The NFL hopeful has seen his draft-day stock skyrocket thanks to these performances.
Shaquem Griffin celebrates during the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
Early on at the NFL combine, Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin forced the public to take note of his skills and potential by completing 20 bench press reps. Griffin was born with a congenital condition that prevented his left hand from fully developing, requiring the use of a prosthetic arm for the feat, which has gone viral among fans.
Until recently, the notion of a one-handed NFL player at any position — much less linebacker — would have been received as little more than a pipe dream or novelty. But following Pro Bowler Jason Pierre Paul’s fireworks accident that left him with fewer fingers and limited utility in his right hand, it’s clear that a one-handed football player can compete at the highest level of the game.
Here’s Griffin’s impressive demonstration of strength at the combine:
Perhaps realizing that he was about to garner significant attention from both pro scouts and fans, Griffin penned an essay in The Player’s Tribune about his experiences as a one-handed football player. Having demonstrated not only strength during the combine, but his sense of competition and diligence in the essay, one might think that this year’s combine served as a wonderful platform for Griffin.
But he wasn’t done.
The linebacker and NFL hopeful got the chance to demonstrate his speed during a 40-yard dash. When he crossed the finish line, Griffin had tallied a faster time — 4.38 seconds — than any other linebacker prospect in the past 15 years of the combine.
If scouts were simply going by Griffin’s impressive numbers at the combine, he would likely be a first-round pick. But due to his disability, even the experts can’t reach a consensus on where the standout will end up in the NFL draft. Judging by Sports Illustrated’s roundtable discussion on the matter, the prevailing opinion is that Griffin will be picked up somewhere between the 3rd and 5th round.
He could be a steal, should the NFL’s GMs allow him to fall that far in the rankings. But wherever he goes, he’s already made a big impression.