WASHINGTON — It’s been some time since the Redskins have been in position to select a quarterback near the top of the draft. That’s not to say that they will, of course, but they sure could.
Will Brinson of CBS Sports stoked that fire nicely in his latest mock draft, in which he has the Redskins taking Clemson’s Deshaun Watson as the second quarterback off the board at No. 17 overall:
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Surprise! With the Kirk Cousins situation hardly resolved, the Redskins snag a quarterback in the middle of the first round who gives them some leverage. They can strike a deal to trade Cousins now or let him walk and still have a quarterback. It’s actually a pretty smart solution.
Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier both agreed on the obvious, that by drafting Watson (or any top-tier QB), the Redskins would all but assure they’d be moving on from Kirk Cousins after 2017.
“There’s a bunch of angles you could take with Deshaun Watson to the Redskins,” Paulsen said Friday. “Do you want to get back into the dual-threat game? Do you want to go with another athlete who may or may not be able to protect himself? You saw him take some big hits in the national title.”
“The angle I care about, and I don’t know if you’re with me on this or not,” he continued. “Can you take a quarterback of the future with Cousins still on the roster? Because what you’d be doing is almost cementing and guaranteeing that you’re not going to keep Cousins after this year.
“But as you and I both know, it looks likely that this is his last season here anyway. It’s more likely than not, even if he’s on the roster all of 2017, which isn’t a guarantee, that he leaves via free agency or they don’t tag him next year.”
“It would give them a little bit of leverage back that they don’t have,” he said. “And it would mean that, yeah, you stash him for a season, Watson doesn’t play, he learns behind Cousins, but at least you’re prepared for life after Cousins maybe. You have the luxury to prepare now instead of a year from now.”
Rouhier took a pragmatic approach when contemplating whether Washington should select at QB.
“I’m a big believer in dealing with the world as it is instead of how we wish it was,” he said. “What I wish is that [the Redskins] would just simply pony up the dough, acknowledge their mistake and pay the guy his money. Even though he’s not, quote, unquote, ‘worth it,’ that’s what the market says. You made the market. Please pay Kirk Cousins his money. Anything discussion outside of that I think is folly.”
“That said, I’m with you. I don’t think they’re going to do it,” he said. “I think they have screwed this up to whatever point, whether it’s pride, whether it’s foolishness, whether it’s hubris, whether it’s the idea that they’ll just be able to find somebody magically, even though they haven’t in — I don’t know — forever. The entire history of the franchise, by the way.”
“I don’t know why they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do,” he said. “But if we’re gonna deal with the world as it is with the Redskins, and you acknowledge, as I think you are and I think I am, that Kirk Cousins is likely not going to be here after this season. Unless you do something even worse than you’re already doing, in terms of a $24-million cap hit. You’re talking 28, you’re talking somewhere in the 30s — you’re going to do something stupid.
“So I think this is dumb. I think you should sign Kirk Cousins and draft a defensive player, I’ve made that very clear, but I would understand this. I would. I would understand it. And I would hate it. It would make me so irritated, because the smart solution, the easy one, is right there in the palm of your hand and you’re flicking it away. But dealing with the world as it is, where you’re not going to have a quarterback long term, that would make sense.”