Robert Griffin III had himself quite an NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Although the Baylor quarterback did not throw, his freakish athletic ability and his heartwarming personality won over scouts, media members and fans.
Meanwhile, there is a growing sentiment among Browns fans (and mock drafters) that the team must do anything and everything to select Griffin III with the team's first-round pick at this April's draft.
The Browns are actually in a good position to do that, but there are plenty of reasons why Griffin III may not end up in orange and brown.
Full disclosure: My 2012 man crush is Mr. Griffin III. Last season it was Patrick Peterson and the year before, Eric Berry. My heart has been crushed because the Browns were one or two draft slots too high the last two Aprils. So I'm jaded, but I think I've learned from those experiences. I told myself I will not become enamored with one player this offseason, but watching Griffin III highlights makes living up to that mantra very difficult.
So at least for my own sake, I need to play devil's advocate. Here are some reasons why the Browns will not draft Robert Griffin III.
Coveting Draft Picks
Thanks to the Browns' draft-day trade with the Atlanta Falcons last April, Cleveland netted two first-round picks (Nos. 4 and 22).
This year, St. Louis is sitting at No. 2 and the Rams do not need a quarterback. They can and will ask for a king's ransom for their No. 2 pick. On Monday, the rumor on Twitter was the Rams were asking the Washington Redskins, who pick sixth, for their first three picks of this year's draft and the first two of next year's draft.
That is very Mike-Ditka-giving-away-his-entire-draft-to-take-Ricky-Williams. By the way, that did not pan out for the New Orleans Saints, Ditka or Williams.
OK, Williams was a running back and Ditka may have killed too many brain cells on Bourbon Street. This is different, right? Do what ever it takes to select Griffin III because he is a dynamic player at the game's most important position.
But there is a point where the cost becomes too high. Is it two first round picks this year, plus another in 2013? Is it any combination of draft picks this year and next year? What is too much? It is kind of like the Supreme Court's definition of pornography, you know it when you see it.
The Browns simply can't afford to give away too many draft picks. General manager Tom Heckert covets those draft picks and believes the best way to build a long-lasting winning franchise is through the draft.
Brass Still Believes In McCoy
As expected, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur had good things to say about Colt McCoy at the NFL Combine. Shurmur also offered some areas where he thinks McCoy needs to improve.
Team president Mike Holmgren did the same Jan. 5.
"I think (McCoy) can be (the franchise quarterback)," Holmgren said. "I'm not ready to say that yet."
"He played and he did some very fine things and then he played young at times, not unlike his first year where he had four or five games or whatever. Was I pleased? Yeah, in a lot of the stuff he did. My opinion of Colt has not changed. I think he has a lot of intangibles. Ultimately though, as with not only the quarterback position but with every position, you are kind of judged on, and probably the quarterback more than anybody, on how well your team did. I'm not ready to anoint Colt yet. Have I changed my mind? No. Do I love him? Yes, I do. But I love Seneca Wallace and we have three good quarterbacks on our team right now. Having said that, heck, we don't know what is going to happen and I had that conversation with Colt as well."
McCoy is in his third pro season and second consecutive season with the current coaching staff and offensive scheme. The Browns could opt to use picks Nos. 4 and 22 for offensive weapons for McCoy, which was something the team sorely lacked in 2011.
If you give McCoy more weapons, he and the Browns offense could be much improved.
It Goes Against Holmgren's M.O.
Two quarterbacks who are closely associated with Holmgren are Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck. Neither quarterback was a high first-round pick.
Holmgren traded for Favre, who was drafted by Atlanta in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. The Packers selected Hasselbeck in the sixth round in 1998 and traded him to Seattle three years later.
McCoy was taken in the third round and this year's draft features a handful of quarterbacks who will be selected later in the draft.
Will Holmgren go against his fancy of drafting and collecting mid-to-late round quarterbacks and instead use those early round picks on players who can help a signal caller?
Team Fits Players To System, Not Vice Versa
Robert Griffin III is a special and unique talent. I've heard comparisons to quarterbacks like Steve Young and Cam Newton. Griffin III is not the next someone, he is the first Robert Griffin III.
Moreover, football pundits think he is a perfect fit for the West Coast offensive system. This is what the Browns' employ to a certain degree. Yet because Griffin III is so unique, the team that does select him will have to tailor their offense.
Carolina and Denver did that last year with Newton and Tim Tebow, respectively. The result was an improvement in the win column for both teams. For the Broncos, it also netted them a Wild Card round win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Playoffs.
(I couldn't pass up mentioning that again.)
The Browns believe in their system from the top down. Holmgren, Heckert and Shurmur come from similar backgrounds and have similar beliefs in how to run a football team. That trio is more inclined to fit players to their system and not vice versa.
It is a fun time of the NFL offseason. Rumors upon rumors are announced on social media, newspapers and TV stations. No one can truly know what the Browns want and even the Browns admitted they are still in the evaluation process.
As they should be.
The Browns are in a good position to land Griffin III if they truly want him because of the multiple first-round picks. But the cost could quickly escalate if teams like Washington or a team-to-be-named later gives the Rams that king's ransom.
All this before free agency has begun, which is highlighted by Matt Flynn. In addition, a healthy Peyton Manning is expected to land on the open market.
For now, the Browns are among the players for Griffin III and for reasons listed above and for even some we cannot prediction, there is not telling what will happen.
That's why the NFL is the best reality show, with all due respect to the lovely Padma Lakshmi. Hey, any chance she can host the NFL Draft this year instead of the Commish?
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