UCF linebacker and NFL Draft hopeful Shaquem Griffin was just explaining to NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan how he listens to coaches and executes their teachings when he heard someone call him from the Senior Bowl sideline. As it turned out, Griffin was actually supposed to be in the game on punt coverage.
Somewhat surprisingly, Griffin didn’t seem at all disturbed to have missed a chance to play. In fact, he laughed off the whole incident, albeit in a kind of sheepish way. Maybe he would have been less good-natured had he heard the NFL Network commentators joking about him missing out on a (long overdue) NFL Combine invite over the incident.
Luckily, Griffin has a lot going for him. He was AAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and the star defensive player for undefeated UCF in 2017. Despite having only one hand (after the other was amputated at age 4), he has become a well-rounded NFL prospect, who could potentially play on the defensive line, as a linebacker or even in the secondary at the next level. He is also, by all accounts, a charismatic, smiley and well-liked young man. Last week, he was named the Senior Bowl’s Practice Player of the Week.
Add all that together, and Griffin projects as a mid-round draft pick. One missed punt play certainly won’t change that.