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Why Jamal Adams’ contract situation is curious

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

We’re a week away from the draft and things couldn’t be quieter.

The Russell Wilson saga has gone into hibernation, with both parties seemingly prepared to kick the can down the road for now.

And there’s no news on anything to do with Jamal Adams and his contract.

Many people are quick to tell you the Seahawks don’t extend contracts before the draft. It’s certainly true that the vast majority of their deals are done later in the year.

This is different though because of the sheer scale of the trade. And I think it warrants a conversation.

When the Seahawks traded for Adams, they must’ve had an inkling on what he would cost down the road?

Even if serious talks were shelved, you surely don’t make that deal without some confidence that eventually you’d come to an agreement.

That means one of two things. Either you’re prepared to pay whatever it takes (as we saw with the Texans/Tunsil and Rams/Ramsey) or you know that a fair negotiation is plausible.

Either way, you’d think a pathway to an extension is within reach.

Yet so far the two parties have not agreed terms.

What exactly is the reason for not getting this done and out of the way as quickly as possible? If the Seahawks are minded to build around Jamal Adams for the long haul, what possible reason could there be for delaying an extension?

After all, they did just extend Tyler Lockett. That was doubly important because it also created cap space this year. There’s unlikely to be any cap relief created by a new deal with Adams. Yet they gave Lockett a $17.25m a year deal — in the ballpark for what Adams will be looking for.

Presumably a similar extension for Adams wouldn’t require a painstaking, far longer process — especially given they’ve had months to consider these negotiations as a presumed off-season priority.

So they’ve had plenty of time to consider his worth, they already spent a fortune to acquire him and they’ve seen what he’s about on and off the field.

What’s the hold up then?

The only other time the Seahawks made a big splash on a player coming to the end of his deal was Percy Harvin. He was awarded a huge new contract immediately upon signing.

I’d argue the price of the trade — two firsts and a third — dictates a greater sense of urgency with Adams than even Harvin.

The last thing you want is a difficult negotiation with a player and team clashing over money, possibly developing into a fractious situation.

Yet the longer this goes on, the longer that becomes a possibility.

I don’t see much chance of Adams happily going along with his $9.8m salary this year and no long term security — especially off the back of off-season surgery and an injury hit 2020. He’s one serious injury away from significantly damaging his leverage in negotiations with Seattle or anyone else.

The new CBA makes a holdout tricky to execute — but that’s not the thing to worry about. It’s a possible growing resentment that will blossom without an agreement.

That’s what happened in New York, after all.

Here’s where I think the problem lies.

Brock Huard on his 710 ESPN podcast this week reiterated Seattle’s desire to get a deal done with Adams, with seemingly no consideration to trade him away.

Huard is reasonably connected. He noted the price of the highest paid safety is Justin Simmons’ $15.25m a year. He suggested the Seahawks would be willing to beat that and were using Simmons’ contract as the basis for their negotiation.

That set alarm bells off for me.

The Seahawks are well within their rights to try and use the market to their advantage. Simmons’ new contract provides a starting point for talks. On top of that, Seattle can argue that Adams can only expect to earn about $13,215,000 on the franchise tag next year. So they are protected for at least two seasons with club control.

Yet Adams is likely to be in a totally different place in these talks.

After all, when the Texans traded away multiple first round picks for Tunsil, they had to pay him $6m more than the next highest paid left tackle. Ramsey’s contract with the Rams is $3.2m higher than the next highest paid cornerback.

When you trade away first rounders for players on expiring contracts, you lose leverage.

Adams can easily point to the Tunsil and Ramsey deals and say they are the precedent, not Justin Simmons. He can demand $3-6m more than the next highest paid safety. He can try and argue he’s a player without a defined position.

He might even demand to top Ramsey’s $20m salary to become the highest paid defensive back.

Plus — Adams can argue they just paid their #2 receiver $17.2m a year and the starting middle linebacker is on $18m a year.

Either way, offering $16m and thinking he’ll settle seems fanciful at best.

I appreciate that Huard’s assessment, alongside my own interpretation of the situation, isn’t gospel and it’s possible the Seahawks are willing to go way beyond $16m. I do think his explanation of a team very keen to get a deal done and make him the highest paid safety is also a potential nod to why this isn’t done.

I don’t think Adams views himself as a safety or the Simmons contract as relevant.

I think he’s going to ask for $18-20m — and I’m not convinced the Seahawks will stretch to that. Otherwise this is probably already done.

Thus, you end up in a possible scenario where both parties wait to see who blinks first. A stalemate.

It’s indicative of why you really need an oven-ready contract extension when you make these big trades. Now, the Seahawks face the prospect of a staring contest with Adams having invested so much in him.

Maybe I’m wrong and a deal will be announced in the coming days? It’s possible.

I fear though that this won’t be the case and we’ll see a protracted situation where the conclusion is either the Seahawks wildly overpaying or an agitated Jamal Adams.

My opinion on what the Seahawks should do still hasn’t changed. Yet it seems they might be in a contradicting position of wanting Adams badly but not badly enough to sort things out to avoid potential issues down the line.

If you’re not sick of the sound of my voice yet, I did another podcast appearance this week. Click here to check it out. You can also watch my tired face on YouTube.

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Updated mock draft: One week to go…

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Next week I will publish my final mock draft for Huddle Report scoring.

Time for one final test-run.

As usual — list form below, then notes on each pick to follow…

First round

#1 Jacksonville — Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
#2 New York Jets — Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
#3 San Francisco (v/MIA, HOU) — Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)
#4 Atlanta — Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
#5 Cincinnati — Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
#6 Miami (v/PHI) — Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
#7 Detroit — Penei Sewell (T, Oregon)
#8 Arizona (v/CAR) — Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
#9 Denver — Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
#10 Dallas — Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)
#11 New York Giants — Rashawn Slater (G, Northwestern)
#12 Philadelphia (v/SF, MIA) — DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
#13 LA Chargers — Christian Darrisaw (T, Virginia Tech)
#14 Minnesota — Jaelen Phillips (DE, Miami)
#15 New England — Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
#16 Washington (v/CAR, ARI) — Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
#17 Las Vegas — Alijah Vera-Tucker (G, USC)
#18 Miami — Azeez Ojulari (DE, Georgia)
#19 Carolina (v/WAS) — Teven Jenkins (T, Oklahoma State)
#20 Chicago — Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss)
#21 Indianapolis — Kwity Paye (DE, Michigan)
#22 Tennessee — Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa)
#23 New York Jets (v/SEA) — Kelvin Joseph (CB, Kentucky)
#24 Pittsburgh — Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
#25 Jacksonville (v/LAR) — Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
#26 Cleveland — Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama)
#27 Baltimore — Jayson Oweh (DE, Penn State)
#28 New Orleans — Jamin Davis (LB, Kentucky)
#29 Green Bay — Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern)
#30 Buffalo — Joe Tryon (DE, Washington)
#31 Miami (v/KC) — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB, Notre Dame)
#32 Tampa Bay — Levi Onwuzurike (DT, Washington)

Second round

#33 Jacksonville — Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State)
#34 New York Jets — Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma)
#35 Atlanta — Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU)
#36 Kansas City (v/MIA, HOU) — Spencer Brown (T, Northern Iowa)
#37 Philadelphia — Quinn Meinerz (G/C, UWW)
#38 Cincinnati — Alex Leatherwood (G/T, Alabama)
#39 Carolina — Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
#40 Denver — Kellen Mond (QB, Texas A&M)
#41 Detroit — Dyami Brown (WR, North Carolina)
#42 New York Giants — Javonte Williams (RB, North Carolina)
#43 San Francisco — Benjamin St. Juste (CB, Minnesota)
#44 Dallas — Milton Williams (DE/DT, LA Tech)
#45 Jacksonville (v/MIN) — Elijah Molden (S, Washington)
#46 New England — Baron Browning (LB, Ohio State)
#47 LA Chargers — Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)
#48 Las Vegas — Terrace Marshall Jr (WR, LSU)
#49 Carolina (v/ARI) — Robert Rochell (CB, Central Arkansas)
#50 Miami — Asante Samuel Jr (CB, Florida State)
#51 Washington — Pete Werner (LB, Ohio State)
#52 Chicago — Eric Stokes (CB, Georgia)
#53 Tennessee — Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
#54 Indianapolis — Sam Cosmi (T, Texas)
#55 Pittsburgh — Dillon Radunz (T, North Dakota State)
#56 Green Bay (v/SEA) — D’Wayne Eskridge (WR, Western Michigan)
#57 LA Rams — Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama)
#58 Baltimore — Josh Myers (C, Ohio State)
#59 Cleveland — Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue)
#60 New Orleans — Bobby Brown (DT, Texas A&M)
#61 Buffalo — Aaron Robinson (CB, UCF)
#62 Seattle (v/GB) — D’Ante Smith (T, ECU)
#63 Kansas City — Gregory Rousseau (DE, Miami)
#64 Tampa Bay — Davis Mills (QB, Stanford)

A thought on every pick…

First round

#1 Jacksonville — Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)

It’s been a foregone conclusion for two years that Lawrence would be the #1 pick in this draft.

#2 New York Jets — Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
A highly talented quarterback who will provide the Jets with in-structure competence and the occasional flash of brilliance.

#3 San Francisco (v/MIA, HOU) — Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)
Simply put, Kyle Shanahan wants someone who can execute his offense at a high level and stay on-script. The player most equipped to do that is Mac Jones.

#4 Atlanta — Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
Matt Ryan’s contract dictates he isn’t going anywhere for two years so you might as well give him Pitts to throw to.

#5 Cincinnati — Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
Joe Burrow dominated college football with Chase. You can get O-line help in round two.

#6 Miami (v/PHI) — Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
I still think this is a spot where Miami could surprise people and take a corner.

#7 Detroit — Penei Sewell (T, Oregon)
The Lions could trade down because they have a lot of needs but it also makes sense to stay put and select Sewell here.

#8 Arizona (v/CAR) — Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina)
There’s a bit of buzz around the Cardinals moving up. If they do, it could easily be for one of the top corners in the draft.

#9 Denver — Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
I’m just not convinced they’ll be sold on a quarterback here. They might trade down.

#10 Dallas — Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)
Cornerback is a need and this is the trendy pick for Dallas.

#11 New York Giants — Rashawn Slater (G, Northwestern)
Dave Gettleman likes to draft linemen. I’m not completely sold on Slater here. I prefer others.

#12 Philadelphia (v/SF, MIA) — DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
A lot of people are dismissing his lack of size but it will be a concern for some teams and it could lead to a slight fall.

#13 LA Chargers — Christian Darrisaw (T, Virginia Tech)
I’m not a huge fan of Darrisaw but they need someone capable of playing left tackle.

#14 Minnesota — Jaelen Phillips (DE, Miami)
Sensational pass rushing talent who deserves to go in the top-15 if he clears the health checks.

#15 New England — Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
The internet is very willing to overlook some of Fields’ obvious flaws. He has many positives too — but it’s not that unrealistic he lasts.

#16 Washington (v/CAR, ARI) — Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
I think there’s a strong chance Fields and Lance both stick around long enough for Washington and Chicago to think about a move up.

#17 Las Vegas — Alijah Vera-Tucker (G, USC)
He is a class act. Explosive, consistent. Unflappable.

#18 Miami — Azeez Ojulari (DE, Georgia)
A fantastic player who could go higher.

#19 Carolina (v/WAS) — Teven Jenkins (T, Oklahoma State)
After trading down twice, Scott Fitterer takes an explosive, physical offensive lineman. For all the talk of the Panthers trading for Sam Darnold because the other QB’s won’t last to #8 — I don’t think that was it at all. The Darnold trade is a shot to nothing and they keep the door open for Deshaun Watson, if possible, next year. That’s what they want. Not a rookie.

#20 Chicago — Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss)
He’s just so dynamic, he has to go early.

#21 Indianapolis — Kwity Paye (DE, Michigan)
He has the physical profile but his tape is distinctly average.

#22 Tennessee — Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa)
He’s 270lbs so he’ll need to go to a creative scheme. This feels like a good fit.

#23 New York Jets (v/SEA) — Kelvin Joseph (CB, Kentucky)
They might trade down first but a cornerback and a center could be options with New York’s second pick.

#24 Pittsburgh — Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
It feels like the Steelers are readying to make this move.

