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Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin will ‘surprise a lot of people’ with his play

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin joins his twin brother Shaquill on the Seahawks' roster. (AP)

Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin officially became the first one-handed player in NFL history when he was drafted by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Anyone who thinks Griffin’s path to the league is just a feel-good story is sorely mistaken, though, warns his former coach.

Nebraska’s Scott Frost, who coached at Central Florida last year, joined Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle Friday to talk about Griffin’s final season with the Knights and what the Seahawks can expect to see from the much talked about rookie.

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“As this story’s kind of evolved, it’s been painted so much as a feel-good story, and he’s been painted in a light that he’s a football player with a handicap,” Frost said. “And while I think the story is good, that somebody like that can manage to be drafted in the NFL, I think it’s easy for people to forget how good a player he is. And I honestly think a lot of teams took him off their draft board because of that. And I think they’ll regret that in the long run. Because he’s not just a feel-good story, the kid can play football. And I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people with how well he plays in the NFL.”

Griffin finished his career at UCF with 195 total tackles, 18.5 sacks, three interceptions and one touchdown. He was named the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Defensive MVP and recorded an impressive performance at the NFL combine.

“First and foremost, when you see him move he’s an absolutely freak athlete,” Frost said. “You’re talking about a kid that was a 24’10 long jumper in high school. That mark actually impressed me because that’s a Nebraska state high school record that’s held by Gale Sayers. Watching him run around and move around, it was absolutely easy to pick him out as one of the elite athletes on our football team.”

Speaking to Griffin’s attitude as a player, Frost offered an anecdotal story from a UCF practice. The quarterback was set to throw a screen pass but Griffin burst off the edge and chased him to the sideline. Still scrambling, the quarterback lateralled to the other sideline – but it wouldn’t sit with Griffin, who sprinted back across the field and stripped the ball from the receiver.

“I’ve never seen a player in practice have a play where he was that full speed for that long with that much effort,” Frost said. “It isn’t like that’s unique for him, that’s just the way he goes. He’s absolutely flat out all gas no brakes all the time. It’s going to be hard to keep a guy like that off the field.”

While Frost thought Griffin would be drafted higher, he told Brock and Salk he’s happy to see Griffin on a team led by a defensive-minded Pete Carroll. In Seattle, Griffin also reunites with his twin brother, Shaquill.

“I don’t think it could have happened any better for Shaquem.”

Hear Scott Frost’s entire interview with Brock and Salk.