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For years the Seahawks relied on Marshawn Lynch as a tone setter. He was the heart and soul. The offense needed his physical running style. He was the identity.
Now he might have to try and fit in.
Tom Cable made some interesting comments to the local media today:
Are the remarks the first public admittance that Lynch is difficult to manage? Not that it’s any kind of secret.
I suspect we’ll never quite know how difficult, although there have been plenty of hints along the way. Chris Mortensen’s report that the Seahawks were “tired of his ways” a year ago. Manish Mehta’s report that Lynch “went off” after Percy Harvin was traded and “almost didn’t get on (the) bus” for the St. Louis game that week. Who can forget the day he flipped off Darrell Bevell during the 2013 season?
Even this year Stephen A. Smith suggested during an episode of First Take that Lynch was considering not playing the season opener against the Rams in support of Kam Chancellor’s hold out. Lynch famously wore Chancellor’s jersey at practise the week of the game.
There’s no doubting Lynch is a well respected, extremely influential member of the roster. Players look up to him. He in turn supports them. You’d never call Lynch a bad team mate. He seems to have an issue with authority — and therein lies the problem.
It feels like the Seahawks have had to give up a lot of ground to keep Lynch on-side. They’ve tolerated hold-outs and threats of retirement. They appear to allow him to come and go as he pleases. It might not quite be walking on egg shells but is it close?
Lynch comes across as a highly effective loose cannon — a somewhat contradictory statement that perfectly sums up Seattle’s relationship with Beast Mode. They’ve had a ‘can’t live with him, can’t live without him’ relationship for a while.
And suddenly — they’ve discovered they probably can live without him.
Thomas Rawls replaced Lynch this year and, whisper it quietly, comprehensively outplayed him. Russell Wilson is in the best form of his career and appears to be emerging as the heart and soul of the offense.
This isn’t really Lynch’s offense any more.
Cable’s comments don’t really leave much to the imagination. Read them again:
“It’s for him to come back in and be able to adapt to this football team and the way it acts and the way it’s moving right now collectively.”
“So it’s his ability to adapt to us, really, who we are and how we’ve come together as a group and as a team.”
First of all, Tom Cable is the only coach who can probably get away with saying this. I doubt Lynch would respond to a similar sentiment from Pete Carroll or Darrell Bevell. The question is — is he willing to adapt?
Can he be part of the group? Be a contributor rather than the be-all and end-all?
If you want evidence of how careful the Seahawks are with Lynch — look at Rawls’ carries in the Cincinnati game (23 for 169 yards) compared to the following week when he returned from injury (Rawls had one carry for eight yards against Carolina). As soon as Lynch returned he was given the keys to the offense again. They didn’t even try to work Rawls into the rotation.
This week Carroll snapped at a reporter for using the term ‘committee’ to describe the current running back situation. It was easy to wonder whether this had anything to do with one of Lynch’s previous hold-outs — reportedly inspired by some throwaway remarks by Darrell Bevell about Christine Michael getting more snaps during the 2014 season.
Treading carefully with Marshawn Lynch seems to be par for the course.
Maybe that’s about to end?
Cable’s point is quite forceful. This is a team that is excelling with a perfectly balanced offense that can hurt you in a variety of ways — with Wilson working the controls.
When Lynch returns, they cannot and surely will not revert back to what they were trying to do before the bye week. The days of hand-it-off to Marshawn and all will be good appear to be in the past.
Whatever happens, this is yet another indication that a separation is imminent. It’s not just the cost (Lynch’s cap hit is $11.5m in 2016). The Seahawks don’t need to try and force players to adapt any more. They’ve found the way forward on offense. Wilson, Rawls, Baldwin — balance, creativity, grit and a similar minded group of individuals that encapsulate the mantra of ‘all-in’.
That doesn’t mean Lynch doesn’t still have a big role to play this season. If he is willing to adapt — and if he can get healthy — what better way to end a glorious run in Seattle than to help guide this team through another successful playoff run?
As Cable insists, however, he’ll need to buy-in to make it a reality.
This week we’re joined by former NFL Scout Dan Hatman, who made headlines recently with some comments about Heisman winner Derrick Henry. If you missed what he said, here’s a catch up. Hatman’s mention of a fourth round grade drew ire from Gil Brandt — and he touches on that in the podcast. Have a listen. Kenny and I also talk some Seahawks in the second half.
Another week, another brilliant performance by Russell Wilson.
Even as the Seahawks tried out multiple running backs in search of a Lynch/Rawls stop gap, Wilson excelled. Two more touchdowns to Doug Baldwin, a third to Tyler Lockett. He’s now registered a career high 29 passing scores with two games still to play.
Today Wilson became the first player in NFL history to throw three or more touchdowns and zero picks in five consecutive games. Just think of the names who failed to achieve this feat.
Seattle’s third down conversion rate is unmatched since the bye week. Today the Seahawks completed 9/12 (75%). Having started the season unable to sustain drives, now they’re virtually unstoppable.
Some of the creative play designs in the passing game today were subtly brilliant. Darrell Bevell won’t get the same level of attention as Wilson or even Christine Michael (more on him in a moment). Yet Bevell has surely quietened his critics for the rest of the season.
So onto Michael. Seattle’s three-headed monster quickly lost a head when Derrick Coleman (who started the game) had a modest start. Bryce Brown had second dibs and was pretty good. Michael had to wait his turn — but certainly impressed the most.
It’s likely to be a job-share again next week against the Rams — but Michael has earned the chance to take most of the totes (as he did today). The stat-line (16 carries, 84-yards) only tells part of the story. He ran with authority and did a good job in pass-pro. Brown managed 43-yards from nine carries.
Marcus Burley warrants a mention (one interception, one sack). Michael Bennett’s sack total (9.5) is a career high. The defense overall deserves credit — the Browns played pretty well on offense and still only managed 13 points and had very little momentum in the second half.
The only concern is the growing list of injuries. Russell Okung hurt a calf. Kam Chancellor missed the game. DeShawn Shead, a doubt all week, left the game early. Luke Willson limped off late on and is clearly battling with injury. Doug Baldwin looked a little groggy after his second touchdown.
Even so, the Seahawks are rolling. They’re in the playoffs now (confirmed). And nobody will look forward to facing them in January.
In every mock draft I’ve done so far, I’ve put Auburn tackle Shon Coleman in the top ten. I still think he’ll enjoy that kind of rise. However, it’s worth looking at other mock drafts to consider players we assume won’t be there.
After all, who knows what’ll actually happen?
ESPN’s Todd McShay published his first mock draft today. Looking at my own mock draft last week, the following players were unavailable but are sitting nicely for the Seahawks in McShay’s projection:
Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
Coleman would be a great fit for any team. He has ideal size and mobility. He has no issues kick-sliding, a clear desire to get to the second level and punish linebackers and the ability to win with power in the run-game. He’s battled cancer and won — Coleman is one of the true feel-good stories in college football. Even if the Seahawks keep Russell Okung it’d be almost impossible to pass on Coleman — even if you move him inside to guard. I think he goes top-15.
Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
With a perfect compliment of length (6-1) size (200lbs) and athleticism — Apple has the tools to be a big-time cornerback at the next level. He’s very disciplined and doesn’t often gamble — keeping receivers in front of him. He doesn’t get beat over the top. It means he gives up the occasional play underneath but is it a big deal? There’s a ton of potential here and if he’s available for the Seahawks it’d be a tempting option to lock down the spot across from Richard Sherman. Another prospect I’d expect to go in the top-15.
Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
Coleman was the talk of college football for a time. He raced to 20 touchdowns in eight games and looked like a dynamic difference maker who couldn’t be stopped. Dana Holgorsen called him the best player in college. Then Baylor’s quarterback got injured and Coleman didn’t score again in 2015. In a crucial game against TCU he had one catch for eight yards. Other players took the limelight. He needs to go to the combine and prove he’s an exceptional athlete and not a product of the Baylor system. Coleman can be explosive. The Seahawks like that (who doesn’t?).
Tim Williams (DE, Alabama)
He’s had a terrific year and not enough people are talking about him. With 9.5 sacks in 2015 he’s the playmaker on the Alabama defense. He can work the edge, he can contain. PFF, such as it is, grades Williams among the most productive pass rushers in college football. He’s had to overcome a lot in his life. There’s a little Bruce Irvin to him as a player and a person. He has the range to play linebacker. If the Seahawks lose Irvin in free agency, Williams could be an alternative.
Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
There are quite of lot of defensive tackles available in this class — but none of them really stand out. Do any warrant a legitimate grade in round one? Or is there going to be better value in rounds 2-4? Billings does a better job than most working into the backfield but he can be inconsistent. Pete Carroll recently praised Athyba Rubin as the best three-technique he’s had in Seattle. That probably says a lot about what they want from the role (more run-D than penetration) and also their willingness to work around the interior D-line in the veteran market.
Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
Ifedi is an intelligent, athletic tackle. It’s a little concerning that he failed to win the starting left tackle gig this year. That said, he played well against Ole Miss and has a lot of upside. He’s a huge man with minimal body fat but shows enough mobility to think he can stay on the outside. The worst case scenario with Ifedi is you probably get a decent starter-level guard. There are mixed views on his stock — some think top-25, others think rounds 2-3. He can help himself at the combine. He could be a more athletic version of James Carpenter — but Carpenter’s run-blocking at Alabama was incredible and that’s probably what sold the Seahawks.
Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
Alexander has enjoyed a productive season for #1 Clemson and really put himself among the group of cornerbacks expected to go in the first two rounds. He’s listed at 5-10 and 190lbs so length could be an issue for the Seahawks. Teams generally try to avoid taking him on and he could find a home in the top-25 next year. He’d have to pass the 32-inch-arms test for Seattle. Is he special enough to be taken by the Seahawks in round one? I sense Eli Apple or Cameron Sutton might be. I’m not totally convinced with Alexander.
The following players were available in both mocks:
Miles Killebrew (S, Southern Utah)
I mocked Killebrew to the Seahawks last week because he has a tremendous blend of size (6-2, 230lbs) speed (4.4 runner) and a genuine appetite for the game. We had him on our podcast and the way he speaks is similar to Russell Wilson. He’s a genuine baller who could be set for a Deone Bucannon style switch to linebacker. People are talking about Killebrew. If he performs well at the Senior Bowl don’t be surprised if he starts getting first round grades.
Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
There are two things we’ve learnt about Seattle’s offense this year. 1 — Russell Wilson can be genuinely elite in the pocket with good pass protection. 2 — The Seahawks are better at utilising speed, suddenness and dynamism at receiver over taller targets. Fuller is electric, capable of taking the top of a defense and winning with smart routes. He has exceptional character and grit and might be one of the more underrated draft prospects around. I wouldn’t rule out the Seahawks showing interest here. Jermaine Kearse is a free agent and Paul Richardson can’t stay healthy. Imagine how dynamic Seattle’s passing game could be with Baldwin, Lockett and Fuller on the field next to Jimmy Graham. He recently stated he would be returning to Notre Dame but then opted to receive a grade from the draft committee. He’s ready to go pro.
Adolphus Washington (DT, Ohio State)
The 23-year-old was in the news this week when he was caught in a vice-squad sting. His arraignment on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting for prostitution has been postponed until January 13th. Teams will want to investigate this incident. On the field Washington flits between unstoppable and anonymous. He explodes in and out of games but isn’t always a relentless force. There’s first round talent on tape but is he better as a 3-4 end or working inside in the 4-3? How big is his upside considering he’s already 23?
Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
McShay doesn’t have Elliott going in the first round. That’s interesting and follows on from a point we raised earlier in the week. The Seahawks need to add a rushing partner for Thomas Rawls in 2016 (assuming Marshawn Lynch departs). If Elliott falls into round two — how good would the value be to trade back and take him? Like Rawls he has that explosive ability to exploit a lane and burst into the second level. He can carry the pile and gain extra yards. He makes something out of nothing. Yes — there is likely to be value in the middle rounds at running back. But nobody is as good as Elliott. Being able to rely on an Elliott and Rawls 1-2 punch going forward would be intriguing. If the Seahawks re-sign Okung, Sweezy and Irvin — there aren’t many outstanding needs. They might be able to justify this kind of selection.
