Jason Campbell thinks Ryan Fitzpatrick can help groom Washington's next QB

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Kevin Brown
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Jason Campbell thinks Fitzpatrick can help groom WFT's next QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

When Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a one-year deal with Washington last week, Jason Campbell came to a realization. 

"To me, this tells me that Washington doesn't feel like they have their quarterback of the future on the roster yet," Campbell told the Washington Football Talk podcast crew. "Even though they may like Taylor Heinicke and they like Kyle Allen, but they don't feel like these are the guys that are going to be there for them long term."

Campbell's rationale appears to be the prevailing sentiment around new general manager Martin Mayhew's offseason moves, but the former Washington QB took it one step further when explaining on the podcast. 

"So I think they bought in Fitz because I think they are going to draft a young quarterback in the first round," Campbell said. "The reason he's here is to help groom a young quarterback without having to put pressure on the rookie to come in and have to start right away."

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Fitzpatrick's most recent stop in Miami best exemplifies how he can be a resource for a young prospect like Tua Tagovailoa. Though the verdict is still a bit away from how well Fitzpatrick's wise words impact Tagovailoa's blossoming career, he really hasn't had too much experience in mentoring young, elite QBs. Geno Smith during his 2015-16 stop with the Jets and Jameis Winston during his 2017-18 stint with Tampa Bay come to mind as promising young guys who he competed for QB1 with, but that's more on the situation he was brought into than on Fitzpatrick himself. 

"It gives (Washington's potential draft pick) a chance to learn behind a veteran that's been with, let's face it, half the NFL and has had really good success and has had moments where he looks like Fitzmagic, and then other moments you don't know if he's going to throw four or five interceptions. That's just pretty much how his career has gone," Campbell said. 

Fitzpatrick's inconsistency is about the most consistent thing about his 15-year NFL career so far. With a star wideout like Terry McLaurin and offseason acquisition Curtis Samuel, Washington fans will hope to see more "Fitzmagic" than they do of "Fitztragic."

Still, while Campbell thinks Fitzpatrick's short-term solution under center can provide long-term effects for a young Washington draftee, the former No. 17 for the Burgundy and Gold also expressed some hesitancy when asked if he would trade draft capital or young defensive stars to slide up the draft order. Campbell cited Washington's blockbuster move in 2012 sending three first-round picks and a second to the Rams to draft Robert Griffin III as an example of what not to do this time around. 

RELATED: Ryan Fitzpatrick describes what it's like to start over — over and over again

"Montez Sweat? You're not giving him up. I just really don't know who you give up and what picks you give up to make that happen. So that's the only thing that makes me concerned, but it will be a young quarterback in the first or second round," Campbell said. 

While guys like Justin Fields from Ohio State and Zach Wilson from BYU are projected to go much earlier than Washington's 19th pick in next month's draft, Campbell remained steadfast that Fitzpatrick's arrival is only to help mentor the next Washington pass thrower. Campbell said if the long-term answer at QB was going to be a veteran presence, then Washington would've pressed more to make a Matthew Stafford or Sam Darnold trade happen. 

"But Fitz is a great guy, and I think he'll be great for that locker room and let's see where they can go with a guy like Fitz pulling the trigger," Campbell said.