No player created more buzz at the Combine than Robert Griffin III and no draft story will have more suspense than the buildup to see exactly who trades up to draft Griffin second overall. Let's talk a closer look at just what is creating all the hullabaloo.
Griffin measured in with better-than-advertised 6'2", 220-lb size at the combine. He has elite 4.41 40-yard speed with an explosive 39" vertical leap. Griffin also possesses borderline elite natural arm strength. He is a rare specimen indeed, seemingly moving in the pocket and open field at a different speed than the defense, very much like a young Michael Vick.
The ball comes out hot of Griffin's hand, with a release somewhere between three-quarters and over the top. He doesn't crisply hit the back of his drops and transfer his weight like a pro passer, so his whole body mechanics aren't generating much extra oomph. Griffin throws well on the move and can uncork a deep ball from multiple platforms.
His accuracy has improved by leaps and bounds since his freshman year, with good touch on short passes, exceptional deep ball location, and throw placement that usually gives his receivers a good chance to run after the catch. Griffin sells the play fake with the best of them and can keep defenses off-balance.
Griffin is brimming with charisma, intelligence, character, and leadership abilities. He is not a technician that dissects defense, but instead uses his talent, guts and improvisation to defeat his opponent. He is very mentally tough, including staring down the barrel of a big hit to make a throw and keeping his eyes down field on the move. He'll also throw aspirational passes to let his receivers go up and make plays. Griffin's pocket presence is just adequate, sometimes not detecting pressure instinctively and getting fidgety when the pocket is in flux.
Griffin has played exclusively in the spread offense, so he'll have to work on taking snaps from under center. He doesn't really read defenses, go through progressions, make pre-snap adjustments, call audibles, throw timing passes, or work the middle of field, all core NFL quarterback skills. Griffin can also play/think a little too fast, leaving the pocket prematurely and generally lacking a deliberate manner to his game. Griffin also puts his body at risk way too often and will have to change his mindset to avoid constantly being on the injury report.
The Bottom Line
Yes, there is a bit of projection to Griffin's game. Handing the keys to the franchise to a player who has to learn the craft of being a pro-style quarterback basically from the ground up may seem risky on its face, but Griffin is an elite athlete and thrower with top notch intangibles and a knack for derring-do.
His football intelligence and character should guide him well through the transition, and the NFL continues to be more open to a liberal dose of spread offense sets. He's a transformative player who will lift his franchise from the instant his name is called. In any other draft, he'd be the no-brainer number one overall pick, and someone will (and should) pay that kind of price to add him. To get an idea of what we are all in store for, spend about ten minutes watching every throw from RG3's magnum opus, a spine-tingling 45-38 win in Waco over then fifth-ranked Oklahoma