With the Washington Redskins facing significant obstacles in luring Peyton Manning, people with knowledge of the situation believe the team may have a better shot at trading up to the No. 2 spot in the NFL draft to land Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

If the Redskins miss out on Manning, their situation becomes more desperate and the St. Louis Rams would be able to demand a higher asking price.

But as has been well documented, Washington faces stiff competition from the Cleveland Browns, who sit at the fourth spot in the draft.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper wonders, however, whether the Redskins’ desperation, coupled with plentiful needs on the Browns’ end, would cause Cleveland to bow out of the bidding war.

The Browns reportedly have been reluctant to part with this year’s 22nd overall pick plus their fourth overall pick. A big reason for that is the need to upgrade at multiple positions.

“[The Browns] go seven, six deep on needs,” Kiper said in a pre-draft conference call Thursday. “Quarterback position, wide receiver, defensive end, cornerback, outside linebacker, running back. It goes on and on and on. … For Cleveland, you’re going to have to battle Washington potentially. It’s going to make it very costly. Dan Snyder knows what [the Redskins] need, and they’ve got to get a quarterback. They beat the Giants twice, and they beat Green Bay a year ago. He knows the missing link in Washington is quarterback. It’s not in Cleveland. It’s not the missing link right now. This team needs a lot of help.”

Although the Redskins last season demonstrated a commitment to building through the draft (trading down in the first round and later rounds and winding up with 12 picks), Kiper says Washington’s track record suggests a willingness to mortgage the future on a player team officials strongly believe in.

(This is consistent with what we’ve been reporting about the Redskins’ plan to go hard after Manning, and if that fails, focus all their efforts on moving up to get Griffin).

Says Kiper: “Washington’s done it before. They value draft picks recently, but they haven’t in the past. I see them going and giving up whatever it takes to get RGIII. If they lose out on Peyton Manning, I think Washington will do whatever it takes to get RGIII.”

Kiper doesn’t see the move as giving away draft picks. Rather he views it as the Redskins making a serious investment in what appears to be a rare talent at quarterback.

“You’re not giving them away. You’re getting a quarterback who has star power,” Kiper says. “If you believe that you’re looking at a quarterback who could be outstanding -- maybe not Andrew Luck, but maybe really, really good. You think about when Roethlisberger, Manning and Rivers came out, well, all three are really good. You’ve got a couple potential Hall of Famers in that group. Sometimes all of them can be really good. … I don’t care about the spots you move up. It’s a quarterback-driven league. Griffin is red hot right now.”

More on Redskins quarterbacks:

Risks, rewards high for Manning and teams

Reid: Shanahan needs Griffin