Coming into the 2012 NFL Draft, there was a lot of hype revolving the class of quarterbacks. Headlined by Andrew Luck, the 2012 class advertised one of the deepest in some time. Outside of Luck, the quarterback that everyone wanted to get their hands on was Robert Griffin III. After Luck went first overall to the Indianapolis Colts, the St. Louis Rams were on the clock, with the opportunity to draft Griffin. Instead of selecting with the second pick, the Rams decided to trade the pick to the Washington Redskins. Washington sent three first round picks and a second round pick to St. Louis, where they chose Griffin.
The Redskins faced heavy criticism for the trade, but they didn’t care, they got the guy they wanted. Washington received even more criticism after they selected Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. To recap, the team traded three first round picks and a second round pick to draft a quarterback second overall, only to draft another quarterback in the fourth round. Doesn’t seem to make sense, right?
Opposed to the criticism, the Redskins and Griffin we’re confident heading into the season. In his first year as the Redskins leader, RGIII played exceptionally well. He threw for 3,200 yards, while passing for twenty touchdowns and just five interceptions. On top of that, he excelled using his feet, running for over 800 yards, while scoring on the ground seven times. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year, but more importantly, he was able to lead Washington to their first playoff appearance in five years. Everything worked out exactly as planned. They found their quarterback of the future. They found their coach (or they thought they did). But more importantly, they were winning.
As I said, everything was going right. That is, until disaster struck. When the Redskins took on the Baltimore Ravens in a week 14 matchup, Griffin suffered a Grade 1 LCL sprain. No big deal, right? Of course not. They drafted Cousins as a legitimate back-up to RGIII. Cousins came in and played extremely well, leading the team to an overtime victory. Cousins started their next game against Cleveland, and again, he played well. In his first start in the National Football League, Cousins threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-21 victory.
After the game against Cleveland, Cousins was pulled, as RGIII was able to finish out the last two games of the season. The Redskins seemed to have avoided catastrophe. Then came the playoffs. If you don’t remember, Seattle ended up winning the game, but the Redskins suffered much more than just a loss. Griffin re-injured his knee, requiring him to undergo surgery to repair not only his LCL, but his ACL as well.
After an offseason of questioning whether Griffin would be ready for the season opener, Griffin suited up and played in their week one matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. It is without question that RGIII suffered through a major sophomore slump. His numbers dramatically dropped, as he saw the amount of interceptions thrown nearly triple and his rushing yards cut in half. Due to the lack of team success and fear of re-injury, the team announced that they would shut Griffin down for the last three games of the season.