Tre McBride ran a 4.41 and recorded a 38 inch vertical jump
If you missed today’s combine live blog, you can recap the day here. It includes workout notes, winners & losers, measurements, breaking news and a lot more
The #1 thing we learned today? This receiver class has everything. Explosive athleticism, freakish size and speed, suddenness and most of all — depth.
While a hyped-up running back class chugged it’s way through a bitterly disappointing, average workout — the receivers lit up Indianapolis with a series of dynamic performances.
Nineteen players ran sub-4.4. Thirteen players jumped above 37 inches in the vertical. If you’re a team in need of a receiver or two — congratulations. The Seahawks happen to need a receiver or two.
It’s hard to read too much into the body language of coaches at the combine. Some sit in the stands with their own stopwatch (Tom Coughlin). Others kick back and let their scouts do most of the data-recording. Jason Garrett joined the NFL Network crew for an interview as Jerry Jones attempted to type forty-times into an Ipad.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider stayed glued to their seats in the Seahawks booth — side-by-side. And they paid particular attention to the receivers. Carroll was seen scribbling notes at a pace. Schneider was deep in conversation, binoculars in hand. The room was a hive of activity. When the running backs started to workout, they sipped soda and looked positively relaxed. No notes were being taken. For once, I think we can read into this.
Rand Getlin is reporting the Seahawks have offered Marshawn Lynch a contract extension worth over $20m for the next two years. It’s a significant offer. If Lynch wants to be the best paid back in the league, this is his opportunity. If Adrian Peterson departs Minnesota he might have to take a pay cut (especially if he wants to join his favorite team in Dallas). Peterson is the only challenger to Lynch in terms of salary if he signs this new deal.
Assuming it gets done, there’s very little reason for the Seahawks to draft a running back. It’s going to be hard enough for eleven or more rookies to make the roster without asking a mid or late round pick to beat out Robert Turbin or Christine Michael. Secure Lynch and you can focus elsewhere. The average performance today of the running backs — where most just looked sluggish and slow — just compounds the situation. Do what it takes to keep Lynch and move on.
They can focus on other needs — receiver, tight end, cornerback, offensive line and defensive line.
I think the Seahawks will address the tight end position in free agency as they look to bring in that elusive second level mismatch for Russell Wilson. They need a guy who draws attention in the way Rob Gronkowski did in the Super Bowl. They need a red zone threat in the passing game. They need someone who can run the seam route and make big plays. All signs point to Julius Thomas — a player they tried to acquire during the season. While he has his critics and doubters, there’s no mistaking his physical quality, speed and production (24 touchdowns in 2013/2014). He’s the type of player who demands respect from a defense and constant attention.
If they sign Thomas (and there’s no comparable TE mismatch in this draft class), the focus turns to receiver, the offensive line, cornerback and the defensive line.
Cornerback could be a problem area. The options in the draft are limited. The 2015 prospects were measured today and we know the Seahawks like their outside cornerbacks to have 32-inch arms. Here’s a full list of defensive backs with +32 inch arms:
That’s it. And they’re not all corner prospects either, there’s a few safety’s in there. You can pretty much limit your Monday viewing to this group when the DB’s workout.
(Note — Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will also go through cornerback drills. He has 32 1/8 inch arms and ran a 4.54 today)
Tony Pauline gave Byron Jones a fourth or fifth round grade last summer but he’s been steadily rising. He’s a press-corner coming off a torn labrum. Alex Carter flashed at times for Stanford. There’s some debate whether Adrian Amos is a safety or a corner, but he’s another to monitor.
The top-talent on the list is clearly Jalen Collins. I suspect he’ll end up going in the top-20. This is a bad group and teams know it. The good cornerbacks will go early. The other possible first rounders — Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters, don’t pass the 32-inch arms test. Neither does Utah’s Eric Rowe or Georgia’s Damian Swann.
This is why Byron Maxwell is going to get $10m (too much, in my opinion) on the open market and why he’ll be priced out of a return to Seattle. It’s a really rough year if you have a need at the position. We probably need to scour the free agent market for a diamond in the rough. I’ve always liked Brandon Flowers but he’s short and lacks length — plus he could be costly. 2015 will provide the greatest test to Seattle’s vaunted cornerback production line.
