Robert Griffin III vs Washington & draft notes

Yesterday I wrote a piece contemplating a scenario where Robert Griffin III was within reach for the Seahawks. Although many people expect Griffin to be drafted in the top-five, we looked at situations that could make it possible for Seattle to initiate a modest trade up the board – possibly with Carolina at #8 – to draft their quarterback. Today I wanted to highlight Griffin’s most recent (and likely final) appearance for Baylor, a 67-56 shoot-out against Washington.

There’s an awful lot to like about Griffin and the most attractive quality is the giant leap he made in 2012 to become a legitimate pro-prospect. He’s made tangible progress every year as a starter, evetually winning the Heisman for his efforts in 2011. Aside from a high level of athletic talent, Griffin has clearly worked on his craft and become a much more accomplished passer. He’s currently enjoying the kind of hype that helps a draft prospect almost as much as the tape. Fans want Griffin on their team, executives know he’ll not only sell tickets but also a lot of other merchandise. He has a very marketable nickname in ‘RG3’ and companies will want to be associated with the team that owns such an asset.

It’s going to be very easy to look beyond any negative issues. Yet, as with every young quarterback, they exist within Griffin’s game. The positives are obvious and contained within two plays in the tape above (provided by JMPasq). At 0:12 you can see the way he runs right on the edge of his own end zone, then delivering a wonderful pass with top-end arm strength and accuracy to beat two defensive backs. He’s made eye-catching plays like that all season. At 2:57, we see his running ability and that elusive quality to avoid tackles and break off a big play for a touchdown. He’ll do that at the next level and it’ll offer a different dimension to an offense. It’s also, potentially, at the heart of one of Griffin’s issues.

You’ll see several examples in the tape where he gets happy feet. At times he was bailing on passes too early after one read and trying to make similar highlight-reel plays on the ground. For the most part this season I’ve found his footwork on drop backs to be a bigger problem than anxiety in the pocket, but this is something teams will have to study. Griffin is going to need to learn a pro-drop back (nothing new for a college quarterback), he’s going to have to take less steps in order to set and throw. Teams might also need to work out if they’re drafting a player who will stay patient and scan the field, allowing for plays to develop. I want to see improvisation from a young quarterback and Griffin provides it, but he’s also going to need to pick his moments.

In fairness, Baylor also seemed to shift their game plan towards a lot of run-option and screen passes against Washington – similar to what we saw in previous seasons with RG3 at quarterback. It’s always difficult to be too judgemental in bowl games such as this with a lot of points scored and not a great deal at stake. No doubt the games against Oklahoma and Texas will provide greater points of focus for scouts in the off season, where we didn’t see quite as much of an issue with Griffin getting happy feet. It may be that he simply believed he could score at will against a bad Huskies defense and tried too hard. Even so, this wasn’t his best game whatever the reasoning – and it does highlight that while there are a lot of extreme positives to Griffin’s game, he’s not flawless.

Decision time for underclassmen

Despite previously announcing he’d stay at Rutgers, Mohamed Sanu has today revealed he will turn pro. He’s a big, sure-handed receiver with the potential to line-up all over the field. He’s not got elite downfield speed and he’ll need work on his route running, but there’s a lot of playmaking potential. Whitney Mercilus (DE, Illinois) is also turning pro after a 14.5 sack season that led the NCAA. He’s not a brilliant physical talent with elite edge speed or dominating strength, but his production will interest teams. Personally, I think he’s best suited to playing in space because he’s not the biggest player. I’m not convinced he’s a player the Seahawks will look at as early as #11 or #12.

Stanford trio Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro are all turning pro as expected, as is Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Luck will go first overall while Martin’s stock could be inflated with a good combine performance and the sheer need for offensive lineman at the top of round one. Right guard DeCastro is slightly over rated and he’s not quite as dominant as people will have you believe. He’s a great technician and does an excellent job pulling and working on the move. He initiates holes in the run game with great hand placement and positioning. However, he’s not got elite size or strength at the point of attack and his pass-protection can be hit and miss. He’s also a little too keen to get to the second level sometimes.

Tomorrow I’ll be publishing an updated mock draft with the Seahawks picking 11th overall. Of course, in reality they need to win a coin-toss to leap frog Kansas City – but I thought I’d give the edge to Seattle for now. I’ll also be breaking down Ryan Tannehill’s performance against Northwestern and we’ll have game-tape of Chandler Jones – a defensive end from Syracuse with mid-round potential for the Seahawks.


