RENTON It took 90 picks, three trades and two previous picks, but the Seahawks finally got help at cornerback.
Twice the help.
Seattle used its third pick Friday, this one in the third round with the 90th overall selection, to draft Central Florida cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
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“My family is going crazy,” Griffin said, laughing giddily Friday night from a roaring family home in Daytona Beach, Florida. “I had to lock myself in my room just to hear my calls.
He said he didn’t do a ton of press coverage, Seattle’s speciality, while at Central Florida.
“Press coverage is something (where) I can show my skills.”
And from the initial sounds of it, he can and wants to play on special teams.
“Oh, I get after it on special teams,” Hill said.
Griffin started his own track program for kids, the St. Pete Nitros in his Florida home town, when he was 15. He coaches and mentors 4-year-old kids up to 18-year olds.
“Right now, I live for the kids,” Griffin said.
He visited the Seahawks during the pre-draft process.
“The place is amazing,” he said. “The family vibe, I could feel it. I felt so much loyalty in that program.”
He says of right now, he’s a cornerback. But he played safety as a junior at UCF.
Griffin is 6 feet tall, which ties him with Jeremy Lane and Perrish Cox for the shortest cornerbacks on the Seahawks’ roster. But, intriguingly, he did play some at safety, and is just under 200 pounds (a listed 198 at his pre-draft visit with Seattle). His has long-ish arms for a cornerback, 32 3/8 inches. His 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash was among the fastest among cornerbacks at last month’s NFL combine.
His twin brother, Shaquem, played with him at UCF. Shaquem redshirted and has one more season there. He had to have his left hand was amputated when he was 4 years old.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Shaquill’s first goal before the NFL was to be a motivational speaker, using his brother’s experiences to encourage others to persevere amid challenges.
“The situation we had to overcome, and see what my brother went through ... people, they tend to listen to me.
“I know he’s enjoying it right now,” Shaquill said.
The Seahawks have an opening at starting right cornerback. DeShawn Shead, the starter there last season, isn’t expected back until perhaps October following a major knee injury in the mid-January playoff loss at Atlanta. Richard Sherman, the three-time All-Pro at Seattle’s other cornerback spot, has two years remaining on his contract and just turned 29. You may have heard about his offseason and 2016 season.
Hill is 6 feet and 1/2, 216. He is known to be aggressive in flying up to the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
Seattle has strong safety Kam Chancellor coming off three consecutive injury-marred seasons and entering the final year of a contract I expect they will extend.
“He’s one of the best safeties in the league,” Hill said.
Seattle free safety Earl Thomas is coming off a broken leg.
Hill said the safety positions were interchangable at Michigan -- as they often are in the Seahawks’ defense.
Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark was like a big brother to Hill when both were at Michigan. Hill often hung out at Clark’s place in college, and since Seattle drafted Clark in 2015 he has filled in Hill on life with the team, in the NFL and in Seattle.
Clark told him the basics, too. When asked what he thought of about the Seahawks, Hill said: “The winning tradition.
“The 12s, the 12s are crazy!”