That’s the question Stew Mandel asks in his latest Mailbag.
I wanted to answer the question myself, so I didn’t look at what Mandel wrote as an answer yet. But if I had to choose right now, I’d take Griffin.
It is a tough choice. But as much as I love Pryor as a player, you can’t escape a few hard facts:
1. Griffin is a better passer and is more fundamentally sound in that department at this stage. He has natural accuracy, which accounts for his throwing only three interceptions last year (none in his first 180 or so attempts). That’s not something that you can teach. His throwing motion is better, too.
2. Griffin is probably the greatest athlete ever to play quarterback, if not the fastest. He is world class in the 400m hurdles, which is the most challenging race in track. It requires speed, agility, coordination, stamina, athleticism and mental toughness to shine in this event at a high level. Griffin has been able to do so despite splitting time with another sport–a feat that you can’t downplay.
3. While Griffin is not the natural, instinctive runner that Pryor is, he is still outstanding and more dangerous with the ball tucked in than about 95 percent of college football quarterbacks.
4. Griffin is not as big as Pryor, but he is 6-3 and about 220 pounds, plenty big enough to absorb hits and tall enough to see over the line. By the way, if Pryor is within 1.5 inches of his listed 6-6 height, I’ll eat my hat.
5. It’s neither player’s fault, but Griffin is in a better offensive system and will develop into a more polished quarterback than Pryor as a result, although Pryor will have more talent surrounding him. Griffin was able to have a much better freshman season thanks to a system under Art Briles that utilized his talents very well. I’ve never been a fan of how Jim Tressel runs his offense, so as good as Pryor is, I’ll always wonder how he’d do in a better scheme. I thnk you have to take this into account when weighing the two and how they develop.
That all said, it’s still a close call. And it doesn’t mean that Pryor won’t end up being a superstar (I think he will). But I think Griffin has more natural ability and football intelligence and has a chance to become a more complete quarterback.
Note: Just saw that Mandel prefers Pryor. To each his own, I guess.