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Breaking down the draft class: Rasheem Green

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Rasheem Green wasn’t supposed to be a third round pick

He chose to declare for the draft, somewhat surprisingly, and when he made that decision the initial reaction was positive. Lance Zierlein noted he could be a first or second round pick in his NFL.com bio. He gave him a 5.88 grade, putting him a notch below Billy Price and Josh Allen. He graded above Christian Kirk, Kerryon Johnson, Kolton Miller, Austin Corbett, Nick Chubb, Frank Ragnow and Rashaad Penny.

Clearly Green had been given advice that he would be an early pick. In a year with a real lack of pass rush options, it wasn’t an unrealistic proposition.

Initially I didn’t think there was much chance he would last into round three. On April 3rd I mocked him as high as #24 to Carolina. There wasn’t a lot of buzz around his stock leading into the draft and in my final mock I had him again to the Panthers but at #55.

You can tell when a player might be set to last longer than expected. They have no buzz going into the draft. Projections drop. Zierlein ended up giving him a final second or third round projection. Bob McGinn’s sources offered the same grade with this accompanying blurb:

Third-year junior played DE in a 3-4 defense and moved inside on passing downs. “He’s naturally an outside guy,” said one scout. “One of the reasons he’s leaving is there was word they planned on him continuing to work inside. He sees himself as a defensive end. He’s super talented and super young (will turn 21 in May). He needs to get stronger. Probably would have benefited staying in an extra year. His best football is ahead of him.” Finished with 117 tackles (20 for loss) and 16 ½ sacks. Two teams have major medical concerns about his knee. “Kind of a potential guy,” said a third scout. “He’s got some inside pass rush. He’s not quite man enough inside and doesn’t have quite the juice outside. You’re hoping to project him to 3-technique. He doesn’t like going inside because I don’t think he’s tough enough.” From Los Angeles.

His stock started high but never gained the kind of momentum where you felt he was going to go early. Seattle took advantage of that.

This was a bad class to find an EDGE

Bradley Chubb was always destined for the top-five but after that? It was Marcus Davenport and not much else. With limited options and always a need for pass rushers, it felt like Green, Sam Hubbard and others would go early. Perhaps earlier than they deserved to go.

That wasn’t the case.

Both Green and Hubbard dropped. Pete Carroll and John Schneider noted it was a knee issue with Green that led to his fall. Hubbard had a disappointing final year at Ohio State.

It was left to the likes of Harold Landry (#41) and Kemoko Turay (#52) to pick up the slack. If this was a New Orleans blog we’d probably be reflecting on the complete dearth of options as a reason why the Saints made such an aggressive move to get Davenport. If you wanted a pass rusher this year, good luck.

And Seattle needed a pass rusher. They really needed one. So why not take a chance with Green? They might’ve been especially careful with their draft board this year but this felt like the time to roll the dice a little. As long as the knee issue isn’t too serious, take the shot.

They traded down from #76 so did they want Hubbard and got cute?

I’ve seen this suggested on Twitter. Presumably this suggestions is based on either cynicism or Pete Carroll’s obscure ‘draft clues’. He posted a GIF of a monkey running off with a hubcap. It’s a bit vague to connect ‘HUBcap’ and ‘Hubbard’.

Instead, I think this was the situation. They picked at #76. They liked both Hubbard and Green. They knew at least one would be available by dropping down to #79. So they made the deal.

Why would both Green and Hubbard appeal?

Agility testing.

Quinton Jefferson (4.37), Jordan Hill (4.51), Jaye Howard (4.47) and Malik McDowell (4.53) all tested superbly in the short shuttle. Bruce Irvin (4.03) and Frank Clark (4.05) both ran incredible short shuttles. Cassius Marsh’s 4.25 and Obum Gwacham’s 4.28 were also really good.

Here are the top-five D-line testers in the short shuttle at this years combine:

Sam Hubbard — 4.32
James Looney — 4.37
Rasheem Green — 4.39
Bradley Chubb — 4.41
Marcus Davenport — 4.41

If the Seahawks do view the short shuttle as a vital test, here’s why they were likely interested in Hubbard and Green. They not only recorded the first and third fastest times, they also beat Chubb and Davenport.

Now here’s the top five three cone times:

Sam Hubbard — 6.84
Taven Bryan — 7.12
Marcus Davenport — 7.20
Rasheem Green — 7.24
B.J. Hill — 7.28

Hubbard’s time is the sixth fastest in the last 10 years of the combine.

So here were two players who were available in an ideal range for the Seahawks, testing in the area they were looking to add a defensive lineman.

Evidence of a well judged draft plan.

So this was the right way to go about this class?

We made this point in the Rashaad Penny review but essentially these were the options:

1. Harold Landry at #27 then Nyheim Hines, Mark Walton, Kalen Ballage or Chase Edmunds at running back

2. Rashaad Penny (the RB you want before the rush starts) and Rasheem Green

The Seahawks haven’t received positive grades for their draft class. Considering they had one pick at #18 and then nothing until #120 though, how can you criticize what they were able to do here? If fixing the run and adding a pass rusher was the priority, mission accomplished.

So what about Rasheem Green the player?

He’s not the finished article and that shows up on tape. Yet the upside is so high for a third round pick. That’s not me just being positive about everything the Seahawks do. That’s not how we operate here. I’ll always be honest. And my honest view is — this was a value pick.

Here’s what an anonymous AFC regional scout said about Green courtesy of NFL.com:

“I wanted him to go back to school because he probably would have been a top-10 pick next year. He’s not strong enough to handle NFL guys yet so this year may be a redshirt year for him. He’s got some serious juice though. He’s going to be a dude when it all comes together.”

This sums it up perfectly.

1. He has incredible, untapped potential — enough that he could’ve been a high first rounder next year

2. He needs time to get stronger and wiser

3. He could be very, very good

Seattle needs the aforementioned ‘dude‘. Someone to fill the massive void left by Michael Bennett.

Not that anyone should expect the second coming of Bennett. From arriving in Seattle as an UDFA and then moving to Tampa Bay — nothing about Bennett’s career was expected or orthodox. There were no great testing numbers. No rhyme or reason to what he does. He’s probably as rare as Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks couldn’t have asked for a better inside/out rusher to compliment their star-studded secondary during the glory years.

Green has a lot to do to get to that level. An awful lot. But it’s indicative of his potential that he might be able to get there one day.

One of the things Bennett had was an arsenal of moves. He could win with power or rush the edge, he knew how to set up a blocker over several snaps and he often out-thought as well as out-fought his opponent. Green, at the moment, is a little bit predictable. He needs a counter. You see the flash off the edge and he will win with speed and length. There are also times where he gets stalled and you’d love to see a club/swipe or a spin — just something to mix things up.

One of the reasons I liked Dalton Schultz a lot as a blocker was the way he battled with Green. At the next level, that needs to be a mismatch.

He could also be a bit edgier and rough around the edges. Bennett had a mean streak and an attitude that sometimes pushed the line of acceptability. Green is almost a bit too polite at the moment. Perhaps he can be the aggressor a bit more going forward? But he’s 20-years-old. If we’re saying the same things in five years, it’s a problem. Not now though.

That’s why the anonymous AFC regional scout said what he said above. When he gets stronger, wiser and a little bit more experienced — watch out. Because what he already does well is pretty exciting.

The Seahawks need a player who can rush from the inside on key downs. There is ample evidence that Green can do this while also playing with power and aggression when needed too.

As noted immediately after the pick, he was sometimes asked to play nose tackle. Malik McDowell had the same task at Michigan State. He should never have been asked to play as much nose tackle as he was at MSU. He still excelled. His one-arm bull rush was incredible. His combination of length and power was freakish. It’s why Seattle took the chance on McDowell.

Green shows some evidence of that same power/length combo. He’s a pure inside/out or EDGE pass rusher and yet he can anchor inside:

Just look at the way be bullies his way into the backfield from an interior position:

And I highlighted this one the other day. Nobody does this to Billy Price. I watched virtually all of Price’s 2017 games and this is a collector’s item:

Here he is winning with relative ease against UCLA using a club/rip:

This is why you get excited about this pick. If he’s succeeding from the interior like this already, that’s the exciting part.

He can rush the EDGE. You can find examples of that. Lots of players do this in college:

Yet more than anything the Seahawks need an inside/out threat. Those types are rare and difficult to find.

His effort and motor are also a major positive. He doesn’t stop, competes to the ball and makes plays:

It took Frank Clark a year to reach something close to his best in the NFL. It might take Green a year to get there too. But he’ll contribute quickly to Seattle’s rotation and his potential down the line is clear and obvious. As long as the health of his knee isn’t a big problem, he could be a key component of the new look Seahawks.

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Breaking down the draft class: Rashaad Penny

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Before getting into Rashaad Penny the player, a few thoughts on the pick:

1. The Seahawks took the guy they wanted not the consolation prize

Whatever your thoughts are on Seattle drafting a running back early, two points are indisputable. The Seahawks set out to fix the run as a priority. They appeared set on taking a running back with their first pick. And rather than keep trading back and ending up with their second, third or fourth choice, they took the guy they really wanted.

It’s refreshing to know they got their guy. We’ll never wonder if they missed out on target #1. With a pick of the whole running back class aside from Saquon Barkley, they genuinely wanted Penny. Not Nick Chubb. Not Sony Michel. Not Kerryon Johnson or Ronald Jones II or Derrius Guice. They landed the guy they sought the most. They didn’t get cute. Pete Carroll stated, emphatically:

“I don’t mind telling ya, this pick fires me up. I am jacked about this pick.”

