Monday, March 5, 2012
The Rams' market for second overall pick
By Mike Sando
The Washington Redskins look like an early favorite to acquire the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft from the St. Louis Rams.
Jim Thomas' update for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covers quite a few angles.
Another came to mind while reading the piece. What if the Redskins were the only team drafting among the top six with serious interest in Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III?
Such a thought seemed improbable while Griffin was lighting up the NFL scouting combine recently, but a post-combine report from Fox Sports' John Czarnecki lingers in my mind.
According to Czarnecki, Browns president Mike Holmgren and the team's coaching staff aren't necessarily sold on Griffin.
Under this thinking, Holmgren would prefer a quarterback to fit his system, not the other way around. Griffin's winning personality and phenomenal athleticism might make him a great prospect, but would the Browns see him as an ideal fit for their system -- enough so to justify parting with significant draft capital to get him?
Holmgren is not the Browns' coach, but he is particular about his offense and quarterbacks. He hired Pat Shurmur as head coach in part because Shurmur shared his vision for offense. Then again, Shurmur worked under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Reid has obviously adapted his offense for a range of quarterbacks, notably Michael Vick.
All of this might be over-thinking things. My AFC North colleague, Jamison Hensley, thinks the Browns have little choice but to make a strong play for Griffin. That would serve the Rams well.
But if the Browns aren't all in for Griffin, what team represents the Redskins' competition for the second pick?
Minnesota picks third and Tampa Bay picks fifth. Both teams have invested in quarterbacks recently. Jacksonville, which picks seventh, has publicly committed to Blaine Gabbert as its franchise quarterback. Miami picks eighth, and as Thomas notes, the Dolphins might not be interested in dealing with St. Louis after the teams battled over Jeff Fisher. Miami also has ties to free-agent quarterback Matt Flynn.
Carolina picks ninth and already has Cam Newton. Buffalo picks 10th and has already publicly ruled out trading up for Griffin. Kansas City holds the 11th choice and could have interest even though Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli has said Matt Cassel is the clear starter. Seattle (12th) and Arizona (13th) hold the next two picks, and both can forget about the Rams sending a franchise quarterback their way.
Griffin might be worth taking second overall. That doesn't necessarily mean the market will allow the Rams to maximize the value of that choice.
The Rams do not necessarily need to make a killing in a trade. Griffin isn't in their plans, so they could conceivably get the player they really wanted a little later, plus whatever comes their way by trade. That would still represent a net gain.
Things to consider while the Rams weigh their options.