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Report: Ziggy Ansah meeting with the Seahawks today

Monday, April 29th, 2019

This isn’t a surprise. It’s not a sign that a deal is necessarily forthcoming either.

Ziggy Ansah is the most talented pass rusher available on the market. It would be shocking if the Seahawks didn’t meet with him, given their need to add a DE.

You have to meet with him to answer the questions regarding his validity as a signing. How healthy is his shoulder? How motivated is he to continue his NFL career? How much will it cost to sign him?

Many teams are doing their homework. Ansah travelled to meet the Ravens before the draft. As exciting as this news will be to many fans — they’ll likely be deeply concerned when, in a few days time, it’s revealed Ansah is off meeting with another team. He’ll be doing the rounds.

Here’s the reality. The Seahawks, or any other team seeking to protect comp picks, won’t sign Ansah for another week. That’s when signings don’t impact your comp picks. After that — they can sign whoever they want.

It’s possible they’ll also meet with Ndamukong Suh. They need to meet with all of the options out there and get a sense for what is viable.

Ansah has missed 14 games in the last three seasons and is currently rehabbing after shoulder surgery. The Seahawks are as well placed as anyone to take a chance on his health given their positive cap situation and desperate need for a pass rusher.

Even so — they’re not going to make a move for the sake of it. We’ll find out next week whether today’s meeting leads to anything.

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Self-assessment & an early look at 2020

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

If you missed our extensive review of the 2019 Seahawks draft class, click here.

What’s next?

The Seahawks currently have approximately $18m in free cap space. That could increase by another $7m if Doug Baldwin retires. There will be a further saving when Kam Chancellor is cut later this summer.

Pete Carroll was misquoted yesterday by the local Seattle media and it was implied he stated people would be ‘excited’ by their subsequent moves. Here’s the actual, less interesting quote:

“We’re not done. We’ve got work to do and we’re excited about what’s coming up. You guys will see in time.”

They’re acknowledging there’s work to be done on the pass rush. They probably anticipated this before the draft and that’s why they met with Corey Liuget, Al Woods and Allen Bailey last week. They previously spent time with Nick Perry.

In 2018 Bailey had six sacks (the most productive season of his career). Perry is only a year removed from a 7.5 sack season. They’re unlikely to be able to acquire a 13-sack edge rusher at this stage of the off-season. Finding two players who might be able to combine to produce that level of production could be a solution.

They also need to add a defensive tackle and Liuget or Woods could fill that void.

Inevitably people will talk about Ziggy Ansah and Ndamukong Suh. They too could be options and the Seahawks might explore their market if they haven’t already.

Ansah is recovering from shoulder surgery and there are concerns about when he’ll be ready to play again. He’s always been a hot-and-cold player — capable of dominating one week and then disappearing for stretches of a season.

There’s no doubting Ansah is the most talented player available but he’ll be no use to the Seahawks nursing an injury on the sidelines or belittling the fire and brimstone they just added via the draft. They’d need to be convinced he’s ready and determined to have an impact in 2019. Fans will call for his signing but we just don’t know how motivated he is. That’s something for the team to find out.

Suh is in a strange place. He admitted that he basically mailed it in during the 2018 regular season. He hasn’t had a sniff of interest during free agency. It’s possible he’s just become so rich that he isn’t motivated to go all-out every week. He’s made $139m so far in his football career.

It seems NFL teams are sceptical about whether he has anything left in the tank. Suh at his best would be a fine addition. A Suh coasting through the season and undermining the ‘always compete’ identity will be the last thing this team seeks to add.

So the options are limited. There might be a lot of soul-searching over the next few days. Any player still available on the open market is going to be flawed. Whether it’s age, motivation or loss of effectiveness.

That’s why I think they might at least consider what’s out there in the trade market. That doesn’t necessarily mean a big splash either. They might look for value.

Learning from mistakes

Every year I like to reflect on our draft coverage and see where we could’ve done a better job. This years example was pretty obvious.

At the end of the 2018 season we spent a fair bit of time wondering what they’d do at linebacker. It seemed inevitable K.J. Wright would depart in free agency. Mychal Kendricks was expected to re-sign but who knew what would happen with his court case?

Clearly a plan was needed at linebacker. When they re-signed both Wright and Kendricks, it threw us off the scent.

I assumed that was a review of the linebacker class — or at least an acknowledgement that they had to focus on other areas in this draft. We didn’t talk about the position at all. Then they drafted two linebackers who were ideal fits for what they look for at the position.

It was a difficult one to project. Going into the draft with only five picks — and with big needs elsewhere (DL, WR, DB) — it would’ve been a curious projection to pair the Seahawks with a couple of linebackers.

However, I should’ve spent more time at least discussing and looking at Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven.

A couple of years ago we noted how they seem to pay attention to the short shuttle when considering linebackers. We’d also heard Carroll talk about his determination in 2017 to add youth to the linebacker position. Only Shaquem Griffin was added in the two subsequent drafts — and none of the prospects in the 2017 or 2018 class ran a short shuttle quite like Cody Barton.

His 4.03 shuttle was the fastest at the combine among linebackers and was the second fastest by a linebacker in the last five years. Burr-Kirven’s 4.09 is the eighth fastest time in the last five years.

Even if we didn’t mock the two players to Seattle — we know enough about what they look for at the position to bring their names up in the general conversation. It should’ve been an easy win — to note they were likely Seahawks targets. And it would’ve led to a payoff for us as fans when both players were eventually drafted.

Gary Jennings is a good example of that. We talked about him throughout this process because he was an obvious Seahawk — from his forty time, to his frame, to his catch percentage, to his ability to compete for the ball in the air.

Moving forward I’m not going to let free agency moves or a perceived lack of need prevent us from identifying and discussing obvious Seahawks. If a player has an ideal physical profile for Seattle, we’ll talk about them.

An early look at 2020

Here are some of 2020 eligible names who could be a big part of next years draft…

Laviska Shenault Jr (WR, Colorado)
It was difficult to watch Colorado in 2018 knowing the sensational Shenault Jr wasn’t eligible for the draft this year. He’s 6-2 and 220lbs and does it all. He can make plays as a runner or receiver, he can grind out yards in the red zone or get downfield. He’s a mismatch weapon who could easily land in the first round next year.

Grant Delpit (S, LSU)
When people were projecting fifth round pick Deionte Thompson in the top-10 last season, I liked to compare Thompson to Delpit to make a point on the huge difference between the two. Delpit is a legit playmaker with range, size and physicality. He’s 6-3 and 203lbs and had five interceptions, five sacks and 9.5 TFL’s in 2018. He ran a 4.04 short shuttle at SPARQ testing, jumped a 37-inch vertical and achieved an overall score of 114.54. He’s a top-10 talent.

Chase Young (EDGE, Ohio State)
With Nick Bosa’s season ending prematurely in 2018, Young was given centre stage to show why he could be a top-10 pick next year. He’s 6-5 and 265lbs with superb quickness rushing the edge with the frame to handle run duties too. He recorded 14.5 TFL’s and 9.5 sacks and he has a great chance to develop into a big-time NFL rusher.

Willie Gay Jr (LB, Mississippi State)
Whenever you watched Mississippi State last season it seemed like Gay Jr was making a huge play. He’s 6-2 and 235lbs, flies around the field and just has a knack for turnovers and impact. He jumped a 39-inch vertical at SPARQ, ran a 4.26 short shuttle and achieved an overall score of 128.22.

Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
He could’ve been a top-15 pick this year. Brown flashed in numerous games in 2018 and is a complete defensive tackle — combining power in the run game with quickness and an ability to shoot gaps to get into the backfield. He had 10.5 TFL’s in 2018 and five sacks. It was surprising he chose not to declare. He’s listed at 6-5 and 325lbs but he plays with great quickness.

Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
Another player who could’ve been a high pick this year but surprisingly chose not to declare. Davis underachieved in 2018 and allowed Quinnen Williams to be the star for the Crimson Tide. However, as we saw against Georgia in the 2017 National Championship game, Davis has the size, length and quickness to draw comparisons to Calais Campbell.

Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner, Jeudy looks destined to follow Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley as a top-level first round receiver from Alabama. He had 1315 yards last season and 14 touchdowns. He’s not the biggest at 6-1 and 192lbs but he’s incredibly sudden and capable of being a factor on intermediate routes and as a downfield threat.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
He’s already been anointed as the #1 overall pick next year but I’d pump the breaks on that. It was all too easy for Alabama last season but when things got tougher at the end of the year, Tagovailoa got hurt and some flaws were exposed. He’s a good quarterback but he’s not Trevor Lawrence and it’s not a sure-thing he ends up the top prospect next year.

Jabari Zuniga (EDGE, Florida)
A player we mocked to the Seahawks before he chose not to declare. Zuniga is 6-4 and 257lbs and plays with quickness and intensity. He’ll chase down the ball carrier and compete to the whistle. He wasn’t quite as exciting as Jachai Polite in 2018 but he’ll be the main man next season and has a chance to take the next step.

Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
Everyone thinks the Miami Dolphins are trying to ‘tank for Tua’. They seem to be forgetting the reports stating Dolphins brass were enamoured with Herbert and were ready to write-off the 2019 quarterback class when he chose not to declare. Like Tua he’s no sure thing. He has the tools but he’s inconsistent.

Ceedee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
A four-star recruit who was the ideal compliment to Marquise Brown for the Sooners. The 6-2 and 189lbs receiver recorded 1158 yards and 11 touchdowns and provided Kyler Murray with a target who could make contested catches and get downfield. With another good season he could find a home in round one.

Steven Montez (QB, Colorado)
We couldn’t anticipate how bad Nebraska were going to be in 2018 but Montez’s performance in a big road win put him on the map. His deep-throwing ability is exceptional, he has a rocket arm and he has the mobility to make plays as a runner. He’s a terrific, underrated talent.

Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia)
There are times where Fromm looks like a legit NFL passer. He has a reasonable physical profile with a decent-not-great arm, 6-2 height and 220lbs size. He’s led Georgia to compete in the SEC and they should’ve won the National Championship a year ago. Can he take a step forward and convince NFL teams he’s a pro-starter?

Bryce Hall (CB, Virginia)
Speed, speed, speed. He’s been clocked as capable of running at 22mph and you see it on tape. Watch this play (click here) for two reasons — a great run by Seahawks’ sixth round pick Travis Homer and the unbelievable closing speed of Bryce Hall. He had two interceptions in 2018.

Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson)
A classic big target who makes the Tigers’ offense tick with Trevor Lawrence. He’s 6-4 and 210lbs and ran a 4.23 short shuttle and jumped a 34-inch vertical at SPARQ. He can go up and get the football and make contested grabs. His stock will likely be determined on whether he can run a lot faster than he did at SPARQ (4.75). He had 936 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018.

Trey Adams (T, Washington)
Back injuries, doubts over whether he’d continue to play football and two lost years have hampered Adams’ stock. Yet it’s easy to forget he was once seemingly destined to be a top-15 NFL pick. If he can get back on the field in 2019 and have a strong season, he can get back into that range — especially with an expected major down year on the O-line.

Henry Ruggs (WR, Alabama)
The other big playmaker for the Crimson Tide, Ruggs is only 6-0 and 183lbs but he’s lightning quick. He ran a 4.25 forty this spring and recorded 741 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. The NFL loves dynamism and speed at receiver and Ruggs made his fair share of big, impact plays last year.

