Austin Johnson & who is the next Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson?

February 8th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Austin Johnson’s (DT, Penn State) tape vs Ohio State is frustrating. Having watched both Johnson and Michigan’s Willie Henry struggle against this unit, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. The Buckeye’s had a loaded roster across the board and it showed. When I watched Johnson against Indiana and Maryland there was much more to like.

He’s 6-4 and 323lbs so he’s a big dude. We’re not talking about a natural three-technique who comes in for the nascar package and rushes the QB. Anyone hoping Johnson alone is the answer to Seattle’s pass-rush issues is probably going to be disappointed.

That’s the case, however, for pretty much every defensive lineman in this class. Assuming a prospect like Sheldon Rankins isn’t available, you’re going to compromise one way or another. It’s about identifying the player or players you think you can develop from a deep group at the position.

They might end going for the best athlete (possibly Mississippi State’s Chris Jones) and trying to tap into his upside. They also generally haven’t gone after underachievers — and that’s really what Jones is. A former #2 overall and 5-star recruit, Jones never lived up to that billing. So while the potential is there — consider the priority Seattle has placed on production and not just extreme athleticism:

2010 — Earl Thomas had eight interceptions in his final season at Texas
2010 — Golden Tate won the Biletnikoff
2011 — James Carpenter was arguably the best run blocking tackle in college
2011 — John Moffitt helped Montee Ball set records at Wisconsin
2012 — Bruce Irvin had 22.5 sacks in two seasons at West Virginia
2012 — Bobby Wagner had four sacks as a senior and 478 (!!!) career tackles
2014 — Paul Richardson had 1343 and 10 touchdowns in his final year at Colorado
2015 — Frank Clark’s tape is actually really good with many splash plays
2015 — Tyler Lockett had 2777 yards and 22 touchdowns in his final two seasons

The one player that didn’t have major production and went very early? Christine Michael in 2013 — one of the greatest athletes to ever test at the combine, taken in a year where they hardly had any key needs. That aside, the Seahawks seem to place a certain emphasis on production.

Jones had 2.5 sacks in 2015 and three in 2014. He’s a self-confessed underachiever with a physical skill set to be incredible. In a draft of compromises on the defensive line — you could do a lot worse. Draft history suggests they’re more likely to seek out an overachiever who isn’t a slouch.

That’s where Johnson possibly comes in.

The issue might be size. It’s not usual for a team to draft a 323lbs defensive lineman to provide a spark for the pass rush. The Seahawks have also opted against drafting such size for their D-line. The early picks have gone on more quick-twitch, dynamic athletes (Irvin, Hill, Clark). It’s not like you’re going to roll a 6-4, 323lbs monster on the field for third and long.

To that extent Jones’ length (6-6), athleticism and ability to play at around 295lbs (Derek Wolfe size) might be preferable. And I do like what I’ve seen from Jones so far — it’d be easy to imagine he’s a candidate for the Seahawks.

Back to Johnson — here’s a video to show he’s not just a cumbersome nose tackle:

There is some evidence of burst off the LOS and quickness too. He’s a former basketball player in High School and you see that athleticism on tape. There’s minimal bad weight on that frame. His hustle is incredible — he’ll keep fighting until the whistle. He keeps trying to find ways to work to the ball carrier and won’t give up like some of the DT’s in this class.

There’s something to be said for a really active defensive tackle who you have to focus on for the whole play. A guy who is constantly moving his feet and fighting to get into the backfield. His tackle numbers are incredible for a DT — and it’s down to his relentless effort. So while he might not always win with speed to knife straight into the backfield or dominate with a pretty good bull-rush — his motor and determination make him a very interesting player. His closing speed and pursuit is also surprisingly good.

He doesn’t have ideal length (32 and 5/8 inch arms) and that could be an issue. Smaller defensive tackles in this class are longer (Adolphus Washington is only 6-3 and 297lbs but has 34 inch arms). You also wonder what his position is in Seattle. As intriguing and fun as he is to watch — is he upgrading the pass rush? Or is he a one-technique or a Rubin replacement who can do you a good, disciplined, hearty job but isn’t creating relentless pressure?

And how much more likely are they to perhaps consider a Chris Jones, Adolphus Washington or Jihad Ward with the offer of a little more explosion and superior length?

In fact if people are looking for the next possible Malik Jackson or the next Derek Wolfe — look no further than Washington and Ward.

Jackson is smaller than Washington (284lbs vs 297lbs) but they both have 34 inch arms and the ability to flash in the pass rush. Pete Carroll worked with Jackson at USC before he transferred to Tennessee in 2010 so he’ll know what to look for if he wants a similar player. Ward is mirroring Wolfe’s pre-draft process to a tee. Wolfe was considered a marginal later round pick without an obvious position but his stock quickly increased during the post-season and he went in round two. Ward is doing exactly the same thing and could go from projected fifth rounder to second rounder. They’re almost identical in size — Wolfe is 6-5 and 295lbs, Ward 6-5 and 296lbs. Ward also has an interesting backstory — he’s had to battle adversity in his life.

If you’re hoping for a cheap way to try and emulate Denver’s depth on the D-line — it might be time to hope Washington falls due to character flags and Ward stick with a day three grade. That’d be one way to upgrade things while affording the opportunity to make early picks on the O-line and at linebacker or running back. I suspect Austin Johnson, meanwhile, is going to go in round two or three.

157 Responses to “Austin Johnson & who is the next Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson?”

  1. Therick05 says:

    Rob, i really think that Nkemdiche(red flags) or Rankins (undersized) are gonna be available at 26 and i see SEA picking one of them easily… That makes them pick a OL in the 2nd round and i really think Martin or Kelly should be available there… If Sheldon or Rob are not there at 26, they pick Coleman and go with Chris Jones at round 2 (who i really like).

    • Rob Staton says:

      After Rankins’ performance in Mobile it’ll be staggering if he lasts until #26. He’s also 6-1 and 304lbs which is nearly the ideal for a classic 4-3 three technique — I’m not sure size will be a problem there.

      Nkemdiche is too good to fall that far IMO and if he did he’ll sink like Randy Gregory a year ago. He’s a top-15 pick any year with that upside.

      • Coleslaw says:

        Rankins sadly will not be available..

      • therick05 says:

        Rob, do you think Chris Jones would be a good second round pick? And what are your thoughts on his pass rushing ability?

        • Rob Staton says:

          He has brilliant upside and could be a good pass rusher. Bit of an underachiever though. I wrote about him a few days ago if you want to dig out the piece.

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        If you assume the importance of production that this piece implies, then Nkemdiche shouldn’t be a realistic option.

        Consider 2 players:

        Player A: 16 TFLs, 6.0 sacks
        Player B: 14 TFLs, 5.5 sacks

        Player A would be Nkemdiche’s 3 year career totals.

        Player B would be Andrew Billings 2015 season alone.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

          Nice stats Attyla. This might sway some people’s minds.

          • Volume12 says:

            And Austin Johnsin led all DTs in tackles with 78, 15.5 TFL, and 6.5 sacks.

