With Alex Smith’s season–and possibly career–over after his gruesome leg injury, the Redskins will most likely draft or sign a quarterback next offseason. With just three quarterbacks on their roster and none under the age of 32–one of which being Mark Sanchez–the Redskins currently have no potential successors to Alex Smith. Although the ‘Skins would absolutely prefer some of the top quarterback prospects like Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Missouri’s Drew Lock, these soon-to-be stars aren’t included because the Redskins will likely have to trade up to select them. With bowl season approaching, here are five players who could be the Redskins’ long-term answer at quarterback.
Grier reminds me a lot of Baker Mayfield in last years’ draft. Like Mayfield in his senior season, Grier has put up an insane stat line–close to 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns–in a high-powered Big 12 spread offense. Grier has thrived at West Virginia despite having a suspect offensive line; Grier has -90 rushing yards this season, mainly the result of sacks. Despite his success, questions still remain about his ability to adjust to a pro-style NFL offense. However, Mayfield’s success in his rookie season coming from a similar system could move Grier up draft boards. Grier wouldn’t start immediately for the Redskins but has the potential to be a franchise quarterback.
Finley is one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks in the draft. Before the season, Todd McShay had him as the number one quarterback in the draft. Finley’s numbers won’t blow you away like Grier but he’s an accurate passer that can create on his own. He also played in a much more pro-style system than Grier which will give him an edge over other quarterbacks early on.
Jones has shot up draft boards this season because of his stellar play behind one of the worst offensive lines in college football. He does a great job of making pre-snap reads and getting the ball out quick. Jones is one of the more athletic quarterbacks in the draft and can create outside the pocket. While not a consensus top-10 pick like Herbert, Jones could end up being a top five pick because of his combination of great athleticism and mobility. Jones could thrive in Washington behind one of the best offensive lines in football.
Rypien is one of the most underrated quarterback prospects in this draft. He can be inconsistent but if given a few years behind Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, Rypien could develop into an elite passer. He fits Jay Gruden’s system with his ability to get outside the pocket on play-action and deliver with accuracy. The Redskins might target Rypien instead of other quarterbacks for two reasons: unlike Grier, Finley or Jones, Rypien probably won’t be a first-round pick; he’s also the nephew of former Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien. Rypien would be a project and there’s a chance he never develops into a starter.
This might be a name that surprises most Redskins fans but if Alex Smith isn’t able to play next season and Colt McCoy struggles down the stretch, the Redskins should look to bring in an established starting quarterback. Despite not putting up elite passing numbers, Bridgewater guided the Vikings to 11 wins in the 2015 season. Before his injury Bridgewater was seen by many as one of the most promising quarterbacks in the league. At only 26, three years removed from his devastating injury and a year as Drew Brees’ backup, Bridgewater could be posed for a breakout season. If not signed by the Redskins, Bridgewater will likely start on another would-be contender like the Jaguars.