#25 Jacksonville (v/LAR) — Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
If you want Trevor Lawrence to succeed — give him plenty of ammunition.

#26 Cleveland — Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama)
I don’t think Barmore is worth a pick this high. Yet a weak defensive tackle class could benefit him.

#27 Baltimore — Jayson Oweh (DE, Penn State)
They have lost their pass rushers and need to make a move.

#28 New Orleans — Jamin Davis (LB, Kentucky)
Highly explosive linebacker who can start quickly for New Orleans

#29 Green Bay — Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern)
I’m not sold on him quite this early but there’s plenty of buzz around Newsome.

#30 Buffalo — Joe Tryon (DE, Washington)
Plenty of teams need pass rush so we could see a run in the late first.

#31 Miami (v/KC) — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB, Notre Dame)
I really like him but he’s 221lbs. He’s well suited as a hybrid safety/linebacker in Miami’s defense.

#32 Tampa Bay — Levi Onwuzurike (DT, Washington)
Why not add an interior pass rusher?

Second round

#33 Jacksonville — Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State)

They just appointed his college TE coach and this is even more help for Trevor Lawrence.

#34 New York Jets — Creed Humphrey (C, Oklahoma)
They like athletic, explosive offensive linemen. Humphrey ticks their boxes.

#35 Atlanta — Trevon Moehrig (S, TCU)
They need safety help after losing Keanu Neal.

#36 Kansas City (v/MIA, HOU) — Spencer Brown (T, Northern Iowa)
The Chiefs love to draft special athletes and coach them up. Brown needs a lot of work but he also feels like a fit.

#37 Philadelphia — Quinn Meinerz (G/C, UWW)
A nod to the future. Meinerz deserves to go this early.

#38 Cincinnati — Alex Leatherwood (G/T, Alabama)

This feels like a Bengals pick.

#39 Carolina — Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
Why not add another weapon to the offense?


#40 Denver — Kellen Mond (QB, Texas A&M)
For me he’s the third best quarterback in this draft.

#41 Detroit — Dyami Brown (WR, North Carolina)
Extremely talented downfield threat who would fill a huge need.

#42 New York Giants — Javonte Williams (RB, North Carolina)
The top pass rushers are gone. It’s not a need but the talent is too good to pass. He’d create quite a duo with Saquon Barkley.

#43 San Francisco — Benjamin St. Juste (CB, Minnesota)
St. Juste is highly intelligent, physically impressive and he’s their type of player.

#44 Dallas — Milton Williams (DE/DT, LA Tech)
Incredible athlete who can move across the D-line.

#45 Jacksonville (v/MIN) — Elijah Molden (S, Washington)
Nobody gets after it like Molden. He could be the next Tyrann Mathieu.

#46 New England — Baron Browning (LB, Ohio State)
Browning would be a good fit in their scheme.


#47 LA Chargers — Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech)

The injury has to be a turn-off for teams, especially given how long it’s taken him to get it sorted.

#48 Las Vegas — Terrace Marshall Jr (WR, LSU)
Not the biggest need but the top pass rushers are gone.

#49 Carolina (v/ARI) Robert Rochell (CB, Central Arkansas)
The Panthers get this pick for trading down from #8 to #16. Rochell has everything physically and just needs some technical fine tuning.

#50 Miami — Asante Samuel Jr (CB, Florida State)
According to reports, the Dolphins want to draft another cornerback early.

#51 Washington — Pete Werner (LB, Ohio State)
Werner’s always around the ball and he had a terrific pro-day workout.


#52 Chicago — Eric Stokes (CB, Georgia)
A very consistent, talented corner to fill a big need for the Bears.

#53 Tennessee — Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
Is he special enough to go earlier than this? I don’t think so.

#54 Indianapolis — Sam Cosmi (T, Texas)
The Colts love traits and Cosmi is highly explosive.

#55 Pittsburgh — Dillon Radunz (T, North Dakota State)
Radunz might be best suited to guard but he has a Steeler mentality and might get a shot to play left tackle.

#56 Green Bay (v/SEA) — D’Wayne Eskridge (WR, Western Michigan)
The Packers trade up to get ahead of New Orleans and select a player with game-breaking ability.

#57 LA Rams — Landon Dickerson (C, Alabama)
He’s a first round pick without the injury history — but that is clearly a big concern.

#58 Baltimore — Josh Myers (C, Ohio State)
I think he could still go in the top-50.

#59 Cleveland — Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue)

Is he more than a gadget player operating mostly from the slot?

#60 New Orleans — Bobby Brown (DT, Texas A&M)
There aren’t many players with a physical profile as impressive as Brown’s.

#61 Buffalo — Aaron Robinson (CB, UCF)
An incredibly quick, sudden corner who flies to the ball.

#62 Seattle (v/GB) — D’Ante Smith (T, ECU)
The Seahawks love length at tackle and Smith has +35 inch arms. He excelled at the Senior Bowl. I think this draft, such as it is for Seattle, will be about forward planning.

#63 Kansas City — Gregory Rousseau (DE, Miami)
His agility testing and length is intriguing but he has so much to learn.

#64 Tampa Bay — Davis Mills (QB, Stanford)
Why not plan ahead here?

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New podcast appearance and some thoughts/predictions

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

This week I was invited onto the Seahawkers podcast with Brandan Schulze to discuss the draft. Our conversation is being published in two parts, starting with the offense.

Check it out below:

I also wanted to share some thoughts/predictions today…

— Keep an eye on Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade for the Seahawks. Although he had a challenging 2020 season, he’s still the same player who was garnering first round talk a year ago. He’s a former five-star recruit, he’s 6-1 and 195lbs and he has 33.5 inch arms. These are traits the Seahawks usually show interest in. When you’re limited on picks and a player with his pedigree drops, it’s an opportunity to capitalise. Wade is someone nobody really talks about from a Seahawks perspective but just keep him on your radar. If you had a high grade on him last year and you’re willing to take into account the weirdness of the BIG-10 season, some teams might have him higher on their board than you think. And if you’re a team with three picks going in and trying to find some value, he’s one to watch.

— On the topic of cornerbacks, I think there’s a reasonable chance Benjamin St. Juste and Robert Rochell will go earlier than many are projecting. The other players I think are being projected too low are the Texas A&M trio Bobby Brown (see below), Buddy Johnson and Kellen Mond, North Carolina’s Dyami Brown, Georgia’s Ben Cleveland and East Carolina’s D’Ante Smith.

— For all the talk of this being a bad defensive tackle class (it is) — you’ll struggle to find a more exciting physical profile than Texas A&M’s Bobby Brown. His upside and potential is through the roof. He’s a very exciting prospect.

— It’s a trendy pick to put Rashawn Slater in the top-10 and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon a bit after his explosive pro-day by slotting him at #11. Don’t be surprised though if Alijah Vera-Tucker — who is a better player for me — goes before Slater. It’s not totally out of the question Slater drops a bit. He lacks the length to play tackle and players like AVT and Teven Jenkins just have a bit more attitude about them. The best way to describe Vera-Tucker is this — ‘class act’.

— I still think, as of today, it’s Mac Jones at #3 to San Francisco, Kyle Pitts to Atlanta at #4, Ja’Marr Chase at #5 to Cincy and then Miami could be a wildcard. Everyone assumes a receiver — which is plausible. I just still think someone, potentially, is going to surprise everyone by taking one of the top-two cornerbacks early. And per Tony Pauline, the Dolphins are eyeing a high pick at corner.

— Here are a few names with a lot of talent who could be available on day three with high upside and draft/develop potential — Joshua Kaindoh (DE), Chris Evans (RB), Tamorrion Terry (WR), Ta’Quon Graham (DT), Noah Gray (TE). They’re all boom or bust but later in the draft the risk is minimal.

— Israel Mukuamu just looks like a future Seahawk.

— Seattle’s inactivity at receiver is intriguing. Having lost David Moore, Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon — it’s a pure numbers game at this point. Even if they really rate Freddie Swain, they need more. It could easily be a tell towards what they’ll do with their top pick (whenever that happens). You could make the same argument about SAM linebacker but I suspect the Seahawks are focused on bringing back K.J. Wright and just need to let the process play out. With a loaded receiver class it wouldn’t be a surprise if they focused on the position and drafted a receiver between rounds 2-4.

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The case for the Seahawks drafting a quarterback

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Kellen Mond is really, really good

I can hear the cries of derision now.

The collective anguish that’ll be expressed by fans and media in Seattle could take on a physical form, rising through the floorboards like something from a Hellraiser sequel, if the Seahawks draft a quarterback early.

A lot of people found the Russell Wilson off-season saga challenging. Many got very defensive about it all — constantly trying to downplay everything, suggesting it was just some absurd media creation.

Yet it was real. It was very real.

This would be an explosive new chapter in the saga.

Yet the only difference between now and the moment Adam Schefter tweeted Wilson’s four preferred trade suitors, is those four options have come off the table.

There’s been no public dismissal of the supposed distance growing between quarterback and team. Michael Silver recently compared the whole thing to an episode of Seinfield, when George Costanza resigned from his job then turned up at the office on Monday acting like nothing had happened.

It seems like, more than anything, a trade simply wasn’t viable this year and both parties have accepted that and are just going to press on.

After all, what choice do they have?

But I think we all know that there’s a reasonable chance this will resurface in nine months time. No amount of ‘Go Hawks’ or ‘everything’s fine’ (what we’ll predictably hear from all concerned in the coming months) will change that.

If that’s the case, the Seahawks have to consider drafting a quarterback early in this draft — if the right player is available.

I know what the reaction to that suggestion will be. Many Seahawks fans will roll their eyes. They’ll hate the thought. They’ll think it’ll drive a divide between Wilson and the team. They’ll see it as provocative and undermining.

If you’re one of those people, take a step back and consider the following:

1. If there’s a chance you part ways with Wilson next year, as many have reported is a possibility, why wouldn’t you put yourself in a greater position of strength by having a fallback option on the roster, rather than facing the situation you had this year with no clear alternative solution at quarterback?

2. Given Wilson sent a list of trade suitors to Adam Schefter, why should he then react with surprise or displeasure if the team looks after its own interests by drafting an alternative in preparation for a potential future trade?

3. When the Packers used their top pick on a quarterback a year ago, it motivated Aaron Rodgers to have a MVP winning season and they reached the NFC Championship game.

I think Wilson has some extremely valid concerns about this team. If what has been reported by people close to his camp is accurate — the issues regarding the extent of Pete Carroll’s control, the style of the offense, the performance of the defense, the personnel decision making and the ownership flux all deserve serious attention.

I applaud Wilson for raising these issues. I think he’s one of the few people capable of initiating change. And some things need to change in Seattle in order to improve on a record of one playoff win in four seasons.

Yet we know there’s a reasonable chance this change won’t happen. Carroll isn’t going anywhere. Neither is his philosophy. Ownership isn’t close to changing either.

This might mean a divorce in 12 months — short of a major coming together and/or a successful 2021 season.

Therefore, the Seahawks are almost duty bound to think about the future. If they aren’t willing to do what Wilson wants to the extent there could be a parting, then they have to plan accordingly.

Drafting a quarterback this year won’t guarantee a long term replacement but at least you have ‘one in the chamber’ as John Schneider might put it. You have someone you can evaluate internally and integrate into your system and culture.

The 2022 quarterback class looks horrible at the moment. It’s probably the main reason we might see five quarterbacks drafted in the top-10 later this month.

Plus you won’t necessarily have a Matt Stafford, Carson Wentz or Sam Darnold to take a punt on next year.

Drafting someone now gives you an option. And sure — it creates drama. I’m inclined to say if the Seahawks can stoically navigate through what’s happened over the last couple of months, they’ll be able manage this too.

We’ve reached a point where we can’t say with any real certainty that Wilson will finish his career in Seattle. Therefore whether it happens next year, 2023 or 2024 — it’s time to start drafting quarterbacks. It’s time to start thinking about the future.

The worst case scenario is you get a cheap backup you can develop.

So how do you justify it this year with only three picks?

Personally I don’t think the Seahawks have assembled a roster that is primed for a deep playoff run. Yet I don’t think a rookie drafted in the #56-75 range and some day three selections are going to be the difference there either.

What they have done is fill holes. And while some areas remain somewhat unaddressed — options are available in the veteran market.

