The Senior Bowl practises begin on Tuesday (1:15pm EST) with workouts until Thursday and the game taking place on Saturday (1:30pm EST).
Here are some of the players to monitor and why…
Cooper Kupp (WR, Eastern Washington)
Can he shine against good competition? He certainly did it for Eastern Washington. It’ll be interesting to see if that translates here.
Rasul Douglas (CB, West Virginia)
How does he measure? (Height, arm length). He was a turnover machine at WVU in 2016, can he flash in practise and make a big play in Saturday’s game?
Desmond King (CB, Iowa)
He’s not big — so how does he measure? His production regressed in 2016 so can he regain some momentum here?
Obu Melifonwu (S, Connecticut)
Big things are expected of Melifonwu at the combine. Let’s see it. Stand out in practise. It’d be nice to see some physicality too.
Kareem Hunt (RB, Toledo)
How big is he? The Senior Bowl game is a good platform for runners. The combine will be bigger for Hunt. It doesn’t look like he has a second gear on tape.
Chris Wormley (DT, Michigan)
The trench warfare in Mobile is the most entertaining part of the week. OL vs DL. Wormley has the length, size and quickness to excel.
Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
Will he work out completely at linebacker or will he get some EDGE work too? Can he shine like Deion Jones a year ago? How big is he, officially?
Dion Dawkins (T, Temple)
A big tackle with a lot of potential. O-liners can do a lot for their stock in Mobile. Dawkins could jump significantly with a good week working against guys like Dawuane Smoot.
Dan Feeney (G, Indiana)
Does he get any looks at tackle? How long are his arms? Can he perform as consistently well here as he did on tape? He’s really good.
Adam Bisnowaty (T, Pittsburgh)
Arm length. Big key here. Bisnowaty also has a chance to work at tackle and guard this week and flash. The Senior Bowl is always big for OL vs DL.
Julie’n Davenport (T, Bucknell)
Small school talent — can he show he belongs while playing next to some big names.
Zach Banner (T, USC)
How big is he? Is he as big as advertised? Does he struggle with leverage during drills?
Dawaune Smoot (EDGE, Illinois)
His get off is so quick on tape so let’s see some dynamic EDGE rush in practise. Explosive on his day, let’s see if he can get off blocks too.
Ryan Glasgow (DT, Michigan)
His brother had a great Senior Bowl and really boosted his stock. Let’s see if Ryan, a defensive lineman, can cause these big name O-liners some problems.
Jaleel Johnson (DT, Iowa)
Really strong interior rusher coming off a decent season. This is a great stage to promote his talents. Can he flash quickness?
Montravius Adams (DT, Auburn)
How good is he? Some people really like him. I’ve always felt a bit ‘meh’ watching him. Here’s the chance to impress.
Ben Boulware (LB, Clemson)
He looks like he was born to play in the AFC North. Will the other players gravitate to him as you’d expect? Can he continue to stand out?
Justin Evans (S, Texas A&M)
He has first round potential. Let’s see how big he is first and foremost. Can he make a big play in the game?
Evan Engram (TE, Ole Miss)
All he did in college was make plays. With a few rising stars in this TE class, Engram needs a strong week. Catch everything.
Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
Just a really good player — he has an opportunity to confirm his status as a first round pick. He’ll catch Mike Mayock’s eye.
Matt Dayes (RB, NC State)
Underrated, tough as nails running back. How big is he? Can he continue to run hard and have a big day in the game?
Ryan Anderson (LB, Alabama)
Every single week he made plays for ‘Bama. Can he continue that here without the star-studded supporting cast?
Cam Sutton (CB, Tennessee)
Length, length, length. This is all about the arm length. +32 inches and he could be on Seattle’s radar. He’s a dynamic player with a great personality. Is he healthy?
Antonio Garcia (T, Troy)
Could be the star of the week if he performs. There’s always one tackle who emerges in Mobile. Garcia is smooth in pass pro but needs to be nastier as a run blocker.
Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Alabama)
He was essentially Jarran Reed in 2016 for ‘Bama. Can he flash some pass-rush moves this week? Good player.
Jordan Willis (EDGE, Kansas State)
How long are the arms? Can he have a big impact during pass-rush drills? This is a nice test for him against the South O-liners.
Forrest Lamp (T, Western Kentucky)
Does he get snaps at tackle or just guard? Can he live up to the increasing hype? It’ll be fun to watch him next to Antonio Garcia if he plays some left guard.
Ethan Pocic (C, LSU)
He’s listed at like 6-7 — is that accurate? And if so, where do they line him up this week?
O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
Dominate. Keep blocking well, catch some passes. Howard is a first round pick and can prove he’s a class act here. Catch every pass.
Daeshon Hall (EDGE, Texas A&M)
Seattle-born pass-rusher who had big games and quiet games at A&M. How long is he? Can he have a big week in drills?
Carlos Watkins (DT, Clemson)
He had a big year in terms of production but the tape is a bit underwhelming at times. Can he shine in the OL vs DL drills during the week?
“In 2016, the Seahawks used a top pick on an offensive lineman (OT Germain Ifedi), and I’d expect them to do the same thing in this year’s draft. Bolles is a very athletic pass protector who shows some nastiness in the running game.”
