LIVE STREAM: Julio Jones to the Seahawks?

May 30th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Rob Staton & Robbie Williams discuss the latest rumour that the Seahawks might be trying to make a deal with the Falcons for Julio Jones…

 

Live stream this Wednesday: Rob Staton & Robbie Williams

May 18th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Join Rob & Robbie for a new live stream this Wednesday 19th May with a 2pm (PST) start time. If you want to ask a question of the guys, use the super chat feature on YouTube and get involved!

Also, I joined Brandan Schulze this week on the Seahawkers podcast:

 

LIVE STREAM (2pm PST): Rob Staton & Jeff Simmons

May 11th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

 

Early 2022 watch-list & final thoughts

May 2nd, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Jalen Wydermyer is one to watch for 2022

2022 NFL Draft early watch-list

I can’t believe it’s time for this again already…

Derek Stingley (CB, LSU)
For two years he’s been on a pathway to the top-five and could be the highest drafted corner in years. His physical profile is beyond freakish. He had a 142.74 SPARQ score including a 4.30 forty and a 42 inch vertical. He’s well sized at 6-1 and 195lbs. An elite prospect.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE, Oregon)
Another former five-star recruit who has been a top-10 projection since the first few weeks of his emergence in college football. He ran a 4.30 short shuttle at SPARQ and he has the size and length teams covet. He had nine sacks in 14 games in 2019 and three more in the awkward covid-impacted 2020 season.

Malik Willis (QB, Liberty)
Nothing he does is orthodox. He’s the ultimate off-script, playmaking quarterback. He’ll scramble around to extend plays, throw from awkward angles, break off huge improbable runs and frustrate opponents. He’s an ultra-dynamic athlete with a good arm, great speed and he’s one to watch in 2021. Transferred from Auburn. Has plenty of technical issues that need serious work though.

Carson Strong (QB, Nevada)
He opted not to turn pro in 2021 and with a somewhat unpredictable quarterback outlook for the draft next year, he has every opportunity to go from a tier two QB prospect to a tier one. Strong has a great arm with solid downfield accuracy and teams will covet his skill-set.

Aidan Hutchinson (DE, Michigan)
He rushes the passer like an absolute wildman. His father also played for Michigan and he showed great loyalty to them in returning for 2021 after picking up an injury. He’s quick for his size, explosive and a real force getting after the quarterback.

Jalen Wydermyer (TE, Texas A&M)
When watching Kellen Mond, Wydermyer stuck out like a sore thumb. He constantly made plays in the passing game as Mond’s top-target. He’s 6-5 and 265lbs and just looks destined to be a very solid pro-weapon in the future.

Wanya Morris (T, Oklahoma)
A former top recruit, Morris has just transferred from Tennessee to the Sooners. At SPARQ he ran a 4.50 short shuttle at nearly 300lbs. Oklahoma is very capable of slotting him into the line-up and elevating his stock ahead of the 2022 draft.

Haskell Garrett (DT, Ohio State)
A player we talked about a lot before he opted not to turn pro this year. Garrett was shot in the face during the season but returned to play, miraculously. He ran a 4.41 short shuttle at 300lbs, is a 104.64 SPARQ athlete and he’s a dynamic interior rusher with the toughness to win battles vs the run.

Jordan Davis (DT, Georgia)
An absolute mountain of a man, Davis is 6-6 and 330lbs. He absorbs double teams as a nose tackle but the expectation going into the 2021 draft was that he would put on a testing show. Considered the star performer for Georgia last year on a defense that contained multiple high picks.

Zach Harrison (DE, Ohio State)
A potentially dominant pass rusher, big things are expected of Harrison this year. At SPARQ he ran a 4.62 forty and jumped a 38 inch vertical. His overall score was a 125.82. He’s a big-time prospect if everything clicks.

Sam Howell (QB, North Carolina)
He will be an experienced starter by the end of his third season at UNC. He has shown progress in terms of accuracy and elevating his team. How he copes without the two stud running backs and Dyami Brown will be interesting to watch.

Rasheed Walker (T, Penn State)
Considered by many to be a potential top-20 pick this year, Walker surprised many by returning to Penn State. He’s big, long and capable of playing either tackle spot at the next level.

Kyler Gordon (CB, Washington)
I think he looks terrific and the testing numbers hint at a big future. He’s jumped a 42.5 inch vertical and a 10-5 broad. He ran a 3.87 short shuttle and a 6.52 three cone. There’s a lot to work with here.

Obinna Eze (T, TCU)
A talented and athletic left tackle, Eze has transferred from Memphis to TCU for his final year in college football. The upside is big here but he could use a season of consistent football to elevate his stock.

Jake Ferguson (TE, Wisconsin)
It feels like we’ve been talking about Ferguson for years. He really emerged in the passing game in 2020 and with football hopefully returning to normal this year, he could be a big-time weapon.