It’s not uncommon for Pete to be ‘pumped’ or ‘jacked’. It’s fair to say though, this was an especially ‘jacked’ Carroll. They really wanted Rashaad Penny.

2. Rashaad Penny + Rasheem Green = better than the alternative

The Seahawks could’ve taken Harold Landry (overrated) or Taven Bryan at #27 and waited until round three to take a running back. That would’ve been fine if you were content with Nyheim Hines, Mark Walton, Kalen Ballage or Chase Edmunds being trusted to help ‘fix the run’. Those were the four running backs taken after pick #76.

So what would you rather have? Rashaad Penny, the running back they really wanted, and Rasheem Green — a player who, according to one unnamed AFC regional scout, “probably would have been a top-10 pick next year“? Or Harold Landry and Kalen Ballage?

I’ll go with option A.

3. The good running backs were always going to go early

How often did we talk about at least six running backs being off the board by pick 50?

#2 Saquon Barkley
#27 Rashaad Penny
#31 Sony Michel
#35 Nick Chubb
#38 Ronald Jones II
#43 Kerryon Johnson

Six were gone by #43. The predictable rush on running backs occurred right in the range everyone expected. Royce Freeman lasted until #71 (I personally thought he’d go in the top-65) and Derrius Guice dropped to #59 due to well publicized character concerns.

If you wanted one of the top runners you couldn’t hang about. The likes of John Kelly (sixth round) and Bo Scarborough (seventh round) clearly weren’t viewed positively by teams in the league. This was most definitely a case of ‘go early or miss out’.

The Seahawks acted accordingly.

4. Stick to your guns

I like to try and learn from every draft. There’s always a lesson. I’ve already mentioned my regret at being swayed to pick a cornerback (Isaiah Oliver) to be Seattle’s first pick after spending a whole draft season talking about the running game. Another lesson also became evident after a few days. One I should’ve already learnt from.

In 2012 the first player we talked about immediately after the 2011 draft was Bruce Irvin. Here’s the piece and here’s an exert:

He’s the best kept secret in college football. Last season he recorded 14 sacks and yet received virtually no hype. West Virginia pulled off a masterstroke appointing Dana Holgorsen as their offensive coordinator and future head coach. He was the mastermind behind Oklahoma State’s free-scoring offense which consistently churned out talent at running back and wide receiver. The Mountaineers will have a productive offense next season and with Irvin leading the way on defense they’re an outside pick to go unbeaten next year. That’ll help to put this guy firmly on the map.

Make no mistake this is the most devastating, dominating and exciting player you’ll watch during the 2011 college season.

Then when the college season started and West Virginia strangely used Irvin in a three man front, we only occasionally talked about him. And we projected him as a third round option by the 2012 draft like most people.

The ideal LEO, as Pete Carroll later called Irvin, had been identified almost a full year before the Seahawks drafted him. And rather than keep that thought firmly in our minds, we looked at other players at the business end of the draft coverage.

Six years on, history repeated.

The first running back we talked about during the 2017 season was Rashaad Penny. Here’s the piece and here are some of the notes:

San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny is a player to start paying attention to. Listed at 5-11 and 220lbs, he’s right in the ball park for Seattle’s size preference at the position…. A true all-rounder with great speed, thickness and athleticism — he’s a Senior running back to watch for the rest of 2017.

That was in September and in a follow up piece in November, there was this:

It’ll be interesting to see how Nick Chubb tests following his knee injury. We’ve often referenced his performance at one of the Nike SPARQ combines. If he gets anywhere near that again and the medical checks are OK, he could go very early.

There are others to mention — Bryce Love, Derrius Guice, Damien Harris, Ronald Jones and Royce Freeman to name a few. The one I’d keep an eye on the most at the moment is San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny.

He’s having a fantastic year with 1368 and 12 rushing touchdowns (plus 136/2 as a pass catcher). He has six career kick return touchdowns and he combines toughness, elusiveness and the ability to break off big plays. He’s in Seattle’s size bracket (5-11, 220lbs). He also talks well in interviews and is elevating his team to a strong season.

I’m not sure where Penny will go in terms of round. We’ll need to see how he tests. Yet if the Seahawks did move down into rounds 2-3 to accumulate more picks, I wouldn’t bet against Penny landing on this team.

We focused on Penny during the college season and then during the draft season spent more time on Ronald Jones II, Nick Chubb and others. It’s something to remember and learn from going forward.

So, what does the tape say about Rashaad Penny?

The thing that really stands out is his burst and suddenness. His straight-line acceleration is impressive. When he finds a crease and gets to the second level, he’ll be a threat to break off big runs. He’s a different type of back than they’ve had in the past. Marshawn Lynch was a generational power back. Thomas Rawls was an angry, aggressive runner constantly seeking contact. Christine Michael was all lower body explosive power. Penny isn’t the most explosive player and he doesn’t have the Rawls running style. He’s a lot quicker though.

It might indicate a desire to have more explosive running plays. Even a year ago they seemed to be looking for a more physical approach. Eddie Lacy was supposed to provide size and power (but emphatically didn’t). Chris Carson was more explosive than fast (4.58 forty vs 37 inch vertical). Before he got injured Carson showed an ability to fall forward. He was tough to stop and physical rather than quick.

Penny has 4.47 speed. He’s a home run threat. And maybe they wanted someone who will do the fundamentals well but also provide that X-factor ability to score at any time?

He’s not just about ‘speed’ though. According to PFF he had 1295 yards after contact in college — more than any other running back in the 2018 draft. Not bad for a player who was only a one-year starter. He also led the class in missed tackles forced.

Put on the tape and plays like this are quite frequent:

Want to see a bit of Baby Beast Mode?

Or a bit of Baby Beast Mode Blocking?

Can he be an asset in the passing game? This play suggests he can:

So there’s plenty of the toughness you want to see. He also gets on with the job. Because while all the highlight runs are nice, perhaps the most exciting part of his game are plays like this:

It’s third and three against Stanford and they’ve got eight defenders lined up close to the LOS. They know it’s a run. They’re going for it anyway. ‘Hand it to #20’. He finds his gap, gets skinny through the hole and plows forward for a 14-yard gain.

How many 3rd and 3 conversions did the Seahawks have from their running game last season? Zero?

It’s not a big, gaping hole he exploits here. At one point it looks like #57 is going to make a play but Penny is just too quick. And then you see the physicality to finish the run and get the most out of the play.

This is what fires me up most about this pick. Not a play like this:

Or this:

Or the huge game he had against Arizona State:

Whenever you take a running back in the first round you expect some electricity. Penny will provide that in spades. He’ll be the proverbial threat to score any time he touches the ball.

But what I really like about his suddenness, finishing ability and toughness is the way he’ll effectively help Seattle sustain drives. Hopefully, he’ll provide the kind of balance that has been non-existent for two years.

Mike Mayock described him as a ‘weaver’. You can see why. He’s not an ankle breaker and certainly doesn’t possess anything like Saquon Barkley’s jump-cut (but who does?). He uses subtle motion to deceive defenders:

This is likely why one of Bob McGinn’s sources said of Penny:

“I don’t think he has good feel or a lot of niftiness.”

He’s still, essentially, a 220lbs runner. ‘Niftiness’ would be a rare trait. Another of McGinn’s sources added:

“Makes guys miss. Got great contact balance.”

And that sums it up. He isn’t going to be DeSean Jackson in a 1v1. He still makes guys miss in his own way. And that contact balance shows up time and time again with the way he finishes runs, gains the extra yards after contact and forces the broken tackles.

Overall this is what the Seahawks are getting:

1. A runner who can be in on any down or distance

2. A sudden, quick runner with burst and acceleration

3. A player who can be a legit returner on special teams

4. Someone who drives through contact and finishes

5. A patient runner who will work through traffic to convert short-yardage situations to extend drives

6. A threat to score any time he gets the ball in his hands

7. A player with ideal size for the position, above average speed for his frame and explosive traits

8. A player with no durability concerns

9. A possibly solution to their greatest single need — fixing the run

What does he need to work on? The usual stuff. Most running backs need to work on pass protection when they enter the league. Penny isn’t unique there. There aren’t many Ezekiel Elliott’s in college. Penny, in fairness, wasn’t even asked to do much pass-pro in college.

There are also occasions where he misses a cutback lane in the way Ronald Jones II doesn’t. That’s not to say he isn’t capable of dynamic cuts to make big gains. He is. But occasionally he’s more north-south and doesn’t feel the cut to make more of the run. It’s a minor quibble and an easy teaching point.

His vertical jump (32.5 inches) was a little lower than they’ve preferred in the past and was well below the attempts of Saquon Barkley (41 inches) Kerryon Johnson (40 inches), Nick Chubb (38.5 inches) and Ronald Jones II (36.5 inches). His broad jump (10-0) was only the joint 12th best among running backs at the combine. Chubb (10-8) and Johnson (10-6) both faired better.

Ideally this is an area where we’ll see some improvement once he enters a pro-training program.

