High-Tech Motivation

Connecticut tight end Ryan Griffin talks about his pre-draft visit to Green Bay in our latest Packer Report exclusive.

Connecticut's Ryan Griffin finds inspiration every time he flips on his iPad and sees the list of tight ends who were invited to the Scouting Combine.

"I was fully expecting to be invited, so when the list came out and I wasn't on it, I screen-shotted the list and I put it on the background of my iPad and used it for motivation," he told Packer Report after his pre-draft visit with the Green Bay Packers. "It's still there. Maybe when this process is over, I'll take it down."

Griffin is one of the more underrated performers in this year's draft, a tight end with a skill-set along the lines of former Packers tight end Tom Crabtree and free-agent addition Matthew Mulligan.

At 6-foot-6 and 261 pounds, Griffin provides an inviting target in the short and intermediate passing game. In four seasons, he caught 116 passes for 1,500 yards (12.9 average) and 10 touchdowns. As a senior, he made 29 grabs for 484 yards (16.7 average) and a career-high six touchdowns. He accounted for 60 percent of the team's touchdown passes to be a bright spot for a dysfunctional passing game that had 10 touchdown passes but 18 interceptions.

He doesn't have game-breaking speed, as evidenced by his 4.87 clocking in the 40 at Connecticut's pro day, but he's quick off the ball, has excellent hands and has a big catching radius with his size. He's also a quality blocker, with the ability to get even better once he fills out his frame a bit more.

"What teams most like about me is my ability to do the two things that a good tight end should do, and that's block and catch the ball," he said. "I'm not a specialty guy. I'm not just a route-runner out there but I'm a bigger guy who can hold the point of attack and be a mismatch against some of those bigger linebackers or smaller safeties. There's a combination of things that I can bring to the table.

"You look at some of the greats playing right now, including Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez, and those are guys who do catch 60-plus passes a year but they can block pretty darned well. Those are two guys who really define the position."

Griffin enjoyed his meeting with coach Mike McCarthy and a lengthy time with tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot, though he was stuck in Green Bay for an extra day due to a snow and ice storm earlier this week. The weather certainly wasn't an issue for the former all-state fullback from Londonberry, N.H.

"It reminds me a lot of New Hampshire, where I'm from," he said. "It seems like a close-knit community and there's not too many bright lights or things like that. They love their Packers, for sure. It was cool."

Griffin will be spending draft weekend with his family in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as he waits for the phone call of a lifetime from his new employer.

"My parents always taught me that if you work hard, good things will happen to you," he said. "When I really thought I had a chance was probably going into my junior season. I had started the previous two years and the coaches sat me down and said that if I really worked hard at it that I would have a shot in the league. Luckily, I listened to my coaches and did what they told me to do.

"It has been a dream of mine and now that I'm so close to it, it almost doesn't feel real."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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