Jeremy Ruckert (TE, Ohio State)
A player expected to take on an expanded role in 2021 with the athletic profile to really develop this year. He has the size and at SPARQ he ran a 4.40 short shuttle, jumped a 35 inch vertical and had the highest overall score at his position (114.27).

Reflecting on the 2021 draft coverage

I always like to think back on what I got wrong during this process, while reflecting on areas we did a good job.

What I got wrong

— I fully expected Seattle to trade down. Right before the draft, Rob Rang had suggested to the Seattle media that the Seahawks could/would be fearful of trading down at #56 due to the Rams being at #57. I never admitted this on the blog but I dismissed it in my own head, thinking there’s no way they’d only pick three times. In the end, Rang was absolutely right. That appeared to be exactly their mindset and with some justification. Even if the Rams always intended to select Tutu Atwell, they were clearly looking for the same type of player as the Seahawks.

— I over-estimated Quinn Meinerz, perhaps reading too much into Ali Marpet’s rise a few years ago. Someone had passed on information to me that teams ranked Meinerz a little lower than I did but I stuck to my guns that he’d be a top-50 lock. In the end, he went far later.

— I think Minnesota is a great spot for Kellen Mond and it won’t be a surprise if he steals Kirk Cousins’ job within the next couple of years. However, I thought he would go in round two and he lasted to the third. I need to circle back on whether the NFL whiffed and he’ll be the next Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson, or whether I missed on my projection. Certainly it’ll be interesting to compare Mond and Davis Mills to Kyle Trask. I liked Mond/Mills a lot more, yet Trask went earlier.

What I was happy with

— Overall I was happy with the way my horizontal board was constructed. I limited it to about 180 players and all but a handful at the end were taken. Most players were selected in the range I thought they might be. Along with another top-10 placing in the Huddle Report scoring — and a now two-year average which is joint first overall — I feel like the tape study and projection for this class was sound.

— Some examples of this include having Payton Turner in an isolated four-player bracket with Jason Oweh, Kwity Paye and Joe Tryon. All four went in the same range. I feel like we were ahead of the game on Zach Wilson, on having Jaycee Horn ahead of Patrick Surtain and other projections that occurred in round one.

— Perhaps most pleasing though was the way the positional traits we’ve consistently identified and discussed on here show up in team decision making across the NFL. All of the tight ends we identified went off the board earlier than most expected — John Bates, Tre McKitty, Noah Gray, Zach Davidson and Luke Farrell. We’ve written about why. Tommy Doyle, Dan Moore and Landon Young went earlier than expected, we identified why. There was another mad rush for the leading TEF-testers. We all know why. So although we most certainly don’t get everything write — I think the process of how we project players is reasonable.

The Seahawks got who they wanted

Jim Nagy revealed the following earlier today:

“John Schneider told us on Thursday afternoon that Dee Eskridge and (Tre) Brown were the two players he hoped fell to Hawks. Brown’s elite speed & good finishing skills will allow him to compete for a starting role as rookie.”

We can certainly debate the merits on whether the Seahawks were right to put themselves in a position to only pick three times this year. Regardless, it’s always better when they get who they want.

I think we’re all scarred by that press conference after the first round in 2019 when — armed with two first round picks — things clearly didn’t go according to plan. The consequences have been felt too.

That’s not to say them getting who they want will lead to them making the right call (see: Rashaad Penny over Nick Chubb). Yet at least we can judge Plan A going forward, rather than trying to judge a damage limitation exercise.

Certainly there are things to like about the three players they drafted, as noted yesterday. It’s a nice trio and it’ll be interesting to see how their careers develop.

What happens next?

Having watched Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s post-draft press conference I think it’s fair to say that Richard Sherman is unlikely to be rejoining the Seahawks. It appeared to be an exercise in polite dismissal of a topic that was brought up somewhat randomly after the Seahawks have just signed Pierre Desir and drafted Tre Brown.

K.J. Wright is a different story. With no significant addition at linebacker I think they are pinning their hopes on something getting done there. My prediction is that will likely be their only significant move between now and camp.

As I said yesterday, I don’t think the roster as it stands will be good enough to take the kind of step forward required to be a serious contender and it feels like the status-quo has merely been retained.

I think the big hope for Seahawks fans has to be that Shane Waldron can elevate the offense to new levels. He has been given two additional weapons in Gerald Everett and D’Wayne Eskridge. I wouldn’t bet against Tamorrion Terry and Cade Johnson getting into the mix either.

If he can create a consistently dynamic unit capable of playing a season of good offensive football and avoiding the peaks and troughs we’ve seen in prior years, that’s their best shot at being a serious threat in 2021.

I’m just not convinced the Seahawks have the chops to get after it in the trenches when the big games arrive. That was the question mark coming into this off-season for me and it still remains.

Everyone knows my opinion on the Jamal Adams trade by now so I won’t repeat it here. I will reiterate though that I think the Seahawks have spent far too much on the linebacker and safety positions and the key to future success will be shifting resource and adding major talent to the O-line and D-line.

