The Washington Redskins’ quarterback of the future might be the same one who started the past three years. Or it might be someone they spend this week scouting at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
If the Redskins fail to re-sign Kirk Cousins, their next quarterback could be one of the nine players they’re around this week. Keep in mind that two of their top decision makers — coach Jay Gruden and senior vice president of football operations Doug Williams — happen to be former quarterbacks.
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If the Redskins and Cousins part ways, then Washington must find a replacement. A lot depends on whether they replace him via free agency or a trade — or if they opt for Colt McCoy. But if it’s just McCoy, there’s clearly a chance they’d select someone in the first round.
Josh Allen (Wyoming): There are flaws in his game and there’s a lack of consensus regarding how high he should be projected. But he has skill and that’s why he’s being pegged as a top-five pick. Whether he belongs there will be debated for a while. So it’s possible the Redskins picking 13th, would be a long shot to get him. Still, this will be a good week for teams, and the Redskins, to see whether he can be more accurate — a big knock in college — or was it all just about the talent he played with at Wyoming?
Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma): Mel Kiper Jr. projected him to the 13th pick in his first mock draft, assuming, of course, that Cousins was gone. Mayfield will be another controversial draft pick, with some believing he’s the best quarterback in the draft and others anticipating Johnny Manziel 2.0. They have enough differences in their game, but the reality is Mayfield’s character must be heavily researched — like Manziel. Players seem to follow Mayfield and he probably has a lot of Colt McCoy to his game. There’s a lot to research. The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah called Mayfield a “perfect fit” in Gruden’s system. The Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reported Mayfield would not play, but he’ll still practice and that will provide a wealth of knowledge for the Redskins.
Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State): It’s uncertain if he’ll end up going in the first round, but in a quarterback-driven league it wouldn’t be surprising. He won’t play in Mobile because of a foot injury, but he will attend, so if nothing else the Redskins can meet with him and gauge his knowledge. He was a three-year starter who set multiple school passing records. And he throws the deep ball well, which will appeal to Gruden. But the questions about Rudolph — an elongated throwing motion and play from the pocket — will remain.
The Redskins can pick a passer in the middle rounds if they believe McCoy can be a durable and productive 16-game starter. McCoy would be helped, as any quarterback would, by a strong run game and defense — perhaps he could then be the 2018 version of Case Keenum. But they’d still need to draft someone else to develop. McCoy remains confident in what he can do, but the Redskins need to prepare for all scenarios.
Luke Falk (Washington State): He did not have a good final year. At times the pressure got to him and it resulted in sloppy decisions and throws. He also threw a ton of short passes — by design. He’s not mobile.
Kyle Lauletta (Richmond): Because of where he played (Richmond), there’s a lot to learn. It’ll be a good week to see how he fares against a higher level of competition and how his arm strength compares.
Mike White (Western Kentucky): He’s an intriguing passer for all teams to watch; he’s considered an excellent leader with a strong arm — and a willingness to throw down the field. All of that should appeal to Gruden and the Redskins, depending on what else they see during practices. In this Insider’s pieceInsider, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said he wants to see how White handles pressure in the pocket, as well as his footwork on various drops.
The Redskins will explore all options if Cousins is elsewhere, meaning they could also sign a free agent (Sam Bradford? Teddy Bridgewater?). That would give them a starter and McCoy as a backup. Even in that scenario they’d be wise to draft another quarterback — like they did with Nate Sudfeld two years ago. McCoy would be in the final year of his contract; the Redskins must plan.
Tanner Lee (Nebraska): He has the size (6-foot-4) and is more of a pocket passer with a good arm. But he was inconsistent in college, particularly in the intermediate passing game. That’s a big part of an NFL offense.
Kurt Benkert (Virginia): He has a good arm and mobility, but this will be a good chance to gauge other parts of his game —
especially his accuracy. The latter was a knock on him at Virginia, mostly about leading receivers into more yards after the catch. But he has skills to develop.
Brandon Silvers (Troy): This will be a huge week for Silvers, who analysts say has the athleticism and arm strength to stand out. He’s a four-year starter and will be 24 by the time the draft rolls around, so he’s more mature. But he played in a passing system that often featured half-field reads. McShay does not have him among his top 10 quarterbacks in the draftInsider.