Richard Sherman's latest Mentee Rookie CB Shaquill Griffin
RENTON -- While the receivers and defensive backs worked through a 7-on-7 drill during day nine of training camp Wednesday, Richard Sherman and Shaquill Griffin were off to the side, the elder cornerback tutoring his new teammate.
It was the latest piece of evidence that Griffin, the starter opposite Sherman the last few practices, has earned himself enrollment into the Richard Sherman Mentorship Program, where youngsters receive schooling from one of the best defensive backs in the game.
These days, Griffin is focused on learning "press technique and understanding what to look for down-and-distance and understand different situations," the rookie third-round pick said Monday after the team's mock game Monday afternoon.
"So, he's helped me out a lot with that and teaching me how to watch film, you know, and go further on with that. I can't say thank you enough for taking me under his wing."
Not long after their sideline powwow Wednesday, Griffin delivered his biggest highlight of camp.
Jermaine Kearse attempted to catch a pass on an out route from Russell Wilson, but the ball was a bit too far ahead of him, allowing Griffin -- who left his man, Paul Richardson, to go make the play -- to collide with the receiver, snatch the ball away and sprint the length of the field for a defensive touchdown.
Surprising? Not at all, considering Griffin's teammates and coaches have been about as complimentary as humanly possible when praising the 22-year-old who has still yet to play an NFL preseason game.
Since the start of rookie minicamp, it was clear the 6-foot, 198-pound DB looked the part of potentially Legion of Boom member. Now it's clear he's got the skills to learn the part, too. "He's mentally sharp," Sherman said Monday. "That's really, really unique for a rookie to be that mentally sharp and mentally on it. He's incredibly coachable. He does a great job of just being coachable and when they correct a mistake then he makes sure he makes the corrections." All signs point to Griffin assuming that starting right cornerback role Jeremy Lane was the frontrunner for until he began missing practice last week with a soft tissue issue.
As Griffin has settled into that spot, coach Pete Carroll continues to applaud his progress, athleticism and mental approach, a key component since he's going to see plenty of passes coming his way playing in a secondary full of All-Pro talent.
"He is really fast, he has really good hands, he has got natural movement, he is very strong," Carroll said of Griffin. "He has got good feel for playing the football. There is just nothing but positives and we have never had a guy that runs this fast that is this big, so right now it is all about technique and he has no problem with it."
Defensive coordinator Kris Richard said Griffin has "one of the best corner minds that we've had for a young guy." Sherman has already taken notice that Griffin's patience has improved, he's less susceptible to inside moves and is no longer relying on his athleticism as often as he was when he arrived.
Griffin isn't the first to study under Sherman -- the seventh-year pro has been tutoring newbies since his second year in the league. But it's evident the team sees potential in him that blends perfectly with the vacancy they have opposite Sherman.
If anything, it's strange for Griffin to be the student instead of the teacher, but the learning has been for him. Staying over the top as to not get beat deep, using his feet before using his hands at the line of scrimmage -- these are the minor details he's quickly picking up, at a rate that has Griffin ascending on the depth chart.
He's also been listening to and watching Sherman, admiring his consistency and taking "bits and pieces" of what he does and applying it to his own style of play.
"If it's something I don't need – I throw it out and I continue to just tweak my game and continue to make it better," Griffin said. "So when I can continue to become great and be good, it'll be the Shaquill Griffin way."
Source: Seattle PI | Michael Dougar | August 9th 2017
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