            • Volume12 says:

              Seattle cut T.Y Hilton because he had no gap integrity and free lanced.

              That’s what Billings does. The fact he’s 19 or 20 scares me.

              • Alexander Hudson says:

                I think you meant T.Y. McGill, who also plays for the Colts.

                • C-Dog says:

                  After watching Austin Johnson highlights on youtube last night, it really had me salivating. Rob brings up the big positive that stood out for me, his pursuit and closing speed into ball carriers looks like he should be playing at least 20 pounds lighter.

                  There is a motor and relentlessness to his game. I can see him in the big man 3 tech stop they like to role with on base downs, and maybe finding a home kicking to nose in the nickel, depending on the match up.

                  I don’t know, I really like him a lot. Kind of in the same way I starting getting more excited about Butler during the Senior Bowl, in that big and active wouldn’t be a bad way to go, if compact and quick isn’t really there.

                  78 tackles for a DT are practically LB numbers. 6.6 sacks, 15.5 TFL looks like someone who gets penetration.

                  Force of Nature is what I see. I want this guy.

            • Attyla the Hawk says:

              Johnson is a very nice looking player no doubt.

              Austin’s assisted tackle figure is no joke. On paper it looks like a gross outlier. He had more assists this year than Billings in three seasons. And almost as many as Rankins in four.

              He’s always around the ball. His tenacity and play through the echoes of the whistle should be appealing for Seattle.

              I’d say it’s likely that Johnson will be on our board. His value seems to be in flux — but not likely a guy to reach our R2 pick. I kind of have a feeling that his stock will rise with the combine.

              Production. Attitude. Toughness. Effort. He looks like he’d tick a lot of our boxes.

              • C-Dog says:

                Yeah, I with you on all these points. I suspect, after the combine, he’s most certainly going to be a riser. Rob Rang talked last week about seeing the real potential of DT spending spree happening in the 20s. I’m putting Johnson in that melee.

        • Rob Staton says:

          In fairness Attyla I didn’t say Nkemdiche would be an option. I said he’s a top-15 pick.

          • Ty the Guy says:

            In round one, you hope to find a “special” player. Someone who has traits that stand out (i.e. Irvin’s speed, Carpenter’s power, etc.)

            Andrew Billings has some special strength. I believe he can collapse the pocket. Maybe only 3-5 times a game in passing situations, but that is all you need to have an impact on the game.

            Sure, gap discipline is key to the Hawks run domination. But that is coachable, you can’t teach Beast.

            I’d take him over some of these other guys listed.

            • Rob Staton says:

              But the Seahawks didn’t lack for strength up front. Rubin and Mebane are strong and performed very well vs the run. Adding Billings doesn’t really take this team to a new level. It merely makes one position they’ve not treated as a premium younger. Even if Billings upgrades from Mebane — is it the reason why this defense wasn’t quite as brilliant in 2015? The main issue is/was the pass rush.

              • Attyla the Hawk says:

                I can concede that argument definitely. We have Mebane and Rubin. And I think we’d agree that Rubin will be a priority resign. Pete couldn’t have been more effusive with his praise of his work.

                Here’s my take on the Billings/Mebane scenario.

                We’ve had good discussions on the 1T position. I think we agree that Seattle definitely wants to be great at run defense up the middle. We require that above all else.

                We also agree that Seattle doesn’t target for that specifically because it’s a role and position that can be picked up on day three pretty handily in any draft.

                Seattle hasn’t opted to get a replacement for Mebane yet. When I consider the last couple offseasons where Seattle has had cap issues — we’ve still not replaced Mebane’s salary which was by far the most attractive cap cut the last two years running. Despite the assumption that his position should be easily and cheaply replaced.

                That tells me at least one of two things. First that we saw his contract as getting value for production. Five million a year for what he provided apparently was a good contract. Certainly we let other players of good value leave without sending Mebane packing. We chose to keep Mebane and his 5m no dead money contract rather than bump up 2m for Tate and replace Mebane with a rookie/UFA.

                Second, is maybe internally Seattle doesn’t see that run stuffing 1T as so replaceable after all. That position is core to the base defense and it has to be good.

                When I look at the snap count distribution for 2015, I was surprised to see that Mebane led all interior DL in snap count percentage. At 489 defensive snaps, he bested Clark’s situational snap count (333) by a wide margin. And Clark got snaps at both DE and DT.

                I do think that Seattle values the 1T more than we give them credit for. And Mebane, while great — is getting on in age. Billings to me is a more dynamic version of Mebane. At his worst, he looks fully capable of providing the run defense that Mebane does. He is incredibly stout and can take on double teams very well.

                Mebane to me is a complete black hole when it comes to pass rush at this stage of his career. He basically doesn’t factor in that aspect at all. While I don’t think that Billings is going to be an 8 sack a year kind of player — I do think he has good potential to be disruptive in that aspect.

                There are a lot of teams out there that consider the 0/1 to be first round worthy if you have a good prospect there. Billings to me has the makings of that kind of player. I also think that there is evidence to suggest that Seattle is one of those teams that values that position highly.

                Seattle wants to improve their pass rush. On this we all agree. When I consider:

                1. Seattle has 2 of the top 10 DE’s in terms of pressure rates
                2. Seattle is almost assured to resign Rubin as the base 3T
                3. Seattle ran base package almost 50% more than their situation package
                4. Seattle will likely lose Marsh’s 19% DT snap count in a position switch

                Then to me, the obvious upgrade in terms of pass rush opportunities is at the base 1T.

                Manning that base 1T position has a very restrictive requirement in terms of providing excellent run defense. Getting a player who can provide some measure of pass rush is tough to accomplish because of that.

                I could easily see a scenario where we sought to both upgrade our base 1T pass rush AND our rotational DT pass rush. This is a draft where there are those kinds of guys. I think that Clark figures prominently in the interior pass rush rotation.

                If I believe that following the talent as it’s presented on draft day, then this is a year where I’m looking big heavies who can do extra duty at pass rush. That’s a quality that your run of the mill day three 1T prospect doesn’t offer.

                Maybe we don’t take Billings exactly. But I do think we’re looking at a guy who can at the very least be a pass rushing 1T, and if possible a guy to succeed Mebane and provide more in that avenue from the base defense.

                • Steve Nelsen says:

                  Your analysis is dead-on in my opinion. Seattle is very likely to keep Rubin and that means the only way to improve the base pass rush is to replace Mebane. They won’t want to give up the run defense so Billings could fit.

                  There is still room to improve the situational rush package, especially if Irvin is gone and adding another edge rusher a backup to Avril would be good timing. That would mean a project-type in this draft since the only clear edge rusher is Spence and he will be gone unless something comes up between now and the draft that causes him to slip.

                  A DT could also work if they see Rubin sliding over to 1-T in the near future.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  The Seahawks haven’t ever sought a pass rusher to man the one technique though. By definition that position is not a pass rushing position. If the idea is to have the nose tackle providing a major upgrade as a pass rusher I just cannot see it. Let’s be right — how many great nose tackle pass rushers are there in the league?