If you take the 2021 draft in isolation and simply judge what they did over the last two days, it was a positive. I think their UDFA additions are very interesting too. I already mentioned the pair of receivers but a quick glance at B.J. Emmons in particular has me wondering if he has a legit chance to make it stick.

A final message to the community

The last year has been a strange experience writing Seahawks Draft Blog, which I started in 2008.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m a journalist and sports editor for the BBC. I write this blog in my spare time as a hobby.

Increasingly I’ve been working this website like a full-time operation. I spend nearly all of my free time watching games, writing long-form articles and recording podcasts. I do it because I enjoy it.

I have also said from day one I’ll be honest and forthright with my views. For the vast majority of the Carroll era, there’s been little to complain about.

However, I do think in recent years there have been some troubling trends and decisions — on and off the field — that need to be challenged.

In some cases these issues are not one-article investigations and then move on to a fluff-piece about the linebacker depth. They’ve demanded conversations stretching over numerous weeks and months.

I’ve been really surprised at how people have reacted to this.

The abuse I’ve received for having strong views on the Jamal Adams trade, the direction of the franchise and Russell Wilson’s future has been an eye opener.

This isn’t foreign to me. This is par for the course in my day job. A few years ago someone sent me a tweet which was a picture of a notepad saying ‘Kill List’ at the top. The list included ‘Rob Staton’ and ‘Rob Staton’s family’.

This was all presumably because I’d said something disagreeable on my radio show.

At the BBC I’ve finished shows I thought went really well, only to have streams of abuse waiting for me on Twitter. Quite early in my broadcasting career I had to deal with this being part of my working life. I can handle it.

With this blog it’s different though. I’m not employed to do this. It’s a hobby, albeit one that has developed into something more significant.

So when I get sent a message like this in the comments section…

Hey rob. Your stupid is amazing. Don’t let your daughter to turn out same way otherwise she will become a prostitute. Even if you are stupid its not too late for your daughter.

… I have to pause and wonder what I’m doing here. My daughter is four-years-old. I only ever think of her as a happy, amazing, joyful little human. She constantly makes me smile.

Yet suddenly, this individual planted this awful post into my head. And it was seared on my brain.

In the last 12 months I’ve had people threatening to hack my Twitter account. One guy spent several months emailing me abuse. I wouldn’t reply but it never stopped. I’ve spent an obscene amount of time moderating the comments, which often leads to further blowback when people accuse that of appearing heavy-handed.

What does the future hold? I’ll take a break, reassess, see what’s out there. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime I’m going to continue doing YouTube videos on my channel. I think it’s a fantastic platform and I want to build on what we’ve started there, so subscribe if you can and stay tuned.

I’d like to thank those in the Seattle media who have invited me onto their radio shows and podcasts in recent weeks. I’m always available, just drop me a line.

My personal thanks goes to Curtis Allen and Robbie Williams who have been a source of great help. Sea Mode, you know how much I appreciate your help too. There are many others, including those who simply tell a friend to check out SDB, who I also need to thank.

Your positive feedback is a constant source of energy for me. Thank you all.

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Closing thoughts at the end of the 2021 draft

May 1st, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Before getting into the piece, check out our new post-draft stream…

The Seahawks came in with three picks and they added three players.

I think there are two ways of looking at what happened over the last three days.

Firstly, you can make a strong case for the new additions.

D’Wayne Eskridge shares similar traits to Tyreek Hill. He’ll provide another explosive, downfield threat in the vertical passing game. He’s adept at competing for the ball in the air, creating sudden separation to help move the chains and he has a knack for making the improbable possible. Seattle needs to be better on third downs and he can help them achieve that. As a kick returner he’s dynamite. The Seahawks badly needed an exciting WR3 and he’s a X-factor talent who was underrated throughout this process. Along with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Gerald Everett — the passing game is going to take some stopping in 2022.

Tre Brown is a special teams demon. Every year Seahawks fans underestimate the value of special teams. How many times were people surprised to see Neiko Thorpe and Nick Bellore make the roster? Brown can immediately help fill the void left by Thorpe. He was the top gunner available in this class. He’s very experienced in man-coverage. If you’re going to blitz 30-35% of the time, you need people who can cover in man. He also excelled at the Senior Bowl and was the only cornerback to make an interception in the 1v1’s (he had two) and he led his position group with five incompletions.

Stone Forsythe was considered by many to be a day two pick. He excels in pass protection, he plays with an edge and he looks the part with a 6-8, 307lbs frame and 34 1/2 inch arms. His short shuttle (4.63) is promising. I suspect he fell due to a lack of explosive traits and he’ll need to manage leverage at his height. Even so, it’s not often you get a chance to draft a potential starter at tackle in the sixth round. This is a complete shot to nothing, an investment in a player with potential at a vital position with no consequences if it doesn’t work out.

As a trio, it looks good.

