Rather than go all in for the quarterback position during the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns instead opted to accumulate picks, trading away their second-overall selection, with which they could have used to draft Carson Wentz. Trading back to 15, they also passed on the opportunity to trade Paxton Lynch, for whom they could have still traded back more than a dozen spots and still gotten him.
Instead, they chose to fuel a quarterback competition, bringing in former second-overall pick Robert Griffin III, who figures to be the frontrunner to start for the team, but who will ostensibly compete with Josh McCown, and perhaps even rookie third-round pick Cody Kessler.
If Griffin is the best option from that group, however, then some are none too impressed with what the immediate future holds for the Browns at the quarterback position. Pat McManamon earlier this month wrote an article about what he had seen from Griffin executing the Browns’ offense during spring drills through OTAs and minicamp.
He writes that “the Browns were the only team in the league that reached out to Griffin to be a starter this season. They were the only team in the league to offer him with the kind of money he wound up taking. Griffin didn’t so much choose the Browns as they chose him”.
Concerning enough as that in itself might be, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how many people wanted you or what people were willing to pay you as long as you show on the playing field that you are worth every penny, and that others made a mistake in not taking a closer look at what you would have been able to bring to their team.
McManamon talked about Griffin’s off-field progress, how he has shown himself to be fairly amicable and coachable and buying into Hue Jackson’s belief in him. How he has done a good deal of charity work already in the months that he has been in Cleveland.
Talking about Griffin’s need to demonstrate that he can “stand in the pocket, read a defense and make a throw”, he said, “it would be nice to say that he show that he was doing just that”, but “in practices open to the media, for every good throw Griffin executed, he had a bad one”.
He went on to talk about his “magic arm” in individual drills, but “in team drills, he threw a lot of short routes, at times displayed poor footwork and often took the checkdown”. While he noted that Griffin is working with a lot of new and inexperienced receivers, on a new team, with a new coach and system, he also said that the open practices lacked any sort of “wow” play.
“Griffin can grow into a successful starter”, he concluded, “but he showed in the offseason that there is work ahead, and that work will intensify as the season approaches”. We’ll just see how far he’s gotten by the time the regular season starts.