NFL DRAFT SPOTLIGHT: EYE ON ROBERT GRIFFIN III

Jonathan Bales, Staff Writer April 18, 2012

Robert Griffin III is going to be the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The future Washington Redskin will be the top overall player on my board, ahead of Stanford’s Andrew Luck. Griffin has more upside without a dramatically lower floor, with his run/pass versatility limiting his downside.

Scouting Report

RG3 may go second in next week’s NFL Draft, but his skills are second to none.

Robert Griffin will probably be the second-most athletic quarterback in the history of the NFL, behind only Michael Vick. He possesses natural feet and can make things happen on the ground. Despite his speed, Griffin keeps his eyes downfield at all times. His arm is his primary weapon, and his legs are a nice backup option.

As a passer, the main thing I like about Griffin is his ability to throw from different angles. Great quarterbacks find a way to get the receiver the football, and Griffin can do that regardless of the position of his arm. He has good but not great arm strength, but plenty of touch.  When pressured, Griffin can re-set his feet as quickly as any quarterback I’ve seen.

So what is not to like? Well, Griffin played primarily in Shotgun at Baylor, so there are questions about his ability to drop back. I think those concerns are overrated, especially in a league that is transitioning to more and more Shotgun, but they are there. Griffin can also have some trouble reading defenses. He wasn’t asked to make many full-field reads at Baylor, and he can struggle identifying blitzes at times.

Reminds me most of. . .

Michael Vick. Vick has a much stronger arm, but both players can make plays in a number of ways. A lot of people see some Cam Newton in Griffin, but Newton is a different type of runner and not as accurate a passer. Like Newton, though, Griffin has a good head on his shoulders and he will work hard. In that sense, he’s sort of a Vick/Newton hybrid.

Fantasy Outlook

I don’t think a Newton-line rookie season is out of the question for Griffin, although it may be hard to replicate in Washington. There will certainly be some early struggles, particularly with a lack of pass protection and limited quality receiving options. Look for Griffin to run plenty in 2012 before he fully grasps the offense. My best guess is 3,500 total yards (3,000 passing yards), but limited touchdowns and a moderate number of interceptions.

In dynasty leagues, Griffin will be in a battle with Luck to be the top rookie quarterback selected. I love Griffin as an individual player over the long run, but I don’t love the Redskins ability to surround him with the tools he needs to succeed.

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