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NFL Mock Draft: Post-Rams trade 14th April

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Before we get into the mock draft, here’s a podcast appearance I made today with Kenny and Danny from Field Gulls discussing the Rams/Titans trade. Check it out:

#1 Los Angeles — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#2 Cleveland — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#3 San Diego — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#4 Dallas — Jaylen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#5 Jacksonville — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#6 Baltimore — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#7 San Fran — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#8 Philadelphia — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#9 Tampa Bay — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#10 New York Giants — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#11 Chicago — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#15 Tennessee — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#18 Indianapolis — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#19 Buffalo — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#20 New York Jets — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#21 Washington — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#22 Houston — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#23 Minnesota — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#24 Cincinatti — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#25 Pittsburgh — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#26 Seattle — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#27 Green Bay — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#28 Kansas City — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#29 Arizona — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
#30 Carolina — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#31 Denver — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)

The early run on defensive linemen (Billings #18, Butler #19, Bullard #21) forces Seattle’s hand. They take an offensive lineman they’re comfortable with. Ifedi can play left guard or right tackle.

I suspect the Seahawks will like Sheldon Rankins, Vernon Butler and Jonathan Bullard at DE/DT. None last until #26 in this projection.

With a deep class of defensive players they should be able to get one they like at #56. It could be a defensive tackle (Willie Henry, Hassan Ridgeway, Kenny Clark) or a SAM/DE (Kyler Fackrell).

It’s still a fair expectation that they’ll take two offensive linemen in the first three rounds. If Connor McGovern or Joe Dahl last — they could be tried at guard or center. Joe Haeg has the makings of a very accomplished guard.

Los Angeles Rams trade up to #1 overall pick

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Wow.

For the last few weeks we’ve been projecting a similar move — with the Rams moving into the top-10 for a quarterback.

Now they have the top pick and will likely choose between Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.

It’s an expensive move. The trade includes both of LA’s second round picks, their third round pick plus their 2017 first and third round picks.

So what does this mean?

For starters, the Rams have been undone by poor quarterback play for years — wasting the peak of Robert Quinn and the early years of Aaron Donald in the process. Now they have Todd Gurley and possibly a solution at QB. They’ll be hoping this move pushes them over the top.

It also significantly impacts the draft. Where does Laremy Tunsil go now, the previously presumed #1 pick? Will the Browns still take a QB if ‘their guy’ is taken by the Rams?

Will three quarterbacks go in the top ten as we’ve been projecting — with Los Angeles, Cleveland, San Francisco and Philadelphia all said to be in the market?

Will the Titans select an offensive tackle at #15 (Jack Conklin, Ronnie Stanley)? Will they look to provide Marcus Mariota with a new weapon? Or do they go defense?

Tennessee now owns six of the top 76 picks and has four in the top 45.

We could see Goff/Wentz at #1, Wentz/Goff at #2 and Tunsil at #3. That would be an ideal scenario for the Cowboys who can select from Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack — with the other player likely landing in Jacksonville.

We’ll have a new mock draft on the blog later.

Introducing weighted TEF & what it tells us

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Vernon Butler is the second most explosive D-liner in the draft

One of our community members Cysco (could it be?) came up with a way to enhance TEF and offer a new dimension to the formula.

At the moment it doesn’t account for weight/size. I think that’s fine because it’s a combination of tallied explosive skills and being ‘bigger’ doesn’t necessarily matter. Aaron Donald is only 285lbs but wins with explosion and speed, not size.

Even so, TEF doesn’t really account for the players who are enormous (eg Germain Ifedi) and test well for their size. Cysco’s idea is a bit of an equaliser in that regard.

His suggestion was to multiply a player’s weight with his TEF score — and then multiply the results by 0.1. This creates a score in the 75-110 range. For example:

Germain Ifedi — 324 x 2.97 x 0.1 = 96.1

Ifedi’s TEF score of 2.97 didn’t emphasise how well he’d performed as a 324lbs athlete. A 32.5 inch vertical was the second highest among O-liners, a 9-1 broad jump was excellent and he had 24 reps on the bench press. He didn’t hit the ideal 3.00 purely due to his bench reps. That seemed a little bit harsh given he has 36 inch arms — making the test a lot trickier.

Ifedi’s TEF score put him at #8 in the O-line class. His weighted TEF puts him at #3. That felt like a better representation of what he achieved.

Here’s the full list of O-liners using weighted TEF:

Spriggs, Jason — 104.9
McGovern, Conner — 101.4
Ifedi, Germain — 96.1
Shell, Brandon — 94.4
Vaitai, Halapoulivaati — 93.8
Nembot, Stephane — 93.6
Dahl, Joe — 93.2
Joe Haeg — 93.0
Thuney, Joe — 91.6
Robertson, Dominique — 91.5
Redmond, Alex — 91.1
Lewis, Alex — 89.6
Garnett, Joshua — 87.9
Drango, Spencer — 87.4
Kelly, Ryan — 87.0
Conklin, Jack — 85.0
Clark, Le’Raven — 84.1
Westerman, Christian — 83.8
Johnstone, Tyler — 83.2
Brendel, Jake — 80.9
Skura, Matt — 80.6
Glasgow, Graham — 79.9
Martin, Nick — 79.7
Greene, Darrell — 79.5
Blythe, Austin — 79.5
Beavers, Willie — 78.8
Alexander, Vadal — 77.6
Boehm, Evan — 77.6
Theus, John — 77.4
Decker, Taylor — 77.3
Toner, Cole — 77.1
Turner, Landon — 74.7
Marz, Tyler — 74.6
Seumalo, Isaac — 74.6
Young, Avery — 74.5
Whitehair, Cody — 74.4
Allen, Jack — 74.2
Hawkins, Jerald — 73.3
Kasitati, Nila — 73.0
Jackson, Dominick — 72.1
Cooper, Fahn — 71.3
Slater, Pearce — 70.3
Kirkland, Denver — 70.0
Tretola, Sebastian — 67.6

Average score: 82.1

Here’s how Seattle’s previous O-line picks tested (since 2012):

Poole, Terry — 94.3
Glowinski, Mark — 101.1
Sokoli, Kristjan — 107.6
Britt, Justin — 97.5
Scott, Garrett — 98.7
Gilliam, Garry — 91.1
Seymour, Ryan — 93.1
Smith, Jared — 99.4

Average score: 97.9

I don’t expect the Seahawks to use a system as simple as TEF — but I suspect they’re using something similar albeit more sophisticated. We know what their ideal is per Tom Cable (31 inch vert, 9″ broad, 27 bench reps). They might have a formula that also accounts for size and length.

Sadly weighted TEF doesn’t provide a basic ‘ideal’. Original TEF provides that with 3.00. If you perform a 31 — 9 — 27 you score a 1.00 in each test. TEF offers a cumulative score which is helpful and accounts for slightly higher or lower marks in each individual drill.

It’s harder to judge weighted TEF in the same way. What is a benchmark score? 90.0? 100.0? We can’t really answer that unless you want to use Seattle’s 97.9 average. However — it does give a bit of a boost to the bigger guys who complete an explosive test. And for that reason it gives us a nice insight into why they seemingly covet Ifedi considering he’s third only to Spriggs and McGovern — the two athletic freaks in this O-line class.

Players like Ryan Kelly (87.0) and Joshua Garnett (87.9) — both often linked to the Seahawks — don’t test comparatively well compared to Seattle’s previous picks. That doesn’t mean they won’t be drafted early by the team but the evidence suggests they’re less likely to be targeted than perhaps a Connor McGovern (for example).

