Praise for Griffin continues to grow

The praise for Robert Griffin III flows like the Mississippi these days, strong and steady.

The predraft chatter about Griffin also could not be more glowing. To hear it, there isn’t a team in the league that shouldn’t want him on its roster.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock called the former Baylor quarterback “one of the most gifted kids in the last several years.” And Todd McShay of ESPN said that in a year without Andrew Luck, Griffin would be a legitimate candidate to be the first player taken.

That was not all. McShay said Griffin has “really made huge strides as a passer in terms of accuracy.” He said his athleticism is “through the roof.” And his speed is “exceptional.”

Mayock said simply: “I love everything about the kid.”

He elaborated, gushing with each word.

“The bottom line for me is that he’s a playmaker. … That’s what this league is all about at that position.”

OK then.

The praise is reminiscent of the way NFL types talked about Calvin Johnson before he was drafted by the Lions. Game changer, they called him. Unprecedented talent, they added. Best player in the draft, they added. Johnson has worked out very well for Detroit.

Is this Griffin’s turn? And will this incredible quarterback wind up in Cleveland, where Colt McCoy’s grasp on the Browns starting spot seems to grow more tenuous with each adjective used about Griffin? Or will another team swoop in to take him?

The talk will be constant the next two months, as teams try to sort through scouting reports. Luck is considered the consensus top pick, but Griffin will be the object of teams trying to trade up to get him. The general thinking is any team that wants Griffin will have to trade up to the second overall pick, swapping positions and other picks for the Rams’ selection.

Draft chatter will increase next week when the annual scouting combine is held in Indianapolis. Many eyes will watch to see if Griffin takes part in workouts. In past years, some top players have avoided working out, figuring it could only hurt them. Griffin’s last season was so exceptional — 72.4 percent completions, 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns, six interceptions — he might choose not to throw.

“If I was him, I’d throw it with that arm, to be honest with you,” Mayock said.

Mayock said to move up the Browns would probably have to give up their two No. 1 picks (4 and 22) and perhaps more, but McShay said the Browns might be able to get away with the fourth pick and their second-round choice this year. Given the high price usually paid to move up for a quarterback, McShay’s scenario seems like a longshot.

“If the Browns want him, they need to move up and get him,” McShay said.

Mayock left no doubt he would do just that.

“As much as I like Colt McCoy, I think they have to look to upgrade that position,” Mayock said. “They have to do whatever it takes to get there.  That is the first thing.

“The second thing, I think it will be a hell of a ride.”

There are some concerns, though they’re greatly overshadowed by the praise. Mayock said Griffin does not anticipate throws and sometimes waits until a receiver is open before throwing. That won’t always work in the pros. But both analysts love Griffin’s ability to throw deep, and the fact that even though he can run, he does not look to run.

“He’ll stay in and take hits,” Mayock said. “We know he can run also, and he will run. But he initially looks to get the football down the field. … He’s conscious of the fact that he can make big plays with his eyes and his arms as opposed to his legs.”

“He is a true passer first,” McShay said. “and he is not an impatient guy looking to get out of the pocket first.”