- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WACO, Texas — Robert Griffin III dined with Washington Redskins brass, and then he did his best to dazzle them on the field.

With coach Mike Shanahan, owner Daniel Snyder, general manager Bruce Allen and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in attendance, Griffin on Wednesday showcased the arm strength, accuracy and athleticism that prompted Washington to trade three first-round draft picks and a second-rounder for the chance to select him second overall next month.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner and object of the Redskins’ affection completed 78 of the 84 passes he threw at Baylor’s pro day.

Not that he needed to solidify his sky-high stock. Instead, Griffin headlined what amounted to a celebration of how he and his fellow draft-eligible teammates helped turn a woebegone program into a 10-win team last season.

“We had a lot of fun,” Griffin said. “They got all of their testing out of the way, and then it was time to go out there and be a football player. That’s what we try to do, lighten the mood and have guys smile. That way if you drop a pass here and there, you can move on to the next one. We never missed two in a row, so that was good.”

Shanahan politely declined comment afterward. Redskins officials were all smiles, though, as they left Baylor’s indoor football facility en route to their flight to California, where they will watch quarterback Andrew Luck throw at Stanford’s pro day Thursday.

They spent Tuesday getting to know Griffin, his parents and his fiancee over dinner. “The owners are great,” Griffin said. “Coach Shanahan is as advertised: a great coach, good person. His son is really stepping up and doing a lot of things in D.C. with that team. They like to have fun, but they also know when to get serious.”

Griffin struck the same balance during his workout.

He walked onto the field holding the hand of his 4-year-old niece, Jania, who was dressed in a Baylor cheerleader uniform. The speakers bumped with a mix of hip-hop music that Griffin selected. He strayed from his normal R&B tastes.

“I don’t think there will be ‘Thriller’ at any other pro days,” he cracked. “I put some rap on there for those guys because they’d be mad if Usher started playing.”

Griffin’s 33 warm-up passes preceded 51 scripted throws. He went through every type of throw an NFL quarterback makes - deep outs, comebacks, crossing routes, swing passes, etc. He rolled out from sideline to sideline and on some throws stepped over staggered pads on the ground to accentuate his quick feet.

Terry Shea, a former college and NFL quarterbacks coach, oversaw Griffin’s workout. Griffin was the latest high-profile quarterback prospect to train with Shea during the pre-draft process, following 2010 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford.

“His passing mechanics are just what you want from the shoulders up,” Shea said. “He’s got a nice, high release point. He just needs to know when he needs to soften the throw versus drive the throw. That was another feature I tried to really work with him on. From the waist down, that’s how I approached it.”

Griffin was quite sharp. He was light on his feet — evidence of his background as an elite hurdler in track and field - and threw strongly and accurately. Four of his six incompletions were dropped by receivers.

After one completion he flashed that characteristic wide smile and did a toned-down version of the high-step celebration that has been replayed on highlight reels since the middle of last season.

His final throw was a screen to highly touted receiver prospect Kendall Wright. After releasing the ball, Griffin sprinted deep on his own pass pattern. Wright lofted a long, high pass that Griffin caught and ran into the end zone. His teammates raced over and mobbed him.

With the pro day behind him now, Griffin has to wait to learn where he’s headed. Indianapolis Colts brass also was here Wednesday, and the Colts could decide Griffin is worth the top pick instead of Luck.

In the meantime, Griffin will take a deep breath and prepare for what’s next.

“I think everything will start sinking in,” he said. “I still don’t think it’s sunk in that I won the Heisman. I’ll be able to reflect back on the season, appreciate those types of things and realize that although I wanted to ‘be like Mike‘ when I was growing up, now I get to go out and be in the NFL.”



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