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Shaquem Griffin's Stock Rises After Indy

One-Handed Central Florida LB Wowed Combine with Inspring Bench Press, Blazing 40-Yard Dash


Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin is trying not to get a nosebleed this week from his rapid rise up the myriad mock drafts and value boards.

By now you've heard about Griffin and his key metrics: He's officially 6'1" and 227 pounds. And, oh, yeah, he has one hand. That's due to the birth defect that led to the amputation of his left hand at age 4.

Before the NFL Combine, all those numbers had him rising slowly while languishing in the 200s or lower in many seven-round mocks.

Now he has to answer questions like: Are you amazed at what you did at the Combine?

"No, I'm not amazed at all," Griffin said during a break in the drills in Indianapolis. "I know what I can do. And that's one thing I can do is make sure I go out and do it."

That's just what he did, which had draft watchers crowing. Deion Sanders told him, "Baby, you've got it," and Dane Brugler of said he "now has a legit chance at the top 100."

Griffin got the ball rolling on his runaway-train draft candidacy with his 225-pound bench press. Before he slid onto the bench and locked the prosthetic on his left arm onto the bar, he said he'd heard the doubts.

"Obviously it started at the bench press," he said. "Some people thought I could do three [reps], some people thought I could do five, some people didn't think I could do the bench press. And I went out and competed with everybody else and did 20. That's just one step closer to everything I need to be able to accomplish."

Those questions answered, Griffin said after the bench, "It's time for me to see if I can run fast. I'm going to show you tomorrow, see if I can check that box off, too."

He ran in an even more impressive fashion than he did in slinging 225 pounds above his chest.

Griffin's time in the 40-yard dash was a watch-popping 4.38 seconds. To put that time in perspective:

■ His time was 13-hundredths of a second better than the second-best linebacker time this year and was tied for ninth-best among all participants at all positions in this year's Combine.

■ Historically, the 4.38 (keeping in mind that 40 times are never fully official and before 1999 were not timed electronically) is believed to be the best since 1987 by a linebacker.

Being undersized for his stated position may have helped Griffin in the 40 but it alone won't help him get him a higher draft slot. However, one more thing in his favor is his love of the game no matter where he's lined up. He said he's played DB "most of my life" and at the Senior Bowl worked on all three levels, D-line, LB and secondary.

"I want to be able to show NFL teams that whatever you need help at, I can play," he said. "You want me to play kicker or punter, all I need to do is get a good stretch in, warm my foot up, and I can kick the ball, too."

One last quality to mention here is Griffin's refusal to see his one good hand as anything that should keep him out of the NFL.

"A lot of people will see somebody who has one hand and not two and they'll think it's different, it doesn't make sense, 'How can he play football?' " Griffin said. "Well, what if I say, 'You have two hands. How can you play football?' ... I'm never going to set limitations on what you can do. If you have two hands or 30 hands, you've got to show me what you can do and then we go from there.

"When I wake up in the morning and see myself in the mirror, I know it's up to me to accomplish everything I want out of life."

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