INDIANAPOLIS -- We can only assume that Robert Griffin III's mega-impressive performance at the podium during the scouting combine was repeated when the Baylor quarterback interviewed with NFL teams this week. And if that's the case, teams would then go back and watch tape of a player who completed over 72 percent of his passes and led the nation in yards per pass in 2011. Given those speculations, it's no surprise that the drumbeat is getting louder every day from teams looking to package a huge purse of draft picks together and move up to the #2 spot -- currently owned by the St. Louis Rams -- for the services of the quarterback everybody believes will be the pick right after Andrew Luck.
According to Mike Freeman of CBS Sports, at least three teams -- the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, and Seattle Seahawks -- are seriously considering moving up to pluck RGIII out of the draft pool in late April.
The Redskins' interest was made public by defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who spilled the beans to a fan, who then posted the news on the excellent Redskins blog, Hogs Haven. If you were somehow able to combine the skills of Rex Grossman and John Beck, the resulting Frankenstein quarterback would still not match the talents of Griffin. The need is set.
The Dolphins could still be looking very seriously at Green Bay's Matt Flynn -- Flynn is about to hit the open market and new head coach Joe Philbin was on Green Bay's staff for a good, long time -- and they could also be in the hunt for Peyton Manning if the future Hall-of-Famer can play after a series of neck surgeries and the recovery of the nerve impingements in his right arm. But a team that has built a lot of the pieces around a quarterback could do a lot worse than trade up for Griffin.
[ Related: Robert Griffin III blows away combine with 40 time ]
That's also the case for the Seahawks. General manager John Schneider said this week that he's far more interested in quarterbacks who have been athletic through their careers, and the guys who go to all the passing camps make him a little nervous. Since Manning actually runs his own passing academy, and Schneider also said that he's wary of throwing a lot of guaranteed money at a quarterback who makes you unsure, we'll assume that the Seahawks aren't in the hunt for #18. The Seahawks put their future in the hands of Tarvaris Jackson in 2011, and though Jackson performed reasonably well in the face of a rebuilding offense and his own injuries, Griffin's quite a few floors up in terms of talent, skill set, and potential.
Factor in the Cleveland Browns as well. All of these teams mentioned have first picks in the top 12, but the Browns sit at number 4 with a team president (Mike Holmgren with Seneca Wallace) and offensive coordinator (Brad Childress with Tarvaris Jackson) who have serious experience transitioning super-fast quarterbacks able to operate roll-right versions of the West Coast offense.
There are a lot of options, but the one thing we do know is that there are many teams, and many analysts who used to make those NFL decisions, in love with Griffin's potential -- on and off the field. During his Saturday media session, former Baltimore Ravens head coach and current NFL Network and FOX Sports analyst Brian Billick gushed about RGIII.
"I'm very intrigued by him," Billick said. "We tend to clump players together. So any time you talk about an athletic quarterback — Oh, he's this. He's counter to that. This is the best. When you talk about the Michael Vicks or the Cam Newtons or the athletic quarterbacks, this is the best throwing athlete I've seen come out in a while. Far better than Michael Vick in my opinion. Far better than Cam Newton. I'm not going to say the T word [Tebow] here. [NFL Network draft guru] Mike Mayock will get mad at me if I say the T word. Very intrigued. This guy has as pure a throwing motion for an athletic quarterback [as you will see]. Clearly, he has the intelligence to transition. Very intrigued with his potential in the NFL. He will translate into the NFL very well."
There seems to be very little question about that. The only question is, which team will mortgage a good part of at least one draft to get that rarest and most valuable of draft commodities -- the quarterback who could turn a team around?
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- Tarvaris Jackson
- Seattle Seahawks