Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins: Will RG3's College Production Translate to NFL Success?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Robert Griffin III from Baylor smiles on stage during the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. Griffin III was selected #2 overall by the Washington Redskins.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Barry BarnesContributor IIIMay 1, 2012

There was no breaking news about the Washington Redskins' selecting of quarterback Robert Griffin III in the first round (second overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, as the choice was expected.

Nevertheless, it was great news for the Redskins and their fans.

“That is the one we always thought we would get from the beginning,” said Redskins executive vice president/head coach Mike Shanahan. “Indy had made some speculation that they were going to go after Andrew [Luck] right from the beginning. We liked both quarterbacks, as we talked about before, from the beginning but we were hoping that we were going to get Robert.

“What you have to do before you get somebody is that you have to take a look at your options,” said Shanahan. “We went back and watched every game that he played throughout his career since he came to Baylor. We did the same with Andrew and felt very good the day we moved to the second pick that we’d end up with a franchise quarterback. That is what we wanted to do and we were able to get it done.”

Griffin III, 22, played three seasons at Baylor, where he appeared in 41 games (40 starts) and captured the 2011 Heisman Trophy last season as a junior, becoming the school’s first ever winner. In his career, Griffin III registered 12,620 total offensive yards, including 10,366 passing yards and 2,254 rushing yards.

The 6-2, 223-pound signal caller completed 800 out of 1,192 pass attempts (67.1 completion percentage) and threw 78 passing touchdowns, which finishing with a 158.9 passing efficiency. Griffin III finished his collegiate career with the NCAA record for lowest percentage of passes intercepted (17 interceptions out of 1,192 pass attempts – 1.43 percent).

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears passes against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The consensus All-American accomplished great things in college, as he performed magnificently in the Big 12.

However, this is big boy football now and Griffin III will embark onto the physical NFC East. Can Griffin translate his collegiate success against the grown men of the NFL?

“There is going to be a big adjustment because they did a good job of spreading their offense out and running the option,” said Shanahan. “If we did that in pro football all the time, the chances are you wouldn’t survive very long. These guys are big and they’re fast and they hit pretty hard.

“But there’s a lot of things we can implement into our offense that we weren’t able to before,” he continued. “You try to take a look at somebody’s talents and utilize them to the fullest without trying to get your quarterback hurt at the same time. So there’s a little give-and-take there, but he gives us a lot of opportunities to do things that you’d like to do.”

Griffin III touched on that very subject.

“Yeah, you know the speed of the game is definitely different,” said Griffin. “You’re going against All-Americans at every single position on the field, but I look forward to the challenge. That’s how I play football. If you can play football in high school, you can be an elite college player.

 

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears runs the ball against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

“If you’re an elite college player, you can be an elite pro,” he continued. “So I’m going to go out and know that, yeah, I am a rookie, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. I’m going to try to succeed."

Griffin III is without a doubt what the Redskins have been searching for in decades.

One of the keys to success in the NFL is drafting according to the division. Washington did that.

The Texas native has the speed to beat pass rushers and the gifted arm to deliver the ball. With Griffin III’s abilities, the Redskins can finally consistently compete against their division rivals and other opponents around the NFL.

Against the defensive fronts of the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins not only have a quarterback in Griffin III who can make plays with his legs and arms, they finally have a signal caller who can simply get away and not get injured.

Transitioning from college to the NFL is always a major adjustment, regardless of how talented a player, especially a quarterback, is.

“There is going to be a big adjustment because they did a good job of spreading their offense out and running the option,” said Shanahan. “If we did that in pro football all the time, the chances are you wouldn’t survive very long. These guys are big and they’re fast and they hit pretty hard.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01:   Keenan Clayton #57 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates a tackle against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

“But there’s a lot of things we can implement into our offense that we weren’t able to before,” he continued. “You try to take a look at somebody’s talents and utilize them to the fullest without trying to get your quarterback hurt at the same time. So there’s a little give-and-take there, but he gives us a lot of opportunities to do things that you’d like to do.”

Quarterbacks like Michael Vick (Eagles), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), and many others able to make plays with their legs, blazed the trail for Griffin III, who also will need to use his feet in Washington due to 'Skins questionable offensive line.

Despite different schemes and learning a new system, the humble yet confident quarterback knows it all about scoring points.

“Everybody wants to say that the schemes are different,” said Griffin III. “Every scheme is trying to do the same thing, and that’s score points. So I think the one thing that I do need to work on and, it just comes with time and just being with the team, is the verbiage. The verbiage of the West Coast system is extremely long, but it’s something that I’ve been picking up on lately.

“And I know once I get in that huddle, I’ll be able to go out and have bumps in the road at the beginning of training camp, but once we get to the end, it’ll be like reading the back of my hand.”

Barry Barnes is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.

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