NFL Draft 2012: Robert Griffin III Is a More Exciting Prospect Than Andrew Luck
If I'm a fan of one of these NFL teams (the Indianapolis Colts, the Washington Redskins, or the Miami Dolphins) who will be drafting a quarterback in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, I'd be more excited to see Robert Griffin III hold up my team's jersey in April than Andrew Luck.
I'm not saying that RG3 is or will be a better quarterback than Luck. I'm sure the many experts who compare the former Stanford Cardinal to Peyton Manning know what they are talking about. But Griffin is a more exciting player, and there are more reasons to be excited about him for next season in the NFL.
Robert Griffin III's Running Ability
Andrew Luck is a surprisingly athletic quarterback. But Luck (who only rushed for 150 yards and two scores this year) uses his legs to an even lesser degree than, say Aaron Rodgers (who's rushed for 1,136 yards and 16 touchdowns in the last four seasons with the Green Bay Packers). With the reticence he showed scrambling in college for the Stanford Cardinal, it's hard to imagine Luck running much at all in the NFL.
Robert Griffin III is a true dual-threat quarterback. He ran for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He had four games where he rushed for over 70 yards.
The goal of any NFL team is to win a Super Bowl. But the game is also about excitement and fun. If you asked most impartial football fans who they'd rather go see, Michael Vick or Tom Brady, most would go with Vick because of his electric playmaking ability.
The Baylor Bears quarterback will bring that same running threat that Vick and Cam Newton are making so popular at the next level.
RG3's Deep Passes over Andrew Luck's Dink and Dunk
18 of Robert Griffin III's 37 touchdown passes this season were longer than 35 yards. Griffin threw more 50-plus yard touchdown passes than any player in FBS over the last two seasons. Undoubtedly, Griffin's long passing ability was a huge help in boosting Baylor Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright's NFL Draft stock over the course of this season.
Andrew Luck, on the other hand, has greatly preferred the short passing game. I imagine most of you saw the stat which flashed during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl which showed that 16 of Luck's 20 longest passes this season went to tight ends. Luck prefers to utilize his future NFL tight end Coby Fleener than to air one out to his young receivers.
There is certainly nothing wrong with this. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have made very successful careers of dissecting defenses with short, smart passes. But it's more fun to watch Michael Vick throw an 88-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson on the first play of a game than it is to watch Brady throw a one-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski on a play-action fake. And RG3 is definitely a guy who will air it out.
Robert Griffin III Will Be Starting out of the Gates
I believe whether he is drafted by the Miami Dolphins or the Washington Redskins (or even the Cleveland Browns), Robert Griffin III will be starting immediately in the NFL.
However, with the Indianapolis Colts winning the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck is almost certainly going to be sitting behind Peyton Manning for a year or two. All those fans that are salivating over Luck are not even going to get to see him play until possibly 2014.
If I'm a fan of one of those teams, I want to see that player play immediately (especially with the rookie season that Cam Newton has had). It's like the excitement of a new Christmas present; you want to take it out and play with it as soon as possible. There will be no waiting for whoever takes RG3. The former Baylor Bear will be on the field in 2012.
Robert Griffin III Has Something to Prove
Robert Griffin III will have two reasons to play with a chip on his shoulder once he's starting in the NFL.
First, he is a running quarterback. Everyone always questions a running quarterback's ability to succeed at the next level. People questioned Michael Vick's ability to become a pass-first player, which caused him to work hard and become even better once he got out of prison.
And people questioned Cam Newton's ability to succeed at all in the NFL, to which he responded with one of the best rookie seasons the NFL has ever seen (4,051 passing yards, 706 rushing yards, and 35 total touchdowns).
RG3 will also have something to prove because he will be drafted behind Andrew Luck. Luck is the much sought-after prize. He is the one being compared to Peyton Manning, the one NFL fanbases were encouraging their teams to lose in order to draft.
The fact that his competitor is getting so much attention should drive Griffin to being even better than Luck. I think we'll see him playing next season with the same fire that we saw this year from Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers.