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A look at the Seahawks’ 2013 draft visit list (part IV)

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Isaac Remington: putting the "awww" in awkward.

Continued from parts I II and III

Michael Brooks, DT, East Carolina

6’2⅜”, 294 pounds.  5.01 in the forty.  No video on youtube.  Classic 3-tech measurables.  Likely to be undrafted.

Ryan Robertson, QB, Central Washington

6’2⅜”, 202 pound quarterback.  No video on youtube.  Likely to be undrafted.  You can read his bio page here, which for some reason mentions that he has an older sister, and lists her name and age.

Justin Veltung, WR, Idaho

5’11”, 182 pound receiver.  A highly impressive athlete:  4.46 in the forty with a 42.5″ vertical jump.  His 20 yard shuttle, 3-cone, and broad jump numbers would be in elite company at the NFL combine.  His speed is on the good side of average- comparable to Doug Baldwin.  I really like him as a “moves” runner.

Zac Dysert, QB, Miami-Ohio

I see a lot of John Skelton in Zac Dysert.  I’m not a fan.  That said, I’d be supportive of the pick because Dysert will enter the NFL as a “cool to like” prospect.  Reputation is the driving force behind market value.  If Seattle makes Dysert look good, a lot of teams will remember how much they liked Dysert’s arm talent coming out of college and think Seattle proved him to be the real deal.  It would make trading Dysert at a profit easier.  It’s a similar situation to Nick Foles in Philly, so drafting Dysert as a future trade hopeful makes a degree of sense, even if I personally don’t think much of him.  Then again, I didn’t think much of Foles, either.

I do think Dysert fits our system as the Seahawks highly value mobility plus arm talent, and Dysert’s combination of those traits is very good, particularly on the arm talent side.

Anthony Watkins, SS, Oregon State

6’1½”, 213.  No official forty, but his estimated time isn’t very good.  Pure in the box safety.  Probably won’t be drafted.

His youtube video was created and posted on youtube by BW video productions, a company that has rendered just one other service for an NFL hopeful:  Justin Veltung.  The same guy from 60 seconds ago.  Weird.

Greg Herd, WR, Eastern Washington

The onslaught of local football players continues.  Why do NFL teams still track local guys an inordinate amount?  If I’m ever so fortunate as to interview John Schneider I must ask him this question, because you’d assume that scouting departments wouldn’t care as much about proximity these days.  Maybe it’s because undrafted free agents might prefer to stay closer to home?  Jermaine Kearse, Lavasier Tuinei, and Jeron Johnson fit in with that theory.

Anyway, Herd:  6’3″, 202, 4.53 forty at his pro-day.

Given his talent, size, and athleticism, it’s interesting that Herd wasn’t able to elicit a scholarship offer from Washington State.  He wound up being the number one receiver of one of the FCS’s (aka Division Ia) best teams the last few years.  I still wish the Seahawks had given his former quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell, a tryout.  Getting his top receiver in for a close look is a nice rebound.

Semisi Tokolahi, DT, Washington

I’m a Huskies fan, and I have no idea who Semisi Tokolahi is.  There was a time aeons ago when I was more a Huskies fan than a Seahawks fan.  Now I’m hearing a Huskies’ players name for the first time while writing about him on a site called Seahawks Draft Blog.

This list of names gets better, I promise.

After looking him up, he’s a 341 pound run stuffer.  Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but if Seattle thinks Tokolahi is even worth considering, then you’d have to think they’d have a good deal of interest in Brandon Williams or Montori Hughes.

Random Note: My spell-checker thinks Tokolahi’s name should be “Ayatollah.”  Colin Pumpernickel (49ers) had better watch his ass.

Justin Glenn, SS, Washington

Though Washington’s defense has been much maligned up until the 2012 season, it’s had some very impressive talent in the secondary.  Though I think Desmond Trufant is slightly over-rated on draft sites, he has a real chance to be a 1st round pick and Shaq Thompson is a probable future high pick himself (though it’s not clear if he will stick at safety or linebacker, as he can play both).  Sean Parker is not highly touted but is one of Washington’s best defenders.  Justin Glenn is a great player himself, but was limited by injuries and stiff competition.

Of all the players in this entire series, Glenn strikes me as the most likely to be a future UDFA for Seattle.  It would take a local team to know the quality of Glenn’s play (don’t forget the Sarkisian/Carroll connection, either).  His measurables don’t jump out at you- he’s just 5’10, 210, and ran a 4.59 forty.  That said, when you put on the tape, you see a very complete football player.  Jeron Johnson would be a pretty good comparison.  Huskies fans that follow the team closer than I do were constantly singing Glenn’s praises and counting down the days when he’d return from injury.

Isaac Remington, DT, Oregon

Remington (6’6″, 298) has a build much like new addition Tony McDaniel (6’6″, 305).  Remington is pretty unique.  It’s not every day you see a defensive lineman with a pro-day forty time in the 5.3s (while weighing under 300 pounds) getting phone calls from NFL teams.  I’m curious to know how Seattle views Remington.  3-tech?  Run stuffer that needs to add weight?  Red Bryant role?

Cooper Taylor, SS, Richmond

You might remember that over the past few months I’ve linked a couple of my mock drafts from Seahawks.net here.  Cooper Taylor is a player I’ve been on in the late rounds forever, and I’ve included him in nearly every one of my mocks to date. The video above is probably the most impressive highlight I’ve ever seen that was recorded by a potato.  Or maybe it was a lime?

Standing just a quarter inch under 6’5″, Taylor ran a 4.49 forty at his pro day while weighing in at 228 pounds.  Incredible.  He’d only need to add a few pounds to play linebacker in the NFL, and if he did, he’d be one of the fastest linebackers in the league.  He hits like a linebacker on tape, too.  If he stayed at safety, he’d be one of the biggest strong safeties in the league and not many of his big safety contemporaries would run a 4.49.  He’s Taylor Mays physically, but he might not be Taylor Mays mentally.  If you catch my drift.

Possessing remarkable tools and size for the safety position, Cooper Taylor offers incredible scheme versatility to a team like Seattle that blurs the line between their big defensive backs and fast linebackers.  At a minimum Taylor would likely be an excellent special teams contributor, but it’s hard to read Taylor’s measurables and watch him explode into tackles in his highlight reel and not be left coveting his services.

Fun fact:  The Richmond Spiders football program has one very famous NFL graduate- who also played defensive back.  He goes by the name Todd McShay.

Who picks “spiders” as their school mascot anyway?

Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCVqxFeWFoU

I’ve only taken the time to write about one running back this draft season, and that was Christine Michael almost exactly one month ago.  I’m not saying Michael deserves to be the first running back drafted, but he’s my favorite this year and I really like his value in the 50-100 range.

He’s not without red flags, but his athletic talent is off-the-charts impressive.  His height, weight, speed, college tape, and even some of his problems are extremely similar to former 3rd round pick Ahman Green.  To say the least, I was more than a little happy to see Michael’s exuberant twitter extravaganza regarding his (until then) secret trip to the VMAC.  You think Seattle had hoped to keep that visit on the down low?  I think they did.

A look at the Seahawks’ 2013 draft visit list (part III)

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

mmmm, Quessenberry pancakes

Continued from parts I and II

David Quessenberry

David Quessenberry was a left tackle and blindside protector.  It probably helps that Quessenberry blocked for David Fales- an outstanding quarterback- but I like him as a prospect and think he’s certainly worthy of being drafted.

Quessenberry can play with poor leverage at times and lacks an elite slide step.  That said, he has impressive core strength.  He anchors against the bullrush very well and is good for a few dominating run blocks a game through pure strength.  I’d put his intensity level in the “nasty” category.  He’s not as ramped up as Breno Giacomini or Luke Marquandt, but he does give very high effort and is a fighter in the run game.  He’s also got the kind of size (6’5″, 302) and skillset to be an ideal tackle/guard swingman, though I think Seattle is pretty happy with its current guard situation.

On tape Quessenberry doesn’t look especially quick, so I was surprised to learn that he was one of the combine’s better performers.  Out of 30 combine participants at offensive tackle, Quessenberry’s ranked:

Forty time:  6th.
Bench:  12th (tied)
Short shuttle:  2nd (0.01 away from 1st)
3-cone:  5th.
Broad jump:  3rd (tied)
Vertical jump:  7th

He also has 34⅜” long arms and was tied for having the largest hands in the combine group.

I don’t know where Seattle would draft him, but Quessenberry has 2nd round measurables and his tape does nothing to spoil that, at least not in my opinion.  If Seattle got him in the 5th round or later, I’d consider it a very good pickup, especially if Tom Cable feels good about Quessenberry’s chances to stick at tackle.

Sheldon Richardson

Another player that Seattle brought in before the Harvin trade.  Like Datone Jones, this visit is assuring because it shows that Seattle preferred faster 3-techs early in the draft.  In recent years the most successful NFL 3-techs usually displayed excellent speed coming out of college.

Eric Rogers

A tall receiver from a small school that is likely to go undrafted.  Officially 6’3″ at 206 pounds.  He ran a 4.50 forty at his pro day and posted a 37″ vertical.  Seattle continues to pursue Ricardo Lockette types.  It’s just a matter of time before they make a star out of one of them.

Michael Williams

A massive tight end, Williams was used mostly as a blocker for Alabama.  Williams is 6’6″, 278, and ran a very slow 5.19 forty at his pro-day.  Does Seattle view him as a long term project at tackle?  I wonder.

Tyler Wilson

For two years in a row, the best value at quarterback goes by the name Wilson.  I’d give Tyler Wilson a late 1st round grade based on his tape, but he could last into the 4th round after a snakebit senior season.  Had he declared as a junior, it’s possible he might have gone #8 overall instead of Ryan Tannehill or even #12 to Seattle.  I’m not a Ryan Nassib hater- but the nice things I would say about Nassib I’d also say about Wilson, and Wilson will most likely be drafted at least a round later than Nassib will.

Wilson has drawn some comparisons to Jay Cutler, which seemed more appropriate than ever during the 2012 season when Wilson could no longer contain his frustration with the team.

