ROBERT GRIFFIN III
Has excellent arm strength and athleticism. Can make all of the throws and the ball comes with a tight spiral and good velocity with his quick release. Able to make throws downfield on a line even when throwing unbalanced, and can fit tight windows. Is a dangerous runner that can make something out of nothing when the pass isn't there, able to turn a near sack into a 30-yard run. A smooth runner that has good speed and burst to get to the edge, and shiftiness and ability to make guys miss in the open field. Is tough and will lower the shoulder to try and run over the defender. Willing blocker on reverses and doesn't shy from contact. Shows good strength in the pocket, able to shake off rushers and escape. Throws very well on the run and can roll to his right or loeft and throw a strike downfield. Does a good maintain eye level downfield when on the move. Shows decent footwork the few times he works from under center and shows ability to play balanced. Can step up in the pocket to avoid the rusher off the edge and deliver a throw over the middle. Has good touch on his vertical throws and does a good job stepping into his deep throws to hit his receivers in perfect stride. Flashes anticipation on some of his deep throws and can hit his guy square in the numbers on the deep post. Uses the pump fake to move the safety. Gets rid of the ball quickly when facing the blitz, as he doesn't panic and plays patient. Makes good decisions. Will stand tough in the pocket when he needs to and deliver a ball to his receiver. Does a good job moving within the pocket to find throwing lanes. At times he'll go to his second read and comfortable making the checkdown.
Doesn't have a thick frame, and you worry about him taking a bit too much punishment at the next level. Works mainly out of the shotgun and needs to polish his footwork when he works from under center, which is usually on the play-action or to hand off the ball. Plays with a check with me offense, and isn't really asked to read more than half of the field often times. Tends to stare down his first read and wait for him to come open. Will result in him holding onto the ball too long and taken some sacks. At times he'll get happy feet in the pocket when he has to go to his second read. Has a tendency to tuck it and run when his first read is not there. Will take some more sacks at times trying to escape the pocket and run into the pass rush. At times puts too much trust in his legs to be able to extend the play and make a play. Can be late on some throws, throwing the intermediate comebacks and deep passes. Occasionally will force some throws downfield looking for the big play. Also will force some passes when he's pressured or blitzed trying to make a play. Will throw across his body at times when he's outside the pocket. Can be off and have poor touch on some easy throws when throwing towards the sideline. Will fade away on some passes and throw off his back foot or unbalanced. Carries the ball like a loaf of bread too often when he's on the move and can lead to ball security issues.
Griffin came out of nowhere in many eyes to win the Heisman, but anybody that has paid attention to college football the past few years has known who Griffin was. He came to Baylor, and had a major hand in turning around that program. He's grown from an dynamic athlete playing the position, that many compared to Vince Young when he was a freshman, to really developing into a more complete passer by his junior year. He really polished his game from last year, where his decision making, accuracy, and ability to throw consistently from the pocket were very erratic. Throughout Griffin's career, you saw the intangibles and ability, but he was just too inconsistent a passer. But he really put it all together this year. He's a very athletic quarterback, but it no longer defines his game. He is one of the better vertical passers I've seen, not only possessing excellent arm strength, but very good touch to make throwing the ball 40-50 yards downfield look easy. And while he's not the most polished product to enter the NFL draft, he's definitely at a point where he's NFL ready. He plays in a spread attack, and works a lot out of the shotgun. So there will be some transition to a more traditional dropback offense, but there is little issue with his game that you think that will be a major obstacle for him. He doesn't throw a lot inside the numbers, and you wonder if that's by design or just a byproduct of the speed that Baylor has on the outside. A year ago, I would have compared him more to a Dennis Dixon-type of developmental passer, but I saw subtle progress in his game from watching him in September to where he was by December, and you see a lot to like to think that he's only a few steps down from being a franchise-caliber passer. Born in Japan to military parents. Graduated in December 2010. Was an All-American hurdler as a freshamn during the spring (early enrollee), finishing 3rd in 400m hurdles in NCAA Outdoor Championships.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/2) vs. TCU: Short (<10 yds): 11 of 15 (73%), 60 yds (4.0 YPA), 36 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 poor throws, 2 drops; Deep (>10 yds): 10 of 12 (83%), 299 yds (24.9 YPA), 40 YAC, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 poor throws, 0 drops
(12/3) vs. Texas: Short: 4 of 6 (67%), 37 yds (6.2 YPA), 37 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 0 drops; Deep: 10 of 15 (67%), 254 yds (16.9 YPA), 46 YAC, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 2 poor throws, 0 drops, 1 throwaway