Bolles looked like the best offensive tackle in college football in 2016. He’s the complete package — with the intensity and physicality to dominate in the run game, the agility to progress to the second level consistently and latch onto linebackers and safety’s in space and the loose hips and footwork to be effective in pass-pro. He will be 25 in May but should be able to start quickly at right tackle.
Players available to the Seahawks that weren’t in our last mock draft:
Here is a strong example as to why this is a really interesting draft class. If the Seahawks were able to pick from this crop as well as the likes of Kevin King, Gareon Conley and others — they’re going to get an impact player.
With so many options available they could feel confident moving down (an increasingly likely scenario after yesterday’s report that Seattle could forfeit its second round pick). According to Jeremiah’s mock, they could move down into the early 30’s and get one of Peppers, Humphrey, Baker, Cunningham or Jackson.
It’s very early in the process and it’s likely Baker, Cunningham and Bolles will rise in the national media and find a place firmly in the top-25. Still, this will reassure fans disappointed with yesterday’s news about the second rounder.
Seattle’s pick at #26: Cordrea Tankersley (CB, Clemson)
“The Seahawks like big corners, and Tankersley (6-1, 190) fits their style as a guy who could hold up opposite Richard Sherman, and DeShawn Shead’s knee injury opens up a spot. Tankersley had nine interceptions over his last two seasons and was a big part of the Tigers’ success. Seattle will be in the market for offensive linemen, too, but I don’t have much first-round talent available here at No. 26. There’s still a long time until draft day, however.”
Tankersley is a reasonably sized corner. The key is going to be length and athleticism. If the Seahawks take a corner earlier than the fourth round for the first time in the Pete Carroll era, it isn’t going to be a ‘decent’ athlete. It’s going to be someone who tests off the charts. One of the reasons Kevin King is a possible pick for Seattle is his incredible testing potential. At the Husky combine last year he ran a 6.40 three-cone. If he repeats that at the NFL combine, it’ll be the best three-cone ever by any player. The current record is a 6.42 set by Jeff Maehl. Tankersley will need to prove he has an exceptional ceiling.
Players available to the Seahawks that weren’t in our last mock draft:
Sidney Jones (CB, Washington)
Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)
O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
David Njoku (TE, Miami)
Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)
Example #2 of the overall strength of the draft. It’s highly unlikely Sidney Jones lasts into the 20’s. He’s too good. Teams just avoided Jones all year — you don’t see a cornerback on tape avoided like him. He has enough size and quickness, plus a natural playmaking style, to warrant a top-15 grade. Cunningham and Jackson are available again but unlike Jeremiah’s mock — Budda Baker, Marlon Humphrey, Garett Bolles and Takk McKinley are gone.
Again there are options to move down. Kiper has Jones at #28 while Barnett and Howard are gone before the end of round one. Dropping into the top of round two would still give them a shot at Cunningham and Jackson while Tre’Davious White, Gareon Conley and Kevin King are also available.
It’s still way too early to say — but there are at least some logical candidates to research and monitor at #26. These players are chosen based on needs (per Carroll) and possible fit within this team specifically.
Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
Likely a top-20 pick due to the demand for good offensive tackles but possibly lasts if the age-factor puts some teams off. Check for his arm length at the combine and how he fits into TEF. It’s OK to look the part — but with only one year at Utah he needs to prove physically he’s ready for the NFL.
Budda Baker (S, Washington)
He ran a 4.35 at the Husky Combine, a 6.66 three-cone and a 4.08 short-shuttle. His long speed and short-area quickness are impressive. His ability to potentially play slot, a hybrid role and cover free safety might appeal — plus he carries himself like a Seahawk. The only issue is size and length — especially if the Seahawks intend to use him primarily in the slot.
Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
His size will be key and he can’t measure too small even as a slot corner. Can he get to 5-10 and 194lbs like Chris Harris Jr? Has he got Harris Jr’s length (33.5 inch arms)? If they’re happy with his size/length — Jackson is the type of explosive athlete they like with incredible character skills.
Kevin King (CB, Washington)
Incredible athlete with supreme length and size. Let’s run through what he achieved at the Husky combine again — a 4.02 short shuttle, a 6.40 3-cone, a 39.5 inch vert and a 10-10 broad jump. If he gets anywhere near this type of performance at the NFL combine — he will be the talk of the final day. He won’t run a fantastic forty so he has to show great short-area quickness.
Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
He’s just a Seahawks type of linebacker. Freaky length, great athleticism, plays the run well and has an intensity to his game. He racked up TFL’s in 2016 and set the tone on Vanderbilt’s defense. Carroll noting the desire for younger competition at linebacker (and possibly an upgrade at the SAM) makes Cunningham a decent option if the better cornerbacks and O-liners are gone. Can he run in the 4.4’s?
Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
Nobody is talking about Reddick as a top-45 type of player but he has a supreme combination of size, athleticism, versatility and grit. In many ways he looks like a Bruce Irvin clone — with the college production to match. Don’t sleep on him as a potential high pick by this team. Especially if he tests as well as Irvin at the combine.
