Every now and then, the story of a NFL prospect becomes so widespread that it gains the attention of just about every football fan. After this weekend’s NFL Combine, it appears the 2018 NFL Draft will have a player like that: Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin.
Griffin, who had the partially-grown fingers on his left hand amputated at age four, entered Combine Weekend as a late-round prospect. NFL.com projected him to be a fifth or sixth-round pick.
However, Griffin blew up the Combine over the weekend. First, he was able to score 20 reps in the bench press using a prosthetic hand:
But that was just the beginning. On Sunday, he did something even more amazing. He ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash—the quickest 40 time for a linebacker since 2003. Griffin’s time was better than all but one running back in this class, including Saquon Barkley (4.40). Only two receivers ran better 40s.
It’s unclear how much Griffin increased his draft stock over the weekend, but there’s little doubt he has made his name known among many fans who had no idea who he was last week. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you want the Lions to draft Shaquem Griffin this year? If so, what round?
My answer: First, let’s take a look at his RAS chart from the weekend, courtesy of our own Kent Lee Platte:
Shaquem Griffin didn't land an elite #RAS at the Combine, but he made me have to pull his positional averages from Safety since no LB has ever run that fast at the Combine before. pic.twitter.com/1HRYfRxRXa— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 5, 2018
Griffin wasn’t phenomenal, but he certainly measured well above average. While that wasn’t too much of a surprise, the 40 time was certainly a lot faster than anyone was realistically expecting from the linebacker.
Detroit doesn’t have a huge need for a linebacker, having drafted two in the first four rounds last season. So they’re unlikely to draft Griffin in the first two days of the draft. However, the Detroit Lions now have a former linebacker coach as their head coach and as we get into the third day of the draft, Matt Patricia may be tempted to take a defensive project.
In fact, Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr thinks the Lions would be a good fit for Griffin near the end of the draft:
I think Griffin will be a 5-6 round pick and would fit best with a team that is comfortable subbing frequently and playing a certain type of matchup defense. Mike Pettine in Green Bay and Matt Patricia in Detroit seem interesting to me.
For me, taking Griffin in the fifth round makes complete sense to me. The question is whether he’ll make it that far after his notable weekend at the Combine.
Should the Lions draft Shaquem Griffin?
This poll is closed
Yes, in Rounds 1-2
Yes, in Rounds 3-4
Yes, in Round 5-6
Yes, in Round 7/UDFA