On April 26th, 2012, at the 77th annual meeting of NFL teams to select players, 11 quarterbacks were chosen in the process. The Washington Redskins controversially selected two of them with their top two picks.
The Redskins traded up from the sixth to the second spot with the St. Louis Rams. It cost them a fortune, as they had to give up three first-round picks and a second. Andrew Luck was the first player who got his name called that day, and the Stanford star prospect was perceived as the best prospect in years. The Colts found their new franchise quarterback.
The Washington franchise then swung at a franchise passer and selected Robert Griffin III from Baylor. The Heisman Trophy winner was sensational in college. His mobility, combined with a solid arm, helped him to finish his final season with 47 total touchdowns.
Early NFL Success
His NFL career started just like his college career ended. Griffin was instantly one of the most dynamic players in the league. In the pre-draft process, the quarterback ran a 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. That’s fast for any football player but just incredible for a quarterback.
In his debut game, he earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading his team to a win over the New Orleans Saints and became the first rookie ever to win that award in his first game. The explosive rookie also led his team to the postseason and also won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
In Week 14 of his rookie season, Griffin hurt his knee, and the other Redskins quarterback from the 2012 draft had to take over. Kirk Cousins, nowadays quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, came in and beat the eventual Super Bowl champions, Baltimore Ravens, in overtime. The Redskins were heavily criticized for taking another quarterback in the draft, as they could’ve helped Griffin with a receiver or lineman. However, Cousins proved the doubters wrong and became the steal of the 2012 draft.
In the wild-card game against the Seahawks about a month later, head coach Mike Shanahan started his rookie, despite not receiving medical clearance from Dr. James Andrews. Unfortunately, RG3 again injured his knee in that game, and it required surgery. A sad ending to a Pro Bowl year for Griffin. In hindsight, the quarterback had his best season as a rookie.
Injury Struggles and Cousins´ Backup
In 2013, Griffin played in 13 games for the Redskins. However, he was benched for Cousins for the final three games of the year to ensure he didn’t get hurt again. In 2014, Griffin hurt his ankle and just played in nine games. 2015 became the big year of Kirk Cousins, as he beat Griffin for the starting job and never gave it back. RG3 didn’t play for the Redskins ever again.
After stints in Baltimore and Cleveland, where the quarterback started seven games over the next five years, he signed a deal with ESPN to become one of their analysts for college football and the NFL.
After one year departed from the NFL, Griffin gave an interview to Christopher Williams from KWTX and stated that he’s ready to play.
“I’m ready to go right now. Like I said, I train every day, throw, work out. I know what it takes to get my body ready, and I’m doing those things. And yes, it’s a little bit tougher having to fly around everywhere and do all the stuff for TV, but when you really want something, you make it work. So if I get that call this year, next year or five years from now, I’ll be ready to play.”
– Robert Griffin, about playing again
He’s ready to play and didn’t lose any athleticism. Earlier in the offseason, the quarterback appeared on NFL Network’s ‘Run Rich Run.’ An annual event to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s hospital. The participants run the 40-yard dash to raise money. Former Vikings legend Cris Carter finished with a 5.25 time. Not bad for a 56-year-old but not good enough to still play in the NFL. Griffin, however, ran the distance in 4.48 seconds. He is still faster than most defenders and could still scare defensive units running the ball.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt