Redskins draft all about quarterbacks

The Sports Xchange
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Given that the Redskins seemed to have chosen SMU guard Josh LeRibeus way too early in the third round and their other picks were all fourth-rounders on down, their draft was all about quarterbacks. They traded their first-rounders this year, next year and 2014 and their second-rounder this year to St. Louis to move up four spots to select Baylor's Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III second overall. And then they used their third pick, the seventh selection in the fourth round, on Michigan State's three-year starter, Kirk Cousins.

The move hearkens back to 1994, the last draft in which the Redskins chose a quarterback in the top 10 when they picked Heath Shuler third overall. He was eventually beaten out by Gus Frerotte, a seventh-rounder in the same draft.

BEST PICK

Quarterback Robert Griffin III: The strong-armed, swift Griffin is the perfect new leader for a team that has started 21 quarterbacks over the last 19 seasons and has lacked a face of the franchise for nearly as long. Griffin is expected to be the opening day starter replacing holdover Rex Grossman.

COULD SURPRISE

Fifth-rounder Adam Gettis played in a Mike Shanahan-like zone-blocking scheme at Iowa under former NFL line coach Kirk Ferentz. Gettis could beat out LeRibeus and 2011 rookie Maurice Hurt to become Washington's No. 3 guard.

A closer look at the Redskins' picks:

Round 1/2 -- Robert Griffin, QB, 6-2, 223, Baylor

Griffin averaged 25 touchdowns, six interceptions and 3,295 yards during his three full seasons as Baylor's starter. If he matches those numbers as a rookie, the Redskins will be thrilled.

Round 3/71 -- Josh LeRibeus, OG, 6-2, 312, Southern Methodist

LeRibeus started every game at left guard as a redshirt sophomore and a senior but was academically ineligible as a junior while he was dropping 70 pounds. Seems like a reach pick.

Round 4/102 -- Kirk Cousins, QB, 6-3, 214, Michigan State

If the LeRibeus pick was surprising, this one was shocking. If Griffin, whom the Redskins paid a record price to acquire, is as good as they believe, Cousins will only see the field if the former is hurt.

Round 4/119 -- Keenan Robinson, LB, 6-3, 242 Texas

A starting outside linebacker the past three seasons, Robinson will move inside in Washington where the only truly experienced player is three-time Pro Bowl pick London Fletcher, who turns 37 next month.

Round 5/141 -- Adam Gettis, OG, 6-2, 293 Iowa

Gettis started for three years for the Hawkeyes. He'll join LeRibeus in backing up starters Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester.

Round 6/173 -- Alfred Morris, RB, 5-10, 219, Florida Atlantic

After rushing for 3,506 yards and 27 touchdowns the past three seasons, Morris figures to get a shot to back up third-year man Darrel Young at fullback.

Round 6/193 -- Tom Compton, OT 6-5, 314, South Dakota

With left tackle Trent Williams a failed drug test from a year-long suspension and right tackle Jammal Brown having struggled with an ailing hip, the Redskins drafted Compton, who started two seasons at right tackle and two at left tackle in college.

Round 7/213 -- Richard Crawford, CB, 5-11, 191, Southern Methodist

The 5-11, 191-pound Crawford, a two-year starter at SMU who had previously played for Saddleback Community College, will have the chance to compete for a reserve job behind starters DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson.

Round 7/217 -- Jordan Bernstine, SS, 5-11, 205, Iowa

Bernstine, who was credited with 89 tackles last year, has also played cornerback. LaRon Landry, the Redskins' strong safety during the past five seasons, signed with the New York Jets. Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was released. Washington signed free agents Madieu Williams, Tanard Jackson and Brandon Meriweather to compete with holdovers Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes.

--How excited was Robert Griffin III to officially become a Redskin on Thursday night? So excited that not only did the second overall pick wear burgundy and gold striped socks to the draft in New York, but he opened his conference calls with Washington's media by singing, "Hail To The Redskins."

Said the 22-year-old Griffin, "That's how I felt; felt that good. I'm really excited. A team finally fell in love with me for who I am. I can't wait to go and play for 'em."

The feeling is definitely mutual. After all, the Redskins traded the sixth overall pick, their first-rounders in 2013 and 2014 and this year's second-rounder to St. Louis six weeks earlier for Baylor's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

"We were really excited when we made the move from the sixth spot to the second spot," said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, whose 2010 trade with Philadelphia for six-time Pro Bowl passer Donovan McNabb failed and who endured 25 turnovers in 13 starts by last year's quarterback, Rex Grossman. "We had a great feeling that Robert was gonna to be the guy we were gonna get. ... He knows when you make a commitment like that, that you're serious about him, you got a lot of belief in him. ... Just being around the guy, the way he handles himself, the way he works ... how sharp he is ... see what a class act he is, what type of charisma he has, he's gonna bring a whole lot to this organization. You're always looking for that franchise guy. He's got everything you're looking for in a quarterback."

Washington hasn't had one of those since Joe Theismann's career ended with a broken leg in November 1985. The team has failed to land a franchise quarterback with Heath Shuler in 1994 and Norm Snead in 1961 and having endured generally unproductive play at the game's most important position since Brad Johnson led them to their last NFC East title in 1991. The Redskins also whiffed on first-round quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey in 2002 and Jason Campbell in 2005.

"Being a Texas kid ... I've seen the Redskins over the years, I've seen the many quarterbacks that they've gone through. I'm glad that the organization and the coaching staff bought into drafting a younger quarterback, trying to make him their franchise quarterback and growing with him," said Griffin, who threw 78 touchdown passes and just 17 interceptions in his 41 college games while finishing as Baylor's fifth-leading career rusher and with the second-most efficient season as a senior of any quarterback in NCAA history.

Shanahan, who has coached Hall of Famers John Elway and Steve Young (the latter as a coordinator), stressed the importance of a quarterback's supporting cast and defense, and the likelihood of growing pains for Griffin although "it will be a lot easier for Robert coming this year in than it would have been two years ago" before the roster had largely been redone.

While the 6-foot-2, 223-pound Griffin said he will have to work on the "verbiage" of Washington's West Coast offense, he added, that by the end of training camp, "it will be like reading the back of my hand. ... I'm a person that truly tries to lead by example. Sometimes I get tired talking about things because you want to just go do it. My dream has come true and it's up to me to figure out what I'm going to do."

The ever-confident Griffin isn't concerned about adjusting from running Baylor's spread attack to a less option-based NFL offense. After working with former NFL assistant Terry Shea on his footwork, Griffin has already met with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for six hours to get a head start on learning the scheme that he'll begin trying to implement during the May 4-6 rookie minicamp at Redskins Park before he reports for full-time duty on May 14.

"If you can play football in high school, you can be an elite college player," said Griffin, a self-described fast learner who finished Copperas Cove (Texas) High School and Baylor (political science degree) in three and a half years apiece and is working on his master's in communications. "If you're an elite college player, you can be an elite pro. I know I am a rookie, but I'm not go out and use that as an excuse. I'm gonna try to succeed. I'll savor the moment tonight. Tomorrow, I'll fly to D.C. and then we're ready to roll."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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