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Jordan Palmer highlights O-line issues in the NFL

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

We talk a lot about offensive lines. Understandably so. The league has a problem. And while many Seahawks fans think the problem starts and ends in Seattle, the reality is there’s a dearth of talented and available O-liners at the pro level.

There are reasons for it. A point we often touch on (and one backed up multiple times by John Schneider when he’s asked about O-liners) is the preference of the top college athletes to play defense. As Brock Huard suggested a few weeks ago — Walter Jones is probably playing three-technique if he’s a college freshman in 2017.

Now, former NFL quarterback turned QB guru Jordan Palmer has suggested another potential problem to consider.

When asked by Mike Salk on 710 ESPN about the changing face of the game and the emergence of a different quarterback profile, Palmer had this to say:

I believe the game is going towards the mobile quarterback. If you look at what’s happening at the college level, with the similar constraints on the coaching staff that they do in the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) in the NFL, and so the position — and everyone thinks quarterbacks are the ones that aren’t being developed — the number one position, if you talk to real coaches, is O-line.

They don’t have enough padded practises in college to really teach it. And then in college they also don’t run the ball a whole lot so you get kids learning how to do one thing pretty good. Then they go to the NFL and what’s happening is these older linemen are going to start retiring, you’ve got a bunch of young guys who don’t know what they’re doing. And there’s not enough time in the CBA to fix it. So the way that I think it’s going to play out to the layperson and somebody just watching on TV is it’s going to create a precedence for quarterbacks who can extend the play.

It’s a subject that has come up more often in recent weeks. Due to the CBA practise restrictions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for teams to sufficiently develop their offensive linemen early in their careers. There will always be exceptions — but those exceptions will likely be the true standout players who go in the top-20 of the first round (the Zack Martin, Taylor Lewan types).

The Seahawks haven’t been in range to draft the top offensive linemen in a draft class for five years. They’ve always been picking late in the first round. They’ve been forced to develop later round picks or players that fit a certain physical profile.

Imagine how difficult that is considering what Palmer is saying here?

It’s something to think about when judging Tom Cable.

We’re seeing Germain Ifedi show signs of development this year in his second season. Maybe, just maybe, some growing pains were inevitable given Palmer’s points above? It took Justin Britt three years to settle into the pro’s but now he’s one of the finest center’s in the league. Ethan Pocic didn’t start the season and perhaps now we understand why? His debut performance against the Giants was encouraging.

We can go down the list really. James Carpenter took a while but developed into a productive guard. J.R. Sweezy, a former defensive tackle at NC State, became a regular starter quite quickly. It took Max Unger some time to turn into the player he eventually became. We saw positive signs with George Fant before his knee injury. Luke Joeckel was making strides before his recent surgery.

That’s not to say every decision or error is suddenly justified. Perspective is important though and Palmer highlights a point worth noting. Teams are limited in what they can do because of the CBA and it’s taking O-liners longer to get to grips with the pro-game.

If anything the Seahawks were ahead of the curve. They were one of the first teams to start an elusive quarterback capable of extending plays. They deliberately made the scramble a feature on the offense — embracing the situation rather than fighting it. They seemed to identity a ‘type’ of linemen they could mould and develop without owning a pick in the top-20.

We’ll see if their way of doing things can produce a solid O-line as it gains further experience.

The good news for the Seahawks is Ifedi, Pocic, Britt, Joeckel and Fant are all trending up.

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Top-20 feature — another October projection

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

I wanted to update this from a few weeks ago. Several players (Tim Settle, Maurice Hurst, Bryce Love, Anthony Miller) deserve some recognition.

Although it’s in the format of a mock draft, it’s not a serious projection. This is simply a way to highlight a few names and pair them with team fits.

If you think someone should be on the list let me know in the comments section. Sam Darnold (QB, USC) and Trey Adams (T, Washington) were not included due to recent reports suggesting they won’t declare for the 2018 draft.

