As a surprise to virtually no one, Baylor's Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III plans to declare for the NFL draft.
"I think every kid's goal is to play in the NFL," Griffin said in an interview last month.
Griffin is expected to be a top-five pick and could go as high as second overall with teams such as Cleveland, Miami, Washington and Seattle likely considering a trade to move up in the draft order and acquire his services.
His decision was first reported by ESPN.
The young man, who is listed at 6-foot-2, carries broad shoulders and unlimited confidence. Griffin believes he can take qualities from all of the elite quarterbacks in today's game and mold them into his own.
"I try to take bits and pieces from everybody's game," he said recently. "The one thing Cam Newton does is play with a lot of excitement and a lot of confidence. You've got Peyton Manning with his play action and the fast pace that he plays with, and Tom Brady stands tall in the pocket. You just take all those things and add them. You do it differently and make it your own thing."
As impressive as his stat-line from 2011 is (72.4 percent completions, 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions with a passer rating of 189.5), Griffin also turned around a dormant Baylor program and helped create a new culture that can't be overlooked.
"It's been great," Griffin said last month of his time in Waco, Texas. "I was here when we didn't have all the nice facilities and we were a 4-8 football team, but to see us grow the way we have to become a 9-3 football team and to have an opportunity to win 10 games for the first time since the '80s, it's huge and whenever you can take something and build it from the ground up, it looks really good."
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is certainly a safe pick for this year's NFL draft and all accounts show that he will be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft by the Indianapolis Colts. As fantastic of a prospect as Luck is, some NFL scouts feel that Griffin could have an even higher upside. It's more than possible that in five years, Luck and Griffin could be the best quarterbacks in the NFL — and not necessarily in that order.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie