterback of the future.
The future, of course, begins in the NFL draft.
The Redskins' areas of need are many, but if you were to poll the fan-base, odds are Redskins nation would unanimously agree that quarterback needs the bulk of the attention.
Peyton Manning's name has been thrown around the chat rooms and NFL rumor mill mercilessly over the last month or so, but, in all honesty, the Redskins' answer at quarterback rests with one of the talented prospects in the 2012 draft.
That said, here are five quarterbacks the Redskins should consider drafting in 2012.
My feelings about Foles have varied since the end of the 2011 season.
That's a tall order for any quarterback, but Foles managed to at least elevate Arizona's passing offense to third-best in the country.
While Foles has a big arm and great size, there have been questions about his mechanics, especially his footwork. At the very least, he's a raw prospect who will need a lot of fine-tuning.
However raw he may be, with the right coaching, he still has the upside and the passing ability to be a good NFL quarterback. Foles may not be a year one-type player, so those of you looking for an overnight turnaround might not be sold.
For a second-round prospect, though, Foles could be a good bet given the right combination of coaching and patience.
Brandon Weeden was the definition of pocket passer in 2011.
In the offense brought to Oklahoma State by Dana Holgorsen, now the head coach at West Virginia, Weeden excelled, directing the nation's most prolific passing attack.
Weeden's strengths lie in his rhythm and ability to time routes. It's an efficient way to make up for not having the strongest arm in this year's draft class. Weeden's game is all about precision and staying in sync with his receivers.
Shanahan likes his quarterbacks to work out of the pocket, but he also prefers to have a quarterback who can get mobile when the situation presents itself. In other words, balance is the operative term when talking about a quarterback in Shanahan's offense.
Still, Weeden is experienced and well-versed in the world of professional sports, having already put in work in Major League Baseball. Is he old at 28? Sure. But Weeden demonstrated his surgically-accurate passing ability in his last two years at Oklahoma State and is well-suited to throw 30 to 40 passes a game.
Weeden will most likely fall to the second round, which could benefit the Redskins, especially if they opt to draft Iowa tackle Riley Reiff in the first round.
It's hard to look past Russell Wilson, even if he is only 5'11" and just a hair over 200 pounds.
For two years he lit up the ACC wearing the N.C. State red and white until he decided to head to Madison and lead the Badgers to a Rose Bowl berth.
Wilson has been compared to Drew Brees and it's not hard to see why. Not only can he make good, well-timed throws, but he has a rocket for an arm. Credit that to his baseball days. He also can scramble with the best of them.
The ability to pass first but rush efficiently as a second option bodes well for someone looking to plug into Shanahan's system.
However, Wilson will need to prove that his size won't hinder his ability to see over the line and survey the field. I expect he's done growing, so aside from magically showing up to the combine a few inches taller, he'll need to exude confidence and not shy away from trying to make big passes.
Wilson is smart and by all accounts a good guy, which never goes unnoticed. He's currently projected as a fifth- or sixth-rounder, which means the Redskins wouldn't be giving anything up to get him in the draft.
He'd be a gamble and a boon-or-bust prospect, but he has the potential to be a pleasant surprise coming out of the late rounds of the draft.
If Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are finicky about cashing in the bulk of their chips on a highly-rated quarterback, Wilson might be just the guy.
Ryan Tannehill is arguably the best senior quarterback in the 2012 draft.
His numbers are certainly praiseworthy and he boasts prototypical size and speed for a Shanahan quarterback.
At 6'4" and 222 pounds, there won't be questions about his ability to see the field. Tannehill also has good speed for a guy his size and can run when needed.
The biggest concern is his lack of experience. He made only 19 college starts.
He also was undergoing foot surgery during the Senior Bowl. Based on his recovery time, scouts may not get to see him at the combine or at Texas A&M's pro day.
All in all, there's more to see from Tannehill. That said, he did lead the Aggies to a bowl win over Northwestern and led an upset victory over Baylor in College Station. So he can win. The question is, will his skill set translate to the NFL?
Despite the questions, Tannehill still is projected in the top 32. With a big frame, big arm and a little mobility, Tannehill could be the answer to the Redskins' quarterback woes.
That is, if they don't trade up to get...
There is no denying or even attempting to argue the talent of Robert Griffin III.
Andrew Luck came into the 2011 season as a no-brainer pick for the Heisman and No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Well, one out of two isn't bad.
Griffin launched a blitzkrieg Heisman campaign in 2011 that was all shock, awe and flash.
The question isn't what can Griffin do, the question is what can't he do? Sprinter speed, a rocket launcher for an arm, elusiveness, off-the-charts smarts—he has it all.
Therein lies the dilemma for the Redskins. With the need for improvement at quarterback as dire as it is, does Mike Shanahan give the go-ahead to mortgage the draft to get Griffin?
Is it a worthy investment?
This writer thinks so. Free agency boasts little in the way of answers, in that Peyton Manning has now revealed that he had a fourth neck surgery, and Matt Flynn still may be yet another flash in the pan.
Then there's the idea of weathering the 2012 season with Rex Grossman. The only thing that would accomplish is create an "Occupy Redskins Park'' movement, and that can't happen.
Griffin is NFL-ready. Mentally, he's on the same level as Andrew Luck. He's explosive as a runner and, contrary to popular belief, is a pass-first guy who can make all the throws.
If the Redskins are to take any quarterback seriously in the 2012 draft, it's Robert Griffin III by a landslide.