Was RG3 Trade Worth It?

Updated: November 12, 2013

I know all the reasons Robert Griffin is good for Washington. He is a handsome, engaging, exciting playmaker on a team that hasn’t had a great quarterback since Joe Theismann. But was it worth giving up three number one picks and a very high second round selection?

Despite a change of pace and actually drafting players that stick with the team over several drafts, the Redskins are the second oldest teams in the NFL. While Washington averages nearly 27 years old per player, the NFL’s youngest? The St. Louis Rams at under 25 years old per player and getting younger. Thanks to the final payment on the RG3 deal, the Rams could have two picks in the top ten in the 2014 NFL draft. While the Redskins were losing to Minnesota, St. Louis was blowing out the Colts in Indianapolis. Teams heading in opposite directions? Perhaps.

Let me preface my analysis with my preference of building through the draft. College football is my first love in sports and the NFL draft is a big deal. I’ve been at Redskins Park for many drafts, had dinner with the owner and even recommended players in past drafts. This doesn’t come without considerable thought, perhaps too much….

Lets take a look at an alternate path that could have been. After all, the Rams could have said no, like the Bengals did when Washington offered a pair of number one picks for Chad Ochocinco. Lets start with the 2012 draft where it all took place.

2012 Actual
1st round- Robert Griffin
2nd round- traded to St. Louis
3rd round- Josh LeRibeus

2012 Alternate
1st round- Morris Claiborne
2nd round- Janoris Jenkins
3rd round- Russell Wilson

Claiborne and Jenkins were taken in the Redskins original draft position and were/are arguably the best two cover corners in the 2012 class. Claiborne won the Thorpe award and was unanimous 1st team All-American. Jenkins was only the second true freshman to ever start at corner for Florida. Was NFL All-Rookie selection. Although not as flashy, Virginia native Wilson, along with fourth round pick Kirk Cousins may have been acceptable options.

Since picks were traded in the 2013 and 2014 drafts, they have to be included as well. At least the first round picks that were given up.

2013 NFL draft
1st round- Desmond Trufant CB Washington

Trufant was selected with the Redskins original selection, joining his two brothers also NFL cornerbacks. With the NFL emphasis on passing, having Trufant along with Claiborne and Jenkins would have set the team at the position, possibly it’s best shape since Champ Bailey and Carlos Rogers were sent packing. Instead of selecting David Amerson in the second round, they could have opted for the steal of the draft, Tyrann Mathieu, who didn’t go until the third round. It looks like SI’s Peter King’s prediction of Mathieu as rookie of the year may come to fruition. PLUS, Mathieu could have provided an electrifying kick returner. So just by doing nothing, the Redskins could have had Claiborne, Jenkins, Trufant and Mathieu in the secondary, but we aren’t done….

2014 NFL mock draft
1st round- Taylor Lewan OT Michigan

Since the 2014 draft hasn’t happened yet, we can only rely on the freshest mock available. Redskins fans point to Tyler Polumbus as the weak point on the line and have longed for a bookend tackle to Trent Williams. How about Lewan, an extremely nasty, 6’8″ 315 pound two-time All-American who could learn the pro game on the right side, with the ability to slide over to the left when/if needed? IF, the Redskins had a first rounder, he would look great in Burgundy and Gold.

Sure this is hindsight, but players in these alternate scenario’s were super productive, high profile players from major college powers.

What do the numbers says? Well, I am glad you asked. The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (HSAC) took an in depth look at the deal. HSAC is a student-run organization at Harvard University dedicated to the quantitative analysis of sports strategy and management.

Some, like Tony Manfred at Business Insider believe both teams were losers in the deal.

Was the trade for RG3 worth the price tag? Weigh in at the DCPRO Sports Report reddit page!

A year ago, at 3-6, the Redskins went on an unlikely seven game run to win the NFC East. It was an exciting run and many celebrated that “we” finally had a quarterback. Can he do it again?

Follow Tom Blaz on #twitter @AubieTom

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