Why did Seattle draft him ahead of some of the other runners available? Let’s run through the list:

Nick Chubb — highly explosive, ideal size, great attitude but one-paced, not a passing game threat, injury history with the knee

Kerryon Johnson — very powerful and physical runner and set the tone for Auburn in 2017 but high-cut frame and upright running style encourage injuries and he’s been banged up

Ronald Jones II — extremely quick and dynamic with star-potential but smaller than ideal size, there were some concerns about his pre-draft process (injuries, poor meetings) and might need to be part of a duo

Sony Michel — very versatile, mature and productive but legit concerns about bone-on-bone knee issue and lack of explosive traits

Derrius Guice — Tough, physical runner but major concerns about his maturity, focus, character and had a bizarre pre-draft period (and was banged up in 2017)

Royce Freeman — Very fluid, smooth and productive runner but unfortunately he’s a big back who runs like a smaller back

Then you look at Penny. He has ideal size, plus speed, enough explosive attributes, major production, high character, physicality, can catch the ball and he has no injury concerns.

Seattle needed a running back. They need to fix their running game. Rashaad Penny gives them an opportunity to create a ‘run-aissance’ as Kenny Sloth has been calling it in the comments section (nice work Kenny).

Rashaad Penny & Shaquem Griffin jerseys are now available via the NFL Shop. To purchase either, check the blog sidebar.

I promised podcasts and here are two. One with Kenny at Field Gulls and another with the Seahawkers. Both are running through the draft classes in full. Please listen to both if possible:

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Podcast: Reacting to the Seahawks draft class

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Kenny and I run through Seattle’s draft class in full before a bonus edition of ‘the running back debate’ to finish (before my internet dropped out to leave an unsatisfying conclusion to the conversation).

Check it all out below…

Sunday draft notes & 2019 names to watch

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Did Seattle stick to their positional trends this year?

In putting together our combine preview, we highlighted a number of positional trends. Many of these did continue…

— Once again the Seahawks drafted a running back with size and explosive traits. Rashaad Penny is 5-11 and 220lbs and had a 10-0 broad jump. He also had a 32.5 inch vertical.

— The short shuttle again proved vital for defensive linemen. Rasheem Green ran a 4.39 shuttle, the third best among the D-line class at the combine. It felt like the Seahawks had their eye on both Green and Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard and traded down in round three knowing at least one of the pair would still be available. Hubbard ran a 4.32 short shuttle, the fastest at the combine among defensive ends. To compare, Bradley Chubb ran a 4.41.

— Rasheem Green has nearly 34 inch arms. The Seahawks are still yet to draft a single defensive linemen with sub-33 inch arms.

— They still haven’t taken a cornerback early in the Pete Carroll era. Not unless you want to classify the late third round as ‘early’. They took Tre Flowers in the exact range they usually take cornerbacks — day three, round five. On April 7th I wrote a piece titled, ‘No, the Seahawks won’t draft a corner at #18’. It was a general point emphasising Seattle’s approach to the position. If there’s one regret I have from this years draft it’s not sticking to my guns on this. I projected Isaiah Oliver as an early target amid a flurry of well sourced media reports suggesting they could go corner early (Tony Pauline, Mike Mayock, Ian Rapoport). After months of saying they should/will prioritise the running game and draft a running back early, there was no need to hedge at the end. Every draft provides a lesson, this was it.

Why didn’t they take a receiver early?

Two main reasons I think:

1. With minimal picks they had to prioritise certain positions and needs. They’ve already added players at receiver during free agency and a year ago drafted Amarah Darboh and David Moore.

2. To quote one of Bob McGinn’s sources, “This is the worst wide-receiver draft I’ve seen in my life.”

Have they done enough to be competitive in 2018?

They certainly did very well with the limited resources they had. They weren’t in the same position as someone like the New York Giants. The haul of Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter and B.J. Hill could push the Giants right back into immediate NFC contention.

Had the Seahawks been afforded four early picks, they’d likely be in a very similar situation right now. Yet they only had #18 and weren’t set to pick again until #120. They simply didn’t have the stock to make a significant splash in the first three rounds.

As noted in this piece after round one, the San Francisco 49ers taking Mike McGlinchey possibly created a domino effect that prevented the Seahawks collecting picks #33 and #35 from Cleveland in exchange for #18.

If Rashaad Penny was a slight reach at #27, Rasheem Green was great value in round three. Personally I thought both were top-50 talents. Turning #18 into two possible top-50 prospects was about as good as they could do.

Day three was also a big success. They added possible future contributors and the Shaquem Griffin pick is going to be more than just a feel good story.

Are they back as realistic contenders though? That might be a stretch.

Most of their key moves this off-season have been subtractions. Big name departures. The most high profile addition is Rashaad Penny. A running game plus Russell Wilson can make the Seahawks competitive. But being competitive can mean a tough, more interesting version of 9-7. Whether they have enough talent in the pass rush, enough playmakers for Wilson or an adequate offensive linemen to be any more than that remains to be seen.

That’s not to say the season is a write-off or anything. Pete Carroll almost certainly doesn’t view this as a transition year, setting the table for the future. He’s gone to great lengths to re-capture control of this team and likely believes they can win in 2018.

Getting back to the top table, however, would require two things. An inspired addition or two in the mould of the Bennett/Avril signings or a handful of draft picks paying off in the way Chancellor, Sherman and Wright did.

Next year could be interesting. The Seahawks will have a lot of cap room. They’ll need to start talking contract with Russell Wilson. The Earl Thomas saga will take another twist one way or another in the next 12 months. But this year they just didn’t have the available cap space or high number of picks to feel confident saying, ‘the Seahawks are back’.

This draft was strange because…

So many big name players either fell into the later rounds or went undrafted.

Holton Hill, Brandon Facyson, Hercules Mata’afa, Akrum Wadley, Jeff Holland, Kam Kelly, Josh Adams, Quin Blanding, Deontay Burnett, Quenton Meeks and Skai Moore were all undrafted.

Ian Thomas and Dalton Schultz lasted into round four. Maurice Hurst and Josh Sweat fell due to health concerns. Tyrell Crosby, Andrew Brown, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Tim Settle and Jamarco Jones dropped to round five. John Kelly, Duke Ejiofor, Deshon Elliott and Luke Falk fell into round six. The seventh round included Javon Wims, Leon Jacobs, Bo Scarborough and Auden Tate.

It’s not unknown for a few big names to fall. Teams have masses of information on these players. We barely get any. We don’t know about injury or character concerns. Not to the extent the teams do.

Yet this is without doubt the largest group of ‘names’ I can recall falling down the draft. Perhaps the Seahawks aren’t the only team these days shortening their board?

No big surprises

It feels like we covered a lot of the prospects they added and essentially the plan they undertook. We spent a lot of time discussing fixing the run as a priority. We talked about Rashaad Penny, Rasheem Green, Shaquem Griffin, Will Dissly, Tre Flowers and Jamarco Jones. In the various seven-round mocks we did, Griffin, Dissly and Flowers were regular projections.

The point of the blog isn’t to have ‘the best mock on the internet’ or even the best Seahawks seven rounder the week of the draft. It’s simply a means to discuss various prospects that could be considered so we’re familiar with the names if/when they are called.

Last year my biggest regret was we didn’t spend any time on Ethan Pocic and felt Malik McDowell was an unlikely pick. I don’t think there were any major ‘misses’ this year. We could’ve spent more time on some players (Penny) and less on others (Ronald Jones II, Isaiah Wynn) but overall it feels like we had most bases covered.

An early look at some of the 2019 draft names to watch

Time for the customary way too early look at next years draft. Here are some of the players to check out over the summer ahead of the start of the new college football season.

Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
Like his brother, a dominant force working the edge. Joey Bosa was long projected to go #1 overall until the quarterbacks (Goff and Wentz) became the focus due to positional need. The Chargers took Bosa at #3 and got a steal. Like Joey, Nick might not end up being the #1 overall pick. But like his brother he might be the best player in the draft.

Chauncey Gardner Jr (S, Florida)
He had a rough game against Tennessee’s John Kelly last season but Gardner Jr is the latest terrific safety prospect off the production line at Florida. He’s rangy, flies around the field, delivers fearsome hits and he’s a playmaker (six TFL’s from safety last year plus two interceptions). He’s a possible top-10 pick.

Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
He’s already stated he’ll declare for the 2019 draft. Oliver was a big-time recruit by Tom Herman and a major coup at the time for the Cougars. He has everything you want in a modern day interior pass rusher. He’s 6-3 and 290lbs and had 16.5 TFL’s last season (5.5 sacks). Oliver had a SPARQ score of 105.63 in High School including an impressive 4.52 short shuttle. He could easily be a top-10 pick.

Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
Often combining with Maurice Hurst to wreak havoc, Gary was a storied recruit in 2016 and rated as the #1 defensive end prospect in the country by ESPN. He posted a SPARQ score of 95.82 but looks like he’s taken a big step forward since joining Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbour. He had 12 TFL’s in 2017 during a down year for Michigan.

Trey Adams (T, Washington)
Given the importance of the offensive tackle position and the lack of quality options coming into the league, Adams could easily have been a top-15 pick this year if it wasn’t for his serious knee injury. He didn’t have the best game against Kemoko Turay in week one last season but overall he’s big, tough, long and athletic and if he returns to full health he’s a nailed on high pick in 2019.

Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
Bring on the Clemson quartet. We’ll start with Lawrence. Of all the players on Clemson’s D-line, he looks like the most likely to be a very high pick. He was 6-5 and 335lbs coming out of High School and still ran a 4.61 short shuttle. He’s an absolute monster up front and makes life so much easier for his team mates. A former 5-star recruit and a complete stud.

Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant all made a pact to return to Clemson together for one more shot at a National Championship. Ferrell sacrificed the most as he was expected to go in the top-10. He plays end but will likely move inside to three technique at the next level. He’s such a dynamic pass rusher.

Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
Wilkins doesn’t always have the splash plays but he’s like a cannonball shooting around the field. His motor takes him sideline-to-sideline, he hustles to the ball carrier and there’s some Sheldon Richardson to his style of play. He won’t be a sack master at the next level but could go in the first or second round as a defensive tackle.

Austin Bryant (DE, Clemson)
Perhaps the most underrated member of Clemson’s ‘big four’. Bryant constantly found ways to make plays in 2017 and given the weak depth at EDGE rusher in the 2018 draft, he could’ve been a top-25 pick easily. He will need to prove he’s taken a step forward athletically though. Bryant only ran a 4.97 forty at the SPARQ combine, weighing 249lbs at the time. Some teams might wonder if he’s effective because of the loaded D-line at Clemson.

Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
Had he declared for this years draft, he might’ve been Seattle’s choice. Explosive, ideal size, gritty, terrific pass blocker, dynamic. Alabama wasted his talent in some key games last year messing around with a running quarterback. Harris is legit and could easily be a Heisman candidate in 2018 and a future first round pick. For more on Damien Harris, click here.

Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)
Lightning quick and sudden, Love is another possible Heisman contender in 2018. Give him a crease and he’s gone. Size could be an issue (5-10, 196lbs). It seemed to hurt Ronald Jones II who was a much healthier 6-0, 208lbs for the running back position. Even so, there was a feeling had he declared that Love would’ve been very likely to go in the top-45.

Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
For a while it looked like Lock would declare for the 2018 draft. He opted not too and perhaps that was wise given five QB’s ended up going in round one. Next year the options at quarterback are much thinner and if Lock can have a solid year, he could end up being the first off the board.

Jarrett Stidham (QB, Auburn)
Stidham really started to look the part at the end of the 2017 season. It helps when you’re supported by Kerryon Johnson and a physical tone-setting defense. Yet Stidham played his part. With another year as the starter he has an opportunity to take a step forward and show off his pro-potential next season. Might not be a really early pick but could provide a nice option for someone after the top-30 or so picks.

Greg Little (T, Ole Miss)
Former five-star recruit not getting much publicity because Ole Miss have collapsed. He’s a prototype with great size and length. Again, the league is desperate for talent at left tackle. Little, like Trey Adams, has a chance to go very early.

Coming up over the next few days… podcast appearances and a breakdown of Seattle’s draft picks.

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The 2018 Seahawks draft review

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

The draft class

Rashaad Penny (RB)
Rasheem Green (DE)
Will Dissly (TE)
Shaquem Griffin (LB)
Tre Flowers (CB)
Michael Dickson (P)
Jamarco Jones (T)
Jacob Martin (DE)
Alex McGough (QB)

The Seahawks commit to fixing the run

The strength of the draft in the first two rounds was running back and interior O-line. Pete Carroll spoke about fixing the run as a priority.

They made a firm statement with this draft class. They’re going to try and solve this problem.

Mike Solari, D.J. Fluker, Ed Dickson and now Rashaad Penny and Will Dissly. That’s their commitment to the run. Considering their lack of picks and cap space, that’s a decent attempt to rectify this issue.

And it needed to be a point of emphasis. The Seahawks want to be a running team. Here’s what they ‘achieved’ in 2017:

— One rushing touchdown total by a running back, scored by a scat back to close out a routine win against one of the five worst teams in the league

— A completely inept red zone rushing offense

— No 100-yard games by a running back

Running was a chore and, along with all the injuries, it derailed the 2017 season.

Taking their pick of the running backs not named Saquon and adding the consensus best blocking tight end in the draft is a statement. ‘We want to run the ball as a point of focus’. They are trying to fix the run. And that needed to be the priority in this draft.

Third time lucky on the D-line?

Malik McDowell? Sheldon Richardson?

Neither filled the need for a dynamic inside/out rusher. And with Michael Bennett’s departure, this became a big need once again.

As we discussed on Friday — Rasheem Green is raw and needs time. Pete Carroll thinks he might play at about 285-290lbs by the start of the season. Some believe he could’ve been a top-10 pick next year had he stayed at USC.

It’s not often you acquire a defensive talent like this in round three. In Penny and Green (or Rashaad and Rasheem) they landed two top-50 talents. Not bad considering they started the draft with no picks on day two.

Shaquem had to be a Seahawk

We noted before the draft there was an expectation in the league, per Bob McGinn, that the Seahawks would draft Shaquem Griffin. So it proved with their first pick in the fifth round.

It’s obviously a great story for many reasons. It was also apparent Seattle had a lot of interest in reuniting Shaquem with his brother Shaquill.

Forget the sentimentality for a moment though. Shaquem can play. And he plays hard. In this piece on April 1st we discussed his performance against Auburn in the Peach Bowl:

I can honestly say I’ve never watched a player perform with his level of intensity, effort, passion and determination. Every drop of adversity he’s faced in his life is taken onto the field with him and punished.

His Peach Bowl performance against Auburn might be the best effort I’ve ever seen from an individual player in a team sport. The only time I can recall a similar effort is when David Beckham dragged England to the 2002 World Cup with an energy sapping solo performance against Greece at Old Trafford.

Griffin gave absolutely everything against Auburn. He chased every lost cause, recorded 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Griffin’s strengths are blitzing, impacting the passer, acting as a spy and playing with relentless effort. He’ll need to be a situational rusher and nickel linebacker. That’s fine. Welcome to the modern NFL. If he can be what Malcolm Smith was in 2012-13, it’ll be a great pick. He’ll also likely become a special teams demon, a heart-and-soul leader and an inspiration for a team seeking a fresh start in 2018.

This was the pick everyone wanted to see and the Seahawks delivered.

On a side note, I bought this while I was in Florida, anticipating the Shaquem Griffin pick…

Seattle finds value on day three

Lance Zierlein thought Michael Dickson could go in rounds 3-4. Tre Flowers looked like a prototype at corner for the Seahawks at the combine. Jamarco Jones has left tackle experience at Ohio State plus ideal size/length. Along with Griffin the Seahawks added four players in round five who could all contribute quickly. Griffin and Dickson’s potential contributions are obvious. It’s always worth getting excited about a cornerback drafted by Pete Carroll in round five. Jones could be an immediate contributor as the sixth lineman.

And for an extra blast of pass rush, toughness and grit — Jacob Martin in round six will get an opportunity to make the roster.

This was a day of possible high value for the Seahawks.

UDFA will be more interesting than the last few years

Seattle has some holes on the roster this year. Players will look at them and see a more realistic opportunity to make the roster. I’m not going to be able to track all the moves as I’ll be flying across the Atlantic while the Seahawks are hammering the phones. But keep an eye on the group. If they were ever going to find the next Doug Baldwin, this could be the year it happens.

Seahawks still value special teams

Amid all of the recent issues, it’s easy to forget how much Seattle has struggled on special teams recently. The signing of Sebastien Janikowski, the drafting of Michael Dickson and the drafting of one of the best returners, punters and cover guys in the draft makes it clear. They want to fix the run and special teams.

Is this really the end of the Earl Thomas saga?

Many fans will celebrate the fact Earl Thomas wasn’t traded to Dallas (I’m one of them). Another year of Thomas is a positive for the defense. But it’s fair to question whether this was the outcome the Seahawks truly wanted and whether they just delayed the divorce for another 12 months.

The Seahawks got younger and cheaper this year. They appear unwilling to pay Earl Thomas a big third contract. And while they have the option of the franchise tag in 2019, it’s unclear whether they’d actually use it. They haven’t been inclined to do so in the past.

Thomas threatened to hold out at the Pro-Bowl without a new contract. He’s unlikely to get one now. John Schneider says he’s been reassured Thomas will not hold out by his representatives. But who knows what happens on the eve of training camp? It’s in Thomas’ best bargaining interests to take this through to camp and then make a move (whether that’s in search of a new deal or a trade). Rocking the boat now makes no sense.

Even if he plays in 2018, it’s at least reasonably possible he will simply depart as a free agent when his deal expires. And if the Seahawks try to fill numerous roster holes in free agency again, they won’t receive a compensatory pick.

That would lead to an unpalatable Richard Sherman-esque parting where the Seahawks move on from a legendary player and get absolutely nothing in return.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s not my intention to be overly negative about this situation. I know a lot of people will be relieved Earl, for now, is staying in Seattle.

Yet however unpopular a trade would’ve been this year — letting him leave for nothing in a year will be an even more unpopular occurrence.

The Seahawks say all the right things about ‘listening to every offer’ but let’s be honest — they weren’t just ‘listening’ to offers for Sherman or Thomas. Where else do reports about ‘first and third round compensation’ come from? Why were they still reportedly talking to Dallas during the third round?

They appeared to be very open to moving him and perhaps were keen to do so. Perhaps they just didn’t want to be seen to be giving him away? Which, funnily enough, is exactly what they’ll do in 12 months without a new deal or the use of the franchise tag.

So I’m not sure this saga is over. It might just be parked until nearer camp. And the Cowboys, still needing a safety, might then consider a move involving 2019 picks.

When I’m back in the UK we’ll start running through the players taken and seeing what each draft pick will be bringing to the Seahawks.

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Live blog: 2018 NFL draft (rounds 4-7)

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

The Seahawks are set to pick eight time today. Here’s today’s open thread. I will be posting thoughts on each pick as they come in and, laptop screen permitting, will do a write-up on the draft overall on the plane later.

