Archive for April, 2021

Thursday notes: Marshall on Wilson, more Jamal Adams

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Firstly today, please check out my interview with Paul Gallant from 710 ESPN. It’s a really great hour of Seahawks chat, covering loads of topics:

Brandon Marshall’s latest update

Despite some rather petty, obnoxious criticism of Marshall over the last few weeks, he’s been a valuable source of information on the Russell Wilson ‘saga’.

He was the first one to properly reveal some of Wilson’s concerns. He might not be the absolute best at delivering information but ultimately, any insight is welcome on a somewhat confusing subject. It seems pretty clear that Marshall has the ear of Wilson or someone in his camp.

Therefore his latest update, speaking of an improved relationship between Wilson and Pete Carroll while noting that many, if not all, issues had been resolved should be warmly welcomed.

I have absolutely no doubt at all that Marshall is delivering well sourced information here. This is a serious change of tone to where we were in February.

It does indicate that, at least for now, the issue is dying down.

But I think it does pose a question at the same time.

If everything is on track now, why won’t the Seahawks and/or Wilson not make that absolutely clear? Because with the greatest respect to Brandon Marshall, there’d be a little more gravitas to this if it were the player, team or at least someone like Adam Schefter coming out and delivering the news that all is well.

The Seahawks don’t need to hold a press conference, although a reassuring statement of intent from both parties would be welcome and something the fans deserve after weeks of dysfunction.

Yet I don’t see any benefit to allowing this to linger any further if it doesn’t need to. A quick phone call to Schefter and this could be nipped well and truly in the bud.

They could, of course, go a step further. They could restructure Wilson’s contract to create cap space. You might as well at this point, if it helps bring in Richard Sherman for example, or K.J. Wright. Or both.

Or even better — why not eliminate this debate once and for all so that we’re not back here in 12 months having the same conversation. Deliver a contract extension similar to Patrick Mahomes’. If everything is sorted and fine and if Marshall is right that Wilson will be in Seattle for a long time — why not put it in writing?

That would be the ultimate sign that everyone is finally on the right track.

Simply saying nothing, however, or relying on Marshall’s connection to the Wilson camp to get the message out, only really achieves one thing.

It gives off a bit of a ‘damage limitation’ vibe.

Increasingly it does look very unlikely that Wilson will be dealt this year. But as many have reported, next year has often felt like the point when talks might become real.

Tony Pauline explicitly stated that he’d heard that the Seahawks and Wilson were both ready to move on from each other, with next year being the likely time for a divorce.

Meanwhile Schefter’s continued suggestion that a deal could happen, indicates that not all wounds have healed.

I don’t think it’s unfair to consider that Marshall’s words might be an attempt put the fire out without needing to actually commit to anything. Because the alternative is this becomes a weekly talking point within the NFL when the regular season begins.

Without a firm commitment from both sides there will always be this thought as to whether things are just being delayed. That a trade hasn’t happened not because Wilson and the Seahawks are connected again but simply because the right offer wasn’t there. Essentially, they might be stuck in a somewhat loveless marriage.

It doesn’t benefit the Seahawks or Wilson to just let this ride if there has in fact been a breakthrough.

Plenty of people are quick to point out Seattle doesn’t typically answer to reports in the media. If you’re willing to be really honest about the situation though, this is a bit different.

For the last two months we’ve had people connected to Wilson lambasting Carroll. Claiming he’s too powerful, that his offense is outdated, that he doesn’t listen to the quarterback.

Wilson’s agent went on the record to list four teams he’d be willing to be traded to.

The leading NFL reporter refuses to rule out a trade before the draft.

There have been countless other reports and opinions from people clearly connected to Mark Rodgers, Wilson or the Seahawks.

This isn’t a normal situation. If things are sorted, there’s no reason not to make that abundantly clear to everyone.

The fans deserve to hear it from either the horses mouth or the next best thing. A renewing of vows would be even better.

That way everyone can finally move on, with no danger of this topic re-emerging in nine months time.

Some more numbers on Jamal Adams

We’ve talked a lot about Adams’ fit in the Seahawks defense. I think that’s important.

Elsewhere, the conversation is often limited to three sides of an argument:

1. Jamal Adams is really good, so there

2. They’ll never draft a player as good as Adams!

3. Jamal Adams isn’t worth investing in

It’s a much more nuanced argument than that though.

We need to take into consideration how many players are out of contract in 2022, such as the starting left and right tackle, both cornerbacks, your free safety, your center, your new tight end and other players.

Estimated cap space today will soon evaporate once you start to re-sign and replace players. And with Duane Brown edging towards 40, long term solutions will soon be needed at certain positions.

Not having draft stock prevents you from building a foundation. Having done a poor job in the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 drafts to build that foundation during a reset, the Seahawks now appear set to punt on the 2021 class.

By not building in the draft, you end up taping together a roster every year.

I don’t think this is sustainable or likely to deliver a Championship.

Jason Fitzgerald from Over the Cap offered this scathing review of Seattle’s approach to team building in a piece for the Athletic this week:

“They have no cap room at all… If you look at the way they had to do their contracts this year, it was basically a whole bunch of void years to fit guys in. It seems like they’re kind of going in a circle with no direction anywhere right now. They seem a little bit lost.”

We also need to consider how viable it is to have so much invested in your linebacker and safety positions. There should also be a serious discussion about whether one player (Adams) is worth more to a team than potentially 4-6 draft picks and two veteran players worth the value of Gabe Jackson.

Personally I don’t think Adams ‘is’ that good. At least not in Seattle. We should ask whether he truly ‘fits’.

Clearly the Seahawks were very aggressive with him. They switched to using bear fronts and they blitzed him 98 times in 2020, at a rate of 8.2 times per game.

That was nearly twice as much as the second highest blitzing safety, Malcolm Jenkins (4.75). Budda Baker was third, blitzing 4.6 times a game.

The Seahawks were actually blitzing Adams more than 10 times per game until the end of the year when they reigned things in. I suspect, more than anything, that was indicative of the opponents they were facing.

This level of blitzing for a safety is unheard of. It’s quite astonishing really.

For example, when Adams played 16 games for blitz-happy Gregg Williams in New York in 2018, he only blitzed 4.3 times a game.

Think about that for a second. Even Gregg Williams, ‘Doctor Blitz’ himself, blitzed Adams only 4.3 times a game.

In 2019, he blitzed him 6.4 times a game. A higher number but still not close to the 8-10 range Seattle used in 2020.

So yes, he broke the sack record last season. Yet there are no examples I could find of a defensive back being used in this way before.

It’s at least plausible to wonder whether this level of aggressiveness is good for Adams. Blitzing twice as much gained a record, sure. But it also saw a massive reduction in his coverage grade (53.1) and overall grade (64.2) per PFF.

On top of this, it’s worth noting how much they blitzed Bobby Wagner to act as a decoy to support Adams.

Wagner was regularly used to attack the A-gap, shifting protection to create favourable opportunities for Adams rushing unblocked from the edge.

Hugh Millen discussed this in further detail after the Rams playoff defeat on KJR:

Look how much Wagner’s blitzing has increased over the years, from 2018 (arguably his best season in Seattle) when Frank Clark and Jarran Reed were creating pressure in the front four, versus 2019 when the pass rush was awful and 2020 when Wagner was being used to support Adams:

2018 — 41
2019 — 71
2020 — 100

Wagner blitzed a remarkable 144% more in 2020 than he did in his best season for the Seahawks when the team was far more capable of rushing with four (still the key to a successful pass rush — just ask Tampa Bay).

