NFL

NFL: Why Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins Will Beat Out 2 Veterans to Start in 2019

Washington Redskins Rookie Camp - Dwayne Haskins

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft, but it’s not a given that he’ll start come September. The 22-year-old has to compete with Washington’s veteran quarterbacks to get the job. He may have the inside edge, though. Here’s why Haskins will beat out his journeyman competitors for the starting QB position.

Haskins slides on draft day

Haskins was taken in the middle of the first round, but some analysts thought he’d go earlier. He was the third quarterback off the board, after Kyler Murray — who went No. 1 overall to the Cardinals as expected — and Daniel Jones, who most people didn’t expect to get picked ahead of Haskins.

The Redskins thought they might have to trade up to get the Ohio State University alum. However, they stayed at 15 and still got their future franchise quarterback.

Haskins’ quarterback competition

The other quarterbacks on Washington’s roster work in Haskins’ favor. Alex Smith won’t likely play this season after his gruesome injury last November. So, Haskins only has to beat out Case Keenum and Colt McCoy to land the starting job.

Keenum threw for 3,890 yards with the Broncos last season. He also had 15 interceptions and just 18 touchdowns. McCoy hasn’t started more than four games in a season since 2011. Last year, he threw as many interceptions as touchdowns (three each) in three games — including two starts — with the Redskins.

Jay Gruden’s positive comments

The Redskins’ head coach spoke positively about Haskins at minicamp. When asked if he’d consider Haskins as a starter, Jay Gruden said, “For sure. I’d be silly not too. He’s put enough out there on tape to say he deserves a shot, without a doubt.” Gruden admitted he doesn’t know what Haskins can do in the league and the team’s system because it’s new to him, but went on to say Haskins’ “ability warrants the fact that, hey, let’s take a peek at [him].”

Gruden called Haskins the “wild card” of the QB trio because he knows what to expect from Keenum and McCoy — for better or worse. He continued by saying when “he’s on, there’s nobody you’d rather have than Dwayne. Really. He’s pretty.” The coach praised Haskins for having a “strong, powerful arm” and “strong, powerful body.”

Haskins for Offensive Rookie of the Year?

If Haskins earns the starting job right away, or even early in the season, he has a chance of earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. This year’s rookie class lacks a standout running back, so the award will likely go to a quarterback. Jones isn’t expected to see much playing time until the second half of the season. (The Giants will likely give Eli Manning a chance to start, given his long history with the team. )

This leaves Murray and Haskins as the most realistic pros to earn Offensive Rookie of the Year. Offensive stars surround neither quarterbacks — aside from Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald — leaving the award open for either.

Tough early-season schedule

If Haskins is named the starting quarterback, he’ll have a tough schedule to begin his career. The Redskins open with back-to-back games against divisional rivals, visiting the Eagles and hosting the Cowboys. Then, he’d face a tough defense when the Bears come to town. The Redskins then hit the road again to take on the division-rival Giants in Week 4.