K.J. Hill (WR, Ohio State)
He ran an unreal 3.93 short shuttle at SPARQ and jumped a 37-inch vertical. You see that quickness and agility show up on tape. Hill is adept at getting open and could be the next dynamic weapon to come out of Ohio State. He’s 6-0 and 198lbs and could take on the #1 target role in 2019.

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The 2019 Seahawks draft review

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

There were strong themes throughout this class.

Leadership, toughness, physical ideals, commitment to identity and special teams.

There’s also a potential problem that we’ll get onto in a moment.

Firstly, here’s Seattle’s complete 2019 draft board:

#29 (R1) L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#47 (R2) Marquise Blair (S, Utah)
#64 (R2) D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
#92 (R3) Cody Barton (LB, Utah)
#120 (R4) Gary Jennings (WR, West Virginia)
#124 (R4) Phil Haynes (G, Wake Forest)
#132 (R4) Ugo Amadi (S, Oregon)
#142 (R5) Ben Burr-Kirven (LB, Washington)
#204 (R6) Travis Homer (RB, Miami)
#209 (R6) Demarcus Christmas (DT, Florida State)
#236 (R7) John Ursua (WR, Hawaii)

Using NFL.com and Bob McGinn’s superb website, here are quotes on every player…

L.J. Collier — “Collier’s toughness, size and strength are traits seen typically from players who develop into quality starting ends.”

Marquise Blair — “He got three targeting penalties on purpose. If he wasn’t crazy I’d take him in the second round.”

D.K. Metcalf — “DK’s a freak… You line him up at X and he’s taking the lid off coverage. That’s what he’s doing. Smart kid. Loves football.”

Cody Barton — “Man, that (bleep) is a football player… He’s all over the field… A really strong, aggressive guy at the point of attack and a really consistent finisher.”

Gary Jennings — “Jennings was one of the fastest players at the Senior Bowl, according to Zebra Technology tracking, and his 4.42 combine time and huge numbers in explosive testing are sure to push him up draft boards.”

Phil Haynes — “Powerful guard prospect with well-built frame that can handle more mass. Haynes was a four-year starter and is known for durability and leadership.”

Ugo Amadi — “He’s strong and physical in press and is a willing run supporter which gives him a shot as a sub-package down safety with punt return talent.”

Ben Burr-Kirven — “He’s a (expletive) good player… Guy’s all over the field. Fun to watch. Tough and instinctive. Plays with his hair on fire. Good athlete. Good in space. All-out effort. Most productive player that I saw. High motor, finds the ball, runs well.”

Travis Homer — “A little undersized, but runs big and he already possesses NFL-level toughness in pass protection.”

Demarcus Christmas — “Upper-body power and twitch to pop and shed single blocks… Has some ability to batter the pocket with his rush.”

John Ursua — “His vision and ability to create plays with the ball in his hands makes him very hard to defend and bring down when in space. Ursua has extremely sticky hands and brings in just about anything that’s thrown his way.”

Last year they committed to reclaiming their identity. They became younger and hungrier, re-established the running game and made a necessary turn. This draft takes things a step further. They selected strong, tough, physical players with speed.

They’ve bolstered the depth and quality of their roster while significantly improving special teams. The likes of Blair, Barton, Amadi, Burr-Kirven and Homer might not start in 2019. They will, however, have a great chance to begin their careers as high-impact special teamers.

I wanted to embed this tweet because it’s important:

Internal consistency and an established vision that you stick to and believe in is vital in the NFL. Following the two Super Bowls, Seattle lost their way. The running game collapsed. ‘All-in’ became ‘always-complaining’. As players became older and more cynical, the team suffered.

The reset was a return to clarity. A fresh commitment to the preferred identity and vision. When your team knows what it wants to be and builds accordingly — you give yourself the best chance to succeed.

So what else can we say about this draft class?

Firstly, they got better value than most people will have you believe. Taking D.K. Metcalf at #64 is fantastic value considering he was being touted as a top-10 pick after the combine. I’ve been mocking L.J. Collier in the top-40 since the Senior Bowl plus Marquise Blair in round two. They went in the range they were supposed to go.

Cody Barton was a projected second or third round pick (taken in round three) and Ben Burr-Kirven was graded in round three by Bob McGinn’s sources (they got him in round five).

Furthermore, by trading down the Seahawks were able to acquire value similar to a top-10 pick:

If anyone tells you they were reaching for players and trading down was a waste, don’t listen to them.

With mystery surrounding Doug Baldwin’s future they landed a receiver many expected to go in round one (D.K. Metcalf), followed up by selecting another who screams Seahawks in Gary Jennings and then traded back into the seventh round to get John Ursua.

For years Carroll has sought a big, dynamic target. Now he has one in Metcalf. He’s probably the most boom or bust player in the draft but with the last pick in round two, it was worth a shot. Is he David Boston? Is he Josh Gordon? We’ll find out.

Jennings is a classic Seahawks receiver and ticks every box. He ran a 4.42 and jumped a 37-inch vertical. He’s 6-1 and 214lbs. He had a 75% catch rate in 2018 and showed he’s a very capable deep receiver who can operate in the slot too. He clocked a top speed of 21.03mph at the Senior Bowl. He was destined to end up in Seattle.

The Seahawks gave up a 2020 sixth rounder to move back into the seventh round to select John Ursua. He led the FBS with 16 receiving touchdowns in 2018. He’s been carrying a hamstring injury but still competed at his pro-day, running a 4.58 forty, a 6.78 three cone and jumping a 10-0 broad jump. Apparently he runs a 4.08 short shuttle. He’s 5-9 and 178lbs.

Having already drafted two receivers, they likely felt they couldn’t convince Ursua to sign as an undrafted free agent and wanted to make sure they got him.

Many people have asked if the Seahawks still pay attention to explosive traits on the offensive line. The pick of Phil Haynes shows they do. When we did our TEF scores this year, Haynes was the second most explosive offensive lineman in the class scoring a 3.22.

Only Iosua Opeta (3.62) beat him.

The next six names on the list were:

Chris Lindstrom (3.18)
Garrett Bradbury (3.15)
Andre Dillard (3.13)
Erik McCoy (3.05)
Kaleb McGary (3.02)
Elgton Jenkins (3.01)

That’s pretty good company and speaks not only to Haynes’ physical potential but the value Seattle got by taking him in round four.

He’s a four-year starter, a team captain and he has great size (6-4, 322lbs, 33.5-inch arms). He’s known for durability and leadership. He can provide competition at both guard spots immediately.

Travis Homer is smaller than they’ve usually preferred at running back (he’s 5-10 and 201lbs). However, he’s fast and explosive — running a 4.48 and jumping a 38.5 inch vertical. He plays bigger than his size and excels in pass protection. Don’t be surprised if Homer has the inside track on the third-down role (especially if C.J. Prosise fails to take his last chance in Seattle).

Charles Davis mentioned on the NFL Network that Homer was a quality special teamer.

What have they gained on defense?

They added two linebackers with the kind of agility and quickness they’ve been craving for years. After the 2016 season Pete Carroll noted they needed to find some youth at the linebacker position. They’d relied on Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright for years. In 2016 both players practically played every snap. They needed some relief.

The Seahawks proceeded to ignore the position in the subsequent draft and only drafted Shaquem Griffin a year ago. The reason? College football simply hasn’t been pumping their type of linebacker into the league.

So what is their type?

We identified the short shuttle as a key test two years ago. Cody Barton ran a 4.03 short shuttle (the fastest among linebackers at the combine) and Ben Burr-Kirven ran a 4.09 (third fastest among linebackers at the combine).

Barton’s 4.03 is the second fastest among linebackers in the last five years. Burr-Kirven’s 4.09 is the eighth fastest in that time frame.

Throw in the physicality and passion for the game with that quickness and agility and you have a pair of Seahawks linebackers. Having waited so long and with such a dearth of players matching their ideals in the last few years, it’s no wonder they took this opportunity to add both Barton and Burr-Kiven.

Strike while the iron is hot.

You might ask why they drafted two linebackers after re-signing Mychal Kendricks and K.J. Wright. There a couple of reasons I think. Firstly — both Barton and Burr-Kiven are quick and work well in space. The Seahawks haven’t got close to slowing the Rams down in the last three meetings between the two teams. Now they have the personnel to be creative and try to get a handle on LA’s misdirection-heavy offense.

The Patriots showed a way to combat the Rams and it included safety/linebacker hybrids playing up at the LOS purposely to take away the sweeps, reverses and plays in space.

Secondly — Bobby Wagner is a free agent next year. Everyone assumes a deal is a formality. As we’ve seen with Frank Clark that’s not always the case. Kendricks is only contracted for 2019 and Wright’s new deal is for two-years but has an out after 2019. They might be fine at linebacker this year but the future is far from certain. Now they have some depth at the position after years of relying too heavily on Wagner and Wright.

Here’s what I wrote about L.J. Collier before the draft:

Collier is one of my favourite players in the draft. I wish he tested better but here’s the facts — he’s a bad ass who wins with power, hand-use, speed, stunts and setting up blockers.

Aside from a great attitude, toughness, the ability to rush the passer in multiple ways and his likeness to Michael Bennett — Pete Carroll noted pressure percentages during the off-season.

Collier’s pressure percentage in 2018 was 19.2%. Here’s how he compares to two of the bigger names in the draft who also went in round one:

Montez Sweat — 20.2%
Brian Burns — 19.7%
L.J. Collier — 19.2%

Now let’s compare overall pressures:

Josh Allen — 57
Clelin Ferrell — 56
L.J. Collier — 54
Chase Winovich — 53
Montez Sweat — 48

Clearly the numbers prove he was right up there with the best pass rushers in this draft based on production. He might not be flashy or have the big name status. He was highly productive, however.

He also has an excellent 82-inch wingspan and 34-inch arms despite his relatively modest height (6-2). He uses his length well. Hand-use and technique is so important at the next level. College speed rushers often flame out because it’s so easy in the NCAA to run beyond bad offensive tackles. Speed-to-power is the key in the NFL. You have to be able to engage/disengage, win with a push-pull or club/rip. Can you bull-rush? Fight through a block? Collier does all of these things and still flashes the ability to win crashing the edge.

Marquise Blair is a player we consistently mocked in round two. His speed (4.48) and sledgehammer hitting stood out on tape. He needs some coaching — especially to avoid flags. That’s where Seattle excels — developing defensive backs. The Seahawks could reclaim a fear factor at the second level with this pick.

Before taking Blair, Earl Thomas was the only defensive back they’d drafted in the first two rounds in the Carroll era. That goes to show how highly they must rate him.

Ugo Amadi was voted a permanent team captain at Oregon. He’s described as good in run support which is important for the Seahawks. It seems like he could be competing for the nickel spot, replacing Justin Coleman. He had big production in 2018 including five TFL’s, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), eight pass breakups and he scored on a punt return.

Demarcus Christmas was once considered a possible mid-round prospect but never really took the next step at Florida State. He’s not your typical Seahawks defensive tackle — he has sub-33 inch arms (32 3/4 inches) and he ran a 5.07 short shuttle. He has potential and upside and they only spent a sixth round flier to acquire him.

If you were hoping for physical football players who play with speed and intensity, you’ll like this class. If you wanted the Seahawks to build up their defense, special teams and add targets amid concerns about Doug Baldwin’s future — you’ll like this class.

So what’s the one glaring issue that remains?

Pass rush.

The Seahawks needed to build up their defensive line even before trading Frank Clark yet they only added L.J. Collier at #29 and Demarcus Christmas in round six.

