Free agent priorities for the Seahawks

February 17th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Priority #1 — Re-sign your players

This was an easy one to list at the top. The Seahawks have only 47 players contracted for 2019. They have numerous out of contract starters and several restricted and exclusive rights free agents. Some players are destined to move on. Earl Thomas’ time in Seattle is over. K.J. Wright will likely get a big offer in free agency. Frank Clark, J.R. Sweezy, D.J. Fluker, Justin Coleman and a few others are more likely to remain. Seattle has a developing roster ready to play competitive football. Major changes won’t be healthy — especially with limited cap space and only four draft picks. They also need to look ahead. If Clark receives the franchise tag that’ll mean four stars — Clark, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed — will all be out of contract after the 2019 season. With only one franchise tag, that could spell trouble. Seattle’s clear #1 priority this off-season is to keep the core together and make sure they don’t go into the 2020 off-season with a major dilemma on their hands.

Priority #2 — Get the kicker sorted

This has been a question mark for three straight years in Seattle. For a team that wants to play things tight and highlight the importance of a closed circle between offense, defense and special teams — they need a reliable kicker. It’s time to make this a secure position. No more messing about. Get the money out and go and land Robbie Gould from the 49ers (if they don’t franchise him). He’s been a highly consistent and reliable kicker for years. It’s time to pay a bit more than they’ve previously been willing to get this problem solved. If Gould isn’t available, Stephen Gostkowski and Matt Bryant are alternative options.

Priority #3 — Add a pass rusher at value

Despite suggestions to the contrary, the Seahawks won’t have the money to go on a big splurge this off-season. Frank Clark is going to eat up $18m in cap space alone. They need to re-sign multiple free agents and fill out the roster. They won’t be in the running for a prime free agent pass rusher. They need to look for value and provide a partner for Clark. Anthony Barr could be the man to target. His career stalled as a linebacker at Minnesota. Thus, he might be facing a slightly cooler market. Does he need to go somewhere for a year and rebuild his stock? Maybe. It’s equally possible he gets big money somewhere. He’s a great age and has a fantastic physical profile. If he does end up needing a one or two year prove-it deal, the Seahawks should be ready to get him. Failing that, go and get a veteran rusher like Terrell Suggs, Brandon Graham or Clay Matthews (again, if the price is right).

Priority #4 — Find the next Tony McDaniel

McDaniel was often labelled the unsung hero of Seattle’s defense. His combination of stout run defense, toughness and consistency was unheralded but highly valuable. He cost $2.75m in 2014 and $985,000 in 2016. It’s difficult to suggest a name to be the 2019 version. There are always cheap run defenders on the market but very few are as effective as McDaniel. Darius Philon has a reputation for quality run defense but he’s nowhere near the size of McDaniel and the Chargers might pay to keep him after parting with Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane. Reuniting with Mebane could be an option for a year if he wants to keep playing at 34. We talked a lot about Brent Urban on the blog when he was at Virginia and in 2018 he was finally healthy and had a good year. Adding him could be an option but can you trust him to play 12-16 games?

Priority #5 — What are you doing at linebacker?

This isn’t a higher priority because I think they’ll already have a plan. Mychal Kendricks’ court date has been pushed back but if he avoids jail he’s an obvious re-sign (and Pete Carroll has already talked about bringing him back). K.J. Wright will likely get a big offer in free agency — one the Seahawks won’t be able to match. They might need to add one more. I suspect they’ll have their house in order to plan and prepare for this. Thomas Davis could be an option if they need another veteran to cover the expected loss of Wright.

Priority #6 — What are the O-line alternatives?

For years the Seahawks tried to plug in young starters to the offensive line and it didn’t work. In 2018 they lined up a much more experienced line with Duane Brown, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi all boasting multiple seasons in the NFL. Sweezy and Fluker are now free agents. If either moves on, they’re probably best served replacing them with another veteran. Former Seahawk James Carpenter is a free agent and has enjoyed a healthy spell in New York with the Jets. Ty Sambrailo has been a disappointment so far but prior to the 2015 draft Tony Pauline noted the Seahawks had some interest in him. Ja’Wuan James is another player they seemingly liked prior to the 2014 draft. They’ll need alternatives even if it seems likely they’ll keep Sweezy and Fluker.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Mock draft: second round projection

February 16th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

For round one, click here.

The mock

#33 Arizona — Kaleb McGary (T, Washington)
#34 Indianapolis — Deandre Baker (CB, Georgia)
#35 Oakland — Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
#36 San Francisco — Johnathan Abram (S, Mississippi State)
#37 New York Giants — David Edwards (T, Wisconsin)
#38 Jacksonville — Kaden Smith (TE, Stanford)
#39 Tampa Bay — Trayvon Mullen (CB, Clemson)
#40 TRADE Seattle — D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
#41 Denver — Taylor Rapp (S, Washington)
#42 TRADE Pittsburgh — Jeffery Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
#43 Detroit — L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#44 Green Bay — Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
#45 Atlanta — D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
#46 Washington — Daniel Jones (QB, Duke)
#47 Carolina — Deionte Thompson (S, Alabama)
#48 Miami — Dalton Risner (T, Kansas State)
#49 Cleveland — J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford)
#50 Minnesota — Tevon Coney (LB, Notre Dame)
#51 Jordan Kunaszyk (LB, California)
#52 Pittsburgh — A.J. Brown (WR, Ole Miss)
#53 Philadelphia — Riley Ridley (WR, Georgia)
#54 Houston — Noah Fant (TE, Iowa)
#55 Houston — Chuma Edoga (T, USC)
#56 New England — Zach Allen (DE, Boston College)
#57 Philadelphia — Rodney Anderson (RB, Oklahoma)
#58 Dallas — Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame)
#59 Indianapolis — Khalen Saunders (DT, Western Illinois)
#60 Los Angeles Chargers — Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State)
#61 Kansas City — Elgton Jenkins (C, Mississippi State)
#62 New Orleans — Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)
#63 Kansas City — Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
#64 New England — Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)

The picks explained

#33 Arizona — Kaleb McGary (T, Washington)
The Cardinals need O-line help and McGary’s stock is rising after a great combine.

#34 Indianapolis — Deandre Baker (CB, Georgia)
Baker is gritty but needs to track the ball better.

#35 Oakland — Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
Murphy is great value here.

#36 San Francisco — Johnathan Abram (S, Mississippi State)
Abram is tough and physical and can help set the tone for the Niners.

#37 New York Giants — David Edwards (T, Wisconsin)
After taking a quarterback in round one, the Giants grab a starting right tackle.

#38 Jacksonville — Kaden Smith (TE, Stanford)
The Jaguars pursued TE’s a year ago and didn’t find a solution.

#39 Tampa Bay — Trayvon Mullen (CB, Clemson)
Cornerback is a need for the Buccs. Mullen had a great Championship game.

#40 TRADE Seattle — D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
The Seahawks love traits and massive upside.

#41 Denver — Taylor Rapp (S, Washington)
The Broncos need a physical, agile safety and this is a great fit.

#42 TRADE Pittsburgh — Jeffery Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
The 49ers get this pick from the Bengals in the Kyler Murray trade, then send it to the Steelers for Antonio Brown.

#43 Detroit — L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
Collier is a fantastic talent and he’s rising after the Senior Bowl.

#44 Green Bay — Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
His stock will rise even higher after the combine.

#45 Atlanta — D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
He plays the run well and can get after the quarterback.

