- Tim Warner/Getty
- The Seattle Seahawks drafted Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
- Griffin became one of the best defenders in college football and dazzled at the NFL combine this year despite having his hand amputated when he was four years old.
- Griffin has already signed endorsement deals with Nike, Bose, and others and has received a flood of media requests because of his inspirational journey.
Shaquem Griffin’s feel-good story went to another level on Saturday when the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
Griffin is a linebacker from Central Florida with one hand and the brother of Seahawks cornerback Shaquill, who was drafted by the team last year.
Griffin had his left hand amputated at four years old, due to amniotic band syndrome, but still became one of the top football players in the country. Griffin was named the 2016 American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year and won the Peach Bowl with Central Florida. He broke out at the NFL combine this year after initially not receiving an invite, posting the best 40-yard dash time for a linebacker since 2003 and putting up 20 reps on 225 pounds on the bench press while using a prosthetic hand.
Already Griffin is becoming a star in the NFL world. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Griffin signed an endorsement deal with Nike on Friday and already lined up deals with Bose, JCPenny, and Eleven James, a luxury watch brand.
That a fifth-round pick could already sign so many endorsements shows how inspirational his story is to so many people.
Additionally, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Griffin has received tons of media requests from around the world but has mostly turned them down so he can focus on football.
Indeed, while Griffin has a feel-good story, the Seahawks didn’t draft him out of sympathy. Head coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks were impressed by Griffin’s combine performance and the interview afterward.
“We’re expecting you to come in here and bust ass,” Carroll told Griffin when informing him of their draft decision, USA Today’s Jarrett Bell reported.
Most draft analysts predicted Griffin would be taken in the fourth or fifth round. Some view him as a “tweener,” as he doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional linebacker or defensive back, but that may be of value in today’s NFL where versatility is highly coveted.