  1. Lyric

    One thing about RG3 that I’m not seeing discussed much is his intelligence. He’s lawyer smart. He has the capacity to be as cerebral a QB as Peyton Manning plus much better physical skills. Imagine a brain like Peyton with Cam Newton’s body.

  2. Troy

    Can’t wait to see that tape of Chandler Jones. That kid has got some elite physical gifts, plus he’s the younger brother of MMA’s own Jon “Bones” Jones, if I’m not mistaken.

  3. Ralphy

    What do you think of Vontaze Burfict to the Lions? Just imagine him playing behind Suh.

    I also think the Steelers could end up going RB after Mendenhall’s terrible year that ended with the injury.

  4. MLT

    RG3 fits the hawks and the city of seattle perfect! I would be ecstatic if we get the kid! But if not what would you say about going with say a blackmon and then tannehill/ davis 2nd? I think tarvaris or tannehill could succeed with rice, blackmon, baldwin, tate, miller, and carlson if he is back! Too me that’s a nice balance of size and weapons for any qb! Even if they don’t go tannehill I think tarvaris would only improve with these targets! Get DE in free agency if possible? Is calais campbell unrestricted or restricted, that is if he isn’t franchised which I could see happening? Anyways keep it up rob I check this site everyday!

  5. Glen

    Chandler Jones! Love that kid…watched him a lot as Syracuse supporter, he is relentless…always seemed to make plays, watching him I always found myself saying “who was that?” likewhen I first started watching Wisconsinand discoveredJJ Watt last year…not saying he is as good as Watt but he is active…

    Troy – his bro is a MMA and his other brother is Arthur Jones, DT for the Ravens…pretty ridiculous family of large athletes!

  6. Chooch

    I think if the Redskins or Dolphins don’t trade up with the Rams, we have a legit shot at getting RG3.

    Pete Carroll was on the radio again today saying “there’s a lot of talent, possibly the most we’ve seen in a while” in the draft. And that “John is busy going to games and getting a look at these guys” and “If there’s someone we like, were not afraid to go up and get him”

    In my fan-optimist brain, this says- “Yes, Chooch. We LOVE RG3 and we will do anything to get him so that all of your Seahawks dreams can be realized.”

    I completely agree with Lyric and MLT. Griffin’s intelligence, play style, and humility make him a perfect fit for the Seahawks. Perfect.
    I hope like hell that Holmgren goes after Flynn, I think this would give a serious chance at a ballsy trade up. Do it John, make a splash, bring the attention to the Northwest, let’s make some noise.

  7. Brik

    I’ve been reading this website for a long time and thought I would give a little input. I really want Luck or RGIII and believe we should try everything. It seems though that because it’s a draft everyone thinks we got to get rid of all our draft picks to get them, it definitely will take some pics but we can trade players too, such as trufant and bigby, i’m thinking Colts who always need secondary.. OR picks can be useful in signing franchised players. I think we could trade back in the 1st this year for a 1st next year then sign mario williams, who i expect to get franchised, which will probably cost a 1st and a 2nd or something like that, which is why we traded back this year so its just like the 25th pick, but for a proven player. And then we have our two 1sts next year to get barkely…..thoughts anyone?

  8. David

    Ok i honestly believe that the Seahawks must do WHATEVER it is to get LUCK i would be fine with RG3 if indy is not going to budge, but the recent news of the polians fired and irsay showing a lot of support for peyton i think they may well be open for a trade and i think that if we give 4 1st rounds and if need be 5 im in… because of if its 4 it only really 3 because your using your 1st this year on LUCK who i think will live uo to the hype of his john elway and manning talk. He is the complete QB that pete and this team need to beat out any one in this league.. Rodgers,brees and anyone else we can beat them w/luck. Thats why i just have a feeling that this is are year to step up and become true elite contenders.

  9. David #2

    @brik i am def down with the trading the players instead of picks, as long as it doesnt take away from our core youth players (Chancellor,Thomas,Wright,sherman if i missed any im sorry) but i dont think anyone would want Trufant because hes 30 and injury prone, and besides i think this was his last year, same goes for Bigby, he doesnt really offer much for teams to want him. I have brought up Tate though and im thinking picks and tate would be a nice pkg. but then again im not an expert on player skill and i dont know what other teams value him at.

