Closing thoughts on the combine & major salary cap news

February 25th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Justin Gilbert had the most impressive display among DB's

First, a reflection on what we saw today involving the defensive backs.

Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
The first thing that stood out with Gilbert is just how much of an athlete he is. He looks in fantastic shape and backed it up with the fastest forty yard dash (4.38). He managed 10.6 on the broad jump and a 35.5 inch vertical. Yet the most impressive aspect was his length. He had the longest arms in the DB group at 33 1/8 inches. When people talk about ‘Seattle style’ corners, they think 6-3. That’s not accurate. It’s about length and ball skills. Byron Maxwell was only 6-0 and 202lbs at the 2011 combine. But he ran a 4.46 and has 33 1/2 inch arms. Gilbert is exactly the same height/weight as Maxwell and pretty much the definition of a Seattle corner in terms of physical make-up. Plus he’s a ball hawk (seven interceptions in 2013). There’s only one concern — how dedicated is he to his craft? He admitted during his press conference that he didn’t know who Aqib Talib was. That’s scary.

Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
The other thing Seattle likes to see is grit. Verrett lacks size at 5-9 and 189lbs. He doesn’t have great length with 30 5/8 inch arms. Yet he’s a tremendous athlete and he plays with a major chip on his shoulder. He ran the second fastest forty at 4.38, had the fourth best three cone (6.67) managed a superb 39 inch vertical and added a 10.8 in the broad jump. That vertical is important — it shows he can high point against bigger receivers despite a serious height disadvantage. In the drills he stayed low in his back-pedal, had decent snap in his transition and moved very smoothly. You expect that with a small corner, but Verrett ticked every box today. And perhaps more importantly, he looked completely healthy. He might not crack the first round but whoever gets this guy will have a terrific competitor who won’t back down.

Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
This was always going to be a nice stage for Roby. A year ago he was considered a potential top-15 pick. He was convinced by his family to stay at Ohio State for another season — and he had a classic down year as a consequence. On tape he has all the physical skills you want to see. Yet his on-field IQ leaves a lot to be desired. He struggles against the double move, he’ll let receivers get in behind and he struggles to recover. Every now and again he’ll peak into the backfield and get caught. The big question is — can you coach him up? Because there’s a lot to like — quick hips, loose runner, capable blitzer, plays the ball. Today he had a chance to show off how much of an athlete he is — running a 4.39 with a stunning 1.47 ten yard split. His vertical (32 inches) and broad jump (10.4) were pretty good. He doesn’t have great length at 5-11, 194lbs and 31 1/2 inch arms. There’s also a character red flag after he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery last July.

Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
Deion Sanders told Dennard in an interview he thought he looked stiff during drills. I didn’t really see too much evidence of that personally — although Sanders’ second point was absolutely true. Dennard is a press-man corner. He likes to get into a receivers pads and he’s strong, so he’ll translate well in any scheme that prioritises physicality. I liked his work out and thought he transitioned well, ran smoothly in the open field and did a good job tracking the ball in the air. But here’s the thing — he’s not a ‘must have’ type of player. He’s 5-11 and 199lbs, but lacks length (30 1/4 inch arms) and top end speed (4.51). You can’t bang the table for those numbers. He also didn’t do the vertical or broad jump due to a minor hamstring problem he picked up during drills. Durability is another concern. Is he a first rounder? Debatable.

Keith McGill (CB, Utah)
When he ran an unofficial 4.47 and 4.44 — you sat up in your chair. The biggest defensive back put up two of the fastest times at 6-3 and 211lbs. His official time was later adjusted to a 4.51 — but that’s still mighty impressive. He reminds me somewhat of another former Utah corner — Sean Smith (now with the Chiefs). Smith was 6-3 and 214lbs at the 2009 combine and ran a 4.50. He went in the late second round. McGill actually had a superior vertical (39 inches vs 34) and broad jump (10.9 vs 9.11). McGill’s vertical was the third best on the day among DB’s, his broad jump ranked second. We’re talking about a big-time athlete here, the type Seattle typically shows interest in. I suspect he might go in the same range as Smith, perhaps even a little earlier. People are going to tout a switch to safety — and he did look a little stiff in some of the drills today (it’s tough to stay low and smooth in the back-pedal at 6-3). But before anyone crowns him the next Kam Chancellor — there is one issue. Chancellor is an enforcer, who plays every snap like the Super Bowl’s on the line. On tape McGill doesn’t play with anywhere near the same physicality. He isn’t ‘Bam Bam Kam’. Not by a long stretch.

