2012 NFL Draft: 5 Reasons RG3 Will Be Better Pro Than Andrew Luck
Call me crazy, but I think Robert Griffin III will be a better professional quarterback than the Stanford Cardinal's Andrew Luck. As an avid college football fan, I've watched both players in a number of games and I've come away more impressed by the Baylor Bears' Heisman Trophy winner.
No matter how much ESPN tries to imbue me with the idea that Andrew Luck is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I'm still not buying it. I saw his mediocre performance against the Oregon Ducks, and I see how often he dinks and dunks.
Robert Griffin III is a dual-threat quarterback, and his passing numbers this season have actually been better than Luck's, despite the fact that he's played a much tougher schedule.
Here are five reasons that RG3 will be better as an NFL quarterback than the over-hyped Andrew Luck.
1. Robert Griffin III's Running Ability
Ever since Michael Vick was taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the first overall pick of the 2001 NFL Draft, the mobile quarterback has become more prevalent at the next level. Followed by the likes of Vince Young and Cam Newton (and perhaps Tim Tebow), Vick changed the game by making defenses respect his scrambling abilities as if he were a running back.
Robert Griffin III is not Vick, but he is very elusive and very fast. Anyone who saw his touchdown against the Washington Huskies in the Valero Alamo Bowl (posted above) knows that he is very dangerous as a runner.
With Vick making his third Pro Bowl last season and Newton (the first overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft) having a chance to make the Pro Bowl and/or win NFL Rookie of the Year this season, the NFL may be evolving to a game that is more welcoming to running quarterbacks.
[Note: Yes Andrew Luck is an athletic quarterback, but he is not nearly the running threat that Griffin is]
2. Higher Passing Efficiency Than Andrew Luck
Brett Deering/Getty Images
Not only is he a better runner, but Robert Griffin III's passing numbers have also been better than Luck's this season.
Andrew Luck currently ranks No. 6 in the country with a passing efficiency of 167.5. He has 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the season.
Griffin ranks No. 2 in passing efficiency at 189.5. He has thrown for 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Griffin also has a higher completion percentage (72.39 percent to Luck's 69.97 percent) and is more careful with the ball, as he only throws interceptions on 1.5 percent of his attempts while Luck throws picks on 2.4 percent of his.
Moreover, Griffin has taken more risks than Luck. This is clearly proven by Griffin's higher yards per attempt average (10.7 yards per attempt to Luck's 8.5). While Luck targets his tight ends more often, Griffin throws plenty of risky deep balls to his Kendall Wright and his other speedy receivers. Yet, Griffin still turns the ball over less and completes a higher percentage of his passes.
3. Andrew Luck Struggles in Big Games
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Andrew Luck has had a phenomenal collegiate career overall, but he has had bad games at times when the Stanford Cardinal faced elite competition.
There is sometimes a difference between Luck's play against cupcakes and his performances against top-ranked opponents. In his last two games against the Oregon Ducks (the only two games he'd played against top-10 teams in the last two seasons before the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl), Luck has thrown four interceptions.
On the other hand, in the five games he and the Baylor Bears played against teams currently ranked in the BCS Top 25 this season, Robert Griffin III threw for 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In big games, Griffin has shown that he takes better care of the ball.
4. Griffin III Succeeded with a Worse Team
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Both Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck led their teams to 10+ wins and top-15 finishes this year, but Griffin did so with a much worse team around him.
Luck plays behind perhaps the best offensive line in the country with the Stanford Cardinal. Both tackle Jonathan Martin and guard David DeCastro are expected to be first-round draft picks. Moreover, his tight end Coby Fleener is considered one of the top prospects at his position and a possible second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Luck is also supported on the other side of the ball by a Cardinal defense that ranks 25th in the country in total defense and 23rd in scoring defense.
The only top draft prospect that RG3 plays with is wide receiver Kendall Wright, who is expected to be a late first-round or early second-round choice. Griffin also has to compensate for a defense that only ranks 116th in the country in total defense and 113th in scoring defense. The Baylor Bear's success is more contingent on Griffin than Stanford's is on Luck.
5. Griffin Grew by Facing Tougher Competition
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
One of the hardest things about transitioning to the NFL is facing tougher competition. There is no doubt that Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears faced a harder schedule than that of Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal this season.
Griffin faced five ranked teams this season, and an unranked (at the time) Kansas State Wildcats club that is currently No. 8 in the BCS Standings. Conversely, Andrew Luck only faced three ranked teams in the regular season, and of those three only the Oregon Ducks are still in the BCS Top 25.
By facing stiffer competition, Griffin was better prepared for the toughness of NFL opponents. Thus, he is also better suited to make the transition.