So who did McShay pair with the Seahawks? Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Here’s what he had to say about the pick:
Collins is still developing as a player, but he’s a hard worker with great feet/hand quickness for his size (6-2, 300 pounds). While his production is down from a year ago (6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks), the whole team struggled under a new coaching staff. His explosive first step still showed up on tape. Collins would really thrive in Seattle.
I’ve watched three Nebraska games since September, focusing on Collins. I wasn’t overly impressed. McShay is right that at times he flashes that excellent first step and it enables him to trouble interior lineman, bounce running plays outside and occasionally pressure quarterbacks. Having said that, it’s all too infrequent. I didn’t feel like I was watching a consistent difference maker.
I think that’s a key point when considering any early Seahawks draft pick. They love impact difference makers in round one. Players with a unique skill set and elite athleticism. When those players haven’t been available in 2013 and 2015, they’ve traded their first round picks for players who possess that type of skill set (Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham).
It’s one of the big issues I have with any projection that has the Seahawks taking a defensive tackle early. By nature, 290-300lbs linemen are not fantastic athletes. The ones who are — Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Aaron Donald — go very early in the draft. If the Seahawks ever had a chance to take a player like Donald they’d probably run to the podium. A defensive tackle who shows a nice first step or is slightly disruptive? That, for me, probably isn’t going to interest them in terms of round one.
Look at the players the Seahawks have drafted early in recent years. Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett in 2015 (both exceptional athletes), Paul Richardson in 2014 (exceptional athlete), Christine Michael in 2013 (exceptional athlete), Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner in 2012 (both exceptional athletes). They generally appear to go for high upside they can coach up.
They’ve avoided taking defensive tackles early, instead choosing to use the veteran free agent market or rounds 3-5 in the draft. With decent depth at defensive tackle this year that could be the plan again.
If they retain most of their current group (Okung, Sweezy, Irvin, Lewis and others) they can afford to shoot for the stars with a difference making athlete again. Of the players McShay had available for the Seahawks in his opening mock, these are the players I’d expect them to show most interest in:
Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
Tim Williams (DE, Alabama)
Miles Killebrew (S, Southern Utah)
Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
Another game, another reason to believe Seattle’s priority in the off-season is keeping this ever improving offensive line together.
The Seahawks allowed 32 sacks in their first seven games. They were on pace to give up 73 for the season. In the next six games? They’ve given up just seven sacks. Now they’re on pace for a yearly total of 48.
According to Brian Nemhauser they’ve gone six straight games allowing two sacks or less. The last time they did that? 2012. Before that? 1983.
What a turnaround.
It’s taken time, patience and a change of center — but suddenly this unit looks like one of the best in the league. Teams all around the NFL are struggling up front. The Seahawks suddenly have a functioning O-line that looks pretty good.
Some of those seven sacks they’ve given up in the last six games aren’t even proper sacks. One includes Russell Wilson keeping a zone-read against Minnesota and being hit in the backfield by Danielle Hunter. It was a run play.
With an estimated $35m to play with in cap space (assuming Marshawn Lynch does move on) they’ll have plenty of scope to do whatever they want.
Re-signing Russell Okung is very possible and feels increasingly like an absolute necessity. In a league with so few elite offensive tackles (there’s probably only 3-4) — keeping a good one is pretty vital. Letting Okung walk to save money seems futile when there’s so much available, the cap is constantly rising and you’d probably have to spend a late first round pick replacing him.
Is it worth risking going into 2016 facing the same kind of growing pains you experienced this year? Hoping either a rookie or Garry Gilliam can fill in at left tackle? They let Breno Giacomini, James Carpenter and Max Unger depart and had some difficulty replacing all of them. Now things are settled — is it worth gambling on further disruption?
That also means keeping J.R. Sweezy — who has really come on strong in recent weeks. It’s hard to imagine what his market value is. He fits Seattle’s scheme well — is he adaptable?
According to Spotrac, if the Seahawks cut or trade Lynch they’ll be among the top-ten teams for free cap space in 2016 (that could change if other teams make high-profile cuts). Not only would they have the room to keep Okung and Sweezy — they could potentially upgrade the O-line. We’ve discussed the possibility of adding a new center. Patrick Lewis isn’t doing anything wrong. If you get an opportunity to sign one of the top center’s in the NFL among this blossoming group — you’d still have to consider it. Look at the way the offense and Russell Wilson has performed with great protection. That’s why there’s no point ruling out the possibility of adding Alex Mack, if he voids his Cleveland contract, to this unit.
Look at Wilson’s play. And this is without Jimmy Graham — who rather than be a distraction I suspect would be putting up monster numbers in this thriving passing game. He certainly was against Pittsburgh pre-injury. For a while the Seahawks have chosen to put a value O-line together. It might be time to adjust that thinking slightly. The results could be a legendary passing quarterback with Aaron Rodgers-style production. It’s genuinely not ridiculous to make that suggestion considering the last four games. Wilson has shown what he can do in a clean pocket.
If we imagine a scenario where the Seahawks do re-sign Okung and Sweezy (and maybe add a new center), it’d shift the team needs elsewhere. They might still add another O-liner in the draft (I would still like to see Adam Bisnowaty from Pittsburgh targeted to provide competition at guard/tackle, replacing Alvin Bailey). Yet ultimately there would be other needs to focus on early.
It’d be easy to point to the interior defensive line. I thought, however, Pete Carroll made some interesting remarks today in his weekly spot with Brock and Salk. Fast forward to 33:59 in the podcast below:
Carroll on Athyba Rubin: “He is really solid now, he’s as tough as you can get. You can’t move the dude and he pursues the football really well. I think he’s been the most effective guy playing three-technique for us that we’ve had. And (the) most consistent. He just won’t budge.”
The Seahawks don’t have a naturally brilliant interior pass rusher in the mould of an Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins. Those players are so rare. It’s one of the reasons why Ndamukong Suh has an average salary of +$19m in Miami.