                  And for me it’s not the concept of pressure in base. The Seahawks haven’t ever worried about that. They had a 330lbs five technique in base in 2013 and basically played three big bodies and a pass rusher off the edge. Here’s what they didn’t have in 2015 that they had in 2013 and 2014 — Clinton McDonald providing sacks in rotation and nickel, then Jordan Hill picking up the slack late in 2014. Hill had zero sacks in 2015 and McDonald is long gone.

                  To get back to the level they require it’s not necessarily about replacing the base. It’s about finding the production McDonald and Hill provided. Even if they drafted Sheldon Rankins I’m not convinced he’d be an every down DT in 2016. He’d be worked in as a pass rusher IMO.

                  I would be very surprised if the Seahawks were viewing their nose tackle/one technique, usually the anchor for the line, to provide their upgrade for the pass rush.

                  • CHawk Talker Eric says:

                    As the Devil’s advocate…

                    Just because they haven’t sought pass rush from the 1T doesn’t mean they are adverse to having it. Mebane has never had much pass rush, so to say that any of several 1T prospects in this draft would be an improvement in that specific aspect isn’t a stretch. The production McDonald gave them from that position in situational packages would look good in a base front. There may not be a Donald or a Short in this draft, but there are at least some Clints. In the end, it comes down to valuation. How much would having a 3 down Clint McDonald improve SEA’s record? At what stage in the draft does that value shake out? And at any given point, does another need come first?

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Here’s the thing though — McDonald wasn’t playing as a one-technique. It’s really about judging the roles based on what they’ve done so far. Seattle’s base defense — even in 2013 — has been built to defend/stop the run. And they’ve mixed in nascar/bandit/lighter packages that enhance the pass rush. It is in those packages that the Seahawks have fielded Clark/Bennett inside, Hill or McDonald. When we talk about the Seahawks improving their pass rush (and when they talk about it) — they almost certainly mean finding the production McDonald (2013) and Hill (2014) provided that they completely lost in 2015.

                    There isn’t really a nose tackle/one technique in the league that goes out to be a pass rusher. By definition the role is to anchor the line. So Mebane’s job isn’t to rush the passer. He will break into the backfield from time to time — but they want him carrying blockers, filling his gap and playing with discipline. I’m 99% confident they are not going to replace him with someone who plays with much more reckless abandon trying to rush the passer and shoot gaps or bull-rush instead of playing great, disciplined run-defense. They simple haven’t had that mindset at all since Carroll arrived. Heck — look at what they do at the three technique. Most teams use that position to field a 6-2, 290lbs rusher. Pete Carroll says 6-3, 330lbs Athyba Rubin is the best three technique they’ve ever had! And it’s because in base the priority is run stopping inside and allowing Avril and Bennett to rush.

                    Remember — 3-4 personnel in a 4-3. That’s what they do.

                    Trying to get more rush production out of the one-technique is, to me, a little bit like saying the target at running back is to find a Marshawn Lynch replacement that can predominantly run a great wheel route as their best trait. It’s something a back will do from time to time. But their main job is something entirely different.

          • Attyla the Hawk says:

            No worries Rob, I understood what you meant.

            I was trying to remain on topic for Therick. Actually I was kind of floored at Nkemdiche’s absence of production. Looks so good on the hoof but even outside of character red flags, the lack of impact would have to raise issues too.

            On the hoof, he’s a top 15 pick and seemed destined for top 5 early on. Something really seems missing with him. Should be a combine warrior. Seattle has historically put a premium on production early in the draft. Even if he happens to slide to 26, I’m not sure we pull the trigger. Leaves a lot of tick boxes unchecked. But the boxes he does tick look like they’re checked in ink.

            This class of DTs is going to sort itself out after the combine. There should be a lot of going back to the tape to reconfirm measurables. It’s a significant lot of prospects that all seem very close in terms of grade at this point. Very similar to the 2nd tier of WRs in 2014. Feels like there could be close to a dozen DLs picked between 20 and 64.

        • Ukhawk says:

          Great stat. Love to know how often they were going vs double teams

  2. Steele says:

    Rob, I really can’t get with this kneejerk emulating of the Broncos. Even in passing, I respectfully think it is unnecessary. For many reasons we’ve discussed, I really don’t think the Broncos are THE standard. They had a fortunate playoff run and one good game on one day, which was assisted greatly by officiating and horrendous mistakes by their opponents.

    What we want is the next Red Bryant/Clint McDonald/Tony McDaniel and more Bennetts, Avrils and Irvins. Go ahead and call it a search for other great pass rushers in football history, but these Broncos haven’t earned that yet.

    • bobbyk says:

      Yes. They did. They earned it, especially in these last three games. Their defense only gave up four TDs in three play-off games. That’s pretty awesome, especially considering it was Brady with healthy weapons two weeks ago and the NFL MVP yesterday (sure, I can’t stand sCam either, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a great year).

      That’s not to say I want to be like them. I agree with you, that’d I’d much rather have what we had in ’13 back and that’s what we should shoot for. That’s a big reason I’ve been whining about a legit Leo the past two off-seasons (and, yes, I know it’d be nice to have a Bernard of ’05 and McDonald of ’13, too).

      Seriously though, the run the put on in recent weeks (after being the No. 1 defense all year) is pretty historic and you can’t discredit it even if you want to. They were what we were in ’13. That’s impressive and I’m willing to give them their proper due.

    • nichansen01 says:

      One good game? The Denver defense was completely dominate throughout the season and was the reason they were in the playoffs at all. The defense shut down Big Ben, Tom Brady and Cam Newton. Denver saw that defense wins championships after Super Bowl 48 so Elway built the leagues best defense and won a Super Bowl. Why not return the favor?

      • Steele says:

        Denver’s D was not the best overall defense throughout the season. They beat two injured and depleted teams, Pitt and NE. They beat up a Panthers offense that was frankly a lot of smoke and mirrors, led by Cam, whose game is chock full of mental and technical flaws. Credit to them for doing their jobs in the last three games, but they are not the “greatest ever’.

        • bobbyk says:

          Think what you want to think but I’ll disagree. No harm in that.

          I may be biased, but I think what the Seahawks did was a tad more impressive since they only gave up one score to the most prolific offense in NFL history, but to discredit their greatness this past year is crazy, imo.

      • bigDhawk says:

        What favor?

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I’m not a big fan of Denver – but they have an awesome defense. And for the most part both teams defenses were allowed to play with a minimal amount of flags. So it was a great defensive struggle. There is no way they couldn’t be compared to the Seahawks and other historically great defenses.

        My only caveat is how that defense would have adjusted to a game where holding and pass interference was being called, and roughing the passer was being called. I think they would have adjusted just fine.

        Let me count the ways that Seattle could emulate them:
        1. A very active defensive line, high motors, good at both run defense and pass blitzing.

        2. Awesome linebackers – hey Seattle needs to promote one or draft one.

        3. Secondary that was tight in man coverage.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “Rob, I really can’t get with this knee jerk emulating of the Broncos.”

      That’s a strange way of looking at this piece. The Seahawks need an interior rusher, agreed? The Broncos have two good ones that I think everyone here would like to see in Seattle. So we look at the draft class for comparable players.