I think there’s a reasonable chance they’ll use their draft picks to plan ahead anyway, just at other positions. Offensive tackle and cornerback for example. Picks for the future.

A rookie center or receiver might be able to contribute quickly but that’s no given. I’m not sure why anyone would look at a draft where you start with three picks and think this is going to be a class potentially laden with impact for the Seahawks.

And look — if you made me put money on which position they select first, I wouldn’t lump on a quarterback. I just want to present the case for why it could happen and explain why I think it makes some sense.

I think one of the main reasons why it won’t happen is because the top quarterbacks will be gone. I think it’s highly possible Kellen Mond and Davis Mills will be off the board at #56 — the two players many project to be available in that range.

Mond is a four-year starter in the SEC. He shone at the Senior Bowl. He led Texas A&M to a terrific 2020 season with their only defeat coming against Alabama. He showed consistent progress throughout his college career. He has a great arm and throws well under pressure.

Yes he’s a bit robotic and he doesn’t make the most of his athleticism by loosening up and showing improv and creativity.

(I get the sense playing within structure might be a bit more important in the Shane Waldron offense)

For me he’s a terrific talent with much of what you look for in a draftable quarterback. He has the arm, the accuracy, the character, the progression over a number of years playing at the highest level of college football, he can throw with anticipation and under duress. There are ‘wow’ throws on tape.

I’m stunned at how little hype Mond has compared to some of the other quarterbacks in this draft.

Mills is a different story. He had 11 college starts and it showed. His decision making was poor at times and I just don’t think he ever found a consistent rhythm at Stanford. He was streaky. Yet he also has all of the tools you want, he has shown he can throw with anticipation and timing and with more experience there’s no reason why he couldn’t have been a very high pick.

If either player is at #56 I think they should be considered.

Let’s be right here — the Seahawks are not forced to cater for Wilson’s wants and needs and if he decides he wants a trade, only then start preparing for what’s next.

By opening the door to a possible future outside of Seattle, Wilson has forced their hand. They have to consider alternatives starting with this draft class.

I have one final thought on this. I accept the following is purely speculative and just me thinking out loud.

I found the reporting on Chicago’s trade interest insightful. The report was that John Schneider and Ryan Pace had talked. Then they met in North Dakota around Trey Lance’s pro-day. An offer was made, which Schneider presented to Pete Carroll. Then Carroll rejected it.

You can interpret this in different ways. My interpretation is Schneider wouldn’t present an offer to Carroll he had no interest in. And if he presented it while advising Carroll to reject it, I think the story would’ve been reported differently.

I wonder if Schneider is sick of dealing with Mark Rodgers and all the drama and perhaps was willing to just move on. I think Carroll, as is his nature, is more inclined to try and work through the situation.

It’s only a thought — but what if Carroll and Schneider have settled on persevering for another year under the proviso the GM gets to make some contingency plans? Especially if there’s a quarterback he really likes in this class?

And if he was willing to take the #20 pick from Chicago — does that indicate that he does have his eye on someone who isn’t among the field of QB’s expected to go in the top-10?

Pure speculation but an interesting talking point, don’t you think?

When I complete my final mock draft for Huddle Report scoring, I probably won’t have a quarterback paired with Seattle at #56. I think they’ll trade down and take an offensive lineman or a receiver with their top pick. I also think Kellen Mond and Davis Mills will both be long gone when they finally make a selection.

If they did draft a quarterback though, I think some perspective would be wise rather than the howling, shouting explosion we’ll likely witness.

If you missed the interview with leading draft insider Tony Pauline, check it out below (and subscribe to the YouTube channel):

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Guest post: Curtis Allen reviews the off-season (part 2)

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

This is a guest post written by Curtis Allen

Reviewing the Seahawks’ off-season to date: Defense

We will be reviewing some of the issues discussed in the Offseason Position Reviews posted in January and February:

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: DL

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: LB

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: DB

Questions the Seahawks Have Addressed

DL: Will the front office finally change its offseason mode of operation for addressing the defensive line?

They have definitely broken the pattern they have established the last two off seasons, that’s for sure.

Cutting Carlos Dunlap in order to save cap room with the idea of re-signing him was a bit of a high-wire act.

Dunlap had a major positive effect on the pass rush after arriving and messing with that after two poor seasons on the defensive line could have been real trouble.

The move worked out this time, as they were able to get him back in the fold and accomplish their objective of having more cap room.

The Seahawks spent a good chunk of the previous summer and camp telling the press that their young players would fill big, important roles on the defensive line. Obviously that was unrealistic and the defense paid the price. It would appear they have learned from that miscalculation and are attempting to pad the defensive end position with depth this offseason.

The challenge, of course, is they have let go their second best pass rusher (Jarran Reed) and have made no moves to replace his production. That deficiency needs to be addressed before Week One if they are to reach a standard of getting pass rush with their front four.

Right now, the truth is, who on the defensive line other than Dunlap deserves attention? Who keeps quarterbacks up at night? Who needs to be schemed and planned for by offensive coordinators?

Put another way, this line is Dunlap and a bunch of guys. Can they be more than the sum of their parts?

Unless they get a big leap in effectiveness from Robinson, Poona, Green and Collier, they have not improved all that much from 2020. And despite the common narrative that the Seahawks went from outhouse to penthouse in the second half of the season in pass rush — and the presumption that all woes are in the past — they have merely moved from the bottom of the league to the middle-bottom.

DL: What will they do at the 5-tech position?

In February I wrote:

What do the Seahawks do at this position? Do they bank on these two players for the third year in a row? Or do they commit more resources there?

Will the Seahawks make an investment in the draft or free agency?

The team made a small investment at the position, signing Kerry Hyder to a very modest two-year contract. Hyder has the body type and run defending skills that fit the role very well.

Hyder has had a Benson Mayowa-like career, playing for multiple teams and has been able to sandwich two relatively productive seasons around many that were far less so. He had a good season playing with Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw. With Seattle’s serious lack of talent on the interior, can Hyder be as effective as he was in San Francisco? That remains to be seen. The good news is the Seahawks bought low on him.

While he appears to be an attractive addition, it not only underscores the lack of development of their two young players at the position, it continues the trend of papering over the cracks on the roster with good but not great players to “just get by.”

Even with a small commitment, he appears set to take a good chunk of the snaps at 5-tech, unless Green or Collier come out of nowhere to force themselves further into the conversation.

The team appeared deep if not talented at the position. At least that was the outlook immediately after signing Hyder.

But plans change quickly.

With Jarran Reed being cut, this likely will force either Green or Collier inside more frequently. So the team has lightly strengthened one spot (signing Hyder at 5-tech) and weakened another (cutting Reed at 3-tech).

DL: What does the future hold for Carlos Dunlap and Jarran Reed?

I was wrong in my review. Cutting both players after witnessing them providing nearly the only defensive line pass rush seemed unfathomable. Yet that is exactly what happened.

Dunlap was brought back on a much more affordable contract.

Reed however, is gone.

The team re-signed Poona Ford to an extension and will likely slide him over to take a good number of Reed’s snaps.

Al Woods was brought in to assist on both interior spots. But calling him a “replacement for Reed” is a mischaracterization. Woods has collected 5.5 sacks in his ten year NFL career. Reed got that many in half a season in 2020.

DL: How much can they count on Darrell Taylor in 2021?

It would appear that the Seahawks are preparing for Taylor to not have a key role on the defense in 2021. Signing Benson Mayowa early in free agency, moving quickly to bring Carlos Dunlap back and then adding Aldon Smith may indicate they are not expecting much from Taylor.

I repeat what I wrote in the offseason review: Do not get sucked in by positive reports and even Pete Carroll saying very positive things about Taylor at the draft, over the summer, or even in training camp.

Let’s see him take the field Week One. Then we can move forward.

DB: Do they need to completely revamp the outside cornerback spot?

This is under ‘questions addressed’ only because they have players to line up if Week One were today. Akhello Witherspoon and either D.J. Reed or Tre Flowers will line up outside.

Cornerback is still a work in progress though.

It is possible Witherspoon can be 2021’s version of Brandon Shell — a starter who had been benched by his former team and then allowed to leave in free agency, who makes good for the Seahawks on a middling contract.

It is possible that D.J. Reed can play a full season on the outside and use that feisty attitude and those elite feet to really make a difference on defense.

It is possible Tre Flowers can settle his mind and find the confidence he needs to play a full season of good football.

It is possible Damarious Randall can tap into the talent that made him a first round pick and be a Reed-like gem unearthed by John Schneider in 2021.

Would you bet the house on all those things happening?

No, me neither.

This is where comparing 2020 and 2021’s group of corners may prove a bit of a trap for fans.

This group has just as much of a chance to be as good as last year’s. 2020 was a train wreck of a season for cornerbacks in Seattle.

Shaquill Griffin was a 64 rated corner by PFF.

Tre Flowers mixed bouts of decent play with injuries and ineffectiveness.

Quinton Dunbar is playing in Detroit for $137,000 guaranteed this year. The Seahawks, in desperate need of cornerbacks, decided that price was too rich after getting a front row seat to his play and health in 2020.

Just by stepping on the field — Reed, Witherspoon, Randall and Flowers should equal or better last year’s group.

But it is not enough. The defense needs more.

Particularly if the team is going to continue blitzing their strong safety ten times per game.

A workable prospect from the draft would be a great start. So would a veteran who has a history in Seattle and would not cost a fortune…

Stay tuned.

Questions the Seahawks Have Yet to Address

DL: How will the team attack the passer in 2021?
LB: What will the linebackers’ role in this defense be in 2021?

This remains to be seen. The defensive line as currently constructed is in a spot where we have to see that they can consistently pressure without blitzing 35% of the time to really grasp that it can be done.

Dunlap has to do what he did last year – make everyone around him better. Can he do it without 2020 sidekick Jarran Reed?

Kerry Hyder will have to stop being a journeyman and put together a second consecutive good season – something he has not yet managed to do. It is time to put all those years of sleeping on couches and studying playbooks to good use and put down some roots in Seattle. Can he?

Alton Robinson will have to take a big step in the right direction. Being able to spell Dunlap and Mayowa and do more than occasionally pop would go a long way.

Can Bryan Mone parlay about 200 snaps in 2020 into about 400-450 snaps in 2021 and maintain his quality of play? Can he turn some of that surprising quickness into pressure more frequently?

Can Ken Norton Jr and Clint Hurtt find some creativity with the front four to keep offenses guessing?

A good number of those questions need to be answered in the affirmative.

Otherwise, buckle up. We are going to see the linebackers and safeties blitzing far too frequently and Russell Wilson and the offense straining to keep ahead on the scoreboard again.

LB: Do they move on from Bobby Wagner?
LB: Do they bring K.J. Wright back?

No movement here on either front.

Wagner has not had his contract restructured nor has there been any talk about a cut, trade, or extension. You can probably interpret the lack of action any way you like.

All the challenges remain though.

His salary is too high.

We have very likely seen his best years already.

He is an asset that can be traded for draft capital the Seahawks sorely need.

And yet the fact remains he is their best player on defense. The lingering feeling that Pete Carroll either cannot or will not depart from Wagner is present and will not go away. Just like K.J. last year, a big cap hit may not be enough to persuade him to move on.

K.J. has indeed found a less than enthusiastic free agent market, even after having a terrific season. He has said he will not give the Seahawks a discount. The fact is, though – the Seahawks can certainly use him at SAM and WILL. But only if the price is right.

The timing on this one will be critical. If the Seahawks want him back, John Schneider is going to have to discern when Wright’s desire to get something locked down for 2021 will be at its peak.

Act too quickly and the price might be too high. Wait too long and Wright could go cold and sign with any other team, feeling the appreciation is no longer there in Seattle.

DB: Are the Seahawks really going to shape their defense as well as their salary cap around Jamal Adams?

In February I wrote:

Absent a Russell Wilson trade, what they do with Jamal Adams could determine the entire direction this team takes this offseason, from how they deploy the players they already have on the roster, to who they draft, to what free agent decisions they make, to how much cap money they have available in the next 3-4 seasons.

It demands the team’s attention. Right now.

Just like Wagner, we have heard nothing on Jamal Adams.

It is possible the Russell Wilson drama has provided a bit of a smokescreen – diverting the media pressure away from topics like Adams and Wagner.

