Sporting News draft expert and former Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams scout Russ Lande was kind enough to give me about 15 minutes of time to talk draft this morning.
You can listen to the whole interview here. Lande is never afraid to break from the pack, and he gave us some very interesting opinions to chew on.
On Robert Griffin III vs Andrew Luck:
"When it comes to quick release, accuracy and avoiding mistakes, to me, Griffin is better than Luck in all three of those categories based on what I charted out watching the film…it's a small difference, but I would take Griffin over Luck"
My Take: These prospects are close enough that I can't argue vigorously against this assessment, although in the instant gratification NFL, Luck's pro-ready game will win out in the draft.
On Cleveland being the team that will land Robert Griffin III:
"I think Washington is leaning towards (Ryan) Tannehill despite their outwardly saying they're leaning towards Robert Griffin"
My Take: Tannehill makes more sense as the kind of QB who will be an extension of the Shanaclan. Lande is well-connected, so take this under advisement.
On Georgia TE Orson Charles stock after DUI arrest:
"I think teams are very leery of him...There's a good chance he'll go in the third or even the fourth round"
My Take: Charles lapse in judgment combined with a poor postseason has to be giving teams bad vibes. Third round might be optimistic since he hasn't displayed any special physical characteristics.
On Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill eventual success or failure:
"On a good day he has average hands, on an average day, he has below average hands…very few receivers have come into the NFL and improved their hands, most of the time it goes the other way...if I were to bet on him, I would bet that he's not going to make it as a special receiver."
My Take: Torrey Smith has had inconsistent hands for the Ravens and he has still been a huge difference maker almost from the get-go. I think Hill will do the same.
On Georgia RB Trent Richardson:
"Talent wise, he's the best I've ever graded, he's better than Adrian Peterson coming out of school"
My Take: Not a stretch really, although I would imagine that durability is what would give Richardson the edge in a comparison. On a pure talent level, they're both basically ideal.
I'll be checking in with Lande periodically as the draft gets closer.