RGIII leaves Indy as undisputed winner of NFL combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- In a hallway at Lucas Oil Stadium, just a few hours after Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III blazed 40 yards in 4.41 seconds on the nearby field Sunday, Rams general manager Les Snead had plenty of reasons to be happy.

The first one? He likes Griffin. He's liked him since he began chronicling the quarterback's development as a freshman. He likes his intelligence, his passion, his charisma. All were qualities Snead cited while explaining his pleasure in RGIII's big weekend.

"Whether we pick second or 32nd, I'm going to pull for that human being," Snead said. "He's such a likeable guy."

But Snead already has his quarterback. He says he's ready to start his new job as the Rams' point man with Sam Bradford under center -- which makes his rooting interest in Griffin that much more, well, interesting.

As Griffin wraps up his NFL Scouting Combine having solidified his place as the second-most-coveted player in this year's draft, his speedy feet and savvy head have made him the combine's unofficial winner. It might, as a result, create a very intriguing draft weekend in late April.

With the Indianapolis Colts expected to make Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck the first player taken overall, Snead now holds the magic pick, and the number of teams desiring it might have just grown.

"I've definitely heard there's a rumor that there's two good quarterbacks in this draft," Snead joked. "I've heard that. We're going to be prepared for all options, especially if multiple teams think there are two good quarterbacks and one goes first."

There would seem to be a limit to how much an elite player can increase his stock at the combine, particularly in Griffin's case, considering he didn't even throw passes. But if a team on the brink of falling in love with the Heisman Trophy winner went into this weekend needing a little push, they might have just gotten it.

So although it looks like it makes sense for the Cleveland Browns -- currently picking fourth and 22nd in the first round -- to trade into that second spot, Griffin's work in Indianapolis could create quite the bidding war. Yes, the type that merits massive compensation. Tell the auctioneer to warm up the vocal cords: Do we hear two first-round picks? How about three first-round picks?

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"It's up to other teams who feel they need a QB to decide if RGIII is the right player to fill that need," Snead said.

Maybe the Miami Dolphins are one of those teams. Maybe the Washington Redskins. Maybe the Browns. Maybe another team -- one that nobody is talking about -- will unexpectedly get into the mix and only drive up the price even more. Whatever the case, the lesson from this weekend became clear every time the spotlight panned Griffin's direction:

He looks everything like the real deal.

"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," said Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, who met with him Friday. "He's very sharp. He's well thought out. He gives great answers. We could have talked to him for an hour.

"But in the 15 minutes he had, we came away very impressed with him."

This is one of the reasons -- coupled with a display of speed that has only been bettered by a quarterback at the combine once since 2000 -- why a mystery team might be the best bet when guessing where Griffin will land.

Given the skills of Luck and Griffin, even teams with young quarterbacks already in place are making sure they properly study both prospects.

"I think you have to do your due diligence," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "Even though we have a guy we feel very confident with, our scouts, our personnel department, everyone will do a good job evaluating both quarterbacks."

The price, of course, will only continue to rise if Griffin continues to perform for general managers and coaches as he did this weekend in Indianapolis. He'll have a chance to do so again March 21 at his Baylor Pro Day. That's the next step -- when he'll actually throw passes and show whether his arm is as elite as his feet.

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In the meantime, Snead will continue to monitor Griffin's progress, just as he's done for years, to find out whether the quarterback will earn him the type of compensation that could make the Rams the real winners of this year's draft.

Until then, however, there was little question who won this weekend: That honor, without a doubt, goes to RGIII.

"I hope somebody falls in love with me, other than my fiancée," Griffin said. "That's what you want. As a player, you want a team that really wants you. That's what I'm looking forward to.

"I'm looking forward to making somebody fall in love with me."

Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @jeffdarlington

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