Bashaud Breeland (CB, Clemson)
He wasn’t as long as he looks on screen — 5-11, 197lbs with 31 3/4 inch arms. It’s not bad size, but it isn’t great either. I noted in the live blog earlier that he had nice length — so it was pretty surprising to see the official measurements. He ran a pretty pedestrian 4.62, had a vertical of 34.5 inches and a broad jump of 10.3. He came into the combine with a bit of positive momentum, but the showing didn’t back it up. Perhaps the national media are trying too hard to find ‘Seattle style’ cornerbacks? Let’s hope other teams try too hard too. At the end of the day, development is king. The Seahawks didn’t just stumble across a cluster of excellent defensive backs. They coached them into productive starters. You can try and draft as many long cornerbacks as you want, but you’ve still got to develop them.

Jonathan Dowling (S, Western Kentucky)
Here’s an interesting prospect. He’s just under 6-3 and 190lbs. That’s slim, but he doesn’t look too skinny and has room to add weight. He had the longest arms in the group alongside Justin Gilbert (33 1/8 inches). He ran a 4.52, which is comparable to Keith McGill. Yet his vertical (33.5 inches) and broad jump (9.10) were both disappointing. In the drills I thought he looked quite fluid for his size. He put in a good performance based on what the NFL.com feed was willing to show us. Here’s the issue though. He’s a former four-star recruit who played two games as a Freshman at Florida. He got kicked off the team by Urban Meyer, and transferred to Western Kentucky. It wasn’t abundantly clear why at the time, but he says it was over a dispute with a positional coach who he found to be too negative. I’m not sure Meyer would give up on a player over that alone, although he admitted he skipped practise as a consequence of the coach’s criticisms. It’s not a good look. I’d do some homework on this guy.

Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech)
The Fuller family have deep NFL routes — Kyle has already discussed joining his brother Corey on the Detroit Lions roster. I actually really like Kendall Fuller — a 2013 Freshman also at Virginia Tech who had some big games as a first-year starter. He has a ton of potential. But so does his brother Kyle. He’s 5-11 and 190lbs with the fourth longest arms in the group (32 7/8 inches). He had a 38.5 inch vertical — sixth best on the day. His broad jump of 10.8 was the third best recorded among DB’s. In the drills he looked like a natural corner — good technique, sound fundamentals. He might not be the most spectacular player at the next level, but he’ll be a nice addition to someone’s secondary and he should be a day two pick.

Other players of note

Mo Alexander (S, Utah State) — One to monitor for the Seahawks. He’s 6-1 and 220lbs, ran a 4.54 and has nice length (6th longest arms in the class). He also had a 38 inch vertical and a 10.3 broad jump. A definite later round candidate for Seattle.

Brock Vereen (S, Minnesota) — he was one of the big winners with a 4.47 forty, a 6.90 three cone and 25 reps on the bench press. He excelled in drills and the brother of New England’s Shane Vereen is one to keep an eye on.

Jaylen Watkins (CB, Florida) — speaking of brothers, Sammy Watkins’ older sibling ran a 4.41 despite carrying a strained achilles. He’s got short arms, but put up 22 reps on the bench. We know he’s got good DNA.

Deone Bucannon (S, Washington State) — he looked in great shape today and did himself the power of good with a really solid work out. Decent size (6-1, 211lbs) and might be a bit of a safety-tweener, but this was a good day for Bucannon.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama) — he didn’t do anything spectacular. We’re not talking about Earl Thomas here, and I’m not convinced he’s Mark Barron either despite the physical comparisons. But he ran faster than Kenny Vaccaro a year ago and there are teams in the mid-first who really could use a safety upgrade. A lack of depth at the position helps Clinton-Dix.

Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville) — he’s a big hitting safety who’s likely to be a walking yellow flag as a rookie. He ran a 4.58 just like Clinton-Dix and they look very similar — physically and during work outs. This is likely to be a pick your poison situation.

Final thoughts on the DB’s

Overall it’s not a great defensive back class. There’s a lack of obvious first round talent — in fact it’s not unbelievable to think Justin Gilbert might be the only first rounder.

