Five Takeaways From the NFL Combine, Day 5: Don’t Sleep on Shaquem Griffin

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Five Takeaways From the NFL Combine, Day 5: Don’t Sleep on Shaquem Griffin

We can't believe it, either, but 'Nick Foles, Super Bowl MVP' is old news. The 2018 NFL combine is already here, and a rotating cast of Ringer staffers will provide you with a collection of five thoughts from each day in Indianapolis.

The second-team All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year experienced a reversal of fortunes unlike any in the combine's history. Over the course of two months, Griffin went from being left off the initial list of combine participants to posting the best 40-yard dash time in 15 years for a linebacker (and the second-best mark ever for a player that weighs more than 225 pounds).

Even casual college football fans know the story by now: Griffin doesn't have his left hand as a result of a prenatal condition. And yet, he emerged as one of the best players in the country last season for a Central Florida team that went 13-0. In UCF's upset win against Auburn in the Peach Bowl alone, he had 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks. However, despite his production and role in turning UCF into a surprise contender, concerns about the limitations that could arise from having only one hand gave teams pause about him as a prospect.

Coming into the draft process, Griffin was thought to be a late-round pick who would start his career as a special-teams player while looking to carve out a role on defense. Combine testing rarely causes evaluators to pivot entirely on players, but Griffin ripping off the best 40 in more than a decade at the position could make their concerns matter just a bit less. The production is undeniably there, and now there's a confirmed level of athleticism to go with it. Griffin going sub-4.4 at 227 pounds makes it more likely that at least one team will be willing to roll the dice on him higher up in the draft.

NC State's Nick Chubb and Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds both lit up the athletic testing drills in the way many expected. Chubb is considered to many to be the best prospect in this draft at any position. The 269-pounder's 40 time of 4.65 seconds and 36-inch vertical leap won't dampen those expectations. Edmunds is viewed as an off-ball linebacker with pass-rushing ability, and the burst that evaluators have seen on tape translated to his testing numbers: At 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds, he posted a blazing 4.54 in the 40 and leapt 117 inches in the broad jump. With that size and explosiveness, he just isn't like many current players at the position. Teams will likely view Edmunds as a guy they can move all over the field depending on matchups and situation, and that's why he has the potential to sneak into the top five.

Outside of the elite prospects, most of the other highly regarded edge rushers accomplished what they needed to. Boston College's Harold Landry likely helped himself with excellent testing numbers across the board'his explosion testing and timed speed at 253 pounds will intrigue some teams looking for pass-rush help in the first round. The same goes for UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport, whose 4.58 in the 40 and 124-inch broad jump at 264 pounds are both excellent. Combine testing is typically more about eliminating certain players than elevating others; all of the touted edge prospects showed that they check the right boxes.


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Date Posted: Mon, 5 Mar 2018, 01:51 pm

Tags: Shaquem Griffin

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