Watch the tape. On Adams’ first four sacks and final two sacks, Wagner is lined up in the A-gap. The Seahawks used their $18m a year linebacker for a large chunk of the season as a wingman for Jamal Adams.

It’s perhaps not surprising that Wagner’s best game of the season against the 49ers occurred when Adams wasn’t on the field.

So it’s not unfair to wonder — is this defense a fit for Adams? Are they able to use him in a way that is fully effective? And are you really getting the best out of Wagner by running this type of operation?

Personally I think Adams is far more suited to playing in a 3-4 scheme where you never know where the pressure’s coming from. With Gregg Williams and Todd Bowles, they would show pressure then bring it from somewhere else.

It’s creative, aggressive and the entire defense is set up with blitzing at the core.

In Seattle, that simply isn’t the case. Adams’ blitzes were often very similar. Wagner in the A-gap, Adams coming up to the line. We could see it a mile away watching on TV, so opponents likely saw it too.

It’s predictable.

So the argument now is — are the Seahawks capable, under Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr — of coming up with a new approach that is designed purely to accommodate one player? Are they really capable of devising something creative, aggressive and dominating to justify such a commitment?

I’m not convinced.

And if they can’t, how can you justify doubling down on your investment and paying him $18-20m a year?

Some people argue they should wait a year. I think it’s extremely optimistic to think Jamal Adams will go along with playing for $9.8m in 2021 and risk further injury, ridding him the chance of signing a massive extension.

The holdout rules are different in this CBA so pulling a Le’Veon Bell isn’t very likely. Yet more chaos and uncertainty over a player like this, who has already forced his way off one team, is not conducive to a successful season.

It’s always felt like a decision needs to be made this year.

As you all know by now, I think the trade was a mistake. A desperate attempt to add impact and quality right before the 2020 season, having failed to add anyone of note to the defense prior to training camp.

It’s one thing to invest a bunch of picks. It’s another to then pay twice by delivering a huge contract extension.

The Seahawks need to be really honest with themselves as to whether this is the right fit for player and team. Having a big name on a massive contract is only a good thing if you can justify the investment.

They have three weeks. For me, they should strongly consider whether the best thing is to get back in this draft in order to tap into the great options on the offensive line and at receiver. My fear at the moment is they’re trying-out a whole bunch of journeymen O-liners because they suspect they’re not going to be able to tap into the quality available with only three picks.

That would be a crushing blow, especially when players such as Quinn Meinerz — practically the prototype for Seattle in terms of length, size, explosive traits and personality — will go in the top-40 and could provide a much-needed solution at center for years to come.

Davis Mills in round one?

According to Peter Schrager:

“…the buzz around the league is that he could be a first-round pick and will most likely be the sixth quarterback selected.”

I’m guessing I don’t need to mention which website has been talking about Mills and Kellen Mond, another supposed ‘riser’, for a long, long time…

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Guest post: Curtis Allen on Jamal Adams’ contract

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

The circumstances under which a Jamal Adams extension can work
This is a guest post written by Curtis Allen

With the initial rush of free agency passing and the Seahawks making a commendable effort to fill some needs while still maintaining some salary cap sanity — and a brief pause while the Seahawks consider their options with Russell Wilson — some focus has shifted to the other big off-season question.

Whether to extend Jamal Adams.

The value of Adams’ role on the Seahawks’ defense and a possible extension has been discussed extensively and in great detail this offseason on the blog:

Why the Seahawks should trade Jamal Adams

Why the Seahawks should STILL trade Jamal Adams

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: DB

Rob has also been invited onto the local airwaves to articulate the talking points of the discussion – one that many are brushing aside far too easily:

The Seahawks themselves have not yet signalled much in the way of their intentions towards Adams this off-season.

There has been no trade talk surfacing, nor has there been any reports that the team has explored the framework of a potential extension with Adams’ agent.

Still, it does feel like there is an air of inevitability to an extension. Adams is a very talented player and the Seahawks made an extraordinary investment in trade capital to acquire him.

Those points, along with a lack of impact defensive talent on the roster combined with Pete Carroll’s season-long praise for Adams (and for John Schneider for acquiring him) present a persuasive argument that he will be a long-term fixture in Seattle for the next few seasons.

With that in mind, I thought I would try a different tack. Rather than discussing why the Seahawks should trade Adams, let’s take a brief walk through how the team could make a potential extension work out beneficially.

Keep in mind this is not an endorsement of an extension. But rather an exploration of a future where Adams is on the roster and taking that route has proven successful.

Several things need to happen in order for those two things to become a reality:

1. Health must no longer be a factor in Adams’ play.

That may seem harsh.

Frankly, there is simply no way to ‘guarantee’ that a player will be healthy.

Overall health is only one piece of the puzzle though, and that is not the area that needs dramatic improvement.

Adams admirably fought through groin, shoulder and finger injuries in 2020. There is no doubting they were painful, but injuries had a noticeable effect on his play last year. Too big an effect if we are really being honest.

Goal line tackles that should have been made on critical touchdown runs in both the Week 10 loss and the playoff loss against the Rams.

Easy interceptions that were dropped.

It could be argued that the Seahawks would have been better off with Adams on the bench and healthier players on the field.

Put in the most simplistic terms, a strong safety’s job is to make tackles and defend passes. If Adams could not handle those basic responsibilities when nursing an injury with even a reasonable degree of effectiveness – let alone with star level play – he should not be on the field.

The pressure to play him when injured will only grow under the weight of a big extension. He must be able to demonstrate that he can play well when not 100%. That is the price of a huge contract.

Every player is going to be banged up from time to time. What makes a player a true warrior is not simply telling the press ‘there is no way I am missing this game’, lobbying his coach to play him, and then taking the field.

It is not allowing injuries to overly affect his play.

A vast improvement in this area is needed in order to justify the Seahawks making a second large investment in him.

Without improvement, the Seahawks put themselves in a difficult spot with Adams. They cannot bench him every single time he gets banged up. Nor can they afford to play him and watch him miss key opportunities to affect the outcome of the game because he is not completely functional.

2. Adams must raise the level of his overall game.

He proved that he has speed and quickness around the edges. Adams made decent use of the blitz packages the Seahawks set for him with 9.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

But there is so much more that needs improvement in order to provide a value to the team that would match a pricey commitment.

There were far too many fundamental areas Adams did not excel in during the 2020 season:

-His coverage ability (he had a 105 passer rating allowed)

-Creating turnovers (he had one turnover created)

-Being a sure tackler (he had 9 missed tackles – almost 10% of his tackle opportunities)

The poor raw counting numbers he logged in 2020 cannot be merely shrugged off with proclamations that Adams ‘brings energy to the defense’ or is ‘the ultimate competitor.’

It is not asking too much for these areas to dramatically improve. Immediately.

They may not have to improve to superstar levels in order to justify a large contract, but there is no excuse for them to be league average.

Particularly in coverage.

George Kittle and Tyler Higbee are not going anywhere. Neither are Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel. Kyler Murray had over 400 yards of offense when Adams was hurt in Week 7.

The Seahawks desperately need an answer to keep these players from wrecking games.

Kittle in particular was name-checked by Carroll when talking to the press after acquiring Adams. He must be better in this area. Improvement is not optional.

A marked improvement in the non-blitzing parts of Adams’ game will relieve much of the pressure to perform as a defense and make the times he is screaming off the edge all that more effective.

Even his tackles for loss, QB hits and pressure stats could stand to improve given how much the Seahawks packaged blitzes for him.

A clear possibility exists that with the strange offseason and the disaster of an early regular season on defense, when combined with his injuries, demonstrate that the Seahawks did not have a proper opportunity to really integrate all of Adams’ skills and abilities into their offense in 2020.

