WACO, TX - DECEMBER 03: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears looks to pass during a game against the Texas Longhorns at Floyd Casey Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Whenever someone mentions Robert Griffin III, the first thing I think of is looking over to my left and seeing him fly by me with ease when Baylor Football was running sprints at 6 a.m. workouts during the summer of 2010. Granted, I was a 260 lb. tight end, and he was the track star quarterback, but I was still amazed at his freakish fitness level. I was a teammate of RG3 for two seasons at Baylor University. I'm not going to pretend like he's my best friend, but I know him well and we still keep in touch.
My first impression of Robert was that he was a diva. As I spent more time with him, and got to know him better, I realized that my first impression could not have been further from the truth. He is a low-key guy and he is truthful to his personality at all times, no matter who is around him. He likes to wear quirky things - the Superman socks he wore to the Heisman Trophy presentation, pajama pants to morning workouts, or big white shades on top of his forehead. Robert does not shy away from his personality and that was something that I admired as a teammate.
During the 2010 season, I told some of my teammates and friends that one day RG3 would be a first round draft choice as a quarterback. A lot of people thought that was crazy at the time, but after his 2011 Heisman winning campaign, it seems like it is almost set in stone that this will be true (of course, if he declares for the 2012 NFL Draft). As for that question, in my opinion, Robert Griffin III will stay at Baylor University for one more year. He embraces being the face of the university, he is engaged, and he is trying to get a waiver from the NCAA so that he can play football and attend law school classes there.
A few thoughts on the kind of teammate he is - even though I was a walk-on third string tight end, RG3 made sure that I felt like I was a part of the team by playing catch with me and warming up with me before every single practice. He organized voluntary 7-on-7 workouts during the summer. He put together team events like bowling and paintballing on the weekends. He is the unquestioned leader of Baylor football and in my opinion is a superb candidate to be the face of the franchise for an NFL team.
Now, you come to this site to read about the Seahawks and here I am talking about Robert Griffin - why? Griffin has been linked to Seattle in some mocks and just in the general discussion, and I can't lie, it has been a personal dream of mine to one day see him quarterbacking my beloved Seahawks. Naturally, I can be accused of being biased because I personally know RG3, but the fact is, I think that he would be a phenomenal fit with the Seahawks, for a number of reasons. I'll try and lay a few of them out.
It's no secret that Pete Carroll has looked at the quarterback position as kind of a glorified point guard and in a sense, RG3 has been the definition of a point guard for Baylor football. First off, he has a lightning quick release and has a willingness to stand in the pocket and make a clutch throw even if it means he will get blasted by an oncoming defensive player.
As the 'point guard of the offense,' RG3 also takes care of the ball - he simply does not throw interceptions. During his freshman year, he threw only 3 interceptions despite having 267 pass attempts. In 2011, he has only thrown 6 interceptions in 369 pass attempts.
As far as toughness goes, this is where I see RG3 and Tarvaris Jackson as being similar- both players will take the big hit in order to help the team. Griffin trumps T-Jack with his ability to get rid of the ball quickly, he doesn't take sacks and he has an uncanny ability to sense the pressure in the pocket and extend the play.
Griffin's leadership ability is innate - and I saw in a recent article that Danny put together a quote from John Schneider on the importance of locker room chemistry and what he learned from Packers' GM Ted Thompson on putting together a roster. Schneider said - "You have to have a very good pulse for your team, and constantly be evaluating your team and know who's going to fit and who's not going to fit. I would say one of Ted's biggest strengths and one of the biggest things I've learned from him - because he's a former player - is just the importance of the locker room and team chemistry."
Griffin, as I said above, is an excellent teammate and if you watched any of the Heisman ceremonies you'd have undoubtedly noticed his apparent maturity, level of respect, and confidence shining through.
As for his general ability to play at the next level, one myth that I would like to dispel about RG3 is the idea that he is too short to play in the NFL. I've heard multiple draft analysts question his height and I can concretely say that he is, at minimum, a guaranteed 6'2" - if not closer to 6'3".
Another slight criticism that has been leveled at Griffin is that he will lock onto receivers, especially his main deep threat, Kendall Wright (who is projected to be a late first round or second round NFL draft pick). Wright has nearly double the receptions (103) as Baylor's second leading receiver, Terrance Williams (53). In an effort to push the ball downfield, sometimes he will miss open receivers underneath. However, after the season RG3 just posted, this seems like an easily fixable concern.
I think RG3 will take the NFL by storm (when he finally decides to go pro). My one doubt concerning RG3 would be how well will he pick up a pro system. It's no secret that Baylor runs a spread offense. Griffin receives the play-call from the sidelines and then executes the play. Generally, the only time RG3 will audible is if he sees an opening in the defense that calls for a quick run play with bruising power back Terrance Ganaway.
Head Coach Art Briles and RG3 spend lots of time in meeting rooms together figuring out what plays Griffin likes against the next opponent. On game day, Griffin has immense influence on the play calls. If he tells the coaching staff he likes a certain play, then the Baylor offense will certainly run that play for him. Griffin's ability to improvise led Baylor to a win over Oklahoma this year when he moved around in the pocket and threw across his body for a 34 yard touchdown to Terrance Williams with 8 seconds left in the game.
At the end of the day, I think RG3 will naturally pick up the pro system once he gets to the NFL. Despite the spread offense that Baylor runs, RG3 understands how to move the chains and he is remarkably intelligent. With NFL coaching and film study he will learn the nuances of a pro system and he will flourish because of his quick release, arm strength, and his mind for the game.
Ultimately, RG3's football savvy, freakish athleticism, and quick-strike throwing ability are why I think he'll succeed in the NFL. He is the type of dynamic football player that can carry a team and he is the type of person that can inspire and lead a locker room. And, if you were wondering, (because you are likely a Seahawks fan if you're reading this today), if RG3 were to one day become a Seahawk, I have no doubt that Seattle would be contending for a Super Bowl with him at the helm.
I'm Daniel Hill, and I'll be doing some writing here at Field Gulls. I'm looking forward to talking some football with you Twelves.