(Photo via ign.com)
After weeks of speculation, it has officially been announced that Robert Griffin III, former 2nd overall pick and 2011 Heisman Trophy Winner, will be joining the Cleveland Browns. Clearly this is a match made in heaven, right? Two misfits trying to find their place in the league have decided to join forces and lead the lonely Browns to victory. What can possibly go wrong? Well, if you ask the Browns and new head coach Hue Jackson, they sound convinced that RG3 is starting to turn a page in his career. When asked about his growth through the years, Jackson said, “You want to see if he’s humble, if he’s grown from his experience, because in the NFL you have to keep growing,” (usatoday.com). Apparently, they have a plan in mind, it’s just that when you are talking about the Browns, you truly never know.
People around the league believe that RG3 will be a great fit in Cleveland due to the healthy support system that he has in place. Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton can help Griffin in many ways that Jay Gruden simply could not. Griffin did start to show some signs of maturity, as he accepted the role as Kirk Cousin’s backup for the entire 2015 season. He surely still has some physical attributes that set him back from being an elite QB, but at least we know he is in a better state of mind than he was during his Washington years. And lucky for Griffin, this time, the burden of the team’s success may not fall solely on his shoulders.
Although Browns are prepared to have Griffin compete for the starting job in Cleveland, they are still prepared to take a QB with their 2nd pick in the first round (RG3 also just-so happened to be picked with the 2nd overall pick in 2012). They can take either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, but it seems like the North Dakota State product seems to be the QB higher up on most analysts’ draft boards. Hypothetically, if Wentz was to be drafted by the Browns, then all of the pressure will be off of Griffin, perhaps for the first time in his career. Griffin will have the freedom to compete for, and likely capture the starting job for 2016. But this year is not the year Browns fans are particularly concerned about. With or without Carson Wentz starting at QB for them, it seems certain that no one was expecting a big splash from the Browns this year anyways. Their focus is on developing their future, as their rebuilding process wanes on. And I actually think Griffin can become a solid bridge QB for their future.
This recent move provides the Browns with numerous opportunities. Sure, they can use that 2nd overall pick to draft another area of need, like their atrocious defense, but keeping Wentz on the bench for half or the entire year I think will prove to be the best investment the Browns have made in years. If RG3 plays well, than that is all the better for both the Browns and Wentz’ development. Wentz can watch a former highly-touted, highly ridiculed prospect succeed in the NFL in a way that can take the pressure off of his own game. And Griffin can rise to the challenge and make himself a valuable commodity once again for GMs and owners to see. It seems ever more clear that for the first time in perhaps a decade (maybe longer), the Cleveland Browns are finally ready to put this “QB-Abyss” chapter of their long history to a close.
– J. Yellin