2018 NFL Draft Player Profile: 2013 U.S. National Team alum Shaquem Griffin

By Brent Glasgow | Posted 4/24/2018

Photo via USA Today

Leading up to the NFL Draft, Thursday through Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — home of the Dallas Cowboys and the annual International Bowl — we'll take a look at former U.S. National Team players who are draft-eligible this year and hope to continue their football dreams in the NFL.

Shaquem Griffin, linebacker, Central Florida

NFL Combine numbers

Height: 6'1

Weight: 227

40-yard dash: 4.38 seconds

Bench press (225 lbs.): 20 reps

Projected draft position (according to nfl.com): Rounds 4-5

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Despite losing his left hand at age 4 due to a prenatal condition, Griffin never let it slow him down. A standout in football and track at Lakewood High School in Florida, he garnered as many honors off the field as on, including when the mayor of St. Petersburg presented him with the key to the city. Griffin dominated during his final two seasons at UCF. In 2016, he was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and last season earned Peach Bowl Defensive MVP as the Knights capped a 13-0 campaign with a victory over Auburn.

Griffin made ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 with an interception for the U-19 U.S. National Team in the International Bowl, where he played with twin brother, fellow UCF Knight and current Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin.

Here's a look at his path from then to today:


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5 Questions at the NFL Combine

Q: You got 20 reps on the bench. Did you expect to do that many?

A: When I first got to training, I remember I did like 11 reps. Usually guys who can do a lot can add three or four reps to their max, and I think I added a more than three or four (here). Just being able to do that, it was amazing, hearing the crowd and the juices flowing. I felt it.

Q: How can your athletic ability benefit an NFL team?

A: I've had some coaches say I move like a DB, and I told them I played DB most of my life, so I still have the feet for it. I wanted them to know that I don't have to be the guy to just rush the quarterback. If you need someone to cover, and I'm not just talking about tight ends, I can cover the slots, too. I want to show NFL teams that whatever you need help at, I can play it.

Q: Are you used to people doubting what you can do?

A: I didn't have to wait until high school or college to have tough skin, because questions about me started when I first started playing football. I was able to learn from there, and as I got older, I got better handling different situations and things said about me. The only thing I've done since then is prove them wrong.

Q: What's your greatest attribute on the field?

A: Relentless effort. If I'm on the left side, I can make plays on the right side. I'm willing to do whatever it takes for me to be a factor on each and every play. 

Q: What do you remember about your time with the U.S. National Team?

A: I was happy to be there in Texas playing against the world, get a win ... and making ESPN Top 10 plays, being able to go back to your hotel room and see that, it was amazing. To be able to be there and play with my brother, it was an amazing experience. 

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