Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quarterback priorities

There will be some more and longer posts forthcoming as we make our way deeper into and past the NFL combine, and as free agency starts to unfold. I've been following the combine to the best of my ability so far (busy weekend out of town), and am in the process of drafting myself up, both based on the combine and many other sources, lists of draft and free agency prospects in which I have interest, primarily offensive linemen right now because they (as well as tight ends, which I don't anticipate needing) are the ones at the combine so far. I'm still gathering, pruning, and researching that group, but in the process I've been giving more thought to the all-important quarterback position and want to give a quick update, sort of detailing my preferences for the Redskins QB going into next year:

1. Andrew Luck- Something of a pipe dream, perhaps, but still an idea I salivate over. I am and have been really high on Luck and if we somehow got him, I'd be thrilled.

2. Robert Griffin III- I always was intrigued with him and said I'd be fine with him in the absence of Luck, but he's really grown on me. In addition to the obvious physical ability and compatibility his mobility would provide with Shanahan's love of the bootleg, he has really, really impressed me in interviews and what I've read about him in regards to his work ethic, intelligence, and leadership. While Luck is still my draft crush of the year (Von Miller last year, Russell Okung in 2010, Brian Orakpo in 2009, and Calais Campbell in 2008), I'd be overjoyed if we ended up with RG3, especially if we don't have to sell the farm to move up in the draft to do it.

3. Ryan Tannehill- Unfortunately, his injury prevented Tannehill from participating in the Senior Bowl which Shanahan and co. coached, but he still looks like a good prospect and a good fit for the Redskins' offense. I wouldn't want him at 6, but if we could get him in the second round, that would be great, and moving up into the late-ish first round would be good too.

4. Peyton Manning- Tannehill and Manning are very close. I am huge on Manning, have long felt that he's the best QB in the league (and feel somewhat supported in that regard by the Colts' implosion this pat season) and even now think that he could be if he comes back healthy. As such, the idea of my Redskins, whom I have seen without an entrenched QB for, really, as long as I can remember, with one of the greatest of all time is almost surreal, and would be somewhat exciting. That said, he clearly would be around for only a couple years, and with a roster that is pretty young and could be up-and-coming, I don't think he would be the greatest fit. Additionally, Manning is used to essentially being his own offensive coordinator, which might have some trouble meshing with the Shanahans' domineering offensive style. I'm sure it would work, but all in all I really want a young guy that can be the face of the franchise for the next decade and grow with the team.

5. Nick Foles- After Manning, I really am no longer terribly happy with any of the likely potential QBs for our 2012 squad. After the big 3, I think Foles is probably the QB prospect that interests me most, and should go in the 2nd-3rd round.

6. Kirk Cousins- Pretty much the same description as Foles, just slightly behind him in my estimation.

7. Kyle Orton- I would love it if we get one of the top 3 QBs and sign Orton to be a stop-gap for perhaps a season if we don't feel those guys (especially Tannehill or RG3) are quite ready. Better than anyone on our roster last season, but not by a ton, signing Orton would likely be bundled with drafting a young guy, or, at worst, holding out to get one next year, which would be a worst-case scenario that I could get behind if thins don't go our way.

8. Rex Grossman- Almost the same description as Orton, except Grossman is a little better. I'll only be okay with going into 2012 with Grossman as a likely starter if it's to allow us to groom his replacement.

9. Matt Flynn- A lot of people are high on Flynn, and a lot of people are linking Washington to him, as is the norm with pretty much any free agent. Simply put, I'm not interested. If we do acquire Flynn, I'll be hopeful that he'll do a great job and be a long-term answer at QB for us, which is possible, and on the plus side it would allow us to fill the QB need without spending a draft pick, which is nice, but I'm just not sold on Flynn. He had one stellar game on a loaded offense; that doesn't mean he is franchise QB material, and he is going to get paid like he is. This is Kevin Kolb version 2, in my opinion, except even less proven. I hope Miami or Seattle or someone breaks the bank on this guy and takes a competitor out of the running for rookie QBs.

That's pretty much it. It would be utterly shocking if none of the above were the QB for the Redskins next year. Only other outside possibilities would be a Matt Cassel or Sam Bradford or something like that if their teams decide to give up on them and move on as some people expect (note: I am very much not one of those people).

Other draft prospects that interest me somewhat are Russell Wilson, Kellen Moore, and Case Keenum, but those are all guys I'd more be okay with getting as backups or along with a veteran starter if we were to go the Manning or Flynn route, to give them some time and have them as back-up or succession plans if they look promising, with the ability to draft a new QB in a couple seasons if not. Brandon Weeden would also be a fine backup guy, as he's looked very good, but since he'll be turning 29 early next season, he doesn't fit my desire for a long-term answer type guy.

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