R4 (120) — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
Mike Mayock calls him the best blocking tight end in the draft. I thought he was right up there with Dalton Schultz and Durham Smythe and as a consequence, mocked him to the Seahawks in a number of our seven rounders. He did everything they asked of him at Washington. Switched from D-line to be a blocker. No-nonsense and a coaches dream. This is yet another statement that the Seahawks want to run the ball as a point of focus. We felt running back and tight end would be a priority and they’ve addressed both positions in their first three picks.

Here’s Bob McGinn’s intel on Dissly:

A consensus choice as the best blocking tight end in the draft. “Somebody will take him late because he’s a blocking fool,” said one scout. “There’s no ‘Y’s’ (conventional tight ends) anymore. Everybody plays the spread.” Shifted from DE to TE late in the 2015 season. Adequate size (6-3 ½, 261), below-average speed (4.88) and 35 on the Wonderlic.

R5 (141) — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
Beautiful news. A fantastic story. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more impressive individual performance than Griffin’s in the Peach Bowl against Auburn. He will be a special teams demon, a heart and soul player and a situational pass rusher. This is the pick everyone wanted to see. I wrote about Griffin being an ideal fit for Seattle in this piece here.

And who could forget this?

R5 (146) — Tre Flowers (CB, Oklahoma State)
At the combine we noted that Flowers looked like a Seahawks corner and like Shaquem Griffin and Will Dissly at times included him in our seven round mocks. He worked out at safety in Indianapolis but during drills just jumped off the screen as a long, lean Seahawks cornerback prospect. Seattle has already announced he’ll be used as corner. This is turning into a great day three so far. He has legit potential to be coached into a starter at corner.

R5 (156) — Michael Dickson (P, Texas)
Considered by many to be the best punter in the draft, Lance Zierlein projected him as a possible third or fourth rounder. Jon Ryan has been a great Seahawk but his performances regressed in 2017. This pick could provide a potential saving down the line. Here’s Bob McGinn’s sources on Dickson:

Three-year regular from Sydney, Australia. “He’s got a heck of a leg,” said one coach. “What’s concerning is he’s Australian and he doesn’t have your typical American punting style. He turns the ball a little sideways. He’s got a tremendous fast leg. You just worry a little bit about him being consistently good. He was fantastic for Texas last year (47.4), and you’ve always got to revert back to the film. He held this year, too.” Finished with a school-record average of 45.3. “He’s the Pineiro of the punters,” said another coach. “He has no idea what he’s doing. He probably has the most upside but also the lowest floor. He will take a ton of refinement but you may have a Pro Bowl punter for a long time.”

R5 (168) — Jamarco Jones (T, Ohio State)
He started at left tackle for a couple of years but his tape was pretty safe and average. There wasn’t too much to get excited about and that showed up at the combine. He only had a 24 inch vertical and he nearly topped five seconds in the shirt shuttle (4.99). That said, he has decent size and 35 1/8 inch arms. He might compete at right tackle or be the sixth O-liner and extra blocker. Bob McGinn’s sources see him purely as a guard:

Apprenticed behind Taylor Decker (Lions) in 2014-’15 before starting at LT in 2016-’17. “Has to be a guard,” said one scout. “Kind of a bad body guy. More of a guard athlete.” Longest arms (35 1/8) of the guards. “I thought he was a guard who could play right tackle in a pinch because he has played left tackle in an elite program and wasn’t terrible at it,” said a second scout. “He’d be an interesting guard because he is athletic. For teams that think he can play tackle, he may be a second-rounder. He’s not strong (18 reps on the bench) but he plays with a pretty good degree of toughness. Doesn’t fit the usual Ohio State offensive line profile but he is talented.” From Chicago (De La Salle).

R6 (186) — Jacob Martin (DE, Temple)
Under the old staff Temple produced some really tough, physical players. Martin is a classic example of that. The Seahawks named him a LEO and he’ll rush the edge. Lance Zierlein compared him to Haason Reddick physically in his NFL.com bio. He ran a 4.69 but only managed a 1.68 10-yard split at his pro-day. He also jumped a 34.5 inch vertical and had a 10-1 broad jump so he’s explosive if not particularly quick. He had a nice 6.90 three cone. They need a LEO.

R7 (220) — Alex McGough (QB, FIU)
The Seahawks finish their draft by taking a quarterback. It’s only the second time Seattle has drafted a QB in the Carroll era. McGough had a team visit and had some late buzz. He’ll compete to be the backup.

Just about to board the plane but the draft review piece will be up shortly.

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Instant reaction: Seahawks draft Rasheem Green

Friday, April 27th, 2018

For weeks we wondered if this could be ‘the day’ for the Seahawks. The second round was loaded with talent and Seattle, known for trading down and out of round one, were being linked with another big move.

Instead, it ended up being a relatively quiet second day of the draft.

They took took Rashaad Penny with the #27 pick yesterday and after moving down were able to acquire the #76 pick. They made one more small move to #79 and eventually drafted USC defensive end Rasheem Green. They didn’t trade Earl Thomas and they didn’t work a way back into the second frame.

Strangely for the Seahawks, it was all pretty straight forward.

They now have eight picks on day three, taking the total to ten. Tony Pauline told us before the draft that the Seahawks wanted to pick ten times in this draft.

So what about Rasheem Green?

Having tried to find a solution at this position with Malik McDowell and Sheldon Richardson, maybe it’s third time lucky?

He’s a powerful inside/out rusher with major upside. A few weeks ago I mocked him in the first round to Carolina. When he declared he was being projected as a late first or early second round possibility. I had him in the same talent tier as Rashaad Penny and a top-50 prospect.

With Michael Bennett departing and Cliff Avril’s future unclear, they needed to add a pass rusher. In the third round, this is great value.

Here’s what an anonymous AFC regional scout said about Green courtesy of NFL.com:

“I wanted him to go back to school because he probably would have been a top-10 pick next year. He’s not strong enough to handle NFL guys yet so this year may be a redshirt year for him. He’s got some serious juice though. He’s going to be a dude when it all comes together.”

And here’s what Bob McGinn’s sources said about him:

Third-year junior played DE in a 3-4 defense and moved inside on passing downs. “He’s naturally an outside guy,” said one scout. “One of the reasons he’s leaving is there was word they planned on him continuing to work inside. He sees himself as a defensive end. He’s super talented and super young (will turn 21 in May). He needs to get stronger. Probably would have benefited staying in an extra year. His best football is ahead of him.” Finished with 117 tackles (20 for loss) and 16 ½ sacks. Two teams have major medical concerns about his knee. “Kind of a potential guy,” said a third scout. “He’s got some inside pass rush. He’s not quite man enough inside and doesn’t have quite the juice outside. You’re hoping to project him to 3-technique. He doesn’t like going inside because I don’t think he’s tough enough.” From Los Angeles.

Clearly Green’s not the finished article. You see that when you watch the USC tape. However, plays like this lining up at nose tackle speak volumes for his potential:

Just look at the way be bullies his way into the backfield from an interior position:

It’s these types of plays working inside that really stood out when watching McDowell at Michigan State. McDowell should never have been asked to play as much nose tackle as he was at MSU. He still excelled. And it’s exactly the same situation with Green. He’s an EDGE or inside/out rusher and yet he still won when asked to play as the anchor inside.

You do not see Billy Price beaten like this. I repeat, this doesn’t happen to Billy Price:

Can he rush the edge too? You bet:

There are some concerns too. The splash plays are great but there are also times when he should just drop the anchor, hold his point and defend the gap or side he’s working. Notre Dame had some success handling him with a combo of Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. That’s a formidable duo to come up against but it would’ve been nice to see him hold his own a little bit more, drop the anchor or come up with a counter:

Is he an alpha? The Seahawks used to have some BAMF’s up front. Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Sheldon Richardson, Tony McDaniel. They need Green to help set the tone, not just provide potential and athleticism.

At the combine he ran a 4.73 with a 1.65 split. That’s not bad at 275lbs but it’s not special like Frank Clark’s workout. His explosive testing topped McDowell’s marks (32.5 inch vertical, 9-10 broad).

Once again though it’s the short shuttle that was likely an important factor. He ran a 4.39 which is really good for his size. McDowell ran a 4.53 which was also good as a comparison. The Seahawks generally look for defensive linemen who run a good short shuttle.

So what’s next looking at day three?

According to Bob McGinn, many teams expect the Seahawks to select Shaquem Griffin at some point. They have the picks to make that happen. Multiple other defensive linemen are available (Andrew Brown, Tim Settle, Jalyn Samuels) and there’s a nice crop of tight ends. Luke Falk also remains on the board, as does Kyle Lauletta.

Sadly it looks like the medical concerns are serious for Maurice Hurst and Josh Sweat who remain on the board.

One final general point — it was interesting to see the linebackers who ran well in the short shuttle all going in round three. Fred Warner, Oren Burks and Dorian O’Daniel all left the board on day two.

Tomorrow promises to be a vital day with eight picks to come.

I’m going to be flying back to the UK tomorrow so will do my best to update the blog throughout day three. There will be an open thread and the picks will be posted as they come in. The plane has WIFI which helps. Not helping is the fact I dropped my laptop on the floor just before the Green pick and the screen has broken. Great timing!

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Live blog: 2018 NFL draft (rounds 2 & 3)

Friday, April 27th, 2018

I’ll be updating this piece with thoughts on every pick as they come in. Please don’t tip picks in the comments section before they’re announced.

Second round

#33 Cleveland Browns — Austin Corbett (T, Nevada)
Fantastic pick by the Browns and this clearly legitimises the suggestion Cleveland was looking to trade up to #18 to get a tackle. Corbett doesn’t have the incredible length but he and Isaiah Wynn were the best two left tackles in college football in 2017. Great value.

