Prepare to be swerved as Cut Block, Rip Jersey, and HoustonTransplant turn the mock draft on its collective ear. Thousands of words worth of explanation stand ready for your scrutiny after the jump.
In December 2009, the Redskins hired Bruce Allen, the son of a legendary Redskins' Head Coach (Hall of Famer George Allen), as the team’s new General Manager. Allen thus became the first to hold that title after a decade under the front office stewardship of team owner Daniel Snyder, and his Executive Vice President, Vinny Cerrato. A month later, former Raiders and Broncos Head Coach, Mike Shanahan, was hired to replace previous Washington HC, Jim Zorn. Shanahan was given ultimate authority on football decisions.
Shanahan’s first order of business was to bring in his son (and former Texans OC), Kyle Shanahan, as the new offensive coordinator. Houston HC Gary Kubiak has strong ties to both Shanahans, most notably from his days as a backup quarterback, and later as the OC of the Denver Broncos. Former Saints and Rams HC, Jim Haslett, was hired as the Redskins' new Defensive Coordinator and given the task of transitioning the Skins' 4-3 defense into a 3-4 scheme.
Thus marked the start of an organizational transition, from the "Jim Zorn Experiment" to the "Mike Shanahan Ultimatum".
Back in February 2009, the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million contract. During the 2009 season, Haynesworth criticized the defensive scheme saying, he could not "survive another season in this system if it stays the way it is." Enter Shanahan and Haslett to save the day. Only it didn’t go as planned. Most of us know the Albert Haynesworth story, but if you would like an update, here’s Part One and Part Two of an interview Larry Michael had with Coach Shanahan at this year’s Combine, which should provide some entertainment. Let’s just say that, at the time of this writing, no one really knows if Haynesworth will be wearing burgundy and gold ever again, and even if he does, whether or not it will eventually be ripped off his back.
Prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, the Redskins orchestrated a swap with their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, landing six-time Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb. The Redskins gave up a 2010 second-round pick and either a third or fourth-rounder in the 2011 Draft. At the time, Rex Grossman and Jason Campbell were already in the Redskins' QB fold. As the season progressed, continued doubt was publicly aired by Shanahan regarding McNabb’s abilities to lead the team, culminating with a mid-December benching of McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman.
Now, Redskins owner Dan Snyder is not immune to criticism, with much of it being brought on by his own actions. Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper felt so strongly about this that he wrote and printed The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder (from A to Z, an encyclopedia of the owner’s many failings). In it, McKenna illustrates and recounts a litany of Snyder’s actions over the last decade. Among Snyder’s transgressions, there was the 2006 Fan Appreciation Day, in which he charged fans $25 to park to watch the team scrimmage and hear an address from Exec VP Vinny Cerrato. The parking charge was not mentioned in the event’s promotional advertisements. Anyway, Snyder was offended and two months ago he filed suit against the City Paper. Good luck with that, Danny!
Okay, all of this is leading up to a simple decision…who will the fake FO of the Washington Redskins select in the 2011 BRB Mock Draft? Shanahan has gone on record as saying that the Redskins were going to revamp their roster via trades, free agency, and the draft. So far this offseason, they have released RB Clinton Portis, OG Derrick Dockery and LB Andre Carter. They have signed former Rams safety O.J. Atogwe, who had briefly become a free agent.
Among their apparent needs heading towards draft day are/were: QB, WR, OL, NT, DE, and CB.
So without further ado, the Washington Redskins select University of Washington Quarterback Jake Locker with the 10th overall choice in the 2011 BRB Mock Draft.
Yes, Jake Locker will be considered by many as a "reach" at number 10 overall in the first round, especially due to the constant icy evaluations he has been getting by draftniks everywhere. Often times, he's being rated behind other prominent QB prospects in this year's draft, such as Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett, and Christian Ponder, perhaps even leading some to believe that Locker would be available in a later round.
