An argument for the Seahawks drafting Kyler Murray

December 11th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

Firstly, there are four things to point out:

1. No, the Seahawks shouldn’t trade Russell Wilson

2. I don’t buy into the argument that you need a cheap QB to succeed

3. It’s unclear whether Kyler Murray will even pursue a NFL career

4. This is an argument for drafting Murray, not a statement that it should happen

Let’s address each point.

1. The Seahawks shouldn’t trade Russell Wilson

Wilson is a perfect fit for Pete Carroll’s offense. The scheme is also perfect for Wilson. Brian at Hawkblogger wrote a superb article to highlight this.

Furthermore, the Seahawks appear to be on the brink of another 3-4 year journey. The offense is stronger than it’s arguably ever been under Carroll. The offensive line is finally fixed. The running game is productive and physical. With a few exceptions, Wilson has been more efficient and explosive than ever. Everything is clicking.

With a few upgrades on defense, this team could be a legitimate contender again in 2019 or 2020. They’re close. It makes no sense whatsoever to move the franchise quarterback and potentially scupper the progress made this year.

Wilson is 30. The team has two realistic, sensible options. Let him play out 2019 and then franchise tag him. Or extend his contract for another four years. Why risk wasting a second Championship window with Carroll?

2. I don’t buy into the argument that you need a cheap QB to succeed

The success of teams like Philadelphia, Kansas City and Los Angeles (Rams) has led to a growing feeling that there’s a competitive advantage when you’re not paying a veteran quarterback +$30m a year.

It’s logical. The rookie pay scale in this CBA changed the game forever. Instead of having to pay Sam Bradford $50m guaranteed, you get to pay Baker Mayfield $32m. Lamar Jackson’s contract only contains $7.5m guaranteed. If you’re paying less for your quarterback, you have more to spend on the rest of your roster.

That said, talent is still the biggest factor in the NFL. It always will be. The teams with the best quarterbacks are going to be the most competitive. It’s why the same three AFC quarterbacks played in the Super Bowl every year for the last 15 years — Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning (with a cameo by Joe Flacco).

The quality of your quarterback is what matters, not the cost.

You don’t have to be big spenders in free agency. After all, when the Seahawks were paying Russell Wilson a tiny third-round rookie salary, their best moves were the value moves (Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril) not the big splurge (Percy Harvin).

If you have a QB who isn’t getting it done (eg 2018 Joe Flacco), turning to a cheaper rookie makes sense. When your quarterback is legitimately one of the best 5-6 in the world and having a career season — you ride that wave. Not swim to shore and look for a new board. It’s up to the Seahawks to make it work.

And while things are currently looking good for the Chiefs and Rams, it’s not really because of the saving they’re making at QB. The Rams are great because the Head Coach has proven to be an exceptional talent in his own right — and he inherited a team that had Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley. Kansas City’s defense is horrible. They succeed because of quality coaching and the blossoming career of a possible generational QB talent.

The Rams and Chiefs will pay to keep Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes one day. And so they should.

3. It’s unclear whether Kyler Murray will even pursue a NFL career

Murray’s baseball agent insists he’ll report to spring training with the Oakland A’s. If you’re unaware, Murray was the ninth overall pick in the MLB draft.

The player himself hasn’t ruled anything out, opting to say he’s merely concentrating on the College Football Playoffs.

Financially, the NFL has to appeal. As PFT’s Michael David Smith highlights, the riches are in football:

“If Murray is a first-round pick, he’ll make anywhere from $10 million (if he goes at the end of the first round) to $35 million (if he goes first overall) on his four-year rookie contract. And if Murray develops into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, his second contract would be massive. Even if Murray doesn’t become a great quarterback, plenty of not-so-great quarterbacks make a lot of money in the NFL. Matt Cassel has made $60 million in his career; Mark Sanchez has made $74 million.

“In baseball, Murray is guaranteed $4.6 million if he goes to the A’s, but beyond that he wouldn’t get a big payday for five or six years, and he wouldn’t hit free agency until he’s 29 or 30 years old.”

Winning the Heisman Trophy possibly opened Murray’s eyes. Is there more success to come in football? Can he make this work? Is he starting to consider how Baker Mayfield rose to the #1 overall pick?

We’ll likely find out quickly after Oklahoma’s season ends. This feels like it’s trending one way, though. Towards the NFL.

4. This is an argument for drafting Murray, not a statement that it should happen

The 2019 NFL draft is loaded with defensive linemen. Seattle’s biggest needs are on defense. If the intention is to take a big step towards contending for a Super Bowl, the best move would be to add to the D-line with their first pick.

However, the top players will go early and often. If the Seahawks make the post-season, they won’t pick earlier than #21 overall. If they win in the Wildcard round, they can’t select earlier than #25. If they avoid a late-season collapse, they might not be in range for the top D-liners. And that’s part of the consideration here. What’s an alternative plan? Especially if they keep winning?

It’s also worth noting how good the free agent class could be for defensive linemen. Cameron Wake, Brandon Graham, Clay Matthews and Terrell Suggs are all experienced free agents. Anthony Barr, Grady Jarrett, Dante Fowler and Dee Ford are out of contract in the new year. Presumably Demarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah will get big money — but they too are all reaching the market.

And with a strong D-line class in the draft, there could be some value to be had here.

So what would be the plan if they did draft Kyler Murray?

There are two key things you gain:

1. A proper developmental quarterback to work with for the first time since drafting Russell Wilson

2. An insurance policy

The first point is simple. For years Seattle wheeled out Tarvaris Jackson, Austin Davis and then traded for Brett Hundley. They’ve only drafted two quarterbacks in the Carroll era — Wilson and seventh rounder Alex McGough.

Drafting a young, developmental quarterback can pay off. Green Bay planned for life after Brett Favre. New England drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in round two and were able to trade him for a high pick.

