Draft Impact: Washington Mortgages the Future to Add Robert Griffin III

Sigmund Bloom@SigmundBloomNFL Draft Lead WriterMarch 10, 2012

How long before we see a picture of Mike Shanahan with Robert Griffin III in a wedding dress?
How long before we see a picture of Mike Shanahan with Robert Griffin III in a wedding dress?Rob Carr/Getty Images

While you were sleeping, the Washington Redskins made a big decision that will change the course of their franchise and the St. Louis Rams franchise for a long, long time.

Jay Glazer from FOX Sports reports that the Rams and Redskins have made what is probably the biggest draft trade since the New Orleans Saints gave their entire draft, plus the following year's first and third-round picks, to take Ricky Williams:

Major scoopage: Redskins have agreed to a trade w Rams for #2 pick of draft. Rams and Skins swap first rounders this yr w Rams also getting 2 future #1s and additional picks. 


Head coach Mike Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen are betting their jobs on the career of Robert Griffin III

Very simply, if Griffin doesn't make the Redskins a much better team this year, Shanahan and Allen may take the fall for this deal. Washington was poor enough to pick sixth overall this year, and if they don't at least improve enough to be in the second half of the first round next year, the team will miss the opportunity to add another instant impact player.

The Rams are obviously rooting for the Redskins to stub their toe this year in the usually very tough NFC East. In the meantime, they now have three of the first 39 picks, including that No. 6 overall.


One of LSU CB Morris Claiborne, Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon or Alabama RB Trent Richardson will probably be a Ram in a month and a half 

Justin Blackmon's very solid pro day may have given the Rams the nudge to "settle" for the Rams No. 6 instead of the Cleveland Browns No. 4 as the main piece in the trade-down deal. Blackmon makes an awful lot of sense for a team that lacks a consistent starting-quality wide receiver right now.

The Rams have one of last workhorse RBs in the league in Steven Jackson, but the addition of Richardson would lengthen Jackson's career and give Jeff Fisher two back arguably even better than the one he ran into the ground in Tennessee, Eddie George.

If the Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Blackmon and Richardson before the Rams' new pick (USC OT Matt Kalil is basically locked in at No. 3), they would get the player they may have been targeting if they had gotten the Browns' No. 4 instead: shutdown corner Morris Claiborne.

No matter how you cut it, they'll add a long-term cornerstone with the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl-level player.


The Rams have extra ammo in the second round

They can take a best-player-available approach in the early second with their No. 33 and the Redskins' former No 39, as quality options at any number of need positions will be there. Whatever position of wide receiver and cornerback that they don't address with No. 6 will be in play, in addition to offensive line, linebacker and defensive tackle help. The decision at No. 33 won't be nearly as agonizing for Fisher and company.


The Redskins have even more urgency to land a No. 1 receiver in free agency

Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston probably top the list. Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson and Jabar Gaffney are all quality complementary receivers, but none of them are the kind of threat that can harness Griffin's playmaking ability.


Cleveland gets a PR win

The fanbase is probably supremely disappointed, but there's something about the sticker shock of three first-round picks, especially for a team that is more than one player away from contention, that will make it clear on its face why the Browns did not trade for the No. 2 pick.


Cleveland will do their due diligence on Texas AM QB Ryan Tannehill and Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden

No. 4 might seem rich for Tannehill, but if the Dolphins don't land Peyton Manning, they may zero in on Tannehill at No. 8. The No. 22 pick the Browns possess from the Julio Jones trade-up deal with Atlanta last year should assure them Brandon Weeden's services if they want him.

Free agent QB Matt Flynn could make all of this speculation moot if the Browns sign him in free agency.