On Wednesday, we took another look – through the eyes of NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock -- at Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who could be a fit for the Redskins as a second-round or late- first-round pick depending on how things play out.
Today, let’s hear Mayock’s take on Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, whom many expect to go as high as No. 2 in April’s draft, and for whom the Redskins would have to work out a trade with the St. Louis Rams – shipping two firsts and a second- or third-rounder – to obtain.
The Baylor quarterback last season passed for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns, with only six interceptions, and also averaged 3.9 yards per carry and rushed for 10 touchdowns. It is believe he would be a great fit in the offense of Mike and Kyle Shanahan, which uses roll-outs to set the quarterback up to make plays outside the pocket while often asking him to throw on the run.
Mayock says that Griffin definitely is worth trading up to get at No. 2, and that his game has few flaws.
“I love everything about the kid,” Mayock said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “The question I have is he doesn’t throw with anticipation, mostly because he doesn’t have to. In that offense there is minimal footwork and they spread it out so wide and he has talented receivers and he has great touch and accuracy. He has arm strength and athletic ability. He’s tough. … He’ll stay in and take hits. We all know he can run also. He initially looks to get the ball down the field. His eyes are down the field. He can make plays with his eyes and arm as opposed to his legs.”
Griffin often draws comparisons to Cam Newton, who last season went first overall and possesses similar mobility, but has a bigger frame. Mayock doesn’t believe those comparisons are fair, however.
“It makes no sense at all. The similarities are that they’re both playmakers,” the former quarterback says. “That part of it is fair. RGIII is a more natural thrower, even though Cam was also. RGIII looks down the field and throws more routes and we don’t have any of the off-the-field issues we do with Cam.”
Mayock says that although many of Griffin’s strengths are suited for an offense similar to Washington’s, it would be wise for his coaches to make adjustments to tailor the system to him rather than force him into it. Those adjustments would help ensure that Griffin makes a similar transition to the NFL as did Newton and fellow 2011 rookies Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder.
“They adapted some of their offenses to suit what the rookie quarterbacks did best,” Mayock says of the Carolina, Cincinnati and Minnesota coaching staffs. “Look at Cam Newton, look at Andy Dalton, look at Ponder. They gave those kids chances to make plays and get comfortable. [Griffin] is too explosive and too much of a playmaker to sit there and have him read the triangle that the West Coast offense is.”
Further praising Griffin, Mayock said: “You’re bringing up one of the most gifted kids in the last several years of the draft. … That’s an exciting proposition to build your franchise around, maybe the most exciting young player in this year’s draft.”