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Top QB Prospects Facing Great Expectations

Posted Apr 24, 2012

Former Redskins and Houston Texans general manager Charley Casserly says teams must manage expectations on and off the field as a rookie quarterback develops his first season.


The Redskins are expected to draft an impact player with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday.

That pick will most likely be a quarterback, either Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.

In other words, it’s a franchise-changing pick.

Anytime a quarterback is drafted early in the first round of the draft, it’s sure to boost expectations – for the team and for the player.

How does a team manage those expectations?

Former Redskins and Houston Texans general manager Charley Casserly believes it is essential that the team take a measured approach in his development and limit his off-the-field media appearances and endorsements.

“I would limit all of his off-the-field activities,” Casserly said in a pre-draft interview with Redskins.com. “He would not have a radio show. He would not have a television show. We wouldn’t have him endorsing anything. I would have him really concentrate on one thing – playing football. All of that other stuff can come later.

“He can’t be bigger than the team...So limit his media and promotional availability. Concentrate on football. That doesn’t mean he’s not available to do a weekly press conference – obviously he needs to do that.

“Then you have to manage what you say. You have to keep reminding people he’s a rookie. You have to remind people, ‘We obviously like him – we traded up to get him. But we have to take one step at a time.’

“He is going to grow and improve. You have to tone [expectations] down. What you don’t need is him having any pictures on a bus.”

Casserly does not expect Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan to feel pressure to start a rookie quarterback right away.

“I think Mike Shanahan will want him to play as soon as possible,” Casseryly added. “He’ll do everything he can to get [a rookie quarterback] ready to play as soon as possible. But I don’t think they’ll play him until they feel he can go out there and manage enough of the offense to give him a chance to succeed.”

Casserly, who will be part of NFL Network coverage of the NFL Draft starting on Thursday, also offered his evaluation of Luck and Griffin.

Luck, 6-4 and 234 pounds, was a three-year starter at Stanford. Last year, he completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 3,517 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Griffin, 6-2 and 220 pounds, was also a three-year starter and he beat out Luck for the Heisman Trophy. Last season, he completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and six interceptions.

“I rated Luck one and I rated Griffin two when I was comparing the two,” Casserly said. “The things that stick out to me with Luck is, No. 1 he ran a pro offense [at Stanford]. He’s calling plays at the line of scrimmage. He has multiple plays at the line of scrimmage to choose from.

“His field vision for a college quarterback is extraordinary. I’ve seen him read from one side of the field to the other. I’ve seen him go to his fourth option, which is rare for a pro quarterback. I like his accuracy, I like his touch on the football and I like his athleticism. He can move out of the pocket and make plays.

“From Griffin’s point of view, he hasn’t been in a pro system. That’s the biggest difference when you watch the two of them. His reads are much more simplistic. But he is very smart. He has all the intelligence to learn [a pro system]. It’s just a question of getting exposed to it and learning it, and he’ll do that.

“He has a nice touch on the deep ball. He’s very athletic and he can make plays running and he can make plays outside of the pocket throwing the ball. I think he’ll be dynamic in the bootleg game that Mike Shanahan likes to run.

“I’ve seen [in Griffin] a lot of courage in the pocket, too. I’ve seen him stand in there and take a hit right in the jaw and never flinch to throw the football. So I see a lot of positives in him, too.”


Follow @CharleyCasserly on Twitter for NFL news and analysis.