Archive for April, 2013

Day two review: Seahawks take Christine Michael & Jordan Hill

Friday, April 26th, 2013

When push comes to shove, you just can’t beat an impact player.

It seems that’s what the Seahawks are hoping to get from their first two picks in the 2013 Draft — running back Christine Michael (Texas A&M) and Jordan Hill (DT, Penn State).

Although the selection of a running back that early will be a surprise to many, Michael completely fits the criteria for a Seahawks pick.

1. They want to emphasise the run as the main identity of the offense.

2. Ever since Marshawn Lynch signed his contract extension, I’m led to believe there’s been a feeling within the team that they need to find ways to extend his productivity. Lynch is such an important focal point with his punishing running style. The key here is to find someone who can spell Lynch (who does get banged up from time to time as you’d expect) without taking away any of the intensity he brings to the offense.

3. Pete Carroll regularly stock-piled 5-star running backs at USC. It’s no surprise they’ve started looking to add to their stable of backs. I don’t think the idea was ever been to just have one bell-cow and that’s it. Maybe other priorities took precedent the last two years, but they’re now in a position to start accumulating talent at the position.

4. Michael fits the team’s scheme and ideology perfectly. He’s a one-cut runner with superb balance. He gets up to top speed quickly, rarely goes down under first contact and has the potential to make big plays.

5. His best football is ahead of him. The Seahawks are not scared of a project. They aren’t afraid to take a player who’s suffered two serious injuries, fell out with his college coach and overslept at the combine, missing two team interviews. They’re constantly looking for what a player can become with the right guidance rather than what he isn’t. Michael could — could — be a star.

On Thursday I ranked Christine Michael as the 17th best player in the entire draft and the #1 running back. I appreciate my rankings are no more important than anyone else’s. However, we did spend a fair amount of time discussing the possibility he could come into play for this team in round two. And while there were needs elsewhere, this does make a lot of sense.

They didn’t just draft a #3 running back today. They drafted a guy who will ensure the team has a prolific runner on the field at all times. With the greatest respect to Robert Turbin, he doesn’t have the same level of upside or intensity as a runner. The big biceps look intimidating, but it’s power in the legs, vision and the ability to make a great cut that will lead you to success in this offense. Michael ticks all the boxes. Turbin still has a role, but he’s more likely to adopt the #3 position now. It’ll be a fun competition between the two this off-season.

Seattle was going to find it difficult to make a tangible improvement to the team without a round one pick this year. By taking Michael, they managed it anyway. There was a lot of talent at other positions on the board, however. It’ll be interesting to watch Arthur Brown’s career in Baltimore, given the Ravens traded with Seattle to get the Kansas State linebacker. They also passed on Travis Kelce, Larry Warford and Keenan Allen.

Jordan Hill is another player we focused on at various times this off-season. I actually went away from him when I saw reported interest in multiple big free agent defensive tackles. They were looking at 6-5+ guys who were all well over 300lbs. They eventually signed Tony McDaniel and I wondered if they’d look for even more size in the draft. The intrigue with Hill never disappeared, however. And I’m glad he’s a Seahawk.

You’re talking about a guy who played at around 290lbs last year at 6-1 and yet completely held his own against much bigger lineman. He’s a tough guy, a fighter. But don’t start thinking he’s purely physical. He has some moves. He has burst. And he can get into the backfield.

The best example of this was his performance against Wisconsin. He dominated, quite frankly, against the hulking group of 6-6 monsters the Badgers consistently field in the trenches. That’s when you start to believe that he can do this in the NFL.

He could be over-matched and we’ll only find out when he gets started in the pro’s. Again, he’s not a big guy. Yet he’s beaten the odds so far to become a major factor for Penn State and the way he led that defense in the face of adversity last year was admirable. You’ll want to root for him. And he’s the nearest thing Seattle has to a three-technique, even if he spent a lot of time at the one in college.

The Seahawks have ten picks tomorrow including one in round four and three in round five. Considering the talent still available and the success they’ve had in the later rounds so far, that’s an enticing prospect.


49ers hit a home run
They were always likely to have one of the best drafts due to the sheer number of picks they own, but credit to the Niners for their work so far. Eric Reid, Tank Carradine, Vance McDonald and Corey Lemonier is a formidable looking quartet. I think the Jets have had the best draft so far, followed by Baltimore. San Francisco is a close third. On McDonald — it makes you wonder if that would’ve been Seattle’s pick at #56. The Niners traded above the Seahawks, after all. I guess we’ll never know.

What’s going on with Barkley and Nassib?
I’m a big fan of Matt Barkley. Others like Ryan Nassib. I don’t think many expected they’d both last until round four. Need isn’t exactly strong at the position this year (a rarity) but it’s still surprising to see both players hang around this far. Neither should last long tomorrow. A fourth round salary is fantastic for a good backup and both players will have trade value in the future if they succeed in spot duty. Tyler Wilson is also yet to be drafted.

Other big names remain available
Here’s a collection of names who remain available: Quinton Patton, Jonathan Franklin, Khaseem Greene, John Simon, Sanders Commings, Ryan Swope, Marcus Lattimore, Jesse Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Baccari Rambo, Denard Robinson, Jordan Mills, Alex Okafor. When you get to this stage, you start to question why some of the big names are still on the board. Are there injury or character concerns for example? Did the media misjudge these players? Did we? It wouldn’t surprise me if we start to see smaller school prospects and a few obscure names leave the board before some of these players. Yet it’s a good example of the value that remains available going into day three.

