Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Eye on the draft: Weekly Redskins watch
By Nick Wagoner
ST. LOUIS -- Through the first seven weeks of the season, we've used this space to chronicle the potential first-round draft position of the Washington Redskins because that pick ultimately belongs to the St. Louis Rams. We haven't spent much time looking at what the Rams' own pick might look like.
But the repercussions of all that happened Sunday afternoon may ultimately linger into May when the Rams enter the draft with a pair of first-round picks. By now, everyone knows the team lost quarterback Sam Bradford for the season because of a torn ACL in his left knee. The team sits at 3-4 after its loss to Carolina and, without Bradford, is going to have to pull off its share of surprises to win enough games to avoid a pick in the top 10-12 or so.
Meanwhile, in our nation's capital, the Redskins pulled off a surprising home win in a shootout against the Chicago Bears, another team which lost its quarterback in the game, though only for about a month. That victory moved Washington to 2-4 on the season but of more import as far as Rams' fans are concerned should be the play of quarterback Robert Griffin III, who looked more like his old self than at any point this season.
Although the Redskins defense continues to struggle mightily, if Griffin gets hot the Redskins could still make a run to compete in a weak NFC East. As it stands, they're only a game and a half out of first place in the division. There are some tough games on Washington's schedule in the near future, including a game in Denver this week, but things lighten up a bit on the back half of the schedule.
If the NFL draft was tomorrow, the Rams would have the seventh pick (via Washington) and 15th pick (their own). After what happened on Sunday, though, those numbers could well be trending in opposite directions.
Making matters more complicated for the Rams with a look toward the actual draft is the Rams' situation at quarterback. Coach Jeff Fisher gave Bradford something of an endorsement Monday by saying Bradford will return and "he's our quarterback." Plenty can change between now and April but it says here the Rams need to spend some draft capital on another quarterback at some point.
Even if that pick isn't a first-rounder, the Rams would be wise to spend a pick in the early rounds (say by round three or so) to give themselves a better backup option with some upside. On the surface, this appears to be the year to do just that in what could be a quarterback-rich draft.
Our Mel Kiper Jr. updated his list of the top 10 college players at each position and the group of possible signal callers offers plenty of intrigue.
Kiper's top 10 quarterbacks (in order): Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, UCLA's Brett Hundley, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Baylor's Bryce Petty, Miami's Stephen Morris, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo
The first nine on that list have all been mentioned as players who could go in the top three rounds. Of course, the first four are underclassmen and if they return to school, the depth of the position would vanish instantly.