Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin turned heads well before the 2018 NFL draft with his ability to thrive on the football field without a left hand, and his career will continue after the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the No. 141 overall pick Saturday.
Twitter took note of the selection considering Griffin's backstory and the fact his twin brother, Shaquill, also plays for the Seahawks:
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Shaquem Griffin will join his brother Shaquill on the Seahawks. The last time brothers were drafted by the same team was in 2001, when the Titans took CB Andre Dyson in the second round, after they had taken WR Kevin Dyson in round one in 1998 via @EliasSports https://t.co/PEUNjhgG7A
Griffin impressed at the collegiate level, winning the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award with 92 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
He followed that effort with 74 total tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 2017 as Central Florida finished 13-0 and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
While the lack of a left hand is a storyline often discussed with Griffin, his production at Central Florida proved how dangerous of a player he can be at the second level of a defense. His NFL.com draft profile pointed to his instincts, versatility and burst around the edge when blitzing, which will allow him to play on the outside in either 3-4 or 4-3 sets.
That burst comes from speed that propelled him to a 4.38-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"The only thing I need is an opportunity or a door to open for me," Griffin said leading up to the draft, per Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk. "That's all I ever ask for. If I get that, I'm going to skyrocket for there."
The Seahawks are a perfect landing spot for Griffin, and not just because he'll get to play next to his brother. Head coach Pete Carroll and his coaching staff have a history of developing late-round defensive players.
Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright and Kam Chancellor were all drafted in the fourth round or later by the Seahawks.
That's a lot of pressure for Griffin to live up to as he begins his NFL career, but the Seahawks are going to give him the chance to turn himself into a star at the highest level.