Mill Creek defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin has established himself as one of the top players in the country that isn't on everyone's radar. The big reason has to do with the fact that Griffin just doesn't do much talking about himself of his game to media members. He does, however, talk with his play on the field.
Where he is great: Griffin has broad shoulders and a thick, barrel-chested frame. His build alone is going to make it tough for offensive linemen to get movement on him without a double team. Unlike most prospects his age, Griffin is very strong in both his upper and lower body, and has the potential to get much stronger at the next level. Just a few months ago, Griffin would be considered to be tad short for most defensive tackles, but after observing him in the spring, it appears that he has grown this spring and is in the 6-foot-3 range.
One thing that stands out about the four star prospect on film is the way he uses his hands. He rarely lets opposing offensive lineman lock on or get their hands inside with quick and violent use of his hands. His first step is very explosive, and he understands how to play through the smallest of gaps when being double-teamed.
His instincts, however, are arguably his greatest strength. Griffin understands how to read the blocks of offensive linemen, and doesn't fly too far up field to make a play like some young defenders do.
? Where he is good: The Rivals250 lineman doesn't have excellent speed, but he runs plenty well enough to chase down plays away from him and rush the passer. His quick first step makes him a very good one-gap player, but he has the size and strength to play two gaps effectively as well.
He has a solid ability to move laterally and make plays once the offense has committed to a gap away from him. Despite having a big lower body, it is a fluid lower body and he possesses above average flexibility to help him take on blocks while keeping his feet to make a play. He also has solid arm length for a guy with a very thick, stout build.
Griffin possesses a well above average bull rush move that high school offensive lineman have been unable to handle, and that will undoubtedly develop at the next level. Due to his quickness and instincts, Griffin is almost impossible to trap or down block with any consistency, and he does a very good job of locating the ball once he gets into the opposing backfield.
? Where he needs work: Like most big, strong defensive lineman, Griffin needs to work on having a more consistent and appropriate pad level. At this point, he tends to play a big high and tries to look over offensive lineman to find the ball. That is a bad habit that he will break pretty quickly at the next level.
Despite being skilled at using his hands to get off blocks, he does have times where he doesn't use his hands as much as he should. At this point in his development, Griffin hasn't developed many moves to get off blocks, but has the quickness to develop a devastating array of moves to help him rush the passer.
? Overall: If Griffin had decided to participate in the camp circuit this summer, there is a solid possibility that he would be ranked higher at this point. As it stands, he is highly thought off and will be in charge of anchoring a talented Mill Creek defense in 2011.
Griffin could fit well as a 4-3 nose tackle or three technique, or he could star as a 3-4 defensive end. If he gets great coaching at the next level, his ability to rush the passer could catch up to his ability to stuff the run and become and all conference performer. One thing that coaches will love about Griffin is that he has the ability to play and be effective in any of a team's defensive packages.