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Final thoughts

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

— I think the Seahawks will try to trade down. If they don’t, I suspect the pick will be Germain Ifedi, Jason Spriggs or (whisper it quietly) Le’Raven Clark.

— Baltimore looks like a good trade down option. They have multiple fourth round picks. The Ravens could move up for a safety or Noah Spence.

— If the Seahawks do move down, it perhaps increases the chances they go D-line with their first pick.

— Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Butler and Bronson Kaufusi look like good options.

— Kevin Dodd, Noah Spence, Chris Jones could also be in the running.

— At #56 it looks pretty straight forward — O-line if they take a D-liner first, D-line if they take an O-liner first.

— On the O-line Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl and Hal Vaitai fit this team best in rounds 2-3. Maybe Shon Coleman depending on how they view his health.

— If it’s defense, it depends who is still there. Willie Henry? Kyler Fackrell? Will one of Bullard or Kaufusi fall into range?

— Derrick Henry, Kenneth Dixon and Paul Perkins at RB could be wildcards in round two. It’s worth keeping an eye on the receivers too based on possible value.

— In the later rounds, expect raw athleticism they can coach up. Look at the super-athletic DB’s and guys who could play safety or linebacker. Travis Feeney, Miles Killebrew, Sean Davis, Justin Simmons, DeAndre Elliott, James Bradberry, D.J. Hunter, Keivarae Russell seem to fit.

— Joel Heath looks perfect for a D-line to O-line conversion. George Fant could move from TE to OT.

— Focus on Alex Balducci, Rees Odhiambo, Marcus Henry and some of the other names listed here.

— If you missed our final pre-draft podcast, here it is:

The final pre-draft podcast

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Don’t forget to check out today’s final mock draft — but here’s the final pre-draft podcast.

A couple of other quick points…

Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Bruce Irvin. The Seahawks have been comfortable with their first round picks only lasting one contract.

That doesn’t mean they want these guys to only stay 4-5 years and move on — but it also doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be 10-year starters either.

The Seahawks are in the middle of a Championship window that might only last another 3-4 years. Getting impact players to try and win a Championship now is the key.

A guy who comes in, helps make that happen and then signs somewhere else isn’t a problem (especially with the comp pick system).

How does that impact this draft? Well when people talk about Bronson Kaufusi’s age (25) — if he’s only playing for Seattle for four years it doesn’t really matter.

And it’s worth noting Russell Wilson was 24 in 2012. I’m not 100% all-in on Kaufusi being a Seahawk — but he could be a wildcard for them after trading down. Check out his tape vs Utah.

Meanwhile Mike Mayock has put together his first and only mock draft. He pairs the Seahawks with A’Shawn Robinson, who they probably won’t draft because he’s a marginal athlete, not a pass rusher and his motor runs too hot and cold.

The interesting thing though is like Louis Riddick’s mock earlier in the week — all of Seattle’s VMAC visitors are on the board. Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Butler, Kevin Dodd, Germain Ifedi, Reggie Ragland, Chris Jones, Derrick Henry. Kaufusi and Noah Spence are also available.

Again — this screams trade down.

The final mock draft: 27th April

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Yesterday I was on KJR with Softy talking about the draft — if you missed the spot you can check it out above

Before I post this, here’s a few things I want to stress:

1. This is the mock draft I will be sending to the Huddle Report — so I didn’t include trades

2. I fully expect the Seahawks to trade down from #26 — and possibly out of the first round altogether

3. For that reason I’ve included a separate Seahawks section below

4. Although I’ve chosen a name at #26, I think the Seahawks will probably pick from the following:

Germain Ifedi
Le’Raven Clark
Jason Spriggs
Vernon Butler
Jonathan Bullard
Bronson Kaufusi
Kevin Dodd
Noah Spence

Shaq Lawson is a wildcard if he drops. Derrick Henry could be considered if they move down into round two and it’d be great to think Shon Coleman is being considered too.

I’ve gone with the O-line at #26 but if they trade down I think they’re more likely to go defense. That would open up the possibility of drafting from a group including Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl or Hal Vaitai in rounds 2-3.

So for the Huddle Report I’m going to stick with a pure 1-31 and let’s see what happens…

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

Here are some predictions:

1. Vernon Hargreaves and A’Shawn Robinson are two huge names in this draft class — but both are vastly overrated and could fall.

2. Keanu Neal will be seen as a ‘surprise’ high pick — but the guy will be coveted by several teams and go early. Plus, unlike Karl Joseph, he’s healthy.

3. Tennessee could move back into the top ten and if they don’t — Miami will climb to get Ezekiel Elliott.

4. The Seahawks will accept a trade down and it’ll involve a fourth round pick or a swap of third rounders. Every team from #26 down would probably like to move down.

5. If they do make a trade I’m not convinced Ifedi will be waiting for them when they’re next on the clock.

Seahawks predictions

Projection: The Seahawks (#26) trade with the Baltimore Ravens (#36) for a fourth round pick

Reason #1: Seattle wants to move down and the Ravens move back into the first frame to grab a safety

Reason #2: The Ravens have a fourth round compensatory pick and might be willing to give up #104

Alternative trade partners: Dallas, San Diego, New Orleans, Cleveland

Possible targets after the trade down: Jonathan Bullard, Bronson Kaufusi, Le’Raven Clark

O-line options rounds 2-3: Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl, Hal Vaitai

Players to keep an eye on

I’m going to predict that Seattle’s VMAC/workout list is pretty genuine this year and add in a few other options too:

QB — Dak Prescott
RB — Derrick Henry, Darius Jackson, Jonathan Williams, Paul Perkins
WR — Braxton Miller, Michael Thomas, Daniel Braverman, Moritz Boehringer
TE — Ben Braunecker, Terren Houk
OL — Rees Odhiambo
OL converts — George Fant, Joel Heath
DL — Alex Balducci
LB — Travis Feeney, Miles Killebrew
DB — Sean Davis, Justin Simmons, DeAndre Elliott, James Bradberry, Keivarae Russell

UDFA targets

Liam Nadler (QB)
Zac Brooks (RB)
Jaydon Mickens (WR)
Jay Lee (WR)
Terren Houk (TE)
Marcus Henry (C)
Lene Maiva (OL)
Justin Murray (OL)
Alex McCallister (LB)
Christian French (LB)
Rashard Robinson (CB)
D.J. Hunter (S)
Terron Beckham (stud)

Notes: Mike Mayock’s rankings reinforce Riddick’s mock

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Yesterday I made an appearance on ESPN 960 in Utah to discuss Bronson Kaufusi. You can hear the audio above. I’ll also be on KJR with Softy today at 5pm PST so if you get an opportunity check it out.

Plus — here’s a podcast with two days to go. Kenny and I will be recording another on Wednesday too:

Last week we linked to a mock draft by ESPN’s Louis Riddick which was interesting for two reasons:

1. It was different

2. It wasn’t totally absurd despite being different

It also presented a scenario where several potential Seahawks were still on the board.