Antonio Garcia (T, Troy)
Someone who could really make some money at the Senior Bowl and combine. In a weak tackle class at the top end, Garcia appears to have the athletic skill-set of a high pick. How he performs in Mobile will be crucial. Accurate measurements and TEF via the combine will also determine his fit. The Seahawks have drafted for size on the O-line recently and Garcia is listed at 6-7 and 302lbs.
And a quick note on a couple of Shrine game standouts to keep an eye on tomorrow:
Jimmie Gilbert (LB, Colorado)
He’s said to have great range and athleticism — plus he has +34 inch arms at 6-4 and 223lbs. He has the length — if he tests well too he could be on Seattle’s radar.
Treston Decoud (CB, Oregon State)
In many ways he fits the profile of a potential Seahawks corner. He has +33 inch arms on a 6-1, 203lbs frame. Long speed is considered an issue but we’ll see how he tests in Indianapolis.
Pete Carroll’s error could cost the team a major draft pick
This is not, you might say, the way to start a ‘Championship off-season’.
Chris Mortensen is reporting that Seattle could be penalised heavily for failing to properly disclose a knee injury to Richard Sherman. Pete Carroll mentioned in an interview on ESPN 710 that Sherman had been troubled by a MCL issue. This was never disclosed on the injury report.
The problem is — Sherman didn’t participate in a handful of practises under the ‘NIR’ (not injury related) tag. So even though he didn’t miss a snap on the field, this isn’t a good look. The Seahawks are also seen as serial offenders, having already been deducted a fifth round pick in September for violating NFL-NFLPA work rules.
The NFL rules are very clear on reporting injuries:
“All players who have significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the practise report, even if the player takes all reps in practise, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players…”
Even if Sherman was 100% likely to play in a game, the injury still had to be noted.
Adding to the situation is the fact Seattle actually included Sherman on the injury report in week 12 citing an ankle problem. Why was this injury listed and not the knee at any point during the season?
It’d be a catastrophe to lose such a valued pick right at the start of a crucial off-season. With several notable needs, this was set up to be a crucial draft. It’s now possible they’ll pick at #26 and not again until #90.
If the punishment is administered, at the very least you lose a possible impact player. At worst, you’re forced to be aggressive for the wrong reasons. For example:
— Will losing a second rounder dictate what you do at #26? If one need is considerably greater than the other, can you risk waiting until #90 to address it? Is your hand being forced in round one?
— Would they have to be aggressive in free agency? This has never been a reckless front office but if the options are limited in the draft what other choice do they have? This is a team in the middle of a Championship window with needs to fill.
— If you wanted to move up in round two (as they did a year ago to get Jarran Reed) you couldn’t do it. It’s too early to get too deep into scenarios — but imagine if the Seahawks were able to fill a need with Budda Baker, Garett Bolles or Zach Cunningham in round one and Kevin King was available in the 40’s. How much of a boost would it be to land two really good players to the roster like that?
— In order to make up for the loss of the second rounder, they might feel they have to move down from #26 just to accumulate further stock. Maybe they’d do that anyway — but you’re trying to fill key needs with lower picks.
Why wasn’t Richard Sherman properly listed on the injury report? It’s such a simple yet serious question. What a horrendous mistake this could be.
The sheer fact Mortensen is reporting it could be a second rounder makes you fear the worst. Why else would this information be in the public domain? Is it realistic to think a slap on the wrist and a fine is possible?
The Seahawks have lurched from the drama surrounding Richard Sherman’s challenging of Darrell Bevell on the sideline and then in the media, to a heavy playoff defeat in Atlanta and now this.
For a team needing a strong off-season, this is arguably the worst possible start.
Before this news broke the plan was to discuss mock drafts posted today by Mel Kiper and Daniel Jeremiah. It’s something we can come back to tomorrow.
— The more you watch of Budda Baker, the more impressive he is. He can be another Tyrann Mathieu at the next level. His ability to play in space, read/react and fly to the ball could push him into the top-20. With teams increasingly playing in nickel, you can leave him on the field in any situation. He’s a roaming hybrid. If you want him to cover the slot, attack the LOS or blitz he can do it all. He’s a terrific hitter for his size.
— Baker also plays like a Seahawk, with great intensity and athleticism. I suspect he could be on Seattle’s radar as a high priority. He impacts games. When you watch Elijah Qualls, Kevin King, Sidney Jones — he flashes every time, even when you’re not focusing on him. It is a really deep cornerback class — but Baker might be the most impactful player the Seahawks could draft if he’s around at #26.
— Kevin King is really underrated. I spent even more time watching him last night and he’s not just an explosive athlete with great height and length. His cover skills are very good. For a player who has openly admitted he’s probably a 4.5 runner in the forty — he rarely gets beaten over the top. He sticks like glue and does a very good job playing the ball. There is a very good chance he could go in the top-40.
— A lot of the buzz has Marshon Lattimore as the top cornerback in the draft. Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey arguably has the most upside. Sidney Jones could be better than both. Having watched all of the highest ranked cornerbacks in this draft, nobody is avoided as much as Jones. Teams barely targeted him — and when they did, they were punished (see: Cal game). The Washington defense was absolutely loaded in 2016.