#1 Cleveland — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#2 San Francisco — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 New York Giants — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#4 Indianapolis — Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
#5 Cincinnati — Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
#6 Tampa Bay — Taven Bryan (DE, Florida)
#7 Arizona — Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
#8 Baltimore — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#9 Oakland — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
#10 New York Jets — Connor Williams (T, Texas)
#11 Los Angeles Chargers — Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB, Alabama)
#12 Chicago — Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
#13 Dallas — Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
#14 Denver — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#15 Cleveland (via Houston) — Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)
#16 Detroit — Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
#17 Atlanta — Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis)
#18 Washington — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#19 Tennessee — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#20 Jacksonville — Billy Price (G, Ohio State)

Players considered:

Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
Braden Smith (G, Auburn)
Austin Bryant (DE, Clemson)
Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
Harold Landry (EDGE, Boston College)

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Tim Settle is a fantastic prospect

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

In Tony Pauline’s latest ‘risers and sliders’ piece today, he highlighted Virginia Tech defensive tackle Tim Settle:

A redshirt sophomore graded by a number of scouts prior to the season, Settle is playing beyond expectations and has turned in some dominant performances this year. One of those performances occurred this weekend when he was a one-man show against North Carolina, posting five tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. The big defensive tackle has recorded 9.5 tackles for loss in seven games this season. Tipping the scales around 325 pounds, Settle is more than a big man that takes up space in the middle of the line; he’s a playmaker who displays a great degree of athleticism and explosion in his game.

After reading the words ‘325 pounds’, ‘playmaker’ and ‘great degree of athleticism’ I wanted to check him out today. I managed to find the North Carolina game on Youtube (see above) and also watched his performance vs Clemson last season.

Tony wasn’t kidding — this guy can move. The 325lbs feels like a conservative estimate. Settle is enormous — and yet he moves with the quickness of a much lighter defensive tackle.

His swim move in particular is a thing of beauty. Take a look:

That’s Settle taking down Deshaun Watson. Look how quickly he’s on the right guard. He just brushes him aside with a perfect swim and he’s in the backfield. Watson tries to take off, sensing the pressure, but no dice. Settle brings him down by the ankles.

You don’t often see this level of athleticism combined with that size.

He’s a former four or five star recruit and he’s always been big (listed at 325lbs by Rivals during recruiting and in some places at 339lbs). He’s a local guy and committed to Virginia Tech but he was coveted by Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and others. He took a visit to USC, Oklahoma State and, somewhat surprisingly, Washington State.

He’s only a redshirt sophomore so might not declare for the 2018 draft. Considering the way he’s playing this year, he’ll likely have a big decision to make.

In the North Carolina game he was terrific. Granted he was playing a weak opponent (UNC’s first two offensive snaps went for -20 yards and the game ended 59-7). Yet he kept jumping off the screen. You just don’t see big men move as fluidly as this:

On one play he lined up at DE and patiently just contained the edge. He then exploded through the B gap and chased the quarterback as he scrambled out of the pocket forcing an incompletion.

The first hit in the video above knocked the QB out of the game. The second hit had him carried off the field.

On the following drive, North Carolina started at their own one yard line. Virginia Tech spelled Settle here and took him off the field. UNC moved the ball well, converting a couple of third downs and getting up to the 25. Settle came back onto the field at this point and immediately bull rushed the right guard two yards into the backfield and dropped the running back for a loss.

Next play? Settle initially shapes as if he’s running a stunt before engaging the center. He shrugs him off with a superb pull/push move and shares a sack with a blitzing defensive back for a loss of 11 yards.

He was off the field and UNC moved the ball 24 yards. He comes back on to the field and immediately generates two huge TFL’s to kill the drive.

Just look at this against Boston College:

Be excited about this guy. He is special.

It’s always exciting to find a player like this. Tim Settle is a player to keep an eye on from now on. On this evidence he could be a very high pick one day.

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Instant reaction: Seahawks beat Giants, move to 4-2

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

The Giants came into this game banged up and missing several key players. No Odell Beckham Jr, no Olivier Vernon, no Brandon Marshall.

Those are just the headliners.

But don’t let anyone talk you into thinking this wasn’t a terrific Seahawks win.

The defense continues to play Championship level football. Is there a better performing unit in the league right now?

They held the prolific Rams to ten points before the bye and completely smothered the Giants today. A couple of ugly plays against Tennessee in week three shouldn’t blight the overall picture. This is a unit that shut out Aaron Rodgers for a whole quarter at Lambeau. They are playing at an elite level.

