Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said he is confident that the team can continue to build a quality squad both this year and in the future despite having sent four high draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for the rights to pick second overall in this April’s NFL draft.
The Redskins at long last will be able to get a franchise quarterback — believed to be Baylor’s Robert Griffin III — because of the trade. But they no longer have a second-round pick in 2012 (it would have been the 39th overall pick), and the Redskins will not have a first-round pick in either 2013 or 2014.
But Allen said the ability to meet a gaping need at quarterback was well worth the price paid. And the general manager believes last year’s bountiful draft — in which Washington traded down twice (once in the first and once in the second round) and wound up selecting 12 players — helped position the team to absorb the potential sting of fewer picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
“I’m very confident,” Allen said. “It’s kind of the plan that we’ve been developing. We had 12 draft choices last year, we have six draft choices this year. The idea that you have 18 draft choices in two seasons, it’s very comfortable. We understand that it’s a heavy price, but when you bought your home, you probably wanted to pay a little less, too. But you like your home once you live in it. So, we’re very comfortable.”
Allen later said, “We’re happy with what we did. We feel that our drafts in the future will take care of themselves. We feel like this franchise needed – like last year – another infusion of youth, and we put a little bit of a jolt in it for the 2012 [season].”
In Allen and Mike Shanahan’s first season in Washington, the team agreed to send two draft picks to Philadelphia for quarterback Donovan McNabb. That experiment failed miserably, and the team went with Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback last season, and that move didn’t yield the proper results, either.
The Redskins last week made a hard push for Peyton Manning, but ultimately decided to turn to the draft for their franchise quarterback.
“Coach and I have talked about for a couple years about building our Redskins organization around the draft, getting players that are born in the burgundy and gold, and that’s what we’ve done,” Allen said.
He wouldn’t say, however, if the Redskins have totally abandoned hope of still landing Manning, although people close to the quarterback say he doesn’t want to come to Washington.
Despite the goal of “getting players that are born in the burgundy and gold,” the Redskins will have to fill some key needs in free agency. The team is expected to pursue a big-play wide receiver, and also needs a right tackle, possibly a left guard and help at cornerback and safety.
The Redskins are little more than $40 million under the salary cap, and thus have plenty of cash to spend in free agency.
Asked if he believed the Redskins have the resources to surround a rookie quarterback with enough talent for Washington to be competitive this season, Allen said, “Yes, we do.”