Griffin's Rising Tide Floats Blake's Boat

Robert Griffin III captured the nation's attention like no other college football player. A likely top-four pick, Griffin cannot participate in the Senior Bowl because he is an underclassman. However, the man who snapped him the ball throughout Baylor's magical 10-3 season is here in Mobile, Ala., making a name for himself and working his way up draft boards.

Baylor C Philip Blake (6 foot 3, 320 lbs.) loves the attention directed at quarterback Robert Griffin III. He knows his quarterback is largely responsible for Baylor's great season, which included wins over Oklahoma and Texas. But Blake realizes the Bears were not a one-man show.

"As much as we needed Robert, Robert needed us," Blake said.

Griffin was a regular on the highlight reels, willing his team to wins with remarkable plays. With more wins came more national attention, something that benefited all the draft-eligible Bears.

"It did help ... a lot," Blake said. "We were on TV more, which was big."

People saw more of Blake's performance in the middle of Baylor's line and came away impressed. He is strong at the point of attack and can relocate opposing defensive linemen. He plays with his pad level under him and uses his big-bodied base to win the leverage battle.

He was impressive during his three years at Baylor -- the first of which was spent playing right tackle -- so much so that he earned an invite to the Senior Bowl.

"It's a great experience, coming out here with the top seniors in college football," Blake said. "It's what I expected. There is a lot of competition and the coaches are working us hard. It's good."

Blake is on the South Squad, learning under noted offensive guru Mike Shanhan. Already the Washington Redskins coaches are fine-tuning his technique, working to help him keep his hands inside after snapping the ball. Little technical improvements like that will go a long way towards helping him succeed in the NFL.

He is also working on his own to get his game ready for Sundays.

"When I was at Baylor, I started watching film of Alex Mack," he said. "I watched him and watched how he played. He's a great offensive lineman, so I kind of want to work my game towards his."

Mack was a first-round pick in 2009. Blake's former teammate, OL Danny Watkins, was also a first-round pick. While Blake is unlikely to crack the opening stanza himself, he could work his way into the fourth or possibly third round with a strong showing over the next couple months.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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