— I’ve liked Cam Sutton for a long time, putting him in the top-15 a year ago before he decided to return to Tennessee. His character, personality, leadership and talent are of a high level. He has an opportunity to be taken a lot higher than people are currently projecting. Whether he’s a fit for the Seahawks will likely depend on length. They haven’t targeted cornerbacks with sub-32-inch arms and Sutton is only 5-10 or 5-11. There’s just something about him that suggests he’s going to be a really good player at the next level. His interviews are among the best in this draft class. He’s a really likeable player on and off the field.
— I still think Shalom Luani is a player the Seahawks will really appreciate. His combine will definitely be one to monitor. He’s a physical, athletic safety. Luani’s also really versatile. Depth across the secondary is going to be an area for improvement. His ability to play multiple roles could be attractive — plus he has the gritty backstory we know this team loves.
— West Virginia senior cornerback Rasul Douglas had eight interceptions in 2016. He’s lean and tall (6-2) with good size (203lbs). Let’s see how he measures at the combine. If the Seahawks are looking for instinctive players that force turnovers, Douglas could be an option. I watched a couple of his games today and he’s fun to watch. Against Iowa State he chased the ball carrier down the sideline and punched the ball out for a fumble. He makes things happen. Douglas is a former four-star recruit and could easily be on Seattle’s radar.
— Colorado’s Akhello Witherspoon needs to work on his tackling but he has the kind of frame (6-3, 190lbs) this team likes. He did a really good job in coverage against Washington’s John Ross. Witherspoon also had 22 passes defended in 2016 — second most among cornerbacks. If you want a day three option or a possible riser over the next few weeks, keep an eye on this guy.
— Oregon State’s Treston Decoud measured in 6-2 and 203lbs at the Shrine game. Importantly he also had 33-inch arms. He’s the cousin of Thomas Decoud. Watch out for him if he goes to the combine.
— Could Jabrill Peppers be an option for Seattle? There’s an increasing amount of media talk that he isn’t going to go as early as many people originally believed. Daniel Jeremiah listed him at #33 on his big board: “Overall, Peppers is a better athlete than football player right now, but he has tremendous upside as a strong safety.”
— It was interesting to hear Pete Carroll reference the linebacker position as an area for need. They might be looking for someone who can play next to Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, not just ‘compete with them’ as Carroll suggested (because let’s be honest, nobody’s beating them out of the lineup). Would they consider Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham if he lasts to #26? Which linebackers will show the kind of athleticism and intensity they like at the combine? Are they looking for a Bruce Irvin clone — and if so, does that put Temple’s Haason Reddick firmly on the radar?
— Garett Bolles might be the only viable offensive tackle option in round one. It’s going to be hard to judge Ryan Ramcyzk if he doesn’t take part in any pre-draft workouts as he recovers from surgery. Bolles has the talent to go in the top-20. If he lasts to #26 — it might be difficult to pass on him even with the needs in the secondary. There will be tackle options in the middle rounds too. It’ll be interesting to see how several prospects fair over the next few weeks, including Antonio Garcia, Roderick Johnson, Chad Wheeler, Adam Bisnowaty, Dion Dawkins, Julien Davenport, David Sharpe, Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.
— Daniel Jeremiah listed Alvin Kamara (RB, Tennessee) at #26 in his top-50 today. Kamara is a really good player — someone we talked about a lot during the season especially after his terrific performance against Texas A&M. It’s unlikely the Seahawks will consider a running back in round one — but Kamara could easily find a home in the top-40. He’s a former five-star prospect who was with Alabama before going through the JUCO’s and then the Vols.
— It’s important to remember free agency is a game of opportunities, at least for the Seahawks. Under Pete Carroll, they’ve never had a splurge like the Giants a year ago. They’re unlikely to offer mega money in the first wave. What they have done in the past is seek opportunities and let free agency come to them. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril in 2013 are a good example of that.
When Carroll stated they weren’t going to spend big on one guy ‘to save the day’ — I suspect this is really what he’s talking about. It doesn’t mean the Seahawks won’t sign a veteran offensive tackle or an interior pass rusher. It just means they’ll see if there’s an opportunity where value meets need. Spending millions on an average player isn’t a good idea. Bringing in the right player at the right price is the key. They should have an opportunity to do that.
— PFF today ranked the Seahawks’ front seven as the best in the NFL. Considering the performance of Seattle’s linebackers and the three key pass rushers (Bennett, Avril, Clark) it’s easy to see how they came to this conclusion. This is more evidence that Seattle’s problems on defense are located within the secondary (even if a disruptive interior pass rusher would be useful).
I’m splitting this article into two parts. Firstly, some notes and quotes from Pete Carroll’s final press conference. Secondly, some thoughts after studying the top ranked cornerbacks in the 2017 draft.
Pete Carroll’s final press conference
On Seattle’s needs going into the off-season, Carroll listed the following:
— Young depth at linebacker
Carroll has been very honest about off-season needs in the past. After the 2010 season he highlighted the need to dramatically improve the running game and they spent their first two picks on run blocking O-liners (James Carpenter, John Moffitt). Before the 2012 season he stated more speed in the front seven was the big need. They drafted Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner.
It doesn’t expel them from targeting a different area of the team (eg, if the opportunity to sign Calais Campbell presents itself). Yet the needs listed today will likely be prioritised.
On Jimmy Graham: “I’m excited for him to come back.”
There’s no need to continue debating his presence on the roster. The Seahawks have $40m in cap space, more than enough to compete for additions. They don’t need to save an extra $10m and they certainly don’t need to create an unnecessary void at tight end by moving one of the NFL’s best players.
When asked if they should spend more money on the offensive line, Carroll explained why they’d essentially been forced to go with a younger O-line this year, before adding: “We’re not going to spend a ton of money on one guy to save the day… I don’t think you can buy your way to it.”
Carroll admitted Germain Ifedi has the ability to play guard or tackle but will remain at right guard for the sake of continuity.
Not making a host of changes was a common theme. “(It’s a) chance to come back with the same group… but we’ll challenge them.” Carroll talked about adding one or possibly two offensive linemen in the draft and also made a reference to free agency. It didn’t sound like a major O-line rebuild was in the works.
On George Fant: “He made a big impact on us.” It sounds like he’s the future at left tackle, at least for now. Rees Odhiambo could compete for that job.
He admitted some concern about the durability of C.J. Prosise: “He has to show it.” Carroll seemed less concerned about Thomas Rawls’ injury problems, referencing the incidental nature of his broken leg and previous broken ankle.
He talked positively about the running back group, name checking Rawls, Prosise and Alex Collins, “plus whatever else comes up.” Adding a running back to the competition seems likely — but it didn’t sound like a major priority either.
When asked about criticism of Darrell Bevell and certain fans wanting a change, Carroll fired back, “They don’t know what they’re talking about. Darrell does a great job.” He also ruled out any other coaching changes unless Tom Cable becomes the Head Coach in San Francisco.
Unsurprisingly he also made reference to the run/pass balance: “I don’t like how it split this year. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.” Expect a greater commitment to the running game in 2017. A healthy Russell Wilson and Thomas Rawls will help.
We know what to focus on now. Defensive backs, offensive linemen, linebacker depth. Here are two possible early round targets at each identified need area:
OT — Garett Bolles (Utah), Ryan Ramczyck (Wisconsin)
LB — Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt), Haason Reddick (Temple)
DB — Adoree’ Jackson (USC), Kevin King (Washington)
Studying the cornerback class
I’ve been eager to look at this group. The Seahawks haven’t drafted a cornerback before the fourth round during the Pete Carroll era. Yet this is considered a deep draft at the position at a time when Seattle’s depth has never been lighter. They’re young and raw and incumbent starter Deshawn Shead could miss the start of next season with a serious knee injury.
Yesterday I watched at least one game of all of the top ranked corner’s according to draft media.
The lasting impression was it’s clearly a deep group of good cornerbacks. However, it wasn’t easy to find guys that leap off the screen. It’s very easy to throw on some Garett Bolles tape, watch Solomon Thomas’ Bowl game, enjoy Malik Hooker’s range or the relentless nature of several EDGE rushers in this draft and be wowed.
The cornerbacks all shared similar features. Generally they’re decent cover corners that aren’t physically imposing. Some of them are sub-6-0. The tackling form wasn’t great across the board. Run support was mixed.
I wanted to see a Jimmy Smith type — 6-2, 210lbs, physical, runs in the 4.4’s. Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey might be the closest thing if he declares — but he likely won’t last beyond the top-15.
The Seahawks have such a clear and defined approach with cornerbacks — draft and develop their own — that any potential early round pick at the position probably needs to be a physical freak with major upside. We also know they have a specific profile for size and length.
We’ll have a better idea of who they might target after the combine. There’s certainly potential within some of these prospects to be fantastic athletes. The Seahawks could always draft someone to play in the slot. Carroll offered a lukewarm assessment of Jeremy Lane’s season earlier. If they wanted to add some competition there that would possibly take away the need to focus on tremendous size/length and prioritise suddenness and athleticism.
The freakiest athlete could be Washington’s Kevin King. He’s 6-3 and 192lbs but look at how he performed at last years Husky combine:
4.02 short shuttle
39.5 inch vert
He’ll probably only run a similar forty time to Richard Sherman (4.56) but these are crazy numbers.
King’s three cone of 6.40 would’ve been easily the best by a cornerback at the 2016 combine. Maryland’s Sean Davis ran the fastest time a year ago with a 6.64.
If he repeats it at the NFL combine, it might be the best three-cone by a cornerback ever. Buster Skrine’s 6.44 is the current best mark since records began in 2006.
His broad jump of 10-10 matches Vernon Hargreaves’ effort and would’ve been the third best in 2016 (Jalen Ramsey was #1 with an 11-3). His vertical jump would’ve also been the third best at last years combine (DeAndre Elliott incidentally had a 41 inch vertical).
His short shuttle would’ve ranked at #6.
If King can replicate these numbers in Indianapolis, he could easily find a home in the first round.
Long speed is a concern and pre-draft forty times are critical but as told to me by one insider, King is a typical Seattle Seahawks type of cornerback who will be selected during the second day of the draft.