Bills rolling the dice
No team is taking more chances it seems than Buffalo. They draft a quarterback with all the physical tools you’d ever want, but in college it seemed like he needed to know where he was going with the ball pre-snap and he never really improvised. They draft Kiko Alonso, a guy chosen to be an aggressive athlete on defense but who comes with his own question marks. They go for pure speed with Marquise Goodwin, but he didn’t look like a natural receiver on tape. You’ve got to love the Robert Woods pick, but overall they’ve gone for difference-making athleticism. If it works, it’ll be an exciting offense to watch. But there’s quite a lot of boom or bust here.

Ravens always get it done
The Matt Elam pick at the end of round one last night was terrific value. To get Arthur Brown today is incredible. They consistently make great picks within that organisation. It’s incredible, inspirational. The year that they finally move on from Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, they maybe just drafted their replacements for the next decade. Ozzie Newsome is a genius and that’s why they’re the Super Bowl Champions.

Seattle’s remaining picks:

Round four – #26
Round five – #5, #25, #32
Round six – #26, #31
Round seven – #14, #25, #35, #36

Best eight players on the board?

#1 Matt Barkley QB
#2 Khaseem Greene LB
#3 Quinton Patton WR
#4 John Simon DE
#5 Sanders Commings CB
#6 Ryan Swope WR
#7 Jesse Williams DT
#8 Baccari Rambo S

Some other names to keep an eye on: Nick Kasa (TE), Denard Robinson (RB), Luke Marquardt (T), Duke Williams (S), Stefan Charles (DT), Michael Williams (TE), Russell Shepard (WR/CB), B.J. Daniels (QB), Kyle Juszczyk (FB), David Quessenberry (T), Reid Fragel (T), David Bakhtiari (T), Jordan Mills (T), Xavier Nixon (T), Philip Thomas (S), Ryan Otten (TE),

LIVE BLOG! 2013 NFL Draft rounds 2-3

Friday, April 26th, 2013

The Seahawks have drafted Christine Michael, running back out of Texas A&M, with the #62 pick. They drafted Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill at #87.

Right, change of plan. Cover it Live have stopped running their free service. Who knew? It was only allowing 50 people into the room instead of the thousands we’ve had the last two years. I checked the cost and it’s not cheap. So I’m going to have to cancel that portion of the LIVE BLOG. Instead I’ll update the picks on here with commentary. Please use the comments section for reaction. Not ideal.

#33 Jacksonville Jaguars select Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
The Jaguars start things off with a functional safety. This is a pure Gus Bradley pick. And a smart one. Grade: B

Tennessee trades up to #34, San Francisco moves down to #40

#34 Tennessee Titans select Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
The Titans move up to get a receiver for Jake Locker. Hunter is inconsistent with some upside. Can you rely on him? Grade: B-

#35 Philadelphia Eagles select Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
This is great value for the Eagles. Chip Kelly knows all about Ertz. Grade: A

**Contract news** Following on from the Packers re-signing Aaron Rodgers earlier today, reports are emerging that Cincinnati has agreed terms with tackle Andre Smith.

#36 Detroit Lions select Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State)
They needed a corner and had the pick of the bunch. Slay is fast but much less physical than Johnthan Banks. I prefer Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Grade: C+

#37 Cincinnati Bengals select Gio Bernard (RB, North Carolina)
I like Bernard. They picked him over Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin. Grade: B-

San Diego trades up to #38, Arizona moves down to #45

#38 San Diego Chargers select Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
So Te’o finally leaves the board. San Diego trades up to get him, while only spending a 4th rounder to make the move. It’s a nice fit for their defense. Grade: B

#39 New York Jets select Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
There you go. The Jets are killing the draft. Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson and Geno Smith. Superb. Grade: A+

#40 San Francisco 49ers select Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State)
If he’s healthy, this is a dangerous pick. Very low gamble at #40. Adds another dimension to the pass rush for the Niners. They turned Alex Smith into a Tank. Grade: A

#41 Buffalo Bills select Robert Woods (WR, USC)
Great pick for the Bills. Woods is incredible value here. They needed to get a weapon for E.J. Manuel. Grade: A+

#42 Oakland Raiders select Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
This guy is from England, so all power to him. But he was just announced as ‘Men Lick, Washington’. Grade: B-

#43 Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
Do the Buccs realise they also have to field an offense, plus a defensive line? It’s all going on the secondary. Grade: C-

Players still available: Eddie Lacy, Arthur Brown, Keenan Allen, Margus Hunt, Matt Barkley, Jamar Taylor, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Terron Armstead, Khaseem Greene, Jesse Williams, Christine Michael.

#44 Carolina Panthers select Kawann Short (DT, Purdue)
Wow. They had a need at tackle, but they picked up Star Lotulelei yesterday. I always liked Short, but struggled to find a fit. His first NFL game? Vs Seattle. Grade: B-

#45 Arizona Cardinals select Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
He’s not a pass rusher but this is a solid pick here. Ten more players to go before Seattle is on the clock. Grade: B-

#46 Buffalo Bills select Kiko Alonso (LB, Oregon)
I know some people love this guy, but I’m not sold here. For me there were better players available like Arthur Brown. Grade: D+

#47 Dallas Cowboys select Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
Solid pick-up for the Cowboys. They’re relying on Monte Kiffin to work with what he has. Grade: B+

Eight picks to go. Arthur Brown, Khaseem Greene, Sio Moore all still available if Seattle wants to go linebacker. Terron Armstead is still there. Jesse Williams is still there. Lot’s of talent for the #56 pick.

