2012 NFL Draft: Full Scouting Breakdown, Analysis for Robert Griffin III
One of the top prospects that will stir up a discussion in War Rooms is Heisman Trophy winner and Baylor University's QB, Robert Griffin III. Griffin plays a position that is arguably the most difficult to evaluate because of the plethora of questions that are posed when projecting it from college to the NFL. Some of the questions that I will answer include size, accuracy and pocket presence.
Physical characteristics are the first things that NFL scouts look for when evaluating an prospect. A question that's often asked at the NFL Combine, where prospects are measured, is: "Does he pass the eye-test?"
In the case of Robert Griffin III, his height and weight are said to be roughly 6'2" and 220 pounds. Simply looking at the measurements, one can say his height passes the eye test. While he does not have great stature, he is tall enough to be able to see over his blockers and find passing lanes to throw through.
His weight of 220 pounds is in question because of his lanky frame. Griffin's lower body is very thin and it especially stands out once he is in the grasp of defenders in the pocket or outside the pocket when he's scrambling.
Because of his frame, there will be durability questions posed by NFL scouts, although I have no qualms with it.
One of the most important aspects of evaluating a quarterback is identifying his mechanics. When evaluating mechanics of a quarterback, there are a few things to ask:
- Is the QB's elbow above and/or in front of his shoulder? A quarterback's elbow should be above his shoulder and/or out in front of it when delivering the football. The reason this is important is because it allows the quarterback to deliver a pass over pass-rushers as well as have full extension of the arm when throwing.
- Does he have an elongated delivery? In the past, quarterbacks like Byron Leftwich have had issues getting the ball out quickly because of a long delivery. Usually this happens when the quarterback drops the ball down to his hip before winding up and throwing it. Quick deliveries are essential in football if quarterbacks are to make tight throws against zone defenders.
- Does he bring his shoulder over as he releases the ball? The throwing shoulder should come out in front of the body once the ball is released to ensure maximum velocity on intermediate- to deep-thrown passes.
- Does he have both hands on the ball in the pocket? The most important aspect of quarterbacking is to protect the ball, and one of the ways to do this is by having both hands on the ball while the nose of the ball as well as both elbows point down at the ground. This is called a "pre-pass triangle set."
Griffin's mechanics are not the most fluid, but there is more than one way to throw a football, as can be seen by watching quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers. Griffin brings his elbow up and nearly above his shoulder as well as out in front of it. Because of this, he can often be seen releasing the ball at a high point and following it up with a full extension of the arm.
Furthermore, his delivery is not elongated nor does it have a long wind up. At times, it may appear so but he does a good job of getting the ball out of his hands quickly. He also does a good job of bringing his shoulder over as he is releasing the ball to exert velocity on the throw.
Last, Griffin's ball security in the pocket is very good, as he has both hands on the ball in a pre-pass triangle set.
Footwork is crucial to making a successful throw because quality footwork improves several things such as arm strength, rhythm and accuracy, all of which Griffin possesses while operating in the pocket.
Although Griffin is robotic at times, his footwork is impressive for a college quarterback. The majority of his footwork comes from one-step dropbacks from shotgun, which imply quick throws out of what's often called "quick game" passing. This tends to draw criticism from NFL scouts because the dropbacks are not something often seen in professional football. However, Griffin also drops back from under center, often seeing three- and five-step drops, which are seen throughout the NFL. He is quick in his drops, with one big step and two small ones used to regain his balance in a three-step drop while three big steps and two small ones in the five-step game.
Along with pocket presence, accuracy is arguably the most important trait in a quarterback as it is what makes quarterbacks great. While watching tape on Griffin, it is evident he has good accuracy, especially on his downfield throws. He is often able to hit his receivers in stride down the field.
In the short to intermediate parts of the field, his ball placement is not always top notch as he will deliver the ball behind his target at times. An example of this can be seen on some of his throws to outside breaking routes, such as an out route. When throwing an outside breaking route, quarterbacks are taught to always throw it in front of their target so only they can get it. However, Griffin will at times throw it inside of the target, forcing the receiver to adjust his body as well as risking a potential turnover.
This is, perhaps, the biggest question many will have of the Heisman Trophy winner once the evaluation process begins. Griffin's pocket presence is something that has lacked at times, as he does not always feel the blindside pressure while at other times, pressure is nonexistent and he leaves the pocket.
Despite this, he's shown improvement in this area from game to game as he's gotten better at staying in the pocket and keeping his eyes down the field despite a pass-rusher closing in on him.
Much like a pass-rusher, a quarterback must have multiple ways to attack the opposition, such as the ability to throw the ball with velocity and a tight spiral or a touch pass in the middle of the field. The latter is very important to identify in a quarterback because at times, there will be tight areas on the field where a quarterback must drop the ball over a linebacker and in front of a safety. This is something that Griffin shows the ability to do, as can be seen against Texas A&M in the image below.
Despite being one of the more overrated aspects of quarterback evaluation, arm strength is still vital to quarterbacking because has to have it to make a variety of throws that can keep defenses honest, such as a "go" route, and open up the playbook.
Griffin has been showing off his arm strength every Saturday as he viciously attacks defensive secondaries with deep passes from different platforms. He is able to throw the ball from the left hash to the opposite side of the field where the numbers lie as well as to the corner of the end zone, as witnessed against the University of Oklahoma.
Mobility and Throwing on the Run
With NFL teams playing more man coverage than ever before, a quarterback's ability to break containment and do damage with his legs is very important and it's something Griffin does well.
Where Should RG3 Be Drafted?
A state record holder in track, Griffin's ability to outrun defenders once he breaks containment is very impressive. Despite being more straight-line than shifty, he is able to pick up yards with his legs often and he falls forward after contact.
While his mobility is impressive, his ability to throw on the run may stand out even more. Griffin's ability to throw off his right foot with arm strength while scrambling does damage to defenders as it distorts coverages and forces defensive backs to cover their assignment longer, which often doesn't work out in their favor. Unfortunately, despite this talent, Griffin appears to be better throwing the ball in the pocket as his decision making can be questionable while roaming outside the hashes.
The last and final part of a scouting report that must be covered is the scheme the prospect comes out of. This is a big issue with quarterbacks with the majority of them operating in a spread offense, which is often questioned, but at Baylor, Griffin executed various assignments that can be considered "pro-style."
Griffin illustrated the ability to execute rhythm drops, which are three- and five-step dropbacks, from center as well as go through multiple receivers as he drops back. While many will see the several screen passes he throws throughout a game, there are many times where he will sit in the pocket and scan the field. He also demonstrates the ability to anticipate open receivers, throwing the ball early into an area of the field and allowing his receiver to run underneath the pass.
When it comes to evaluating the quarterback position, there are several questions that must be answered to identify a prospect as the future of the team. Some of the questions that are asked deal with the topics of footwork, accuracy and scheme, all of which are important in transition from college football to the NFL. Because Griffin possesses all three of the aforementioned traits, I expect him to be an early to mid-first-round pick that has the ability to be a quality NFL quarterback that could potentially start in his first season.
Potential Teams Interested in Griffin: Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks
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