Archive for the ‘Scouting Report’ Category

Thoughts on Jarran Reed & Rees Odhiambo

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
Who really expected Reed to last until pick #49? We had him at #16 in our final mock draft to the Detroit Lions.

The Seahawks love to be unconventional and so it proved again this year. While the rest of the NFL sought three-down prospects who can play in a world dominated by nickel defense and high-octane passing offenses — the Seahawks took a fierce run-defender and a blocking tight end (Nick Vannett) before the end of day two.

Having dragged the entire league into a new modern era — the Seahawks seem to be re-establishing the core foundation of what really made them successful. For all the new-age thinking and the many ways they’ve revolutionised the NFL — the Seahawks’ style of play is classical all the way.

Run the ball. Stop the run. Force turnovers. Protect the ball.

If you like tough football dripping with blood and sweat in the trenches — you’ll love Jarran Reed. I watched four games in the last 24 hours and didn’t see a single play where he lost leverage or was shoved into the backfield.

I’ve watched a lot of defensive linemen since starting the blog in 2008. Only Ndamukong Suh had quite this level of toughness up front.

Now let’s get one thing straight here — Reed is not Suh. For such an immovable object at the LOS he’s not the most effective bull rusher. He does have better athleticism than you’d think — and he played some DE as well as lining up inside. He can get into the backfield and chase down a quarterback.

He just isn’t Suh.

And that doesn’t matter.

In Seattle he’s going to be a run defender. I suspect he’ll continue to play some DE mixed in with most of his snaps at DT. He’s an absolute beast vs the run. He locks out brilliantly, controlling one or sometimes two blockers while somehow managing to locate the ball and make the tackle. He had more tackles than any other Alabama defensive lineman in 2014 and 2015 and it’s easy to see why.

Even as he controls the LOS he disengages like a savvy veteran. It’s a thing of beauty. You hardly ever see him linger on a block for more than a split second. When he needs to get clean and go chase the football — he’ll do it. When he finds the ball carrier he can pursue and finish and he’s a powerful form-tackler.

You never see him knocked off balance or on the turf. When he sets position and plants his legs — you’re not going to move him. He took on several double teams vs LSU and Clemson in particular and just maintained the original LOS. There’s no push. On one snap vs Tennessee he held up two blockers allowing linebacker Reggie Ragland a clean route to hammer the running back for a jarring hit.

Watching him next to A’Shawn Robinson is ideal. Robinson is passive and doesn’t play with the same level of sheer intensity. Reed is the tone-setter, the natural leader. His motor never stopped while Robinson was too often happy to stay blocked.

It helped that Reed was used in a heavy rotation and played about 60-70% of the snaps. The Seahawks would be wise to use him in the same way — and they can afford to with their new-found depth up front.

Watch the video below and fast forward to 2:09:10. This is the fourth quarter of the Senior Bowl — a showpiece finale to the more important week of workouts and drills.

Jarran Reed had just played in the National Championship game a couple of weeks earlier and didn’t even need to show up in Mobile (Ryan Kelly the center chose not to attend and compete). In the game he’d already made a big splash — chasing down Carson Wentz on one eye-catching play in the first quarter. Yet even with the game won and with just over five minutes to play — this is the kind of impact he was having:

Snap 1 — 2nd and 15
Reed disengages, chases down Jeff Driskel and tackles him from behind for a short gain. He dances in celebration.

Snap 2 — 3rd and 12
Short throw to Tyler Ervin. Jarran Reed disengages, retreats and again makes the tackle from behind to prevent the first down.

Snap 3 — 4th an 1
Tyler Ervin runs to try and make the first down. Reed escapes his block and helps stop the RB for a loss. Turnover on downs.

The Seahawks value gap discipline and he’s adept here. He does his job first and foremost and then looks for the ball. He’s not a one-gap penetrator but again — the Seahawks don’t need him to be. They’ll get their pass rush from Bennett, Avril, Clemons, Clark and hopefully Jefferson and Hill.

If he can control the LOS and absorb blocks like he did at the college level (that remains to be seen) it’ll create a lot of 1v1 opportunities for the DE working his side of the field plus Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

Reed barely has any flaws. He’s just not a prolific pass rusher. The modern NFL has deemed that isn’t valuable enough to go early. The Seahawks saw an opportunity and grabbed it. More power to them.

If they wanted to become the bully again in 2016 — this was the guy to draft. Nobody embodies that identity more than Jarran Reed.

Daniel Jeremiah’s ranking of Reed (#13 overall in the class) was totally justified. The Seahawks stole one here.

Rees Odhiambo (T, Boise State)
I could only find one video for Odhiambo (vs Virginia) so it’s difficult to judge him (the usual minimum is three games). Even so, here’s what I noted…

In terms of agility you can see why the Seahawks’ sport science guys supposedly really value his upside. At 6-4 and 314lbs he moves really well. He has one of the best kick-slides you’ll see in this class and he had no issues at all setting his stance, re-setting, keeping the defender in front and mirroring.

There’s a lot to like about his fit in the ZBS. He’s an athlete for sure.

His upper body power was obvious and looks like another key characteristic the Seahawks valued. He delivered several jolts and he can hand-fight. As a run blocker he stoned a couple of defenders with a really nice piece of hand-use, gaining leverage and finishing.

Combining strength and mobility appears to be a major emphasis at the moment. It’s almost like a return to the ZBS roots albeit with size thrown into the mix (Joey Hunt, a classic ZBS center, is the exception).

On the slightly negative side though there wasn’t a clear edge to Odhimabo’s play and you’d love to see him knocking some helmet’s like we saw from Shon Coleman at Auburn. At tackle he’s a bit of a lunger and he sometimes overextends. Moving him inside will limit some of his weaknesses and bring out his power/agility.

To that extent he’s an exciting project for Tom Cable. He’s big, strong and mobile. Everything you hear about him suggests he’s a quick learner, he’s intelligent and a good worker. There’s no real pressure for him to start immediately (Mark Glowsinki appears to be pencilled in at left guard) and in a years time he could be really pushing to be the long term answer at that position.

Even though he’s better suited inside — like Ifedi he also has some swing-tackle benefits.

The key is health. He’s missed at least four games in each of the last three seasons. Injuries have been an issue for the Seahawks O-line in the past due to the physical nature of the scheme and their running style.

If he can avoid injuries he has a shot. John Schneider suggested this week he could’ve been a top-45 prospect without the health problems. At the very least it’ll be good to see legitimate competition across the O-line this summer — something the Seahawks badly lacked a year ago.

If you missed any of our other reviews so far, here’s the list:

Germain Ifedi
Joey Hunt
Nick Vannett & Alex Collins

At the moment there isn’t any Draft Breakdown tape of Quinton Jefferson and only a highlights video on Youtube. It’s not ideal but it is all-22:

We talked about him briefly in this weeks podcast, plus Kenny Lawler and Zac Brooks.

