Written by guest blogger Kenny Sloth
An ice cold take.
The Seahawks have finished at or near the top of the league in rushing yards over the last few years, while their pass protection has consistently ranked, in the kindest of light, as decidedly below average. Since the season ended the draft community has relentlessly thrown a litany of linesman at pick 26 hoping something sticks. While Jack Conklin, Ryan Kelly, and others may turn into exceptional pro’s, they do not fit the parameters by which the Seahawks have built their line since Cable’s arrival.
Thanks to the exemplary research and dedication committed by Rob, he has been able to reverse engineer a sort of paragon for the ‘Hawks tendencies towards more highly athletic lineman among the college ranks. Through even more research he has managed to narrow down the most likely of picks and our attention now rests on two of the more athletic, decorated offensive linemen available in this class.
Key Stats Jason Spriggs
— Four year starter
— Former tight end
— Blocks guys to the ground
— Struggles to redirect weight inside
— Struggles to match power 1v1
— Not a mauler
— Only missed one game due to injury
— 2,000 yard rusher 2014
— Two sacks allowed in 430 pass calls
Reminds me of: Nate Solder
The best tackle at the senior bowl, great movement on double teams, doesn’t get to the second level with enough zeal to be considered a power scheme guard. Limited to a zone scheme, even then he may struggle inside. Very eager in protection. Strong punch, relentless hand use. Turns shoulders way too, early bails out of his stance and allows inside penetration. Doesn’t give help inside.
At the Senior Bowl, to end an interview he says, “I’d like to show…everybody that I can play with the best of the best… that’s what I’m about to prove”. I wouldn’t want to be the GM that tells him they’re gonna pass. Answers very honestly and to the point. Looked so so smooth without pads at the combine. Plays with a similar instictive fluidity
Ya’ll wanna see an athlete?
Who says white boys can’t jump?
Key Stats Germain Ifedi
— Three year starter
— RG as a freshman All-American
— Played RT while Cedric Ogbuehi auditioned for the NFL
— Missed two games with sprained MCL last season
— 2nd team all SEC this year
Plays way too tall, patient sometimes too much so, late with hands, sloppy, inconsistent placement. So toned, looks like 300 lbs. Great footspeed, great recovery. Kick slide not very fluid, sloppy all over. Cable didn’t seem very impressed when working him out at the Texas A&M pro day. Lunges.
Ifedi seems to offer very little during his interviews at the combine. Strikes you as shy and extremely intelligent. Sounds like a leader. Speaks like he ran that OL, Spriggs seems like he was simply the best player on the OL. Takes ownership of losses. Not very emotional. QUIET.
Radio team for A&M had to turn up his mic repeatedly during a guest segment including himself and Mike Matthews. Traveled to the senior bowl even though he could not participate. He’s quiet but always smiling. Very eloquent. Construction Science major. Interned with a company that then became contracted to build the A&M stadium. Some background in this piece.
He gets knocked a lot for staying on the right. But he makes it clear in several interviews that it was for the freshman LT who was uncomfortable on the right. Very versatile.
Germain played at 335lbs. Says he’ll eat a bowl of fruit and some eggs and gains five pounds. Weight could be a concern. Hasn’t spoken to Johnny Manziel since he left.
Spriggs Vs Ohio State
First pressure he gives up due to a failure to redirect weight inside. Plants hard and sells out to stop speed rush of Joey Bosa who cuts it upfield effortlessly and puts Sudfeld in the dirt. Showing a very weak punch and allowing every OSU player inside his chest. Doesn’t have the length of Ifedi. Pushed back twice in a row on the goal line. Bails whenever Bosa is lined up against him. Bosa kept slipping trying to make an inside move. This could’ve been a much uglier matchup.
Spriggs dives at Bosa everytime he slips. Blocks guys out. Seems always to get punched in the face and recover, counter attacking. Eager to punch, inconsistent strength of punch. Misses the wing block at the second level way too much. Lacks hip torque to turn edge rushers inside in the run game. Not satisfied with bad blocks, always readjusting hands and trying to get leverage, knee bender. Doesn’t surprise defenders with punch, stops when he punches. (fun game because the QB changes due to injury from a pocket guy to a scrambler).
