Due to the Washington Football Team's defense recently making the transition from "pretty good" to "finely grating opposing offenses like a nice cheese on a weekly basis," the discussion about what the franchise should do at quarterback this offseason is changing.
Back when the Burgundy and Gold were floundering — which was really only a month or so ago — it appeared that the organization's best course toward relevancy would be to draft a top prospect under center with their presumably high selection.
However, Ron Rivera's club is now 6-7 thanks largely to Jack Del Rio's side of the ball, so their choice in April has slid down the board and will continue to if they keep winning.
Plus, there's a chance this unit is one of the league's elite for the next few seasons, meaning it might be best for Washington to either keep Alex Smith or find someone else similarly established at the position in order not to waste a playoff-caliber and potentially championship-caliber defense.
That's how Peter Rosenberg, a very well-known New York radio personality and devoted Football Team fan, is feeling. He's fine with them spending their 2021 first-round capital on someone else other than a passer, a realization he just recently came to.
As for whom Rosenberg wants running the show, he's identified an outside player who's more experienced than any rookie would be but could also act as a long-term answer at QB: Sam Darnold.
"I understand he’s not going to be a popular pick," Rosenberg told the Washington Football Talk podcast in an interview that'll be released this week.
Yet that didn't stop him from making a compelling argument for the 23-year-old.
"I believe in Sam Darnold," he said. "You’ll get him for almost nothing, he is not going to be a high commodity anymore and I believe he’s an untapped, really solid player."
Darnold's stats would leave one to believe otherwise, but like so much in the NFL, the context behind those numbers matter. And here's the context that matters for Darnold: The Jets are REALLY DAMN BAD.
"This is going to be the worst non-expansion team in the history of football," Rosenberg said. "If he turns out that he’s a good player… he could be your future still. A guy with low mileage that if he turns out to be good, you’re basically starting fresh with a real head coach."
As he explained on the podcast, Rosenberg has done radio hits for the past two years with Darnold, and the host has grown to admire the pro's leadership and maturity. Rosenberg even admitted that he's tried to get Darnold to slam Adam Gase on numerous occasions — and the USC product just won't do it.
Clearly, Darnold won't be the only option for Washington if they opt to try and pair a veteran with their ascending defense. Guys like Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston and others have their strengths, too.
The Jet, though, wouldn't cost as much as that crop of signal callers, and perhaps Rivera could find a way to bring in Darnold along with Alex Smith, so the former could learn from the latter.
Now, there'll be much more time for discussions such as this one after season concludes, but it is interesting that Washington currently looks like a squad that may be more drawn to the plug-and-play route as opposed to the draft-and-develop path.
Darnold would surely require further developing, but he also wouldn't be starting on the ground floor. The issue, as Rosenberg summed up perfectly, is figuring out precisely which floor in that building he resides in.
"The question to me is," Rosenberg said, "is he any good and is he a victim of the worst franchise ever put together?"