With a debate raging on who the Redskins might draft in two weeks, I thought I'd make three bold predictions surrounding players the Redskins might be considering.
1. Colin Kaepernick will be a better NFL quarterback than Jake Locker:
I know Locker gets the hype and is widely considered the better of the two quarterback prospects, but I wouldn't count out Colin Kaepernick as the better NFL quarterback. Now a lot will depend on what teams these quarterbacks go to, and how they are handled, but pound for pound I'll take Kaepernick over Locker any day.
Locker is not without his merits. Locker is a leader, and a hard worker, who looks to be an excellent teammate on the field and a great citizen off of it. Unfortunately Locker can't get by on character alone. While Locker comes from a pro style offense and has a good arm and athletic ability, it hasn't translated to success on the field. Locker's struggles weren't just while he was at Washington, but also carried over to Senior Bowl week, a time where he worked with exceedingly more talent than he had at UW. Locker's struggles at Senior Bowl really exposed some serious questions and weaknesses, that lead me to believe that Locker will need to remake himself to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Kaepernick has all the same positives that Locker has, and he doesn't have near the question marks that Locker has. That's not to say that Kaepernick is the perfect quarterback prospect, but rather one that has a higher upside and likelihood of being successful. Kaepernick really impressed me with his Senior Bowl week performance, where he showed to be well above Locker, despite never playing in a Pro Style system.
2. One of A.J. Green or Julio Jones will end up being a bust:
I know this is a tough pill for most to swallow, but if you look historically it is a pretty safe bet to make. Here are the 1st round receivers since the year 2000, with their pick selection in parenthesis:
2000: (4) Peter Warrick, (8) Plaxico Burress, (10) Travis Taylor, (21) Slyvester Morris, (29) R.J. Soward
2001: (8) David Terrell, (9) Koren Robinson, (15) Rod Gardner, (16) Santana Moss, (25) Freddie Mitchell, (30) Reggie Wayne
2002: (13) Donte Stallworth, (19) Ashley Lelie, (20) Javon Walker
2003: (1) Charles Rogers, (3) Andre Johnson, (17) Bryant Johnson
2004: (3) Larry Fitzgerald, (7) Roy Williams, (9) Reggie Williams, (13) Lee Evans, (15) Michael Clayton, (29) Michael Jenkins, (31) Rashaun Woods
2005: (3) Braylon Edwards, (7) Troy Williamson, (10) Mike Williams, (21) Matt Jones, (22) Mark Clayton, (27) Roddy White
2006: (25) Santonio Holmes
2007: (2) Calvin Johnson, (9) Ted Ginn Jr., (23) Dwayne Bowe, (27) Robert Meachem, (30) Craig Davis, (32) Anthony Gonzalez
2008: No 1st round receivers, and for the argument that Desean Jackson was 1st round material, he was the 7th WR taken so obviously quite a few teams didn't consider him elite.
2009: (7) Darrius Heyward-Bey, (10) Michael Crabtree, (19) Jeremy Maclin, (22) Percy Harvin, (29) Hakeem Nicks, (30) Kenny Britt
2010: (22) Demaryius Thomas, (24) Dez Bryant
That is 45 1st round receivers in 11 years (but only 10 drafts since 2008 didn't have any 1st round WR's). But the success rate is far less. Outright successes from 2000-2007 (since it is a bit unfair to judge the last two drafts) are few and far between, as the only big successes are Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Reggie Wayne. You can make strong cases for Santana Moss and Roddy White, but it took both of them a couple of years to have any real impact for their teams. Santonio Holmes, Lee Evans, and Braylon Edwards have been good, but I would hardly put them in the elite category. Same goes for guys like Bowe and Meachem, who right now could go either way. Plaxico Burress could have maybe gone in the elite or great category, but his off the field troubles do weigh into the success rate for receivers.
What's even more telling, and that applies more to the Green/Jones statement I made, is the fact that 17 receivers have been taken in the top 15 picks from 2000-2007, and of those only A. Johnson, C. Johnson, and Fitzgerald are the major successes and even guys like Lee Evans and Braylon Edwards look less valuable considering where they were taken in the round. In that time we haven't once seen a draft produce two elite top 15 receivers, which leads me back to my original statement.
Green and Jones both have the potential to be elite talents, but the fact of the matter is they likely won't both make it to that level. Also, it is worth noting that only 4 times in past years (Both Johnson's, Fitzgerald, and Plaxico) did either the 1st or 2nd receiver from a draft class end up being the best WR from that entire class (for those pointing to Santonio Holmes, both Greg Jennings and Brandon Marshall were drafted later).
3. The Redskins will trade back out of the first round:
Now this is different from actually trading away their first pick, which has been a problem in the past, but I legitimately think the Redskins could end up moving out of the first round.
Washington has so many needs (really at every position) that just drafting at 10 and 41 won't come close to filling them. The Redskins are without their 3rd and 4th round picks, making moving back an even smarter idea.
While this draft class is panned by some I think it is deep in the areas that the Redskins need the most help, such as interior offensive linemen, defensive linemen, outside linebackers, inside linebackers, quarterbacks, and receivers. This makes trading back a more ideal scenario since the Redskins could pick up multiple 2nd and 3rd round picks, and add a number of good players instead of trying to focus on one potentially elite player.
Tell me what you think and what bold predictions do you have for the Skins?
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.