A second year in the system and familiarity with his teammates will likely provide an improvement in his overall impact.

A healthy increase in pay must be accompanied by a healthy improvement on the field.

Related to his overall play, we come to our next point…

3. Ken Norton and Pete Carroll must employ more creativity in his use.

Frequently the use of Adams devolved into a simple, predictable use: Adams on the edge pre snap, with a linebacker also blitzing to draw coverage. That worked in some fashion in 2020 but teams now have a whole season of tape to prepare and counteract that setup.

More varied looks to keep the offense guessing in 2021 is vital.

The Seahawks have made commendable progress in bolstering the defensive line. But they still have needs there. More of an interior pass rush presence is on the wish list with Jarran Reed departing.

If they can consistently rush with four down linemen, this opens up all kinds of possibilities for the Seahawks to use Adams all over the box. His blitzing will not be the sole way the defense gets pressure on the quarterback. It would instead become the final straw that pushes the opposing offense into bad decisions and could really elevate the unit to complement an explosive offense and dynamite special teams.

Creativity has never been Ken Norton’s strong suit. But imagine the possibilities of a return to getting rush with the standard package.

The linebackers are freed up to roam the field and seek out tackles cleanly. Adams can be used to rush from one side and direct runners right into the lanes where Wagner and Brooks are just waiting to take them down.

How about a return to the standard defensive strategy? Use Adams and the linebackers as heat-seeking missile tacklers on first and second down. Keep things in front of you and force the team into third and longs.

Then deploy Adams as a blitzer from all kinds of different areas.

How about taking advantage of Ugo Amadi’s blitzing potential? He has shown some flashes in the past. Line up Adams opposite Amadi at the nickel and keep the quarterback guessing which side the blitz is coming from.

If you refuse to be pigeonholed into a position and insist on being called a “weapon” as your preferred position term, you need to be used more creatively than what we have seen from him.

In truth, there are all kinds of ways to use Adams effectively. The only thing limiting the Seahawks is imagination.

4. The contract must be reasonable and not cripple the Seahawks’ salary cap.

This one seems obvious and doesn’t need too much explanation.

However, there are some wrinkles where the Seahawks could make a Jamal Adams extension far less painful than it would appear at the initial reporting.

Guaranteed money will be a key factor.

A couple of recent contract extensions for defensive backs are an interesting guide for comparison.

-Budda Baker got $33million guaranteed
-Jalen Ramsey got $43million guaranteed

The way they are structured is very intriguing.

Both got a nice signing bonus, but they only have two seasons of guaranteed salary. The salary changes to non-guaranteed right about the time their cap hits start to get really serious.

So both can be cut, traded or have their contract renegotiated after two years to get cap relief with only the prorated bonus portion as dead cap money. Or if they have maintained their top-level play and the market and cap have outgrown their deals, the teams have a not-unreasonable contract on their hands.

Furthermore, both will still be fairly young when those options materialize, which means they will likely still have decent trade value.

If the Seahawks do not overspend on an Adams extension and it has similar terms to these two deals, it will not hinder the team to such an extent as to render them unable to operate effectively.

Be careful not to overreact if you hear the Seahawks have signed Adams to a 5-year $100million contract. Wait until you hear the structure of the deal to really see how this contract works out. At the end of the deal, it could actually be a 3-year, $40 million deal which is much more palatable.

The Seahawks could even tack a void year or two onto the deal and lessen the 2021-2023 cap hits enough to make further moves.

5. There must be internal roster improvement.

A strong argument for trading Adams is the desperate need to recoup draft picks and infuse the roster with cheap effective talent. This cannot be argued – the Seahawks need more in order to take the next step.

Between trading a lot of capital for Adams and tying a healthy portion of their salary cap to him with a possible extension, the Seahawks will be actively deciding that they need to find value and production in other places.

One such place is right in front of them.

Making more hay with what the team already has on the roster could blunt some of that need.

Marquise Blair needs to make an impact, whether at nickel, free safety or taking an occasional series for Adams.

Jordyn Brooks needs to convert first round talent and a reasonable rookie year into solid second year production.

The corners have to be far better in single coverage than they were in 2020. Another corner added to the roster could go a long way.

Kicking the can down the road on the offensive tackle situation cannot backfire. Duane Brown and Brandon Shell need to be on the team beyond 2021.

****

All five of these things must experience at least a solid degree of success if a Jamal Adams extension is to have a puncher’s chance at being a sound investment.

The possibilities are there, but both parties must understand a contract extension is just the beginning of a journey together. It will require a strong commitment from both sides to improve if it is to be successful.

If you missed Rob’s three round mock draft video yesterday, check it out here:

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LIVE mock draft — 3:30pm PST

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Today I will be hosting a live mock draft stream at 3:30pm PST. This will include trades, thoughts on each pick/player and I’ll talk through scenarios. Send in your questions and reaction as we go along and use the Super Chat feature to support the blog/channel.

Parsing Adam Schefter’s Russell Wilson reporting

Monday, April 5th, 2021

For the last couple of weeks, Adam Schefter has regularly appeared on ESPN’s ‘Get up’ show and insisted it’s still plausible that Russell Wilson could be traded.

Today, he reiterated that thought (the piece starts at the one minute mark below)…

I think it’s time to try and work out what’s going on here.

While many will immediately dismiss or reject this, that would be unwise.

What has the NFL’s leading insider got to gain by constantly pushing this as a possibility, if in fact there’s no chance of it happening?

Schefter is as connected as anyone in the league. He is peerless as a news breaker. When it comes to contacts, reputation and track record — he is top of the class.

Today he broke the news that Sam Darnold was being traded to the Panthers.

He isn’t saying this stuff unless he believes it. He is a journalist — he doesn’t host a show twice a day like Mike Florio, or every day like Colin Cowherd, where he needs to generate talking points.

If Schefter doesn’t have any news, he doesn’t say anything. He never chucks out random rumours and speculation.

Case in point — all of the many, many weeks in his career when he hasn’t been talking about the future of a franchise quarterback.

Plus, he has no real reason to keep discussing this at a time when Deshaun Watson is making news, the 49ers just traded up to #3 in the draft and Aaron Rodgers is being mischievous about his future in Green Bay ahead of a stint hosting Jeopardy.

I’m afraid you have to be slightly ignorant and/or naive to say — ‘I am not buying this, I am paying it no attention and I do not accept this information.’

So why is Schefter reporting this?

The easy answer is that even if it’s unlikely — it’s still possible. That’s it. Optimistic Seahawks fans think a few Wilson tweets, a Tyler Lockett extension and a Gabe Jackson trade have cured all ills.

The reality is neither party has said anything about Wilson’s future since Schefter reported, on the record, the list of teams he’d be willing to be dealt too.

This story could’ve been nipped in the bud ages ago.

Admittedly Schefter always hedges his bets. He’s not saying, ‘Wilson will be traded’. Neither is he saying it’s likely. If it doesn’t happen, technically he hasn’t made any error in his reporting.

Yet he’s emphatically establishing himself as the individual keeping this story alive.

That at least warrants a discussion as to why.

If you’re willing to connect the dots, a pattern emerges:

1. The Seahawks haven’t, unlike the Packers and Texans, insisted Wilson isn’t going anywhere — ending the story immediately

2. They haven’t restructured his contract, despite not requiring his permission to do so at a time when they needed the money

3. Tony Pauline recently reported, “What I was told by someone close to the situation is that the Seahawks want to trade Russell Wilson as much as Wilson wants out of Seattle”

4. The Seahawks, according to Schefter, are willing to move on if they’re presented with a viable quarterback solution as an alternative

To me it’s obvious if you’re willing to embrace the information presented above.

