As a surprise to virtually no one, Baylor’s Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III plans to declare for the NFL Draft, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson. Griffin combines the speed and athleticism of Michael Vick with pinpoint passing accuracy that has rarely been seen.
“I think every kid’s goal is to play in the NFL,” Griffin said in an exclusive interview. “There’s a lot of dreamers that want to be professional athletes and the way I look at is you’ve got to have a “Plan A” and a “Plan B.” My “Plan A” is taking care of my grades and getting my degrees and “Plan B” is the NFL. Plan B can overtake plan A if they come knocking at your door because who are you to turn down the NFL?”
Apparently “Plan B,” along with the millions of dollars that he will earn won out and rightfully so. Griffin wasn’t going to win any championships next season at Baylor and already armed with a degree, he’s accomplished all he can for Baylor University and in college football.
Griffin is expected to be a Top-5 draft pick and could go as high as second-overall, as teams such as Cleveland, Miami, Washington and Seattle will likely investigate the cost of trading up to acquire his services.
So what type of player can Griffin project to be on the next level? He believes that the sky is the limit.
“I can revolutionize the quarterback position,” Griffin told NFL Analyst Charlie Bernstein. “Cam Newton started it and hopefully I can continue to carry that flag and make it my own. Just with the ability to run the ball and throw the ball with the top quarterbacks in the nation, since I do lead the NCAA in passing efficiency. It’s just something the NFL has never really seen. ”
The young man who is listed at 6-foot-2 carries broad shoulders and unlimited confidence. Griffin believes he can take qualities from all of the elite quarterback’s in today’s game and mold them into his own.
“I try to take bits and pieces from everybody’s game- the one thing Cam Newton does is play with a lot of excitement and a lot of confidence. You’ve got Peyton Manning with his play-action and the fast pace that he plays with, and Tom Brady stands tall in the pocket. You just take all those things and add them. You do it differently and make it your own thing,” Griffin explained.
As impressive as RGIII’s stat-line from 2011 is (72.4 percent completions, 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions, passer rating of 189.5), the way he nearly single-handedly turned around a dormant Baylor football program and helped create a new culture cannot be overlooked.
“It’s been great,” Griffin said of his time in Waco, Texas. “I was here when we didn’t have all the nice facilities and we were a 4-8 football team but to see us grow the way we have to become a 9-3 football team and to have an opportunity to win 10 games for the first time since the 80’s. It’s huge and whenever you can take something and build it from the ground up, it looks really good.”
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is certainly a safe pick and all accounts show that he will be the top pick in the 2012 draft by the Indianapolis Colts. As fantastic of a prospect as Luck is, some NFL scouts feel that Robert Griffin III could have an even higher upside. It’s more than possible that in five years, Luck and Griffin could be the best quarterbacks in the NFL, not necessarily in that order.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie