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Shaquem Griffin Is An Athletic Pass Rushing OLB Looking To Prove His Doubters Wrong

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2018 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Auburn v Central Florida Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Shaquem Griffin, LB
School: UCF | Conference: AAC
College Experience: rSr | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 223 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th Round or 6th Round
NFL Comparison: Duke Riley

College Statistics

Player Overview

Shaquem Griffin is on a mission to prove his doubters wrong by playing in the NFL as an outside linebacker. Shaquem’s brother, Shaquill, just finished his rookie season with the Seahawks at cornerback. Shaquill and Shaquem are twin brothers and are said to have been inseparable growing up. Both were recruited together to UCF. The old UCF coaching staff headed by George O’Leary really wanted Shaquill but knew that he was part of a package deal with Shaquem so they offered him a scholarship as well. The new coaching staff which took over in 2015 and was headed by Scott Frost gave Shaquem a chance in the starting lineup. In 2016, Shaquem Griffin was the AAC Defensive Player Of The Year and put together one hell of a season. Griffin followed that season up with another impressive performance as a redshirt senior. Shaquem is blazing fast off the edge and is likely to test well as one of the best athletes at the position next month at the Combine. He also competes on every play and what makes him so effective outside of his athleticism are his football IQ, instincts, and aggressive nature on the field. Shaquem is missing his left hand due to Amniotic Band Syndrome which is a prenatal condition. He is missing a hand but he is not missing the ability to play football at a high level.

Strengths

  • Has experience at both strongside and weakside linebacker.
  • Excellent athleticism, speed, and agility for the position. High motor player with good initial quickness that makes a lot of effort plays.
  • Fluid and moves well in space and is pretty rangy for his position evidenced by solid interception and passes defended numbers. Moved from safety to linebacker his rJr year.
  • Watching him play you know you studies the game. Has a natural feel for where the play is going and attacks with strategy. Takes good angles in pursuit.
  • More effective than you think in fighting off blocks. Can bend the edge and has a mean spin move that can embarrass OL.

Weaknesses

  • Would definitely benefit from more lower body strength to help him power through blockers and deliver more bang on tackles.
  • Can get stymied by blockers if he doesn't win with initial quickness. Does his best to dip his shoulder off the edge but still plays too upright.
  • Tackle zone is high and seems to naturally favor a higher target area and bringing his strength down. Leads to inconsistent tackling and broken tackles if he isn't able to make square contact.
  • More of a pass rusher and less of an edge setter.
  • Loss of left-hand limits effectiveness of left arm.

Let’s see his work:

More Shaquem Griffin videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

To be blunt, if Shaquem Griffin had his left hand he would be a 3rd rounder - possibly higher in this year's draft. I’m a pessimist, and I think while everyone will praise what a player he is, no front office will be willing to spend draft capital on him before day 3 - if at all. Griffin will no doubt have his challenges adjusting to the NFL but he can play and should have a role as a situational pass rusher at a minimum at the next level while providing great value for whichever team takes a chance on him. Griffin is clearly a WILL linebacker in my view but in the past few weeks, I’ve seen the idea of moving him inside. I’m not sure that will work out as a full-time role but I definitely buy the idea of Griffin being used as a utility player on defense moving around the linebacker spots as the situation dictates. Both Trent Murphy and Junior Galette are either due to be re-signed or hit free agency so there is room on the depth chart for a guy like Griffin currently. Personally, I would prefer if Murphy came back but as a DE where he excelled the year before last. I’m indifferent toward Galette personally but if he is not brought back I can see that pass rush specialist role being filled by Griffin. As a late-round selection, I can’t see the downside of taking a chance on this kid.