The Seahawks are ready to move on.

They don’t want to screw themselves by shifting a franchise quarterback and then picking through the scraps of what’s available currently.

That’s hardly a surprise.

If that means going through another year where everyone tries to get along, so be it.

But the signs point towards a team that is very prepared to trade Wilson. It’s just a matter of timing and contingency.

Look at what Schefter’s saying in the video:

“I continue to maintain, that if the Seahawks came up with a solution in which they were ensured of getting a quarterback they believed in, I think they would be open and interested in moving on from Russell Wilson”

Jeff Simmons made a good point when he took part in one of our recent live streams. When Schefter speaks, you have to try and work out who’s speaking to him.

Who wants this information out there?

Who does it benefit?

This is what Schefter does for a living. He speaks to people. He has their ear. He collects information and he distributes information.

There can only be two plausible explanations for a video like the one above.

Perhaps Mark Rodgers simply wants to keep this in the news agenda and therefore is telling Schefter a trade is still possible?

I’m not buying this. Why would Schefter then explain that Wilson’s four listed teams have ‘moved on’ and then offer that the Bears are pretty much out of it because what they offered before wasn’t enough?

It’d be a bit of a weird plant for Rodgers to suggest — talk about the trade but then rule out the teams we gave you as our list of suitors.

The other option is this is information from the Seahawks. They’re letting the world know — our door is still open. Our phone is fully charged.

This actually makes sense. Because Schefter’s right — Chicago’s offer couldn’t get it done. They pick 20th overall and they have no quarterback solution.

That whole segment felt like a ‘give us a call’ plea to other teams. It was perhaps also a message to the Wilson camp about the need to expand their list to make this happen.

This doesn’t have to be a definitive statement on Seattle’s position. They would be well within their rights to say to Wilson — it’s simply not plausible to trade you to the teams you listed, for a multitude of reasons. So if you want out — let’s do this properly. If not, then what are we messing around for? Let’s get on with the job and not have this conversation next year too.

After years of flirting with a baseball career, leaks to Rodgers’ friends in the media and most recently the passive aggressive trade request — it’s also possible the Seahawks have simply had enough.

My own personal, unsourced opinion is that might be where John Schneider’s at.

When it was reported that the Seahawks had rejected Chicago’s offer for Wilson, it was suggested that Schneider had talked and met with Ryan Pace and that during a visit to North Dakota State’s pro-day, they hashed out a deal that was presented to Pete Carroll.

After thinking it over, Carroll rejected the offer.

I don’t think Schneider would present an offer he didn’t believe in. I think he is probably fed up with Mark Rodgers. I think he’s pig-sick of all this drama.

I think he looks at a draft with three picks and no first rounder next year and thinks he can do a lot with a new haul and masses of extra cap room.

Alternatively I think Carroll believes he can manage any scenario — including an awkward relationship with the quarterback for another year.

So I think he’s less inclined to take whatever offer drops on the table and is more inclined to hold out for an offer he loves.

Ultimately he’s a 70-year-old coach. A five-year rebuild isn’t going to cut it. I don’t think Carroll will believe he needs Wilson to compete — but I do think he’s realistic enough to know replacing him with Alex Smith would be a recipe for mediocrity.

The end result is the position somewhat hinted at by Schefter. A team open for business but needing a great result to make everything happen.

That likely means more suitors being welcomed to the bidding table. It likely means either a quarterback to start in place of Wilson, or a draft pick in the top-10 where they can select a replacement.

I think the message from Schefter is one from the Seahawks. Chicago couldn’t get this done. The other three teams have moved on. So let’s get Miami, Denver and Philadelphia involved otherwise what are we doing here?

That is how I would parse Adam Schefter’s reporting.

I think his reporting is very much from the Seahawks side of this debate currently.

If I had to put money on what will happen, it’d be this:

— Wilson refuses to add teams to his list

— The Seahawks don’t receive a good enough offer from Chicago

— Both parties just carry on awkwardly and we won’t be able to avoid this topic for 12 whole months

That’s why, to me, it’s time for both parties to be really brutally honest with each other in the next two weeks. Serious talks are required.

Either make this trade happen now and move on. Otherwise, you need to renew your vows in the form of a new contract that ends this talk once and for all.

The alternative — a year of media shenanigans, constant questioning over Wilson’s future and the dysfunction that’ll come with it — would be a potential disaster for this franchise.

By the draft the Seahawks and Russell Wilson either have to make this right or they need to go their separate ways.

I’m afraid the more realistic scenario will be they just progress onwards for another year, pretend the last six weeks didn’t happen and we’ll be having these same conversations throughout the regular season and beyond.

The Darnold trade removes another possible option for the Seahawks as a contingency plan. Unless of course the Panthers plan to make a run at Wilson and now have the quarterback replacement to offer Seattle to make it work.

The Seahawks were heavily linked to Darnold at the time Chicago were said to be in the hunt for Wilson. Now — that option has seemingly gone and it’s Scott Fitterer, formerly of Seattle, making the move for the Jets quarterback.

But an unsuitable divorce shouldn’t be an excuse for prolonging the marriage. If they’re going to try and make this work — there needs to be a new commitment.

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Updated horizontal board: 4th April

Sunday, April 4th, 2021

A few weeks ago I posted a horizontal board, breaking down where I personally think players deserve to be graded.

Today I’m posting an update. I’m not sure this will change between now and the end of the month. I’ve studied all of the players and watched more games than in any previous draft class in order to compile this. I’ve also poured over pro-day results and in some cases interviewed players to best assess how this should be structured.

The board is below, followed by some thoughts on the process and notes on individual players. Click the image to enlarge:

Differentiating between grades

I’ve given out 15 first round grades. Quite simply, this is the group of players that in any given year I would feel comfortable projecting in round one. They are not flawless players — far from it. But they have the best chance, in my opinion of succeeding. They have the top traits, the higher ceiling. Some will have legit star potential (Trevor Lawrence, Ja’Marr Chase), others can be projected to be good starters.

The second round grades are given to players who have high upside traits but perhaps lack some of the certainty of the top group. These are players who have displayed physical talent that warrants an early selection. However, they also have either technical flaws or inconsistencies within their game preventing them earning a place in the top group. They may lack experience or play a position of lesser value.

It’s important to note that I would be comfortable drafting players graded in round two within the first frame. This is the dilemma teams face every year. You never get 32 first round graded players. When the top names leave the board, you’re always having to compromise. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable drafting a player with a second round grade in the first. That’s just the process, every year.

The following players are at the top of my round two section (in no particular order): Quinn Meinerz, Jayson Oweh, Teven Jenkins, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Rashawn Slater, the top three running backs, all of the quarterbacks and Dyami Brown.

I have 57 players graded in the first two rounds. Not all of these players will actually be selected in rounds 1-2.

The round three grades are a real mix. It’s a combination of a few things. Extreme physical talent that requires a position change (from tackle to guard or center for example). Players with enticing physical traits but greater question marks in terms of performance, fit or consistency. Players who are ‘solid’ but you question whether they are ‘special’. Good performers in college with physical limitations. Players who slightly underperformed at pro-day. This is also a range where players who were once expected to be first or second round picks have settled into — either due to injury or because they haven’t played or tested.

Round four is also an eclectic mix. In some cases it’s players who underperformed at pro-day and therefore have been dropped a round or two. There are raw players with exciting physical traits who may need a longer time to develop. There are productive, established names within college football who arguably have a lower ceiling. There are role players.

