Shaquill Griffin And The Giant Shoes To Be Filled

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During recent Seattle Seahawk OTAs, videos showed cornerback Shaquill Griffin lining up on the left side in defensive drills. Originally, former Seahawk Richard Sherman had occupied the spot for seven seasons and left a huge void on defense when he signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Can Shaquill maintain the kind of quality that Sherman provided for so many years?

Griffin should still expect to have Earl Thomas’ elite level assistance at the free safety position. Thomas has battled trade rumors for most of the past year, but coach Pete Carroll has reported that the team expects the safety to show up to mandatory camp next week. Should the script play out, Griffin will have a veteran presence guiding him to success.

What would it take statistically for Shaquill to claim the left cornerback position as his own? Take a look at the Richard Sherman’s statistical totals:

Games Def Interceptions Fumbles Sacks & Tackles  
G GS Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Sk Tkl Ast AV
105 99 32 395 2 58 104 5 2 5 14 0 1.0 286 91 86

* From www.pro-football-reference.com

As fans know, Sherman’s career in Seattle was monstrous. From 2011 to 2017, the former Seahawk defended an NFL-leading 104 passes, more than the likes of Karlos Dansby and DeAngelo Hall combined.

On the end of that table is the Approximate Value metric which is a stat that looks to put a value on a player’s season. In the same seven year timespan, Sherman ranked fifth in the league amongst all defensive players, and just a tad lower than Patrick Peterson, the cornerback with the highest AV.

Compare this to Shaquill Griffin’s first season:

Games Def Interceptions Fumbles Sacks & Tackles  
G GS Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Sk Tkl Ast AV
15 11 1 0 0 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 50 8 4

* From www.pro-football-reference.com

Looks pretty empty right? Not to worry, since it was Griffin’s rookie campaign which stacks up pretty well to Sherman’s first go round in the NFL as well. While Griffin’s first year had an Approximate Value of 4, Sherman notched a 5. Of all first year cornerbacks, Shaquill ranked amongst the likes of TreDavious White, Kendall Fuller, and Eli Apple.

Shaquill Griffin potentially brings something new to the table as well. He’s considerably shorter than Sherman but weighs about the same, which bodes well with beating up on wide receivers. Griffin has already shown promise in his tackling ability and being able to break up passes consistently. If Griffin defends about 15 passes per year, he’ll have Sherman beat by a hair in seven years’ time.

In Sherman’s second year, he was awarded with First-Team All Pro honors after a huge jump in production. So, I’m hesitant to predict a breakout year for Shaquill Griffin because of how crazy Sherman’s second year went. Seahawks fans should expect perfection, as is tradition, and Griffin has all the tools to become an All Pro. To take the big jump, Griffin will have to convert some of these passes into interceptions. It seems to be one of the bigger blemishes during his rookie campaign.

However, expect Griffin to solidify his spot starting next week during minicamp as the new forever Seahawk left cornerback.

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About Author

Sebastian Pycior

Sebastian is an industrial professional, having graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Political Science in 2013. He remains largely interested in the effects sports have on greater society. From Las Vegas, he’s moved on from the world of 'odds' and has embraced storylines and aspects surrounding Seattle sports.

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