I know some people dislike that assertion — but that’s just what the formula tells us. This tool is just a way to project what the Seahawks might do in the draft. Again — it’s not projecting who will succeed/fail at the next level and it’s not judging who is a good/bad player.

What about defense?

We can’t use TEF/weighted TEF as a projection tool for defensive linemen because we don’t have the necessary information. We don’t know Seattle’s ideal physical profile. We also don’t have enough draft history (one recent third and one fourth rounder at DT) to pick up on any trends.

We can, however, use it to compare the different prospects. It’s still a formula that ranks the D-liners against each other. It can tell us how much more explosive Sheldon Rankins is versus the rest of the class. So here are the results:

Rankins, Sheldon — 103.3
Butler, Vernon — 101.1
Nkemdiche, Robert — 100.1
Hargrave, Javon — 99.3
Billings, Andrew — 98.9
Lowry, Dean — 98.7
Mayes, Chris — 97.1
Oakman, Shawn — 96.5
Blair, Ronald — 93.7
Henry, Willie — 93.2
Wujciak, Connor — 93.1
Heath, Joel — 93.0
Ridgeway, Hassan — 92.9
Reader, D.J. — 92.6
Ioannidis, Matthew — 92.3
Thomas, Lawrence — 90.5
Collins, Maliek — 90.4
Ogbah, Emmanuel — 89.9
Judon, Matt — 89.9
Tapper, Charles — 89.1
Clark, Kenny — 89.0
Bullard, Jonathan — 89.0
Buckner, DeForest — 88.7
Bosa, Joey — 88.6
Okwara, Romeo — 87.1
Spence, Noah — 86.9
Valentine, Vincent — 86.3
Ngakoue, Yannick — 85.2
Fanaika, Jason — 85.2
Kaufusi, Bronson — 84.9
Zettel, Anthony — 84.5
Jones, Chris — 83.7
Newberry, Giorgio — 82.2
Abdesmad, Mehdi — 81.7
Kamalu, Ufomba — 80.1
Calhoun, Shilique — 80.0
Cowser, James — 80.0
Robinson, A’Shawn — 79.8
Bailey, Sterling — 79.6
Johnson, Austin — 79.6
Nassib, Carl — 79.6
Jackson, Branden — 79.2
Dodd, Kevin — 79.1
Latham, Darius — 78.7
Ward, Jihad — 78.2
Day, Sheldon — 75.8
Washington, Adolphus — 72.8
Nicolas, Dadi — 72.4
Sigler, DeVaunte — 72.4
Correa, Kamalei — 69.1
Pettway, D.J. — 67.1

It’s perhaps no surprise that the Seahawks and the rest of the league are showing interest in Vernon Butler. His combination of size/explosiveness is second only to Sheldon Rankins.

We’ve talked a lot about Rankins arguably being Seattle’s ideal pick. Unfortunately he’ll probably be long gone by #26. According to our formula Butler is the next man up.

Equally interesting is the placement of Jonathan Bullard. Although he ran a superior 10-yard split to a lot of the defensive tackles at the combine — his agility testing and explosion testing is in a similar range to a lot of other players. Here he ranks behind the following defensive linemen:

Rankins, Sheldon — 103.3
Butler, Vernon — 101.1
Nkemdiche, Robert — 100.1
Hargrave, Javon — 99.3
Billings, Andrew — 98.9
Lowry, Dean — 98.7
Mayes, Chris — 97.1
Oakman, Shawn — 96.5
Blair, Ronald — 93.7
Henry, Willie — 93.2
Wujciak, Connor — 93.1
Heath, Joel — 93.0
Ridgeway, Hassan — 92.9
Reader, D.J. — 92.6
Ioannidis, Matthew — 92.3
Thomas, Lawrence — 90.5
Collins, Maliek — 90.4
Ogbah, Emmanuel — 89.9
Judon, Matt — 89.9
Tapper, Charles — 89.1
Clark, Kenny — 89.0
Bullard, Jonathan — 89.0

Bullard is a fun player to watch — he plays with his hair on fire. He doesn’t miss tackles and his gap discipline is solid. Yet as an athletic specimen he is not ‘special’ — and that is consistently something the Seahawks have sought in the early rounds of the draft.

We can project, with this information, that Willie Henry, Ronald Blair III, Hassan Ridgeway and Maliek Collins would provide a similar physical profile — but they might be available in round two. So how do you weigh up the value of Bullard at #26 versus the others at #56?

In terms of grit and personality — Bullard might be a difference maker in that regard. He might be the #1 character prospect in the entire draft. Yet the Seahawks have to decide the value of attitude vs physicality and how it dictates what they do early.

If the Seahawks can’t get at the top explosive linemen (Rankins, Butler, Ifedi, Spriggs) or if they don’t like a particular fit (that might be the case with Spriggs, for example) — that could be the catalyst for a move down the board where they can select from several of the D-liners listed above and O-liners like Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl.

La Canfora’s draft notes

When it comes to insider info — Jason La Canfora is a respected voice. Last year he called the Marshawn Lynch contract extension and Seattle’s desire to pick Frank Clark. He had some interesting things to say today on the draft, including:

— Jared Goff is Cleveland’s preferred quarterback at #2

— A’Shawn Robinson is seen as overrated (we’ve known this for a long time)

— Jack Conklin is seen by some as the #2 offensive tackle in the class

— La Canfora expects Josh Doctson to be the first receiver drafted

— Expect the Eagles to draft Ezekiel Elliott

— The Steelers like the cornerback group and Kendall Fuller could go in round one

The thing that caught my eye though was La Canfora’s notes on Vernon Butler:

Teams are very high on Louisiana Tech defensive linemen Vernon Butler, and I expect him to go in the first round and pretty high at that. The Chiefs are among the teams I have heard him linked to. Scouts love his versatility and ability to pair run stuffing ability with some natural pass rushing moves.

There’s a slight contradiction here because on the one hand Butler is being projected to go “pretty high” in the first round — but the team mentioned (Kansas City) doesn’t pick until #28.

Butler has been an interesting guy to follow during this draft season. At the end of the college season he was getting a lot of buzz from media ‘insiders’ like Daniel Jeremiah. That seemed to dip after an average combine — but an excellent pro-day has put him back on the radar.

Just look at the results above in weighted TEF.

I’m not convinced he’ll be Muhammad Wilkerson as some are projecting he might be. Wilkerson has freaky speed and quickness for 315lbs — his closing speed and finishing ability is unlike anything you’ll ever see from a big man like that. He ran a 4.59 short shuttle and a 7.31 three cone and it shows.

Butler is bigger at 323lbs and lacks that same kind of quickness. He ran a 7.82 three cone and a 4.76 short shuttle. He produced a more explosive vertical and broad jump though and the 10-yard splits are similar (1.77 vs 1.80).

One thing we didn’t talk about yesterday is Butler’s personality. He’s a pretty cool guy. Laid back but in a good way, confident. Well spoken. Teams will like that about him.

He can also play some end in base and move inside. He’s versatile. The big question mark is on the pass rushing side of his game. Will he ever develop into a true disruptor? He doesn’t have to be a 10-12 sack guy like Wilkerson — but can he at least consistently provide 5-7?