This is admittedly quite a vulgar attempt to record something that is marginally similar to how it’s done in the pro’s — albeit without most of the fine detail, complexity and expertise.

This is how I view the class. If nothing else, it helps us shape opinion as to where players might go, who could deliver value and who might be available to the Seahawks.

Player notes

Dyami Brown (WR, North Carolina)
I have Brown ranked as the fifth best receiver in the draft. He’s incredibly sudden and adept at creating downfield separation to deliver explosive plays. Like most of the top receivers in his size range, Brown knows how to create subtle separation and his acceleration is attractive. He’s not the most reliable catcher but for me he warrants a placing in the early second round. His game is geared towards two things — vertical passing and shorter-range separation to move the chains. Those two things happen to be the most important aspects for his position.

Buddy Johnson (LB, Texas A&M)
This was one big pleasant surprise. Johnson is intense, athletic and built like a machine. He’s the modern day NFL linebacker and while he lacks elite size (6-0, 229lbs) he makes up for it with explosive traits, agility and power. He’s very capable of dropping in space, shifting through the gears to read/react and he can get involved at the line when needed. Watching highlights of his pro-day, he was roared on by his team mates and clearly is very popular. He ran an incredible 4.03 short shuttle which teams will pay attention to. That’s a key test for linebackers. He added a 38.5 inch vertical, a 10-8 broad and a 4.57 forty. He also has 10-inch hands. He is one to watch for sure and could be a steal for someone.

Bobby Brown (DT, Texas A&M)
His tape was by no means consistent but there were enough ‘wow’ moments to put him in round two. His combination of sheer power, agility and length leapt off the screen with flashes of genuine brilliance on tape. He can do everything — control and stack versus the run, swim into the backfield, pursue in space, bull-rush into the backfield. His profile is stunning — 6-4, 321lbs, 35 inch arms, 85.5 inch wingspan, 10.5 inch hands, 4.98 forty, 33 inch vertical, 9-5 broad jump, 4.63 short shuttle. Get him in the building because he has major potential.

Kellen Mond (QB, Texas A&M)
I have no issue placing Mond as the #3 quarterback in this class. There are two areas he needs to work on. His footwork on the drop isn’t ideal — he heel-clicks, he takes weird steps and it can and will impact his accuracy. He’s also too robotic for someone so athletic. If he frees himself up he could be a magician. Even so — his whipped release is top notch. He has that ‘flick of the wrist’ velocity which is so attractive. His ability to throw in the pocket with pressure in his face is top level. He greatly improved his consistency and elevated his game during a four-year SEC career. His Senior Bowl week was electric. Some of the throws he delivered in the last two years of his Texas A&M career were ‘wow’ moments. I think he has special qualities and it’s unclear why he’s so underrated by the media.

Kendrick Green (G/C, Illinois)
His lack of great length can cause an issue, with defenders able to evade him and keep their frame clean. However, he’s a truly explosive blocker with superb testing numbers and a physical profile comparable to Quinn Meinerz. As a run blocker he’s impressive and if he shifts inside to center, the lack of length will be less of an issue. He’s a big-time finisher who often finds someone to hammer right before the whistle. You’ll often see him get into a bit of ‘afters’ and he plays with an edge. For any team coveting Quinn Meinerz and missing out, Green could be the consolation prize.

Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
I’m not sure what to make of Bateman. I thought he really excelled in 2019 and there were games where throwing his way meant an automatic conversion. Yet in 2020, you’re just left wondering if he’s ‘special’. You want to see a bit more. I will say this though — teams like the Seahawks, who struggled badly on third downs in 2020, might see some appeal. He is a chain-mover from the slot and he has enough to play outside. Although he’s 25lbs lighter than David Moore, they had almost identical testing numbers:

David Moore
6-0, 215lbs
4.43 40
36.5 inch vertical
10-4 broad
4.38 ss
6.98 3c

Rashod Bateman
6-0, 190lbs
4.43 40
36 inch vertical
10-3 broad
4.35 ss
6.95 3c

Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama)
I’ve long thought Barmore was overrated by the media. He’s simply been too inconsistent and the way he won at Alabama is not entirely translatable. Physically he is nothing special — running a sluggish 7.81 three cone and a 4.75 short shuttle at 310lbs. He didn’t do any explosive testing and his frame is a little top heavy — so it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever be able to anchor. I wouldn’t take him until round three and I think he’ll last longer than many are projecting.

Tommy Togiai (DT, Ohio State)
I’ll look beyond his tardiness in missing our interview (despite him actively arranging a specific time/day), requesting to re-arrange then going cold. The fact is running a 4.49 short shuttle at 296lbs is not to be ignored. That’s a fantastic time at a vital position for interior defensive linemen. On top of that, he put up 40 reps on the bench, ran a 4.97 and jumped a 32 inch vertical. Having 32 inch arms likely takes him out of contention for Seattle but he has an outstanding physical profile otherwise.

Brevin Jordan (TE, Miami)
This was one of the big disappointments of the off-season. At SPARQ, weighing 250lbs, he ran a 4.21 short shuttle. At pro-day, weighing 247lbs, he ran a 4.62. He has sub-33 inch arms, a sub-80 inch wingspan, he only jumped a 30-inch vertical. This is not the profile a top-level NFL tight end. I’m being generous putting him in round four. It’s no wonder the Seahawks were active in signing Gerald Everett. There are hardly any options in this draft.

Robert Rochell (CB, Central Arkansas)
I studied his Senior Bowl reps and let’s be clear — there is a lot of work to be done. He was tentative, unsure of himself and almost looked a little intimidated going up against Kadarius Toney. He needs major technical work. Yet on tape there were few concerns — he looked explosive, long and very capable. His physical profile is outstanding — a 4.38 forty, a 3.98 short shuttle, +32 inch arms, a 41 inch vertical, an 11-8 broad. Teams will fancy their chances of turning him into something.

Anthony Schwartz (WR, Auburn)
I don’t know how the Seahawks intend to play offense this year. They’ve brought in Shane Waldron from the Sean McVay coaching tree. They’ve retained Mike Solari, whose blocking scheme is very different to McVay’s (and they added a Solari guard in Gabe Jackson). We also have Pete Carroll undoubtedly offering his input. If they want to run a lot of misdirection ala McVay with receivers in motion, running across the formation and generally seeking mismatch opportunities — that is how Schwartz was used at Auburn. He also ran a 4.26 forty. Unlike Rondale Moore, who also operated quite a lot in and around the LOS, Schwartz is more adept as a field stretching force (although he lacks Moore’s explosive power and change-of-direction). He could tick a couple of boxes — a downfield threat for Carroll and a motion-man for Waldron. Schwartz definitely suffered with poor quarterback play at Auburn. In the right offense, there’s something to work with.

Thoughts regarding the Seahawks

Although I don’t rate Ethan Pocic, I think it was the right thing to bring him back as a cheap draft hedge. It’s clear the center options in this class are both incredibly enticing yet limited.

I suspect the ideal scenario is someone like Quinn Meinerz, who ticks every box for the Seahawks, will last to #56. However — I think the entire NFL has been caught up in Meinerz-mania and there’s simply no justifiable reason for him to last into the late second round.

I fear that’ll also be the case for Creed Humphrey, another explosive athlete. Josh Myers and Landon Dickerson didn’t test due to injury.

If the centers are gone there could be potential ‘tackle of the future’ candidates — or at least guard/tackle converts. D’Ante Smith has the length they want at tackle, as has Alex Leatherwood and Spencer Brown. The likes of Dillon Radunz, Liam Eichenburg and Sam Cosmi lack outstanding length but all were explosive testers.