      It’s not about emulating the Broncos. It’s about filling a need we all agree exists.

  3. BHarKnows says:

    Rob, any thoughts on them bringing Jaye Howard back? He’s a FA, looked solid, though not amazing this season in KC. They clearly saw something when they drafted him and presumably only let him go on that deep 2013 defense. Not sure if he’d be expensive but he’s only 27 so might be able to sign him for a reasonable 3 year deal.

  4. Steele says:

    Before I forget, I have to applaud the best catch of this Super Bowl by Devin Funchess. Snatched a too-hard pass right out of the air, in a clutch situation. We were back and forth on Funchess last offseason. Seeing plays like that make me wonder if we didn’t miss out on him.

  5. Coleslaw says:

    Jahri Evans and Riley Cooper are free agents, could possibly be some interest there.

    • bobbyk says:

      Riley Cooper is a joke. I’d only want him on the Rams, Cardinals, or 49ers.

      • Coleslaw says:

        He’s going to sign for vet minimum and is a taller guy, could be a solid 5th option

        • bobbyk says:

          A solid 5th option also must play a meaningful role on special teams, imo. I don’t know if Cooper checks that box.

          • Coleslaw says:

            He’s big and ran a 4.53 40 yard dash last time he tested, should definitely have value on punt and/or kick coverage

          • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

            Cooper might check some of the wrong boxes, like being a good team mate.. being involved in a “racial” incident… and the biggest box of them all, the guy has hands of stone and has been getting worse and worse after getting his fat contract.

          • Steve Nelsen says:

            Big pass on Cooper. Not an efficient receiver so he doesn’t fit the Seahawk mold. I don’t know about his run-blocking.

            I would also rather see him on the Rams, Cardinals or 49ers.

  6. Trevor says:

    When does free agency begin?

  7. therick05 says:

    Readers and Rob, who are your top 10 pass rushing DTs in this class?

    • nichansen01 says:

      Sheldon Rankins – Best pass rusher
      Jarran Reed – Best Run Stuffer
      Robert Nkemdiche – Highest Ceiling
      Vernon Butler
      Andrew Billings
      AShawn Robinson
      Adolphus Washington
      Kenny Clark
      Chris Jones
      Austin Johnson

      Honorable Mentions:
      Jonathan Bullard
      Javon Hargrave
      Jihad Ward

      • bobbyk says:

        Since some people have mentioned Hargrave on here, I watched a couple of his games over the weekend (love that you can watch a games worth of snaps on a guy in under 10 minutes) and am pretty darn impressed with his pass rush skills/ability. Sure, as of now he’s only got one great move but it’s a heck of a starting point. I do like him.

        Rob, When you did your mock and from what you’ve written, you seem to think the Seahawks will barely miss out on the “sweet spot” at DT prior to their second round pick. With a bit of time passing, do you think Hargrave could be an option there? I know he doesn’t check off the box with respect to arm length, but he seems to check off some other boxes they value too (grit, production, etc.). Just curious your take at this point.

        I wrote this earlier, but I’m almost hoping for a Fackrell/Hargrave scenario in the first two rounds, before getting at least one OL (Tretola/Kirkland?) in the third. This is most definitely under the assumption they can add some pieces in free agency. If they can’t add in free agency and we’re penciled in with clowns like Britt as starters entering the season, then that idea can be scrapped and OL must be added first and foremost in the first and/or second round.

        As with anything, the entire free agency process, which hasn’t even started yet, will greatly alter some of our thinking. And with these predictably unpredictable guys running the Seahawks, you can never discount a Percy Harvin or Jimmy Graham shocker. I don’t think it’ll happen but I didn’t expect the Graham trade 11 months ago either.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Only issue with Hargrave is arm length.

        • David says:

          I think the main reason not to expect a Harvin or Graham shocker trade this year is that they just don’t have the cap space this year to take on any big new contracts, unless of course it’s a Kam for someone contract swap essentially. Or who knows, maybe they trade Kam and their first for a superstar who is still on a rookie contract…. Now that I think of it, who knows, anything is possible.

      • Trevor says:

        Nice list

        • C-Dog says:

          Rankins, Hargrave, Washington, Johnson, Bullard, Billings, Robinson, Clark, if going off production probably.

          Nkemdiche, Rankins, Hargrave, Johnson, Billings, Jones, Ward, Day, if going off of potential. Potential is a tricky pony to ride though.

          Since I have Rankins, Hargrave, Johnson listed in production and potential, there you go, those are probably who I’d see as the best.

          Most intrigued by Austin Johnson. Give up a little bit of quick for a guy who is that big, motors and closes with authority. It’s not always about the rush.

          • Volume12 says:

            If your going off raw potential, it’s Jihad Ward for me.

            I haven’t seen too many 6’5, 295 pound D-lineman stand up over the O-line and rush.

            But, his lack of productiob does give me hesitation.

            • C-Dog says:

              Yeah, I gotta think the way the Denver DL showed up in this last Super Bowl, scouts and GMs are going to be looking mighty hard at Ward in a few weeks. I like him.

  8. Coleslaw says:

    Really think Austin Johnson has a higher ceiling than most day 2 DT’s, he’s got a good rip move, could use some technical refinement but he’s physical, quick and powerful. I can see him shooting gaps for us using those tree trunk legs to muscle his way through. Really like this kid and hope we see him in a seahawks uni next year.

  9. nichansen01 says:

    How crazy is this:

    Resign Irvin and Lane.

    Draft
    1. Andrew Billings
    2. Chris Jones
    3. Jihad Ward
    3c. Backup Runningback (Dixon, Howard)

    Offensive line:

    Gilliam, Poole, Sokoli, Glowinski, Britt

    • bobbyk says:

      That offensive line would single handedly ensure that this team won’t be able to get to the Super Bowl next year, imo. I don’t know what Poole has shown, but I’m not a buyer that he’ll be good. I know what Britt is “capable” of. If we learned anything last year, you’d think it would be to not go into the season with a center brand new to the position with limited game experience.

      • bobbyk says:

        Also, if those guys (Poole, Sokoli, Britt) are the starters, imagine how terrible the depth would be if one of those guys got hurt.

        • Greg haugsven says:

          That OL is flat out gross.

          • nichansen01 says:

            Is it though? The only certified clown is Britt. Replace him with Loadholt? Poole and Sokoli are unknowns, but have each had a year of grooming. Glowinski is good. Gilliam? Fast. Cant be besten by speed. He’ll get stronger over the offseason.

            Sokoli is the ideal physical specimen the seahawks like at center, Poole is 100 percent unknown but he was picked in the fourth for a reason.

            • RealRhino2 says:

              Probably the same reason Moffitt was picked in the 3rd and Britt was picked in the 2nd: because Tom Cable has no clue about drafting OL.

              Poole looked terrible in preseason, Sokoli has never started at the position and had terrible tape at his old position, and Britt was already moved off of RT once.

              So yeah, pretty crazy. Heck, resigning Irvin is enough for me to call it crazy. Don’t think it’s worth what he’ll allegedly get on the open market and we need to save money somewhere to sign guys who can make a bigger difference next year.