The usual suspects continue to play with the discipline and execution you’d expect. Several new stars are emerging, however. Jarran Reed is quietly having a fantastic season. His sack fumble of Eli Manning today was the moment this game completely turned in the Seahawks’ favour. A tight contest, still in the balance, suddenly became a ten point Seattle lead thanks to Reed’s turnover.

It’s the second game in a row where he’s made a huge play, following the bull rush he had against the Rams to force Jared Goff to throw straight at Earl Thomas. Reed is not just a run stuffer. He is providing value as a pass rusher. He hasn’t just taken a step forward in 2017, it’s a giant leap.

Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman are equally making an underrated impression on this team. Opponents aren’t exploiting a rookie or a guy picked up via trade right before the season began. Considering these are merely the early days of their careers in Seattle, this is incredibly encouraging for the future of the secondary.

Naz Jones and Frank Clark also continue to have an impact (Clark scooped up the Reed forced fumble) and Sheldon Richardson, while not providing any big splash plays today, has fit into the defense nicely.

This group might not carry some of the attitude we saw in 2013 (they don’t have Red Bryant, Brandon Browner or Chris Clemons) but they might be performing at an equally good if not better level thanks to the youth movement and the addition of Richardson.

Bringing it all together is the play of Bobby Wagner — possibly the most underrated player in the NFL. Wagner is a phenomenal talent, one of the best players in the entire league (offense or defense) and it’s high time he received the national recognition he is due.

Yes they were facing an opponent ravaged by injuries. It’s also worth remembering what this same Giants offense did to Denver’s top tier defense a week ago:

Total yards @ Denver — 266
Total yards vs Seattle — 177

Yards per pass @ Denver — 5.4
Yards per pass vs Seattle — 3.3

Time of possession @ Denver — 30:36
Time of possession vs Seattle — 24:34

Rushing yards @ Denver — 148
Rushing yards vs Seattle — 46

It’s not easy to go into Denver, run the ball effectively and retain a balanced attack. The Giants achieved it and deservedly won on the road last week.

Today, the Seahawks virtually pitched a shut out against the same group. The only points came after a Thomas Rawls fumble deep into Seattle territory.

The defense is playing well enough for the Seahawks to win any game against any opponent. Whether they actually do or not will be down to the offense.

There was little sign of any offensive consistency emerging here. There were major highs and frustrating lows:

— Two horrible Jimmy Graham drops in the first half had everyone rolling their eyes but he had a much better second half capped by a late red zone touchdown

— Thomas Rawls’ fumble put points on the board for New York but he ended the game running hard as Seattle closed it out and managed 104 team rushing yards

— Seattle had 11 unsuccessful ‘and goal’ plays on one first half drive, meaning an eight minute attempt resulted in zero points

— They also moved the ball freely and with great success with Russell Wilson ending with 334 yards and three touchdowns

— Speaking of Wilson, he mostly had an excellent game but missed two wide open touchdowns to Doug Baldwin (wide open) and Tyler Lockett (clearly open) on a day where he could’ve easily had five scores

The encouraging thing is all the gripes are mistakes based around poor execution. Drops, overthrows and fumbles. This wasn’t a back-breaking ‘can’t run for love nor money’ performance or the type where the O-line completely destroys any chance of a sustained drive. On another day they score 30-40 points.

The Seahawks are gaining momentum and return to Seattle for two home games against Houston and Washington (I’ll be attending the Redskins game).

A quick final thought to finish on. The trade deadline isn’t until after the Houston game next week. Is it possible the Seahawks and Texans are waiting until after they meet to work something out for Duane Brown? It might explain why they haven’t signed Brandon Albert. It makes some degree of sense — with the Texans quite rightly not wanting to give Seattle a boost before they meet.

Just something to consider. The trade deadline might be conveniently placed for both teams after next weeks game.

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Most impressive 2018 draft prospects so far

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

1. Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
Barkley just finds a way to make explosive plays and put points on the board every week. He’s a freak of nature with great character. A top five placing seems inevitable if he avoids injury.

2. Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
It was tempting to put Nelson at #1 but Barkley is too good. Nelson is the complete package at guard — he’ll pull to the second level, hit people at the LOS and open up huge running lanes. Fantastic prospect.

3. Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
There aren’t many players at 6-4 and 275lbs who combine great athleticism, quickness and power. Chubb is an every down edge rusher, is physical against the run and has the same bloodlines as top-tier athlete cousin Nick Chubb.

4. Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
There are some similarities to Sheldon Richardson. Wilkins is a ball of energy. He’s not the most prolific pass rusher but his motor never switches off. He hustles to the ball and doesn’t stop. Good athlete.

5. Taven Bryan (DE, Florida)
An inside/out rusher who dominates the LOS. Bryan drives blockers into the backfield with a vicious bull rush but he also wins with quickness. He’s highly underrated and one of the best players in college football.

6. Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
Yes there are accusations of inconsistency but there aren’t many players with Vea’s skill set. He and Greg Gaines are a force inside, clogging up run lanes and providing some pass rush. Excellent nose tackle prospect.

7. Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Shaq Lawson type defensive end coming off a forceful 3.5 sack performance against Syracuse. Ferrell is listed at 260lbs but looks and plays bigger. Good against the pass and the run. Part of a fantastic front seven.

8. Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
His performance against Indiana was dominant, adding to a great year so far. He lived in the backfield and blocked a crucial field goal. The league needs quality three-technique prospects. Hurst’s a classic example.

9. Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
Highly athletic, modern day defensive back capable of lining up in multiple positions. Aggressive, leads by example and should be an early starter at the next level.

10. Derwin James (S, Florida State)
He’s sometimes a bit stiff in the open field but he has the size to defend the run and the range to make plays in coverage. He’s listed at 6-3 and 211lbs and could play some strong safety and big nickel.

11. Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
He isn’t getting much help and he’s had some pretty terrible interceptions. That said, Rosen has also shown poise, accuracy and the ability to move around in the pocket to make a wide range of throws.

12. Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
Playmaker. Capable of running for a 1000 yards to go with his throwing ability. Continues to grow as a passer. There are too many critics with Jackson. He has a big future at quarterback. He gets no help at Louisville.

13. Billy Price (G, Ohio State)
Price plays like his hair’s on fire. Very active, very aggressive with the mobility to move to the second level. Switched to center this year but could play guard in the NFL. A notch behind Quenton Nelson but really good.

14. Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
Solid rather than spectacular but he emphatically won every battle against Boston College speed rusher Harold Landry. If you want to make a case for McGlinchey that’s the tape you turn to.

15. Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)
Home-run hitter, just needs a crease to explode to the second level and break off a big run. He’s not the biggest (listed at 5-10 and 196lbs) but he’s incredibly dynamic. Making a strong Heisman case.

Not included…

Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
He hasn’t even had a full season as the starter at USC. There’s no rush to declare, especially if Cleveland ends up with the #1 pick.

Trey Adams (T, Washington)
Reports suggest he won’t turn pro at the end of the season after suffering a serious knee injury. A weak tackle class could tempt him — but for now we have to assume he’ll stay with the Huskies in 2018.

Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
He’s a little bit banged up and needs a strong finish to the season to get some momentum behind his stock.

Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
He’s coming close to his best again but the medical checks will be so important. We know he’s a fantastic athlete. We’ll see if he’s still at that level at the combine.

Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
He’s starting to find some form. With #1 receiver size and a little Dez Bryant to his game, Sutton has time to push himself into the early part of round one.

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Wednesday notes: Cliff Avril & offensive tackles

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Cliff Avril on injured reserve

This is sad news and certainly not the way you’d want Cliff Avril to potentially end his career.

Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that’s the case:

Avril has long been under-appreciated and underrated not just in Seattle but in the NFL overall. He’s had an extremely consistent and productive nine-year stretch for the Lions and Seahawks. Between 2010 and 2016 he played in all but four games, recording 62.5 sacks. Always there for his team, always making plays.

He’s also an exceptional athlete. At the 2008 combine he ran a 1.50 10-yard split at 253lbs. Anything in the 1.5’s is considered elite. Avril nearly cracked the 1.4’s.

At only 31 years old hopefully he will make a full recovery. His cap hit next year is a ridiculously team friendly $8m. In the modern market a player of Avril’s quality might cost double that amount.

It’s also possible he could still return this year. The Seahawks can call back two players from injured reserve and haven’t got another candidate at the moment. It seems unlikely due to the serious nature of the injury — but at least the option is there.

More importantly though this is about a man’s health. Avril has done so much for charity during his career and was an integral addition as the Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in 2013. The time where they added Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril in an incredible triple move will go down as one of the more exciting weeks in franchise history.

This is a big opportunity for Frank Clark. He had an exceptional game against the Rams and is eligible for a new contract in the off-season. We’ll see if Marcus Smith expands his role and hopefully Dion Jordan can have an impact down the line.

Avril is one of the best pass rushers this franchise has had. Period.

They can only dream of finding a player in the future with equal stature who will provide so much quality at such great value.

If you want to donate to the Cliff Avril Family Foundation, or if you want more information on the great work they do, here’s the link.

Offensive tackle problems

The knee injury for Trey Adams — and the reports since suggesting he will now return to Washington in 2018 — has left the offensive tackle draft class looking pretty thin.

We’ve had this discussion before…

There will be some nice O-line options in the draft next year (Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey, Billy Price) but there’s no getting away from the fact the tackle numbers are light yet again.

Tony Pauline sums up the problem:

That leaves just two potential first-round tackles: Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame and Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown.

People I’ve spoken with tell me they expect Brown to enter the draft but that he doesn’t grade out as a top-25 selection — an opinion I share at this point.

Several scouts are enamored with Chukwuma Okorafor of Western Michigan, but I haven’t heard any first-round grades on him since the season began. The recent ankle injury to Martinas Rankin, which I’m told is worse than what’s being reported, also negatively impacts the position.

The projected crop of free-agent tackles for next March does not look very promising either. This means teams needing an offensive tackle in the offseason could be in a bind.

That last paragraph really does ring true. A league lacking adequate talent at left tackle is facing another barren year in the draft and free agency.

Nate Solder, recently struggling with the Patriots, is arguably the best prospective free agent set to hit the market next year. Then you have the likes of Luke Joeckel, Justin Pugh and Jack Mewhort. There’s no Andrew Whitworth next year.

This is possibly why so many teams spent big money on O-liners in free agency in March — anticipating an even weaker crop of veterans in 2018.

This might be one of the reasons why the Seahawks have been pursuing the likes of Branden Albert and Duane Brown. At the very least they’d get some veteran security on the left side of the line and some insurance for 2018. They wouldn’t need to pick at the limited options available on the open market.

It’s only October and a lot can change over the next few weeks — but the injury to Cliff Avril and the continued issues with the O-line make it increasingly likely we’ll be focusing on the trenches again come draft time. It’s looking like there’ll be a very attractive crop of defensive line talent available. And at the very least a handful of good O-line options (Nelson, Price, McGlinchey).

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Monday draft notes & O-line latest

Monday, October 16th, 2017

— Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst had a fantastic game against Indiana, looking every bit a first round pick. He blocked a vital field goal and was constantly creating pressure. On numerous occasions he moved the quarterback off the spot and forced him out of the pocket. His combination of quickness and an effective swim move were really impressive. His stat line of 1.5 TFL’s barely tells the story. He was the outstanding player on the field, consistently in the backfield and is destined to be a high pick as a three technique.

— Florida’s Taven Bryan continues to look incredibly impressive too. Against Texas A&M he had 1.5 sacks and it’s weird how he isn’t getting more attention. A highly disruptive, supremely athletic defensive lineman who can play inside and out — Bryan is an early first round talent. He just has the perfect combination of size, quickness and power. With the likes of Hurst, Bryan, Christian Wilkins and Vita Vea — this is shaping up to be a really good class for interior defensive linemen. If you need a reminder of what he’s capable of:

— Washington left tackle Trey Adams has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. This is really sad news for a couple of reasons. Obviously it hurts the Huskies. It also impacts the 2018 draft. There was every chance Adams would’ve been a very high pick had he declared. His combination of size, length and athleticism would’ve really shown up at the combine, catapulting his stock at a time when the NFL is desperate for good tackle play. According to Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler, Adams is planning to return to Washington in 2018.

