Archive for April, 2011
I contacted the source today that I’ve used many times in the past for draft information, including last week’s Seahawks inside view. He was kind of enough to offer some last minute thoughts hours before the draft.
– Ryan Mallett isn’t just off the Seahawks draft board, he’s sinking in a big way. Apparently he won’t be taken until the mid second round at the earliest. The source was quite adamant about this.
– The desire is still very strong to trade down from #25 and they will consider 2012 compensation. If no deal is forthcoming it’s probably going to be about value. Who falls, if anyone? Is a Prince Amukamara or Jimmy Smith sitting there? Has Mike Pouncey squeezed past the teams in that 19-23 region? Do they roll the dice on Da’Quan Bowers if he drops? The Seahawks are hunting for value.
– I’m told it’s likely Seattle will favor offensive lineman if they can’t move down. This is based upon what is expected to happen and who will be available. This can change quickly, but it’s worth considering the guys Kip reviewed a few days ago. Right tackle may be an option and purely from my own opinion, I wonder if you can include Danny Watkins, Rodney Hudson or James Carpenter in the debate too? That’s not from the source, just a hunch.
– Do not expect Andy Dalton to be drafted at #25. The words used to describe the possibility of that happening were very negative. I understand there’s a big drop off between Dalton (#3 on the teams quarterback board) and the top two – an unnamed player at #1 and Colin Kaepernick at #2.
– Speaking of Kaepernick, I believe there’s still a chance he goes at #25 especially if quarterbacks leave the board quickly. I think they want to draft a quarterback but on their terms and preferably after trading down. They are high on his talents. They also won’t ignore better value at a different position if it’s staring them in the face. Even so, if you’re someone who wants the team to draft a QB early you need to back the guy from Nevada.
The latest Seahawks Draft Blog podcast the night before the draft:
Posted by Kip Earlywine
On the eve of the draft, like Rob did earlier today, I’d like to get some thoughts out there about a few players I think will be or should be highly considered in days one and two of the draft. You can see the rest after the jump.
The 2011 draft is fast approaching, so it’s time for my final mock draft. I’ve entered the projection into ‘The Huddle Report’s’ mock draft contest this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how it measures up. I’ve always tried to make the mock’s a little different and look more at possibilities rather than towing the line, so there are a few surprises in this final mock. More on that in a moment.
First of all I’d like to thank everyone who has visited the blog, whether you’ve been here from day one in 2008 or maybe just discovered us over the last few days. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate your time, feedback and involvement.
Tomorrow I will open a live chat on the blog from 4:30pm PST and this will take place throughout the first round. I hope you will visit and take part, it’s a way to get everyone discussing the picks and I’ll offer a thought on each selection as it comes in. Leading up to the live chat I’ll have a new podcast on the blog and will also have all the last minute coverage before Carolina is officially on the clock.
Today is your last opportunity to win a copy of Paul Allen’s new book ‘Idea Man’. All you need to do is email me a mock draft to firstname.lastname@example.org and the five most accurate projections will win a book. For more information, click here.
So, what about that mock draft?
After the fold there’s an extended thought on each pick. (more…)
It’s the eve of the draft, so I wanted to offer some predictions and thoughts based around what I’ve heard about the possible direction the Seahawks will take.
Last year the left tackle position was a main target area. We saw that with the drafting of Russell Okung with the 6th overall pick. It really came down to whoever was remaining between Eric Berry, Trent Williams and Okung. Had Berry been there at #6, he would almost certainly have been the choice, but the Seahawks would have tried to get a left tackle at #14. By adding Earl Thomas to pair with Okung, Seattle was able to address the two places on the roster they most desired.
This year I get the feeling there’s a much more open feel about things. Perhaps there is a slight leaning towards the quarterback position, but they’re certainly not going to reach to fill the need. What it means is there’s likely to be a handful of players they’re prepared to take at #25 in a best player available scenario. Mike Pouncey, the offensive guard from Florida, is one of those players. The Seahawks don’t expect he’ll make it to their pick, because he’s a legitimate option for Miami as early as the #15 overall pick. There are a cluster of teams including New York, Tampa Bay and Kansas City who should ensure he’s off the board before Indianapolis pick at #22.