I see a lot of Matt Hasselbeck in Wilson’s game, and I’m not the first to make that comparison.  Both are cerebral quarterbacks that score with a series of good decisions rather than explosive big plays.  Both have better field mobility than their forty times would indicate and use that mobility to extend passing plays or take easy yards when the middle of the field is vacated.  Both have a cocky/brash attitude.  I think Wilson has a better arm and has fewer “wtf” moments.  His sloppy release and his Andy Dalton / Jay Cutler lack of emotional control are my only significant knocks on him (I consider both of those to be pretty minor).

While he’s not a classic read option quarterback, he’s got enough mobility that you may not have to scrap that wrinkle for him completely.  I think he’d make an excellent backup with good potential to trade for a profit down the road.  I think if he’s given a real opportunity he’ll be a starting quarterback somewhere in the NFL for at least a few seasons.

Dontra Peters

At 5’11⅜”, 201 pounds with only a 4.71 forty time, Peters seems like an unlikely fit for almost any position in the NFL.  A running back in 2011, Peters converted to corner in 2012 and had immediate success, albeit at a low level of competition.  I think I like Peters more as a running back as he can make guys miss with moves which helps make up for his lack of speed, though it appears scouts are more interested in him at corner.  To be fair, I don’t think Peters is as slow as his forty time indicates.  On tape he looks roughly as fast as Jonathan Banks.

Peters could appeal to Seattle as an undrafted free agent, as they aren’t scared off by corners that lack speed.

Craig Wilkins

When Pete talked about bringing in competition for his “USC backup crew”, it’s linebackers like Craig Wilkins who embody that idea perfectly.  Wilkins is 6’1″, 239, and ran a 4.59 at his pro day.  He’s a converted fullback.  He’s very similar as a prospect to Seahawks’ backup Allen Bradford, who has similar measurables and is a converted running back.  Wilkins would be one of our slower linebackers, but he’s one of the fastest linebackers in this draft and fights off blocks very well.

Perez Ashford

Ashford is the NIU teammate of fellow Seahawk visit Martel Moore.  That’s two NIU receivers on this list, for those counting at home.  Been following Jordan Lynch much, Seahawks?

If you want to learn more about Ashford, check out this article by the excellent Matt Waldman which highlights three of the draft’s most under-rated prospects (Ryan Swope is one of them.  He also says Christine Michael is “a back whose athleticism and running style is the spitting image of Ahman Green.”  You don’t say).  Ahem.  Waldman compares Perez Ashford’s game to Stedman Bailey’s.  High praise for a player who will probably be undrafted.

Ashford has solid NFL speed (4.50) and below average size (5’10”, 188), but has excellent jump ball skills, body control, and does very well after the catch.  He fits the Seahawks’ criteria very well.

Kyle Juszczyk

Who goes to Harvard to be a fullback?  That alone makes Kyle Juszczyk one of the draft’s more unique and memorable prospects.

Just watch the video above.  There is a lot of Gronk/Beast Mode in Juszczyk’s game.  At 6’1″ it’s unlikely he’d stick at tight end in the NFL, so a conversion to fullback full time seems the likely course for him to take.  Juszczyk’s appeal to the Seahawks is plainly stated, as Seattle has a 3rd running back spot open and appeared to be searching for RB/FB hybrids with unusual names last season (Vai Taua, Kregg Lumpkin).  Michael Robinson is 30 years old this season, and Seattle has no depth currently for fullback.

Mike Catapano

Another Ivy Leaguer. Catapano is a physical, high effort defensive end that reminds me of John Simon without Simon’s amazing arm combat.  He seems like a good fit for a classic 5-tech role in a 3-4 defense because his core strength and discipline are both excellent.  Seattle likes their Red Bryant types a little bigger than Catapano’s 271 pounds, but he has the strength and anchor of a bigger player and moves well.

Ryan Jensen

Another offensive tackle with some nastiness and some power.  I like his taste in music.

BJ Daniels

I’ve covered Daniels before.  He’s one of my favorite quarterbacks in the draft regardless of draft stock, and I think Seattle would fit him very well.  In my opinion he’s the second best pure read option quarterback in the draft after EJ Manuel.  He’s worth a draft pick, though they might get him in free agency.

Jeremy Harris

He’s a corner that stands 6’2⅜” (though he’s just 181 pounds) and ran a 4.48 at his pro-day.  Small school player.

Quinn Sharp

The second highest rated kicker at NFLDraftScout.com, Sharp made a 60 yard attempt at his pro-day with 21 NFL teams in attendance.

Brian Watkins

A 5’9″ corner from Oregon State.  Seattle’s interest in Watkins continues a 2013 trend that suggests they aren’t spooked by short defensive backs after all.  John Schneider specifically mentioned Antoine Winfield’s physicality when asked why he signed the undersized corner.  Is Watkins a similar story?  I have no idea.  The only “Brian Watkins” video on youtube is his sociology project on racism from last year.

A look at the Seahawks’ 2013 draft visit list (part II)

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Clever.

Continued from part I.

Stefan Charles

Unlike most NFL prospects, Stefan Charles did not play his college football in the United States.  He starred for the University of Regina and is a native born Canadian.  I briefly covered Stefan Charles in the not so distant past.  It’s hard to scout Charles from his available footage, but what I saw of him in drills he looked like a special athlete.  The way he moved I assumed he was 280 pounds.  He played at 324, and posted a mind-blowing 37″ vertical at that weight.  I bet his feet hurt.

Charles played for the same school that produced mid round defensive lineman Akiem Hicks last season.  And not that it has anything to this, but it’s also the same school that Jon Ryan played for.

I like Charles quite a bit, but I’m hesitant to make a declarative opinion on him as I’ve seen so little.  In terms of athleticism though, I think he’s probably one of the better options in this draft, at least on par with Montori Hughes, John Jenkins, and Brandon Williams, if not superior.  If Seattle selected Charles in the 3rd round, I would not be shocked.

Duke Williams

Williams was a minor star on the Nevada Wolf Pack defense the last couple seasons.  Despite being one of the lightest strong safeties in this draft (190 pounds or 203 pounds depending on who you ask), the 5’11” defender is among the biggest hitters.  I doubt he’d ever dominate physically as Kam Chancellor does, but there is a lot to like about a strong safety who can run in the 4.4s and play a physical brand of football.  Williams is fundamentally sound, explosive in small spaces, and a sure tackler.  Not only do I think he’s likely to start in the NFL if given a real opportunity, but I could even envision him as a starter in a future pro-bowl.  He’s undersized, but he has a lot of talent.  He also makes a lot of “splash” plays that get noticed by fans, and he’s got quite a bit of swagger to his game.

Williams would be a good pick in the middle rounds, though I think he’s perhaps more like Jeron Johnson than Kam Chancellor, though Williams is faster than both.

Kevin McDermott

Kevin McDermott is a longsnapper.  I could probably just stop there, but I’ll add one more thing:  don’t do a google image search for Kevin McDermott.  Unless you like that kind of thing.

Luke Batton

I was surprised when I saw Batton make the visit list.  His tape is pretty good, don’t get me wrong.  But at 5’10¾”, 228 pounds. He’s very undersized.  He also ran a 4.74, making him one of the slower linebackers in the draft.  It’s very tempting to compare Batton to Lofa Tatupu, who had similar measurables when he came out but made up for it with sound fundamental play, a burning intensity and natural leadership.  Batton seems like a Tim Ruskell type pick.

Batton probably won’t be drafted.  Perhaps Seattle views him as competition for Heath Farwell on special teams.  Maybe they want depth at middle linebacker?

Datone Jones

I have to assume they had this visit before trading for Percy Harvin.  All it really tells us is that Jones fit the profile at defensive tackle that Seattle was seeking at the time.  I like Datone Jones as he has great upside- the best defensive tackles are usually very fast- so this visit instills confidence that Seattle is looking in the right places on the defensive line.

Tyrann Mathieu

Aside from having an ongoing drug problem and having the fashion style of some generic bad guy from Streets of Rage or Final Fight, there are sane reasons why Seattle would use one of their team visits on the troubled defensive back.  Consider this interview he gave back in January.  It may not be entirely coherent, but you can sense a heart for the game in Mathieu’s words and a passion to pursue an NFL dream.  By bringing Mathieu in and talking to him face to face, they might get a better feel for whether he’s capable of growing out of his drug problems and immaturity.  Having Mathieu in doesn’t necessarily mean Seattle has interest; if anything it’s a means to gauge interest.

I consider myself neutral on Mathieu.  I never bought into his hype during his Heisman nominated 2011 season, but I didn’t jump on the hater bandwagon when his problems surfaced in 2012, either.

As a prospect, I think he’s probably worth a 4th round grade, at best.  Even during his 2011 season, most of his big plays were fumbles that slipped out inexplicably or bounced right into his hands.  Am I to believe that he has a talent for making offensive players play badly, or making the football bounce right into his hands?  He also had quite a few impact kick returns with what turned out to be so-so speed (Mathieu ran an official 4.50).  It’s unlikely that he’ll continue to be a difference maker in the return game against NFL teams, especially since I think his field speed looks slower than his combine forty would indicate.

You take away those big plays, which seemed more fortunate than forced, and you are left with a close to average defensive back, in my opinion.  A defensive back that stands just 5’8¾”.  Out of 60 defensive backs that attended the combine, only Greg Reid from Florida State measured shorter.  Seattle proved with the Antoine Winfield signing and their alleged interest in Robert Alford that height is not an absolute requirement, though Winfield plays with more physicality than most six foot corners do.

Mathieu relies on arm tackles too much, and while he plays physical, the lack of size and strength shows up on tape and I think could be an area where he gets exposed in the NFL.  There are also times when he seems to shy from contact on runners that are going full speed.  He’s nothing amazing in coverage, and looks like he’d get eaten alive against big receivers with jump ball skills.  Mathieu’s speed is actually below the median in this cornerback class, too.

Mathieu is not a terrible player.  He was a solid college player that was overhyped because he was involved in a lot of splashy big plays.  I guess my worry with Mathieu is that he’ll suffer from the NFL jump more than most players would because he’s already playing at his physical ceiling, and even at that level I’m not left seeing stars.  Slightly above average college players become career backups in the NFL unless they have remaining physical upside to tap into.