C.J. Prosise is someone we often discussed during the season and in the early part of the post-season. His role has been pretty much established as the third down back. He has excellent burst to the second level, is capable of taking a run to the house but he also has plenty of experience running routes as a former receiver. Expect him to wind up being the running back in the two minute drill.

We touched on some of the UDFA’s in the podcast but it’s a really good group.

Tyvis Powell has genuine Deone Bucannon potential. Brandin Bryant’s tape is fantastic and matches up with a tremendous pre-draft workout. He might be their most exciting UDFA signing if they can tap into his potential.

Cornerback DeAndre Elliott is someone we identified post-combine as a real candidate for Seattle — he ticks all the boxes in terms of playing style, size, length and range. George Fant could be the next Garry Gilliam while Christian French and Steve Longa will battle with the existing linebackers in one of the more intriguing camp battles.

Tanner McEvoy is 6-5, 231lbs and an amazing athlete. He could be their next Jameson Konz-style project because he doesn’t really have a set position. Montese Overton and David Perkins have a shot to make the team and who would rule out Trevone Boykin landing as a future backup for Russell Wilson?

The sheer depth of numbers and quality from the 2016 draft and UDFA could create a 2013 level of depth for the Seahawks.

I’ll be posting a 2017 top-25 summer watch list tomorrow and then taking a break. If anything happens (a podcast or radio appearance, some breaking news) I’ll make sure it’s posted on the blog.

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.

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)

Introducing weighted TEF & what it tells us

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Germain Ifedi — 324 x 2.97 x 0.1 = 96.1

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

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

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

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

Average score: 82.1

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

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

Average score: 97.9

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

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

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

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

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

What about defense?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

La Canfora’s draft notes

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

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

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

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

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

— Expect the Eagles to draft Ezekiel Elliott

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

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

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

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

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

Just look at the results above in weighted TEF.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

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

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

— At least a 9″ broad jump

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

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

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

(ID = insufficient data to calculate)

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

Trenton Brown — 2.23
Denzelle Good — 2.76

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

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

Of that five, the Seahawks drafted three:

R4 Terry Poole
R4 Mark Glowinski
R6 Kristjan Sokoli

R7 Corey Robinson
R7 Laurence Gibson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is center an outlier?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fight fire with fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hatching a plan

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

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

The ideal pick?

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

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

How TEF helps explain the Justin Britt pick in 2014

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

The Seahawks took Justin Britt in the second round of the 2014 draft

John Schneider spoke to ESPN 710’s Brock and Salk show today. He had this to say about the offensive line class in the draft:

“It’s a good group. It’s better than it has been in several years. There doesn’t appear to be as many drop-offs, if you will. I remember talking to you guys about Justin Britt. We felt like we needed to take Justin right where we did because there was a huge shelf there, a big drop-off. This one looks pretty consistent all the way through at this point.”

Yesterday we revealed a new equation called the ‘Trench Explosion Formula’ (TEF). It combines a prospects vertical jump, broad jump and bench press to create a rating that directly compares to Seattle’s self-confessed ideals for the O-line.

The formula is explained in great detail here. It paints a pretty clear picture on Seattle’s O-line/draft philosophy.

The Seahawks have not drafted an offensive lineman since 2012 that has graded below their cumulative ideal using TEF. Justin Britt in 2014 had the lowest grade and even he scored a perfectly ideal 3.00 using the formula.

In yesterday’s piece I suggested the Seahawks reached for Britt because he was the last player on their board in the round 2-4 range that matched their physical ideal. Today we have the proof — and it backs up what Schneider told ESPN 710 today.

Only four offensive tackles were drafted between Seattle’s selection of Britt in round two and Garrett Scott, who they drafted in round six:

#64 Justin Britt 3.00
#66 Morgan Moses: 2.69
#67 Billy Turner: 2.83
#140 Cameron Fleming: 2.45
#149 Kevin Pamphile: 2.96
#199 Garrett Scott: 3.27

Remember, anything at 3.00 or above matches Seattle’s cumulative ideal for explosive offensive linemen. They haven’t drafted any player with a sub-3.00 since 2012.

This 2014 sample doesn’t look at all like a coincidence. The Seahawks were willing to reach for Britt because he matched their performance ideals in the explosive tests (vertical, broad, jump). No other offensive linemen available at the end of the second round got close to that level.

If nothing else, it proves we’re onto something with our new formula.

Ultimately, had they missed out on Britt — there’s a very strong chance they wouldn’t have drafted a tackle in 2014 until Scott in round six. They had a gaping hole at right tackle and needed to get one.

Reaching for Britt looks like a classic example of what Pete Carroll often refers to. They draft for their team — not everyone else in the NFL. The Seahawks clearly want explosive offensive linemen and they have a standard they appear to be sticking to. TEF shows Britt was explosive in comparison to Seattle’s self-confessed ideal. Moses, Turner, Fleming and Pamphile were not.

When Schneider talks about a ‘big shelf’ in 2014 and how this draft is different — it likely means they can add guys who fit their proposed criteria without needing to panic and fear missing out altogether.

In the first round they can consider the likes of Jason Spriggs and potentially Germain Ifedi and Shon Coleman. Later on they’ll have the option to target Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl and Alex Redmond. They should be able to draft two players they really like in rounds 1-4, without ever feeling like they have to reach.

We talked more about TEF in this weeks podcast. Don’t forget to check it out:

Introducing: The Trench Explosion Formula (TEF)

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Jason Spriggs attempts the vertical jump at the combine

Last week we looked at a basic formula devised by Pat Kirwan to determine explosion and athleticism. Kirawn, who is close to Pete Carroll, added a players broad jump, vertical and bench press statistic together to create an overall ‘explosion’ score.

For example:

Jason Spriggs
Vertical: 35
Broad: 9.7
Bench: 31
Overall score: 75.7

Anything over 70 was considered explosive.

The problem with the formula is it diminishes the broad jump. If you jump a 9-7 like Spriggs you’re only 0.6 points better off than a prospect that jumps a 9-1.

Spriggs’ score with a 9-7 broad jump: 75.7

Spriggs’ score with a 9-1 broad jump: 75.1

Clearly the broad jump is disproportionately represented.

We needed to create a new formula that shows greater value to the broad. This is especially important because as we noted last week — the Seahawks appear to place an extra special emphasis on the broad jump when drafting offensive linemen.

Here’s how BodyBuilding.com describes the test and how it compares to the vertical jump:

“The broad jump expresses horizontal power, which is more specific to football motions than vertical power. Vertical power helps you go up for a ball, bat down passes or hurdle defenders; horizontal power helps you cover the full 5300 square yards of the ironed grid. A pure acceleration step expresses horizontal power.”

Tom Cable admitted a year ago that the ideal athletic profile for a Seahawks offensive lineman is as follows:

Vertical: 31 inches
Broad: 9-0
Bench: 27 reps

I refer to this ideal as ’31 — 9 — 27′.

We can use the following calculation to compare any offensive lineman to Cable’s ideal:

1. Vertical ÷ 31
2. Broad ÷ 9, then cube the result
3. Bench ÷ 27
4. Add the results together

I cubed the broad jump to give it greater emphasis. This is explained later in the piece.

