By Rich Tandler
If the Redskins want to move up in the draft to get quarterback Robert Griffin III they key may be whether or not the Browns want Griffin, too. Cleveland has two first-round, the fourth and 22nd, and if they throw both of those picks into the pot to get the Rams’ pick, the second overall, the Redskins would be very hard pressed to beat their offer.
But it is not a given that the Browns want to move up for RG3. According to one report, the Browns may want to stay put with the fourth pick and take Alabama running back Trent Richardson. That scenario hinges on what the Browns want to do with running back Peyton Hillis.
In 2010, Hillis was one of the feel-good stories as he rushed for 1177 yards after coming to the Browns as part of a deal that sent quarterback Brady Quinn to the Broncos. After making the cover of the Madden video game, his production slumped. He missed six games and it was widely suspected that he perhaps could have played in some of them but sat out because he was in the last year of his contract.
He is now a free agent and Mike Freeman of CBSsports.com reports that there is a debate within the Browns organization concerning Hillis and Richardson. Some want to try to re-sign Hillis and hope that the regains his 2010 form. Others would rather let Hillis walk and draft Richardson, who NFL Network draft analyst calls the best running back prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson.
So, if you want to have an early indication of the Redskins’ chances of landing Griffin keep an eye on what happens with Hillis. If he re-ups with the Browns they not be in play for Richardson and could trade up for RG3. If Hillis signs elsewhere it could mean that Cleveland intends to fill the hole with Richardson, clearing away the Redskins’ primary competition for a deal to get the rights Griffin.
For what it’s worth, Freeman said, “I think the draft option will win out, but no one knows for certain just yet.”
We won’t know for certain until draft day on April 26. But we could get a leading indication soon after free agency starts on March 13. Just keep an eye on the moves of the other Peyton who could be a free agent.