Here are the changes on the defensive line since last season:

IN — L.J. Collier, Cassius Marsh, Nate Orchard, Demarcus Christmas

OUT — Frank Clark, Shemar Stephen, Dion Jordan

Losing their top pass rusher is a big loss. The Seahawks need to replace Clark’s threat and production. They’re also left relying on young players. Collier, Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin are not Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons.

This could be a big problem for the Seahawks barring a huge increase in performance by Green and Martin. It’s difficult to be optimistic about the pass rush and run defense — two areas that were adequate at best in 2018.

Could they have done more in this draft? Perspective is needed. Despite the depth of quality on the D-line the draft never quite fell for them to take advantage. The top linemen went early limiting their options in the first two rounds. The EDGE rushers in particular evaporated.

There’s not really much they could’ve done. Run through each of Seattle’s picks and you’ll see what I mean. The linemen came off the board in awkward areas.

There’s no doubt they will add veterans when the compensatory picks are no longer affected next week. They already met with Allen Bailey, Corey Liuget and Al Woods in the last week — suggesting they anticipated this being an issue. They can sign Nick Perry at any point because he was cut by the Packers. Ziggy Ansah is also available although he’s still recovering from shoulder surgery.

Are any of these players the answer? It’s hard to imagine they’ll provide a solution.

So what are they going to do?

They have eleven 2020 picks. Will they make trades for veterans? Possibly.

And consider this — they have cap room now with Clark gone. That cap space will increase further if Doug Baldwin retires.

Would they enquire about Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney? Reportedly he’s been put on the trade block.

Are they more prepared to pay him as a proven game-wrecker and former #1 overall pick than they were Frank Clark? Would they give the Texans a first round pick? Is that even the asking price?

Are there any alternatives?

They have to do something because the D-line doesn’t look up to scratch currently. It’d be a shame if all the promise emanating from this draft class and last years re-set was let down by a sub-standard defensive line.

One quick final point on Clowney vs Clark. It’s worth noting that in the last three seasons Clowney has recorded 54 TFL’s. In 2016 and 2017 he was either ranked first or second in the NFL for TFL’s. In that same three year period, Clark has 32 TFL’s.

Here’s the TFL breakdown:

2018
Clowney — 16 (11th in NFL)
Clark — 11 (40th in NFL)

2017
Clowney — 21 (2nd in NFL)
Clark — 10 (47th in NFL)

2016
Clowney — 17 (1st in NFL)
Clark — 11 (29th in NFL)

Total
Clowney — 54
Clark — 32

It’s something to consider when weighing up whether they’d be willing to pay one player and not the other.

What else didn’t they get?

They may be disappointed not to tap into the depth at tight end (although the need at receiver perhaps took some of the attention there).

It was also a surprise that they didn’t draft a single outside cornerback to come in and compete. This will likely be a target area in undrafted free agency.

Quotes, videos and notes on Seattle’s picks

Check out Brett Kollman’s video breakdown of D.K. Metcalf:

Metcalf was listed as the #1 receiver in Bob McGinn’s draft preview. Here are some of the anonymous scout quotes he provided:

“DK’s a freak… You line him up at X and he’s taking the lid off coverage. That’s what he’s doing. He’s a slot receiver. Smart kid. Loves football. He’s better than Stephen Hill coming out, more productive than Josh Gordon coming out. But he’s kind of more in their light than Julio (Jones). Julio has better flexibility, hips, routes.”

“He’s a workout phenom. He can’t catch and he can’t run routes and he doesn’t separate well. Everybody talks about how great he looks but what great receiver is just big? Julio, but Julio wasn’t even that big. The top receivers aren’t these monsters. Odell (Beckham), Antonio Brown. A.J. Green is slender. Being that big doesn’t make you a good wide receiver. In fact, it’s the opposite.”

Here’s Bob McGinn’s write-up on Cody Barton:

“Little bit of a wild horse rider,” said one scout. “Not a bad kid. Will knock the (bleep) out of you. Super fast. Big-time downhill player.” Described by one scout as a classic overachiever. “Man, that (bleep) is a football player,” said another scout. Finished with 235 tackles (24 ½ for loss), nine sacks and five takeaways. “He’s all over the field,” said a third scout. “A really strong, aggressive guy at the point of attack and a really consistent finisher. He’s really good in coverage and a good pass rusher. He does everything pretty well. Nothing excellent.” Recorded the fastest LB clocking in the short shuttle (4.03). Wonderlic of 27.

And here’s the blurb on Ben Burr-Kirven, who was rated as a third round prospect:

Led FBS in tackles last season with 176. “He goes against everything I believe in as far as size,” said one scout. “He’s Dat Nguyen. He makes every tackle.” Finished with 338 tackles (only 11 ½ for loss), four sacks and 13 takeaways. “He’s a (expletive) good player,” said a second scout. “He’s just small. Guy’s all over the field. Fun to watch. Tough and instinctive. Plays with his hair on fire. Good athlete. Good in space. All-out effort. Most productive player that I saw. High motor, finds the ball, runs well. Just undersized. Gets bounced around. Really smart.” Wonderlic of 35. “Makes about 20 tackles a game,” a third scout said. “Only problem is, if he doesn’t beat the block initially he gets engulfed.” From Menlo Park, Calif.

Bob McGinn’s report on Marquise Blair:

Played two seasons for the Utes after spending time at a junior college. Summarized one scout: “He tries to hit you like a strong and he’s built like a free.” One of the most violent strikers in the draft. “He’s the most aggressive head-hunter,” said a second scout. “I think he’s had four targeting calls. He’s got range. He’s got everything you want. Just really undisciplined. Will probably be off a few boards. He’s had some anger issues. Never been in trouble but he’s just been hard to manage. One of the more fun guys to watch.” His two-year stats included 106 tackles (five for loss), two picks and four PBUs. “Where he’s deficient is coverage,” a third scout said. “Just change of direction. I would not be afraid to line up a good tight end against this guy. He’s not going to be good in man coverage.” From Wooster, Ohio. “Oh, my God,” said a fourth scout. “He got three targeting penalties on purpose. If he wasn’t crazy I’d take him in the second round.” Wonderlic of 22.

Bob McGinn’s report on L.J. Collier:

Fifth-year senior from Munday, Texas. Generally played DE but some teams project him to 3-technique. “He’s that ideal hybrid guy,” one scout said. “Because he’s a pass rusher he’ll go higher. Between second and third round. He can rush the passer. He has violent hands. He’s got power and quickness.” Finished with 82 tackles (20 ½ for loss) and 14 ½ sacks. “I had him more as an edge,” said a second scout. “He knows how to play. He’s not gifted athletically. He reminds me a little bit of that Charles Tapper from Oklahoma a few years ago. He’s got that inside move. Besides that, he’s not going to threaten as a pass rusher. In run support he can leverage. He’s a backup.”

Here’s Brian Baldinger on L.J. Collier:

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Live blog: 2019 NFL draft (rounds 4-7)

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Here’s today’s live blog. Keep refreshing for immediate reaction on every Seahawks pick. If you missed it early, here’s 42 profiles on possible day three targets.

And remember — no tipping picks please in the comments section.

Seattle’s board

#29 (R1) L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#47 (R2) Marquise Blair (S, Utah)
#64 (R2) D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
#88 (R3) Cody Barton (LB, Utah)
#120 (R4) Gary Jennings (WR, West Virginia)
#124 (R4) Phil Haynes (G, Wake Forest)
#132 (R4) Ugo Amadi (S, Oregon)
#142 (R5) Ben Burr-Kiven (LB, Washington)
#204 (R6) Travis Homer (RB, Miami)
#209 (R6) Demarcus Christmas (DT, Florida State)
#236 (R7) John Ursua (WR, Hawaii)

The Seahawks traded the #114 to Minnesota for #120 and #204. With the pick, the Vikings selected Oklahoma guard Dru Samia.

#120 (R4) — Gary Jennings (WR, West Virginia)
In practically every seven-round mock draft we did for 2019, Jennings was involved. This was one of the most predictable picks for the Seahawks this year. He’s a classic Seahawks receiver and ticks every box. Jennings ran a 4.42 and jumped a 37-inch vertical. He’s 6-1 and 214lbs. He had a 75% catch rate in 2018 and showed he a very capable deep receiver who can operate in the slot too. He clocked a top speed of 21.03mph at the Senior Bowl. We had him in round four to the Seahawks in our final mock projection.

#124 (R4) — Phil Haynes (G, Wake Forest)
When we did our TEF scores this year, Haynes was the second most explosive offensive lineman in the class scoring a 3.22. Only Iosua Opeta (3.62) beat him. The next five names were Chris Lindstrom (3.18), Garrett Bradbury (3.15), Andre Dillard (3.13), Erik McCoy (3.05), Kaleb McGary (3.02), Elgton Jenkins (3.01). He’s a four-year starter, a team captain and he has great size (6-4, 322lbs, 33.5-inch arms). He’s known for durability and leadership.

#132 (R4) — Ugo Amadi (S, Oregon)
He was voted a permanent team captain. Are you noticing a theme? Leadership, toughness, accountability. He’s described as good in run support which is important for the Seahawks. We’ll see how they use him — I think it’s pretty likely they’ll let him compete at nickel. He ran a 4.51 forty and a 4.19 short shuttle. He had big production in 2018 including five TFL’s, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), eight pass breakups and he scored on a punt return.

#142 (R5) — Ben Burr-Kiven (LB, Washington)
There have been a few themes this year — toughness, leadership, physicality. Ben Burr-Kiven is another one who fits that. There’s another blossoming theme too — special teams. It looks like the Seahawks are going all out to build up that unit after some disappointing seasons on kick coverage. Marquise Blair, Cody Barton, Ugo Amadi and Burr-Kiven look like they were all drafted with improving special teams in mind. Like Cody Barton he ran an exceptional short shuttle (4.09). We noted two years ago how the short shuttle appeared to be a primary test for Seattle at linebacker. He also ran a 6.85 three cone and a 4.56 forty. Those are great times.

Bob McGinn’s report on Ben Burr-Kiven listed him as a third round pick with the following blurb:

Led FBS in tackles last season with 176. “He goes against everything I believe in as far as size,” said one scout. “He’s Dat Nguyen. He makes every tackle.” Finished with 338 tackles (only 11 ½ for loss), four sacks and 13 takeaways. “He’s a (expletive) good player,” said a second scout. “He’s just small. Guy’s all over the field. Fun to watch. Tough and instinctive. Plays with his hair on fire. Good athlete. Good in space. All-out effort. Most productive player that I saw. High motor, finds the ball, runs well. Just undersized. Gets bounced around. Really smart.” Wonderlic of 35. “Makes about 20 tackles a game,” a third scout said. “Only problem is, if he doesn’t beat the block initially he gets engulfed.” From Menlo Park, Calif.

#204 (R6) — Travis Homer (RB, Miami)
Highly explosive and fast running back who ran a 4.48 forty and jumped a 38.5 inch vertical. He’s smaller than the Seahawks usually like at 5-10 and 201lbs. According to Lance Zierlein, Homer is “a little undersized, but runs big and he already possesses NFL-level toughness in pass protection“. If his pass protection skills are strong, there’s a good chance they’ve drafted him to compete to be the third down runner. Charles Davis mentioned he’s a big time special teams player.

