When I saw the headline touting Peyton Manning's potential lightning-quick rise to general manager in the league, I immediately wondered: which current player for the Washington Redskins would make the best general manager? I think I would agree that Manning would succeed in the front office if that is what he wants to do, and it is probably safe to assume multiple teams would be interested in giving him that chance. As for the guys in burgundy and gold, is there anyone who jumps out as a guy who could lead an organization in that fashion? For the purpose of this discussion, I am considering someone that could come in and take an apprenticeship under McLovin, and I am assuming that everyone wants the job.
I didn't even know how to begin. On one hand, Peyton has had some experience working in close proximity to one of the greatest general managers in the history of the NFL--Bill Polian. He shared a "football nerdiness" with Polian, engaging in conversation about draft prospects as well as the roster make-up of the other NFL teams. In Washington, I feel like this should automatically eliminate from contention any Redskins player who was here at the same time as Vinny Cerrato. Unless I am wrong (always a bet with decent odds), that eliminates only one player: DeAngelo Hall. (Can that be right? NO players left on this roster that Vinny drafted or signed? Wow.) The next most-tenured player on our roster appears to be Jason Hatcher (and I am using the Redskins.com roster as of today, which means a couple names are missing, like Kirk Cousins for example), and while I think that tenure is a good measure of a guy's knowledge and experience, there is NO WAY I am putting a former Dallas Cowboy in my front office. Speaking of experience with the best, it bears mentioning that Pierre Garcon was drafted by Bill Polian. I haven't heard many stories about Polian and Garcon trading draft strategies, but justbeing in the same building as Polian gives you cred. Garcon is on the list.
Next, I looked to see if we had any Ivy League, Ryan Fitzpatrick/Harvard-type guys. Surely a player from a school like that would be a possible candidate. The closest I came was Trent Murphy from Stanford, and no offense to the Cardinal, but I have yet to see Murphy's inner-GM. Speaking of smart, the quarterback position tends to pop up as an intellectual home. The only quarterback listed on the roster now is Robert Griffin III, and the truth is that I think RG3 could someday make a decent executive in the league. I happen to think he could make the kinds of hard decisions necessary to running a front office. My hangup lies in his history with our franchise. I don't really want the centerpiece of one of the worst NFL trades ever pulling the trigger on deals. The trade with the Rams was not RG3's fault, but he is stained by it, and it would color the analysis of pretty much everything he would do as GM here. In this case, I think it is best if Griffin and the Redskins go their separate ways forever--and we might also want to avoid orchestrating a major deal with Griffin when he is the GM of another team. I don't know which direction karma would flow on that one, but better not to risk it. Jamison Crowder was an Academic All-American out of Duke, and though he is only a rookie, I spent most of the season marveling at his grasp of our offense and ability to produce in it. He plays a very important position in today's NFL, and does so at a size not common with longterm NFL success. I think that gives him a window with a view into something rather valuable: an understanding of certain attributes that you need to look for in players that may not be as simple as gargantuan size and strength. I am putting Crowder on the list.
I am sure there are plenty of guys smart enough on this roster to run a front office, but maybe we need to attack this from a different angle. One aspect in a player that I think would be a solid indicator that he could be a general manager is maturity. Given past allegations against Crowder, maturity might be something he needs to work on. I think in the maturity category, I am going to lean on the guy this team has been leaning on since we drafted him: Ryan Kerrigan. He gives us an option that combines tenure with the team and success on the field. He was technically a value pick himself (that ought to start a fight), so he has an intimate understanding of what it means to focus on building a roster, and not instinctively reaching for shiny objects.
I tend to think offensive linemen are some of the smartest players on NFL rosters--especially centers. That said, are any of us excited to promote Kory Lichtensteiger to general manager? Sexiness is not the top priority in the GM search...but it has to factor. Trent Williams has the name and star power. In my heart of hearts, I would love to see #71 turn into a Redskins lifer, but even in this imaginary exercise, it smacks of a popularity contest victory. That is not how I want to choose our next general manager, but I do want to have an offensive lineman representative. Here, I will allow my emotion to get the better of me, and I will offer up Brandon Scherff as my out-of-the-box inclusion. His career could still go a lot of ways, but he has established himself as a performer on the field. He has always worked hard, and his Iowa pedigree would (hopefully) reinforce that belief some of you share with me that games are won and lost on the line of scrimmage. He has a noted mean streak, which I think would both guide his player selection as well as his ability to engage/relate to players.
In a matter of 1,000 words or so, I have put together a short list of Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Kerrigan and Brandon Scherff. Since that only scratches the surface of absurd, let's double-down and add one more candidate. I am calling this the "McLovin Candidate" because I want this player to symbolize something about our current general manager that makes him an elite executive. I already have two guys that he brought in on this list, but let's make it a third: Quinton Dunbar enters the fray. Dunbar epitomizes what McLovin strives for: versatility, toughness, work ethic and a solid attitude. Going back to his days at Florida, Dunbar fought for a role on the field, displaying maturity and leadership when he was benched late in his collegiate career. In Washington, he transitioned from wide receiver to cornerback to help the team and earn a roster spot. He made big plays, affirming why McLovin placed confidence in him in the first place. Every team, including ours, could use more Quinton Dunbars.
Looking forward to hearing which obvious players I missed. I tried to only select from the current "Active" roster, but you can feel free to step outside of that if you wish--Kirk Cousins is just staring us all down there, isn't he?