Sunday, December 4, 2011

Race to the bottom: More wins to come?

After last week's win over the Seahawks, the Redskins, now 4-7, seem to have demonstrated that they're not in the same class as some of the truly horrible teams in the NFL. Sure, the Redskins can't take much solace in that fact -- teams with fewer wins do receive higher draft picks, of course -- but no one wants to cheer for a winless team, regardless of whether Andrew Luck or any other potential savior is right around the corner.

Including the Seahawks' 17-point thrashing of the Eagles on Thursday night, here are the current standings for the under-.500 teams (worst records first):

Colts 0-11
Rams 2-9
Vikings 2-9
Dolphins 3-8
Panthers 3-8
Jaguars 3-8
Eagles 4-8
Browns 4-7
Chiefs 4-7
Buccaneers 4-7
Chargers 4-7
Cardinals 4-7
Redskins 4-7
Seahawks 5-7
Bills 5-6

I continue to marvel at the rapid demise of the "Dream Team" Eagles, who are now in the running for a top 10, or even top 5, pick. No team is going to catch the Colts, who have all but locked up that top slot. However, there's quite a logjam at 3-8 and 4-7, so there's plenty of time for almost any of these teams to keep losing and rocket up (down?) the list.

With that Eagles-Seahawks game out of the way, here are the relevant games to the Redskins' (hopeful) selection of a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft. (Fans should want the bolded teams to win.)

Titans vs. Bills
Chiefs vs. Bears
Raiders vs. Dolphins
Broncos vs. Vikings
Panthers vs. Buccaneers
Ravens vs. Browns
Cowboys vs. Cardinals
Rams vs. 49ers
Chargers vs. Jaguars

I didn't include the Colts-Patriots game, because, again, the top-pick ship has sailed. Good luck, Colts.

It's pretty cut and dried this week. There are still worse-record teams out there who need quarterbacks, but not much of this matters if the Redskins win a few more times in their next five games.

As a reminder, these posts are not about cheering against the Redskins; I absolutely refuse to do that. But I can sort of understand the thinking of those fans who are rooting for the Redskins to lose the rest of their games to secure the highest pick possible. At the end of the day, those fans, even if they're sort of annoying, are really only concerned with the best interests of the Redskins and their future, which requires a massive upgrade at quarterback (and, to be honest, a few other positions). If you could guarantee me that the Redskins will identify a franchise quarterback and select him with that higher pick, then I wouldn't mind stomaching a few more losses this season. But that's why the draft is so popular and intriguing: There are no sure things. Prospects like Luck are as close as a college player can get to being a no-brainer, future star type of selection. But he also may end up as a mediocre NFL quarterback. No one can predict the future. Not even Vinny Cerrato.

If the Redskins do end up winning a few more games and pick 10th in the draft, or somewhere near there, I'm confident that they can do what they did last year and find a way to acquire what they need. Maybe that means they'll make a few trades and move up or down a few times during the draft. It will make things more difficult, certainly, but identifying undervalued talent in the draft is far from impossible. Teams do it every year; the Redskins seem to have done it last year. Maybe they can have a repeat performance.

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