The way his stock is going he might not be available at #26. Washington in particular might show some interest at #21. If the Seahawks are limiting themselves to ‘ideally’ explosive offensive linemen as we suspect — they might not like the options at #26 compared to the options in rounds 2-3 (McGovern, Dahl, Haeg). That could increase the chances of Butler being their choice in round one — if he lasts that long.

Podcast, Vernon Butler & the facts on TEF

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

In this weeks podcast Kenny and I get into some serious draft talk with just over two weeks to go. Check it out…

Sometimes these visits are about due diligence, sometimes teams will seek to complete a physical profile, sometimes it’s about seeing how a player handles himself in a facility and sometimes it’s about seeing how they interact with everyone from the cleaning staff to the coaches.

In the case of Vernon Butler, I’m guessing it’s a bit of everything.

He had a rather underwhelming combine where he recorded the following:

40-yd: 5.33
10-yd: 1.82
Vertical: 29.5
Broad: 8-8
Bench: 26

When he performed at his pro-day — there was a big improvement across the board:

40-yd: 5.19
10-yd: 1.77
Vertical: 3.5
Broad: 9-3
Bench: DNP

As a bit of a late bloomer in terms of his college career, it wouldn’t be a shock if they’re spending a bit of extra time working out what he is at the next level.

TEF was created essentially to judge offensive linemen. However, we can at least use it to compare the O-liners and D-liners. Germain Ifedi is 6-6 and 324lbs, while Vernon Butler is 6-3 1/2 and 323lbs. They have similar size and length — yet Ifedi is a 2.95 using TEF and Butler is a 3.13.

That’s not an insignificant difference.

That’s partly the reason why they might be looking very closely at Butler. They’ve consistently taken explosive, difference-making athletes early in the draft. Butler is, according to TEF, quite a bit more explosive than Ifedi. Having to handle his physical profile at nearly 6-4 and 323lbs makes him intriguing.

That said — and this is probably another reason why the Seahawks are meeting with him — he’s going to need to be a pass rusher. He only had three sacks in 2015. Why? He has the physical tools, Louisiana Tech’s schedule was pretty pathetic last year. Why wasn’t he more productive?

That’s a question they’ll no doubt be trying to answer during this visit. As good as Butler’s physical profile might be, it’s unlikely the Seahawks take a big body with minimal pass-rush ability in round one.

Butler could be an option if the likes of Sheldon Rankins and Jonathan Bullard are off the board and they decide to take a defensive player at #26.

The facts on TEF

There appears to be a misunderstanding with TEF (Trench Explosion Formula) and I wanted to take a moment to just clear a few things up.

(The original explanation, which carries more detail, can be found here)

The point of the formula is NOT to determine who will be a great player at the next level or who I think the Seahawks should and shouldn’t draft.

The point was to create a formula that could:

1. Help us understand Seattle’s approach to drafting offensive linemen

2. Help us project who the team might consider in this draft class

I’m seeing a lot of comments saying things like, “I disagree with Rob that they should draft this guy” or “I disagree that a 9″ broad jump matters”. This is not the argument we are making.

TEF is based on Tom Cable’s self-confessed ideal physical profile for an offensive lineman. That includes at least a 31 inch vertical, a 9″ broad jump and 27 reps on the bench press. We created a formula that combines all three tests to provide an overall score.

We then used the formula to see if there were any patterns in Seattle’s previous drafts. What we found was Mark Glowinski, Terry Poole, Kristjan Sokoli, Justin Britt, Garrett Scott, Ryan Seymour, Jared Smith, J.R. Sweezy and Gary Gilliam all matched Cable’s physical ideal — with Michael Bowie (a seventh rounder) the only exception.

When we looked specifically at the 2014 and 2015 draft classes, we also saw the Seahawks specifically selected players that fit the ideal and avoided those who didn’t.

For example, there were only five O-liners with a +3.00 TEF score available to the Seahawks last year. They drafted three of them with back-to-back-to-back picks. In 2014 they selected Justin Britt in the late second round and the next player who was ‘TEF enough’ was Garrett Scott — who they also drafted four rounds later.

If you want, you can ignore this evidence and put it down to coincidence. Personally I think that would be a big mistake. There’s significant information here to tell us the Seahawks probably use a more sophisticated albeit similar formula when deciding which offensive linemen to draft. There’s too much consistency in their approach.

When we identified six players who pass the TEF test in this years draft class, we projected they are the ones most likely to be considered by the Seahawks. That is all. It doesn’t mean they’ll be great and other players won’t be. It’s not a performance review. It’s a projection based on what we know about their draft habits since 2012.

If you want to root for another player to be drafted early — feel free. Again, this is not a personal view or opinion — it’s a formula designed to try and help us understand what the Seahawks are doing.

For me only good comes from this. The selection of Justin Britt caused a lot of confusion — TEF has given us a chance to understand it (click here) even if you didn’t agree with the pick. If they take Connor McGovern and Joe Dahl in this class, we can say we saw it coming. And if they break from recent tradition over the last four years, it’ll give us an opportunity to ask questions as to why.

There’s very little reason not to embrace the information here. If it argues against the Seahawks drafting your favourite player — there’s not much I can do about that personally. At least you received the warning so you won’t be too disappointed if, come the end of the month, the Seahawks don’t do what you want them to do.

Finally, we’ve talked about Joel Heath potentially being this years D-line to O-line convert. Sounds like it could be a distinct possibility:

Considering Seahawks trade scenarios in rounds 1-3

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Sheldon Rankins might be the one player they’d consider trading up for

Here’s a review of some of the significant moves made by Schneider and Carroll:

— Traded a third round pick to San Diego and swapped second rounders for Charlie Whitehurst

— Traded day three picks for Leon Washington and Lendale White

— Traded a fourth round pick for Marshawn Lynch

— Traded out of the second round in 2011 before drafting John Moffitt

— Traded down from #12 to #15 in 2012 before selecting Bruce Irvin

— Traded a first, third and seventh round pick to Minnesota for Percy Harvin

— Traded up in round five to secure both Tharold Simon and Jesse Williams

— Traded out of the first round in 2014 and then made a further move down before selecting Paul Richardson

— Traded a first round pick and Max Unger for Jimmy Graham and a fourth round pick

— Traded up in round three to select Tyler Lockett

Should we expect more of the same this year?

Looking at pick #26

Most teams will probably give out 10-16 first round grades in this class. That’s usually a fair estimate. The first ‘talent wave’ of this draft won’t last long. A longer ‘second wave’ will follow.

If they stay put, the Seahawks are likely spending first round money on a second round prospect. There are two things to consider here:

1. Are the players available at a key position of need significantly better than the players available in the early second round?

2. Is the right deal available? You’re not going to trade down around 8-12 picks without being sufficiently compensated.

The first question is an interesting one. It’s a fair projection to suggest they’ll focus on the O-line and D-line early. Based on the research we’ve done on both areas, they might be looking at the following quartet:

— Sheldon Rankins
— Jonathan Bullard
— Jason Spriggs
— Germain Ifedi

We haven’t seen Shon Coleman test yet — so he could also be added to the list. They might be willing to consider a freaky athlete like Bronson Kaufusi earlier than other teams. They’ve spent a lot of time in this draft process with Vernon Butler so he too might be an option. We could add several other names too.

Some of these players might be available in round two. Then it comes down to the value of a possible trade. Why would a team desire the #26 pick? Is it too high for a quarterback (Denver don’t pick until #31)? What are the Packers targeting at #27? These are the things to consider.