Yet it’s also been a difficult experience to see so many other good players come and go with the Seahawks on the outside looking in.

The draft process was impacted by Covid and many people will make the case that Jamal Adams is worth more than a collection of unproven rookies.

The key to success though is to build through the draft.

Next year the Seahawks don’t have that much money to spend and both starting tackles, their starting cornerbacks, free safety, tight end and center are all out of contract.

D.K. Metcalf will expect talks on a new deal in 12 months and a Jamal Adams extension will be expensive and eat into your available cap space.

There were opportunities in this draft to really enhance your roster on the cheap at numerous positions and help build new foundations. Several teams have done this and it was a deep class, with terrific value stretching deep into round five.

I remain unconvinced that Adams was worth the draft outlay, the record-breaking contract he’s likely to receive or that he’s a natural fit in Seattle — with the Seahawks able to mesh a scheme with his talents that enable both player and defense to thrive.

This all leads to mixed emotions. There’s an appreciation for the three guys they added and some disappointment at what looks like a possible missed opportunity due to a lack of picks.

After all — this was the most explosive O-line class in years and they didn’t tap into it until round six.

Clearly they’re going to try and manipulate their lack of resource into a positive in undrafted free agency. We’ll see if they can pull that off.

There’s also work to be done in the veteran market. You would hope further talks with K.J. Wright are forthcoming. I think they need to throw another running back into the mix.

I also think it’s questionable whether they’ve done enough to manage the loss of Jarran Reed. Yes he was overpaid but he produced 17 sacks in 2018 and 2020 combined. That’s not to be sniffed at. And is Ethan Pocic really deserving of a mostly unchallenged run at the center position?

I don’t think the off-season moves — or any future moves that are forthcoming — have pushed this team dramatically closer to being a serious contender.

That’s a consequence of bad drafting from 2017-20 rather than anything done in 2021, however.

The hope has to be that Shane Waldron can be the difference — taking the offense to a new level which in turn elevates the team.

That could happen and has to be the thing to cling to in 2021. It’s asking a lot of a first-time play caller but other coaches from the Sean McVay tree have enjoyed rapid success elsewhere.

In terms of the rest of the NFC West, I don’t think there was anything too threatening from the other teams.

I talked in detail about the San Francisco 49ers on Friday’s live stream. I think they’ve been given an easy ride by the media for what was a very confusing process of moving up to #3. Neither Mac Jones or Trey Lance, in my opinion, were worth that pick. Yet they gave up their 2022 and 2023 first rounders for the privilege to make the decision between the two. That’s obscene.

I wonder if there was some buyers remorse, given Jones (and maybe Lance) would’ve been available at #12. With hindsight, it felt like a knee-jerk reaction to a frustrating 2020 season and as a Seahawks fan who has studied all of Lance’s college games, I’m not overly concerned with his arrival in the NFC West.

Many Niners fans were celebrating the fact they didn’t give up so much for someone with a dad-bod — but they might want to check out Lance’s tape before getting too excited. Especially his one outing in 2020 — an ugly performance against Central Arkansas.

It certainly feels like the Seahawks usurped the Rams by taking Eskridge, with Tutu Atwell essentially a distant Plan B. The additions of Bobby Brown and Robert Rochell deserve praise but overall LA’s class didn’t feel like a game changer.

As for the Cardinals, I like Zaven Collins but I’m not sure that’s an elevating pick in the top-20. Rondale Moore is a gadget player without Eskridge’s downfield ability. It feels like a so-so group for Arizona.

I thought the Broncos’ new GM George Paton had an outstanding first draft and the Jets made some serious moves to take a big step forward. The Chiefs continued their strong off-season with an impressive class, the Lions set about creating their new culture through the trenches and other teams such as Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh made smart moves.

I wouldn’t say any of Seattle’s NFC West foes, however, took a giant leap forward.

UDFA signings

Tom Pelissero is reporting the Seahawks are signing Tamorrion Terry, which would be an excellent addition.

Cade Johnson, who I graded in round three, is also signing. I would highly recommend checking out my interview with him from February:

Other signings include Jared Hocker (OL), Pier-Olivier Lestage (OL), Bryan Mills (CB), B.J. Emmons (RB), Josh Johnson (RB), Connor Wedington (WR/KR), Jon Rhattigan (LB), Jake Curhan (OL) and Greg Eiland (OL).

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Live blog: 2021 NFL draft (Rounds 4-7)

May 1st, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Welcome to the live blog for the 2021 NFL draft. I’ll be giving reaction to every Seahawks pick. Feel free to use this as an open thread but please no tipping picks.

