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Mayfield Makes Redskins Relevant

January 19, 2018
Slowly but surely, many mock drafts are starting to generate some form of these words in the first round for late April’s annual NFL selection.

# 13 pick – Washington Redskins – Baker Mayfield – Quarterback – Oklahoma

Expect to see plenty of it over the next three-plus months. That’s okay, too. Mock drafts don’t mean anything. They are rarely filled with any true inside information and obviously are not only completely subject to change but also be blown up.

However, they do provide some insight and a possible match when it comes to what NFL teams need and what player might be available at around that pick.

So let the Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield hype-a-palooza to the Redskins train officially take off.

Normally, I would be absolutely against any move that is driven by hype and buzz. Those situations rarely work out and almost always seem to be a disappointment.

However, the Redskins face two very real problems moving forward: 1. They need a quarterback to develop for the short and long-term future, because a new trend may be here with quarterbacks either being young studs or cheap veterans.  And then there’s the one that nobody at 21300 Redskin Park Drive would ever want to hear and face the reality of.


Yup! I said it. The Redskins have tried to do things in the more conventional way the last few years, outside of the completely frustrating way they handled the Kirk Cousins negotiations.

NO matter what they say now or in the future, the Redskins are overwhelmingly to blame for that fiasco and they know it. They’ll just never admit it.

What they also must know is that with Kirk Cousins at quarterback, they are very likely a six to nine-win team with no real hope of winning a Super Bowl or realistically making a strong run, while not being bad enough to get premium and controllable difference makers to help Cousins out.

Without him, and say with Colt McCoy at quarterback, the scale of expectations drops even lower to say the four-win mark and probably no higher than eight wins.

In other words – they are below average to average in terms of realistic expectations. You can make an argument for any scenario that you want, but it’s unrealistic to think that the roster is good enough to overcome injuries and other teams that have dynamic difference makers.

The Redskins of course would argue that if they were healthy this year, they would have won 10 or 11 games. Well….umm…they may have won nine games but there’s no chance in hell they were winning double-digit games. Let’s be serious for a minute.

Even with reasonable health, they would not have jumped three or four games and they would not have been better than the Eagles in the NFC East.

The bottom-line is this: If you can win 10 -12 games every year, you can be boring but effective. However, even then, a push would be made for the team to change it up and take the next step.

You can’t be boring and average. That’s a death sentence and that’s what the Redskins are. Honestly. More than anger or joy, I feel the fan base is apathetic. I’ve felt for years that the customers of the Redskins were losing interest, hope and passion. I know that is the case now. I can see it. I feel it. I see the evidence.

If the Redskins don’t, they’re missing something huge. If they think they are doing fine, they’re crazier than I already thought they were.

Again, they’re not only not even close to being good enough but they lack sizzle, intrigue, charisma and a polarizing figure.

Kirk Cousins isn’t that guy and I believe that hurts him and always has hurt him in their eyes. He’s not a marketing machine and he actually does things independently and contrary to them being able to use him for financial gain. If you need proof, remember the “You Like That” merchandise. That didn’t go to the Redskins. Cousins’ charitable endeavor benefitted from that. Not Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen.

His refusal to leave his weekly radio spot on 106.7 The FAN for ESPN 980 is another example. Cousins’ loyalty and beliefs won that battle and hurt the bottom-line at Redskins Park.

There’s nobody else on the roster that moves the needle either. They have good players with some charisma, but nobody close enough for the casual fan to fall in love with and passionately support.

Josh Norman, D.J. Swearinger, Ryan Kerrigan and others are fine. Trent Williams, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed when healthy are others. They’re good to very good players but they don’t bring relevancy and interest to the Redskins on an average or below average on-field product. Sorry, they don’t. It’s also not their job to do that, but in a day and age where people need more than just “nice” or “fine” – the Redskins need somebody to perk up their organization.

The answer to that dilemma, also probably fits their number one need this year once they move on from Cousins, which is expected.

That’s Baker Mayfield. He’s far from a finished product or safe choice. I worry about him when he has a lot of money and a lot of free time, which NFL players have plenty of both.

However, he appears to be the right talent with the right skill set for a pick at around the Redskins spot. It certainly helps the Redskins that Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen are all available to be picked because they are likely all going in the top -ten.

The Redskins don’t want to have to move up to get their guy (assuming Mayfield would be that guy) but they have to be prepared for every scenario.

Mayfield is extremely productive, accurate and has a gunslinger mentality. He didn’t turn the ball over much and was far from a phenom at the start. He earned his spot and kept earning it. He appears to have a lot of the skill-set that you ideally want.

Will he have to get better and work from under center at times? Sure. Will success be easy on the NFL front? No. But Mayfield has overcome many odds stacked against him.

The only legitimate questions anybody should really have about Mayfield is his controversial personality and antics, on and off-the-field. He’s been arrested, he’s rubbed it in the face of opponents and he’s engaged in a somewhat profane back-and-forth with another opponent. That was just the last year or so.

Mayfield Flag

He’s a public figure for sure. He’s been out in public in recent weeks with a woman he’s dating. He also apparently is on Instagram creating headlines.

He creates interest. He creates buzz. Good and bad.

I never thought I would say this, but the Redskins need that. They need somebody who can captivate the attention of the fan and customer base. They need somebody who can move the needle and generate buzz/interest and headlines because that’s been missing.

Sure, they need him to be great but that will come (hopefully for them and him) over time. Right now, they need somebody to create interest and excitement. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN