- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2012

The Washington Redskins, in desperate need of a franchise quarterback, have made the boldest of moves to acquire one.

They executed a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams on Friday to secure the second-overall pick in this year’s draft. Washington sent this year’s sixth-overall and 39th-overall picks and first-rounders in 2013 and 2014 to St. Louis in exchange for the 2012 second-overall selection, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

FOX Sports first reported the trade, which cannot become official until Tuesday when the new league year begins.

Assuming the Indianapolis Colts select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck first overall, the Redskins would be positioned to draft Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III out of Baylor.

Griffin would become the centerpiece of coach Mike Shanahan’s attempt to return the franchise to prominence. His dynamic athleticism and throwing ability made him one of the most exciting players in the nation during his collegiate career. He would fill the Redskins‘ quarterback-of-the-future role, in which players such as Jason Campbell, Patrick Ramsey and Heath Shuler failed since the team’s last Super Bowl championship 20 years ago.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie would neither confirm nor deny the report of the trade. Several other Redskins officials declined comment.

St. Louis vice president and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff confirmed the trade to The Sports Xchange on Friday night.

The trade occurs as free agent quarterback Peyton Manning is shopping his services. Instead of waiting for Manning to decide which team to join, the Redskins made an aggressive move to position themselves to draft a quarterback many coaches and draft analysts believe will become an NFL star.

“Literally, his value, I think, is at [pick Nos.] 1 or 2,” St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said at the NFL scouting combine last month. “Put the tape on and watch him play. His body of work speaks for itself.”

“The reality with this kid is all I see on tape is I love everything about the kid,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said in February.

Griffin, who stands 6-2 and 223 pounds, won the Heisman Trophy in 2011 after throwing for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns, six interceptions and completing 72.4 percent of his passes. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds at the scouting combine.

In addition to his physical prowess, he graduated seventh in his high school class and was named Academic All-Big 12 first team in 2010. His parents have a combined 33 years of military service.

“As a player, you want a team that really wants you; head coach, GM, owner, everybody that really wants you in their place and the players believe in you,” Griffin said at the combine. “I’m looking forward to making somebody fall in love with me.”

The Redskins did. They paid a price steeper than what the New York Giants traded to San Diego in 2004 to acquire quarterback Eli Manning, who has since won two Super Bowls.

Washington needs to upgrade its receivers and offensive line, in particular, but its greatest need is quarterback. Incumbent starter Rex Grossman averaged 1.92 turnovers per game in 2011. He succeeded Donovan McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler who fell out of favor with Shanahan shortly after Shanahan traded for him three months into his tenure.

Griffin would be Shanahan’s fourth Redskins starting quarterback, excluding Campbell, who he traded shortly after acquiring McNabb in 2010.

Shanahan can’t miss now,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Thursday. “He missed three times on quarterbacks [McNabb, Grossman and John Beck] and he can’t miss four times. RG3 is the option.”



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