#129 — the Seahawks trade down with Tampa Bay
Seattle gives their fourth round pick to the Buccs for #137 and #217

#137 — Tre Brown (CB, Oklahoma)
I didn’t anticipate the Seahawks taking a 5-9, 185lbs corner with 30 3/8 inch arms. I didn’t have him on my board because really his main plus point was coverage on special teams. I suspect this might be about replacing Neiko Thorpe on special teams. However, he’s experienced in man coverage and he’s competitive. If you want to blitz a lot, you need to be able to cover in man. He had 12 recorded 1v1 snaps against receivers at the Senior Bowl and he was the only corner to make an interception (he had two). Brown also forced five incompletions, most among corners.

#208 — Stone Forsyth (T, Florida)
The Seahawks used #217 and #250 to trade into this spot. I wasn’t a fan of Forsyth in the early rounds — and he was being projected as a day two pick by many — but at this stage in the draft? I’m all in. We’re talking about a tough, physical blocker with great size (6-8, 317lbs) and agility (4.63 short shuttle). He wasn’t an explosive tester but that’s something to work on as a project tackle. The fact is he has the potential to start one day and in the sixth round, you can’t ask for much more than that.

I was live on air with KJR when the Seahawks made their pick. You can find my full segment among their live coverage here (and I’ve tweeted a clip below).

Reaction to the Dee Eskridge pick

 

LIVE STREAM: Reaction to the D’Wayne Eskridge pick

April 30th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Robbie and I jumped on a live stream after Seattle drafted D’Wayne Eskridge in round two. You can check out our views on that (and many other topics) below…

Here are a couple of quick thoughts…

— I like Eskridge. To me he looks like a poor man’s Tyreek Hill. He can get downfield to stretch a defense in the vertical passing game but he also competes for the ball in the air, he’s a chain mover and you can be creative with him. He’s a little older than ideal (24) but he’s also someone who adds a needed element to the offense.

— I don’t agree with punting on this draft in the way Seattle has. Essentially their class comes down to Eskridge now. Yes it was a unique year with a lot of uncertainty but it was difficult watching certain players leave the board. With the most explosive O-line class in years, to not tap into it feels like a missed opportunity. The numbers are depleted now. And the future remains unclear with so many positions (LT, RT, C, TE, CBx2, FS) containing out of contract starters after 2021, with a likely Jamal Adams extension set to lower their available cap space.

— There’s still value to be had on day three. I would like to see the Seahawks take a shot on a high-upside talent in round four. Bobby Brown (DT), Joshua Kaindoh (DE) and Shaun Wade (CB) spring to mind. I think they still need depth at running back (Kylin Hill?) and D’Ante Smith remains appealing as a potential tackle project.

Updated horizontal board with drafted players removed

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Live blog: 2021 NFL draft (Round 2 & 3)

April 30th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Welcome to the live blog for the 2021 NFL draft. I’ll be giving reaction to every pick as they’re made. Feel free to use this as an open thread but please no tipping picks.

At the end of round three I’ll be hosting a live stream offering reaction to Seattle’s move(s).

Here’s a watch-list for Seahawks fans…

#33 Jacksonville — Tyson Campbell (CB, Georgia)
This was rumoured. I have no idea why the Jaguars have taken another corner. For me Campbell doesn’t contest enough passes and his agility testing bothers me.

#34 New York Jets — Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss)
This is an outstanding pick. The Jets are having a tremendous draft. AVT and Moore to pair with their new pick, not to mention Mekhi Becton a year ago? What a start for Joe Douglas.

#35 Denver (v/ATL) — Javonte Williams (RB, North Carolina)
Outstanding player. In a couple of mocks I had Denver moving up for a running back. Their GM came from Minnesota. Williams is tough, physical and will run you over.

#36 Miami — Jevon Holland (S, Oregon)
He was receiving a lot of late buzz but I’m still a bit surprised he went this high. There’s not a lot of tape to get into.

#37 Philadelphia — Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama)
The Eagles take a shot on Dickerson’s health. There’s no doubting his personality and his character. Yet there’s no getting away from the fact he’s had an injury every year of his college career.

#38 New England (v/CIN) — Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama)
The Patriots trade up for a player I thought was pretty overrated. I’m not convinced he’s the dominating, disruptive DT many think he is.

#39 Chicago (v/CAR) — Teven Jenkins (T, Oklahoma State)
The Bears move up for the second time in the draft. Jenkins fell for health and character concerns. He’s explosive but I think some of the chatter about him has been OTT. He’s not as good as some will have you believe.

#40 Atlanta — Richie Grant (S, UCF)
He made a big impression at the Senior Bowl but his testing was mediocre and it feels like a forced need here.

#41 Detroit — Levi Onwuzurike (DT, Washington)
The Lions are rebuilding through the trenches and good for them. He has great agility and movement for an interior player. He has power and motor. There’s a lot of potential here.

#42 Miami (v/NYG) — Liam Eichenburg (T, Notre Dame)
He was getting a lot of talk late in the process. He has short arms, his kick-slide isn’t much to write home about. He’s a solid player who I’d prefer inside at guard.

#43 Las Vegas (v/SF) — Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU)
Another trade. There’s a lot of movement early in round two. He’s a solid safety. Nothing blows you away but he’s consistent and does a bit of everything. A calming influence in the secondary.

