Hot safety prospect tempting the Chargers

The Chargers need a safety, one who won't urinate in public or fumble away game-winning interceptions. That doesn't seem like too much to ask, but the void left by Rodney Harrison's departure back in 2003 has been unusually hard to fill. General Manager A.J. Smith may have his eyes on a player that can fortify the position, someone who may fall into San Diego's lap at the end of round one.

Michael Griffin may be the player that Smith is seeking. A 6-foot, 195-pound safety from the University of Texas, Griffin proved his mettle against top competition during his four years as a Long Horn. His career totals include 364 tackles (including 15 for a loss), 23 pass break-ups and eight interceptions.

His contributions came on special teams as well, where he chipped in 48 tackles and an amazing eight blocked punts, the second-best total on the NCAA all-time list. Following the 2006 season, he was named second-team All-American and was a semi-finalist for the Lott Trophy, given to the impact defensive player of the year.

Griffin's credentials match up favorably with some of the top NFL stars at his position, yet he refuses to compare himself to any of them.

"I feel like that would be an insult to try to compare myself to anybody," Griffin said. "I just try to be myself."

Griffin has likely cemented his status as a first-round prospect with his strong offseason. He was particularity impressive at the Senior Bowl, proving to be the top safety in attendance. He was great against the run, delivering big hits in the box and chasing down running backs from sideline to sideline.

He also stood out in pass defense, disguising which coverage had been called and diagnosing plays quickly after the snap. He is a bit slow for man coverage but has great instincts and knows how to get between the receiver and the ball.

Several teams took notice of his strong performance. The Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks are among those that met with him early during Senior Bowl week.

Griffin indicated he had met with several other teams as well, with the Chargers believed to be among them.

"The team that drafts me will get all of me, 110 percent of me," Griffin said. "I'll be out there trying to make plays and being a team player, helping the team win."

Griffin knows a lot about winning. At Texas, he was a part of one of the county's most successful programs and won a National Championship as a junior. During the title game, he came up with a crucial interception in Texas' end zone that helped propel the Long Horns to victory.

Big-time players make big-time plays, and Michael Griffin is a big play waiting to happen. He would be perfect for replacing the lackluster Terrence Kiel and for exorcising any lingering longings for Rodney Harrison.


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