#209 (R6) — Demarcus Christmas (DT, Florida State)
This is an interesting final pick for a few reasons. Firstly, Christmas has 32 3/4 inch arms and ran a 5.07 short shuttle. Those are two things the Seahawks have avoided in the Carroll era. Christmas was once considered a possible mid-round pick but never quite took the next step at Florida State. He’s 6-3 and 294lbs. He’d flash plenty of times at FSU but consistency was an issue. He’s a worthwhile flier at this stage and they needed some defensive tackle depth.

#236 (R7) — John Ursua (WR, Hawaii)
The Seahawks trade back into the seventh round, giving up a 2020 sixth rounder. They select John Ursua — who led the FBS with 16 receiving touchdowns in 2018. He’s been carrying a hamstring injury but still competed at his pro-day, running a 4.58 forty, a 6.78 three cone and jumping a 10-0 broad jump. He’s 5-9 and 178lbs. The fact they’ve drafted three receivers only further emphasises the doubt surrounding Doug Baldwin’s future.

That’s it for the Seahawks 2019 draft. A big review piece is on the way shortly.

Possible day three targets for the Seahawks

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Some names to consider in rounds 4-7…

Ryquell Armstead (RB, Temple)
Tough, physical and finishes runs. One anonymous scout said this about Armstead: “Three or four years from now I think people will say, ‘Gosh, I can’t believe they got him in the fourth round.” He’s in Seattle’s size range at 5-11 and 220lbs and he ran a 4.45. He has a running style similar to Alex Collins (minus the fumbles).

Dru Samia (G, Oklahoma)
Terrific run blocker who squares everything up. He excelled against Alabama and wants to fight everyone. The fact he played on the right could be a turn-off because the Seahawks seem to want size at that spot now. However — if they want to continue to set the tone, Samia could further add to that.

D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
The Seahawks have only added one defensive lineman so far. Walker might be too much of a tweener for them. I thought he did a good job at about 250lbs playing the run so that’s a plus and he has length (34 3/8 inch arms). They need more pass rush and in round four isn’t he worth a shot? There aren’t many pass rushers left.

Rodney Anderson (RB, Oklahoma)
Highly explosive, physical, ideally sized running back who has had consistent injury issues. He would’ve been a first round pick on talent alone. He dominated Georgia in the playoffs a year ago. Anderson presents an opportunity to get a true star. It’s all down to whether you trust he can stay healthy.

Trevon Wesco (TE/FB, West Virginia)
Considered the best full back prospect by some, Wesco could be used in a variety of ways. He’ll never be a dynamic pass-catcher but he has 34 3/4 inch arms on a 6-3, 267lbs frame. He can be a full back, a sixth lineman or a blocking tight end. He ran a surprisingly quick 4.38 short shuttle. He’s a terrific blocker and plays with aggression and intensity.

Derrek Thomas (CB, Baylor)
He looked like a Seahawks corner at the combine. Superb frame — 6-3, 189lbs, 33 3/4 inch arms, 39.5 inch vertical. He’s a project but he took an official-30 visit to Seattle. The type of guy they’ve worked with.

Isaiah Johnson (CB, Houston)
He’s 6-2 and 208lbs with 33-inch arms. He has a 79 1/8 inch wingspan. Johnson ran a 4.40 forty, a 6.81 three cone and a 4.06 short shuttle. Those are great times for a corner with his size. He also acted as a serviceable gunner on special teams.

Daniel Wise (DT, Kansas)
A team captain at Kansas with NFL bloodlines, Wise recorded 16 TFL’s and seven sacks as a junior before adding 12.5 TFL’s and five more sacks in 2018. He recorded 35 pressures in 2018. Only one of Wise’s workout numbers stood out but it’s the most important one — the short shuttle. He ran a 4.37 which is highly impressive at 6-3 and 281lbs. He also has 33-inch arms.

Kingsley Keke (DE, Texas Tech)
Keke’s tape is a bit disappointing but he was one of the more impressive performers at the Senior Bowl. He ran a 4.95 forty at 6-3 and 288lbs and added a solid 4.46 short shuttle and a 31.5 inch vertical. He only had 31 pressures in 2018 and that backs up the average tape. However, he did lose 20lbs to switch from tackle to end and with time could develop into an effective inside/out rusher.

John Cominsky (DE, Charleston)
A small-school prospect and former quarterback, Cominsky put on a show at the combine. He ran a 1.62 10-yard split at 6-5 and 286lbs. Considering anything in the 1.5’s is elite for a smaller EDGE or LEO — that’s a fantastic time. He has 33.5 inch arms and also ran a 4.69 forty, a 7.03 three cone and a 4.38 short shuttle. He added explosive power with a 33.5 inch vertical.

Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State)
He’s built like the Hulk and importantly for Seattle — at 6-5 and 318lbs (with 33 7/8 inch arms) — he ran a 4.53 short shuttle. His play was incredibly inconsistent. He’d destroy the center on one snap, then play out of control the next. Gap discipline is important in Seattle. Wren has amazing potential but he’ll need work to play within this scheme.

Armon Watts (DT, Arkansas)
A strong, physical defensive lineman capable of plugging gaps in the run game but still offering some pass rush ability. He’s 6-5 and 300lbs with 33 3/8 inch arms and could act as a solid anchor next to Jarran Reed.

Greg Gaines (DT, Washington)
Partnered Vita Vea superbly before Vea turned pro and had a knack of making at least a few splash plays every week. Gaines lacks traits but plays with a terrific motor. He needs to do a better job with his hands and too often he tries to barge his way through blockers. A 31-inch vertical hinted at some power and explosion though and at the very least he could develop into a disciplined run defender.

Albert Huggins (DT, Clemson)
Basically the unspectacular anchor of the Clemson D-line. Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell provided the star quality. Huggins quietly was an effective block-absorber. He’s not quick, he’s not athletic and he’s not particularly explosive. However — his upper body is tremendously powerful and he has a good frame at 6-3, 305lbs and 33.5 inch arms. Huggins could be a top run defender.

Gary Jennings (WR, West Virginia)
Had a terrific combine, running a 4.42 and jumping a 37-inch vertical. He’s 6-1 and 214lbs. Jennings had a 75% catch rate in 2018 and showed he a very capable deep receiver who can operate in the slot too. He clocked a top speed of 21.03mph at the Senior Bowl.

Johnnie Dixon (WR, Ohio State)
Like all the Ohio State receivers, he was lost within the scheme. Dixon ran a 4.41 at 5-10 and 201lbs and managed a 37.5 inch vertical. His eight touchdowns in 2018 averaged 32 YPC. He has the suddenness the Seahawks like.

Darius West (S, Kentucky)
On a defense loaded with talent, West was considered the established tone-setter and leader. According to Lance Zierlein: “When he speaks, teammates listen.” A true alpha. He has a history of injuries and that could be a problem. If teams clear his medical he’s a 5-11, 208lbs blaster with 4.39 speed.

Stephen Denmark (CB, Valdosta State)
Incredible physical profile. He’s 6-3 and 220lbs with 33 3/8 inch arms. Denmark ran a 4.46 forty, 1.48 10-yard split, jumped a 43.5 inch vertical and a 10-10 broad. There isn’t another cornerback in this draft with this level of physical upside. He’s also a converted receiver. He’s a major project but keep an eye on him.

Jamal Peters (CB, Mississippi State)
Converted safety who didn’t test well at the combine but has the size and length Seattle likes. Tony Pauline linked Seattle with interest in Peters during the season. He didn’t force many turnovers at Mississippi State but he was tough and physical. He’s 6-2 and 218lbs with 32 3/8 inch arms but he ran a 4.63.

Michael Jackson (CB, Miami)
He ran a solid 4.45 at 6-1 and 210lbs. His 40.5 inch vertical and 4.12 short shuttle were also impressive. He had 3.5 TFL’s, 2.5 sacks and six PBU’s in 2018 but failed to record an interception. He has 32.5 inch arms and looked the part at the combine.

Saivion Smith (CB, Alabama)
Measured bigger than expected (6-1, 199lbs, 33 1/4 inch arms). He didn’t run at the combine and the rest of his testing was average (eg. 4.37 short shuttle). He’s a press-corner who mixes it up and had three picks in 2018.

Foster Moreau (TE, LSU)
He wore the fabled #18 jersey at LSU — awarded to the player who best exemplifies character and leadership. He’s a terrific run-blocker with untapped potential in the passing game. Moreau ran a 4.66 forty, jumped a 36.5 inch vertical, a 7.16 three cone and a 4.11 short shuttle.

Devine Ozigbo (RB, Nebraska)
Wasn’t invited to the combine surprisingly. Ozigbo reportedly ran a 4.53 at 233lbs at his pro-day while adding a 37-inch vertical and a 10-4 broad jump. He has the explosive power and running style to warrant interest as a later round pick who can last in the league for a few years.

Darwin Thompson (RB, Utah State)
He took an official-30 visit to Seattle. He’s smaller than they usually like at 5-8 and 200lbs but he’s a tough, physical runner and we know the Seahawks like that. He recorded 16 touchdowns on just 176 touches in 2018. Could be an UDFA target.

Alec Ingold (FB, Wisconsin)
He’s a classic full back. Most teams won’t consider him because they don’t use these types of players any more. It’ll be interesting to see if the Seahawks take him. They’ve needed a quality full back for a while. Ingold inspired Jon Gruden to march onto the Senior Bowl field for a high-five after one punishing block.

Michael Jordan (G/C, Ohio State)
Huge frame (6-6, 312lbs) and although he played center for the Buckeye’s he might be better suited to guard. He has 34 1/4 inch arms. He looked the part at the combine and he could develop into a really solid starter over time.

Isaiah Prince (T, Ohio State)
If they gave out grades for body-building, Prince would be near the top. He looked in superb shape at the combine. He’s 6-6 and 305lbs with 35.5 inch arms. He has the ideal frame for a NFL left tackle. His kick-slide is good and so is his pass-pro. Prince is worth taking a shot on to develop.

Oli Udoh (T, Elon)
Absolutely massive right tackle prospect with 6-5, 323lbs size and 35 3/8 inch arms. His frame is already big and intimidating but he could add even more muscle. He ran a 5.05 forty. Udoh looks like a Seahawks right tackle.

Kaden Smith (TE, Stanford)
Once considered a possible top-40 pick, Smith didn’t run well at the combine (4.92). However, he did manage a 7.08 three cone which might put him on Seattle’s radar. He also managed a 4.47 short shuttle and a 32-inch vertical.

Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
Miller picked up an injury (in the College Football Playoffs vs Oklahoma) and hasn’t been able to do a proper testing session. He didn’t look 100% doing drills at the combine although he did manage a superb 38.5 inch vertical. On tape his ability to bend the arc is incredible and he has the size/length to be an effective LEO or EDGE (6-3, 247lbs, 35 1/8 inch arms). Miller could also be switched to linebacker full time.

Maxx Crosby (EDGE, Eastern Michigan)
An athletic, explosive pass rusher. Crosby ran a 4.66 forty, a 1.60 10-yard split, a 6.89 three cone and a 4.13 short shuttle. Those are all impressive numbers at 6-5 and 255lbs. He has talent but there’s a feeling he’s yet to fully develop physically and could become even stronger and quicker.

Anthony Nelson (DE, Iowa)
He had the joint-second best pressure percentage (23.5%) along with 53 pressures in 2018. Nelson’s tape is a bit underwhelming at times but there’s no doubting his upside. He ran a 4.82 forty, a 1.65 10-yard split, a 6.95 three cone and a 4.23 short shuttle at 6-7 and 271lbs. Those are elite times for a player with his size. He also has 34 7/8 inch arms.

