Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III Is a Frankenstein of NFL Comparisons

Matthew Brown@mlb923Correspondent IJuly 10, 2012

ASHBURN, VA - MAY 06:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins practices during the Washington Redskins rookie minicamp on May 6, 2012 in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

As fans, writers, analysts and experts are wont to do, Robert Griffin III has been compared to any and all NFL quarterbacks past and present. The effort spent and ink spilled on the subject goes to prove the fervor with which everyone wants to see Griffin weighed, measured and qualified.

In their ongoing endeavor to find one player Griffin most closely resembles on the field, the media has revealed that the Redskins rookie quarterback is not so easily pigeonholed.

One of the more laughable comparisons attempted involves Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Aside from both being Heisman winners and first-round picks, the comparison between Newton and Griffin falls well short of valid.

Newton is a playmaking quarterback with great size and a bruising running style to go with a great arm. Griffin, though mobile, is a pocket passer who is not going to run through anyone the way Newton does.

Perhaps Griffin's speed is more suited for a comparison with Michael Vick. Vick ran the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds at his pro day in 2001, while Griffin clocked in at 4.41 at the combine earlier this year.

What is lost in this comparison is Vick's incomparable vision and elusiveness when pulling the ball down and taking off.

Griffin, though mobile and speedy, has not displayed the running ability that Vick has made a career out of. Perhaps it is a product of the spread offense he ran at Baylor, or personal preference to be a pocket passer despite having the ability to make plays with his feet.



Just as much as Griffin isn't the runner that Vick has been throughout his career, Vick was, and is still, not the polished passer that Griffin has already shown himself to be.

So he doesn't have Newton's size or Vick's running ability, but Griffin is tremendously accurate and possesses great arm strength, much like one of Mike Shanahan's former charges.

John Elway had the rocket arm to go with the ability to break the pocket and make plays on the move or scramble for yards if necessary. Elway's accuracy, whether a product of his ability or the lack of dependable receivers for most of his career, does not compare to Griffin's.

Griffin completed 72.4 percent of his passes as a senior, which compares to that of Steve Young's 71.3 percent for BYU in 1983.

Perhaps Griffin is more like Young given his accuracy, size, and mobility, despite possessing superior arm strength. Young completed 68.3 percent of his passes with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator, which is evidence of Young's accuracy and Shanahan's ability to put his quarterbacks in the right position to make plays.

Then there is the comparison with Andrew Luck, Heisman runner-up and first overall pick ahead of Griffin in this year's draft.

Luck completed 66.1 percent of his passes on 1,064 attempts for with 82 touchdowns in three years at Standford. Griffin completed 66.1 percent of his passes on 1,192 attempts with 78 touchdowns in four years at Baylor, though his sophomore season was limited to just three games due to injury.


Statistics and draft path aside, Luck and Griffin are very different players. Griffin has the athletic advantage, while Luck is touted as one of the best quarterback prospects since his predecessor in Indy, Peyton Manning.

The task of finding the proper makeup for Griffin is a lot like hurling spaghetti, not against a wall, but a ceiling, to see what sticks.

To do any justice to Griffin's skill set, since he doesn't have any professional game tape to dissect, requires some mixing and matching using the pros he has already been compared to.

Take Young's size and accuracy, Elway's arm strength and ability to break the pocket to make plays on the move, and give it Vick's speed without the running prowess.

What you get is a player, RGIII, a rookie who has yet to see a single NFL snap, with all the ability to realize the potential his borrowed skill sets have granted him. Like any other prediction, there is no guarantee that anything so grand will come to fruition for the Redskins.