ESPN recently ranked every Washington quarterback between Mark Rypien and Ryan Fitzpatrick

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It’s been a rough 30 years for the Washington Football Team. Washington, which last won the Super Bowl in the 1991-92 season, has started 31 different quarterbacks since Mark Rypien started his final game for Washington in 1993.

Washington has tried everything when it comes to finding a franchise passer. It began in 1994 when it spent a top-five pick on Heath Shuler. In the last 27 years, Washington has spent first-round picks on multiple quarterbacks: Shuler, Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell, Robert Griffin III and Dwayne Haskins.

Washington has traded for big-name veterans like Brad Johnson, Mark Brunell, Donovan McNabb and Alex Smith. Johnson was outstanding during his short stint, and Smith’s time was marred by a devastating injury, despite an 11-5 record as WFT’s starting quarterback.

The team also drafted quarterbacks in lower rounds like Gus Frerotte and Kirk Cousins. Coincidentally enough, Washington took Frerotte and Cousins in the same drafts as first-round picks Shuler and Griffin, respectively. And, the less-heralded quarterback ended up being the better quarterback in both cases.

ESPN Analytics recently ranked every quarterback since Rypien last started a game for Washington in 1993 to each passer who started a game before Ryan Fitzpatrick started Week 1 in 2021.

John Keim, the dean of Washington beat reporters, commented on each of ESPN’s rankings.

Who do you think made the top five?

Per ESPN Analytics:

  1. Kirk Cousins

  2. Brad Johnson

  3. Robert Griffin III

  4. Gus Frerotte

  5. Jason Campbell

And Keim’s top five:

  1. Brad Johnson

  2. Kirk Cousins

  3. Robert Griffin III

  4. Alex Smith

  5. Trent Green

Keim didn’t exactly say who he had at No. 4 and No. 5 but did say Smith would be in his top five and Green, who was ranked No. 10, should be five spots higher.

I agree with Keim here. You can’t understate how magical Griffin’s 2012 rookie season was. Yes, he couldn’t follow up on it, but he was arguably one of the best players in the NFL that season.

We all know the Smith story and what happened.

The careers of Johnson, Cousins and Green followed similar patterns. The front office botched the situations of all three players in different ways. Owner Dan Snyder got involved when Johnson was in Washington, preferring the strong-armed Jeff George over the much better quarterback in Johnson. And, this was one year after Johnson led Washington to an NFC East title.

Johnson won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay shortly thereafter.

Everyone knows the story of Cousins. He was never re-signing in Washington.

Green is a player who had a breakout season in 1998 and it appeared Washington had its future quarterback. Again, the franchise botched the contract negotiations because it was for sale. Once they received permission to make an offer, Green had already agreed to terms with the Rams.

This is certainly an interesting list where I side more with Keim than analytics.

Ultimately, this list proves Washington is still searching for that guy.