Charles Omenihu (DE, Texas)
Possesses a terrific combination of size (6-5, 280lbs), length (36 inch arms), agility (4.36 short shuttle) and explosive power (36.5 inch vertical). There are flashes on tape where Omenihu really looks the part. Sadly, he wasn’t consistent enough and never truly realised his potential in college. He recorded only 39 pressures in 2018. Reportedly he divides opinion within the league with some loving him and some not rating him at all.

Joe Jackson (DE, Miami)
He didn’t work out at the combine and his pro-day testing numbers were not good. However, Jackson is 6-4 and 275lbs with 34 1/8 inch arms. He had 54 pressures in 2018 at 21.7% (level with Chase Winovich for fifth best).

Penny Hart (WR, Georgia State)
There may be some concern about his hands but his speed is unbelievable. He was so sudden at the Senior Bowl and embarrassed several top defensive backs. He’ll need coaching up but you can teach speed and he has it big time.

Jazz Ferguson (WR, Northwestern State)
I’m not sure they’ll go after another big target but Ferguson is 6-5, 227lbs, runs a 4.45 and jumped a 37-inch vertical. He’s a former four-star recruit who began at LSU. He lacks refinement but the talent and profile is there.

Reggie White Jr (WR, Monmouth)
The Seahawks met with White Jr during the draft process. He’s 6-3 and 210lbs. His father played in the NFL though he’s not the late Hall of Fame pass rusher. He ran a 1.50 10-yard split at his pro-day.

Lamont Gaillard (C, Georgia)
He was recruited as a defensive lineman before converting to offense. He’s an alpha, a team captain and a big-time leader. An anonymous NFC O-line coach says: “You want leadership, toughness and intelligence from that position (center) if you can get it and I think he’s going to be good in those areas.”

Austin Bryant (EDGE, Clemson)
He’s the forgotten man of this draft class. He played a role at Clemson and he showed off size and length during measurements (6-4, 271lbs, 34 5/8 inch arms). He might be worth taking a chance on with the pass rush options diminishing.

Justin Hollins (EDGE, Oregon)
Another terrific athlete who leaves you wanting so much more on tape. Hollins only had 41 pressures in 2018 and his pressure percentage is 16.8%. He’s 6-5 and 248lbs with 33 3/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.50 forty but his short shuttle time of 4.40 is only decent for his size. He did manage a 36.5 inch vertical. Seattle coaches were spotted working him out during the pre-draft process. He dips in and out of games too often but there’s potential to be coached up.

Emanuel Hall (WR, Missouri)
He ran a 4.39 at 6-2 and 201lbs. He also has exceptional length for a receiver (33 1/4 inch arms) and nearly 10-inch hands. He’s a go-route specialist and it’s a surprise he’s lasted into day three. If the Seahawks want another receiver he could be a target.

Dexter Williams (RB, Notre Dame)
He’s been an ascending talent during the draft season. He’s 5-11 and 212lbs and explosive (36 inch vertical) with great agility (4.16 short shuttle). He’s shown he can carry the load and he could provide some great value in rounds 4-5.

Review: Seahawks reinforce their identity on day two

Friday, April 26th, 2019

A year ago the Seahawks re-committed to their identity. They’d lost their way. The running game had completely collapsed. They were no longer bigger, faster stronger. They were older, disjointed and drifting.

Last year’s re-set was necessary to get things back on track.

This latest draft takes things to a whole new level.

The Seahawks aren’t just committing to their identity again with this class. They’re making a huge statement. They’re going after tough, physical, bullying players. There’s absolutely no finesse in this group.

If last year was about getting the offensive identity back and becoming a younger, hungrier team — this is about establishing an even greater edge to the defense.

L.J. Collier — a Michael Bennett-style pass rusher with heavy hands and attitude who describes playing the game as being in a war

Marquise Blair — the biggest hitter in the draft

D.K. Metcalf — a 6-3, 228lbs receiver who runs a 4.33

Cody Barton — an athletic linebacker described as a “wild horse rider” who will “knock the (bleep) out of you”

There’s a theme here — physical toughness. The Seahawks want to be the bullies again. They’re loading up their defense with players who set a tone. Players who leave a mark and combine athletic qualities with an edge that will force opponents to compete at every level.

Before the draft I tweeted the following:

This is basically what they’ve done. They got their identity back and now they’re building up their defense with BAMF’s.

The 2019 draft is an even bigger commitment to their vision than last years class.

I’ll have more on the players in a moment but let’s just recap what happened on an eventful day two…

The headlines

— The Seahawks trade down from #37 to #47 with the Panthers
— As compensation they gained another valuable round three pick (#77)
— They select Marquise Blair (S, Utah) with the #47 pick
— The Seahawks trade up from #77 to #64 with the Patriots giving up #118
— They select D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss) with the #64 pick
— Adam Schefter reports Doug Baldwin might be set to retire
— The Seahawks trade up again from #92 to #88 giving up #209
— They select Cody Barton (LB, Utah) with the #88 pick

The key to a good draft this year was to try and accumulate picks on day two. Seattle was able to turn #21 and #29 into #29, #47, #64 and #88. That’s a big win.

People will question some of the value simply because the players they took weren’t conventional names selected in a range where the media were predicting. I personally had Collier as a top-40 pick and Marquise Blair in round two. It shouldn’t be a big shock they landed in that range.

Many believed D.K. Metcalf was a first round pick. They got him at #64.

Seattle’s board

#29 (R1) L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#47 (R2) Marquise Blair (S, Utah)
#64 (R2) D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
#88 (R3) Cody Barton (LB, Utah)
#114 (R4)
#124 (R4)
#132 (R4)
#142 (R5)
#209 (R6)

There’s so much talent still available and the Seahawks have three great picks coming up in round four. Whether they take any of the following falling players remains to be seen. However, look at the names still available:

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (CB/S, Florida)
D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
Charles Omenihu (DE, Texas)
Anthony Johnson (DE, Iowa)
Keke Kingsley (DE, Texas Tech)
Marvell Tell (S, USC)
Amani Hooker (S, Iowa)
Emmanuel Hall (WR, Missouri)
Dru Samia (G, Oklahoma)
Hakeem Butler (WR, Iowa State)
Rodney Anderson (RB, Oklahoma)
Isaiah Johnson (CB, Houston)

They could easily get some impact players in round four who can come in and compete right away.

Day three is also the kind of range where the following could be considered:

Ryquell Armstead (RB, Temple)
Trevon Wesco (FB/TE, West Virginia)
Justin Hollins (EDGE, Oregon)
Riley Ridley (WR, Georgia)
Daniel Wise (DT, Kentucky)
Renell Wren (DT, Arizona State)
Albert Huggins (DT, Clemson)
Gary Jennings (WR, West Virginia)
Greg Gaines (DT, Washington)
Armon Watts (DT, Arkansas)
Jamal Peters (CB, Mississippi State)
Saivion Smith (CB, Alabama)
Maxx Crosby (EDGE, Eastern Michigan)
Austin Bryant (EDGE, Clemson)
Lamont Gaillard (C, Georgia)
Joe Jackson (DE, Miami)
Gerald Willis III (DT, Miami)
Kaden Smith (TE, Stanford)
Penny Hart (WR, Georgia State)
Dexter Williams (RB, Notre Dame)
Darius West (S, Kentucky)
Michael Jackson (CB, Miami)
Blessuan Austin (CB, Rutgers)
Derrek Thomas (CB, Baylor)

Notes on the three players drafted today

By taking Marquise Blair in round two, that’s the earliest pick the Seahawks have spent on a defensive back since Earl Thomas in 2010.

Here’s what I wrote about Blair in our big draft preview:

Hits like a hammer and will strike fear into any receiver running across the middle of the field. Could be a flag-machine if his technique is off. Decent but not great size (6-1, 195lbs). He ran a 4.48 forty which was faster than expected.

I’d mocked him in round two several times and listed him as a second round prospect in my March tiers, noting:

Utah’s Marquise Blair has the athleticism and quickness to excel at nickel and packs a punch as a tackler/hitter. He too might go a bit earlier than the consensus is predicting.

Here’s the view of one anonymous scout on Blair (courtesy of Bob McGinn):

“He’s the most aggressive head-hunter… I think he’s had four targeting calls. He’s got range. He’s got everything you want. Just really undisciplined. Will probably be off a few boards. He’s had some anger issues. Never been in trouble but he’s just been hard to manage. One of the more fun guys to watch.”

And here’s a slightly different view from another scout:

“He got three targeting penalties on purpose. If he wasn’t crazy I’d take him in the second round.”

That’s the quote of the 2019 draft right there.

I never believed D.K. Metcalf was likely to go as early as some were projecting. His neck injury from 2018 almost ended his career. He’s a one-dimensional receiver currently, running go-routes to exploit his 4.33 speed.

The good thing is that’s the one thing Seattle loves to do — go deep. Pete Carroll has craved a dynamic big receiver like this for years. If Metcalf can make strides as an intermediate and red zone target to pair with his ability to separate downfield he could be an X-factor in the NFL.

Here’s what I wrote about Metcalf in our big draft preview:

There are reasons to think Metcalf won’t appeal to the Seahawks. He had too many concentration drops in college, he had a serious neck injury during the 2018 season, his short/intermediate routes are laboured and he’s pretty much a one-trick pony at the moment (he runs a superb go-route at 6-3 and 228lbs). The thing is — the one thing he does very well is pretty rare. He ran a 4.33 at the combine and the fastest 10-yard split of any player at any position (1.48). There aren’t many humans on the planet who can run that fast at his size. For that reason alone — and considering Seattle’s desire to get the ball downfield — Metcalf has to be included here.

I’d highly recommend checking out this great tape breakdown by Brett Kollman:

Metcalf was listed as the #1 receiver in Bob McGinn’s draft preview. Here are some of the anonymous scout quotes he provided:

“DK’s a freak… You line him up at X and he’s taking the lid off coverage. That’s what he’s doing. He’s a slot receiver. Smart kid. Loves football. He’s better than Stephen Hill coming out, more productive than Josh Gordon coming out. But he’s kind of more in their light than Julio (Jones). Julio has better flexibility, hips, routes.”

“He’s a workout phenom. He can’t catch and he can’t run routes and he doesn’t separate well. Everybody talks about how great he looks but what great receiver is just big? Julio, but Julio wasn’t even that big. The top receivers aren’t these monsters. Odell (Beckham), Antonio Brown. A.J. Green is slender. Being that big doesn’t make you a good wide receiver. In fact, it’s the opposite.”

His interview with the Seahawks at the combine led to this memorable moment:

Most people expected the Seahawks to target D-line, receiver and defensive back with their first three picks and so it proved.

Drafting Metcalf could be especially important given this tweet from Adam Schefter during the draft:

This seems to be trending one way at the moment. There’s too much smoke. Let’s hope Doug Baldwin can play in 2019 but it’s looking ominous at the moment.

Cody Barton wasn’t on my radar coming into the draft because I assumed re-signing K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks meant they would avoid the linebacker position. That was a mistake for one big reason — they’ve been waiting for a linebacker like Barton for years.

The Seahawks want special athletic qualities at LB. Amazing speed, explosive traits, length, quickness. There’s been a dearth of players like that available over the last few years. College football has not been pumping Seahawks linebackers into the NFL.

Barton is 6-2 and 237lbs but he ran a 4.03 short shuttle and a 6.90 three-cone. Those are special times. That’s pretty much the same shuttle time as Marvell Tell at 198lbs.

