3 years ago, the St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins made arguably the biggest trade in NFL Draft history. Andrew Luck was the surefire No. 1 pick, which left Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III for the QB needy St. Louis Rams. Nobody expected what happened next.
Rodger Goodell stepped up to the podium with the pick in his hand, with St. Louis fans teeming with excitement, and announced that St. Louis had traded the second overall pick to the Washington Redskins. Anticipation turned into shock and confusion, as the Redskins subsequently selected Robert Griffin III. The picks that the Rams recieved for the 2nd overall pick were Washington’s first rounders for the next 3 years (2012 14th overall, 2013 22 overall, and 2014 2nd overall), and their 2012 second rounder. 3 years after Washington shocked the football world, the hole that was once filled with joy, instant success, and a division championship as been filled with regret and a fanbase wondering what could have been.
With the picks that St. Louis recieved, they selected starting defensive tackle Michael Brockers out of LSU with the 14th overall, who’s future is bright; linebacker Alec Ogletree out of Georgia with the 22nd overall, who is emerging as one of the top backers in the NFC; Cornerback Janoris Jenkins with the 39th overall out of the University of Florida, who has come into his own as one of the best cover corners in the league; and Greg Robinson with the second overall out of Auburn, one of the best young players the draft has ever seen.
Obviously, Washington selected Griffin.
That season, RGIII took the league by storm, winning offensive rookie of the year and leading the ‘Skins to their first division title since 1999. It was beginning to look as though the nation’s capitol pulled a fast one on the whole league, and that their massive gamble had paid off in a huge way. The 2012 season saw the Redskins go 10-6 and win the NFC East on their way to the 4th seed in the playoffs. Come wild card weekend, RGIII and the Redskins had the red hot Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field. Washington had a 14-0 lead in the first half, only to blow that lead and lose the game. The loss, as it turned out, wasn’t as concerning as what the Washington Redskins front office announced: Robert Griffin III had a torn ACL. This would start the second chapter, current chapter, of RGIII’s carrer: Injuries.
Since that wild card game, the ‘Skins haven’t won more than 4 games in a season, and Griffin has never played more than half of them. And since then, he has sprained his ACL, gotten 2 concussions, and dislocated his ankle. Even when he has been on the field, he has posted QBRs of 82.2 and 86.9 with a 20-18 touchdown to interception ratio, far from elite. Robert Griffin III has never looked like his pre-injury self since.
This begs the question that the Bears need to ask: How much are the Washington Redskins coaching staff/front office to blame for RGIII’s struggles and injuries? Analysts are even saying that he was thrust into the preseason game “as a pinata”. The point is, if on another team (blue and orange would look nice) the orginazation would actually utilize him in the playbook and not just throw him to the wolves.
To this day, analysts debate who won the trade. I know I know, the Rams ended up with Brockers, Jenkins, Ogletree, and Robinson (subsequently Stedman Bailey and Zac Stacy), and I know that on the whole the RGIII experiment has been an epic failure. I know that. But I am still going to say that the Redskins won this trade. Yes, St. Louis got a lot of depth, but how far has that depth taken them? Last place in their division? Granted, they are in the NFC West, but is the measure of success in the NFL how deep a team is? Now let’s look at the ‘Skins end of the deal. Yes, they got a ton of headaches. They got a ton of public ridicule. They got a ton of articles thrown their way titled “Jay Gruden and the dumbest team in football”. But what they do have is one thing that St. Louis at this point can only dream of: No, the measure of success isn’t how deep a team is. But a division championship is.
With Robert Griffin III likely out of Washington, he sure would look great in blue and orange.
Who do you think won the trade? Comment below.