Archive for December, 2010

Luck talks Heisman & Draft

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Newton not an All-American? What a joke

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will win the Heisman trophy later today, ahead of Stanford’s Andrew Luck.

Newton is the heart and soul of an unbeaten Auburn team that otherwise would be 6-6. Whilst Luck has had a tremendous year, Newton is everything to Auburn. He’ll win the Heisman and deservedly so.

That’s why I was absolutely stunned to discover he hasn’t been named an All-American by the Football Writers Association.

Kellen Moore (QB, Boise State) took the quarterback position. I have nothing against Moore – he’s had a good year. He’s also playing in a pass-happy offense with a weak schedule and hasn’t led his team to an unbeaten year. Quite frankly it’s ridiculous that Moore has been named ahead of both Newton or Luck.

Just to recap – Newton led the SEC in passer rating and registered 2589 yards with 28 passing TD’s. He also led the SEC in rushing (1409 yards) and added a further 21 TD’s on the ground.

The same huge error won’t be made when the Heisman winner is announced.

Friday links – Newton wins big

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Cam Newton was the big winner at the college football awards – winning the Maxwell and the O’Brien. No surprises that Justin Blackmon won the Biletnikoff or that Patrick Peterson won the Bednarik. Da’Quan Bowers rightly won the Nagurski.

Mocking the draft keep us up to date with Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh) and the will he/won’t he nature of his choice over declaring for the NFL Draft. Baldwin will be available for next April and carries a grade in round two.

Todd McShay takes a look at the key match-ups from the scheduled bowl games. Jake Locker (vs Nebraska) is listed – but Locker also falls to #32 on McShay’s latest rankings. The top three are Luck, Bowers and Fairley.

Mel Kiper provides a podcast discussing the pro-prospects of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett. He also looks at how important it is for young QB’s to be strong mentally when entering the NFL.

NFL Draft Bible is keeping up a tracker on the prospects invited to the Senior Bowl. Not all of these guys will necessarily show up at Mobile, but it’ll be interesting to see if Locker, Christian Ponder and Colin Kaepernick attend.

Rob Rang lists a couple of fast risers that aren’t getting much attention. Brooks Reed (DE, Arizona) is someone I’ve mentioned before and Rang discusses him here. Keep an eye on this pass rusher, he’s an option for Seattle at the LEO position. Curtis Marsh (CB, Utah State) also gets some love.

Walter Cherepinsky takes a look at the 2012 draft. He has Matt Barkley (QB, USC) going first overall. He will be the favorite to be the top pick going into the 2011 college football season. The Seahawks pick in the top ten here – let’s hope that isn’t the case after the ’11 season.

Draft Breakdown provide excellent video highlights of prospects. This link takes you to Jake Locker vs Arizona State and the match-up between Gabe Carimi and Cameron Heyward.

Kiper & McShay on Julio Jones and QB’s

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Updated mock draft: 7th December

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This week’s updated mock draft is now available. To see the latest projection simply click here or select ‘Mock Draft’ from the title bar.

Despite Sunday’s win over Carolina, I still have the St. Louis Rams winning the NFC West and therefore picking 21st overall. The Seahawks would own the 14th overall pick if the season ended today.

It was possibly the most challenging projection I’ve had to make for the Seahawks this year.

The top three quarterbacks were off the board, as were the top three corner’s. The two best WR’s and DT’s had been taken as had the best five-technique.

The best player left on the board was Robert Quinn – a player who’s not featured at all in 2010 who would play a position Seattle has adequatly filled this year with a journeyman scheme fit.

I gave strong consideration to Brandon Harris and Stephen Paea, but in the end went in a completely different direction.

It came back to the position I feel remains Seattle’s biggest draft need – quarterback.

I didn’t include Jake Locker in my last two first round projections due to serious concerns I have with his accuracy as a passer.

However, we’ve seen quarterbacks drafted in round one with similar issues in the past and we’ll see it happen again.

