September 1, 2014

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Draft expert Mike Mayock says Browns should go get Robert Griffin III

Mike Mayock likes Colt McCoy.

He loves Robert Griffin III.

Mayock, the NFL Network’s lead draft analyst, said Wednesday on a conference call the Browns should do whatever is necessary to acquire Griffin, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Baylor. That includes trading the fourth and 22nd picks to the Rams to get the No. 2 overall pick and ensure they land Griffin.

“I want to go get RG3. As much as I like Colt McCoy, I still think they have to look to upgrade that position and I think they have to do whatever it takes to get there. That’s the first thing,” Mayock said. “The second thing, I think it will be a hell of a ride. The more tape I put on of this kid, the more fun I have watching him.

“I was pleasantly surprised by his pocket awareness, his eyes down the field and his physical toughness is outstanding. He takes a lot of hits and it doesn’t bother him. All of those things mean a lot to me.”

Although Mayock said he “loves everything about the kid,” he has one concern that could make the ride with Griffin a bumpy one.

“He doesn’t throw with anticipation, mostly because he doesn’t have to,” Mayock said of Baylor’s spread offense that didn’t require the complicated reads necessary to succeed in the NFL. “He’s got great touch and accuracy medium and deep. He’s got arm strength, he’s got athletic ability, he takes hits. But he doesn’t anticipate throws. He waits until they develop and then throws them.

“My only question is, will he develop it? Where I think you’ll find it is throughout the process when teams meet with this kid and they sit down and they put the tape on and they break it down with him and talk football and ask him what he sees or doesn’t see.”

The buzz surrounding Griffin and the Browns has been strong since they were locked into the fourth pick after finishing 4-12. General manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur said nice things about McCoy, who started 13 games before suffering a concussion, but didn’t commit to him for 2012.

With the scouting combine commencing next Thursday in Indianapolis, the draft speculation will begin to swirl at an even higher speed. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck looks like a lock to go No. 1 to Indianapolis, so Griffin becomes the target for every other team searching for a quarterback.

“The bottom line for me is that he’s a playmaker,” Mayock said. “He’s a playmaker and that’s what this league’s all about, especially at that position.

“When I put the tape on, he’ll stay in and take hits. We all know he can run also and he will run. But he initially looks to get the football down the field and I like that. His eyes are down the field, he’s conscious of the fact he can make big plays with his eyes and his arm as opposed to his leg.”

Mayock expects the Browns to consider Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn in free agency, which would free them to fill other needs with their first-round picks. He said the choice between a veteran with only two starts and a rookie with huge upside is an interesting one.

“You’ve got a little bit of NFL tape that you can hang your hat on,” Mayock said of Flynn. “The other side of the coin is you’re bringing up one of the most gifted kids in the last several years in Robert Griffin. You probably have the opportunity to move up and get him if you want him, and to me that’s a pretty exciting proposition to build your young franchise around maybe the most exciting player in this year’s draft.

“There’s risk involved on both sides. I think as an organization you say to yourself, ‘What do you want to be?’ With Flynn, you’re probably a little bit more saying, ‘We think we know what we’re getting there, and it’s a more conventional-style NFL attack,’ versus with Griffin, ‘Grab a hold of the seat of your pants, and we’re going for a ride.’”

Flynn is well-schooled in the West Coast Offense run by Shurmur and new offensive coordinator Brad Childress. Griffin doesn’t have the same background, so Mayock said the Browns would have to be flexible.

“If Cleveland moves up to get this kid, they have to make this kid comfortable,” he said. “He’s too explosive and too much of a playmaker to have him just sit there and read the triangle the West Coast Offense is.

“In other words, Brad Childress and that group of coaches in Cleveland is going to have to change some things to make this kid the playmaker he is.”

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.