Both the Patriots and Packers were in a very different position to the Seahawks. Favre and Brady were a lot older than Russell Wilson is currently. It’s also worth noting that the Packers also spent a second rounder on Brian Brohm as they were planning for life after Favre. That didn’t work out as well as the Aaron Rodgers pick.

That said, there’s some logic in bolstering your quarterback ranks — especially for a dynamic playmaker. Kyler Murray has a special quality.

So that brings us onto the insurance policy aspect of this. And a brief history.

When Russell Wilson and the Seahawks began negotiations over a new contract in 2014, a quick deal seemed inevitable. Other highly paid quarterbacks had set the market. Wilson and Seattle were a winning match. Why would there be any drama?

Instead, one of the most tedious episodes of the Carroll era occurred. Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, drove a hard bargain. By the time he started appearing on the radio, you knew things were bad. Deadlines were set. Playing the 2015 season without a new deal became a reality. Then at the last minute, both parties came together.

It felt like an avoidable saga.

Who knows what will happen this time? Wilson is only contracted until the end of the 2019 season. You would expect negotiations to begin again in the off-season. And once more, the market is set. Aaron Rodgers has been paid. Everything works off his latest deal.

It’s possible history will repeat. That the two sides will be locked in negotiations all summer and not come away with an extension until deep into the summer (if at all). It wouldn’t be a big issue. The franchise tag would keep Wilson in Seattle until at least the end of the 2020 season. After that? Who knows.

Preparing for any potential issues would be sound planning. It’s better to have an alternative at hand. It can help in negotiations, it certainly helps if you have to part ways. It’s better to have a solution in place one or two years in advance rather than having to react to any future drama.

Spending a high pick on an insurance policy would be expensive. However, it could be important for two reasons:

1. If there’s one position that retains or increases value, it’s at quarterback. You might get a return on your investment 2-3 years down the line if you decide to trade Murray.

2. If you do have to part ways with Wilson after 2020, at least you’ve got a player who’s spent two years on your roster and knows the offense — rather than trying to scramble for an expensive veteran stopgap or start a rookie.

There’s also a scenario here that includes extending Wilson’s contract and still drafting Murray. Wilson is now 30. If he receives a four-year contract extension, that’ll take him to the age of 35. A first round rookie contract lasts for five seasons.

If you draft Murray in 2019, you have a quality backup for the rest of Wilson’s third contract and then you can make the same kind of decision as the Patriots in 2017. They had to choose between keeping Jimmy Garoppolo or Tom Brady. They chose Brady and traded Garoppolo for a high pick.

So there’s some of the reasoning. I’m not trying to argue this is something the Seahawks should do. I’m just bringing up the conversation.

And as noted in our piece on Murray published last week, he’s a special player:

He’s an accurate passer with great feel and understanding in the pocket. He can improvise and extend plays when required. He has a terrific arm and can make the big plays downfield. He’s even more impressive when he throws with touch — and watching multiple games in the last couple of days there were clear examples where Murray delivered a beautiful touch pass. One in particular stood out — the tight end ran to the sideline on a scramble drill and Murray looped a pass over the head of one defensive back but kept the ball away from the safety. It was inch perfect.

He’s also a tremendous athlete capable of breaking contain and making big gains with his legs. He throws well on the run — whether that’s downfield or finding a check-down. There’s a lot to like.

I’ve watched two more games since publishing that piece. Murray’s footwork and comfort in the pocket is of the highest level. He’s equally comfortable moving to buy time and he can throw from numerous angles. His downfield throwing ability is exceptional. He’s not just got the arm strength — he’s incredibly accurate on his deep throws. He has terrific range, can make plays at every level of the field and there is clear evidence of Murray running through progressions.

Then there’s his dynamic athleticism. If he finds a crease or a running lane — he’s practically unstoppable. He accelerates and glides away from defenders and he’s even more of a dynamic dual-threat than Lamar Jackson.

Forget the size. Kyler Murray is legit. He is, in my opinion, by far the best draft eligible quarterback for 2019. And if the Seahawks end up taking him in the first frame as a long-term insurance policy, developmental quarterback and potential future starter — it will be a fine pick.

They’d need to be busy in free agency to upgrade the defense. With only four picks, this would have the feel of a ‘luxury’. It’d be an investment, not an impact pick. With a potential new Championship window opening, the wise money is on more of an ‘impact pick’ with their first selection in 2019.

Keep this idea in mind though. It’s worth a discussion at the very least. And if it were ever going to happen — Murray’s the type of player to go and get.

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101 Responses to “An argument for the Seahawks drafting Kyler Murray”

  1. Dan says:

    This is an example of one of the things I appreciate about this blog. Might not be my preference to go with a 1st round QB, but it is absolutely worth a discussion. Especially when you are talking about a talent like Murray as you demonstrate in this piece. Good stuff Rob.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Thanks Dan. Not necessarily my preference either but wanted to open the discussion up because I like Kyler Murray a lot and think the Seahawks will do too.

  2. Sea Mode says:

    Great write-up. Very logical points and would make a lot of sense if they choose to go that direction.

    1. What would have to happen for Murray to choose the NFL? Some kind of settlement with the A’s? Does someone who was drafted and signed a contract have the ability to just walk away like that? Seems like a big hit for a franchise to take to just lose an early selection like that.

    2. If he does choose the NFL, wouldn’t you think a top 15 QB-needy team would take a shot on him early? He just won the Heisman, execs have seen what Baker Mayfield has done for the Browns franchise. This guy might end up even better, and there aren’t any other really inspiring QBs this year.

    • Rob Staton says:

      1.) I think he’d have to repay the money to the A’s. Won’t be a problem if he goes in round one (which he will, IMO) because he’ll get even more from the NFL.

      2.) Yes it’s possible he could go in the top-15. It’s equally possible the NFL will look at his size and let him drop. This is still a league of prototypes.

  3. Sea Mode says:

    Wow, wow, wow! Riley Ridley.

