Heading into the 2011 NFL draft most observers felt the quarterback position was a major priority for the Washington Redskins. The rumors were flying fast and furious. Would they trade up to get Blaine Gabbert?
Does Mike Shanahan like Jake Locker enough to pick him at number 10 overall? Maybe they would take their chances with a second round selection like Andy Dalton or Christian Ponder. No matter who you thought they would draft one thing was certain: The Washington Redskins would draft a quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft....or so we thought.
The Redskins seemed to be living right as they were not tempted to trade up to get Gabbert and to the surprise of many he was available to them with the 10th pick. The suspense of Locker had been eliminated when the Tennessee Titans selected him with the eighth pick overall.
The Redskins franchise quarterback had fallen into their lap. All that was left to do was to turn in the draft card with his name on it. Then, across the top of the television screen comes a red banner with the word TRADE in it.
This was the first sign the Redskins had decided that quarterback was not the major priority we thought it was. The next sign came when the second round arrived and the Skins had two picks. They watched Andy Dalton get selected by the Cincinnati Bengals and did not attempt to trade up to get him.
As the third round started the Redskins had made two trades back to add additional picks. At the same time the much maligned but very talented Ryan Mallett was falling in the draft. The Skins had numerous chances to select him but they did not.
Once Mallett was selected by the Patriots it became apparent that they were not going to select their franchise quarterback in this draft. It was the dawn of a new attitude for the Redskins front office.
No longer chasing the flashy name, they decided to try to add starters at positions other than quarterback along with depth and special teams players. There are two major reasons for this change in philosophy.
The first reason for the decision to not address quarterback in the draft is a belief in John Beck and Rex Grossman. I think the team has decided to let these two battle it out for the 2011 starting qb job. The front runner in my opinion is John Beck.
He was acquired in a trade last pre-season and has impressed Coach Shanahan since coming into the league in the 2007 draft. Shanahan had Beck ranked number one in his quarterback rankings for that draft.
The second reason can be summed up in two words...ANDREW LUCK. The superstar from Stanford looks to be a once in a decade prospect. He can do it all and looks to be as close to a sure thing as humanly possible.
Luck can make all the passes required in the NFL. He is extremely intelligent and seems to have a great knowledge of offensive and defensive game plans. He is very athletic and is a punishing runner when he does take off on scrambles. The Redskins will do whatever it takes to move up in the draft to select this potential franchise quarterback and league superstar.
The future will tell us if this was the correct strategy. I think the Skins can get by with the combo of Beck and Grossman in 2011 and be fairly successful while rebuilding. If the plan to acquire Luck works out, the Redskins will look like a team that had a genius idea that would make most teams jealous.
If he doesn't become a Redskin, we could be talking about the Skins search for a franchise quarterback at about this same time next year.