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What to Look For In a Franchise Quarterback?

Posted Feb 27, 2012

All eyes were on the quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday. Top prospects Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III impressed in the 40-yard dash, although they chose not to participate in passing drills.


All eyes were on the quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday.

Top prospects Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III impressed in the 40-yard dash, although they chose not to participate in passing drills.

With free agency arriving in two weeks, quarterback-needy teams should have plenty of opportunities to address the position this offseason.

The Redskins are widely thought to be one of those quarterback-needy teams.

John Beck and Jonathan Crompton are currently the only quarterbacks on the team’s roster, with Rex Grossman entering the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

Several factors will go into the Redskins’ decision-making process at quarterback this offseason, especially when it comes to identifying which draft prospects have the most upside. The team holds the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft.

In comments last season, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan suggested his approach to identifying a franchise signal-caller is a simple one.

“I think when you evaluate quarterbacks, you look at whether they are capable of winning in the NFL,” he said. “Do you think that guy has what it takes to take you to the playoffs? Does he have what it takes to get you to the Super Bowl?

“There is no specific, ‘Hey, I only want someone who only can do what we want to do.’ I want someone who can win and help a team move the ball. There are lots of different ways to do it.”

Arm strength and accuracy are desirable traits in all quarterbacks, of course.

Coaches like the added dimension of mobility, not necessarily to scramble for yardage but to throw on the run.

And a strong work ethic is key.

Shanahan added another trait that could only be evaluated on game film and the meeting room: football intelligence and in-game decisions.

“My preference is a quarterback that is smart enough to play the right way,” he added. “If we’re playing with a lead, when you have it there, don’t lose it. Don’t give the other team a chance.”

Choosing the right quarterback fit is a critical one for the Redskins this offseason.

Head coach Mike Shanahan acknowledged as much in an interview with Redskins Broadcast Network’s Larry Michael last week at the combine.

“When you look back at the NFL Draft the last 20-30 years, the big mistake that’s made every year is the quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Who is the franchise quarterback? Everyone is looking for one. So you have to do your due diligence.

“You have to go back and make sure you leave no stone unturned in your [evaluation]. If you do go back and pick the guy who is your franchise quarterback, you have to be right, because you can set your organization back 3-4 years, especially if you [draft] one early.”