Kendrick Green and Brady Christensen could be candidates to convert to center.

Let’s also not completely rule out Damien Lewis moving to centre, affording the Seahawks to draft a guard. That could bring Ben Cleveland and Trey Smith into play. Personally, I love the thought of Cleveland still being an option. The Seahawks don’t have enough size, attitude and raw physicality in the trenches. He would deliver that — even if I’m not a fan of bumping Lewis inside unnecessarily.

If they move off the offensive line there are several receivers who ran in the 4.4’s (Seattle’s threshold at the position). Some players such as Nico Collins simply don’t have the initial burst and suddenness the Seahawks require. Increasingly I wonder if they would consider Tylan Wallace. He lacks some of the shiftiness and raw speed they love but he did run in the 4.4’s and he’s a contested catch specialist — with the most (43) in the FBS over the last three years.

Rashod Bateman, Rondale Moore, Dee Eskridge, Cade Johnson, Shi Smith and Anthony Schwartz all have the testing speed. Johnson did a particularly good job getting open at the Senior Bowl and shares some of Tyler Lockett’s traits. Schwartz is a track-star while Moore is one of the best overall athletes in the draft. Eskridge has raw playmaking quality and Shi Smith brings attitude and consistency.

I wouldn’t expect the Seahawks to add to the D-line given the numerous moves they’ve made already. Neither would I expect them to draft yet another linebacker. However, they have shown a sweet tooth for any linebacker running an amazing short shuttle. Buddy Johnson’s 4.03 is right in the ‘irresistible’ bracket in terms of the Seahawks specifically. If they hadn’t taken Jordyn Brooks a year ago we would be talking about him a lot more today.

There are plenty of long, athletic cornerbacks in this draft. The two to keep an eye on might be Benjamin St. Juste and Israel Mukuamu if either is available on day three.

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Introducing the most explosive O-line class in years

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

BYU’s Brady Christensen is the most explosive O-liner we’ve ever tested

Since 2016 I’ve been using something called the ‘Trench Explosion Formula’ to measure explosive traits among offensive linemen.

The formula originated from a town-hall meeting involving Tom Cable. He revealed what is considered to be an ideal physical profile for an offensive lineman.

It included:

— 31-inch vertical jump
— 9-foot broad jump
— 27 reps in the bench press

Using this information we can calculate an explosive physical profile:

1. Vertical ÷ 31
2. Broad ÷ 9, then cube the result
3. Bench ÷ 27
4. Results added together = TEF

Here’s what the ideal (31 — 9 — 27) would look like using this formula:

1. Vertical: 31 ÷ 31 = 1
2. Broad: 9 ÷ 9 = 1, cubed = 1
3. Bench: 27 ÷ 27 = 1
4. Overall score = 3.00

So a prospect achieving the ideal (31 — 9 — 27) will score a 3.00 in TEF.

You may ask why it’s a worthwhile exercise — especially since Cable no longer works for the Seahawks.

There are two distinct trends identified since we started using the formula:

1. League wide, teams will draft explosive offensive linemen earlier

Three years ago, only seven offensive linemen scored an optimal 3.00 or higher in TEF. Of the seven, Quenton Nelson and Kolton Miller were both high first round picks. Braden Smith, Connor Williams and Will Hernandez were second round picks.

In 2019, only eight players scored an optimal 3.00 or higher. This included Chris Lindstrom, Garrett Bradbury, Andre Dillard and Kaleb McGary (all drafted in round one). Erik McCoy and Elgton Jenkins were also top-50 picks.

Last year, again eight players scored a 3.00 or higher. This included first round picks Tristan Wirfs, Austin Jackson and Cesar Ruiz. Ezra Cleveland was a second round pick and Matt Peart was taken in the third.

It’s not a coincidence that the most explosive offensive linemen are being drafted early.

2. The Seahawks in particular, even since Cable’s departure, have targeted explosive offensive linemen in the draft

In the last two years they have selected Damien Lewis (2.97) and Phil Haynes (3.22). Prior to that, they selected a large number of explosive testers including Mark Glowinski (3.34), Justin Britt (3.00) and J.R. Sweezy (3.13).

In fact the evidence showed the Seahawks were specifically targeting the most explosive O-liners every year. When they made the Britt pick in round two for example, most people didn’t understand why. He was a relative unknown. It turns out when they were on the clock, he was the last explosive offensive tackle remaining on the board.

This isn’t to argue that every explosive offensive lineman will be a high pick or that this in any way projects ‘quality of play’. It doesn’t.

The formula is simply designed to assess explosive athleticism, help us compare players and identify possible Seahawks targets.

We also run something called ‘Weighted TEF’ (or w/TEF).

This accounts for bigger players (325lbs or higher for example) having an incredible vertical and broad jump performance despite weighing 20-25lbs more than other O-line prospects.

Weight x TEF x 0.1

2021 is the year of the offensive lineman…

Over the last few years the league has had a major issue finding quality offensive linemen in the draft. It’s something John Schneider has talked about often.

In part this is due to recruiting pressure. The top athletes at High School want to play defensive line. That’s where the stats, the glory and the money comes from.

The top college teams, in an attempt to recruit the best talent, are granting their wishes.

On top of this, the development of the spread offense and non-compliant pro-technique has created a dearth of NFL-ready players and athletes.

The TEF results highlight the issue…

Offensive linemen scoring a 3.00 or more:

2016 — 6
2017 — 3
2018 — 7
2019 — 8
2020 — 8

Defensive linemen scoring a 3.00 or more:

2016 — 26
2017 — 30
2018 — 22
2019 — 24
2020 — 14

However, the 2021 offensive line class is bucking the trend.

2021 TEF results

Standard TEF

Players scoring a 3.00 or higher are in bold…

Brady Christensen — 3.72
Sam Cosmi — 3.57
Kendrick Green — 3.42
Quinn Meinerz — 3.41
Rashawn Slater — 3.37
Spencer Brown — 3.36
Teven Jenkins — 3.33
Alijah Vera-Tucker — 3.31
Drew Dalman — 3.31
Trey Smith — 3.30
Sadarius Hutcherson — 3.29
Creed Humphrey — 3.25
Landon Young — 3.24
Alex Leatherwood — 3.16
Dan Moore — 3.08
Penei Sewell — 3.04
Dillon Radunz — 3.04
Brendan Jaimes — 3.03
Liam Eichenburg — 3.00

D’Ante Smith — 2.97
Robert Hainsey — 2.97
David Moore — 2.95
Walker Little — 2.93
Jaylon Moore — 2.91
Josh Ball — 2.89
Jimmy Morrisey — 2.88
Tristan Hoge — 2.83
Carson Green — 2.80
Kayode Awosika — 2.78
Cole Van Lanen — 2.70
William Sherman — 2.69
Aaron Banks — 2.68
Stone Forsythe — 2.68
Larry Borom — 2.62
James Hudson — 2.48
Alaric Jackson — 2.39
Adrian Ealy — 2.35

Weighted TEF:

Brady Christensen — 112.3
Sam Cosmi — 112.0
Quinn Meinerz — 109.1
Kendrick Green — 107.7
Trey Smith — 105.9
Teven Jenkins — 105.6
Sadarius Hutcherson — 105.6
Spencer Brown — 104.1
Rashawn Slater — 102.4
Alijah Vera-Tucker — 101.9
Creed Humphrey — 101.4
Penei Sewell — 100.6
Landon Young — 100.4
Drew Dalman — 99.0
Alex Leatherwood — 98.6
David Moore — 97.4
Dan Moore — 95.8
Liam Eichenburg — 91.8
Walker Little — 91.7
Dillon Radunz — 91.5
Robert Hainsey — 90.9
D’Ante Smith — 90.5
Jaylon Moore — 90.5
Brendan Jaimes — 90.2
Carson Green — 89.6
Josh Ball — 89.0
Tristan Hoge — 87.8
Jimmy Morrisey — 87.3
Aaron Banks — 87.1
Kayode Awosika — 85.3
Larry Borom — 84.3
Cole Van Lanen — 84.2
Stone Forsythe — 82.3
William Sherman — 81.8
James Hudson — 77.6
Alaric Jackson — 76.7
Adrian Ealy — 76.6