#34 New York Giants — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
The Giants signed Nate Solder in free agency, drafted Saquon Barkley at #2 and now added Will Hernandez. They are turning their offense into a scary force. People will quibble about what they’re doing but the Giants are going physical, tough and explosive. They’ll win games in 2018 with these moves.

#35 Cleveland Browns — Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
If the Seahawks had traded down from #18, collected #33 and #35 and then drafted Corbett and Chubb — a lot of people in this community would’ve been very happy. The Browns smashed it out of the park with their first two picks. Baker Mayfield, Austin Corbett and Nick Chubb are great picks for their offense.

#36 Indianapolis Colts — Darius Leonard (LB, South Carolina State)
At the Senior Bowl he looked fantastic. At the combine, not so much. He ran only a 4.70. However, he has 34.5 inch arms and he’s all attitude. Hits like a hammer. Given time he can be a nice addition.

#37 Indianapolis Colts — Braden Smith (G, Auburn)
The most explosive O-line tester we’ve had since starting TEF. Smith is a right guard with power and major athleticism. The Colts’ interior line now consists of Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith. That trio has the potential to be the best in the league. Auburn set the tone up front with their running game.

#38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
The Buccs have already won the draft for me. Give them an A-Grade. They traded down, collected two valuable second round picks and still drafted Vita Vea. Now they get Ronald Jones II, the second coming of Jamaal Charles. Bravo, Buccs. Bravo.

#39 Chicago Bears — James Daniels (C, Iowa)
James Daniels is really athletic and he’s right up there with Frank Ragnow and Billy Price. The Bears are having a solid draft so far with Roquan Smith and Daniels. They added weapons in free agency and now they’re drafting some solid pieces.

#40 Denver Broncos — Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
This could help nudge along an Earl Thomas trade. The Cowboys were said to be targeting Sutton at #50. That pick is edging closer. It’s now or never for a trade. Sutton is a big target with exceptional agility. They need some weapons on offense.

#41 Tennessee Titans (via Oakland) — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
The Raiders traded down 16 picks to #57 so it’s a big jump up by the Titans. Harold Landry was one of the more overrated players in the draft for me. A one-dimensional speed-rusher who needs to win with initial quickness or it’s over. He had a rough day against Notre Dame’s O-line. He’s not a bad player he’s just not as good as many people projected coming into the draft.

#42 Miami Dolphins — Mike Gesicki (TE, Penn State)
He had an outstanding combine. He’s explosive and an enormous target. He doesn’t block. So you’re taking him to be a big slot receiver and red zone threat. He’s a long strider so his forty yard dash (4.54) doesn’t show up on tape.

#43 Detroit Lions (via New England) — Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
The Lions moved up from #51, jumping ahead of the Redskins. Jay Gruden went public about Washington’s desire to add a running back. Was it a wise move? Love this move by the Lions. Frank Ragnow and Kerryon Johnson is a great duo for the Lions. Johnson turned Auburn into a contender in the SEC. That’s five running backs off the board by pick #43. My prediction was 6-8 and that Derrius Guice would last beyond the names already taken.

#44 San Francisco 49ers (via Washington) — Dante Pettis (WR, Washington)
With Detroit jumping up and taking Kerryon Johnson, the Redskins trade down. Coincidence? Nope. Jay Gruden really shouldn’t have talked about their desire to draft a runner in round two. The Niners jumped up 15 spots to get to pick #44 and select Dante Pettis. Great return man, reliable target. This one won’t go down well with Huskies/Seahawks fans.

#45 Green Bay Packers — Josh Jackson (CB, Iowa)
The Packers took a corner with their first pick at #18 and now select a corner/safety hybrid. On top of that their first pick a year ago was Kevin King. That’s a lot of draft stock in the secondary. Jackson had a horrendous combine, having to re-start multiple drills. He only ran a 4.56 too. He did have big time production on the field last year.

#46 Kansas City Chiefs (via Cincinnati) — Breeland Speaks (DE, Ole Miss)
The Chiefs (without a first round pick) move up eight spots from #54. John Clayton said this morning they contacted Seattle about dealing for the #27 pick. That would’ve been a huge drop for the Seahawks, too far. Love this pick though. Speaks had a freaky 1.65 10-yard split at 283lbs. He works the EDGE like a much lighter pass rusher. If you watch his highlights you’d think he was a first rounder. The long-form tape shows some inconsistency. However, he’s an exciting talent worthy of going this early. He has length too (34 inch arms).

#47 Arizona Cardinals — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
In our mock we had the Seahawks taking Christian Kirk at #50. He ends up in the NFC West but with the Cardinals. He’s a great special teamer and he takes the top off the offense. This is a weapon for Josh Rosen to grow with. Great character, great work ethic. There’s some Golden Tate to his game. He’ll be a weapon.

#48 Los Angeles Chargers — Uchenna Nwosu (LB, USC)
Going into the draft the feeling was LA needed some interior beef to defend the run. Instead they’ve taken an EDGE/LB hybrid and a box safety. Nwosu plays with intensity, he’s a leader and a great character. He’s undersized but they’ve taken defenders with this kind of profile in the past.

#49 Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts) — Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota State)
The Eagles trade up three spots to get ahead of the Cowboys. Originally they traded down from #32 to #52 (the Ravens took Lamar Jackson). This would’ve been Seattle’s second round pick (the one they traded for Sheldon Richardson). I like this pick for Philly. Firstly, they jump the Cowboys (potentially looking for a replacement for the retiring Jason Witten). Secondly, they lost a TE in free agency. They use their tight ends well. Athletic guy. Nice get for the Eagles.

#50 Dallas Cowboys — Connor Williams (G, Texas)
Is this officially the end of the saga? The Cowboys don’t trade for Earl Thomas. They spend their second round pick. Are the Cowboys trying to play off Seattle’s desperation and get them to give up Earl for a third rounder? Maybe. The Cowboys take Connor Williams here. Some teams were concerned about his make-up. His 2017 tape wasn’t great. The Cowboys love to take offensive linemen early. They don’t fill holes at receiver, tight end or safety though.

#51 Chicago Bears (via New England) — Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis)
The Patriots traded this pick for a later round selection and a 2019 second rounder. They clearly didn’t like the options on the board here. Anthony Miller was the top receiver in the draft in my opinion. Gritty, competitive, makes plays, elevated Memphis. Great pick.

#52 Indianapolis Colts — Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
There was a big belief that Kemoko Turay would go in round two and here he is. His potential is through the roof. He had some injury issues with his shoulder. He had a great Senior Bowl week.

#53 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — M.J. Stewart (CB, North Carolina)
Having praised Tampa Bay so much for their first two picks, this is a head scratcher. He lacks length, he isn’t fast and he isn’t big. They needed a corner but Isaiah Oliver is a far superior player.

#54 Cincinnati Bengals — Jessie Bates III (S, Wake Forest)
Really like Jessie Bates III’s potential. The Bengals needed a safety. In his redshirt freshman year he was a ball hawk and teams stayed away from him last season. Good character and he’ll continue to develop and improve at the next level. There’s some value taking Bates III this late in the second round.

#55 Carolina Panthers — Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)
There was always a belief the Panthers would target a corner and a receiver early. They took explosive D.J. Moore in the first round and add electric Donte Jackson here. Two big time athletes.

#56 New England Patriots (via Tampa Bay) — Duke Dawson (CB, Florida)
The Pats move up from #63 to jump ahead of the Oakland Raiders. This is such a Patriots move. Duke Dawson is very much a New England type defensive back. He’s a 4.46 runner with 31.5 inch arms. I thought both Dawson and M.J. Stewart would go later than this.

#57 Oakland Raiders — P.J. Hall (DT, Sam Houston State)
This is a big move. P.J. Hall had a sensational pro-day workout and was getting a lot of publicity in the media building up to the draft. He was a production machine in college. He’s a squatty, physical bundle of power and effort.

#58 Atlanta Falcons — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
Isaiah Oliver finally leaves the board. The Falcons went for value with both their early picks. Calvin Ridley in round one, Oliver here. He’s a long press-corner. I thought he was the best corner in the draft. You’ve got to love Atlanta’s secondary.

#59 Washington Redskins — Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
Derrius Guice probably owes an apology to Dan Hatman. The character concerns clearly were legit among NFL teams. At this point it’s a value pick for the Redskins. But he fell for reasons people were unwilling to accept throughout the draft process. Mike Mayock also stated on the NFL Network a potentially ’embarrassing’ issue that could come to light for Guice and the team that drafts him. There’s also this.

#60 Pittsburgh Steelers — James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State)
The Steelers always do a good job finding value at receiver. They do it time and time again. James Washington can get downfield and make big plays. He has a unique body shape. He’s shorter and squatty but he has really long arms and a nice catching radius. He can separate, he can take the top off a defense.

#61 Jacksonville Jaguars — D.J. Chark (WR, LSU)
The Jaguars took an inside/out rusher with their first pick and now take a receiver. They haven’t addressed their run defense up the middle or the way they defend deep passes downfield. Which is surprising. D.J. Chark is very quick and had a great Senior Bowl. But he was majorly inconsistent and occasionally very frustrating (see his game against Alabama, 2017).

#62 Minnesota Vikings — Brian O’Neill (T, Pittsburgh)
He’s a converted tight end and it shows in both his exciting athleticism and his quite ugly tape. He was bullied at the Senior Bowl, pushed around and beaten like a drum by multiple different EDGE rushers. He’s an upside pick who needs major work.