#44 Dallas — Kelvin Joseph (CB, Kentucky)
He really came on in 2020. He’s a top athlete with the LSU pedigree and profile. They needed a corner and they get a good one here.

#45 Jacksonville — Walker Little (T, Stanford)
This is very interesting. He was once considered a top-20 talent. An ACL injury and an opt-out later, nobody had a real grasp of where he would land. He holds in the top-50. He has all the tools to be a starting tackle.

#46 Cincinnati — Jackson Carman (T, Clemson)
I didn’t have him on my board. I didn’t see anything. I thought he looked heavy and sluggish. He has short arms. There were no testing numbers. Not sold.

#47 LA Chargers — Asante Samuel Jr (CB, Florida State)
They had a need and he has a pedigree. I think the name recognition helped him but the tape was pretty good. I preferred other CB’s in this class though.

#48 San Francisco — Aaron Banks (G, Notre Dame)
I liked Banks’ tape but was completely put off by his pro-day and dropped him two rounds. He ran a 4.92 short shuttle and he’s not explosive. His split was a 1.91.

#49 Arizona — Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue)
It’s an interesting pick. He’s a gadget player for me. He had some injury issues. Bit boom or bust really. Doesn’t really offer any downfield threat despite his size and athleticism.

#50 New York Giants — Azeez Olujari (DE, Georgia)
Obviously the injury issues have dropped him significantly and that has to be taken into account. However, he was excellent at Georgia and he has top-level potential.

#51 Washington — Sam Cosmi (T, Texas)
He’s very explosive and he has starting potential. However, he needs to learn how to finish and he has technique issues.

#52 Cleveland (v/CAR) — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB, Notre Dame)
His lack of size was seen as a concern but there’s no doubting what he does well. It’s a surprise he lasted this far.

#53 Tennessee — Dillon Radunz (T, North Dakota State)
I think he’s a guard, although admittedly he looked decent at tackle at the Senior Bowl. He’s just not very big or long.

#54 Indianapolis — Dayo Odeyingbo (DE, Vanderbilt)
I love this pick. Odeyingbo was a top-15 player for me before he tore his achilles. He’s well worth taking a chance on.

#55 Pittsburgh — Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State)
I love the value here and the Steelers added two excellent weapons with their first two picks.

#56 Seattle — Dee Eskridge (WR, Western Michigan)
I’m stunned they didn’t trade down. They really do appear to be punting on the draft overall. Eskridge is a dynamic, exciting player. For me he’s a poor man’s Tyreek Hill. He can get downfield, he competes for the ball in the air, he can move the chains. He’s an excellent kick returner. He’s an older player but he has speed and talent.

When I interviewed Jim Nagy before the Senior Bowl, we spoke about Eskridge:

I don’t have an issue with this pick. I like Eskridge. I just wish they had more picks. There’s so much talent left on the board. They have future holes that need to be filled.

#57 LA Rams — Tutu Atwell (WR, Louisville)
I think this is an odd selection, given his size and testing. It suggests they might’ve been targeting Eskridge. They surely had far bigger needs?

#58 Kansas City — Nick Bolton (LB, Missouri)
He’s an old-fashioned thumper. This isn’t a typical Chiefs pick — they usually go for upside and freaky athleticism. He is a physical tone-setter.

#59 Carolina — Terrace Marshall Jr (WR, LSU)
He played well in a disaster zone season for LSU last season. They have some weapons in Carolina but do they have the chops up front?

#60 New Orleans — Pete Werner (LB, Ohio State)
He’s explosive, athletic and he’s just always around the ball.

#61 Buffalo — Carlos Basham Jr (DE, Wake Forest)
He’s athletic but his tape is underwhelming and he blows hot and cold.

#62 Green Bay — Josh Myers (C, Ohio State)
This is a terrific value pick. The Packers smash it out of the park, landing a potential 10-year starter at center. He is legit.

#63 Kansas City — Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma)
I’m surprised the centers lasted this far. He’s explosive and tough and the Chiefs have prioritised their trenches yet again.

#64 Tampa Bay — Kyle Trask (QB, Florida)
I wouldn’t have taken him ahead of Kellen Mond or Davis Mills.

I’m going to end the live blog now and jump on a live stream reacting to the Eskridge pick. I’ll start a new blog post for that.

 

Thoughts ahead of day two of the draft

April 30th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

— For those interested in the Huddle Report mock draft accuracy scoring, I finished in the top-10 again this year (and am now in the top-10 for five-year average).

— I think based on how Pete Carroll spoke on Wednesday, the Seahawks are primed to draft for what they will perceive to be value. Trading down from #56 would seem like a near certainty with only three picks but my prediction is they won’t drop any lower than the range they took Damien Lewis a year ago (#69 overall).