Jimmy Smith is likely to be another player in that situation. Despite a lot of negativity about his character, the guy is a top-ten talent physically. The Seahawks won’t be the only team to have him higher than Prince Amukamara on their draft board, but again it isn’t likely that either make it to #25. Should that be the case, I think they’ll waste little time handing in the pick.
I’ve no further information on who else they’d be prepared to take at #25 and feel absolutely satisfied. Perhaps they look at a Muhammed Wilkerson (DE, Temple) and see defensive line depth and a Red Bryant clone? Maybe the lack of height on Brandon Harris (CB, Miami) will be less of an issue for the Seahawks given his strong open field tackling ability? Despite my opposition towards spending a high pick on a right tackle – a position easier to fill than most without spending expensive draft stock – I have no information as to their thoughts on a Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin), Nate Solder (OT, Colorado) or Derek Sherrod (OT, Miss. State). Is Jabaal Sheard (DE, Pittsburgh) an option?
The player you can label as a wildcard is Mark Ingram. One member of the Seahawks offensive coaching staff (who joined the team during this off season) loves the guy and has been making a case for the Alabama prospect to be drafted (if available) at #25. I understand that the front office don’t share that enthusiasm for the pick considering the needs elsewhere on the team and the current depth at running back on Seattle’s roster. You do wonder, however, if there is a situation where Ingram is the best player available and they pull the trigger. What if they can’t move down? What if he’s clearly graded much higher than the next available player? It’s perhaps an unlikely scenario, but there is no way I’m ruling out Ingram.
Don’t expect Ryan Mallett, Adrian Clayborn, Stephen Paea, Marcus Cannon, Marvin Austin or Phil Taylor to be the choice. These are all players Seattle has expressed interest in and feel positive about, but for scheme purposes or other undefined reasons, they are not likely to be drafted by Seattle. In the case of Mallett, the Seahawks see his lack of mobility as enough of an issue not to include him on their board.
Depending on what offers are available, the Seahawks will look to trade down. The guy to keep an eye on is Colin Kaepernick, because I understand he’s had consensus approval among the Seahawks draft room. He is the #2 quarterback on Seattle’s board, with #1 remaining unknown, although I would predict it’s Jake Locker. When the Huskies quarterback is drafted by Washington in the top ten, it’ll leave Seattle contemplating their options. Do they like Kaepernick enough to avoid risking missing out on day two of the draft? With seven picks after the #25 on Thursday, teams could well move up to target the Nevada quarterback. New England own the first pick of day two and rest assured they will be fielding calls for the pick with the Patriots only currently owning five picks in 2012.
If they are not committed to Kaepernick, they may be willing to accept any deal to move down with offers as low as an extra 4th or 5th rounder touted. Ideally, they want that 3rd round pick back they spent on Charlie Whitehurst. It’s going to be very interesting to see how they play this if the Pouncey’s and Smith’s are off the board and whether they’d actually commit a first round pick to a guy like Kaepernick. It could happen.
Yesterday we had information about Carson Palmer potentially landing in Seattle down the line. Make no mistake, drafting a guy like Kaepernick doesn’t impact that at all. Whether it’s Palmer or Matt Hasselbeck starting in 2011, the idea will be that in two years time they want to hand over the keys to a guy they have developed. It would be a perfect scenario to train up Kaepernick behind the veteran, ready to start in the future. It’s a lot of stock placed in one position, particularly if you include the Whitehurst deal. Even so, we’re talking about the most important position in football here, it warrants this much attention.
Players to keep an eye on in round one at #25 or after a small trade down the board:
Confirmed: Mike Pouncey, Jimmy Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Mark Ingram
Speculation: Jake Locker, Jabaal Sheard, Muhammed Wilkerson, Prince Amukamara
Late round prospects to watch:
Confirmed: Lee Ziemba (OT, Auburn), DeMarcus Van Dyke (CB, Miami), Curtis Marsh (CB, Utah State), Jeff Tarpinian (LB, Iowa)
Later tonight I will publish my final mock draft for 2011…
So stay tuned!