              • Sea Mode says:

                I agree with Rhino about Irvin, especially considering he will net us a 3rd or 4th round comp pick, which will be even more valuable starting next year when they will be tradeable.

                The only thing I will miss is the physicality and imposing athleticism at his position. We will be a bit less tough without him. I imagine his replacement will be a small upgrade in speed though.

          • Steele says:

            The problem is, that scary newbie conversion project o-line may be what Cable wants.

  10. nichansen01 says:

    I’m going to ressurect another name we talked about earlier: Matt Judon; DE, Grand Valley State.

    You want a von Miller type player in the middle rounds? Von Miller is 6’3 and 249, Judon is 6’3 and 255. Judon is slower (4.77 vs 4.49).

    21 sacks in 2015, albeit against much inferior competition.

    Thoughts?

    • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

      I would pass on this guy. 0.3 sec slower is a huge number. Bring him in a UDRFA perhaps, but I wouldn’t draft him unless something else pops at the combine/pro day. These numbers are Micheal Sam like.

  11. bobbyk says:

    Here’s a hypothetical situation that I’d like to ask any of you about:

    What happens if Lynch retires and then wants to come back and play for the Raiders? What would the salary cap situation be if the Seahawks then were to trade Beast Mode to Oakland?

    As it stands now, I know they are going to get an additional $6.5 million to play with. Would they get any other of that $5 million “back” (in terms of the salary cap) if Lynch ended up playing ball back in his home town in ’16?

    • Coleslaw says:

      They have the option to control his rights until his contract expires, so he’d either play for us or we don’t use that option and he could come back and it would have no effect on us

    • Rob Staton says:

      The only way they can get back more of the $5m is if they demand Lynch repay it during his retirement.

  12. Greg haugsven says:

    Saints just recently released guard, Jahri Evans. Could be an option for the Seahawks. He would be a street free agent which wouldn’t mess with the comp picks. Thoughts?

    • bobbyk says:

      I don’t know how much he has left in the tank. I’m not up on the Saints all that much. I know he was a stud in his prime though.

      Ware is still good in Denver but not as good as when he was in his late 20s. I wonder what Evans is like at this stage in his career, too? He’s declined, obviously, but is there still enough left in the tank to be a good player for us at LG in ’16 (he’s played his entire career at RG, but at his size fits more what Cable wants in LG and not RG).

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        I agree, he wouldn’t be a long term solution, maybe 2 years at most. He’s got to be better than Britt though. I guess we’ll see.

  13. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    Gilliam, Poole, Sokoli, Glowinski, Britt

    I admirer nichansen01 for throwing it out there. This may not be as far fetched as we might think. I could see the Britt / Gilliam tackles as a very real possibility. That would leave Seattle concentrating on the interior 3 OL spots, C LG and RG.

    I think we all agree, Seattle could get a good to outstanding center in the draft and if they go 2 of the first 4 picks on OL… they could come up with a solid G to plug into the line.

    I could see something like this happening… draft 3 OL: 1 C and 2 OG in the draft.

    10 Guys on 53 man and 3 on PS, roughly

    LT – Gilliam, Britt back up swing tackle
    LG – 1 Draft Pick, Sokoli back-up
    C – 1 Draft Pick (Martin for example), Lewis back-up
    RG – Glowinski, 1 Draft Pick
    RT – Poole, Bailey

    PS: C Nowak, OG Pericak, OT Schwenke

    • Steele says:

      Gilliam, Poole, Sokoli, Glowinski, Britt. Or some variation on this, using existing personnel.

      I’m glad this is being brought up. Do we know what Cable thinks, what he wants? It scares us, but he may disagree. If in fact he is satisfied with his project, then should we start lowering expectations for any free agent additions or high draft picks? He didn’t go for top linemen last offseason. Why would he this time?

      • Volume12 says:

        Because both PC and J said it was an off-season priority. Every time they’ve said they had a priotity, they adressed it.

        But, JS basically said, it probaly isn’t/doesn’t have to be a 1st round pick.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

          I agree. I think they will make a concerted effort to put some draft capitol into the OL. The interior of the OL got “wrekt” this season, so that is why I’m leaning more interior help via draft picks. I also think it would be easier to draft some guys for the guard and center spots than try to convert a tackle or draft LT/RTs to play in the LT/RT positions.

          Value, end of first round would fit a top guard or center to be chosen, but the 5th or worse best tackle, seems like a gamble to me. If Martin is the center they like, I say take him, even if it is a bit of a reach. This is the draft for quality / solid OL players, not extreme projects.

          The only guy I can see as a possible project pick, which has been mentioned previously… for Cable to have a toy to tinker with… LE’RAVEN CLARK out of Tex Tech. Reports are he is rising up the draft board, so he might not be a good value in the low second round, when you could pick a more polished “solid” guard.

          • Volume12 says:

            I wouldn’t take a G before round 3, unless he has versatility to also play T.

            Not seeing very many LGs this year. I like Marquis Lucas outta W. Virginia though.

            • Greg haugsven says:

              I wouldn’t mind having Gilliam and Britt at tackles. Britt was better tere than left guard, but the interior needs to be a priority for a clean pocket. Those three in the middle would be rough. They would all be first time starters. No bueno!

  14. Volume12 says:

    Love everything about Austin Johnson. One of the most under-appreciated DTs in this class.

    They’ve gone aftr bigger bodied DTs before in ‘Monstar’ and Jimmy Staten, just later on.

    I think he’s versastile enough to plsy both positions. Granted, he’s not gonna be a big time pass rusher, but IMO he could bring to the table what Star Loutuleilei does for Carolina.

    And I still think Adolphus Washington is a good player. Last year we heard how Mario Edwards flashed and didn’t always play hard, yet they liked him.

    Question is. Do you take upside in a Chris Jones or Jihad Ward? Or production in an Austin Johnson or Kenny Clark?

    • C-Dog says:

      I would put Adolphus very much in the running. Played multiple positions for the Buckeyes, versatile. Kinda streaky, but definitely flashed ability.

      I take Austin Johnson and his production, especially if his personal workouts are solid. Upside is that really hot gal at the party who may or may not give you her number. Production you can probably guess your going to get something out of, and who knows, it might end up being a great thing, and the best decision you ever made.

      • Volume12 says:

        I love Austin Johnsin too.

        The thing about it, is he a big time athlete for them to pull the trigger on early enough?

        IMO, they’ll either have to take the high upside, freak athlete, or the prouctive, good athlete. I’m just not seeing both this year.

    • Trevor says:

      If it is me I would take Ward or Jones. The potential upside is far greater IMO to get a true game changer and interior pash rusher. Johnson and Clark are both nice players but I think what you see is what you get.

      • Volume12 says:

        Kenny Clark is gonna surprise people with his athleticism.

        He’s also gonna be a much better pass rusher at the next level too.

