Best QB Not Named Andrew Luck: Robert Griffin III or Matt Flynn?

Sam CatronContributor IIIJanuary 3, 2012

Best QB Not Named Andrew Luck: Robert Griffin III or Matt Flynn?

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    With the 2012 NFL Draft looming over the heads of all teams who need a QB, there seems to be only one constant. Andrew Luck is going to be an Indianapolis Colt next year.

    For those other teams who need a QB, the race is on. I, as well as most others, would have considered the next-best available QB a done deal, but thanks to a six-TD day, it looks to be a competition.

    Matt Flynn will be a free agent after the 2012 NFL season, and all odds point to Robert Griffin III declaring for the draft.  These two QBs will battle it out throughout the next few months to decide who is the better option for an NFL team going forward.

    So, here is a skill-by-skill analysis of each player.

NFL Readiness

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    This might be a no-brainer category, but this definitely counts.

    Matt Flynn is already an NFL QB.  He might not be a starter in the NFL, but he is a four-year veteran on a potent NFL offense.  In what most people would consider limited time, he has done exactly what has been asked of him.

    He's had two career starts in his four years in Green Bay.  In his first, he completed 24-of-27 passes for 251 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT against an 11-2 New England Patriots team.

    His second career start, he scorched the playoff-bound Detroit Lions on New Year's Day 2012 for a franchise record six TDs and 480 passing yards.

    I'd say he's NFL ready.

    Griffin III, on the other hand, is running a hybrid spread offense at Baylor University.  Even though he is considered to be one of the most efficient QBs in college football, RG3 is unproven at the next level.

    Edge: Matt Flynn

Game Management

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    "NFL readiness" and "game management" almost go hand in hand.

    With no disrespect to Baylor football, Green Bay's coaching staff has shown the ability to groom QBs. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre and learned as much as he could, and based on Matt Flynn's last performance, I would say that Flynn got the Aaron Rodgers treatment.

    Being able to study underneath Rodgers must be an absolute eye-opener, but the credit is due to QB coach Tom Clements and head coach Mike McCarthy.  Clements and McCarthy have served as QB coaches for a combined 19 years and offensive coordinators for eight years.

    Robert Griffin III has shown ability to run Baylor's offense, but he often has help from the sidelines for play selection and audibles.  But, Griffin III does read defenses at the line of scrimmage and has shown a huge progression compared to years past.

    However, NFL experience trumps most everything else.

    Taking a page from Marvin Gaye's playbook, "Ain't nothing like the real thing."

    Edge: Matt Flynn

Body and Size

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    Robert Griffin III, weighing in at 6'2" and 220 lbs., isn't necessarily the biggest QB of his skill set (i.e. Cam Newton). However, Griffin III is a much faster and more agile QB than Cam Newton is.  Griffin's long and slender legs operate more like a WR than a QB.

    This means when RG3 is in the open field, he's dangerous.

    Matt Flynn, weighing in at 6'2" and 225 lbs., doesn't have Peyton Manning-type size either.  Even though both players are listed only five pounds apart, Flynn is a much stockier player than Griffin III.

    Because Griffin III was a hurdler in college, I am giving the edge to Griffin III.  I think he will gain some weight in the NFL and will fill out his slender frame.

    Edge: Robert Griffin III

Arm Strength

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    When it comes to arm strength and zip, Robert Griffin III has the edge again.

    Griffin III has shown throughout the past year at Baylor that he is dedicated to strengthening his skill set as a passer.

    He continued to make throws throughout this last year that probably stung the hands of his receivers; his arm strength is definitely NFL quality.

    That's not to say that Matt Flynn doesn't have an NFL arm either.  Flynn proved against the Lions that he also has an NFL-quality arm.  He made several deep throws throughout that game that are worthy of applause.  However, I see Flynn as a more finesse-type QB.

    Edge: Robert Griffin III


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    What Matt Flynn gives up to Griffin III in arm strength, he gains in accuracy.

    Even though Flynn has had limited action in the NFL, his two career starts speak for themselves.  In Flynn's two combined starts, he has completed 55 out of 81 passes (68 percent) while throwing 9 TDs and 2 INTs.

    For his career, even in mop-up duty, he has completed 62 percent of his passes.

    Griffin III is also an accurate passer.  RG3 completed 72 percent of his passes this year with a TD-INT ratio of 37-6.  His career TD-INT ratio is an astonishing 78-17.

    I'm not saying that Griffin III's stats are padded in any way, but college playbooks allow for much easier throws against defensive backs that are not all NFL quality.

    Edge: Matt Flynn


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    When it comes to mobility, RG3 takes the cake.

    Think of the most explosive WR you can imagine, and add an NFL arm to it.  That's how Robert Griffin III will put food on his dinner table.  His ability to make things happen with his legs leads fans to think he is a close relative of Michael Vick.

    It isn't just straight-line speed that makes him dangerous.  His quick feet and explosive legs can make defenders miss in the open field.

    While Matt Flynn is considered a pretty mobile QB himself, he clearly takes a backseat to Griffin III in the mobility department.

    Edge: Robert Griffin III

Big-Play Potential

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    Robert Griffin III had 64 plays of 20 or more yards this season.

    His ability to extend plays and make tacklers miss in the open field is pure excitement.  At any time, he could break off a scramble that looks like a kick return.

    Matt Flynn doesn't quite have the same type ability.

    Edge: Robert Griffin III

Acquisition Cost

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    When it comes down to acquiring either of these two studs, it is all about cost.

    Robert Griffin III is going to cost you big-time. Unless you get the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, here are approximate trade values for the second pick:

    NFL Draft Order No. 3-5: 2012 first-round pick, 2012 second-round pick

    NFL Draft Order No. 6-8: 2012 first-round pick, 2012 second-round pick, 2013 third/fourth-round pick

    NFL Draft Order No. 9-18: 2012 first-round pick, 2012 second-round pick, 2013 second/third-round pick 

    NFL Draft Order No. 19-32: 2012 first-round pick, 2012 second-round pick, 2013 second-round pick, plus....

    Only cost for Matt Flynn: How big is your checkbook?

    Both contracts should be somewhat comparable because Griffin III will be hindered by the new CBA rules for rookie pay scale, and since Flynn only has two career starts, nobody wants another Kevin Kolb.

    Edge: Matt Flynn

Bottom Line

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    When it comes down to it, these two players are franchise-type QBs.

    Their unique skill sets separate them from the rest of the QBs that will be available after the 2011 NFL season.

    Below is some free advice for a few teams who might be interested in getting a new QB.

    Middle of the pack - Broncos, Cardinals, Dolphins, Jets, Seahawks

    Go for Matt Flynn.  The acquisition cost to get RG3 is way too steep.  You would probably stagnate your team's development for several years based on the draft choices you would have to give up in exchange for him.

    Cellar dwellers - Browns, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Redskins

    Draft Robert Griffin III.  Your only chance to get him will be to trade up, so you better get your best negotiator on the scene, pronto.  St. Louis and Minnesota are anxiously awaiting to hear from you.

    Who would you choose?