#46 Washington — Daniel Jones (QB, Duke)
Jones is a level down from the top-three quarterbacks in the draft.

#47 Carolina — Deionte Thompson (S, Alabama)
Even after extending Eric Reid’s contract, safety is a need for the Panthers.

#48 Miami — Dalton Risner (T, Kansas State)
This is a bit high for me but some people think Risner will land in this range.

#49 Cleveland — J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford)
I haven’t seen a better receiver when it comes to boxing out DB’s.

#50 Minnesota — Tevon Coney (LB, Notre Dame)
They might lose Anthony Barr in free agency.

#51 Jordan Kunaszyk (LB, California)
He’s a good fit in the Patriots-style defense that Mike Vrabel uses.

#52 Pittsburgh — A.J. Brown (WR, Ole Miss)
The Steelers are very good at finding value at wide receiver.

#53 Philadelphia — Riley Ridley (WR, Georgia)
He’s competitive and the bloodlines will boost his stock.

#54 Houston — Noah Fant (TE, Iowa)
He has an outstanding physical profile but is he more than just a great athlete?

#55 Houston — Chuma Edoga (T, USC)
He had a great Senior Bowl and could be set for a major rise.

#56 New England — Zach Allen (DE, Boston College)
A disappointing Senior Bowl drops him into the late second round.

#57 Philadelphia — Rodney Anderson (RB, Oklahoma)
He would’ve been a top-25 pick without the knee injury.

#58 Dallas — Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame)
Tillery could replace the departing David Irving.

#59 Indianapolis — Khalen Saunders (DT, Western Illinois)
The latest guy the Colts draft and a year later everyone says it was a huge steal.

#60 Los Angeles Chargers — Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State)
He’s inconsistent but will have a strong combine performance.

#61 Kansas City — Elgton Jenkins (C, Mississippi State)
He’s a big, powerful center who struggles a bit against quickness.

#62 New Orleans — Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)
If he really is 225-230lbs how do you justify taking him earlier than this?

#63 Kansas City — Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
This would be great value and a great fit.

#64 New England — Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)
He could play nickel corner or safety.

The trade explained

#42 San Francisco (via Cincinnati) to the Steelers for Antonio Brown
In round one we had the Bengals trading up to #2 to select Kyler Murray. As part of the deal, the 49ers collected Cincy’s second round pick (#42). In this projection, San Francisco sends that pick to the Steelers for wide receiver Antonio Brown.

What about the Seahawks?

I have reservations about D.K. Metcalf. A lot of draft analysts, writers and bloggers are enamoured with his potential. I get that. He’s an incredible combination of size, speed and athleticism. Some have linked him to Josh Gordon and physically it’s not a bad comparison. There aren’t many human’s on the planet like Metcalf.

On the field he looks like a developmental prospect. When he gets into stride and can run go-routes he builds up speed to create separation. He also does a good job creating a free-release and avoiding contact early in the route. However, his routes are occasionally lackadaisical and he had a high number of concentration drops.

He ran a severely limited route-tree at Ole Miss and he doesn’t box-out like J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or compete for the ball in the air like you’d expect for a player with his frame.

There’s also the neck injury. He’ll need to be thoroughly checked out at the combine. Is he a one-contract player who, not unfairly, doesn’t want to risk permanent injury? Or does he see a long career and is he determined to be the best in the league (which he could be with his profile)?

If you draft him you’re banking on major potential. You use him immediately as a downfield threat and match-up weapon. Over time you hope he can turn into the #1 receiver he could be with the frame and athleticism. He’ll need work, though.

The reason I have the Seahawks taking him is because they never settle on mediocre athletes in round one or with their first pick. There’s always something unique about the guy they select first. They’re prepared to gamble on upside. And Pete Carroll has been searching for a dynamic big receiver for a long time.

That’s the projection in this mock. There are multiple other possibilities too. This is a wide open draft for the Seahawks with plenty of positional options with their first pick. Free agency and the combine will give us a clearer indication of what they might do. If this were to occur with their first pick, I would think Will Grier (QB, West Virginia) and a defensive linemen could be the targets in round three.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Updated mock draft: 15th February

February 15th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

It felt like an update was needed after Jeffery Simmons’ ACL tear and Arizona’s tweet about Josh Rosen being their guy. Usual drill — we always include trades (because why wouldn’t you?) and everything is explained below…

The mock draft

#1 Arizona — Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
#2 Cincinnati (via SF) — Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
#3 New York Jets — Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#4 Oakland — Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
#5 Tampa Bay — Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
#6 New York Giants —- Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
#7 Jacksonville — Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
#8 Detroit — T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
#9 Buffalo — Jawaan Taylor (T, Florida)
#10 Denver — Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
#11 San Francisco (via CIN) — Devin White (LB, LSU)
#12 Green Bay — Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
#13 Miami — Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
#14 Atlanta — Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
#15 Washington — Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
#16 Carolina — Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)
#17 Cleveland — Andre Dillard (T, Washington State)
#18 Minnesota — Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
#19 Tennessee — Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
#20 Pittsburgh — Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
#21 Green Bay (via SEA) —- Jonah Williams (T, Alabama)
#22 Baltimore — Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
#23 Houston — Joejuan Williams (CB, Vanderbilt)
#24 Oakland — Irv Smith Jr (TE, Alabama)
#25 Philadelphia — Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)
#26 Indianapolis — Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
#27 Oakland — Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
#28 LA Chargers — Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
#29 Kansas City — Jaylon Ferguson (EDGE, Louisiana Tech)
#30 Buffalo (via SEA) — Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama)
#31 LA Rams — Garrett Bradbury (C, NC State)
#32 New England — Mack Wilson (LB, Alabama)

Breaking down the picks

#1 Arizona — Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
If they keep the pick they might look for a dominating interior presence to pair with Chandler Jones.

#2 Cincinnati trades up for Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
The Bengals are full of surprises this off-season and make a bold move to change the direction of the franchise.

#3 New York Jets — Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
History repeats for the Jets. Sam Darnold fell to #3 a year ago. Now it’s Bosa.

#4 Oakland — Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
A former #1 national recruit — teams will love Gary’s upside and he’ll go very early.

#5 Tampa Bay — Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
This feels a bit rich for me but Allen’s stock is trending up.

#6 New York Giants — Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
The Giants draft Eli’s heir apparent.

#7 Jacksonville — Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
They’ll likely cut Marcell Dareus and Malik Jackson.

#8 Detroit — T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
Hockenson is the best offensive prospect in the draft after Kyler Murray.

#9 Buffalo — Jawaan Taylor (T, Florida)
A consensus is building that Taylor will be the first tackle off the board.

#10 Denver — Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
Joe Flacco is Alex Smith, Lock is Patrick Mahomes. Well, that’s what they’ll hope.

#11 San Francisco trades down and selects Devin White (LB, LSU)
The Niners get a cornerstone defender and leader.

#12 Green Bay — Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
I’m uncomfortable dropping Ferrell this low but it’s how it played out.

#13 Miami — Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
Reports say the Dolphins are prepared to tank in 2019 and build up the lines.

#14 Atlanta — Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
Ed Oliver is a wonderful talent. But what’s his fit at the next level?

#15 Washington — Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
I’m not sure he’ll go this early but Sweat has a lot of potential.

#16 Carolina — Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)
He’s undersized but flies around and should have a great combine.

#17 Cleveland — Andre Dillard (T, Washington State)
Many believe Dillard to be the best pass-blocking tackle in the draft.

