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Redskins Can’t Believe Their Luck As Dwayne Haskins Falls Into Their Laps

Even Dan Snyder couldn’t mess this pick up. Washington didn’t have to trade up to find its quarterback of the future, happily selecting the Ohio State passer with the no. 15 pick.

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Redskins took Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick, a selection that has owner Dan Snyder’s fingerprints all over it:

It’s cause for concern any time an owner exerts their influence over a team’s decision-making process in the draft, as Snyder reportedly did with this pick. And considering Snyder’s track record is as bad as any owner’s in football, things could have gone terribly. Yet, in this instance, Washington picked the second-most promising QB (after no. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray) in Haskins. Hell, it even feels like one of the best value plays of the draft; just look across the division to the Giants, who selected the less-promising (and that’s putting it kindly) Daniel Jones at no. 6 overall. Giants fans are in shambles. Washington fans should be filled with excitement.

That doesn’t mean that Snyder’s frequent meddling can be waved away, of course. Reports indicated that head coach Jay Gruden didn’t want Haskins, preferring Jones instead. That’s not a great way to run a franchise, to say the least. But leaving aside the usual whirlwind of drama that perpetually engulfs Redskins Park, Haskins may be a great pick.

The Ringer’s NFL draft guru Danny Kelly ranked the former Ohio State passer as his no. 15 overall prospect, making the selection neither a reach nor a steal. But to get one of the top passers in the middle of the first round should have Washington fans salivating. Rumors swirled that Snyder and team president Bruce Allen could trade up into the top five to get Haskins, which would have been expensive for the franchise. Instead, the team stayed put and nabbed Haskins at their original draft slot. That alone is rare in today’s NFL.

Haskins was incredibly productive in his one season as a starter in college, throwing for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns. He’s a big pocket passer with a strong arm; Kelly compared him to “medium-sized Ben Roethlisberger.” Football Outsiders’ QBASE projection system gave Haskins and Murray nearly equal scores, though it wasn’t as nearly as high on either of them as it was on Baker Mayfield last year.

Washington jumped out to a surprising 6-3 start last year, but an unbelievable litany of injuries—including to quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy—derailed the season and the team finished 7-9. Still, this team is on the verge of contention, with a decent defense, a promising run game, and several talented young players. In the modern NFL, that makes it the perfect fit for a rookie passer, which can allow teams to build a contender around that QB’s cheap contract. There’s one hangup, though: The Redskins still have to deal with Smith’s cap hit, which will be at least $20 million until 2021, even if they cut him. While Haskins will come cheap, this team will still be paying a large sum to the QB position for at least the next two seasons.

Still, in a vacuum, getting Haskins at 15 is a great pick. It’s everything under the hood—from Snyder’s meddling, to Smith’s contract, to the indefensible decision to sign Reuben Foster—that makes it impossible to say, even with this selection, that this franchise is moving in the right direction. Knowing the Redskins, it’s just as likely that they’ll ruin Haskins as it is that they’ll build a contender around him.