Carroll talked about Rubin moments after a detailed evaluation of the run defense. The Seahawks are #2 against the run (55 yards behind the Jets at #1). They’re averaging 83.2 rushing yards a game. Philosophically I think the role of the DT in Seattle is, first and foremost, to provide excellent discipline in the run game. Fill gaps, play within the scheme, master your role. Then there are the complimentary rushers. Currently it’s the likes of Frank Clark and Jordan Hill. In the past it was Clinton McDonald.
If the Seahawks aren’t in position to land that other-world pass rushing DT, I suspect they’ll continue with this plan. They’ve plugged in veterans they can trust. And it’s not like they aren’t getting pass rush production elsewhere. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin have combined for 21.5 sacks. The team has 33 overall — just one less than the Houston Texans with J.J. Watt. Avril is sixth in the league for QB hurries (25).
They’ve made their investment in the pass rush by re-signing Bennett and Avril and then drafting Frank Clark in round two. They may yet re-sign Bruce Irvin or replace him with a high draft pick. I suspect that is more likely than chasing any of this defensive tackle class early in the draft. There really isn’t going to be that dynamic interior rusher in rounds 1-2. Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler might be the most intriguing prospect for this role — and he could be available in the middle rounds.
They may well have to replace Irvin early if he moves on (and remember, they already rejected the opportunity to keep him for $7m in 2016 when they refused to take up the fifth year option on his contract). We’ve looked at possible replacements in Eric Striker and Miles Killebrew. What about Georgia’s slightly overrated linebacker Leonard Floyd? Does he come into play if he tests well at the combine? He’s tall and lean and can cover surprisingly well at 6-4 and around 230lbs. As a pass rusher he’s inconsistent. He only had 4.5 sacks in 2015 after opting not to declare a year ago. He’d have to be some athlete to warrant consideration.
Of course, with so much free cap space in 2016, the Seahawks could do a deal with Irvin that gives him that $7-7.75m average but limits the first year cap hit (something Davis Hsu considered last week).
The secondary could come into play and we’ve run through some of the possible cornerback options (Tre’Davious White, Cameron Sutton, Eli Apple, Mackensie Alexander — all should go early and all would make some degree of sense). They’ve consistently drafted prospects to develop on the third day — and they might continue to back themselves in that regard.
And then there’s running back. I’m still not convinced the Seahawks would go for this position early after the success of Thomas Rawls. The depth at RB is also good and you should be able to get a good back — such as UCLA’s Paul Perkins — in the middle rounds. Even so, let’s consider Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t force his way into round one. And maybe you’ve traded back into the early second. Do you consider it? Watching Rawls’ burst and explosive ability to take advantage of a lane — and then seeing that lost when he got injured — makes you crave more of the same. Elliott shares the same level of suddenness and drive. It’d be a heck of a one-two punch. I’m not convinced, however, that Elliott makes it out of the late first.
— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2015
The Seahawks got the job done in Baltimore — but at what cost?
Thomas Rawls broke his ankle and that somewhat takes the edge off another resounding win. Pete Carroll has confirmed he’s out for the season.
Nevertheless we saw more brilliance from Russell Wilson. He now has 1,171 yards and 16 touchdowns in his last four games (plus a rushing score). Wilson had five scores here — three to Doug Baldwin and two to Tyler Lockett. He could be the best player in the NFL right now.
Wilson is putting the team on his shoulders in a way the elite quarterbacks are supposed to. The defense wasn’t brilliant today (it did only concede six points though) and the running game stalled after Rawls went out. Wilson still threw it all over the field and again didn’t turn the ball over.
It’s surely no coincidence that this blast of form has coincided with improved O-line play. Wilson wasn’t sacked and had an eternity to throw the ball. Keeping this entire unit together may yet be an off-season priority. What a turnaround from the early season performance. The O-line has allowed eight sacks in the last six games, after 31 sacks in first seven. The improvement here is the underlying story of Seattle’s dramatic change in fortunes.
The Seahawks jump ahead of Minnesota as the #5 seed with home games against Cleveland and St. Louis to come. They’re also two games clear of the chasing playoff pack after Tampa Bay and Atlanta both lost.
They’ll have to move forward without Rawls. How soon can Marshawn Lynch return? As they have so often in the past, the Seahawks need Lynch in a bad way. However well Wilson is playing, they’ll need a running game in the playoffs.
Dan Hatman is a former scout with the Eagles, Jets, and Giants. He caused a minor stir on Twitter today after sharing these comments with the Florida Times Union about the projected stock of Heisman winner Derrick Henry:
I think in the Nos. 100-150 range — basically the fourth round. I’m a little biased because I don’t value running backs highly. There are too many guys who have been drafted in the sixth round or later — or not drafted at all — and been functional.
Gil Brandt then got involved and then… a typical Twitter set-to:
Anytime you want to watch film Gil, don't hesitate to reach out. Always willing to listen to alternate opinions. https://t.co/iHGigsQL9g
— Dan Hatman (@Dan_Hatman) December 12, 2015
Hatman’s opinion is shared by many. I disagree with it fundamentally but understand the take. The perception is you can find productive running backs later in the draft. This is true. It’s also true that the NFL’s top three in rushing yards this year (Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin and Jonathan Stewart) were all first round picks. Five of the top six are actually first rounders (Todd Gurley, Chris Johnson). Seattle’s lynchpin (no pun intended) is also a former first round pick.
I wouldn’t a judge running back any differently to most other positions. If you believe a player can be a key impact player as a runner, a guy who can help you win games and if the grade matches up — there’s nothing wrong with an early pick. Gurley has shown in flashes his massive potential. The Vikings have no regrets over taking Peterson (and how Arizona wished they’d pulled the trigger in 2007). Sure, there’s going to be a Trent Richardson every now and again. Is that any different than Robert Griffin III flaring out? Or disappointing left tackle Jason Smith (remember him?) from 2009?
And while there have been star running backs drafted later on — the best cornerback on the NFL’s top-100 list from 2015 is a fifth round pick. The #3 player on the list was a quarterback taken in the sixth round. The second best receiver on the list (who really should’ve been the top ranked receiver) is a former sixth rounder. The four running backs in the top twenty were taken in the third, first, third and second round respectively.
Anyway, back to Henry…
I suspect Hatman saying he could be a fourth rounder is more a review of his overall stance on the running back position rather than the players actual stock. That said, I don’t think Henry will touch the first round.