Reggie Ragland, Kevin Dodd, Vernon Butler, Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, Derrick Henry and Chris Jones all visited the VMAC and were sitting there for the Seahawks at #26.

Mike Mayock published his top-100 yesterday and it continues on a similar theme. Look at the following prospects and where they’re ranked:

#26 Reggie Ragland
#28 Germain Ifedi
#29 Emmanuel Ogbah
#30 Kevin Dodd
#31 Vernon Butler
#32 Noah Spence
#36 Jason Spriggs

If Seattle’s board is anything like Mayock’s this group could be available to them.

Perhaps more interesting is the range Mayock had some other prospects ranked:

#57 Chris Jones
#58 Keanu Neal
#64 Derrick Henry
#65 Jonathan Bullard
#77 Bronson Kaufusi
#80 Shon Coleman
#92 Connor McGovern

Mayock is connected — and that perhaps gives his top 30-40 some genuine credence. I’m not sure he’s using total insider info though on a top-100. I would expect Keanu Neal, for example, to go a lot earlier than the late 50’s.

That said — there might be some useful info here. Are teams simply grading Jonathan Bullard as a second rounder? Could he be there at #56? Will Derrick Henry last until Seattle’s second rounder and could he be an option?

And perhaps more importantly — could we really see Shon Coleman, Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl available within range of Seattle’s two third round picks?

Imagine a scenario where the Seahawks came out of the draft with Noah Spence, Jonathan Bullard, Connor McGovern and Joe Haeg. Or any combination of the players listed above.

It wouldn’t be a total surprise if someone like Bullard lingered into round two. Especially after one scout described him as such:

“Is he a great player? No. Solid rotational player.”

This also reinforces why teams are really valuing the second and third round. Just looking at Mayock’s board you can see it’s stacked in that range. The Tennessee Titans played an absolute blinder in their trade with the Rams.

Jason La Canfora has really interesting things to say

So what are the Seahawks going to do per JLC? In a really detailed piece that is worth checking out, he had the following to say:

The Seattle Seahawks are not afraid to wheel and deal. GM John Schneider might be the best in the business and he loves this draft — especially deeper along. The Seahawks believe it’s the richest draft since 2010, and he is never averse to trading out of the first round when picking so low. If someone wants to jump up from the early-second round to here to get a quarterback, well, sources said other execs are well aware the Seahawks are open for business. They have a bunch of picks and wouldn’t mind having more.

It could be the Browns, Bills or Saints or any team that wants to get ahead of the Cardinals and Chiefs that could go QB late in the first round to get their guy, whether it be Lynch or Connor Cook or Christian Hackenberg.

Now, I will mention that the Seahawks believe their medical team and advanced sport science department give them a competitive edge (consider their work with Michael Bennett, for instance) so if a stud player slips for a medical reason and Schneider sees value there, that could be the pick. And they certainly have a need on the offensive line. All things being equal, however, this spot is ripe for a trade and there would be linemen on either side of the ball who Seattle would likely fancy in the top half of the second round.

I’m not sure what to make of the talk of a ‘stud player’ slipping. There aren’t many candidates — and they’re not going to take Jaylon Smith at #26.

Is this a Myles Jack thing? Or is it someone else?

The player in question could be Shaq Lawson. There’s been a lot of talk about a bad shoulder for Lawson impacting his stock. He actually has a nice athletic profile:

Height: 6-2 1/2
Weight: 269lbs
Length: 33 inch arms
40-yd: 4.70
10-yd: 1.64
Vertical: 33 inches
Broad: 10-0
Three cone: 7.16
Short shuttle: 4.21

At his size that short shuttle time is elite. His broad jump is highly explosive. His split is pretty good for his size and not far off the elite 1.5’s.

In some mocks Lawson is listed in the top-15 and in others he drops well down into the late first. Just keep him in mind based on what La Canfora is saying here.

Mayock lists him as the 13th best player in the draft.

Initially I linked these two sentences together:

If a stud player slips for a medical reason and Schneider sees value there, that could be the pick. And they certainly have a need on the offensive line.

I thought he was referring to an injured O-liner (aka Shon Coleman). On reflection I think it’s more a case of they’ll stay at #26 if:

a.) a stud player slips for a medical reason

b.) They really like an O-liner at that spot

So it looks increasingly like the Seahawks are going to move down unless there’s a major rush on O-liners and they get spooked into taking Germain Ifedi (for example) with their top pick. All the signs point to a trade down into the 30’s.

My prediction is when they finally start to take players off the board — they’ll be gunning for size, athleticism and impact.

When John Schneider talked about becoming the bully again — I think it’ll mean they want to get bigger and faster. They’ve kind of emphasised speed over size since 2013. This year I’d expect physical, big, tough and athletic to be the priority.

That’s evident from the list of names they’ve met with — Ifedi, Bullard, Butler, Jones, Henry, Dodd etc.

The exception could be if they see a truly excellent EDGE available (that could be Lawson or Noah Spence). Even then a hybrid DE-DT with size and rare mobility seems much more likely on defense.

How the ideal scenario could play out

I really don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that Sheldon Rankins will fall to #26.

Daniel Jeremiah published a mock yesterday where that exact scenario happened. It’s worth noting that Jeremiah has consistently graded Rankins at about #26 on his big board. Contrast that to Mayock who has him at #11 overall.

Someone will undoubtedly take him before Seattle’s pick because he’s the most explosive defensive lineman in the draft. Here’s what would need to happen, however, for the ideal prospect to fall to the Seahawks:

1. New Orleans would need to take Paxton Lynch at #12

2. Miami and Oakland would need to pass on Darron Lee, pushing him to the Falcons

3. The Lions and Colts would need to be focused on their O-lines

4. The Bills would need to prioritise either a quarterback or an edge rusher

5. Scot McCloughan would need to be temporarily distracted or perhaps tied up and locked in a closet

6. Cincinnati would need to be totally zoned in on receivers and not put off by two going right in front of them to Houston and Minnesota

7. Pittsburgh would need to focus on their secondary

It’s asking an awful lot as you can see. You could argue stranger things have happened — but even this seems really far fetched.

Monday draft notes: Seattle’s first round dilemma

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Jason La Canfora mocked Noah Spence to the Seahawks today

Where are the special players?

The guys who are unique athletes? The guys who stand out?

This is a nice deep class overall — but there aren’t many players projected to go in the top-40 that scream ‘Seahawks’.

In the middle rounds you can come up with several examples:

Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl — explosive, long offensive tackles expected to kick inside

Connor McGovern — Missouri coached, tough and extremely explosive with the ability to emulate Mitch Morse

Tyler Ervin — an electric playmaker who plays big despite his size and has a fantastic attitude

Devon Cajuste — SPARQ demon who run blocks brilliantly, maxes out his targets and has a quirky ‘Seahawks’ receiver personality

Joel Heath — up for the challenge, incredibly athletic and could convert to the O-line

There’s also a whole host of athletic defensive backs expected to be available on day three that fit Seattle’s criteria.

