Griffin, a third-round pick out of Central Florida, filled a massive need for Seattle in the draft with Deshawn Shead expected to miss the start of the season after tearing his ACL in January. Head coach Pete Carroll likes what he’s seen from Griffin so far.
“I am pretty excited about him,” Carroll said on Monday. “He is doing really well. He has only taken positive steps. He is learning well. He is serious. He has a mentality that I think is going to allow him to deal with the issues and challenges of playing when Richard is on that side, and there is a guy over there, you are getting the ball a lot you know. That is going to come, he is going to get a lot of work. We are trying to work him in practice like that so he will have a sense for that.”
“He is really fast. He has really good hands. He has got natural movement. He is very strong. 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. But he will get a lot better.”
When camp opened, Sherman and Lane were the top two cornerbacks in rotation with Neiko Thorpe joining the group when the team moved into nickel situations. Since Lane tweaked a muscle last week, Griffin has taken over with the top unit.
Learning Seattle’s press coverage technique is the biggest challenge for Griffin to adapt to.
“The most important thing is you can’t use hands first because your hips will lock and that’s how receivers will get behind you,” Griffin said. “It’s very important to move your feet first before hands. I was so used to being so aggressive and as soon as the receiver moved I put my hands on first and my hips lock. Sometimes, when I was back in college, that’s how receivers got behind me. Now, that I’m starting to learn, it’s easy for me to stay over to the top and guarding receivers is a lot easier.”
Sherman has been a willing mentor as well to Griffin.
“He’s gotten patient,” Sherman said. “He’s trusting himself more. He’s not biting on the receivers’ first moves like he was in OTA’s. He had a susceptibility to the inside release that he doesn’t have as much as often anymore. He’s not relying on his athleticism as much as he was at first. He’s playing smarter. All those things are coming into fruition but those are just things, learning things, being a young guy.”
Whether Griffin opens the season as the starter remains to be seen. The Seahawks are quite bullish on his long-term potential. He has all the traits Carroll looks for in a cornerback and is developing quickly. Griffin remains the most likely member of Seattle’s draft class to crack the starting lineup right away.