#18 Minnesota — Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
It’s rare to find a player with Ford’s size, great feet and agility.

#19 Tennessee — Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
Polite’s motor never stops and he could go earlier than this.

#20 Pittsburgh — Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
Williams is slightly overrated and will last longer than people think.

#21 Green Bay trades up for Jonah Williams (T, Alabama)
The Packers move up to get a much needed offensive lineman.

#22 Baltimore — Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
Antonio’s cousin lands in the AFC North.

#23 Houston — Joejuan Williams (CB, Vanderbilt)
I’ve not studied him yet but Williams is getting a lot of love.

#24 Oakland — Irv Smith Jr (TE, Alabama)
The Raiders need two things — pass rush and offensive playmakers.

#25 Philadelphia — Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)
He’s the type of defensive linemen they add.

#26 Indianapolis — Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
The Colts need another weapon across from T.Y. Hilton.

#27 Oakland — Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
He’s a bigger version of Percy Harvin just not quite as sudden.

#28 LA Chargers — Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
He likely kicks inside to guard but has a shot at tackle.

#29 Kansas City — Jaylon Ferguson (EDGE, Louisiana Tech)
He didn’t have an amazing Senior Bowl but the raw talent is there.

#30 Buffalo trades up for Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama)
The Bills need to build around Josh Allen.

#31 LA Rams — Garrett Bradbury (C, NC State)
The feeling is Bradbury will go in round one and this is a need for the Rams.

#32 New England — Mack Wilson (LB, Alabama)
We’ll see if the Pats want to pay Dont’a Hightower mega money in 2019.

The trades explained

Cincinnati (#11) trades up with San Francisco (#2) to select Kyler Murray
If the Cardinals aren’t going to take Kyler Murray (and they tweeted as much — how very 2019), there’s little pressure for teams to trade up to #1. They can trade with the Niners — a likely willing dealer. Here the Bengals move on from Andy Dalton and go get their future for the new offensive-minded Head Coach.

Green Bay (#30) trades up with Seattle (#21) to select Jonah Williams
The Packers and Seahawks made a deal a year ago and history repeats here. Green Bay has a need on the offensive line and at defensive end. They address both needs in this mock. The Seahawks are almost certain to trade down from #21.

Buffalo (#40) trades up with Seattle (#30) to select Josh Jacobs
There’s a strong possibility the Seahawks will trade down multiple times with only four picks to spend. The Bills move up ten spots to land Jacobs knowing he wouldn’t last to #40. The two trades net Seattle an extra third, fourth and fifth round pick.

Thoughts on the Seahawks

Nothing has changed from the last mock. They move down twice — which feels possible. I’m not sure they’ll necessarily want to trade down this far (or get the opportunity to) but they need to acquire extra picks and their one real shot at doing that comes with the first pick.

Pete Carroll said he didn’t see any glaring needs and I think that is something to note and remember. This is wide open. They could look at all sorts of options with the top pick — pass rusher, receiver, O-line, linebacker, quarterback. I wouldn’t rule anything out other than cornerback (because it’s the Carroll Seahawks).

It’s been interesting to see L.J. Collier (DE, TCU) receive some top-50 chatter recently. I’m a big fan. He’s tough, physical, wins with speed and power, has fantastic arm length for his height and knows how to make the most of that advantage. He’ll likely need a good combine performance (10-yard split, agility testing) to warrant top-pick consideration for Seattle. Let’s see how he gets on.

Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State) just screams Seahawks. His ability to get open, his willingness to block, his fantastic speed, his ability to compete for the ball and his special teams value tick a lot of boxes.

Will Grier (QB, West Virginia) remains intriguing. His deep-throw quality is a great match for this offense. He has mechanical issues which could cause problems at the next level but as we’ve discussed a lot — the pending Russell Wilson contract saga could encourage them to add a developmental QB (possibly with a high pick).

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford) is a touchdown machine and I’ve not seen a receiver as good as JJAW when it comes to boxing-out a defender to gain position to make a catch. He’s a red-zone terror and can win contested throws. Like a lot of the receivers in this class though he struggles to separate and I’m not sure you can take a prospect early if you’re banking on him being a red-zone threat primarily.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss) is still on the board. His freakish athletic profile might have some appeal but he recently posted a picture on Twitter where he looks far too muscular. A lot of draft analysts have been drooling over Metcalf for months but aside from the prospective testing numbers I’m not sure why. He has way too many focus drops, had most of his success running go-routes, he’s a build-up-speed receiver not a guy who creates separation with a fantastic release and he doesn’t make the most of his size. He’s a developmental receiver who needs time — plus there’s the neck injury that needs checking out. Still, we know Carroll has been looking for a freaky big target for a long time.

If they go O-line is it too early for Chris Lindstrom (G, Boston College) depending on how he tests and whether they’re able to re-sign J.R. Sweezy? Chuma Edoga (T, USC) could be a wildcard considering his sensational Senior Bowl, 5-star recruiting history and major potential. He looks like a rough diamond who needs polishing with star potential.

There are other O-liners too — David Edwards at Wisconsin, Dalton Risner at Kansas State (I’m not a fan this early, later on maybe) and Kaleb McGary at Washington (he really improved his stock in Mobile) to name a few. There’s also defensive talent like D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia), Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama), Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State), Khalen Saunders (DT, Western Illinois) and others.

The combine will give us a much clearer indication on who they might target.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

One sentence per prospect — part two

February 14th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Here’s another 30 prospects summed up in a sentence.

If you missed part one, click here.

Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
There’s a LOT to like — length, physical against the run, terrific looking frame, ability to play EDGE or linebacker and an excellent SPARQ workout (124.17).

N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State)
He’s very good after the catch, he makes spectacular grabs and he can high-point the football but he doesn’t separate and it’s a problem.

Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame)
A converted left tackle with quickness and great size but he drifts in and out of games and there are some character question marks.

Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)
Terrific college speed rusher but he’s rumoured to only weigh about 225-230lbs and that’s not going to work at the next level.

Taylor Rapp (S, Washington)
Rapp has fantastic short-area agility and he packs a punch as a hitter but he lacks top-end speed and is better suited to the big nickel or strong safety.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (CB/S, Florida)
An energetic, bombastic and tough-for-his-size nickel corner or safety who will gamble and take chances but also makes plays.

Deionte Thompson (S, Alabama)
Overrated during the season and simply a reasonable prospect who doesn’t make enough plays and he’ll go in rounds two or three.

Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
He looked like a guard convert at the start of the college season and nothing’s changed.

Mack Wilson (LB, Alabama)
I wanted to like him more than I do but he’s reasonable at everything — coverage, tackling and blitzing.

Johnathan Abram (S, Mississippi State)
Extremely solid and tough and could be the first safety drafted but athletic limitations may keep him out of round one.

Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
Exceptional in pass protection with an ideal frame plus an explosive physical profile.

Preston Williams (WR, Colorado State)
Probably the most talented receiver in the draft but character flags could make him an UDFA.

Kaden Smith (TE, Stanford)
Doesn’t possess T.J. Hockenson’s ‘wow’ factor but he makes difficult catches at every level and can contribute as a blocker.

Kaleb McGary (T, Washington)
Medicals will determine his stock but he was outstanding at the Senior Bowl and his tape is generally good barring the occasional whiff (or two) per game.

Chuma Edoga (T, USC)
A former 5-star recruit who had a tremendous Senior Bowl and, considering his tape is also pretty good, he could be a big time riser by April.