I’d like to be Alterraun Verner or Aqib Talib right now. If they aren’t franchised, they’re both set for a bumper pay day when free agency begins on March 11th.

In terms of the Seahawks, there aren’t a lot of obvious options here for their next later round project at corner. Last year it was fairly simple to identify Tharold Simon — nice length, style of play, 4.5 speed. There’s not a great deal of length/speed in this class.

Justin Gilbert sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s almost too good to be true in terms of physical fit for this team. Of course, he’ll be long gone by #32 unless something seriously went wrong during interviews at the combine.

The one thing Seattle expects is dedication. I’m not talking about the coaches here necessarily — I’m talking about the players. Richard Sherman took it upon himself to become the most prepared cornerback in the league. He critiques his own play, he studies the film.

I’ve no doubt he took his cue from Earl Thomas. Byron Maxwell has been credited for adopting Sherman’s approach to the game. The entire Legion of Boom are film room junkies as much as they are great players.

You can’t expect to survive in that defensive back meeting room unless you’re going to work your tail off. When I hear Gilbert say he doesn’t know who Aqib Talib is, I wonder whether he’s going to know what his next opponent likes to do with route concepts. What are the looks you’re going to get? What does a quarterback like to do to a certain coverage? How can you find the edge, find the way to make a play?

So many of Sherman’s big plays are down to study and hard work. If Gilbert drops into Seattle’s range, it’ll not be because of a lack of talent. It’ll be because he scares the crap out of teams picking early. In that scenario, would they believe he could change with the right influence surrounding him? Or would they merely be the next team to say, “no thanks”.

We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt today. An outstanding work out deserves some credit, and that was a top-15 performance out there.

Further thoughts on the receiver group

Some extra thoughts having sifted through the numbers from Saturday…

Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Only eight players recorded a superior vertical jump (38.5 inches) to Beckham Jr — and he’s 5-11. He also recorded a 4.43 forty with a 1.50 ten yard split. His three cone (6.69) was in the top six for receivers. On the field he competes for everything, high points the ball consistently and makes plays as a wide out or return man. Listen to any of his interviews and you’ll come away impressed. In many ways, he’s the perfect Seahawks prospect. It’s just a shame he’ll be long gone by #32.

Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Many of the headlines discussed Lee’s average forty yard dash (4.52). It could’ve been better, no doubt about that. He’s a hair under 6-0 and sub-200lbs — and players without great size are expected to be able to run. Here’s the thing though — Lee makes up for it elsewhere. He had a 38 inch vertical — like Beckham Jr, among the best in the class. He had the second best broad jump at 10.7. In both those two categories, he beat Sammy Watkins. He’s also a terrific competitor on the field — a real ‘heart and soul’ type. He doesn’t know when he’s beaten and at the back end of the season made some incredible plays at less than 100% health. The forty times aren’t the be-all and end-all for these players. Carroll recruited him and would probably love a shot at him at #32, it’s unlikely though.

Martavis Bryant (WR, Clemson)
Physically this guy is right up Seattle’s street. He’s a shade under 6-4, weighing 211lbs. He runs a 4.42 and his vertical jump of 39 inches was only beaten by two other receivers (Tevin Reese & Damian Copeland). He also recorded one of the best broad jumps at 10.4. You can work with a guy like this. Yet he’s also been labelled a ‘knucklehead’ and just doesn’t seem like a confident character at all. His interviews are shy and retiring, and he doesn’t go into technical detail on routes or defenses like former Clemson team mates Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Having seen how competitive those two players are, you’d think it might rub off on Bryant. It didn’t, and his college career was wildly underwhelming. “Pissed off for greatness” just isn’t the vibe you get. And yet athletically he’s so impressive.

Allen Robinson (WR, Penn State)
I was almost ready to dismiss Robinson as an option for Seattle after seeing a mediocre 4.60 forty. Then I looked at some of the other numbers — tied third best vertical (39 inches), 10.7 broad jump, a 1.54 ten yard split on his forty. He’s not an explosive runner, but he’s not a bad all-round athlete by any means. I still don’t think the Seahawks would pick a 4.60 receiver in round one unless he has Kelvin Benjamin’s size, but Robinson isn’t a total lost cause. If he’s there in round two, it might be one to monitor.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Personally, I just think Pete Carroll would love to wheel out a 6-5, 240lbs receiver who looks as good as Benjamin. There’s a definite ‘win getting off the bus’ mentality to Carroll’s set-up, and Benjamin carries 240lbs better than anybody you’ll ever come across. He has long arms at 34 7/8 inches and a terrific catching radius. And yet compared to Mike Evans, there’s a little disappointment too. Evans had an incredible 37 inch vertical. Benjamin’s is 32.5. He’s big and tall, but he doesn’t have a ton of hop. Only six receivers had a worse vertical jump. He’s an impressive looking guy, but he’s not mind blowing.

