With today's surprise announcement that Matt Barkley is returning to USC (and the rumors that Robert Griffin the III and Landry Jones could soon follow), Skins fans seem to be in a frenzy about what to do at quarterback next year. While it is an understandable concern when you stare at a depth chart of Rex Grossman and John Beck, it shouldn't be one that keeps Redskins fans up at night.
Even if the Redskins were not to win another game their chances at Griffin or Barkley were pretty slim. In addition to a team like Browns drafting ahead of them the Redskins had to worry about teams like the Dolphins, Seahawks or Chiefs would be a good position to trade up ahead of the Redskins. They are deeper teams and could afford giving up the extra picks needed in a deal. As for Landry Jones, his stock has been falling, and he's just not a good fit for the Redskins offensive style.This means that the only effect Barkley's decision has on Washington is it means another team will be competing with them for a QB in the 2nd round.
So what is left for the Skins?
Well even with the loss of one or more juniors this draft is still pretty deep among signal callers. The Redskins would probably be wise to look to trade back with a team looking for a RB, WR or CB, and try to stockpile picks. Not only does this fill multiple needs, but it helps ensure they are in a position to grab a QB. Here are the three the Redskins should be targeting:
Ryan Tannehill- Tannehill's numbers weren't as glamorous as some of the other big name quarterbacks, but he could end up being the best fit for this offense. He's smart, he's mobile, and he throws well on the run. His accuracy can be streaky at times, but overall he throws a number of balls on the numbers. He had a lot of elements of a pro style offense in college, as his coach was former Packers Head Coach, and Seahawks and Texans offensive coordinator (yes he was the OC in Houston before Kyle Shanahan and ran the Shanahan offense under Kubiak). Tannehill also showed a great attitude, when he lost the starting QB job as a (RS) freshman, by switching positions instead of transferring. He stayed at wide receiver for his first 30 college games, before taking over the starting QB duties mid-way through 2010.
Brandon Weeden- If Weeden was 21 or 22 he'd easily be in the top 15 discussion, but he pursued a baseball career first, and now is 28 years old. While his age does work against him, it can also help him, as his transition to the NFL shouldn't be as cumbersome. He understands the discipline and daily grind of being a professional athlete, as well as the media attention and scrutiny of being a high pick. Weeden is more NFL ready than most QB prospects and could fit in early next season. He might not have a 10 year window of success, but he is a safer bet than most for the next 5-7 years.
Nick Foles- No quarterback has done more with less than Foles these last two seasons, but he also gets scrutizied due to his lack of wins. While the losses did mount, the fact remains that the talent around him was worse than most FCS teams. Foles is a big strong armed prospect, with good potential. His decision making and accuracy have improved, and he definitely looks like a guy who can start. I think with the top guys leaving he is firmly in the 2nd round discussion.
Additionally, if Griffin and Jones both stay in school as well, you could see guys like Arizona State's Brock Osweiler, Florida State's E.J. Manuel, or Arkansas's Tyler Wilson declare and become options as well. The Redskins shouldn't tempt fate though, and look to find at least a decent free agent option as well. Be it Matt Flynn, Kyle Orton, Chad Henne or Drew Stanton, to go along with Rex Grossman for next year. Washington can improve their quarterback situation even if they don't take one in the top 15 picks.
Steve Shoup has been a Redskins fan his entire life and dreams of the day they get back to the glory days of his youth. In addition to his regular piece on Hogs Haven, you can find his daily writings at Fanspeak.com.