Chris Lindstrom (G, Boston College)
He moves well and he’s a fighter but he’ll need to test well given his lack of great size.

D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
A hernia injury will keep him out of the combine but he shouldn’t be forgotten as an extremely physical and quick EDGE who sets the tone.

Khalen Saunders (DT, Western Illinois)
Saunders has a rare combination of massive size (320lbs) and freakish quickness/athleticism and his upside is enormous.

Gerald Willis III (DT, Miami)
Landon Collins’ brother has the agility (watch for his short shuttle) but lacks size and might have to settle as a situational interior rusher.

Elgton Jenkins (C, Mississippi State)
Jenkins displayed great power and control at the Senior Bowl but he struggles against elite quickness and had a nightmare against Alabama and Quinnen Williams.

Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State)
Physically he has it all (6-5, 300lbs, 4.85 forty, 34.5 inch vertical) but his tape lurches between dominant and out of control.

Dru Samia (G, Oklahoma)
An absolute brute who loves a scrap and plays with genuine intensity at guard.

Kingsley Keke (DT, Texas Tech)
At the Senior Bowl he was impressive and he has the size, length and character but his tape was a bit disappointing.

Daniel Jones (QB, Duke)
There’s some potential here (evidenced by his Clemson tape) but there’s also a lot to make you think he’s more of a developmental QB than a first-round lock.

Zach Allen (DE, Boston College)
During the season he was one of the better defensive ends in college football but his Senior Bowl was a let down and he desperately needs a good combine workout.

David Edwards (T, Wisconsin)
If you want a tough, physical and consistent right tackle — consider drafting David Edwards.

Chase Winovich (EDGE, Michigan)
There might not be a more fun EDGE to watch in college football but it’s hard to see his next-level fit considering his physical profile.

Ben Powers (G, Oklahoma)
He has the size and length and had a really good Senior Bowl so deserves a bit more focus than he’s getting.

Charles Omenihu (EDGE, Texas)
In flashes you see talent and he has the size/length but he’s a level down compared to prospects like L.J. Collier for me.

Jarrett Stidham (QB, Auburn)
He’s got the arm strength but he’s difficult to judge because the Auburn coaches made every call for him and the offense consisted of deep shots and check downs.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Would the Seahawks draft Jeffery Simmons?

February 13th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Jeffery Simmons tore an ACL this week

Yesterday it was revealed Jeffery Simmons has suffered a torn ACL. There’s a strong chance he’ll miss the entire 2019 season.

Simmons already had baggage of course, relating to that video from High School. It was starting to feel, however, that teams were satisfied he’d made amends at Mississippi State and would be a high draft pick.

Now? Who knows.

It’s inevitable Seattle will trade down from #21. If they move into the late first or early second round — I want to reflect on two questions:

1. How likely is it Simmons will be available in that range?

2. Would they draft him?

On the question of whether he’s likely to be available, Lance Zierlein says the people he’s spoken to in the league believe he’ll drop out of the first round.

If teams had reservations about drafting Simmons due to the video, this could be the straw to break the camels back.

On the other hand, other players have had similar or more serious injuries and still remained in round one:

— Cedric Ogbuehi tore his ACL while playing for Texas A&M in a Bowl game on 12th January, 2015. That’s exactly a month earlier than Simmons. He was still the 21st pick in the 2015 draft.

— Todd Gurley tore his ACL in mid-November 2014. He was drafted 10th overall in the 2015 draft.

— Tank Carradine tore his ACL on 25th November, 2012. He was drafted 40th overall in the 2013 draft.

—- Sidney Jones tore an achilles on 11th March, 2017. He was drafted with the 43rd overall pick in the 2017 draft.

— Jaylon Smith suffered a career-threatening knee injury on January 1st, 2016. He was taken with the #34 pick in the 2016 draft.

— Myles Jack dropped from a likely top-10 range after it was discovered his knee could be degenerative. He was taken with the #36 pick in the 2016 draft.

There are a mix of possibilities here. Unfortunately, there’s very little to give us a steer on his possible range.

If a team really likes Simmons — as the Rams did with Gurley in 2015 — he could still be a high pick. His talent certainly warrants that level of faith.

It’s possible he drops out of the top-20 but doesn’t fall much further — as we saw with Ogbuehi.

Or he could drop into the early part of round two as we saw with Smith or Carradine.

It’s practically impossible to say with any confidence which way it could go.

Would the Seahawks draft him?

If they trade down into the #25-40 range and he’s available it’s something they might consider. The thing is, it’s not something they’ve done before.

In the nine drafts operated by Pete Carroll and John Schneider they haven’t spent a single pick on what amounts to an ‘injury redshirt’.

The nearest thing was probably Jesse Williams in 2013. Even then, he dropped to round five due to concerns about his long-term health. He wasn’t recovering from an ACL.

While other teams like Trent Baalke’s 49ers were happy to collect injured players who fell in the draft, the Seahawks looked for immediate competitors. Some of their picks have carried risk — whether that’s character or injury history. But none of their picks were players they knew wouldn’t be able to play football for over a year.

The idea of adding a top-15 talent without needing a top-15 pick is appealing to an extent. The Seahawks are never going to get a player like Simmons when, on average, they have the #24 pick in the Carroll era.

It’s also possible they’ll see his redemption story at Mississippi State and now the need to battle back from a torn ACL as a challenge of character that carries some appeal. This is a guy who has faced a deal of adversity (some self-inflicted). How he deals with that over the coming months could determine whether the Seahawks are willing to spend their first pick on him to spend a year in recovery.

Here’s the other side to this though. Teams intending to contend will see their first pick as an opportunity to add impact. The Seahawks are not miles behind the top teams in the NFL — but they are behind.

They’ll want to close the gap in 2019. Not wait until 2020.

Alternatively a team like the Rams will see a window of opportunity closing in 12 months once they’ve been forced to pay mega-money to Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley. Are they going to want to wait a whole year for their top 2019 pick to take the field? Or are they going to be seeking impact?

Whether you’re at the pinnacle or aiming to reach it — Simmons isn’t helping you for a long time. For that reason, the team that maybe takes him is a side in the midst of a rebuilding operation.

Would the Raiders, for example, be willing to use one of their many high picks to ‘stash’ Simmons — knowing they’re unlikely to be an AFC contender in 2019? Will the Dolphins consider drafting him? Recent reports suggest they’re willing to use this year to rebuild.

You may ask — haven’t you been suggesting the Seahawks might take a quarterback early? Where’s the impact there? Fair question. However — preparing for a possible contract impasse with Russell Wilson is simply smart planning at the most important position in the sport. It’s not particularly comparable.

The idea of a healthy Jeffery Simmons playing in Seattle is attractive. Considering what they’ve done in their previous nine drafts, however, and with a need to try and catch the Rams in the NFC West — I suspect the Seahawks will prefer to draft someone who has a chance to play a role immediately.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

New mock draft: 12th February

February 12th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

This mock draft focuses on two big talking points:

1. The Cardinals being willing to draft Kyler Murray

2. The Raiders trading Derek Carr

I believe the Cardinals should strongly consider taking Murray with the top pick. Yes, they drafted Josh Rosen a year ago. Is anyone convinced he’s the answer? Is he launching the comeback for Arizona? Is he leading you back to the playoffs?

They need to find a star. Until you find him, you keep looking. It’s not often you own the #1 overall pick. Make use of it. Draft the best player at the most important position.