    Kudos to those who have name dropped him a while back. I think he’s the real deal. 6-2, 200. Great hands, body control, route running, speed. He’s got it all. Passer rating when targeted: 151.0 (#2 in CFB). For sure hands: 31 receptions w/o a drop in 2018 (#5 in CFB).

    Put me on the hype train! He should come out this year; IMO would sit near/at the top of a weak class.

    Just look at how naturally he catches the ball away from his body:

    Riley Ridley Georgia Highlights (doesn’t include this season, unfortunately)
    https://youtu.be/de0jfVQUCDA

  4. FresnoHawk says:

    I was fine with drafting a QB early last draft and I will be fine doing it for sure the next 3 drafts. If the guy you want is there when you pick you have to take him. I think the decision to draft a QB is made before Free Agency begins.

  5. Gohawks5151 says:

    I like Murray a whole lot. I’m not getting the same feels i had for Russ in college but he definitely has the It factor. That said, their body language, movements and style of play is similar. Hard to find in my opinion. Money aside if I am him it would come to who drafts me not where. Lots of washout 1st round qbs every year. If he has the chance to go and sit behind a QB in a solid system like Mahomes I think he should go. This would include Seattle. The team vision/identity and player development history of a Seattle would also likely be a great selling point as like you mention he would be “in development” for 4 years despite the sport he chooses though who is to say that this identity will extend past Pete Carroll who will retire eventually. Its a very interesting case. I’d still take Tua if i could though 😉

  6. Trevor says:

    Nice write up Rob. I would love to seeMrray play football and think he will be a star. I don’t know how a team like the Giants could possibly pass on him.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The Giants should seriously consider it. Odell, Saquon, Engram and Murray? That’s about as exciting and as explosive as you can get on offense. And Murray is the real deal.

  7. Sea Mode says:

    Pete… likes… big… Backs and he cannot lie… 😉

    Nebraska RB Devine Ozigbo
    5-11, 235
    4.85 yds after contact (#9 in FBS)
    155att/1082yds/12TD/7.0 ypc (+200 receiving yards) in 2018

    Jonathan Stewart lite comp anyone? He won’t be near as fast, but I think he’s got some pretty good side step movement skills for his size and decent north-south acceleration. Let’s see if he ends up testing well. ESPN lists 4.73 40yd, 4.34 SS, and 35 vert. Not sure when that is from though.

    I like his vision as well to make the most of whatever athleticism he does have, although this also could just be his OL blowing holes open against inferior opponents. He was pretty much shut down against Michigan and Wisconsin, so that’s a concern to look into. Anyway, wanted to get your thoughts. Maybe could be a late round/UDFA guy we look at.

    Devine Ozigbo 2018 Highlights | STARGAZING
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41dixfUVd5E

    • Rob Staton says:

      Some SPARQ numbers for Ozigbo…

      4.73 forty
      4.38 short shuttle
      35 inch vert
      95.52 SPARQ

      He was 5-11, 230lbs when he tested.

    • charlietheunicorn says:

      Think of him more as FB than a RB, then I could see them taking a swing at him.

      • Sea Mode says:

        Nah, FB needs to know how to block before anything else. Plus, our new FB will be WVU TE/FB Trevon Wesco!

        6-4, 274 and surprisingly good mover and hands in the passing game. In case you missed it, here’s some highlights and a chance to hear him talk a bit:

        https://twitter.com/WVUfootball/status/1065660818262581249

        Tape is relatively easy to find on him; just look for any Will Grier tape. I watched two games to check on his blocking, and thought it looked good. I’m not the best at evaluating that though.

  8. JohnH says:

    A few thoughts.

    It is a good idea to have a quality developmental QB. Spending a high draft pick on one, in a year when 1. you’re already short on picks 2. the draft class is deep on exactly the kind of player you need most 3. you’re only a couple picks away from being a serious Superbowl contender seems like a case of poor timing at best.

    The comparison between the pay scales seems a bit off, and the examples cherry picked. For every Sanchez that’s made bank, there are a bunch of guys that never made anything. The highest paid player in football makes as much as a pretty good baseball player, but on a non-guaranteed contract in a sport with much much much higher rates of career ending injuries.

    I don’t understand why anyone who could play both sports would choose the NFL. Lower pay, non-guaranteed contracts, significantly higher injury risk, and most likely higher chance of CTE.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The pay isn’t lower in the NFL. And you reach FA quicker.

      • Thomas Wells says:

        I think he has a better chance of making more money in baseball. There are a lot of variables to consider when comparing his football earning potential to his baseball earning potential, so caveats abound. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that Murray believes he has the real potential to be one of the best players in either league (dude was 8th overall pick in MLB and won the Heisman, so it’s not unreasonable to say he has star potential in both leagues). Let’s also assume he would be a first round selection in the NFL like he was in the MLB.

        Mike Trout is the game’s best center fielder (Murray’s position in baseball). He has the highest annual salary for an OF in MLB at $33.25 million a year according to Forbes. He makes a bit less than highest paid NFL QB, Aaron Rodgers, whose new deal contains average new money of $33.5 million a year plus incentives. But Trout’s contract is fully guaranteed while Rodgers’ is not. And football carries a much higher risk of injury, as well as a much shorter average career – which has to be a concern for a QB listed at 194 pounds.

        That’s not to say he couldn’t make more money playing QB – especially if he thinks he’s a better pro football prospect than pro baseball prospect. A franchise qb may earn more than a franchise OF over the course of a career. But if his goal is to maximize his odds of maximizing his total career earnings, and he believes he has equal odds of being a franchise QB and CF, he should play baseball. The guaranteed money and significantly decreased injury risk in baseball more than makes up for the earlier shot at free agency and slightly higher average annual salary.

        • Rob Staton says:

          It’s harder in baseball though. He’d have to wait until he’s about 30 to reach free agency for a start. In the NFL you get more up front. And really in the MLB you have to be at the top of your game to get the big money.

