Now here’s an idea you don’t see every day. The St. Louis Rams may have blundered by trading away the chance to draft Robert Griffin III.
Football Nation contributor Justin Bonnema proposes that very thought today when he wrote:
“What [the Rams] have done is trade themselves into the six overall pick, just above mid-round mayhem. They’ve successfully secured a spot in the draft’s dark matter, an area where success and failure violently collide while “what could have been” runs the ball down your throat and into the playoffs. Meanwhile, the powers that be look up at the pick that was theirs for the taking and say to themselves ‘that was my guy.’
“To them we say, enjoy your unemployment.”
Chalk that up as more testimony that the Washington Redskins did not over-spend to trade up into St. Louis’ second overall spot to pick RG3. Reread Bonnema’s comment for another reason why.
“They’ve successfully secured a spot in the draft’s dark matter, an area where success and failure violently collide….”
Washington’s favorable sixth overall pick was not high enough by itself to make the Redskins a 2013 contender. That does not make it a bad spot. Julio Jones, Russell Okung, Andre Smith, Vernon Gholston, LaRon Landry and Vernon Davis were drafted sixth. Their teams have yet to win a Super Bowl since drafting them.
I’m not familiar with citizen journalist Bonnema, but your citizen journalists here at Hog Heaven have posited for five years that quarterback is not the Redskins’ most critical need. Yet, I’ve been giddy as a schoolgirl at the prospect of Griffin rocking the burgundy and gold. That’s because I have accepted, finally and begrudgingly, that the NFL really is a quarterback-centric league.
Professional leagues are adept at delivering the style of play their fans pay to see. MLB looked the other way as their players juiced themselves for more home runs. The NBA serves great individual performance to the exclusion of teamwork and defense, even though it means that the inmates run the asylum.
The NFL reengineered the game via rules on passing to favor quarterback playmakers. No other playmaker position will do. If the league wanted receiver playmakers, Arizona would be everybody’s favorite team. If they wanted running back playmakers, we would all cheer for Jacksonville, or Chicago. Both have excellent rushers.
In the Age of Madden, the quarterback is the glamour guy more than at any time in the history of football. Is there anyone who dot not play quarterback when they play Madden? EA Sports may have as much influence as the Rules Committee on how football is played.
That’s why Mike Holmgren had to explain to his paying customers why he did not offer enough, soon enough to outbid the Redskins for the Rams’ spot. Holmgren cited a personal relationship between Jeff Fisher and Mike Shanahan for the reason he lost the bid, as if Holmgren did not have an equally strong relationship to make the deal.
Now comes the question whether the Rams messed up by accepting Washington’s offer. That’s just too funny considering the Rams need more and better talent and the Draft picks to get them.
Bonnema points out that Sam Bradford is on the Rams roster and the salary cap hit to move him would be prohibitive. He thinks that Griffin is a better prospect than Bradford. That may be true, but it’s a harsh judgment on Bradford who would be helped more by stability at offensive coordinator.
This a cautionary tale for Redskins fans whose expectations have reached RG3 hysteria. Griffin may be Washington’s best Draft pick in a decade. He’s not Merlin the magician. Like Bradford, he needs better supporting talent than the Redskins now have to lead a title run. The Shanaplan may be to move down for more picks in next year’s Draft to offset what Washington traded away this year.
Griffin is also a rookie. Even if he starts from game one, the big payoff on him won’t come until the 2014 season, or maybe as soon as ’13 if he’s really good.
The Redskins still have work to do.