Shaquem Griffin 2018 NFL Draft Profile

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Shaquem Griffin

Overview
Position: Outside linebacker
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 227 pounds
School: Central Florida Knights

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.38 seconds (fastest among linebackers since 2003)
Bench press: 20 reps
Broad jump: 9 feet, 9 inches

Shaquem Griffin 2018 NFL Draft Profile

If there was one player who stole the show above all others at the 2018 NFL Combine, it was Shaquem Griffin. The outside linebacker out of UCF became an overnight viral sensation when he basically bench pressed his weight 20 times with his left arm attached to the bar via a prosthetic. He then followed that up with a historic 40 time for a player at his position. Couple that with him also impressing in the various on-field drills and it’s no wonder many observers are touting him as the prospect who improved his draft stock the most this weekend.

Per a story from Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples, when Griffin was still in his mother’s womb, “a fibrous strand of the amniotic membrane had wrapped around Shaquem’s left wrist.” It led to his left hand┬ánot developing properly after he was born, causing severe pain at times. At the age of four, his parents made the decision in consultation with doctors to have that hand amputated in order to alleviate the debilitating pain he was experiencing. It certainly hasn’t prevented him from becoming a standout collegiate player and promising pro prospect.

Griffin received two scholarship offers from Power Five programs (Boston College and Minnesota) but the St. Petersburg native decided to stay in-state. After redshirting, he saw limited time over his next two seasons. But Griffin impressed mightily to the upside in 2016, leading the team in unassisted tackles (57), tackles for loss (20) and sacks (11.5) en route to AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Those numbers went down a tad as a senior. But he finished his college career in spectacular fashion, recording 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in UCF’s Peach Bowl upset of Auburn to cap an undefeated season. He won the game’s defensive MVP award for his efforts.

Strengths

  • exceptional read and react skills jump out on tape and on stat sheet;
  • can bull rush much bigger blockers, then shed laterally to get to the quarterback;
  • can stack and separate with super active arms;
  • twitchy player who effortlessly accelerates to full speed;
  • possesses just about every pass rush move in the book;
  • converts speed to power extremely well for a player of his size;
  • skill set and overall athleticism scream for his use as a spy against mobile quarterbacks;
  • coaches praise his work ethic and meticulous habits in film room;
  • fierce competitor with contagious energy who plays with a high motor;

Weaknesses

  • undersized for a linebacker at the next level;
  • plays a bit upright which can affect his ability to transfer optimum leverage;
  • strong, athletic tackles with good kick slides can guide him away from the quarterback;
  • sometimes stays glued to blocks a little too long;
  • questions about whether not having a left hand will affect his ball skills in coverage;
  • teams might look at him almost exclusively as a 4-3 WILL given his┬ásize.

NFL Comparison: Kwon Alexander

Teams With Need at Position: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins

Projection: Could jump into day two of the draft after impressive Combine

Bottom Line

If you watch tape on Griffin, it’s hard to believe that he was projecting as low as the sixth round even before the Combine. It appears that’s a function of scouts overvaluing his size and the fact he only has one hand while undervaluing the football traits he brings to the table. Because from a raw talent standpoint, it’s all there. Griffin is as naturally athletic as they come and he uses that characteristic to great effect making plays in the backfield. Add to that his competitiveness, energy, work ethic and football intelligence and you have a prospect completely capable of making an impact at the next level.

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