After limited participation in the NFL Scouting Combine, Robert Griffin III will unveil his talents for the world to see at Baylor's Pro Day on Wednesday. Scouts and coaches will be in attendance to see if the Heisman Trophy winner lives up the hype.
Now, clearly the Washington Redskins are looking to take Griffin with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. (After all, they gave up three first-rounders and a second-round pick to move up four spots in the draft.) Thus, RG3 doesn't have as much to lose on his pro day as most other prospects. But this full workout should provide everyone with a clearer picture of his readiness to be a franchise quarterback for a big-market team. Here are three things scouts will be watching Wednesday in Waco:
1) RG3's ability to throw effectively from the pocket.
Griffin is a rare athlete with impressive passing skills, but scouts still harbor questions about his ability to throw consistently from the pocket based on his extensive experience in the spread offense. In college, he routinely threw off a "rock and rip" approach, which required him to catch the shotgun snap and fire the ball immediately to receivers on short-to-intermediate routes. Although several pro teams are incorporating those tactics into their respective playbooks, the majority of offenses still require quarterbacks to throw from three-, five- and seven-step drops.
Teams also will want to see him execute passes following run-action fakes to see if he has the ability to find and locate receivers after turning his back to the defense. He has some experience with play fakes working across his face, but the precision and execution required from a conventional drop is new to Griffin, and certain drills will display his development (or lack thereof) in that area.
Scouts also will spend time working with Griffin to evaluate his ability to throw on the move. The Redskins will want to see him rolling to his left and right, while also delivering pinpoint passes to targets on the move. He has displayed those skills while throwing movement passes in the spread, but maneuvering on the perimeter following outside zone fakes will place him deeper in the backfield and force him to redirect his eyes to identify crossers over the middle of the field.
2) RG3's general adaptability to a pro-style offense.
After spending three seasons manning Baylor's spread offense, Griffin must show evaluators that his game suits a pro-style offense. As a freakish athlete with outstanding speed and quickness, his ability to make plays with his feet is attractive to teams looking for a true playmaker at the position. And Mike Shanahan's Redskins certainly apply. Griffin's improvisational skills stand out on tape, and his dazzling display of explosive quickness at the NFL Scouting Combine cemented his status as one of the best athletes in the draft.
From a passing standpoint, Griffin has shown the requisite arm strength, accuracy and touch to develop into an elite passer. He is capable of making all of the throws from the pocket, but scouts will be assessing his accuracy and ball placement on a variety of short, intermediate and deep throws. The assessment will be designed to determine the ideal scheme fit for his talents, and Griffin can help alleviate some concerns about his adaptability with his performance on the field.
Coaches also will script out a series of plays to see if he can take the information from the huddle to the field without faltering on execution. This is an important step in the process, with coaches looking to gauge his adaptability and football acumen. If he can work through the unknown aspects of the workout without issue, evaluators will feel strongly about his ability to make a smooth transition to the next level.
3) A top-notch performance in the classroom.
Playing quarterback at the NFL level is far more mental than physical, so RG3's ability to process information quickly and accurately will be vital to his success.
Griffin could be asked to sit in a classroom with a few coaches and respond to series of questions regarding his football IQ. They will quiz him on his responsibilities in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage to see how much he was asked to process on the field at Baylor. In addition, they will ask him about how Baylor's plays were relayed to the quarterback and if audibles were determined by the coaching staff or based on his diagnosis of the defense. This will not only reveal Griffin's football awareness, but it will also provide evaluators with a glimpse at where he sits on the learning curve when predicting his readiness to immediately start as a pro.
Finally, RG3 will be given sample playbooks to study until his private workouts with particular teams. (Safe to say Washington will be one of these teams.) The teams will simulate the installation process of a training camp and test his retention and comprehension on his official visit in a few weeks. How well he masters the information in the mini-playbook will help coaches and scouts determine his ability to handle a complex scheme.
Griffin is pegged as one of two franchise quarterbacks in the draft, so an impressive performance Wednesday is to be expected. Otherwise, Redskins brass might encounter some sleepless nights over the next month ...
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