Posted by Kip Earlywine
Unlike last year when I found an investigative piece on Alex Gibbs and broke it down for the Seahawks in the 2010 draft, there really isn’t that much information out there about Tom Cable’s offensive line evaluation philosophy. Further, I really can’t say with 100% certainty that offensive linemen acquired by Oakland where players of Cable’s liking, or moreso that of obsessive compulsive owner Al Davis. Cable is a reputed disciple of sorts to Alex Gibbs, so some of the things Gibbs mentions in the article linked above may also apply to Cable.* To get a better idea of the kind of players he could be looking at, I wanted to see if there are any commonalities in some of the players who played under Cable in Oakland. I’m sure that in Seattle at least, the front office will value Cable’s opinion, and supposedly, the offensive line will be one of the major points of interest for our franchise this draft and offseason.
*I can tell you right now though, without even finishing this article, that size is not one of those commonalities. Cable likes bigger lineman and that’s well known.
Let me get started by pointing out that by all accounts I could find, Oakland hasn’t had a great offensive line in Cable’s time with the team, not even last year when the Raiders sported a top ten offense. I don’t think that is a blow against Tom Cable’s reputation to evaluate talent though, because Oakland didn’t really get serious about adding to the offensive line until just last season. Cable joined the Raiders in 2007, and for those three drafts before 2010 the Raiders had only drafted one offensive lineman: Mario Henderson at the very end of the 3rd round in 2007. People thought Tim Ruskell ignored the offensive line, but he was far more vigilant in that area than Al Davis was during Cable’s tenure.
Some notable players who played for Cable in Oakland: Khalif Barnes, Robert Gallery, Samson Satele, Jared Veldheer, Bruce Campbell, Langston Walker, Cooper Carlisle, Mario Henderson and Daniel Loper. That’s not an exhaustive list, but it covers most if not all of the lineman who played for Cable in 2010 and includes lineman acquired by Oakland during Cable’s tenure there.
Khalif Barnes is a former Washington Husky. I remember watching him many years ago and remember hearing a lot of praise for him in the press, and while I appreciated his effort and quality, I remember thinking he was just okay and not all that great. I was surprised to see the Jaguars select him in the 1st round, and bitterly disappointed to later hear statistical analysis that rated him among the worst left tackles in the NFL a few years ago. Barnes was signed by Oakland two years back. He’s suited up for 22 games since then, starting in 5. He has played both tackle and guard. He’s 6’5″, 325 lbs- prototypical size for a tackle in any offense. He is still with the Raiders to my knowledge.
Robert Gallery is a former epic bust (short arms) at left tackle who was drafted 2nd overall. He’s since moved to guard, where his arms have been less of an issue. Cable was not present when the Raiders drafted Gallery, but I bring him up because Cable deserves credit for diagnosing Gallery correctly and turning him from a terrible tackle into a pretty good guard. Gallery is 6’7″, 325 lbs…. extremely tall for a guard.
Samson Satele was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the 60th overall pick in 2007- Cable’s first year with the team as offensive line coach (Cable became head coach in 2008). Satele started all 16 games as a rookie and made the all rookie team. By the sound of it, you’d think Satele was a promising player, and yet the Dolphins traded Satele just two years after drafting him for a 6th rounder and a swapping 4th rounders. Cable was head coach when the deal happened and probably had a hand in that trade. In 4 years, Satele has an impressive 59 starts out of 64 possible. He’s currently a free agent. Satele was briefly benched for Veldheer at center for just 1 game before getting his job back for the rest of the year. Satele is 6’3″, 300 lbs.
Jared Veldheer was a behemoth tackle prospect from a division II school. Some of you might remember him as he was a popular prospect among Seahawks fans. I was never a big fan of his, because his height was way too much for an Alex Gibbs tackle, much less a guard, and he had short arms which foretold a very awkward future in the NFL. Based on height and arms, you could say he was a similar prospect to Robert Gallery. Veldheer played quite a bit of left tackle last year as a rookie, and reviews I read for him said he was “ok” but would need to move to right tackle or inside long term. In an eyebrow raising move, Cable benched Satele at center in favor of Veldheer. That move lasted only 1 game, probably because Cable realized just how insane the idea of a center as tall as Veldheer is. Veldheer is 6’8″, 315 lbs.
