Imagine the absurdity of the Redskins trading into the No. 2 pick while giving away a quarterback. The Redskins were in a similar spot in 2012, but they traded a bundle of draft capital to move up for a quarterback. At that point, they drafted Robert Griffin III and set the franchise on a totally different course. Oh, did they.
The beautiful irony of that draft was the actual quarterback of the future came in the fourth round, Kirk Cousins. The cherry on top of this sundae is Cousins has finally taken over, as the Redskins managed to screw up the chance to sign him long-term. A simple, “Hey, here’s a five-year deal with $50 million guaranteed” offer in 2015 -- or even 2016 -- probably would have sufficed. Instead, Washington conceivably could spend $44 million over two years on a quarterback who walks away.
That’s hardly appetizing, hence the idea of a trade. There’s reportedly only one team Cousins would sign a long-term deal with after a trade, the San Francisco 49ers. The Redskins won’t take the No. 33 pick for Cousins and the 49ers won’t give the No. 2 pick for him either. The only logical compromise, which ends with Kyle Shanahan getting a quarterback he trusts and Washington ditching a quarterback it clearly doesn’t want to pay, is swapping the No. 2 pick for the No. 17 pick and Cousins.
Clearly a franchise quarterback is worth more than 15 draft slots, but the cost of inking Cousins to a long-term deal is pretty prohibitive. So how about the 49ers throw in a conditional 2018 fourth-round pick that becomes a third-round pick if Cousins starts all 16 games and becomes a first-round pick if the 49ers make the playoffs?
The Redskins get the upside of the RG3 trade coupled with the ability to get off the huge deal they don’t want to give Cousins. Go out and get a guy like Jay Cutler to be a bridge quarterback with the cap space and figure something else out.
Even if you don’t like the compensation, you can at least appreciate the effort. Feel free to leave what you think the deal should be in the comments (* indicates coin flip coming up Friday to determine teams picking No. 14 and No. 15).
1. Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: It’s fun to imagine a world where the Browns don’t take Garrett No. 1 overall, but it’s not realistic. They need so much help in so many different places that it would be absurd to draft anything other than the best player available.
2. Washington Redskins (from San Francisco)
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama: And here’s the biggest win for the Redskins. They get to nab a monster on the defensive line, who can immediately improve them on that side of the ball. Offense is a different issue, of course, after losing their starting quarterback and top two receivers.
3. Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: Letting Jay Cutler go (we presume) as well as Alshon Jeffery (as reported) is going to put the Bears in a crunch of finding quality position players. Getting a quarterback of the future would do them well.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: This is too high for a running back in theory, but it worked very well for the Cowboys. And Fournette qualifies as a potential generational talent. It’s a question of using him correctly in this spot.
5. Tennessee Titans (from L.A. Rams)
Jamal Adams, S, LSU: A versatile secondary piece is extremely helpful for the Titans, and this pick should be further proof of why their move down from No. 1 last year was so smart. Already sporting an interesting roster, they’re sitting on two great picks.
6. New York Jets
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: It’s not hard to project these guys taking an immediate winner with a quality pedigree. The Jets have struggled at the position and need immediate help for a regime that will be under pressure in 2017. Watson absolutely fits the bill on both fronts.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker, DB, Ohio State: Adding another playmaker to an underrated and dangerous defense is only going to make the Chargers more likely to take a jump forward next season.
8. Carolina Panthers
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: Sticking with this pick ahead of the combine, and I think the only issue the Panthers will face is Thomas blowing up Indy with incredible athletic performances and making him unavailable at No. 8.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: There are plenty of issues for the Bengals, but the Vontaze Burfict thing has to be lingering. He has something like $40 million in fines ahead, right? OK, it’s actually somewhere less than $1M, but it’s still a lot.
10. Buffalo Bills
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: This pick might hinge on the status of Tyrod Taylor, because without him the Bills are definitely going to consider a quarterback at this spot. For now we’re going to hold off on that projection and give them a pass rusher who best fits with a 4-3 front (which we assume Sean McDermott is going to use).
11. New Orleans Saints
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State: The expected release of Jairus Byrd adds pressure to bolster an already thin secondary. There are some big names on the market in free agency, but New Orleans needs an influx of young talent there.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: A wide receiver would be interesting value because of how these guys slipped, but the Browns probably feel like they’re in a decent spot with Terrelle Pryor (assuming he returns) and Corey Coleman. Instead, they can shore up a secondary on a defense that’s starting to compile some good pieces.
13. Arizona Cardinals
DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: Big, strong-armed dude who might need a year to sit and learn. Carson Palmer is willing to be a mentor for whoever the Cardinals bring in, and that means we could see Arizona take a quarterback in the first round if someone falls.
14. *Indianapolis Colts
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: Improving the defense is paramount, but so is protecting Andrew Luck. The Colts certainly could improve on the offensive line in free agency and that might provide more immediate returns, but adding young bodies to develop in front of Luck is a need as well.
15. *Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida: We can stick with this possibility for now, right up until Jamaal Charles signs with the Eagles and they decide they have a bounceback candidate in-house at running back. Doug Pederson and Charles are too natural of a fit not to happen.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA: The Ravens need pass-rushing youth and are in a bit of retool on defense anyway. McKinley is a versatile athlete with a ton of upside.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Washington)
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: And doesn’t this work out nicely? The 49ers went out and got a quarterback by trading down 15 spots, and now they give Cousins a weapon in Davis. Sprinkle in Pierre Garcon in free agency and this offense could do some things in Kyle Shanahan’s first year.
18. Tennessee Titans
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Tennessee certainly needs some defensive help, but it can’t pass on the opportunity to draft a top-flight weapon for Marcus Mariota. This would give the Titans Delanie Walker and Howard to utilize in power-run schemes and make them a fascinating offense to watch.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
John Ross, WR, Washington: A popular choice in our mocks, Ross to Tampa makes so much sense because of how he would pair with Mike Evans.
20. Denver Broncos
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: John Elway goes rogue and stuns everyone by getting the versatile weapon from his alma mater. McCaffrey was wildly productive in college and immediately would impact multiple facets on offense and special teams.
21. Detroit Lions
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: Pass rush should be a very important aspect of this offseason for a team that produced only 26 sacks in 2016.
Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky: With Branden Albert gone and Laremy Tunsil kicking outside, the Dolphins can keep building an impressive offensive line.
23. New York Giants
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: Holding onto Jason Pierre-Paul was a huge first step to keeping the defensive front together. Now the Giants can add another piece.
24. Oakland Raiders
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington: The Raiders pounce on secondary value late in the first round to help a defensive backfield that needs young corner talent.
25. Houston Texans
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech: The Texans know they can’t go into the season with Brock Osweiler as their quarterback. In this scenario, we’ll assume they struck out on Tony Romo in free agency.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Garett Bolles, OL, Utah: John Schneider admitted at the combine that in 2017 it’s hard not to draft for need sometimes. Need, meet Seahawks.
27. Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: Surprising fall for Williams here! This spot means Kansas City is forced to ignore the defense for now and add another weapon for Alex Smith (or Tony Romo?).
28. Dallas Cowboys
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: The Cowboys have to address cornerback and it’s slim pickings if they don’t fill the need in this draft.
29. Green Bay Packers
Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: Unless they bring back Nick Perry, the Packers are going to be sorely in need of pass rush help.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: The Steelers have some need at linebacker, even after bringing back James Harrison. You really can’t have too many young pass rushers.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: Anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows the Falcons need to improve their pass rush.
32. New England Patriots
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington: What a perfectly Patriots player.