Shaquem Griffin, twin brother of the Seahawks' Shaquill, continued his electrifying performance at the NFL Combine on Sunday with a record-breaking 4.38 40-yard dash.
Maybe you were hoping that Shaquem Griffin — the twin brother of Seahawk cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who initially was not even invited to the NFL Combine — would remain under the radar enough that Seattle would be able to pretty easily get him and create a pairing that not only would be as feel-good as possible off the field but potentially as dynamic and interesting as possible on it.
Throw that thought out the window, though, after Shaquem Griffin continued his lighting-up of the Combine on Sunday with a spectacular 4.38 time in the 40 on Sunday morning, by far the fastest of any linebacker here, and according to the NFL the fastest of any linebacker since 2003 (watch it below).
Griffin ran a 4.58 on his second attempt.
But no matter — the fast first time (regarded as his official time), paired with his electrifying 20 bench press reps of 225 pounds on Saturday — pretty much made Griffin the star of the weekend.
“What a show he has put on at the Combine,’’ said NFL Network host Rich Eisen.
The 40 time put Griffin in rarefied air, as NFL analyst Warren Sharp pointed out, noting on Twitter that Griffin is the only defensive player since 2000 to weigh in at more than 225 pounds (Griffin weigh 227) and run a sub-4.4 40.
The bench press was a story of its own.
Griffin does not have a left hand, having been born with amniotic band syndrome, which prevented his hand from being fully formed. It was eventually amputated when he was four (he used a prosthetic for his bench press Saturday).
He didn’t let that stop him from becoming a defensive leader on a Central Florida team this year that went undefeated. But it also didn’t stop some NFL scouts from apparently wondering if he can make the jump to the next level, which resulted in Griffin initially being left off the list of the 330 players invited to the Combine.
Griffin made a joking reference to that perception when he stepped to the podium for his official interview at the Combine Saturday, saying “I thought I was going to walk over here and there were going to be like three people here.’’
Instead, there were maybe 10 times that number as Griffin’s profile appears to be rising as high as his draft status.
Like his brother, Shaquill, who impressed Seahawks teammates and coaches from day one with a maturity regarded as beyond its years coupled with an infectious enthusiasm, Shaquem Griffin has checked as many boxes for intangibles at the Combine as he has for his performances in drills.
“I can’t tell you who but I had somebody tell me they had met (college basketball coaching legend) John Wooden before and that the feeling they got sitting down with John Wooden for five minutes was the same feeling they got from him,’’ Seahawks general manager John Schneider said on Friday. “He’s a special dude.’’
At that time, Schneider said he hadn’t really met Griffin but that he planned to as Griffin was on the list as one of the 60 players the Seahawks can bring in for an official 15-minute visit with Seattle having obvious interest in reuniting Shaquem and Shaquill.
And it hardly needs to be said the Griffin twins would love that, too.
As Shaquill told The Seattle Times last season, “They’ve (the Seahawks) been looking at him. But at the end of the day, it’s not my choice. If he does his part, he’ll get his chance. And hopefully, they’ll take him here. That would be awesome.”
But what happened in Indy won’t make it any easier. Griffin’s performance caught Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s attention.
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Draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said Saturday that he was surprised Griffin had not been initially invited and that he “almost got choked up’’ watching his bench press.
“I watched his tape months ago and I was like ‘wow,’’’ Mayock said. “Just from the standpoint of a football evaluator, he’s a helluva player. I couldn’t believe he got the late invite here. He was really good on tape. He was the (American Athletic) Conference player of the year two years ago. This is a legitimate football player. Forget about the deformity or whatever you want to call what he has. He’s an energy giver. I don’t know if any of you were in the weight room today. Some of my buddies were in there and they said it was awesome.’’
The one question remains is where he fits best.
Shaquem Griffin’s 227 pounds makes him far heavier than the listed 198 of Shaquill, and while some see a potential safety, others see a linebacker.
Griffin went through linebacker drills Sunday (when in the interception drills he showed that he can catch just fine without a left hand) and it was expected he may also do defensive back drills on the final day of the Combine Monday though he was also dealing with cramps on Sunday. If he doesn’t do DB drills here he will at his Pro Day, set for March 29.
Griffin said Saturday all he wants is a chance.
“After the weigh-in, I talked with a few teams and they didn’t think I was going to be able to gain weight from 227 — getting a better feel of being a WILL (weakside) or SAM (strongside) linebacker, or in a stack, or in a 3-4 where I can be that guy at the line of scrimmage or be a guy who moves around,’’ he said.
“I have some teams tell me I move like a DB, well, I’ve been a DB most of my life. I still have the feet for it, and that’s why I was able to be at the Senior Bowl and move and progress at each and every position. I want them to know that I don’t have to be the guy who just rushes the quarterback. You need somebody to cover, I can cover not just tight ends, but slots, too. I got a few interceptions against some slots. I want to show NFL teams that, whatever you need help at, I’m the player. You want me to play kicker or punter, all I gotta to is get a good stretch in and I can kick the ball, too.