Size. Toughness. Physicality.
The Seahawks want to be the bully again and this draft made it clear.
This is a team that lost the toughest player to play the game in a generation (Marshawn Lynch). This was Seattle’s answer — their new path.
Germain Ifedi and Jarran Reed set the tone early.
Ifedi’s big, athletic, explosive and long — plus he’s much more physical than people realise (he’s at right tackle):
— Rob Staton (@robstaton) March 4, 2016
That’s against Alabama, by the way.
If you want to push teams around in the running game — this is the kind of frame you want on your O-line.
I mocked Reed at #16 to Detroit in my first round mock draft. Did anyone expect him to last until #49?
Both Reed and Andrew Billings seemingly fell due to their perceived inability to play three downs. That’s semi-understandable given how little teams play in base these days.
That said — there’s still a ton of value in being able to take away an opponents run game and make them one-dimensional. Especially when you have Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and an opportunistic secondary.
You can’t move Reed off the LOS — even with a double team. He’ll anchor at DE and DT in Seattle. And he’s one of the toughest players in the draft — possibly the toughest. He fits the personality of this defense like a glove. A perfect match.
The Seahawks followed by drafting three running backs (C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks), a blocking tight end (Nick Vannett) another big guard (Rees Odhiambo) two other linemen (center Joey Hunt and DT Quinton Jefferson) and a receiver (Kenny Lawler).
Here’s some notes on Seattle’s picks:
Nick Vannett (TE, Ohio State)
Admittedly I didn’t expect the Seahawks to draft a tight end early. They remain upbeat on Jimmy Graham and have had some production from Luke Willson. I’m not sure anyone should expect Vannett to put up major numbers either — he’s in Seattle to play a role and not be a prolific target.
That said — it’s still a fun pick to be enjoyed. John Schneider and Pete Carroll both highlighted Vannett’s blocking potential. Again, it’s about re-setting that ‘hit you in the mouth’ physicality in the post-Marshawn era. Vannett enables them to essentially put another lineman on the field and yet keep a team honest in the passing game. It also puts less pressure on Graham to be a blocker.
What does the class say about TEF?
The formula we used was designed to try and identify who the Seahawks might take on the O-line in this class (not, as some have suggested, to try and identify a good or bad player).
Germain Ifedi reinforced the formula — but Rees Odhiambo was a major outlier based on what they’ve done since 2012. We don’t have the numbers for Joey Hunt (only a bench press of 34).
I think what we learnt from this class is that the Seahawks are not totally 100% focused only on a specific explosive profile. They are, wisely, open to other skill sets even if they’ve almost universally looked for an explosive ideal over the last four years.
Odhiambo has been praised for his toughness, grit and ability to handle adversity. In a draft where the Seahawks wanted to get bigger and tougher — the pick makes a ton of sense. Can he stay healthy? That’s the concern. Yet the success or failure of this class doesn’t rest with Odhiambo.
The Seahawks have been accused by some fans of being too driven towards analytics and athleticism — and yet Odhiambo, Hunt, Collins, Lawler and Reed all fit a different profile. This draft looks like a concerted attempt to get bigger and tougher in certain positions. Job done.
They passed on Connor McGovern, Joe Dahl and Joe Haeg which was a bit surprising. Yet all three fell much lower than we expected. The league appeared to give a collective thumbs down to the trio.
How many running backs?
There are two things to consider here. Firstly, Pete Carroll loves competition especially at running back. He always had multiple 5-star recruits battling for touches at USC.
Secondly, the Seahawks need to plan accordingly for the post-Marshawn era. They have Thomas Rawls — but they can’t just pile Lynch’s workload onto his shoulders. Now they have depth, physicality, a range of skill sets and a chance to survive if Rawls gets injured again some day.
C.J. Prosise has some suddenness to his game but he’s also a solid pass catcher and looks like a third down back who can take on a decent number of snaps.
Alex Collins was one of our favourite players in college football last year — and we only soured on him after a bitterly disappointing combine performance. He plays with genuine physicality, speed and skill. He looked like a really good back on tape.
Zac Brooks didn’t have much of a role at Clemson but the Seahawks clearly liked something about him and had him visit the VMAC. He too can try and win some special teams snaps and a few carries in pre-season.
This will also hopefully push Christine Michael — arguably the most talented of Seattle’s many backs. Will he rise to the challenge?
And the rest?
Kenny Lawler, while not an amazing athlete, is a touchdown machine with big hands. He scored a touchdown every 5.3 receptions in college. He’s a Seahawks type of receiver. High points the ball, makes difficult catches, hangs on. It’ll be fascinating to see if he can have an impact in camp.
I’m unfamiliar with Joey Hunt but look forward to getting into some TCU tape. He certainly has some fans out there:
Joey Hunt led nation with 99.5 pass blocking efficiency allowing zero sacks and only three hurries
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2016
I also didn’t spend much time watching Quinton Jefferson — so this pair will provide the starting point during the review process over the next few days.
The Seahawks made an absolute killing on the market at the conclusion of the draft. They also signed a number of players we highlighted in recent weeks:
rough list of UDFA for SEA pic.twitter.com/AgcrRQtqRi
— DAVIS HSU (@DavisHsuSeattle) May 1, 2016
According to Davis, they gave Trevone Boykin a $15,000 signing bonus which signifies he was a top priority UDFA for Seattle.
Brandin Bryant is an athletic phenomena with unreal tape:
It’s not surprising to see Christian French signed or DeAndre Elliott. Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell is a really interesting pickup — he was expected to be drafted in the middle rounds.
George Fant could be another Garry Gilliam for this team. He ticks all the boxes in terms of athleticism, size, explosion and length. He was a basketball player turned tight end in college. Expect him to be tried at tackle or guard in Seattle.
And several readers contacted me about S/LB hybrid Tanner McEvoy at Wisconsin. The Seahawks grabbed him too.
In a draft rich in LOS talent — the Seahawks were able to match their biggest needs with the strengths of the class. They come out of this draft with impact players, greater talent and competition on the O-line, a new collection of running backs and perhaps a re-established attitude.
There were a few shocks, a few surprises. But overall this should be a class to get Seahawks fans dreaming of September.
Kenny and I will record a review podcast on Monday and on the blog we’ll begin to look at some of the prospects drafted by the Seahawks throughout the week.