In terms of prototype Seahawks size and length for an outside corner, he ticks the boxes. In terms of freakish athleticism, he has that too.
He also had a productive 2016 season. King defended 15 passes, tied for #16 in the country (level with Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley). He also had two interceptions. He was targeted a lot as teams generally avoided Sidney Jones on the opposite side of the field. This is useful experience if he does end up playing across from Richard Sherman.
If they’re going to take a cornerback in round one, it could easily be Kevin King.
In terms of the rest of the class, I liked Ohio State’s Gareon Conley more than I expected. He doesn’t have insane size but there doesn’t appear to be much of a talent difference between Conley and team mate Marshon Lattimore. It was fun watching him match-up against Clemson’s Mike Williams. Both players had their moments.
Adoree’ Jackson is clearly a tremendous athlete. His 16 passes defended was tied 11th in the country with LSU’s Tre’Davious White. At the 2013 Nike SPARQ combine Jackson managed a 4.44 forty and a 37-inch vertical. His SPARQ score was a decent 122.7. He’s petit but could be an option as an explosive slot corner/safety hybrid. If providing competition for Jeremy Lane is a priority — Jackson could be a key target.
Two players I enjoyed watching again were the aforementioned White and Tennessee’s Cam Sutton. Both have a lot of value in the kicking game, they’re good athletes and respected leaders. In terms of character they’re top of the draft class at CB. White has had the coveted #18 jersey at LSU for the last two seasons. Sutton is a tremendous public speaker with a great backstory related to Hurricane Katrina. I think teams will like him.
The issue with both is size and length. They’re in that 5-10-5-11 range which is borderline for Seattle. We know the Seahawks want +32 inches in arm length. I’ll be rooting for both players at the combine. Sutton in particular is a very intriguing prospect overall.
Two players I expected more from were Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor. Wilson looks thick set and lacks suddenness. Tabor equally didn’t stand out as an athlete. I went back and looked at the 2013 Nike combine numbers and they were revealing:
Quincy Wilson — 4.60 forty, 32 inch vertical
Teez Tabor — 4.64 forty, 35 inch vertical
They’ll need to do a lot better than that at the NFL combine. For whatever reason, a string of Florida Gator cornerbacks have not performed well in these testing events. Even Vernon Hargreaves last year ran an underwhelming 4.50.
Teams avoided throwing at Washington’s Sidney Jones all season — he was targeted only 48 times. It was clear to see, especially watching him live against Arizona State. He’s an athletic, technically gifted cornerback with major pro talent. He looks dinky in size — but so did Hargreaves and Eli Apple last year. It won’t be a surprise at all if he lands in the top-20.
Cordea Tankerlsey is intriguing but how much of an athlete is he? Tankersley can really bolster his stock with a good combine.
I’m going to spend more time looking at the group after the combine and Senior Bowl when we have measurements and physical profiles to work with. However, at this point I would project the following players have a good chance to go in the top-25:
Marlon Humphrey (Alabama)
Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State)
Sidney Jones (Washington)
Adoree’ Jackson (USC)
The following players could also work their way into the first round:
Kevin King (Washington)
Cordrea Tankersley (Clemson)
Gareon Conley (Ohio State)
I’m going to reserve judgement on Wilson and Tabor until after the combine and further study. Wilson is technically sound and can be physical. He’s cocky in a good way. He has a pro cornerback mentality. But he has to do more than a 4.6 and a 32 inch vertical to get ahead of some of these players.
None of this group are as exciting as Marcus Peters was entering the league. Arguably the NFL’s best cornerback these days, Peters just looked like a stud — size, length, physicality, ball skills, athleticism, attitude.
So it’s a deep class of good cornerbacks instead of 2-3 studs at the top of round one. If the Seahawks truly wanted to invest in the secondary, they should be able to get two solid defensive backs in the first four rounds.
I’m sure other names will emerge during the process. We’ll keep monitoring this class and I haven’t watched everyone yet. Colorado’s Akhello Witherspoon needs to work on his tackling — but he did a decent job covering John Ross. He could be a later round option at 6-3 and around 190lbs. Witherspoon was #2 in the country for passes defended (22).
The big stars of the 2017 draft might come at other positions. It’s a fantastic safety class and Malik Hooker in particular has a chance to be special. Whenever you watch Washington Budda Baker jumps off the screen. He’s a fantastic, underrated talent.
It could end up being a really productive group of defensive linemen and edge rushers. Solomon Thomas has generational potential. It’s easy to imagine Taco Charlton and Charles Harris having a big impact quickly in the league. Jonathan Allen is consistently disruptive at Alabama, while Takk McKinley has some DeMarcus Ware and some Ziggy Ansah to his play. Tim Williams has character flags to check out — but he had a tremendous career at Alabama.
The top two running backs — Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook — appear destined for greatness. Garett Bolles has a chance to be a really good offensive tackle in a league desperate for quality at the position. The top two tight ends — O.J. Howard and David Njoku — can also have a major impact.