Yet in terms of that perfect combination of grit, athleticism, upside and production — there aren’t a ton of options at #26.

Jonathan Bullard is a nice overall prospect — but he has limitations. Bob McGinn put out a piece today on defensive linemen and here’s the blurb on Bullard:

Considered coming out a year ago. “He was smart,” said one scout. “He had a heck of a year for them. Played his (expletive) off. He can play 3- or 5-technique. Is he a great player? No. Solid rotational player.” Finished with 175 tackles (34 for loss) and 12 sacks. Described as an “overachiever” by a second scout. “More of a strength than finesse player,” a third scout said. “He does not have the explosiveness or twitch that you’d like shedding blocks. His pass rush has no personality or power. His only source of quarterback harassment was a collapsing power rush. He’s not around the ball like he should.”

There’s a lot to like about Bullard’s game — but are the Seahawks really going to draft a “solid rotational player” in round one given their previous trends?

Vernon Butler has a nice physical profile and the players at Louisiana Tech appeared to gravitate towards him. Is he a pass rusher though? Not yet. Is he only ever going to be a one (or a three) in Seattle and is that worth a high pick in this defense?

It’s a big question on Butler — who appears to be a big favourite among NFL scouts. He does have a ton of upside though and he could be one to watch if he lasts. Here’s McGinn’s notes on Butler:

Can play anywhere across the front. “He wore a single-digit jersey, No. 9, that really made him stand out in terms of his movement skills,” said one scout. “I wouldn’t classify him as a grinder type of D-lineman. He really relies on his athletic ability. He’s got a lot of potential.” Finished with 170 tackles (29 ½ for loss) and 5 sacks. “He’s got some quickness for a big man,” said a second scout. “He’s more of a nose but he has some movement skills. He can push the pocket and get an edge on occasion.” Long arms (35). From Summit, Miss. “His body balance, bend, acceleration is very good,” a third scout said. “He’s a big finesse athlete. This year, he used his hands much better and played with better strength. He’s a little bit of a goofball, in a good way. Not a bad kid. Athletic as hell. You need the right D-line coach and then coach the crap out of him.”

For what it’s worth, McGinn has him as the #3 defensive end in the draft behind only Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner. He might not make it to #26.

Chris Jones has plenty of upside — but there are major concerns about his character. Here’s more from Bob McGinn:

Quintessential underachiever. “Boom or bust,” said one scout. “Yeah, he’s talented as hell, but his whole makeup is very, very limited. He shows everything you want in flashes, but it’s just so hit or miss. Our area guy hates him, but I bet him someone will take him in the first.” Tied for the longest arms (34 ½) and biggest hands (10 ¾) of any DT. “He’s got talent but he’s a mess as a kid,” said another scout. “He really flashes but has character concerns.” Started 16 of 39 games as a third-year junior, finishing with 102 tackles (18 for loss) and 8 ½ sacks. “He’s 6-6, he’s gonna be 320, he’s got really good feet,” a third scout said. “But he’s got two things going against him: he’s a junior from Mississippi State, and he’s not too smart (Wonderlic of 15). He’s country. He’s a bad (expletive) but he has to be more consistent.” From Houston. Added a fourth scout: “How much dog does he have in him I guess is the old phrase. They’re the same questions about Albert (Haynesworth) when he came out. At some point you figure the maturity will kick in and he’ll say, ‘You know what, this is what I want to do for a living.’ If he can get the right (coach) in his ear he can do whatever he wants to do.”

Can you really expect the Seahawks to spend a first round pick on a “quintessential underachiever”?

This trio have some positives — but the Seahawks haven’t drafted a defensive lineman earlier than the third round. Are they going to break that trend with these guys? Butler might be the most likely candidate.

This is why we brought up Bronson Kaufusi on Saturday. He might not be everyone’s favourite but at least he offers genuinely unique size and athleticism. His 4.25 short shuttle is incredible at 6-6 and 285lbs. So is his 7.03 short shuttle.

He didn’t provide a truly explosive combine (30 inch vertical, 9-3 broad) though — which was somewhat disappointing given his combination of size/quickness.

Here’s what McGinn’s sources have to say:

“Real effort player,” one scout said. “He’s smart (Wonderlic of 32), alert, instinctive. But he’s not an explosive player. He has enough strength. He knew his weaknesses and compensated well. He’s a thinking player and he has length (34 ½ arms).” Finished with 167 tackles (44 for loss) and 26 ½ sacks. Will be a 25-year-old rookie because he served a two-year Mormon mission to New Zealand. “They just think the world of him there,” another scout said. “He’s going to be a big surprise for somebody. He’s just going to get better. He’s got takeoff and speed to the corner.”

That’s quite a positive review.

If this is a case of compromise for the Seahawks with their first pick — Kaufusi might just be ‘more special’ than some of the other options. And that could put him on their radar earlier than anyone expects.

In a similar way, it’s probably what makes Germain Ifedi the odds-on favourite to be picked if they stay at #26. He has unique size (6-6, 324lbs, 36 inch arms) and athleticism (32.5 inch vertical, 9-1 broad). He isn’t Bruce Irvin or Frank Clark or Jimmy Graham — but he’s the type of player they’ve drafted early.

As Tony Pauline reported recently:

Most people I speak with feel Ifedi is a great fit for the team at the end of round one. The recurring comment is “Ifedi is a Seattle Seahawks type of lineman.”

He could easily be their pick, solidifying the left guard spot. He does compare favourably to Kelechi Osemele’s physical profile. Yet with attractive O-line options available in rounds 2-3 (Haeg, Dahl, McGovern), they might be obliged to go defense first.

And while nearly every national mock has the Seahawks taking Ryan Kelly these days — here’s a quick reminder on why that would be a major outlier based on how they’ve drafted since 2012 (click here).

All of this points to one thing — trading down.

There’s really very little difference in terms of talent between the 20th pick and the 45th. That range is going to all be about jockeying for position. Getting ahead of certain teams, moving down because you can.

None of this lends itself to any kind of ‘great deal’. You’re not going to get a 2017 first rounder. It’s more about getting into the position that suites your need.

The Seahawks should be able to find a trade partner.

According to Tony Pauline, the Ravens are keen to draft a top safety:

During combine week I mentioned on Walters Football the word around Indianapolis centered on the Baltimore Ravens dropping back into the bottom half of round one then selecting a safety. I was told last week the team loves Su’a Cravens, hence he could be the target if they trade down.

Instead of moving down from #6, could the Ravens move up ten spots from #36 and get ahead of teams like Arizona?

Such a trade could see both teams swap third rounders for a fair deal.

The Browns might look to move back into the first too. Charlie Campbell claims it’s a possibility:

In speaking to sources, the Browns and Denver Broncos have been speaking to teams to feel out potential deals to trade up from their picks at 31 (Denver) and 32.

Peter King also projects Seattle trading down with Cleveland in his mock draft today.

