Griffin's big day for scouts could have big impact on Rams ..
BY JIM THOMAS
Monday, February 27, 2012 12:20 am
INDIANAPOLIS • Could the weekend have gone any better for Robert Griffin III? He was tall enough (6-2 3/8), plenty fast (4.41 in the 40), and from the moment he pulled up his sweats to reveal Ninja Turtles socks, he, uh, charmed the socks off the media.
And Andrew Luck wasn't too shabby, either.
"I would be stunned if these two kids didn't go 1 and 2," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.
Which of course, is music to the ears of Jeff Fisher and the Rams. Even though neither quarterback threw this weekend in Indy, preferring to wait until their pro days in late March, they did nothing to hurt their draft stock this weekend.
Griffin probably helped his, which means the Rams at No. 2 overall may end up getting trade offers from Cleveland at No. 4, Washington at No. 6 and Miami at No. 8.
"This is the best throwing athlete I've seen come out in awhile," said Brian Billick, former Baltimore Ravens head coach and also an NFL Network analyst. "Far better than Michael Vick in my opinion. Far better than Cam Newton. ... This guy has as pure a throwing motion for an athletic quarterback. Clearly has the intelligence to transition (to the NFL)."
"I've already been on record," Billick said. "I think Andrew Luck is the most dynamic quarterbacking talent to come out since John Elway as a prospect. OK?"
Obviously, there are no guarantees and there's a world of difference between potential and production on the NFL level. But at this point, it looks like the Indianapolis Colts are the luckiest team on the planet. With Peyton Manning's brilliant 14-year career winding down, in large part because of neck issues, the Colts — with the No. 1 overall pick — have the opportunity to draft a Manning clone.
"Peyton was my hero growing up," Luck said. "He was my football hero. That's who I modeled myself after in high school, middle school, whatever it was."
Luck has even attended the Mannings' summer camp the previous two offseasons. And over the weekend, Luck held court in a stadium that has a huge picture of Manning on an outside wall.
"You never truly replace a guy like that," Luck said. "And who knows what happens? So many different things can happen. I'm not thinking about it too much right now."
In terms of preparation, Luck is a football workaholic like Manning. He has a similar frame: 6-4, 234 to Manning's 6-5, 230. Some say he has a similar throwing style as well.
"He's a fine player," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "He's very easy to project (in the NFL) because he plays in a very pro-style offense. ..."
Or as San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, who once coached Luck at Stanford, put it: "He's got all the qualities, really — mentally, physically. He's as prepared as anybody that you're going to find."
Harbaugh also recruited Griffin a few years ago to come to Stanford, but Griffin chose Baylor.
"My whole thinking behind that was (Luck) was already committed, and the two-quarterback thing doesn't work," Griffin said. "I didn't want to have to either me be the one that transferred, or Luck be the one that transferred. So I decided to go to a different college. But I liked Stanford, I liked Coach Harbaugh and I like Andrew."
Although the Colts still have to figure out what to do with Manning, who has a $28 million roster bonus due March 8, Luck's name is all but etched in stone as their pick on April 26.
Griffin, meanwhile, arrived at the NFL scouting combine still trying to change some perceptions — or misperceptions — regarding his football background and his style of play.
The biggest misconception, Griffin said, "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."
Griffin said he patterns his game after Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, Kenny Stabler.
"Guys that extend the play," he said. "John Elway is another guy who extended the play. They went from within the pocket, but they also know how to go outside the pocket. I think that's what the game's kind of turning to with guys like Drew Brees who runs a little bit, and Aaron Rodgers who can move around a little bit."
Some observers wonder about the sophistication of the Baylor offense, calling it a simple system.
"I'd like to sit down with 'em and show 'em how simple it is," Griffin said, with appropriate sarcasm. "It's not a simple offense. It's a good offense. It's a really great offense, and it's a quarterback-friendly offense. 'Simple' would not be the word to describe it."
Along those lines, he was looking forward to his team interviews in Indy, and a chance to get on the greaseboard and talk X's and O's.
"I hope somebody falls in love with me other than my fianceé," Griffin joked. "That's what you want. As a player you want a team that really wants you. Head coach, GM, owner, everybody that really wants you in that place and the players believe in you. That's what I'm looking forward to. I'm looking forward to making somebody fall in love with me."
Finding suitors shouldn't be a problem. It may just be a matter of what those suitors are willing to give St. Louis for that No. 2 spot in the draft.