— There are plenty of attractive options available, with strong depth on the O-line, receiver and at cornerback (all possible target areas). I hope the Seahawks would also be willing to consider a player with outstanding upside at a different position, such as Texas A&M defensive tackle Bobby Brown.

— What could the Seahawks have done at #23 had they not made the Jamal Adams trade? Looking at what’s available, they could’ve traded down into the top of round two and still had a shot at Elijah Moore or Dyami Brown, any of the top centers, Javonte Williams, Teven Jenkins or rolled the dice on Azeez Olujari. There are plenty of good players at great value on the board.

— Here are some of the names I’m keeping an eye on and why…

Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss)
Having assumed he would be a top-25 pick I’m intrigued to see where he lands. He plays above his size, is incredibly competitive and dynamic. It’s a surprise Rashod Bateman and Kadarius Toney went ahead of him.

Dyami Brown (WR, North Carolina)
Brown does two things really well — he gets downfield and makes huge chunk plays and he runs the routes to enable you to move the chains. I’ve had him pegged as a top-40 pick but if he lasts, he would be a fine option for Seattle.

Bobby Brown (DT, Texas A&M)
Quite simply one of the best athletes in the draft. The Seahawks have had a lot of success in the late second and early third going for upside. Brown is 6-4 and 321lbs with 35 inch arms. He ran a 1.68 split, a 4.58 short shuttle and he’s explosive. His tape is good too. He has massive potential.

Ben Cleveland (G, Georgia)
Whether guard is a need or not any more, there isn’t a tougher player in this draft. He’s the Mountain from Game of Thrones and he’ll kick your arse. The Seahawks need more players like this.

Quinn Meinerz (C, UWW)
He ticks every box for the Seahawks — explosive traits, size, length, character, strong Senior Bowl performance. If he lasts to the late second he should be seriously considered.

Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma)
A very explosive, dynamic center who plays with an edge, excels at combo-blocking and loves to reach to the second level.

Josh Myers (C, Ohio State)
Big, physical and consistent. Myers should find a home in the top-50 but if a lack of testing drops him, get ready.

Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama)
His injury record is horrendous but someone, eventually, will take him and he has All-pro potential.

Javonte Williams (RB, North Carolina)
He screams Seahawks. A tough, punishing runner who is a yards-after-contact machine. He probably won’t last too long today.

Kendrick Green (C, Illinois)
A player as explosive as Quinn Meinerz simply without the length. As an alternative he could be a good option. Like Meinerz he’s played predominantly at guard but he’s spent a bit of time at center.

D’Ante Smith (T, East Carolina)
Long, explosive, athletic and tough. He had a good Senior Bowl. He needs time in the gym to work on his pro-physique but he’d get that in Seattle, settling behind Duane Brown.

Spencer Brown (T, Northern Iowa)
Incredibly athletic, explosive tackle who is a lot taller than Seattle usually goes for but many people see him as a project left tackle who just needs time to work on his technique.

Dee Eskridge (WR, Western Michigan)
Ultra-quick and dynamic, a player who can both move the chains and get downfield. He competes for the ball and he’s a special teams dynamo.

Buddy Johnson (LB, Texas A&M)
A much loved, heart and soul linebacker who shone at Texas A&M and had the agility testing Seattle craves at the position.

I could add about 20 more. There are plenty of others who also ‘fit’ the Seahawks. I just didn’t fancy writing out my whole draft preview again (click here to see it).

Here’s an updated horizontal board with the players already taken removed:

— I loved the Jets trade in round one, essentially only really giving up a third rounder to go from #23 to #14, to get Alijah Vera-Tucker. They are building through the trenches and now have two studs to anchor their O-line. Superb.

— I was very content to see San Francisco take Trey Lance. He is not worth three first round picks. And sure, neither was Mac Jones. I was a lot more fearful though of Jones executing in Kyle Shanahan’s offense though.

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Live blog: 2021 NFL draft (Round 1)

April 29th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Welcome to the live blog for the 2021 NFL draft. I’ll be giving reaction to every pick as they come in. Feel free to use this as an open thread but please no tipping picks.

#1 Jacksonville — Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
The obvious pick. Lawrence gives the Jaguars a chance to be really good in the future.

#2 New York Jets — Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
He had a tremendous season, jumped off the screen right away and he has the rare ability to play in structure and deliver some improv.

#3 San Francisco 49ers — Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
I think this is good news for the Seahawks. Lance is inexperienced, I thought his pro-day was unconvincing and while he has an ideal athletic profile — I thought he deserved a similar grade to Jordan Love.

#4 Atlanta — Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
The right pick. Pitts is a quality player, they’re tied to Matt Ryan for two more years. They added quality and impact.

#5 Cincinnati — Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
Joe Burrow reunited with his #1 target. A combination that was unstoppable in 2019 at LSU. There’s enough tackle depth to get one later on.

#6 Miami — Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
They needed a playmaker and he’s a dynamic, downfield threat. As with Burrow and Chase, there’s familiarity with the quarterback.

