BY AUSTIN O’MALLEY
After an epic combine performance that exceeded even the highest of expectations, reigning Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is the talk of the NFL as teams prepare for April’s draft. Once the Mothership confirmed that the St. Louis Rams will be selling the No. 2 overall pick, speculation has swirled as to which team will make the move to grab Griffin after the Indianapolis Colts presumably draft Andrew Luck with their first overall selection.
Yi! News’ resident NFL analyst Austin O’Malley explores five possibilities, including which franchise we see as a dark horse to land the Baylor stud.
1. Cleveland Browns (No. 4 overall pick) – On the surface, the Browns seem to be the front-runner, with a pair of first round picks (No. 4 and No. 22) giving them flexibility most other franchises cannot match. However, reports out of St. Louis cite sources within the Rams’ organization claiming that the Browns are unwilling to part with the No. 22 pick. If that’s true, the Browns have a decision to make: stick with Colt McCoy and use the pair of first rounders to continue to build around him, or go all in on RGIII. If Cleveland is truly sold on Griffin, we don’t see how they don’t make a deal for the Heisman winner.
2. Washington Redskins (No. 6 overall pick) – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reports that the feeling within Rams’ headquarters suggests that the ‘Skins are the favorite to land the No. 2 pick. Washington owner Dan Snyder has never shied away from making headlines and a young talent like Griffin would give the ‘Skins their most promising QB situation in a decade. We tend to favor the idea of Snyder throwing a ton of cash at Peyton Manning rather than trading up for RGIII. However, when it comes to Snyder, nothing would shock us – including the possibility of him sending St. Louis first round picks in 2012 and beyond in order to finally land a QB they can build around in D.C.
3. Miami Dolphins (No. 8 overall pick) – After a surprisingly stellar season by QB Matt Moore, the Dolphins might be more reluctant to pay a significant price for RGIII. But it’d also be surprising for them to be sold on Moore as a franchise QB. Expect the Fins to at least kick the tires on a potential trade, but we’d count on them being more of a player in the Manning sweepstakes rather than the Griffin game.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (No. 11 overall pick) – This is a darkhorse, but don’t be shocked if the Chiefs make a play. Head coach Romeo Crennel has been sending mixed signals about backing QB Matt Cassel as the franchise QB, first saying Cassel would enter next season as the starter but later saying he would have to compete for the job. If the price is right, the Rams could be keeping the No. 2 pick within Missouri.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 7 overall pick) – The folks over at ProFootballTalk suggest that the Jaguars may be a surprise candidate to trade up for Griffin, but we don’t see it. QB Blaine Gabbert struggled during his rookie season, but he deserves at least another year with some improved talent around him before the franchise admits defeat on their 2011 first round selection. The Jags have more needs they should seek to address in the draft. Trading up to take a QB in the top 10 for the second consecutive year does not make much sense.
Austin is a pro football analyst for Yi!. When he isn’t too busy crushing happy hour at D’Jais, he can be found dominating your local fantasy football league.