#48 Pittsburgh Steelers select Le’Veon Bell (RB, Michigan State)
Wow. Eddie Lacy’s terrible off-season is having a big impact. Bell is the first power back off the board. Grade: C

#49 New York Giants select Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
Big tackle with a sloppy build. Needs to get in better shape to max out his talent. Grade: C+

#50 Chicago Bears select Jon Bostic (LB, Florida)
Another shocker. I had Bostic as a sleeper for the Seahawks and I liked his upside. The shock is the other linebackers who remain on the board. Grade: C+

#51 Washington Redskins select David Amerson (CB, NC State)
Another player off the board I had no interest in for Seattle. Nice size/speed. Awful tape. Grade: D

#52 New England select Jamie Collins (LB, Southern Miss)
What was Kevin Faulk wearing? Good pass rusher but hit and miss tape. Grade: C+

#53 Cincinnati Bengals select Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
Surprised they didn’t go linebacker here. I like the pick, they have a lot of pass rushing options. If they didn’t have a rank average quarterback they’d be a definite Super Bowl contender. Grade: B+

#54 Miami Dolphins select Jamar Taylor (CB, Boise State)
Good player who was late to the part in terms of hype. The Dolphins needed a corner badly. Grade: B+

San Francisco trades ABOVE THE SEAHAWKS, swaps picks with Green Bay!

In 2010, two teams moved ahead of Seattle to draft running backs. I remember at the time wondering if the Seahawks would’ve taken Ben Tate or Montario Hardesty had the Texans and Browns not moved up. Have the Niners moved above the Seahawks to specifically target a certain player?

#55 San Francisco selects Vance McDonald (TE, Rice)
So, were the Seahawks targeting McDonald? He’s an athletic, joker-stile tight end. But he did not look a natural catcher. The tape was bog standard. Grade: C

The Seahawks move the #56 to the Ravens for the #62 pick, the #165 pick (round five) and the #199 pick (round six).

#56 Baltimore Ravens select Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
The Seahawks pass up the chance to take Arthur Brown themselvs, and Baltimore makes another great pick. Every year. Ozzie Newsome. You are the king. Grade: A+

#57 Houston Texas select D.J. Swearinger (S, South Carolina)
Talented safety. Smart choice, emphasising the value late in the second. Grade: B+

Players still available: Eddie Lacy, Keenan Allen, Matt Barkley, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Terron Armstead, Khaseem Greene, Jesse Williams, Christine Michael.

#58 Denver Broncos select Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin)
Love this pick. Underrated player. More of a playmaker than you think. Eddie Lacy is sinking big time. Grade: B

#59 New England select Aaron Dobson (WR, Marshall)
The third most productive receiver for Marshall in 2012. Grade: D

#60 Atlanta Falcons select Robert Alford (CB, SE Louisiana)
I think there are better corners available, but a lot of people like this guy. Two corners so far for the Falcons. Grade: C+

#61 Green Bay Packers select Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
Great value for the Packers here. This is no gamble. Grade: A-


#62 Seattle Seahawks select Christine Michael (RB, Texas A&M)


For the last couple of weeks we narrowed down the options at #56 and considered Quinton Patton, Khaseem Greene and Christine Michael as the three most likely players to target. As it turns out, all three were available. And the Seahawks drafted Michael.

Pete Carroll stock piled running backs at USC. This shouldn’t be a surprise. This will help keep Marshawn Lynch effective, it will maintain a relentless running game and provide some kick-return relief for Percy Harvin.

I’ll have more thoughts on the pick and the choice in round three later, but to get a player of this talent at #62 is another great job by this front office. An impact player.

There’s still some incredible value heading into round three. And with ten picks on day three, maybe the Seahawks do look to move up here?


#63 Kansas City select Travis Kelce (TE, Cincinnati)
Character concerns, but athletic and should have a quick impact in KC. Grade: B+

#64 Jacksonville select Dwayne Gratz (CB, Connecticut)
The Jaguars are rebuilding their secondary. I can’t believe Wreh-Wilson is still available. Grade B

#65 Detriot Lions select Larry Warford (G, Kentucky)
Fantastic value here. A home run pick. Grade: A

#66 Oakland Raiders select Sio Moore (LB, Connecticut)
I prefer Khaseem Greene. But I’m not in the Raiders war room. Grade: B-

#67 Philadelphia Eagles select Bennie Logan (DT, LSU)
I’m not a fan of Logan and I’m not sure how he fits into the 3-4. Grade: D

#68 Cleveland Browns select Leon McFadden (CB, San Diego State)
Apparently this is the 2013th draft. Who knew? Grade: C

#69 Arizona Cardinals select Tyrann Mathieu (CB, LSU)
So there we go. Good for him that Patrick Peterson is also in Arizona. He stayed with his family to get away from the trouble in Louisiana. Grade: C

#70 Tennessee Titans select Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, Connecticut)
Great pick. He fell. The Titans benefit. Grade: A-

#71 St. Louis Rams select T.J. McDonald (S, USC)
The Rams needed to get a safety. I like McDonald and he suffered last year playing in a defense that had no idea how to deal with speed. Grade: B-

Players still available: Keenan Allen, Matt Barkley, Terron Armstead, Khaseem Greene, Jesse Williams, Quinton Patton. I feel bad for Matt Barkley right now.

#72 New York Jets select Brian Winters (G, Kent State)
Great pick. There was talk he could go in the second. Again, kudos to the Jets. If they get Chris Ivory… Grade: A

#73 Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Mike Glennon (QB, NC State)
I can’t believe Matt Barkley is still available. A lot of others will be surprised Ryan Nassib is too. This puts Josh Freeman on notice. Grade: C

#74 Dallas Cowboys select Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor)
Pure body catcher. Not as fast as advertised. Suits the Dallas offense but needs to improve catching technique.