Take Murray and let him compete with Rosen. You can always trade a player down the line. They just hired a coach who thought Murray should be the #1 pick a few months ago. Let them work together. Let your new offensive-minded coach find his guy.

On the Raiders — Jon Gruden is making big changes. He doesn’t seem sold on Derek Carr. The New York Giants might be willing to make a deal for a starter who won’t have growing pains like a rookie. They want to win now. The Raiders want picks. It’s plausible they make a deal involving #6 overall.

That would leave Gruden to add a vastly experienced quarterback to lead his offense. Joe Flacco and Nick Foles are prime candidates here. My money would be on Flacco.

One other quick note. Adam Schefter is reporting that Jeffrey Simmons tore his ACL during training. I’m not sure how this will affect his stock. For now I’m keeping him in the top-15. This could have an impact though.

The mock draft

#1 Arizona — Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
#2 Jacksonville (via SF) — Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
#3 New York Jets — Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#4 Oakland — Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
#5 Tampa Bay — Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
#6 Oakland (via NYG) — Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
#7 San Francisco (via JAX) — Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
#8 Detroit — Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
#9 Buffalo — T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
#10 Denver — Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
#11 Cincinnati — Jeffery Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
#12 Green Bay — Jawaan Taylor (T, Florida)
#13 Miami — Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
#14 Atlanta — Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
#15 Washington — Devin White (LB, LSU)
#16 Carolina — Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)
#17 Cleveland — Andre Dillard (T, Washington State)
#18 Minnesota — Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
#19 Tennessee — Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
#20 Pittsburgh — Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
#21 Green Bay (via SEA) — Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
#22 Baltimore — Jonah Williams (T, Alabama)
#23 Houston — Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
#24 Oakland — D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
#25 Philadelphia — Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
#26 Indianapolis — Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
#27 Oakland — Irv Smith Jr (TE, Alabama)
#28 LA Chargers — Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
#29 Kansas City — Jaylon Ferguson (EDGE, Louisiana Tech)
#30 Buffalo (via SEA) — Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama)
#31 LA Rams — Garrett Bradbury (C, NC State)
#32 New England — Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)

Breaking down the picks

#1 Arizona — Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
Murray is better than Josh Rosen. Trade Rosen or let them compete.

#2 Jacksonville trades up for Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
The Jags cut Bortles and then draft Haskins as the future.

#3 New York Jets — Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
History repeats for the Jets. Sam Darnold fell to #3 a year ago. Now it’s Bosa.

#4 Oakland — Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
The Raiders grab a dominant interior pass rusher.

#5 Tampa Bay — Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
A former #1 national recruit — teams will love Gary’s upside and he’ll go very early.

#6 Oakland trades Derek Carr and selects Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
The Giants spend this pick on Carr, enabling the Raiders to draft a top edge rusher.

#7 San Francisco trades down and selects Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
He needs to get stronger or he’ll be a liability on early downs.

#8 Detroit — Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
A genuine top-10 talent with great character and athleticism.

#9 Buffalo — T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
Hockenson is the best offensive prospect in the draft after Kyler Murray.

#10 Denver — Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
Apparently John Elways is enamoured with Lock’s potential.

#11 Cincinnati — Jeffery Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
The Bengals won’t have any issue drafting Simmons.

#12 Green Bay — Jawaan Taylor (T, Florida)
A consensus is building that Taylor will be the first tackle off the board.

#13 Miami — Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
Reports say the Dolphins are prepared to tank in 2019 and build up the lines.

#14 Atlanta — Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
Ed Oliver is a wonderful talent. But what’s his fit at the next level?

#15 Washington — Devin White (LB, LSU)
White is fast and physical and provides value here.

#16 Carolina — Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)
He’s undersized but flies around and should have a great combine.

#17 Cleveland — Andre Dillard (T, Washington State)
Many believe Dillard to be the best pass-blocking tackle in the draft.

#18 Minnesota — Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
It’s rare to find a player with Ford’s size, great feet and agility.

#19 Tennessee — Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
Polite’s motor never stops and he could go earlier than this.

#20 Pittsburgh — Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
Williams is slightly overrated and will last longer than people think.

#21 Green Bay trades up for Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
The Packers move up to get a much needed pass rusher.

#22 Baltimore — Jonah Williams (T, Alabama)
Williams will likely move inside to guard or center.

#23 Houston — Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
The Texans address their biggest need in round one.

#24 Oakland — D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
The Raiders need two things — pass rush and offensive playmakers.

#25 Philadelphia — Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
Antonio’s cousin could play the DeSean Jackson role.

#26 Indianapolis — Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
The Colts need another weapon across from T.Y. Hilton.

#27 Oakland — Irv Smith Jr (TE, Alabama)
The Raiders add two big targets for their new quarterback (Flacco or Foles).

#28 LA Chargers — Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
He likely kicks inside to guard but has a shot at tackle.

#29 Kansas City — Jaylon Ferguson (EDGE, Louisiana Tech)
He didn’t have an amazing Senior Bowl but the raw talent is there.

#30 Buffalo trades up for Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama)
The Bills need to build around Josh Allen.

#31 LA Rams — Garrett Bradbury (C, NC State)
The feeling is Bradbury will go in round one and this is a need for the Rams.

#32 New England — Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
Campbell would be a fine playmaker in New England.

The trades explained

Jacksonville (#7) trades up with San Francisco (#2) to select Dwayne Haskins
The Niners will clearly want to move down. If someone likes Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray enough, they’ll make a deal. In this scenario the Jags sign a veteran quarterback and then draft a longer term heir.

The New York Giants trade #6 for Derek Carr
The Giants want to win now and see the 27-year-old Carr as a better shot to do that than grooming a rookie. Jon Gruden appears lukewarm on Carr. He makes the trade and then brings in a veteran like Joe Flacco or Nick Foles.

Green Bay (#30) trades up with Seattle (#21) to select Montez Sweat
The Packers and Seahawks made a deal a year ago and history repeats here. Green Bay has a need at tackle and defensive end. They address both needs in this mock. The Seahawks are almost certain to trade down from #21.

Buffalo (#40) trades up with Seattle (#30) to select Josh Jacobs
There’s a strong possibility the Seahawks will trade down multiple times with only four picks to spend. The Bills move up ten spots to land Jacobs knowing he wouldn’t last to #40. The two trades net Seattle an extra third, fourth and fifth round pick.

Thoughts on the Seahawks

Trading down from #21 to #30 and then from #30 to #40 would enable them to acquire several picks to add to the measly four they currently own. They could get a third rounder for swapping picks with the Packers and then a further 4th + 5th for trading with the Bills. That would give the Seahawks three new picks in the middle rounds. That seems like a plausible target for moving down 19 spots.

What they actually do with their first pick is hard to determine. We need a combine and free agency to gain further information. Pete Carroll says they don’t have any big needs and I believe him. I think this is a wide open situation. And while adding to the pass rush will likely be a priority — it might be something they can do in the middle rounds this year (L.J. Collier?) and/or free agency. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be their top pick.

I think the pending Russell Wilson contract saga makes quarterback a strong consideration, in particular Will Grier (a sound fit given his ability to throw deep). Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State) is still on the board and fits the kind of receiver they’ve looked at in the past. There are still several athletic defensive linemen available including Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State) and Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State). There are several appealing offensive line options remaining.

There’s little reason to rule anything out at this stage.