But as I wrote, this is a huge decision for the Seahawks.

Trade Adams, recoup some draft capital and get to work on drafting some key positions and build depth in other places.

Or extend him and pray to the heavens above that Adams stays healthy, improves in the other areas of his game and that you can hit on some lottery tickets in the UDFA market.

DB: What do the Seahawks do with Marquise Blair?

This is another issue that will not be settled until training camp and pre-season.

The Seahawks started out having Blair at safety in his rookie season. He got snaps in both positions with mixed results.

After acquiring Jamal Adams, the Seahawks decided they’d like to try him at nickel corner and they seemed thrilled with the results. His work in training camp got Pete Carroll very excited. He then got hurt and Ugo Amadi filled his spot and played effectively.

The thought has occurred to some that given their lack of depth at outside cornerback, that perhaps the Seahawks should try Blair out there.

He has length — which is a plus — but his skillset is better suited to playing inside, where his ability to deliver hits and discern the play developing in front of him and react are what made him so valuable in the first place.

Furthermore, it would be the third season in a row the Seahawks would have tried him out at a different position. They would be taking a real risk in a critical season for his development, particularly one with Blair coming off a major injury.

But we have all learned the past two seasons that nothing is off the table when it comes to the defensive backfield.

****

Thoughts on the draft

Unfortunately the defense is much like the offense – plagued with players soon out of contract and lacking in long-term building blocks:

DE — Dunlap, Mayowa and Hyder are signed to two-year contracts. Collier and Robinson have a long way to go. The book is closing quickly on Green. Taylor may never play a NFL down.

DT — Poona Ford is the only inside linemen contracted for 2022.

LB — Wagner’s cap hit in 2022 is $20 million. Barton and Burr-Kurven have not been trusted to play on defense for any length of time. Brooks is coming along nicely, though.

S — Adams and Diggs are free agents in 2022.

CB –- Everybody is a free agent in 2022.

It is safe to say the Seahawks can punt on drafting a safety or a linebacker in 2021 (although again, all bets are off when projecting this front office’s priorities).

For every other position on defense, it is all hands on deck.

A cornerback project would be extremely useful.

You can never have enough pass rushers.

Inside pass rushers? The rarest gem of them all. The Seahawks have been chasing a good one of those for years. And the best one they have developed in the PCJS era, they just let walk out the door.

Even if the Seahawks had 5-7 picks, they would still not have enough to cover all of their needs. With only three at this time, well, you must do the best you can with what you have.

You know the best way to eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

If you just make good picks and find players who can contribute to the team on a rookie contract — that can go a very long way towards building a successful roster.

If you missed the interview with leading draft insider Tony Pauline, check it out below (and subscribe to the YouTube channel):

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A Seahawks seven round mock simulation

Friday, April 16th, 2021

D’Ante Smith could be a strong option for the Seahawks

The Pro Football Network simulator is the best on the internet. None of the others come close really.

Last year we had a lot of fun playing around with it. The Seahawks had a cluster of picks in the first two days.

This year things are a little different with just three picks.

However, it’s still a worthwhile exercise. Firstly, the ability to trade down presents scenarios where the Seahawks add stock. Secondly, while I disagree wildly with some of their rankings and projections, it does provide an opportunity to consider what might be possible in this draft.

I’m going to re-post my horizontal board. As you can see below, there are certain players such as the Texas A&M trio Kellen Mond, Bobby Brown and Buddy Johnson that I have ranked a lot higher than the PFN simulator:

Other players, such as Quinn Meinerz, are nearly always available in round three. I can’t fathom a situation where a highly explosive, long-armed center who excelled at the Senior Bowl lasts that long.

Yes — he’s a small school prospect but so was Ali Marpet (who went in round two). Meinerz is more explosive than Marpet and he’s bigger.

Nevertheless — I do think this is going to be a draft where we’re somewhat surprised at the names available from round three onwards.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the Seahawks will trade down multiple times from #56 to fill out their board. In this simulation, that’s what I wanted to portray.

Having played around with the simulator, it’s possible to get the Seahawks to about 11 picks if you want to. I’m not sure this is realistic. Yet I wouldn’t totally rule out a situation where the Seahawks basically punt on the top-75 and decide to take their chances in the second half of the draft.

Even so, it’ll be incredibly painful to witness some of the names that will come off the board when Seattle should otherwise be picking.

One other thing to note is while many people are identifying Seattle’s key needs, I suspect this might be a draft where a long-term view is taken. As we’ve discussed — the left and right tackle, center, tight end, both starting cornerbacks, free safety and other players are all out of contract after 2021. If Jamal Adams is extended, money will be tight.

The Seahawks have little choice but to try and solve some longer term answers in this draft. Remaining needs could be addressed in the free agent market afterwards.

Here’s how the simulation played out:

#56 — traded to New Orleans for #60, #133
This is the kind of deal I wanted to kick things off. You don’t have to move down too far but you acquire an extra pick. The target was to trade down multiple times, bit by bit, in order to keep adding stock.

#60 — traded to Houston for #67, #147, #233
Having originally moved down four picks, the Seahawks move down a further seven spots. Going from #56 to #67 has so far delivered three additional picks, doubling Seattle’s stock. And they’re still in the top-70. Perfect.

#67 — traded to Denver for #71, #191
One final deal before making a pick. The Broncos offered a 2022 pick to jump four spots but I bartered for #191 instead. It all means that while the #Seahawks won’t make their first selection until #71 — at least they’ll be able to add seven players from this class.

#71 — D’Ante Smith (T, East Carolina)
With Duane Brown out of contract after 2021 and approaching his 36th birthday, it’s unclear how much longer he intends to play. Brandon Shell’s contract is also up after this year, so it’s worth spending a pick on a tackle to potentially fill either void. Smith ticks a lot of boxes. The Seahawks value length and he has 35 1/4 inch arms. He’s a 2.97 TEF tester which is in their range for explosive traits. He had a superb Senior Bowl where he showed attitude and skill. Spencer Brown could be another option if he lasts into this range (he went the pick before in this simulation). Dan Moore at Texas A&M or Tommy Doyle at Miami (Ohio) are later-round alternatives.

#129 — Buddy Johnson (LB, Texas A&M)
Let me be clear — I don’t think Johnson will last into round four. I think he deserves a second round grade. That said, I wasn’t going to pass him up here simply to prove a point. If he’s available at #129, the Seahawks might consider him to provide linebacker depth — especially with K.J. Wright unsigned. They’ve found linebackers who run elite short-shuttle times irresistible in the Carroll era. Johnson’s 4.07 would put him in the top-10 among linebackers since 2010. On top of that, he jumped a 38.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad. He was incredibly popular at Texas A&M and while he’s undersized (6-0, 230lbs) he plays big and physical.

#133 — Robert Hainsey (C, Notre Dame)
The center position is a tricky one to work out. It’s the one position the Seahawks might be willing to take an offensive lineman with sub-33 inch arms. If Quinn Meinerz and Kendrick Green are available with their first pick, either could easily be the guy. Yet it’s very possible the board works against them. Hainsey played right tackle at Notre Dame but switched to center at the Senior Bowl and received positive reviews. He’s 306lbs with 32 1/8 inch arms and 9 7/8 inch hands. His TEF scoring was reasonable (2.97). He was a three-year captain and he’s a tough, physical blocker. Drew Dalman was off the board prior to Seattle’s picks in round four, removing an alternative target.

#147 — Israel Mukuamu (CB, South Carolina)
This is all about body type. You only have to look at him. He might as well have ‘Seahawks cornerback’ tattoo’d on his chest. There’s been a lot of mocks and projections recently pairing the Seahawks with a cornerback at their top pick. Yet in the Carroll era, they’ve traditionally waited until this range to tap into the position. They like to target a profile. Mukuamu is 6-4, 212lbs with 34 inch arms. He has an 80 3/4 inch wingspan and was the only cornerback measured during the pro-day schedule with a +80 inch wingspan. The Seahawks are always willing to draft a player with his frame and length.

#191 — Tamorrion Terry (WR, Florida State)
The Seahawks could take a receiver earlier than this but rightly or wrongly, they might use the depth at the position to their ‘advantage’ again this year. Terry is a terrific athlete who looks the part. He can get downfield. The Seahawks only really target receivers who run a 4.4 or faster and he ticks that box (4.45). He’s nearly 6-3 and 207lbs with long 33.5 inch arms. He’s certainly got to reach a level of consistency to make it in the NFL but he’s also got a shot to be really good. You don’t often say that about players going in this range. I’m really torn on how Seattle might approach receiver in this class. There are so many productive slot types — and they could do with one of those.

#233 — Jason Pinnock (CB, Pittsburgh)
Pinnock’s a shade under 6-1 and 204lbs with 32 3/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.49 at pro-day and then added a 39.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad. Pinnock looks the part but he’s allowed six touchdowns of +25 yards since 2019. Staying ‘on top’ is a big deal for the Seahawks and those numbers are somewhat concerning. Yet in this range, it’s no risk at all to take on the body type and profile and see if you can create something.

#250 — John Bates (TE, Boise State)
This pick came down to Chris Evans or Bates. Evans as a running back has the explosive traits they love. They’re always willing to draft an explosive inside runner with untapped potential. He could be an UDFA target or maybe they find a way to get back into round seven to get both. I went with Bates because he’s an in-line blocker who ran a superb three cone and short shuttle. That’s the kind of tight end Seattle drafts. His 6.85 three cone at 250lbs is remarkable. As with Buddy Johnson and his short shuttle time, they might find Bates too good to pass.

Full draft class

#71 — D’Ante Smith (T)
#129 — Buddy Johnson (LB)
#133 — Robert Hainsey (C)
#147 — Israel Mukuamu (CB)
#191 — Tamorrion Terry (WR)
#233 — Jason Pinnock (CB)
#250 — John Bates (TE)

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Watch: An interview with Tony Pauline

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Today I hosted a live stream with the #1 draft insider in the business, Tony Pauline. You can watch our conversation below.

Please subscribe to the YouTube channel, like the video and share on other websites/forums where possible.

Guest post: Curtis Allen reviews the off-season (part 1)

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

This is a guest post written by Curtis Allen

Reviewing the Seahawks’ off-season to date: Offense

With the bulk of free agency done and the draft a couple of weeks away, it is an ideal time to take stock of what the Seahawks have done this offseason so far, discuss what conclusions we can draw and talk a bit about what lies ahead for the draft and the balance of the offseason.

We will be reviewing some of the issues discussed in the off-season position reviews posted in January and February:

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: QB

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: OL

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: WR

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: TE

Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: RB

Questions the Seahawks have addressed

QB: What kind of roster support will the team give Russ?

It seems clear that the Seahawks intend to provide him with run and short game passing support to supplement the deeper threats of Lockett and Metcalf. It would be a welcome respite from what we witnessed in 2020 – an offense with the lack of running game and near-constant seven-step drop plays that resulted in too many sacks conceded.

Re-signing Chris Carson at a reasonable rate is a smart move by the front office. He has an ability to take a drive over and give Wilson the occasional break.

It is noteworthy that the Seahawks threw to Carson far more frequently in 2020 than in the past. He had the same number of receptions in 2020 as he did in 2019 (37) in almost half the snaps. Look for Shane Waldron to continue to find ways to use him in this capacity and give the quarterback some ‘easy yards’ at times.

Gabe Jackson is a serious investment in the interior. The Seahawks apparently expressed interest in free agents but landed on trading a fifth round pick for Jackson and then signed him to an extension. The question of whether this move can be considered a response specifically to Russ expressing dissatisfaction with his protection is debatable. Pete Carroll directly mentioned that left guard was a position the Seahawks wanted to upgrade at his year-end press conference.

Gerald Everett offers an athletic outlet that is familiar with Waldron’s concepts. This should prove beneficial to assist getting Wilson integrated into the offense.

Supporting him also means giving him a defense who will give him the ball with regularity. The Seahawks did recognize how poorly their defensive line played in 2020 and added Kerry Hyder, Al Woods and brought Carlos Dunlap back after cutting him. So there is at least a try-hard level of support from the front office to keep the defense functional, if not improved.

OL: Who will start at center and left guard?

Gabe Jackson has been acquired and extended, Ethan Pocic re-signed with a modest raise, and Kyle Fuller was tendered to return to the team.

