If the Redskins intend on adding a top young quarterback prospect even after acquiring Case Keenum, two other teams are potentially helping the cause.
Both the Giants and Jaguars made bold moves Friday that hint at possible off-season plans which in turn could see Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins drop a few spots in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Let’s start in New York. The Giants sent pass rusher Olivier Vernon to the Browns for guard Kevin Zeitler with some Day 3 picks switching sides. It’s a rare deal considered initially a win-win for both sides. In New York’s case, it needed a significant boost for its long-suffering offensive line.
The cost meant the loss of a top edge rusher. Vernon, who signed a 5-year, $86 million contract in 2016, had 192 pressures over the last three seasons according to Pro Football Focus.
While Cleveland replaces Zeitler with 2018 second-round selection Austin Corbett, there is no obvious substitute on the roster for Vernon. That’s where the draft comes into play.
New York owns the sixth overall selection during a year in which the defensive line/pass rush options are considered the best group in years.
Edge prospects Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary are often projected among the top-8 selections in 2019.
Sticking at six keeps quarterback in play. With Eli Manning now 38, finding an eventual replacement is crucial. Based on comments at the Combine, Giants coach Pat Shurmur, there is not an immediate need for one.
“I think Eli can help us win games. He proved, when the players around him started playing better, that he can play at a very high level and help him win games,” Shurmur said. “At this point, I want Eli back. He’s back. Getting ready to go with him.”
The Jaguars, who have the seventh pick, desperately need a QB. Signs already pointed to the 2017 AFC finalists making a bold push for the top free agent, Nick Foles. The defense is ready to go. The other side of the ball needed major help.
One concern, needed salary cap space to sign a Super Bowl-winning passer. That concern lessened Friday as the Jaguars released veterans Carlos Hyde, tackle Malik Jackson and safety Tashuan Gipson according to reports. Those combined moves generated over $23 million in cap space.
Let’s assume the Cardinals use the No. 1 overall selection on Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and the Raiders (4), Giants and Jaguars focus on other positions. The next teams based on draft order with a long-term quarterback need are Broncos (10), Dolphins (13) and the Redskins (15).
New York could drop down and still land a pass rusher. Brian Burns and Clelin Ferrell go off the board in the 10-22 range. Jachai Polite, Jaylon Ferguson and Oshane Ximines like land somewhere in the late first/early second range.
The Giants also have the 37th selection, but no pick in the third. While it’s possible they trade down from six to add more picks and still find pass rush boost, staying pat means landing one of the elite prospects. New York’s defense already took a hit with the decision to let safety Landon Collins enter free agency.
Jacksonville, Detroit (8) and Buffalo (9) could recognize a QB-trade frenzy looming and put up “for sale” signs. Those teams may also prefer grabbing some of the impressive defensive options.
The longer Haskins or Missouri’s Drew Lock remain available, the smaller the cost required for a trade up.
In 2018, the Cardinals jumped from 15 to 10 to grab quarterback Josh Rosen by packaging picks 15, 79 and 152. The Redskins have 10 selections overall including two in the third. They also now have two veterans for next season in Keenum and Colt McCoy. Neither is a long-term solution or under contract after 2019.
Some of those 10 picks may land Washington Rosen sooner than later should Arizona follow through on the Murray rumors. There’s also a greater chance as of Friday thanks to the Giants and Jaguars that some of the QB prospects might slip a bit to the point where the Redskins might find themselves tempted for a trade up.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- A Perfect Match?: Orlovsky explains why Rosen is a fit for the Redskins
- Big Picture: What Redskins accomplished by acquiring Keenum
- Why Not Both?: Getting Keenum doesn't cancel out Rosen
- Shade: RG3 takes to Twitter after Keenum trade