Robert Griffin III worth a shot for Browns, who still should draft QB high

His & Hers: RG III is finally wanted by a team (1:17)

Michael Smith and Jemele Hill react to the news that the Browns reached an agreement to sign QB Robert Griffin III. (1:17)

The Cleveland Browns added a quarterback in Robert Griffin III on Thursday.

They should not stop there.

Griffin is no sure thing. In fact, he's a reclamation project, rescued from the scrap heap of Washington. Former second-overall picks do not leave the team that drafted them -- and then dumped them so unceremoniously -- without baggage.

Griffin brings plenty.

He came out of college a read-option quarterback and never could completely adjust to being comfortable in the pocket. Through four NFL seasons, he never got his footwork and fundamentals polished, and last season he lost his job to Kirk Cousins. This offseason he was released.

New Browns coach Hue Jackson obviously feels he can rescue Griffin. You get the idea Jackson believes he can rescue anyone he sets his mind to. Jackson spoke of the good things he heard in his interview when Griffin spent two days in Cleveland, and of how Griffin accepted responsibility for some of his failures.

The cynic would wonder what else Griffin would say; the coach was adamant that Griffin was honest and accountable.

But that doesn't change the reality that Griffin went from being the rookie of the year in 2012 to not taking a single snap in 2015. From being quick and elusive to having surgery on two ligaments in his right knee and surgery to repair a dislocated ankle. The knock on a running quarterback in the NFL proved true with the guy they call RG III: They are too much at risk outside the pocket.

The injuries limited Griffin's mobility, and Jay Gruden had to try to make Griffin into a pocket passer who could make pre- and post-snap reads in NFL time. He never adjusted.

Jackson coached Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, a guy who barely ran. Griffin was a different kind of player coming out of college, a guy who was a runner-thrower. Now he's a guy trying to still adjust after significant injuries.

As ESPN's Louis Riddick said: "There aren't a lot of sustained encouraging signs."

Then there is the circus that followed him in Washington. It wasn't Manzellian, but it was up there. After wiping out one circus, the Browns will need to address things so this does not become another one.

As a flier, as a chance for the Browns, it's a 'why not' situation -- and that holds water. As Jackson said, Griffin has played, he has a live arm and he did play well in '12.

Even though he has hurdles to clear, taking a flier on him in Cleveland can't hurt a thing given the way the team's quarterback situation has played out the past 17 seasons.

He plays well, the team gains. He doesn't, the team moves on.

But this should not in any way dissuade the Browns from taking a quarterback high in the draft. In fact, they should still use the second pick on a quarterback.

Whether it's Jared Goff or Carson Wentz is up to the team. But Jackson clearly likes Goff a lot, and bringing him in as the second pick to compete with Griffin will create competition and build depth.

Jackson seemed not to care a whit if the pairing of a high pick and Griffin causes issues. If a quarterback doesn't want to compete, Jackson said, he's probably not the right guy for the team.


Adding a drafted quarterback along with Griffin would do what the Redskins did when they drafted Griffin and Cousins in the same draft. Many criticized them. All it did was solidify a position that over time sorted itself out, with Cousins throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2015.

He's now the Redskins' guy and Griffin is off to work on the fundamentals he struggled with in Washington.

But for the Browns, this is merely the beginning of the quarterback search, not the end.