The following players did not participate in full testing and therefore cannot be given a score:

Landon Dickerson
Christian Darrisaw
Josh Myers
Wyatt Davis
Ben Cleveland
Jackson Carmen
Jaylen Mayfield
Deonte Brown
Michal Menet
Drake Jackson
Trey Hill

What the results tell us

— There are 19 players with an ideal, explosive physical profile or higher this year. That’s by far the most since we started using TEF:

2016 — 6
2017 — 3
2018 — 7
2019 — 8
2020 — 8
2021 — 19

— Brady Christensen is the most explosive offensive lineman we’ve ever tested in the formula. Furthermore, 10 members of the 2021 draft class are among the 15 best testers since 2016:

Brady Christensen — 3.72
Iosua Opeta — 3.62
Sam Cosmi — 3.57
Jason Spriggs — 3.54
Braden Smith — 3.52
Tristan Wirfs — 3.47
Kendrick Green — 3.42
Quinn Meinerz — 3.41
Rashawn Slater — 3.37
Spencer Brown — 3.36
Teven Jenkins — 3.33
Alijah Vera-Tucker — 3.31
Drew Dalman — 3.31
Kolton Miller — 3.31
Trey Smith — 3.30

— To put Christensen’s performance into perspective, his 3.72 score is the same as top-10 pick D-liner Ed Oliver’s. Among defensive linemen, only Myles Garrett (4.21), Ben Banogu (4.05), Solomon Thomas (3.83) and Jabari Zuniga (3.76) are more explosive athletes currently playing in the NFL.

— Twelve members of the 2021 draft class are in the top-20 for w/TEF since 2016:

Brady Christensen — 112.3
Sam Cosmi — 112.0
Tristan Wirfs — 111.0
Braden Smith — 110.9
Quinn Meinerz — 109.1
Iousa Opeta — 109.0
Kendrick Green — 107.7
Trey Smith — 105.9
Teven Jenkins — 105.6
Sadarius Hutcherson — 105.6
Spriggs, Jason —- 104.9
Spencer Brown — 104.1
Phil Haynes — 103.7
Isaiah Wilson — 103.6
Austin Jackson — 103.4
Rashawn Slater — 102.4
Alijah Vera-Tucker — 101.9
Creed Humphrey — 101.4
Landon Young — 100.4
John Simpson — 102.7

— Simply put, this is a truly special class of offensive linemen.

Predictions and judgements based on the data

— Rashawn Slater and Alijah Vera-Tucker will be very early picks

— Teven Jenkins could easily go in the top-20

— It’s very possible Quinn Meinerz and Creed Humphrey will go in the top-40

— I think it’s highly unlikely that Sam Cosmi will get out of the top-60

— Brady Christensen and Kendrick Green should experience a sizeable jump in stock

— The medical checks for Trey Smith will be among the most important of any player in Indianapolis because he has a legitimate top-40 physical profile

— Walker Little, Liam Eichenburg and Dillon Radunz are very similar athletically and could all go in a similar range, or at least carry similar grades

— If you want to know why teams like the Raiders were willing to move off ageing, expensive veterans — this draft class is probably why. Expect them to select a couple of O-liners, including with their first pick

What it means for the Seahawks

They have selected a number of the top testers over the years but scoring a 3.00 is not a cut off point.

Players scoring just below the 3.00 threshold have been considered in the past, especially those who then perform well in weighted TEF. This includes Damien Lewis (2.97 & 97.1) and Germain Ifedi (2.97 & 96.1).

The Seahawks seemingly place a lot of value in arm length. It appears that the only offensive lineman they’ve drafted in the Carroll/Schneider era with sub-33 inch arms is Joey Hunt — taken in the sixth round in 2016.

Former Seahawks scout Jim Nagy recently suggested on Twitter that hand-size is more important than arm length at center.

Hunt had 30 inch arms but 10 inch hands.

Therefore, they might be willing to draft a shorter-armed center with big hands. That’s no guarantee though, especially earlier in the draft where they appear more focused on ideals.

At tackle, length seems to be a big factor. Russell Okung and Germain Ifedi both had 36 inch arms. Brandon Shell has 35 inch arms. George Fant has 36 5/8 inch arms.

Duane Brown has 33 1/4 inch arms — so it’s certainly possible it’s not always a big deal. Yet Brown was a proven, established player in the league when they acquired him. In terms of drafting, they’ve never taken an unproven player with that kind of profile to play left tackle.

Rees Odhiambo had 33 1/4 arms too but was drafted to play guard and only really played tackle in an emergency (and he wasn’t successful).

Here are all the players who registered a 2.97 or higher, with their listed arm length and hand size measurements:

Brady Christensen (G/C) — 32 1/4, 10 1/4
Sam Cosmi (T/G) — 33, hand size not known
Kendrick Green (G/C) — 32, 10
Quinn Meinerz (G/C) — 33 3/8, 10 1/8
Rashawn Slater (G) — 33, 10 1/2
Spencer Brown (T) — 34, 10 3/8
Teven Jenkins (T/G) — 33 1/2, 9 1/2
Alijah Vera-Tucker (G) — 32 1/8, 9 1/2
Drew Dalman (C) — 31 1/2, 10 1/2
Trey Smith (G) — 33 5/8, 9 3/4
Sadarius Hutcherson (G) — 32 3/8, 9
Creed Humphrey (C) — 31 3/4, 9 5/8
Landon Young (T/G) — 33 3/4, 10 1/8
Alex Leatherwood (T/G) — 34 1/2, 9 1/2
Dan Moore (G) — 34 1/2, 10 1/8
Dillon Radunz (T/G) — 33 1/4, 9 1/8
Brendan Jaimes (G/C) — 32 3/4, 10
Liam Eichenburg (G) — 32 3/8, 9 5/8
D’Ante Smith (T/G) — 35, 9 7/8
Robert Hainsey (G/C) — 32 1/8, 9 7/8

My takeaway from this is that the Seahawks are probably going to have a major crush on Quinn Meinerz. He has the length they love, he is one of the most explosive offensive linemen to enter the draft in years and he carries those traits with great size.

Unfortunately the rest of the league will be paying attention to this too.

Meinerz’s rise has been compared to that of Ali Marpet in 2015. He was drafted 61st overall after creating buzz at the Senior Bowl as a little-known prospect from Hobart.

He also had length (33 3/8 inch arms) and explosive traits (3.08 TEF, 94.6 w/TEF). However, his profile is nowhere near as good as Meinerz’s (3.41 TEF, 109.1 w/TEF).

Unfortunately, I see virtually no chance Meinerz lasts until the 56th pick. It’s simply not plausible for a player with his profile to last that long. He is a top-50 player in any class and could easily sneak into the top-35.

If they plan to draft a tackle for the future, keep an eye on D’Ante Smith. He has the arm length (35 inches) and the explosive testing (2.97 TEF, 90.5 w/TEF) they look for. He also performed very well at the Senior Bowl.