At this point it seems clear that the Seahawks have taken steps to fill the open positions on the offensive line but the exact placement of the positions is still a work in progress.

Logic points to Jackson slotting in at Left Guard and Ethan Pocic at Center, with Damien Lewis returning at Right Guard, all in between Brown and Shell.

So at this point, the Offensive Line could possibly be set. However, the draft is heavy with attractive options in the interior and that presumptive formation could be reshuffled by the time week one rolls around.

WR: Will they look at extending Tyler Lockett?

The reasons laid out in the original review all came to bear as the Seahawks moved up their timetable for extending veteran players, signing Lockett to a handsome extension. The extension accomplished many things:

— it rewards a fantastic player

— it opens up cap room in 2021

— it keeps a key weapon on the roster for Russ to work with

Perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t cripple the Seahawks’ salary cap in the next two or three seasons. The deal includes a handsome bonus but only $5m in guaranteed salary. It is structured very smartly in that it gives the team flexibility. There is no guaranteed salary in 2023 (his age 31 season), just as the Seahawks will be feeling the cap hit of the first season of a DK Metcalf extension. Brilliant.

Whatever way the offense changes under Shane Waldron, the connection between Wilson and Lockett will remain a potent piece of the Seahawks’ offense.

TE: So what do the Seahawks do now?

Since that question was asked, the Seahawks have hired Shane Waldron and signed Gerald Everett.

Everett and Dissly are out of contract in 2022, and behind them is Colby Parkinson. All three should play roles in the offense this season, so the team is set for 2021. However, the position is in flux beyond that.

The Seahawks would be wise to work Parkinson into the offense as soon as possible to fully assess their options for the 2022 off-season.

The team could find a new level of effectiveness if the Seahawks can get the tight ends more involved. If only for the fact that they can be successful in converting more third downs. At times, the offense needed to protect the scoreboard by staying on the field in 2020 and could not get the tight ends involved to accomplish that goal. As a result, some games were tighter than they should have been.

RB: Will they bring Chris Carson back and what about the rest of the players on the roster?

In February I wrote:

It would appear the best option is to have Carson on the roster in 2021.

However, his health issues cannot be ignored. So if the Seahawks are going to invest in Carson, they will have to continue to invest in depth as well to protect the offense.

Can they afford to do that? This season in particular, they cannot. If they feel that Carson is the best option, they must be able to work out a reasonable contract. Giving Carson a big contract and then not having him available for large chunks of the season is not an option.

The Seahawks held firm on Carson and signed him to a very workable extension for two years with only $5.5million guaranteed. It also includes a void year that helps with their 2021 cap room.

This is a brilliant maneuver. Carson is not paid in the top 10 of AAV for running backs, yet the Seahawks get a player they know can be a big factor and set a tone on their offense for not much more than what they would pay a high draft pick.

Yet it addresses the very real concerns with Carson’s durability. The contract does not overburden the team with any expectations. They can use Carson as a lead plow horse in some games and use him less in others without fear of wasting valuable resources.

Alex Collins was an easy choice to resign to the roster. He clearly has a role in the offense to play with some vision and toughness. He is a good addition as the Seahawks continue to collect running back depth.

Questions the Seahawks have yet to address

QB: Can Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson get on the same page? What does Russ want?

Those two questions remained unanswered and may continue to do so for some time, unfortunately.

It has been months since this drama started and there seems to be no end in sight.

We have heard word through sources like Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Marshall that Russ has compromised and is staying — but nothing concrete yet that can truly put this issue to bed and move on.

The draft seems like a reasonable date to know what the Seahawks plan on doing with their franchise quarterback in 2021.

Trade him before or during the draft and their intentions are known. Keep him through the draft and the questions remain unanswered likely through the rest of the offseason and into the regular season.

OL: The Seahawks need to address the future of the tackle position — soon

Duane Brown, Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi are signed for 2021 only. There has been no movement towards extensions but also no word that Brown is considering retirement.

It is possible this will be addressed in the draft. If not, the Seahawks are once again gambling that they may have a big hole at two critical positions come 2022. Their cap room is going to dry up very, very quickly if they do not have at least one prospect from this upcoming draft ready to step in.

More importantly — if they do not get this addressed, it will not matter how much they have spent to extend Tyler Lockett or what they are paying Gabe Jackson or who the offensive coordinator is. Their offense will not be able to properly function, and their franchise quarterback’s discontent will only grow.

WR: What do they do behind Lockett and Metcalf in 2021?

This is yet to be addressed. It is possible that with Lockett and Metcalf slotted securely on the roster for 2021, the need is not as great as other positions.

Gerald Everett has been added as a weapon at tight end and if the Seahawks re-focus on making that position group a bigger priority in the passing game, it is possible that adding another wide receiver will continue to take a back seat on the list of offseason needs.

Still, the offense would be hampered by an injury to either of the two starters that requires them to miss a significant amount of time. There is always that possibility and that likely is not too far back in the team’s mind. They would do well to address it.

RB: How can they field a healthier unit going forward?

This will be an ongoing concern. Penny and Carson will have injury question marks following them for the rest of their NFL careers.

Penny lost 2020 to injury and needs to prove he can be healthy enough to stay on the field. He is likely auditioning for a spot with his new team in 2021 – maybe even his future in the NFL. Playing the bulk of the season with a real contribution to the offense would be a godsend for the Seahawks and his career.

Carson had a very strange 2020. Banged up constantly, praised by Pete Carroll for his toughness and yet frequently given a very light workload immediately after being proclaimed healthy and ready to go. It is possible he was hurt more than we know and Carroll was just trying to run some interference.

As it is, Carson only eclipsed 20 touches in a game once in 2020, Week Two against New England where he had 17 runs and three catches. The Seahawks need more.

Keeping both of these guys on the roster will constitute a worthwhile endeavour only if both avoid missing significant stretches in 2021.

Carson may already be heading for trouble with this risky-looking workout posted online:

You are not helping, Chris. The Seahawks need you plowing through tackles and taking passes with those soft hands. Not potentially injuring yourself to get some internet buzz going.

Is the team taking Carson’s physical conditioning seriously? It is really hard to say. Posting that video complicates things.

****

Thoughts on the draft

The Seahawks could line up this offense tomorrow and have a solid group to work with — but not complete. Their immediate roster needs on offense are obvious:

— A legitimate threat at third wide receiver

— An interior offensive lineman with some ferocity to pair with Lewis and Jackson

The way this roster is constructed though, you could very well see the Seahawks targeting virtually any position on offense in this draft and it would be justified:

QB: The cloud surrounding Russell Wilson’s future will not go away until the Seahawks make it go away

RB: Chris Carson has no guaranteed money on his contract in 2022. Rashaad Penny is very unlikely to be tendered for his 5th year. Collins is a one-year rental and Deejay Dallas has yet to show much of anything

OL: They need a young tackle or two — now

WR: Somebody needs to take David Moore’s snaps without too big a drop-off in production

TE: Colby Parkinson is the only player under contract in 2022

The offensive roster situation seems negative but there is a silver lining.

Given all these long-term needs, the Seahawks will be free to pursue the best player available. If the team views things that way, they will be able to open their board and look at all the options rather than being pinpoint focused on a position group and/or a couple players they set their hearts on getting.

We saw what the Seahawks did last year when they reached for a position in the second round. The results were about as bad as you can imagine.

Not only are there continued question marks about Darrell Taylor’s availability in 2021 but the team also sacrificed two prime picks to get him. They could have a strong tackle prospect and a rising wide receiver on the roster right now ready to step into key spots this season.

Having only three draft picks at this point could steer the Seahawks toward success almost by default. They will be forced to maximize their returns in the draft, while simultaneously not expecting to find players who can contribute in Week One.

That is a formula for taking the best player available if there ever was one.

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The ultimate Seahawks 2021 draft preview

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Quinn Meinerz ticks a lot of boxes but might not be available for Seattle

Introduction

The Seahawks have only three picks this year but it’s arguably never been more important that they hit on the ones they have.

With no left or right tackle, cornerback, free safety, center or starting tight end contracted for 2022, some answers need to be found.

The Seahawks have $46,571,756 in projected cap space next year following Tyler Lockett’s extension. If Jamal Adams is also retained, that number will shrink further.

With only 30 players currently signed and several key starters out of contract, there needs to be some forward planning.

They also have short term concerns too. They haven’t added a receiver in free agency or replaced Bruce Irvin and KJ Wright. They could use further competition at center and cornerback.

There’s a lot of work to do.

Barring a major trade between now and the end of the month, they will go into the draft with an unprecedented lack of stock.

Warren Sharpe recently pointed out how unusual their situation is:

“They have less draft capital than ANY team in ANY year since at least 1999… the year the Saints traded EVERY PICK for the #5 pick (RB Ricky Williams) and they still had more capital to work with than Seattle has in 2021.”

Without adding picks, a trade down from #56 seems inevitable. The chances are the Seahawks won’t make a pick in the first two rounds.

It’s barely believable but here we are.

Thoughts on the draft class

The one positive is this does appear to be a deep draft. The options in round three will be attractive. I think people will be surprised at some of the names that’ll be available on day three.

The thing is — you could take even more advantage of that with more picks. So good value in the middle rounds still isn’t really a justification for putting yourself in a position with so little stock.

Nevertheless, I think the Seahawks have followed a familiar path this year.

They’ve often identified the strength of a class, then tailored their free agency period around fixing other areas.

This is not a strong year for defensive linemen. So it’s no surprise that the Seahawks have addressed this area by re-signing Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa, adding Kerry Hyder and then signing Al Woods to replace Jarran Reed.

Equally, there are limited options at running back. Thus, Chris Carson returns. It’s an appalling tight end class. They added Gerald Everett.

The three deepest positions are arguably receiver, cornerback and O-line. I’m posting my horizontal board below because it breaks down the depth at each position:

Essentially they’ve set the table to tap into the strong areas of the class.

Possible Seahawks targets

In some instances I have left players out of this piece because I see no realistic prospect of them reaching the Seahawks. This includes, for example, Landon Dickerson, Teven Jenkins, Elijah Moore, Jamin Davis, Najee Harris, Josh Myers and Travis Etienne.

There are also players who haven’t tested or even measured who I also haven’t included.

I’ve compiled this list based on trends over the course of the last 11 years of Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s tenure.

Offensive line

There are several things to consider here.

Firstly, arm length. The Seahawks appear to have only drafted one player with sub-33 inch arms in the Carroll era. That was Joey Hunt, a sixth round center.

In the case of offensive tackles, they’ve often sought great length in the 35 inch range (Russell Okung, Germain Ifedi).

Jim Nagy also noted recently on Twitter that hand-size is seen as more important than arm length at center. That could justify the Hunt pick, albeit in the later rounds. He had short arms (30 inches) but big hands (10 inches).

For that reason, I’m including center prospects with sub-33 inch arms but +10 inch hands.

Explosive traits are also clearly something the Seahawks focus on, as noted in our recent TEF breakdown of the O-line class. I would recommend checking that article out but just to reiterate — this is without a doubt the most explosive O-line group we’ve seen in years.

Offensive tackles

D’Ante Smith (East Carolina)
Smith ticks all of the key boxes for Seattle. He has 35 inch arms, he scored a 2.97 in TEF and he excelled at the Senior Bowl, showing great intensity and attitude. I interviewed him shortly after his week in Mobile and he has the kind of personality that is easy to warm to. Despite some buzz around the Senior Bowl, the hype seems to have plateaued since. Keep an eye on Smith. As one for the future, he’s right in their wheelhouse.

Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa)
There’s rawness in his technique and his height (6-9) is an issue in terms of leverage and pad level. I’m not sure the Seahawks would draft an offensive lineman who is this tall. Yet he has the length (34 inch arms) and explosive traits (3.36 TEF) they covet. Following his pro-day there’s a growing buzz that he could go in the top-50 but as a potential ‘tackle of the future’ (left or right) he ticks a lot of boxes. He also performed reasonably well at the Senior Bowl, something the Seahawks pay a lot of attention to.

Alex Leatherwood (Alabama)
He didn’t impress at the Senior Bowl — which he needed to, after insisting he only play left tackle throughout the week. Yet his profile does match up to what Seattle looks for. He has 34 1/2 inch arms and he scored 3.16 in TEF. The Seahawks have drafted from Alabama’s trenches before and Leatherwood could be targeted to be an eventual heir apparent to Duane Brown (or Brandon Shell).

