The NFL finished up their annual draft today and as everyone expected, the Washington Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick of the draft. I like this pick. I've stated before, I didn't like the trade the Redskins made to be in position to make the pick, but I do like the pick. Here's a list of the players the Redskins drafted this year:
1st Round Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
3rd Round Josh LeRibeus OG SMU
4th Round Kirk Cousins QB Michigan State
4th Round Keenan Robinson ILB Texas
5th Round Adam Gettis OG Iowa
6th Round Alfred Morris RB Florida Atlantic
6th Round Tom Compton OT South Dakota
7th Round Richard Crawford CB SMU
7th Round Jordan Berstine SS Iowa
I am certainly not, nor have I ever claimed to be a football insider, so I will not try and tell you the strengths and weaknesses of the players the Redskins drafted, but I can look at postions they drafted and how I think that helps the team. They drafted 2 QBs, including the Heisman Trophy winner. That is good. They needed a QB and I hope that either one of the ones they drafted will be an upgrade over Rex Grossman (the Redskins released John Beck today). They drafted 3 offensive lineman. This is good. They needed some help on the OL and you can never have too much depth. A single running back was drafted and I can already hear the masses claim that he will be the next great find at RB by Mike Shanahan. In a rare, forward thinking move, the Redskins got an inside linebacker. Could be a possible replacement for London Fletcher in a year or two. Lastly, they drafted 2 defensive backs. This is a good move. The Redskins let both of their starters from last year leave and the one big name they brought in in the off-season was recently arrested for DUI. Position-wise, I'd say the Redskins did okay with the players they drafted and I would give them an overall grade of B-. Of course you really can't grade a draft for a few years because you need to see who makes the team and how much they contribute.
The pick that confuses me is picking Cousins in the 4th round. The Redskins, going into today, had Rex Grossman, John Beck and Jonathan Crompton on the roster with everyone knowing that they were going to pick RGIII. Either Grossman or RGIII will start the season with the other being the backup. That leaves Cousins on the sidelines holding a clipboard. Is that how you use a 4th round draft pick? Even if Grossman is let go by the team and RGIII is named the starter, I would hope they would bring in a veteran backup in case he gets hurt and not go into the season with two rookie quarterbacks. Wouldn't that 4th round pick have been better spent on a higher ranked OL or DB, maybe even DL? I made reference to the Redskins 1994 draft on someone's Facebook page after they criticized two analysts who said drafting Cousins was a mistake. The reference I made was something I saw in this article about how in 94 the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler with the 3rd overall pick of the draft and then ended up picking Gus Frerotte in the 7th. Shuler was the quarterback of the future for the Redskins (sound familiar?), but was eventually benched in his third season with the team as Frerotte ended up making the Pro Bowl. The difference is that Frerotte was the last pick the Redskins made in that draft. The person who criticized the analysts as being "ridiculous", replied to my comment, but for some reason, deleted it. Why did they delete it? I don't know, but here it is.
Apparently I have hate for the Redskins' organization. This is not the first time someone has called me a hater of the Redskins. I have to tell you, it's getting old. I make no apologies for not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore. I find it funny that basically every criticism about the team over the last two years has been spot on. How has the signing of Mike Shanahan as Head Coach worked out? I remember how excited everyone was. I hated it then and I hate it now. Yes, I know he's only been coach for two years, but in those two years, he has posted an outstanding record of 11-21. Everyone said Jim Zorn wasn't right for the position of Head Coach, but at least he won 12 games in two years. In fact, over the last 50 years, only one coach has had a worse first two years as Head Coach of the Washington Redskins and that was Norv Turner who went 9-23. For the record, I was against Turner being the coach and to this day refer to him as one of the worst head coaches in NFL history. The Shanahans brought in the quarterbacks they said were the right guys to lead the team. What happened? One is gone (Beck), one has been terrible and is probably out the door (Grossman) and the third is Donavan McNabb. That was another stellar move by the organization. That was another move that had everyone really excited and that I called the worst trade in Redskins history.
For a number of years, I have had a phone call or two with a friend who I would consider a big Redskins fan. We would talk before the draft about what the team should do and then we would talk after the draft about how well it went and our predictions for the next season. Our conversations were always the same. We wanted the team to trade down, we were never really happy about the picks and then we would agree that there was enough talent, and with a few breaks, the team could maybe go 9-7, 10-6 if they were real lucky, and maybe sneak into the playoffs. I stopped doing that a few years ago and started predicting the team would go 6-10. My friend asked why I felt that way. I told him that every year, we would predict 9-7, only to be disappointed in the end. I didn't want to be a fan with blinders on anymore. The team really didn't have the talent to make the playoffs.They didn't draft well and the decisions they have made in regards to head coach have been questionable at best.
Does this mean I hate the team? No it doesn't. I have said for many, many years that I thought Dan Snyder is one of the, if not the worst owner in all of professional sports. I'm not knocking his business sense, but I am knocking his football sense or should I say, his lack of football sense. I have said repeatedly that the Redskins will never win a Super Bowl with Dan Snyder as owner. They will also not win a playoff game with Mike Shanahan as Head Coach (I'd actually be surprised if they even made the playoffs).
I love that the fans and community are excited about RGIII being drafted. The fans deserve to be excited about something and while I am excited myself, I am also somewhat guarded. Between 1998 and 2009, there were 33 quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft. In looking at the first 3 years of their careers, they won, on average 14.6 games for their teams. Three of the 33 have won a total of 6 Super Bowls and at least 5 lasted less than 5 seasons in the NFL. I hope RGIII does well, but do I think he is all that was missing from the Redskins and by simply drafting him, they will become perennial contenders? No, but that has nothing to do with him. We as fans, and for that matter the team, don't know how RGIII will perform on the pro level. I think a lot of people are looking at the season Cam Newton had last year and thinking that RGIII will have that same type of season. But what if he's more like Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder, who won a combined 6 games last year.
My point is that I would use guarded optimism. The Redskins drafted 9 players this year. They've never played in the NFL and we don't know what they can do. They have a head coach who only won because he had one of the greatest players in NFL history as his quarterback and one of the best OL Coaches ever on his staff. He has done nothing outside of that in either the coaching or player personnel areas. Yes, the Redskins have been turning over their roster, getting rid of players that aren't performing anymore, but the younger players they're bringing in, need time to develop.
I return to being called a hater. If I'm a hater for criticizing the team when they play poorly, make bad player personnel or coaching decisions, then I'm a hater, but what about the people who call me a hater? Do they do that because they drank too much Kool-Aid or because I am right?