Mulling over the Redskins this year, you can see a lot of weaknesses on this team. A lot. But you can also see some foundations slowly being built that one hopes will grow. On the defense we have the threesome of Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, and Jarvis Jenkins (hopefully) that if all works out could become a ferocious group. Even the much-maligned offensive line, I've noticed slowly some players starting to step up like Will Montgomery and Willie Smith that could, hopefully, add depth when our line his finally healthy. But above all, even more than the defensive backs, no unit on this team is weaker than wide-receiver. We all love Santana Moss, he'll go down as one of the great Redskins of all time, but he's being asked to be more than he is. He's the perfect slot receiver who can slice and dice a defense over the middle. He's not a #1. In this league, you need that monster receiver who can just go get a ball that is thrown up there. Rex Grossman is a built-in 2 turnover a game guy, but part of that reason is in his entire career the man has never had an elite #1 receiver (I can't think of any in Chicago). This is not to say that Grossman would somehow morph into Drew Brees if he had Megatron lining up for him. But that dimension is missing for the Redskins and has been for a long long time, which means offensively Grossman is being asked to throw it deep to guys that can't just "go get it." Now he does it anyways, but that isn't always a bad thing.
Enter: Justin Blackmon.
The Oklahoma State wide receiver has the chance to become a Calvin Johnson or Andre Johnson-type. Explosive, athletic, a receiver who can impose his will on a game. His slash this year at OSU was 113/1336yards/11/.8 average/15TDs. Sick.
Now, this all depends on the jockeying of the various terrible teams in the league. As of the most recent Hogs Haven draft watch, this might be a bit of a stretch. We know Indianapolis is going QB . . . Andrew Luck. Minnesota is an interesting case because they, like Washington, could go a million different ways here. They have the QB, they have a running back, but need help everywhere else. Offensive line is probably the most important thing they need, but they could take Blackmon here. Then St. Louis, who upgraded with Brandon Llyod but no doubt would go for Blackmon. But they, too, need help everywhere else. And I wouldn't put it past St. Louis to trade Sam Bradford if it meant getting Grffin or Barkley for half of what pre-lockout Bradford cost them. Or they could just trade down. Or they could take Blackmon.
But let's assume the chips fall and Blackmon is there for Washington. I'm beginning to think its not such a bad idea to pass on Griffin or Barkley and take him. Why?
http://www.sbnation.com/admin/entries/new?community_id=61&entry_type=FanPostEnter: Brandon Weeden.
I know this might be getting silly. But this year's draft is interesting because of how truly deep the quarterbacks are. Last year we saw guys like Ponder and Gabbert move high up in the draft because it was a weak draft for QBs and some franchises felt so much pressure to get their QB they took them too early because there was not a lot of choices. This year is different. Guys like Kellen Moore, Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill would have gone first round last year. Weeden and Tennehill, I argue, are better than Gabbert and Ponder. Real depth is here and I think the Skins . . . assuming youngsters like Leonard Hankerson and Roy Helu develop into true NFL players . . . .can take a gamble on Blackmon high up and count that you can get a good QB down low.
So why Weeden? Its not just to be cute with a funny blog title and the coincidence that Weeden and Blackmon lit up the Big 12 (except Ames) the last two years. Weeden is big, has a powerful arm, and can mover around - the kind of movement someone like Big Ben does. What some people are holding against him, the fact that he's 28, I think is a positive. The Shanahan system requires discipline and maturity, something that Weeden has. I think at 28 he can come in and be more comfortable commanding not only the offense, but the huddle and the locker room as well. It also makes him low risk/high reward. They wont' have to spend near-as much money for him, his upside is huge, and if it fails it won't be as spectacular.
But the moral of the story isn't necessarily to make it Weeden, though I really like him. But guys like Wilson, Tannehill (who some people really like) and Moore have as much of a chance to be great in the NFL as Luck, Griffin, and Barkley but won't have the same pressure, nor will it cost as much. If the Skins can pull this off, they could address QB and WR in the first two rounds and then draft offensive lineman with the rest of their picks.
You know what? I'm not even sure this is realistic or smart. But my worry is that over-focusing on Barkley or Griffin without fully evaluating what is in this draft - and it looks to be an incredible one - could blind us to the fact that we could fill a lot of needs and move us forward as an organization much faster than just picking Griffin or Barkley.