Assuming they don’t go cornerback early, that leaves receiver, defensive line and offensive line as the most likely options at #31. We’ll see the defenders workout tomorrow. I’m not sure the D-line is quite the dramatic need some people believe. Brandon Mebane and Jordan Hill are under contract. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are both signed-up. Cassius Marsh will return. Tony McDaniel is under contract. They’ve done a good job finding defensive line value in the free agent market. Players like Brian Orakpo might be willing to work on a cheap prove-it deal. There are other candidates too.
There’s also a good chance of a first round rush on defensive linemen. Eli Harold is one to watch out for — a good fit for Seattle’s LEO position. Shane Ray wont perform due to injury. We could see Harold, Ray, Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler Jr, Danny Shelton, Jordan Phillips, Eddie Goldman, Malcom Brown, Arik Armstead, Vic Beasley, and Bud Dupree off the board by #31, limiting the available options.
We’ll see if tomorrow changes anything, but I’m leaning towards receiver and offensive line being a likely bet for Seattle’s first two picks in this draft as we edge towards free agency.
I noted at the start of today’s live blog that #31 could be a sweet spot for the O-line. With the reports today that James Carpenter will be a target for the New York Jets, it’s looking increasingly likely the Seahawks will need to fill a hole at left guard. While the receivers are flying up the board today (more on that in a moment) — several good O-line prospects could be available at #31 or even after a small trade down. Ereck Flowers, Cameron Erving, Jake Fisher, La’el Collins. Players who could, theoretically, play guard or tackle. There’s enough OL depth in this draft to wait and let Tom Cable bring in his guys to fill out the roster. But there’s even more depth at receiver.
The top three wide outs all confirmed their status as probable top-18 picks today. Kevin White’s official 4.35 was as unexpected as it was impressive. He’s not a quick-twitch receiver but he has great acceleration and long speed. He has the frame and hands to win in the short game and the ability to get deep and take the top off a defense. He’s smaller than Larry Fitzgerald but plays with a similar physicality. And he’s faster.
Amari Cooper is a naturally gifted receiver — the smoothest wide out to enter the league since A.J. Green. The fact he also ran a 4.42 shows he’s no slouch either. But he doesn’t have great height or length and he suffered with drops in college. White has possibly usurped Cooper as the top receiver — and he’ll be a candidate to go fourth overall to Oakland. Cooper shouldn’t last beyond Minnesota (#11) and Cleveland (#12).
That leaves DeVante Parker, who also performed well today (4.45 forty, 36.5 vert, 10’5″ broad). He could go ahead of Cooper if it comes down to personal preference. Greater size/athleticism versus polish. It’s also worth noting Parker is curt and introverted while Cooper is well-spoken and competitive. Either way, there’s a chance both players will be off the board by San Francisco at #15. The worst case scenario is Kansas City at #18.
Here’s the possible problem for Seattle. If White, Cooper and Parker are off the board by #12 or #15, we have to assume Kansas City will take the next best receiver available. That could be Jaelen Strong — who had a fantastic combine performance (4.42 forty, 42-inch vert, 10’3″ broad). With the likelihood of four receivers leaving the board in the top-20, you’re looking at taking the 5th or 6th best receiver at #31. There’s probably ten players with similar grades vying to be #5 and #6. The value at #31 will be pretty similar to the value at #55.
Theoretically, you could trade down from #31 and fill a need on the offensive line — then trade up from #63 to get a receiver you like. You run the risk of losing picks, but you also have the chance to make a cumulative gain and get the players you really want.
So who are the ten if White, Cooper, Parker and Strong are off the board?
Nelson Agholor (USC)
Ran an impressive 4.41 with the top ten-yard split (1.53). He makes up for a lack of size (6-0, 198lbs) with suddenness, catching technique, good hands, leaping ability and grit. He’s an effective kick returner too. It’d be more of the same for Seattle, but this is the type of receiver they’ve shown interest in. If they sign a big target (eg Julius Thomas) in free agency, this could be an option.
