Sleepers That Can Awaken Part 3
This is another installment of the guys that some say may not make it at the next level. The guys that believe in themselves much more than those that do this for a living. They say that the road to the NFL is not paved to make it an easy road.
Well, these guys have put in the work and are ready to prove the naysayers wrong. Some believe they are so good, they will change the betting odds for next NFL season. They are ready to make it and find the glory that comes with being called an NFL player.
Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida, OLB 6-1 227 LBS.
This is a special story that begins as a child born with a rare prenatal condition. amniotic band syndrome, that cost him his left hand by the time he was four. That never stopped him from living his dream of becoming a football player and a pretty damn good one at that. In 2016, he was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year in his first season as an outside linebacker. Grew up playing football alongside his older brother (by one minute), Shaquill. He was picked by the Seattle Seahawks in round three last year.
Has the athletic ability and showed his strength at the NFL Combine when he benched 225 pounds 20 times. That impressive showing in Indy earned him an invite to the NFL Draft later this month. His stock has really risen and he now sees the “entire nation” behind him. He has a good football IQ and reads the field and plays well. He packs a powerful hit and has a passion to hit. Has good technique as well as acceleration off the edge. Given the opportunity, watch this kid get to the QB and pile up the sacks as the years add up.
The first thing he needs to get right is his lower body strength. He can also get to work on his knee bend and disengaging from his blocker. Is prone to cut blocks and must get lower when making his tackles. Cut down on broken tackles by opposing runner/receiver. The fact that he does not have a left hand will hurt him a bit.
Nyheim Hines, NC. State, RB 5-8 198 LBS.
A talented kid that quickly made his mark at State in his freshman season running, receiving and returning the ball. He is also a talented track runner competing in the 100 and 4×100 meter relays as well. As a junior, he led the ACC in all-purpose yards even after injuring his right ankle. Made all-conference first team as a runner and third-team as a specialist.
His first asset is his blazing speed that he combines with the smarts to be an asset on somebody’s offense. For his size, he is versatile and can catch out of the backfield too. His speed allows him to be a potential home run threat at the next level. Can be a very elusive back, especially in the open field because of his speed. Picked by the right team. he will become a nice addition to the return game as he took three kicks back to the house in college.
His lack of size will be the first thing NFL teams will look at. Must improve on his technique to avoid being hit straight on by defenders. This could prove to be costly keeping him healthy. Still very raw when it comes to his field vision as a runner and seeing where his blockers are as the play develops. Though he can run after the catch, he must improve his ability to catch the ball as he suffered plenty of drops. Must become a better cutback runner too.
Michael Gallup, Colorado State, WR 6-1 205 LBS.
Another one of those feel-good stories that touch your heart as one of five kids adopted that shined at school. He was a star in football as well as basketball, baseball and track. He may have played against mostly lower-level competition, but showed up in games against the likes of Alabama ( five catches for 81 yards). Would have played at a Power Five school if it was not for an injury he sustained his sophomore season.
A good athlete with smooth hands that can separate himself from his defender. Good drive off the snap of the ball and can stop on a dime. Really good at getting yards after the catch in open space. A physical player that will beat you with his smarts as opposed to his speed. Can make route adjustments and will match up well against corners. This guy likes to put in the work and is very competitive.
Will need to adjust to the level of play in the NFL and learn the tricks and trades of being a wideout. Needs to be better at his timing the long ball and making in-air adjustments. Must improve his ball tracking skills and get quicker with his swivel. Finds himself alone on an island when the play breaks down and the QB has to improvise.