NEW YORK (Reuters) - After spending years searching for a quarterback of the future the success-starved Washington Redskins believe they have landed one in Robert Griffin III.
The Redskins traded four draft choices to get into position to select the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday.
Griffin, known as RG3, has not failed at much during his illustrious athletic career and said he was not interested in starting now.
“There have been quarterbacks, great quarterbacks, that have had terrible rookie years,” he said. “I don’t want to be that guy. I‘m going to make sure I do everything to make sure I‘m not that guy.”
When his name was called, Griffin received a rousing ovation from the packed crowd at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.
Griffin, a three-year starter at Baylor, flashed a wide smile and gave NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a long hug.
He said he was excited to be playing in the NFL East, with quarterbacks Eli Manning (New York Giants), Tony Romo (Dallas) and Michael Vick (Philadelphia).
”It’s a tough division,“ he said. ”Growing up in Texas you see that division a lot. If not the best division, it’s one of the best divisions in football.
“The great quarterback play, great pass rushers. There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the division.”
Griffin won a slew of awards this past year, including the Heisman as the top U.S. collegiate player, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for senior quarterbacks and the Walter Camp Award as best college player as selected by a panel of NCAA head coaches.
Widely considered the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft, Griffin is a natural passer with excellent accuracy, especially on the run.
He can also tuck the ball under his arm and take off, and scored 33 rushing touchdowns.
Griffin said as a youth he was a fan of the Denver Broncos and their coach, Mike Shanahan, who is now with the Redskins.
“He’s a great coach,” he said. “From what I’ve heard he allows his players to have input on what they do. Not that I‘m going to go in and say, ‘Hey, we need to do this, this and this,’ but I’ll definitely try to be open with him.”
Griffin won the coveted Heisman with 405 first place votes and 1,687 total points to finish ahead of runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford, who had 1,407 points and 247 first-place votes.
Luck, a classic drop-back passer, was chosen by the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Washington has won three Super Bowls but the last one was in 1991 and the once-proud franchise has spent most of the last two decades trying to recapture that glory.
One fan, dressed in the Redskins’ burgundy and gold colors, held up a large picture of Griffin with the word HOPE underneath for most of the three-hour draft event.
Griffin said he did not see it as any added pressure that the Redskins, who were 5-11 in 2011 with journeymen Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback, gave up so much to get him.
“If anything, it makes me want to go out and get to work even sooner.” he said. “They believe in me.”
Reporting By Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Larry Fine