Right when the Redskins season ended and pretty much through the Senior Bowl, the hot button topic in Washington was who the 2011 quarterback would be. Right now, that’s a very overplayed issue, and isn’t really picking up the big time blog hits. But come the NFL scouting combine, quarterback talk will once again dominate the Redskins draft news. Understand: as a fan, you must realize that every time the Redskins make a draft selection, between now and the time that they will pick a quarterback, the majority recommendation is that they should choose a quarterback with their next pick. This will sometimes be good advice, but usually it won’t make any sense. Leave it to me to bring this uncomfortable discussion into the dead time for Redskins QB talk.
Here’s how I’m going to run this deal: it’s going to be stream-of-consciousness, just throwing names of potentially available quarterbacks out there, and commenting on them in terms of being the next Redskins quarterback. This topic is already an insane hot-button issue, so why make it any more formal than it should be? Everyone is aware it’s an issue, which means intellectual discourse has already lost.
Carson Palmer isn’t going to be able to escape Cincinnati. It’s a shame though, because he would be the best quarterback available in this class for the Skins to acquire.
Cam Newton will get consideration from the Redskins with the tenth overall pick. It’s too high for his value, but despite this, if we can assume a completely-unfair (to the rookies) rookie wage scale, there would be one pie-in-the-sky scenario where I recommend the Redskins take Newton at no. 10.
Kyle Orton will be shopped aggressively by the Broncos, but ultimately would not be a system fit here.
Jake Locker has a really good chance of being a Redskin, most likely in the second round. If Mike Shanahan, really, really likes him, he might be willing to take him as high as no. 10, also if there just isn’t a lot of good picks on the board. I think he’s a wasted pick for the team, even if he fits the scheme well. And Locker can play in Shanahan’s system, we know. But Mike Shanahan is older than most fans think, and won’t be the Redskins coach in Jake Locker’s prime. And Locker just won’t be able to translate to a different system. In the second round, at least, Locker offers some short term value. I’d spend the pick elsewhere.
Vince Young A big time non-fit, because Young has really struggled to handle adversity in his career. He’s a good quarterback who can play in any system and can help the Redskins. But he’d drive Kyle Shanahan crazy worse than Donovan McNabb did. He’s not coming here.
Chad Henne Now, we’re talking. Henne has performed on average about 15% better per pass than Mark Sanchez since 2009. Henne doesn’t come with Sanchez’ playoff experience or success, but like Carson Palmer’s Bengals, the Dolphins are a mess right now. This Dan Le Batard column does a good come comparing the AFC East rivals, and makes it very clear why Henne is the one of the two you’d want. And unlike Palmer, his team is looking to upgrade its QB situation.
Christian Ponder Makes a lot of sense for the Redskins in the second round, but seems more like the kind of player that the Redskins would wait on and try to steal in the third (except, of course, that they do not have a pick there). If Locker and Ponder are both there in the 2nd, I would take Ponder, no questions asked. Mike Shanahan, however, would likely take Locker. Ponder is likely to land elsewhere, which is ashame.
Matt Flynn is not a cream of the crop NFL backup quarterback, who has accuracy issues going back to his LSU days. He sells the play action well, so he can fit in the scheme, but I think he’s a backup in Green Bay, and would be one in Washington as well.
Colin Kaepernick is really the name to watch in the second round for Mike Shanahan. He’s a perfect scheme fit. And unlike Ponder, I think he could rise to the point where Kaepernick ends up higher on the Redskins board than Locker does. And in that case, I think the Redskins draft him in the second round. I think Ponder is better, and would rather have Ponder. But I don’t think Mike Shanahan is here to restock the Redskins with talent like Joe Gibbs did. I think he’s here to call games his way and win his way as long as he’s here, the future be damned. And that’s why I think Kaepernick goes before Ponder on the Redskins board — maybe even before Locker.
Caleb Hanie is a guy I really like as a future NFL starter in the Matt Schaub mold. Hanie’s problem is that he is a BIG time ball holder. He was able to get the ball out in adequate time in the NFC Championship game against the Packers, but his a big play guy who will be difficult to train in any variation of the west coast offense. Still, given the choice of Hanie or Flynn, give me Hanie any day, whatever the scheme.
Pat Devlin is a good value player in this draft because he is the most accurate player I’ve scouted this year, bar none. I have a (late) first round grade on him, right up there with the next guy on this list. I think the Redskins are going to prefer a whole bunch of players over him in the second round, so he’s not a realistic pick there, but Devlin is a guy who just might slip through the cracks to the fifth round and be a huge steal there for the Redskins. Outside of that pie-in-the-sky scenario, the Redskins will certainly have to look elsewhere.
Ryan Mallett is a guy I have a first round grade on, but the team that drafts him is going to need to be very cautious. It’s really tough to develop immoble passers with poor fundamentals in the NFL, and character concerns are only going to drop Mallett’s stock further. Mallett has it from the belly button up, and is a guy who will need to compensate for athletic limitations with a quick decision-quick release set, or he will be blitzed into oblivion by defenders. Ultimately, if you surround Mallett with tons of talent, he’s going to put up big numbers in the pros. Does that sound like the Redskins to you? Didn’t think so. Avoid.
John Beck is a team-paid roster filler. The Redskins probably won’t add two QBs this offseason, making Beck safe as the third guy. If they do add two, I think Beck goes before Rex Grossman does.
Blaine Gabbert is a guy I would take at no. 10 overall if he’s on the board, because I think Gabbert would rank second or third in the upcoming QB class (2012) after Andrew Luck if he stayed at Missouri. Assuming that the Redskins will not be in position to get Luck(y), Gabbert is one of the top available quarterbacks to the Redskins until 2013. Do not pass if he’s available. He won’t be around at no. 10, however.
Alex Smith Has been a passable quarterback each of the last two seasons, not an epic bust like he was for the first four years of his career. Smith is a rare stopgap: he’s young enough to still develop into a franchise player for another team, and would do well to get out of San Francisco, but likely isn’t good enough to take the next step. He would be a fun stop gap, and a better option than the incumbent.
Ricky Stanzi is probably the guy the Redskins end up with if they don’t address quarterback until the fifth round. I would take the next guy on this list instead, but Stanzi will “get” the pro offensive concepts before most of the rest of this class will. He won’t always be the best offensive excecuter, but should carve out a nice niche as a journeyman starter in the NFL, which I didn’t feel he would be even two weeks ago. He had a nice Sr. bowl week. He’s…Gus Frerotte.
Scott Tolzien is the late round guy I really like to become a franchise quarterback. You can compare his numbers to every recent QB to come out of Wisconsin (Sorgi, Stocco, Bollinger, etc), Tolzien blows everyone away, and he did it with not much in the passing game. He’ll need to be paired with a strong running game as not to throw 500 times in a season, but Tolzien is efficient.
Donovan McNabb could still end up being the Redskins QB next year, but only if the NFL disallows player movement in this upcoming offseason thanks to a late CBA agreement. Yes, he executes the offense better than Grossman. Yes, the Redskins probably need someone better.
Tyrod Taylor Has the same reasons to be optimistic as Troy Smith did three years ago, and has to overcome the same lack of height and ability to see his receivers downfield in a pro style offense. Physically, he’s the entire package, with no limititions but that height. It’s a big one.
Rex Grossman is not the guy the Redskins want leading the offense for more than two games at a time. I just hope they can see that.