Here’s what the ideal (31 — 9 — 27) would look like using this formula:

1. Vertical: 31 ÷ 31 = 1
2. Broad: 9 ÷ 9 = 1, cubed = 1
3. Bench: 27 ÷ 27 = 1
4. Added together the ideal score is 3.00

What is the benefit of the formula?

1. It provides leeway. If a prospect scores a slightly less than ideal score in the vertical jump, they can still achieve a +3.00 if they excel in the broad jump and/or bench press. A really explosive broad jumper who doesn’t quite bench 27 reps isn’t being severely critiqued for missing the ideal in one test.

2. We’re comparing a prospect to the self-confessed ideal of Seattle’s offensive line coach. Rather than just adding up a set of numbers, the grade is directly relevant to the Seahawks.

Why cube the broad jump score?

Let’s use Jason Spriggs’ score to highlight why this is important:

1. Vertical: 35 ÷ 31 = 1.13
2. Broad: 9.7 ÷ 9 = 1.1
3. Broad cubed = 1.26
4. Bench: 31 ÷ 27 = 1.15
5. Added together Spriggs’ score is 3.54

Spriggs’ 9-7 in the broad jump is arguably more impressive than his 35 inch vertical or his 31 reps on the bench press. Without cubing his 1.1 score in the broad it would actually be marked as his weakest test. Instead it is correctly highlighted as his best work.

This is significant given Seattle’s clear interest in explosive measurements in the broad jump.

Does the formula have a name?

It tests the explosive physicality of players competing in the trenches. Let’s go with the ‘Trench Explosion Formula’ or ‘TEF’ for short.

How does every Seahawks offensive lineman drafted since 2012 score?

Here’s the first revealing bit. Every single player tested at or beyond Seattle’s ideal of 3.00:

Mark Glowinski: 3.34
Terry Poole: 3.12
Kristjan Sokoli: 3.75
Justin Britt: 3.00
Garrett Scott: 3.27
Ryan Seymour: 3.10
Jared Smith: 3.35
J.R. Sweezy: 3.13
Gary Gilliam (UDFA): 3.09

Only Glowinski, Sokoli and Smith actually achieved Cable’s ideal of 31 — 9 — 27 in all three tests (vertical, broad, bench). Yet when we put every prospect into our new TEF formula, they all test cumulatively above the ideal.

Justin Britt, the weakest tester of the group, still scores a perfectly ideal 3.00. The formula also represents Kristjan Sokoli’s incredible athleticism (no player in the entire 2016 draft class comes close to Sokoli’s 3.75).

We have no way of knowing for sure — but it might be that while the Seahawks are willing to concede a lower than ideal 31 inch measurement in the vertical jump or a few reps below 27 in the bench — they might insist on a cumulative ideal of the three key tests plus at least a 9″ broad jump.

So what about the 2016 class of offensive linemen?

When I put every offensive lineman through the formula, only six players hit the ideal mark of 3.00:

Jason Spriggs: 3.54
Connor McGovern: 3.29
Alex Redmond: 3.10
Joe Haeg: 3.06
Joe Dahl: 3.05
Joe Thuney: 3.04

Shon Coleman hasn’t performed the necessary tests due to injury and wasn’t included.

The defensive linemen in this class performed significantly better than the O-liners (we’ll come onto that in a moment). However, only two players (Sheldon Rankins, Dean Lowry) got close to Jason Spriggs’ score of 3.54.

Tony Pauline reported today that Spriggs is expected to go in the last third of the first round. He looks like a very realistic option for the Seahawks at #26 based on these findings.

With a growing discrepancy between offensive and defensive players in terms of athleticism — Spriggs is the offensive lineman best equipped to compete physically with the best defensive players in this draft and the league in general.

It’s not unrealistic that the Seahawks have a similar shortlist of only a handful of names. In 2014 the Seahawks ‘reached’ for little known Justin Britt in round two. People wondered why they made that pick — with the perception it was just down to Britt’s wrestling background and a healthy dose of Tom Cable admiration.

Britt scored an ideal 3.00. If the Seahawks in 2014 were working from a small target pool of 4-6 players that achieved their ideal explosive rating, Britt might’ve been the last prospect available they were willing to select. Put into this context, it arguably makes Seattle’s thought process much more understandable (even if you don’t agree with their philosophy to focus on explosive athleticism on the O-line).

What about the players grading below the ideal?

Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 2.97
Germain Ifedi: 2.97
Brandon Shell: 2.91
Ryan Kelly: 2.84
Jake Brendel: 2.83
Joshua Garnett: 2.83
Christian Westerman: 2.82
Isaac Seumalo: 2.81
Tyler Johnstone: 2.81
Jack Conklin: 2.77
Le’Raven Clark: 2.74
Nick Martin: 2.67
Graham Glasgow: 2.66
Evan Boehm: 2.51
Taylor Decker: 2.50
Cody Whitehair: 2.47
Sebastien Tretola: 2.16

What stands out?

— While Cody Whitehair jumped a 9-2 in the broad, his weak efforts in the vertical and bench hammered his score. He is well beneath the physical standard of Seattle’s drafted offensive linemen since 2012.

— Taylor Decker is marginally better than Whitehair. His combination of tests were mediocre across the board and like Whitehair, it would be a major departure from their previous draft habits if they were to select him at #26 this year.

— Germain Ifedi didn’t hit the ideal mark because he managed 24 reps on the bench instead of the ideal 27. I suspect the Seahawks would be completely satisfied with a score of 2.97 due to his size. Ifedi does have unusually long 36 inch arms which is probably worthy of the extra bench reps to get him to 3.00. He jumped a 32.5 inch vertical at 324lbs.

— Ryan Kelly and Jack Conklin, two big name prospects that are widely considered ‘athletic’ offensive linemen, both tested well below Seattle’s cumulative ideal for explosion. Only four defensive linemen at the combine tested worse than Kelly using our formula and only three worse than Conklin. The reality is neither player is that athletic compared to the players they’ll be competing against in the trenches — and they aren’t among the most athletic offensive linemen in this draft either.

Is size a factor?

It’s difficult to incorporate size into the equation. We know the Seahawks have certain physical ideals at other positions. They haven’t drafted an outside cornerback, for example, with sub-32 inch arms.

Equally they haven’t drafted an offensive lineman under Carroll and Schneider with sub-33 inch arms. That could equally be an important marker. Of the six names above who scored higher than 3.00 — only Joe Thuney has sub-33 inch arms (32 1/4 inches). That could rule him out.

If a prospect has unnatural size and length (Germain Ifedi) that could also factor in if they fall just short of the 3.00 ideal.

What can we deduce from all of this?

We’ll find out later this month but of the combine attendees, the Seahawks might be picking only from the following offensive linemen:

Jason Spriggs
Connor McGovern
Alex Redmond
Joe Haeg
Joe Dahl
Germain Ifedi

Shon Coleman could be added to the list in the future, plus any pro-day/VMAC standouts that didn’t perform at the combine.

Is there a wildcard?

We know they like a defensive convert project. Michigan State’s Joel Heath is an ideal candidate at 6-5, 293lbs with 34.5 inch arms. He scored a 3.21 which would’ve put him third on the list of offensive linemen behind only Jason Spriggs and Connor McGovern.

How do the defensive prospects compare?

It often gets said that the best athletes are choosing to play defense in college. This isn’t always easy to prove. People look at Jason Spriggs’ athletic profile and wonder how a prospect like Sheldon Rankins can even begin to compare.

After all, does this guy really look like one of the most explosive athletes in the 2016 draft?

Actually, that’s the perfect way to describe Rankins.

Yes he’s 6-1 and 300lbs. He also scored superbly in the three explosive tests. His score is a 3.52 — second only to Dean Lowry among defensive linemen and outscoring every offensive linemen apart from Jason Spriggs.

Rankins is much more explosive than Robert Nkemdiche, Shawn Oakman and Emmanuel Ogbah. Looks, in this case, can be deceiving. This is why he is without a shadow of a doubt going in the top-15. This formula gives us evidence to argue that case now.

But what about the defensive group overall?

Six offensive linemen reached Seattle’s ideal explosive score of 3.00 using TEF.

Twenty-six defensive linemen scored 3.00 or higher.

Twenty-six.

That’s even without the likes of Kevin Dodd completing the necessary tests.

If you were sceptical about those league-wide concerns about overmatched college offensive linemen — here’s the proof you were waiting for. This is also the argument for the Seahawks focusing on explosion and upside when drafting their offensive lineman.

Defensive line grades using TEF

Dean Lowry: 3.54
Sheldon Rankins: 3.52
Robert Nkemdiche: 3.47
Noah Spence: 3.46
Yannick Ngakoue: 3.44
Shaq Lawson: 3.43
Shawn Oakman: 3.36
Ronald Blair III: 3.35
DeForest Buckner: 3.33
Javon Hargrave: 3.33
Charles Tapper: 3.32
Lawrence Thomas: 3.32
Joey Bosa: 3.29
Emmanuel Ogbah: 3.29
Romeo Okwara: 3.28
Matt Judon: 3.27
Connor Wujciak: 3.25
Shalique Calhoun: 3.24
Andrew Billings: 3.23
Joel Heath: 3.21
Jason Fanaika: 3.19
Jonathan Bullard: 3.18
Hassan Ridgeway: 3.11
Matt Ioannidis: 3.09
Willie Henry: 3.08
Anthony Zettel: 3.05
Bronson Kaufusi: 2.98
Giorgio Newberry: 2.93
Carl Nassib: 2.92
Maliek Collins: 2.91
James Cowser: 2.89
Kenny Clark: 2.86
Vernon Butler: 2.85
Kamalei Correa: 2.84
Sterling Bailey: 2.79
Chris Jones: 2.75
A’Shawn Robinson: 2.65
Sheldon Day: 2.62
Austin Johnson: 2.55

For comparisons sake, J.J. Watt is a 3.82. Which is hardly surprising.

What stands out?

— Is this an important test for defensive linemen and the Seahawks? Maybe. Jordan Hill scored a 3.10 when I put his numbers through TEF. Seattle spent a third round pick on Hill — their biggest investment on a defensive tackle so far under Carroll and Schneider.

— They also seem to value the short shuttle at defensive tackle. Their two highest picks at DT (Hill, Jaye Howard) both tested very well specifically in the shuttle.

— Jonathan Bullard tests well — but he’s not on Sheldon Rankins’ level of freaky athleticism. Bullard is a good athlete but not exceptional in terms of explosion compared to the overall D-line class. The options at #56 (Willie Henry? Hassan Ridgeway?) are comparable using TEF. It’s also worth noting Bullard has value elsewhere — he plays with great gap control (vital in Seattle), grit and he had a good 10-yard split (1.66). He also has tremendous character. You still have to ask whether he’s truly special enough for the Seahawks in round one? He might be — but it’s a no-brainer with Rankins.

— Ronald Blair III, according to the TEF formula, tested better than DeForest Buckner and several others. His 3.35 is 0.17 above Jonathan Bullard and 0.17 below Sheldon Rankins. All three play DE-DT and Blair III exactly splits the two big name prospects. He also ran a 4.53 in the short shuttle — 0.02 seconds slower than Jordan Hill. That said, his 10-yard split is only OK (1.75) and his three cone was poor (7.95). He’s explosive but doesn’t appear to have great short-area quickness bizarrely.

— A’Shawn Robinson has been mocked to the Seahawks on several occasions by the national media and is often praised for his athletic upside and potential. He not only scored very poorly compared to his defensive line peers, he’s also less explosive than nearly all of the offensive linemen. This vindicates the distinctly average tape we saw at Alabama. He’s not an explosive player.

— The Seahawks seem unlikely to draft a run-stuffer or one-technique early in the draft. I suspect the testing of players like Kenny Clark and Austin Johnson using this formula likely rules them out in the first two rounds. There are more explosive options available elsewhere.

— Bronson Kaufusi’s rare agility is freaky and unique. He’s 6-6, 285lbs and ran a 4.25 in the short shuttle which is incredible. His 2.98, however, doesn’t really indicate either way how well he fits as a DE-DT. If he was a 3.20 — watch out NFL.

Here are some of the best combinations of TEF + agility. Most prospects seems to have a flaw — such as Blair III’s three cone of Shilique Calhoun’s 10-yard split.

Ronald Blair III
TEF: 3.35
Short shuttle: 4.53
Three cone: 7.95
10-yard: 1.75

Jonathan Bullard
TEF: 3.18
Short shuttle: 4.56
Three cone: 7.31
10-yard: 1.66

Joey Bosa
TEF: 3.29
Short shuttle: 4.21
Three cone: 6.89
10-yard: 1.69

DeForest Buckner
TEF: 3.33
Short shuttle: 4.47
Three cone: 7.51
10-yard: 1.77

Shilique Calhoun
TEF: 3.24
Short shuttle: 4.25
Three cone: 6.97
10-yard: 1.77

Jason Fanaika
TEF: 3.19
Short shuttle: 4.39
Three cone: 7.06
10-yard: 1.68

Willie Henry
TEF: 3.08
Short shuttle: 4.53
Three cone: 7.57
10-yard: 1.75

Matt Judon
TEF: 3.27
Short shuttle: 4.52
Three cone: 7.67
10-yard: 1.66

Shaq Lawson
TEF: 3.43
Short shuttle: 4.21
Three cone: 7.16
10-yard: 1.64

Dean Lowry
TEF: 3.54
Short shuttle: 4.38
Three cone: 7.26
10-yard: 1.70

Noah Spence
TEF: 3.46
Short shuttle: 4.35
Three cone: 7.21
10-yard: 1.62

What does all this tell us about Seattle’s potential draft plans?

