Bill Polian spent most of the 2011 season thinking he’d get to make the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft, and everyone has long assumed that pick would be Andrew Luck. But Polian, the former Colts G.M. who’s now an ESPN analyst, is also talking up Robert Griffin III.
Polian said on Friday that people sometimes focus so much on Griffin’s pure speed that they forget how good he is at stopping on a dime and throwing deep when he’s forced out of the pocket.
“If he pulls up to throw the ball — and I would direct you to the Oklahoma film — all he has to do is stand up and flick that wrist and the ball will go across the field 55, 50 yards in the wink of an eye — on a rope and it’s accurate,” Polian said, via the Washington Post. “So he presents a threat that we really haven’t seen before.”
The Oklahoma game Polian refers to may have been Griffin’s finest at Baylor: He completed 21 of 34 passes for 479 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, and also ran for 72 yards. (Oklahoma, which entered the game ranked No. 5 in the country had won all 20 of its previous meetings against Baylor.) This video of Griffin’s game-winning touchdown pass with eight seconds left shows exactly what Polian is talking about: Griffin rolled to his left, stopped at the 35-yard line and fired the ball into the end zone an instant before he got drilled.
Luck is the prototypical NFL passer, but Polian views Griffin as a quarterback who can do things that have never been done in the NFL.
“He’s a world-class track man and as such is a bit of a long-strider and a bit of a narrow base guy, as opposed to Cam [Newton], who’s an instinctive, natural football runner, a make-you-miss, shake- and-bake guy in a 6-foot-5, 250-pound body. RG is not that,” Polian said. “That said, he has enough shake to beat most defensive linemen. And once he sticks that foot in the ground and goes, it’s gone baby gone. You’re going to have a hard time catching him. That’s unique. He presents a threat that’s absolutely unique.”