Pundits have been drooling over golden boy Andrew Luck ever since his breakout sophomore season. Even though he has lived up to most of the hype surrounding him and has all but signed the contract with the Colts to be the first overall pick in next month's NFL Draft, it does not necessarily mean that he will have a more successful career than Robert Griffin III.
One of the most common knocks against Griffin is that his lack of size will limit his long-term success at the quarterback position. At 6 feet, two inches and 220 pounds, Griffin does not fit the traditional physical mold of an NFL quarterback. According to this widely accepted standard, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick and Tony Romo all are "undersized" for successful NFL quarterbacks, too. Not only does Griffin match their size, but he is also much more athletic than these veterans.
Griffin's 40-yard time of 4.41 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1 was extremely fast for any position and incomparably fast for a quarterback. While the 40-yard time can be overblown and assigned too much importance, in Griffin's case, its value is immeasurable. Because he has the speed to run past pro-level defenders and avoid the big hits, not only will he be more successful, but his chances of injury are much less than any scrambling quarterbacks in the past. In a sport often referred to as "a game of inches," the approximate two-foot advantage Griffin's speed gives him could put him just out of reaching distance.
While often being compared to Michael Vick for their similar speed and agility, Griffin is more than just a speedster. In his Heisman Trophy winning junior season at Baylor, Griffin compiled 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air, and led the nation with a 192.3 passing efficiency rating, 29.5 points greater than Luck.
We are currently witnessing the evolution of the quarterback position, encouraged by an offensive need to become more dynamic. While a polished, more traditional pocket quarterback like Luck will never completely fade from use, quarterbacks with freakish athleticism like Griffin have a greater chance of success because of the flexibility they bring to an offense.
When discussing long-term success in the NFL, the mental aspect of a player must not be overlooked. Griffin has received top marks from scouts on his ability to go through his progressions of receivers while facing pressure in the pocket. Not just a smart quarterback, Griffin's dedication and time spent in the gym are unseen amongst most quarterbacks. From an early age, Griffin's parents Robert Jr. and Jacqueline, both United States Army Sergeants, instilled a work ethic and built up a mental toughness that Luck and most athletes will never possess.
Griffin's physical build, incredible speed and agility, along with natural athleticism and mental strength is a recipe for success. At the moment, no one, not even Luck, can challenge it.