— The most likely offensive tackles to be drafted at #26 could be Jason Spriggs and Germain Ifedi. We might be able to add Shon Coleman to the list.

— The Seahawks would probably love Sheldon Rankins to fall (but he won’t).

— Is Jonathan Bullard special enough to warrant a first round pick when there are comparable players in terms of explosion available beyond round one?

— Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl could be possible targets in rounds 2-3 for the offensive line.

— Willie Henry could be interesting to Seattle — and he’s close to Frank Clark (if that means anything).

— Keep an eye on Joel Heath as the next possible D-line to O-line convert on day three.

Explosion scores and ideal measurables on the O-line

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Jason Spriggs is one of only two ‘explosive’ offensive linemen in the 2016 draft

I want to put a bow on this weeks discussion on O-line measurables. Yesterday’s evidence clearly suggests the Seahawks put a lot of draft focus on the broad jump when looking for offensive linemen. Can we take it a step further?

Pat Kirwan, who is close to Pete Carroll, discusses a way of calculating explosive athleticm in this article:

Every time a ball is snapped to start a play there is a critical element of explosiveness that takes place. When two players collide in an attempt to physically dominate each other, the athlete with the edge in explosiveness has the best chance to win the confrontation. It could be a blocker vs. a tackler, a tackler vs. a ball carrier, or many other examples of winning at the point of contact.

Explosiveness is defined in the dictionary as a violent release of energy, a sudden outburst. Football is a series of explosions. How do you measure it in athletes trying to play NFL football?

Take the vertical jump, standing broad jump and the bench press test results and add them together. If the combined score is over 70 there is a reason to consider the candidate at some point in the draft process for his explosiveness.

Kirwan’s formula is flawed because it diminishes the impact of the broad jump. A superb 9-7 only achieves a 1.2 point advantage of a below par 8-5. That said, the data still provides an interesting comparison between the previously drafted Seahawks linemen and this years class.

This piece by Davis Hsu and Danny Kelly also offered some interesting quotes by Tom Cable:

“The really cool thing about this group: All of them are broad jumpers of 9-feet or more, they all vertical over 31-inches, they all can lift 27-plus, and they all can change direction the right way.”

Softy pressed him, “You mention 31, nine, and 27-plus, is that kind of the barometer for you? Do you have a set of numbers that you say, okay, if i were to create an offensive lineman from clay, these are the numbers in the broad jump, the vertical leap, the bench press that I’m looking for. Are those the numbers that you’re looking for — the ones you just quoted?”

“Yeah,” replied Cable.

I went back to have a look at the O-liners drafted by Seattle since 2012 to confirm how they performed in the vertical, broad and bench press. You’ll find the information below, plus Kirwan’s (and possibly Carroll’s) ‘explosion’ number in brackets after the players name:

Mark Glowinski (71.5)
VJ 31 BJ 9-5 BP 31

Terry Poole (65.5)
VJ 31 BJ 9-5 BP 25

Kristjan Sokoli (79)
VJ 38 BJ 9-11 BP 31

Justin Britt (64.8)
VJ 29.5 BJ 9-3 BP 26

Garrett Scott (68.2)
VJ 33.5 BJ 9-7 BP 25

Ryan Seymour (68.2)
VJ 29 BJ 9-2 BP 30

Jared Smith (70.2)
VJ 32.5 BJ 9-7 BP 28

J.R. Sweezy (66.5)
VJ 36 BJ 9-5 BP 21

Garry Gilliam UDFA (63.7)
VJ 35 BJ 9-7 BP 19

Of this group, only Glowinski, Sokoli and Smith actually qualify for the 31 — 9 — 27 discussed by Cable. The same three players are the only ones to top Kirwan’s ‘explosive’ marker of 70 points.

This would tend to suggest that as long as you perform well in the broad (the greatest test of an athletes explosion) they’re willing to make concessions elsewhere.

Let’s now review the 2016 class (I’ve only included the prospects that achieved Seattle’s +9-foot marker in the broad jump):

Jason Spriggs (75.7)
VJ 35 BJ 9-7 BP 31

Halapoulivaati Vaitai (61.5)
VJ 29 BJ 9-5 BP 23

Brandon Shell (61.9)
VJ 30.5 BJ 9-4 BP 22

Joe Haeg (incomplete)
VJ 30 BJ 9-3 BP DNP

Alex Redmond (67.3)
VJ 28 BJ 9-3 BP 30

Joe Thuney (65.8)
VJ 28.5 BJ 9-3 BP 28

Cody Whitehair (50.7)
VJ 25.5 BJ 9-2 BP 16

Germain Ifedi (65.6)
VJ 32.5 BJ 9-1 BP 24

Joe Dahl (68.1)
VJ 31 BJ 9-1 BP 28

Connor McGovern (75.1)
VJ 33 BJ 9-1 BP 33

Jake Brendel (62)
VJ 28 BJ 9-0 BP 25

Joel Heath (68.5)
VJ 33 BJ 9-5 BP 26

Of this group, only Jason Spriggs, Joe Dahl and Connor McGovern hit the 31 — 9 — 27 mark discussed by Cable. Spriggs and McGovern are the only two ‘explosive’ linemen according to Kirwan’s formula.

The Seahawks haven’t stuck stringently to those two marks in the way they have with a +9-foot broad jump. 31 — 9 — 27 seems like more of an ideal than a prerequisite.

Justin Murray, who reportedly visited the VMAC this week, had a 29.5 inch vertical, a 9-8 in the broad jump and 20 reps on the bench press at his pro-day. That only creates a 59.3 explosion score.

Broad jump >>>>> everything else

We can still decipher some information from this data:

— Cody Whitehair’s explosion score is significantly lower than any of Seattle’s drafted linemen since 2012. That and the fact Carroll and Schneider have never drafted an offensive lineman with sub-33 inch arms suggests he might be an unlikely fit at #26.

— Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Brandon Shell and Jake Brendel also scored significantly lower than the least explosive lineman Seattle has drafted since 2012 (Justin Britt).

— Jason Spriggs and Connor McGovern tick every single box. Length, tackle experience, broad jump, 31 — 9 — 27 and explosion score.

— Joe Dahl’s explosion score is similar to Garrett Scott’s, who the Seahawks really liked. He also qualifies under 31 — 9 — 27. The only thing he lacks is a +70 explosion score and he’s pretty close at 68.1. Based on this information there is every chance he will be high on Seattle’s wish list alongside Spriggs and McGovern.

— Germain Ifedi is three bench reps short of qualifying under 31 — 9 — 27. Considering his 36 inch arms, the Seahawks are probably willing to let that fly. His explosion score is 65.6 but being able to jump a 32.5 inch vertical and record a 9-1 in the broad at 6-6 and 324lbs is likely to be explosive enough for any team.

— Joe Haeg didn’t do the bench press at the combine or his pro-day. Barring a surprise performance similar to Cody Whitehair’s 16 reps, there’s no reason to discount him from any projected Seahawks target list.

— Le’Raven Clark and Shon Coleman are yet to test fully due to injury. They are candidates to both test explosively and come close to Cable’s ideal physical profile.

