Let's just all agree on one thing before we talk about the prospects for the Redskins in the upcoming draft; The quarterback of the future is not currently on the roster. Donovan McNabb might be cleaning out his locker as we speak, and Rex Grossman isn't the answer to anything other than the question, "Who is the last quarterback you want starting for your team in an important playoff game?"
Like every team that has a whole at the most important position on the field, there will be plenty of Redskins fans who want the team to take a quarterback with their first round pick in April. That sounds good in theory, but there might not be a good enough quarterback available to justify such a high pick. Let's take a look at where some various mock drafts have the top QB prospects going, and if they will be available to the Skins when they pick.
Andrew Luck, Stanford.
He's the consensus top QB in the draft, and a near unanimous selection at the top overall selection. Unless the Skins decide to make a huge splash and trade up to get him, there is no way that he is in Washington next fall. It sure is nice to dream though. Hope you like Carolina blue, Andrew!
Cam Newton, Auburn.
There is some debate as to where Newton might be drafted, because it is hard to know how his dual-threat playing style will translate into the the NFL. For every Mike Vick, there are a handful of Akili Smith's and Andre Ware's. But either way, his big numbers and talent level certainly warrant being picked near where the Redskins are pegged to draft. Let's see if others feel that he'll be available.
SB Nation has Newton going two spots after the Redskins to the Vikings at 12th, while they have the Skins picking a defensive end out of Wisconsin. Here is what they say about Newton.
Let's just say that we actually believe Brett Favre this time around. Minnesota is going to be in the market for a franchise quarterback, and they won't be afraid to gamble a little on a high-upside player like the Heisman Trophy winner.
Walter Football.com, a pretty good source on all things Draft related, have Cam Newton being taken sixth overall by the San Fransisco 49ers. Four or five spots ahead of where the Skins will be drafting. Here is their rationale.
Many consider Newton unprepared to play in the NFL, but there's no denying that he possesses tremendous upside with a big arm and mobility. He's also a winner with great intangibles (see McCoy, Colt). Some front office will talk themselves into believing Newton is the next multi-threat quarterback, hoping that they can duplicate what the Eagles have right now.
Finally, we'll look at Opposing Views, who have Newton slotted all the way up at four to the Buffalo Bills.
Although Buffalo has numerous needs on both offense and defense, Coach Chan Gailey should not pass on a quarterback who can successfully run his spread offense at the pro level.
Newton is the guy who I feel will hover around the spot where the Redskins are picking for the months leading up to the draft, then skyrocket into the top five just days before the draft actually happens. This kind of thing happens nearly every year with a player that teams feel have the type of potential that could make people regret not taking them. Remember, it only takes on team to fall in love with a guy to make him a top five pick.
Teams just do not want to miss out on a player who could make as big a difference as Newton, even if there is a significant amount of risk involved. I would love for him to be available for the Redskins and I think that he would be a good pick for them based on the amount of buzz it would bring to the organization; but if he has a good performance in the National Championship game, I just don't see it happening.
Jake Locker, Washington.
Going back to school and dramatically hurting your draft stock in your senior season will henceforth be known as, "pulling a Locker." If he had come out last year, he would have been neck and neck with Sam Bradford for the top spot in the draft, and all but assured of being a top five pick. After a shaky senior season, ummmm, not so much. Just how much has he fallen, you ask?
Well, SB Nation doesn't even have him being taken in the first round. Ouch.
Walter Football has Locker going 11th to the Seahawks, but after they won last night, that is no longer where they will be drafting. But if a coin flip doesn't go their way, this is where the Skins could be picking.
Opposing Views actually have the Redskins taking Locker. Here's why:
Coachprefers mobile quarterbacks with big arms and would likely choose Washington’s Jake Locker over Arkansas’ Ryan Mallet. Locker is the quarterback your little brother created on Madden. Unfortunately, at times he’s played this year like your little brother is actually controlling him. He’s got one of the biggest arms in, runs in the 4.4’s, shows great character and toughness, and has the ability to create something out of nothing on every play. Inconsistent play and a lack of accuracy has caused Locker to drop from potential first pick status to a mid to late first round prospect.
They have being picked at 13th, so their order has not been updated after the final game of the season. I still think that would be a little too high for Locker. I don't doubt his talent, but after such a shaky season, he might not be worth the risk so high in the draft if there are other players on the board that the Redskins like as prospects. They have enough holes to fill that they don't have to take a chance on a player with such big question marks. Take the best player available, and try to fill the quarterback hole at a different time.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas.
If you wanted to create a prototypical drop-back quarterback from scratch, he would look a lot like Arkansas's Ryan Mallett. The kid has insane size for the position (right around 6'7"), and a huge arm to match. His mobility is a major question mark, but Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aren't particularly fleet of foot either.
SB Nation has Mallett going 21st overall to the Seattle Seahawks.
Sorry, Charlie Whitehurst. You may have helped the Seahawks win the NFC West, but yeah, you're not the long-term answer for Pete Carroll. Mallett's a nice value selection at this point, and could be a good system quarterback in the NFL.
Walter Football has him pegged at 14th overall to the Vikings.
Ryan Mallett is having a great season. He has maintained great accuracy (66.5%) - which is damn impressive considering his 9.9 YPA against SEC opponents.
Opposing Views has him going 16th overall to the Miami Dolphins.
Mallet is a tall, immobile pocket quarterback in the mold of Drew Bledsoe. He has an ultra quick release and has a huge arm. He can make every throw. Early on in his college career he was known as a gunslinger, and would take many risks. This season, however, he has shown a willingness to check down and composure in the passing game.
There will be quarterbacks available to the Redskins when they pick in the first round. It won't be Andrew Luck, but all three of the next tier guys could be available if the draft falls their way. It comes down to if Shanahan falls in love with any of these guys, or if they think there is another player on the board who is greater value at that pick.
We know that Shanahan loves him a mobile quarterback, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he has a bit of a crush on Cam Newton or Jake Locker. But Mallett is a great NFL prospect, so I hope Shanahan doesn't just dismiss him just because he doesn't move as well as he might like him too. We'll know a lot more about these guys after their pro days and their performances at the combine; but as of right now, they all figure to be available to the Skins. Let's hope they pick the right one.