12 Most intriguing Seahawks: No. 6, CB Shaquill Griffin
Mike Salk and Brock Huard are counting down the 12 most intriguing Seahawks players every weekday morning at 9:30 a.m. leading up to the first day of training camp on July 26. (All 2018 Seahawks Training Camp dates and times can be found here.)
The pair continued the countdown Thursday morning by focusing on their No. 6 pick: cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
At a glance
After being drafted by the Seahawks in the third round last year, Griffin was quick to impress head coach Pete Carroll and veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. He made his first career start in October filling in for an injured Jeremy Lane, and played out the remainder of the season as the starting right cornerback. Griffin finished the year with 50 tackles, one sack and one interception.
With the departure of Sherman this offseason, the Seahawks coaching staff has transitioned Griffin to Sherman’s old role left side.
“Last year Shaquill showed you that he is very confident and very capable at the professional level. He handled his business. He was one of the best rookies opposite of Richard Sherman that we have seen really handle that position. And there were some baby steps; it wasn’t handed to him. He had to earn that thing. He had to beat out some veteran guys, and when he got his opportunity he played at a high level. It was a really deep rookie class of corners with some stellar guys who came into this league and made their mark – and Shaquill held his own. He wasn’t the best, he wasn’t the second-best, but he was one of the top-5 rookie corners in this league. The only area of real intrigue for me, the last box to check here, is: will he have the ability to take the ball away?
“Out of 35 games (in college), he had six interceptions. That number ratcheted up in his final year, when he had four. That’s a good number, and that’s what has to happen for him at the professional level. He’s got to ratchet that number up in this scheme and in this style, where your eyes are in a lot of zone coverage and you’re reading and reacting. He’s got plenty of twitch and has all the physicality you want. But the last part of it, and where the elite corners in this league distinguish themselves, is the ability to take the ball away.”
“This year, Shaquill Griffin is going to move to Sherman’s spot. He’s going to move to the left side. Quarterbacks in general would prefer to throw to the left side, that’s the reason the better cornerback usually plays over there. Here’s the problem for Shaquill Griffin: he’s replacing one of the best to ever do it, he’s not going to have Earl Thomas back there to help, he’s not going to have Kam Chancellor back there to help with a lot of the communication necessary to make sure that the entire secondary is set up. His pass rush, unless it’s significantly better than any of us imagine right now, is not going to be close to what Richard Sherman got with Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons and the rest of those guys coming off the edge.
“Everything is working against him: incredibly high expectation level, and not nearly the support that those guys all had before him. So if he is going to live up to Richard Sherman’s position there, he’s got an incredibly difficult task ahead of him.”