Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Who is the 6-foot-1½-223 pound, Shaquem Griffin?
Shaquem Griffin is definitely an inspirational story. However, if it was left up to him, he would simply tell you entirely that he’s not looking for any sympathy, just for an opportunity. In case you’re not familiar with Griffin, he lost his left hand due to a prenatal condition when he was four years old. His left hand had to be amputated because it caused him too much pain that he no longer could bare. He has a twin, Shaquille Griffin, who was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and is a starting cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. Griffin birth didn’t prevent him from playing Division I football, as he earned a scholarship to the University of Central Florida. He was invited to play in the Senior Bowl and originally was denied an opportunity to participate in the 2018 NFL Combine. However, he would announce over social media, that he had received an invitation to the combine (Watch Video).
Shaquem Griffin Announce NFL Combine Invite
In 2016, Griffin was named the AAC (American Athletic Conference), Defensive Player of the Year, while starting his first year at outside linebacker. Griffin led his team with 92 tackles (57 solo), 20 tackles for loss, and 11½ sacks. Playing with just one hand, he had one interception, and broke up seven passes. His 2017 season, he was selected once again as an AAC All-First team at linebacker. He posted 74 tackles, 13½ tackles for a loss, seven sacks, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one interception. UCF finished with a perfect season going 13-0, causing tremendous controversy of not being name NCAA National Champions. UCF beat the University of Auburn in the 2018 Peach Bowl, where Griffin had 12 tackles (six solo), a sack in a half, and 3.5 tackles for a loss. Some NFL scouts has already rated him as a third day draft selection.
Shaquem Griffin NFL Combine
At the 2018 NFL Combine, Griffin would take the nation by surprise as he grabbed everyone attention on the bench press. He benched 225 pounds with a prosthetic brace 20 times, electrifying everyone in the weight room. But that electricity didn't stop there, as he nearly caused hypnosis to everyone at the Combine as he posts the fastest time ever for a linebacker running 4.38 seconds in the 40 yard dash. His 40 time was faster than a majority of the defensive backs, receivers, and running backs. He now holds a record that every linebacker will be aiming at with years to come. To previously not be invited, but after much hype, he sure quieted the naysayers who wrote him off in playing in the NFL.
Shaquem Griffin Highlights
Griffin is an athletic player with the ability and quickness to accelerate off the snap. Has the ability to blow past tackles from the edge. Speed burst off the edge as a rusher is so unbelievable and intriguing. Despite his physical disability, has the ability to extend his reach to shield off blockers. Very high football I.Q., and uses it well on the field for execution. Has great technique and feet, and the ability to play as traditional outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense, and inside-linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Is a heavy hitter, when tackling, and the ability to punch out ball to create turnovers.
His frame is a bit undersized for him to play the linebacker role in the NFL as an every-down player. Need to add more body mass with muscles and more strength to his lower body. Unable to make quick decisive escape moves when play-side shoulder covered by a blocker. Inability to prevent chop blocks at the line of scrimmage. Need to create several different ways to tackle from the handless side. Potentially could be a liability in the passing game as a defender.
Is he a fit for the Rams?
Griffin is a very inspiring story, but it will take more than inspiration to make it to the next level. Scouts have projected him as a core special team’s player who could potentially develop into a weakside linebacker or strong safety. Explosive from the edges as a blitzing linebacker, certainly Wade Phillips can make use of his strength. He has great instincts, play with a high motor and speed, and his techniques have all been major factors in helping him thrive on what he’s become today. Definitely can play the game, before the combine, he’s absolutely was predicted to be a late compensatory pick. However, maybe the one player whose stock has tripled since the combine.
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