Sammie Coates (Auburn)
He was as advertised today. Coates is a physical freak with fantastic muscle tone and a T.O. style frame. He ran a 4.43 with a 41-inch vertical, 10’11” broad jump and he put up 23 reps on the bench press. Physically he’s a top ten pick. Catching the ball he might be an UDFA. During drills he struggled to track the deep ball and had some drops. For all the potential, he’s likely to be a frustrating player at the next level. Very boom or bust.
Phillip Dorsett (Miami)
He’s a really effective deep-receiver with 4.33 size. He posted a 37-inch vertical today with a 10’2″ broad jump. He’s not just a sprinter playing football — he’s very much a football player. He uses his athleticism to get open and does a good job catching the ball. Can he win in the short game? He showed flashes at Miami. He’s a competitive player but he’s only 5-9 and 183lbs. How many receivers with that size become anything more than a sparky role-player?
Devin Funchess (Michigan)
Funchess really should’ve worked out with the tight ends yesterday. Instead of shining as the obvious top athlete among a bad group, he just looked like a slow receiver today. He’s always been a build-up-speed player at 6-4 and 232lbs — but a 4.70 was considerably worse than Dorial Green-Beckham’s 4.49 at a similar size. He did have a 38-inch vertical to fall back on. He lacks suddenness (1.67 ten yard split) and won’t win off the snap. He needs to be used as a mismatch in the slot or working the seam. He is adept at boxing off defenders, the head-fake and making difficult grabs.
Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma)
DGB has a very peculiar body shape. He’s 6-5 and 237lbs but only has 32 and a half inch arms. He doesn’t appear long despite the height. If anything he looked quite stocky. He only has nine inch hands. Running a 4.49 at that size was impressive, but he only managed a mediocre 33.5 inch vertical and a 9’11” in the broad jump. He’s fast but he doesn’t have a great catching radius or wingspan. The off-field concerns are legit and he didn’t do a convincing job in front of the media. Tall but not long, fast but can’t jump.
Rashad Greene (Florida State)
Mr. Consistent for FSU but doesn’t seem like a fit for Seattle. He’s only 5-11 and 182lbs, ran a 4.53 today and posted a 36.5 inch vertical and a 10’2″ broad jump. He catches everything and any offense needing a reliable slot receiver will consider Greene on day two. But the Seahawks don’t need a 4.5 runner at 5-11. The ten-yard split on his first forty yard dash matched Nelson Agholor’s 1.53. He has nine inch hands and 31 5/8 inch arms. He’s a competitive player with lots of production.
Tyler Lockett (Kansas State)
After a fantastic Senior Bowl, Lockett further improved his stock at the combine. He’s just under 5-10 and 182lbs (similar size to Rashad Greene) with 30 inch arms and sub-9 inch hands. That’s not a great mix and he too might be out of contention for the Seahawks. But he looked sharp running a 4.40 forty and he also posted a 35.5 inch vertical and a 10’1″ broad jump. He showed spectacular hands in Mobile and he has some kick return potential. His stock has risen so high he’s probably drifted out of any reasonable consideration for Seattle.
Tre McBride (Williams & Mary)
A Seahawks Draft Blog favorite coming into the combine — McBride showed up big time. He’s 6-0 and 210lbs and ran a 4.41 with a 38 inch vertical, a 10’2″ broad jump and a 4.08 short shuttle (top five among WR’s). On tape he makes numerous circus catches — flashing excellent catching technique and the ability to make plays in the short game and downfield. He’s a kick return specialist too. He has average height at 6-0 but plays big with a nice thick frame. He could play at 215lbs comfortably. He has A+ character — he’s well spoken and polite during interviews, gritty and fun on the field. He’s rising and could be a legit second round option for the Seahawks.
Breshad Perriman (UCF)
He didn’t workout at the combine due to injury. He’s very much flavor of the month among draft pundits. Mel Kiper recently put him at #15 in a mock draft. Mike Mayock has also discussed his possible rise up the board. He’s 6-2 and 212lbs with NFL bloodlines. On tape he’s comparable to Sammie Coates — capable of big plays and equally capable of some horrendous drops. Neither player is going to be on a quarterbacks Christmas Card list. He does have enough potential to entice a team to take a shot on day two. The first round would be a significant reach in my opinion.
