Draft King Analysis|
March 10, 2012
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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In a stunning move last night, the Washington Redskins agreed to trade three first-round picks (including the #6 pick in this draft) and a second rounder to St. Louis for the #2 overall pick in this draft. It's believed that the pending trade was made with the intention of using it to draft Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, and it shows once again in the modern NFL how much value there is for a team to have an elite quarterback.
Was it wise for Washington to give up so many draft picks to be able to draft Griffin? We'll find out here soon enough. My first inclination was to look up details of the infamous Herschel Walker trade where the Cowboys dealt their star running back for a boatload of picks, which in turn helped them to add the pieces needed to go from 1-15 in 1989 to three Super Bowl victories in four seasons (1992, 1993, 1995). The Colts trading for the chance to draft Jeff George in 1990 worked out better for Atlanta (who got Andre Rison, inexplicably dealt away as part of the trade despite Rison having had a great rookie year in 1989).
Consider this: Mike Shanahan was hired in January 2010 by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to a five-year, $35 million dollar deal. The goal: turn Washington into a winner. Season one: 6-10. Season two: 5-11. Before the trade was made, Shanahan knew that if season three (2012) was to end in double-digit losses, it's very possible that he would be relieved of his duties as both head coach and executive vice president.
Shanahan knew he had to land a quarterback who could help him win in 2012, and he was willing to do whatever he had to do to make that happen. It's not dissimilar from what former Raider head coach Hue Jackson did last year in that odd time after the death of Al Davis and the season-ending injury suffered by starting QB Jason Campbell. In that situation, Jackson inherited enough power to make a lopsided deal, trading a first and a conditional second-round pick that could turn into a 2013 first-rounder to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer, who was in retirement after having had a falling out with the Bengals organization.
This is not to say that Palmer = Griffin, but the Redskins gave up much more to the Rams than the Raiders did to the Bengals. The similarity is that, in both cases, it was a coach with at least some general manager type power doing whatever he could to protect his job, even potentially at the expense of his team's long-term best interest.
Wouldn't it be advisable for teams to have an Executive Vice-President of Long-Term Planning? Having a willingness to trade a third-rounder now for a second-rounder next year, or in two years, or whatever the parameters are would be advantageous for a team, right? Of course, general managers are supposed to have both a team's short-term and long-term interests in mind, but that's not always how it works out.
The Peyton Manning Tour 2012 is off to a great start with a ridiculous volume of media attention surrounding his trip to Denver. Then it's said to be on to Phoenix and the Arizona Cardinals before meeting with the Miami Dolphins. If Manning can play as well as he did in 2010 and stay healthy, he'll very likely be able to take whichever team he signs with to a strong 2012 season. In hindsight, Manning leading the 2010 Colts to a 10-6 record and a division title was truly an MVP performance, particularly in contrast to how the Colts did without him in 2011.
There are a few NFL teams that have need at the QB position, be it real or perceived, and slowly but surely the slotting seems to be lining up in somewhat of a predictable manner.
Drew Brees (Saints): Slapped with the exclusive version of the franchise tag by the New Orleans Saints.
Andrew Luck (Stanford): Indianapolis Colts at #1 overall.
Robert Griffin III (Baylor): Washington Redskins at #2 overall.
Peyton Manning (Colts): Unclear, but Manning should sign somewhere ahead of the start of unrestricted free agency, with potential destinations including the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Miami Dolphins.
Matt Flynn (Packers): Rumored destinations include the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins.
Alex Smith (49ers): It's expected that the San Francisco 49ers will keep Smith, but they didn't use the franchise tag on him so he could potentially sign elsewhere.
Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M): There's plenty of buzz about him being a likely first-round pick, even though there are some, including me, who don't see him as a first-round talent. But he has plenty of supporters, and perhaps the Seattle Seahawks would take a shot at him at #12?
Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State) and Brock Osweiler (Arizona State): Possible second-round picks, with too many variables involved to connect them with any one team.
It's hard to know what's real and what's intentional misdirection as far as information leaks go this time of year. But free agency starts very soon, and by this time next week we should know where most of the major impact players will be in 2012, which in turn will help to narrow down some possibilities related to the 2012 NFL Draft. However things play out, once the dust settles it will be interesting to see who ends up where.