Tommy Doyle (Miami, Ohio)
As a later round option, Doyle could be very appealing. He loves to get after it on tape and he plays with an edge. Physically, he ticks all the boxes. He has 35 1/8 inch arms, he’s 320lbs and he’s explosive, scoring a 3.06 in TEF. If the Seahawks take a flier on a tackle project later on, this is a name to monitor.

Dan Moore (Texas A&M)
Moore had a reasonable career with the Aggies. However, he may be projected to kick inside at the next level. From a Seahawks perspective he has 34 1/2 inch arms, he’s 6-6 and 311lbs and his pass protection skills were on show in the SEC — where he started for three years. He’s a 3.08 TEF tester. He’s a later round alternative to some of the bigger names.

Landon Young (Kentucky)
The Seahawks like linemen with wrestling backgrounds and Young has that on his résumé. He was once highly coveted during recruiting and while he might be strictly a right tackle or guard in the NFL, he has some of the key traits. He has 34 inch arms and he’s explosive, scoring a 3.24 in TEF. He’s another later round option.

Walker Little (Stanford)
He hasn’t played for nearly two seasons and that could impact his stock. In terms of size he looks the part (6-7, 313lbs) and his agility testing (4.59 short shuttle) was impressive. He’s a 2.93 TEF tester which is good not great. He doesn’t have amazing length with 33 3/4 inch arms. I think if he lasts deep into day three due to a lack of playing time, you have to consider him as a potential tackle of the future. No earlier though, especially since he’d be sitting for a third straight year.

Center

Quinn Meinerz (UWW)
He ticks every box for the Seahawks. He has the size Mike Solari craves in his offensive linemen (320lbs). He has great length (33 3/8 inch arms). He scored a superb 3.41 in TEF, with a 109.1 in weighted TEF. He was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl and he has position flexibility. I don’t see much chance of him lasting into range for the Seahawks but if he did — he has everything they look for. I interviewed Meinerz in February.

Kendrick Green (Illinois)
I see Green as the Quinn Meinerz alternative. They are a similar size, they have similar explosive traits and they play with the same attitude. If Meinerz goes in the top-40 as I suspect he might, then Green could be the next best thing. He’s one of the most explosive O-liners to enter the league in the last few years, scoring a 3.41 in TEF. He only has 32 inch arms but he has the hand size (10 inches) to make up for it. He has played center in the past although most recently he featured at guard.

Drew Dalman (Stanford)
Another highly explosive athlete (3.31 TEF) but Dalman lacks the size of Meinerz and Green. He weighed 299lbs at his pro-day and he’s simply not naturally very big. He only has 31 1/2 inch arms but he does have 10 1/2 inch hands. The lack of size likely keeps him on the board into day three. If the Seahawks want to add competition at center and go in a different direction with their first pick, Dalman is one to watch provided they’re willing to take an undersized center.

Robert Hainsey (Notre Dame)
Hainsey was tried at center at the Senior Bowl and had a good week. His lack of length makes a permanent transition likely. He’s 306lbs with 32 1/8 inch arms and 9 7/8 inch hands. His TEF scoring was reasonable (2.97). I think he’ll go later than Dalman and again, if the Seahawks miss out early and they’re willing to draft another short-armed center, then Hainsey is an option.

Brady Christensen (BYU)
Although he played tackle at BYU he simply doesn’t have the body to stay there in the NFL. He’s low cut with a big chest and short arms (32 1/4 inches). He’s ideally suited to moving inside. He’s the most explosive offensive lineman ever tested using TEF (3.72). He has the hand size (10 1/4) for center. He’s already in his mid-20’s which will temper some of his pro-day hype and keep him on the board but he has the physical profile of a top-level center if he can make the transition.

Guard

Sam Cosmi (Texas)
I wouldn’t completely rule out the Seahawks drafting someone like Cosmi to be a tackle of the future candidate. However, with 33 inch arms it is worth noting that it would be a departure from previous ‘tackle’ picks. His outstanding pro-day with a 3.57 TEF score puts him on the radar. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility Seattle shifts Damien Lewis to center and drafts a guard. I’m not totally sure Cosmi is a fit for Mike Solari though.

Ben Cleveland (Georgia)
Cleveland is much more in line with the Solari approach to offensive linemen. Arguably the toughest and strongest player in the entire draft, he ran a 4.85 forty at 354lbs, proving his underrated athleticism. He has 33 inch arms although he didn’t do explosive testing. If you want to beat people up in the trenches, you need a player like this. I hope the addition of Gabe Jackson doesn’t prevent the Seahawks from considering Cleveland. He’s ‘the Mountain’ from Game of Thrones.

Trey Smith (Tennessee)
There are health questions with Smith, who suffered from blood clots in college and has had injuries too. That could impact his stock. His tape was also pretty bad at Tennessee and he was very inconsistent at the Senior Bowl. Yet there’s no denying he looks like he was made in the ‘first round guard’ factory in terms of frame and explosive traits. He’s 321lbs but carries it superbly, he has 33 5/8 inch arms and he scored a 3.30 in TEF. If he checks out medically, he probably goes in the top-50. If he lasts, he might be too tempting to take a chance on.

Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State)
As with Cosmi — Radunz might need to kick inside with 33 1/4 inch arms. Yet he plays with attitude and he scored a 3.04 in TEF. It’s not totally out of the question you draft him as a tackle of the future but his profile says guard for Seattle, although at 301lbs he’s light for Solari.

David Moore (Grambling State)
A Senior Bowl standout who looked good during drills and on tape at a smaller school level. He has a great personality and it was a pleasure to interview him. He has 34 1/2 inch arms, he’s now 330lbs after shifting weight during the off-season and he scored a reasonable 2.95 in TEF. As a day three value pick, he has some appeal.

Wide receiver

Speed and suddenness is the order of the day.

Pete Carroll has only drafted three receivers who haven’t run a 4.4 forty or faster:

Chris Harper 4.50
Kenny Lawler 4.64
John Ursua 4.56

Harper was a fourth round pick, while Lawler and Ursua were selected in the seventh round.

Every other player selected at the position has achieved at least a 4.4:

Paul Richardson — 4.40
Golden Tate — 4.42
Tyler Lockett — 4.40
Kris Durham — 4.46
Kevin Norwood — 4.48
Amara Darboh — 4.45
David Moore — 4.42
D.K. Metcalf — 4.33
Freddie Swain — 4.46

We have enough data to say this definitively — unless a player runs a 4.4 or faster, the Seahawks are unlikely to consider them until the very end of the draft.

With no combine this year it’s difficult to track who is a legit 4.4 runner. Usually you add 0.06 to a pro-day time to make up for the somewhat favourable environment.

For example, Nico Collins was timed running a 4.45. Anyone who has watched Collins at Michigan or watched him in 1v1’s at the Senior Bowl will tell you that quickness and suddenness are not his forte.

Without the bulk of the class running at a combine, this is harder to project then it otherwise would be. However, I’ve tried to project the best I can based on what the tape shows.

There are a couple of other things to remember.

Firstly, the Seahawks were really poor on third downs last year. I suspect adding a receiver who can help change that could be a target early in this draft.

Secondly, we should consider the two men influencing the decision making process. Pete Carroll likes deep shots. Shane Waldron might want someone who can run across the formation and do a lot of the things Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp do in LA. Finding a combination of both skills might be the key here.

Dyami Brown (North Carolina)
He ran a 4.43 at pro-day so he ticks that box and everything else about his game screams Seahawks. He’s a consistent downfield threat. The Seahawks love to take shots and Brown can deliver there — he averaged 20 yards-per-catch last season. He’s incredibly sudden and quick. For me he has potential star written all over him. Brown’s also a chain-mover, capable of converting third-downs and winning with quick separation. I think he’ll be a top-40 lock but if he lasts into range, watch out.

D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan)
Eskridge ran a 4.38 at his pro-day and while a lot of players are compared to Tyreek Hill, in this instance it feels somewhat fair calling him a poor-mans Hill. In many ways he fits everything Seattle needs in a #3 apart from size (5-9, 190lbs). He can get vertical to challenge opponents plus he’s capable of winning contested catches. He’s very quick working across the middle and can be used in motion. He’s excellent working inside on slants and shorter routes to provide quick targets and deliver easy completions. If you want to run any sweeps — he can do it. He’s a dynamo on special teams as a returner. He averaged 18.5 yards per catch and 9.4 yards after the catch in five years at Western Michigan.

Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)
Bateman is difficult to project. He’s graded anywhere from the first to the third round. In 2019 he was pretty automatic when thrown to — which is the reason I’ve included him here. He’s a chain-mover. He ran a 4.43 at pro-day and it’s worth noting that his speed, agility and explosive testing numbers are virtually identical to the departed David Moore. He’s not as big as Moore but it’s something to consider.

Anthony Schwartz (Arizona)
Schwartz has a lot of appeal. Firstly, he ran a 4.26. He has legit speed and can be a threat downfield (even if he needs to work on tracking). Auburn were quite creative with him and moved him around, using him on sweeps and in motion. You wouldn’t call Schwartz the finished article and he does give off a vibe that he’s more of an interesting chess piece who just moves on to another team in four years, rather than develops into a proven, reliable force. It just depends on how much you believe in his upside and the speed.

Cade Johnson (South Dakota State)
He ran a 4.49 at pro-day and that’s something to consider if we’re adding on 0.06 seconds. I’d also suggest that a pro-day setting at a top-class athletic college is maybe a little different to the setup at South Dakota State. Nevertheless, I couldn’t not include him here. Johnson dominated receiver drills with quickness in his release and break — creating easy, immediate separation and scoring high grades for his performance. I’ve interviewed him and his play and personality reminds me of Tyler Lockett.

Rondale Moore (Purdue)
This is another difficult projection. Athletically Moore is superb — running a 4.29 and jumping a 43 inch vertical. He’s a phenomenal athlete. At the same time — he’s 5-7 and 180lbs. He’s not shown a consistent ability to get downfield and really make the most of his speed as a vertical threat. He doesn’t win a lot of contested catches despite his leaping ability. He’s more of a gadget player used around the line of scrimmage. He needs to be more than that. He might last as a consequence because I’m not sure teams will even buy into his potential as a consistent operator in the slot. Yet if Seattle wants a dynamic athlete they can let Waldron be creative with, Moore could be an option.

Shi Smith (South Carolina)
He excelled at the Senior Bowl and we know that’s big for Seattle. He ran good routes, gained attention and then made some plays in the game too. He ran a 4.43 at pro-day and he was utilised a lot in college on screens and short stuff. Smith isn’t much of a contested catcher and you’ll need to find ways to get him running into zones or get the ball in his hands but he does have some of the things they like.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette (Iowa)
He has speed (4.43) and reasonable height (6-1, 181lbs). There was a ton of buzz for ISM going into the 2020 season amid reports he was receiving high grades by NFL teams. He never quite elevated his stock but if he lasts into the middle rounds he’s someone to consider. He also has value as a kick returner and there’s a feeling that in a proper passing offense his best might be yet to come.

Tamorion Terry (Florida State)
There was a lot of hope and promise for Terry going into 2020 but his stock is now firmly fixed in day three it seems. Even so, he could provide value. He’s 6-3 and 207lbs and ran a 4.44 at pro-day. He has a nice catching radius with 33 1/2 inch arms. He’s the type of player who could easily flame out — yet he’s also got something about him. It wouldn’t be a total shock if he was the 25th receiver drafted this year and ends up being one of the ten best when all is said and done.

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)
Although he didn’t run at pro-day he’s been timed in the 4.3’s. His release, body control and ability to get downfield could majorly appeal to the Seahawks. His ball-tracking is better than a lot of the other receivers in this class. Stevenson can operate in the slot or be used in the vertical passing game. He’s certainly one to watch.

Tre Nixon (UCF)
He’s 6-0 and 187lbs, ran a 4.44 at pro-day while adding a 4.25 short shuttle and a 6.85 three cone. He jumped a 35.5 inch vertical and a 10-5 broad. A lack of special teams experience could knock him out of contention here but he has quickness and he can get downfield. He has some of the traits they like.