#63 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via New England) — Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
The Buccs knocked their first two picks out of the park. This is a really good pick too. Carlton Davis is long and looks like a Seahawks type cornerback. Getting him this late in round two is great value.

#64 Indianapolis Colts (via Cleveland) — Tyquan Lewis (DE, Ohio State)
The Colts move up a few spots from #67. I’ve been higher on Tyquan Lewis than most. He’s incredibly explosive. He’s tough, physical, all-business and will be a leader on defense. He can work inside/out and he was great at the Senior Bowl.

That concludes the second round. The Seahawks didn’t trade Earl Thomas for the #50 pick and didn’t find a way back into the second frame. However, there is still a ton of value on offer in round three at multiple positions, including tight end and D-line (two possible target areas). And for that reason — don’t rule out a Thomas trade just yet.

Third round

#65 Oakland Raiders — Brandon Parker (T, North Carolina A&T)
Some teams really liked Brandon Parker. Bob McGinn’s sources had some nice things to say about his major potential. He’s big, long and a prototypical looking tackle. They’ll try and develop him. Tom Cable gets two rookies to work with.

#66 New York Giants — Lorenzo Carter (LB, Georgia)
An underachiever with major talent, Lorenzo Carter has first round skills. He’s fast, explosive and showed against Notre Dame he can be a devastating SAM/LEO. The Giants needed a pass rusher and it’ll be interesting to see how they use him. Justin Houston (ex-Georgia) was a third round pick back in the day. Carter has the potential to be a steal too.

#67 Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis) — Chad Thomas (DE, Miami)
It’s interesting that Chad Thomas came off the board before a number of other players. Some teams had concerns about whether football was his priority in life. He helped produce a song with Rick Ross and he plays a number of instruments. He’s talented but is he fully committed to being a great football player?

#68 Houston Texans — Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
This is Houston’s first pick in the draft and they get a player many believed could land in round one. He’s a 4.40 runner but doesn’t always show it on the field. He’s more of a box safety than a rangy free safety. He doesn’t hit like his brother but he closes just as well. He was worth a second round pick at least so this is good value.

#69 New York Giants — B.J. Hill (DT, NC State)
This is the pick New York collected for dealing Jason Pierre-Paul. And what a pick it is. Hill was the leader on the NC State defense. He’s big, nasty, tough, physical. He helps set the tone. He had a great 4.53 short shuttle (a key test at defensive tackle). The Giants are having a fantastic draft. Saquon Barkley and Will Hernandez on offense (playing to the strength of the first two rounds) then Lorenzo Carter and B.J. Hill in round three (playing to the day two value). Bravo, Dave Gettleman.

#70 San Francisco 49ers — Fred Warner (LB, BYU)
Speaking of the importance of the short shuttle, Fred Warner ran a 4.28. It’s an important test at linebacker too. Another player considered a leader. This is a high character, athletic, mobile, productive linebacker. Solid pick.

#71 Denver Broncos — Royce Freeman (RB, Oregon)
I thought Freeman would sneak into round two. The Broncos needed a running back. They added two ‘names’ on offense — Courtland Sutton and Royce Freeman. They need both to produce. Freeman is a big back who plays small/quick.

#72 New York Jets — Nathan Shepherd (DT, Fort Hays State)
I remember the first day of the Senior Bowl. Here was this small school guy, absolutely bossing the LOS. Then he hurt his hand and was unable to do any more in Mobile. Even so, he made an impression. Great pick here in round three for the Jets.

#73 Miami Dolphins — Jerome Baker (LB, Ohio State)
Very athletic and mobile linebacker. Does well in coverage but not a thumper and didn’t have enough splash plays in 2017. You kind of wanted to see more. He was an explosive tester at the combine.

#74 Washington Redskins (via San Francisco)– Geron Christian (T, Louisville)
The Redskins moved up here. There was a feeling he could sneak into the late first round. Nobody really thought he was going to declare. Long arms (35 inches) and big hands. Lots of potential to work with here. He’ll be a redshirt in 2018.

#75 Kansas City Chiefs (via Oakland) —
The Chiefs jumped ahead of the Seahawks. Were Seattle preparing to take Derrick Nnadi? They had him in for a meeting. He’s a tough interior defender with sneaky ability as a pass rusher. He could be Brandon Mebane.

#76 Pittsburgh Steelers (via Seattle) — Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State)
The Seahawks traded down three picks to #79 with the Steelers. They only got a seventh rounder in return (#220). It’ll be interesting to see if they were targeting Derrick Nnadi. Pittsburgh took James Washington a few picks ago and now go and get his former quarterback. It was time for the Steelers to start planning ahead. They jumped ahead of the Bengals.

#77 Cincinnati Bengals — Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
It’s a bit of a surprise Hubbard fell this far but he had a disappointing 2017 season and didn’t elevate his stock. He had a nice three-cone at the combine.

#78 Cincinnati Bengals — Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
A big time athlete and former SPARQ star. The Bengals fill another need and continue to draft solidly this year.

#79 Seattle Seahawks — Rasheem Green (DE, USC)
The Seahawks get their inside/out rusher. There was a feeling Rasheem Green could’ve been a top-10 pick next year had he opted not to declare. He had a great inside rush against Billy Price in USC’s Bowl game. The Seahawks needed to find another pass rusher and replace Michael Bennett. They do that here. Shortly before the pick was made I dropped my laptop on a hard floor and it’s broken. Great timing!

#80 Houston Texans — Martinas Rankin (T, Mississippi State)
I was never a big fan of Rankin’s. He might have to move inside to guard or center, yet Houston’s need is at tackle.

#81 Dallas Cowboys — Michael Gallup (WR, Colorado State)
The laptop is well and truly broken so I’m going to keep this brief from here on in. Hopefully Orlando airport has some good deals on Apple Macbook Pro’s. Gallup had a nice Senior Bowl but the Cowboys left it late to address their need at receiver.

#82 Detroit Lions — Tracy Walker (S, Louisiana Lafayette)
Not a player I spent much time watching but he was seen as a late riser and the Lions needed a safety.

#83 Baltimore Ravens — Orlando Brown (T, Oklahoma)
From Orlando airport to Orlando Brown. His father player for the Ravens. He had a terrible, historically bad combine. That dropped him from a potential first round pick to a third rounder. Eventually someone was going to take a shot on him.

#84 Los Angeles Chargers — Justin Jones (DT, NC State)
Really like this pick. The Chargers needed to do something to help their interior run defense. This is it. Justin Jones is so physical, intense and combined with B.J. Hill did a great job defending the run at NC State. He had a terrific Senior Bowl week.

#85 Carolina Panthers — Rashaan Gaulden (S, Tennessee)
He’s not the biggest or the fastest safety but he’s tenacious and flies around making plays.

#86 Baltimore Ravens — Mark Andrews (TE, Oklahoma)
The Ravens take a tight end in rounds one and three. Andrews was a bit overrated during the season. He ran the same handful of routes for Oklahoma. Another non-blocking TE. Not a physical mismatch in terms of size/speed.

#87 Oakland Raiders (via LA Rams) — Arden Key (DE, LSU)
A year ago people thought Arden Key was a possible top-10 pick. His 2017 as a year was a mess. He didn’t play well enough when he finally made it onto the field. He’s worth taking a shot on in the third round but can you trust him to make it happen?

#88 Green Bay Packers — Oren Burks (LB, Vanderbilt)
Like Fred Warner, a leader on defense and a very agile, quick linebacker. He was expected to go in this range so this is fair value.

#89 Los Angeles Rams (via Oakland) — Joe Noteboom (T, TCU)
This is LA’s first pick in the draft. Some teams really like Joe Noteboom’s potential. They might be able to redshirt him and develop him. There’s plenty to work with here.

#90 Atlanta Falcons — Deadrin Senat (DT, South Florida)
He’s battled a lot of adversity. I didn’t spend enough time on him to judge properly here but the Falcons needed to add to their D-line at some point.

#91 New Orleans Saints — Tre’Quan Smith (WR, UCF)
This is only New Orleans’ second pick this year. They spent their second rounder on Alvin Kamara a year ago. Smith has some major athletic potential.

#92 Pittsburgh Steelers — Chukwuma Okorafor (T, Western Michigan)
We’re seeing a lot of players with ‘potential’ coming off the board in round three. It’s a little bit of a surprise to see Tim Settle and one or two more ‘proven’ players still on the board. I watched a fair bit of Okorafor during the season and was underwhelmed.

#93 Jacksonville Jaguars — Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
I’m not sure why Ronnie Harrison is still on the board. Todd McShay said on ESPN ‘you’re not drafting your best friend he can be a bit ebrasive’. Did he rub people up the wrong way? Either way it’s great value here. He’s not going to solve Jacksonville’s issue defending deep passes though. He’s a pure strong safety.

#94 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Alex Cappa (T, Humboldt State)
He gained a lot of admirers at the Senior Bowl. Mike Mayock raved about him. He’s edgy and plays with an attitude. Can he make the significant step up from Humboldt State to the NFL?

#95 San Francisco 49ers — Tarvarius Moore (S, Southern Miss)
He’s a really explosive player. He wasn’t invited to the combine. Some people thought he was one of the top safety’s in the class. There’s plenty to work with but he’ll need guidance.

#96 Buffalo Bills — Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
I thought the Bills might do this in the late second round. Harrison Phillips is a lot like Kyle Williams and could be the heir apparent for the Bills legend.

#97 Arizona Cardinals — Mason Cole (C, Michigan)
He played left tackle as a freshman. He’ll be an interior guy at the next level. They are clearly trying to build pieces around Josh Rosen. Cole is decent. Nothing special.