The trade up in round one scenario

Sheldon Rankins is a pipe dream in terms of lasting until #26. His floor might be Oakland at #14 or Atlanta at #17. He possibly doesn’t get beyond New Orleans at #12. I included him above because he could represent the one possible trade up talking point in round one.

According to the slightly outdated trade chart, it’d cost 300 points to trade up 10 spots with Detroit. That would cost Seattle their second round pick. It’d be a rich price — but an argument can be made that Rankins might be worth it.

It’d be a risky move because they’d have to wait until round three to address the O-line. For that reason alone you can probably cast this idea into the garbage right away. Yet of all the players in this draft — Rankins is probably the one they’d at least have a discussion about. He’s explosive, fills a big need and can play DE-DT.

The trade down in round one scenario

Although I’ve zoned in on a few names — the Seahawks might have a slightly longer list of realistic targets with their first pick. My projection is based on the types of players that match-up with their recent draft history and ideals (plus their biggest needs).

They might fear missing out on filling a need. Dropping down from #26 could mean they don’t get that D-line or O-line guy they really like. Getting cute isn’t likely the plan this year unless they’re convinced ‘their guy’ will still be there at the top of round two (as we saw with Paul Richardson in 2014).

That said, what if Ifedi is off the board (not unrealistic) or Bullard (not unrealistic)? What if they’re not totally enamoured with Jason Spriggs?

Moving down this year might be more a case of bad value. And if they start to move onto their ‘Plan B’ list — trading back once or twice could be a possibility. A prospect like Bronson Kaufusi, Willie Henry, Connor McGovern, Kyler Fackrell, Joe Haeg or anyone else you want to put out there — they would provide much better value after moving down.

It’s unlikely they’ll have to resort to such a tactic and one of Bullard, Ifedi or Spriggs (or another target) should be there at #26. But it’s this type of scenario that would probably lead to a big move down, even if it only brings back the odd fourth rounder.

The trading up in round two scenario

The Seahawks were bold and aggressive to secure Tyler Lockett and they might repeat the act in round two this year. Let’s say they secure an offensive lineman at #26. What if Jonathan Bullard just lasts into the early part of day two? Or another defensive lineman?

For the price of a third round pick — will they make a move to secure their two biggest needs?

Seattle’s original third rounder could get them as high as #42 overall per the trade chart. That’s a jump of 14 spots. They might even be able to pull off a similar move to the Eagles in 2014. Philadelphia moved from #54 to #42 with Tennessee for just a fourth rounder (#122 overall). The Seahawks own the 124th overall pick this year. Will lightning strike twice?

A team would need to really want to move down to accept only a fourth round pick as compensation. It’s worth throwing out there though.

If it has to be a third rounder — the Seahawks do have the security of a third round compensatory pick. So they would still pick late in the third. That might give them the confidence to make a bold move in round two.

The trading down in round two scenario

The value at the end of round two and early round three is pretty good. Like most draft’s there’s a drop off at key positions after day two.

Trading down into round three from #56 is unlikely to generate much more than a fourth round pick and for that reason it might be unappealing. Yet securing an extra third rounder could be interesting.

The Eagles have two third rounders and appear to be in somewhat of an aggressive rebuild under Howie Roseman. Their two picks (#77 and #79) are worth 400 points. Seattle’s pick at #56 is worth 340. This type of deal might also cost the Seahawks a day three pick (#124 is worth 48 points) and some change but it would be a way to secure four players instead of three on day two.

It’s a classic piece of rosterbation — but ultimately the Eagles would swap two third rounders for a second and a fourth. The Seahawks get two third round picks to add to their pair of existing picks in the third.

The trading up in round three scenario

It’s not just the Seahawks looking for explosive athletes that can play on the offensive line. There’s a lot of buzz around Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl — two of only a handful of players who got a +3.00 grade using TEF.

If the Seahawks want either player, waiting until the end of round three might be a gamble. Moving up, especially if they address defense at #26, might be a way to sufficiently address the O-line (eg: Bullard-R1, McGovern-R2, Dahl-R3).

Seattle’s fourth round pick could move them up from #90 to #80. If they’re willing to throw in other picks they might be able to move up a little higher — in a deal similar to the Tyler Lockett trade.

TEF follow up: 2015 class & thoughts on the center position

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Are the Seahawks really letting Tom Cable pick his guys? Or are they looking for explosive athletes to combat the likes of Aaron Donald?

The Seahawks drafted three offensive linemen last year — Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski and Kristjan Sokoli. All three players passed had:

— At least a 9″ broad jump

— A cumulative score in TEF that matches Seattle’s ideal physical profile (31 inch vert, 9″ broad, 27 bench reps)

If you missed it here’s an explanation of what TEF (Trench Explosion Formula) is and why it matters.

Here’s every offensive lineman drafted in 2015 along with their TEF scores:

(ID = insufficient data to calculate)

Brandon Scherff — 2.90
Ereck Flowers — 3.07
Andrus Peat — ID
Cedric Ogbuehi — ID
Laken Tomlinson — 2.95
Donovan Smith — 3.02
Mitch Morse — 3.45
Jake Fisher — ID
Rob Havenstein — 2.34
Ty Sambrailo — 2.52
Ali Marpet — 3.09
Jeremiah Poutasi — 2.49
A.J. Cann — 3.19
Hroniss Grasu — ID
Jamon Brown — ID
John Miller — 2.91
Chaz Green — 2.67
Daryl Williams — 2.56
T.J. Clemmings — 2.95
Tre Jackson — 2.23
Arie Kouandjio — ID
Jamil Douglas — 2.76
Andrew Donnal — 2.71
Jon Feliciano — 2.43
Terry Poole — 3.12
Shaq Mason — 3.02
Max Garcia — 2.89
Mark Glowinski — 3.34
Jarvis Harrison — 2.77
Robert Myers — ID
Tayo Fabuluje — 2.29
Tyrus Thompson — 2.74
Ian Silberman — 2.94
Andy Galik — 2.62
Kristjan Sokoli — 3.75
Cody Wichmann — 2.55
Anthony Morris — 2.88
Austin Reiter — ID
Jake Rodgers — 2.81
Bobby Hart — 2.36
Austin Shepherd — 2.25
Corey Robinson — 3.04
Laurence Gibson — 3.16

Trenton Brown — 2.23
Denzelle Good — 2.76

Of the 45 drafted offensive linemen, only 11 scored a +3.00 using TEF. Ereck Flowers, Donovan Smith, Mitch Morse and Ali Marpet were all off the board before Seattle’s first pick — leaving only seven available to the Seahawks.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider have not drafted a single offensive lineman with sub-33 inch arms since 2010. That would also rule out A.J. Cann and Shaq Mason — meaning five TEF qualified linemen available.

Of that five, the Seahawks drafted three:

R4 Terry Poole
R4 Mark Glowinski
R6 Kristjan Sokoli

R7 Corey Robinson
R7 Laurence Gibson

Considering the arm length issue with Cann and Mason, the Seahawks didn’t actually pass on ANY TEF qualified lineman between Ali Marpet leaving the board and Terry Poole being selected. In fact after Marpet’s selection before Seattle’s second round pick, they proceeded to draft the next three TEF qualifiers to leave the board.

It looks like a calculated decision, just like the selection of Justin Britt in 2014 (explained here).

The evidence continues to stack up in support of the formula. This front office appears to be narrowing it’s search to the most explosive offensive linemen in each draft and picking from a select pool of players.