    @David, I think 4 1st rounders (maybe 5) would be overpaying by alot, it might get us Luck but i still think that would be overpaying on him, maybe 3 1st or less paired with some mid round picks.

    just my own Assesment, Ive grown onto Griffin more then Luck lately but maybe thats because i see us having more of a chance at Griffin then Luck.

  10. Ralphy

    I wouldn’t give up five first round picks for anyone in the NFL. That is way too much.

  11. Nick

    Hey Rob, great job as always, keep up the good work man, people do take notice.

    This is the year that Pete and John have to pull the trigger. This team and the city is just screaming out for a franchise QB in the worst way.

    The front office has assembled enough young talent to have a steady core of players that can develop into a very good team. However the biggest mistake they can make is to let it mature without the main piece, the QB. This young group of players will have gone to waste if there isn’t a franchise QB to grow with them and hit the peak at the same time.

    There are a few games this year that come to mind, such as the Redskins, 49ers game at home, and Browns game that come to mind where either Tarvaris or Charlie had chances to lead the team to victory but simply could not pull through. Plug in an Andrew Luck or a Robert Griffin, and you most likely improve your chances.

    Let’s not forget that if you have a good franchise QB, it can make other weaknesses stand out much less. New England has the worst ranked defense, and they have played wide receivers at defensive back, yet still have managed to secure the number 1 seed in the AFC due to the always solid play of Tom Brady and his offense.

    Throwing a 1, 2 and possibly a late rounder this year is nothing compared to the potential impact RG3 could add to this team. Given that the team has shown the ability to find late round players who can contribute, and that they still have a fair amount of cap space, they can find some depth in the late rounds and supplement with some young inexpensive free agents.

    I truly think Pete knows this is his last shot in the NFL, and he will not mess this up by ignoring the most important position in football.

  12. David

    Brik- i am def down for trading player as long as it doesnt involved our young core players )(Thomas, Chancellor,Wright,Sherman), i dont think many teams so any value in trufant who is 30 and in injury prone, i also believe this was his last year same goes for Bigby he doesnt offer much in the way of Value, but i was thinking Tate and picks, Tate is still young and shows potential, but that is just an idea, i am not a good evaluator of talent so im not sure just an idea.

    And i think 5 1st round picks is way too much for Luck, he hasnt played a down of NFL yet so we dont know whats gonna happen maybe 2 or 3 1st rounders and some mid rounders.

  13. David

    I agree with Nick among those games mentioned, i think we could of one a good amount of our games if Tarvaris would scan the field more, but maybe thats because he didnt have time, i recall many times Mike williams or Zach Miller wide open in the flat or in the middle.

  14. David

    @ ralphy- you say its too much but you knew he could be as good as john elway and peyton manning you still wouldn’t give up the picks? i think alot of people over hype 1st round picks, yes there the players that usually start right away but also are pick could be used on a aaron curry or others, drafting is a risk always and luck has the least risk with him thats why he is worth it. IMO

  15. JC

    Easy, folks, it takes two to tango. Just because Seattle wants to move up doesn’t mean Team X wants to move back. And the talk of four or five 1st round picks is just crazy.

    David, 1st round picks aren’t overvalued, it’s where the talent pool is the deepest. Rolling with your Aaron Curry point, lets look at the 2009 Draft. Of the 10 Pro Bowlers picked that year six out of the 1st round. I have a feeling you’d value Day One picks higher if BJ Raji or Brian Orakop were in Seahawk blue by the evening of April 25th and not Vontaze Burfict..errr…Aaron Curry.

  16. Tom

    JC, i would take odds and lay $$ that the Vikings are going to trade back to a team that wants to move up. Whether they are willing to drop to #11/#12 is another story, but they could easily drop down in a trade with Cleveland or Washington, pick up draft picks and still get their guy.

    That is why I believe we’ll have to sweeten the pot to encourage a drop to #11/12 which really isn’t that far. We’ll see, but anyone placing odds on a Viking trade down, I’ll take the trade down scenario.

  17. Tom

    Rob, I agree with your assessment of RG3’s game against UW and agree with his footwork not being technically sound. What I will say is that RG3 has a special release / arm that 95% of QB’s don’t have and can’t do what RG3 does.

    Most NFL QB’s and future #1 picks even in Luck and Barkley, typically have to step up or slide slightly in the pocket, flip their hips and get some drive into the ball to get necessary velocity.