The Seahawks will have options. The combine will provide vital information on who they might like. Free agency will give us a steer on the position they might target.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Thoughts as Kyler Murray commits to football

February 11th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Kyler Murray deserves to be praised.

You might think that, at the age of 21, he should’ve known exactly what he wanted to do with his life at the exact time the NFL dictates (in this case, January 14th — the deadline to declare for the draft).

Clearly Murray wasn’t ready. And who could blame him?

How many people face the decision he had to make? He was a unique case having to handle a crazy dilemma.

Let’s just remember what he had to consider:

1. His football career in college included a short spell at Texas A&M before transferring to Oklahoma, where he would play for one year. He wasn’t a three-year starter. He’s also not close to a prototype for the NFL. Presumably a pro-football career wasn’t a strong consideration — at least as a top draft pick.

2. The Oakland Athletics used the #9 pick on him in the MLB draft and paid him a $4.66m signing bonus. At this point he’s probably certain he’ll be a baseball pro. Everything points in that direction.

3. He has a sensational season at Oklahoma, wins the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and shows off a skill-set that is extremely similar to Patrick Mahomes (the reigning NFL MVP).

4. People begin to talk about him positively as a NFL prospect. Some discuss the possibility of him being a top-10 pick.

5. Murray is left to make a decision. Give back millions of dollars to the A’s, complete a U-turn on his baseball ambitions, hope that NFL teams are willing to invest in him as a 5-9 franchise quarterback and then prepare his mindset to play pro-football.

Anyone would find this a difficult challenge. This isn’t like Russell Wilson — the fifth pick of the 41st round in the 2007 MLB draft with years of starting experience in college football and the time to make a call without a draft deadline approaching or any serious financial ramifications.

Murray was a top-10 pick in baseball. He was guaranteed millions. To go with football he’d be gambling those millions.

He likely declared for the NFL draft in part to buy himself more thinking time. It’s not his fault he hadn’t made a choice by that point.

And then he appeared on the Dan Patrick show. It didn’t go well. He didn’t know how to answer questions about his future. He clearly hadn’t been well advised on how to dodge the questions — or at least present a way to answer the questions without appearing indecisive and secretive.

It wasn’t a good look. He got hammered — in the media, on social media, in forums.

Yet the reaction was so utterly lacking in any kind of sympathy for his dilemma. Instead of mindfulness for this titanic call he had to make, people simply questioned (in a highly aggressive way) his inability to make a life-defining call in a short window of time.

Now he’s made the call. He’s picked football.

All those who criticised Murray can sleep easily, knowing that they can complete their mock drafts without question marks and that any future appearances on the Dan Patrick show will likely be less awkward. Phew. What a relief.

The rest of us can simply be satisfied that Murray has given himself time to make a huge call. Now that he’s picked football, we can look forward to seeing him in the NFL. Because I’m convinced he’s the most talented player in the 2019 draft.

At the turn of the year I wrote the Cardinals should draft him with the #1 pick (I still believe they should). I’ve argued the Seahawks should run to the podium if he was available when they decide to make a pick. It’s strange that so soon after Mahomes entered the league, here’s another player with the same ability to make the improbable possible.

He’s accurate to every level of the field. He can throw downfield with velocity. He can throw with touch. He had the pass of the year against Alabama — throwing a perfect dart from the half-way line to a wide receiver in the end zone, hitting him right in-stride with two defenders in close proximity. And he did it all while on the move to avoid pressure — stepping up into the pocket with almost no back-lift.

Kyler Murray is a truly incredible prospect.

Don’t take my word for it though. Here are Bob McGinn’s sources from within the league:

“I don’t know what you do with a guy that’s 5-9 but he is something special,” said one scout. “He would be a shorter version of Patrick Mahomes (6-2, 225, 4.81). He can be that special. He’d probably run like a 4.4 something. He’s a better football player than Baker Mayfield because he runs so well.

“He can be going full speed left or right and throw the ball the length of the field. I haven’t really broken him down yet because I figure he’s going to play baseball. But you go ‘wow, wow, wow!’ when you watch him. I wouldn’t want to defend him.

“The amazing thing is his arm strength. He’s accurate, too. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Mahomes.”

Operating in the same system under coach Lincoln Riley, Murray posted an outrageous NFL passer rating of 141.5 while rushing for 892 yards (7.3) and 11 touchdowns in 2018 whereas Mayfield compiled a 137.9 rating while rushing for 311 (3.2) and five TDs in 2017.

“He’s a better player than Mayfield,” another scout said. “Is he a better pro prospect? Mayfield (6-0 ½, 215, 4.84) was taller. I think Murray has a stronger arm. He’s Doug Flutie with all the better skills.

“Murray reminds me of Michael Vick. Not that tall. This kid is as explosive or more explosive. He’s got more accuracy and more ability to run a pro team than Vick did early.”

I think he’s a top-10 lock. The decision today to clarify his career intentions should secure that. He could even be the #1 pick — whether that’s to Arizona or another team moving into the top spot.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

35 prospects, one sentence on each

February 9th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Something for the weekend…

(This is not a ranking list it’s just a bunch of thoughts on some players)

Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
The most talented player in the draft and the closest thing to Patrick Mahomes you’ll find in a prospect.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
The second best offensive prospect in this draft class after Kyler Murray.

Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
There are flashes of talent for sure but there are enough moments to make you think — would you really want to stake your future on him?

Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
A complete pass rusher with the ability to start quickly and be a real force.

Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
It almost feels like people have forgotten just how dominant he was in 2019 and at times he was unstoppable.

Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
Just a fantastic player, a clear top-10 talent and it’s an absolute nonsense that people keep mocking him late in the first round.

Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
He’s been destined to be a high pick since High School and he just has a physical profile teams will be willing to gamble on.

Jeffery Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
Simmons’ frame is reminiscent of Ndamukong Suh’s and that’s who he could be at the next level.

Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Ferrell is very talented with good character but when he gets to the combine he’ll need to perform as well as the other top edge rushers in this class.

Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
Like Rashan Gary, the league has been watching Lawrence for a long time and there aren’t many human’s on the planet with his size and athleticism.

Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
He’s a great college pass rusher and you have to like his character and savviness but when you see tight ends handling him in the run game you have to wonder what this top-three pick talk is all about.

Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
You could never doubt Oliver’s effort, physicality and athleticism but it’s really hard to work out what his full-time position is at the next level.

Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)
Bush makes mistakes against the run and won’t be able to be as aggressive as he was for Michigan but extremely fast and physical linebackers like this will go in round one.

Devin White (LB, LSU)
He’s more consistent with less flaws than Devin Bush but ultimately they’re cut from the same cloth.

Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
Polite is a top-20 talent because he combines relentless effort with enough speed and explosion to be a real threat at the next level.

Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
It’s not often you find a prospect with his size and fantastic footwork and agility.

Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
His size and athleticism are plus points but he could be more physical and he needs to track the ball better.

Will Grier (QB, West Virginia)
He has a better arm than some people think and poor mechanics are the reason why he sometimes struggles to generate velocity.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
He might be the biggest boom or bust candidate in this draft because you’ve got to love the rare size and athleticism but there are way too many focus drops, he doesn’t use his size like he should and there’s the neck injury.

Jonah Williams (T, Alabama)
He’s not athletic or long enough to play tackle and I’d have major reservations about his strength and power at guard or center.

L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
He’ll need a strong combine to really propel his stock but Collier is as good as many of the ‘big names’ in this class when it comes to pass rushers.

