The Washington Redskins have pulled off a trade for the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft, sending three first-round picks and a second-round selection to the St. Louis Rams in a bid to draft Heisman trophy- winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, two people with knowledge of the situation said late Friday.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, known for big splashes during his tenure, authorized the blockbuster move even as the team’s hopes of signing free agent superstar Peyton Manning were fading Friday. The Redskins will send their first-round (sixth overall) and second-round picks in this year’s draft, plus first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, for what is expected to be the selection of Baylor’s Griffin.
Griffin, however, may need time to adjust to the NFL game. He ran a college-style spread offense at Baylor, winning the Heisman Trophy — the top award in college football — after passing for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also ran the 40 yard dash in 4.41 seconds at last month’s NFL Scouting Combine, speed that would make many wide receivers envious.
“This is the best throwing athlete I’ve seen come out in a while,” said former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick, who now works for the NFL Network. “Far better than [Philadelphia Eagles quarterback] Michael Vick, in my opinion. Far better than [Carolina Panthers quarterback] Cam Newton.”
The Redskins had been in discussions with the Rams to acquire the No. 2 pick since the combine. The Rams, who already have third-year pro Sam Bradford at quarterback, sought to swap the pick for draft choices that would expedite their rebuilding process.
It was believed that the Rams would command a price similar to the one exacted by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, when they received two first-round picks, a third-round selection and a fifth-rounder from the New York Giants for Eli Manning, Peyton Manning’s younger brother.
But Washington gave up much more — an indication of team officials’ high opinion of Griffin, and of the pressure to turn the Redskins into winners. If Griffin is as good as advertised, he will ignite a struggling franchise and buy Shanahan more time.
“You’re not giving [those picks] away. You’re getting a quarterback who has star power,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Thursday when asked about the price of moving up to acquire the Rams’ pick and the chance to draft Griffin. “I don’t care about the spots you move up. It’s a quarterback-driven league. Griffin is red-hot right now. . . . Dan Snyder knows what [the Redskins] need, and they’ve got to get a quarterback. They beat the Giants twice, and they beat Green Bay a year ago. He knows the missing link in Washington is quarterback.”
Good or bad move? Leave it in the comments.