Here’s a quick review of the evidence we’ve found in the last week:

— Since 2012 they’ve only drafted players that fit the criteria we’ve identified in terms of TEF and the broad jump

In 2014 Justin Britt was the last TEF qualified lineman in the draft available before Garrett Scott in round six — explaining why Seattle took Britt when they did and then added Scott later

— In 2015 they drafted three of five players that beat the TEF test

— Of this years combine group, the following five players in the 2016 draft are ‘TEF enough’: Jason Spriggs, Connor McGovern, Alex Redmond, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl

— Brian Bobek (3.39) and Vi Teofilo (3.84) are two non-combine invitees that fit the TEF criteria. Anthony Fabiano scored a 2.98. Bobek probably has sub-33 inch arms given his smaller frame. Teofilo definitely misses out on arm length (30 3/4 inch arms).

I suspect the Seahawks use a more sophisticated albeit similar formula. I’m not convinced Laken Tomlinson’s 2.95 would’ve ruled him out considering he jumped a 9-0 in the broad and had the size/length they like. By the same token, I think Germain Ifedi’s 2.95 puts him in contention this year.

John Schneider admitted after the 2015 draft they got all the players ‘they had to have’ apart from one. It’s a safe prediction that this was Mitch Morse. His 3.45 TEF score was by far the highest in the O-line class and would’ve been an ideal replacement for Max Unger at center. Seattle’s fumbled approach to the position last season was possibly a direct impact of missing out on Morse — who they maybe expected to last until the late second round.

That said, the purpose of TEF is not to identify the most explosive/athletic offensive linemen and assume the Seahawks will draft them. It’s more about eliminating those who don’t meet the criteria and focusing on those who do.

For example, Jason Spriggs is clearly the best TEF lineman in the 2016 draft with a 3.54. That said, they might be more inclined to target Connor McGovern (3.29), Joe Haeg (3.06) or Joe Dahl (3.05) with a later pick. Likewise they might think Ifedi’s 2.95 is freaky enough for a 6-6, 324lbs lineman with 36 inch arms.

We’ll find out in less than three weeks whether we are truly onto something with TEF. If their draft habits continue as they have since 2012 — it probably won’t be a coincidence.

It could also prove that actually it’s not ‘Tom Cable picking his guys’ in Seattle. It’s the Seahawks working to a coordinated plan to find explosive offensive linemen to combat the growing disparity between college O-lines and D-lines.

Is center an outlier?

I’ve been asked a few times if the center position is relevant for TEF considering the decent number of ‘mediocre’ athletes playing the position effectively in the NFL.

I think if anything, TEF might be even more important at center in the modern NFL.

Kristjan Sokoli scored a 3.75 before the 2015 draft. That legitimately makes him a generational athlete entering the league. The Seahawks not only converted him from defense to offense — they strictly placed him at center.

When asked about Sokoli in his final press conference of the 2015 season, Pete Carroll stated it was their intention to keep him at center and give him more time to learn the position. He called Sokoli an “exceptional athlete”, adding if he can make it work they’ll have “one of the really good athletes at center”.

It’s pretty obvious why they are interested in this kind of move. Aaron Donald scores a 3.63 in TEF. Geno Atkins is a 3.65. Sheldon Rankins is a 3.52. Ndamukong Suh is a 3.28.

This is the type of player you’re facing in the NFL these days.

Seattle’s plan to try and create a 3.75 counter punch is, quite frankly, brave and brilliant. If it comes off they will be visionaries (again). While some in the league hope tough, hard-nosed and overmatched players can handle the Donald’s, Atkins’, Suh’s and Rankins’ — the Seahawks have what appears to be a much better plan.

Fight fire with fire.

Mitch Morse as a 3.45 TEF star would’ve been ideal and it goes to show that not only the Seahawks are conscious of the changing face of the NFL. The Chiefs knew what they were doing.

Connor McGovern (3.29) can play guard or center and, if drafted, could compete at both positions in camp.

The argument for going O-line at #26 over defense

When you put the entire 2016 class of defensive linemen through TEF, there are 27 players who pass the test compared to six offensive linemen.

While there are plenty of reasons to argue for Jonathan Bullard in round one — and it’d be a strong case — he is comparatively explosive to Vernon Butler, Hassan Ridgeway, Matt Ioannidis, Willie Henry and Anthony Zettel. Other prospects like Joel Heath, Charles Tapper, Ronald Blair III, Javon Hargrave and Yannick Ngakoue actually tested significantly better.

The pool of explosive defensive linemen to pick from is substantially greater than the O-liners. In turn, if you don’t take an offensive lineman at #26 — you run the risk of missing out because there’s no guarantee McGovern, Dahl and Haeg are going to last deep into rounds two and three.

Hatching a plan

In 2014 the Seahawks likely didn’t take Joel Bitonio because his explosive grade (3.03) was similar to Justin Britt’s (3.00). Taking Bitonio at #32 would’ve prevented them getting the receiver they wanted (Paul Richardson, who clearly fits their profile at wide out). Whether you agree with the plan or not — the Seahawks made sure they drafted two players they felt really comfortable with instead of one.

In 2016 — they likewise will concoct a plan to get two players they really like in rounds 1-2 instead of one. So while the players they actually select might confuse and befuddle fans and the media — we know better than to react like that.

The ideal pick?

It’s arguably Sheldon Rankins. He is, without doubt, the most explosive defensive player in the class with an incredible 3.52 TEF score at 300lbs. He has the physical profile to be as good as any defensive tackle in the NFL. He’s also very capable of playing D-end and wouldn’t need to come off the field at any point.

Unfortunately he’s highly unlikely to last until pick #26 and should be a top-15 pick. Assuming he’s gone, O-line at #26 looks the most likely option.

Jets trading for Ryan Clady is good news

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Fresh from an epic 16-hour round trip (should’ve taken six) in my ‘day job’ — here’s a very quick post tonight on some good news for the Seahawks.

With D’Brickashaw Ferguson retiring on Friday, it created a gaping hole at left tackle for the Jets. They’re tight under the cap and still need to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick — so all signs pointed to the #20 pick being spent on an offensive tackle.

Not any more.

Trading for Clady is a bit of a shocker. He has a horrendous injury record and a reasonable salary under his re-worked deal. It’s a risk by the Jets, especially if they swap places with Denver as the team paying him to be on injured reserve.

They might still go O-line at #20 (possibly a guard who can play tackle — like Germain Ifedi). Yet at least now there’s a realistic chance they don’t go O-line in round one.

There aren’t many teams between 17-25 that are expected to look at players like Ifedi or Jason Spriggs — so this could be a boost to the Seahawks assuming their #1 priority in this draft is to spend an early pick on a lineman.

Friday draft notes: Kiper’s mock & D’Brickashaw’s retirement

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Germain Ifedi is an option for the Seahawks — and the Jets

Mel Kiper’s mock draft

It was an interesting update from Kiper this week. He made several lurching changes between his mock 3.0 and his latest update — moving dramatically away from the opinions he’s voiced in recent weeks:

— Kiper dropped one of his favourites A’Shawn Robinson from #16 to #31 in his latest projection

— Kiper moved up Ezekiel Elliott from #20 to #6 this week

— Germain Ifedi wasn’t included in the first round in Kiper’s third mock but now he’s at #20 to the Jets

— Robert Nkemdiche was the #19 pick to Buffalo in Kiper’s third mock but now he’s not included at all in the first round

— Paxton Lynch was not a first round pick in mock 3.0 — yet he’s going at #15 to the Rams in mock 4.0

Some of these moves completely oppose Kiper’s opinions on the First Draft podcast this year. He’s been a big supporter of A’Shawn Robinson and talked about Paxton Lynch as a second rounder.

