Robert Griffin III flaunted his Ninja Turtle socks for the media as he stepped to the podium at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday. Sunday, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Baylor blew everyone’s socks off during his workout in Indianapolis.
RG3 arrived at the Combine in the considerable shadow of Andrew Luck, the Stanford QB who is expected to be the first pick overall by the Indianapolis Colts in April’s NFL Draft. And everywhere Griffin went there was a huge banner of Peyton Manning, the Colts’ iconic QB, hovering above him on the façade of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Not surprisingly, RG3 refused to be overshadowed or upstaged.
As impressive as he was in his interviews with teams and his session with the media, Griffin talked an even better game once on the field.
|MORE THAN JUST LUCK|
The stats compiled by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III during their careers at Stanford and Baylor might surprise you:
He ran the 40-yard dash in an official time of 4.41 seconds, although there also was an unofficial 4.38 or two in the mix. The only QB to run faster at the Combine was Michael Vick (4.33) in 2001.
He popped a 39-inch vertical leap.
He broad jumped 10 feet.
He left dropped jaws and shaking heads in his wake.
“I knew he was going to fly and, to be honest, I didn’t care if it was 4.31 or 4.41,” Mike Mayock, draft analyst for the NFL Network and NFL.com, said Sunday. “I already knew how athletic the kid is.”
Offered Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, “You only have 15 minutes to talk to guys and that goes pretty quickly when you’re talking to an entertaining young man like he is. He’s very sharp. He’s well thought out. He gives good answers. We could have talked to him for an hour. But in the 15 minutes he had, we came away very impressed with him.”
Added Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, when asked about Griffin’s ability to adapt to a West Coast or Pro Style offense after playing in the Spread at Baylor, “He’ll be able to do whatever is asked of him. He’s got that kind of range of ability. Now it’s a different system he’s coming out of, much different than what we typically see with the big-time, pocket-passing quarterbacks. But he’s just such a marvelous athlete, and he’s so smart. And he has such a great makeup about him … I would think that he can handle anything.”
When you run as fast as RG3 does – and as well; he also rushed for 2,257 yards and 33 touchdowns – there’s always the concern that at the next level he’ll turn into a run-at-the-blink-of-pressure, pass-when-he-has-the-time quarterback.
Puleze, said the look that washed across Griffin’s face as he said, “I think it’s just a misconception that comes with being a dual-threat quarterback: You’re run first, throw second. I think I’ve proven I’m throw first, then run if I need to.”
And Crennel agreed: “He’s not always looking to run. He’s kind of looking to throw, but he’ll run when he has to. And he’s a winner. He was won. When you win, that says something about your ability and your decision-making, especially at that position.”
Me? I’m a Clare-come-lately when it comes to the wonders of RG3. The first time I really took notice of Griffin was after he and Baylor had dominated Texas in their regular-season finale. In his on-field interview after the 48-24 victory, Griffin said, “I think Baylor just won its first Heisman.”
Instant reaction: Say what? That’s supposed to be Luck, who was anointed the Heisman winner and first pick in the NFL Draft before the 2011 season even began.
During his Q&A session with the media, Griffin was asked, “Who are you?”
Cocking his head and cracking a smile, he offered, “What? That sounds like a paper from my English class.”
After the laughter subsided, Griffin added, “Just the person that I am. Some people think I came on the scene this year, so they haven’t had as much time to evaluate me. So I’m just excited to really show them who I am as a person.”
And as an athlete, and even a bit as a clairvoyant.
Because look who won the Heisman, and also found a way to steal some of Luck’s thunder in the house that Peyton Manning built at the Combine.
It’s a combination few expected, but then RG3 is making a habit of delivering the unexpected.