Either way it seems likely. And an extra fourth rounder (King’s projection) could secure a high enough pick to select Devon Cajuste on day three.

Who are some of the outsider candidates?

Moving back into round two could bring Derrick Henry into range. The Seahawks are a run-first team and Henry is one of the few ‘freaky’ athletes in this class. He’d be a size/style outlier based on what the Seahawks have previously looked for in a running back — but there aren’t many players with his combination of skills.

Henry was also on the list of confirmed VMAC visits. That said, he might be more of an option if he lasts to #56.

EDGE rusher isn’t really that much of a need. After all, the Seahawks drafted Frank Clark a year ago while Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are signed up long term. Chris Clemons was also re-signed so that’s four solid options for a healthy rotation.

However, Jason La Canfora put out a mock draft today and selected Noah Spence for the Seahawks. In the piece he admitted he was tempted to pair Emmanuel Ogbah at #26 too.

According to Zach Whitman’s Three Sigma rankings, Spence isn’t a freaky overall athlete. However, neither is Joey Bosa according to Whitman’s site — and yet it’s Bosa’s elite agility testing that makes him so interesting as a prospect (he ran an incredible 6.89 three cone and a 4.21 in the short shuttle).

How does Spence compare? He ran a very good short shuttle (4.35) but his three cone was fairly disappointing given his size (7.21). He did, however, manage a 35-inch vertical and a 10-1 in the broad jump. He had 25 reps on the bench (decent) and ran a 1.61 10-yard split (just shy of the 1.5 ‘elite’ bracket).

Yet look at the top NFL pass rushers Von Miller and Khalil Mack and see how Spence compares:

Von Miller
Height: 6-2 5/8
Weight: 246lbs
40-yd: 4.53
Broad: 10-6
Vertical: 37

Khalil Mack
Height: 6-2 5/8
Weight: 251lbs
40-yd: 4.65
Broad: 10-8
Vertical: 40

Noah Spence
Height: 6-2 1/2
Weight: 251lbs
40-yd: 4.80
Broad: 10-1
Vertical: 35

The only similarity is size. Still, we’re talking about two top-five picks and a guy who might be available at #26.

He’s a former 5-star recruit — something Pete Carroll is evidently drawn to. And here’s something else to consider — they tried Cassius Marsh at linebacker and appear to be projecting him as such again this off-season.

Here’s Marsh’s combine compared to Spence’s:

Cassius Marsh
Height: 6-4
Weight: 252lbs
Arm length: 32 3/4 inches
40-yd: 4.89
10-yd: 1.70
Vertical: 32 inches
Broad: 9-0
Bench: 14
Three cone: 7.08
Short shuttle: 4.25

Noah Spence
Height: 6-2
Weight: 251lbs
Arm length: 33 inches
40-yd: 4.80
10-yd: 1.61
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad: 10-1
Bench: 25
Three cone: 7.21
Short shuttle: 4.35

Physically there are similarities — but Spence has a lot more burst (10-yard split), explosion (broad, vertical) and he’s stronger.

On tape you see that too. Marsh wasn’t much of an edge rusher but Spence has shown to be an excellent edge rusher — albeit slightly one-dimensional (he needs to increase his repertoire).

Spence could be a candidate to play SAM/DE. Possibly. And the difference between his character issues and someone like Robert Nkemdiche is Spence actually went to Eastern Kentucky to prove to teams he’s a changed man. Nkemdiche’s issues are very much in the here and now.

The counter to this projection is fairly obvious. Seattle’s two greatest needs are a DE/DT hybrid who can kick inside on third down and the O-line. Taking an EDGE is a bit of a luxury unless, like Louis Riddick, they think he’s special:

“This is the best edge rusher in this draft… no-one has this kid’s hand use, no-one has his feel for pad-level, leverage points in terms of attacking offensive tackles and getting people on the ground.”

I would agree with Riddick — Spence is the best edge rusher in the draft. He isn’t Von Miller, Khalil Mack or Bruce Irvin though in terms of an overall athletic profile. It still shouldn’t be a total shock if they take him at #26 — or if he goes before they’re on the clock.

With a few days to go my hunch right now is they’ll trade down and take the most ‘Seahawky’ prospect on the O-line (Ifedi?) or D-line (names noted above). An EDGE or running back is a wildcard.

Are we looking at this group (in no particular order)?

Germain Ifedi
Jason Spriggs
Shon Coleman (if they see beyond the health issues)
Jonathan Bullard
Vernon Butler
Chris Jones
Bronson Kaufusi
Kevin Dodd
Noah Spence
Derrick Henry
Emmanuel Ogbah

They can draft for the O-line in rounds 2-3 if they go defense first (McGovern, Haeg, Dahl) and it won’t be a shock if they zone in on Tyler Ervin and Devon Cajuste by round four.

If you want to hold out hope on the ideal scenario coming true — Daniel Jeremiah today mocked Sheldon Rankins to the Seahawks.

Bronson Kaufusi could be Seattle’s first pick

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

There’s a very good argument for the Seahawks drafting Florida’s Jonathan Bullard. So why aren’t more people talking about Bronson Kaufusi?

Here’s the comparison:

Jonathan Bullard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 285lbs
Arm length: 33 5/8 inches
40-yd: 4.93
10-yd: 1.66
Vertical: 32 inches
Broad: 9-8
Bench: 23
Three cone: 7.31
Short shuttle: 4.56
2015 sacks: 6.5
2015 TFL’s: 17.5

Bronson Kaufusi
Height: 6-6
Weight: 285lbs
Arm length: 34 1/2 inches
40-yd: 4.87
10-yd: 1.69
Vertical: 30 inches
Broad: 9-3
Bench: 25
Three cone: 7.03
Short shuttle: 4.25
2015 sacks: 11
2015 TFL’s: 19.5

Both weigh 285lbs and ran similar times. Kaufusi’s forty is 0.06 seconds quicker and Bullard’s split is 0.03 seconds quicker. So basically the same.

Bullard performed better in the vertical (32 inches vs 30 inches) and broad (9-8 vs 9-3) and they put up similar numbers in the bench press.

However — look at the difference in the agility testing (important if you want either to play DE).

Kaufusi ran an elite 4.25 in the short shuttle compared to Bullard’s 4.56. The average time among defensive linemen at the combine was a 4.55.

In the three cone, again Kaufusi managed an elite time for his size (7.03) while Bullard recorded a 7.31. The average time this year was 7.50 seconds.

Let’s put those numbers into context. Darron Lee is 53lbs lighter than Kaufusi and ran a 4.20 in the short shuttle. That’s 0.05 seconds faster. Lee is considered an exceptional athlete at 232lbs and is expected to go in the top-15.

In the three cone Sterling Shepard ran a 7.00. He is 194lbs and ran a 4.48 in the forty. His three cone is 0.03 seconds faster than Kaufusi’s.