#75 New Orleans select Terron Armstead (T, Arkansas Pine-Bluff)
Great pick. They had a need at tackle. You can’t ignore his upside in this range. Grade: A

In case anyone cares, I had Christine Michael as the 17th best player in the draft and the #1 running back. You can see the full list here.

Here’s area scout Matt Berry discussing the Michael pick:

#76 San Diego Chargers select Keenan Allen (WR, California)
It was only a matter of time. They needed a receiver like this. Grade: B+

#77 Miami Dolphins select Dallas Thomas (G, Tennessee)
Great choice. Thomas is too good to go in this range, considering who went in the first two rounds. He can play tackle or guard. Grade: A

#78 Buffalo Bills select Marquise Goodwin (WR, Texas)
I’m a big Robert Woods guy, but I hate the other picks made by Buffalo. It’s like they’re taking this whole read-option thing too seriously. Grade: D

#79 Pittsburgh Steelers select Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State)
The Steelers and Ravens just ‘get it’. Awesome pick. Grade: A+

#80 Dallas Cowboys select J.J. Wilcox (S, Georgia Southern)
I’m surprised they left it this late to get a safety. Grade: C+

#81 New York Giants select Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
Expected him to go in round three. Worth the risk here. Grade: C

New Orleans trades up to #82, swapping picks with the Chicago Bears

#82 New Orleans select John Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
They’re switching to the 3-4. Credit to the Saints, they’re filling big needs. Grade: B

#83 New England select Logan Ryan (CB, Rutgers)
The best Patriots pick so far in my opinion. Grade: B

#84 Cincinnati Bengals select Shawn Williams (S, Georgia)
When you can get a safety as good as this in round three, it’s understandable why they waited. Grade: A-

#85 Washington Redskins select Jordan Reed (TE, Florida)
A nice get for the Skins here. Mobile and will constantly look for ways to get open when the QB is on the move. Grade: B

#86 Indianapolis Colts select Hugh Thornton (G, Illinois)
Nope, I don’t know anything about him either. Grade: C


#87 Seattle Seahawks select Jordan Hill (DT, Penn State)
There’s your answer at defensive tackle. AND — a pure three technique. Loved him on tape and another guy we’ve talked about. Flashes some Geno Atkins.

#88 San Francisco 49ers select Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
Hard to argue with this. Amazing value for the 49ers. Grade: A

#89 Houston Texas select Brennan Williams (T, North Carolina)
The value in this range is pretty stunning. Grade: A

#90 Denver Broncos select Kayvon Webster (CB, USF)
I’m stumped, not watched the guy. Grade: N/A

#91 New England Patriots select Duron Harmon (S, Rutgers)
I’m surprised Khaseem Greene is hanging around. Smart pick. Grade: B

#92 St. Louis Rams select Steadman Bailey (WR, West Virginia)
So Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey are reunited in St. Louis. Now I’m scared. Grade: A+

#93 Miami Dolphins select Will Davis (CB, Utah State)
This guy did a great job against Quinton Patton, who remains on the board. Grade: B+

#94 Baltimore Ravens select Brandon Williams (DT, Missouri Southern)
Big body but hard to judge on the tape that was available. Grade: C

Jordan Hill speaks to the media after being picked by Seattle:

#95 Houston Texans select Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
About where he was expected to go. Character concerns killed his stock.

#96 Kansas City select Knile Davis (RB, Arkansas)
Loved his 2010 tape. Fumbles an issue. What’s the issue with Jonathan Franklin? Grade: B

#97 Tennessee Titans select Zaviar Gooden (LB, Missouri)
And that’s that. The end of day two. Grade: C-

Again, apologies for the lack of Cover it Live coverage. We’d done it for the last two years. Would’ve been great to do it again. But they want money. I’ll have a post on the blog shortly reviewing day two.

Day two preview

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Is Christine Michael too dynamic to pass up?

This is going to be a pretty frustrating day for Seahawks fans. At least to start with.

While the first round of the draft offered marginal value in the top 15-20, the second round looks fairly deep. Not that my own ‘board’ is any kind of benchmark, but six of the top twenty players are still available. Thirteen of the top-32 are still hanging around.

On face value that looks great. The assumption is Seattle will get a pretty good player at #56. And you know what? They probably will. But the frustrating part will be checking off all the players that don’t make it to #56.

Some of the bigger names will fall early. That’s to be expected. It’s when you start getting into the late 40’s and more modest — albeit attractive — names start to disappear. It’s when the Green Bay Packers draft that guy you really wanted one pick before Seattle that the frustration will kick in. It’ll be a difficult watch right up until the #56 pick. And then they’ll make the choice and you’ll probably feel better about yourself. So at least there’s that.

Will they move up or down? I’m not so sure. Falling back into round three for the sake of an extra pick or two seems relatively unnecessary with ten picks already stashed. They’ve also shown a lack of interest in moving up in the past.

I’ve seen it suggested a few times that ten rookies won’t make the team this year, so why not move up? That’s all well and good, but it kind of misses the point. The object isn’t to narrow your options by making less picks and therefore gambling on fewer players. It’s to continue to breed competition. Seahawks fans need to be ready for more 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th round guys getting cut before they even face a snap. It’ll probably happen. But keeping your picks and spreading your net wide is also more likely to uncover the next Richard Sherman or Kam Chancellor.

So what happens in round two?

