When the initial list of player invites to the NFL Scouting Combine were released last week, there was one name conspicuously absent from the group. Now, he’ll have a chance to make history.
While it’s common for the league to contact more players following the first round of invites, (Griffin’s twin brother, cornerback Shaquill Griffin of the Seattle Seahawks, also didn’t get one right away last year), many fans and media members spoke out in Griffin’s favor, which presumably played a part in the decision to reach out to Griffin.
He expressed his appreciation for “the entire nation’s” support and promised “something special,” also noting he had “a lot to prove.”
Why? Well, Griffin has always been overlooked due to one glaring reason: he doesn’t have a left hand.
Born with amniotic band syndrome, which caused the fingers on his left hand to not fully develop, Griffin and his family decided to have the entire hand amputated when he was 4 years old due to the pain it was causing. Since then, he’s excelled in spite of his disability. The NFL has claimed he’d be the first player with one hand to be drafted during the modern era of football.
A two-year starter at UCF, Griffin racked up a multitude of awards during his time with the team. He’s a two-time first-team All-AAC player, also winning the AAC Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2016. He made the All-American second team this season and was named the Peach Bowl MVP earlier this month.
In terms of stats, Griffin was third on the team with 74 total tackles, along with a team-high 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 13 tackles for loss. His sack total was tied for fifth in the American Conference.
He played in the Senior Bowl last Saturday, picking up 4 tackles and nabbing the Practice Player of the Week Award as well.
Griffin’s stock for the NFL Draft is all over the place. Scouts recognize his talent, but his disability is an obvious red flag. But it hasn’t stopped him before. Why would it now? If given the opportunity, Griffin could continue to prove all the doubts about him wrong.