Draft Diamonds Spotlight Interview: Ryan Griffin, LB, Jackson State University
After a standout junior season that saw Griffin amass 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions, the man that teammates consider their own version of the Honey Badger, Arizona Cardinals rookie Tyrann Mathieu, decided to forgo his senior season and toss his name into the NFL Draft. While very undersized for the LB position, NFL teams could certainly look to assimilate Griffin into their defense either as a safety, or a LB/S hybrid.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
I was recruited by 20+ Division 1A schools out of high school including Alabama, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska and many others.
Where did you choose and why?
I chose Jackson State university because they were the only school who trusted me with a full-ride scholarship straight out of high school.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
Yes. And they like what they see. I’m a playmaker and have always had a knack for making big plays. Most see me playing SS, Nickel, or Cornerback at the next level. What most haven’t seen are my KR/PR skills.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I’m a playmaker. I have really good instincts and ball skills which help me a lot on the field.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
I usually focus on the receivers I’ll be guarding the most throughout the game. Their stems, releases, and bursts are my focus points. I also put a heavy focus on the players that will be in the backfield and offensive tackles.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
This would be a two way tie between Devin Gardner and Isaiah Crowell. They are both really tough players.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
Tyrann Mathieu. I hear that a lot.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
My brother had bone cancer In his leg throughout my freshman year. In that same year I lost one of my teammates to cancer. I prayed and had faith that God would see me through. I’m blessed to say my brother is still alive.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I can play in any system. My style of play doesn’t limit me to one system.
What is your biggest strength?
My instincts and big-play ability. I love changing the game and being a momentum shift for my team.
What is your biggest weakness?
I hate losing. I sometimes worry about winning so bad that I get too excited and make mistakes.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I’m a very coachable player and a playmaker who loves to win. I handle my business on and off the field. I also do my part everyday to help the team succeed.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My dad was and still is my role model. I also loved Michael Jordan. I watched Space Jam everyday.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL, and why?
My mom and I were both born in Denver so naturally we loved the Broncos and John Elway. I’ve become a Lions fan since moving to Michigan, but they’ve made it hard to cheer for them throughout living here.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, and Barack Obama. That would be interesting.
What would you buy with your first NFL paycheck?
Hmm. I’d probably get my mom something nice. Like a new car or something.