Will Fuller’s three cone is 0.10 seconds faster and he’s the most dynamic speed receiver in the draft — he also weighs 100lbs (!!!) less than Kaufusi.

That athleticism — along with supreme balance for his size — shows up on tape:

J.J. Watt, for what it’s worth, ran a 4.21 short shuttle at 290lbs and a 6.88 three cone. Kaufusi isn’t Watt — but who is? The short shuttle times are similar though.

I’ve seen some comparisons between Kaufusi and Margus Hunt. They ran a similar time in the three cone drill (7.03 vs 7.08) but Hunt’s short shuttle is way off at 4.51 — and he was 8lbs lighter.

We know the Seahawks, like most teams, treasure three key things:

1. Grit
2. Production
3. Freaky athleticism

Here are some select quotes used to describe Kaufusi:

“Plays with the motor expected from a coach’’s son”
Lance Zierlein

“Is a high character prospect who should only get better”
Tony Pauline

“A fighter that doesn’t back down or get discouraged”
Scouts Inc

Here’s how he’s described by his Head Coach at BYU:

In terms of production he finished ninth in the country for sacks in 2015:

Carl Nassib — 16
Emmanuel Ogbah — 13
Shaq Lawson — 13
Myles Garrett — 12
Jatavis Brown — 12
Kevin Dodd — 12
Jonathan Allen — 12
Ejuan Price — 12
Bronson Kaufusi — 11

That’s some nice company, including several first or second round picks and a potential top-five pick in 2017 (Myles Garrett).

Freaky athleticism? How about running a short shuttle and three cone as fast as some of the smaller speed receivers in the draft at 6-6 and 285lbs?

Grit, production, freaky athleticism? Kaufusi ticks every box.

Let’s go back to the comparison with Jonathan Bullard. While they have some similarities like weight and speed they’re also very different players. Bullard isn’t much of a pass rusher at DE but can play with stoutness, solidity and offer something inside at the one or three technique. Kaufusi can be an absolute demon off the edge — but how does he fit inside?

According to PFF, Kaufusi performed very well in that department:

Whether rushing the passer or playing the run as a 3-4 defensive end for BYU, Kaufusi was one of the nation’s most productive players in 2015, ranking sixth among all interior defensive linemen at +47.1. He led the way with a pass-rush productivity of 13.2, while ranking fourth in run-stop percentage at 12.1. He works non-stop, picking up clean-up pressure more than any lineman in the nation and he looks like an interior pass-rush threat at the next level as he continues to learn how to use his long frame more effectively in the running game.

If the Seahawks are looking for a DE-DT hybrid who can line up outside in base and kick inside on third down — this is another tick in the box for Kaufusi.

An anonymous scout recently told NJ.com:

“Don’t sleep on this guy. He’s a little older (25 after serving a LDS mission in New Zealand) but he’s really productive. He’s always around the ball and he’s always making plays. He could go late first.

“He’s big and very athletic. He could play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. He just needs to get stronger and I think he will.

“He has a real good burst off the ball. He looks like a basketball player (which he was his freshman year). He’s a smart kid and that doesn’t hurt either.”

It often gets said that the Seahawks like to surprise people. None of the players we’ve highlighted so far would be a surprise at #26 or after a trade down. Not Bullard, Butler, Dodd, Jones, Ifedi or Spriggs.

Kaufusi would surprise people. And yet when you compare his physical profile to the rest it stands up beautifully. He has unique athletic traits, production and grit.

The full set.

He’s also a pass rusher. The one thing that makes you pause on Vernon Butler is his lack of a pass rushing skill set. Bullard is better in that regard — but he’s not a fierce pass rusher either. Neither is Chris Jones.

If you’re taking a D-liner early, you surely want to see some pass rush?

So what does Seattle’s previous draft history tell us?

Cassius Marsh didn’t have an amazing workout pre-draft in 2014. However, at 6-4 and 252lbs he ran a 4.25 short shuttle (same as Kaufusi) and a 7.08 three cone. Those were his standout numbers.

Marsh was drafted with the eighth pick in round four. Kaufusi matched those numbers with an extra 33lbs on his frame. It might be good for a couple of rounds.

Frank Clark also ran a 7.08 in the three cone at 271lbs but he recorded a blistering 4.05 in the short shuttle. It suggests the Seahawks put a degree of emphasis on the agility tests for edge rushers. Kaufusi ran a faster three cone than Clark with a weight disadvantage of 14lbs.

People will probably hate it if he is Seattle’s first pick. Just keep this article in the back of your mind.

A quick note as well on another player we’ve talked about — Devon Cajuste. Bob McGinn has quoted an anonymous source stating the following:

“That son of a guy is talented talented,” he said. “Now he’s a weird kid but he’s talented. Not a tight end. He’d be a big slot. Excellent athlete.”

“He’s that new breed of receiving tight end,” another scout said. “Put him in the slot. I like him to a point.”

“Boy, this guy likes to sneak up on ’em. He (hit) a couple guys from UCLA and turned ’em thistle end up, I’ll tell you. … He’s one of those gliders and sliders in that you don’t have to be real fast but you time where you pop open in the seam. He’d be that fourth or fifth wide receiver who comes in on third down because he can block and catch in traffic.”

Cajuste ran the fastest three-cone drill (6.49) at the combine (all positions) and ranked fifth among all receivers this decade.

A quick reminder — he’s 234lbs, not 185lbs.

Cajuste’s run blocking, catch/target efficiency and relationship with Doug Baldwin makes it almost too easy to link him to the Seahawks.

If they can acquire an early fourth round pick — pencil him in to Seattle.

Louis Riddick’s mock draft is fascinating

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

So this is interesting for three reasons:

— Louis Riddick is connected but not in a way that’ll have agents and teams using him to put out bad information (as we see occasionally from the big ‘news breakers’)

— Riddick highlights some of the ‘chatter’ we’re currently hearing — Tunsil might fall behind Ronnie Stanley, Cleveland goes OT (before potentially trading Joe Thomas) and Vernon Hargreaves is set for a fall

— It’s unlike any other mock draft we’ve seen so far — and yet there are no stand out bizarro picks

The ideal trade down scenario?
The Seahawks have worked out or met with Reggie Ragland, Kevin Dodd, Vernon Butler, Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, Derrick Henry and Chris Jones. All seven are still on the board when they pick at #26. By the time the first round ends — only Ragland is gone.

With two teams (Arizona & Denver) selecting quarterbacks after Seattle’s pick — the Seahawks might be able to generate interest in #26. Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans are just three teams that might want to jump back into round one.

Likewise a team like Baltimore might be interested in grabbing a defensive playmaker.

With so many potential options still on the board, moving out of round one would make a lot of sense for the Seahawks if this scenario plays out.

It screams trade down.

What about Ryan Kelly?
If the Seahawks draft Kelly, you won’t hear any complaints from me. He’s a tough, solid, intelligent center. A lot of fans want him to be the guy at #26 and I understand why. It’s equally understandable why a national analyst like Riddick would pair Kelly with the Seahawks.

