The Washington Scenario
Monday, November 15th, 2010: We were witnesses to the greatest performance by a quarterback in Monday Night Football History. The Redskins certainly remember that night, as they were on the receiving end of Michael Vick’s spectacular performance.
While GMs and execs are paid for their close analysis of every potential player they bring on to their team, Washington needs to remember the feeling of that night. Vick, for as hated an athlete as he was at the time and still is, caused us all to look on in amazement at a performance that encapsulated everything we hoped, expected and wanted Vick to be, even back to his college days at Virginia Tech.
He showed the full potential of NFL quarterback, evading defenses with his quick feet, orchestrating drives with equal level of alacrity and grace, pinpointing each pass with laser precision and rocketing the ball with such effortless power, the likes of which we have never seen.
Defenders were helpless in their attempt to deflect them. If there’s a chance RGIII could become what Vick was for that night, and many believe he can be that if not more, call this the night that started the partnership of RGIII and Washington.
They may consider Peyton Manning if, scratch that, WHEN he becomes a free agent, they may consider the other quarterbacks of the draft that would come at a fraction of the cost, but 11/15/10 has to be on the mind of Washington fans and owner Dan Snyder.
They haven’t sniffed a transcendent player of Griffin’s caliber in a very long time. Forget that their number one receiver is Jabar Gaffney. The fact that their offensive line could use an upgrade. The questions surrounding their running game. All of which should be addressed with multiple draft picks, which they haven’t had on a consistent basis in a long time.
For RGIII, you make the move. You build around him later. You don’t take chances when it comes to franchise quarterbacks and RGIII has all the makings to be that and much more for a team trying to be competitive again.
The price will be steep, and it plays right into perceptions of Daniel Snyder as an owner who likes to spend, but it shouldn’t matter. For Shanahan, who may see his job in jeopardy if they have a third straight losing season under his reign. For a team lacking stars and still living off only the memories of their once proud tradition. For RGIII, do whatever it takes.
#1 – Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
***#2 –Washington (from St. Louis Rams): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
#3 –Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
#4 –Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
#5 –Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, DB, LSU
- WHY RGIII MAKES SENSE FOR WASHINGTON: The NFC East isn’t getting any easier with Superbowl champion New York Giants in house, and Dallas and Philadelphia expected to be competitive once again after disappointing seasons. The slow and steady pace hasn’t been working for Washington so they need to go all-in with RGIII. They need a quarterback anyway, and despite the flirtations they will have with Peyton Manning and Mike Flynn, RGIII could be the franchise savior. You never pass up that opportunity, and you don’t count the cost.
- WHY RGIII DOESN’T MAKE SENSE FOR WASHINGTON: Similar to Cleveland, with RGIII, Washington wouldn’t have much else as far as help around him. The wide receiver market is drying up, and their best option for next year looks to be Fred Davis, who doesn’t exactly have defensive coordinators shaking in their boots. There’s also much uncertainty around their running game, and with no clear threat at that position, defenses will look to make RGIII’s first year a living nightmare.
- PICK TO WATCH…#4 Cleveland: While I don’t believe in taking Richardson this high, the drop off between the No. 1 and No. 2 running back is much steeper than the No. 1 and No. 2 wide receiver. Cleveland has spent the last two drafts addressing their receiving group, and while none have them have quite panned out yet, there may be a reluctance to spend another early round pick on the same position. This may be a reach for someone who doesn’t have the same hype as Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden or even Cadillac Williams when they came out, but it is a safe pick that will surely help whoever is the starting quarterback next year.
***#6 –St.Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
#7 –Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
#8 –Miami Dolphins: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
#9 –Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State or Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
#10 –Buffalo Bills: Whitney Mercilius, DE, Illinois
- ANALYSIS: St.Louis desperately needs to surround Sam Bradford with more offensive weapons, and they get potentially the best of the bunch in Blackmon. While Dontari Poe may be the fastest rising prospect due to his tremendous combine performance, his ideal fit is in a 3-4 scheme. Cox is another highly rated DT, and is a more appropriate fit for Ron Rivera’s defense. Many mock drafts have Miami addressing their offensive line, especially with Jake Long heading into the last year of his contract. But given Jason Taylor’s retirement, I think they bet on the talented Coples to add to a sneaky-scary defense for next season.
- PICK TO WATCH…#10 Buffalo: If both Ingram and Coples, the top two pass rushers in the draft, are taken by the time Buffalo picks, it will be interesting to see whether they reach for the third best pass rusher they so desperately need for their new 4-3 defense or take a higher rated player such as WR Michael Floyd or LT Riley Reiff.
