Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL draft, but just don’t say that around Daniel Snyder or Mike Shanahan these days. After paying a king’s ransom to land themselves the self-proclaimed Superman, the Washington Redskins will soon officially make Robert Griffin III the face of their franchise. RG3 is going to take Washington with higher expectations than a typical top three pick and that’s saying something.
By no fault of his own, RG3 is facing an unbelievable amount of pressure to change the culture in Washington. For starters, if the Redskins whiff on the RG3 selection, they won’t have a chance to even draft another player in the first round until 2015. While the rival Giants were famously “all in” during their 2012 playoff run, one can make the argument that the Redskins are “all in” on RG3.
The elephant in the room here is that this isn’t exactly the best situation to raise a quarterback. While Mike Shanahan is a good coach, he’s been on the hot seat for quite some time in Washington and under tremendous pressure to sooner rather than later. In 2011, Cam Newton showed everyone that a rookie quarterback could step in and have an impact on the game. By doing so, Newton (along with Andy Dalton) set this as the norm for NFL rookie quarterbacks. Interestingly enough, this is already a problem for RG3. Whether fair or not, RG3 will continuously be compared to Cam Newton since both play a similar style. However, Newton played his college ball in the SEC, which compares more favorably to NFL defenses than the Big 12 conference around which RG3 has been slinging the ball.
Mike Shanahan and his staff need to be careful with RG3. The environment in which a prospect is developed is equally–if not more important–than the skills possessed by the prospect (see: Russell, JaMarcus). Be patient with RG3 and do not expect the same immediately impact that Cam Newton had with the Panthers, especially considering that RG3 is going to have to face the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles six times a year.
By no means is this pronouncing RG3 a bust before he even steps foot on an NFL field. However, Mike Shanahan and his staff would be wise to preach patience in the development of their new quarterback.