Michael Campanaro (WR, Wake Forest)
I’m not crazy about 5-9 receivers for an offense that highlights chunk plays, jump balls and tries to exploit single coverage — but this guy is different. He ran a 4.46, recorded an outstanding 39 inch vertical (same as Martavis Bryant), had a 6.77 three cone, a 10.4 broad jump and even benched 20 reps at 225lbs. I’ll remind you again, he’s 5-9 and 192lbs. That’s one impressive dwarf.

Players with first round potential who looked kind of Seahawky at the combine

Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Decorated, all-round tackle and possible top-ten pick. Wowed with an athletic display for the ages. High character, high motor individual.

Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Basically, the prototype player Seattle goes for. Undersized by conventional wisdom, and yet plays way above those limitations. It also helps he showed he’s a big time athlete with incredible numbers in the vertical and broad jump. Huge hands.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Not the other-world athlete we expected. He aint Megatron. But he’s the type of player Seattle loves to field — incredible size. And while his vertical wasn’t great, you can’t help but drool at the prospect of him competing in the red zone with that 6-5, 240lbs frame.

Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
We’re led to believe Seattle really looks at the three cone drill, as do a lot of teams. Ealy’s three cone of 6.83 wasn’t just the best this year — historically it was one of the best for a defensive lineman. It’s comparable to Bruce Irvin, Cliff Avril and J.J. Watt. And while he ran a 4.92, Michael Bennett once ran a 5.00. They could possibly get him up to 280lbs and use him as a versatile pass rusher.

Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
Do the Seahawks need a linebacker? No. But how can you ignore Shazier’s incredible 42 inch vertical (he’s 6-1), an equally impressive 10.10 broad jump and a 6.91 three cone? The Seahawks could lose K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith after the 2014 season. They like insane athlete’s, and Shazier appears to be one.

Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Length, size and a top notch vertical. That’s what Hageman showed at the combine. It’s hard to imagine they won’t have serious interest here, given their penchant for guys that are 6-6 and 310lbs. His interviews will have been crucial though.

Morgan Moses (T, Virginia)
They seem to want length at tackle. Moses flashed 6-6 and 314lbs size, with 35 3/8 inch arms — third longest among offensive linemen.

Antonio Richardson (T, Tennessee)
The other thing they’ve gone for on the offensive line is abnormal size. Richardson was the biggest tackle on display at nearly 6-6 and 332lbs. He didn’t look good during the drills and some pundits have suggested he’s set for a fall. People also said the same about James Carpenter during the 2011 combine. He has 35 inch arms. There’s a lot to work with here.

Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Just the perfect example of ballhawking skills, raw athleticism and length. He’d fit like a glove, if he had any chance of reaching the #32 pick.

Troy Niklas (TE, Notre Dame)
He looked really stiff during drills and wussed out of the forty. And yet he has the body of a Greek God. The Gronk comparisons are overblown — he’s not a 4.6 runner. But he could develop into an upper echelon blocker with the right guidance. He’ll provide a major threat with his height (6-6) size (270lbs) and reach (34 1/8 inch arms). His vertical jump (32 inches) matched Eric Ebron’s.

Salary cap set for a huge rise?

This is welcome news.

Initial reports suggested the cap would rise by $7m to $130m. That would’ve significantly boosted Seattle’s chances of keeping the likes of Michael Bennett, Golden Tate and others.

Now Mike Florio is reporting that the cap could go beyond $130m — potentially by millions.

His suggestion is a total of around $135m — a $12m increase from 2013. If the Seahawks do eventually cut Sidney Rice and Red Bryant, they’d be looking at around $24m in cap space.

When you consider the potential savings elsewhere (Chris Clemons, Zach Miller) — Seattle could eventually find itself in a very healthy position in it’s quest to keep the band together.