And at linebacker — Reuben Foster could be another Luke Kuechly or Bobby Wagner. Zach Cunningham is another tremendous talent and Raekwon McMillan looked better on a second glance at Ohio State yesterday. Florida’s Jarrad Davis is one to watch.
Three round projection based on what we heard today:
R1 — Kevin King (Outside CB, Washington) or Adoree’ Jackson (Slot CB, USC)
R2 — Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
R3 — Shalom Luani (S, Washington State)
R3 — Adam Bisnowaty (T, Pittsburgh)
And with approximately $37m in free cap space — they’ll have an opportunity to add to the D-line, O-line and possibly running back.
We now know the Seahawks are picking 26th in the 2017 draft.
Here’s the question we’re all going to be asking this week:
How do the Seahawks get back to their very best?
Go back to what made them great in the first place.
Great defense, commitment to running the ball, turnovers.
The top two seeds in the NFC this season combined for only 12 wins a year ago. A good off-season can lead to a big improvement.
Recently the Seahawks have looked more like a finesse, delicate offense. We’ve referred to the offense as a glass cannon, capable of doing great damage but it cracks and shatters under any kind of adversity.
Do what you do best — with the Detroit and Carolina games a perfect example of that. Re-commit to the run and stick with it, get your explosive plays in the passing game by exploiting play action.
Add competition and if possible some veteran leadership to the O-line — and more depth at running back.
The aura of intimidation and danger that gave them an advantage just by stepping on the field has been shattered. The defense that was once historic proved vulnerable in ways that would have been unimaginable in their heyday…
The Seahawks have a really good core filled with star players like Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor.
It’s time to add two or three others to join Frank Clark as younger playmakers.
Physicality, size, length and speed — time to reestablish that aura of intimidation.
Off-season plan (first draft)
1. Reload the defense
The 2017 draft is going to be about defense. That’s were the depth is, that’s where the quality is.
This draft has the deepest/most talented group of CBs I’ve seen in several years. Also, loaded with edge rushers, safeties, RBs and TEs.
The 2017 draft looks as though its going to be a rich one at the cornerback position and their will be quality at the top as well as quantity through the rounds. Most teams I’ve spoken with have the same eight cornerbacks at the top of the board; Marlon Humphrey/Alabama, Desmond King/Iowa, Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, Adoree’ Jackson/USC, Sidney Jones/Washington, Cordrea Tankersley/Clemson, Kevin King/Washington and Jalen Tabor/Florida.
All grade as top 45 selections and its not out of the question they all land in round one.
With Seattle picking in the late 20’s, they’re unlikely to get anywhere near the best offensive tackles (Garett Bolles, Ryan Ramcyzk) or the top two running backs (Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook). They could, however, get a cornerback or another pass rusher with a legit first round grade purely due to the depth at each position.
We know the Seahawks haven’t drafted a corner earlier than the fourth round in the Carroll era — and that’s something we also need to consider. Seattle has pretty defined draft trends and they might stick to their guns and continue to look for their guys on day three.
The ACL injury to Deshawn Shead and the deep class of cornerbacks might provoke a different approach this year.
Three of Atlanta’s first four picks in the 2016 draft were defensive players — could we see something similar from Seattle this year? This is the draft to do it.
Will we see them tap into the extreme list of defensive talent turning pro from the local schools? Washington is sending Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Elijah Qualls, Budda Baker and Joe Mathis to the NFL. Washington State has a very talented, dynamic safety in Shalom Luani. All could be in contention for the Seahawks.
Could they also be aggressive in free agency, targeting Calais Campbell as a priority to provide a dynamic interior presence to compliment Seattle’s productive EDGE rushers?
It feels like there’s an opportunity to find 3-4 impact players for the defense during this off-season.
2. Commit to the run, more competition
The Seahawks had the 25th best running attack in the NFL this year. In the previous four years they were comfortably in the top-five.
Part of the issue is Marshawn Lynch. There will never be another. Lynch was able to impact every game he played in — even on a 20-carry, 60-yard day. His physicality, the attention he commanded and the consistent eight-man boxes provided the Seahawks with an advantage they could only dream of in 2016.
It doesn’t mean they can’t run the ball successfully without Lynch — but it feels like they need to recommit to that aspect of their offense. Too often they started strongly and were then led down a different path. It happened in Atlanta where Thomas Rawls had 29 yards on six carries on the opening drive and five yards on five carries for the rest of the game.
Personnel additions are to be expected — although Carroll might have more faith in the incumbents than most fans. He singled out C.J. Prosise as a key player yesterday and has consistently defended his ‘O-line for the future’.
Adding at least one other running back feels likely given the injury issues experienced by Prosise and Thomas Rawls. That could be a veteran or a draft pick. Players like Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Stewart could be available — and it’s a deep draft of mostly uninspiring running backs.
Extra competition on the O-line is probably more likely than a full-scale rebuild. They might be able to add a veteran tackle via free agency or trade.
The draft will provide some options between rounds 2-4 and the Seahawks are expected to have an extra third round pick (Bruce Irvin compensation). More youth on the O-line might not be the order of the day — but if the veteran market explodes they might not have a choice.