A lot of people expect a run on cornerbacks. It could start straight off the bat with Jacksonville at #33 and follow into San Francisco at #34, Philadelphia at #35 and Detroit at #36. They probably don’t all go corner, but supply meets demand here. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Jamar Taylor, Darius Slay, Johnthan Banks and maybe others could go quickly.

Nobody moved into the late first to take a quarterback, so it’ll be interesting to see where Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib and others fall. Again, Jacksonville at #33 and Philadelphia at #35 are possible landing spots. You can’t rule out the Jets taking a quarterback at #39. Tampa Bay are a wild card at #43 given their lack of enthusiasm over contract talks with Josh Freeman.

No running backs went in the first frame so will we see a little run there? Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Franklin and Christine Michael could leave the board within the top half of round two.

All of this could be good news for Seattle, at least initially, if it forces others down the board. But waiting to #56 is such a chore and that’s why it’ll be a frustrating day until they finally make a selection.

Teams to watch

San Francisco (#34)
Aside from the fact they’re a division rival, they could be looking at potential Seahawks targets. I thought the move up to get Eric Reid was thoroughly underwhelming. Seattle basically got the same player for a 5th round choice in 2010. They have a ton of picks coming up including one at #34. They could add a defensive lineman, pass rusher, corner or even Zach Ertz the tight end.

New York Giants (#49)
Having drafted Justin Pugh in round one, they’re almost certainly going defense here. That could be bad news for the Seahawks who pick seven places after the Giants. Any defensive lineman — including the tackles — is an option here. The linebackers Arthur Brown, Khaseem Greene and Sio Moore are all possibilities. The one saving grace is that New York can basically upgrade any area of their defense, so Seattle could still dodge a bullet.

Green Bay (#55)
I’m disturbed by Green Bay’s presence right in front of the Seahawks. If you’re hoping for a defensive lineman like Jesse Williams at #56, then it’s good news they took Datone Jones in round one yesterday. If you’re one of those people who has a crush on a playmaker like Christine Michael or Quinton Patton, you might spend Seattle’s time on the clock cursing your luck.

Prospects to watch

Keenan Allen (WR, California)
He had a nightmarish off-season that included a couple of injury setbacks, a forty yard dash in the 4.7’s and then reports surfaced claiming he’d failed a drugs test at the combine (Allen’s rep’s have denied it). I’ve never been crazy about Allen. DeAndre Hopkins — who rightly went in round one to Houston — is heavier and faster with a bigger wingspan and hands. The difference in height is an inch. Comparing the tape, Hopkins looks the better player. I appreciate the superior environment he had within Clemson’s offense, but I took that into account. Allen’s bark is greater than his bite. And yet there will come a point in round two where you have to consider pulling the trigger. How long does he last today?

Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
He came into this draft as the guy with the most unique draft stock. If he’d gone in round one, you’d kind of understand it. You wouldn’t be shocked. And yet if he’s still there on day three, I equally won’t be surprised. He could go anywhere. When he’s come up against over-matched opponents he’s looked devastating, but I guess that’s to be expected. On other occasions, the tape doesn’t look quite so good. His inability to set an edge at the Senior Bowl was beyond ugly and he had no impact as a pass rusher during the game. However, there just aren’t that many guys with his athletic quality and upside. If he was approaching his 22nd birthday instead of his 26th, he probably finds a home in round one.

Ryan Nassib (QB, Syracuse)
His college coach at Syracuse clearly didn’t bang the table for his guy. Doug Marrone’s Bills were the only team to take a quarterback in round one — and they passed on Nassib for E.J. Manuel. Most people will accept that was a reach to fill a need. And Marrone was more willing to roll the dice with Manuel than his former protégé. That to me should set off alarm bells across the NFL. Reports during the week suggested Jacksonville would take him at #33 if he was still available. But in light of Buffalo’s decision, I’d be really second guessing myself today if I was thinking about drafting Nassib. I was never a big fan — I’d given him a mid-round grade. I’m fascinated to see what happens with this guy.

Options for the Seahawks at #56

Not much has changed after round one, all the usual suspects are still available. Linebacker remains a need and three candidates — Khaseem Greene, Arthur Brown and Sio Moore — are still on the board. I think Jesse Williams’ one-dimensional game and top heavy frame will put enough teams off that he could fall into range for the Seahawks. Skill players like Quinton Patton and Christine Michael are intriguing and worthy of consideration even if they don’t fill immediate needs. Will Terron Armstead drop into range and has he got the kind of upside this team looks for to be a possible long term addition to the offensive line? Will they consider a tight end, with several athletic ‘Joker’ types likely to be available at #56? Is Travis Kelce an option? Is there a surprise out there that few people expect?

Tyrann Mathieu ‘no-showed’ Seahawks

According to Jay Glazer, Mathieu didn’t show up for a scheduled meeting with the Seahawks. And thus, it seems we can finally stop talking about this guy.

Huddle Report Update

I was invited to enter my final mock draft into the Huddle Report’s annual rankings. For anyone who cares — and I suspect very few of you do — I finished 8th out of 114 entrants. Which makes me the king of the mocks, if seven others abdicate or contract syphilis.

