The Washington Redskins have acquired the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, sending three first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
[Update, 2:15 a.m.: Click the links to read Mike Jones’s report in The Washington Post on the blockbuster trade between the Redskins and Rams, as well as Mike Wise’s column on Washington’s high-stakes gamble to land Robert Griffin III.]
Known for making big splashes during his tenure as owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder authorized his boldest move yet as the team will send this year’s first-round pick (sixth overall) and second-round pick, as well as first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, for what are expected to be the rights to draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the news.
The trade will not become official until Tuesday.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is expected to go first overall to Indianapolis, and the trade with St. Louis puts the Redskins in line to select a potentially game-changing franchise quarterback.
The Redskins had been in discussions with the Rams to acquire the No. 2 pick since the NFL Scouting Combine. The Rams already have their franchise quarterback in third-year pro Sam Bradford, and sought to move the pick for pieces that would expedite their rebuilding process.
Plagued by inconsistent quarterback play for the better part of 20 seasons, and with Coach Mike Shanahan entering his third season with the franchise and needing to reverse his fortunes after consecutive double-digit loss seasons, Washington was prepared to make a bold move.
It was believed that the Rams would command a price similar to that of the San Diego Chargers in 2004 when they received two first-round picks along with third- and a fifth-rounder from the New York Giants for Eli Manning.
But Washington ended up giving much more – an indication of team officials’ high opinion of Griffin, and the level of pressure Shanahan is facing. That move means mortgaging the future, but if Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy last fall, is as good as advertised, he will ignite a struggling franchise and also buy Shanahan more time.
“You’re not giving [those picks] away. You’re getting a quarterback who has star power,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Thursday when asked about the price of moving up to acquire the Rams’ pick and the chance to draft Griffin. “I don’t care about the spots you move up. It’s a quarterback-driven league. Griffin is red hot right now. … Dan Snyder knows what [the Redskins] need, and they’ve got to get a quarterback. They beat the Giants twice, and they beat Green Bay a year ago. He knows the missing link in Washington is quarterback.”
The Redskins and Browns both had interest in St. Louis’ pick, but Cleveland had multiple needs and didn’t want to part with both the fourth and 22nd overall picks of this year’s draft, and bowed out.
Washington had aggressively pursued Peyton Manning following his release from the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday. But with Manning indicating that he didn’t have a desire to come to Washington, the team turned it’s focus to the draft, and pulled off the blockbuster deal with the Rams.