Robert Griffin III May Be Overvalued In 2012 NFL Mock Drafts

Everyone says Robert Griffin III is the can’t miss prospect of the 2012 NFL Draft.  ESPN has been leading the Griffin bandwagon to the point where they suggest he could go first
overall.  However, everyone is forgetting the major weakness of “RG3”.

There is no doubt Griffin has the physical skills that you love.  His incredible arm and throwing ability has been well documented.  As has his speed on the run.  You also cannot deny he’s a great person and has the attitude you love.  Seem like the perfect prospect?  Well one aspect of his game can keep him frombeing the perfect prospect.  And it happens to be his biggest weakness.  A weakness hat isn’t so much about what he does, as much as it is about what he doesn’t do.

The Baylor offense but up unreal stats all season.  But Baylor’s offense is incredibly simple.  Nowhere near as complicated as NFL offense.  Furthermore, Griffin was aided by coaches in the both who read the opposing defense and told him which play to run.  That is alarming to think about.  Most take it for granted, but a quarterback must be able to read a defense and make offensive calls.  And if Griffin can’t read a defense, how will he be a franchise quarterback?

Now this isn’t to say he cannot learn how to do this.  He has a degree in political science and was accepted into law school.  So he is a pretty smart kid.  The question is can he be actually coached up enough to be a franchise quarterback?  In the case of the Browns, it’s a huge question that will be answered over the course of several player interviews and workouts.  But if the Browns are going to take him, they must have an answer to the question.  If they doubt he will be able to read a defense, they have to pass on him and look at other players.  Quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden are examples of players to be found outside the upper part of the first round.  You may love Griffin’s athletic ability.  But if he cannot read a defense, then there is no way he can run the offense successfully.  A defense will eat him alive.

I agree Griffin is an amazing talent.  But we have seen so many quarterbacks who have but up huge stats fail to make it in the NFL.  Griffin may be a little different.  But you still cannot rule out the possibility of him failing in the NFL.  Griffin is a tremondus talent.  But he needs to prove at the combine, as well as in private workouts, that he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback.  People have talked the talk when it comes to him.  And very soon, if he does indeed declare for the draft, it will be time to walk the walk.

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  • Lars Hanson


    • LC Trotter

      Is everyone on this website a Griffin naysayer? And have any of you actually been to a game and watched him play? I have and I can tell you that RG3 had to change plays several times at the Oklahoma game. He also has an uncanny ability to extend the play, and when he does, big things usually happen. Case in point is the game-winning touchdown with 8 sec left vs. OU. Don’t tiink that RG3 can’t read a defense. He’s probablu smarter than most of the quarterbacks in the NFL and is definitely a student of the game. And get your facts straight — he graduated with a political science degree in 3 years with a 3.67 GPA and he is on trackto complete his masters in Communications this spring. He hasn’t been accepted to law school yet. If he stays for his final year of eligibility, he will apply to begin law school in the fall. Sure, Baylor runs a spread offense. That doesn’t mean he can’t make it in the NFL. And stop comparieng him to Vick and Young. That’s an insult to his talent and his character.

      • Ross

        Amen LC! Not only is this kid an excellent football player but he probably has the best head on his shoulders since Peyton Manning. Had RGIII gone back to Baylor this year he would have been the first college football enrolled into law school! Somebody is going to jump up and get a steal.

  • Longhorn Billy

    Dude, get off the bong. RGIII can read a defense. He’s going to be a great pro. This article is about as uninformed as anything I’ve seen on the internet.

    • Andrew Limpert

      Longhorn – I am not the only person who has questioned if RGIII can read a defense. NFL Scouts and other writers have questioned it as well. I don’t doubt that he can learn to read a defense. I just want to see him do it without someone in the booth telling him what the defense is doing.

  • Gerald

    I hate to play this card, but when was the last time we heard the ability of a white quarterback to read a defense questioned? Seriously. Even white running QBs like Eric Crouch and Tim Tebow, only their ability to throw the football was questioned, not their ability to read defenses or learn pro-style offenses. I am not a fan of the Marxist Cornel West, but if we are questioning the ability of a guy who got accepted into Harvard, is working on a master’s degree, and is weighing the NFL versus law school to read defenses when no such questions were asked about the eminent scholar Ben Roethlisberger (you know, the guy who loved to ride motorcycles without a helmet) then even in this day and age, “Race Matters” (referring to the title of West’s best-selling book, which I have not read because, you know, I am not a Marxist).

    Last year, you had guys knocking Cam Newton’s draft prospects because of his “fake smile”, his being “delusional” and “disliked and not seen as a leader by his teammates” and other nonsense from Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki. This year, you have folks questioning whether an academic All-American (2nd team to Andrew Luck, and rightfully so because Luck had a much tougher major in architecture) can learn an NFL offense and read an NFL defense, as if it is rocket science or something. Folks, Tim Tebow drastically improved his ability to read defenses in 8 games, and he didn’t even play in a passing offense in college.

    Oh yeah … the way that Robert Griffin III was the same way that Aaron Rodgers was coached at Cal. I’d say that Rodgers turned out OK. Don’t you? Meanwhile, Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame were basically running NFL offenses at the college level, with reading defenses, calling plays/making adjustments etc. So did Matt Leinart at USC. How’d it work out for them? Another example: Tom Brady played in a VERY SIMPLE offense at Michigan, yet he won a Super Bowl in his second season. Meanwhile, virtually none of those guys who played in those far more complex offenses at Miami, FSU, UCLA etc. ever did squat in the NFL. Brad Johnson (who never started a game at FSU), Bernie Kosar, Troy Aikman and Gino Torreta (kinda) are it.

