One of the top feel-good storylines entering the weekend produced a positive outcome. The Seahawks selected Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin in the fifth round (141st overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. Griffin, who lost his left hand at the age of 4 because of a rare condition before birth, quickly became an inspiration to others with disabilities.
Emotional moment one-handed linebacker Shaquem Griffin learns that he has been drafted by the Seattle Seahawks – to play alongside twin brother Shaquill
“That was the phone call I was waiting my entire life,” Griffin said regarding the call he received from Seahawks general manager John Schneider when he was drafted. “I literally broke down after that. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know how to talk, I mean, I was just lost for words.”
The 6-foot, 227-pound Griffin dazzled at the NFL Scouting Combine with a blistering 4.38 time in the 40-yard dash, which ranked first among linebackers present in Indianapolis. He also posted 20 repetitions on the bench-press event. The Seahawks project Griffin in a role current Raiders defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin once held in Seattle, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports.
With that vision, Griffin will see action as a pass-rushing outside linebacker and would likely be expected to contribute on special teams.
“I don’t want to be a guy who’s just a feel-good story,” Griffin told reporters in Dallas. “I want to be a football player, and a good one at that.”
Griffin is certainly up to the task when considering his production at Central Florida. In four collegiate seasons, Griffin appeared in 39 games with 26 starts, totaling 175 tackles (105 solo), 18.5 sacks, two interceptions and 11 passes defense. Giffin’s play earned him a first-team All-AAC selection twice (2016-17) and he was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.
Seattle’s selection on Saturday also produced a family reunion, as the Seahawks selected cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who was born one minute before his brother, in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Shaquill said he frequently lobbied the Seahawks’ brass on his brother’s behalf.
“I made sure I kept his name fresh in that building,” Shaquill said. “So every day I made sure to mention my brother about something, even was just, ‘hey, man, my brother got a good workout in, his backpedal is looking smooth every day.’ … And they continued throughout this whole process to let me know how much they loved my brother, how much they loved my family.
“I’m glad they made this happen,” Shaquill continued. “It’s a dream come true, not just being drafted, but being with my family and bringing my brother back home.”
NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt had Shaquem Griffin ranked as the 92nd best player in the draft.