"If a running back has the right size, speed and strength, he's going to be great," Billick said. "For quarterbacks, what is the list of attributes?"

Is it a quick release like Dan Marino's? The throwing motion of a Warren Moon? The field awareness of a Joe Montana?

"Obviously, when you focus on the quarterback position, the evaluation process is flawed at best," Billick said. "It's a 50-50 crapshoot."

Further complicating the situation, college teams often favor quarterbacks who run as often as they pass. NFL scouts say 80 percent of the playbook for this kind of offense has no bearing on what the pros do.


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Take Crouch, for example. He was a dual-threat quarterback at Nebraska who never played in the NFL.

"You didn't have any trouble with him winning the Heisman Trophy," Davis said. "But you never once thought he was going to be a pro quarterback."

No matter which position a Heisman winner plays, he usually faces one more significant obstacle on the road to making it as a pro: Often, he will be drafted by a lousy team.

"So much of it is where the guy goes," Robinson said.

The Heisman runner-up this year, quarterback Andrew Luck, plays in a pro-style system at Stanford, which should make the transition easier.

But for Griffin, landing in the right situation could be vital. Dual-threat quarterbacks need time and coaching to learn the pro game's nuances, Robinson said.

Griffin was all smiles when he accepted the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, happy to be standing among a newfound brotherhood.

"To be a part of these guys behind me, to be a part of greatness, you can't ask for anything more," he said.

Well, maybe you can. How about a long and productive NFL career?

dwharton@tribune.com