#98 Houston Texans — Jordan Akins (TE, UCF)
Another UCF player leaves the board but it isn’t Shaquem Griffin. Another player with big potential. He can stretch the seam and make plays. It’ll be interesting to see him working with DeShaun Watson.

#99 Denver Broncos — Isaac Yiadom (CB, Boston College)
I liked what I saw from Isaac Yiadom. He’s a solid corner with Seahawks size. At the end of the third he’s worth a shot.

#100 Kansas City Chiefs — Dorian O’Daniel (LB, Clemson)
He was quietly a major impact player for Clemson last year. He’s a skull collector on special teams. He didn’t run a fast forty yard dash but he had an exceptional short shuttle.

Day two primer — things to consider

Friday, April 27th, 2018

— What are the Seahawks going to do today? Currently they only have the #76 pick. The third round EDGE options might be severely limited but that’s not the case for general defensive linemen. Bob McGinn’s league sources have Tyquan Lewis, B.J. Hill, Rasheem Green, Derrick Nnadi, Da’Shawn Hand, Jalyn Holmes, Justin Jones, Andrew Brown, Nathan Shepherd and Duke Ejiofor slated to go between rounds 3-4. Josh Sweat is touted to go between rounds 3-5 due to injury concerns and thus might not be on Seattle’s board. So if the Seahawks want to add an inside/out rusher or a defensive tackle, they’ll likely have an opportunity to do that today.

— If the Seahawks are truly committed to fixing the run (and the Rashaad Penny pick certainly suggests they are) — tight end could be a position to watch today. Ed Dickson is a short term solution and Nick Vannett hasn’t shown much in two years. Tyrone Swoopes is the only other TE on the roster currently. With Dallas Goedert, Ian Thomas, Mike Gesicki, Daltzon Schultz, Durham Smythe and Will Dislly all remaining on the board, this could be a target position. Keep an eye on Indiana’s Thomas. He’s a gritty player who has battled significant adversity. He’s considered to be ‘all football’ and a willing blocker. He had a workout pre-draft and has massive potential. He also, funnily enough, helped Rashaan Penny break off a huge run in the Senior Bowl with a terrific wham block:

— With the Seahawks re-signing Byron Maxwell, a hole has been filled at corner. Any lingering possibility of an early-round cornerback has likely been eliminated. If the Seahawks address this position it’ll likely be on day three when the likes of Holton Hill and Tony Brown might be slated to go.

— A reminder that McGinn’s multiple sources believe Shaquem Griffin will be drafted by the Seahawks:

Some teams appear convinced that Griffin will join his twin brother, Shaquill, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill, a third-round pick last year from UCF, had a strong rookie season as a starting cornerback.

“Just the vibe I’m getting from things,” said one scout. “Some of the comments made by some of their guys about the type of kid he is and the football player he is and what he embodies.”

Pick #76 might be a little too early for Griffin but he could very much be a fourth round target tomorrow.

— Overall the third day of this draft will present a fantastic opportunity to load up on defense. If you’re a Seahawks fan panicking about the fact they didn’t go defense last night, don’t be. The strength of this draft class in rounds 1/2 was clear — running back, interior O-line. The strength on day three will be defense.

— What’s going to happen with Earl Thomas? Either way it’ll be good to finally move on from this saga, played out uncomfortably through the media. If/when the Cowboys make a pick at #50 we’ll likely have a conclusion to the matter. If the Seahawks don’t trade Thomas, however, it kinds of feels like they might be setting themselves up for a repeat of the Richard Sherman situation. Consider trade offers all off-season, not get an offer you like, part ways for zero compensation a year later. And that won’t be any more palatable than trading him for say a third round pick this year and something next year.

— I made two podcast appearances last night immediately after round one. The first was on Tasteful Profanity. We did a quickfire reaction to every pick and I’d highly recommend checking it out below. My spot starts at 1:09:45:

I also did a full review of Seattle’s pick at #27 with Kenny:

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Instant reaction: Seahawks take Penny, 49ers spoil trade?

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

There’s lots to get into so here we go…

Did the 49ers spoil Seattle’s trade plans?

A year ago Tony Pauline correctly forecast a first round trade between Seattle and Atlanta. This year he predicted the Seahawks would deal with Cleveland.

The package? The Browns trade up to #18 to get a left tackle. With Joe Thomas retiring it was a big need. The two obvious targets were Mike McGlinchey and Kolton Miller.

Seattle was reportedly set to receive #33 and #35 as part of the deal. An ideal, dream scenario for a team missing second and third round picks.

Then the San Francisco 49ers said… ‘not so fast‘.

The Niners snatched McGlinchey off the board at #9. With Joe Staley turning 34 in August, it’s an understandable move. San Francisco needs to protect Jimmy Garoppolo. Good offensive tackles are an endangered species. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan probably don’t plan on picking in the top-10 again any time soon. So they invested in their quarterback for the long term for the second time during this off-season.

In the process, they possibly scuppered Seattle’s plan.

Oakland immediately traded down from #10 once McGlinchey left the board. We paired the Raiders with the Notre Dame tackle in our ‘final’ mock draft. Oakland dropped down five spots and took Kolton Miller off the board.

Trade plans with Cleveland, over.

Had the Niners taken Tremaine Edmunds instead as many predicted, the Raiders probably take McGlinchey. It’s possible, in that scenario, Miller falls to #18 and the trade is consummated.

Instead the Seahawks had to look elsewhere. And you can tell they were looking elsewhere. Green Bay had only just moved down from #14 to #27, trading with the Saints. It’s hard to imagine this was all part of some long term plan pre-draft.

John Schneider relied on an old friend to get the move down he was looking for.

To go from #18 to #27 the Seahawks got a fair deal according to this trade chart:

#18 = 900 points

#27 = 680
#76 = 210
#186 = 16.6
Total = 906.6

It wasn’t #33 and #35 as speculated but it still helped the Seahawks pick twice in a more favourable range.

Seahawks make a statement — ‘we want to fix the run’

They did it again. Despite all the talk about Isaiah Oliver, Austin Corbett, the pass rush and anything else you want to throw in. They did exactly what they said they would do.

Try to fix the run.

That was the priority. This is a running team. They’ve not had their identity for two years now purely because they can’t run the ball. By taking Rashaad Penny with the #27 pick, they made a statement.

You might not think running the ball is important. The Seahawks disagree.

Every draft is a learning experience and with this one I should’ve stuck to my guns. We spent months talking about fixing the run. And then in the last couple of weeks we’ve mocked Christian Kirk and Isaiah Oliver to Seattle with their first pick.

That’s today’s lesson. They haven’t taken a cornerback early and unless they trade Earl Thomas in the next 24 hours, that will remain the case for another year. I even wrote a piece stating explicitly they wouldn’t take a corner early. Why didn’t I heed my own advice? They didn’t take a receiver first. They took a runner. As we thought they would for weeks. Until I flipped at the end.

So what do we know about Penny?

He’s a player we consistently ranked in our top-50 during the process. He was one of the first running backs we talked about on the blog during the season. And after the combine we noted his name as a possible physical fit based on Seattle’s drafting trend at the position.

Here’s what Bob McGinn’s sources had to say about Penny after projecting him to go in round two:

Played second fiddle to prolific Donnel Pumphrey for three seasons before exploding for 2,248 yards as a senior. “That little kid there last year (Pumphrey) ran for a billion yards and now he’s run for a bunch,” said one scout. “That system there is tremendous. Good size and straight-line burst. I don’t think he has good feel or a lot of niftiness.” Impressed in the Senior Bowl. Tremendous kickoff returner. “Runs primarily out of an I backfield but when he runs the spread option he’s got feet, got acceleration,” a second scout said. “Great hands. Makes guys miss. Got great contact balance.” Finished with 487 carries for 3,643 yards (7.5) and 38 TDs along with 42 receptions for 479 yards. “He runs high,” a third scout said. “I don’t like his pad level. He’s strong and he’s very fast.” From Norwalk, Calif.

He’s a solid second round running back taken at #27.

So what do we make of that?

It’ll surprise many just because his second name isn’t ‘Chubb’, ‘Jones II’, ‘Johnson’, ‘Guice’ or ‘Michel’. Yet the Seahawks had their pick of the bunch and took their guy. Had they taken Nick Chubb or Ronald Jones II, most would’ve applauded the move (unless your part of the anti-run movement). They clearly think Penny is a better option. So give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s see how he gets on.

Ideally they would’ve been able to move down a few more spots and take Penny. Clearly that deal wasn’t available.

Earlier today I called for the Seahawks to try to fix the run. For that reason, I think this was a positive move.

You’ve also got to love this reaction:

When do they next pick?

Unless they trade Earl Thomas, they’ll next be on the clock at pick #76 (Green Bay’s third round pick).

Today’s big winner?

Tampa Bay. They were able to get one of the best 5-6 players in the draft after trading down. Vita Vea is an exceptional player with Haloti Ngata potential. The Buccs’ D-line now consists of Vea, Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry.

Not only did they get one of the best players in the class at #12, they also acquired two valuable second round picks from Buffalo in the process. Kudos to the Buccs. This was a fantastic move.

Head scratching move?

The Saints traded up to #14 from #27 to select Marcus Davenport. He’s a terrific prospect with major upside. He’s also incredibly raw. The move cost New Orleans their 2019 pick. It’s a bit of a gamble. The Saints are going all-in with Drew Brees and are not planning ahead at quarterback. Lamar Jackson would’ve been there at #27.

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