Throughout the years, there have been a ton of stories that could easily be made into movie scripts. Players in the NFL have gone through some extraordinary things to get to where they are. The story of Shaquem Griffin could be the next story everyone has their sights set on as he comes out of college.
Born with a birth defect, UCF’s Shaquem Griffin had his hand amputated at the age of four. While many people would consider this as a vulnerability, Griffin was not easily deterred. Competing in all types of sports, not just football, Griffin proved to many that his passion for football would not be hindered by a physical disability. In 2012, Shaquem committed to UCF, where he would go on to play for the Knights for four years.
He made sure to make the most of his time in college.
The Come Up
Even with his UCF career ending with a Defensive MVP in a 34-27 Peach Bowl victory over Auburn, Griffin has already been quite decorated. AAC Defensive Player of the year, two time All-AAC team, second team All American, and a spot on the self proclaimed National Championship UCF team – finishing the season with their first undefeated record is just a few of Shaquem Griffin’s achievements.
He announced his intention to pursue a career in the NFL following the team’s Peach Bowl victory.
Already turning heads in the Senior Bowl, Texans head coach Bill O’brien had nothing but positive things to say about Griffin’s performance. He has been playing well enough to make scouts forget that he is missing a hand. Rightfully so as well. As of now, he has not been invited to the Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis that allows prospects to workout for NFL scouts from all 32 franchises. It is expected that he will receive them and be given another chance to impress.
— theScore (@theScore) January 24, 2018
So where does he fit in on the Jets?
In 2017, the Jets’ defense was young, but lacking in many departments. Gaining leaders in Jamal Adams and a welcomed return of Demario Davis in a trade for Calvin Pryor with the Browns, Gang Green could always use some more positivity to help in their development.
The linebacker, in his UCF career, has recorded 195 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks – which include 11.5 in Griffin’s 2016 AAC Defensive Player of the Year campaign, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles. Griffin also recorded one touchdown in 2017, a fumble returned for a score in a 73-33 beating over the Austin Peay Governors
The Jets lack a serious threat to opposing quarterbacks. The team totaled 28 sacks while allowing 47, with the leader in sacks being Demario Davis with five. There is no question that Shaquem Griffin could easily make a name for himself right off the bat. A young, developing defense in the process of developing is the perfect position for Griffin to land.
As of now, Griffin is a projected fifth round pick. With a successful combine performance, his stock could rise, but lacking an invitation currently keeps him where he is. There is a low risk, high reward of the Jets taking him in the later rounds. If he is available, there could be no harm done in giving such a hard working player a shot.