Robert Griffin III: Redskins Have Weapons in Place for Rookie QB
While the Washington Redskins did not offer No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III the same complementary service in later rounds, there was no need to. Washington already had a solid collection of offensive weapons in place for the rookie quarterback next season.
Instead, the Redskins solidified the offensive line and gave themselves an insurance policy at quarterback in the middle rounds.
Washington will expect its third-round pick, guard Josh LeRibeus from MSU, to compete for a starting job immediately. Keep in mind, the Redskins had to give up its 2012 second-rounder to get Griffin III at No. 2 overall.
Later, the Redskins took Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and Iowa guard Adam Gettis.
The Colts certainly did well to give Luck a pair of tight ends in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen in the second and third rounds, respectively. But the Redskins already have their Fleener-Allen duo in Fred Davis and Chris Cooley.
The Redskins' franchised player in 2012, Davis caught 59 passes for 796 yards and three scores in 12 games last season. He figures to be an important security blanket for Griffin III in year one, even if the Heisman Trophy winner rarely looked for his tight ends during his time at Baylor.
Cooley, who may still be a candidate for release with a cap number over $6 million, has over 400 career catches during eight years in Washington. He reportedly feels "great" after coming back from a season-ending knee injury a season ago, opening up the possibility that Cooley could have a big role in Washington's offense in 2012 if kept on the roster.
Washington also has a number of capable receivers available after re-stocking the position during the 2011 draft and free agency this offseason. Veteran Santana Moss also remains on the roster.
The Redskins are expecting big jumps from 2011 rookies Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul, and it has been reported that Washington is planning on starting Hankerson at one receiver spot next season.
Washington also got aggressive during free agency at the receiver position, signing Pierre Garcon away from Indianapolis and Josh Morgan from San Francisco.
Morgan could be a valuable No. 3 or 4 receiver, while Garcon is expected to take over as the team's No. 1 pass-catcher.
Last season, Garcon caught 70 passes for 947 yards and six touchdowns with a rag-tag mix of quarterbacks in Indianapolis. He could surpass each of those tallies if Griffin III is as good as advertised in year one.
Morgan had just 15 catches, but played in five games after breaking his leg last season. Despite the injury, Morgan was arguably the 49ers' most productive receiver over the three years.
The Redskins also have Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong, Terrance Austin and Aldrick Robinson as other receivers on the roster.
Washington's running back situation also looks very solid, with Roy Helu and Evan Royster—other 2011 picks—plenty capable of handling the ball-carrying duties. Helu ran for over 600 yards and caught almost 50 passes, while Royster had just over 300 yards, but averaged 5.9 yards a carry. Both should improve with another year in Mike Shanahan's offense.
Given the immense depth Washington has at the skill positions, there was simply no need for the front office to use top picks on surrounding Griffin III like Indianapolis did with Luck.
As long as the Redskins can protect their young quarterback up front and a couple of the young players take a big step next season, Griffin III should have all he needs to put together a big season as a rookie.
While Trent Richardson could give him a run in Cleveland, Griffin III has to be considered the (very) early favorite to be the NFL's Rookie of the Year. A Cam Newton-like impact is certainly in the cards for Griffin in year one with the Redskins.
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