    But hey, all you have to do to label me as a Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton/Jeremiah Wright/Michelle Obama type crank is list the last big time white QB draft prospect to have his ability to learn an NFL offense or read a defense questioned. Name one, and I will recant. (Please, don’t say Dan Marino. His Wonderlic score was only one of a number of reasons why he slid. Griffin III could double Marino’s Wonderlic score and STILL have people questioning his ability to learn an NFL offense and read defenses.)

    • Andrew Limpert

      This article is not based on race. It is simply based on my only concern about RG3. I acknowledge that he has amazing talent. As I said, I think that he can do it. But its not for me to decide. This article is simply written to describe what scouts, coaches, GM’s, and owners will be looking for. The abilty to read a defense is only a concern because of the system he is in. It’s really his only question mark. If he can prove that he can do it, which is easy, then he could not only be one of the best signal callers in this draft, but possibly in the entire NFL.

      • Gerald

        Sorry, I ain’t buying it. White QBs never get their ability to read a defense get questioned, but black QBs always do.

        “The abilty to read a defense is only a concern because of the system he is in.”

        Hogwash. Few colleges run offenses that require any more than a rudimentary level of reading defenses, guys who play for the colleges where very little defense reading is done get drafted high all the time, and you know it. Further, as I stated earlier, there is absolutely no correlation between playing for colleges who run complex pro-style offenses and those who don’t in the NFL. If most college offenses required complex reads, NFL teams wouldn’t place anywhere near as much value on QB Wonderlic scores as they do.

        Some guys get their ability to read defense questioned, others don’t, and the ones that do JUST HAPPEN to have ONE THING in common with each other. I am not questioning your intent or making a personal accusation. As a matter of fact, you may be repeating what you have read/heard elsewhere (as you are nowhere near the first to ask these same questions concerning RG3 that I have read the past several weeks). But the fact is that white QB prospects never get their ability to read defenses questioned, black QB prospects have theirs questioned routinely, and this is the case regardless of the system that they play in. Those are the facts whether you wish to acknowledge them or not. If it was “the system” then Charlie Ward, who played in a pro-style offense under Bobby Bowden at FSU, wouldn’t have had those same questions asked. And yes, Ward was the ONLY Bowden QB to have his ability to read defenses and learn an NFL offense questioned.

        Again, as they say in the neck of the woods where I am from: that dog won’t hunt.

        • Andrew Limpert

          I have only been writing for a short time, but I had the same concerns about Jimmy Clausen when he came out. Of course I also had concerns about his character as well. I do not question RG3′s character. He has the heart of champion. I dont believe in “perfect prospects”. I think everyone has something to work on; even Andrew Luck. And this is really the only question mark on him. Again, I dont doubt he can do it. I believe he will be able to. Im simply expressing a concern that others have talked about.

          Honestly speaking, I question the abilty to read a defense of a lot of quarterbacks. I question Ryan Tannehill’s abilty to read a defense as well. Same goes for Chandler Harnsih. This isn’t a race topic. I don’t care what race you are. I personally think, if given a chance, Russell Wilson and Jordan Jefferson can be pretty darn good. They dont have the measureables or the stats that Luck and RG3 have. But I love their all around games.


          • tony

            I will not try to read your hart or intent. But it seems like th coverage of RG3 has been skewed and it seems like more than mere coincidence that the same questions that you have about him are the same questions certain qb’s always have to answer. We all know that “reading defense” is code for smart”. It is no longer politically correct to come out and say “is he smart enough”, so we hide behind codes like “reading a defense” or learning an NFL playbook”. Nobody questioned Rodgers ability to read a defense, the same Aaron Rodgers who did not qualify for division 1 football coming out of high school due to poor grades. But we question a guy graduated early with a 3.67 gpa from Baylor! Sorry, but the racial undertones are hard to ignore.

  • BaylorGrad

    I do not blame you for writing what you hear being said, because that is the job of a reporter…to report what they have seen or what has been said. What I am saying is whenever GMs and NFL scouts say things like that it is code for: “is he competent;” which have some racial undertones whether they are aware of it or not. And believe me some are pretty darn aware of it unfortunately. You have to understand that in a job like scouting and GM you look at every single statistic you can. You don’t think they look at the number of African American quarterbacks that have led their team to a Super Bowl or even the playoffs? Of course they do! Heck they were even dogging Andy Dalton for having red hair because statistically redhead quarterbacks did poor in the nfl…statistically. I know it sounds crazy but that is what the business is all about.

    If you have ever seen an RG3 game you would know that he does read defenses. This may have been a valid argument against RG3 a couple years ago; or even a year ago, but the Baylor coaching staff let go of the reigns a lot this season and allowed Robert to do more with the offense, including call his own plays. That game against Oklahoma at the last minute of the game, Briles basically took off the headset…that was all Robert reading defenses, calling plays, and making plays.

    Kevin Kolb played in the same offense, and no one ever questioned his ability to read defenses, in fact instead of killing the Eagles for picking him in the 2nd round when they could have gotten McNabb a star receiver that could help an offense that was on the cusp of being Super Bowl great, they praised the Eagles for picking “the quarterback of the future.” Everyone swears up and down that Kolb is an NFL quarterback, in fact I remember a scout on t.v. saying “before people start to question the offense [Kolb] plays in, the offense correlates with the west coast offense that the Eagles run.”

    Andy Dalton played in the same style of offense as well. Nobody questioned his ability to read defenses. It was the exact same offense RG3 plays in.

    I am not questioning you and your motives; but I am unquestionably parsing the motives of NFL scouts and GMs because their motives are morally not compassionate but I guess necessary for them to do everything in their power to spend a lot of money on the right guy. I just wish NFL teams did more to develop players and instead of looking at the things that would keep you from taking a guy they take a look at things the guy can do that would fit perfectly with what you do on offense and elaborate on that.