What If...the Washington Redskins Didn't Trade Up for RG3?

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 15, 2013

Russell Wilson could have been a Redskin.
Russell Wilson could have been a Redskin.USA TODAY Sports

A technically irrelevant but intriguing (to me, at least) hindsight hypothetical for you: With one year of the Robert Griffin III era in the books for the Washington Redskins, how crazy-different would things be right now in D.C. had Mike Shanahan and Co. not traded away three first-round picks and a second rounder for the right to pick Griffin second overall in last April's draft?

It'll be hard to find a 'Skins fans who isn't fully dedicated to RG3, a player who won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award after leading the team to its first division title since 1999. I understand that. But a logical best-case, non-Griffin scenario exists which would actually be pretty sweet.

Let's start with that.


Best alternative scenario

Round 1, Pick 6: CB Casey Hayward

Hayward was third in defensive rookie of the year voting after six interceptions and shutdown coverage in Green Bay.

Round 2, Pick 39: S Tavon Wilson

Wilson was another rookie defensive back who made an impact right from the get-go. Both Hayward and Wilson would probably enter 2013 as starters and the secondary wouldn't be as big a concern.

Round 3, Pick 71: QB Russell Wilson

Here's what this debate really comes down to. Because you can present best-case scenarios using hindsight for any team and they'll look wonderful, but the fact is that Wilson probably outplayed Griffin down the stretch in 2012 and is healthy now while RG3 recovers from major knee surgery. 

'Skins fans will tell you they'd still prefer Griffin to Wilson, but what if they could have Wilson, two players like Hayward and Tavon Wilson, and each of their next two first-round picks to use on, say, a right tackle or another safety?

I think it'd be tough not to take that, regardless of who was picked first and second. Maybe it's Morris Claiborne instead of Hayward (it likely would have been), and who knows who mortgaging the future.

Let's keep in mind that it's not as though Wilson and the Redskins were tied together much in February and March last year. There was really no indication the team was enamored by the undersized Wisconsin quarterback. So it's also possible that, had they not traded up to take Griffin, they would have either invested in a veteran or taken someone not named Wilson with their original No. 6 overall pick.

A pair of possibilities:


Alternative scenario A

Sign: QB Matt Flynn

I strongly believe the Redskins would have done this had they not been able to pull off that trade with St. Louis. Hence the timing of it all (just before free agency). Ironically, Flynn spent the 2012 season as Wilson's backup in Seattle. We can't say for sure that this would have worked out badly for Washington, but it's not a good sign that Flynn was beaten out in training camp by Wilson. 

Round 1, Pick 6: CB Morris Claiborne

Claiborne is off to a decent start in Dallas and looks like he'll have a solid career at corner. He'd already be a starter in Washington. 

Round 2, Pick 39: S Tavon Wilson

We'll just stick with what we had here in the original scenario, because it's tough to know what would have happened here. 


Alternative scenario B

Round 1, Pick 6: QB Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill was no Griffin or Wilson, but he did have a decent rookie season in Miami after the Dolphins picked him eighth. 

Round 2, Pick 39: CB Casey Hayward

Hayward wasn't picked until the end of the second round, so we can at least make this worst-case scenario a little less terrible by giving him to the 'Skins in this spot. 

Remember that in all three of these scenarios the Redskins would have a first-round pick this year and next year. That has to be a factor, but I still think I'd prefer Griffin (and Josh LeRibeus in Round 3, for what it's worth) over Flynn/Tannehill, Claiborne/Hayward, Tavon Wilson and two first-round picks. 

It's also possible that the Redskins could have gone the same route as Seattle and drafted Wilson in Round 3 despite signing Flynn. That would essentially be the best-case scenario but with a little less appeal, since Flynn is now a bit of a waste of money, and since we all know Kirk Cousins is quite a solid backup plucked from Round 4.

Regardless, as someone who's not a fan I'd like to think I'm able to consider these scenarios only with my head and not with my heart. And with that in mind, I think I'd prefer Russell Wilson and all of those draft picks to Robert Griffin and essentially none of them.

I'm guessing most of you disagree.