When you sit back and think about the world-famous Robert Griffin III trade between the Washington Redskins and the St. Louis Rams from one year ago, you really begin to realize how advantageous the league's draft slotting system can be for teams that suck.
Had the Redskins won three fewer games in 2011, they still would have had their second-round pick in 2012, their first-round pick in 2013 and their first-round pick in 2014 all while drafting RG3, free of charge.
Instead, the 'Skins had to part with those picks in order to win a bidding war against the Cleveland Browns for the right to move up four measly spots for Griffin. Prior to last week's draft, Rams general manager Les Snead called the trade "a big rock" for his organization (via The Rich Eisen Podcast, h/t NFL.com), and it's hard to argue against that. Here's a breakdown of the fruit the Rams have procured from the trade heard 'round the football world...
Robert Griffin III
The Baylor quarterback was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. He went on to become the Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the 'Skins to their first division title this century.
The LSU defensive tackle was picked 14th in 2012 after St. Louis traded Washington's No. 6 pick to Dallas. Brockers started 12 games as a rookie and was ranked 21st in the league among run-stopping defensive tackles by Pro Football Focus.
The North Alabama cornerback was picked 39th in 2012. He started 14 games as a rookie, intercepting four passes and returning three for touchdowns. Serious playmaker here.
The Cincinnati running back was picked 50th in 2012 after St. Louis traded Dallas' 45th pick to Chicago. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie, but on only 10 attempts. He'll battle fellow youngsters Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy for the starting job left vacant by Steven Jackson.
It gets a little confusing here, but the South Carolina guard was picked with the extra selection (150th overall) St. Louis got from Chicago after trading a pick that belonged to Dallas that it owned thanks to the original trade with Washington. Watkins appeared in only one game as a rookie.
The Georgia linebacker was picked 30th in 2013 after St. Louis traded Washington's No. 22 pick to Atlanta. He's arguably the best inside linebacker in this year's class.
The West Virginia wide receiver was picked 92nd, in Atlanta's third-round slot traded to St. Louis as part of a deal for a first-round pick originally owned by Washington. Bailey was a monster in his final year with the Mountaineers, catching 114 passes for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Zac Stacy (sort of)
The Rams used a sixth-round pick they wouldn't have had if not for the chain reaction started by the Griffin trade as ammunition to trade up into Round 5 of the 2013 draft to select the Vanderbilt running back 160th overall. However, the Rams also included their own sixth-round pick in the deal. Stacy is small but both tough and powerful. He should be a long-term contributor, but he might never be a star.
First-round pick in 2014
In addition to all that is above, the Rams have one more first-round pick from the 'Skins next year.
This is the cost of doing business on the franchise quarterback market. You need an elite quarterback to win in this league, and the Rams figured they already had one. Sam Bradford might not be as good as Griffin, but he could be good enough to succeed with the supporting cast they're surrounding him with as a result of that trade.
The jury's still out on every player above, and we're yet to see what St. Louis will do with next year's top pick. But the Redskins have their own concerns, with RG3 currently rehabbing from the second major surgical procedure he's had done on his 23-year-old right knee.
Thus we won't know who won or lost this trade for quite some time. It's possible, too, that everyone's a winner here. If Bradford and Griffin both become top-notch quarterbacks for a long period of time, both teams will have benefited greatly from this deal.
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