Redskins owner Daniel Synder has become the butt of many jokes, but I have to give him some credit for doing a much better job of building his football team recently. Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Leonard Hankerson and Roy Helu are all off to promising starts early into their careers and look like they will be a big part of the Redskins' future.
Even though they have finished 6-10 and 5-11 the last two years, head coach Mike Shanahan is a good football coach with an eye for talent. It's going to take him time, but Shanahan could build a contender out of the Redskins if he is allowed to put his touch on the personnel. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett already has a pretty decent defense and the Redskins are still adjusting with the move to the 3-4 defense.
What Shanahan and the Redskins have lacked is a franchise quarterback. They acquired Donovan McNabb hoping he would be the man for the job, but he was over the hill before he even arrived in Washington. In 2011, Shanahan went with a competition between Rex Grossman and John Beck, but neither quarterback appeared to be the type Shanahan needs to run his West Coast offense.
With that in mind, the Redskins went out and made a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams. Washington traded up from the sixth overall pick to the second overall pick to get Baylor sensation Robert Griffin III, giving up their 2013 and 2014 first-round picks, but also gave up their 2012 second-round pick. Is it a lot to give up for one player? Yes, but franchise quarterbacks are hard to come by.
Robert Griffin III
I remember watching Baylor back in 2008 and they had this freshman quarterback named "RG3". Even then, Griffin had that wow factor you look for in quarterback and I knew he was going to be a big star in college football.
After missing the entire 2009 season with an ACL injury, Griffin came back in 2010 even better than he was prior to the injury, capping off his career with a Heisman Trophy in 2011.
He isn't very big (6'2, 223), but he can continue to add more to his frame as he ages. Griffin is extremely athletic and can make plays with his legs, but he throws a great deep ball due to his elite arm strength. RG3 is going to be a perfect fit with Shanahan and the West Coast offense.
A division full of good quarterbacks just added another one, and the Cowboys will have their hands full with the quarterback play in the NFC East.
Josh Leribeus, OG, selected by the Redskins with the 71st pick in the 3rd round- HD (via HollyMartins)
LeRibeus plays with a mean streak, but doesn't necessarily have prototypical size (6'2, 311) for a guard. I didn't focus on him too much in college, but his scouting reports had him pegged as a fifth-round pick with upside. Shanahan runs a zone blocking scheme and Leribeus is perfect for that because he is athletic enough to get out and block in space.
It may have been a reach in the third-round, but there is nothing wrong with getting a offensive lineman to protect the franchise quarterback. LeRibeus has enough upside to become a starting guard in the NFL, so kudos to the Redskins for beefing up their offensive line.
Washington Redskins Select Kirk Cousins with the 102nd Pick (NFL Draft 2012) (via CapitolPunishmentDMV)
I am not sure that drafting another quarterback in the fourth-round was a smart decision. With the Redskins having holes at some other positions, I would have addressed one of those needs with this pick. I understand that it's a smart tactic to draft quarterbacks and develop them, but you just drafted a franchise quarterback in RG3.
Unless Cousins turns into a Kevin Kolb type of situation where the Redskins can flip him for a high draft pick, then I consider this a bad pick for them.
Washington Redskins Select Keenan Robinson with the 119th Pick (NFL Draft 2012) (via CapitolPunishmentDMV)
This was a great pickup for the Redskins in the fourth-round of the draft. In the 3-4 defense you need to have athletic and versatile linebackers, and Robinson offers both. He will probably start off on the inside, but he has the versatility to line up as a pass rusher on the outside.
Robinson played in a hybrid defense at Texas where he was lined up all over the field. He has the speed and athleticism to cover tight ends and wide receivers.
Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan and Robinson give the Redskins one of the most talented grouping of linebackers in the NFL.
The Redskins finally landed a franchise quarterback that has superstar potential written all over him, but I do wonder if they will have trouble adding weapons for him with no first-round picks the next two years. They brought in Pierre Garcon, but I don't know if that will be enough for Griffin to air the football out in Washington.
The rest of their draft was solid and they brought in good football players, but that should be credited to Shanahan. If they can bring in more wide receivers and ever find the right running back for the patented zone blocking running game that Shanahan loves, then the Redskins could become a very good football team sooner rather than later.