The Washington Redskins’ need for a franchise quarterback is well-documented, and it’s also no secret that to land an electrifying passer such as Baylor’s Robert Griffin III in April’s NFL draft, the Redskins would have to trade up from their current spot of sixth overall.
But the St. Louis Rams’ first-round pick – No. 2 overall, just behind Indianapolis, which is expected to take Stanford QB Andrew Luck – won’t come on the cheap.
It’s been speculated that the Redskins would have to give up this year’s first-round pick, next year’s first-rounder and this year’s second- or third-rounder to get that pick from the Rams.
But ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay believes that the asking price could be less thanks to the rookie wage scale that was implemented last year.
McShay believes that Washington possibly could wrestle that No. 2 pick away from St. Louis in exchange for this year’s first-round pick, as well as this year’s second-rounder (38th overall) and fourth-rounder (102nd overall).
“I do think they’d flip-flop the first round and somewhere in the ballpark of the second and the fourth,” McShay said while speaking on a pre-draft conference call.
But Washington — which currently holds a first, second, third, two fourths, a fifth, sixth and seventh-round pick in this year’s draft — might have to sweeten the deal because of competition from the Cleveland Browns, who also need a quarterback and hold two first-round picks, including the fourth overall spot.
“Sometimes it’s worth giving up a little bit more because of the situation like this where you’re going up to get a quarterback and you know there’s competition like Cleveland, who’s sitting at No. 4,” McShay said. “Also, the money is different now. Last year Cam Newton was $25 million guaranteed, something in that range, and the year earlier, Sam Bradford was around $50 million. So, it’s much easier now to move up into that No. 2 spot if you’re Washington, and having to pay that money because that money’s not nearly as detrimental against he salary cap, and so I think that changes the trade value chart as well.”
McShay calls this an important draft for the Redskins, whether or not they trade up and get Griffin.
The team last season passed on drafting Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick because they weren’t fond of the Missouri quarterback, and instead traded down to No. 16 to get Ryan Kerrigan, who has helped upgrade the pass-rush, and traded down later and wound up with a total of 12 picks, which helped bolster the roster’s overall depth last season.
If the Redskins don’t move up to No. 2 overall, options remain. McShay believes that LSU’s Morris Claiborne, the top cornerback in this year’s draft, would be available and could meet a need for Washington, which wants to upgrade its secondary.
Or, that sixth overall pick carries enough value that the Redskins could work to move down and again acquire more picks and meet multiple needs similar to last season.
“Ultimately, I do think they’re inside that safe zone for where they’re going to be and for the potential of a team wanting to move up to get an elite player,” McShay says. “But also, if you’re sitting there at six, maybe they want to get that elite player. … They did draft very well last year. But even if they don’t get the quarterback, or if they address it in free agency, to me, nailing the draft again this year is going to be huge for not just the short-term, but more importantly, the long-term of this organization. And if they get a good deal to move back, they should do it, or if not, you sit there, you get a Morris Claiborne, who’s a shut-down corner, who can help take their defense to the next level and also help their pass rush and certainly would be worth that pick.”