Spriggs Vs. Michigan State
First play he smacks Calhoun out of the way, fingers to the face leave him unable to react to pass right by him. More than one way to block a dude. Rob is right in that he is the best combo blocker in this draft, but when he knows he is isolated on an island he seems to just bail on the first step.
Inside is wide open. Got caught on an inside stunt. Low positional awareness for the TE convert. Put two guys on the ground with combo blocks then looked around for another. Hands all up in the facemask on several plays. I like it though. Beat badly inside on a quick concept again. Inside leg swinging free out from under shoulder == bad news bears. Loses interest in plays early on. Has run game syndrome, never clears the pile.
Ifedi Vs. Mississippi State
Down blocks very aggressively. Active hands. Constantly pushing, constant leg drive. Stomp slide kick slide. Beautiful initial step, but reverts to stomping, heavy feet. Phenomenal mirroring. Put Chris Jones on his ass. Took a paw all up in his facemask and threw the dude aside. Runs at opponent with arms extended. No punch? Patient, excellent mirroring. Same dude put his hands in his face, forced a hold. Easy to see because of poor hand placement. Allowed another hurry due to poor punch. Seems to duck for a wing block and whiff 2-3 times a game. Perhaps bad technique that pops up from time to time. Struggles to stay engaged at the second level,
Ifedi Vs. Alabama 2014
Old scheme same problems. Gets driven back because he doesn’t punch the DL. First year at RT apparent. All American guard in 2013 and played guard in highschool, I believe. Doesn’t punch and push. Kick slide showed so much improvement from 14 to 15. He used to do like a weird shuffle feet chop. No solid base, easy to drive back. Not afraid to clear the pile. Once he gets his hands on you you’re down. Strong as an Ox.
Ifedi Vs. Alabama 2013
Playing guard in front of Manziel, Ifedi showed the same lack of punch, but got to show off his absurd movement skill at his playing weight. Pulls so fluidly for someone his size.
If I had to give these prospects a one word summary I would call Spriggs relentless and Ifedi stolid. Spriggs will block you to the ground and dive at your neck while standing over you. He’ll get beat around the edge only to crack the dude after the QB rolls out. He’ll also leave wide open rush lanes and miss a second level block, but not for a lack of effort. His length is not superb, but certainly passable. Struggles to shift his weight and mirror. Fast hands. The kind of guy you can go to war with.
Ifedi is constantly contributing. His long arms and fast footwork offer few openings for opposing pass rushers. Seems to lack confidence in his punch and technique. Not a fiery guy but a leader and someone your players can look up to. Literally. In an interview Mike Matthews said Ifedi had just weighed in at 335lbs, midseason. This is a dude that has two inches and 15 pounds on James Carpenter. Too bad he doesn’t use his weight on the field. You could’ve told me Spriggs was the heavier of the two and I’d believe it. Ifedi at times is the Hulk, just no way around this guy. And it’s not a case of ‘looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane’. More often than not he’ll revert from his Hulkish down blocking, to his very timid, Bruce Banner alter ego, struggling against the bull rush of guys he could conceivably have 100lbs on.
If I’m the Seahawks it’s really all about how I view my current group. Am I willing to bet on Gilliam at left tackle? If so, I take Ifedi because of his versatility and tremendous upside at multiple positions. If you want to add to the competition at left tackle you take Spriggs and hope that he can contribute elsewhere in the event that he loses out. I’m not convinced Spriggs is a viable option at guard, due to his lack of base power and inability to add much to his frame. There will likely be a steep learning curve with Spriggs at any position.
That being said, left tackle is the most valuable position on the line and we know Gilliam can contribute at other spots. Spriggs is a real TEF guy, rating as the most explosive pass blocker in this draft, while Ifedi’s poor bench press keeps him out of the Seahawks ideal zone, though he rated very similarly in both of the jumps despite weighing 25lbs heavier at the time.
Spriggs is a converted TE that will have a few rough spots to smooth out, but it’s apparent to me that he has all the tools to succeed at LT in Seattle and could provide a plus starter at other positions.
Ifedi on the other hand is a former guard that has actually gotten smaller since the transition. He played at 335 and still moved well. Ifedi is almost the total inverse of Spriggs in that he could be a pro bowler at every spot, but probably won’t compete for the blindside job.