Bruce Campbell was one of my favorite offensive line prospects from last year, and had the pick been mine to make, I would have rushed to the podium for him at #60. He has some issues to work out, and his health risk was high, but purely in terms of measurables, he was at least arguably the best prospect in the whole draft. No other offensive lineman, perhaps no other player period, dominated the 2010 NFL combine the way Campbell did. It was impressive enough that many believed (including myself) that Al Davis could make Campbell a top 10 pick. Well, they did draft him, in the 4th round, and from what I’ve read about Campbell’s 2010 season, he has a very bright future ahead of him, but at right guard instead of left tackle. Campbell is 6’6″, 315 lbs.
Langston Walker is an astonishingly massive tackle who was drafted by Oakland in 2002, then later left after signing a $25 million contract with the Bills, then returned after the Bills waived Walker two years later, apparently for contract reasons. Walker played fairly well for Buffalo at right tackle, but Buffalo believed they could find better value elsewhere. A free agent, Oakland snatched Walker up on a 1 year deal in 2009 and signed him to a contract extension in 2010. Reports about his 2nd stint in Oakland have been fairly positive. Walker is 6’8″, 365 lbs.
Some of you might remember Cooper Carlisle. Back in 2007, Seattle was known to be in the market for a guard like Kris Dielman, and Carlisle, a veteran free agent guard out of Denver, was seen as a solid backup plan. Though Carlisle was in contact with Seahawks fans and seemed more than happy to come here, Tim Ruskell never extended the olive branch. Which is just as well, because Carlisle signed with Oakland not long after Cable had arrived there, and Carlisle basically became late-career Chris Gray 2.0: a guy that almost never missed a start, but consistency played at a fringe NFL level and made a living getting pushed into the backfield. Carlisle is currently a free agent and may have played his last NFL snap. Carlisle is 6’5″, 295 lbs.
Mario Henderson weighed an unbelievable 375 lbs. as a freshman… in high school! He began his football career the next year. Henderson has since slimmed down considerably, to 300, which is very light for a man of his build. Henderson was the aforementioned only offensive line draft choice given to Tom Cable in Oakland before 2010. Henderson basically sat out his rookie season, but in the 3 years since, he’s had 28 starts, mostly at tackle, which isn’t bad for a mid round pick. Last month, Henderson did his Raider thing and was busted for carrying a concealed firearm. Henderson is 6’8″, 300 lbs.
Daniel Loper was drafted as a tackle by the Titans in the 5th round, and somehow managed to stick around for the full 4 years of his rookie contract without ever making a single start. He was eventually signed by the Raiders in 2010, Cable’s last season with the team. Loper started only 4 games at guard for the Raiders, but from what I’ve read, he appears to have a future with them. Loper is 6’6″, 320 lbs.
Tom Cable had one year in the NFL before Oakland, coaching the Falcons’ offensive line in 2006. The Falcon’s drafted one lineman that year, Quinn Ojinnaka in the 5th round. Ojinnaka is 6’5″, 295 lbs.
Having looked over this list of players, and assuming for the sake of argument that Tom Cable played at least a small role in acquiring or developing each one of them, there is one feature that really stands out: height. With the exception of Satele, every lineman on this list is at least 6’5″, and there are a very high number of lineman with listed heights of 6’7″ and 6’8″. Another thing that stood out to me is how lightweight some of those players were. The taller players are more naturally disposed to have higher weight, so whenever you see a guy listed at 6’8″, 300 lbs. like Mario Henderson, its a pretty safe bet that the guy doesn’t look like a butterball. Langston Walker, who is the same height and plays the same position, weighs 65 lbs. more than Henderson does. 6’6″ is usually considered fringe height in the NFL, especially by Alex Gibbs. If you are taller than that, its no longer a positive because it effects your versatility since guards and centers need to be short enough for the quarterback to see over. And yet 6 of these 10 players measure 6’6″ or above.
