Forget about RG3 for a second.
For some NFL teams, trading up for a quarterback actually works out well.
That will be on display Sunday when Patrick Mahomes starts the AFC Championship game for the Chiefs. Two seasons ago, Kansas City traded up to draft Mahomes even though Alex Smith was on the roster at the time.
The Chiefs gave up a first-rounder and a third-rounder to go from the 27th pick to the 10th pick and take Mahomes, and he's been dynamite since taking over the starting spot this year. He threw for 50 touchdowns this season and seems very likely to win the NFL MVP Award.
The Chiefs made an aggressive move to get a franchise quarterback and it worked.
They’re not alone.
The Eagles did the same thing in 2016. Philadelphia moved up from the eighth overall pick to the second overall pick to select Carson Wentz.
The trade required the Eagles giving up additional picks, including a first-rounder in 2017 and a second-rounder in 2018, but the move has been great for Philly. Even with injury troubles for Wentz, the Eagles are committed to their young franchise passer, so much that they will likely lose Super Bowl MVP backup QB Nick Foles this offseason.
In Chicago, a 2017 trade to acquire Mitchell Trubisky has paid dividends.
The Bears gave up a lot to move up just one draft spot to be sure they could get Trubisky, and this year, the Bears won their first division title since 2010. As a passer, Trubisky is hardly a finished product, but he's given the Bears offense some playmaking ability at the most important position on the field. Chicago's team is driven by a great defense, but Trubisky has plenty of upside. The Bears are certainly happy with the trade.
That's a long way of saying that not all NFL teams regret trading up in the draft for a quarterback.
There have been other examples where the trade doesn't work, and probably the most notable is in Washington.
For one season, Robert Griffin III looked like the future of the NFL: A strong-armed, lightning fast quarterback that could beat defenses multiple ways. Early on, the league didn't know how to stop Griffin. Eventually, teams figured out how to slow the read option and RG3's body took a lot of abuse.
It's now a cautionary tale, especially because the 'Skins gave up a lot to get RG3, but it's also worth pointing out that 2012 was their best, and maybe only, chance at real playoff success in the last decade. Griffin was the engine.
What does all this mean for the 2019 NFL Draft?
With Alex Smith's significant leg injury, quarterback is again a position of need for Washington. The draft has one elite QB prospect in Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, and then a number of other passers with upside but question marks. Is Kyler Murray big enough to hold up? Has Daniel Jones shown enough? Is Drew Lock accurate enough?
Moving up to get Haskins would be a bold move for Washington. The team has a number of holes and could use a strong draft to fill them. Going to get Haskins would sap the organization of their stable of picks.
The flip side is nothing can change the tide of an organization like a really good QB. How different were the Colts this season with the return of Andrew Luck? Yes, it helped a lot that they invested on their offensive line and defense, but an elite arm throwing the ball changes everything for a football team.
It might not be prudent for the Redskins to try and go get Haskins, but it might not be dumb either. It would be bold.
In a league where aggressive moves are becoming the path to the playoffs, maybe Washington needs to try strong actions.
Go back to the Bears. A year after giving up a lot to take Trubisky, the team then gave up another first-round pick to acquire Khalil Mack. Mack's been a star for Chicago, turning their defense from good to great.
Bold moves can work.
There is a big difference, however, between bold and reckless.
It's hardly a sure thing the Redskins will take a quarterback in the first round, and even less of a definite that the club would move up in the draft for a QB.
Still, framed by the incredible success of Mahomes in Kansas City, the Redskins cannot approach the 2019 offseason scared of making a move for a quarterback.
What the team cannot do — cannot — is make a move just to create buzz. This is not a deep draft class at QB, and paying up for any player other than Haskins seems like a short-sighted investment.
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