Essentially the NFL and the NFLPA had to act. The new CBA has absolutely killed the free agent market, as we saw in full view last year. The new deal was supposed to reward proven veterans, while limiting the crippling financial cost at the top end of the draft.

What’s actually happened is teams are making major savings on cheap rookies and they’re not reinvesting the money into the open market.

Under the old system, everyone got paid. Rookies and vets. So paying out for a proven commodity made financial sense.

Now, an influx of players enter the league every year being paid a relative pittance. And it’s revolutionised the market.

Faced with the option of signing Cliff Avril to a substantial five-year contract or waiting to take their chances in the draft, teams are focusing on the draft.

When they are spending, they’re spending on quarterbacks. Teams like Baltimore, Green Bay, Atlanta and New Orleans have given out big contracts to signal callers, limiting how much money there is to spend elsewhere.

The business model as it was planned is failing. And the only solution is to create even more cap space.

It’s kind of like a fiscal economic plan. Speculate to accumulate.

What they’ll hope is — teams paying major money on quarterbacks will still be able to invest in other positions. Teams who were coming into the off-season with major cap room, now have even more incentive to be pro-active.

And teams like Seattle who were up against their budget, can still be financial players.

It won’t surprise me if the total cap increases again and again from here on in. It could be upwards of $150m by 2015.

Whether the plan works or not, we’ll wait and see. But they had to do something — because all the power belonged to the teams. They were having their cake in the draft and eating it in free agency.

The lack of clarity on the final cap for 2014 may also be the reason why Sidney Rice and Red Bryant are yet to be officially released, despite recent national media reports and in Rice’s case a farewell Tweet.

And if the cap increases every year, there shouldn’t be any issues paying Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

Why they might keep Chris Clemons for another year

Just look at what’s available in this draft.

Sure, it’s a deep class. But not for ideal LEO rushers.

There are some options later on, such as Louisville’s excellent Marcus Smith.

But unless you plan on moving up for Jadeveon Clowney, you won’t find a solution early.

It might be a case of going with what you’ve got and what you know. The Seahawks had a formidable post-season pass rush with Avril, Bennett and Clemons working in tandem — even if the latter wasn’t quite at his best across 2013.

And finally…

It’s been a long but enjoyable last three days, spending hours sat in front of a computer screen watching and reporting on the combine. But now that it’s over, I need something else to watch in order to unwind.

This ought to do it…

Tomorrow’s assignment: a post-combine mock draft. See you then.

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101 Responses to “Closing thoughts on the combine & major salary cap news”

  1. jeff says:

    About the cap, I remember getting absolutely crushed over on .net for saying the players were fools for agreeing to the rookie cap. Attacked endlessly for such a stance. Lets say I am far from shocked this has happened. Raising the cap will help some but like it or not, once you put a cap on salaries of rookies the cap is gonna extend to veterans. Bad deal for every player. It was an obvious result to some of us.

    • Alex says:

      while that’s true, I still believe the revised rookie cap is for the better. The draft is supposed to help bad teams get out of the pit. That can’t happen if you’re picking in the top 10 every year and getting weighed down by mammoth contracts. The previous system also made draft mistakes affect the future (look at Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Jamarcus Russell, etc). Since the new system came into place, teams could cut their losses if they made a mistake.

      What I believe really happened is that team owners have decided to prioritize who to extend. There are simply some positions that are more replaceable than others (e.g. Guard or RB vs LT or QB). Those premium positions like LT, CB, #1 WR, QB, pass rusher are taking all the money.

      • jeff says:

        Don’t make mistakes. Players should get paid what the market bears. Having to wait 3 years (minimum) building up their name for a college scholarship and then being put through a draft process that prevents you from choosing your employer like 99.9% of Americans get to do is enough. Adding a limit to how much these (in many cases already stars thanks to college careers) can get paid is simply ridiculous.
        And it isn’t benefitting the veterans, only benefitting the owners.

        • rrsquid says:

          I always the hype about rookie salaries were way overblown. Sure the top 10 made very good contracts, but after that and especially after the 1st round, salaries dropped dramatically.

          • Belgaron says:

            A large number of the top guys failed. The incentive for them to work to get “paid” wasn’t there.

        • Belgaron says:

          In the old system, top players got drafted and the agent took the number from the year before and argued for an increase from that. Many high players would hold out until the season started. It was an incredibly poorly defined and performing system and had little to do with a free market.