— Joel Heath, a player we’ve discussed as a potential D-line to O-line convert, had a 33 inch vertical, a 9-5 in the broad jump and recorded 26 reps on the bench press. That’s pretty close to the 31 — 9 — 27. He has a 68.5 explosion score — third only to Spriggs and McGovern.

Since 2012 the Seahawks have not selected any of the 15 best O-line performers in the short shuttle or three cone at the combine. It’s worth noting, however, that Spriggs (4.44) and Haeg (4.47) both tested well in the short shuttle.

We’ll find out how accurate this data is in a few weeks. At the moment, it’s not unfair to consider the Seahawks will draft from the following offensive linemen:

Jason Spriggs (Indiana)
Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M)
Connor McGovern (Missouri)
Joe Dahl (Washington State)
Joe Haeg (North Dakota State)

Le’Raven Clark (Texas Tech) and Shon Coleman (Auburn) could also be on the list depending on how they eventually test. Likewise Joel Heath (Michigan State) if they see him as the latest defense-to-offense convert.

As it happens, Spriggs and Ifedi are being largely projected in the last third of the first round and McGovern, Haeg and Dahl anywhere from rounds 2-4.

Clark and Coleman are also candidates to go in the late first.

If the Seahawks wanted to draft two offensive linemen early, they could probably achieve it with this group even if they chose not to spend their first round pick on the O-line.

I want to finish by reaffirming why this data is important. None of this information is a catalyst for NFL success. The reason why we’re focusing on it — and why the Seahawks appear to put a lot of stock in it — is the growing discrepancy between defensive and offensive athletes.

This is highlighted by the fact that Jason Spriggs had the best broad jump by an offensive lineman at the 2016 combine with a 9-7. Fifteen defensive line prospects beat that mark.

The entire NFL is struggling to find good offensive linemen. It’s an easy physical calculation to think if you put a guy on the field who broad jumps a 9-10 at 300lbs (Sheldon Rankins) against a player who broad jumps 8-0 (Evan Boehm) there’s going to be a problem. One player is significantly more explosive than the other.

Sheldon Rankins’ explosion number is 72.5. That is superior to any offensive lineman in the draft apart from Jason Spriggs and Connor McGovern. At least Rankins vs Spriggs/McGovern would be a fair fight. Boehm’s explosion number is only 60.5.

It comes back to Pat Kirwan’s quote from earlier in the piece:

When two players collide in an attempt to physically dominate each other, the athlete with the edge in explosiveness has the best chance to win the confrontation.

Considering the way college offensive lines are used these days — Tom Cable and other coaches have complained that they are having to virtually train rookies from scratch with only a few exceptions. If that is the case, it’s not unfair for a team to consider the following — why not coach up the player who is at least physically comparable to the defensive lineman standing on the other side of the LOS?

And the NFL’s top offensive linemen — how do they test?

Joe Thomas, Andrew Whitworth, Joe Staley, Tyron Smith, Trent Williams, Terron Armstead, Jason Peters, Ryan Clady, Taylor Lewan, Lane Johnson. They all had a +9″ broad jump.

Meanwhile the Seahawks have announced the re-signing of Chris Clemons. This adds another rotational piece to the D-line and increases the likelihood the Seahawks won’t take a pure edge rusher with their top two picks. They already have Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark and Chris Clemons to rotate.

It probably increases the chances that they’ll focus on offensive linemen, adding a DE-DT hybrid, defensive tackles and SAM/DE hybrids in the early rounds.

What measurables tell us about the Seahawks in the trenches

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Kyler Fackrell’s identical twin

Here’s an interesting note. Yesterday we mocked Kyler Fackrell to the Seahawks in round two. Look at this comparison with Obum Gwacham, drafted by the Seahawks a year ago seemingly as a Bruce Irvin hedge:

Kyler Fackrell measurables
Height: 6-5
Weight: 245lbs
40-yd: 4.72
10-yd: 1.62
Broad: 10-1

Obum Gwacham measurables
Height: 6-5
Weight: 246lbs
40-yd: 4.72
10-yd: 1.66
Broad: 10-1

The difference between the two is one pound in weight and Fackrell’s split is 0.04 seconds quicker. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re wondering whether Fackrell could be a target for the Seahawks.

By the way, the tape above is another exclusive video you won’t find anywhere else. Thanks to our man Justin P for some great work yet again.

They love freaky D-line athletes

Only two players have had a quicker short shuttle than Frank Clark at the combine since Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks in 2010 — Alex McCallister (2016) and Bruce Irvin (2012). Clark had the #1 short shuttle (4.05) in 2015 and the second best three cone (7.08). He also had an explosive 38.5 inch vertical — fifth best by a defensive lineman since 2010.

Basically, he is the definition of a NFL freak.

So how does Clark compare to arguably this years closest version — Emmanuel Ogbah? They are similar in size (6-3, 271bs vs 6-4, 273lbs). Ogbah’s 4.63 forty beats Clark’s 4.79 handsomely. Yet in the explosion and agility tests Clark is far better. Ogbah’s 35.5 inch is three inches shorter, his three cone is 7.26 vs 7.08 and look at the difference in the short shuttle — 4.05 vs 4.50. That’s significant.

Nobody in this class gets close to Clark’s combination of size and agility. Shaq Lawson managed a 4.21 in the short shuttle and a 7.16 in the three cone. That, plus a reasonable 1.64 ten-yard split, is the likely reason some are projecting him as a top-15 pick.

Clark’s combination of freaky size and athleticism is exactly the type of thing the Seahawks have looked for in the early rounds. This was clearly evident in the two trades for Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham — plus the 2012 selection of Bruce Irvin.

Nobody in this class has that type of talent. So if you’re hoping to see an EDGE drafted early as opposed to a SAM/DE or a DE/DT, you might be disappointed. It might be one of the reasons they look instead to a guy like Fackrell or a DE base/DT nickel hybrid.

What about defensive tackles?

Looking at the best defensive tackle performers in the three cone between 2010-2014 provided some interesting results:

Nate Williams — 6.99
Fletcher Cox — 7.07
Brandon Bair — 7.07
Vaughn Meatoga — 7.10
Aaron Donald — 7.11
Nick Fairley — 7.14
Tyson Alualu — 7.15
Mike Martin — 7.19
Jared Smith — 7.20
Ndamukong Suh — 7.21
Jared Odrick — 7.22
Kerry Hyder — 7.23
Derek Wolfe — 7.26
Tydreke Powell — 7.31
Jaye Howard — 7.32
Gerald McCoy — 7.32
Geno Atkins — 7.33
Marvin Austin — 7.33
Billy Winn — 7.37
J.R. Sweezy — 7.40
Sharrif Floyd — 7.40

The Seahawks drafted three of this list and converted two of them to offensive linemen. It’s not overly surprising when you look at the top 2016 O-line performers in this test. Tyler Johnstone and Jake Brendel rank joint first with a 7.31. Cody Whitehair is at #3 with a 7.32.

