Robert Griffin III wins the Heisman

December 10th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

Robert Griffin III accepted the 2011 Heisman Trophy

Robert Griffin  III won the Heisman Trophy this evening, adding to a story that should continue in the NFL next season.

It’s impossible to describe just how far Griffin has come in the last few months. He started the 2011 season as a fringe NFL draft prospect, the type of player you consider drafting due to his sheer athleticism but certainly not with a high pick. I’d watched Baylor games in the past to study Griffin and observed with frustration as he barely attempted a forward pass. He ran an exclusively screen-based offense with a few option-reads and showed very little pro-potential in the process. You only need to go back and watch the tape from the Texas Bowl loss to Illinois to realise the difference 12 months of work can make.

This season, suddenly Griffin was throwing the ball downfield regularly and with success. It started with a 50-48 win over TCU and developed into a season of impressive victories over the likes of Oklahoma and Texas. Griffin completed 72% of his passes, scored 45 total touchdowns and only threw six interceptions. Sure, he was helped by a group of dynamic receivers led by the prolific Kendall Wright – but Griffin became more than just the heartbeat of his team. Now, he too was also a dynamic and exciting playmaker. The level of development he’s made this year cannot be underestimated and it’s a great credit not just to the coaching staff in Waco, but also to Griffin himself for taking the next step.

Baylor only won nine games this season, but it’s interesting how that didn’t hamper Griffin’s Heisman bid. A few weeks ago, Andrew Luck would’ve been a nailed on certainty to win the trophy – yet a stuttering end to his final season at Stanford and Griffin’s surge combined to great effect. So how does this impact the draft, if at all?

What it does do is further raise the profile of RG3. Pundits perhaps a little tentative about promoting him into the upper echelons of their mock drafts will relax a little. Scouts and GM’s may well just get out the Oklahoma tape this evening and have another look. This was a very public form or promotion and the endearing speech he delivered in winning the trophy will have impressed many. Owners will be looking at Griffin tonight and seeing a face for their marketing plans.

Suggestions are starting to be made that this could push Griffin into #1 overall territory, ahead of Andrew Luck. We need to back that bandwagon up and park it fast. Andrew Luck is going to be the first overall pick next year, regardless of any decision this evening or whether Griffin’s socks come with their own cape. It’s a nice suggestion, but since when has any NFL team made a snap decision based on the Heisman Trophy vote in December? Luck has been the #1 pick in 2012 ever since the day he snubbed Carolina and returned to Stanford in January. Nothing has changed there.

But it’d be equally foolish to believe this won’t have any impact on Griffin’s stock. He’s seen as a trailblazer, someone with the skills, athleticism, smarts, looks and potential to lead a team – even a bad one. Being the first Baylor Bear to win a Heisman isn’t unexpected for this guy. He doesn’t really compare to anyone in the NFL right now, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but being the first RG3 rather than the next Aaron Rodgers may be enough.

Griffin’s skill set does compare favorably, however, with what the Seahawks appear to want at quarterback. So far they’ve added mobile quarterbacks who can extend plays, run naked bootlegs/play action and get the ball downfield when needed. Pete Carroll stresses winning the turnover battle like your life depends on it. Griffin doesn’t just fit the physical desires, but also the mental side of the game – he doesn’t make bad decisions, he’s limited turnovers and he’s been creative. For those reasons I suspect he could be high on Seattle’s board.

Yet as the Seahawks head towards a .500 record and maybe even an unlikely flirtation with the wildcard playoffs, they’re drifting further away from the top ten picks where it appears Griffin is now likely to go. I think the Seahawks would consider Griffin as their guy if he were available, but they’d have to really like him to make an ambitious move up the board.

We’ll have to wait a little longer for official confirmation on Griffin’s decision on the draft (he’s a redshirt junior in 2011). Having been at Baylor for four years now and winning the Heisman, there’s very little reason not to declare. He talked about law school, but this was long before he progressed into the star we see today. He’ll lose star seniors like Kendall Wright and his draft stock will never be higher than it is now. I suspect it’s close to a foregone conclusion that Griffin will be turning pro next April.

