On Thursday, the Redskins will make the draft pick that will shape the course of their franchise for the next several years, probably longer, when they take quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the draft. Is there good reason to think that Shanahan can pick quarterbacks? Can Redskins fans be confident that the two first-round picks and the second expended to move up to take RG3 will be well spent? A look at his past might reveal a glimpse of how this decision might turn out.
Shanahan has been the primary talent selector in 15 drafts with the Denver Broncos (1995-2008) and for two with the Redskins (2010-11). How well has he performed?
Over the past few days, we have been breaking down Shanahan’s drafts position by position. If the past is prelude, maybe we can learn something about where he might go in the draft that starts on Thursday and how much success the players drafted might have going forward.
The relatively brief career of Jay Cutler has seen some ups and downs since Shanahan moved up to draft him with the 11th overall pick in 2006. After being put into the starting lineup for the last five games of his rookie season, Cutler made his way to the Pro Bowl in 2008 by throwing for over 4500 yards. Then came the coaching change, the trade to Chicago and Cutler becoming a turnover machine in 2009, throwing 26 interceptions. After a rocky start in 2010, the Bears won the NFC North and made the conference title game. That up ended on a down note as Cutler sat out most of the second half and had his toughness questioned. At age 28, there are more chapters to be written in his career. Cutler clearly has talent and we will see how he handles the mental side of it.
Shanahan got some decent production out of Brian Griese. He was put in the unenviable spot of being the guy who replaced the legend when he took over as the starter after John Elway retired following Denver’s second straight Super Bowl win in 1998. The Broncos went 27-24 in Griese’s 51 starts over four seasons. He made the Pro Bowl following the 2000 season.
Besides Griese and Cutler, the only other quarterback Shanahan has drafted with a top 100 pick was Jeff Lewis, taken with pick 100 in the fourth round in 1996. Playing behind Elway and Gary Kubiak, Lewis saw very limited action and was released after the 1997 season. That is hardly a disaster but you’d like to get a bit more out of a top-100 pick.
The other three quarterbacks Shanahan has drafted all were taken in the seventh round and they only are listed as bad picks because none of them turned out to be a diamond in the rough. Jarious Jackson (2000), Bradlee Van Pelt (2004) and Matt Mauck (2004) combined to play in 11 NFL games, mostly in mop up duty.
Total quarterbacks drafted drafted: 6
NFL games played: 184
Seasons as a starter: 9
Pro Bowls: 2—Jay Cutler 2008, Brian Griese 2000
Games played, seasons as starter and Pro Bowls are for player’s career with all teams.
- 1—Jay Cutler (11 overall) 2006
- 1—Brian Griese (91) 1998
- 1—Jeff Lewis (100) 1996
- 3—Jarious Jackson (214) 2000; Bradlee Van Pelt (250) 2004; Matt Mauck (225) 2004