Jared Smith, a D-line to O-line convert project, ran a 7.20. There’s the difference in athleticism between defense and offense that everybody talks about.

It’s why Justin Zimmer might be a candidate to be their latest convert — if they can see beyond his shorter arms. Zimmer reportedly ran a 7.01 at his pro-day. Joel Heath — another player we’ve discussed as a possible O-line convert, ran a 7.44 — very similar to J.R. Sweezy.

If the Seahawks place a premium on the agility tests (three cone, short shuttle) — Bronson Kaufusi’s 7.03 at 6-6 and 285lbs compares well to the top names listed above if you consider him a candidate to work inside and out. He also had an excellent 4.25 in the shuttle.

Jonathan Bullard ran the best three cone for a defensive tackle this year at 7.31 which is comparable to Gerald McCoy and Geno Atkins. Sheldon Rankins managed a 7.44.

Why the short shuttle is important at DT

I was asked recently about Jordan Hill’s athletic profile. Looking through the numbers today brought up an interesting statistic.

Hill ran a 4.51 in the short shuttle. Here are some comparisons from this years class:

DeForest Buckner: 4.47
Emmanuel Ogbah: 4.50
Jonathan Bullard: 4.56
Sheldon Rankins: 4.59
Kenny Clark: 4.62
Javon Hargrave: 4.70

Hill only managed a 22.5 inch vertical and a 5.23 forty. His excellent short shuttle, 33.5 inch arms and big hands were likely what convinced the Seahawks to spend a third round pick.

Jaye Howard probably isn’t considered a major athlete by fans either as they recall the fourth rounder spent on him back in 2012. He actually had a 4.47 short shuttle. Again, look how that compares to the top performers in this draft class.

It’s not a definitive review of what they look for in an interior pass rusher — but they haven’t drafted many interior rushers since Carroll took over. The two best examples we’ve got suggest the short shuttle is imperative.

There aren’t many good short shuttle times among this much hyped DT group. As intriguing as Javon Hargrave is based on tape — he had one of the poorer shuttle’s (4.70), he only has 32 inch arms and his mitts are an inch shorter than Hill’s.

That said, Hargrave’s vertical is 12 inches higher and he ran a much quicker forty.

Perhaps Hargrave’s explosive jump and sprint are as intriguing as Hill’s great short shuttle? That’s one possibility. The other is they really value those short shuttle times and zone in on short area quickness and agility. If that’s the case, they might be more likely to focus on Bullard (4.56), Willie Henry (4.53) and Ronald Blair III (4.53) to boost the interior line. All three can work the DE-DT position we’ve been talking about.

On the subject of DE-DT’s…

Cassius Marsh had the second best short shuttle in the 2014 draft (4.25) second only to Jackson Jeffcoat (4.18) who the Seahawks signed as an UDFA. Marsh’s 7.08 three cone ranked third, again just behind Jeffcoat. Marsh’s two agility tests were better than Aaron Donald’s and Jadeveon Clowney’s.

If you’re wondering why he’s a candidate to switch permanently to SAM linebacker — there’s your answer.

If Frank Clark and Bruce Irvin weren’t evidence enough of this team pining for freaky athleticism and agility — Marsh is another classic example.

What about the offensive line?

We talked recently about the possible importance of agility due to Russell Wilson’s willingness to improvise. Yet since Wilson was drafted in 2012 the Seahawks have not selected any of the 15 best O-line performers in the short shuttle or three cone at the combine.

Indeed, Justin Britt had lousy times in both tests (8.14 three cone, 4.69 short shuttle).

However, that doesn’t mean the Seahawks haven’t recently focused on greater mobility on the O-line.

Kristjan Sokoli — who the Seahawks converted from defense to center — ran a 7.25 three cone and a 4.36 short shuttle.

Garrett Scott — a 2014 draft pick — ran an excellent 7.09 in the three cone and a 4.40 in the short shuttle. He wasn’t invited to the combine.

Earlier we highlighted Jared Smith’s 7.20 in the three cone. He was another defense-to-offense project.

There’s a number of names on the list from last year that theoretically could’ve been targets for Seattle. Jake Fisher, Ali Marpet, Cameron Erving and Ty Sambrailo were off the board before Seattle’s pick. All four ranked in the top-five in the three cone in 2015. Mark Glowinski, who the Seahawks did draft, ranked sixth.

Even Terry Poole managed a 7.66 three cone which is similar to Jack Conklin and Joe Dahl.

Athleticism and mobility, based on the 2015 class, might be a greater focus. And if you believe they were interested in Marpet or Sambrailo — then you’ll be invested in the possibility of Cody Whitehair, Joe Haeg or Connor McGovern being options.

The knock on Whitehair is they haven’t drafted a single offensive lineman with sub 33-inch arms in the Carroll/Schneider era.

The broad jump might be the measurable they focus on more than most based on recent history. Since 2012, Mark Glowinski and Terry Poole rank in the overall top-15 among offensive lineman (both jumped a 9-5). In this years class only Jason Spriggs beat that with a 9-7.

Joe Haeg jumped a 9-3, Cody Whitehair a 9-2, while Germain Ifedi, Joe Dahl and Connor McGovern all jumped a 9-1. Whitehair (1.73), Haeg (1.75) and McGovern (1.72) also had good 10-yard splits for their size — with McGovern adding a massive 33 inch vertical.

It’s another tick in the box for some of these potential targets. At least a couple of these players might be playing in Seattle next season.

Texas Tech’s Le’Raven Clark hasn’t completed a three cone or short shuttle due to a hamstring injury. He could also be in the reckoning.

NFL mock draft (two rounds): 28th March

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Time to mix things up a bit.

This mock includes one trade. The Rams move from #15 to #10, giving the New York Giants the #43 pick and a late round selection in the process.

Round one

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

Round two

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

Let’s break the analysis down into 10-pick brackets:

#1 Tennessee — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#2 Cleveland — Jaylen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#3 San Diego — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#4 Dallas — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#5 Jacksonville — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#6 Baltimore — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#7 San Fran — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#8 Philadelphia — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#9 Tampa Bay — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#10 TRADE Los Angeles — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)

RGIII provides the Browns with a holding starter if they want to draft a quarterback at #2. But what if they decide there isn’t a definite franchise quarterback in this draft? For a team that is probably 2-3 years away from realistically competing, collecting talent could be the order of the day. Hue Jackson will believe he can turn Griffin III into a viable starter for now and that could influence their decision here.

If they’re going to try and train a starter for the longer haul — perhaps they consider Cardale Jones at the top of round three?

It’s high time someone in the league took a page out of Green Bay’s book. Aaron Rodgers clearly benefitted from a spell sitting behind Brett Favre. Philip Rivers is 35 this year so planning for the next era at quarterback would be a smart move by the Chargers. They can compete with their existing quarterback while planning ahead.