        • Trevor says:

          The % of first round picks that have a sucessful MLB career is by far the lowest of all pro sports at around 13-15%. They use a 4 year + career as being a success.

          • Thomas Wells says:

            Valid points. Wouldn’t it be great to be Kyler Murray and legitimately have to engage in this debate? I know grade school me agonized over whether I wanted to go to the nfl or mlb, before I realized I had no athletic talent

      • JohnH says:

        Depending on how you want to define it the pay is absolutely lower in the NFL. And that doesn’t even take into account the lack of guaranteed contracts and injury risk.

        • Rob Staton says:

          The piece you listed noted the average salary of a NFL player though. There are 53 players on a NFL roster, many of which do not receive a high salary. It’s inevitable their salaries are going to be smaller than a player playing in the NBA or MLB where a team can afford to spread its payroll among a smaller number of people.

          The fact is, Dak Prescott, a pretty average or above average quarterback, is about to receive an annual salary worth no less than $28m a year. If Kyler Murray is drafted in the first round, he immediately earns more than he would playing for A’s. And he reaches free agency quicker, with the prospect of earning mega money sooner.

          If he goes to the MLB he has to wait years for free agency. He has to hope he’s one of the elite of the elite to get anywhere near the kind of money he’ll earn in the NFL.

    • icb12 says:

      Paid less?

      The 32nd draft pick of 2018 (Lamar Jackson) penned a 4 year 9.5 million contract, 8 mil guaranteed, with a 5 mil signing bonus.

      And Jackson is playing, face plastered all over ESPN.
      That doesn’t happen playing minor league ball. Unless your Tim tebow.

      Kershaw is making 34 million a year. (Or was).
      Top level QBs are right there with the highest paid baseball players.
      Difference is all in the guaranteed money and the injury risks.

      That being said. Murray is a helluva baseball player. I’ve seen him play. He’s very good. Kid doesn’t have any BAD options right now.

    • Georgia Hawk says:

      Something else to consider when comparing the two:

      The top paid players in Baseball are all making $30+ mil/yr. But that is only the top 2-3 players who are HOF shoe ins. There will be more added to the list for sure, guys like Harper and others, but those are on a onsie twosie basis.

      Murray stands a much better chance topping that just by being a league average QB in the NFL. If ends up as a top third level, he could easily be topping $40m/yr by the time he comes up for a new contract.

  9. cha says:

    Thanks Rob.

    I like this approach as this is likely a discussion that the Hawks FO has had or will have. Not advocating a position or staying in a certain mold, but exploring all possibilities, as successful franchises do.

    My not-so-bold prediction is Kyler won’t be there when the Hawks pick anyway.

    Also bonus points for “cupper”. Had to look that one up. 🙂

  10. DC says:

    The specter of a prolonged negotiation between Russ & Seattle makes it all the more important that Frank Clark is locked up before the season starts. We can’t have both of them going into 2020 as FAs with only one Franchise Tag. Preferably Russ just gets his deal done this offseason.

    Kind of comical because I’m well beyond 30 but Russ’ 40 yard run yesterday… My man has slowed a wee bit. Still got it done.

    A redraft of 2012 would probably have seen Russ selected #1 or #2 overall. He has in a sense paved the way for Murray to be drafted high should he declare. It’s realistic that Murray is off the board by Seattle’s first pick.

    • FresnoHawk says:

      It sure would help if Russell gave them a break good news today they said cap will raise at least 10 million so it could be more.

  11. Coleslaw says:

    If Murray committed to the NFL I have to think he would be the #1 pick. QB is such a necessity, and hes really the only good one in this class. Whether its Oakland, New York or another team trading up, I just feel he will be highly sought after if he commits pre draft

    • Rob Staton says:

      I wouldn’t be against him going first overall.

      But it seems unlikely at the moment due to his size. He’s the real deal though.

    • JohnH says:

      The three teams most likely to have the first overall pick all have QBs though. Unless the Giants fall down and the Cards and 49ers get hot. I suppose you could argue about Oakland and Carr but…

  12. drewdawg11 says:

    The kid is dynamic. I think the topic is about as interesting as it gets. He could be a future lottery ticket if he decides to play football. If you use a late first to acquire him, he may pay off with two firsts later on if you keep Russell. Also, can you imagine the packages in which they could use him?

  13. LouieLouie says:

    Hey Rob:
    You are right about a couple of things. First of all, your right that they will not likely draft a QB in round one. This team is on the verge of breaking into the elite 5 teams. They will focus on draft picks that will help break into the E5. Secondly, you are right about having the conversation. You can bet that somewhere in a back office somewhere within the Seahawk Deep State, they are having that conversation.

  14. millhouse-serbia says:

    @ Rob
    Once again great article, and tnx for this point of wiev.

    Here is my post from earlier. But at that time I was more like 3rd-4th round pick.:D
    He is so fun to watch.

    millhouse-serbia says:

    October 22, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Kyler Murray would be a Seahawk after 2019 NFL draft if he isn’t going to MLB.

  15. NickLOB says:

    Had to look up “scupper”. Thanks for the vocab lesson Rob.

  16. charlietheunicorn says:

    I might add one little piece to this puzzle.

    Do what the Saints have been doing with Hill… get the kid out in the formation and create mismatches and havoc with RW or Murray under center and the other out on the flank. Both are dynamic and can provide plenty of more tape for a defense to watch and prepare for leading into game day.

    The other little piece, who better to relate to than a guy who was a quality CFB and CFBB prospect than none other than RW. That would be an incredible opportunity to groom a young QB and get the most out of the guy.

    If you can somehow fill your DL/LB holes with FAs, then you could take a total luxury pick at QB.

    Will they do this, VERY unlikely, but few of us who want to go way outside the conventional box love this even being discussed!

    • icb12 says:

      While I see what you’re saying…

      Taysom Hill is 6-2, 220+ He’s a beast of a dude, and does so much more for that saints team than weird 2 qb packages. See blocked Field goal this past weekend. Not to mention he was an UDFA picked up off waivers from GB.

