Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 5/8/12

I am hopeful for the Redskins and their passionate fan base.  I have had the fortune of being friends with a lifelong Redskins fan, someone who spends far too much time defending what that once proud organization has become, and would love to see his continued faith in the team rewarded.

We all knew for a couple of months who the Skins were taking with their first pick in round 1.  Hell they mortgaged their future with the idea that adding a superstar at the QB position would help them grow closer to their goal of getting back to Lombardi land.

Well it starts with this draft, and the off season, which I think was ok, but what about the 2012 Washington Redskins Draft Grade?  Well let’s take a look, and see what I thought.

If you have a question of the draft “grades” check it out here.

The least suspenseful pick of the draft for Redskins fans, and the one that gives them all hope, was Robert Griffin III.

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Has elite arm strength, which few people in the NFL can match right now.  He is an electrifying athlete, who can make all the plays with his arm and his legs at the next level.

He has a great, consistent motion that allows him to release the ball high, which is important.  Has one of the best deep balls in football, all of football, with fantastic touch to go along with the power arm needed for those throws.

Griffin is a leader, a very mature and smart player that a team doesn’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by the experience of being an NFL quarterback.

When in the open field, he has better speed than most WR’s, and the natural moves to make people miss.

Lacks ideal size and build to take the pounding QB’s take at the next level.

Plays in a spread offense and doesn’t need to make the progressions on from deep to intermediate throws, as most reads are deep then check down.

Needs to show the ability to throw intermediate routes that are key to the NFL passing game.

Without a doubt this pick is the key to the next 5 years of the Redskins franchise, or is it.  I’ll get to that shortly.

I think with what Cam Newton did last season expectations may be sky high for Griffin, but let’s temper that with some reality:

  1. He plays in one of the most improved divisions, on paper in the NFL.
  2. He has to play the Super Bowl Champs, even if the bad Redskins beat them twice last year, two times.
  3. He lacks a true number one receiver to throw to.
  4. He is transitioning from an off shoot of the Mike Leach “Air Raid” offense, and needs to learn the intricacies of the NFL game.

I think Griffin will be fine, and this was easily the right pick to make.

In round 3 the Redskins went to another obvious need, but made a less obvious pick with the selection of Josh LeRibeus.

LeRibeus is a solid worker; good run blocker, strong and quick interior lineman.  He has good functional strength, and short area quickness that allows him to get on blocks and shield and turn defenders.

Incredibly hard worker and smart, intelligent player.

Not overly athletic or explosive, plays with less strength than what he actually possesses, needs to get better in his technique, and follow through in his blocks.

I want to not like this pick because he isn’t the elite athlete or high upside prospect of a lot of other guys that I had mocked, or seen mocked at this position.  The problem with that is simply that the Shannahan’s have a knack for taking dumpy offensive linemen and making them perennial Pro Bowlers.

He fits what Shannahan likes to do, and he is a smart, hard working guy, which means he will fit in with what the Skins want to do, and have a shot to succeed.

In Round 4 we got the pick that sent shockwaves throughout the draft and sent the internet into a frenzy, with Kirk Cousins being the second QB taken by the Skins in the draft.

Cousins is a solid prospect, can make all the throws, is a competitor and leader.

He isn’t the athlete, nor does he have the upside of Griffin, but that doesn’t matter and I will tell you why.

The thought that this was a wasted pick is, well it makes sense from a lot of perspectives.  The Redskins had some needs on the offensive line still and a guy like Bobby Massie was available, but I sat there when the pick was made and said to myself, “I like this.”

Here is why, one of the major concerns with RG3 is simply his ability to stay healthy, and that could be an injury occurred in week one or week ten.

I think Cousins comes in and pushes Grossman out of the QB rankings in Washington, and becomes the immediate back up, that is how much I like Cousins.  If/when RG3 gets injured you have a guy in Cousins who I’ve called the next Matt Flynn for a while.

Cousins can come in for a week, two weeks or however long is needed and give the Redskins competent QB play, and have the Redskins not miss a beat.

The upside is simple, if/when that happens; guess what that makes Cousins, a second round pick, possibly more.

Guess what the Redskins lack coming up?  Top end picks.  It is a safe pick in the fourth round because you don’t know what kind of talent you are getting in the fourth anyway, you could get a ten year starter, or a guy who doesn’t make it out of camp, but when you take a guy like Cousins you have the chance to get even more, and you get someone to protect you in case RG3 does go down.

Call it stupid, it may well show to be, but Cousins was one of my highest rated available players and even if it is an unpopular pick, it doesn’t mean it is an incorrect pick.

With their second pick in round 4 the Skins took Kennan Robinson.

Robinson is a rangy athlete, with a slight build, but excellent turn and run, and good edge play making abilities.

He comes into a position of strength at outside linebacker, but shows really good ability to add depth, and play in specialty sub packages that would allow him to play with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan and give the Skins a lot of options against the pass.

He isn’t going to come in and unseat either player, and may never develop the strength and body type needed to be an every down linebacker.

He will fit in with the specialty packages that are running rampant in the NFL right now, and it really shows the changing landscape of the NFL with the way teams are making picks.

Adam Gettis added to the offensive line haul in the draft for the Skins in round 5.

Gettis projects to be a guard in the NFL, and has good size and works hard on every down.

He doesn’t have the natural strength, or quickness to be more than a back up right now, but if he comes in and works hard, he has the chance to make the roster and earn a shot to play.

In round 6 the Redskins added a very good zone runner in Alfred Morris.

He is a good runner, with strong balance, and good vision.  Is very effective as an inside runner and sees the hole and explodes to it without hesitation or dancing.

Morris is an excellent blocker in the running game or passing game and should be able to flip between being a RB or FB at the next level.

He isn’t overly fast, and although he is a stout player, needs to get bigger and stronger in his upper body to make sure he can take a pounding at the next level.

Reminds me of a smaller Olandis Gary, and could prove to be used in a similar role to the ex-Broncos running back.

With their other pick in round 6 the Redskins added a player in Tom Compton that I really like.

Compton is a well built, strong offensive line prospect.

Most see him as a guard at the next level, but I like him as a RT in the Redskins zone scheme.

Has great movement, strong at the point of attack and is an aggressive blocker who locks on and punishes his defender.

Doesn’t have great athleticism, and can get beat on the edge by speed, but possesses a smart sense for the game that will allow him to anticipate and catch even when he is going up against superior athletes.

I think Compton has a chance to come in and win a job right away, and I actually like him, and his skill set better than any of the other offensive linemen taken by the Skins in this draft.

In round 7 the Skins went with athleticism and raw potential taking two defensive backs in Richard Crawford and Jordan Bernstine.

Crawford is an athlete, who also has return skills, but doesn’t look overly comfortable in dropping on the defensive side of the ball, and despite his good speed, has average foot quickness and reaction timing.

Bernstine is the opposite, he possesses better foot work, and is a tough aggressive competitor, but isn’t overly athletic and can get beat because of that.

Overall:  This draft really hinges on RG3, and while that may be a copout by me, it is the truth.

I liked the Redskins going with need in abundance, but wasn’t overly enthused with who they selected in those positions, and thought LeRibeus could have been had later in the draft.

I did like the selections of Cousins and Compton in the later rounds, and if Cousins develops like I think he can, will be effective trade bait in a couple of seasons.

That being said, this is the first draft that I will say, Hey At Least it’s still a Draft, giving it my lowest rating.


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