Just look at last year – Tim Tebow wasn’t very accurate. He also needed a complete re-work of his mechanics. His selection by Denver in round one was largely reliant on intangibles, work ethic, athleticism and attitude.

Locker’s issues with accuracy cannot be ignored. However – his similar work habits, great character and incredible athleticism will interest some teams in the first round.

By putting him back in round one this week, it doesn’t mean I necessarily think Locker deserves that grade or that he’ll be able to overcome his shortfalls in the NFL. It merely shows that it’ll only take one team to keep him in the high/mid first round.

I still maintain that the Seahawks are as likely as anyone to be ‘that’ team. He fits the scheme, the character criteria and the mobility. For those wondering if accuracy problems will put off John Schneider and Pete Carroll – a lot of Locker’s issues are similar to those owned by a certain Charle Whitehurst.

That didn’t stop the new regime making a bold move to trade for the former Clemson QB.

I’ve paired Seattle and Locker in the past and didn’t necessarily intend to bring it back to the table this soon. However – there’s no getting away from the situation. That much is obvious now.

However poorly Locker may have played at times this year – he will remain a possible top-20 pick. He will always remain a probable choice by the Seattle Seahawks given the opportunity, especially if they pick in the range expressed in this latest mock.

Nebraska re-match offers Locker more than redemption

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Locker - back in the mock tomorrow

On the 18th September, Jake Locker’s draft stock took a major hit.

Nebraska 56-21 Washington.

Locker: 4/20 passing for 71 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

This wasn’t the first time a team or a quarterback had been smothered by Nebraska’s ferocious defense. It won’t be the last. However – this day did a lot to shift Jake Locker from potential #1 overall draft pick in 2011 to border line first rounder.

It wasn’t all on Locker. Washington’s offensive line – not unusually – struggled under heavy pressure. Receivers couldn’t get open and Nebraska’s offense couldn’t stop scoring. We also saw what concerns scouts the most about Locker – decision making, a lack of poise and accuracy.

His first pick was made under no pressure – a deep ball thrown foolishly into double coverage. His second was a bad decision – a forced throw returned for six points.

It’s not a game that stands alone on the 2010 schedule. Locker struggled badly against Stanford (7/14 for 64 yards and two pick) and UCLA (10/21 for 68 yards and one pick). All three games happened under the national gaze and only one (vs UCLA) ended in victory.

Locker and Washington did enough to get to 6-6 – which seemed unlikely a few weeks ago. Now they get a shot at redemption when they face 10-3 Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

The game doesn’t take place until December 30th. There’s plenty of time to prepare, rest and plot a road to a much improved performance. Nebraska aren’t the force Washington experienced in September and have lost significant momentum in three defeats when an unbeaten season appeared attainable.

It’s Locker’s last chance to put a solid game on tape against a good defense. A platform to grasp needed momentum ahead of a busy period of work outs, combines and interviews.

I’ve left Locker out of my last two first round mock drafts. He’ll return tomorrow in my latest update. That’s not because of anything witnessed in Saturday’s Apple Cup victory over Washington State. It’s merely because – when all is said and done – this is a quarterback league.

You look at the character, the physical qualities, the mobility and the potential – they are the plus points. He wouldn’t be the first quarterback in the history of the draft to be taken early despite serious accuracy problems. There are enough teams in need of a quarterback to guarantee all four of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and Locker an early exit on draft day.

The last quarterback who divided opinion so much was the guy losing to Seattle on Sunday – Jimmy Clausen.

Some commended his numbers and his experience of a ‘pro-style’ offense under Charlie Weiss. He tumbled deep into round two and I see a situation where he’s not even on Carolina’s roster next year.

Harsh, but a possibility. The Panthers will make major changes to their franchise in the off season and will draft Andrew Luck given the opportunity.

There are significant differences between Clausen and Locker. In Notre Dame’s offense it was all high percentage, low risk throws. A funky release and below-average arm never leant itself to a high first round pick. Then you throw in talk of character concerns.