That’s what Seattle is looking for. I noted in this piece (click here) two years ago about the importance of the short shuttle to the Seahawks when looking for linebackers.

Here’s Bob McGinn’s write-up on Barton (including anonymous scouting sources):

“Little bit of a wild horse rider,” said one scout. “Not a bad kid. Will knock the (bleep) out of you. Super fast. Big-time downhill player.” Described by one scout as a classic overachiever. “Man, that (bleep) is a football player,” said another scout. Finished with 235 tackles (24 ½ for loss), nine sacks and five takeaways. “He’s all over the field,” said a third scout. “A really strong, aggressive guy at the point of attack and a really consistent finisher. He’s really good in coverage and a good pass rusher. He does everything pretty well. Nothing excellent.” Recorded the fastest LB clocking in the short shuttle (4.03). Wonderlic of 27.

It also feels like special teams is a big consideration here too. Blair and Barton will likely be expected to be big factors there in year one.

The Seahawks are building real momentum with this draft class. If you want to try and work out who’s next — look for the players with physical toughness left on the board.

They still need more pass rush. Currently they’ve only added L.J. Collier to the defensive line. While they’ll almost certainly add some veterans after the draft — it won’t be a big shock if they target the EDGE and defensive tackle position early. They also need some depth and competition at cornerback and might consider adding a tight end, receiver or running back.

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Live blog: 2019 NFL draft (rounds 2-3)

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Here’s today’s live blog. Keep refreshing for immediate reaction on every pick.

And remember — no tipping picks please in the comments section.

Headlines

— The Seahawks trade down from #37 to #47 with the Panthers
— As compensation they gained another valuable round three pick (#77)
— They select Marquise Blair (S, Utah) with the #47 pick
— The Seahawks trade up from #77 to #64 with the Patriots giving up #118
— They select D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss) with the #64 pick
— Adam Schefter reports Doug Baldwin might be set to retire
— The Seahawks trade up again from #92 to #88 giving up #209
— They select Cody Barton (LB, Utah) with the #88 pick

Seattle’s board

#29 (R1) L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#47 (R2) Marquise Blair (S, Utah)
#64 (R2) D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
#88 (R3) Cody Barton (LB, Utah)
#114 (R4)
#124 (R4)
#132 (R4)
#142 (R5)
#159 (R5)

Second round

#33 Arizona — Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
The best cornerback in the draft goes to Arizona. He goes back home and he’ll be excited about that. Considering they already have Budda Baker he’ll likely play outside corner. At his size and speed, I’ll take that matchup in the NFC West (even if I really like him as a player).

#34 Indianapolis — Rock Ya Sin (CB, Temple)
He’s tough and competitive. He’s a little bit undersized even if he has +32 inch arms. He’s been a big riser. The run on cornerbacks is on with DeAndre Baker, Byron Murphy and Rock Ya Sin going between #30-34.

#35 Jacksonville (via Oakland) — Jawaan Taylor (T, Florida)
The Jaguars trade up from #38. There were concerns about a knee issue with Taylor, leading to this fall. Many people mocked him to Jacksonville at #7. Taylor’s a bit overrated for me. Didn’t play his best until his last year and I’m not sure he’s as tough as some people are suggesting.

#36 San Francisco — Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
Samuel showed at the Senior Bowl that he knows how to get open. He has special teams value as a returner. He didn’t show much as a downfield threat but he competes. He’s stocky and explosive — a bit like a running back.

#37 Carolina (via Seattle) — Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
The Panthers trade up from #47 so the Seahawks drop down ten spots and collect another third round pick (#77). Greg Little to me is best moving inside to guard. He’s a former big-time five-star recruit but his body type looks better suited to working inside. He had a poor 2018 season, a poor combine and he dropped well out of first round contention.

#38 Buffalo (via Oakland) — Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
The Raiders trade down for the second time in round two. Ford is great value here. Ian Rapoport suggested he fell because he thought he was better than he is. He has great feet for a guy with his size, he’s very stocky and powerful. Could be a big mauling guard yet his drop and kick-slide could keep him at tackle.

Meanwhile…

#39 Tampa Bay — Sean Bunting (CB, Central Michigan)
Bunting competes. Watch his game against Michigan State and you’ll see that. He had 31 3/4 inch arms but ran a great forty and is explosive. He’s been a big riser during the off-season and he ends up going before some of the bigger names.

#40 Oakland — Trayvon Mullen (CB, Clemson)
Mullen is a typical Clemson player. By that I mean during interviews he goes into great detail on scheme and concepts. They’re all so well coached and they recruit students of the game. He’s not big and long but he fits Oakland’s desire for accountable individuals.

#41 Denver — Dalton Risner (T, Kansas State)
In the first game I watched Risner during the college season, he was dumped flat on his back by a defensive lineman. That moment kind of stuck with me throughout the process. But he’s a great guy so hopefully he has a great career in Denver.

#42 Denver (via Cincinnati) — Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
The Broncos move up ten spots (they gained an extra second rounder after trading down from #10 to #20 last night). They end up with back-to-back picks in round two. All the talk early in the process was John Elway loved Drew Lock. He dropped into round two and this is worth a flier here. It’s no gamble.

#43 Detroit — Jahlani Tavai (LB, Hawaii)
Tavai isn’t someone I spent much time on but I saw enough to think he’d be a great fit for the Patriots. Thus, it’s no surprise he’s ended up in Detroit with Matt Patricia.

#44 Green Bay — Elgton Jenkins (C, Mississippi State)
He had a good year in 2018 and then a good Senior Bowl. He looks the part. The only negative was his game against Quinnen Williams where he was destroyed. He was announced as a guard so clearly the Packers intend to shift his position. He can handle that. He’s got the frame for it.

#45 New England (via LA Rams) — Joejuan Williams (CB, Vanderbilt)
The Pats move up from #56 and the Rams have now dropped from #31 to #56 and are yet to make a pick. They’ve acquired two third rounders to move down. This is a good match. Williams is incredibly intelligent and tough. He’s battled adversity. He’s a 4.64 runner but Bill Belichick will put him in a role to succeed.

#46 Cleveland (via Indianapolis) — Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
The Browns traded up three spots to move above the Seahawks. Was that deliberate? I can’t imagine the Seahawks were going to draft a corner with sub-32 inch arms who won’t tackle. This was probably just a deal the Browns wanted to make and in fairness — for their team it’s a value pick here. Browns fans will be excited.

#47 Seattle — Marquise Blair (S, Utah)
This guy is a Seahawks safety. He hits like an absolute hammer. He takes no prisoners. I’d been mocking him in round two practically throughout the process. He’s a 4.48 runner, not the biggest guy but he’ll bring competition at safety and he can play big nickel. If you like hitting you’ll like Blair.

#48 New Orleans (via Miami) — Erik McCoy (C, Texas A&M)
I love this pick. McCoy was the only center I saw in 2018 who battled Quinnen Williams and had some wins. He squares up and finishes. They lost Max Unger and the replacement could be one of the steals of day two.

#49 Indianapolis — Ben Banogu (EDGE, TCU)
Banogu’s a great athlete and has everything you want physically. The problem? He can’t rush the passer. He’s going to need coaching from scratch. I’d move him to linebacker because his best quality is read/react in space and closing speed.

#50 Minnesota — Irv Smith Jr (TE, Alabama)
The Vikings were said to be keying on the tight ends. Smith Jr is a big slot receiver. He’s not going to be a big blocker. He’s a guy who’s very fluid in finding the soft spot in a defense and making plays. He’s not that big or fast but he’s a natural receiver.

#51 Tennessee — A.J. Brown (WR, Ole Miss)
I’m not sure the Titans needed another medium-sized, lumbering receiver. They took one in the top-10 a couple of years ago. For me he’s a big slot who does his best work in the short range. It’s not bad value for what he is but Brown isn’t sudden or quick and that’s what seems to win these days (just look at the statistical top receivers).

#52 Cincinnati — Drew Sample (TE, Washington)
I need to go and find that guy who said in the comments section that Sample wouldn’t go as high as round three. Teams loved Sample. He was a boss at the Senior Bowl — whipping all the big name safety’s. He blocks, he’s athletic. He can be Zach Miller.

#53 Philadelphia — Miles Sanders (RB, Penn State)
I’m a big fan of Sanders’. He’s fast and explosive. He’s elusive. He finishes runs. When you put on the tape he just screams successful NFL runner. Philly loves to use multiple backs but I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets the bulk of the carries in 2019.

#54 Houston — Lonnie Johnson (CB, Kentucky)
Love Lonnie Johnson. He could be the top outside corner in this class. He’s big and long and looked like an ideal Seahawks corner. If only he’d lasted until the middle rounds. This was a big need for the Houston.

#55 Houston — Max Scharping (T, Northern Illinois)
There are people who said during the season that he was better than Eric Fisher. Clearly that didn’t prove true in terms of draft stock. The Texans needed tackle help and they take two small school guys. I hope they’re ready.

#56 Kansas City (via LA Rams) — Mecole Hardman (WR, Georgia)
The Rams trade down yet again. They’ve moved from #31 to #60 and are still yet to make a pick. The Chiefs moved up to get Mecole Hardman who’s a physical comp to Tyreek Hill. Clearly they just tried to replace Hill. Hardman has raw hands and catching technique but you can’t coach his speed.

#57 Philadelphia — J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford)
Arcega-Whiteside can box-out and win contested catches. He shows strong hands in those situations and he’ll be a major red zone threat. Do they need Arcega-Whiteside and Alshon Jeffery? I like the fit but they do already have a similar player.

#58 Dallas — Trysten Hill (DT, UCF)
This is a great pick for the Cowboys (their first of the night). Nobody performed better in drills at the combine. He’s highly athletic and active. He was an explosive tester with great quickness. Love the pick for Dallas.

#59 Indianapolis — Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
This is why the strength of the draft is day two. Getting Campbell at #59 is great value for the Colts, fresh after Trysten Hill coming off the board. Indy took Rock Ya Sin, Ben Banogu and Campbell with their three picks in round two. He’s a 4.31 runner and plays like a bigger Percy Harvin.

#60 LA Chargers — Nasir Adderley (S, Delaware)
I thought he was overhyped when he was getting first round talk. His highlight reel is great but the full tape was littered with inconsistencies. He didn’t run at the combine and didn’t make much of an impact in the Senior Bowl.

#61 LA Rams — Taylor Rapp (S, Washington)
Finally the Rams make a pick after trading down 30 spots. And it’s a familiar face. They take Taylor Rapp to play in the secondary. Rapp’s a good player and he’s never been a speed guy. His sub-4.00 short shuttle is top-level and that’s what he is — agile and tough.

#62 Arizona (via Miami) — Andy Isabella (WR, UMass)
The Dolphins have traded for Josh Rosen. The Cardinals drafted him at #10 a year ago. Now they’re giving him away for a late second round pick. There was talk a few weeks ago that the Cardinals loved Isabella. For me he needs to get into his release. He dances around too much. He has speed though.

#63 Kansas City — Juan Thornhill (S, Virginia)
He was announced as a DB and that’s because he’s a hybrid and will be used as such. I didn’t really like the top-40 talk. His tape was average. You can’t argue with his athletic profile though or his six interceptions in 2018.