Irv Smith Jr (TE, Alabama)
Some tight ends are the complete package and others (like Irv Smith Jr) are essentially big slot receivers.

Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
He’s a receiver who can stretch the field, compete for the ball in the air, separate with a quick release, block downfield and provide major special teams value.

Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
Murphy is tough and physical but lacks size and I’d really like to see how he’d fair at safety in the NFL.

Jaylon Ferguson (EDGE, Louisiana Tech)
He has the production and the athleticism but he’s so incredibly raw when it comes to technique.

Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)
He’s in danger of being underrated as a dynamic interior pass rusher who had an excellent 2018 season.

Andre Dillard (T, Washington State)
Dillard doesn’t wow you with size or athleticism but he’s a pillar of consistency and the best pass blocker in this O-line class.

Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
The speed and the length is massively appealing but he needs to have a good combine and prove to teams that his Michigan State exit shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
The nearest thing to Percy Harvin without any of the character problems and an extra 10lbs of muscle.

Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
Antonio’s cousin is incredibly quick and dynamic but I don’t think he’s as sudden as DeSean Jackson (who he’s often compared to).

Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
Built like a runner but has surprising shiftiness and he proved at the Senior Bowl he can get open with a fantastic release.

Rodney Anderson (RB, Oklahoma)
The most talented running back in the draft and if he can stay healthy in the NFL he could be great.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford)
An outstanding red-zone threat with great size but he needs to run well at the combine and show he isn’t going to need to rely on winning jump-balls to succeed.

Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
There’s definitely some potential with Lock and considering he could’ve been a first round pick a year ago it won’t be a shock if he lands in the top-10 this year.

Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama)
He’s really explosive and tough but people need to stop with this top-five pick silliness.

Most talented players in the class?
Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Jeffery Simmons, Christian Wilkins, T.J. Hockenson.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Lance Zierlein publishes 2019 scouting reports

February 7th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Every year NFL.com publishes quite detailed draft profiles for most of the prospects. For the last few years Lance Zierlein has authored these profiles. He does a terrific job and they’re well worth checking out (click here).

I wanted to post some snippets here on some of the players we’ve discussed so far…

D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)

Full profile

Lance says: “While he has the talent to become a full-field threat, Metcalf is still an unpolished gem who was the second-best receiver on his college team. Until his skill-set is more developed, he could begin his career as a hit-or-miss long-ball threat.”

Lance also notes he had too many drops, especially focus drops when working back to the ball. This is something that concerned me watching Metcalf. He is an incredible athlete. He’s basically the prototype for a big receiver. He creates separation downfield which is no mean feat for his size. But his overall game is sloppy at times and he doesn’t make the most of his size. Plus there’s the health concern, even though he was given the all clear from his neck injury to work out at the combine.

I can imagine Pete Carroll being fascinated by his potential though.

Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)

Full profile

Quote from an AFC national scout at the Senior Bowl: “There are some routes here that make me feel like I am looking at a different guy than the one I saw during the year. He looks a lot more refined right now in practice.”

Few players did more to boost their stock in Mobile than McLaurin. He will have a superb combine and test through the roof. He has great character, he blocks and he has special teams value. The Ohio State offense is not attractive. It’s lots of passes into the flat, screens and short stuff — mixed in with a few deep shots. The Buckeye’s also have a wealth of dynamic receivers. It’s not a surprise McLaurin needed the Senior Bowl to show what he can do.

Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)

Full profile

Lance says: “Murray is an electric talent with a live arm, good mental makeup and the skill-set to produce at a high level in the right offense.”

He also has a great quote on Murray, suggesting he’s a “complex burgundy with notes of Baker Mayfield, Johnny Manziel and Russell Wilson in his play.” In the player comparison he chose Wilson for Murray.

Will Grier (QB, West Virginia)

Full profile

Lance says: “Highly organized and known as galvanizing locker room guy… Plays with attacking, downfield mindset.”

He also notes: “He is a confident leader who would much rather press for the big throw than play it safe underneath. His lack of plus arm talent and release quickness might not match his gunslinger mentality against an NFL secondary.”

And there’s this quote from a NFC national scout: “You really like his character makeup and his confidence and the way he throws the deep ball. What you won’t like is that so many of his throws are tied directly to scheme and pre-snap reads. His week at Senior Bowl outside of what he’s used to is going to be big for him.”

T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)

Full profile

Quote from a pro-personnel director for a NFC team: “Freaky athlete. I thought he would go back, but I’m glad he didn’t. I think he will beat Alabama (Irv Smith, Jr.) off the board first.”

Lance compares Hockenson to Travis Kelce. He’s a top-15 lock.

Chris Lindstrom (G, Boston College)

Full profile

Lance says: “Lindstrom is one of the most athletic interior lineman in the 2019 draft with a rare ability to match movement quickness with anyone across from him. His quickness can place him in position to make blocks on both the first and second levels and he has an impressive ability to cover lateral space and protect his gaps as a pass blocker.”

He also compares Lindstrom to Joel Bitonio — a former blog favourite. We’ll see if Lindstrom matches Bitonio’s fine combine from 2014. Was that really five years ago?!

Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State)

Full profile

Lance says: “Enticing prospect offering size, strength and athleticism to entice NFL general managers who covet elite traits over college production. Wren’s play was uneven while aligned on the nose in 2018, but he should benefit from a move to defensive tackle in an odd or even front as a pro. The cheat code in unlocking his ability and production might rest in a team’s ability to correct his hands and feet while improving recognition. With all things considered, “boom or bust” might be an appropriate tag for him.”

It’s highly appropriate. There are snaps where Wren dumps a center on his backside and looks like the Incredible Hulk. There are other plays where he’s too busy, lacks the necessary footwork to simply hold position and do his job and he’ll often become unbalanced and an easy target to block. The athletic potential is enormous but he needs work to harness it.

Gerald Willis (DT, Miami)

Full profile

Quote from an AFC personnel director: “He’s going to have to get that pad level corrected or he’s going to have a hard time staying on the field. He’s either in the backfield or getting knocked around. No in-between with him.”

Willis will test very well in the short shuttle and has excellent agility and short-area quickness. He might be limited to a pass-rushing specialist role at the next level.

Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)

Full profile

Lance says: “Jones is an extremely athletic one-gapping three-technique with the ability to play a disruptive brand of football on all three downs. His potential has never been in doubt, but in 2018 the production finally matched the talent. His body type and playing style will open him up to more feast-or-famine snaps than some of the other defensive tackles in this draft, but in the right scheme, he can become part of a swarm unit that plays on the other side of the ball.”

He’s compared to Nick Fairley. This was a really positive write-up by Lance who credited Jones’ hand-use and athleticism. Jones is actually pretty underrated by a lot of draft pontificators.

L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)

Full profile

Lance says: “Hands are equally violent and sudden… Consistent to contain when run play flows his direction… Strikes with quick extension and lock-out to keep his frame clean.”

Collier has quickly developed into one of my favourite players in the draft. He’s not the biggest or the most athletic but he’s a terror working the edge. He has long arms and knows how to use them, has enough quickness to win outside and the power to bull rush. He had a great Senior Bowl and looked the part.

Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)

Full profile

Lance says: “Long, thin pass-rush specialist who possesses elite get-off and stride length to simply outrun overmatched tackles around the rush arc and into the backfield. Burns’ edge speed and varied rush approach should translate to the league, but his skinny frame and lack of play strength are absolutely concerns moving forward.”

