Redskins' frustration will linger


When Washington traded a plethora of picks to St. Louis for the second overall pick in 2012 and the right to draft Robert Griffin III, the Redskins never imagined the last draft choice they would have to surrender to the Rams might turn out to be the same second overall pick they once acquired.

But here's an equally tough part: It also could be worse. The last pick Washington owes St. Louis could turn out to be the No. 1 overall pick, which would give the Redskins one other distinction in a season Washington wants to forget.

If Houston wins one game and Washington does not, the Redskins would become the first team in in 35 years to trade a first-round pick that later turns out to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

The last time it happened was 1978, when the 49ers traded second- and third-round picks in the 1978 draft, first- and fourth-round picks in the 1979 draft and a second-round pick in the 1980 draft to the Buffalo Bills for running back O.J. Simpson. The 1978 49ers then finished 2-14 and earned the No. 1 overall pick of the 1979 draft. The Bills used that pick on Ohio State linebacker Tom Cousineau.

It also happened in 1973, when the Houston Oilers traded first- and third-round picks in the 1974 draft to the Dallas Cowboys for Tody Smith and Billy Parks. The 1973 Oilers finished 1-13 and earned the No. 1 overall pick of the 1974 draft, which the Cowboys used on Tennessee State defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones.

Should 2-12 Houston win one of its final two games, at home against Denver or at Tennessee, where the Titans have lost five straight home games, and should 3-11 Washington lose its last two games, at home against the Cowboys and at the Giants, then St. Louis would get the No. 1 overall pick.

Based on strength of schedule -- theirs being the weakest -- the Redskins hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Texans and every team but the 4-10 Raiders and 4-10 Jaguars. So the Rams win again. The Rams could finish with the first overall pick, or the second overall pick, and almost assuredly no worse than the fourth overall pick.

However it plays out, it's going to be devastating and deflating for Washington to spend the coming months mulling what it would have done with the high pick St. Louis will have.

The Redskins have RG III; the Rams could have the top overall pick. And the book is just about to be closed on a potentially historic trade that will continue to be analyzed for seasons to come.

Mired in mediocrity: There probably have been other seasons in which the stakes have been as great, but it feels like the pressure on the Cowboys never has been greater than it is now.

Coming off a colossal collapse in Week 15, the 7-7 Cowboys now are trying to overcome their last two losses to win the division. But if they don't, they have a chance to bring it full circle.

Two years ago the Cowboys lost the NFC East title on the final Sunday of the season to the New York Giants. Last year they lost the NFC East title on the final Sunday of the season to the Redskins. This year they have a chance to lose the NFC East title on the final Sunday of the season to the Philadelphia Eagles, making it a clean divisional sweep.

There's also every chance that, for the third consecutive year, the Cowboys will finish 8-8, becoming just the third team in NFL history to finish with a .500 record in three straight seasons.

And if anyone doubts that it can be done, consider the facts. Over the last three years, the Cowboys are 18-2 against teams that finished the season below .500 and 5-21 against teams .500 or above. The Cowboys' remaining games are against the 4-10 Redskins and 8-6 Eagles, which means 8-8 is on the table.

Should this team finish 8-8 again, and should it fail to win the NFC East title or a game in the playoffs, the drama in Dallas would just be beginning.

Rangers like quarterbacks: There cannot be an NFL team that has drafted two quarterbacks as good as the two drafted by the Texas Rangers.

In June 2012, the Rangers used a 15th-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Jameis Winston, who went on to attend Florida State and who won the Heisman Trophy last Saturday night.

Then on Dec. 12, in baseball's Rule 5 draft, the Rangers drafted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

But it's not just standout quarterbacks the Rangers have drafted. In 2009, Texas drafted current Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, offering him a $250,000 signing bonus. He ultimately decided to return to Florida to play football.

Texas also once acquired the rights to running back Ricky Williams from Montreal after the Expos had taken him in the Rule 5 draft in 1998, even though the former Heisman Trophy winner planned to play football, not baseball.

The Schef's specialties

Game of the Week: Saints at Panthers -- NFC South title on the line.

Upset of the Week: Redskins over Cowboys -- Redskins should get emotional boost in London Fletcher's last NFL home game.

Player of the Week: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick -- In the last game at Candlestick Park, Kaepernick needs to provide San Francisco with one more great quarterbacking performance.