He certainly has some sources in the league — and the dramatic shifts we’ve seen between his two mocks are worth recognising.

Expect the distinctly average Robinson to fall (probably into round two), Lynch to go a lot earlier than people think, Ifedi to go in round one and Nkemdiche to fall (and fall and fall…). Stuff we’ve covered on here.

Unfortunately those sources aren’t likely Seattle based. He has the Seahawks taking Eli Apple a week after projecting Kendall Fuller at #26. The Seahawks not only have depth at corner, they also re-signed Jeremy Lane and have not taken a CB before day three under Carroll and Schneider.

On the board for the Seahawks as alternatives were Jason Spriggs and Jonathan Bullard.

The impact of D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s retirement

The now former left tackle has created a huge need for the Jets three weeks before the draft.

His immediate retirement leaves them with a hole at LT. In this weeks mock draft we had them taking Germain Ifedi (as did Kiper) — and it’s a pick that makes even more sense today.

Whether it’s Ifedi, Jason Spriggs or Taylor Decker — the Jets appear destined to address that need now. It’s problematic for the Seahawks because it creates a rival. In the second half of round one there aren’t many teams that are likely to go offensive line:

#16 Detroit — Flirted with signing Russell Okung but chose not to and they probably have greater needs on defense for now

#18 Indianapolis — They spent a first and second round pick on two tackles but they might consider an interior lineman or an upgrade to their soft defense

That might’ve been it. Buffalo, Washington, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are likely to go in other directions. Houston are a possibility but receiver might be the focus there.

Now the Jets are a legit option to go left tackle in round one.

Some teams don’t consider Ifedi a possible LT. Personally I think he’s worth trying there for a team with a vacancy. Kelechi Osemele made that adjustment and they’re similar physically.

Aaron Wilson says the Jets are showing interest:

Ifedi has worked out privately for Texans offensive line coach Mike Devlin. At the Aggies’ Pro Day workout, Ifedi worked out privately for Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable. The New York Jets also have displayed interest in Ifedi.

Jason Spriggs is a more natural left tackle but doesn’t have the brutish size of Ifedi — who is likely to be a ‘safer’ pick because he can play guard or right tackle.

Taylor Decker’s mediocre physical profile might drop him down plus he’s generally considered a right tackle only in the NFL.

If the Seahawks want Ifedi — they might have to keep their fingers crossed at pick #20.

Tony Pauline provided some interesting info earlier today:

During pro-day at Texas A&M earlier this week I posted the visit list for Germain Ifedi at WalterFootball. Absent from the teams on the list were the Seattle Seahawks yet most people I speak with feel Ifedi is a great fit for the team at the end of round one. The recurring comment is “Ifedi is a Seattle Seahawks type of lineman.”

It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. He was 0.03 away from reaching the ideal 3.00 in TEF and that’s pretty much an extra rep on the bench press. He has freakish size and length plus explosive power (32.5 inch vertical, 9-1 broad jump at 324lbs).

In many ways he might be more ideal than Spriggs who posted a much higher TEF score. The Seahawks have looked for massive size at left guard or right tackle — the position Ifedi would play in Seattle.

Pauline also had positive things to say about Joe Dahl’s stock:

Washington State offensive lineman Joe Dahl is building some momentum for himself and there’s a belief he could land in the second day of the draft. Teams like his athleticism and ability to adjust, something I spoke about during Senior Bowl week, and fee a bit more strength would complete his game. Dahl’s visit and workout schedule is loaded and includes the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Bucs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.

This isn’t a big surprise. The Seahawks aren’t the only ones looking for explosive offensive linemen. The entire league is.

Dahl is one of the top 5-6 athletic blockers in this draft. The idea he was going to last until round four (for example) is/was fanciful. The Seahawks might have a pool of O-line options (Spriggs, Ifedi, McGovern, Dahl, Haeg) but if they want two of these guys — they’re probably going to have to take them before the end of day two.

Guest Post: Germain Ifedi vs Jason Spriggs

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Written by guest blogger Kenny Sloth

An ice cold take.

The Seahawks have finished at or near the top of the league in rushing yards over the last few years, while their pass protection has consistently ranked, in the kindest of light, as decidedly below average. Since the season ended the draft community has relentlessly thrown a litany of linesman at pick 26 hoping something sticks. While Jack Conklin, Ryan Kelly, and others may turn into exceptional pro’s, they do not fit the parameters by which the Seahawks have built their line since Cable’s arrival.

Thanks to the exemplary research and dedication committed by Rob, he has been able to reverse engineer a sort of paragon for the ‘Hawks tendencies towards more highly athletic lineman among the college ranks. Through even more research he has managed to narrow down the most likely of picks and our attention now rests on two of the more athletic, decorated offensive linemen available in this class.

Key Stats Jason Spriggs
— Four year starter
— Former tight end
— Blocks guys to the ground
— Struggles to redirect weight inside
— Struggles to match power 1v1
— Not a mauler
— Only missed one game due to injury
— 2,000 yard rusher 2014
— Two sacks allowed in 430 pass calls

Reminds me of: Nate Solder

The best tackle at the senior bowl, great movement on double teams, doesn’t get to the second level with enough zeal to be considered a power scheme guard. Limited to a zone scheme, even then he may struggle inside. Very eager in protection. Strong punch, relentless hand use. Turns shoulders way too, early bails out of his stance and allows inside penetration. Doesn’t give help inside.

At the Senior Bowl, to end an interview he says, “I’d like to show…everybody that I can play with the best of the best… that’s what I’m about to prove”. I wouldn’t want to be the GM that tells him they’re gonna pass. Answers very honestly and to the point. Looked so so smooth without pads at the combine. Plays with a similar instictive fluidity

Ya’ll wanna see an athlete?

Who says white boys can’t jump?

Key Stats Germain Ifedi
— Three year starter
— RG as a freshman All-American
— Played RT while Cedric Ogbuehi auditioned for the NFL
— Missed two games with sprained MCL last season
— 2nd team all SEC this year

Plays way too tall, patient sometimes too much so, late with hands, sloppy, inconsistent placement. So toned, looks like 300 lbs. Great footspeed, great recovery. Kick slide not very fluid, sloppy all over. Cable didn’t seem very impressed when working him out at the Texas A&M pro day. Lunges.

Ifedi seems to offer very little during his interviews at the combine. Strikes you as shy and extremely intelligent. Sounds like a leader. Speaks like he ran that OL, Spriggs seems like he was simply the best player on the OL. Takes ownership of losses. Not very emotional. QUIET.

Radio team for A&M had to turn up his mic repeatedly during a guest segment including himself and Mike Matthews. Traveled to the senior bowl even though he could not participate. He’s quiet but always smiling. Very eloquent. Construction Science major. Interned with a company that then became contracted to build the A&M stadium. Some background in this piece.

He gets knocked a lot for staying on the right. But he makes it clear in several interviews that it was for the freshman LT who was uncomfortable on the right. Very versatile.
Germain played at 335lbs. Says he’ll eat a bowl of fruit and some eggs and gains five pounds. Weight could be a concern. Hasn’t spoken to Johnny Manziel since he left.