      • Rock says:

        All that is required now is to impose a cap on the top tier guys. That will squeeze more money into the middle. The current system is easy to fix if the NFLPA feels it is inequitable. Why should Peyton take up 20% of Denver’s entire payroll. Restrict veterans to no more than 15% of the team payroll or set a similar limit by position. If Peyton were limited to $15 million, Denver might be able to afford a defense.

        • Belgaron says:

          It’s because of the leagues momentum to be a quarterback driven league. It’s possible that the Seattle model of building around a great defense could change some of that. Unlikely but possible.

      • plyka says:

        Well then, they should trade back and get more picks later on where rookie contracts were not very high. If you’re going to build a true elite team with a salary cap in place, the 1st round is not where you’re going to do it, unless you’re lucky and you get the 1st pick in that one draft that Peyton Manning or Luck are coming out in (ironically both drafts this happened, the Colts had the #1 pick). Otherwise, it’s the teams that hit big with the 2nd, 3rd, and even 6th and 7th rounds –when you can get players on the extra cheap.

        If I were a team this year in the top 5, I would look to trade back. Give up on Clownley (best talent in the draft) if that means you get 3-4 picks in the later rounds. The 3-4 picks in the later rounds will all have $500k contracts while Clowny gets his $6m, and you have more chances.

    • plyka says:

      I definitely agree. Once you step into the “market” and start inflicting subjective price restraints, you’re going to have big problems. Russell Wilson getting $500k for his frist few years while he is worth $20m? Sherm getting $500k while he is worth $12m? Sherm may have 8 years of PRIME, his first few years is the period where he can make the most money (due to youth + talent).

      The owners obviously pulled a fast one on the players, used their own selfishness against them. They were no longer rookies, they weren’t going to get hurt by the new rookie rules. So the owners basically said, let’s pass this deal, it’s not going to hurt any of you, it’ll only hurt future rookies, so all is good. The players attempted to sacrafice the livelyhoods of future players, and in the process got taken.

      • Radman says:

        But a different market, also subjective, is why Russell is getting the pay he’s getting. Every market will have rules and there will always be inefficiencies no matter the rules.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          Considering where Sherman and Wilson were picked, they wouldn’t have gotten very much money under the old system or todays system. We know they are worth more now, but that was not known on draft day. So how do you evaluate that? Sure the teams get a cheap date for four years. College teams get an even cheaper date for however long the players will stay.

  2. j says:

    Why are you emphasizing height in the context of vertical jump ability? If anything, a taller player should get more leeway because their size makes up for a lack of a huge vertical.

    I agree on Beckham – great receiver. However, he is a poor blocker, which is important when your team emphasizes the run. On top of that, he’s doesn’t play very physical, and his seven reps back that up. Maybe being nitpicky though.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m emphasizing height because I would expect Kelvin Benjamin to record a much greater vertical jump than 32 inches. And I used the example with Beckham because he’s 5 inches shorter, and yet recorded a vertical that was five inches superior. A ten inch swing.

      As for Beckham and run blocking — I’d ask how good Percy Harvin is at run blocking. At the end of the day, your receivers are receivers not blockers. And while it’s nice that Jermaine Kearse is a fantastic blocker and Doug Baldwin chips in, it’s not imperative that you’re a great blocker.

      I’d also highly dispute the doesn’t play physical suggestion. When a 5-11 guy’s high pointing the ball between two defensive backs in a contest, and making the grab, that’s plenty physical for me.

      • Nate says:

        Rob the vertical jump measurement is off your height. So if Beckham vertical is 5 inches greater than Benjamins that means that Beckham can reach Benjamins high point (as Benjamin is 5 inches taller).

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          Truth^

        • Robert says:

          I think PC had his minions sabotage KB’s jumps so he would free fall to #32! Maybe KB is just cruddy at the standing vertical jump. But he can jump. And when combined with his height and long arms, he can go catch a football over the crossbar. The proof is at 1:51 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKN8LXWu8Y4
          Further, I am elated at his sluggish 40 time. But if they measured him after the first 10 yards, say from the 10 yard mark until the 50 yard mark, those long strides would kick in and he’d run by a lot of those “faster” CB’s. My guess is this kid is high on our board along with Hageman and maybe a T. Lamenting that we have no shot at Donald…

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            Eh. I watched a lot of Benjamin this year and he never really went up in a way that made you sit up. It was always a bunny hop with his hands above his head. I feel like that will limit his ability to high point balls in the future. But that’s a lot of weight for someone to put in the air like that.

