In the middle of the night, on a non-syndicated, non-podcasted ESPN radio show, veteran analyst John Clayton dropped a potential bombshell in the most casual of ways.
“He’s [Mariota] not gonna fall to the Jets at six. I’ll tell you this right now. The Redskins will take him at five. If Marcus Mariota falls to five -now it’s not a position where they’re desperate enough to trade up to get him-, but if he falls to five, I’m telling you this right now, they’ll take him”.
There’s obviously several massive questions raised by a statement such as this, and plenty of other pundits and news outlets have already chimed in; what would this mean for RGIII? What does this mean McCloughan’s perspective of the Redskins roster is? And is Dan Snyder locked in a basement somewhere, being gagged against his will?
My sense in all of this is that the Redskins are not actually in the race for Mariota, but instead, after years of ineptitude and bumbling naivety, are finally playing the game.
We’ve been hearing rumors for a while that the Redskins are interested in potentially trading down from five if the price is right, and for that to happen there needs to be suitors willing to pull the trigger on a trade. With several QB needy teams in the NFL, and with such a dearth of quality top-tier rookie QB’s available in this draft, it is truly a shrewd move by the Redskins front office to strategically leak that Washington may consider taking Mariota in the top five. It’s a move designed to lure teams considering trading up out of the woodwork, and to start showing their hands.
Of course, if this isn’t a strategic leak, and the Redskins really are considering Mariota at five, then there is a storm brewing at Ashburn.
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