Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Redskins Go For It with RG III

Still reeling more than 12 hours after the Redskins traded three first round picks and a second for the Rams' No. 2 overall selection in the draft -- for all intents and purposes, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Redskins Go For It with RG III

Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy, can run and throw equally well. (Michael Conroy/AP)
Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy, can run and throw equally well. (Michael Conroy/AP)

Still reeling more than 12 hours after the Redskins traded three first round picks and a second for the Rams' No. 2 overall selection in the draft -- for all intents and purposes, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The knee-jerk reaction is to predict this will end badly for Washington, beacuse everything Daniel Snyder does ends badly, and the price to get RG III was really, really steep. Some people are likening the move to the 1989 Herschel Walker trade between the Vikings and the Cowboys, which set Dallas up for multiple Super Bowls.

I think that's an imperfect analogy. RG III is not a mid-career running back, he figures to be a much rarer commodity, a franchise quarterback. Of course, Griffin hasn't played in the NFL yet and if he ISN'T REALLY a franchise quarterback, well, the Redskins are going to flail around and miss the playoffs for at least another half a decade, if not more.

But I really like what I've seen of RG III. I think he is a franchise quarterback. There is nothing more precious, nothing harder to obtain in the NFL. The Redskins haven't really had one since Joe Theismann. (Yeah, they won a Super Bowl with Doug Williams, at the end of a career mostly wasted on horrible Tampa teams. Williams was not really a franchise quarterback, for the Redskins, anyway.)

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Still scratching your head over how the Giants have managed to win two of the last five Super Bowls despite never really having a dominant team during that period? They have a franchise quarterback, Eli Manning. You have that, you're always in the conversation, and if you can put the right elements around him, and he comes up big at crunch time, you win it all.

To me, that part about putting the right things around him is the biggest question for the Redskins, going forward. They need young weapons who can grow with Griffin. They need a secondary. They don't have a first-round draft pick for the next three years. Generally, free agency is not a panacea in the NFL, as the Eagles just proved. Washington will need to draft at least some of those complementary pieces, will have to find bargains and be a little smarter at draft time than rivals. The Redskins have never been that team under Snyder. In fact, they have pretty much been the opposite.

The Rams, meanwhile, ought to become contenders again. That Walker trade netted the Cowboys Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson, among many other assets. But obviously, the key is in how you use the picks. Having high picks doesn't guarantee anything. As many kudos as new Rams GM Les Snead is getting this morning, I'm not sure I wouldn't have just drafted RG III and found a new home for Sam Bradford.

What does all this mean for the Eagles? Well, we can cross off all those farfetched scenarios that had them moving up from 15th overall to second to draft Griffin, a player Andy Reid definitely found intriguing. For 2012, this probably doesn't make the Redskins a real power or anything, but you can sure see them getting there in a few years.

The clock was already ticking for Reid and his quarterback, Michael Vick, who turns 32 in a few months. Now it's ticking a little louder.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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