Written by Tyler Pastorius
One of the most unique and emotional stories in this year’s NFL draft has a great ending but begins a great new, chapter for his career. Shaquem Griffin will be reunited with his twin brother Shaquill Griffin in the emerald city as the Seattle Seahawks selected Shaquem in the fifth round, with the 141st overall pick. The 6’0”, 227-pound linebacker from the University of Central Florida had his left hand amputated when he was only four years old, due to a rare condition. As you can imagine, this caused setbacks for him but it also pushed him to work harder in order to make his dreams a reality.
Going to the Seattle Seahawks presents a great opportunity for Shaquem. With outside/weak side linebacker K.J Wright and one of the most dominant middle linebackers in the league, Bobby Wagner, Shaquem has great players to learn from in the backer position. With a sort of “middle of the pack” performance for Seattle last season, coming into the new year there is a possibility that Shaquem has the opportunity to make an impact on defense right away. Being a day three draft selection means you have to prove yourself so each practice that the Seahawks hold will be important for him to learn the new speed of the game, rather than the college level speed. If he comes in and impresses the Seahawks with his skills, intelligence and work ethic, we could see both Griffin brothers on the field, with Shaquem taking over for Michael Wilhoite at the strongside linebacker position.
Shaquem has a great athletic build, has a high IQ for football, plays at a fast speed and is a powerful hitter. All of these assets will be important for him and the Seahawks if he wants to see playing time in a newly revamped NFC West division. Being able to play fast and having a high football IQ are something that will aid Shaquem as he learns the ropes at the professional level.
During his collegiate career, Shaquem totaled 122 solo tackles, 73 assisted tackles, 18.5 sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. Needless to say, he has the tools to play at the pro level, he just needs to sharpen some of the tools. With him being able to learn from experienced players and a great coach in Pete Caroll, I think that this will be a name we will hear about frequently in regards to high-level performance at the linebacker position.