Aside from Bisnowaty — Dan Feeney, Dorian Johnson, Forrest Lamp, Antonio Garcia, Roderick Johnson, Taylor Moton, Chad Wheeler, Dion Dawkins and David Sharpe are being projected beyond the first round.
Can they tempt the 49ers to make a deal for Joe Staley? Are there other possible trade targets?
The O-line won’t go unaddressed — but the extent of the changes and how they add to the group isn’t clear.
How else will these moves help the team?
The Seahawks are not a good road team currently. They were 8-1 at home and 1-5-1 travelling to NFC opponents (including playoffs).
The brand of football discussed above? It travels well.
Seattle generally wins a lot of games at Century Link Field. The key to being a #1 or #2 seed in the playoffs is the road record. If they can get back to the days where they were 5-3 or 4-4 on the road, they have a chance to host more than a solitary playoff game.
Bigger, faster, stronger
John Schneider mentioned being the bullies again in 2016 — something they never quite established. Any potential off-season addition this year likely has to play with an edge and have unique physical traits (size, length).
Bigger, faster, stronger has to be return.
We probably need to look for punishing, physical defenders and athletes that jump off the screen in trying to identify the next batch of Seahawks.
Production is also important. If they want to create more turnovers — who was adept at doing that in college? Who was consistently creating pressure and forcing TFL’s? Who are the best run blockers or pass protectors? Which running backs can set a tone in the NFL?
Key veteran additions:
Calais Campbell (or another interior D-liner)
Veteran tackle (via trade or free agency)
They’ll have four picks between rounds 1-3. That should be enough to add a defensive lineman or EDGE, two defensive backs (CB, S) and a running back. Feel free to swap any of these for an offensive lineman.
Over the next few days I’m going to try and watch every cornerback currently listed with an early draft projection. I’m going to review each defensive lineman and safety.
In just over a week we’ll have the Senior Bowl and at the beginning of March it’s the combine. This will help us narrow the list of potential targets with prospects getting measured at each event. For example, we know they like tall cornerbacks with +32-inch arms. We need this type of info.
And at some point in the next ten days, my wife will give birth to baby #2.
Last year’s season-ender in Carolina at least finished with a typical fightback.
Here, they were just outclassed. Beaten by a better team. Hammered.
They kept it close for a quarter. Had the ideal start in fact. It wasn’t sustainable. Atlanta scored points, Seattle had no answer. Not on offense, not on defense.
At least in Green Bay there were turnovers to point to. No such excuse today.
Worrying trends continued:
— The ‘glass cannon offense’ theory proved true once again. Seattle has the pieces to be dangerous and explosive. Yet even the slightest hint of adversity and it shatters.
— Seattle wants to run the ball and again started well in that regard. Yet, like so often this year, they didn’t sustain it. Thomas Rawls had 29 yards on six carries in the opening drive. He had five carries for five yards the rest of the day. Too often we’ve seen stat lines like this, failing to build on early success with the running game. This isn’t Seahawks football.
— Jimmy Graham had three catches for 22 yards and a score on a day when it felt like he needed a big game. There are times when this kind of stat-line is understandable. Not today.
— The Seahawks didn’t turn the ball over and have struggled to force turnovers all season. Since Earl Thomas’ broken leg in week 13 they haven’t had a single interception. That’s a franchise record six games without a pick.
So much of Pete Carroll’s vision for this team is run the ball, set the tone, protect the ball and force turnovers.
Instead they increasingly look like a brittle finesse passing offense that struggles against any kind of adversity with a defense that struggles to get after the ball.
There’s probably a connection.
This shows up in Seattle’s road woes too. This type of football historically doesn’t travel well. They were 1-5-1 against NFC opponents with only a win against 2-14 San Francisco to their name.
For the first time since 2011, the Seahawks were well beaten not once but twice. This was the third time in eight games they were never within one score in the fourth quarter. That hadn’t happened once in the previous 98 games.
So what now?
It feels like the most important off-season since 2012. We can run through a list of positional needs. More importantly — it might be the core identity that needs repairing.
Will Pete Carroll consider changes to the coaching staff? It feels like you can’t rule it out — although a number of alternative options have since gained employment elsewhere.
And yet while it feels like the Seahawks are creaking towards the end of this current Championship window — they’ve avoided the kind of down year experienced by Arizona and Carolina this season. They still won 10 regular season games and advanced a round in the playoffs.
They also still have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. You could argue the objective is to try and bring this collection of parts together again into a cohesive, connected unit — with a replenished and focused identity.
Had they won in week 16 against Arizona, who knows what would’ve happened if this game was in Seattle? Heck, who knows what happens if that penalty on Kevin Pierre-Louis isn’t called on special teams today, preventing the Seahawks potentially taking a 17-7 lead?
For all the road struggles vs the NFC, they also won in New England. A result that kept hopes alive longer than it possibly should’ve this year.
I’m sure there’ll be a mix of emotions today. Perhaps an initial desire for major change and an aggressive approach to free agency and the draft. It’ll eventually be offset by some realism that this is still a good football team, albeit a little broken.
That shouldn’t diminish how vital this off-season is, however. There is a lot to do. Right now, the Seahawks are not the cream of the NFL. And that will not sit well with a team that sets its sights as high as possible.
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