He also notes his “spindly limbs“, a frame that might not be able to carry extra weight, a lack of functional play strength and suggests he will have issues converting speed to power. Burns was an excellent speed rusher in college but there aren’t many 6-5, 227lbs pass rushers in the NFL.

Mack Wilson (LB, Alabama)

Full profile

Quote from an AFC director of college scouting: “He’s big, can run, can cover. He’s got the talent, but I thought he was hot or cold this year. He didn’t improve on last year to me.”

I also felt this watching Wilson. He’s a player you want to like more. I came away thinking — he’s a decent prospect but why don’t I love what I’m seeing?

Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)

Full profile

Lance says: “Long, lean rush backer with above-average athletic traits that could serve him well as a pass rusher. Teams could be a little gun-shy with Miller considering the talent he played alongside and his solo season of production. What will be hard to ignore are his long arms, ability to attack the edge with speed and footwork to manufacture dangerous inside counters.”

I really like Miller. If you want a guy who can provide some value later on as a specialist rusher, this is the type of player I’m looking at. He’ll test well at the combine if he’s healthy (he was injured in the Playoff semi-final). He has the length and a frame that would make a great fit at SAM/LEO.

Marvell Tell (S, USC)

Full profile

Lance says: “Built like a tall cornerback with thin legs and arms… Able to pedal, open and sprint to top speed quickly… Tall, long and athletic… Glides around the field with desired fluidity.”

I just wonder — could he be another corner convert for Seattle?

Johnathan Abram (S, Mississippi State)

Lance says: “Very tough and very competitive… Intimidating striker… Alpha demeanor on the field… Fiery attitude rubs off on his teammates… Good communication skills on the backend.”

He also compares him to Keanu Neal. Personally I think Neal was a fair bit better than Abram entering the league. However, this is a very positive review for the player most likely to be the first safety drafted in 2019. He’s not expected to have a great combine though which could hurt him a little.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Some thoughts on ‘trading down’

February 6th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

A section of Seahawks fans are fed up. They don’t want the team to trade down in the draft every year. The higher you pick, the more exciting it is. That’s just a fact. You’re more likely to get a hyped-up player or someone you know about.

There are three things to consider though…

1. There are never 32 ‘first round grades’ in a draft class and if you’re not picking in the first half of round one you’re unlikely to get a great player

2. For years the Seahawks haven’t picked high enough to get at the top-level talent

3. Elite talent can be found at any point in the draft

For sure they’ve traded out of range for some really good players recently. In 2017 we talked a lot about T.J. Watt. He has 20 sacks in two seasons. Seattle instead traded down multiple times and selected Malik McDowell.

With hindsight, it wasn’t a great idea.

Overall though there’s plenty of sense in the moves they’ve made.

Usually they’ve been able to acquire targeted players after moving down. Paul Richardson, Germain Ifedi and Rashaad Penny all filled specific needs. All could’ve been Seattle’s choice with their native pick. Whether you agreed with their thinking or not — they did what they wanted to do while also collecting extra stock.

They’ve found the sweet spots at different positions. A year ago they traded down from #18 to #27 and still were able to get their pick of the non-Saquon running backs. They didn’t trade out of range for the wide receivers in 2014 and they moved down a few spots in 2012 to get Bruce Irvin — the first pass rusher off the board. Bobby Wagner was acquired after a trade down in round two. Richard Sherman was acquired with a pick collected in a trade. Golden Tate was acquired after swapping picks with the Chargers.

Their average first round pick in the Pete Carroll era is #21. That includes the two picks (#6 and #14) they inherited from the Jim Mora season. Take away those two picks and their average position is #24. The Patriots are probably the only team with an average that comes out later in round one.

If you’re consistently picking in that range or later, a lot of the top prospects will be gone. You’ll be looking at a list of players where the options at your spot likely carry similar grades to the players available in round two.

In 2010 they stayed put and collected Russell Okung and Earl Thomas (wise moves). In 2012 they moved from #12 to #15 before taking the guy they wanted (Irvin). Aside from that they’ve never picked earlier than #18 overall under Carroll.

Had the Seahawks not improbably qualified for the playoffs in 2010 they probably wouldn’t have traded down in the 2011 draft. They would’ve had the #8 pick if they’d lost in week 17 to St. Louis (preventing Beast Quake ever occurring).

In 2011, 12 of the first 16 picks ended up qualifying for the Pro-Bowl in their careers. The group includes:

Cam Newton
Von Miller
Marcell Dareus
A.J. Green
Patrick Peterson
Julio Jones
Aldon Smith
Tyron Smith
JJ Watt
Robert Quinn
Mike Pouncey
Ryan Kerrigan

The only four players not to make a Pro-Bowl in the top half of round one were three over-drafted quarterbacks (Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder) and Nick Fairley (who had a solid career).

In the second half of round one, only four players made a Pro-Bowl (Cam Jordan, Mark Ingram, Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward).

Seattle had the #25 pick that year and selected James Carpenter.

The difference between the two halves of round one is stark and highlights one of the reasons a team perennially picking later on is tempted to trade down.

The Seahawks aren’t the only team either that has identified major talent between rounds 3-7. Here’s a run down of some of the players drafted in that range between 2010-2013:

2010

91 NaVorro Bowman
95 Jimmy Graham
100 Everson Griffen
104 Alterraun Verner
120 Geno Atkins
133 Kam Chancellor
163 Reshad Jones
195 Antonio Brown

2011

70 Justin Houston
71 DeMarco Murray
77 Jurrell Casey
99 KJ Wright
129 Julius Thomas
154 Richard Sherman
180 Tyrod Taylor
191 Jason Kelce

2012

72 Olivier Vernon
75 Russell Wilson
76 Brandon Brooks
88 Nick Foles
89 Akiem Hicks
92 TY Hilton
97 Lamar Miller
102 Kirk Cousins
132 Mike Daniels
137 Malik Jackson
143 Josh Norman
171 Greg Zuerlein
225 JR Sweezy

2013

63 Travis Kelce
65 Larry Warford
69 Tyrann Mathieu
75 Terron Armstead
76 Keenan Allen
85 Jordan Reed
94 Brandon Williams
109 David Bakhtiari
130 Kyle Juszczyk
159 Micah Hyde
168 Ricky Wagner
181 Latavius Murray

Admittedly you’ve got to identify and draft these players. But clearly you can find elite talent even at the key positions (QB, WR, LT, DE, CB) at any stage in the draft.

There’s no right or wrong position to take on this really. Sometimes you’ll trade down and with hindsight wish you hadn’t. Another time you might be able to unearth the next Antonio Brown, Richard Sherman, David Bakhtiari, Geno Atkins, Keenan Allen or Russell Wilson simply because you acquired that extra stock.

The best position to take is probably that of an open mind and to reserve judgement for a good two or three years. After all, a lot of people had started to claim Seattle lost its draft magic after 2012. Yet now we can see their first two picks in 2014 have had good careers (Paul Richardson, Justin Britt). The first two picks in 2015 have developed into blue chip players for the Seahawks (Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett). Their first two picks in 2016 have become a solid 2018 starter (Germain Ifedi) and the best pass-rushing defensive tackle they’ve had in years (Jarran Reed). And in 2017 they added Shaquill Griffin, Chris Carson, David Moore and several others who could emerge as key starters in 2019.

The 2018 class is already showing promise too.

Trading down is inevitable this year with only four picks to spend. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!