  15. EranUngar says:

    A few general words:

    DL – pass rush: I started banging the drums about it during the SB halftime. I will keep believing it is a must for us. Having said that, i am not looking to try and clone the DEN DL. We had an outstanding pass rush in 2013 with Red and Mebane. I think that we have all the outside weapons for it with Bernnett $ Avril and i have huge hopes for Clark next year. I think we do need another key physical element in the DT spot. It does not have to be a sub 300 quick twitch pass rusher. It could be a power “pocket collapsor” that can push the front a yard or two back and force the QB to remain in the back and allow Avril to do his thing. Someone who has size and strength advantage that will force teams to double team him and leave Bennett and the others one on one could do it. DEN did it first by limiting CAR on 1st down to nothing. That in turn made 2nd and very long a passing down and it went downhill from there. We just need someone that can, one on one, get a yard or two ahead of the LOS and force a QB to stay back. The 2nd part of the 2013 pass rush was taking away the quick pass options by jamming, press and man coverage. The best friend of the pass rush is lack of quick option for the QB. That’s a job for Richard. A part of the SB success was taking away the quick Olsen option.

    OL: Britt was playing ok at RT at the last 3rd of the 2014 season. He was summarily dismissed after a horrendous preseason game or two. If we believe that teams are not attacking us from the sides and work to contain RW instead, we may be ok with Britt or Bailey manning RT opposite to Gilliam at LT and free the draft/cap capital to get 2 inside players. The other general OL observation is that I believe that a year of NFL training is worth a round or two in the draft. I.E. a 2nd-3rd round draft pick is not likely to be any better on day one of the season than a 4th round pick after a red shirt year that you already have on your roster.

  16. KyleT says:

    A new angle on the FA options for the seahawks: in 2017, they will have nearly 40m in free cap space. I can almost guarantee they are going to hand out a big contract or 2 this year. We have been so focused on 2016 cap, but you can get that first year real cheap if you have space opening up the next year.

    Could be Okung, Irvin or Lane. But it may also be an outside FA or even a big trade. Who would be worth going after for 9-10m / year?

    • david ess says:

      I honestly don’t see them spending that much on Lane if that’s what you were saying. That would be a lot of money going to a guy who has played 41/64 games. think he gets a small prove it deal this year. unless a team decides to lure him away with BIG money but I don’t see the hawks doing that.

      Wouldn’t mind the hawks going after the FA G jeff Allen. hes a good young talent. under utilized in KC. don’t know how much he will command though being 26 and becoming one of the better OGs in the league.

      • KyleT says:

        Not saying it will be Lane. I’ve already rationalized them not giving any of our guys big deals. I just think we will give somebody a bigger deal this year potentially in addition to signing some of our own guys.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Carroll stated in his end of season press conference that the priority was to keep this group together. That doesn’t suggest a big outside splash (they can’t afford one anyway really).

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      They could just split it between Bennett and Avril. Otherwise it pretty much has to go to a cornerback – because they have already sunk a lot of money into linebackers.

  17. nichansen01 says:

    Does anyone think Jesse Williams could contribute next season?

    • Volume12 says:

      Yup. There’s your back up nose right there.

    • david ess says:

      It’ll be interesting for him. from what I remember he cant stay on the field. before the cancer hit he was IRd back to back years with knee injuries. I don’t have much confidence in him coming in and contributing. I see him as more or less a camp body if anything. If he can stay healthy and contribute that’s great but I just don’t see it. HUGE upper body but his lower body is tiny and don’t think it can support the top half.

      • C-Dog says:

        I thought he was looking great in camp last Summer. I really hope he can. Worry about his knees a little long term though.

        • david ess says:

          Yeah just am not sure if his body will be able to hold up for a full season as it stands now. He might look good in camp but just the season makes me nervous if he is to be our back up. I’d almost rather go in to the season with a early rd rookie DT as our back up.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      No. He looked like a fat tub of goo in the preseason last year.

  18. Volume12 says:

    Rob, what do you think about Danirl Jeremiah saying UCLA’s Thomas Duarte is a Jordan Reed type?

    Him and Cal’s Stephen Anderson are intriguing.

    CHAWK, what are your thoughts on Duarte?

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      I wouldn’t make that comparison, but I’m not Jeremiah.

      I found myself comparing Duarte to Devon Cajuste a lot last season.

      • Volume12 says:

        Really? Cajuste looks stiff. Reminds me of Jordan Taylor from Rice last year.

        Duarte is much more explosive.

  19. Nathan says:

    OK, i’ll have my rant.

    As better judges than me have said(Rob for on the podcast today, and Brock Huard this morning) there is Von Miller or De Marcus Ware in this draft. They come around every 5 years, and somehow Denver has 2 of them.

    The sides who over react to what they saw on the weekend, are the ones who pick busts in the draft.

    Pass rushers will fly off the board way too quick this year.

    The teams who hold their nerve and take the best players will do well.

    Yes we should always be trying to improve the pass rush.

    We still a great run defense, we have linebackers who get to screen plays and shut them down quickly, we have great DB’s.

    Denver’s defence is suddenly the envy of the league, we should be 2nd right behind them.

    Our sack numbers are middling, but are only 4 sacks behind St Louis.

    Let’s not forget some other facts.

    A couple of plays turn out different, Seattle beat Carolina and possibly win the superbowl.
    A couple of plays different, New England beat Denver and probably win the superbowl.
    1 play different, Green Bay beat Arizona and possibly win the superbowl.

    Hats off to denver, but they shouldn’t be the envy of the league because enough pieces fell into place for them to win it.

    • Nathan says:

      there is no von miller or demarcus ware. that should read.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think the Seahawks should try and emulate Denver — but they could/should try and bring in players similar to Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson.

    • Coleslaw says:

      There’s really no reason to want to be like us either, we run a very bland defense for the most part and rely on ALL of our personnel to do their job, not every team is going to want to invest as much as us into one side of the ball

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      I think we all agree there aren’t an abundance of edge talent. Spence will go very high in part to skill and in part because of the absence of competition in that regard.

      This draft has depth and talent at some positions. Positions that Seattle still needs. Will we get a pass rusher in this draft? I would say no if we’re talking about a guy that will be a 6.0+ sack kind of guy.

      Honestly, I don’t know that’s what we need either. Seattle does have very good outside pass rushers on this roster. I would put Avril, Bennett and Clark as good/quality pass rush talent. I would expect Clark to continue his emergence in his second year — not atypical for guys to flash talent in that regard in their rookie seasons to continue to get better and make an impact.

      It’s entirely possible that we already have our 3T interior pass rusher already drafted. We just don’t know it yet. Clark could be our Malik Jackson by the end of training camp.

      Seattle needs interior rush. And this draft has a lot of guys that flash talent in that regard. In particular, a lot of big bodied/multi purpose DTs who at 300+ pounds can provide pocket collapse.

      I don’t think we need outside pass rush to elevate the defensive performance. This is a draft where the talent is steering towards guys that can improve interior pass rush from a base front.

      Seattle’s pass rush was at it’s best when we had a productive Clinton McDonald in the interior. And when we had a productive Jordan Hill in the interior. Hill dropped off the map this past year and was hurt again. This loss had a very real impact. I think there are at least a half dozen guys in this 20-65 range of DTs that can give us what either of those two provided.

