The Redskins have already traded their first-round selection this year (sixth overall) and their first-rounders in 2013 and 2014 plus their second-rounder this year (39th overall) to St. Louis for the Rams' first-rounder this year (second overall). Unless Indianapolis shockingly takes the more athletic Griffin over pocket passer Andrew Luck of Stanford first overall, Washington will pick Griffin. If not, Luck will be a Redskin. Coach Mike Shanahan loves Griffin's quickness, speed, arm strength, leadership and smarts. Redskins owner Dan Snyder loves Griffin's smile, personality and surefire ability to sell tickets at a stadium from which more than 12,000 seats have been removed over the last two offseasons.
With Pro Bowl inside linebacker London Fletcher having re-signed and Tanard Jackson having come aboard as yet another possible starting safety, the Redskins should continue to focus on offense after choosing Griffin. While drafting a cornerback in the third round is a possibility, offensive tackle is more of a priority as is interior offensive line depth.
Washington has an extra fourth-round choice thanks to the 2010 trade that sent quarterback Jason Campbell to Oakland and an extra sixth-rounder thanks to last summer's trade that sent quarterback Donovan McNabb to Minnesota. The six choices in the final four rounds should allow the Redskins to add a tight end, fullback (there's no depth behind Darrel Young) and inside linebacker (jack-of-all-trades Lorenzo Alexander is the only current backup).
Nice fits: Quarterback Robert Griffin III, tackle Zebrie Sanders, center Ben Jones.
Quarterback: Rex Grossman was his usual turnover-ridden self in 13 starts last year. John Beck extended his career record to 0-7 in losing his three starts. Washington hasn't had a franchise quarterback since Joe Theismann's career ended in 1985 and hasn't drafted one since Sammy Baugh in 1937. The Redskins haven't chosen a quarterback with a top-20 selection since Heath Shuler was a bust as the third overall pick in 1994. They will finally do so again this year, almost certainly on Baylor's Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
Offensive tackle: Jammal Brown hasn't come close to the Pro Bowl form he displayed before needing hip surgery in New Orleans in 2009 and will be 31 next month. With left tackle Trent Williams, the fourth overall selection in the 2010 draft, one failed drug test from a one-year suspension, the Redskins need to use an early-round draft pick on a swing tackle. Washington's current third tackle is Willie Smith, a rookie free agent in 2011. The limited options in free agency means this need might have to be filled with the Redskins' third-round draft choice. The recent signing of James Lee, Tampa Bay's regular right tackle in 2010, doesn't reduce the need at this spot.
Center/guard: While rookie Maurice Hurt was credible at left guard after Kory Lichtensteiger's season-ending torn ACL and the latter should rejoin right guard Chris Chester in the starting lineup again this fall, Erik Cook flunked his trial at center when usual starter Will Montgomery was filling in for Lichtensteiger so Washington could certainly use a third-day draft pick on an interior lineman.
--The Redskins, being the Redskins, just can't stay away from controversy for very long.
Five days after captain/Pro Bowl inside linebacker London Fletcher, the NFL's top tackler of the last 11 years, ended a month in limbo by agreeing to terms on April 13, Jabar Gaffney, Washington's leading receiver in 2011, said that he is being shopped around the NFL and that his agent can look for a new team for him.
Gaffney, who has been told not to bother to attend the offseason conditioning program at Redskins Park that began on April 16, believes that he's persona non grata as far as the Redskins are concerned. And the 31-year-old Gaffney said he can't believe that it's a coincidence that his banishment came on the heels of profane outbursts on his Twitter account about his wife and Oakland cornerback Lito Sheppard, his cousin and high-school teammate, which he claims was hacked.
"It was real shocking," Gaffney told Washington's 106.7TheFan. "I'm a man. I admit it when I was wrong. That wasn't me. It's real disappointing. I was caught off guard by it."
Gaffney, who led the Redskins with career-highs of 68 catches, 947 yards and five touchdowns after being acquired last July for defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, whom the Broncos later cut, believes that he could be a big factor in 2012 even though Washington signed free-agent receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan and expect Leonard Hankerson to be fully recovered from the hip problem that ended the 2011 third-rounder's season prematurely.
"Each year my numbers have gotten better," Gaffney said accurately about the past five seasons with New England (2007-08), Denver (2009-10) and Washington. I loved the offense. I think I did everything I was asked to do. I thought I did some great things. I was brought in to complement (2005-10 leading receiver) Santana Moss and ended up being the leading receiver. I didn't cause any problems except for that one incident with a Cowboys fan (whom he told on Twitter to drop dead). Now to hear that my agent can look around for a better situation for me, and that I don't need to be here for voluntary workouts, I was surprised. I was looking to build on last year. Coach (Mike) Shanahan said that it was just a coincidence, but I didn't hear about it until the day after the Twitter thing (about his wife)."
The "Twitter thing," as Gaffney called it, began when he tweeted last Thursday, "Woke up and couldn't find my soon 2 be ex wife anywhere. (bleep) dat (bleep) I can't wait till its final in a few weeks." It was followed by, "My beef wit Lito don't got nothing to do bout a girl he just a person I don't (bleep) wit he lame to me," and then by, "Ain't nobody (bleeped) my wife but for anybody saying any slick (bleep) better watch ur girl and not let me get hold to her."
Gaffney maintains that he didn't send any of those tweets, telling 106.7TheFan, "I had one incident on there with a Dallas fan. After that I've hardly been on there, why would I tell one of my best friends that I want to fight him on Twitter? I closed down that Twitter account. It's something I won't be involved with again."
However, between those tweets, Gaffney's age, $2.65 million salary-cap number for 2012 and his horrible 2.7 average yards after the catch in 2011, which compared unfavorably to Morgan's 6.8, Garcon's 5.2 and even Moss' 4.1, the Redskins apparently believe that he's expendable.
"I've always gone above and beyond what I'm asked to do," Gaffney said. "I've always been a hard worker. I got that work ethic from my dad (Derrick), who was an NFL receiver. I showed up every game, tried my best even when the season was supposedly over. Now suddenly they want to go in another direction."
The Redskins advertised disgruntled defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth and demoted quarterback Donovan McNabb last summer and were able to acquire third-day draft picks for them rather than just release them outright, so maybe they will get something for Gaffney, too.
His departure would leave Moss, who'll be 33 in June and who has a $4.6 million cap number, trying to fend off Garcon, Morgan and Hankerson as Washington's No. 1 receiver. Anthony Armstrong, a revelation in 2010 but a bust in 2011, and Terrence Austin, a seventh-round draft pick in 2010 who hasn't produced much, are also in the mix.
Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.