Over the next two weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
**DISCLAIMER: This is part of a project FOR FUN. All trades suggested are merely hypotheticals, and do not reflect my actual opinion of what will happen on draft day. Enjoy.**
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No. 5: The Washington Redskins
WASH’s Draft Pick: Fifth
WASH’s 2015 Cap Space: $15,158,139
WASH’s Top Needs: Pass Rusher, DB, QB/OL
Yikes. Not really the season people out in D.C. were expecting from these Redskins. With the addition of DeSean Jackson to go along with a “healthy” Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, Washington looked primed to compete for the No. 1 seed coming out of the NFC East.
Well, not quite. Jay Gruden struggled in his first year as head coach, and RG3 and Washington are simply not meant to be. This is an organization desperately in need of a shift in direction, and drafting Marcus Mariota could be just the way to engineer their turnaround
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
Washington swaps 1st rounders, trades their 2016 first round pick and sends RG3 to Tampa Bay. For Washington, it’s a win win. They get a new QB so Jay Gruden can finally stop worrying about being called a push-over, while the injury prone RG3 gets shipped away before they have to worry about contract negotiations. For Tampa Bay, taking a risk on RG3 is the same situation as taking a risk on Mariota, but RG3 has already proven he can excel in the NFL when healthy. Lovie Smith would love to work with RG3 down in Tampa, too, since he would open up a whole new load of offensive possibilities with the Bucs’ offense. Picture this:
Step 1: TB takes Amari Cooper with the No. 5 pick (from Washington) in the 2015 NFL draft.
Step 2: They trade Vincent Jackson away for a third round pick (a steal for many teams) to help make room for Cooper.
Step 3: Mike Evans and Cooper create a WR dynasty in Tampa Bay similar to the Alshon Jeffrey/Brandon Marshall situation in Chicago but about a combined 10 years younger.
Pretty great, right?
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN D.C.:
Favorable weather, big market, and lots of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Check, check, and check. Washington has lots of young talent in terms of offensive skill players (Jackson, Morris, Jordan Reed, etc.) but they lack a legitimate offensive line. The Redskins’ line gave up the second most sacks in the NFL last year, and although Mariota is great at making plays with his feet, he’ll need protection. In the past Mariota has seen his fair share of injuries, so seeing him go to a team where he could be hit so often is a bit of a red flag.
Ideally, if Washington were to get him, they’d spend the rest of their draft and offseason upgrading their line so they can protect the Hawaiian phenom. If not, Mariota could see a very similar career in D.C. to that of RG3. There’s only so much a QB can do.
WOULD HE START?:
Eventually. RG3 started all but one game his rookie year, and everyone out in D.C. knows Colt McCoy isn’t the answer to their problems. Mariota wouldn’t need to be perfect, Morris and Jackson could help pick up the slack on offense, but he’d need to prove he could protect the ball on offense. RG3 threw only five picks his rookie year, something that really impressed the coaches and helped him earn R.O.Y. honors, all while leading the Skins to a playoff berth.
WASH’s Projected Record with Mariota: 8-8
WASH’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 5-11
Mariota’s first year stats: 3,500 yards/25 pass TDS/8 Ints/9 Rushing TDs
Top photo from commons.wikimedia.org