He’s one of the more unique players you’ll ever see. Tall, long and massive — he’s listed at 6-3 and 242lbs. And yet it’s not power, trucking or tough yards you associate with him.
Henry’s best asset is his surprising ability to accelerate, explode through a crease and be a home-run hitter. He’s a great finisher in the open field capable of turning good runs into great runs. When he gets a head of steam he glides — and that’s when he’s really tough to stop. This season he had a 56-yard run against Wisconsin, a 55-yard run against Texas A&M and a 74-yarder against Mississippi State.
In short yardage situations he doesn’t project to be quite as productive. Henry’s length is actually an issue that takes away the benefit of his overall size. He offers a big target to hit and with long legs he’s easy to knock off balance. He’ll go down after a glancing blow. If you get to him before he’s into the second level, he can be ineffective. He’s not one for dragging defenders or getting an extra 2-3 yards with every run. He doesn’t always fall forward. He’s far from the power-back you’d expect at 242lbs. He’s more Shaun Alexander than Marshawn Lynch.
He also needs a lane. His vision and patience can be very good — but at that size he’s not a crazy cut-back runner who can plant and explode. Again, he’s better going through the gears and building up speed. And for that to happen he needs the space to move forward.
Henry might be an ideal fit for a team like Dallas that blocks pretty well and will offer opportunities to get into the second level. Zone blocking teams or teams (like Seattle) that prefer physical, competitive runners who get the tough yards aren’t likely to be lining up to draft him early.
I think he’ll go in round two, possibly to the Cowboys. It wouldn’t be a major shock though if he did just hang around a bit longer into the third.
Hatman isn’t the only one not enamoured with the idea of taking a running back early. It is a copycat league afterall. And while Gurley has had some success, Melvin Gordon has had a very disappointing first season in San Diego. At the same time undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls has been a major revelation and could yet make a case to be the offensive rookie of the year.
That could have some impact on the upcoming draft class, particularly with nobody as talented as Gurley eligible to declare (it’ll be a different story in 2017 when Leonard Fournette turns pro).
Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott has the best chance to go in the first frame. As one unnamed scout states: “Elliott can create on his own, (Henry) can’t.” A good team picking late in the first (Arizona?) could see the benefit in taking an impact player like Elliott very early. Even he might have to wait until the early stages of round two.
That could be good news for the Seahawks (and not because I think they’ll draft Elliott or Henry).
It seems almost inevitable that Marshawn Lynch will be moving on in the off-season. Jason La Canfora — a trusted and established source for Seahawks news — has suggested as much. The emergence of Rawls and Lynch’s massive $11.5m cap hit for 2016 makes it likely.
In theory the two players would create quite a two-headed monster for the Seahawks. Yet Lynch doesn’t strike you as the type of player to appreciate a new, lesser role in the closing stages of his career like Fred Jackson. As La Canfora notes, “He (Lynch) has been a challenging player to deal with at times.” It’s hard to imagine he’ll be any easier to handle if he’s only getting 10-12 carries a game. That situation might worsen if Rawls continues his prolific form and they find it harder to keep him off the field.
Is Lynch ever going to be effective in a committee approach? Surely his best quality is his ability to break tackles and wear down a defense over four quarters? He’s not really an impact player who will make big plays on a snap-count.
There was some feeling that a Lynch holdout in 2014 was somewhat inspired by quotes attributed to Darrell Bevell discussing a possible committee approach with Robert Turbin and Christine Michael. The Seahawks chose not to create a similar committee this year even during Rawls’ hot form. A week after he ran for 169 yards at Cincinnati and with Lynch back in the line-up he had just a single carry against Carolina. In the subsequent three games Rawls averaged four carries a week. Then Lynch had surgery and the rest is history.
The potential distraction caused by an unsatisfied Lynch, the enormous cap hit ($11.5m), the savings Seattle can make ($6.5m) and the dynamism and success of Rawls makes a possible parting of ways increasingly likely.
That would mean having to add another back at some point in the draft (or UDFA).
If the likes of Henry get pushed back, the next group of runners could also slide — providing great value in the middle rounds. Alex Collins has been a revelation for Arkansas — combining tough short-yardage runs with explosive grand slams. Utah’s Devontae Booker has his favourites and would add a complimentary slasher style to Rawls. UCLA’s Paul Perkins isn’t the biggest runner — but he’s incredibly tough to bring down, has a dynamite cut-back and could develop into a useful third-down specialist.
I’ve not been overly impressed with LA Tech’s Kenneth Dixon — although he has his admirers. Notre Dame’s converted wide out C.J. Prosise is considering his options. There’s also a whole host of other runners we’ve barely even looked at yet.
The Seahawks have shown they’re willing to consider drafting running backs in the middle section of the draft. Robert Turbin was a relatively early fourth round pick in 2012. They took Christine Michael in round two the following year. To be drafted that early by Seattle any runner is going to need to be as athletic as Michael. The third round compensatory selection they’re likely to receive in 2016 would be a similar slot to the range they drafted Turbin — who proved to be a solid if unspectacular #2 back. That could be the range where they ultimately target a value running mate for Rawls if Lynch does indeed move on in the off-season.
So there you go. Using the ESPN Playoff Machine you can predict the final four weeks of the season. That’s my attempt above.
I’ve deliberately blanked out each teams record. I don’t want to linger too much on how they make it. Instead let’s discuss why this would be a very intriguing post season if it played out in this fashion.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a very dangerous team. Todd Haley, for me, deserves another crack at a Head Coaching job. He’s re-launched Ben Roethlisberger’s career, created the most dynamic passing offense in the NFL and he’s propping up a defense that can be as useful as wet toilet paper.
According to Football Outsiders’ week 13 DVOA, the Steelers have the third best offense in the NFL this season. Only Cincinnati and New England are ranked higher. That’s pretty astonishing when you consider Roethlisberger’s only played in eight games so far due to injury. They’ve had to use a mix of Michael Vick and Landry Jones. Le’Veon Bell started the season with a two-game suspension, played six times and then tore his MCL (he’s now on injured reserve). Martavis Bryant was also suspended for the first four games.