#64 Seattle (via New England) — D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Mis)
The Seahawks trade up from #77 to get the final pick in round two and make a splash. Pete Carroll has wanted a big target since forever. Now they have a 6-3, 228lbs beast who runs a 4.33. He’s one dimensional. He’s a go-route specialist. The good news? That’s what Seattle wants. Deep shots. This is an exciting pick this late in the day. They gave up pick #118 (round four) to move up 13 spots.

Third round

#65 Arizona — Zach Allen (DE, Boston College)
Allen took over games in 2018 and had a great season. His short shuttle of 4.36 is fantastic for a player with his size. He had a disappointing Senior Bowl where he barely had an impact at all.

#66 Pittsburgh — Diontae Johnson (WR, Toledo)
Some people love Diontae Johnson. I personally didn’t spend much time watching him but the Steelers have done a terrific job in recent years finding big-time talent at receiver. He has a similar physical profile to Antonio Brown.

#67 San Francisco — Jalen Hurd (WR, Baylor)
I’m not a huge fan of Hurd’s. He’s mixed around, switched positions. He had that one play where he had the ball punched out on the goal line because he was sauntering in for a touchdown. I know a lot of other people like his upside though.

#68 New York Jets — Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
Polite had a disaster of an off-season. He gained bad weight, ran poorly and complained about injuries. His stock collapsed from top-20 to round three. The Jets needed a pass rusher and take a chance here.

#69 Jacksonville — Josh Oliver (TE, San Jose State)
Some people in the league thought he was the best tight end in the draft. Oliver loves football. He was popular with team mates. He didn’t block and basically acted as a big slot. The Jaguars have been trying to solve their tight end problem for a while.

#70 LA Rams (via Tampa Bay) — Darrell Henderson (RB, Memphis)
The Rams trade up to go and land a running back. They clearly need some insurance for Todd Gurley based on what happened at the end of last season. He’s only 5-8 and 208lbs but he leaves a mark when he runs. He finishes runs.

#71 Denver — Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)
He had a big impact in 2018. Every time you watched Ohio State he was making plays. The problem is he’s built like a specialist rusher. Can he play end and kick inside? Debatable. That likely limited his stock and it’s why he’s here in round three.

#72 Cincinnati — Germaine Pratt (LB, NC State)
They needed to add a linebacker. Pratt has extreme highs and lows on tape. He blows up screens like very few linebackers entering the league in recent memory. However, there are also snaps where he doesn’t read the play, gets hammered by a blocker and ends up flat on his back.

#73 Chicago (via New England) — David Montgomery (RB, Iowa State)
This is a shame for Mike Davis. Does he want to come back to Seattle? Montgomery got a lot of publicity during the season. I thought he looked ok. Nothing overly spectacular. He didn’t have a good combine at all.

#74 Buffalo — Devin Singletary (RB, Florida Atlantic)
Round three provides a run on running backs. Like Montgomery, I thought Singletary was pretty average. He also didn’t test well. Damien Harris is a better player for me. It’s a bit surprising he’s going after some of these other runners.

#75 Green Bay — Jace Sternberger (TE, Texas A&M)
I like this fit for Green Bay. Sternberger contorts his body to make difficult catches. He’s a reliable target. He’s very much a move-TE and not a Y-tight end. Aaron Rodgers should be able to take advantage of his ability to slip into soft zones and find space. He has a shot to be a high-target receiver.

This is not good news…

#76 Washington — Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
And just as I post that Schefter tweet above, McLaurin goes off the board. I thought McLaurin could be a potential Baldwin replacement in Seattle. He’s just a fantastic receiver — great speed, tenacity, willingness to do whatever it takes to win. This is a quality pick for the Redskins. He gets to catch passes from Dwayne Haskins again.

#77 New England — Chase Winovich (EDGE, Michigan)
This was so predictable. Winovich is a perfect fit for the way New England loves to operate on defense. You could see this coming a mile away. One of the New England coaches or Belichick was going to get him. He’s fast, agile and passionate but he lacked explosion and might need to play in space. He’ll be a great player for the Pats. Book it. It’s not just the hair that’s like Clay Matthews. His profile is very similar.

#78 Miami — Michael Deiter (G, Wisconsin)
The Dolphins had a need at guard and chose Deiter. His 2018 tape is good. He plays tough, had some great snaps in the running game and he looked like a day two pick. Then at the Senior Bowl he was awful. Which was weird. I’m surprised Dru Samia is still available.

#79 LA Rams — David Long (CB, Michigan)
The Rams had a need in the secondary and David Long is a bully despite his relatively small frame. This is a solid pick for the Rams. He doesn’t fit every scheme but he’s the type of player you’d rather not see playing in the NFC West.

#80 Cleveland — Sione Takitaki (LB, BYU)
Takitaki had mixed reviews. He was considered a big riser during draft season and many people in the media were talking up his rise. Plenty of people saw him as a priority UDFA though. He ran a decent 4.28 short shuttle and a 4.63 forty.

#81 Detroit (via Minnesota) — Will Harris (S, Boston College)
The Lions traded up here to get a player who was considered a big leader and an alpha. He had a really good combine. The one thing he doesn’t really do though is turn the ball over. It’s interesting that he’s gone before players like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

#82 Tennessee — Nate Davis (G, Charlotte)
Here’s another small school guy who, over the last few weeks, has been gaining some serious traction. He’s big and moves people in the running game. It’s hard to project these guys to the next level but what limited stuff I saw with Davis I liked.

#83 Pittsburgh — Justin Layne (CB, Michigan State)
There are so many good players still on the board and here’s one of them. He’s a converted receiver who sticks in coverage. He needs to do a better job playing the ball but he’s a classic Seahawks-style cornerback and this is good value for the Steelers.

#84 Kansas City — Khalen Saunders (DT, Western Illinois)
One of the stars at the Senior Bowl where he was just excellent in practise and then made big splash plays in the game. He’s a big defensive tackle who can do back flips. On tape he tired in games so you need to spell him initially but he has talent and upside.

#85 Baltimore — Jaylon Ferguson (DE, Louisiana Tech)
He’s incredibly raw but he got after the quarterback at LA Tech. He recorded 45 sacks in college and had a pressure percentage of 23.4% in 2018. His pro-day was a let down and he wasn’t permitted to work out at the combine. This is good value.

#86 Houston — Kahale Warring (TE, San Diego State)
Surprisingly we’ve not see a consistent run on tight ends. They’ve trickled out so far. I liked Warring on tape. He gets into his routes with smooth fluidity and made some big catches in key situations. He has a ton of potential. This is good value at a big position of need.

#87 New England — Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
The draft doesn’t have to be difficult. The Pats get Chase Winovich and Damien Harris for great value. Both are ideal fits. This is why they win every year. Harris is explosive and an exceptional pass protector.

#88 Seattle (via Minnesota) — Cody Barton (LB, Utah)
The Seahawks have traded up for a second time, moving from #92 to #88 giving up pick #209 (sixth rounder). They select a linebacker Cody Barton. Why did they take him? Simple. He ran a 4.03 short shuttle and a 6.90 three-cone. They love those times at this position. He’s a converted safety and continues the theme of toughness.

#89 Indianapolis — Bobby Okereke (LB, Stanford)
Makes you wonder if the Seahawks jumped above the Colts to get Barton, considering they both took linebackers. Okereke has good length and his tape was pretty good. I thought he could’ve gone in the back-end of round two.

#90 Dallas — Connor McGovern (G, Penn State)
McGovern might have his issues in pass protection but as a run blocker he’s one of the best in this class. He’ll be Zeke Elliott’s best friend if he can win a starting role. He’s the antithesis of Connor Williams (they should’ve traded that pick last year for Earl Thomas).

#91 LA Chargers — Trey Pipkins (Sioux Falls)
I can’t tell you anything about Trey Pipkins other than Daniel Jeremiah says he had a good Shrine Game.

#92 New York Jets (via Minnesota) — Chuma Edoga (T, USC)
I like the Jets taking a chance on Edoga here. He was superb at the Senior Bowl. He dominated at left tackle and made a big impression. He’s been accused of pulling himself out of games at SoCal. With limited draft stock and a need at tackle, this is worth a flier by New York.

#93 Baltimore — Miles Boykin (WR, Notre Dame)
His combine was unexpectedly outstanding. He’s a complete athlete in terms of size, speed and explosive traits. However, his tape was pretty average. Part of that is the quarterback play. He has the physical tools.

#94 Tampa Bay — Jamel Dean (CB, Auburn)
He ran a 4.30 forty and jumped a 41-inch vertical. He has the physical profile but he’s suffered several knee injuries and that impacted his stock. I thought he’d last into day three but you can’t coach his speed.

#95 New York Giants — Oshane Ximines (EDGE, Old Dominion)
He’s high character and loves the game. His pressure percentage of 23.5% was second only to Josh Allen in college football last season. This is about the range he was expected to go.

#96 Buffalo — Dawson Knox (TE, Ole Miss)
I was hoping Knox might drop to Seattle in round four. He’s tough and loves to block. There’s no complaining about a lack of targets. He ran a sub-7.00 three cone. He can block. The tight end options are thinning out.

#97 LA Rams — Bobby Evans (T, Oklahoma)
I have to say this is a good pick for the Rams. Evans isn’t a flashy athlete but he just gets the job done. My guess is by second contract time, Evans has established himself enough to get a good deal.

#98 Quincy Williams (LB, Murray State)
Here’s another small school player that I haven’t studied. I’m not alone. Even Daniel Jeremiah says he hasn’t done a report on him on the NFL Network. Apparently he’s Quinnen Williams’ brother.

#99 Tampa Bay — Mike Edwards (S, Kentucky)
It’ll be interesting to see how he’s used — nickel or safety. He didn’t do any testing at the combine.

#100 Carolina — Will Grier (QB, West Virginia)
There were reports doing the rounds that the Panthers were looking at quarterbacks. Grier is very talented. He has mechanical issues that impact his arm strength at times but he’s an excellent downfield thrower and he plays with grit. It won’t be a shock if he ends up starting for Carolina down the line with Cam Newton’s injury concerns.

#101 New England — Yodny Cajuste (T, West Virginia)
I thought the Seahawks might consider him as depth and competition. He’s said to be an amazing athlete but he couldn’t test at the combine due to injury. He has major upside and this could end up being yet another wise, value pick for the Pats.

#102 Minnesota — Alexander Mattison (RB, Boise State)
I love Mattison’s running style. He’s so physical and finishes runs. He reminded me of Alex Collins without all the fumbles. I thought the Seahawks might look at him on day three.

That’s it for day two. The Seahawks will be busy tomorrow with three fourth round picks and two fifth rounders. Stay tuned to the blog I’ll have my day review posted in a few moments.

Day two (rounds 2-3) preview and target list

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Why did Pete and John look so fed up?

Social media has been blowing up with people trying to work out why Pete Carroll and John Schneider looked so dejected during their first round press conference.

Too often people overreact to these things but here’s my theory.

I don’t think it’s anything to do with missing out on anyone. I don’t think they were targeting Jerry Tillery in round one. Montez Sweat possibly wasn’t even on their board given the concerns about his enlarged heart.

If they even were dejected, here’s my best guess as to why — it’s all about draft strategy.

I think they were quite keen to move down and accumulate day two picks. That’s the strength of the draft this year. They only managed to trade down into the top of round two and didn’t add any new stock.

They used up all 20 minutes of their allotted time at #29 and #30. They made one deal — with the Giants — to drop from #30 to #37. I suspect they were negotiating hard to deal #29 too. Otherwise why not just make the pick after the initial ten minutes?