#11 - Kansas City Chiefs: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
#12 – Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
#13 - Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
#14 – Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, DB, Alabama
#15 – Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Branch DT/DE, Clemson
- ANALYSIS: Seattle probably won’t get Peyton Manning, and they don’t have the ammunition to get Robert Griffin III. But with the departure of Lofa Tatupu, linebacker seems to be the next logical need for them. Kansas City and Arizona make the unsexy, yet necessary picks to shore up their offensive lines, and Dallas fills a huge void in their secondary with the number two cornerback on the board.
- PICK TO WATCH…#15 Philadelphia: With this pick and two second-round picks, the Eagles could be a sleeper team to move around in the draft. One of the weakest areas of their team last year was at linebacker, and in a surprise move they take one, just not the one most people expect. Andre Branch’s versatility is something Andy Reid could use for a front seven that struggled mightily last season. In their division, the Cowboys have DeMarcus Ware, the Redskins have Brian Orakpo, and the Giants have Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. With this pick, the Eagles find a pass rusher they can call their own.
#16 – New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
#18 – San Diego Chargers: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
#19 – Chicago Bears: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
#20 – Tennessee Titans: Stephen Gilmore, DB, South Carolina
- ANALYSIS: Cincinnati gets a dream scenario in getting the best guard in the draft, and possibly the second best offensive lineman, in David DeCastro. Tennessee could go in a variety of directions, but with the loss of Cortland Finnegan, they reach for a corner who could potentially help them this year. San Diego has no choice but to address their offensive line with Kris Dielman’s retirement. They can find a receiver in round two.
- PICK TO WATCH…#19 Chicago: For a long time, the Bears have needed help on the offensive line and in their receiving group. Michael Floyd or Kendall Wright would seem to be perfect options for Jay Cutler, as would OT Mike Adams; however, Perry has been rising up draft boards and the Bears also need someone to compliment Julius Peppers. When you face the high-powered offenses of Detroit and Green Bay a combined four times a year, it’s not unreasonable to think they would add youth and speed to their defense.
#21 –Cincinnati Bengals: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
#22 –Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons): Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
#23 –Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
#24 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
#25 – Denver Broncos: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
- ANALYSIS: Cincinnati rounds out a fantastic first day by getting the number one safety on the board to couple with the number one guard. Cleveland surprises by taking Fleener in the first round, but when you run a West Coast offense, a good tight end can be the best friend of any young quarterback. Detroit needs help in the secondary after getting decimated in their last two games of the season; therefore, they roll the dice on Janoris Jenkins, arguably the second most talented cornerback in the draft.
- PICK TO WATCH…#24 Pittsburgh: The Steelers are adamant about not letting Mike Wallace go, but given their age and cap situation, they could easily get a first-round pick for him. Allowing them to get younger and cheaper in the process. Perhaps their biggest area of concern is the depth and health of their defensive line, which they could conceivably address in this draft early and often. However, they get the second biggest steal of the draft in Dontari Poe, a nose tackle who could step in and play from day one. I have a very hard time believing he will drop this far, but if he doesn’t, a 3-4 inside linebacker such as Dont’a Hightower should be the next best option.
#26 –Houston Texans: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
#27 –New England Patriots: Kendall Reyes, DT, Conneticut
#28 –Green Bay Packers: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
#29 – Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
#30 –San Francisco 49ers: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
***#31 –Seattle (from New England Patriots): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
#32 – New York Giants: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
- ANALYSIS: Here’s where it gets interesting with a few “reaches” and surprise picks to round out day one. Bruce Irvin is the most notable “reach,” however, someone in round one will take him as no one can turn down linebackers who run in the 4.3 to 4.4 range as Irvin and Brown do. Green Bay will probably lose Ryan Grant, but even if they don’t, they could use an upgrade at running back as their running game ranked 27th last season. Someone will trade up for Ryan Tannehill, and Seattle, after missing out on Peyton Manning, RGIII and Matt Flynn, gets their quarterback of the future.
- PICK TO WATCH…#29 Baltimore: The Ravens were so close to the Superbowl last year; however with aging veterans across their roster, time is not on their side. They could use an heir apparent to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. They could use a pass rusher opposite Terrell Suggs, and they need a center to replace the aging Matt Birk. A sleeper pick here could be Harrison Smith, safety out of Notre Dame; however, for now, Hightower is not only the successor to Lewis, but he could start alongside him from day one and learn from one of the best.