The Redskins went into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday knowing who they would bank their immediate future on. After months of waiting, they got their franchise quarterback and selected Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick.
“RG3” had been taking D.C. by storm even before the blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams was consummated on March 9th. Now that he is officially a Redskin, both he and the team are ready to get to work.
While his selection was a surprise to no one, the rest of the draft was a crapshoot. Head Coach Mike Shanahan took the same approach as last year and traded back to gather more picks. They entered this year’s draft with seven picks and came out with nine.
Without a second round pick on Friday, the Redskins made the first of two trades before their third round selection. They swapped third round picks with the Bills, which allowed the Redskins to move from 69th overall to 71st overall and also gained Buffalo’s 7th round pick at 217 overall.
From there, the Redskins decided to take SMU guard Josh LeRibeus with the 71st pick. LeRibeus does not look like a physical dynamo but that can also be attributed to peaking at around 380 pounds and then dropping 70 from December 2010 to the spring of 2011. He was ruled academically ineligible in 2010 but worked his way back and started all 13 games at left guard for the Mustangs last season. Now 6’3” and 312 pounds, he plays with a mean disposition and is looking to make the team as an interior lineman and fit into the zone blocking scheme.
The Redskins threw a bit of a curveball on Saturday with their first selection. Surprised that he was still available in the 4th round, Washington selected Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have seen what the Eagles have been able to do with valuable backups so they saw an opportunity to immediately improve who Griffin will have behind him on the depth chart.
Cousins is known for his exceptional leadership skills and his strong intangibles. He is the winningest quarterback in Michigan State history, going 27-12 in 39 career starts. He left the Spartans as their all-time leader in touchdown passes, passing yards and passing efficiency.
Washington struck its second and final trade by sending its second 4th round pick (109 overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers for picks 119 (4th round) and 193 (6th round).
At 119, the Redskins then selected Texas outside linebacker Keenan Robinson, who they plan to move inside and potentially team up with Perry Riley. The move helps build youth and depth at linebacker to brace for captain London Fletcher’s departure. In the meantime, Robinson will see special teams work. He is known for being a finesse player with excellent coverage skills. In 2011, he logged 105 tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles.
The 4th round brought Washington another guard with a mean streak. With the 141st pick, the Redskins took Adam Gettis, who started only three games before starting in all 13 of Iowa’s games as a senior in 2011. Unlike LeRibeus, Gettis is undersized but is athletic enough to project well into the zone blocking scheme if he gains some weight.
In the 6th round, the Redskins went back to offense and addressed running back, taking Alfred Morris from Florida Atlantic at pick 173. At 5’10”, 215 pounds, Morris is a short back who is thickly built and can play running back, fullback and H-back. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons in college and finished his career as FAU’s leader in carries, rushing yards, rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns and all-purpose yards.
20 spots later, Washington again shifted their focus to offensive line, this time taking a tackle. Tom Compton started 44 games at South Dakota. He is known for his strength and ideal NFL build at 6’5” and 314 pounds. He is another lineman that should fit the zone blocking scheme that Shanahan loves to employ.
Washington finally addressed secondary depth with their final two picks. The Redskins selected cornerback Richard Crawford, another SMU Mustang and Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine. Crawford can double as a returnman and Bernstine can play both cornerback and safety but projects to be a strong safety in Washington.
- After drafting two quarterbacks, the Redskins decided to cut quarterback John Beck, who made four lackluster appearances in 2011.
- The Redskins also failed to find a trade partner for wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who may soon join Beck on the waiver wire.
- The Redskins have reportedly signed Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield, who is the son of former Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Frank Minnifield. The team also reportedly signed Michigan running back Michael Shaw, Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer, ECU wide receiver Lance Lewis, Alabama wide receiver Darius Hanks, Southern Mississippi wide receiver Kelvin Bolden, Oklahoma State center Grant Garner, Hawaii defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga, New Hampshire defensive end Brian McNally, Jacksonville State defensive end Monte Lewis and West Virginia safety Eain Smith. All reports, however, are unofficial until announced by the Redskins.