Robert Griffin III – call him RGIII if you prefer – captured the NFL’s fancy by running a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
That’s an impressive time for a wide receiver or running back, but a quarterback? It's rare.
The 40 time certainly showcased Griffin’s athleticism and NFL potential.
Griffin did not participate in passing drills at the combine – he is waiting for his March 21 Pro Day on the Baylor campus for that. That should be a better barometer of his quarterback skills than running a straight-line 40.
Of course, the best evaluation of Griffin will come from watching game film.
In four seasons at Baylor, running the spread offense, he completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 10,366 yards, 78 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions.
Last season was his best. He completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Bears finished 10-3, winners of their final six games including a 67-56 victory over Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
In addition to wowing in the 40, Griffin apparently won over reporters with his confidence and savvy during a combine media session.
Griffin was asked about adjusting to a West Coast offense in the NFL. He mentioned the systems used by the Redskins and Cleveland Browns, both quarterback-needy teams at the top of the draft board. (The Browns hold the No. 4 overall pick while the Redskins hold the sixth pick.)
“West Coast offenses like Washington and Cleveland are highly concept-based, long verbiage in the plays,” he replied. “Once you get into a system, it’s easy to learn. I’m not going to say I’m going to open the playbook and know it immediately, but once you get on the field and go through the routes and the protections you have to run in those offenses, it comes to you a lot smoother.”
When asked who he has patterned his game after, Griffin responded with some surprising names, such as Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, Kenny Stabler and John Elway.
Two of those players – Young and Elway – were coached by Mike Shanahan prior to him becoming the Redskins' head coach.
Cunningham, Young, Stabler and Elway were quarterbacks who could "extend the play," Griffin explained.
“They win from within the pocket, but they can win outside the pocket, and I think that’s what the game has turned to with guys like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, who can move around a little bit,” Griffin said.
Griffin compiled 2,254 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns in four years at Baylor, but he maintained that at Baylor he was a passer first.
“We had at least three options in our offense with a check-down, and the fourth or fifth option was to make something happen [by running],” he said.
It’s safe to say that Griffin has solidified himself as the No. 2 pick in the draft.
Which leads us to the rampant speculation about the St. Louis Rams trading that pick to another team for the right to select Griffin.
The Rams, of course, have a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. If it’s true the Rams are willing to trade the No. 2 pick, then it would make sense that the Redskins would be interested.
(No Redskins official is talking on the record about Griffin or a potential trade, so any rumors and reports – in any publication – are speculation at this point.)
There is sure to be a hefty price tag to pay to move up to No. 2, though. NFL teams will have to weigh the price tag of multiple draft picks, both in the short and long term, to determine if a trade is worth it.