      There isn’t a need to fight the draft board in terms of role here. We don’t need a guy to be the next Warren Sapp or Geno Atkins. We simply need guys who can worm/work through blocks and put OGs under duress. That component provides the anvil for the hammers on the edge that we already have. I think our pass rush needs are more modest in terms of sack potential.

      Even if there are a handful of guys who could be a reasonable correlation with a Kawaan Short in this draft — it’s not reasonable to think that they’ll achieve that in their first season. They’ll need development time. In the interim, just having guys that can keep a QB from stepping up and eluding our edge guys is going to have significant worth to us. And this draft is littered with players who can do that.

      • Steele says:

        One thing that sets Von Miller apart from most is that he is a speed rusher. I think the Hawks, every team, should have a couple of pure speed pass rushers, and have that attack blitz capability.

        I do not see Frank Clark being that kind of pass rusher at all.

    • Steele says:

      John Elway paid dearly for all of his defensive talent. It wasn’t “somehow” like magic. Big name free agents. It did not exactly take genius to sign DeMarcus Ware or Talib or TJ Ward, it just took money, and ownership willing to allow it. Draft decently, sign free agents. The post-SB hype and halo is on steroids around the winner, when in fact, they didn’t do anything that extraordinary.

  20. RWIII says:

    Rob : What are the chances that Jesse Williams can play in the NFL?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Hard to say. I wouldn’t be overly optimistic because he’s been through so much and not played for such a long time.

      • cha says:

        I wonder if there is a physical silver lining to his cancer issues in that his knees haven’t taken a pounding this year – given a little more time to heal.

        At any rate I think it’d be a pretty big upset if he made the roster and contributed in 2016. Just stepping on the field in preseason this year felt like a win.

  21. Trevor says:

    I was looking at the roster today thinking about our CB situation and Lane really would be a nice guy to keep.

    I know everyone thinks he is going to get a big deal but I don’t see it based on his production and injury history. I think he will be back on a short term deal with the opportunity to have a solid year or two as a starter and then hit the market for a big time deal.

    Based on his limited production and injury history I would be very leery about giving him a long term deal.

    We all saw the big improvement when he came back last year but was that him or more about Carey Williams leaving? I really like Lane but he is not an elite corner yet and I hope we don’t pay him like one.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Good corners are hard to find in this league. He’s not going to get Byron Maxwell money… but he’s going to get more than people realize.

      • Trevor says:

        What type of $ do you think? I really like him and think he and Rubin are the two FAs we should target most but when I look at his career the productivity, lack of starting time and injuries are a concern.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Maxwell is $10m APY. I could see Lane getting $6-7m APY. At least a chance he gets offered that for one year with a chance to max his stock in a year. A prove it deal, either in Seattle or somewhere else. But it won’t be a cheap prove it deal. Look how Seattle’s secondary improved when he returned.

          And don’t forget they gave Cary Williams $6m a year. That’ll probably be the starting point when Lane speaks to Seattle. He can demand that from them.

          • Trevor says:

            Good point if we are going to pay him that much then I think you may as well just lock him up long term try and spread out the cap hit. Do make him your full time nickel or start him opposite Sherm?

            Or you target Eli Apple in Rd #1 but he will likely be gone by #26.

          • Coug1990 says:

            You could be right, but I am not sure I entirely agree with your take on Lane. Williams had long been a starter in this league. Lane never has. Seattle’s secondary also improved when they jettisoned Williams and Shead took over. So, it is not just because of Lane returned.

            Also, if you are in the training room, you are not helping. Lane has played in seven games and six games respectively the last two years.

            Yes, all it takes is one team. But, it is not as if Seattle corners are lighting the world on fire once they leave. I don’t think he will get a bad offer, but I think it won’t be for as much as you think.

            • Rob Staton says:

              We’ll see. There’s a dearth of good corners going to hit the market. Williams might be an established starter but he was bad at Philly and had three teams chasing him aggressively. Lane is not only a better athlete but he’s entering the peak of his career. Seahawks corners are also a trendy fit right now.

              We have to wait and see how it plays out — but there’s already buzz about Lane. Too many people in the know like Danny O’Neil suggesting Lane will get paid this off-season. He will not be available cheap. I’m pretty certain about that.

              • HI Hawk says:

                If Lane gets an offer that high, hopefully the Seahawks move on despite him being worth every penny in my opinion. I say that because I think Simon, when healthy, is an upgrade over Lane or at worst a wash. Shead played well enough to be the backup to Simon. Based on Simon’s (and Lane’s) injury history, Shead will be a vital #3 CB and will certainly see the field often. Burley is a good #4/Nickle and by the time camp is over I am confident the best team in the NFL at developing secondary players can find a #5 CB through roster churn. Jean-Baptiste, Seisay, Farmer, and Tye Smith are all athletically gifted and long. I don’t doubt Carroll/Richard’s ability to teach the position, so I have no worries about who the #5 CB is going to be. None of this even addresses the draft or FA. CB is not a position of great need in my opinion and money should be spent elsewhere..

                • Rob Staton says:

                  It sounds good on paper — but Tharold Simon has never been able to stay healthy and it puts a lof of faith in Burley and an unproven group to step up. The Seahawks’ defense struggled badly when one corner position was a liability in 2015. I’d rather avoid that again personally. Especially considering the money you’ve saved isn’t likely to be enough to keep Irvin or whoever else would be the next most expensive free agent.

                  • HI Hawk says:

                    I agree, but I see Lane in the same light as Simon – very good, injury prone. The defense struggled because Cary Williams was on the field. Injuries will happen, but no team keeps more than 5-6 CBs on the roster. Anything beyond that, can’t really be considered depth.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Is Lane injury prone?

                    Or did he just have one horrific double injury on the same play?

                  • HI Hawk says:

                    I’d call him unlucky with injuries, just like Tharold Simon. I don’t think some guys are magically injury magnets or anything, with the exception of head injuries or knees. Broken arms, legs, shoulder injuries are really just unlucky breaks at one moment in time.

                    Simon and Lane are often unavailable due to injury, to say one of the two are more likely to be hurt in 2016 is really a stretch.

  22. Trevor says:

    Rob really pumped about the idea of your draft guide. I would love to see on the blog or the guide a position by position breakdown of the best prospect from a Seahawks prospective (traits the Seahawks look for)and the Round they should be targeted . There are lots of great players that just don’t fit what the Hawks look for so narrowing the focus list and getting a realistic idea of what round they would be available would be awesome.

    You should also set up something like Patreon so people can contribute to help with the Guide. I know I would gladly fro something Seahawks focused.

  23. Trevor says:

    I have watched every bit of tape I could find and the Senior Bowl practices on LaRaven Clark. He technique is absolutely awful. It is almost like he never had an OL coach.

    That being said the size, length, quick feet and overall athleticism are undeniable. He has the physical traits of a high first round pick IMO.

    What round do you think he goes? Where would you be comfortable with he Hawks taking him?

  24. J says:

    Dadi Nicholas – 6’3, 235. Has room to get bigger in an NFL weight room. Reported 41 inch vertical, 4.47 40. 35 1/4 inch arms. Highly productive before being misused by VT this year.

