ASK CFN - Should Indy Consider RGIII?
Carolina QB Cam Newton
Could Robert Griffin go No. 1? Cam or Luck? All this and more in the latest ASK CFN.
2012 ASK CFN
March 2 - Part One
Fire over your questions, comments, and baskets of
firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can tweet them to mw @ColFootballNews.
I might not be able to answer them all, but I promise they're all read.
- Jan 20 ASK CFN, Part 1 Was Alabama really THAT good? What are all the conferences looking like for 2012?
- Jan 20 ASK CFN, Part 2 When is it okay to wear a jersey? What are the expectations for Urban Meyer in Year One? Will the SEC ever stop winning national titles?
- March 2 ASK CFN, Part 2 Could the All-SEC alumni team with the Super Bowl?
Q: Everyone is putting Andrew Luck in Indianapolis already. Why aren’t the Colts thinking about taking RGIII? It can’t be that much of a slam dunk, is it? - JS, Dallas
A: How about throwing another quirky idea out there. Did anyone notice what USC OT Matt Kalil did at the combine? I wouldn’t bet the house that he doesn’t turn out to be the best player in this draft.
Indianapolis is talking about Andrew Luck like he’s already the new face of the franchise, but you’re right. The Colts aren’t doing their job if they don’t at least give some thought to the idea that Robert Griffin might actually be the better pick.
Luck tends to throw a few too many key picks, and while the ten he gave up last year might not seem like a lot, he had at least one in each of the last six games. He has to still prove he can drive the ball consistently down the field with a deep arm. He has everything except a cannon.
Griffin is sharp as a tack, and considering the mellonheads who figured out how to become pro passers, there won’t be any problems adjusting to a pro style attack. However, he’s bucking a type. According to history, if you’re not 6-4 and 240 pounds, you have to be deadly accurate – like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees – or you have to be prepared to catch a royal beating – like Kurt Warner – or play for San Francisco to be a starting quarterback on a Super Bowl winner.
RGIII isn’t a pocket passer and he didn’t have to fit the ball through a tire too often in the Baylor offense. His completion percentage last year was better than Luck’s, but how much of it had to do with the Art Briles offense? How much will he have to make plays on the move? Yeah, he’ll be as athletic as any player in the NFL, but name the last mobile quarterback under 6-3 – I’ll count Ben Roethlisberger as mobile - to win a Super Bowl? Steve Young in 1995, and he was one of the most accurate passers in NFL history.
When drafting, especially in the top three, you never, ever, ever, ever, ever go against the norm, and when it comes to quarterbacks, again, as history has proven, you have to go big. Can Griffin be another Rodgers or Brees when it comes to accuracy? Maybe, but he’s not 6-4 and 234 pounds and athletic like Luck.
Q: Knowing what you know right now … do you take Cam Newton after his rookie year, or Andrew Luck? Or even Robert Griffin? Let’s say Cam stayed an extra year. Would Luck still be the No. 1 pick? - P.K.
A: If Cam had stayed for one more year Luck would still be the No. 1 overall pick. The same knocks on Newton that were out there last year would’ve been part of the equation, but I do think he’d go before RGIII. Had Luck come out in 2011, he’d have gone to Carolina and Newton would’ve gone to either Denver at the two or Buffalo at the three.
But the first question is interesting. It would be a coin-flip, but I’d probably go with the known and take a chance that Cam really is the real deal.
Cam had the best rookie season of any quarterback in the history of the NFL. That doesn’t really mean much, though, considering the team still stunk. Rick Mirer had one of the greatest rookie QB seasons of all-time and Vince Young looked like a world-beater after his first season – they didn’t exactly build on their strong debuts. The NFL has a funny way of adjusting to styles – notice the beating Michael Vick took last year - and the rushing part of Newton’s game has to become a memory or he’ll have a short shelf life. And it will. He has all the skills, size, and tools to become an elite pocket passer who happens to run once in a while. But can he be patient enough?
I’m still not 100% sold that he’s going to handle things all that well if the Panthers keep struggling.
There were times last year when Newton started to get a little petty and appeared on the verge of tossing his team under the bus, and there’s credible belief out there that he might be a wee bit too in love with being Cam Newton, Superstar.
But it’s not really fair to Newton, or anyone, to be compared to Luck as a pro prospect. Believe me, because I have all the scouting guides going back to the 1970s, there hasn’t been this much gushing over a prospect since John Elway.
Q: Why is everyone so hung up on Justin Blackmon’s 40 time? If he can ball, he can ball, right? Jerry Rice wasn’t the fastest guy on the field until the ball was in the air. R.S.
A: First of all, using Jerry Rice and his lack of timed speed as an example of why the 40 doesn’t matter is like saying sixth round draft picks are important because Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. Rice is one of my favorite players ever, but going into the 2012 NFL season, I’d take 1998 Randy Moss or 2007 Calvin Johnson over 1985 Rice without even blinking. The NFL is a much different league now.
Obviously Rice would be an all-time great in any era – I’ve gotten into knockdown, drag-out bar arguments screaming that he’s the greatest pro football player of all-time – but he was also helped by playing in the perfect system with the perfect coach with the perfect quarterbacks at the perfect time. Today’s NFL that’s light years faster, bigger, and more athletic than it was even a decade ago, and now, any No. 1 elite receiver who can’t blaze a 4.4 or better is a fluke.
Blackmon will be a good pro for a long time, but does he have 4.3 speed like Johnson? No. Is he as big as Megatron, Andre Johnson, or Larry Fitzgerald? No. Does he even have 4.5 speed? He will after his pro day, but you always have to assume that the number is rounded up a bit on the forgiving home track. In this year’s draft with so many speed receivers who proved their wheels at the combine – like Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, and several others in this class of blazers – Blackmon has to show something physically that makes him worth a top 15 pick.
Q: Wouldn’t Notre Dame be a nice fit as the anchor program for the Big 12 North division (with Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Louisville and West Virginia), with direct access to the Texas recruiting area and a pretty decent chance to reach the conference championship game every year? Notre Dame might still wind up playing third fiddle to Texas and OU on the playing field, but from a prestige/public perception angle it might look like ND is “first among equals”. What do you think? M.I.
A: Not … a … chance. The Big 12 isn’t national enough, it’s not urban enough, and it’s not academic enough for Notre Dame. Football-wise, if the Irish don’t want to play third banana to Michigan and Ohio State, they’re certainly not going to sell their souls to become the third wheel – at best – next to Texas and Oklahoma. That’s why I keep saying the Big East is the perfect fit. It has everything Notre Dame wants. It’s national once Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, and Houston are in, it has the big markets, and there’s no questioning who the big dog would be.
- March 2 ASK CFN, Part 2 Could the All-SEC alumni team with the Super Bowl?