Second round mock draft

#33 Jacksonville – Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
#34 San Francisco – Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
#35 Philadelphia – Jamar Taylor (CB, Boise State)
#36 Detroit – Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
#37 Cincinnati – Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
#38 Arizona – Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State)
#39 New York Jets – Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
#40 Tennessee – Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, Connecticut)
#41 Buffalo – Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
#42 Oakland – Larry Warford (G, Kentucky)
#43 Tampa Bay – Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
#44 Carolina – Robert Woods (WR, USC)
#45 San Diego – Terron Armstead (T, Arkansas Pine-Bluff)
#46 Buffalo – Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
#47 Dallas – D.J. Swearinger (S, South Carolina)
#48 Pittsburgh – Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
#49 New York Giants – Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
#50 Chicago – Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
#51 Washington – Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State)
#52 New England – Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers)
#53 Cincinnati – Jonathan Franklin (RB, UCLA)
#54 Kansas City (from Miami) – Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
#55 Green Bay – Quinton Patton (WR, Louisiana Tech)
#56 Seattle – Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama)
#57 Houston – Sio Moore (LB, Connecticut)
#58 Denver – Christine Michael (RB, Texas A&M)
#59 New England – Keenan Allen (WR, California)
#60 Atlanta – Travis Kelce (TE, Cincinnati)
#61 San Francisco – Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
#62 Baltimore – Jamie Collins (LB, Southern Miss)

Seahawks third round pick: Denard Robinson (RB, Michigan)

The plan for today

I’ll be live blogging throughout rounds 2-3 via Cover it Live. I hope you’ll join us.

The 2013 NFL draft GIF edition

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The Rams move up for future pain in the ass Tavon Austin

Yeah I know, I’m blatantly plagiarizing someone else’s brilliant idea from last year, but I thought this might be fun (also included: my thoughts on round one).

Everyone please say a quiet prayer for Rob’s server.  Okay then, here goes:

Be you warned, for here there be GIFS…


Instant reaction: round one

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Sheldon Richardson is one of the better value picks in round one

Best day one team – New York Jets

John Idzik appreciates the job he’s taken on. Yes, they could’ve splurged on offensive frills like a quarterback (Geno Smith) or a tight end (Tyler Eifert). Instead, they selected the two players I personally thought were the best in the draft. They simply had no choice but to trade Revis, cutting their loses. They couldn’t franchise him next year. They had no bargaining power. And yet they still got a first round pick out of Tampa Bay. It doesn’t matter how good Revis is, that wasn’t easy. Now they’ll swap in Milliner — a complete cornerback in my view — and add Richardson, who could be the next Darnell Dockett. They could still draft a quarterback at #39. They had a superb first day accumulating talent — the way a rebuild needs to be done.

Pick-by-pick thoughts

#1 Kansas City – Eric Fisher T
The Dolphins are unlikely to trade for Branden Albert after moving up in round one. So I’m not convinced this isn’t just a sideways step. However — surprisingly for a team picking first overall — they didn’t have a ton of needs.

#2 Jacksonville – Luke Joeckel T
The Jaguars now have expensive book-end tackles, but no pass rush, very little offensive threat and a porous secondary. There seems to be very little immediate improvement here.

#3 Miami – Dion Jordan DE
I like the aggressive move. They’re rock solid up the middle and now have two players capable of causing havoc off the edge. It’s a costly move, however. And they still need to rebuild their secondary and find a left tackle.

#4 Philadelphia – Lane Johnson T
Great fit for the Eagles and more of a need for Philly than Fisher and Joeckel were at #1 and #2. Pure technician with major athletic upside.

#5 Detroit – Ziggy Ansah DE
His lack of experience and polish could be masked playing alongside Suh and Fairley. However, how much better are the Lions for swapping Cliff Avril for Ansah?

#6 Cleveland – Barkevious Mingo DE
As a fan of Jabaal Sheard, I don’t get this. They clearly don’t like Sheard in the 3-4.

#7 Arizona – Jonathan Cooper G
Love the player but how much better are the Cardinals today for drafting a guard at #7?

#8 St. Louis – Tavon Austin WR
A bold move up the board. My fear with Austin is he’ll be a gimmick. However, it seems the game is evolving and shifting towards players like this.

#9 New York Jets – Dee Milliner CB
The first of two terrific picks for the Jets. Bravo.

#10 Tennessee – Chance Warmack G
They’ve placed an unusual amount of stock in the guard position this off-season.

#11 San Diego – D.J. Fluker T
Long arms, but struggles against speed.

#12 Oakland – D.J. Hayden CB
An eye-opener. Hayden has been rising. They did well to get back a second round pick from Miami.

#13 New York Jets – Sheldon Richardson DT
An inspired choice. John Idzik is off to a great start. If Jets fans don’t like these moves, they need to get a grip of reality.

#14 Carolina – Star Lotulelei DT
The obvious choice given their huge need at defensive tackle.

#15 New Orleans – Kenny Vaccaro S
They still need a pass rusher, but the Saints really couldn’t go wrong whatever defensive player they drafted.

#16 Buffalo – E.J. Manuel QB
A mind blowing pick. I just don’t understand the thought process. Two Florida State quarterbacks have gone #12 and #16 in the last two years. Are they using hypnosis at FSU?

#17 Pittsburgh – Jarvis Jones OLB
The perfect fit when it comes to scheme. Love it.

#18 San Francisco – Eric Reid S
I don’t get it personally. Reid is not the type of player I’d move up for. I think there were better options here.

#19 New York Giants – Justin Pugh G
They were always destined to draft for the trenches and clearly bought into Pugh’s character and versatility.

#20 Chicago – Kyle Long G
I think they probably would’ve liked Pugh, but this isn’t a bad consolation for the Bears and fills a huge hole.

#21 Cincinnati – Tyler Eifert TE
It looks good on paper, but they now have two highly drafted tight ends and an elite receiver, but only a rank average quarterback.