Even if I am wrong and Mathieu finds a way to improve his game enough to offset the jump to the NFL, he will almost certainly be a nickle corner only with a profile like his.  Remember how tiny Kelly Jennings seemed when covering big outside receivers?  Kelly Jennings was 5’11”.

Notice how I’ve barely talked about Mathieu’s drug problem?  This is why I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if Mathieu went undrafted.  Reputation may matter to fans and to awards ceremonies, but it doesn’t matter to scouts.  All scouts see is a good college player with very little untapped upside, a low NFL ceiling, and massive character risk.  If he’s drafted before the 4th round, I’d consider it an upset.

Brendan Melanophy

6’0¾”.  209 pounds.  4.56 in the forty.  Played strong safety.

I think the video above tells you all you need to know.  The video, a “highlight tape”, is dominated by special teams plays.  Fans that make highlight videos almost never include special teams plays, because fans usually don’t care about them.  So why are they in there?  It’s specifically to appeal to NFL franchises searching for a special teams ace.  As soon as I noticed how special teams heavy the video was, I immediately checked to see who posted the video.  It was posted by Brendan Melanophy.  Yup, it all makes sense.

I hope that didn’t sound condescending, because I like what Melanophy brings and I like the implied sense of humility that he’ll do what it takes to make it in the NFL.  Seattle has had one of the best special teams units every single year under Pete Carroll and a big reason for that is how he values special teams specialists on his roster.  Seattle also needs more roster churn at strong safety, and Melanophy has the size and physicality that Seattle likes in the defensive backfield.  I doubt Seattle would draft Brendan Melanophy, but he’d be a good get in undrafted free agency and bringing him in for a visit helps Seattle’s chances.

Latavius Murray

Similar to Jeremy Wright, Murray has a lot of length (meaning he has long legs), which I generally consider a drawback for a running back.  I wasn’t a big fan of David Wilson last year because his long legs robbed him of short area quickness despite having top shelf straight line speed.  Murray is a similar story.  In tight spaces he looks almost geriatric.  But on a swing pass with plenty of green ahead of him his speed becomes plainly evident.

I’m not a fan based on his tape, but it’s hard to argue with Seattle’s interest.  Murray is just a shade under 6’3″, weighing 223 pounds, and he ran a 4.38 at his pro-day.  He also posted a 36″ vertical and 10’6″ broad jump, both of which are excellent for his size.  He’d make an interesting receiver convert, if that’s the angle Seattle is taking.

Ryan Otten

Standing 6’5″ but just 230 pounds, Ryan Otten is probably the lightest draftable tight end in this draft class, with even featherweight Jordan Reed beating him by six pounds.  That probably explains why Otten has the physique of an Ed McCaffrey.  Otten did post a 4.64 forty time at his pro-day, making him one of the faster “tight ends” in this draft, though he’s probably more natural as a big receiver at this point.

If Seattle does view Otten as a tight end, it would hint towards them favoring a pure H-back.  If so, that would make Jordan Reed a player to keep a close eye on in rounds 2-4.

Quinton Patton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G23YpSkbn0s

A couple months back I watched every game compilation I could find of Patton, and to be honest, I thought he was the most vanilla receiver in this draft on tape.

But now I’m watching his highlight videos as due diligence, and I’m surprised by what I’m seeing.  Sure, highlight videos are not ideal as a scouting tool, but I’m seeing athleticism and eye popping displays that never showed themselves in the game compilations I watched.  Is it possible I just drew a bad sample?  Because his highlights (as well as his interviews) paint the picture of anything but a vanilla receiver.

I think Seattle’s interest in Patton is almost certainly legitimate, and I doubt they’d bring him in for a visit if they had a 4th round grade on him.  They’d be fortunate if Patton reached their selection in round two, and they’d have to know that.

Patton has good but not elite size (6’0, 204), and he has good but not great speed (4.53).  Patton does display excellent concentration skills and body control, and he has good moves after the catch which helps compensate for his ordinary speed, making him a comparable prospect to Keenan Allen.

Though on paper Patton profiles as an NFL average #2 receiver, players like Darrell Jackson and Greg Jennings have posted multiple 1000 yard seasons with near identical measurables and skill sets. Both Jackson and Jennings excelled in west coast offenses due to being great route runners with a strong grasp of the fundamentals.  Patton possesses those skills as well.

This leads me to the one thing I actually really like about Patton:  his intangibles.  His personality has a spark to it that reminds me of Richard Sherman.  Playfully cocksure.  The jump to the NFL is notoriously difficult; having confidence and self-belief can make a big difference in how far a prospect makes it.

His game tape may be bland, but his highlights impress and his personality makes me want to believe.  Though he lacks elite speed, and isn’t tall enough to be a Sidney Rice type, I’d say he definitely fits the John Schneider profile as he has very good yards after catch ability and has excellent possession receiver skills.  He also has the kind of playful yet driven attitude that fits in perfectly with Pete Carroll’s team dynamic.

A look at the Seahawks’ 2013 draft visit list (part I)

Friday, April 19th, 2013
Martel Moore

Have you ever seen the back of a football, on weed?

According to Davis Hsu, Seattle met with 7 of their 10 eventual 2012 draft picks before the draft took place.  Here is an unofficial list of players Seattle has brought in for visits or met with so far in 2013 (special thanks to Scott Allen and Chris F):

Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
Jeremy Wright, RB, Louisville
Russell Shepard, WR, LSU
Martel Moore, WR, Northern Illinois
Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon
Tyrone Goard, WR, Eastern Kentucky
Rufus Johnson, DE, Tarleton State
Stefan Charles, DT, Regina
Duke Williams, S, Nevada
Kevin McDermott, LS, UCLA
Luke Batton, LB, Kent State
Datone Jones, DL, UCLA
Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU
Brendan Melanophy, DB, Fordham
Latavius Murray, RB, Central Florida
Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State
Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
David Quessenberry, OL, San Jose State
Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri
Eric Rogers, WR, Cal Lutheran
Michael Williams, TE, Alabama
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Dontra Peters, CB, New Hampshire
Craig Wilkins, LB, Old Dominion
Perez Ashford, WR, Northern Illinois
Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard
Mike Catapano, DE, Princeton
Ryan Jensen, OL, Colorado State
BJ Daniels, QB, South Florida
Jeremy Harris, CB, New Mexico State
Quinn Sharp, K/P, Oklahoma State
Brian Watkins, CB, Oregon State
Michael Brooks, DT, East Carolina
Ryan Robertson, QB, Central Washington
Justin Veltung, WR, Idaho
Zac Dysert, QB, Miami-Ohio
Anthony Watkins, SS, Oregon State
Greg Herd, WR, Eastern Washington
Semsi Tokolahi, DT, Washington
Justin Glenn, FS, Washington
Isaac Remington, DT, Oregon
Cooper Taylor, SS, Richmond
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M

Additional players who were approached by a Seahawks scout (that I know of):

Brice Butler, WR (CB), San Diego State
Denard Robinson, RB/WR, Michigan
Sylvester Williams, DT, NC State
Armonty Bryant, DE, East Central

That’s a pretty long list of names, and I’m sure there are many other players that Seattle met with that went unreported.  Overall, this list is mostly made up of players that are very likely to go undrafted, which is fairly typical as far as team visits go.  Teams prioritize projected undrafted free agents with visits so that they can build relationships which hopefully give them an edge when the signing frenzy begins after the draft concludes.

Of course, there are plenty of draftable names on this list too.  I won’t write a book on every one of them, but here are some quick thoughts as I rattle down the list:

Matt Scott:

I’ve been saying since last September (mostly at Seahawks.net) that Matt Scott was someone to keep an eye on.  He made a very strong impression on me immediately last season with his quickness, arm talent, and improvisational ability.  It’s true that in some ways he’s a little Colin Kaepernick mixed with a little Russell Wilson, but I feel a better expectation level might be something like Seneca Wallace or Aaron Brooks.

The tools are there, but he has some mental inconsistency and decision making issues.  I don’t know if that’s related to inexperience or if he’s just got a low ceiling as a decision maker.  Like Wallace and Brooks, Scott is a good improviser despite making dumb choices too often.  To be fair, it’s not ideal to judge a prospect from his first year as a full time starter.  Perhaps he can be coached into being a smarter player.

Scott doesn’t have a good frame for taking hits and was constantly injured last season.  He’s one of the toughest quarterback’s you’ll ever see, gutting through an entire season banged up, even puking on the sidelines before running back out there on one occasion.

Scott has a natural point guard at quarterback skillset, he has elite quickness and good speed.  He has excellent arm talent.  Yet he needs time to develop as he lacks experience.  He fits Seattle’s criteria about as perfectly as he can, so I’m not surprised at all to see the Seahawks bring him in for a workout.  Reports were that Scott nailed that workout in Seattle which helped elevate his stock with teams across the league.  Ultimately, I think Scott will leave the board before the Seahawks are comfortable drafting a backup quarterback.  However, should he last longer than expected the Seahawks could become significant players for his services.

Jeremy Wright:

All I’ve seen of Wright is what there was to glean from the Khaseem Greene video that Rob linked earlier this week.  Based on that, I’d say that he looks like a fringe NFL RB that could stick to the back end of a roster for a few years.  He not very elusive but has a lot of length and power.  He doesn’t dance behind the line of scrimmage- he just hits the hole and gets what he can.  The immediate comparison I thought of was Vick Ballard.  Ballard averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last season, but ended up being the Colts’ featured back anyway.  Seattle isn’t as desperate for a starting running back as Indy is, to say the least, so I think Wright would probably be more of a bubble player on our roster.

Russell Shepard:

You can never have too many players named Russell right?

Shepard is a terrific athlete who looks like Percy Harvin in the above highlight clip.  LSU lined him up at both running back and reciever to capitalize on his rare athleticism (4.5 forty at 6’1″, 38.5″ vertical jump) and for his ability to make tacklers miss.  Shepard never really broke into LSU’s offense as a full time player, though it’s not uncommon for LSU backups to end up NFL players.

What I find most interesting about Shepard is that apparently he was approached by six different teams asking if he could convert to defensive back despite never playing the position before.  Given that Seattle found great success with Stanford receiver convert Richard Sherman and has approached Brice Butler with the same proposal, it’s not unthinkable that Seattle could have been one of those six teams to view Shepard as a potential defensive back.

Martel Moore:

I used a goofy picture of Moore in the header and paired it with a Half Baked reference, but in all seriousness, his tape looks pretty good.  On a side note, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch will probably persuade some interest from the Seahawks when he’s done at NIU.

Aaron Mellette:

I’m not surprised Mellette got a visit.  Being 6’3″ while running a 4.45 will get Seattle’s attention for their desired depth behind Sidney Rice.  He also has long arms and big hands.  His tape isn’t great, but Seattle isn’t afraid to gamble on coachable players with tools.

Tyrone Goard:

It’s not everyday you see a receiver who’s 6’7″.  Goard also ran his forty in the 4.5s.  He’s got a lot in common with Lavasier Tuinei, a guy Seattle brought in during undrafted free agency last year.

Rufus Johnson:

Another “man amongst boys” prospect from the lower divisions, similar to Armonty Bryant or Luke Marquandt.  Rufus Johnson is highly comparable to physical defensive ends with untapped upside such as Lavar Edwards, Joe Kruger, and Maliciah Goodman, though Johnson is likely to be drafted several rounds later than those guys, if he’s drafted at all.  Johnson also impresses in this interview posted on youtube.  It’s hard to project small school players, but there is a lot to like about Rufus Johnson.  I’m a fan.

to be continued…

In fairness to Jeff Tuel

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Before I get to the “saying nice things” about Jeff Tuel part, I need to explain why I don’t particularly like him as a quarterback.

The first is that he has a career record of 4-22.  Now, I’m not big into terms like “he’s a winner” and I recognize that Washington State was not a good team during his time there.  That said, there is historically a very strong correlation with having a losing college record and not panning out in the NFL.  Even among loser quarterbacks, Tuel fails to distance himself.  I hate to use a rival example, but Jake Locker was not a great quarterback, and lost a lot of games.  Yet he clearly elevated a terrible team in a way that Jeff Tuel did not.

Tuel does not have good college production either.  He had 6.5 yards per attempt in 3 of his 4 seasons, and his senior numbers in a very pass heavy offense were his career worst.  You could argue that he didn’t fit Mike Leach’s style of offense, but even that offense will seem easy compared to learning the ropes in the NFL. Tuel had just 6.3 yards per attempt last season, with a pick for every touchdown pass.  Depressingly, those numbers were only slightly lower than the rest of his career outside of 2010. Tuel did have a nice 2010 season, nice but not amazing.  Keith Price had an amazing 2011 season, which just shows you how long ago 2010 is.

This is a guy that never really struck fear into opposing teams when he faced them.  He never showed any real intangibles, no “it factor.”  Nothing.  Though he bombed horribly in the NFL, Ryan Leaf was a terror during his Pac-10 days.  He scared the heck out of some good Huskies teams before finally kicking their asses in the ’97 Apple Cup.  I remember Drew Bledsoe as an over-rated, but highly competent quarterback, kind of like the Andrew Luck of his day (minus the mobility).  I remember Jason Gesser from the early 2000s.  He was a pesky dude.  His worst season was about as good as Jeff Tuel’s best.  Alex Brink played for some awful WSU teams but put up numbers for his career that equaled or exceed Jeff Tuel’s best season.  Those guys weren’t constantly fighting off backup quarterback scrubs for their starting jobs like Jeff Tuel was, either.  Say, whatever happened to Gesser and Brink in the NFL, anyway?

There are no game compilations online for Jeff Tuel, so I have to go strictly off memory with him.  I watch a lot of Pac-12 football and I’ve always considered WSU to be my second favorite team even though I’m a Husky fan.  My memory isn’t the best, but the Jeff Tuel I remember was a consistently beatable quarterback.  Even his impressive 4th quarter rally in his final game felt less like an achievement and more like the beneficiary of an epic meltdown by a fading Huskies team.

All that said, I’m being unfair to Jeff Tuel, because I actually know him well.  I don’t know anything about guys like Nathan Stanley or Clay Belton, other than that they have impressive physical tools.  Jeff Tuel has some pretty good tools too.  He has solid mobility and excellent pocket escapability.  He has a plus arm.  He has no glaring issues with his mechanics or footwork.  He’s capable of progressing through reads.  And unlike many late round standouts, Jeff Tuel isn’t under 6’2″.  It’s unfair of me to imply hope for prospects like Stanley and Belton when Tuel has the same kind of positives going for him.  Jeff Tuel does indeed have the physical ability to be a point guard at quarterback in Pete Carroll’s offense.

So if you just want a “tools” option late in the draft, I won’t hold it against you if you are rooting for Jeff Tuel.  In all likelihood, he wouldn’t be much different as a prospect than many of the players in the late rounds that I highlighted on Wednesday.  I don’t want to see the Seahawks pick him, but if they did, I’d give Pete the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best.

The 2013 late round quarterback class

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Most quarterbacks strive for a rifle arm. Colby Cameron prefers a sidearm.

(Note:  Prepare yourselves for the tallest article in Seahawks Draft Blog history.)

Previously I had highlighted Seattle’s quarterback options in free agency and the options in rounds 2-4 of the NFL draft.  Today, I’ll cover some of the more likely late round options.  I was actually going to write this post almost a week ago, but I’ve had horrific computer problems and didn’t fully recover until a couple days back.  It ended up being a useful setback though, because now I can cover the late rounds in light of the Brady Quinn signing, which I believe sheds some light on Seattle’s intentions.

Yesterday, I wrote an article that spoke in favor of reacquiring Tarvaris Jackson.  What I didn’t write- and should have- was that Seattle obviously wouldn’t trade for Jackson before the draft.  When John Schneider specifically talked about not having his hands tied with a backup quarterback signing before the draft, that would obviously preclude a trade for T-jack.  Trading anything for a quarterback with Jackson’s experience and connections would essentially cement him as the #2 quarterback the moment the deal was made.

Brady Quinn couldn’t illustrate the idea of a non-committal signing better.  What I think Seattle wants is a robust August competition that results in either Josh Portis or a 2013 draft pick stepping up to earn the #2 job.  Brady Quinn gives the team not only a low cost option, but he’s not exactly a tough hurdle to clear either.  Josh Portis and the assumed 4th quarterback from the draft could enter the preseason with real hope of earning a #2 job, and that wouldn’t be as true with a former Seahawks starter like Tarvaris Jackson in tow.  Even in a worst case scenario where all three quarterbacks struggle enough to worry the brass, they could always see who’s available after the final cuts at the end of the preseason.  I have to admit, there is a lot of wisdom to this approach, so long as this process doesn’t result in Brady Quinn being named the #2 without showing massive strides in the preseason.  And even then, the odds of that move hurting the team aren’t that high.

As far as who that drafted quarterback will be, I do think Seattle prefers a mobile quarterback, but I don’t think they’d rule out players with average mobility that show good instincts (Tyler Wilson, etc).  With that said, here are some of the prospects that I think could make some sense from Seattle’s point of view:

Note: Given that these are late round or undrafted players, there typically isn’t enough material that is easily available to make a legitimate scouting report.  Please treat these evaluations as first impressions, not as a final word.

Ryan Katz, San Diego State

Once the starting quarterback at Oregon State, Katz transferred to San Diego State for the 2012 season.  Katz is no stranger to injury (wrist, ankle) and it caused him to miss the team’s final five games and most of a sixth.  His entire career he’s been a wild up and down performer, and at 6’1″ 210 he’s a pretty good bet to go undrafted.

That said, I must confess I see more “Russell Wilson” in Katz’s game than any other 2013 quarterback.  The way he runs, the way he sells fakes, the way he checks reads, the arm strength, it’s all remarkably Wilson like.  The big difference between the two is consistency and intangibles (not that Katz lacks them, but Wilson’s intangibles are not of this earth).  On tape, Russell Wilson was Mr. Perfect.  Katz has his share of flaws.

If Seattle wants a backup that resembles Wilson’s skillset, Katz would be a great choice.  He’s hardly a lock to pan out, but the skills are there.  He just needs to harness consistency, and learn how to stay healthy.

Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech

Cameron is one of the more likely options for Seattle.  He has plus mobility and solid arm talent despite his inconsistent delivery that can go full sidearm.  Cameron is only 6’2″.  You couple that with a low release point and you have a recipe for batted passes.  Ryan Tannehill has a similar problem, but that doesn’t mean pure talent can’t overcome this drawback.

I’ve talked about Cameron before.  There are things I like, but they are outweighed by my concerns over his mechanics, accuracy, and skinny frame.  I wouldn’t hate the pick if it happened, but I’d stay away, personally.

Casey Brockman, Murray State

A favorite of a certain reader here, Brockman impresses with a well rounded skillset.  His overall game reminds me some of Kirk Cousins (though at a much lower level of competition).

Kirk Cousins, Ricky Stanzi, Matt Flynn, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson all come from the “Matt Hasselbeck category” of quarterbacks.  Most of them won’t wow you with their arm or their forty times, but they can surprise you with their mobility, intelligence, and expertise within a timing offense.  Brockman may not be a read option prospect, but he would be a good fit for a West Coast Offense, which Seattle runs.

Ryan Griffin, Tulane

Highlight package caveat.  Career best game caveat.

That said, Griffin looks pretty interesting to me as a likely undrafted player.   His athleticism and arm strength are just average- but look at that touch on his throws- he throws the most catchable looking ball in this draft.  I’d really like to see him more, because based on this his accuracy looks pretty good too.  He reminds me a bit of Christian Ponder.  Both are touch throwers more than a fireballers, and both languish with a low career YPA.  Basically, Griffin looks like a low floor / low ceiling type, which could make him a good long term backup in a possession oriented offense.

Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State

Undersized at just 6’1″, 202 pounds, Aplin is very unlikely to be drafted.  That said, Aplin might be the best pure point guard at quarterback in this draft- he’d fit our offense like a dream.  Aplin has good mechanics, a very quick release, a strong arm, and plus mobility.  He didn’t play at a high level of competition, but consider his stat line this past season:

68% completion rate, 8.23 YPA, 24 TD, 4 INT.

He has 1778 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns over his career.  Playing for Arkansas State, two of his three losses last season were at Oregon and at Nebraska.  Against Oregon he had 304 yards and 3 touchdowns against one pick.   He also won his final 8 games in a row.  He has never missed a game from injury (shocking considering he’s had 468 career rush attempts at weighs just 202 pounds).

I think we might have something here.

Sean Renfree, Duke

Renfree appears to have a strong arm, but a bit like Griffin, he opts for touch over zip on most of his passes.  He’s a career 64.7% passer, including a completion rate of 67.3% last season. That would certainly hint at him having terrific accuracy.  With average at best athleticism and a tendency to stay inside the tackles, Renfree profiles as a classic pocket quarterback in the NFL.

Also like Griffin, Renfree has a low career YPA.  He’s also got an uninspiring touchdown to interception ratio, poor footwork and a tendency to throw flat-footed.  I love touch quarterbacks with accuracy, but that appears to be all Renfree has to offer.

Clay Belton, Findlay

There isn’t a ton of stuff out there on Belton (#13 in the video), but if nothing else he’s got the size, athleticism, and arm that could interest Seattle as his upside is very high for a potential undrafted quarterback.  As I’ve mentioned before, Seattle wants to turn their backup quarterback spot into a future trade chip, so swinging on a toolsy option like Belton could make sense for Seattle.

Dayne Crist, Kansas

Mobile and possessing a strong arm with great touch, Crist is a developmental prospect worth keeping an eye on.  He has many problems though, most conspicuously his struggles with accuracy, particularly deep accuracy.  I think quarterbacks with mobility plus arm talent will interest Seattle the most, so he could be a player they go after depending on how things go down.

Seth Doege, Texas Tech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOwMPJmdnLA

Texas Tech hasn’t exactly had the greatest track record with quarterbacks in the NFL despite having several prolific college passers, but I must confess, watching Doege is just plain fun.  He reminds me of Case Keenum from last year  in many ways:  same size, same exaggerated offense, same sneaky mobility, same strong intangibles, same dead on comparison to Jeff Garcia.

I was a fan of Keenum’s last year in what was a stellar group of 6’1″ quarterbacks.  Of that group, only one (Chandler Harnish) was drafted, but Austin Davis made the Rams’ roster, GJ Kinne was picked up by the Eagles in February and Case Keenum is on the Texans’ practice squad.  I expect that Doege will make a roster somewhere.  Depending on who’s available, I’d love to give Doege a look in our style of offense.

Nathan Stanley, Southeastern Louisiana

Stanley only threw 57 career passes before 2012, and his 2012 season isn’t even listed at sites like ESPN or sports-reference.com.  So I’m not quite sure what to make of him.

That said, he’s big (6’5″, 220), is very athletic, and can throw the pigskin through a brick wall.  Like Belton, Stanley is a swing for the fences type with terrific physical potential.

Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt

You may have heard that Jordan Rodgers is the brother of megastar quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  What I think interests me more is that Rodgers played for Vanderbilt, a doormat team in the SEC.  It’s quite the difference in competition when considering how the late round quarterback class is dominated by small school players.

I like Rodgers quite a bit, but I don’t think comparisons to his brother help him.  The only similarities the two share are the quick pace at which they play and the “body language” they give off when scanning the field on the move.  Jordan Rodgers can’t match his brother’s arm strength and mobility though.  While he’s (generously) listed at 6’2″, the same height as his brother, he’s only 202 pounds, which could be reason for durability concern in the NFL.

Rodgers did have a very strong senior season, completing 59.9% of his passes for 8.0 yards per attempt with 15 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions.  And remember, he did that in the SEC.

(And while it has nothing to do with my evaluation, NFL.com had a fun little segment with Jordan Rodgers and Mike Glennon that you can see here.)

BJ Daniels

I’ve already written an entire article expressing my support for BJ Daniels in Seattle’s style of offense.

Others worth mentioning:

Landry Jones won’t be a Seahawk (lacks athleticism), but he will be a big name late round option.

Tyler Bray gives me strong Andy Dalton vibes- but I should also say upfront that I was lukewarm at best on Dalton before the 2011 draft.  Bray is not athletic in the slightest and doesn’t really fit what Seattle appears to be searching for.

Collin Klein has an amazingly underpowered arm.  I’m less of an arm strength nut than most evaluators would be, but he’s clearly below any kind of sane minimum standard.  I think he can improve with coaching, as he doesn’t step into his throws very well and improving in that area would boost the zip on his throws.  It would not shock me if Seattle drafted Klein late.  He has the kind of “tilt the field” intangibles that John Schneider likes, he’s highly mobile, he’s durable, and he’s not a terrible quarterback, he’s just extremely weak armed.

Zac Dysert has his fans- I’m not one of them.  His game reminds me a lot of John Skelton’s.  I wouldn’t rule out Seattle drafting him since he’s resilient in the pocket (meaning that like Skelton and Big Ben, he can make strong throws while being sacked).  His mobility is just average, but his arm strength is legitimately impressive.  The one really good thing about Dysert- if Pete can make him look good in our offense, I could see Seattle getting a nice draft pick for him in a trade down the road.  Teams are already salivating over his arm talent.

Jeff Tuel has average mobility, a below average arm, and never completely nailed down the starting job during his time at Washington State- a team that was one of the very weakest among the BCS conferences during his time there.  I’m a big Pac-12 fan and I’ve seen a lot of WSU football.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game of his where I thought “NFL future.”   As a Huskies fan, I remember rooting for a very similar quarterback in a very similar situation many years ago:  Carl Bonnell.  Bonnell showed enticing ability at times, but was highly inconsistent and ended up being a forgotten man by the end.  I could see the Seahawks inviting Tuel in as a 5th quarterback during undrafted free agency just because of the Pac-12 connections, but I’d be stunned if they drafted him.

Brad Sorensen is sometimes talked about as a draftable prospect, but based on what I’ve seen, I’d pass.  His footwork and accuracy are awful, he’s nothing special physically and he played for a tiny school.  I don’t get it.

There are of course many more quarterbacks that I won’t mention here (I’ve gone down NFL Draft Scout’s entire list of 43 quarterbacks).  Of the remaining options I am either unable to find enough material to form an opinion or felt they were not worth discussing.

Overall thoughts and a preliminary attempt at a ranking

After going over this quarterback group, it’s not as weak in the late rounds as I initially thought.  Katz, Cameron, Aplin, Belton, Crist, Doege, Stanley, Rodgers, Daniels, and Klein all have the mobility necessary for the read option and/or a point guard at quarterback type role.

If I had to attempt a ranking of my favorites from this group (meaning that guys like Matt Barkley or Tyler Wilson are excluded), I think I’d go with the list below for the moment.  Remember, I don’t have enough material to scout these players to my own standards, so writing this list feels a bit like giving draft grades the day after.  Take it more as a form of entertainment than the final word:

#1.  Ryan Aplin: The more I see, the more I learn about him, the more I like him.

#2.  Seth Doege: I’m not sure why I have Doege this high.  Probably because I’ve always been a big fan of Jeff Garcia, particularly because Garcia was very good when placed in offenses just like the one Seattle currently runs.   Doege’s big ugly whip-action windup does scare me, but he seems to compensate for it with outstanding arm speed.  It may not look pretty, but his release time is just fine.

#3.  BJ Daniels: Daniels is the most extreme read option quarterback of this group.  I don’t think he’d pan out just anywhere, but in Seattle’s offense I could see our coaching staff emphasizing his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses.  I’d take him any day of the week and twice on Sundays over Collin Klein.

#4.  Jordan Rodgers: If there’s a saying I live by- it’s never underestimate a cerebral quarterback.  Rodgers shows NFL level awareness and plays at a very fast pace.  That he played an entire season in the SEC with just 5 picks should get him drafted.

#5.  Ryan Katz: Inconsistent, injury prone, and undersized, but he has “Russell Wilson” type moments, and that makes me think he could be worth a look.

I’d be happy with any of those five in the late rounds.  As for rounding out a top 10 of this late round group:

#6.  Nathan Stanley: I don’t profess to be an expert on him, but his tools are jaw dropping for a likely to be undrafted player.

#7.  Clay Belton: Like Stanley, Belton has excellent physical talent.

#8.  Casey Brockman: Of all the game manager types listed in this article, Brockman’s tape shines the best and reveals the fewest flaws.

#9. Colby Cameron: I’m not a big fan of Cameron’s, but other teams will remember the hype Cameron had pre-draft and that will help his trade stock if Seattle turns him into a good quarterback.

#10.  Collin Klein: Something tells me that Seattle could make the Collin Klein experiment work.  Obviously, there are many quarterbacks I’d rather have.  Klein would be an adventure.  Maybe the good kind.  Maybe the bad kind.  Just as a fan, I think I’d rather have an interesting, enigmatic backup than a blase clipboard holder.  Wouldn’t want all the winning of football games to make life dull.

A couple free agency period moves I’d like to see happen

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

A word of advice to the 2013 quarterback class: avoid shirtless glamour photos

Do you know which player was one of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history last season?  Did you guess Ryan Lindley?  If you did, you’d be right.  With that in mind, consider this quarterback comparison.

Quarterback A: 54.3 completion rate, 6/9 TD/INT ratio, 6.3 YPA, 66.6 QB rating.

Quarterback B: 52.2 completion rate, 0/7 TD/INT ratio, 4.4 YPA , 46.7 QB rating.

Quarterback C: 53.4 completion rate, 0/8 TD/INT ratio, 5.4 YPA, 49.9 QB rating.

Quarterback A isn’t very good, but he looks like Aaron Rodgers in comparison to quarterbacks B and C.  Quarterback B is 2012 Ryan Lindley.  Quarterback C is 2012 Brady Quinn- when his outlier performance against Kansas City is excluded (more on that in a minute).  The relatively sterling Quarterback A?  Curtis Painter.

