Griffin Probably Not in Browns’ Plans

Last week, we discussed the dilemma regarding the Cleveland Browns taking Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with their first pick (4th overall) in the NFL Draft.

We also advocated using that pick on the Baylor quarterback, if as expected, he declares for the professional ranks.

After hearing team president Mike Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert talk in their post-season press conference, it doesn’t appear to be much of a debate.  The Browns aren’t going to take a quarterback in the first round this year, or probably any year that the duo are in charge of the Browns.

This organization is married to the west coast offensive system, and they believe that any QB who came from a shotgun oriented system in the collegiate ranks is ill prepared to play in it, at least right away.

Cleveland’s current signal caller, Colt McCoy, played in that type of offense at Texas, and has struggled to pick up the nuances of the attack, so it seems unlikely Heckert would waste the 4th overall selection on a player who doesn’t fit what the front office and coaching staff are trying to accomplish here.

Are the folks in Berea have to be privately hoping that one of the quarterback starved teams in the league, say Miami or Washington, trade up ahead of Cleveland, so they never have to make a decision on RGIII?

Then, the Browns can trade down to a slot around #10, get even more picks, and draft the best player available at that spot, probably a wide receiver, running back, or maybe a defensive player like a linebacker or cornerback.

Because if Griffin is there at four, Cleveland has a huge public relations problem. 

If they don’t like the Heisman Trophy winner, then they either have to pass on him, or make a significant trade to bring in a boatload of draft picks for him. 

Then, they have to explain to their fan base why they passed on a potential franchise quarterback, even though they haven’t had one since Bernie Kosar, 25 years ago.

Despite evidence to the contrary, that the top quarterbacks in the NFL have been drafted in the first round, Holmgren doesn’t believe in spending a top draft pick on a passer.  That’s based on his experience with Green Bay and Seattle, where neither Brett Favre nor Matt Hasselbeck were first round picks.

However, Green Bay did trade a first round pick for Favre, and the Packers and Seattle exchanged first round choices in the transaction that brought Hasselbeck to Seattle.

Then again, he’s never had a pick this high in the draft either, so maybe the lure will be too great.

In any case, Holmgren did say he wasn’t totally satisfied with the performance of McCoy, and said there will be an open competition at QB this summer.  Several people have said that means Seneca Wallace has a chance to start the season, because he runs the offense better.

That’s a mystery.  Wallace did play well against Arizona, but showed against Baltimore and Pittsburgh why he’s been a career back up in the NFL.  If he’s the starter opening day in September, the Browns will have another losing season staring them in the face.

That’s why they need to take Griffin.  They need a dynamic player at the most important position on the field.

Just don’t be surprised if they go in another direction with the 4th pick in this spring’s draft.



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