Low weight is another common feature. With the exception of Walker, who was signed on a 1 year deal as a free agent when Cable was there and had previous ties to Al Davis, the heaviest lineman on this list is 325 lbs, which is close to prototypical weight for a player who’s 6’5″ and above. 300 lbs. is often considered a minimum weight for most evaluators when it comes to being an NFL lineman, and yet 4 of the 10 players on this list weigh 300 lbs or less, which is even more amazing considering how tall these players are.
When Alex Gibbs was briefly running the show here, it was expected that he’d favor Max Unger over Chris Spencer since Unger had the look of a pure zone blocking center. But as it turns out, Gibbs was true to his word about never playing a center over 6’3″ (Unger is 6’5″, Spencer is 6’3″). Gibbs endorsed Spencer so emphatically that I assumed it was a smoke screen. But as it turned out, Spencer was really his favorite at center and he started there all year long, having a very solid season. Since then, Seattle has shown nothing but apathy towards retaining free agent Chris Spencer and at this rate I doubt he’ll be back with the team. Why would they do that? Well, even though I’m not personally a fan of this idea, the only logical explanation is that they really like Max Unger and think he’s the future at center. And looking at this list of players, its very easy to see why. Unger is 6’5″, and the history of 6’5″ centers is both short and bleak. But that’s not a deterrent for Cable, who last year briefly started a center 3 inches taller than that. Unger is also a light 305 lbs for his height, and perhaps more than any other player on the entire Seahawks roster, he fits Cable’s profile of tall but skinny.
Though I personally believe Spencer to be a pretty good center and Unger to be (in limited looks) a pretty bad one who gets pushed back way too much, I think it would be a massive upset at this point if Unger isn’t the team’s starting center from day one next season.
Possible 2011 draft targets?
Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo is generally considered the 2nd best tackle prospect in the entire draft after Tyron Smith, and probably won’t reach the #25 pick. But if he does, regardless about how Rob or I feel about the guy (I have no opinion), he will be viewed as a value pick if the Seahawks take him #25. The Seahawks have named offensive line as a major priority so taking a tackle at #25 is certainly in play whether any of us like it or not. Castonzo fits Cable’s size preference perfectly. He’s 6’7″, 313 lbs.
Gabe Carimi. Carimi is more of a road grader type and Rob hasn’t made it much of a secret that he has huge reservations about this guy. Still, Seattle is hoping to upgrade the running game and needs a right tackle, and Wisconsin has a very good track record with NFL offensive lineman, and strictly along those criteria, you can expect Seattle to be a big fan of his. Oh and guess what? He’s 6’7″, 314. If you’re not a fan of Carimi, it might be best to prepare yourself a little bit.
Derrick Sherrod. If Seattle takes a tackle with its first pick, Sherrod gets my vote. He’s more capable of playing the left side in a pinch than the two guys above and is a really solid all-around prospect. He’s 6’6″, 311 lbs.
Nate Solder. I am not the biggest fan of Nate Solder (I wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole), but I bet you Tom Cable is. Every time I saw Solder play he looked completely, embarrassingly hopeless in pass protection but was a steamroller in the running game- a much more extreme version of Gabe Carimi. If Solder is there at #25 and a high profile quarterback is not, I would almost guarantee the Seahawks select him. Solder is 6’8″, 307 lbs.
Joseph Barksdale. Barksdale has long been a favorite of mine. Barksdale’s listed height and weight (6’5″, 325 lbs.) is comparable to that of Khalif Barnes, Daniel Loper, and Robert Gallery. Barksdale previously fit the mold of the tall-skinny lineman in 2009, weighing in right around 300 lbs. before adding a ton of weight last year. I don’t think Seattle will draft Barksdale though, because as good as he is, he’s more of a finesse player who’s strength is technique and pass protection. Everything I’ve seen so far leads me to believe Seattle will pursue road-grader types. I expect Barksdale to go in round 3 or 4.
Lee Ziemba. We already know Seattle is interested in this guy. He fits the parameters too. 6’6″, 317 lbs. Mid rounder.
Derek Hall. 6’5″, 307. Played for an outstanding Stanford line. Late rounder.
Derek Newton. Newton is tall (6’5″), skinny-ish (314) , and has short arms (33″), something Cable is forgiving of. He’s also a very good athlete. Late rounder.