      You’re definitely not going to see your petite 1st round draft pick QB doing the same types of things. It would be more Lamar Jackson/Joe Flacco type of thing. Which in all honesty I personally could live without trying to force special plays like that. Stick to the formula. Pound the rock, play action, zone reads. This offense isn’t about trying to confuse a defense with whats coming. It’s about executing what they do to a level that a defense can’t stop.

  17. charlietheunicorn says:

    So, we got talking about back-up QBs for RW… what about this guy I have seen mentioned as a decent prospect from a small school. Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State. Looks like a late round type of pick, but has decent mobility and a nice 28 TD/ 8 INT ratio from what I can find on him…. 62% passer as well. Has some wheels, since he scored 12 TD rushing, with a long of 80 yards this season.

    I guess I would be remiss, if I also didn’t mention Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State, as well.
    He has pedigree and put up at least 30 TDs to 7 INTs this year.

  18. Georgia Hawk says:

    “When your quarterback is legitimately one of the best 5-6 in the world and having a career season — you ride that wave. Not swim to shore and look for a new board.”

    This is my all time favorite thing you’ve written here Rob. I have tried to express this exact sentiment to my buddies time and again but have never been able to put it so eloquently. I’ll be stealing this for sure.

    You break down of Murray makes him sound eerily similar to Wilson way back when. Great touch, beautiful deep ball, shorter than normal QB, great on his feet. Its a younger, HIGHER CIELING version of Wilson imo. For this reason alone I would not be upset if the Hawks took a flier on him late in the first. If there are no good DL/DE available, why not? Rather than waste a pick again, take the flier. I would argue that would be more valuable long term than trading down, again, and taking a low rated player with less upside or more flags.

  19. Sea Mode says:

    If you have as much fun watching the game as the Seahawks do playing it, then you’re doing it right!

    Seahawks All Access – Week 14 vs Vikings
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6L8maOxydE

  20. Ukhawk says:

    There may be a good chance that Murray falls due selection bias and MLB uncertainty. Alternatively he may be an option in R1.

    Couple of Questions that pop to mind:
    – What’s the likelihood of him falling to R2 or R3?
    – Under the CBA, can a team pay a player more than the rookie wage scale (if drafted in a later round) to entice him away from MLB?
    – If drafted in R1, rather than sit and learn as a future QB, what’s the chance of Murray actively being invoked in the offense and being in a Tyreek Hill role given his skillset? If possible, this means he has immediate value and could be more of a consideration for R1 than if he was just a backup/future starting QB

  21. Trevor says:

    I keep hearing people say Murray should play baseball because if his guaranteed $6mil contract and it makes no sense to me.

    He clearly loves football or would not have played college ball this year with $6 mil in his pocket. Plus if day the Giants take him in the top 10 he is guaranteed way more than $6 mil even on his first deal. Then as the starting QB in the biggest market NY I am guess he would have some endorsement opportunities.

    Finally would anyone in their right mind prefer to ride the busses playing minor league baseball for 2-3 years minimum before having a realistic shot at a Major League Baseball over being a starting WB in the NFL?

    I think it is a lock that if some team tells him they will make him a 1st round pick that he would pick the NFL.

    • Georgia Hawk says:

      I think he is all but sealed as a 1st round guy and with that would be daft to not go NFL. Only pull of baseball at this point is the potential longevity difference.

    • Tecmo Bowl says:

      Don’t know about ‘some team’- there are some bad situations out there. Murray has all the leverage in the NFL draft process. Murray could pull a Bo or Elway and tell NFL teams that he will or won’t play for them. In which case Kyler would have the opportunity to choose where he goes-to an extent.

  22. Michigan 12th says:

    I am just wondering what vets are out there that will be cut next year because of all the really good talent coming into the league at DL. If there is a mass influx of young talent coming in,that means that some teams are going to have to thin down their rosters to make room. We should be able to grab some really good veterans as a result to put together a really solid DL. This is assuming we can get something done with Clark. I think he will get enough money to handicap us personally.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not even Wilson’s +$30m a year will handicap us. I think people have got spooked by all the Seahawks twitter mob. You can actually pay players market value and be fine.

    • mishima says:

      The Seahawks can afford Clark (extension or franchise tag), but I think Clark wants free agency. If that’s the case, not much the Seahawks can do other than franchise and/or trade him to a team willing to overpay. Dallas Cowboys are in the same situation with DE Lawrence.

      Said before: If they can’t extend him, I could see the Seahawks franchising and trading him. Address the pass rush in draft and free agency, continue to develop Green, Martin, maybe Jordan.

      Hopefully, Clark gets extended to a fair deal (Viking’s Hunter, 5/72) that makes everyone happy.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Clark isn’t going anywhere.

        Carroll did an interview with Softy Mahler last week. He confirmed Clark will not be leaving the team, one way or another.

        And you most definitely do NOT trade him.

        • mishima says:

          If you franchise him in 2019 ($17-19 million) what changes? Do you franchise him again in 2020 ($22 million) or are you confident Clark will sign a new deal?

          His recent comments (‘…this is my team now. This is my defense…’) give me hope that he’ll forgo the franchise tag and sign a new deal. Love seeing him assume a leadership role, along with Reed, McDougald. Future is bright.

        • Trevor says:

          I think Clark, Reed and Wags are the unquestioned leaders of this young D and are absolute must extensions. Everything Pete has said would make one believe they will get this done.

          It is hard to believe but they actually have incredible depth on the OL know and really hope they can retain Sweezy and Fluker even though Simmons looks great as they bring the attitude the Hawks need. I also think Fant is a must re-sign as young OT to back up both Ifedi and Brown.

          We don’t even talk about Pocic anymore so not sure what the plan is for him and don’t forget Jemarco Jones who was getting good review prior to the injury.

