Baylor junior quarterback Robert Griffin III ended a stellar season with a pair of exclamation points that only boosted his stock ahead of the 2012 NFL draft: a Heisman Trophy award and standout performance in a record-setting Alamo Bowl victory. But Griffin’s value soared to new heights this week at the NFL Scouting Combine when he measured in above his listed height and weight and the recorded the fasted 40-yard dash time by a quarterback at the event. As Mike Jones reported:
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 2 3/ 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.”
With the Indianapolis Colts expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick, the St. Louis Rams would get the first crack at Griffin at No. 2 — an increasingly-coveted position that new head coach Jeff Fisher and company appear to be willing to part with for the right price. As to which teams might try to trade up to select Griffin, the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins are among the quarterback needy franchises that have been mentioned. And while the asking price will likely be steep, both of them are rumored to be willing to pay up for a chance to land a potential franchise quarterback. As Mike Jones reported:
The Washington Redskins are prepared to part with two first-round draft picks, plus other selections in the early and middle rounds, to secure the St. Louis Rams’ No. 2 pick in April’s draft and land Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
The Rams are said to be seeking compensation similar to what the San Diego Chargers received from the New York Giants in exchange for Eli Manning in 2004. That year, the Chargers drafted Manning first overall. The Giants sent their fourth overall pick, the following year’s first-round pick, and their 2004 third- and fifth-round picks to San Diego for the quarterback who has since led New York to two Super Bowl victories.
With Sam Bradford as their franchise quarterback, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead indicated at the NFL Combine last week that their team is prepared to part with the second overall pick. That trade would allow them to address multiple needs with the picks they could receive in return.
The Redskins, according to people familiar with their thinking, are willing to trade this year’s sixth overall pick and next year’s top pick – as well as two others in the range demanded by St. Louis.
The Redskins believe Griffin, who last fall won the Heisman Trophy after passing for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions while leading Baylor to a 10-3 record, is worth that price. Griffin ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine Sunday.
But Washington faces competition from the Cleveland Browns, who own two first-round picks --the fourth and 22nd overall -- in this year’s draft, and Miami, which picks eighth this year.
Because of the new CBA, which has established a rookie wage system and lowers the financial investment a team in a high pick, the Rams’ pick is highly coveted, and teams are more willing to make such moves than in years past.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and Fisher are close friends. That relationship could be a factor. But an offer from the Browns of two first-round picks in this year’s draft plus other picks could be hard for St. Louis to pass up.
If Washington isn’t successful in moving up to the No. 2 overall spot, league sources believe they could select Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Some believe they would be inclined to use the sixth pick on him rather than trade down and try to get him later in the first round or in the second round.
After years of dumping draft picks to add high-priced veterans on the downside of their careers, should the Redskins shell unload a host of 2012 and future selections to put themselves in position to draft Griffin? With a chance to finally establish long-term stability at the sport’s most critical position, it may be a chance they cannot afford to pass up. As Jason Reid writes:
Make it happen. Offer the asking price. The Washington Redskins must pay whatever it takes to move up in the NFL draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Griffin is not only right for the Redskins, he’d be great for Washington. For so long now, the team and Redskins fans have been waiting for someone with Griffin’s combination of off-the-charts ability and charisma.
If the Redskins draft Griffin, owner Daniel M. Snyder finally would have a true franchise quarterback. For a decade or more, Griffin would be the face of the team. And in little time, if not immediately, he would own the District.
To get all of that, it will be costly. The Redskins know this as well, which is why they’re reportedly willing to trade multiple draft picks – including two No. 1s – to theSt. Louis Rams, who currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in the April 26-28 draft.
With the Indianapolis Colts expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew first, several teams are courting the Rams, who already have quarterback Sam Bradford and many holes to fill.
The Redskins’ roster is in need of a lot of work, too. Washington could use as many draft picks as it could get for, well, the foreseeable future. Also, the Redskins haven’t fared well in the past chasing other pots of gold that turned out to be empty.
But Griffin is different. He’s not another fading star at the end of his career. His star is rising quickly – and the Redskins should latch on for the ride.
Anyone who has watched the polished Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor knows he has something special. It’s not just Griffin’s outstanding arm strength or that he’s faster than many wide receivers (seriously, though, his 40-yard dash time of 4.41 is ridiculous).
He has poise. He has presence. Just call it the “it” factor. After seeing how Griffin commanded the room during last week’s news conferences at the NFL scouting combine, it’s clear he’s ready for all the attention that would come with being a No. 1 pick.
For many years, the Redskins squandered draft picks while chasing deals for players incapable of providing a championship foundation. Recently, Washington has been smarter. Coach Mike Shanahan has emphasized building through the draft, and the roster is much younger than the one he inherited. Based on the win-loss results in Shanahan’s first two seasons, though, we still don’t know if it’s any better.
Anteing up for Griffin would change things. With Griffin, the Redskins could finally begin building around a quarterback capable of leading them to sustained success.
If they paid a steep price to move up in the draft, the Redskins would have to rely more heavily on free agency to fill in other holes in the roster. Over-dependence on free agency is a big reason why they’re in their current mess. But getting Griffin should be the focus. The quarterback makes everything go.
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