I think a lot of people have a falsely good image of Brady Quinn based on all the publicity he received for thrashing the Carolina Panthers last season- which happened to be the only game that Carolina lost in their final six contests.  In that game Quinn was 19/23 with 8.7 yards per attempt and two touchdowns against zero interceptions.  It was no doubt a great performance, especially when you consider how well the Panthers’ defense played down the stretch last season.

But when you look at the sum of his other 2012 performances (Quarterback C above), the obvious conclusion is that Quinn’s week 13 performance is among the greatest single game outliers of all time.  I’d compare it to Aaron Curry against Jacksonville in 2009.  If you saw that Jacksonville game and knew nothing else, your perception of Curry would be very different.  And also very inaccurate.

Truly awful quarterbacks tend to play for truly awful teams, and the Chiefs are certainly that, their laughable 2012 pro-bowl list aside.  It stands to reason that Brady Quinn would be more successful here than he was in Cleveland, Denver, or Kansas City.  Yet I still can’t get over how bad Quinn was last year.  He was one extreme outlier performance away from playing at a Ryan Lindley level, and Ryan Lindley was a rookie in a hopeless situation (on a team that had the NFL’s toughest schedule).

Quinn’s career numbers are right in line with 2011 Curtis Painter.  I know he’s not assured a roster spot even if signed, and backups are rarely depended on.  But I think I’d rather spend a roster spot on a second kicker than spend one on a second quarterback named Brady Quinn.

The last time that Matt Leinart worked with Pete Carroll, he was hoisting a Heisman trophy in one hand and a national championship trophy in the other.  It’s been a precipitous fall from grace since then, and I think it’s more than fair to question Leinart’s desire to play the game at this point.  He truly seems to have “checked out” emotionally and mentally some time ago.

He’s also left handed.  As a fellow lefty I would normally be a fan, but I only see disadvantages with flipping formations, especially when we have a left guard who always wants to play on the left.  And if Seattle wanted to add a read option cabaple quarterback, that’s not Leinart.

Seneca Wallace.  Tyler Thigpen.  Matt Leinart.  Brady Quinn.  Those are the quarterbacks the Seahawks brought in for a look-see this past week.  Leave no stone unturned, indeed.

As a very young kid living in Spokane, myself and a friend would go out in the countryside during the summer and flip rocks looking for crickets.  It was all fun and games until one day my friend flipped over a rock and was oblivious to a black widow less than two inches from his hand.  It took him several seconds to notice.  A black widow bite to the hand of a 7 year old is bad news.  Thankfully, black widows are not as aggressive as people think, and nobody was hurt.  That was the last time we ever flipped a rock looking for crickets, though.

It is often believed that there is no harm in looking at bad players.  That said, I think the Mariners would probably be better off right now without Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez.  They had to clear out a better, younger player in Casper Wells to make room for them.  ESPN’s Ed Werder is “reporting” that the workout competition appears to be down to Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart now.  What if Josh Portis or an interesting 2013 draft pick is the one who becomes expendable for the likes or those two?  I trust our front office- “trust” is an understatement- but they are not immune to questionable roster cuts.  Why tempt a mistake?  Even if none of those quarterbacks make the final roster, they are still using preseason reps that would be better served with another option, and I have one such option in mind.

Please excuse me for my long winded and meandering preamble.  However I felt  was necessary to set the table for the first of my preferred offseason moves that remain for the taking.  There is an obvious remaining candidate for Seattle’s backup job, and as yet he hasn’t yet been connected to the Seahawks.  That player is Tarvaris Jackson.  Funny enough.  At first it seemed like a crazy idea, but the more I mulled on it the more I realized it was the best move the Seahawks can make to address the backup job outside of the NFL draft.

Jackson had a mixed performance as the Seahawks starter in 2011.  He was terrible at the start behind a then miserable offensive line.  Then he appeared to turn the corner against the Falcons and Giants.  Then he got hurt.  Then he struggled with up and down performances.  Yet near the end of that season Jackson seemed to be getting healthy and back on track.  He had a 93 passer rating over his final five starts as a Seahawk.  Now, passer rating isn’t a perfect stat and there is certainly a difference between a “sexy” 93 passer rating and an “ugly” 93 passer rating.  It wouldn’t be unfair to put Tarvaris Jackson in that ugly but good category- similar to Alex Smith under Jim Harbaugh.

Still, it was a promising end to the season for Jackson, and the Seahawks “primary model” during the 2012 offseason had Tarvaris Jackson remaining the starter (with competition brought in to push him).  Seattle did not plan nor expect to acquire Matt Flynn until his price fell through the floor, and they did not expect third round pick Russell Wilson to be ready to start so quickly.  Tarvaris Jackson became the NFL’s best and most expensive 3rd string quarterback.  The deal that sent him to Buffalo was in no way an indictment.  It saved the team $4 million in cap space which will roll into future cap figures, and it netted the team a draft pick.

Tarvaris Jackson signed back with Buffalo on a one year deal this past February.  Contrary to what some people appear to believe, Jackson was never available to Seattle this year as a free agent.  Jackson signed with Buffalo because he believed he’d have a real chance to start in 2013.  Since then the Bills acquired Kevin Kolb on a pricey two-year contract.  It also appears that the Bills are undetered from drafting a franchise quarterback prospect early.  Given the large salary difference between Jackson and Kolb and the likely nature of a high draft pick at quarterback, it stands to reason that Jackson is doomed to be a 3rd stringer in Buffalo next season.

Jackson’s cap hit this season is only $1.75 million, which is a very good price for a #2 quarterback.  It might be a bit rich for a #3 though, and that could lead to Jackson being cut by the Bills in late August.  If Seattle wanted, they could swoop in and sign Jackson then.  Obviously, the Seahawks are no stranger to signings in late August and early September.  The downside is that Buffalo might not release him at all, and even if they did, Jackson would arrive here without a single preseason rep with the team.  That’s hardly ideal for a #2 quarterback.  I’d prefer to acquire Jackson before the preseason begins.  I’m sure Buffalo would be amenable, especially if it means getting a 2013 draft pick (they only have six of them, and they didn’t receive any compensatory selections).  Given the circumstances, I’m sure Buffalo would be all over it if Seattle offered a 7th rounder for Jackson.

It’s funny, because we got a 7th round pick from Buffalo dealing Jackson in the first place.  Having lost Buffalo’s 7th in the Harvin trade and gaining two more from compensation picks, Seattle still has a whopping four 7th round picks.  No other team has more 7th rounders than Seattle does, and no other roster is tougher for a 7th round pick to make.  Is the difference between Matt Leinart / Brady Quinn and Tarvaris Jackson worth one of those 7th rounders?  I would say yes.  I would say hell yes.

We know what we have in Jackson, he knows our playbook, our offensive coordinator, and all of the team’s leading receivers, including Percy Harvin.  We probably won’t win a superbowl with Jackson, but could we go 4-2 with Jackson on this team if Wilson misses six games?  I think we could, yes.  And don’t forget, Jackson gives us a read option backup.  I have to assume he won’t hurt himself on his first keeper during his second go around here.  To me, this is a complete no brainer, and while it appears he won’t be a Seahawk this month, I do think he’ll end up a Seahawk again.

Antoine Winfield: the latest victim of NFL ageism

When I first heard about Seattle’s interest in former Vikings corner Antoine Winfield, my initial response was instantly, unthinkingly dismissive.  I must confess, I am far from an expert on the NFL outside of my own team.  All I saw was an over thirty player at a position where the Seahawks have perpetually attempted to get younger and younger.  And with fantastic results in doing so.  What sense is there in replacing a 32 year old Marcus Trufant with a soon to be 36 year old Antoine Winfield?

Well after actually looking into Winfield’s track record and situation, I’ve quickly reversed course.  He was released last month because 36 year olds that don’t play quarterback almost never make $7.25 million in salary.  Winfield is not your average 36 year old though.  He’s had 3 pro-bowl seasons and even an all-pro honor, and those seasons occurred during his age 31, 32, and 33 seasons.  He did not make the pro-bowl in 2012, but he had one of his best seasons last year at age 35 (more on that in a moment).  Obviously, we’re dealing with a late peak player here.  Antoine Winfield’s career path is not like most players, so we shouldn’t compare him to the typical mid-thirties player.  This always has to be a consideration when dealing with players over 30.  You wouldn’t treat a 30 year old London Fletcher the same way you’d treat a 30 year old Lofa Tatupu.

Here’s a highlight video of Winfield.  It contains plays throughout his career and lacks anything from the 2012 season, but I still found it informative of his ability.

Yes, this is a highlight video- not a scouting tool- but even from this you can see the physicality, the closing ability, and the tackling ability which are all extremely impressive for any player, especially one well into his 30s.

Winfield may be old, he may be short, and he may be small, but few players can close and finish like he can.  In an odd sense Winfield fits what our secondary needs the most- a hyper quick player with the physicality of a big corner.  Try to imagine Sherman, Browner, Winfield, and Thurmond in dime formations.

Last year- Winfield’s age 35 season- he had 101 tackles.  As a corner.  To put that in perspective, rookie sensation Lofa Tatupu had 104 tackles.  As a middle linebacker.  In Winfield’s fully healthy seasons he’s posted the following tackle numbers:  101, 91, 95, 97, 98, 107, and 80.  You’d think a 101 tackle season for a corner would have to be a fluke, but it turns out it’s not.  Tackles are a flawed stat and can be a negative indicator for a corner since it implies being targeted more frequently.  That said, Pro Football Focus ranked Winfield as the NFL’s #1 run defense corner last year and also noted that he did not allow a touchdown in the passing game all season.

I think it’s telling that Winfield refused a paycut last month.  How many soon to be 36 year old defensive backs making $7+ million refuse a pay cut?  Obviously, he must still believe he has a lot of good football left.  There is a reason why Minnesota is working hard to get him back, and why the Redskins are making a charge as well.  It’s not every day you see three playoff teams fighting over a 36 year old corner.