In 2013 the Rams gave up essentially a second and seventh round pick to move from #16 to #8 for Tavon Austin. With two second round picks they might make a similar move here to secure a long term answer at quarterback. Chicago and New Orleans could be planning for the future at QB and might be surprise suitors for Paxton Lynch.

#11 Chicago — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#15 TRADE New York Giants — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#18 Indianapolis — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#19 Buffalo — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#20 New York Jets — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)

No big shocks here. Conklin deserves to go this early as a legitimate top-15 prospect in the draft. He tested better than expected at the combine, he’s a self-made man and, for want of a better phrase, he plays with massive stones.

We’ve talked for months about the possibility that Ronnie Stanley might fall a bit. His reputation is a little bit bizarre. It’s hard to remove the memory of Stanley tackling Shaq Lawson from behind after a horrific attempt to block him. His three cone and short shuttle were horrendous at the combine.

#21 Washington — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#22 Houston — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
#23 Minnesota — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#24 Cincinatti — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#25 Pittsburgh — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#26 Seattle — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#27 Green Bay — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#28 Kansas City — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#29 Arizona — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#30 Carolina — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#31 Denver — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)

We know how Scot McCloughan builds his teams and Washington will soon start to resemble the Seahawks minus Russell Wilson. I can see McCloughan being really interested in Jonathan Bullard and Keanu Neal.

Neal has been invited to the draft — another indicator that he’ll go a lot earlier than most of the media are projecting. He’s a top-25 talent. Both Bullard and Neal are athletic, high character, intense football players. They want to be great — listen to their interviews. You can build around guys like this.

The Seahawks have a choice of either Germain Ifedi or Cody Whitehair. I stuck with Ifedi for now purely due to his freakish size. If you want to swap these guys around and put Whitehair at #26 — feel free. Both players would project to start at left guard and the Seahawks have favoured size in that role previously which is why I stuck with Ifedi. Whitehair is an intriguing alternative though, as we discussed on Sunday.

With Bullard and Sheldon Rankins off the board — it looks like a pretty easy decision for the Seahawks to go O-line at #26 in this scenario. Had either player been available I would’ve been extremely willing to project them to Seattle.

#32 Cleveland — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#33 Tennessee — Cody Whitehair (G, Kansas State)
#34 Dallas — Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State)
#35 San Diego — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#36 Baltimore — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
#37 San Francisco — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#38 Miami — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
#39 Jacksonville — Xavien Howard (CB, Baylor)
#40 New York Giants — A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
#41 Chicago — Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)

The Browns need a weapon at receiver with Josh Gordon’s career still in limbo. Doctson would provide a big catching radius and a reliable pair of hands. He’s certainly not A.J. Green but he could at least provide a similar safety net for RGIII and Hue Jackson.

If the Titans are going to commit to taking another offensive tackle at #1 — they might as well add the best guard in the draft too and go the whole hog. With Whitehair, Tunsil and Taylor Lewan they’d be challenging the Dallas Cowboys for pure O-line talent.

Jason Spriggs tested well at the combine but so did Jake Fisher a year ago. Spriggs isn’t a particularly fierce run blocker and he gets beat inside way too much for a guy with his length. He might last a bit longer than people expect.

Speaking of players who might fall — keep an eye on A’Shawn Robinson. He carries his weight well and looks the part of a solid NFL defensive lineman. On tape he just doesn’t make enough plays. Someone might buy into his frame, attitude and purported upside in round one. He could also drop into the 30’s.

#42 Tampa Bay — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucy)
#43 TRADE New York Giants — Sterling Shepard (WR, Oklahoma)
#44 Oakland — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
#45 Los Angeles — Robert Nkemdiche (DT, Ole Miss)
#46 Detroit — Le’Raven Clark (T, Texas Tech)
#47 New Orleans —Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#48 Indianapolis — Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
#49 Buffalo — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
#50 Atlanta — Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
#51 New York Jets — Travis Feeney (LB, Washington)

Noah Spence didn’t test as well as expected at the combine. As a smaller one-dimensional speed-rusher without elite quickness — how do you justify putting him in round one? A drop into round two is very possible.

Robert Nkemdiche has issues he needs to sort out before starting a career in pro football. We’re not talking about a one-off, isolated ‘college kids’ incident here. We’re talking about a back-catalogue of problems involving both Robert and his brother Denzel. Drugs, violence. He’s an even more serious case than Randy Gregory who dropped into round two last year. If anyone is going to take a chance, Jeff Fisher is probably the guy who will.

Travis Feeney’s shoulder injuries are concerning but players with his combination of speed, athleticism, production and versatility are snapped up quickly in the NFL. He is an ideal fit for the Jets — Todd Bowles likes to utilise a roaming linebacker/safety hybrid who can rush. Without the shoulder issues he could’ve risen like Deone Bucannon.

#52 Houston — Joshua Garnett (G, Stanford)
#53 Washington — Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State)
#54 Minnesota — Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
#55 Cincinnati — Willie Henry (DT, Michigan)
#56 Seattle — Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
#57 Green Bay — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
#58 Pittsburgh — Austin Johnson (DT, Penn State)
#59 Kansas City — Kamalei Correa (DE, Boise State)
#60 New England — Devontae Booker (RB, Utah)
#61 New England — Jihad Ward (DE, Illinois)
#62 Denver — Hassan Ridgeway (DT, Texas)
#63 Carolina — Kenneth Dixon (RB, Louisiana Tech)

Continuing with Washington’s theme of tough, athletic football players — Joshua Perry is an ideal fit. They use a 3-4 scheme and he can slot into the middle linebacker spot, make plays and lead that defense.

With several possible EDGE and DT prospects off the board before Seattle’s pick in round two — they instead opt for a rush-linebacker with great flexibility. Fackrell can line up at linebacker similar to Bruce Irvin and he can put his hand in the ground and attack the edge. They might prefer to add a DE-DT instead who can play base and nickel in the D-line — but they can’t fight the board here. Fackrell is a high-character splash-play specialist. He lives in the backfield and impacts the quarterback. He’s athletic and explosive. The Seahawks recently met with Shea McClellin before he signed with the Patriots. Fackrell would play a similar role in Seattle. He’s a playmaker with the character that fits this team. He’s underrated.

This is likely the range where we start to see some running backs coming off the board. Tyler Boyd just screams Green Bay — and we know they like to add receivers in round two. Austin Johnson’s all-action style and ability to play nose tackle, three-technique and D-end makes him an attractive second round option.

Whether they go O-line-D-line or vice versa with their first two picks, the Seahawks would have an opportunity to add a running back and another O-liner in round three. San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin continues to look like an attractive proposition and Darrell Bevell met with him during his pro-day. Joe Haeg, Connor McGovern, Evan Boehm and Joe Dahl are possible mid-round O-line targets. The defensive tackle depth is likely to extend into round four and beyond — it’s a deep class.

Considerations in rounds 1-2 (likely options only)

#26 — Jonathan Bullard, Germain Ifedi, Cody Whitehair, Le’Raven Clark, Ryan Kelly
#56 — Kyler Fackrell, Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Bronson Kaufusi, Kenny Clark