by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
The Washington Redskins have had a couple of rough seasons with five of their last six seasons finishing with six wins or less. The last two have been especially tough, following their lone playoff appearance of the 2010s decade, as they won just a combined seven games in 2013 and 2014. When it comes to the draft during this same stretch, the results overall have not been great.
No matter what happens with every other pick taken from 2010-2014, the entire stretch will live and die with the payoff of Robert Griffin III. Griffin was the 2011 Heisman Trophy Winner (Baylor) beating out Andrew Luck (Stanford) and was the obvious number two pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Rams held this pick but did not need a quarterback at the time, so Washington stepped up to the plate. In the most costly draft trade in the past five years, the Redskins sent St. Louis their 2012, 2013, and 2014 1st round picks and 2012 2nd round pick. When you give up that much for a single player, he needs to be huge; or it could sink the franchise. The Redskins looked like sure winners after Griffin’s rookie season as he won the AP and PFWA Rookie of the Year Awards over Luck, made the Pro Bowl, and led the Redskins to the playoffs. His career has pretty much fallen apart since then. In said playoffs, Griffin’s knee was seriously injured; and he has not been the same since. Griffin’s play has regressed in the past two years, and injuries have hampered both seasons as he started only seven games in 2014. Griffin has lost his starting job going into the 2015 seasons, making it even less likely that he will live up to this huge trade. There are even reports that the Redskins are trying to get rid of Griffin. If he does not get it back on track this could potentially go down as one of the all-time draft day mistakes due to the amount the Redskins gave up to get him.
Even though Griffin makes or breaks this drafting period, the rest of the drafts must be mentioned. The 2010 and 2011 drafts as a whole were not that great. They did make two great picks in 2010 by drafting Trent Williams in the 1st round and Perry Riley in the 4th. Williams is one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL and has started 70 games in his five years. He has also been selected to the past three Pro Bowls. Riley has been a solid starter at the linebacker position and is one of the more underrated linebackers in the NFL. Both players will be starting for the Washington in 2015. However, the rest of the 2010 draft was a dud and were non-factors that are all now out of the league. The 2011 class was a monster with twelve players selected but only the first pick was a homerun. Ryan Kerrigan has been great in his four seasons starting every single game and was a Pro Bowler in 2012. He is one of the better outside linebackers in the league in 2015 and was rewarded with a huge extension. Jarvis Jenkins, Leonard Hankerson, and Roy Helu all made a contribution in their four years in Washington but none were that great. All of them left the team in the 2015 offseason. Along with Kerrigan, only Niles Paul is still with the team in 2015. Paul has contributed at tight end for four seasons and is a projected reserve in 2015. The rest of the draft made little to no impact.
Not counting Griffin, the 2012 draft was pretty average. The best pick value wise from the draft was Alfred Morris. Morris has started at running back every game in three years and is a very capable starter making the last two Pro Bowls after players dropped out. Kirk Cousins has been a capable backup and has done a decent job in his starting chances. He will get his biggest chance in 2015 as he was named the starter for 2015. The three offensive linemen selected have not quite panned out as Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, and Tom Compton combined for only ten starts in three years. Keenan Robinson struggled with injuries at the start of his career but started 13 games in 2014. He will also be starting at linebacker in 2015.
The real cost of Griffin can be felt in the lack of the 1st rounders in the 2013 and 2014 drafts which really hinders their impact. The 2013 draft has made little to no significant impact in their two seasons. David Amerson has started 23 games in two years but has struggled. He is expected to be a reserve in 2015. Jordan Reed has made some contributions at tight end and is expected to start in 2015. However he has been nothing special so far. The rest of the draft has barely seen the field with the exception of Bacarri Rambo. Rambo had a rough time in his time on the field and was released during his second season. The 2014 draft was a bit better but is not great. Bashaud Breeland looks to be a good value pick as he started 15 games as a rookie after being selected in the 4th round. Trent Murphy did not make a big impact as a rookie but is projected to start in 2015. The rest of the class did not have an impact and the final three picks were released as rookies. There is still time for these two draft classes to step up, but they have not looked promising so far.