Of course, Seattle could just draft a corner and in doing so get younger while saving a little money.  I’m a big fan of Walter Thurmond and adding Winfield would diminish his role on the team.  Winfield has some durability concerns as he’s missed significant time in three of his previous six seasons.  Seattle doesn’t have a lot of cap room to work with.  This is a good year to draft a corner in the mid to late rounds.  I get all of that.

But I also think the Seahawks will be a better team with Winfield than without him.  This is not your typical mid-thirties free agent we’re talking about here.  Winfield would make our defense better.  Maybe a lot better.

Edit #1: I just stumbled across the Vikings SBNation reaction to Winfield being released last month, which described the move as “shocking.”  It’s not every day you see a fanbase react with shock when a player is released to avoid a $7+ million cap hit during their age 36 season.

Wow.

Wow….it’s still sinking in.

I’ll say it again: wow.

Antoine Winfield has been the anchor of the Vikings‘ secondary for the past nine seasons. He is one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the league. Check that–he’s one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the history of the league. Winfield has been the one consistent force in an otherwise tumultuous stretch of players and quality for Minnesota’s defensive backfield. He had 606 tackles, 21 interceptions, eleven forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, five return touchdowns (two fumble returns, two pick sixes, and one blocked field goal return), three Pro Bowls, innumerable big plays, and a partridge in a pear tree over the past nine seasons.

And now he’s gone.

Getting rid of Percy Harvin was one thing. We saw the writing on the wall with our talented malcontent wide receiver. It wasn’t if he would leave the Vikings, it was when. Moving Harvin now while the team could get some solid compensation was understandable.

But Winfield? I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense. He is basically everything you’d ever want in a football player. He’s smart. He’s a leader. He leads by example. And by all accounts, he was even better off the field.

I wonder how Vikings fans will react if Seattle rolls with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Antoine Winfield next season.

Edit #2: Nevermind, they already have an article talking about it, humorously titled “Vikings West Likely To Grab Another Player.”

Just accept it now- in our meeting with Seattle this season, we will face not only Percy Harvin, but now Antoine Winfield as well. Did I mention they also have Heath Farwell and Sidney Rice?

Did I mention that the Seahawks have over $3 million dollars more than we do in cap space? Because that’s pretty important, too.

A few green comments in that second article:

Seattle really pisses me off…

and…

Winfield a Seahawk? Disturbing.

In general, it sounds as though Vikings fans desperately want Winfield back, even if he is a soon to be 36 year old nickle corner.

Seahawks meet with Canadian defensive tackle

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

The Seahawks recently met with Stefan Charles, a defensive tackle who played his college football in Canada for the Regina Rams.  Charles was a teammate of Akiem Hicks who was drafted by the Saints in the 2012 draft.   Charles was ranked #1 in the Canadian Football League Scouting Bureau’s September rankings for the 2013 CFL Draft (he finished the year at #4).

He moves very well for a big man- his tape almost reminds me of Jason Jones and not just because the jersey numbers are the same.  The most remarkable thing about Charles was that he managed a 37″ vertical at 324 pounds, which has to be a record of some kind.  There isn’t enough to form a solid opinion on him, but you can get an impression of him by watching the video below:

Charles is a projected mid-rounder.  Tip o’ the cap once again to Scott.

The 2013 quarterback class from Seattle’s perspective

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Matt Scott is low-key and all business. No wonder his Mark Wahlberg impression is spot on.

This year’s quarterback group is almost the perfect opposite of last year’s.  Last year’s was extremely strong at the top, weak in the middle, and very strong at the end (Wilson was a projected 4th or 5th rounder going into the draft).  One of my favorite quarterbacks that year, Chandler Harnish, ended up Mr. Irrelevant.   This year’s is (falsely considered) weak at the top, extremely strong in the middle, and very weak at the end- though there are many interesting UDFA-type options this year.

We don’t have to worry about Geno Smith and Matt Barkley, both will be gone in the first round.

The second tier is crowded.  EJ Manuel could sneak into round one but for now I have him as a 2nd rounder.  Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson, and most recently Matt Scott have all entered the discussion as quarterbacks that might be drafted somewhere in the 2nd round.  Keep in mind too that this is in a draft with as many as 60 players with second round grades.  It’s going to be a historically crowded 2nd round this year.  The bulk of this mid-round class could push some of those names into rounds 3 and 4, just as Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, and Nick Foles helped Kirk Cousins last until the 4th last year.

I think the 4th round is probably the earliest that Seattle would target a quarterback.  You might remember that Seattle wanted to target a quarterback in the round 4-6 range last year even after signing Matt Flynn.  Ultimately they ended up taking Russell Wilson in the 3rd thanks to a colossal man-crush from John Schneider, but they had originally hoped to take Wilson later- it was only until they began hearing that other teams wanted Wilson in the 3rd that priorities shifted.

All five of the second tier quarterbacks are unlikely to reach the late 4th.  However, there is a decent chance that at least one of them might, so it’s worth doing a bit of legwork to figure out which one we should hope for.

EJ Manuel

EJ Manuel is the most physically gifted quarterback in the 2013 draft, but he’s also a mechanical quarterback.  Ask him to make a play on the fly, and he will make mistakes.  Put him in a controlled environment that taxes his mind lightly, and he could put up great numbers even if the eyeball test tells you something different.  He’s a very similar kind of player to Colin Kaepernick, Alex  Smith, Jake Locker, Vince Young, Charlie Whitehurst or Tarvaris Jackson.  While Colin Kaepernick is all the rage, credit for his success is misplaced.  Kaepernick is truly a talent, but were he not playing for a simplified offense created by a brilliant coach, I think he’d be a lot more like Tim Tebow with a prettier pass than what he’s become today.

Seattle’s interest in Kaepernick during the 2011 draft, as well as their acquisitions of Whitehurst and T-jack all point to the Seahawks being okay with the mechanical quarterback approach.

That said, I’d be pretty surprised if Manuel reached our pick, and there is a snowball’s chance in hell that he slips to the 4th round.  I think he’s very likely to be the third quarterback off the board- he might even be the second.

Ryan Nassib

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBH2peKn64E

As Matt Waldman put it so wonderfully, Ryan Nassib is the “color inside the lines favorite.”  He meets the minimum conventional criteria in every category, and on tape he looks like a traditional NFL style quarterback.  Nassib’s USC compilation shows a quarterback that struggles under pressure, though on the whole there is much to like about him.  He makes quick decisions, can check through reads (quickly too), has a quick release and even has some rushing ability.  He seems like a great fit for Seattle’s point guard at quarterback philosophy.

That said, Ryan Nassib is expected to last no later than Buffalo’s 2nd round pick.  Buffalo hired Nassib’s college coach this offseason, and it’s possible that Buffalo might move into the late 1st to secure him.

Mike Glennon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPipSLtM-GE

Mike Glennon was one of the main driving forces behind Russell Wilson’s early departure from NC State, so it would be ironic to say the least if he became Russell Wilson’s long term backup in Seattle.

It’s tempting to compare his game to Brock Osweiler.  Both are 6’7″ and throw the ball with velocity, yet both are prone to bouts of inaccuracy and terrible decision making.  Watching Glennon, he just seems like the kind of quarterback the Arizona Cardinals would go for: he’s tall, stiff, lacking intangibles, and overvalued.  He’s very nearly the perfect opposite of his NC State predecessor.

I was a fan of Glennon’s for a time because he reminded me of Joe Flacco, but the more I watch the more problems I find.  I don’t expect him to be high on Seattle’s shopping list, as Seattle is looking for “tilt the field” guys and Glennon sorely lacks for intangibles.

Tyler Wilson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDt6saeTxHM

Once upon a time, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson were widely expected to be the first two quarterbacks off the board in the 2013 draft.  That was during an olden time when NFL teams weren’t obsessing over the read option or the “new breed” of quarterback.

Wilson did not clock a blistering 40 time, but he’s still very much a point guard at quarterback.  He checks through reads with ease, spreads the football around, and when it’s given to him, he’ll run for ten easy yards.

I’m curious to see how the Seahawks will react to Tyler Wilson’s hand measurement.  John Schneider likes his quarterbacks to have big hands, and Wilson’s hands measured in at just 8¾”, which will remove him from many draft boards as several teams consider 9″ to be a cutoff point.  I personally don’t take issue, as Wilson didn’t show problems associated with small hands on tape (he wasn’t fumble prone and typically threw tight spirals, though I did notice he rarely attempted pump fakes).

If Wilson reaches Seattle’s late 4th rounder, I would be mildly surprised if they passed.  It’s not very often you get a quarterback of Wilson’s caliber in the late 4th round.  Wilson is a “big name” too; his path towards building future trade value is a paved one.

Matt Scott

Matt Scott is probably my favorite quarterback this year.  Not because he’s the best- far from it.  No, what I love about Matt Scott is what he wasn’t allowed to be and what he could become.

If I really wanted to sell you on him, I could have chosen a better video than the one above.  His compilation against Stanford is probably his best.  Against Nevada, he must have made close to a dozen poor throws, and he was featured less as a runner than he had been earlier in the season.  He also threw a couple ugly picks.

Yet this flawed bowl game compilation also proves that even a struggling Matt Scott can still lead his team to 49 total points, including two incredibly heroic drives at the end of the game.  Even when he’s off his game he can be dangerous.

Matt Scott is easily the most agile quarterback in this draft.  His times in the 3-cone and short shuttle blew the competition away at the combine.  There were times earlier in the season where that quickness was on full display as he evaded pass rushers and extended plays while keeping his eyes downfield, using his mobility in a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers sense.

Unfortunately, Rich-rod’s offense at Arizona highly emphasized getting the ball out in under two seconds which doesn’t really jive with Matt Scott’s play extending ability.  I think in an offense like ours he could thrive since Seattle uses developing routes instead of quick passes.  No NFL quarterback held the ball longer on average than Russell Wilson last season.

While Matt Scott needs to work on the mental part of his game (my big worry is that he might have an improvisational ceiling along the lines of Seneca Wallace or Tarvaris Jackson), it would be hasty to judge at this point.  Scott’s elite quickness and rifle arm will allow him to succeed perhaps more than he should based on his mental makeup, similar to Colin Kaepernick.  And unlike Kaepernick, Matt Scott doesn’t stare at his first read for four seconds before moving to his second.  He’s actually quite developed at making reads despite having just one year of starting experience.