Locker’s release, physical qualities and character are far superior to Clausen. The ceiling is much higher. Much more is asked of Locker in Washington’s system than ever was of Clausen – who was throwing to Michael Floyd and Golden Tate. Both prospects experienced play behind a sub-standard offensive line.

The accuracy issues with Locker are a concern for his pro-prospects and may prove to be his downfall. That’s the risk one team will take. I do not see, however, reason to believe (as of today) that they’ll lead to a similar fall that Clausen experienced.

Return to action

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I’ve just got home after a day of travelling – and immediately sat down to watch Seattle’s win over Carolina on Gamepass. Apologies for the lack of notice on a quiet weekend for the blog. The internet connection was down at the hotel so I couldn’t get the message out. I’ve got lots of games saved up to get through from the last three weekends to make up for it.

Guest Blogger: making a case for the defense

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

By Glen Peer
The Seattle defense is giving up 33.6 pts in the last five game and if you take the Arizona win out, it balloons to 37.5 pts against in the losses.  Two of those losses came with assistance from the vaunted 12th man. 

Embarrassing numbers when you really look at them. 

I have been internally debating which position is of greatest need next year in the draft in my opinion.  The most logical answer I can come up with is ‘Best Player Available’.  This team has entirely too many needs not only for starters but also for depth.  However, I think that after looking at the last five weeks the defensive side of the ball has to be the number one priority addressed this off-season…whether it’s Free Agency or the Draft.

The Seahawks have been down 13, 18, & 7 pts going in to the 4th quarter (I excluded the Giants game which was essentially over before the 1st quarter ended) in the most recent stretch of losses.  It’s clear that the defenses’ inability to get off the field on 3rd down, especially against the Saints & Chiefs (combined 22-32 or 68.8%), wore the entire unit down and rendered them useless for the final 15 minutes.  I will also agree with the argument that the offenses inability to sustain any drives in the first half adds to the pressure the defense is under.  

I attribute that mostly to a lack of offensive line consistency and talent so making offensive line priority number two I am in complete agreement with.

When healthy our starting line of Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, and Chris Clemons was very stout bolstering the second best run defense in the league and top 5 in sacks through 7 weeks with 26.5.  Three of those four have missed at least three games since week six. Bryant is out for the season, and it appears Cole is still at least a week or two away from returning.

Certainly there was a healthy rotation before injury’s that allowed Brock, Terrill, Siavii & Balmer opportunities to spell the starters, but they have not been the force the starters were now that they are seeing significantly increased roles. 

Our starting line allowed Aaron Curry, Lawyer Milloy, Roy Lewis and others free releases to the quarterback on passing downs and ate up enough blocks to allow the linebackers to stay free on run plays to get to the ball carrier.  There has been virtually no pass rush lately and the linebackers for the most part have to deal with offensive tackles and guards getting to them during run plays.

The inability to generate a pass rush with the backups has allowed competent quarterbacks the time to allow WRs to get open and expose our secondary. My initial reaction was, “we need to upgrade this secondary before we consider anything else.”  However, I don’t believe if we had Nnamdi Asomugha, and Darrelle Revis playing cornerback for us right now our secondary would be significantly better.

Quarterbacks are going to find an open receiver when they do not have consistent pressure in their face and can wait until a WR gets open to make a throw no matter who is defending the receiver 1 on 1.

Coach Carroll and John Schneider had a great first off season and need to keep it going whenever this season ends. Until we know what they do in free agency, its hard to speculate what the draft day needs will be.  If pass rush is addressed via Free Agency then certainly OL, WR, & most importantly QB step to the front of the line (my thoughts on a QB early too to come at a later date).  However if a rookie pass rusher comes in via the draft we all need to keep perspective that rookie pass rusher’s typically do not produce in their first 2-3 years (check out the links below for some more on that). 

At worst, by making the defensive line the top priority we should see a reduction in embarrassing losses.