(12/29) vs. Washington: Short: 19 of 20 (95%), 169 yds (8.5 YPA), 141 YAC, 1 TDs, 0 INTs, 0 poor throws, 1 drops, 1 throwaway; Deep: 5 of 12 (42%), 126 yds (10.5 YPA), 22 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 3 poor throws, 1 drop; Fumble: 1
2011: 13 GP/13 GS (10-3 record), 291 comp., 402 att., 72.4%, 4293 yds, 10.7 YPA, 37 TDs, 6 INTs; 699 rush yds, 10 TDs
2010: 13/13 (7-6)-304-454-67.0-3501-7.7-22-8; 635-8
2009: 3/3 (2-1)-45-69-65.2-481-7.0-4-0; 77-2
2008: 12/11 (4-7)-160-267-59.9-2091-7.8-15-3; 843-13
- missed most of the 2009 season with a torn ACL in his right knee
There is a lot to like about Griffin's game. He could have certainly used another year in college to really polish the kinks out his game, but he didn't really need it. He gets compared to Cam Newton mainly because of his combo of athleticism and arm strength. But he's a much more polished and safer pick than Newton was at this point a year ago. Unlike Newton, Griffin has played three years of major college football, and you've seen clear progress in his game from year to year. You're not guessing and purely projecting like you did with Newton a year ago. Will that mean he'll be as good if not better than Newton as a rookie? It's possible, depending on the situation he goes into. He should be an effective starter right away in the league regardless of the supporting cast because he can do things physically that a lot of QBs in the league cannot do. So you really like Griffin because he has a very high ceiling. He's going to work best in an offense similar to what the Panthers ran this year with Newton, which is going to make ample use of the shotgun and throw the ball downfield. Teams shouldn't try to limit his running ability because he like Newton can make plays there, and make teams play you differently. And it's going to force teams to have to play more zone and mush rush him because they are going to be afraid of what he can do outside the pocket similar to Newton and Michael Vick. A lot of his success came at Baylor because they ran the option read, but they would throw out of it rather than running it like most spread option schemes, which sucked up the defense and allowed Griffin to hit them over the top. If the team that drafts him tries to use that too, it should net good results because it's going to give defenses something else to think about. He can play in any vertical offense, whether it's more run-oriented play-action based, or more of a shotgun/spread-based offense. I also don't think he's going to be as prone to the mental errors that Newton struggled with as a rookie, as well as a player like Vick did early in his career. He's smart, mature, and plays with a confidence and coolness that you don't think the big moments will be too much for him. He won't be perfect right away and he has some issues that he'll have to work out. He's not the most accurate or shows consistent anticipation on his throws. You're going to have to get him better at reading the entire field and going through his progressions rather than staring down his first read. You're going to want him to put on a little more muscle so that he can take a bit more punishment that he'll get at the next level, because at this point you're afraid he can suffer from the same durability concerns that plagued Vick early on. But he probably won't take as many hits as Vick did in Atlanta because he probably won't run as much. But he has the intangibles, smarts, and overall coachability that these are much more minor concerns than they were with Vick and Newton. And it's less about whether he will improve in those areas, it's just when will he improve. There's little doubt in my mind that a few years down the road he'll be at worst a Top 15 starter if not a Top 10. But he definitely has the potential and ability to be an elite passer, but whether he is able to reach that potential has less to do with him as it does with the coaching staff and supporting cast really putting the right pieces around him. While we often compare him to Newton, I think in terms of his potential he mirrors more what Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are as passers. That's the sort of potential that I don't quite see with Newton because I don't think he's accurate enough to be on that level with those guys. I do think Griffin has that sort of potential that with the right coaches and supporting cast, he can be one of those elite passers like Brees, which is why I think he's a more accurate comparison despite the physical differences. He may not be as accurate as Brees, but I do think he can be one of the more accurate passers if he continues to work on that part of his game and develops.
Drew Brees, Saints.
Because of his physical gifts, Griffin has more upside than Ryan when considering who dynamic an offense can be with him under center. But he's not as polished coming out of school to run a pro-style offense, so he would not supplant Ryan immediately in a fair competition. But he would certainly with a year under his belt put some real heat on Ryan. But there's no real chance that he ever ends up in Atlanta unless the Falcons pull one of the biggest blockbuster trades in NFL history.
In a world that didn't include Andrew Luck, Griffin would be more than worthy of the No. 1 pick. And he is arguably more worthy of that pick than anybody that we've seen in the draft in recent years, moreso than Stafford, Bradford, and even giving Ryan a run for his money as one of the elite quarterback prospects based purely off his potential.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Arm Strength: 9.0
Decision Making: 7.5
Pocket Awareness: 7.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.