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Shaquem Griffin, Seahawks
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What’s Shaquem Griffin’s best chance of making this Seahawks team?

Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin is entering his second season with Seattle. (AP)

Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin was undeniably the standout story of the 2018 NFL Draft, but as he enters the 2019 season in a crowded linebacker room, he’ll need to stand out on the field to keep his spot on the team’s roster.

What kind of advantage does Seahawks’ 2019 class have?

That’s easier said than done. The Seahawks have 10 linebackers on the roster, including 2019’s newest draft picks Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven. Both rookies, and veteran Barkevious Mingo, are able to contribute on special teams, which was an area of strength for Griffin last season. Meanwhile, veterans K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks are ahead of Griffin on the depth chart at weakside linebacker.

Where can Griffin make the most impact? For 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard, it’s as a contributor to the pass rush.

“I hope they give him an opportunity to rush the passer,” Huard said during his Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk. “They’ve got to continue to do more of that. It’s going to be a fight for him. They brought in a bunch of special teamers — (running back) Travis Homer is an elite special teamer and some of the free agents have been veteran special teams guys. (That’s not including) Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven. So that avenue of, ‘I’m going to make the team on special teams’ got a lot harder for Shaquem. And the avenue of making the team as a weakside linebacker (also got harder). Right now, he’s third string at that spot. So how are you going to make this team if you’re Shaquem? How do you keep growing and developing?

“I think they’ve got to give him ample opportunities to rush the passer,” Huard continued. “In fact, when I called his last college game – his Peach Bowl win where he was defensive MVP – he was phenomenal, as he was all season long and got after the passer. And those were NFL tackles; the Auburn line had two guys that are playing in the NFL. So, it wasn’t just an American Conference Temple Owls team. That was an SEC crew, and he harassed them. They couldn’t block him and they couldn’t touch him. According to Pro Football Focus, Shaquem Griffin’s 91.3 pass rush grade his senior season was fourth in the country, and his 23 percent pressure rate was second in all of college football. And when you run 4.4 or whatever he ran at the combine — the fastest for a linebacker — you’ve got to give that twitch and speed the opportunity off the edge. I have a sense you’ll see that this preseason.”

Listen to the Brock and Salk Show weekday mornings from 7-10 a.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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