17 Responses to “Robert Griffin III wins the Heisman”

  1. Jim J says:

    He deserves it. I would have liked to have seen Baylor vs LSU in the finals. Oh well, college ball is all about the money – that all the money the college bowls can rake in!

    I don’t think this will be enough to get him drafted first, and maybe not even second. But he has as good a shot of being a successful pro quarterback as anyone. I can’t wait to watch him play in the pros.

  2. Doug says:

    It kind of makes me wonder just how far pete will go to draft a guy like this. Would they give up the farm?

  3. Darnell says:

    If that farm doesn’t include one of our youngn’s that has trade value (Okung,Unger,Baldwin,Red,Mebane,Heater,KJ,Sherm, ET,Kam) I think I’d be willing to give up a lot of draft capital considering that the rest of the roster is in decent shape.

  4. Brian says:

    I’ve long hated the Seahawks passion for trading our third and fourth round picks away (a quick look at our own roster -Red Bryant and Kam Chancellor come to mind- shows that even fourth round picks can be very productive) and wished we would trade down like the Packers and Patriots rather than moving up.

    But things are obviously different with a quarterback. I don’t fault them for passing on a QB in any one particular year. But at some point we are going to have to pull the trigger on a trade or pick that gets us that mythical QB of the future. I would be just fine with the team trading two firsts to get Matt Barkley or RG3.

  5. Don says:

    Brian,

    Two firsts, if only that were enough. I would be jumping for joy if we stole one of the top three QB for that.

  6. Peter says:

    It’s absolutely time for the Seahawks to pick a first round QB, and do one of those deals (much like the Jets for Sanchez, less like the Falcons for Julio Jones) and move up in picks to get RGIII or Matt Barkley. I think Pete is a good enough coach to coach up the later picks too make up for the sting of losing high draft picks, and JS has proven to me that he has the eye to find the talent to also make up for the loss of picks.

    I like TJax. This is the first season I can remember where I actually felt like the outcome of many games wouldn’t be known until the end. Even the ’05 hawks for all their efficiency felt like if they got behind, that was the end of them for the game.

    I just can’t reconcile the INT’s/ to TD’s. And for all the cross body throws he makes to glowing praise on third down, he still starts off games with back to back INT’s. Which if that wasn’t the Rams, we would have gotten schooled in that game.

    Plus imagine the press Seattle would get if they actually pulled both some block buster trade and brought a QB not unlike Cam Newton who could keep the hype up for a while and hopefully have the chops to validate said hype.

  7. j says:

    wow things have changed in a short time. i wanted this guy for our pick for along time.

  8. Brian says:

    I don’t think it will necessarily take more than two firsts. The old Cowboys NFL draft chart (which actually over values higher picks) says you can get the #4 overall pick with two #17 picks (essentially what the Seahawks would be offering.) The Falcons way overpaid last year for Julio Jones.

  9. AlexHawk says:

    I dont know Brian sometimes teams are going to have to be aggressive to move up and personally I think it is the time to do so and with the new rookie pay scale the higher picks are now worth more. I do think two firsts and our second this year would be able to move us into a position to get one of the top three qb’s and if they see the guy they think they can build a franchise around I have to say it is worth it.

  10. Don says:

    Well said AlexHawk. Throw the old Cowboys draft chart away. It will be a bidding war, and whoever pays the most will get the draft pick. If Seattle sticks to a chart and refuses to pay more than two 1st round picks while other teams are offering more, then Seattle will be left behind with another average QB and another average year.

    The value of a top 3 pick is based on whatever a team is willing to pay for it.

  11. Don says:

    Brian, the Falcons didn’t over pay for Jullio Jones, they paid exactly what he was worth, no more , no less. The fact that they were willing to pay that much means he was woth it.

    There comes a point in the team’s growth that when you have most of the other ingredients on the team and you are missing only one important one to get you over the hump, then you can afford to pay more than you normally would. Like Atlanta did, and Seattle should for a QB.

  12. Glen says:

    Haven’t looked at the chart lately but I believe a 1st rd pick in 2013 is equal to roughly a 2nd or 3rd pick in 2012…depending on where that future pick ends up…

    This just popped in my head but would losing 3 1st rd picks plus say a 3rd this year kill the roster so much for a Luck/MB7/RG3? PCJS have found impact players later, and it would avoid tying $ in unproven draft picks. That money could be used to help extend some of the younger guys we currently have into their prime’s…I know it’s against conventional wisdom but is it that crazy of a preposition?

