Let's flashback one year ago.
It was March 2012 and reports had surfaced that the Philadelphia Eagles were interested in Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. In fact, head coach Andy Reid met with RGIII, who says that the Eagles were very interested in him.
But the Eagles, who had the 15th overall pick in the draft, ultimately decided to trade up three spots and select defensive tackle Fletcher Cox with their first-round pick.
The rest is history.
The Redskins won the NFC East crown in 2012, ending the season on a seven-game winning streak. Although they did lose their first playoff game, the Redskins will still consider the season a major success, with the majority of the credit going to RGIII.
The Redskins rookie threw for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He posted a 102.4 passer rating and led the league in yards per attempt. He also rushed for 815 yards and seven scores.
He will finish in the top three in Offensive Rookie of the Year, depending on how the voters choose to view the equally impressive rookie seasons of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson.
But here's the problem.
RGIII couldn't stay healthy, as many feared would happen because of his aggressive running style outside pocket or on read-options. He missed a late-season start with a knee injury that continued to affect him into the postseason.
In the wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks, he suffered a partial tear of his ACL and LCL that led to complete knee reconstruction surgery (via aol.sportingnews.com). His status for Week 1 of the 2013 season has not yet been determined but this is obviously not a good sign for Redskin fans.
So, considering both the extreme good and the extreme bad that happened to RGIII as a rookie, would it have been worth it for the Eagles to invest everything to move up and select him in the 2012 draft?
I've got to say no.
I think RGIII will be a tremendous football player. I have all the respect in the world for him. He dominated the league as a rookie despite playing without a lot of help at wide receiver.
But his style of play is extremely alarming. How can it not be?
He suffered two significant injuries as a rookie—so significant that his entire sophomore season may not happen. Even if it does, he may not be 100 percent.
And if he returns completely healthy, who's to say he doesn't get hurt again? What makes you think that the rest of the league won't figure out how to stop Washington's spread-offense attack? What if RGIII regresses in his sophomore season like Cam Newton did?
A lot of running quarterbacks have immediate success. Even Tim Tebow played well in 2011 for the second and third quarters of the year. Michael Vick's best season with the Atlanta Falcons came in 2002.
I need to see RGIII continue his success for years to come. I hope he doesn't because a slide in his play helps the Eagles. But my point is that I really don't know what to expect for his career.
I do know what to expect for Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. I had the Colts in the postseason this year and I am on record boldly predicting that I think Luck will turn into the greatest quarterback ever.
I don't think anybody feels like Luck needs to prove himself in 2013. He will be an all-time great. It's inevitable.
RGIII's career is still a major question mark. His rookie season was better than most thought it would be but the injuries were more extreme.
Will he be in the league in five years? In 10 years? Will he still be a runner? Will he still be as effective of a passer?
Three first-round picks for RGIII would not have been a smart investment for the Eagles. Plus it wouldn't have been three first-round picks. It likely would have been four or five. That's way too many.
The Eagles thought Vick would rebound in 2012. That did not happen, and now the Eagles are looking for a franchise quarterback in the form of either Nick Foles or someone else.
Say the Eagles drafted RGIII in 2012. You still have to fix up the defense and you wouldn't have a first-round pick until 2015 to do so.
That dominant cornerback or linebacker you could get in the first round in 2013 or 2014?
Instead you're relying on second-, third- and fourth-round picks to be immediate starters. You're trying to fill holes through free agency. We all saw how that worked for the Eagles when they signed Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin.
Investing your future in a running quarterback is always a risky move. They just get hurt way too much. Look at Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, and Steve McNair as examples.
Giving up a boatload of first-round picks for a likely great but potentially short career?
I think the Eagles were extremely interested in RGIII and likely considered trading up for him. But they made the right decision in the draft.
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