UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin did wonders for his draft stock by running a 4.38 second 40-yard-dash, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) reports. Griffin is getting considerable buzz in Indianapolis and one head coach remarked to Rapoport that Griffin may have put himself in consideration as a fourth-round pick. Teams were wary about Griffin’s ability to play at the next level because of his amputated left hand. They’re looking at him in a whole new light now, though Rapoport says that evaluators are now going back to the tape to see if Griffin plays as fast as he looked at the combine. Griffin’s 4.38 was the fastest recorded time for a linebacker at the combine in more than a decade.
Here’s more on the NFL Draft:
- Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, and Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen are all on the rise after strong showings in the combine, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Allen was once viewed as a second-tier QB in this year’s draft, behind USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. There’s no longer a clear consensus on the order of this year’s top signal callers with talk that Allen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield are climbing boards league-wide.
- We’ve been hearing a lot about Vander Esch’s rise in particular in recent weeks. LVE’s 4.65 second 40-yard-dash was faster than expected and Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com hears that he could go as high as No. 14 when the Packers are called to the podium. Pauline’s understanding is that he won’t get past the Steelers at No. 28 and the Eagles, who pick at No. 32, have already come to the conclusion that he’ll be gone by then.
- Delaware defensive tackle Bilal Nichols is a name to watch for the Jets and Lions, according to Pauline. Nichols tweaked his hamstring during the 40-yard-dash and was unable to finish the drill, but he should be ready to go before his pro day on March 20.