The obvious appeal of Matt Scott to Seattle is his potential for future trade value.  If he thrives in Seattle’s offense, potential buyers are going to see a quarterback that is highly productive, highly mobile, and can sling the football.  If he pans out, you won’t be looking at two future fifth round picks when he’s dealt.

Scott needs to go to a place that can take the time to tune up his game, away from the pure read-option and more towards a point guard at quarterback skillset.  Seattle is the perfect landing spot for him, though if the Seahawks really do want Matt Scott, the odds of landing him at the end of round 4 are slim.

I’ll cover the late round options in a separate post tomorrow.  Many of the names mentioned in the comments the last few weeks will get some love.  Look forward to it!

Brainstorming ideas for the next Seahawks backup quarterback

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Tyler Thigpen

It is often said that a 4th round pick in the draft or perhaps $4 million a season in salary is a worthy price for a top shelf backup.  And yet, how many teams actually invest that heavily?  Peyton Manning had Jim Sorgi and the calamitous Curtis Painter.  Tom Brady had Brian Hoyer.  Drew Brees had Chase Daniel.  Aaron Rodgers had a 7th round Matt Flynn before he had UDFA Graham Harrell.   Without looking, how many current backups can you name for Matt Ryan, Big Ben, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, or Cam Newton?

The exceptions are future starter hopefuls behind old starters such as Brock Osweiler and Ryan Mallett or insurance policies for (at the time) unproven starter situations like Kirk Cousins and Brian Brohm.  Of them all, only Cousins could really be argued as being drafted for the purposes of being a long term backup, and he only cost a 4th round pick, had low salary, and had very strong potential as a trade chip in the future.

There are two ways to view the value of a backup quarterback.  The first is the backup as insurance policy.  Jim Sorgi and Matt Flynn are good examples of low cost, quality insurance policies that reduced the damage of losing a franchise quarterback for a few games during a season.  Curtis Painter shows the absolute downside of a poor insurance plan, though without Painter there probably isn’t an exec of the year award on Ryan Grigson’s desk right now.  Most people view the backup quarterback in this manner.  Since major injuries to starting quarterbacks are so rare, most teams do not feel the need to make a major investment in an insurance policy they will probably never need.

The second view of the backup quarterback is that of the investment.  It has been used masterfully in the past by the Ron Wolf / Ted Thompson era Packers, the Andy Reid Eagles, and now the John Schneider Seahawks.  This philosophy acquires quarterbacks at low cost, develops them behind a highly established starter, and then moves them later at a profit.  The Packers used this method to develop and move quarterbacks like Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks, and Matt Hasselbeck.  The Eagles did so with Kevin Kolb and actually traded their starter (Donovan McNabb) when low cost backup Michael Vick proved superior.  I suspect they signed Vince Young on the cheap hoping to repair his image and value for a future trade.  Seattle acquired Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, and Russell Wilson, and successfully traded the two quarterbacks that failed to win the starting job.

You can read up on John Schneider’s post-Flynn-trade comments here, or just listen for yourself.  John Schneider doesn’t say a lot about his post-Flynn plans, but did drop a few small hints:

“There’s different avenues we can go, obviously,” Schneider said Monday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. “We have a plan in place and it’s contingent on who that player is. There’s veterans who are available right now, some very talented guys actually, and some guys guys that are all football and have been down that road before. … And then there’s also guys in the draft that we think are pretty interesting.

“We have a plan and we’re gonna take it as it comes. We’re not gonna force anything and we’re not gonna get in a situation where we have our hands tied.”

It’s been documented elsewhere that John Schneider described finding a quarterback that is a hard worker, a leader, an enabler… all that good “tilt the field” kind of stuff.  Someone with upside, too.

To me, it’s fairly clear from this language that Seattle is looking for another “investment” style backup- someone that they can acquire at low cost and turn into a profit down the road.  Green Bay used their backup quarterback position as a draft pick generator.  That’s why they are looking at quarterbacks every year.  John Schneider was Ted Thompson’s right hand man in Green Bay and has gone on record saying that he searches for quarterbacks every year.

Russell Wilson is the only quarterback on the roster today, although Chris Mortensen reports that the Seahawks will soon re-sign Josh Portis.  Schneider’s “hands tied” comment reads to me as wanting to keep options open.  Seattle doesn’t need to tax themselves with quarterback reps to determine the starter as they did last season, so they could have Portis, a free agent signing, and a draft pick duke things out in August and move from there.  Seattle entered last preseason with four quarterbacks on their roster, and gave a tryout to GJ Kinne, who would have been the fifth had they signed him.

With that in mind, here are some names to throw against the wall.  It goes without saying, most of the free agent options suck:

Free Agency:

Josh Portis: Portis will reportedly be signed back soon. He has excellent mobility, arm talent, and can check through multiple reads.  Unfortunately, he received extremely few reps last preseason and his performance vs. Oakland suffered greatly as a result.  I suspect that Seattle always hoped to bring Portis back for another training camp but wanted to wait until after dealing Flynn to avoid tipping their hand.

Vince Young: Mortensen linked Young to the Seahawks earlier today on twitter (“add Vince Young to the list” were his exact words), though it’s unclear if he’s sourced or speculating.  Vince Young is an obvious candidate in that he’s low cost, has the athleticism in abundance for read option, and has the potential to rehabilitate his image and turn into a potential trade chip down the road (he’s 30 next offseason, so it wouldn’t be anything exorbitant even in a best case scenario).  Where Young does not fit is in the leadership and work ethic criteria, though it’s possible he might be a changed man after some of the hard times he’s been through.  Young comes with the added perk of not costing Seattle any compensatory pick consideration in 2014, as he was released by the Bills in 2012.

Tyler Thigpen: Many are liking the Seahawks to Tyler Thigpen who was recently made a free agent when Buffalo voided the 3rd year of his contract.  Thigpen actually beat out Vince Young for the 3rd quarterback job in Buffalo last season (after taking a pay cut).  Rob could probably tell you more about Thigpen than I can, but what I can say is that he’s more mobile than his combine 40 time would indicate, and that he had a 18/12 TD/INT ratio with a good number of rushing yards during his only starting season (at Kansas City).  Unfortunately, he has a very low career completion rate and is the definition of a journeyman.  Barring a revelation, it’s hard to see Thigpen turning into a trade chip down the road, so I see him as more of a placeholder than anything else.

Matt Leinart: Seattle very nearly signed Matt Leinart in 2011 with a chance to compete for the starting job, but Leinart turned down that chance to remain a sure backup for Houston.  He lasted just one more year for the Texans before lasting just one year in Oakland.  There have been some unsourced rumors connecting Leinart to Seatttle, but I don’t think Seattle would go this direction until after the draft, if at all.  He wouldn’t be much of a read option quarterback, and he lacks the intangibles John Schneider prefers.

John Skelton: Skelton was released a few hours ago, probably to make room for an imminent Carson Palmer acquisition.  Skelton can be elusive in the pocket but he’s not a mobile quarterback, and he doesn’t have the kind of frame for constant hard contact.  That plus he’s horrible.

Brady Quinn: How bad was Carolina when they lost to Kansas City 27-21 last season?  Brady Quinn put on a clinic, completing 83% of his passes for 8.7 yards per attempt with 2 TDs and no picks, good for a 132.1 passer rating.  For the season though?  He completed 57% of his passes for 5.8 yards per attempt with a 2/8 TD/INT ratio.  Yikes.  Amazingly, that was the only game Carolina lost in their final six contests.

Kellen Clemens: Another lousy journeyman nearing 30.

Seneca Wallace: Wallace (33 years old in August) could actually make sense as an emergency 1 year stopgap option should everything else fall through.

Troy Smith: Smith is a lot like an older, more experienced Josh Portis.  I’ll admit to being a fan, both at Ohio State and during his time with the 49ers in the Singletary era.  Unfortunately, the last time that Smith made a 53 man roster was during said era (2010).  He was a highly inconsistent quarterback, but he had his moments.  He has a terrific arm and is famous for his speed.  Unfortunately, he’s probably too old to flip for a pick down the road.  He turns 29 this July, and is a long way away from reaching his potential.

Tarvaris Jackson (if released in August):  With comments from up on high in Buffalo hinting at a move for a quarterback in the draft and the addition of Kevin Kolb for competition, the odds of Tarvaris Jackson making the 53 man roster seem to be on shaky ground.  His contract is only for $1.75 million though, which could act as great job security even if he fails to earn the starting job.  That said, none of that money is guaranteed, and if Jackson ends up the odd man out if Buffalo drafts a quarterback and only carries two on the roster.  Jackson has obvious familiarity here and posted a 93 passer rating over his final five starts (when he was approaching full health) during the 2011 season in Seattle.

Darron Thomas: Undrafted and unsigned, Thomas has a point guard skillset at quarterback.  He was highly productive in a read option system and (in my opinion) his flaws were blown far out of proportion, although I am not privy to the interviews and private investigator reports NFL teams have.  He was part of the Calgary Stampeders practice roster last season.  Chandler Harnish and Case Keenum are currently on practice squads and could be worth keeping an eye on as it’s not uncommon for teams to release fringe-roster players in June.

Tim Tebow (if released):  His completion rate is 48% for his career.  Yet he also has a respectable career 17/9 TD/INT ratio and a 75.2 career passer rating.  Tebow’s intangibles and leadership are legendary, as his college career and 2011 season put on full display.  If Tebow was very low cost, I think he could be worth a flier on the 90 man preseason roster, but trading for him would require a draft pick of some kind and would mean assuming his $2.6 million cap hit in 2013.  There is no way trading for Tebow makes sense, but in the event he is released he could be worth considering for the purposes of preseason competition.

Tomorrow I’ll have a follow up post discussing some of the draft options.  As you can see, it’s not likely that Seattle will find much from free agency, though I do think Seattle will at least add a body or two from the list above for the sake of competition.