Eyeing Redskins' QB options: Drafting plan for Griffin?

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Sports,Redskins,John Keim

Trading up is only way to get QB from Baylor

If free agency doesn't produce the Redskins' next starting quarterback, then the draft definitely will. They won't be able to trade with Indianapolis for the No. 1 pick -- and Andrew Luck. But that leaves Baylor's Robert Griffin III as a possibility.

Why it makes sense »

Griffin is a dynamic player who will likely go No. 2 in the draft. He's the full package: athletic, accurate, strong arm, high intangibles, great work ethic and brains. Baylor coaches have told evaluators and scouts that Griffin will blow teams away in interviews. He also has a quick release. Plus, Griffin can make plays when under duress, especially on the edges. He has the arm to make throws outside the pocket, a must in Mike Shanahan's system. I like that Griffin improved a tremendous amount at Baylor, becoming much more of a quarterback. He threw only six interceptions in 402 passing attempts last season. In his last two college seasons, he threw a combined 14 interceptions in 856 pass attempts. Getting Griffin would provide hope and a building block at the most important position. If he reaches his potential, it would be an awfully exciting time in Washington for the next decade or so.

Why it doesn't »

It's hard to project how Griffin would do in this offense. Yes, he's mobile, but he's spent the bulk of his time in shotgun formation. There will be a learning curve. There are concerns about his durability; he's 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. He's not a little guy, but he's not big either and because he extends plays with his legs, that'll lead to more hits. Some scouts have said he needs to improve his footwork on shorter routes. Yes, it'll cost a lot to get him and that could prevent Washington from finding other pieces it needs.

Where they can get him » They'll have to trade up with St. Louis at No. 2 to get him. Cleveland controls this situation because it has two first-round picks, including No. 4 overall. It would be tough to beat their offer. But if they're not interested then the Redskins are in a good spot. They would give the Rams the ability to trade back and still get a high pick. The early rumors are about the cost being three first-round picks. That's tough to see; the price always drops on draft day. In 2004, New York essentially moved from No. 4 to No. 1 with San Diego for Eli Manning by giving the Chargers a third-rounder that year and then a first and a fifth in 2005. In 2001, Atlanta traded their first-round pick (fifth overall), a third-rounder as well as a second-round pick in 2002 plus receiver Tim Dwight to get the No. 1 pick and Michael Vick.

Chances of it happening » Decent. If the Redskins can't get Peyton Manning, the guess is they'll be aggressive. They won't get to Super Bowl contention by signing Kyle Orton and drafting a guy in the fourth or fifth round to groom. That's a recipe for mediocrity. Keep in mind that after taking 12 rookies last year, the Redskins do not need a big draft class again this year. Also, they have a lot of cap space available (approximately $40 million) to spend in free agency. So a lot of needs they have could be met before the draft, leaving them one big need still to fill.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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