        • FresnoHawk says:

          No way we let Clark go if his best is yet to come! Prior to this season I felt Clark had at best 50/50 chance of staying but after his performance lately and his interview the other day I’d say its 99%

  23. Sea Mode says:

    New Marquise Brown highlights up. 2-for-1 you get to watch Murray and Brown!

    Marquise “HOLLYWOOD” Brown 2018 Highlights | Fastest Receiver in CFB? | ᴴᴰ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W53EoU68kY0

    And here’s a quote from a scout I found as well in an article on Brown:

    How fast is he?

    Fast enough to remind one NFL scout of a player with a familiar last name and build: The Steelers’ 5’10”, 181-pound human highlight reel, Antonio Brown. He was also overlooked coming out of Central Michigan before becoming maybe the best receiver in the league.

    “Antonio was a sixth-round pick. I can guarantee that Marquise will not get out of the second round without getting picked—and will more than likely get picked in the late first,” the scout says. “You run like he does, and that’s just too hard to pass up.

    “You can’t make a guy faster, but you can teach him the game.”

    • Rob Staton says:

      And FWIW… Antonio is Marquise’s cousin

    • DC says:

      It’s less and less far fetched in my mind that Seattle hedges very well on defense during free agency, trades down adding picks after the elite DL talent has left the board in round 1, snags Brown to pair with Lockett, Moore and an aging, increasingly injured Baldwin and then mines the deep DL class.

      The defense will be addressed, no doubt about it. It’s the top priority. I do see WR as a need and not a luxury, especially with an eye toward the future and considering DB’s health/age. Also interested in Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow as a late round/UDFA eventual replacement for DB in the slot.

      • Rob Staton says:

        The DL class is strong early. Doesn’t mean there will be great options when SEA picks in round three

      • Sea Mode says:

        Thanks for the thoughts. I’m glad you brought up Renfrow. I looked at him as well as I have been going through skill positions these last couple days. While he brings ultra reliable hands and skilled route running in the slot, my opinion is that he just isn’t enough of an athlete to make an impact as a pro player. Testing will show. Would certainly love to be wrong here since he also seems like a great guy as well with a cool story.

        As much as I like Brown’s game and want to look past the common knock on him, he worries me at his size. Do you bank on him being able to get up to 180 without losing his elite speed? My heart already skips a beat every time Lockett gets smacked. And Brown is 10-15 lbs lighter. If it were in R3, I’d be all over it, but as our first pick for a run-first team in a year we only have 4 picks, IDK.

  24. C-Dog says:

    Excellent writing, Rob. You laid out perfectly why I believe that the Seahawks will pay RW while at the same time spelling out the appeal of Murray.

    If Murray does opt for the NFL, I’m not sure he reaches the Seattle pick. I see a lot of QB needy teams picking in front; Washington, NY Giants, Jacksonville, Denver, Miami, Tampa potentially, maybe even Gruden with the Raiders.

    • Volume12 says:

      Can not wait for the Giants to roll with Eli again for 2019 and the Gruden led Raides and Coughlin led Jags in a bidding war for Joe Flacco.

  25. AlaskaHawk says:

    I found your argument about the same great quarterbacks making the superbowl to be an interesting one. Also of interest is the difference in performance of the Eagles with Wentz back at the helm.

    I think that a 5th point is about great coaching. The same teams that make the superbowl have great coaches, and for the most part the head coaches are there year after year (Belichik). Some formerly great teams like the Broncos have gone downhill with multiple coach changes.

    I bring this up because Pete Carroll is one of the great coaches. But how much longer will he be around? Certainly next year, but after that who knows??

    I bring this up because coaching is more important than the players or scheme. Without good coaching the Seahawks would not be as successful as they are this season. Well I’m not sure where I’m going with this point, but thought I would throw it out there.

    I like your ideas about Murray, but under an ideal situation he would be trained for a year and then moved to starting quarterback. There is no sense in drafting him if you think that the team will keep Wilson. Unless the team is ready to ditch the cheap backup route and go with a quality backup that costs some dollars. But he will want to play = and I see that as a giant conflict if he sits behind Wilson for the next five years.

  26. Volume12 says:

    The NFL needs Kyler Murray.

    How big are his hands? They look doll sized aka V12 size.

  27. Volume12 says:

    Let’s see how he tests, but even then he’s an absolute dog man. BC’s Zach Allen. That’s a dude you can go to war with. Can play him outside and inside.

    One of those guys that just keeps growing on me. Not a flashy pass rusher like a Jachai Polite, my favorite prospect other than Bosa, but IMO will be one of these defenders whose potential athletic limitations won’t hinder him at all.

    Best EDGE run defender in this class. Yes, I’d put him up there with Clellin Ferrell. But, he can get after the passer and make plays with the best of this class.

    • Sea Mode says:

      PFF gives him the best bull rush in the class as well FWIW:

      https://media.profootballfocus.com/2018/11/IMG_28112018_103517_0-1024×577.png

      My question at this point is still: what does this defense really need?

      0. I’m thinking we can do just fine at WILL with Kendricks and Mingo (with a full offseason to practice at the spot) if we want/need to move on from KJ. Both are still pretty young.

      1. Is Zach Allen profile similar to Dion Jordan and Rasheem Green in a sense? More power than raw speed, can play inside/out.

      2. We already have a Polite-ish profile (smaller, speedy edge) in Jacob Martin.

      3. Do we need a D’Andre Walker type to set the edge or drop in coverage, but not offer as much rushing the passer? (I’m open to be wrong on this)

      4. Unless they find a stud DE that drops, that just brings me back again to penetrating DT, someone to pair with Reed on the inside and wreak havoc. Who is that guy that is gonna slip through the cracks into the top of R2 and allow us to trade down and still get him? I know you mentioned Tillery the other day, but he doesn’t really convince me.

      • Rob Staton says:

        A really dominating, dynamic DT to pair with Reed would be awesome.

        Sadly, the likes of Derrick Brown, Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins will be long gone.