A lot of the other tackle prospects don’t have the length they seek. Alex Leatherwood and Walker Little could be candidates but based on trends — the other players would be a departure from their previous actions.

At center, if the ‘hand size over arm length’ theory correlates with the Seahawks thinking, the following players could be considered:

Brady Christensen
Kendrick Green
Drew Dalman
Brendan Jaimes
Robert Hainsey

It’s also worth remembering that the likes of Landon Dickerson, Josh Myers and Michal Menet haven’t tested. Myers only has 32 inch arms but 10 3/8 inch hands, while Dickerson has 32 1/2 inch arms and 10 3/8 inch hands.

Menet wasn’t measured.

My feeling on the Seahawks, four weeks out, is as follows:

I think they re-signed Ethan Pocic knowing full well there was a chance the top centers wouldn’t be available. With the way Meinerz and Humphrey tested, plus the general reputation and quality of Dickerson and Myers, it may not be possible to draft a center at #56.

It’s not impossible but perhaps it is increasingly unlikely.

Retaining Pocic gives them a necessary hedge. Now, they can potentially wait until round four — or trade down from #56 — before taking a player such as Brady Christensen or Kendrick Green (who has experience at center).

Green is a player to keep in mind. He plays with real aggression and purpose. He also has a similar testing profile to Meinerz, just minus the arm length. It’s plausible the Seahawks see him as a cheaper version and someone they might be able to target in rounds three or four, assuming Meinerz is off the board at #56.

If they stay at #56 or trade down a few spots, things might be trending towards selecting a receiver first. They haven’t replaced Phillip Dorsett, David Moore or Josh Gordon with any kind of hedge so far. That could happen in the next four weeks but it’s at least worth noting.

This is such a loaded class at receiver, with multiple options.

An ideal scenario is probably Quinn Meinerz first, then a receiver second. A more realistic scenario is a receiver first, followed by a center project (Kendrick Green) in rounds three or four after some manoeuvring.

When I publish my updated, horizontal board — I will discuss some of the receivers who could be considered.

This is assuming the Seahawks stick to their trends. I would never rule out selecting a 33-inch-armed left tackle of the future, or a non-ideal explosive tester.

However, trends do point us in the right direction more often than not. It’s why we’ve been able to identify so many potential Seahawks players over the years. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Even when there are occasional exceptions.

And if you’re wondering if they still pay attention to this, especially since appointing Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator, it’s worth noting that Gabe Jackson is 335lbs and scored a 3.05 in TEF plus a 102.5 in w/TEF.

If you missed my Talkin’ Seahawks podcast appearance with Joe Fann yesterday, you can check it out here:

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Talkin’ Seahawks with Joe Fann & thoughts on the top-10

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

This week I was invited onto Joe Fann’s ‘Talkin’ Seahawks’ podcast. We had a good conversation about Jamal Adams, the off-season and how I came to follow (and ultimately write about) the team.

Check it out here:

I also wanted to share some thoughts on the top-10 picks.

I think we’re starting to gain some clarity on what’s going to happen at certain spots and how this will ultimately shape the rest of the draft.

#1 Jacksonville Jaguars

This is straight forward. They will select Trevor Lawrence.

#2 New York Jets

Short of any medical issues, they will select Zach Wilson. He had a surgically repaired shoulder and players will soon travel to Indianapolis for medicals. Provided everything checks out, Wilson will be the pick here.

#3 San Francisco 49ers

I think this is nailed on to be Mac Jones. Kyle Shanahan’s offense doesn’t call for off-script improv. Not in the slightest. He wants to call the plays, he wants you to read the defender he isolates and execute. There’s a difference between a bootleg and backyard football. Justin Fields and Trey Lance don’t process anywhere near as well as Jones and they don’t throw with the same anticipation either. Fields in particular is better playing off-script, not within structure. Jones is the ideal fit for what Shanahan wants. Remember — his offense in Atlanta in 2016 was virtually unstoppable with Matt Ryan (the MVP) simply executing. Jones will win the locker room over quickly (just ask DeVonta Smith & Jaylen Waddle for their thoughts on Jones over Tua). They went and got their guy and to be honest, I’d be a lot more fearful of someone who can execute Shanahan’s genius rather than a superior, flashier athlete.

#4 Atlanta Falcons

I think this comes down to two players — Kyle Pitts and Trey Lance. To cut or trade Matt Ryan next year will cost Atlanta $40m. So they are tied to him for at least two more seasons. For me, the best thing to do would be to draft Pitts at #4 and then take Kellen Mond with your second selection. However, if the Falcons see this as a rare opportunity to pick a quarterback in the top-five to set themselves up long term, they could select Lance and sit him until 2023. I think the smart move is clearly Pitts and new GM Terry Fontenot insists they’ll take the best player on the board. Plus I think Lance only warrants a placing similar to Jordan Love a year ago.

#5 Cincinatti Bengals

The Bengals are going to draft Ja’Marr Chase. Book it. It’s as nailed on as the top-three picks.

#6 Miami Dolphins

Reportedly the Dolphins are avoiding players who held out of the 2020 season. That makes Penei Sewell unlikely. If Kyle Pitts is still on the board, he’s a strong option. The two Alabama receivers — DeVonta Smith & Jaylen Waddle — are strong options too. However — I still think Patrick Surtain is also a possibility. This is a deep receiver class and with #18 and two second rounders, the Dolphins can wait if they want to. Xavien Howard’s days are numbered in Miami and Tony Pauline recently indicated the Dolphins are planning to take a corner early. Some people view Surtain as one of the top four or five players in the draft, with a low floor and decent ceiling. So I think this pick comes down to Pitts, Smith, Waddle or Surtain.

#7 Detroit Lions

This seems like another cast-iron lock. The Lions are desperate at receiver and will select one of DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle.

#8 Carolina Panthers

All the talk was about a powerplay for Deshaun Watson but that’s not happening now. I wonder if the Panthers will kick the can down the road at quarterback. They could take Justin Fields but I sense Matt Rhule and David Tepper want proven experience. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took Penei Sewell here to play left tackle and revisited the Watson situation down the line. Patrick Surtain could also be a consideration, or Rashawn Slater.

#9 Denver Broncos

They could go quarterback but I’m just not sure it’s what the new GM will want to do. You have to be really convinced if you’re going to attach yourself to a quarterback with your first pick. I think they will trade down and target linebackers in the mid-teens. I think New England will have their eye on Justin Fields as an ideal transition project from Cam Newton. I have them moving up to get him.

#10 Dallas Cowboys

The consensus seems to be cornerback for Dallas — meaning either Patrick Surtain or if he’s off the board, Jaycee Horn. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they looked at Rashawn Slater to play guard or one of the top-two pass rushers (Azeez Olujari, Jaelen Phillips).

Other notes…

— I’m going to be publishing TEF results for the 2021 O-line class in the next couple of days. No spoilers here but I can tell you this is by far the most explosive group of offensive linemen we’ve ever covered.

— I’ve also updated my horizontal board and will be publishing the new version within the next few days.

— Teven Jenkins secured a place in the first round with his pro-day today. He measured with 33.5 inch arms (longer than expected) and jumped a 32.5 inch vertical. He also delivered the quote of the off-season. I would draft him for that answer alone.

— I didn’t expect Chubba Hubbard to weigh in at 210lbs and jump a 36 inch vertical and a 10-0 broad. I still don’t think he’s a Seahawks ‘type’ of running back but this combination of size and explosive testing warrants further study.

I shared more thoughts on the top-10, the Seahawks and a lot more in a live stream Q&A I did yesterday, which also featured Robbie and I discussing the Tyler Lockett news. If you missed it, check it out here:

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