Saturday, April 27, 2013

Houston already feels like home to Ryan Griffin

Former UConn tight end Ryan Griffin was taken in the sixth round of the
NFL draft by the Houston Texans.
Ryan Griffin, the top NFL prospect on the offensive side of the ball out of UConn, was feeling understandably downtrodden when he was not invited to the NFL combine. However, a strong showing at UConn's pro day followed by an even more encouraging trip to the headquarters of the Houston Texans did wonders for his state of mind.

Even before the Texans selected Griffin in the sixth round of the NFL draft, Griffin had positive vibes about his chances of landing in Houston whether he was drafted or not. The Texans ended the suspense when they took Griffin with the 201st pick.

Griffin had a whirlwind journey as he visited Kansas City, Buffalo, Houston and Green Bay. With all due respect to the other three franchises, there was something extra special about his trip to the Texans' facilities.

"The trip went really well and it felt like the right fit for me," Griffin said. "It just clicked and I think that trip is where I felt the most at home and when I saw that they called me right before I was picking, I kind of had a good feeling about it."

Owen Daniels, who has caught more than 50 passes three times in his Houston career, is the incumbent tight end while Garrett Graham emerged into a pass-catching threat with 28 receptions during the 2012 season. After that the only other tight ends are a pair of undrafted rookies meaning Griffin could have a chance to be either the No. 2 or 3 tight end with Houston.

"I haven't done anything yet," Griffin said. "I haven't put on shoulder pads so I can't say that I am just going to walk in and take a spot. I have to earn everything that I am going to get but I am ready to do that. I know they have a great tight end over there with OD and Garrett and I am ready to contribute to the team any way I can whether it is going to be as a third tight end  or whatever they have me doing, I am going to give it my best effort."

It was a historic draft for UConn with five players being taken which beats the mark of four selected during the 2009 and 2011 drafts,

"It is unprecedented and it really goes to show the character of people in the organization," Griffin said. "They really know what it takes. I am so proud of my guys, we had a disappointing couple of years here but this is nice to know that hard work paid off so hopefully I will see them on opposite sides of the line and me and Trevardo (Williams) will get some wins."

As Griffin referenced, a familiar face was also selected by Houston as Trevardo Williams, UConn's career leader in sacks, was taken by the Texans in the fourth round. It was the first time two UConn players were selected by the same team in one NFL draft.

"We are going to going up against each other and I am excited for him, he is a great player and a better person so the Texans got two really good people," Griffin said. "I am happy to show them what being a Husky is all about.

"We have gone at it, we have had some battles these last four years and I am looking forward to some more."


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