NFL scouting combine: Robert Griffin III tries to clear up misconceptions


“People think that I just came onto the scene this year,” Robert Griffin said. “So they haven’t had as much time to evaluate me. So I’m just excited to show them who I am as a person.” (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)
February 24, 2012

Robert Griffin III would like to clear a few things up. The Baylor quarterback in one season went from good college quarterback to household name and Heisman Trophy winner. Now he figures to come off the NFL draft board within the first two or three picks in April.

But although they routinely refer to him as “RG3,” as if he’s one of the boys, there’s quite a bit that people don’t know about Griffin. So Griffin arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium — the site of the annual NFL Scouting Combine — looking to dispel some misconceptions.

“People think that I just came onto the scene this year,” Griffin said Friday. “So they haven’t had as much time to evaluate me. So I’m just excited to show them who I am as a person.”

For weeks, Griffin has heard suspicions from analysts that his listed height of 6 feet 2 inches and weight of 220 pounds might have been inaccurate. They eyeballed him and believed he was a couple of inches shorter, and several pounds lighter, and some wondered if a diminutive stature would limit his effectiveness in the NFL.

Friday morning, Griffin measured 6 feet 23 / 8-inches tall and weighed in at 223 pounds.

“We didn’t lie about my height,” Griffin said with a smile and roll of the eyes while standing at the podium several hours later. “In high school, I was 6-4, 200 pounds. I got to college, I shrunk and gained weight. I was 6-2, 220. So I guess they just figured I shrunk some more, so 6-foot, 190 now. But it’s official: 6-23 / 8, 223. You just have to block those things out, but at the end of the day, the numbers don’t lie.”

Griffin — a military brat raised to use yes sirs and yes ma’ams in his speech and to live a life of discipline and character — continued his truth campaign by proclaiming two more facts.

He’s not the typical scrambling quarterback, and he’s smart enough and experienced enough to make a smooth transition to an NFL offense.

As a former Big 12 Conference and NCAA Midwest Regional champ in the 400-meter hurdles, he possesses impressive mobility and speed. And while he rushed for 10 touchdowns last season, Griffin isn’t one to tuck the ball and run at the first sign of duress. He’d rather elude a defender and find a receiver downfield than run the ball.

“There’s just a misconception that comes with being a dual-threat quarterback,” Griffin said. “You run first, throw second. I’ve proven I throw first and then run if I have to.”

Said Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright, who last season caught 108 of Griffin’s passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns: “He stopped relying on his legs. . . . He can kill people other ways. He started working on his arm and he got good at throwing it everywhere and only runs when he has to.”

Griffin anticipates having to field plenty of questions in team interviews about the degree of complexity of Baylor’s offense. He told reporters — and planned on explaining to NFL coaches and team officials — that it was anything but simple.

“It’s a good offense, it’s a really great offense for quarterbacks, and simple would not be a word to describe it,” Griffin said before adding, “We had at least three options in our offense with a check-down, and my fourth or fifth option was to make something happen. I did run a pro-style offense in high school, not like this is high school, but just saying.”

Griffin chuckled and went on to explain his understanding of West Coast offenses like the one the quarterback-needy Redskins run.

Houston Texans Coach Gary Kubiak — a Mike Shanahan disciple, who runs a nearly identical offense — has studied Griffin and believes that he has both the physical ability and mental makeup to transition to any NFL system.

“Athletically, he’s as good as I’ve seen. He’s tremendous from that standpoint,” he said. “It looks like he can handle a great deal. His throwing motion is excellent. He makes all the throws: the big throws, the small throws. . . . One thing about that young man, he’ll fit in any scheme he wants to do.”

Griffin expects other coaches to come away from their talks with him with a confidence similar to Kubiak’s. While he naturally would like to go first overall from a competitor’s standpoint, and though he does view himself as the best quarterback in the draft, Griffin said ultimately, it doesn’t matter where he’s drafted, or which team selects him.

“I hope somebody falls in love with me — other than my fiancee,” he laughed. “That’s what you want as a player, a team that really wants you: head coach, general manager, owner, everybody. So that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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