Tutu Atwell (Louisville)
He’s tiny — listed at 5-8 and 155lbs. I suspect he is just too small to consider a serious option. Running a 4.39 forty at his size is OK — but to make up for the lack of size, you really want to see something remarkable in terms of testing. We didn’t get that with Atwell. That said, he is very competitive and you can be creative with him downfield and around the LOS.

Jaelon Darden (North Texas)
He’s only 5-7 and 174lbs and he ran a 4.45. I’m not sure that’s fast enough, especially at a pro-day, to put him on the radar. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a receiver juke away from tackles like Darden and he does have some movement skills and agility (4.10 short shuttle). He’s someone to keep at the back of your mind if he lasts until day three.

Racey McMath (LSU)
Speed, size and special teams. That’s what should put McMath on your radar as a late-round option. He ran a 4.39 at 6-2 and 211lbs. He could be an immediate factor on special teams with the potential to develop into a deep-threat target. There’s plenty to work with here.

Running back

The Seahawks have a type at running back. They’ve consistently drafted players with a similar physical profile. It’s made it fairly straight forward to figure out who they might like. Here are the players we identified from the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 combines as probable targets:

2016:

C.J. Prosise — 6-0, 220lbs, 35.5 inch vert, 10-1 broad
Kenneth Dixon — 5-10, 215lbs, 37.5 inch vert, 10-8 broad

2017:

Christopher Carson — 6-0, 218lbs, 37 inch vert, 10-10 broad
Brian Hill — 6-0, 219lbs, 34 inch vert, 10-5 broad
Alvin Kamara — 5-10, 214lbs, 39.5 inch vert, 10-11 broad
Joe Williams — 5-11, 210lbs, 35 inch vert, 10-5 broad

2018:

Saquon Barkley — 6-0, 233lbs, 41 inch vert DNP broad
Kerryon Johnson — 511, 213lbs 40 inch vert, 10-6 broad
Bo Scarborough — 6-0, 228lbs, 40 inch vert, 10-9 broad
Nick Chubb — 5-11, 227lbs, 38.5 inch vert, 10-8 broad
John Kelly — 5-10, 216lbs, 35 inch vert, 10-0 broad
Lavon Coleman — 5-10, 223lbs, 33 inch vert, 10-0 broad
Rashaad Penny — 5-11, 220lbs, 32.5 inch vert, 10-0 broad
Royce Freeman — 5-11, 229lbs, 34 inch vert, 9-10 broad

2020:

Jonathan Taylor — 5-10, 226lbs, 36 inch vert, 10-3 broad
Cam Akers — 5-10, 217lbs, 35.5 inch vert, 10-2 broad
Deejay Dallas — 5-10, 217lbs, 33.5 inch vert, 9-11 broad
AJ Dillon — 6-0, 247lbs, 41 inch vert, 10-11 broad
Zack Moss — 5-9, 223lbs, 33 inch vert, DNP broad
James Robinson — 5-9, 219lbs, 40 inch vert, 10-5 broad
Patrick Taylor — 6-0, 217lbs, 34 inch vert, 10-3 broad

They drafted a player from each of the groups — Prosise, Carson, Penny and Dallas. They eventually added Bo Scarborough during the 2018 season and used him in 2020.

We need to look for players who are generally in the 5-10/5-11 range for height, about 215-220lbs. A +35 inch vertical and +10 broad is ideal.

Javonte Williams (North Carolina)
There’s nobody who suits the Seahawks more than Williams in this class. They love big, physical, powerful backs who explode through contact and set the tone. Williams destroyed the record for broken tackles per attempt (0.48) in 2020 and his 75 broken tackles led the country. He slimmed down for pro-day to try and run faster but he’s a big, explosive, ideal back for the Seahawks. He jumped a 36 inch vertical and a 10-3 broad, adding an impressive 4.09 short shuttle.

Trey Sermon (Ohio State)
He won’t be everyone’s cup of tea with his high-cut frame. He also had a ‘fits-and-starts’ career, showing brilliance and inconsistency in equal measure. He’s 6-0 and 215lbs and is highly explosive with a 37 inch vertical and a 10-5 broad jump to his name. He also ran a very impressive 6.84 three cone.

Chris Evans (Michigan)
He was once considered the next big thing at running back, receiving high grades from NFL scouts. It never happened for Evans at Michigan. That said — he’s still a tremendously explosive, dynamic runner who could provide late round value. He jumped a 40.5 inch vertical and a 10-7 broad at pro-day, adding a 4.14 short shuttle and a 6.85 three cone.

Kylin Hill (Texas A&M)
A player who cut short his college career after deciding Mike Leach wasn’t for him. He’s 5-10 and 214lbs and jumped a 36 inch vertical and a 10-3 broad. An explosive, downfield runner who could provide value on day three.

Tight end

Seattle has drafted five tight ends under Pete Carroll (if you don’t count Stephen Sullivan who was kind of picked as a player with no real set position):

Nick Vannett
Luke Willson
Anthony McCoy
Will Dissly
Colby Parkinson

They also traded for Jimmy Graham and signed Zach Miller, Greg Olsen and Gerald Everett.

All nine players are linked with a certain characteristic.

It appears the Seahawks view agility testing as vital:

Short shuttle

Luke Willson — 4.29
Will Dissly — 4.40
Nick Vannett — 4.20
Anthony McCoy — 4.57
Colby Parkinson — 4.46
Zach Miller — 4.42
Jimmy Graham — 4.45
Greg Olsen — 4.48
Gerald Everett — 4.33

Three cone

Luke Willson — 7.08
Will Dissly — 7.07
Nick Vannett — 7.05
Anthony McCoy — 6.99
Colby Parkinson — 7.15
Zach Miller — 7.01
Jimmy Graham — 6.90
Greg Olsen — 7.04
Gerald Everett – 6.99

We need to look for players who ran a good short shuttle and a sub-7.15 three cone.

This is not a strong tight end class and there aren’t many players who ‘fit’ Seattle. This is a big reason why they moved to sign Everett in free agency. The chances are they will pass on this group or at best wait until the later rounds or UDFA.

John Bates (Boise State)
Very much an in-line blocker but that’s OK for the Seahawks. He doesn’t have a strong pass-catching background. He lacks length (32 1/2 inch arms) and that could take him out of contention. However, he ran a superb 4.35 short shuttle, an even better 6.85 three cone and he managed a 10-0 broad jump. These are all numbers likely to catch Seattle’s attention.

Luke Farrell (Ohio State)
Another in-line blocker without much sparkle as a pass-catcher. A 4.33 short shuttle and a 7.14 three cone are times to take notice of, however. He has 33 inch arms and jumped a 36.5 inch vertical. His forty time (4.82) was underwhelming but he might be worth a late-round flier.

Noah Gray (Duke)
He came into the season with high expectations and good grades but has seen his stock drop since. His testing numbers — a 6.90 three-cone and a 4.45 short shuttle — should interest Seattle. He also managed a 35 inch vertical, a 9-7 broad and he ran a 4.62 forty. He’s 6-3 and 240lbs with short arms (31 5/8 inches) so that could be a turn-off.

Zach Davidson (Central Missouri)
We’re probably in UDFA territory here with Davidson but a 4.26 short shuttle, a 6.95 three cone and a 37.5 inch vertical will get you into a training camp. He ran a 4.64 forty and is considered a possible H-back or move-TE project.

Quarterbacks

While large swathes of the fan base and media are comforting themselves with bits and pieces from team mates suggesting Russell Wilson is sticking around, neither the quarterback or the Seahawks have said anything about what has unquestionably been an off-season of drama.

The Seahawks have no obligation to consider Wilson’s feelings in this draft. With reports from Tony Pauline suggesting a divorce could be likely in 2022 and with Adam Schefter still leaving the door open for a trade this year, they have to think about drafting a QB if the right player is available.

After all, the right player was available in 2012 despite the fact they’d just spent a decent chunk of cash on Matt Flynn.

Wilson couldn’t have any complaints. If he’s allowed to send a list of potential trade destinations to Schefter through his agent Mark Rodgers, the Seahawks can make contingency plans on the off chance there is a split next year.

Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
A four-year starter in the SEC who improved year-after-year. The Aggies only lost one game in 2020, to Alabama. He’s highly athletic and poised with a rocket arm. He throws under pressure with gusto and accuracy. He was the top performing quarterback at the Senior Bowl. He can be a little bit robotic and there’s room for more improv but Mond is a fantastic prospect. If he’s there at #56 they have to consider taking him.

Davis Mills (Stanford)
The opposite of Mills in the sense he only had 11 college starts. That shows on tape — his decision making can be poor at times. However, he anticipates well in the pocket and has some ‘wow’ throws on tape to go alongside the issues. He has a lot of what teams look for. The first round traits are there.

Defensive tackle

I think the Seahawks have made their bed on the D-line for 2021 and probably won’t tap into this years class unless they acquire more stock or an opportunity presents itself on day three that is just too hard to pass up.

In terms of defensive tackles or inside/out rushers, Rasheem Green, Quinton Jefferson, Jordan Hill, Jaye Howard and Malik McDowell all tested superbly in the short shuttle (4.39, 4.37, 4.51, 4.47 and 4.53 respectively).

Arm length is also important. It’s my understanding they haven’t drafted a defensive lineman with sub-33 inch arms in the Carroll era. I’d love to put Darius Stills on this list for his stack of sacks and TFL’s at West Virginia, plus his engaging personality. Yet history tells us he’s unlikely to be selected by this team.

Bobby Brown (Texas A&M)
I’ve listed Brown as a second round prospect. His combination of size, length, power and agility is rare. He’s capable of anchoring while also working across the line and acting as a disruptive force. If he’s available later on, every team has to consider him. He’s 6-4 and 321lbs with 35 inch arms and an 85.5 inch wingspan. He ran a 5.04 forty and a 4.58 short shuttle plus jumped a 33 inch vertical and a 9-5 broad. He has an elite physical profile and his tape is vastly underrated. He’s one of the most intriguing players in this class.

Daviyon Nixon (Iowa)
Like Brown, I think Nixon will go earlier than many in the media are suggesting. I doubt he’ll be available for Seattle. He was a TFL machine in 2020, collecting 13.5. Nixon creates havoc from the interior and is a true playmaking defensive tackle. He has 35 1/8 inch arms and he ran a 4.90 forty at 313lbs. He has special traits and he could be a big-time DT at the next level.

TaQuon Graham (Texas)
A later round project with appealing traits. Graham has 35 inch arms on a 6-3, 291lbs frame. He ran a 4.89 forty and a 4.68 short shuttle. His tape is somewhat underwhelming and he needs a lot of technical refinement but you can work with this physical profile.

Marquiss Spencer (Mississippi State)
He was listed at 300lbs last season but played defensive end. It’s a strange situation really because he looks like he’s better suited to the edge than working inside. He’s a shade under 6-4 with 33 1/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.87 forty and a 4.51 short shuttle. He added a 31.5 inch vertical and a 9-3 broad. He’s an impressive athlete who might be worth a late round flier.

Defensive end

For defensive ends or LEO’s they’ve sought twitchy athletes with great burst. Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril ran 1.55 and 1.50 10-yard splits respectively. Anything in the 1.5’s is considered ‘elite’.

Irvin (4.03) and Frank Clark (4.05) also ran incredible short shuttles. Cassius Marsh (4.25) and Obum Gwacham (4.28) were also strong performers — so agility testing is something else to focus on.

Great arm length and wingspan is also key when rushing the edge.

I’ve not included players who I definitely don’t think will be available, such as Azeez Olujari, Jaelen Phillips and Jayson Oweh.

Joshua Kaindoh (Florida State)
A former recruiting superstar, Kaindoh had plenty of splash moments at FSU but never became a consistent player. There’s no denying his physical profile though. He’s nearly 6-6 and 260lbs with 34.5 inch arms and an 82 inch wingspan. He ran a 1.58 split, a 4.43 short shuttle and jumped a 36.5 inch vertical and a 10-5 broad.

Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
His stock is falling rapidly it seems after holding out of 2020 and having a so-so pro-day. He’s still a name to monitor, just in case. A 6-6 frame at 266lbs with 34.5 inch arms, an 83 inch wingspan, a 1.57 split and a 4.53 short shuttle are numbers that will probably appeal to Seattle if he drops deep into day two.