That said, I’m not at all convinced he’ll be their pick. It would be a distinct shift in philosophy compared to their previous first round picks.

The Seahawks under John Schneider and Pete Carroll have generally gone for difference making athleticism and unique traits early in the draft. You might well disagree with that approach — but there’s no disputing that’s what they’ve done.

Brock Huard did a good job breaking down Kelly on ESPN 710 while acknowledging he probably won’t be their guy (click here and fast forward to 24:37).

Huard sums it up perfectly. There is a lot to like about Kelly’s game — but is he a Seahawk? His physical profile doesn’t stand out. He doesn’t match-up with TEF. He jumped only an 8-7 in the broad.

You can ignore this if you want to — but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Based on the options available what would they do?
Certainly trading down is a distinct possibility. I think it’ll ultimately come down who is the most explosive defensive or offensive lineman available with the grit they cherish?

Of the players they worked out (Kevin Dodd, Vernon Butler, Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, Chris Jones) they all have different qualities. Butler is a tone-setter who players gravitate towards, Bullard plays with his hair on fire, Ifedi has explosive athleticism and a hulking frame, Dodd has the production and size to play inside/out while Jones has freakish size/length/athleticism but a questionable motor.

If they move down and grab any of that group — they’ll probably feel pretty satisfied.

Unless they truly believe in Ifedi or Spriggs — the percentages add up to going D-line first and taking two of McGovern, Haeg and Dahl (or Coleman?) in the second and third round range.

Any disagreements with Riddick’s mock?
If we’re going to see quarterbacks propelled into the late first — I think Cardale Jones and Christian Hackenburg — rather than Connor Cook — will get the push.

Cook isn’t just a character concern for teams. Some of his throws have to be seen to be believed. Hackenburg and Jones didn’t have Cook’s production at college — but they have much higher ceilings.

Keanu Neal will go in the first round in my opinion — and people will act shocked. He is a terrific, excellent football player. The Cardinals will probably run to the podium if he’s there at #29 — but keep an eye on Washington and Pittsburgh too.

That’s really about it. This is a very interesting mock draft that is different but makes a ton of sense across the board.

100 players to monitor for the Seahawks

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Sheldon Rankins probably won’t fall to #26 — but it’d be great if he did…

Here’s the premise…

— 100 players
— Realistic options only (no Laremy Tunsil)
— Players we have discussed
— Players that visited, met or worked out for the Seahawks

Some other things to consider…

— The round-by-round breakdown is just a guide
— Physical ideals & red flags were considered
— The Seahawks pick late in each round so they might take players a round early
— The UDFA’s listed are also potential 6th and 7th round picks
TEF qualifiers on the O-line we identified are highlighted in green

First round (the ideal/dream scenaro) (1)
Sheldon Rankins (DT)

Fringe first/second round (12)
Vernon Butler (DT)
Jonathan Bullard (DT)
Kevin Dodd (DE)
Shaq Lawson (DE)
Emmanuel Ogbah (DE)
Reggie Ragland (LB)
Derrick Henry (RB)
Germain Ifedi (OL)
Jason Spriggs (OL)
Ryan Kelly (OL)
Keanu Neal (S)
William Jackson III (CB)

Second round (10)
Kenneth Dixon (RB)
Braxton Miller (WR)
Sterling Shephard (WR)
Kyler Fackrell (LB)
Bronson Kaufusi (DE)
Chris Jones (DT)
Shon Coleman (OL)
Le’Raven Clark (OL)
Nick Martin (OL)
Artie Burns (CB)

Third round (17)
Connor McGovern (OL)
Joe Haeg (OL)
Joe Dahl (OL)
Tyler Ervin (RB)
Paul Perkins (RB)
Devontae Booker (RB)
Kenyan Drake (RB)
Willie Henry (DT)
Hassan Ridgeway (DT)
Jihad Ward (DT)
Javon Hargrave (DT)
Charles Tapper (DE)
Eric Murray (CB)
Darryl Worley (CB)
Joshua Perry (LB)
T.J. Green (S)
Sean Davis (S)

Round four (10)
Devon Cajuste (WR)
Ben Braunecker (TE)
Justin Simmons (S)
Miles Killebrew (S)
Ronald Blair III (DT)
Deiondre Hall (CB)
Keivarae Russell (CB)
C.J. Prosise (RB)
Jordan Howard (RB)
Dak Prescott (QB)

Round five (7)
Ricardo Louis (WR)
Moritz Boehringer (WR)
Jonathan Williams (RB)
Keith Marshall (RB)
Kevon Seymour (CB)
Travis Feeney (LB)
B.J. Goodson (LB)

Round six (6)
Joel Heath (DT)
Kenny Lawler (WR)
Jordan Payton (WR)
Daniel Braverman (WR)
Blake Countess (CB)
James Bradberry (CB)

Round seven & UDFA (37)
Rees Odhiambo (OL)
Hal Vaitai (OL)
Alex Redmond (OL)
Marcus Henry (OL)
Torian White (OL)
Justin Murray (OL)
Lene Maiava (OL)
Liam Nadler (QB)
Keenan Reynolds (QB/RB/WR)
D.J. Foster (RB/WR)
Zac Brooks (RB)
Devon Johnson (RB)
Darius Jackson (RB)
Paul McRoberts (WR)
Marquez North (WR)
Jay Lee (WR)
Jaydon Mickens (WR)
Dez Stewart (WR)
Brandon Swindall (WR)
Davonte Allen (WR)
Hakeem Valles (TE)
Terenn Houk (TE)
George Fant (TE)
Alex Balducci (DT)
D.J. Reader (DT)
Justin Zimmer (DT)
David Onyemata (DT)
Trent Corney (DE)
Alex McCallister (LB)
Christian French (LB)
DeAndre Elliott (CB)
Rashard Robinson (CB)
Brandon Williams (CB)
William Parks (S)
Andrew Adams (S)
Taj Letman (S)
D.J. Hunter (S)

Updated two-round mock draft: Eagles move up to #2

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

The Cleveland Browns — a franchise in dire need of an answer at quarterback — clearly don’t think much of the guy the Rams aren’t drafting.

Today they traded with the Eagles, dropping down to #8 and sacrificing the chance to get one of the perceived top two quarterbacks.

So what do we learn from this deal?

— All the talk was that Cleveland wanted Jared Goff. This latest trade suggests the Rams will be taking him at #1 and the Browns weren’t in love with Carson Wentz.

— The Eagles are making a big splash despite already re-signing Sam Bradford and adding Chase Daniel. If there’s one position worth overloading — this is it. Unlike the Rams, Philadelphia can afford to sit their rookie for at least a year or two.

— The Browns might still take a quarterback at #8. Paxton Lynch is the forgotten man of this QB class but arguably has greater upside than both Goff and Wentz. He also has the kind of signature win (vs Ole Miss) that Goff lacked at Cal.

