Combine Stock Up, Defense: Shaquel Griffin, Denzel Ward, Godwin Igwebuike, Harold Landry



Another edition of the NFL Scouting Combine (“the underwear Olympics”) has come and gone. If you watched it at home on television, just for “fun,” recreationally, well you’re a braver person than I and highly commend your love of the game. For everyone else, let’s recap the week, and look at who the biggest winners and losers were after what transpired.

Here’s the link to our latest NFL mock draft, which we posted right before the scouting combine started. Now with so many players seeing their NFL Draft fluctuate, in some cases quite extremely, we’ll be making a lot of changes in our next update.

NFL Scouting Combine, Stock Up, Defense

Central Florida LB Shaquem Griffin

We start right at the top, kicking off our series with winners on the defensive side of the ball and mentioning the hugest story of the scouting combine first. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was four due to a birth defect known as amniotic band syndrome. He attached a prosthetic hand and put up an impressive 20 reps in the 225-pound bench press.

The 227-pound linebacker also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. That’s the fastest 40 for a 225+ pound defender since 2006. It also equaled his twin brother Shaquil (a 198-pound cornerback with the Seattle Seahawks)’s combine time a year ago. Griffin, labeled by many the Jim Abbott of football, has now catapulted himself from a day three prospect to a day two selection.

In addition to getting a phenomenal football player, whoever takes him will also get a great marketing/PR boost.

Ohio State DB Denzel Ward

Like Griffin, Ward was a top trending term on Twitter nationally, and much of that was due to his running the fastest overall 40-yard dash (4.32). He complemented that with a 1.47 in the 10-yard split, 11-4 broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. He should now be the first corner off the board, and maybe a top five overall selection.


Northwestern S/LB Godwin Igwebuike

The versatile DB tested better than expected with a 4.44 40, 6.56 cone drill and 10-8 broad jump. Godwin considered leaving Evanston early to enter the NFL Draft last year, and it’s clear he made the right choice to come back to school. Igwebuike got coached up by Pat Fitzgerald, Mike Hankwitz and the stellar staff- and the result drove his stock up.

Boston College DE/OLB Harold Landry

Put in a very stellar overall testing session, performing very well at all of the drills and posting excellent measurables (He was also a top trending term on Twitter).  Landry probably saw his grade shoot up from early second round to mid-late first this week.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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