#22 Atlanta – Desmond Trufant CB
Good for him. The Falcons moved up to acquire a needed cornerback.

#23 Minnesota – Sharrif Floyd DT
Mental note – never let the media write a mock draft for you.

#24 Indianapolis – Bjoern Werner DE
The most bizarre pick of the first round. How does he fit into a 3-4? Will he add weight to fit at the five technique?

#25 Minnesota – Xavier Rhodes CB
I’m not a huge Rhodes fan but this makes sense.

#26 Green Bay – Datone Jones DE
Great pick for the Packers. They needed a defensive end with some speed and mobility. He could be a star at Lambeau.

#27 Houston – DeAndre Hopkins WR
Just a really solid get for the Texans. He will win them a game or two this year.

#28 Denver – Sylvester Williams DT
Nice player, very technically educated and understands his role. Sounds like he enjoys film study.

#29 Minnesota – Cordarrelle Patterson WR
They needed to do something after trading Percy Harvin. That offense needed a spark.

#30 St. Louis – Alec Ogletree LB
I’m a fan of the player, particularly his performance versus Ole Miss last year. However, the character concerns are very real.

#31 Dallas – Travis Frederick C
I know a Dallas fan and he told me months ago to pencil in a center for the Cowboys. If only I’d listened…

#32 Baltimore – Matt Elam S
I really like this guy and once against the Ravens make a really good pick.

What’s left?

The answer is plenty. Terron Armstead (T), Arthur Brown (LB), Khaseem Greene (LB), Jesse Williams (DT), Quinton Patton (WR), Christine Michael (RB), Eddie Lacy (RB), Matt Barkley (QB), Geno Smith (QB), Tank Carradine (DE), Margus Hunt (DE), Zach Ertz (TE)… to name a few. The Seahawks are going to get a good player at #56.

LIVE! 2013 NFL Draft Google Hangout PART TWO

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

LIVE! 2013 NFL Draft Google Hangout

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Top 70 check list

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I don’t usually do these. I never want to be one of those people that claims to have a ‘top-500 board’ so they can do things like call Russell Wilson the worst pick in the draft.

However, someone requested a format so they could tick guys off when they leave the board. I’ve done a top-70. By the end of round one we’ll see who remains. Of course, you might have very little interest in who I think are the best seventy prospects in the draft. In that case, feel free to gloss over this. But hopefully you will care enough to join us from 4:30PST for our live coverage of the first round.

#1 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
#2 Dee Mlliner (CB, Alabama)
#3 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
#4 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
#5 Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
#6 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
#7 Jarvis Jones (LB, Georgia)
#8 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
#9 Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan)
#10 DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
#11 Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
#12 Datone Jones (DE, UCLA)
#13 Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers)
#14 Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
#15 Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina)
#16 Matt Elam (S, Florida)
#17 Christine Michael (RB, Texas A&M)
#18 Robert Woods (WR, USC)
#19 Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
#20 Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU)
#21 Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
#22 Lane Johnson (T, Oklahoma)
#23 Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
#24 Quinton Patton (WR, Louisiana Tech)
#25 Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
#26 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
#27 John Simon (DE, Ohio State)
#28 Terron Armstead (T, Arkansas Pine-Bluff)
#29 Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
#30 Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
#31 Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
#32 Sanders Commings (CB, Georgia)
#33 Ryan Swope (WR, Texas A&M)
#34 Marcus Lattimore (RB, South Carolina)
#35 Kyle Long (G, Oregon)
#36 Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State)
#37 Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)
#38 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
#39 Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
#40 Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, Connecticut)
#41 Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
#42 D.J. Fluker (T, Alabama)
#43 Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama)
#44 Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
#45 Steadman Bailey (WR, West Virginia)
#46 Stepfan Taylor (RB, Stanford)
#47 Brennan Williams (T, North Carolina)
#48 Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas)
#49 Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
#50 Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State)
#51 D.J. Swearinger (S, South Carolina)
#52 Will Davis (CB, Utah State)
#53 Baccari Rambo (S, Georgia)
#54 Larry Warford (G, Kentucky)
#55 Kawann Short (DT, Purdue)
#56 Justin Pugh (G, Syracuse)
#57 Jonathan Franklin (RB, UCLA)
#58 Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
#59 Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
#60 Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
#61 Dallas Thomas (G, Tennessee)
#62 Philip Thomas (S, Fresno State)
#63 Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
#64 Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee)
#65 Denard Robinson (RB, Michigan)
#66 Jordan Mills (T, Louisiana tech)
#67 John Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
#68 Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
#69 Keenan Allen (WR, California)
#70 Jordan Reed (TE, Florida)

A look at the Seahawks’ 2013 draft visit list (part V)

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Please do me a favor and be sure to check out Rob’s FINAL 2013 mock down below if you haven’t already.  With that said, here’s part five: (more…)

FINAL 2013 mock draft

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

So here we are. The final mock draft. I’m sending this one off to the Huddle Report. They allow trades, but I want to keep it simple for the final projection.

By the way, don’t forget to keep it here tomorrow. I’ll be taking part in a live Google Hangout throughout day one of the draft (starting at around 4:30pm PST). For more details click here.

I’ve included a full second round plus picks for Seattle in rounds 3-7. At #56 I’ve gone for one of the few players I think they’ll consider at defensive tackle in round two. Jesse Williams is highly rated by some, while others (Mayock) gave him a third round grade. I can see why he’d fall. He has a top-heavy frame which will concern some teams. He’s completely one-dimensional as a pure run-stopper. He gets banged up. There’s also fairly good depth at his position and demand probably isn’t going to match supply. So he could drop. Also, I can definitely picture a tattoo’d 300lbs Aussie sat between Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

If you want alternatives, I still believe they’ll consider Quinton Patton if he lasts. Ditto Khaseem Greene. I wouldn’t be shocked if they found an offensive tackle they liked enough to draft in that range, but I think it’s more likely to be a later round pick. Christine Michael is an exciting proposition, even if it’s only to spell Marshawn Lynch and return some kicks.

