2018 NFL draft: Shaquem Griffin goes to Seahawks, joins his twin brother

Charles RobinsonNFL columnist
Yahoo Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas – Like everything else that has been a testament to the perseverance of Shaquem Griffin’s football career, the NFL draft’s waiting process couldn’t beat him either.

After waiting into the third day of the selection process, Griffin’s selection in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks became one of the most electric moments of this draft. He joins his twin brother Shaquill, who was drafted in the third round last year by Seattle.

When he received a phone call from Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll to notify him that he was going to get selected, the UCF star repeatedly said he was out of breath and overwhelmed.

“I can’t even breathe right now, I’m not going to lie to you,” he told Carroll.

Perhaps in proper fashion, it unfolded in front of the die-hard fans who – like Griffin – stuck it out into the draft’s less-hyped final day of picks.

“It was tough seeing all the guys picked in front of me,” Shaquem Griffin told ESPN in an interview after his selection, a moment he shared with his brother.

An All-American linebacker for UCF who has now made it to the NFL despite playing with only one hand, Griffin became one of the most inspirational stories of the draft after starring at the NFL scouting combine. NFL players took to social media in awe when he snapped off 20 reps in the 225-pound bench press, then Griffin left jaws on the floor after running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, the fastest time in league history for a linebacker.

UCF’s Shaquem Griffin, strolling down the red carpet at the NFL draft on Thursday, had to wait a bit for his name to be called. (AP)
UCF’s Shaquem Griffin, strolling down the red carpet at the NFL draft on Thursday, had to wait a bit for his name to be called. (AP)

But like most third-day picks, Griffin now moves back to the bottom of the depth chart at his position. Personnel evaluators who spoke with Yahoo Sports said he’ll likely start his career on special teams, as well as a backup role in sub-packages at his linebacker spot. It’s familiar territory for the guys who go in the latter rounds of the draft – a stage that for most franchises leans more heavily than any on scouting and analytics. Even with solid or sometimes outstanding college careers, players like Griffin enter into the NFL as late picks who fill out the lower third of gameday rosters.

Griffin will likely be no different – although his draft experience wasn’t exactly normal from third day standards. Not only was he invited to the NFL’s green room, giving him the opportunity to walk across a stage that is usually reserved for first- and second-round picks, but he also spent Friday inking a run of endorsement deals. Among them were Nike, Bose and JC Penny, with a spate of local deals next up with the Seahawks.

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