Payton Turner (Houston)
We don’t have any testing numbers for Turner but I had to put him on the list. He was excellent at the Senior Bowl and I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing him. He’s 6-5, 270lbs and has 35 inch arms. He has special traits and major upside.

Dayo Odeyingbo (Vanderbilt)
I thought he’d be a top-20 pick going into the process but then he tore an achilles prior to the Senior Bowl. He’s an outstanding player with elite traits including 35 1/4 inch arms and an 86 3/8 wingspan. He’s 6-5 and 285lbs. Odeyingbo might need a redshirt year but he has first round talent.

Hamilcar Rashed (Oregon State)
His 2020 season was a total damp squib and his stock has collapsed. However, he has traits that will appeal to Seattle as a potential LEO. He ran a 1.59 split, jumped a 35.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad. He’s 6-2 and 250lbs with 34 inch arms.

Rashad Weaver (Pittsburgh)
At 6-4 and 259lbs he ran a 1.57 split. He has a strange profile — combining burst and fantastic agility (4.26 short shuttle, 6.97 three cone) with mediocre explosive traits and a 4.88 forty. He has 33 1/4 inch arms and a near 83 inch wingspan. There are really flashy moments on tape but I can’t help but feel he’s not quite the long-lean LEO type while lacking the size to play power end.

William Bradley-King (Baylor)
He ran an impressive 1.59 split, a 4.29 short shuttle and he has 33.5 inch arms with an 80 5/8 wingspan. He’s explosive with a 34.5 inch vertical and a 9-11 broad. He could be a day three option.

Elerson Smith (Northern Iowa)
He’s 6-6 and 252lbs with 33 1/4 inch arms. He’s extremely explosive with a 41.5 inch vertical and a 10-7 broad. He ran a 1.60 split and a 4.39 short shuttle. He showed flashes at the Senior Bowl and while he’s not the finished product, with a bit of seasoning he has the physical profile to be a productive pass rusher at the next level.

Linebacker

They’ve tended to look for two types of player at linebacker — freakish athletes and players with great short-area quickness and agility.

Kevin Pierre-Louis, Korey Toomer, Malcolm Smith and Eric Pinkins all ran between a 4.44 and a 4.51 in the forty. Shaquem Griffin topped the lot with a 4.38.

Pierre-Louis, Smith and Pinkins all jumped +39 inches in the vertical. Bobby Wagner was a 4.4 runner at his pro-day with a 39.5-inch vertical.

Of the five players they’ve drafted with a +140 SPARQ score, Wagner, Pierre-Louis and Bruce Irvin are included.

They’ve also targeted players who performed especially well in the short shuttle. Here are the top-15 short shuttle times run by a linebacker since 2010:

Jordan Tripp — 3.96
Nick Bellore — 4.00

Ben Heeney — 4.00
Mike Mohamed — 4.00
Nick Vigil — 4.00
Kevin Pierre-Louis — 4.02
Stephone Anthony — 4.03
Cody Barton — 4.03
Dakota Allen — 4.03
Von Miller — 4.06
Josh Hull — 4.07
Dorian O’Daniel — 4.07
Avery Williamson — 4.07
Shaq Thompson — 4.08
Ben Burr-Kirven — 4.09

The players in bold have been either drafted or signed by the Seahawks.

I would imagine they’ve somewhat made their bed at linebacker after spending a first round pick on Jordyn Brooks a year ago (who, for what it’s worth, only ran a forty at the combine and didn’t do any other testing).

Yes they need to replace Bruce Irvin and K.J Wright. I suspect there’s a reasonable chance one or both could still return.

That said, there are a handful of players in this draft who either delivered elite, outstanding pro-day workouts or ran sensational short shuttles.

Buddy Johnson (Texas A&M)
A seriously underrated, impressive player. Johnson is loved by team mates who roared him on at his pro-day. He ran a 4.07 short shuttle which puts him right in contention for the Seahawks. He added a 38.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad jump. He’s only 229lbs but that’s the way the game has gone at linebacker. I think he deserves a second round grade but he could last and be a value pick for someone.

Barron Browning (Ohio State)
I suspect he’ll go way too early for Seattle. He’s nearly 6-3 and 245lbs with 33.5 inch arms. He ran a 4.22 short shuttle and a 6.78 three cone. He jumped a 40 inch vertical and a 10-10 broad. His forty was timed at a 4.56. He’s an outsanding athlete.

Pete Werner (Ohio State)
Another top-tier athlete from Ohio State. Werner is pushing 6-3 and 238lbs. He ran a 4.38 short shuttle and a 6.90 three cone. His vertical was 39.5 inches and his broad a 10-2. He will likely go in the second round I think — early third as a worst case scenario.

Joseph Ossai (Texas)
He shifted to the EDGE at Texas and I think he’ll go too early for Seattle. Yet he could provide a SAM/LEO option. He’s 6-3 and 256lbs and ran a 1.58 split. He has 34 inch arms. He jumped an incredible 41.5 inch vertical and a 10-11 broad.

Chris Rumph (Duke)
There are no testing numbers for Rumph but on tape he looks well suited to being a SAM. He’s nearly 6-3 and 235lbs with 34 inch arms.

Shaka Toney (Penn State)
He’s 6-2 and 242lbs with underwhelming tape. He ran a 1.58 split, a 4.53 forty and a 4.29 short shuttle. He jumped a 39 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad. He has some late round or UDFA value as a project.

Defensive backs

We all know by now what the Seahawks look for at corner. Length is king. You can often identify a potential target just by his appearance.

We’ve previously discussed the importance of wingspan too. Wingspan is defined as the length between the tip of your middle finger on one outstretched arm to the other. The average NFL cornerback has a wingspan of 75.5 inches (31.5 inch arm length). Here’s the arm length and wingspan data for some of Seattle’s draftees, acquisitions and starters since 2010:

Richard Sherman — 32 (arms) 78 (wingspan)
Brandon Browner — 33 (arms) 80 (wingspan)
Byron Maxwell — 33.5 (arms) 77.5 (wingspan)
Jeremy Lane — 32.5 (arms) 78 (wingspan)
Tye Smith — 32 (arms) 78 (wingspan)
DeAndre Elliott — 32 (arms) 77.5 (wingspan)
Neiko Thorpe — 31 3/4 (arms) 78 1/2 (wingspan)
Stanley Jean-Baptiste — 32 3/8 (arms) 78 3/8 (wingspan)
Pierre Desir — 33 (arms) 77.5 (wingspan)
Tre Flowers — 34 (arms) 79.5 (wingspan)

We also know that the earliest draft pick spent on a cornerback in the Carroll era was Shaquill Griffin in the late third round (#90). It would be a big departure for the Seahawks to spend their top pick on a corner and having already added Ahkello Witherspoon, they might be willing to wait until day three again this year.

There’s a real mix of physical profiles in the players they’ve taken at safety, making it a difficult position to project. Of all the positions, this might be the one without a clear established physical ideal. It could be the position where scouting matters the most — or at least establishing what type of safety you are drafting.

However, given the investment in the position already — it seems highly unlikely the Seahawks will make another safety pick in this draft.

Benjamin St. Juste (Minnesota)
He just looks like a Seahawks corner. Long, lean and not afraid to tackle. He’s adept at PBU’s but needs to work on adding some interceptions. He’s a highly intelligent player with 32 5/8 inch arms on a 6-3, 202lbs frame. He ran a 4.01 short shuttle and a 6.63 three cone. If he lasts long enough, he’ll be on Seattle’s radar. For more on St. Juste, check out my interview with him from early March.

Israel Mukuamu (South Carolina)
I’m not sure any player in this group ‘looks’ more like a Seahawks corner than Mukuamu. He’s 6-4 and 212lbs with 34 inch arms. He could easily be someone they target on day three.

Robert Rochell (Central Arkansas)
An outstanding athlete who ticks every box. He’s 6-0 and 193lbs with 32 3/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.41 forty, jumped a 43 inch vertical and an 11-1 broad. He had some rough moments at the Senior Bowl and he’s a work in progress. Yet purely based on profile, he’s someone coaches will love to get their hands on. His stock appears to be rising into the day two range.

Ambry Thomas (Michigan)
He has a slight frame and might be a little small for the Seahawks tastes. Yet on tape I thought he was competitive, sticky in coverage and highly talented. At pro-day he measured a shade under 6-0 and 191lbs with 32 1/4 inch arms. He ran a 4.41, jumped a 38 inch vertical and a 10-2 broad. There’s plenty to work with here.

Eric Stokes (Georgia)
Mr. Consistency who was extremely reliable and should be off the board before the Seahawks get a serious chance to consider him. He’s 6-0 and 194lbs with 32 3/4 inch arms. He ran a superb 4.31 forty and jumped a 38.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad.

Tyson Campbell (Georgia)
On tape I thought he struggled to play the ball and there should be concerns about a 4.45 short shuttle at 193lbs. Even so, he has 32 inch arms and he ran a 4.40 forty. I think he’ll last longer than the media generally is projecting.

DJ Daniel (Georgia)
He was stuck behind the two names above at Georgia but Daniel has an interesting profile nonetheless. He’s nearly 6-0 and 195lbs with incrdible 33 3/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.12 short shuttle. He’s a later round prospect but someone worth giving an opportunity to.

Shaun Wade (Ohio State)
The forgotten man of the draft class. Wade struggled at outside corner in 2020 after a terrific spell at nickel. Maybe what we saw last season is what we’ll see at the next level and he’ll sink like a stone? However, I still remember the 2019 tape and the major recruiting buzz. He’s 6-0, 195lbs and he has 33 1/2 inch arms. You can work with that. At the very least he could be a safety convert.

Ifeatu Melifonwu (Illinois)
He’s 6-2 and 205lbs with 32 1/8 inch arms. He jumped a 41.5 inch vertical and an 11-2 broad. You just hope he has more dog in him than his brother did. I have to say, I wasn’t entirely convinced watching him on tape.

Jason Pinnock (Pittsburgh)
He’s a shade under 6-1 and 204lbs with 32 3/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.49 at pro-day and then added a 39.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad. He certainly looks the part but it has to be noted he’s allowed six touchdowns of +25 yards since 2019. Staying ‘on top’ is a big deal for the Seahawks and those numbers are somewhat concerning. Even so, his frame and run support warrants putting him on the watch-list.

Nahshon Wright (Oregon State)
Another player who screams Seahawks based on appearance. He’s 6-4 and 183lbs with 33 inch arms. However, there should be some concern about a 4.57 short shuttle and a 31 inch vertical. If he can’t jump and can’t change direction very well, that’s a worry.

James Wiggins (Cincinnati)
Tough, physical safety who wasn’t the same in 2020 after an ACL injury. He’s 5-11 and 209lbs and ran a 4.42 forty. He also jumped a 38 inch vertical and a 10-7 broad. Wiggins has kick-return experience and could provide depth and special teams value.

Darrick Forrest (Cincinnati)
The other Cincy safety is more of a downfield striker but he also tested well. He’s 5-11 and 206lbs and ran a 4.43. He jumped a 39 inch vertical and an 11-0 broad. Forrest also has 32 inch arms and could even be tried at corner.

Caden Sterns (Texas)
A former big name recruit who never delivered but could provide some later round value. He’s 6-0 and 202lbs with 32 1/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.41 forty and jumped a 42 inch vertical with a 10-8 broad. He’s another player who could be tried in different spots.

Divine Deablo (Virginia Tech)
A big, fast, physical safety with fantastic special teams value. He’s 6-3 and 226lbs with 33 inch arms. He ran a 4.45 forty. Kam Chancellor is a self-confessed fan due to his size and willingness to tackle.

Shawn Davis (Florida)
He didn’t do a lot of testing at pro-day but he’s a player who flashed on tape at safety. He’s 5-10 and 202lbs with 32 inch arms. He jumped a 39.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad.

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Thursday notes: Marshall on Wilson, more Jamal Adams

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

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

Brandon Marshall’s latest update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some more numbers on Jamal Adams

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

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

1. Jamal Adams is really good, so there

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

3. Jamal Adams isn’t worth investing in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 — 41
2019 — 71
2020 — 100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s predictable.

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

I’m not convinced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Davis Mills in round one?

According to Peter Schrager:

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

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

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