Matt Hasselbeck recently revealed Andrew Luck likes to be coached hard (and admitted it’d helped him during his cameo this season). Luck enjoyed a very productive spell with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. Haley can be difficult — but he might just be the ideal candidate to rejuvenate Luck’s career and make the most of all the weapons they’ve accumulated at Indianapolis.
If the Steelers can turn a game into a shoot-out, they can beat anyone. And who’d bet against them making a deep playoff run if it ends up like this?
Pittsburgh would start on the road against division rival Cincinnati. The two teams meet each other this weekend at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers are 4-1 in Cincinnati in the last five meetings.
Let’s say this projection rings true and they beat the Bengals. They’d then go to the #1 seed Denver. Cue another storyline. In 2011 the fancied Steelers were dumped out of the playoffs by a Tim Tebow-led Broncos team. Presuming Brock Osweiler starts, it’d be his first playoff game against one of the modern-day greats in Roethlisberger (and yes, that’s how he has to be considered). It’d be a chance for Pittsburgh to avenge the Tebow shocker — or a second opportunity to blow a big game in Denver.
In the other wildcard game it’d be a repeat of the 45-44 slugfest in the 2013 playoffs between Kansas City and Indianapolis. The Chiefs led 31-10 at half time before a famous comeback from Andrew Luck. It’s been a fairly miserable season for Luck and the Colts — can they turn on the magic here for what would potentially be another shot at the Patriots? Or would red-hot Kansas City progress?
At this stage it’s pretty hard to imagine a post-season without the Chiefs. They could easily win out to finish 11-5 after starting 1-5. Their remaining schedule is San Diego (H), Baltimore (A), Cleveland (H), Oakland (H). Which game are they losing? Andy Reid will be a happy man. Now, what about that sandwich?
If the Steelers and Chiefs are the two wildcard teams and if they enter the playoffs on winning streaks — would you favour them over the suddenly injured Pats, Osweiler led Broncos or Cincinnati and Andy ‘no playoff wins’ Dalton? I think I probably would. The Steelers, as the #6 seed, might be my pick if they make it to the post-season.
Things are a little more predictable in the NFC seeding race. The Panthers might not finish the season 16-0 but their schedule is kind enough in the final four weeks to secure a safe passage to the #1 seed (Atlanta H, Giants A, Atlanta A, Tampa Bay H). The Cardinals are too good to blow the #2 seed — even if they still have to face the Eagles, Packers and Seahawks.
A bad NFC East team is going to squeeze through. Washington had a chance to take control on Monday night and blew it against Dallas — proving they’re more pretender than contender. The Giants lurch from a team that should beat the Patriots one week to miserable failure the next. They’ve also in previous years suddenly shot back into life whenever Tom Coughlin’s job appears to be on the line.
The Eagles were embarrassingly bad against the Dolphins, Buccs and Lions — yet somehow knocked off the Pats on the road last week. That could be the catalyst for a late charge, especially if they can avoid having to start Mark Sanchez in any more games. Their schedule — Buffalo (H), Arizona (H), Washington (H), Giants (A) — is more favourable than the other three NFC East teams.
Seattle’s schedule sets them up to claim the #5 seed. Beating Baltimore (A), Cleveland (H) and St. Louis (H) should be enough (they own the head-to-head tie-breaker over Minnesota). The Vikings will likely take the #6 seed if they win their next two games, both at home, against Chicago and the Giants. For Minnesota to get to #5 they’re probably going to have to win out and hope the Seahawks lose at least one game. They finish the season at Green Bay.
If it played out the way I’ve predicted, we’d get a divisional playoff game between the Vikings and Packers. The safe pick would be Green Bay at home — and yet their playoff record at Lambeau since winning the Super Bowl in 2010 is only 1-2. Recent home defeats to Detroit and Chicago have taken away some of the Lambeau mystique. Even so, it’s hard to pick against Aaron Rodgers vs Teddy Bridgewater (even if he is well supported by Adrian Peterson).
The Seahawks’ match-up with whoever wins the NFC East looks tantalising. There is a chance, however, that the team who wins that division will do so carrying some momentum. Plus, the division winner gets the home game. So it wouldn’t be a gimme.
That said, Seattle has won handsomely in Philadelphia, New York and Washington since 2013. They win in Dallas this season. The match-up to avoid is probably Eli Manning and the Giants simply because it’s the more potent passing attack (a problem area for Seattle’s defense this season during the ‘Cary Williams days’). Manning also knows what it takes to win in the post-season. Plus there’s Tom Coughlin’s, “crap I’m going to get fired, better win another Super Bowl’ attitude to self preservation.
If the Seahawks won in the wildcard, they’d head to Carolina — a place they’ve won in each of the last three seasons — in what could be a classic post-season meeting. Equally intriguing would be a Aaron Rodgers vs Carson Palmer shoot-out in the other game. This is pretty much the dream divisional round for any neutral.
Think about the possible storylines too. Cam Newton and the Panthers potentially trying to orchestrate an unbeaten season. The Seahawks trying to avenge their two home losses this season (vs Carolina, Arizona). A possible meeting between the Seahawks and Cardinals in a NFC West show-down. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers heading back to Carolina after an agonising 37-29 loss a month ago. Or even a rematch of last years NFC Championship.
And on that note, let’s prepare for the Vikings to go to Philly for a place at the Super Bowl. Such is the 2015 NFL season.
#1 Cleveland Browns — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
There’s no can’t-miss prospect at #1, certainly not at quarterback. It’s impossible to project what the Browns do here. Do they simply take a new QB? Or does a perennially bad franchise just go for the best player?
#2 Tennessee Titans — Jaylon Smith (LB, Notre Dame)
The Titans have a quality left tackle and they’re fifth in the NFL for sacks (34). Smith is just an incredible, athletic modern-day linebacker. He’ll fit into any scheme. Playmaker.
#3 San Diego Chargers — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
The Chargers badly need to repair their offensive line. Tunsil performed well against Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and is ready to turn pro. His kick-slide, power in the run game and willingness to get to the second level make him an intriguing prospect.
