Late on Friday night the Redskins traded three first round picks and a second round pick to the St Louis Rams for the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. While most Redskins fans literally leapt for joy - I might have punched the air a bit too - some were troubled at the high price paid by Shanahan & Co. For every ecstatic Redskins fan there was at least one smug comment by somebody whose team already has a franchise quarterback, acting like it's easy to find "the guy" and laughing at how much the Redskins had to give up. It isn't easy and the price was right. The Redskins got market value for a franchise quarterback and if you think otherwise you're seriously undervaluing the position. There's a lot of reasons why the Baylor product was worth what the Redskins paid.
Most importantly, RG3 fits Shanahan's system perfectly. Shanahan's offense is mobile, and its QB has to be able to move out of the pocket and make plays in stride which is something RG3 excels at. That QB also needs to have a big arm and be able to stretch the field, something else we know RG3 possesses. At least in this sense RG3 is a better option than Andrew Luck, who is more the classic pocket passer. RG3 can cover for the Redskins' other deficiencies. Assuming the Redskins don't address their needs in free agency (which they should given their cap room), the Redskins' biggest offensive needs are on the O-Line (the guard position, specifically) and at the receiving corps. RG3's natural athleticism will help address these issues - he's mobile enough to avoid pressure and he's more than capable of taking off and making plays when none of his receivers are open. [caption id="attachment_13732" align="alignright" width="295" caption="Image Courtesy of Randy Holland of http://homelesszombie.com/"][/caption] The other 'draftable' QBs aren't great, but the Redskins would still have to give up a first round pick to get one. It's hard to imagine the Redskins being able to pick up one of the few decent options available outside of Luck and RG3 for anything less than a first round pick. Last year's draft saw the likes of Ponder, Locker and Gabbert go much too early and this year's potential QBs aren't particularly appealing either. Of the top three remaining after Luck and RG3: one only played QB at a college level for a year and a half (Tannehill); another is 28 years old (Weeden) and the third has accuracy issues (Osweiler). Even so, with so many teams looking for help at QB those players would have to be reached for. The difference is that while I like them fine (especially Weeden), I certainly don't love them and neither should the Redskins. It's smarter to give up three picks to select RG3 or Luck than give up one to select any of the others. Forgetting the unobtainable Peyton Manning, the free agent class is pretty uninspired too. The Redskins were right to target Manning - he'd be perfect to start for a few years while another QB waits in study - but the reality of the situation is that he's not going to come to DC. So who's left? Matt Flynn is the next Kevin Kolb. Kyle Orton epitomises the 'ok' QB. What about Jason Campbell? We tried that and it didn't take. RG3 is not JaMarcus Russell, and he is certainly not Ryan Leaf. Let's get one thing straight: RG3 is better than those guys. The warning signs were there for both of those players. While they were outstanding athletes like RG3, neither of them possessed his intelligence, humble attitude or work ethic. RG3 is not only a great throw and a terrific athlete, he's a leader, he's ready to learn, and he's willing to wait on the bench and improve if its necessary. It's telling that after the Combine the coaches, scouts and commentators raved most about his charisma and intelligence in interviews, despite his astonishing 40 yard dash (4.41 seconds). This isn't a knee-jerk Hail Mary - it's a calculated risk. This isn't the Dan Snyder and Vinne Cerrato era. While Snyder is still the owner, Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen are definitely in charge - the days of frivolous trades for aging talent are gone. Last year's draft proves that the 'Skins are a much more careful and intelligent franchise. The Redskins needed a QB last year and they could have pulled the trigger on any player after Cam Newton, but realizing that none of them had what the 'Skins want in a QB they held off. Instead, they tried to work with what they had. Ponder, Locker or Gabbert might have done better than Beck and Grossman last year, but the 2011 Draft indicates the level of consideration that Shanahan is putting into choosing his future QB. When he knew that RG3 was 'it', he pulled the trigger and got his man. [caption id="attachment_13727" align="aligncenter" width="468" caption="Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen commenting on Owner Dan Snyder's Support."][/caption] RG3 is a banner to be waved. One of the most interesting effects of the trade might occur in free agency: the Redskins can now use Robert Griffin to help them grab the free agents they need. It's kind of like college recruiting - RG3 is a highly touted talent and the media and fans love him. With RG3 as your QB of the future, it'll be easier to attract a talented WR. Now that the Redskins have secured their franchise QB they can concentrate on free agency and use RG3 as a selling point. What do the Redskins have to lose? Nothing. The Redskins haven't won their division in 12 years (1999) and have only had two winning seasons in the last decade. They've been ranked at the bottom of the NFC East the last four years in a row. Draft picks have been wasted on far more hopeless prospects than RG3, I assure you. Not having a 1st round pick the next two years is a small price to pay. The Redskins need a franchise QB. The Redskins haven't had a franchise quarterback for a long time - maybe for twenty years. They've suffered accordingly. Poor trades, blowout contracts and uninspired drafting (Jason Campbell wasn't elite by any measure) had all but neutered the Skins' chances in the ultra-competitive NFC East. How can any team expect to win in a division that hosts some of the best pass rushers in the league without Eli Manning's cool or Michael Vick's mobility? They can't, and they shouldn't. There's a reason why teams who have unspectacular talent at QB like the Seahawks, the Broncos and the Cardinals are in the mix to get Peyton Manning: they know the difference between 'good' and 'elite'. So does Shanahan. Make no mistake about it, Robert Griffin III is elite. While Andrew Luck still represents the universal "sure thing", the gap between RG3 and Luck is paper-thin. Many think RG3 has more upside and greater potential, so of course he was going to cost a King's ransom to acquire but frankly, that's how much RG3 is worth. I'm fully invested in this trade. It feels great. It might not last, but right now I'd rather be this guy chanting "this woman can't calm me down right now!" in excitement than this one (LANGUAGE WARNING): http://youtu.be/aZ5pTZOHlcw Hail to the Redskins, baby. What do you think? Post in comments and let us know!