Robert Griffin III Is Losing Ground to His 2012 Draft Peers

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJanuary 20, 2014

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson greets Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III after an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Last week, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III felt the need to defend himself on his Facebook page. It wasn't the first time in the last 12 months the sensational young quarterback has had his back up against a wall, and it won't be the last time he faces criticism for his on-field performance and/or his off-the-field persona. 

That's how it goes when you've taken a path like Griffin's. His rookie season was so damn good that everyone's expectations skyrocketed. And his sophomore season was so tumultuous that almost everyone—presumably including RGIII himself—was let down. 

He'd never admit it, but Griffin's year was made worse Sunday when Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers to punch a ticket to the Super Bowl. 

Wilson, who was drafted 73 spots behind Griffin in 2012, has now won three playoff games and is one victory away from capturing the Lombardi Trophy. He was already headed to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, but now he'll stay in the continental United States in order to prepare for the Denver Broncos

Replacing him in Hawaii? Andrew Luck, who was drafted one spot ahead of Griffin two springs ago, per Mike Wells of ESPN. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback won his first playoff game earlier this month in incredible comeback fashion. Despite a so-so supporting cast, he's led a league-high eight fourth-quarter comebacks since coming into the league.

Griffin may have been the Rookie of the Year in 2012, but since the end of that regular season, Wilson and Luck have been crushing him in a comparison that they'll all be lassoed with for the remainder of their respective careers.

Griffin tore his ACL in a Wild Card Round loss to Wilson's Seahawks last January. That handcuffed him throughout his first full offseason, which might at least partially explain why Wilson and Luck kept improving while Griffin's evolution as a quarterback appeared stunted. 

Additionally, Eliot Shorr-Parks of announced that Nick Foles would replace Manning at the Pro Bowl. The 25-year-old Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was picked even later in the third round than Wilson two years ago, but he was the league's highest-rated passer in 2013. 

Starting quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL draft
QuarterbackPickAge2013 RatingCurrently
Andrew Luck12487.0Prepping for Pro Bowl.
Robert Griffin III22382.2Defending self online.
Ryan Tannehill82581.7Hanging with Lauren.
Russell Wilson7525101.2Prepping for Super Bowl.
Nick Foles8825119.2Prepping for Pro Bowl.
Stats via Pro Football Reference

Look, the Pro Bowl doesn't mean a whole lot, but it does say something that while Griffin is stuck at home pouting on social media forums, three quarterbacks from the same draft class are either playing in an all-star game or a championship game. 

Right now, RGIII is only the fourth-best quarterback in that class, which has to be frustrating for Redskins fans, who, in May, will be forced to watch the St. Louis Rams use the No. 2 overall pick they traded away as part of the bounty the team surrendered in order to draft Griffin in the first place.

Of course, there's plenty of time for the outlook to shift back toward Griffin, who, at 23, is the youngest of the group (Wilson and Foles are 25, Luck is 24). But right now, RGIII is looking like a guy who won a sprint but is losing a marathon.