Before we get into it, how about this little corker. Tyrann Mathieu announced today he was hosting a celebratory draft party. To take place after the first round. The poster advertising the part refers to Mathieu as a ‘first round pick’. If you were planning on attending, unfortunately it is now cancelled. Apparently someone got the message to Mathieu it probably wasn’t a great idea. It might not be the most ridiculous thing you hear this year, but it’s probably in the top five.

I’m not sure what is worse. The fact Mathieu’s people thought he’d go in round one and therefore felt it was necessary to organise a party for Thursday evening. Or that Mathieu allowed this to happen in his name. More than anyone he should be keeping his head down this week. Hosting a party at a nightclub in New York should be last thing on his mind. The negative reaction and subsequent cancellation says it all. What were his representatives thinking?

Anyway, onto the mock. It’s been fun. Let’s do this again some time.

First round

#1 Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan)
Jay Glazer says he believes Fisher goes #1. He doesn’t put out bad information.
#2 Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
If Joeckel lasts to #2, I can understand why Jacksonville makes this pick. Even if he plays right tackle.
#3 Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
This will be a long rebuild.
#4 Lane Johnson (T, Oklahoma)
Philly’s line was a mess last year. Johnson looks like a smart fit in Chip Kelly’s offense.
#5 Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU)
Plenty of options here for Detroit.
#6 Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
I still think this is Cleveland’s favourite.
#7 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
With the tackles off the board they have to turn to defense. Jordan would be a nice consolation.
#8 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
Rumour has it this pick will come down to Barkley or Ryan Nassib.
#9 Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
They need a spark on offense.
#10 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
A lot of people say this will be a guard, despite the addition of Andy Levitre.
#11 D.J. Fluker (T, Alabama)
There’s a buzz around this guy going into the draft.
#12 Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
If they trade for Branden Albert, this could be considered the final piece of an offensive rebuild.
#13 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
They could be tempted by a quarterback. Mingo would provide a needed edge rusher, however.
#14 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
Fantastic pick for Carolina if this happens. Watch out for Atlanta trading up.
#15 Star Lotuelei (DT, Utah)
Can play the nose or five technique.
#16 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
Tough to pass on this guy here.
#17 Jarvis Jones (OLB, Georgia)
He could sink in a bad way, but he is the prototype fit at outside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s scheme.
#18 Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
Fills a need.
#19 Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State)
Looked good in his work out this week. Recovering well from an ACL injury.
#20 Justin Pugh (G, Syracuse)
Getting rave reviews and this is a big need.
#21 Eric Reid (S, LSU)
Speculation suggests a few teams have a round one grade on Reid.
#22 Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)
They need a linebacker and Jeff Fisher’s never been afraid of a challenge.
#23 D.J. Hayden (CB, Houston)
Leslie Fraser would approve this pick you’d imagine.
#24 Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington)
They’ve been looking at the corners.
#25 Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina)
Age is the only thing holding him back.
#26 Datone Jones (DE, UCLA)
It’s easy to forget just how much San Francisco abused Green Bay’s defense in the playoffs.
#27 Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
Receiver looks like a strong option here.
#28 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
Not a flashy player and could fall as a consequence.
#29 Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State)
They’ll surely consider a cornerback here?
#30 Jamar Taylor (CB, Boise State)
Will they move up to get Dion Jordan, Dee Milliner or Sheldon Richardson?
#31 Matt Elam (S, Florida)
Hard-hitting safety, would look good in this defense.
#32 Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
Big shoes to fill.

Second round

#33 Jacksonville – Ryan Nassib (QB, Syracuse)
#34 San Francisco – Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
#35 Philadelphia – Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, Connecticut)
#36 Detroit – Terron Armstead (T, Arkansas Pine-Bluff)
#37 Cincinnati – Jonathan Franklin (RB, UCLA)
#38 Arizona – Kyle Long (G, Oregon)
#39 New York Jets – Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
#40 Tennessee – Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State)
#41 Buffalo – Robert Woods (WR, USC)
#42 Miami – Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
#43 Tampa Bay – Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
#44 Carolina – Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
#45 San Diego – Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
#46 St. Louis – Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
#47 Dallas – Kawann Short (DT, Purdue)
#48 Pittsburgh – Quinton Patton (WR, Louisiana Tech)
#49 New York Giants – Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
#50 Chicago – Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
#51 Washington – D.J. Swearinger (S, South Carolina)
#52 Minnesota – Keenan Allen (WR, California)
#53 Cincinnati – Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers)
#54 Kansas City – Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
#55 Green Bay – DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
#56 Seattle – Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama)
#57 Houston – Larry Warford (G, Kentucky)
#58 Denver – Christine Michael (RB, Texas A&M)
#59 New England – Brian Winters (G, Kansas State)
#60 Atlanta – Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
#61 San Francisco – Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
#62 Baltimore – Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)

Other Seahawks picks: R3 – RB Denard Robinson, R4 – TE Nick Kasa, R5- T Luke Marquardt, R5 – S Duke Williams, R6 – DT Stefan Charles, R7 – RB Jeremy Wright, R7 – WR/CB Russell Shepard, R7 – TE Michael Williams R7 – QB B.J. Daniels