The Redskins have never had a true franchise quarterback–well at least not this century.
In fact, since 1993 and Mark Rypien’s departure, the Redskins have not stuck with a single quarterback for more than three years. From Gus Frerotte to Brad Johnson to Heath Shuler to Gus Frerotte to Brad Johnson to Mark Brunell to Jason Campbell to Donovan McNabb to Rex Grossman to Robert Griffin III and finally to Kirk Cousins, the Redskins front office has never believed that they’ve had a quarterback that can actually win a Super Bowl.
This has to change. But more importantly, the answer to this decades-long problem simply isn’t in this draft. Washington would be making another catastrophic mistake if they took a quarterback in the first round, even if they traded up for an “elite” prospect like Dwayne Haskins. Instead, the Redskins should wait until 2020 before drafting their franchise quarterback.
This year’s quarterback class is headlined by four potential first-round picks in Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray. All of these prospects have potential to be solid starters but none seem like sure-fire franchise quarterbacks.
While Haskins and Lock both seem like the consensus top quarterbacks, Haskins had a tendency to panic under pressure and Lock can be inconsistent with his ball placement. Jones put up pedestrian numbers in his senior year and would most likely sit a year before becoming a full-time starter and Murray, while easily having the talent to into a superstar, could easily flame out if he’s not able to adjust to the NFL physically.
Then, look at the potential 2020 draft class. Tu’a Tagovailoa almost beat out Murray for the Heisman despite playing in the SEC and being a year younger at the age of 20. Jake Fromm, also 20, is widely considered a better prospect than every quarterback in the 2019 draft and led his team minutes away from a national title game as a true freshman–only to lose to another 2020 prospect in Tagovailoa.
Finally, there’s Justin Herbert who, before announcing he would return for his senior year, was considered the best prospect in the 2019 draft. To put this all in perspective, Herbert is considered the worst prospect of the three in 2020.
Furthermore, to get the best quarterback in the 2019 draft, the Redskins will have to trade up from 15. This will likely involve multiple first-round picks and morgating their future in a quarterback class described by many as pedestrian.
Instead, waiting a year and sticking with Colt McCoy, who knows the system inside and out, and then trading up for Fromm, Tagovailoa or Herbert may be the better option. Waiting until 2020 would give the Redskins a more NFL-ready prospect while also giving the front office an extra year to surround him with the necessary pieces.
If the Redskins don’t trade up, a mid-round panic pick would be even worse. With the exception of Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson, first-round quarterbacks drafted after the tenth overall pick have not even been close to franchise quarterbacks–see Paxton Lynch, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Christian Ponder, Brandon Weeden, EJ Manuel and Teddy Bridgewater. Of those seven, zero still play for their original team.
The Redskins simply can’t rush this decision. For too many years the Redskins have swung and missed on mid-round prospects or high-risk quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III. It’s time for Washington to take the proven route–drafting a prospect like Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton–to being a consistent threat: trading up for a top-5 elite pocket-passer that is a consensus NFL superstar.