Spriggs Vs Ohio State
First pressure he gives up due to a failure to redirect weight inside. Plants hard and sells out to stop speed rush of Joey Bosa who cuts it upfield effortlessly and puts Sudfeld in the dirt. Showing a very weak punch and allowing every OSU player inside his chest. Doesn’t have the length of Ifedi. Pushed back twice in a row on the goal line. Bails whenever Bosa is lined up against him. Bosa kept slipping trying to make an inside move. This could’ve been a much uglier matchup.

Spriggs dives at Bosa everytime he slips. Blocks guys out. Seems always to get punched in the face and recover, counter attacking. Eager to punch, inconsistent strength of punch. Misses the wing block at the second level way too much. Lacks hip torque to turn edge rushers inside in the run game. Not satisfied with bad blocks, always readjusting hands and trying to get leverage, knee bender. Doesn’t surprise defenders with punch, stops when he punches. (fun game because the QB changes due to injury from a pocket guy to a scrambler).

Spriggs Vs. Michigan State
First play he smacks Calhoun out of the way, fingers to the face leave him unable to react to pass right by him. More than one way to block a dude. Rob is right in that he is the best combo blocker in this draft, but when he knows he is isolated on an island he seems to just bail on the first step.

Inside is wide open. Got caught on an inside stunt. Low positional awareness for the TE convert. Put two guys on the ground with combo blocks then looked around for another. Hands all up in the facemask on several plays. I like it though. Beat badly inside on a quick concept again. Inside leg swinging free out from under shoulder == bad news bears. Loses interest in plays early on. Has run game syndrome, never clears the pile.

Ifedi Vs. Mississippi State
Down blocks very aggressively. Active hands. Constantly pushing, constant leg drive. Stomp slide kick slide. Beautiful initial step, but reverts to stomping, heavy feet. Phenomenal mirroring. Put Chris Jones on his ass. Took a paw all up in his facemask and threw the dude aside. Runs at opponent with arms extended. No punch? Patient, excellent mirroring. Same dude put his hands in his face, forced a hold. Easy to see because of poor hand placement. Allowed another hurry due to poor punch. Seems to duck for a wing block and whiff 2-3 times a game. Perhaps bad technique that pops up from time to time. Struggles to stay engaged at the second level,

Ifedi Vs. Alabama 2014
Old scheme same problems. Gets driven back because he doesn’t punch the DL. First year at RT apparent. All American guard in 2013 and played guard in highschool, I believe. Doesn’t punch and push. Kick slide showed so much improvement from 14 to 15. He used to do like a weird shuffle feet chop. No solid base, easy to drive back. Not afraid to clear the pile. Once he gets his hands on you you’re down. Strong as an Ox.

Ifedi Vs. Alabama 2013
Playing guard in front of Manziel, Ifedi showed the same lack of punch, but got to show off his absurd movement skill at his playing weight. Pulls so fluidly for someone his size.

If I had to give these prospects a one word summary I would call Spriggs relentless and Ifedi stolid. Spriggs will block you to the ground and dive at your neck while standing over you. He’ll get beat around the edge only to crack the dude after the QB rolls out. He’ll also leave wide open rush lanes and miss a second level block, but not for a lack of effort. His length is not superb, but certainly passable. Struggles to shift his weight and mirror. Fast hands. The kind of guy you can go to war with.

Ifedi is constantly contributing. His long arms and fast footwork offer few openings for opposing pass rushers. Seems to lack confidence in his punch and technique. Not a fiery guy but a leader and someone your players can look up to. Literally. In an interview Mike Matthews said Ifedi had just weighed in at 335lbs, midseason. This is a dude that has two inches and 15 pounds on James Carpenter. Too bad he doesn’t use his weight on the field. You could’ve told me Spriggs was the heavier of the two and I’d believe it. Ifedi at times is the Hulk, just no way around this guy. And it’s not a case of ‘looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane’. More often than not he’ll revert from his Hulkish down blocking, to his very timid, Bruce Banner alter ego, struggling against the bull rush of guys he could conceivably have 100lbs on.

If I’m the Seahawks it’s really all about how I view my current group. Am I willing to bet on Gilliam at left tackle? If so, I take Ifedi because of his versatility and tremendous upside at multiple positions. If you want to add to the competition at left tackle you take Spriggs and hope that he can contribute elsewhere in the event that he loses out. I’m not convinced Spriggs is a viable option at guard, due to his lack of base power and inability to add much to his frame. There will likely be a steep learning curve with Spriggs at any position.

That being said, left tackle is the most valuable position on the line and we know Gilliam can contribute at other spots. Spriggs is a real TEF guy, rating as the most explosive pass blocker in this draft, while Ifedi’s poor bench press keeps him out of the Seahawks ideal zone, though he rated very similarly in both of the jumps despite weighing 25lbs heavier at the time.

Spriggs is a converted TE that will have a few rough spots to smooth out, but it’s apparent to me that he has all the tools to succeed at LT in Seattle and could provide a plus starter at other positions.

Ifedi on the other hand is a former guard that has actually gotten smaller since the transition. He played at 335 and still moved well. Ifedi is almost the total inverse of Spriggs in that he could be a pro bowler at every spot, but probably won’t compete for the blindside job.

NFL mock draft: 6th April & Seahawks status check

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

With three weeks to go this is how I’m looking at Seattle’s options:

1. Will Sheldon Rankins (yeah right) or Jonathan Bullard (more likely) make it to #26? If not, it’s hard to identify the DE-DT they’d be willing to take in round one. They haven’t drafted a defensive tackle earlier than round three (Jordan Hill) and there are players with Hill’s underrated explosion and agility likely to be available in rounds 2-3.

2. If it isn’t going to be Rankins or Bullard, the safe money is on an offensive tackle. Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs are the most likely options based on everything we’ve covered that appears to be important to Seattle for the O-line. Size, length, tackle experience, unique traits, versatility, and explosive athleticism.

3. The four first round players I’m focusing on are Rankins (the pipe dream), Bullard, Spriggs and Ifedi. Rankins is such an explosive player (more on that in a bit) it’s almost certain he won’t be there at #26. If he is, run to the podium. Shon Coleman could also be in contention.

4. At #56 we’ll more or less know what they’re likely to do based on their first round decision. If they go defense at #26, expect them to take an offensive lineman in round two. If they take an O-liner, it seems likely they’ll add some kind of pass rusher with their second pick.

5. If it’s offense at #56, Connor McGovern could be their version of Mitch Morse. He’s the second most explosive lineman in the draft after Jason Spriggs, he has the tackle experience and he can play virtually any position on the line. Joe Haeg could be an alternative choice if they go offense in round two.

6. If they’re picking defense in the second round, Willie Henry has the DE-DT capability. He’s not far off Jonathan Bullard in some of the testing and ran a nice short shuttle. Kyler Fackrell is a DE/SAM who could be intriguing at #56 and Bronson Kaufusi’s size and agility makes him a unique talent. Charles Tapper and Ronald Blair III could also be options.

7. Could they take a wildcard in round two? Of course. Running back and wide receiver could be considered. They’ve drafted two receivers in the second round (Golden Tate, Paul Richardson) and one running back (Christine Michael) so they have previous here. Kenneth Dixon’s ball security is an issue but he’s their type. I’m not totally sold on Devontae Booker but he’ll go in the second or third. Braxton Miller could be a player they look at. They might even consider Tyler Ervin if his stock continues to rise.

8. In round three they’ll have options on the offensive line (possibly Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl) and running back (Ervin). There’s a general feeling in the league that the depth on the O-line and D-line drops after the third round. I still think Stanford receiver Devon Cajuste is primed to be a target possibly as early as round four. He’s extremely athletic for a big receiver, he run blocks very well, he maximises his targets in a run-first offense and is very close to Doug Baldwin.