      • Volume12 says:

        They need someone to get after the passer. All types of shapes and sizes in this draft. Could also use some more competition on the back end.

        1. You can never have enough versatility. Especially when you rotate like Seattle does. Dion Jordan offers very little and needs to be upgraded.

        2. I don’t see the issue there.

        3. Where are you taking that type of player?

        4. I tend to agree. Aaron Donald and others have proved that having a DT or DT’s that can create havoc are much harder for teams to deal with than DEs.

        Where Seattle is likely going to be picking isn’t filled with unpolished prospects. There’s gonna be holes in their skill sets.

  28. Volume12 says:

    Have some of y’all come around on my ‘Chris Carson is CURRENTLY a better than Leonard Fournette’ yet or…

    I say this as someone who loves Fournette warts and all. The same issues that plagued him at LSU are starting to pop up.

    • Rob Staton says:

      No.

      Fournette is legit. Carson is also playing very well. Don’t feel any need to have a take on who is better.

    • Hawk Eye says:

      I have to say Fournette does not seem to be in the class of Barkley, Gurley or Zeke.
      I think you can debate if Carson is better, and just the fact it is debatable means CC is much better VALUE.
      CC does have some injury issues, but so does Fournette.
      by the 3rd year, you are what you produce, not where you were drafted.

      I wonder if Mcaffrey is better? Sure has better numbers this year, but I keep waiting for him to break down.
      I just don’t think he can last a long time as a feature back, but we will have to wait and see.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Saquon Barkley is in a class of his own.

        Todd Gurley is in the next tier, again on his own.

        Fournette is really good and easily on a level par with Zeke.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        McCaffery is a scat back in the most multiple running scheme in the NFL. He gets the job done and this year I might have him over both of them despite his fumbles (i think he’s third for all RBs).

        Zeke is second and Dak leads the league in fumbles

  29. David Ashton says:

    Has anyone got a copy of Todd McShay’s first mock?

    Any interesting takes?

    • Rob Staton says:

      It was posted on Reddit in full (dodging the paywall): https://www.reddit.com/r/NFL_Draft/comments/a5j2hn/todd_mcshays_mock_draft_10_121218/

      Nothing that staggering. He has Christian Wilkins at #19 which is too low but not as low as some have him. I don’t think there’s any chance Montez Sweat goes as early as #15. Derrick Brown is way too low. I wouldn’t have Devin Bush in R1 and I’ll be shocked if Dwayne Haskins goes in the top-10. I also think there’s no way Seattle drafts Jeffrey Simmons. I don’t agree at all on Jonah Williams going in the top-10.

      That said, kudos to Todd for having Rashan Gary and Dexter Lawrence high (they will both go early). I think Todd is right to at least reflect the possibility Ed Oliver could drop a bit. There’s no wide receiver nonsense going on in the top-20. The mock, to me, makes a lot more sense than a lot of the others I’ve read (and it’s on a different level to the CBS absurdity).

    • Volume12 says:

      Agree with Rob on Devin Bush and Jeffrey Simmons. Could possibly see Simmons if he didn’t have the red flag off the field.

      LB Devin White is a perfect fit for Cincy. I really like seeing OL Cody Ford in the 1st. And if his neck checks out, DK Metcalf will go before AJ Brown. IMO.

      The biggest one is no Byron Murphy. I can’t see that happening. He’s the best CB in this draft. You don’t see many corners at the collegiate level take over a game like he did against Utah.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I could definitely see Simmons in Seattle… if the red flag wasn’t the incident that it is. The NFL is battling with a domestic violence problem. Or more specifically, a problem of its players physically harming women. Look at the Kareem Hunt situation. What he did wasn’t particularly disturbing. It wasn’t Ray Rice part two. It was very concerning, however, and made you worry about what he might do in the future. And he was cut outright.

        If Simmons had been arrested for drugs or fighting or DUI or whatever… it would be a different situation. His red flag will be treated severely because the owners in the league will not want to be seen to be accepting this type of incident when the NFL is having a major problem trying to educate their players and prevent these incidents repeating. There’s little sign of any improvement.

        The incident with Simmons was a while ago now. It’s possible he’s changed a lot, learnt a lot, made amends. A mistake, however disturbing, shouldn’t necessarily lead to the end of a career. I think it’s only right that each case is judged on its own merits. Simmons deserves an opportunity to be grilled by NFL teams, to be investigated and then to have the opportunity to be drafted at any stage in the draft as long as teams treat the situation with respect and maturity and actually put in the hours and are satisfied that he’s a changed man.

        Someone will draft him. Possibly in the top-45. He’s a terrific talent. I’m just not sure the Seahawks, or Pete and John, want to sit in front of the media and spend 30 minutes answering questions about why they drafted him — then deal with the negative fall out afterwards. They went through all that with Frank Clark — and that was without a video. So we’ll see. I’m not 100% against drafting Jeffrey Simmons. I won’t be bothered if they don’t. I trust the Seahawks to make a mature judgement whatever they decide. I’m not convinced he’ll be on their draft board though. I don’t think he should never be allowed a second chance. I do hope whoever drafts him actually treats the situation with the dignity and respect it deserves.

  30. millhouse-serbia says:

    Kendricks broke his tibia. 🙁

  31. Hawk Eye says:

    KENDRICKS OUT FOR THE YEAR – CRAP!!!
    Broke his tibia Monday night.
    Sure hope KJ can make it back healthy for playoffs

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      It’s a tough break = literally. I guess we can hope for KJ to return, but without conditioning his body it would be tough. If he had a few games to get in condition before the playoffs, that would help. Calistro can also share the position with him, and that would take some pressure off KJ. Anyone heard of a schedule on KJ?