There are quite a few more players I could list in this category, but they are likely to be undrafted.
Mike Pouncey. 6’5″, 303. A spinning, car leaping slam dunk if he’s there at #25 (I doubt it). Top 15-20 pick.
Clint Boling. A highly regarded 2nd round guard who’s been known to interest the Raiders among other teams. 6’5″, 310 lbs. Second rounder.
Marcus Cannon. Cannon has been scratched off Seattle’s board, but its not because of his profile. He was recently diagnosed with cancer, and though it is believed to be non-life threating, it will require chemotherapy and several months of rehabilitation. This could and probably will knock Cannon down every team’s boards substantially, and don’t be surprised if the Seahawks change their minds in the final rounds should Cannon still be there. He could make sense as a late round flier and turn into a huge bargain if he recovers. 6’6″, 348 lbs. Draft stock unknown.
Orlando Franklin. Franklin looks just “ok” to me, and I wouldn’t feel that great about taking him until the 4th or 5th round. But still, he’s experienced and can probably eat up a lot of starts in the NFL. 6’6″, 319 lbs. Round 2-4 prospect.
Zach Hurd. 6’7″, 316 lbs. Experienced and decorated starter with solid athleticism. Late rounder.
Kristofer O’Dowd. O’Dowd played for Pete Carroll at USC and has received a lot of fanfare from draftniks last year. He had a horrible senior bowl though, and is probably a mid to late rounder at this stage. 6’4″, 304 lbs.
I don’t think Seattle will draft a center before the late rounds, if at all. I suspect they have high hopes, misguided or not, for Max Unger and its also possible that the team re-signs Chris Spencer or pursues free agent center Sam Satele. O’Dowd is the only center with a decent shot of getting drafted by Seattle in my view, unless you think of Mike Pouncey as a center.
John Schneider began the conference by thanking the team’s area scouts, coaches and of course Pete Carroll. The pair then rejected the opportunity to discuss the lockout for obvious legal reasons.
Carroll said he’d try to address, “a little bit of everything” during the off season and again stressed his desire to get better up front on both sides of the ball. He also admitted it would be a best player available approach with the 25th overall pick.
Clare Farnsworth asked how this year’s draft compared to 2010 for Pete Carroll, who said there was “a lot of familiarity” with players due to his background at USC, but also stated that would wear off after a couple more years. Danny O’Neil asked about the quarterback situation, with Carroll offering a stock answer without hints towards their approach during the draft. When pressed on his views on the QB class, he said that there are a number of guys who are “capable” with a “wide range of styles“.
Carroll on Jake Locker and his chances of staying in Seattle: “We have to go ahead and take the opportunity as it comes (at #25), if that ever came together it would be fun (for the community).”
Carroll on the offense: “The philosophy doesn’t change. We wanted to run the ball better and be more effective up front… I haven’t changed my thought on it at all. Hopefully you’ll see us be more effective up front. It won’t vary much in appearance.”
Once again, it’s a sign that rather than a proposed revolution to a more orthodox west coast offense, in reality the Seahawks’ changes to the offensive coaching staff is simply about greater execution. This is Carroll’s vision, his production. He’s simply switched the guys directing the film.
Does Carroll have an ideal type of quarterback? “We want a guy who can manage the offense, very understanding of the system. We’ve always liked a quarterback who can move, it fits into our style. We’re not talking about a pure runner, but a guy who can get out of the pocket.” That backs up my information from last week that suggested Ryan Mallett was not in the Seahawks’ draft plans.
John Schneider admitted he’d rather ‘groom’ a rookie quarterback than just start a young player. Carroll backed up the view and used the word ‘nuturing’ alongside ‘competition’. This would lend weight towards the suggestion that Colin Kaepernick is a target, potentially sitting behind Matt Hasselbeck or Carson Palmer during his first two years with the team.
“Medical, pyschological, backgrounds, choice of ice-cream” – some of the things according to John Schneider that go into grading a prospect. He also said it ‘depends’ on who’s available at #25 as to whether it’d be disappointing not to pull off a trade down the board on Thursday. He also joked several times about arranged draft parties for the first round, again expressing his obvious desire to move down the board.
