If it seems like the Washington Football Team gave up early on Dwayne Haskins, a first round pick just two years ago, that's because they did. If you look at the last two decades of NFL quarterbacks drafted in the first round, very rarely have they lost their starting job as soon as Haskins has.
Head coach Ron Rivera made the move this week as Washington looks ahead to playing the Rams this Sunday, now with Kyle Allen under center. What happens with Haskins moving forward, we do not know. But the decision to demote him was made after he started only 11 games.
There have been 60 quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2000. Only three of them were yanked sooner than Haskins: J.P Losman (4 games), Paxton Lynch (4) and Johnny Manziel (8).
Losman was taken 22nd overall in 2004 by the Bills and was handed the starting job entering his second season. He only made it four games before head coach Mike Mularkey turned to Kelly Holcomb. Losman would end up making 29 more starts in Buffalo before his exit, but it only took four games for him to be benched for poor performance.
Lynch was the 26th overall pick in 2016 by the Denver Broncos and started only four games across two seasons, partly due to injuries. He ended up losing his job and being released before the 2018 season began and is currently out of football.
Manziel is an infamous case. He was drafted 22nd overall in 2014 and was limited to eight starts, also partly because of injuries, before his departure from Cleveland. Manziel also had a series of off-field issues that contributed to his demise.
So, if you're keeping track so far: only three quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2000 played fewer games than Haskins before getting benched. None were picked as high as he was (15th), two had injuries get in the way and one couldn't stay out of trouble.
Put that way, what WFT has done with Haskins is definitely not something you see often. Now, there are other first-round quarterbacks who have had the plug pulled in a similar period of time. The most recent example would be Josh Rosen (10th, 2018), who started just 13 games for the Cardinals before he was supplanted by Kyler Murray.
Fewest starts before getting benched (1st rd. pick QBs since 2000)
- J.P. Losman - 4
- Paxton Lynch - 4
- Johnny Manziel - 8
- Dwayne Haskins - 11
- Brady Quinn - 12
E.J. Manuel (16th, 2013) made it only 14 games, partly due to durability issues, with Buffalo. Brandon Weeden (22nd, 2012) battled injuries before the Browns gave up on him after 17 games. Tim Tebow (25th, 2010) even made it 14 games in Denver before some guy named Peyton Manning took his spot.
Brady Quinn (22nd, 2007) got 12 games before he was bounced in Cleveland. Injuries played a role there as well, but you may notice the Browns show up quite a few times in this research. Churning through quarterbacks, especially first round picks, is not a hallmark of good football teams.
Go back further and you find a familiar example. Patrick Ramsey, whom Washington took 32nd overall in 2002, got 14 starts before he was benched. The fact Ramsey got more time than Haskins should show D.C. fans just how short the leash was.
Look at other Washington quarterbacks and the time they were afforded. Even Jason Campbell (25th, 2005), who went 20-32 across four years, got 52 starts before the organization moved on. Robert Griffin III (2nd, 2012) was a sensation in 2012, but after his ACL injury could never reclaim that success. Still, he made 18 more starts before Washington decided it was time.
There are fewer reasons to be patient with quarterbacks selected in the first round nowadays without the massive guaranteed money they used to receive. Now, the financial consequences aren't as dire if you draft a bust.
But just consider how long the leash was for some of the most notorious draft flops at the quarterback position. JaMarcus Russell (1st, 2007) got 25 starts, David Carr (1st, 2002) got 75 and Joey Harrington (3rd, 2002) was afforded 55.
Sure, those guys were top-three picks and also got big contracts. But that doesn't explain why Christian Ponder (12th, 2011) got 34 starts before he was benched in Minnesota or why Kyle Boller (19th, 2003) made 34 starts in Baltimore.
Rivera and his coaching staff can cite any reason they want for sitting Haskins, and perhaps they will be proven right over time with Allen running the offense. But there is no question what the organization has done with Haskins stands out significantly in recent NFL history.