The headline expresses what appears to be the consensus view of yesterday’s blockbuster trade between the Redskins and the Rams. The Rams had the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft and Washington paid through the nose to obtain it. To move up in the draft and — we assume — pick their quarterback of the future, Washington gave up their first round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, plus a second round pick this year. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay, although the future value of draft picks are usually discounted by one round, so on that reckoning, Washington only gave up the equivalent of two seconds and a third to swap places in the first round, which makes it seem a bit less eye-popping.
Of course, the Minnesota fan base blames the Vikings’ win over Washington at the end of the 2011 season for allowing the Rams to benefit from this trade (if Washington had won that game, the Vikings would have the second overall pick and likely have been the beneficiaries of the trade).
Christopher Gates would like to disillusion everyone about that meme:
Yes, the Minnesota Vikings’ victory over the Redskins on Christmas Eve “cost” the Vikings the opportunity to hold the #2 overall pick and get that potential haul from Washington or some other team. While I was bopping around the internet this morning, I found that there are a decent number of folks that are still not entirely happy that the Vikings didn’t try harder to lose that game in order to make that happen. If you should happen to be one of those people, I have something I’d like to say to you. . .
Stop it. Just. . .freaking. . .stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself.
We’ve been over this a couple of times, but it bears repeating in this case. . .you are not going to get a team full of professional athletes to “tank” in order to gain draft position. Why? Because the guys that are currently on the team don’t give a damn whether the Vikings are drafting at #2 or #3 or #10 or #29 or wherever else in the first round of the NFL Draft. Or, at the very least, they shouldn’t.
The Minnesota Vikings have 18. . .that’s eighteen. . .players that could potentially hit the free agent market when things open up in about 48 hours. Do you suppose those guys give a damn about draft position? No, they don’t. . .I’m guessing they’re much more interested in being employed when Training Camp starts in late July, and they’re not going to get employment from teams watching game film of them and seeing that they quit when things got rough late in the year.
Update: John Merkle at The Viking Age points out that the player Washington (probably) traded up for wasn’t even being consistently mentioned as a top-five draft pick as recently as December:
Robert Griffin III wasn’t even deemed the 2nd overall pick on that Christmas Eve. If anyone cares to google mock drafts from late 2011 you’ll notice that Robert Griffin III was slated to go anywhere from 5 to 15. There were mostly two major campaigns going on for two top shelf prospects — Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck’s “Suck For Luck” and USC tackle Matt Kalil’s “Fall Flat For Matt”. There was not one mention of “Whiffin For Griffin”. Yes, RG3 had already won the Heisman Trophy, but he hadn’t lead his Baylor Bears to 67 points in a video game style Alamo Bowl nor had he blown members of the NFL away at the combine (including running a 4.41 40-yard dash and interviewing like someone who should be running for political office). His draft stock was indeed solid in December, but hadn’t soared until the past couple of months.
So go ahead you guys. Whine all you want about winning a football game that costs us plethora of draft picks and be glass half empty sort of folks. Go invent a crystal ball that can see into the future. You’ll be rich. Maybe with a little hope in the next several days we’ll see a few more glass is half full personas amongst our fanbase. If anything we should be grateful for the ascension of RG3 allowing us to be in perfect position to take Kalil. A franchise left tackle is tremendous building block for any team, let alone one that has young quarterback who has to account for Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers four Sundays a year. 13 losses turned out to be enough falling flat for Matt.