In arguably the most competitive division in the NFL – the Skins have fallen behind the other three teams in the NFC East (Super Bowl Champion G-men, Philly’s dream team and America’s team) and QB play has been a large piece of the problem. Over the past decade, Washington has trotted out the likes of Rex Grossman, Donnie Mac, Jason Campbell, Mark Brunell, Patrick Ramsey, and Brad Johnson under center.

The always frugal Dan Snyder has tried to buy his way into the playoffs unsuccessfully but this season decided that securing a potential franchise QB (via the draft)should be the first order of business. Washington swapped 2012 first-rounders with St Louis and the Rams also received Washington’s next two first-round picks and their 2012 second-rounder. You can read up on RG3 in our pre-draft Draft Spotlight profile. The junior QB was extremely productive in 2011  passing for 4,293 yards (72% completion rate), 37 touchdowns, 6 interceptions while rushing for 699 yds on 179 carries (3.9 YPC) and 10 rushing TDs. He earned several postseason awards including the Heisman Trophy and Davey OBrien award winner and was named First Team All-American and All-Big 12.

Washington’s offense averaged just 18 PPG in 2011. The passing attack was mediocre (14th) and the ground game ranked among the bottom of the league (25th). The addition of the dynamic dual threat quarterback from Baylor should breathe life into the entire Redskin offense. His mobility will be a welcomed addition behind an offensive line that is a work in process (allowed 41 sacks in 2011 – tied for 10th most in the NFL).

According to Football Outsiders’ QB career forecast system (based on college starts and completion rate), Robert Griffin III has the highest score ever since the method was introduced in 1998. He sits among lofty company with Philip Rivers at #2, Drew Brees at 3, Colt McCoy at 4 – (obviously not a fool-proof system), Carson Palmer (#5), Peyton Manning (#6), and Andrew Luck (#7).

Griffin will step in for a mediocre at best Rex Grossman in week 1 and will have a solid cast of weapons at his disposal including newly signed WRs Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan paired with vet Santana Moss and TE Fred Davis. RG3′s current ADP has him coming off boards in the 12-15 range among QBs (we prefer him as a high end QB2- slightly behind the more experienced Big Ben and Jay Cutler). Based on his dual threat ability, the rookie Redskin QB is worth considering in rounds 9-10 of most 10-12 team leagues. Griffin is currently being selected 40 picks sooner than #1 overall pick Andrew Luck who has an ADP around 135 overall.

Washington Redskins 2012 Draft Selections:

RDSEL #PLAYERPOSITIONSCHOOL
12Robert GriffinQBBaylor
371Josh LeribeusGSouthern Methodist
4102Kirk CousinsQBMichigan State
4119Keenan RobinsonLBTexas
5141Adam GettisGIowa
6173Alfred MorrisRBFlorida Atlantic
6193Tom ComptonTSouth Dakota
7213Richard CrawfordCBSouthern Methodist
7217Jordan BernstineCBIowa

Here is how we see the Washington 2012 Depth Chart entering training camp.

POS1234
QBRobert Griffin IIIRex GrossmanKirk Cousins
RBRoy HeluTim HightowerEvan RoysterAlfred Morris
WR1Santana MossAnthony ArmstrongAldrick Robinson
WR2Pierre GarconJosh MorganTerrence AustinBrandon Banks
TEFred DavisChris CooleyLogan Paulsen

WINNERS: WR Pierre Garcon (ADP: 85 Overall / WR32) / TE Fred Davis (ADP: 84 Overall / TE8)

Not surprisingly, Dan Snyder overspent to secure another free agent when he handed out a five-year, $42.5 million contract ($20.5 million guaranteed) to former Colts WR Pierre Garcon. Frenchy has the skill set of a WR2 but is being paid like a WR1.

The 25-year-old speedster is penciled in at the ”X” spot in Kyle Shanahan’s offense – giving him a solid chance at targets and fantasy upside (provided he can limit the dropseys that plagued him with the Colts). He had 70 catches for 947 yards and 6 TDs with Curtis Painter/Dan Orlovsky/Kerry Collins under center so a 1,000-1,200 yard season with 8 TDs is not out of the cards if RG3 hits the ground running in his rookie season.  Based on his current ADP – “the waiter” looks like an undervalued WR to target on draft day and has the potential to provide lower end WR2 numbers as he enters his 5th NFL season.  We prefer the younger more explosive Garcon to veteran Santana Moss as the 33 year old WR is coming off a disappointing 2011 season that saw him average just 49 YPG (however don’t completely sleep on Moss as he’s just one season removed from a 93 catch, 1,100 yard campaign).

The depth at the TE position is well documented and a potential breakout season from Fred Davis is one reason that fantasy owners can wait to select a TE. Provided he can avoid another suspension, Davis is positioned to rank among the team leaders in receptions and TDs as he enters his 5th NFL season as Washington’s passing attack should improve with the switch from Sexy Rex to RG3. Davis missed the final 4 games of the 2011 season (violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy) but still set career highs in receptions (59) and yards (796) in 2011. He only has 12 career touchdowns but A 6-8 TD season is well within reach in 2012 if he suits up for all 16 games (might want to have those BALCO packages shipped to a friend’s address).

LOSERS: RB Tim Hightower (ADP: 149 Overall / RB54) / Roy Helu (ADP: 56 Overall / RB25)

The addition of RG3 under center should give a boost to the entire Redskin offense including the ground game. Tim Hightower is apparently viewed as the starter by the Shanahans for now (provided he’s fully recovered from last season’s ACL injury). Hightower was limited to just 5 games in his first season with the Redskins and hauled in a disappointing 10 catches for 78 yards. His propensity for butterfingers is also concerning and could limit his playing time going forward with the more talented Roy Helu breathing down his neck. If the skins plan to protect their RG3 investment, they would be wise to get Helu more playing time as he graded out as one of the better blocking backs in the league during his rookie season.

Helu will enter his sophomore season as a solid PPR option (49 catches in 2011) but the time share and threat of RG3 stealing some goal line TDs leaves us less than enthusiastic for the Redskin stable of RBs for fantasy purposes. Helu is somewhat overrated in our opinion based on his current ADP and neither he nor Hightower will be a reliable starter from week to week except in deeper leagues. We don’t expect RG3 to have anywhere near the goal line vulturing abilities that we saw with Cam Newton in Carolina (14 rushing TDs in 2011) but he could still finish with 5-6 rushing TDs limiting the upside potential for whichever RB the always deceptive Mike Shanahan decides to name as the starter in the backfield.

 

Check out the entire Post Draft Winners/Losers series HERE.

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