Dallas Cowboys

One-handed prospect Shaquem Griffin becomes the feel-good story of 2018 NFL Draft

Shaquem Griffin overcomes doubters to be drafted by Seattle Seahawks

The University of Central Florida linebacker had his left hand amputated as a child, but his speed and skill convinced the Seahawks to take him in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
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The University of Central Florida linebacker had his left hand amputated as a child, but his speed and skill convinced the Seahawks to take him in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Shaquem Griffin spent two nights just steps away from the 2018 NFL Draft stage at AT&T Stadium, in the green room, wondering if his name would ever be called.

"It’s crazy because that process is tough to see all those guys before you," said Griffin, who ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times at the NFL Combine in February. "And you know what type of talent you are."

However, Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was a child.

Still, he was the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year at the University of Central Florida in 2016, and last season was MVP of UCF's Peach Bowl victory against Auburn.

"But I wasn’t too worried about where I was going or when I was going," he added. "I just wanted to go somewhere and I think I’m in the best spot ever now."

The Seattle Seahawks chose him in the fifth round Saturday. Shaquem [pronounced Shah-keem] Griffin returned to the AT&T Stadium stage, donned a Seahawks cap, and drew lengthy cheers from fans as he shook hands and high-fived others.

"I tell you, it's amazing. This is a great experience, just to be here right now with my family," Griffin told the NFL Network's Scott Hanson, who served as the final-day stage host. "I'm glad that I have an opportunity to be here. My heart is beating so fast right now. I can't believe it."

So now he joins twin brother Shaquill, a Seahawks cornerback who started 11 games as a rookie last season.

"Having my brother beside me and to have competition with him, I knew what my ability was and I knew what I could do," Shaquem Griffin said. "Even though I’ve been doubted so long, it was always triggered in me to just do it and to prove all of them wrong."

Shaquill advised his brother continue pushing, now that he has reached the next level.

"Everybody that likes you and roots for you, it’s for them too now," Shaquill said. "So if you have any doubts or want to give up then you’re giving up on them too, and I think that’s the reason he works so hard and pushes so hard and continues to fight.

"He’s fighting for everybody not just himself and now he starts to understand that so it makes it easier for him and the reward that much better."

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