Here was the start of Tom Boswell’s column last week on Washington’s new appreciation for the NFL draft:
For 40 years, the Redskins have thrown away high draft picks like they were cheap lottery tickets. In half those seasons, Washington didn’t even have a first-round pick.
For decades, whenever the Redskins wanted Donovan McNabb, Mark Brunell, Brad Johnson, Clinton Portis, Laveranues Coles, Jason Taylor, Pete Kendall, Dan Wilkinson or Sean Gilbert for a quick fix or a style makeover, they tossed picks from the first four rounds into the trade pot.
That is over. Or, at least, it’s over for now.
Fans would cheer the end of that era. Which is why I was surprised to hear Adam Schefter on ESPN Radio this morning, listing Washington as a team that might attempt to trade up in the first round.
The longtime Mike Shanahan insider was putting together a scenario in which the St. Louis Rams actually wind up with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. This would require that the Colts either beat the Texans at home and the Jaguars on the road, or that the Colts win one of those games and miraculously pass the Rams in strength-of-schedule. (St. Louis closes with near-certain losses against Pittsburgh and San Francisco.)
“The St. Louis Rams are in a situation where it’s hard to see them winning a [third] game this season,” Schefter said. “If the Colts and Rams finish tied with two wins a piece, it’ll come down to their strength of schedules. But what is interesting about that is if the Rams have the pick, it becomes literally an auction for that No. 1 pick, because the Dolphins, Redskins, Seahawks and other teams all will have an interest in trading up to that spot.
“If somehow the Colts win a game and the Rams don’t, then that pick, for the Rams franchise, would be worth, roughly worth, three [first-round picks] and two [second-rounders], maybe four first-round picks. And so there’s a huge amount at stake if somehow the Colts — who will continue to try to win games — win another game, the Rams lose their two games and somehow come up with that pick.”
Again, my impression is that it’d be virtually impossible for the Rams to pick first unless the Colts win out, which is also a virtual impossibility, but just in case, if you’re a Redskins fan, you might want to cheer for the Texans this week.