University of Central Florida
6’1, 213 pounds
Projection: Round 6-7
When you watch Griffin play, his motor pops off of the screen. He never stops running, he never stops working. His competitive fire and passion on the field are excellent, and he is a leader on and off of the field. Griffin is athletic, with good speed and great acceleration to get into the backfield. Rushing the passer, Griffin has the tools to beat tackles with his speed alone, and when he gets into the backfield, no halfback will block him. He often gets his hand up to break up passes, as shown by his 13 passes defended on 42 targets. Griffin plays with excellent technique and possesses excellent instincts. He makes up for his physical limitation with a great ability to read the play.
The fact that Griffin only has one hand is going to limit him in the pros, and will certainly scare off some teams. He has poor balance, and due to his lack of reach, needs his tackles to be spot on. Due to his small margin of error on tackles, Griffin will get quite a few tackles of his broken. He struggles to disengage from blocks quite often and doesn’t have the reach to slow down runners. Griffin could put on some more lower body strength to contend with NFL offensive linemen, and some upper body strength wouldn’t hurt as well. He is often knocked off balance by stronger players and will end many plays on the floor for better or for worse.
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Griffin slots in as an outside linebacker in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 defensive scheme. Early in his career, most of his impact will come on special teams. When he does receive defensive snaps, Griffin will be used as a situational pass rusher, in a nickel package on third down, for example. He can be used to provide a spark to the defense when needed and bring the fire when spirits are low. When someone needs to make a play, the Colts can call upon Griffin to be that man.
Shaquem Griffin is an incredible story of perseverance, hard work, and dedication. Despite everything going for him, Griffin’s lack of a second hand will hurt him in the NFL, mostly on his balance and leverage. Some team will likely take a flyer on him on day three, but if not, he will certainly work himself onto an NFL roster, as he always is. The bottom line is that Griffin can absolutely use his athleticism, instincts, and playmaking ability to make an impact on the football field.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_ and @FPC_Colts.