Examining Commanders' unhappy draft hunting ground at No. 2 overall

Will general manager Adam Peters have more luck in 2024?
Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III / Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
5 of 6

Robert Griffin III - 2012 NFL Draft

The ultimate failure of Robert Griffin III - due to injury and unfathomably bad decisions by the team - has negatively impacted the Washington Commanders for the past decade. It remains the biggest personnel disaster of the previous owner.

Washington gave up a lot to move into the second spot in 2012. For one season, it looked like a brilliant move. Griffin’s rookie year was among the greatest by any first-year quarterback until C.J. Stroud came along last season. It had no rival.

Griffin won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He made the Pro Bowl. He took his team to the playoffs.

It all came crashing down in the first-round loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Griffin entered the game with a mild knee injury that had caused him to sit out briefly toward the end of the season. After a stellar first quarter in which he outperformed fellow rookie Russell Wilson, he re-injured the complication.

Everyone could see that Griffin could no longer function as a productive quarterback. He should have been pulled in favor of solid backup Kirk Cousins. But coach Mike Shanahan saw it differently.

He left the former Baylor sensation in the game and the lead evaporated. He left him in until Griffin suffered a devastating further injury to his knee, which would effectively end his run as a top-flight quarterback.

Griffin may bear some responsibility for how this all played out, but he was caught in a terrible situation - an ego battle between an owner and a coach which led to disastrous decisions. They were supposedly the grown-ups and abdicated their duties. The Commanders paid a heavy price.

The once-explosive quarterback lasted two more seasons in Washington and was never the same. We never got to see him play at full strength under Kyle Shanahan. That’s what was supposed to happen. By the end, it petered out into widespread bitterness and frustration.