  32. […] top defenders in this class. Unfortunately a lot of the possible alternatives are off the board. It’s one of the reasons I posted the piece about Kyler Murray yesterday — and why it might be an option if he chooses to play football and lasts into the late first […]

  33. JimQ says:

    I like Murray a lot after watching several of his games this season and last. He always reminds me the most of RW as a QB. The above highlight video shows Murray with a lot of designed QB runs, the kid has some wheels and may be one of the fastest QB’s in terms of 40 time. Given PC’s recent re-commitment to a run based offense, this player may be ideal for the Seahawks. The problem of only having 4 picks (and potentially a few more after trade downs) is that they must hit on all of their picks and address as many of the team needs as possible. But, maybe that doesn’t have to be all from the draft? Perhaps known qualities from NFL experienced DL’s trumps potential from at least some of the highly ranked DL draft picks? The draft is always a bit of a gamble, with bust possibilities.

    Considering that most believe that DE/DT/LB/DB are the top few needs, spending a late 1-st on a QB would be considered a BIG luxury. However, with the glut of DL players in this draft, there may be an opportunity to pick up a DT or DE (or both) in free agency prior to the draft, that would -potentially-
    allow for said luxury pick of a QB. Also, considering that a decent free agent veteran DL guy, even if they perform exceedingly well, isn’t likely to have a cap hit even half as much as a 30/35+ million franchise QB. With the majority of their highly paid defensive players gone future cap space should not be in too bad of shape with a little manipulation, especially with a 5-year QB rookie contract.

    I think JS, much more so than PC, looks at the big picture of future needs and proceeds accordingly in helping PC with draft day decisions. I think they both are aware that IF RW is injured, their season is likely doomed without a competent QB to take his place, so QB is THE most important position on the team when that is considered, as it is with many teams (IMO).

    “You have to bet big to win big”. I think the Seahawks may have to think long and very hard on this possibility, ——> do they see Murray as a potential franchise QB? If so, they need to go for it, RW won’t last forever and if Murray works out, the Seahawks could have an Oakland Raiders multiple 1-st rounders kind of future drafts with lots of picks in a year or two by trading rather than paying RW a boatload of $’s. I’d hate to see RW go, but bottom line, it’s a business. Also of note the cap is going up close to 14-million next year, so perhaps cap $should be able to go just a little further in FA?

    As to the 4 Draft picks?
    Maybe: RD-1-Murray, RD-3-Best DL available, RD-4-best LB available, RD-5-best DB available, this only AFTER acquiring a decent DL player or -preferably two- in FA? I wouldn’t hate that. Would a 3-rd round pick of say DT-Gaines or Willis – be much worse than a first round pick of say a DT-Tillery? I know, they are slightly different types of players, but how much difference in overall effectiveness from the Seahawks stand point? Is a potential, developmental franchise QB’s value a little higher than a rotational DL guy? I’d say hell yes, but -ONLY- if JS/PC also —see him— as a franchise QB after they have a chance to fully evaluate his play, personality (very important) and fit.

    I find it very interesting that currently most ranking sites don’t even list Murray as a draft eligible QB. Murray is very undersized and his potential baseball career will likely turn a lot of teams off, so him lasting to the back end of RD-1 is fairly likely, however there is one team that doesn’t judge QB’s
    height as significantly as the others, So, GO HAWKS, if you like him, do whatever you have to do to draft him for the future of the franchise.

  34. Donovan says:

    Rob,

    Play GM for a moment. You’ve got Kyler in Tier 3 of your rankings. Which of the players in Tiers 4 thru 6 would you draft ahead of Kyler, knowing that while Murray has more talent that they represent a better short term choice?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Well I like Kyler Murray enough to draft him at any stage in the draft. If I’m in the top-10 and need a QB I’d take him there. So if I’m the GM of the Seahawks and think the arguments for drafting a QB make sense, I’m taking him. He’s the real deal for me.

      If I’m of the mind as a GM that it’s a luxury and I plan to have Russell Wilson for another 6-8 years, then I’d certainly consider Zach or Josh Allen depending on how they test. I want to see agility, quickness and explosive power from Zach Allen. I want to see explosive testing from Josh Allen.

      • FresnoHawk says:

        We need to draft a QB ASAP! If we’re gonna invest 100 million in a QB we need to back up that investment by drafting a QB besides who can argue the Carroll era has been without trials. We are playing Russian roulette.

  35. Lorenzo says:

    My only issue with this is that where Kyler is drafted will have a big effect on whether he decides to commit to the NFL or MLB.

    If he’s picked in the top 15 (or even just anywhere in the 1st) to be a the surefire starter in the next year or so, the rookie contract money and potential earnings from showing his ability by playing far outweigh the MLB.

    However, if he’s picked by Seahawks, it’s clearly to be a backup, and maybe he decides he doesn’t want to risk being a backup throughout his entire rookie deal and not getting that ultra-lucrative second contract that makes the NFL a better choice than the MLB (for a QB at least as that article clearly shows).

    Plus, the Seahawks would only be able to sit on his rights for a year if he decides not to sign because he doesn’t want to be a backup, and then it becomes a wasted pick. He’ll likely want to go to a team that will give him a starting role soon so he can make his money – and bc of the A’s, he has the leverage to not sign for a team that he’ll be a longterm backup for. He’ll want to go to a team such as the Dolphins, Bengals, Jags, Redskins, Giants, and maybe Bucs/Titans depending on what they do.

  36. Durst says:

    Rob.

    Does it concern you that Murray is a one (full) year starter that if drafted to be a long term back-up, would have held a clipboard 5 out of 6 years (or something like) since graduating high school?

    While he looked very good that one year, perhaps what he needs to further his development is playing time??

  37. Matherne Michael says:

    Rob, I would be extremely interested to hear your thoughts on a comparison between Wilson and Murray coming into the league (with an attempt to disregard the extensive knowledge we now have on Russ). If they were in the same draft class, who you taking?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I will consider doing such a piece — it’ll be hard to answer though because it’s too difficult to appreciate Wilson as a seasoned veteran. I mean, how could I answer that question with Kyler Murray knowing what we now know?