  13. Tom says:

    Brian, not to nit pick but Ted Thompson, the former Seahawk exectutive and architect of the Packers, hasn’t been trading down. In fact, I recall when Schneider was GB’s player personnel guy, Ted gave up a few draft picks to “move up” into rd 1 for Clay Mathews, who he targeted. Add in another “move up” for their safety, Morgan Burnett, and Ted shows he targets a player and moves up the board, not down the board.

    Being in the war room with Ted, Schneider had to learn something. 1. A 1st round franchise QB can be the catalyst to a Lombardi trophy (Rodgers). 2. If you target an impact player, don’t hesitate to move up the board giving up whatever is necessary. (Clay Mathews).

    2+2 in Schneider’s world = It’s feasible to move up the board for a targeted impact player like QB. Hopefully, John can sell Pete and we’ll move up for RG3, who I’ve said for many weeks now has more upside than any QB in this draft less Luck, even though RG3 has a better arm and can make more NFL throws than Luck.

    It’s time to move up the board for RG3, who doesn’t appear to have any reason to return to Baylor.

  14. Tom says:

    Rob, you pretty much described what I consider a game managing QB in your statement.

    ” So far they’ve added mobile quarterbacks who can extend plays, run naked bootlegs/play action and get the ball downfield when needed. Pete Carroll stresses winning the turnover battle like your life depends on it…. he doesn’t make bad decisions, he’s limited turnovers and he’s been creative….

    Don’t turn the ball over and limit turnovers, run some play action and get the ball downfield when needed.

    Fortunately, RG3 is far more than that which is why I’ve been hyping him for many weeks over Barkley to the dismay of many posters in this forum.

    From that opening win against TCU to the 4th qtr rally and win against KU to the outright impressive regular season wins vs OU on the final play and Texas, should now get you concrete evidence that RG3′s game is effortless and should’ve been a 1st rounder and top 15 prospect while you were comtemplating his game.

    RG3 can carry an offense to a SB. He won’t have to rely solely on a D and running game which exemplifies typical game managers.

    Many execs are more impressed with RG3′s future NFL upside over Andrew Luck. It’s probably hyperbole to you but here’s the NBC link.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/11/robert-griffin-iii-a-better-prospect-than-andrew-luck-in-some-eyes/

    I wouldn’t go that far but there’s no doubt in my “eye test” that RG3 has more NFL upside than Barkley, who I now see returning to USC. Matt’s always wanted the Heisman (see recent interview) and that snub will motivate his competitiveness, he has 2 elite receivers returning, USC is BCS bowl and national championship eligible and could be the #1 selection in 2013. Does he want to potentially be the 3rd QB taken in 2012? Nope. I see Matt returning to USC.

  15. meatwad says:

    Tom, I agree with some of your points regarding RGIII. He is dynamic, intriguing, and has so much potential that I can see him being picked among the top 10 this year. Some of that is also due to how this is a QB driven league and many teams lack their franchise QB. Plus look at all the injury stricken teams this year in regards to the QB position. Especially teams that are going to the playoffs or falling out of the division lead due to QB injuries. Last year there were, if I recall, four QB’s in the first round and 2-3 taken immediatly into the second. Will more teams invest their 2nd round picks for added depth and hopes of snagging what the Bengals did this past draft?

    Many teams need QB’s and this is where I see Barkley, if he declares, will be going in the top 10. He has stated he is 50/50 and last report was waiting to see where he might be drafted before he decides. Who really knows but looking at all the teams that need a QB I would not be surprised if they QB’s rolled off the board lightening quick like last year. Four QB’s in the first 15 picks again? Very likely.

  16. Rob says:

    Who would be the fourth?

  17. meatwad says:

    I wouldn’t want to see him drafted in the first but like we all know it only takes one team to fall in love. Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill (who I get a better feeling about than Jones). Hopefully Jones fell out of the first with most pundits, but who knows. Tannehill however, can’t you see him going late in the first Rob?