— Cleveland might trade down again. Anyone who wants Lynch (Jets? Bills?) might be forced to negotiate with the Browns (providing San Francisco doesn’t take him). Could they drop as far as #20 while accumulating extra stock in the middle rounds and 2017?

— Another option is Cleveland trades Joe Thomas and takes a left tackle at #8. Tony Pauline earlier today described Thomas as a “locker room lawyer”. The Seahawks appear set with Garry Gilliam as their left tackle so no, I wouldn’t expect Seattle to be interested. They don’t have the cap room either.

— We’ve mentioned a few times the likelihood of three quarterbacks going in the top ten and consistently mocked that scenario. What about the rest of round one? Jon Gruden predicted as many as five or six quarterback would go in round one recently. Christian Hackenburg, Connor Cook and Cardale Jones might find themselves thrust into the first frame.

Here’s an updated two-round mock draft with trades (explanations below)…

Los Angeles (#15) >>> Tennessee (#1)
This deal has already been concluded for a king’s ransom. The Rams moved up to secure their quarterback — presumably Jared Goff.

Philadelphia (#8) >>> Cleveland (#2)
The Eagles move up to #2 where they’re expected to draft Carson Wentz as their quarterback of the future.

Tampa Bay (#9) >>> Jacksonville (#5)
The Buccs offer up their second round pick to grab an impact defensive lineman. It’s their biggest need — and with this move they can put Joey Bosa on the same line as Gerald McCoy. The Jags move down knowing they will get either Myles Jack or Sheldon Rankins.

New York Jets (#20) >>> Cleveland (#8)
In this scenario the Browns make it clear they will draft Paxton Lynch if no deal is forthcoming — and the Jets take the bait. The Browns collect another second round pick this year and the Jets’ #1 pick in 2017.

Tennessee (#33) >>> Cincinnati (#24)
The Bengals are said to be looking for a receiver and can drop down into the early second round and get a good one if it plays out like this. The Titans jump back into the first round to get a left tackle (Jason Spriggs).

Baltimore (#36) >>> Seattle (#26)
The Ravens move up to secure a replacement for Kelechi Osemele (Germain Ifedi) and the Seahawks move down ten spots. The two teams swap third round picks. The Seahawks get #70, the Ravens #90. The trade chart says Baltimore wins the deal by 60 points but Seattle might take the hit for the early third rounder.

New York Giants (#40) >>> Denver (#31)
The Broncos once traded out of the late first round with Tampa Bay and the Buccs drafted Doug Martin. The two teams simply swapped fifth round picks. History could repeat — with the Giants getting a bargain deal to select Derrick Henry.

Round one

Trading teams are highlighted in capitals

#1 LOS ANGELES — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#2 PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#3 San Diego — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#4 Dallas — Jalen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#5 TAMPA BAY — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#6 Baltimore — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#7 San Fran — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#8 NEW YORK JETS — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#9 JACKSONVILLE — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#10 New York Giants — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#11 Chicago — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#15 Tennessee — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#18 Indianapolis — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#19 Buffalo — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#20 CLEVELAND — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#21 Washington — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#22 Houston — Hunter Henry (TE, Arkansas)
#23 Minnesota — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#24 TENNESSEE — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#25 Pittsburgh — Kendall Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
#26 BALTIMORE — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#27 Green Bay — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#28 Kansas City — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#29 Arizona — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#30 Carolina — Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State)
#31 NEW YORK GIANTS — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)

Round two

#32 Cleveland — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#33 CINCINNATI — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#34 Dallas — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
#35 San Diego — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#36 SEATTLE — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#37 San Francisco — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
#38 Jacksonville — Artie Burns (CB, Miami)
#39 JACKSONVILLE — Bronson Kaufusi (DE, BYU)
#40 DENVER — Connor Cook (QB, Michigan State)
#41 Chicago — Le’Raven Clark (T, Texas Tech)
#42 Miami — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#43 TENNESSEE — A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
#44 Oakland — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
#45 TENNESSEE — Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
#46 Detroit — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
#47 New Orleans — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
#48 Indianapolis — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
#49 Buffalo — Christian Hackenburg (QB, Penn State)
#50 Atlanta — Hassan Ridgeway (DT, Texas)
#51 CLEVELAND — Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)
#52 Houston — Cody Whitehair (T, Kansas State)
#53 Washington — Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
#54 Minnesota — Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
#55 Cincinnati — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
#56 Seattle — Connor McGovern (T, Missouri)
#57 Green Bay — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
#58 Pittsburgh — Su’a Cravens (S, USC)
#59 Kansas City — Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
#60 New England — Devontae Booker (RB, Utah)
#61 New England — Sean Davis (CB, Maryland)
#62 Carolina — Kenneth Dixon (RB, Louisiana Tech)
#63 Denver — Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State)

Seahawks picks — rounds 3-7

#70 Joe Dahl (T, Washington State) or Joe Haeg (T, North Dakota State)
#97 Tyler Ervin (RB, San Jose State)
#124 Devon Cajuste (WR, Stanford)
#171 Justin Simmons (S, Boston College)
#215 Joel Heath (DT, Michigan State)
#225 DeAndre Elliott (CB, Colorado State)
#247 Alex Balducci (DT, Oregon)

In this mock the Seahawks address key needs at DT-DE (Jonathan Bullard) and the O-line (Connor Mcgovern and one of Joe Dahl or Joe Haeg). McGovern and Dahl could go into camp competing at guard and center, while Haeg has a classic guard frame but could be a swing tackle.

Tyler Ervin adds another X-factor to the offense while Devon Cajuste fills the Ricardo Lockette/Chris Matthews role. Justin Simmons would provide raw athleticism at safety and he could be trained to be a hybrid deathbacker.

Joel Heath is a possible D-line to O-line convert in the sixth round range, DeAndre Elliott fits their physical profile at cornerback and Alex Balducci would provide some depth to the D-line. There’s a cluster of very interesting possible priority UDFA’s.

Tomorrow I’ll be publishing a 100-prospect watch-list for the Seahawks with players listed round-by-round (includes UDFA’s).

Podcast and some personal views on the draft

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

With less than 10 days to go, in this edition of the podcast we run through some of the big talking points and yesterday’s ‘mock draft with trades’. Check it out:

I noticed a few interesting comments in response to yesterday’s mock draft. The general gist was that Germain Ifedi had become ‘our guy’ and that we were ‘overrating’ his talent.

I want to take a moment today to clarify a few things.

This blog is very active during the college football season and not just in the January-April ‘draft months’. We spend a lot of time reviewing different prospects, discussing options and debating team needs.

Among the players we focused on and considered were: Shon Coleman, Will Fuller, Keanu Neal, Derrick Henry and Nick Martin. That’s just a small sample.

When we get this close to the draft — we have a lot more information to hand. We have combine and pro-day numbers to review, we know what the team did in free agency and we know the holes they need to fill.