They selected L.J. Collier.

Almost immediately after picks #29 and #30 were announced, what happened? The Falcons traded up from #45 and made a deal with the Rams for #31. The compensation? A third round pick (#79).

Los Angeles, within the division, dropped down 14 spots and got a precious third round pick in this class. The Seahawks traded down from #21 to #37 and collected fourth round picks.

That had to be frustrating and possibly could be a reason why they looked relatively frustrated afterwards. If the aim was to turn #21 and #29 into multiple day two picks, they only have two.

So it might not be about the players they missed out on in round one. Instead, it might be about the players they know they’re going to miss out on today because they don’t have the stock.

Another possibility is they were torn on whether to take N’Keal Harry at #30 or trade down and then the Patriots took him at #32. I’m not convinced by this. If they loved him so much, they would’ve drafted him. They didn’t exactly get a haul from the Giants to move down to #37. There was plenty of buzz about Arizona wanting Harry at #33. They knew what they were doing.

And that’s what you’ve got to remember here. They chose to trade down. They do it every year. Do you honestly think if there was a player they ‘had to have’ they’d be moving back for round four picks then sulking in the press conference?

No — I think there was some mild dejection that their aims for trading down didn’t pay off. They have fourth round picks and wanted third round picks.

Will they trade up in round three?

In 2015 they gave up fourth, fifth and sixth round picks to move up from #95 to #69 to select Tyler Lockett.

Could the same happen again this year? Very possible.

It all depends on who’s available of course. Yet with 12 picks in 2020 and now nine in total this year, they have the ammunition to be aggressive if a ‘must have’ player rests at the top of round three.

A statement on the rest of this draft for Seattle

They’ve got their Michael Bennett. Now it’s time to find Cliff Avril.

Avril famously ran a 1.50 10-yard split. Of the remaining players in the draft, Ben Banogu (1.56), Chase Winovich (1.57) and Jamal Davis (1.58) ran 1.5 splits. D’Andre Walker and Christian Miller didn’t run. Maxx Crosby ran a 1.60.

Here are the pressure percentages for some of the remaining players:

Anthony Nelson — 23.5%
Oshane Ximines — 23.5%
Jaylon Ferguson — 23.4%
Joe Jackson — 21.7%
Chase Winovich — 21.7%
Jachai Polite — 18.4%
Sutton Smith — 17.6%
Zach Allen — 17.1%
Justin Hollins — 16.8%
Ben Banogu — 15.5%
Jalen Jelks — 12.3%
Greg Gaines — 12.2%
Dre’Mont Jones — 11.4%

Reviewing the tier list

I was very happy with the structure of the three tier target list posted before round one. I wanted to streamline the groups and zone in on specific prospects.

Let’s review what happened…

Tier one

Possible targets at #21 if they remain:

Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan) — drafted by Green Bay at #12
Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State) — drafted by Carolina at #16
Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State) — drafted by Washington at #26

Gary and Burns didn’t last into range and while Sweat did — clearly teams were spooked by the medical concerns regarding his enlarged heart. It’s possible he wasn’t even on Seattle’s board as a consequence.

Tier two

Possible targets at #29:

N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State) — drafted by New England at #32
Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
Darnell Savage (S, Maryland) — drafted by Green Bay at #21
Jaylon Ferguson (DE, Louisiana Tech)
L.J. Collier (DE, TCU) — drafted by Seattle at #29
Byron Murphy (CB, Washington) — reportedly set to be taken by Arizona at #33

The Seahawks drafted one of the players we considered at the end of round one (L.J. Collier) while Savage and Harry also left the board between Seattle’s pick at #21 and the end of day one. The two remaining receivers are strong options at #37. Jaylon Ferguson might be too similar to Collier to consider but we’ll see. His pressure percentage (23.4%) was fantastic and he was a sack machine at Louisiana Tech.

Players remaining from tier three

Possible targets if they trade down into round two:

Ben Banogu (EDGE, TCU)
Trysten Hill (DT, UCF)
Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame) — drafted by LA Chargers at #28
Chase Winovich (EDGE, Michigan)
Juan Thornhill (S, Virginia)
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)
Lonnie Johnson (CB, Kentucky)
Sean Bunting (CB, Central Michigan)
Justin Layne (CB, Michigan State)
Isaiah Johnson (CB, Houston)
Dawson Knox (TE, Ole Miss)
Oshane Ximines (EDGE, Old Dominion)

I didn’t think the Seahawks would consider Jerry Tillery in round one. Second round? Possibly. I don’t buy into the theories that Seattle wanted Tillery at #29. The rest of the names here could have some appeal. The cornerbacks won’t last to round three so how badly do the Seahawks want to add competition to the secondary? Will they look for a dynamic nickel hybrid? Do they want to compliment L.J. Collier with some speed? Chase Winovich and Ben Banogu would provide that. Plus Trysten Hill can be a game-wrecker at defensive tackle.

Other names to consider

Cody Ford (T, Oklahoma)
It was bizarre to see Ford dropping out of round one. Is there an injury concern? He has the size and attitude to fit at left guard for Seattle. I’m not sure they want to replace Mike Iupati with a high pick but Ford has value.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, Ole Miss)
I deliberately left Metcalf about of my initial tier list. I think he’s a one-trick pony (go routes) and his neck injury has to be a concern. However, at some point someone is going to take a shot on 4.33 speed at 6-3 and 228lbs and I can’t rule out Seattle.

D’Andre Walker (EDGE, Georgia)
It’s a tantalising prospect to pair one BAMF at defensive end in Collier with another. Walker’s tough and physical and mixes things up. Let’s see how long he lasts on day two. He took a VMAC visit to Seattle.

Erik McCoy (C, Texas A&M)
This is about pure value rather than need. McCoy is the only center who had a good game against Quinnen Williams in 2018. He also performed well against Clemson’s top-20 front. I have no idea whether the Seahawks would make a left-field pick like this but for me, McCoy is destined for a long career in the NFL.

Possible round three targets

Drew Sample (TE, Washington)
Jace Sternberger (TE, Texas A&M)
Kahale Warring (TE, San Diego State)
Josh Oliver (TE, San Diego State)
Mecole Hardman (WR, Georgia)
Emmanuel Hall (WR, Missouri)
Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
Amani Hooker (S, Iowa)
Yodny Cajuste (T, West Virginia)
Dru Samia (G, Oklahoma)
Marvell Tell (S, USC)
Lamont Gaillard (OL, Georgia)

Final thoughts ahead of day two

The strongest looking positions at the top of round two appear to be receiver, cornerback and offensive line.

It’s going to be very tempting to continue drafting for defense. Trysten Hill would be the kind of interior rusher to compliment L.J. Collier working the edge. They might want to double down on EDGE rushers by taking Jaylon Ferguson or Chase Winovich (although they might be prepared to wait on this position with some athletic prospects set to last beyond round two). It seems very likely that at some point they’ll add a quicker, faster EDGE.

They might not take cornerbacks early but there are some fine options here — highlighted by Lonnie Johnson, Justin Layne, Isaiah Johnson and Sean Bunting. They could also seek to add a hybrid like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson or Juan Thornhill. The wildcard could be Dawson Knox the tight end.

Don’t rule out a situation where the Seahawks move down from #37 and then up from #92 today.

Draft board

#29 (R1) L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#37 (R2)
#92 (R3)
#114 (R4)
#118 (R4)
#124 (R4)
#132 (R4)
#142 (R5)
#159 (R5)

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Review: Seahawks select L.J. Collier at #29

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

For the reaction podcast click here.

Seahawks fans should love their teams first round pick.

I suspect some won’t because he’s not a ‘big name’. People will say they could’ve had Montez Sweat at #21.

Here’s a statistic to pay attention to….

2018 pressure percentages:

Montez Sweat — 20.2%
Brian Burns — 19.7%
L.J. Collier — 19.2%

Granted, Collier doesn’t have the extreme length and speed of Sweat or Burns. What he does have is a complete pass rush repertoire, extreme power and an ability to win in multiple ways.

Now let’s compare overall pressures:

Josh Allen — 57
Clelin Ferrell — 56
L.J. Collier — 54
Chase Winovich — 53
Montez Sweat — 48

Clearly the numbers prove he was right up there with the best pass rushers in this draft based on production.

How does he win? He’s highly explosive — scoring a 3.20 in TEF. He has a +82 inch wingspan and 34-inch arms. His technique is on point. He can bull rush, crash the edge, stunt inside, engage and then use his heavy hands to push/pull and he can bend the arc and straighten to the QB.

Hand-usage is so vital in the NFL for pass rushers. You’re going to need to engage linemen, not simply sprint past them like a lot of these college speed rushers are allowed to do. You need to win 1v1 battles. Collier does that.

Don’t believe me? Here’s Brian Baldinger:

Earlier today I posted my tier lists for the early picks and listed L.J. Collier among the top targets. Here’s what I wrote in the blurb:

L.J. Collier is one of my favourite players in the draft. I wish he tested better but here’s the facts — he’s a bad ass who wins with power, hand-use, speed, stunts and setting up blockers.

Collier dominated at the Senior Bowl and really emerged on our radar after Mobile. Here’s an article I wrote about him in March.

He’s also had to fight and work to get to this point in his career. Collier had one recruiting offer in High School — Texas Tech — and it was pulled. He eventually landed at TCU. He’s turned himself into a force.

For so long people complained about the Seahawks ‘overthinking’ and relying on athleticism for their picks. In Collier, they’ve taken someone who didn’t have an amazing combine. He just worked his tail off to be a success, is incredibly tough and physical and has excellent production.

Would he have been available later? He was always a top-50 pick. I had him going to Jacksonville at #38 in my second round projection. They needed a defensive end and they got their guy at #29.

For me this is an attempt to replace Michael Bennett. I’ve seen some suggesting it’s a replacement pick for Rasheem Green. They’re very different players — in terms of profile and size. Collier will demand attention at one end, will play stout against the run and get after the quarterback. The key now is to provide a quicker compliment on the other side.

This was a great start to Seattle’s 2019 draft. Here’s a recap on the headlines:

— The Seahawks trade down with the Packers, moving from #21 to #30
— They acquired two fourth round picks from Green Bay (#114, #118)
— They spent the #29 pick on TCU defensive end L.J. Collier
— Pick #30 was traded to the New York Giants for #132 & #142
— They now possess nine total picks

They now own nine picks in total:

#29 (R1) L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
#37 (R2)
#92 (R3)
#114 (R4)
#118 (R4)
#124 (R4)
#132 (R4)
#142 (R5)
#159 (R5)

The Seahawks control rounds four and five. The #37 pick is in a good range. With this deep defensive draft and some decent options at receiver and tight end — they have some great options for Friday and Saturday.

What will they do next? A run on receivers could start now that N’Keal Harry has been taken with the #32 pick. Seattle could consider Terry McLaurin or Parris Campbell. Do they look at D.K. Metcalf too? Tight end is an alternative (Dawson Knox) and there are good offensive linemen still on the board (Cody Ford).

The big strength remains on defense though. Only one of the cornerbacks went in round one. Is this the year for the Seahawks to consider a Lonnie Johnson, Justin Layne, Isaiah Johnson or Sean Bunting in round two? Do they focus on the nickel/safety hybrids like Juan Thornhill and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson? Byron Murphy is still available as is Jaylon Ferguson, Chase Winovich and Trysten Hill.

A new podcast will be available shortly. Join us again tomorrow for another live blog, more reaction and I’ll update the tier list before the start of round two.

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