#7 Detroit — Penei Sewell (T, Oregon)
The Lions take a tackle. Sewell has talent but lacks ideal length. There have been some questions this off-season but you can’t argue with the decision with Detroit launching a rebuild.

#8 Carolina — Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
I ranked Horn as the #1 cornerback on my horizontal board. He’s long, highly athletic, competitive and his coverage is watertight for a big defender.

#9 Denver — Patrick Surtain (CB, Alabama)
Reportedly a lot of people viewed Surtain as a top-five player in the class. It’s not surprise a rookie GM with a defensive Head Coach went in this direction.

#10 Philadelphia (v/DAL) — DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
I like this move. The Eagles needed a quality receiver and getting Smith here is a justifiable move by Philly.

#11 Chicago (v/NYG) — Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
The Bears flirted with a Russell Wilson trade, missed out, and now they’ve moved up for Fields. He has technical flaws, he’s poor under pressure but he’s a great athlete. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

#12 Dallas (v/PHI) — Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
He’s a very talented player but it’s pretty clear the Cowboys were deflated when the top two corners went off the board.

#13 LA Chargers — Rashawn Slater (G, Northwestern)
I think he’s a guard although no doubt they’ll try him at tackle. I didn’t think he played with much of an edge.

#14 New York Jets (v/MIN) — Alijah Vera-Tucker (G, USC)
AVT is an absolute class act. This is a superb move — trading up, reinforcing their O-line and building through the trenches.

#15 New England — Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)
In terms of attitude, grit, processing and execution — Jones is top notch. He’ll be on a mission in New England. He has the ideal mentality to try and be the guy after Tom Brady. He won’t be fazed.

#16 Arizona — Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa)
Tony Pauline is the #1 draft insider for a reason. He called this a week ago. Collins is like a great big bull running loose around the field.

#17 Las Vegas — Alex Leatherwood (T, Alabama)
Mike Mayock has a type and that’s fine. But eventually you can’t let that overrule actual talent and ability. Leatherwood isn’t worth a top-20 pick.

#18 Miami — Jaelen Phillips (DE, Miami)
An outstanding player with elite potential. This is a brilliant pick for the Dolphins. He has everything you look for in a pass rusher.

#19 Washington — Jamin Davis (LB, Kentucky)
It’s fine, adding more to your defense. And Davis is very athletic. Yet there are tons of long and short term needs on offense and eventually you’ll need to focus there.

#20 New York Giants (v/CHI) — Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
I’m surprised he’s gone before Elijah Moore. Toney emerged in 2020 and he’s very athletic, quick and has an edge to his play. Yet there are questions about his consistency and whether he’s more interested in a music career.

#21 Indianapolis — Kwity Paye (DE, Michigan)
The Colts often target highly athletic, dynamic athletes and that’s what Paye is.

#22 Tennessee — Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)
He has length and he has cover skills. There are also plenty of injury concerns and is he willing to get in there and make a tackle?

#23 Minnesota (v/NYJ) — Christian Darrisaw (T, Virginia Tech)
He doesn’t finish well enough, he doesn’t ‘wow’ you. He has a reasonable frame but he never felt like a must-have tackle. O-line was a key need though.

#24 Pittsburgh — Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
He’s an ideal fit for the Steelers. This is their type of guy. It’s easy to imagine him having a lot of success here.

#25 Jacksonville — Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
Familiarity with Trevor Lawrence, plus explosive talent, made this understandable. It’s not a huge need but they’re building for the long haul and acquiring talent.

#26 Cleveland — Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern)
It’s a bit of a surprise that they went cornerback here. Newsome has some positive characteristics including reasonable size and good speed.

#27 Baltimore — Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
This is also a surprise. The Ravens have needs on both lines and they’ve not been able to make the most of their receivers. Bateman is solid but Elijah Moore is much more dynamic.

#28 New Orleans — Payton Turner (DE, Houston)
I’m pleased for Turner. He was a great guy to interview. He has a ton of potential with ideal size and length. There was plenty of talk today that he could sneak into the late first round.

#29 Green Bay — Eric Stokes (CB, Georgia)
I’ve liked Eric Stokes for a long time. He’s really consistent with ideal size. He’s a much better coverage guy than Tyson Jackson. Good pick.

#30 Buffalo — Gregory Rousseau (DE, Miami)
What you need to know is in 2019 he had a ton of sacks, he has 34.5 inch arms and he ran a 1.57 split. There’s something to work with there.

#31 Baltimore — Jayson Oweh (DE, Penn State)
I had him going to the Ravens just at #27. He has an elite physical profile but had no sacks in 2020. He did improve his run defense though.

#32 Tampa Bay — Joe Tryon (DE, Washington)
Tryon is a remarkable athlete with bags of potential. Adding him to an already dynamic pass rush will be another feather in the cap for the Super Bowl Champions.

Overall I’m happy with my mock draft and how things played out. Here’s an updated horizontal board with the players taken removed:

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