Dallas Cowboys: Is UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin a good fit?

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin /

After an incredible performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, could this speedy linebacker fit into the Dallas Cowboys’ rotation?

The Dallas Cowboys have a plethora of needs on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Last year, the Cowboys concentrated on their secondary, and have a promising group of youngsters that could potentially man the group for years to come.

And for the first time in years, their defensive line looks like it could be an area of strength, depending on whether or not they bring hybrid DT/DE David Irving back into the fold in 2018. Taco Charlton was also improved as the season went on, and the Cowboys could even see the return of Randy Gregory (if that still excites anyone).

However, going into 2018, it looks like the Cowboys defense could use another boost at a position that’s been ravaged by injuries the past couple of years– linebacker.

With Anthony Hitchens appearing unlikely to return, and Sean Lee, their best defender, experiencing another injury-plagued year, it looks like the Cowboys will have to focus on their linebacking corps yet again.

And with the Cowboys potentially shifting Jaylon Smith to strongside linebacker next season, Dallas could certainly use another middle linebacker as well as a suitable backup for Lee at the weakside.

One potential steal for the Cowboys could be Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who wowed scouts at the scouting combine.

As you may or may not know, there have been several questions surrounding the status of Griffin as an NFL prospect. Griffin was born with a birth defect which resulted in the amputation of his left hand.

However, Griffin has managed to overcome adversity at every level, and put in a combine performance for the ages.

For starters, Griffin ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash–the fastest time for any linebacker since 2006.  He also managed 20 reps on the bench press using a prosthetic hand, and then was able to reach 117 inches on his broad jump. And despite having only one hand, Griffin showed the ability to catch the ball with regularity during drop back drills.

In the NFL, most scouts predict Griffin to be a weakside linebacker. Listed at 6’2 227 lbs, Griffin doesn’t have the ideal size to play in the middle. But he does have the sideline-to-sideline speed and versatility to play the weakside in Rod Marinelli’s hybrid Tampa-2 defense.

Learning behind one of the league’s best could benefit Griffin, who doesn’t have the size to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL– at least not right away. But he could be a valuable backup, special teams player and future starter for the Cowboys.

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If Dallas could snag Griffen in, let’s say the fourth or fifth round, it’s safe to say they will fill both a position need and be getting a mid-round steal. It’s a no-brainer, really.