Carroll: “We’re in the infancy stages of putting this programme together, but we made some headway. The basic approach is to come together and make us a better football team. I think we can build, we have a nucleus of guys so let’s build on it.”
“We relied too much on Red (Bryant) last year and found him to be unique.” – Pete Carroll hints at a five technique addition at some point.
I’ve been tweeting about this subject, so might as well put it in writing. The Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals have been in regular contact regarding a deal that will bring quarterback Carson Palmer to Seattle.
Of course, nothing can be completed because free agency is yet to begin. As the NFL anticipates a ruling on whether the lockout will be ended and we get closer to possibly seeing the league year open, this deal could pick up momentum.
The rules of free agency would likely mimic those we saw in 2010, meaning no cap and an elite-8 rule which severely restricts the ability of the final eight playoff teams to sign free agents. The Seahawks in qualifying for the divisional round will not be able to sign other team’s free agents until they lose their own players.
Should Matt Hasselbeck sign for another team, that would open up the possibiltiy of adding another key player at a different position. This may be why the Seahawks have shown significant interest in Palmer, as there are no restrictions on trades.
I understand initially the Seahawks and Bengals agreed on a first round pick as the price for Palmer during early discussions at the end of the season. This was before the CBA expired and based around this year’s 25th overall pick.
Things changed significantly when the Seahawks approached Cincinnati about getting a ‘better deal’ for a younger quarterback, possibly Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb. The Bengals stance on trading Palmer also softened when they came to terms with the fact he would not change his mind about retirement. Mike Brown is known for doing things his way and never giving an inch. However, it seems that he might be willing to embrace the need for a fresh start. Palmer will retire if he doesn’t get a trade and Cincinnati will be left empty handed.
Another side issue is the possibility the Bengals block a trade, then draft someone like Blaine Gabbert fourth overall or even a player in round two. Having been prevented a trade, what stops Palmer turning up for training camp and getting paid? The usually thrifty Bengals would be paying two quarterbacks a top tier salary.
The agreed price is now a late round pick, believed to be a 5th rounder. A second conditional pick would be included which could rise to a 3rd rounder depending on performance (eg, Palmer is named to the Pro Bowl or playoff wins).
That’s quite a come down from the originally agreed first round pick. However, it’s not unrealistic when you consider the financial implications for Cincinnati if they block a trade. I understand the bargain price has also been dictated somewhat by Palmer’s insistence on only negotiating with Seattle. He has family in the pacific northwest and intends to move there whether he is granted a trade or not. I also believe the move is already in progress.
Things can change quickly, but Palmer starting as the Seahawks quarterback next year is a very real prospect. He is prepared to renegotiate his contract, stressing quality of life over money.
This doesn’t mean there’s no chance Matt Hasselbeck returns to the team. I was told by the same source that issued information on the draft last week that there remains mutual interest between the two parties in arranging a deal for two more years. However, Palmer is four years younger than Hasselbeck, has history with Pete Carroll and receiver Mike Williams at USC and has outperformed Hasselbeck statistically in recent seasons.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Palmer or Hasselbeck will start for the Seahawks in 2011 if the season takes place amid litigation chaos. The team has a strong interest in drafting Colin Kaepernick and one other unnamed quarterback. Andy Dalton is the third QB on their board. If they do choose to take a quarterback early on Thursday or Friday, it’ll be a commitment to the younger quarterback potentially taking over the starting role in two years time. That would be a perfect situation for a player like Kaepernick, having worked exclusively out of the pistol offense in Nevada.
The information was discussed in depth on ESPN 710 during the Brock and Salk Show:
During the 2010 college football season I tallied statistics from all of the top quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and defenders and listed the results in the prospect tracker. You can find the numbers in the new menu bar under the title ‘prospects‘.
I chose the players I expected to get the most attention on draft day, so it’s quite telling that I decided against adding Andy Dalton. Whenever I watched TCU in 2009 or 2010 I never saw him as anything more than late round fodder and a career backup. Depending on who you believe, he might have a chance to go in round two on Friday and I understand he’s the third quarterback on Seattle’s draft board. Either I made a major error in grading Dalton, or he’s seriously over rated.