Before we get into this weeks projection, I wanted to talk about four prospects I spent some extra time looking at today.

Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
Only listed at #26 on Daniel Jeremiah’s latest big board, Rankins is arguably the most explosive defensive player in the draft class. His combination of a 34.5 inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump and 28 reps on the bench press at 299lbs is far superior to nearly every other defensive lineman available. He’s more explosive physically than Robert Nkemdiche.

When we put his numbers through TEF he had an incredible 3.52 grade. Even though TEF is set up to judge offensive linemen relating to Seattle’s physical ideal — it’s still a useful tool to see how the defensive tackles match up. Rankins’ score blitzes every O-liner in the draft other than Jason Spriggs. He is simply a lot more explosive than people realise.

In comparison, DeForest Buckner is a 3.33 in TEF and Jonathan Bullard is a 3.18. Rankins is going to be considerably more explosive than the vast majority of interior offensive linemen he’ll face at the next level. He’s a candidate to put up big time sack numbers and cause major disruption working at the three and five technique.

Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
I made the mistake of reading too much into Spence’s disappointing 4.80 at the combine. Looking at the rest of his numbers there’s a lot to like. A 1.62 split, a 35-inch vertical, 25 reps on the bench press, a 10-1 in the broad jump and a 4.35 short shuttle. He has the quickness and change of direction to work the edge. These numbers prove he’s a great athlete — and his bench performance is good for his size.

The concern from Spence shouldn’t be that he underwhelmed at the combine. It should be his one-dimensional style (speed rush) and the character concerns that led to his departure from Ohio State. For those reasons there is a slight risk factor that could see him drop into the top half of round two. That still wouldn’t be a bad slot for a player who has essentially had to rebuild his career.

Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
Here are Bruce Irvin’s combine numbers compared to Kyler Fackrell’s:

Bruce Irvin
Height: 6-3
Weight: 245lbs
Vertical: 33.5 inches
Broad: 10-3
Bench press: 23 reps
10-yard: 1.58

Kyler Fackrell
Height: 6-5
Weight: 245lbs
Vertical: 34.5 inches
Broad: 10-1
Bench press: 15 reps
10-yard: 1.62

There’s virtually nothing between the two players.

An argument can be made for a SAM/DE not being a priority for the Seahawks. They can start a mix of Mike Morgan and Cassius Marsh in that role if required — plus Eric Pinkins may also challenge.

Yet there’s also an argument to be made for adding Fackrell. He’s very similar to Bruce Irvin and would be able to do, essentially, the exact same job. It’d be a like-for-like replacement.

Both John Schneider and Pete Carroll have talked about their desire to add someone to the defense who forces turnovers. That could very easily mean a DE-DT type who can work inside on third down. Yet if Sheldon Rankins and Jonathan Bullard are unavailable at #26 (not terribly unlikely) the Seahawks are going to struggle to find that type of player. Willie Henry, a possibility in round two, also might not make it to #56.

In that scenario — Fackrell makes a nice alternative. He’s a splash play artist who impacts the quarterback. His flawless character and passion for the game are also appealing. The Seahawks might prefer to add a DE-DT but if they can’t — Fackrell’s combination of size, length, athleticism, character and impact could make him Seattle’s pick at #56.

A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
Everyone’s heard about Robinson’s upside and potential. Daniel Jeremiah, who considers Robinson the 17th best player in the draft, states:

“He has outstanding height, bulk and athleticism for the position. As a pass rusher, he flashes an explosive first step as well as an effective slap/swim move. Overall, Robinson has all of the tools to be a dominant three-down presence but he hasn’t put it all together yet. His best football is ahead of him.”

When I watched tape of Robinson I thought he was distinctly average. No explosion, minimal impact, very few splash plays let alone sacks. He was too easily blocked and didn’t play with any great strength, power, quickness or intensity. He just looked good aesthetically. By that I mean he carries 307lbs very well. He doesn’t have a sloppy frame — he’s chiselled.

I suspect appearances in this instance are deceptive. He looks like he should be very athletic. The truth is completely the opposite — and backs up the disappointing tape. Robinson’s best football isn’t likely ahead of him.

Vertical: 26 inches
Broad: 8-10
10-yard: 1.79
Three cone: 7.80
Short shuttle: 4.74

I collected the data for all of the defensive linemen in this draft that weigh more than 285lbs and worked out the average for each test. Here are the results:

Vertical: 29.7 inches
Broad: 9-2
10-yard: 1.75
Three cone: 7.65
Short shuttle: 4.63

In relation to the defensive tackles or bigger DE’s in this draft class, Robinson tests below average in every single category.

He is thoroughly miscast as a player with upside who didn’t quite play his best ball at Alabama. His ceiling, physically, is pretty low. Robinson might prove to be an average defensive tackle at the next level who isn’t a liability and does a decent job defending the run. That’s all well and good, but he isn’t special.

Notes

Kyler Fackrell had his pro day today, we’re waiting for news on how he performed in the three cone and short shuttle. He did improve his bench press mark from 15 to 17.

Germain Ifedi also had his pro day today and went through drills with none other than Tom Cable. If Ifedi’s on the board at #26 he could be Seattle’s pick.

First round

#1 Tennessee — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#2 Cleveland — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#3 San Diego — Jaylen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#4 Dallas — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#5 Jacksonville — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#6 Baltimore — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#7 San Fran — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#8 Philadelphia — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#9 Tampa Bay — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#10 TRADE Los Angeles — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#11 Chicago — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#15 TRADE New York Giants — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#18 Indianapolis — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#19 Buffalo — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#20 New York Jets — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#21 Washington — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#22 Houston — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
#23 Minnesota — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#24 Cincinatti — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#25 Pittsburgh — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#26 Seattle — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#27 Green Bay — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#28 Kansas City — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#29 Arizona — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#30 Carolina — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
#31 Denver — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)

Second round

#32 Cleveland — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
#33 Tennessee — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#34 Dallas — Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State)
#35 San Diego — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#36 Baltimore — Le’Raven Clark (T, Texas Tech)
#37 San Francisco — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#38 Miami — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
#39 Jacksonville — Xavien Howard (CB, Baylor)
#40 New York Giants — A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
#41 Chicago — Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)
#42 Tampa Bay — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucy)
#43 TRADE New York Giants — Sterling Shepard (WR, Oklahoma)
#44 Oakland — Robert Nkemdiche (DT, Ole Miss)
#45 Los Angeles — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
#46 Detroit — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
#47 New Orleans — Austin Johnson (DT, Penn State)
#48 Indianapolis — Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
#49 Buffalo — Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
#50 Atlanta — Cody Whitehair (G, Kansas State)
#51 New York Jets — Travis Feeney (LB, Washington)
#52 Houston — Joshua Garnett (G, Stanford)
#53 Washington — Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State)
#54 Minnesota — Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
#55 Cincinnati — Willie Henry (DT, Michigan)
#56 Seattle — Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
#57 Green Bay — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
#58 Pittsburgh — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#59 Kansas City — Kamalei Correa (DE, Boise State)
#60 New England — Devontae Booker (RB, Utah)
#61 New England — Jihad Ward (DE, Illinois)
#62 Denver — Hassan Ridgeway (DT, Texas)
#63 Carolina — Kenneth Dixon (RB, Louisiana Tech)