    The tape shows some issues but he checks a lot of boxes.

    • Steele says:

      I like Dadi. Imperfect, but flashes. The more SPARQy he looks over the next couple of months, the more he is going to get noticed.

  25. Darnell says:

    Rob,

    You previously explained what you look for that has lead you to having a relatively successful hit rate on olinemen, given that, how do you view Gilliam (after 1 season vs NFL comp) and Glow (1 game and a preseason) ?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I haven’t studied Glowinski’s Arizona performance closely enough to comment there. I think Gilliam has serious issues with fundamental strength and he can be too easily overpowered. That said, he has ideal size and foot-speed for the position and doesn’t get beat frequently by pure speed which is a promising sign. With further development and extra strength he’s a candidate to move to left tackle. It’s not a home-run move though by any means.

  26. Steele says:

    Looking at free agent edge rushers, Von Miller is obviously at the top of the list and now at an even more inflated cost. Will Elway find a way to keep him?

    I see Tamba Hali, Aldon Smith, Nick Perry, Bruce Irvin. They are the only ones that strike me as difference makers.

    • Steele says:

      If the Patriots do not extend Chandler Jones, they could let him go or try to swing a trade involving him. He hasn’t lived up to expectations, hasn’t stayed healthy, smokes dope.

    • Nathan says:

      Would they consider tagging him and trading him to Tennessee for the first overall pick?

      They probably already know they can’t win the big one with Osweiler.

  27. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    2 picks that just seem inevitable to me…

    Carson Wentz to DAL, either at #4 or after a modest trade down; and
    Noah Spence to TBB at #9

  28. Steele says:

    Bruce Irvin. If he is looking for Vinny Curry money, that is a multi-year for around $9M/per. With a total of just $18M, I don’t see them using up half of it on Bruce. They didn’t extend him at $7M, why would they take him for more now? where are they going to find a replacement for his pass rush? Is there an upgrade? The knock on Irvin is that he hasn’t provided that pass rush consistently in recent years. There is nobody on the roster who provides that edge rush. Not Clark, not KPL, Morgan, Pinkins.

    Which suggests they are going to have to do it via draft.

    • Steele says:

      Unless you believe they can get Nick Perry or Tamba Hali at a vet minimum.

    • Trevor says:

      I don’t think there is a replacement for Irvin in this draft.

      I did not want him re-signed either but I believe he wants to be a Hawk and they will get it done on like a 3 year /30mil deal with good guarantees and about $7.5 mil APY

      Still not happy about that much $ tied up in LBs but if Bruce drops some weight again and get back to 2014 level he is dynamic enough a playmaker to warrant the investment.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      The $18M limit is slightly overstated. Consider that Curry’s 4-year, $46.25M contract ($9.25M APY) has a 2016 cap hit of just $3M.

      Also, just because SEA didn’t exercise their 5th year option on Irvin a year ago doesn’t mean they wouldn’t ever be willing to pay him in that range. It just means they weren’t willing to pay him that much preemptively, and/or they had other priorities with respect to the roster and cap space.

      Irvin will get a nice offer somewhere. SEA may come close enough to keep him, and they would structure it so it doesn’t break the cap bank.

    • cha says:

      I think coaching staff has the capacity to evolve the coverages and defensive schemes so there won’t necessarily need to find an Irvin clone and plug that guy in and run everything the same if Irvin becomes too expensive to keep.

      Clark should provide more pass rush in 2016, just from a different position.

      Jordan Hill should provide more than he did in 2015.

      Maybe Marsh contributes more than he has in the past.

      The Hawks may get their #2 corner locked in early between Lane & Simon and see a return to good health for Thomas and Chancellor. With those 4 locked in, they could decide to be aggressive in blitzing in certain situations than in the past.

      There’s 4 scenarios where they can make up for Irvin’s pass rush. A little from each in moderation can close the gap.

      I think there are lots of options for the team to consider if they can’t get Irvin back, and I think the team will seriously evaluate all options and the weight of the 2017 comp pick.

      • HI Hawk says:

        Irvin at SLB has worked out great, but Wright can play all of the LB positions so he could return to the SLB spot if Pierre-Louis is the third best LB on the roster. Wright’s flexibility gives the Seahawks a huge advantage this offseason and in negotiations with Irvin. Even if he walks, the Seahawks will get at least a R4 comp pick. I don’t think he’d be missed a whole lot. He is a great athlete and there is no “Irvin” replacement out there, but I that doesn’t mean that his production isn’t easily replaced.

  29. Trevor says:

    My revised FA / Draft plan based on the $18mil # available sorry for previous post I thought it was $31 mil.

    #1 Rubin 3 years /10mil ($3mil cap hit yr#1) Younger and more active then Mebane
    #2 Lane 4 years /25mil ($6mil Cap hit year #1) Defense is just better with him in it
    #3 Bruce Irvin 4 years /30 Mill (7.5 mil cap hit year #1) Unique player and hard to replace. Drop the weight like 2014 and get back to being dynamic playmaker.
    #4 Phil Loadholt 1 yr /1.5mil (Stop gap at LG while young guys develop)

    Draft Plan
    Rd#1 Shon Coleman
    Rd#2 Nick Martin
    Rd#3 Chris Jones
    Rd#3 La Raven Clark

    2016 OL
    Gilliam LT
    Loadholt LG
    Martin C
    Glowinski RT
    Shon Coleman RT

    2016 DL
    Bennet
    Clark
    Avril
    Rubin
    Chris Jones
    Jordan Hill
    Cassius Marsh (may switch to LB
    5th Rd Pick Developmental DT

    • Trevor says:

      Then in 2017 target and Edge rusher as eventual replacement for Avril / Bennett.

      Also in 2017 switch Coleman to LG where I think he could be a pro bowler and move La Raven Clark to RT.

      • Darnell says:

        That line could be very good one day, but, be very very bad out the gate.

        There’s only 1 career start between C-RG-RT.

        If you flip GG and Coleman you’d better spread out the experience.

  30. Volume12 says:

    Best LB in the draft no one is talking about. Georgia So. Antwoine Williams who I mentioned a while back.

    6’3, 244 lbs., 34″ inch arms, rumored to run a mid 4.5 40.

    This kid can flat-out play man. Check hin out.

    • JimQ says:

      LB-Antwione Williams, So. Georgia, 6-3/245
      Has stats for only 2 years, 2014/2015: 173-tkls, 95-solo, 18.5-TFL, 7.0-Sacks, 7-PBU, 2-QBH, 6-FF
      http://www.cfbstats.com/2014/player/253/1046058/index.html

      Just to flush out your post on Williams, he looks pretty good as a late round/UDFA option at LB. However, small school competition may be a little bit of a consideration. But if he tests & interviews well, why not?

    • Trevor says:

      He is a nice looking prospect. At the very least he could be a Mike Morgan replacement year #1 and excel on special teams as he learns the system. Nice find.

  31. Sea Mode says:

    Just wondering about A.J. Francis, who is still on the roster. Was he just an emergency depth move at DT or could he contribute in some way next season?