Using the prospect tracker I wanted to compare the performance of Colin Kaepernick, who I believe is receiving serious interest from the pacific north west. The stats are based on regular season performances only, so they don’t account for a 192-yard, one touchdown performance against Boston College in the Kraft ‘Fight Hunger’ Bowl.
Despite opting not to declare for the 2011 draft, I kept Andrew Luck’s name on the list if only for the basis of a comparison. After all, this is the poster boy for college football at the moment and the man everyone expects to be the #1 overall pick next year. His numbers at Stanford in 2011 were very impressive, yet distinctly similar to Colin Kaepernick’s.
Luck went 245/349 passing for the season with an excelent 70% completion rate. Kaepernick wasn’t far behind, going 213/326 for a 65% completion rate.
Very little separated each players yards-per-attempt (8.9 to 8.7 in favor of Luck). Kaepernick had 2830 passing yards compared to Luck’s 3051. Both players threw seven interceptions, but Luck recorded seven more passing touchdowns. To compensate, Kaepernick’s running ability in Nevada’s pistol offense generated 1184 yards and an eye catching 20 touchdowns compared to Luck’s 438 yards and three scores. Of course, Luck ran a very different offense where his mobility and sneaky athleticism was merely a bonus and Kaepernick’s rushing qualities were a focal point for the Wolfpack.
Numbers only tell one side of the story of course, because using pure statistics you’d find it hard to seperate the pair. I’m not trying to say in this article that the two are on an equal footing, something I’m sure Colin Kaepernick – being a humble individual – would accept himself. Kaepernick will not be the first overall pick this year even if he does find a home in round one. Luck’s throwing mechanics are uniquely perfect for a college quarterback and he has some experience of pre-snap reads and adjustments, although a lot of those appeared to be scripted.
Level of competition also has to be taken into account. Kaepernick did beat Boise State, California, Fresno State and Boston College but Nevada’s schedule was also padded out with Eastern Washington, Idaho, Louisiana Tech and Utah State. Stanford negotiated the PAC-10 with some style, only losing to eventual BCS Championship runners-up Oregon on the road.
One thing the numbers do back up is Kaepernick’s elusiveness. He was sacked just ten times in 2010, which is a lot less than other mobile quarterbacks such as Jake Locker (19), Cam Newton (23), Blaine Gabbert (23) and Christian Ponder (23). Again though, you have to wonder about level of competition considering Andy Dalton’s eight sacks at TCU running a similarly weaker schedule. Andrew Luck was sacked an incredible six times, testament not only to his ability to get the ball out quickly but also to Stanford’s superb offensive line.
It is interesting to see that Kaepernick had a better completion percentage than both Locker and Gabbert, significantly so in Locker’s case. Again this perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story as Kaepernick was never faced with an almost impossible situation against Stanford and Nebraska, although performances such as Locker’s against UCLA proved he wasn’t entirely blameless. Another interesting note on Gabbert is that his 62% completion rate came despite throwing more passes (418) than anyone other than Nathan Enderle (478). Gabbert also had the lowest number of touchdowns (15).
Looking at Kaepernick’s previous years at Nevada also hints toward some level of development as a passer. He took less sacks, significantly improved his completion percentage (he averaged in the mid-50’s before 2010) and maintained a low turn over ratio, throwing just 24 interceptions in four years of starting football.
On the face of it the numbers are very impressive and you want to see that development, particularly as a senior. It’s one of the criticisms labelled at Jake Locker who would almost certainly, in my opinion, have been the fourth overall pick last year to Washington. His inability to pass in the 60% range – whatever the reason – gave ammunition to the critics. Statistics can be manipulated in both a positive and negative way and rest assured had Locker been a 60-65% passer, even if the performance wasn’t ultimately much better, people would’ve spoken about him in a more favorable manner. It’s really only a 3% improvement in terms of completions, which is nothing.
Kaepernick did make that jump and the team who ultimately drafts him this week will hope that it’s just the start of further development as a passer, because that is how he’ll be successful at the next level.