A chance to be part of something new, something great, something special. That’s what Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin thinks about the opportunity to join Jacksonville after spending the first four years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Jaguars made a major move to improve its secondary during the early days of free agency, acquiring a new starting cornerback, one who will ultimately become the top dog in the defensive backfield.
Griffin, 25, was originally drafted by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He would go on to start 53 out of a total of 57 games, becoming the new top-dog following in the footsteps of a secondary known as the ‘Legion of Boom.’ Now, Griffin will get to write his own story, a fresh start for one of the rising cornerbacks in the league.
During his introductory press conference on Thursday, Griffin spoke about the need for a fresh start. An opportunity to start his own journey back in his home state of Florida where it all began. For that reason, “Jacksonville was just a clear choice,” for Griffin.
“Coming back to Florida, being able to have the opportunity to be a part of something new and something great and something special, I feel like that’s the part that I was looking forward to,” Griffin began, all smiles on perhaps the biggest day of his young career.
“And don’t get me wrong, I’ve built a life and some great friends and some great relationships in Seattle. But I also learned so much and knowing that there is a business aspect behind it, everything that I have learned, that’s something that I hold dear to my heart.
“But now, it’s starting my own journey. You know, I’m behind a group that was called the ‘Legion of Boom’ at the time. It’s always something that they had going on already and now I’ve got a chance to be a part of something great, something new, something different that we can call our own. So, I’m excited about that.”
Griffin’s tenure with the Seahawks wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Last season, the team suffered some major losses on account of its secondary.
The team had shortfalls that appeared to be related schematically to what they liked to do. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has implemented the same defense that has been copy-pasted onto several teams around the NFL. Essentially, he’s got a plan and sticks to it. Sometimes that doesn’t work, however.
One of the major selling points that Griffin had in coming to Jacksonville was the prospect of being used in a variety of ways in defensive coordinator Joe Cullen’s defense. Meyer’s overall philosophy dictates that he isn’t afraid of doing what it takes to win, something Griffin can resonate with.
“I feel like the main thing of the part that he played was [that] I know for a fact that he wasn’t going to be afraid to utilize me in any way possible and put me in the best situation to be able to help this team win ball games,” he said.
“And coming from the college background, he has no problem switching it up and changing it up. He’s an aggressive coach, he knows how to win. And coming from a winning organization, this is something that I want to bring, and the same way he feels.”
While Griffin will almost definitely be looked at from an outsider's perspective as the team’s No. 1 cornerback, that wasn’t the selling point for him in joining the Jaguars. Griffin understands that he still needs to compete to earn whatever role the team may want to give him, and will be the leader the team needs him to be.
“At the end of the day, I think they brought me here because they know I love this game, I’m passionate about it and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make my teammates better and I want them to do the same for me.”
Griffin has already begun connecting with his teammates. His former little league teammate, safety Rayshawn Jenkins joined the team, too. He also has a relationship with Jaguars cornerback Sidney Jones, who put Griffin in a defensive back group chat, a way for the team to get to know the newcomers.
“I’m giving my true self and I’m definitely a humble guy and somebody they can trust, somebody they can believe in and count on. So, I want to get a chance to show the guys that.”
So far, so good.