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Giants' new challenge: Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III poses with his life-size statue

Robert Griffin III poses with his life-size statue made of "Subway" Smokehouse BBQ Chicken in New York. (April 24, 2012) Credit: AP

Chances are the Giants won't find a player with the 32nd pick who will make an immediate impact for them. But there is one selection that will take place Thursday night that could affect the Giants' success not only in the immediate future but possibly for the next decade or more.

That would be Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Baylor who almost certainly will be taken with the second overall pick by the Redskins. Yes, those Redskins who beat the Giants twice last season with Rex Grossman at quarterback and likely are bringing a powerful weapon to the NFC East.

Griffin will join the ranks of division quarterbacks Michael Vick and Tony Romo as an athletic, elusive, electrifying player whom the Giants must account for twice a year for at least the next several seasons. Griffin threw for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns and rushed for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for Baylor. If things go well for Griffin in Washington, the Giants conceivably could face him 20 or more times before his career is over.

Of course, it's been a while since the Redskins have competed for much of anything, those two wins over the Giants last season notwithstanding. Griffin said he's looking to change that quickly.

"There's no shortage of talent in the NFL," Griffin said Tuesday. "Any team can compete. It's all up to that team to decide what they want to do early on. Hopefully, I can get my teammates to believe in me to where we cannot just compete, but win."

Some of Griffin's most memorable moments have happened in New York. He won his Heisman here. He'll be drafted here. On Tuesday, he had a barbecue chicken sculpture of himself unveiled at a Subway sandwich store in Manhattan (an odd but significant honor). Perhaps wins over the Giants will begin to join those ranks. And there is a Super Bowl being played here in two years.

"We're not going to shy away from it," Griffin said of taking on the Super Bowl champions. "We want to win football games. I can't even speak on behalf of the team because I'm not even on the team and I haven't even met the team. But I know what my goals are and they'll be synonymous with what the team goals are."

The Giants have had success against quarterbacks in their division. They seem to be able to contain Vick (those last seven minutes of the game in 2010 aside). They've beaten Romo consistently. And even in the past, when versatile quarterbacks such as Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb came into the division, they managed to do OK against them.

Griffin may be better than all of them, though. While he has the glamorous abilities of those other quarterbacks, many believe he also possesses the refined skills of the one quarterback in the division who has won a Super Bowl: Eli Manning.

Griffin said he knows that the Giants will be out to get him on defense, and he's already considered what it will be like to face them.

"You can't compare college pass rushers to the Giants with Tuck and Umenyiora and everyone else on that squad," he said. "Have I faced a guy like Justin Tuck? Yeah, maybe I have at Oklahoma or Texas or even at Baylor. But to have all those guys on the same team is what makes it truly different . . . I'll be more focused on what I need to do offensively than where are these guys at because I don't want to get hit. You can't play the game scared."

In the coming years, we'll find out who's scaring whom.

New York Sports