As the Green Bay Packers address the safety position in the NFL draft, they likely will consider selecting Michael Griffin of the University of Texas if he is available in the second round. Griffin has all the tools to be a starter in the NFL, and possibly unseat Marquand Manuel next season in Green Bay’s defensive backfield.
Though Griffin struggled at times during the 2006 season for the Longhorns, he comes from a program that has produced some of the league’s top defensive backs, such as Nathan Vasher, Cedric Griffin and Michael Huff. Griffin, along with other Texas seniors were poked, prodded and studied by NFL scouts, including Green Bay, Wednesday at Texas’ annual Pro Day in Austin.
During his workout, Griffin (5-foot-11 7/8, 201 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds. He also had a 39½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-8 broad jump, and looked good, according to a report on NFL.com.
Griffin, along with LSU’s LeRon Landry and Florida’s Reggie Nelson are considered by many, including Scout.com, as the top three safeties in the country. All three may be selected in the first round of the April 28-29 draft.
Green Bay’s biggest needs this off-season remain at safety, running back, tight end, wide receiver and cornerback. If Griffin is not selected in the first round of the draft, he will probably be taken in the second round, and maybe fall to the Packers.
Here is more info on Griffin compiled by Scout.com:
NFL Comparison - Eugene Wilson, New England
Saw action as a freshman for the Longhorns. Has good size and is a good athlete. Covers a lot of ground and makes plays vs. the run and the pass. Had a disappointing 2006, although his stats looked great. This caused him to drop down most draft boards. Has seen time as a nickel corner and has played both safety positions. Versatile and plays the run without fear. Has awesome potential, but needs to shake off last year’s sub-par season.
Against the Pass
Changes direction well for a safety and can be put in man situations vs. slot receivers. Is inconsistent in his reads. Sometimes looks like the best safety in football and at other times he looks lost. Good transition from his backpedal to a full run. Good hips. Has good hands and uses long arms to knock passes down.
Against the Run
Tackles hard and can blitz. Looks comfortable in the box and makes plays all over the field. Blocked six kicks while in Austin and plays ever down like it’s his last. Hits like it’s personal and goes for the ball. Registered 126 tackles in 2006 – a huge number for a college safety.
Roster Impact for Green Bay
Griffin could excel in the Packers’ defensive backfield a strong safety. He plays the run extremely well, but is also strong in coverage. It’s questionable if he could unseat Marquand Manuel as a rookie because his recognition skills aren’t always on, but he definitely has the potential.
Griffin looks like a second round pick right now and probably moved to the top of the second round with his strong workout on Wednesday. Another Longhorn named Griffin (Cedric) was a second rounder last year for the Minnesota Vikings and looks to have nailed down a starting spot next season. Michael could have a similar impact in 2007.
Some scouts look at last year’s tape and are writing him off, but he is a solid, versatile player that had a bit of a disappointing year. Griffin has the necessary tools to be an impact player in the NFL, but can the mental aspect come around for him? He’s a well-rounded safety and can be a solid pro.