#4 Jacksonville Jaguars — Robert Nkemdiche (DE, Ole Miss)
The Jaguars have a decent collection of talent — now it’s just a case of bringing it all together. Nkemdiche could end up being a Michael Bennett for this defense — lining up at end before kicking inside in NASCAR packages.
#5 Baltimore Ravens — Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
White has it all — coverage skills, smooth hips, athleticism. He’s a good kick-returner. He was awarded the coveted #18 jersey at LSU for this season. Teams are going to love his tape and character. He will go early.
#6 New Orleans Saints — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
If Sean Payton departs at the end of the season — will Drew Brees follow? They are on the verge of a major rebuild. Brees’ cap hit in 2016 is a staggering $30m — they can save $20m by cutting him. A new coach might start with his own guy at QB.
#7 Dallas Cowboys — Jaylen Ramsey (CB/S, Florida State)
Ramsey has some nice tape to go along with some iffy stuff too. He’s shown he can play corner and safety. The combine will help teams analyse his best position at the next level. He could be a rangy free safety.
#8 Detroit Lions — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
For me he’s the best tackle in the SEC and the most underrated player in the country. Cancer survivor. He can kick-slide, dominate in the power-run game, explode into a linebacker at the second level. He has a mean-streak. Love him.
#9 San Francisco 49ers — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
Will Joe Staley move on? Will Alex Boone move on? The 49ers O-line is bad enough as it is without losing their two most experienced bodies. Decker could be a good replacement for Staley at left tackle.
#10 St. Louis Rams — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
The Rams have turned into a mess and who knows what happens next. Do they draft a quarterback here? It’s perhaps more in Jeff Fisher’s nature to find a veteran who can hold things together (Drew Brees?) and give them a weapon.
#11 Miami Dolphins — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
The Dolphins are weak at cornerback and this could be a sweet-spot at the position. Apple has good size, keeps plays in front of him and limits the damage. Occasionally he’ll make a very sharp break on the football. Has the potential to be great.
#12 New York Giants — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
It’s not often discussed because Oregon has had a relative down year but Buckner has 9.5 sacks in 2015. He’s a better player than Arik Armstead (#17 overall pick this year). The Giants need something — anything — on defense.
#13 Oakland Raiders — Cameron Sutton (CB, Tennessee)
Another team struggling at corner. D.J. Hayden hasn’t worked out and their best defensive back has just turned 39. Sutton is a fantastic athlete and just looks the part. Expect a big jump after the combine.
#14 Philadelphia Eagles — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
It’s hard to know what the Eagles are going to do. Are they the most unpredictable team in the league? One week imploding, the next exploding in New England. Is Chip Kelly staying or going? Conklin could move inside to guard.
#15 Chicago Bears — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
Lee’s underrated. Simple as that. He’s always around the ball. He’s not the same athlete as Ryan Shazier but they have a similar style. This is the range where Shazier was drafted.
#16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
They have bigger needs but just imagine Jameis Winston throwing to Mike Evans and Corey Coleman. You can build a franchise around that. Vincent Jackson is coming to the end of his distinguished career.
#17 Atlanta Falcons — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
He suffered a knee injury during the season and it could impact his ability to flash pre-draft. Jack has good range and could play inside or outside linebacker in the Falcons’ defensive scheme.
#18 Buffalo Bills — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
I’ve warmed up to Billings. He’s probably the best penetrating DT in this class. He can cause some havoc at times. He’s not at the same level as Sheldon Richardson or Aaron Donald, however.
#19 Houston Texans — Jared Goff (QB, California)
A no-brainer pick really. They need an answer at quarterback. They can’t keep drifting along. Goff has some inspired play on tape — he can be a surgeon. He needs to be less erratic and more controlled. Bill O’Brien needs ‘his guy’. Don’t sleep on Carson Wentz.
#20 Pittsburgh Steelers — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
A powerful, athletic looking tackle who moves well. There’s a ton of potential here. He played very well against Ole Miss. The Steelers have shown over the last few years they’re willing to go O-line early and wait on cornerbacks.
#21 Washington — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
If Pierre Garcon moves on they’re a bit limited at receiver. They still have a ton of needs. Thomas is big and fast — and he’s very good at getting open. He could be a #1 at the next level. Kirk Cousins is the type of QB who needs help.
#22 Indianapolis Colts — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
Vontae Davis is solid — but the defense still needs work overall. Adding a cornerback partner would be a good start. What can the Colts hang their hat on when it comes to the defense?
#23 New York Jets — Tim Williams (DE, Alabama)
He’s having a great year and I didn’t realise until this week he is draft eligible. He has 9.5 sacks for the season and is a classic 3-4 outside rusher. The Jets defense could use some extra speed off the edge.
#24 Kansas City — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
He said he would return to Notre Dame and then asked to hear from the draft committee. It makes sense for Fuller to turn pro — he’s ready. Such a fun player to watch. Incredibly dynamic. Why not add a wing-man for Jeremy Maclin?
#25 Seattle Seahawks — Miles Killebrew (S/LB, Souther Utah)
See below for thoughts on this pick.
#26 Minnesota Vikings — De’Runnya Wilson (WR, Mississippi State)
They are kind of tied to Teddy Bridgewater — a limited quarterback. Stefon Diggs is a nice speed option but they don’t have an outside safety-net. Wilson is similar to Kelvin Benjamin.
#27 Green Bay Packers — Adolphus Washington (DT, Ohio State)
There are times where he looks unstoppable — and times where you barely notice he’s on the field. Washington’s best fit at the next level could be D-end in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a versatile player who can line up in different defensive fronts.
#28 Arizona Cardinals — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
It’d almost be unfair if a team as complete and ready as the Cardinals had a weapon like Elliott fall into their laps. I’m not convinced he’ll go early in round one. That’s good for him. He can go to a contender and have an instant impact.
#29 Cincinnati Bengals — Desmond King (CB, Iowa)
Pacman Jones can’t go on forever. King is a feisty cornerback with a powerful lower-body and the ability to shed a block and contribute in the run-game. He’s a ball-hawk too with eight interceptions in 2015.
#30 Denver Broncos — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
After failing to land Joe Thomas, tackle could be a target for the Broncos in round one. I’m not a fan of Ronnie Stanley — he looks stiff, he offers nothing at the second level and that Shaq Lawson de-pantsing is difficult to shake off.