The reason we’ve projected Ifedi to the Seahawks frequently isn’t necessarily based on a personal assertion that he’s going to be the next Walter Jones. While you may not like the pick or have a certain opinion on Ifedi — it doesn’t mean the Seahawks will agree with you.

Simply selecting the most popular player for the Seahawks and creating a mini campaign for that prospect isn’t something I want to get into. I see on social media almost a cult-like status developing for Ryan Kelly. And yet when we look at Seattle’s draft history under Carroll and Schneider (no pure center’s drafted, focus on explosion) Kelly would be something of an outlier.

The intention is not to create a fervour for one guy and then react to the inevitable disappointment when the Seahawks do something else. The aim of the blog is to review what is most likely — focus on a collection of players without picking favourites and try to understand why they might be drafted by Seattle.

If they go in a different direction — that’s good because we can look at the reasons why.

Yet the selection of Ifedi in this instance is not just a personal fantasy lived out in print form. It’s a pick made because whether you like it or not — it makes sense.

For example:

— Our TEF study revealed and helped us to understand Seattle’s focus on explosive athletes on the offensive line. Ifedi ranked #3 only to Jason Spriggs and Connor McGovern in weighted TEF.

— Respected Draft Insider Tony Pauline has twice reported interest from the Seahawks in Ifedi, noting recently: “Most people I speak with feel Ifedi is a great fit for the team at the end of round one. The recurring comment is ‘Ifedi is a Seattle Seahawks type of lineman’.”

— The Seahawks have looked for size (320lbs) at right tackle and left guard. Look at J’Marcus Webb, Justin Britt, James Carpenter and Robert Gallery. Ifedi’s physical profile is a perfect match.

— The Seahawks have consistently looked to draft unique traits and athletic upside early. Ifedi has 36 inch arms and jumped 32.5 inches in the vertical and 9-1 in the broad. That’s freaky at 6-6 and 324lbs.

None of this means the Seahawks will definitely draft Ifedi — but I’m sure you can accept why the projection is being made.

From a personal point of view I’d like nothing more than for the Seahawks to draft Shon Coleman. Regulars during the 2015 college will know how highly we rated him, including this piece from mid-October titled:

‘Is Shon Coleman the best tackle in college?’

You hear a lot about Ronnie Stanley, Taylor Decker, Jack Conklin and a few others.

Not enough people are talking about Auburn offensive tackle Shon Coleman.

He has everything you want in a NFL starting OT. He’s too powerful for college defensive linemen — when he locks on it’s over. He doesn’t get beat with the bull rush. He drives people off the ball in short yardage situations. He has that nasty element to his game you want to see — and he LOVES to get to the second level. He can kick-slide with fluidity, takes good angles and he isn’t troubled by speed off the edge. He has a very natural shuffle and mirror and he maintains balance at all times.

I’ve watched several Auburn games this season and I’m struggling to find many flaws.

He’s a monster.

Not only is Coleman an inspirational human being — his attitude in beating cancer is positively fantastic. Watch this video below:

This quote stands out every time I hear it:

When I found out it (cancer) was in remission I knew it was time to get back to business.”

The words are said with a confident nod and a steely look in his eye. No thoughts other than ‘get me my pads’.

His tape, in my view, is fantastic. Punishing, physical. He frequently speaks about his passion for run blocking. No offensive lineman in this draft plays with his edge. He’ll dump you on your ass before leaning over to tell you it’ll happen again on the next play. In pass protection he handled Texas A&M’s sensational edge rusher Myles Garrett just as well as Laremy Tunsil did.

Here’s Coleman blocking possible top-15 pick Leonard Floyd into the parking lot despite playing with a torn MCL:

In so many ways he is an ideal Seahawk. Grit, passion for the game, overcoming extreme adversity, physicality, attitude, run blocking.

If the Seahawks draft Coleman I’ll make my wife give me a high-five.

The problem, however, is that Coleman is recovering from a torn and repaired MCL. The Seahawks just let an often-injured Russell Okung depart for Denver. Are they going to take a chance on a player that has endured the most terrifying health problems already in his career and now has a knee injury?

Especially when there are alternatives that are younger, with as much upside and are currently healthy?

These are the things I have to consider when putting together a mock draft. It doesn’t mean I don’t want them to draft Coleman or that I prefer him over Ifedi.

My best case scenario is probably similar to a lot of people’s. In fact even those who want to go in a different direction will probably approve of my ideal draft:

— Add explosive, physical, tough, punishing linemen on both sides of the ball in rounds one and two

— Find a way to add one of Vernon Butler, Sheldon Rankins or Jonathan Bullard

— Hopefully they’re satisfied with Shon Coleman’s health and draft him too

— Find a running back who can compete for snaps immediately with Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael

— Increase the competition and quality of the O-line with at least one, maybe two extra additions in the middle/later rounds

— Add a big, athletic, physical receiver in rounds 4-5 to compliment the quicker options they already have

— Draft a hybrid secondary prospect (or two) on day three with major athletic upside and see if they can play safety/linebacker/deathbacker

In this scenario you’re getting an amped up, explosive defensive lineman who can play DE and DT. Players gravitate to Butler and he was the heart and soul of the Louisiana Tech defense. Bullard likewise has amazing character and plays with a major chip on his shoulder.

Rankins is the most explosive defensive lineman in the draft based on our research.

Coleman loves to hit people in the mouth and bully linebackers at the second level. He’s a terrific run blocker with a desire to play in a scheme like Seattle’s. He can also slot in at left guard or right tackle.

The rest is straight forward — help at RB, WR, DB/LB and more competition on the O-line.

However — I make this projection without any knowledge on Coleman’s knee injury or what his physical profile is (he hasn’t worked out). I don’t know whether Butler lasts until #26 — Rankins almost certainly won’t.

So we work from the information we do have — and what might be likely or possible.

If it was down to me the Seahawks wouldn’t have traded for Percy Harvin in 2013 and would’ve taken DeAndre Hopkins — in this piece I talked about how he was a legit top-20 talent:

Time to start a new bandwagon. A DeAndre Hopkins shaped bandwagon.

Without any doubt at all, he’s a stud. Any doubts about this guy need to be firmly removed following an incredible solo-performance against mighty LSU yesterday. He’s a top-20 talent who may go later… and a smart team will be ready to capitalise.

Or they might’ve gone for Kawann Short with their pick at #25 — who we declared should’ve been on their radar in round one:

Nobody should panic if Kawann Short is the best defensive tackle available when the Seahawks are on the clock. He’d be a fine choice with the #25 pick.

Ultimately the Seahawks drafted neither and went for the upside and fireworks of Harvin. Yet if you disagree with that move and other subsequent moves — you take away one of the main reasons this team has succeeded with personnel. Their desire to find special talent they can develop is what brought Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and others to this roster.

We have to project what they might do — not what we hope they do. So if Ifedi is the pick at #26 in our final mock draft (FYI I haven’t decided yet) it won’t necessarily be because we think he’s gods gift to pass protection (although I do think his tape is better than some people are willing to give him credit for).