    When I’ve dissected both Luck and Barkley, their interceptions came when they were rushed, didn’t get to step up, were caught a bit flat footed and didn’t get the velocity on the out route and the CB jumped the route for a pick.

    RG3 has that innate flick of the wrist that allows him to be caught in a poor throwing position but still deliver a bullet anywhere on the field w/out having to set, flip and fire.

    That is one of the innate skills that had me revving up this RG3 hype and talking about his upside for months and why I wanted him over Barkley if they both declared and were available.

    Good write up and assessment by you.

  18. JC

    I don’t disagree with the logic, Tom, but like the with the Prince Fielder talk it seems that no one wants to factor in the idea that maybe he doesn’t want to play baseball in Seattle regardless of how many zeros are on the check. Regarding the Vikings specifically this is the same team, front office and decision makers who drafted Christian Ponder 12th overall, a reach by anyone’s estimation. It’s not out of the realm of posibilty that they have a guy targeted and aren’t willing to take a chance on loosing out.

    Keep in mind that Seattle all but started a direct mail campaign advertising their desire to move out of the 1st round last draft. They would have been happy with a 2nd rounder and a non refundable one-way ticket to Branson, Missouri yet none of the 31 other NFL teams would bite. Food for thought.

  19. Doug

    I don’t think there are any players out there that wouldn’t want to get in on the Seahawks right now. Two years ago? that’s another story, but the Hawks are definately a “hot” team, on the major rise, and super cool.
    Would you rather play for Cleveland or Seattle? nuf said…

    I love RG3, but while I do see all of the incredible skillz the guy has, I also see a guy who is going to get killed in the pros. He isn’t big like Cam Newton, and he can’t take the NFL hits his style of play will bring to him. He is smart, so I do believe he will adapt, let’s just hope he doesn’t get seriously hurt first.
    I don’t see that with Luck. Sometimes that special ability to run is what will get a guy killed. He will think he sees an out, but right when he is squirting free, is when a guy like Julius Peppers introduces himself, or worse yet, it could be a super dirty player like Dockett, who WILL take that opportunity to deliver the injury blow to an unprotected player.

  20. Tom

    JC, you lost me with the comparisons to Prince Fielder and where he wants to play. Prince is a free agent so how does that apply to RG3?

    Sure, the Vikes could target a player at #3 but they need a lot of players and this isn’t some stacked draft and is why I could see them dropping down with Cleveland or Washington because it’s not a big drop but that’s why I said we’d have to have an irresistable offer for Vikes to move from 3 to 11/12.

    Jonathon Martin isn’t some franchise can’t miss tackle. He could be the next Jason Smith the Rams took at #2 a few years ago. This isn’t a Pace, Ogden or Walter Jones we’re discussing, so I fully expect Spielman to deal that #3 pick to accumulate more talent in their rebuild process.

    How far down he’s willing to go is the question and hopefully, Pete and John have a package that’s too inticing to pass on.

  21. Tom

    Doug, I hear ya’ and hopefully, RG3 becomes a pocket passer that moves slightly in the pocket and isn’t looking to take off at a moments notice. RG3 has the skills to hang in the pocket.

    I’m not sure how old you are or if you were able to see Warren Moon, but Moon was built similarly and converted from that scrambling QB to a mostly pure pocket passer when he went to Houston but he still had the ability to take off and run. Defenses are bigger and faster but 6’2″, 220 isn’t too light but RG3 can’t be taking hits like Vick takes and must learn to protect the ball better.

    It’s a risk/reward paradigm and I hope Pete and John take the risk or we’ll be back to watching more ho hum interesting football in 2012 with no concrete future of becoming an elite squad.

  22. Richard

    Rob, I am totally on board with what Tom has been saying, RGIII is the best and really the only choice. Whatever it takes to get him, is what the Hawks should do. But I also believe that Pete and John had a 1-5 year plan and it involved the exact same scenario to draft Barkley and move up if they had to this year to get him.

    It’s just that Barkley didn’t decide to declare for this draft. RGIII is the replacement for him because the 3rd year of that plan would have had to have them winning and getting into the Superbowl by the end of 2012.

  23. JC

    Yeah, that was a poorly reasoned analogy. It wasn’t strong to begin with and worded abominably. I’ll blame the booze and move on.

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