#31 Carolina Panthers — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
Boyd is just a really good receiver. Great skills as a route runner. Pittsburgh’s best playmaker by far. Look at the way he gave Iowa fits this year. He can be a nice compliment to Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen.
So what about the Seahawks?
I wanted to get Miles Killebrew on the podcast this week with this mock draft in mind. I wanted people to see where I’m coming from considering the projection has a defensive back from Southern Utah in the first round.
When you listen to Killebrew speak — it’s clear he has an infectious passion for the game. And that shows up on tape. Combine that with his size (6-2, 230lbs) and 4.4 speed — and you’re looking at a very intriguing prospect.
He’s been invited to the Senior Bowl where I expect he’ll impress. The combine will be big. I will make the case for why the Seahawks might draft him early — and why he might go as early as day one.
The Seahawks had a fifth-year option on Bruce Irvin’s contract that would’ve paid him $7.8m in 2016. I thought they were going to take it. Irvin became quite the playmaker in 2014 and $7.8m isn’t exactly a hideous amount for a player that has provided sacks and picks over the last 12 months.
Irvin could command a salary worth around $7-8m per year on the open market. By not taking up the option, that to me suggests the Seahawks are willing to let him test the market and find out exactly how much he’s worth. That obviously lends itself to the possibility he signs elsewhere. The Falcons are projected to have $15m in free cap space. Irvin is from Atlanta and Dan Quinn is coaching the Falcons. It’d make a lot of sense. There will be other suitors.
That doesn’t mean an Irvin extension is out of the question. This week Davis Hsu put together an off-season projection that included a new deal for Irvin and letting J.R. Sweezy walk:
— DAVIS HSU (@DavisHsuSeattle) December 7, 2015
— DAVIS HSU (@DavisHsuSeattle) December 8, 2015
As you can see, Irvin’s first-year cap hit is relatively low ($4.5m in 2016). I think there are a couple of things to consider though. How determined is Irvin to at least test the market, especially after the apparent ‘snub’ of not taking the fifth year option? If it comes down to a bidding war, are the Seahawks going to go big to keep their man?
I also suspect they really like Sweezy, for better or worse. It wouldn’t be a total shock if Sweezy signed a contract extension in the next week or so — similar to Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright last year.
I’m also cautious that they drafted Mark Glowinski this year and he’s ideally suited to the right guard spot. So there’s every chance he’s the heir apparent.
Draft position could be the most significant thing here. The later the Seahawks pick, the harder it’s going to be to get at the better offensive linemen in this class. If they’re picking from #25-31, they might prefer re-signing Russell Okung and Sweezy to provide some continuity on a blossoming O-line. That could mean no Irvin.
So how easy will it be to replace a guy who has a unique, almost unmatched skill set as a pass rusher who can cover, blow up screens and make the occasional game-changing turnover (and sack Cam Newton year after year)?
It’s impossible, in a word. You’ll not find another Bruce. That’s perhaps the biggest reason for re-signing him.
Do you need a carbon copy though? Or can you adapt the role?
The Arizona Cardinals have utilised Deone Bucannon — a college safety — almost exclusively at linebacker. He ran a 4.49 at his combine at 6-1 and 211lbs. The Carolina Panthers drafted Shaq Thompson — who started as a safety at Washington before switching to linebacker — and use him in a similar way.
It’s a plan that seems to be working for both clubs.
Bucannon was the #27 overall pick in 2014. Thompson went #25 overall this year.
Is it really that preposterous that the Seahawks would consider drafting a 6-2, 230lbs safety who runs in the 4.4’s to play linebacker — similar to Bucannon and Thompson?
It’d be a different skill set to Irvin — but as noted, there isn’t another Bruce out there. If you can’t keep him — and it might be out of their hands — you have to consider alternatives.
So can a defensive back from Southern Utah go in round one?
“He’s a better football player than Shaq Thompson and Deone Bucannon were when they came out.”
That’s a quote from a regional scout, via NFL.com.
If the scout is right and he’s a better football player than Bucannon and Thompson — and he has the athleticism — why can’t he go in the first frame and in a similar range (mid-to-late 20’s)?
Tony Pauline’s sources are saying he could be a day-two pick. That’s not a bad starting position going into the Senior Bowl and eventually the combine.
What’s more, he clearly has an appealing character. If you haven’t heard it yet, listen to the podcast from yesterday and be prepared to be impressed. He’s Russell Wilson-esque:
He also told us in the interview that he’s been told he might end up at linebacker.
None of us know whether the Seahawks would consider this kind of move — going from an athletic pass-rusher convert at linebacker to an extremely athletic defensive back convert. They might be more likely to plug in a prospect like Oklahoma’s Eric Striker. It’s something to consider over the next few weeks.
The wildcard in all of this is, of course, that Killebrew could end up being a ready-made replacement for Kam Chancellor in the future. Chancellor turns 28 next April and it’s not a stretch to wonder if he’ll be the type of player who continues well into his 30’s. His current contract takes him through until age 30.
Again, it’s something else to consider.
It feels like the futures of Okung and Irvin will have a big impact in the first round of the draft. This is, after all, a team without lots of needs in relation to the rest of the NFL. They’ve consistently had success developing their own guys at cornerback without the big investment. They’ve found solutions at defensive tackle in the veteran free agent market.
If Okung walks and they move Garry Gilliam to left tackle — drafting a right tackle early is probably very likely. If they re-sign Okung and Sweezy and Irvin departs — finding a replacement in round one could be the priority.
I believe in trends and how they help us project what a team will or won’t do. Seattle has so far spent two first round picks on offensive tackles (Okung, James Carpenter), one on a safety (Earl Thomas) and one on an athletic pass-rusher/linebacker (Irvin). There is some history targeting tackle and linebacker early and they like unique traits and athleticism. In contrast they’ve generally looked to draft cornerbacks on day three and defensive tackles in the round 3-5 range.
If they drafted Killebrew in the first round, they could look at the O-line in round two (Adam Bisnowaty? Joe Dahl? Jason Spriggs) and running back in round three (Paul Perkins? Alex Collins).