Ideally, it would be in the Redskins' better interests to attempt a trade down of at least a few spots, and then take Locker (not an option for this mock). Or, to take someone else at 10, and then trade up into the later part of the first round to grab Locker (also not allowed). Not only is trading around the draft board impossible for the puposes of this mock, it's tricky business, and the belief here is that Shanahan desires Locker to be his on-field general for many years to come. When you deem someone to be your franchise quarterback, and that player is available at your draft position, your best bet is to snatch him up immediately, regardless of the preferences any pundits may have to the contrary, and even if it means taking someone too "early".
San Francisco, Cincinnati, Tennessee (possibly even Cleveland and Denver) might try to do everything they can to land a QB in the mold of a Jake Locker, by drafting him or trading into the middle part of the first round themselves, if Washington (or any of the others) happen to pass him over initially. Unfortunate as it may seem to many, Mike Shanahan has been known to reach for players that fit his ideals. That said, our fake Front Office has come around to believing that Jake Locker to the Redskins is a no-brainer.
A QB with his particular skills (and his ideal size for this offense) doesn't come around very often. Looking at tape, it does become a chore finding highlights where he doesn't take off running in an attempt to make something happen. We felt like this was more a product of the inferior talent he was surrounded with as an amateur, but then again, athlecticism is definitely considered a plus for a quarterback who will be asked to lead an offense utilizing a Walshian scheme.
Moreover, the kid has a strong arm, uses touch, and has a lightning-quick overhand release. He has a comparable skill set to all-time NFL greats, John Elway and Steve Young. We doubt he's anywhere near as advanced as Elway was at a similar age, but he's definitely ahead of where Young was. Although he may not have as much natural athleticism as Young did, that comparison has more to do with their passing abilities, rather than a comparison of their quickness or running power. Like Young once did, Locker will need to tone down his scrambling a great deal; probably more so.
We were absolutely floored by Locker's ability to make throws all over the field from any arm angle, and to do that while moving in any direction. No doubt he'll need to be chosen by a team with a coaching staff that can refine him, but we feel that can be done rather easily (which becomes even more important with the real possibility of a shortened, or even nonexistant, offseason).
Locker comes from a similarly structured offense in college, which will help his transition to the pros (however short it may need to be), and to the Redskins in particular. A few tweaks, both mental and physical, and Locker could actually go down in the books as the steal of this draft, assuming he falls into the right hands. He'll need to grow more confidence, both in being more patient and setting his feet (which would automatically help his accuracy), but Shanahan has a wealth of experience to lend. The offensive playbook will certainly be tailored in ways that would maximize the many talents Locker already brings to the table.
We like Locker's vision, and once he's surrounded by pro talent and coaching, he'll be able to actually use it in the passing game, rather than using it to scramble around all day until he ultimately finds himself injured.
All prospects have their warts, especially quarterbacks, but Lockers' "pros" well outweigh any "cons". Besides, the situation here in Washington is ideal.The University of Washington Huskies held their Pro Day recently, and reports are that Locker looked wonderful. We were hardly surprised by this news.
We're making a ballsy prediction here for sure. But it's one that we can live with. The other players we considered for the Redskins at this spot included: DB Prince Amukamara; QB Blaine Gabbert; DE Cameron Jordan; RB Mark Ingram; G/C Mike Pouncey; and NT Phil Taylor.
Julio Jones was a striking omission from our consideration. And while his speed, blocking skills, and spectacular Combine will be very tempting to Coach Shanahan (who tends to fall in love with Combine performances), Julio's hands and route-running are suspect enough to make him a risk at this point in the draft, especially to a coach who historically prides himself in developing more unheraled, even undrafted, wideouts (Rod Smith, Ed McCaffrey, and Brandon Marshall, for example). Receiver is an immediate need for the Redskins, but it is one they will be able to address later in the draft, or through free agency.
So for the purposes of this mock, Jake Locker--not Blaine Gabbert--is the second QB off the board. How does that strike you?
Your Houston Texans are now on the clock, and a post soliciting your thoughts on what the Texans should do if the chips fall as they have in this exercise will be going up this afternoon. Given that this is a Texans blog, we're going to allot an entire day for us to debate what to do with that eleventh overall pick.