— Here’s the latest on Seattle’s search for O-line improvements:

This is perhaps indicative of Seattle’s inability to spend money at the moment. Albert, having spent considerable time in the PNW, is now leaving. We’ll see if the Seahawks admit defeat in their attempt to upgrade the O-line or whether they have something else they’re working on. Sadly, with such little cap room to play with, any kind of a deal will take a sacrifice of some description. And the Seahawks might be unwilling to undergo severe roster surgery mid-season.

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Report: Seahawks actively trying to make an O-line trade

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

We know Branden Albert met with the Seahawks this week. Rumours have also linked the Seahawks with interest in Houston hold-out Duane Brown. According to Jason La Canfora, another name has been considered:

The Seahawks had previously approached the Bills about their left tackle, Cordy Glenn, but those conversations largely fizzled. While Glenn could be an option to be moved ahead of the deadline — Buffalo has a plethora of tackles at a time most teams have a scarcity, and the team is high on several of its young linemen — it would take a considerable haul to land him. That and his high salary made for a poor fit with the Seahawks.

This one appears to be a non-starter but it’s indicative of Seattle’s desire to prop-up their O-line. While Germain Ifedi has shown steady progress and Justin Britt continues to play well, Luke Joeckel’s bye-week surgery and the play of backup left tackle Rees Odhiambo will be a concern.

As we saw today, the NFC is wide open this year. Aaron Rodgers could be out for the season with a broken collarbone and Atlanta lost at home to Jay Cutler’s Miami despite leaping to a 17-0 lead.

The only two teams playing a consistent brand of football seem to be Philadelphia and the Rams. Seattle already won in LA and face the Eagles at home in week 13.

There’s an opening for someone to take control of the conference and stake a claim for the top two NFC seeds. Last year Dallas saw an opportunity and took it. It could be the Eagles this year — they have three consecutive home games coming up next, all winnable (vs Washington, San Francisco and Denver).

It could also be the Seahawks. The defense is certainly showing signs of classic form. For it to happen, however, the offense has to be better. Or at least more consistently balanced.

Losing George Fant to injury in pre-season was a significant blow and it’s been tough sledding for Odhiambo in relief. The injury to Chris Carson is compounding matters — stripping the team of its top running back.

This really shouldn’t be dismissed when we consider the impact of the two injuries on the offense. Fant and Carson aren’t Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott (for example) — but it’s still Seattle’s starting left tackle and top RB. Only teams with top tier quarterbacks are going to be able to roll with the punches in this kind of situation. Even Russell Wilson has been streaky in this difficult environment.

When Seattle lost Malik McDowell they went out and made an aggressive move to bring in Sheldon Richardson. Now, with Fant and Carson out, a similar move to help the offense seems to be required.

Here’s more from La Canfora:

It may result in a far lower-profile transaction before the deadline, but other teams that have been in contact with the Seahawks are convinced of their intent to improve the line, and if Brown is dealt, expect Seattle to have at least made an attempt to land him.

It feels like there’s quite a lot of poker going on behind the scenes. The Cordy Glenn name drop in La Canfora’s piece might be deliberate. It lets the Texans know the Seahawks are looking at other options. The Branden Albert interest might follow a similar theme — but it’s also an opportunity to meet with a viable alternative (and one that won’t cost any draft compensation).

Either way it seems like the Seahawks are primed to do something, possibly before the Giants game. Either sign Albert or make a trade.

There’s a big opportunity for someone to rise to the top in the NFC. The Seahawks can be that team — but the offense will need some help to make it happen.

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A podcast — and a question about future podcasts

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

For the last two seasons the ‘3000 NFL Mock Draft’ podcast was a regular weekly feature. This season, sadly, that won’t be the case.

I was invited to appear on the Field Gulls podcast ‘Seahawks Chats’ this week (see below) and was happy to accept — but 3000 NFL Mock Draft will no longer be recorded weekly.

I want to continue to provide regular audio content and intend to start a new podcast to fill the void. I want to know what you, the community, want to listen to.

For example:

— Would you prefer two main presenters or just the one?

— Would you like to hear interviews with invited guests within the draft/NFL community?

— Would you prefer more Seahawks or more draft content (or a mix of both)?

— How long do you want the podcasts to be?

Let me know what you think in the comments section. In the meantime here’s the episode of ‘Seahawks Chats’:

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2018 draft October projection list (not a mock)

Monday, October 9th, 2017

I don’t want to call this a mock draft because it’s October 9th. There are teams paired with players but really it’s just an exercise to highlight a few names.

