Redskins pass on Lamar Jackson for Russell Wilson in hypothetical NFL redraft

Ethan Cadeaux
NBC Sports Washington

Even under normal worldly circumstances, the month of June is one of the quietest in the NFL each year. Most minicamps and OTAs end by the beginning of the month, as players head home and rest up for the next month and a half before training camp begins in mid-July.

But in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has prevented all in-person offseason activities from happening. 

With little going on in the NFL world right now, ESPN's NFL Nation beat writers came together and published an incredible hypothetical: What if teams constructed their roster from scratch using the 2020 NFL Draft order?

In this hypothetical, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes first overall, and it was an easy and obvious choice. The 24-year-old passer has just two seasons of starting experience under his belt, but Mahomes has already earned league MVP and Super Bowl MVP honors while leading the Chiefs to their first title in 50 years.

While the top choice was easy for the Bengals, the controversy arrived quickly around what the Redskins did with the No. 2 pick. In the redraft, Washington selected Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson second overall, taking the Seattle passer over current Ravens quarterback and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson.

"Wilson was a no-brainer at No. 2 overall," ESPN's Redskins reporter John Keim wrote. "He consistently plays at a high level and lifts his team. He also is durable and smart."


Jackson would be selected one pick later, going third to the Detroit Lions.

"I thought about defense at No. 3 overall, but taking a quarterback seemed like a must," ESPN's Lions reporter Michael Rothstein wrote. "And when Jackson -- who I thought would go No. 1 or No. 2 -- fell to me, it seemed too good to be true."

To be fair, both Wilson and Jackson are qualified choices at No. 2. Wilson has been one of the best at his position since he became Seattle's starter in 2012. While he's never earned league MVP honors, he has a Super Bowl title under his belt and consistently leads average Seattle teams deep into the playoffs. Year after year, Wilson is in the conversation for being the best passer in the NFL.

But in this hypothetical, teams are building from complete scratch. While one could make an argument that Wilson is currently the better all-around QB than Jackson, he's also almost nine years older than the Ravens signal-caller.


At age 22, Jackson turned in one of the most impressive seasons in recent history. The second-year passer led Baltimore to an incredible 14-2 regular season, throwing for a league-high 36 touchdown passes while breaking the single-season rushing yards record by a QB in the process. Jackson, who's still younger than this year's top draft pick Joe Burrow, has just cracked the surface as the type of player he could be in the NFL.

Besides three solid years of Kirk Cousins and one incredible season by Robert Griffin III, the Redskins have struggled to find solid and consistent quarterback play for years. By taking Wilson, who turns 32 in November, the Redskins would nab a passer that is towards the end of his prime. Wilson could potentially play another decade in the NFL, but there's no telling when he'll begin to slow down and show his age.

Had the Redskins taken Jackson, they would have been set at the quarterback position for both the immediate and far future. Ravens coach John Harbaugh stated a couple of weeks ago that he believes Jackson is poised to make a jump in 2020 as a passer and become a better all-around quarterback.

Imagining Jackson, who earned the league's most prestigious individual honor a year ago, taking another jump as a quarterback is something no opposing defense wants to hear.

To reiterate, both Wilson and Jackson are fantastic choices for the Redskins at No. 2, and Washington would be thrilled if they could get their hands on either passer in real life. But it's worth wondering whether the Redskins made the right choice taking Wilson over Jackson in this hypothetical.

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Redskins pass on Lamar Jackson for Russell Wilson in hypothetical NFL redraft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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