- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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So we have this Insider series focused on top 10s at each position for 2016. It's an interesting exercise and involved a lot of smart, thoughtful people devoting a lot of time and hard work, and we've highlighted a couple of the posts here in recent days. But it occurred to me that I'd missed the list of top 10 projected quarterbacks for 2016, and so I went to check it out to see where they put the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III.
Here is Mike Sando's reasoning:
Griffin would rank higher if his playing style appeared more sustainable. While [Seattle's Russell] Wilson was a scrambler and occasionally a read-option runner, Griffin far more frequently exposed his body to hard hits through aggressive runs. He was more dependent on that style of play for his success. Let's see how well Griffin adjusts and how well he overcomes knee surgery before banking too heavily on a continued upward trajectory for years to come.
I mean, I guess fair enough, and I'm all for skepticism in general. But I'd caution against using Griffin's knee injury against him too strongly in this kind of predictive analysis. If he hadn't hurt himself late in the season and in the playoff game, it would still be true that he "more frequently exposed his body to hard hits through aggressive runs" than someone like Wilson did. But I doubt it would then be so easy to hold that against him.
Griffin may well be too reckless to succeed in the NFL. I personally think he's intelligent enough to understand the things he needs to change and that he'll be able to do that. I think his team plans to develop the way in which it uses him as time goes along to reduce his dependence on his legs. I think he's skilled enough to succeed without the use of those aggressive runs and will showcase the ability to play more under control as his career progresses. And were I making this kind of list, his talent and perspective would mitigate the concerns I have about the style in which he played the first 16 games of his NFL career enough to place him much closer to the quarterbacks he just beat out for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. I'm not saying there isn't reason to worry more about Griffin than there is about Wilson (who ranks third on Mike's list) or Andrew Luck (who ranks second), but... eighth?