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Teams clamoring for Rams' pick won't be disappointed by Griffin

by | CBSSports.com National NFL Insider

Pundits questioning Robert Griffin III's smarts must not realize he graduated early from Baylor. (US Presswire)  
Pundits questioning Robert Griffin III's smarts must not realize he graduated early from Baylor. (US Presswire)  

INDIANAPOLIS -- Robert Griffin III had his height and weight taken this week at the combine. He officially stands at 6-feet-2 3/8 inches. That is about three-eighths of an inch taller than expected. Since the NFL and the people who cover the sport are full of dorks and geeks who wear Captain Kirk pajamas, this was considered big news.

It's amazing, actually. Guy stands maybe an inch taller than expected and suddenly he's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But that's where we are with Griffin. He's such a spectacular quarterback specimen that any piece of news involving him, no matter how trivial, nerdy or silly, leads to a breaking news headline.

Some of that is understandable. No player now -- not even Andrew Luck -- is generating as much interest around the sport as Griffin. He will make this draft one of the most interesting to watch in recent history because of the full-frontal assault teams will make in the upcoming draft to trade up and get RG3.

League sources maintain at least three teams are strongly considering moving up in a blockbuster deal with the Rams to snag Griffin. Those teams, sources say, include Washington, Miami and Seattle. Team officials also say Cleveland has interest in trading up, though not as much as other teams.

It will likely take two No. 1 picks (at least) to make that trade, and the reason is some teams view Griffin as similarly talented as Luck or such a close facsimile in terms of potential that the difference isn't a great one.

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The Redskins remain the front-runners. Their serious interest was inadvertently confirmed by big-mouth assistant coach Jim Haslett, who spoke to a fan about the team's serious interest in Griffin not knowing that the fan penned a Redskins blog.

Haslett only confirmed the obvious. Everyone in football expected Washington to make a play for Griffin before Haslett spilled the beans and nothing has changed. It's the kind of move impetuous owner Dan Snyder would make, except this Snyder move would actually be a smart one. Griffin going to Washington would energize a frustrated fan base.

The Dolphins are also interested in trading up despite their Matt Flynn infatuation. Team officials believe the sleeper team is Seattle, though moving from the 12 spot to No. 2 would cost a great deal.

There are two things we definitely know when it comes to the Rams and RG3. One is that St. Louis won't trade Sam Bradford, as coach Jeff Fisher explained Friday. He could be fibbing, but it's highly unlikely they would make such a move. We also know it's highly unlikely the Rams draft Griffin unless their intent is to immediately trade him (which won't happen either). This just leaves the option of trading out of the spot.

"There's a lot of options," Fisher said. "We'll be prepared."

Griffin is worth the risk of giving up so many draft choices. His smarts, strong arm and athleticism make him a practically can't-miss prospect.

And yes, I said his smarts, despite some analysis to the contrary. Though draft analyst Mike Mayock has said extremely positive things about Griffin, he also launched the annual trial balloon about the intelligence of melanin-blessed quarterback prospects. Mayock was asked how he thought Griffin would do in the private sessions with teams at the combine, where prospects break down game tape and diagram plays. Mayock's response, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I don't know how he'll do in that setting."

With his non-answer, Mayock raises a question that doesn't deserve to be raised. And ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay told the newspaper in the same article: "I'd be surprised if he doesn't floor teams with his intelligence."

Mayock's comments are similar to what is whispered and sometimes said outright about many black quarterback prospects. The same things were stated, in fact, by some about Cam Newton last season. Newton turned out to be, well, kinda brilliant.

Indeed, scouts have maintained to me there is no indication Griffin lacks the intellect to play the position. In fact, they say the opposite, pointing to the fact that Griffin graduated early from both high school and college. At Baylor, he earned a degree in political science and was an Academic All-American. He's the definition of a smart guy.

Most of the NFL knows this and if they don't they'll find out this week and when some team -- likely the Redskins -- trades up in the draft to get Griffin they'll see better than anyone.


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