A glorified watch-list.

If there’s anyone you think should’ve been included, let me know in the comments section or on Twitter (@robstaton).

A quick note — USC quarterback Sam Darnold is not included. He hasn’t completed a full season as the starter in college. I suspect he will weigh up his options and feel another year starting at USC in 2018 will be the best plan. If he was included, he’d be right up there with Josh Rosen in the top two.

For the draft order I used this website, because it is brilliantly called ‘Tankathon’.

#1 New York Giants — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
Rosen has really looked the part so far this season. Poised in the pocket, accurate, nice variety of throws and highly productive.

#2 Cleveland Browns — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
Allen has the tools — good size, athleticism and a great arm. He needs time, more so than Rosen. Makes too many poor decisions at the moment.

#3 San Francisco 49ers — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
A highly dynamic playmaker with star quality. Barkley warrants going this early. He’s a complete player with freaky athleticism.

#4 Los Angeles Chargers — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
Incredible playmaker with a Michael Vick skill-set. Better than some will have you believe. Puts points on the board.

#5 Chicago Bears — Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
All-action player, never stops moving. Capable of playing inside or out and highly athletic. A Sheldon Richardson type player.

#6 Indianapolis Colts — Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
Wonderful talent with the perfect blend of speed, mobility, size (6-4, 275lbs) and attitude. Big time player.

#7 Arizona Cardinals — Taven Bryan (DE, Florida)
Bryan is a wrecking ball on the D-line. He’s just as likely to beat you with a violent bull rush as he is to win with speed and quickness. Exceptional.

#8 Cincinnati Bengals — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
Nelson brings the physicality every week. Dominating at the LOS, he also moves with ease to pull and reach the second level.

#9 Tennessee Titans — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
Like James, Fitzpatrick is a match-up option for defenses. He could line up over the slot, start at free safety. Very athletic and tough.

#10 Dallas Cowboys — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
Playmaking safety who provides a match-up option. Instinctive with the size (6-3, 211lbs) to move around.

#11 Oakland Raiders — Trey Adams (T, Washington)
Adams is a very accomplished tackle with the ideal size and frame to make it work at the next level. Could go even higher after testing.

#12 Cleveland Browns (via HOU) — Harold Landry (EDGE, Boston College)
Landry is a bit one-dimensional as a speed rusher but he has exceptional quickness and works well in space.

#13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Shaq Lawson type pass rusher with the size to set the edge and the athleticism to make plays in the backfield.

#14 Miami Dolphins — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
A nose tackle who teams up with Greg Gaines to shut down the running game. Vea has the necessary athleticism to go very early.

#15 Minnesota Vikings — Billy Price (C/G, Ohio State)
Followed Tony Pauline’s advice and watched Price today. A very active, gritty lineman who locks on and finishes consistently well. Like Quenton Nelson he plays with an edge and moves well.

#16 New Orleans Saints — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
I think he can play left tackle at the next level but teams will be happy to try him on the right side too. He excelled vs Harold Landry.

Two players who deserve a mention

Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
Medical testing will likely determine Chubb’s stock in the 2018 draft — but he looks a lot sharper a year on from his rushed return from a knee injury. It’s worth highlighting again just how special an athlete Chubb is. He scored a 143.91 at the 2013 Nike SPARQ combine — topped only by 5-10, 180lbs Speedy Noil. Chubb’s mark included a +40 inch vertical and a 4.47 forty. If he gets close to those numbers at the combine — watch out. So far this year he has 618 yards at 6.8 YPC and eight touchdowns.

Luke Falk (QB, Washington State)
It won’t be a major shock if Falk goes a lot earlier than people are currently projecting. A safe estimate would be round two — but this has been a nice step forward in 2017. He looks healthy, his arm strength is improved and he’s making some really difficult throws look easy. His combination of accurate, catchable passes, size and excellent character will appeal to teams. He carries himself like a franchise quarterback. If a reasonable team like Washington loses Kirk Cousins, is it beyond the realms of possibility they would target someone like Falk as a replacement? They’re not going to get at the names at the top of round one after all.

Meanwhile, if you want a Seahawks topic to discuss today:

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