Devin Smith (Ohio State)
The expected contest with Phillip Dorsett never really materialized but a 4.42 is still a decent time for a 6-0, 196lbs receiver. He’s a smooth, fluid runner — very natural with no wasted steps. You can see why he’s such an effective downfield catcher. He posted a 39-inch vertical with a 10’2″ broad jump. He made several Odell Beckham Jr-style catches for the Buckeye’s. He doesn’t have ODB’s unreal hand size (only nine inches) but they share similar athletic traits. He’s a fantastic high point catcher and a big play artist. He also has genuine special teams value as a gunner.
You might have to take Nelson Agholor, Devin Smith or Devin Funchess at #31 or in the top-40 if you trade down. You might be able to get Tre McBride in the #55-63 range. That’s what you have to consider here. Where is the best value coinciding with the best way to upgrade the existing roster? There are likely two sweet spots at this position — #4-15 and then #35-50.
The Seahawks manipulated the situation last year to get the player they wanted (Paul Richardson) in the right range. I can see a similar situation here. Either take the guy they like after a small trade down, or find a way to get the receiver you want in the late second round. The alternative, of course, is to make a Julio Jones-style trade into the top ten to target Kevin White. Can anyone really see that happening?
Last year the value at #32 was probably leaning towards the offensive line (Joel Bitonio) and at #64 towards receiver. It might be a similar situation again this year. The Seahawks kind of fought the board a little bit — especially in admitting they took Justin Britt in the second round to avoid missing out altogether on a right tackle they liked (they didn’t own a third rounder). That’s what the Seahawks do — they draft for their roster and not for the league.
With four solid fits at receiver likely to leave the board before the #31 pick — going OL with the first pick and WR with the second could make a great deal of sense. And who would rule out some movement up and down the board to make it happen?
One receiver we need to go back and have a look at — Georgia’s Chris Conley. At just under 6-2 and 213lbs he ran a 4.35 forty, recorded a 45 inch vertical, an 11’7″ in the broad jump and even had 18 reps on the bench press. Oh yeah, he also has 33 3/4 inch arms and just under ten inch hands. That’s incredible size, length, speed and athleticism. I’ve scanned through some clips and there’s a lot to like here. He can separate, high point the football, get behind the defense and make big plays. He appears to be well respected with tremendous character. Can’t wait to see more.
Also today the quarterbacks and running backs went through drills. Jameis Winston put on a masterclass — on and off the field. He gave a superstar interview with the NFL Network, took on a leadership role within the QB group and was the clear vocal leader on the field. Greg Knapp working the drills took a clear shine to him. He nailed a tough media conference last night and just looks the part of a #1 overall pick. It’s not a done deal, but you get a real vibe that Tampa Bay is going to take Winston with the first pick. Everything is trending that way. I mean, how impressive is this?
Marcus Mariota also performed well but faded into Winston’s shadow when they both appeared on the NFL Network and the same thing happened on the field. He’s not a loud person and prefers to lead by example. He will be a high pick, but you sense he’s losing ground to Winston in the race to go first overall. The big question could be — will Tennessee take Mariota at #2, or will they take a defensive prospect like Leonard Williams? If Mariota lasts until the #5 pick, will that encourage a team like Cleveland or Philadelphia to trade up? If the Eagles are being aggressive at cornerback (willing to pay Maxwell), they could be laying the foundations for a big trade up on draft day.
The running back workouts were miserably average. It’s shocking how slow the group looked. Even Melvin Gordon put in a disappointing performance — running a 4.53 and recording a 35 inch vertical. During drills they nearly all looked sluggish. T.J. Yeldon is too big, Gordon was stiffer than expected, Duke Johnson was slow, Josh Robinson was even slower and David Cobb pulled a quad. Jay Ajayi and Ameer Abdullah both posted impressive vertical jumps (39 and 42 inches respectively) but that’s about as good as it gets for this years crop. This was a total anti-climax.
For all the combine data from today, click here.
And one final note to close out the day — Vic Beasley put up 35 reps on the bench press. That’s more than Danny Shelton (34). Incredible. We’ll be live again from 6AM PST tomorrow with coverage of the defensive linemen and linebacker drills.