          • YDB says:

            Did Pete have his minions sabatoge KB’s hands to make it look like he had trouble catching the ball consistantly all year?

        • plyka says:

          Yes, vertical is how far the bottom of your feet get off the ground. I heard Barry Sanders recorded a vertical of 44 inches! One of the shortest players i’ve ever seen in the league.

  3. Jeremy says:

    I would really like to see the NFL come out with some sort of a max contract. Similar to the NBA, but adjusted for each position.

    I noticed you didn’t talk about Coleman when you listed down your Seahawky players with first round potential.

    • Alex says:

      The problem with the max contract is that you’ll probably run into the same problem the NBA has with max contracts. There will be about 5 players that are underpaid in that system (Lebron is worth north of 40 million and he’s geting paid 19 mill) because their contract value are capped, but there will be about 10-20 more players that are overpaid (Joe Johnson at 21 million -_- ) to the max simply because teams don’t want their players to walk.

      • Jeremy says:

        Good points, in every sport there are players who are overpaid (Joe Flacco). I just think that raising the salary cap will not be a permanent fix. Sure, it will help teams on a year to year basis. But when the salary cap rises, so will the size of future contracts. It’s going to be scary to see the size of the contracts for the next gen of quarterbacks.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Coleman. I still think he’s an option. But wanted to focus on others here.

      • Jeremy says:

        OK, that clarifies, thanks. As he finished up the drills, you said he wasn’t as crisp, so I just wanted to make sure he didn’t fall out of favor.

    • Belgaron says:

      The NBA and MLB are both examples of how not to do player compensation. All NBA contracts are guaranteed.

  4. Alex says:

    Regarding the cap, I thought the previous projections had the NFL hitting 150 million by 2019. Now we’re hitting 150 million in 2015 (i.e. the season after the upcoming season)? I can see that if we’re talking about a new TV contract, which I remember will be up for renewal soon, but if not, I can only see the NFL cap ballooning 15 million in 2014 and 2015 if the NFLPA decides to borrow more of the future raises into the current years. That would obviously mean slower cap growth in the future.

    For comparison’s sake, the cap grew from 109 million in 2007 to 123 million in 2013. That’s 7 years! Before that, there was one big growth between 2005 and 2006 when the cap fattened from 85.5 to 102 million. To see 12 to 15 million growth in both 2014 and 2015 would be highly unusual unless the said circumstances happen (new TV contract or borrow even more growth from the future).

    Any clarification?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Only one clarification needed — the new CBA signed in 2011 isn’t working.

      This isn’t a usual situation, in fact it’s pretty desperate all round. The league knows it has to do something, the players are unhappy and De Smith has an election to win in 2015. The future of the league depends on them making this CBA work. Right now the tiny minority of elite players are benefiting from the current deal, but everyone else is getting hammered. They have to do something otherwise there’s going to be chaos in the future.

      We can throw out any previous projections on what the cap would be. The projection for the 2014 cap is already ballooning to a 9% increase and as Florio notes, the belief is it’ll keep increasing at a rapid rate over the next few years.

      They have to find a way to pay elite players and still pay the ‘middle class’ so to speak. So that it’s not impossible to re-sign Aaron Rodgers and pay second, third and fourth tier free agents. This is their plan. We’ll see if it works.

      • cade says:

        Rob,

        How does this CBA help the owners? It does help create more parity as teams that draft poorly are not as adversely impacted. Its not like the owners are making more money due to the CBA. They are just distributing it differently.

        The real winners are the top 10-30% of players.
        The real losers are the rookies and the vets that are good to average and can be replaced cheaply.

        NFL accidentally created an economic system where the value of good vets plummets as a rookie can do 85% of the job at 25% of the cost. We have seen this already but when the market fully equalizes the middleclass wages will be WAY down and the upper class wages will be WAY up.

        Throwing more money into the system doesn’t help that much. A good chunk of that extra CAP just goes to the top since its the economic environment they created. The remainder goes to middleclass. The Rooks still get screwed and for 4 years (about the average NFL career).

        People talk as if the Owners screwed the players. They didn’t. The players and owners worked together to do it out of ignorance and lack of foresight. Vets couldn’t see the impact on their wages and career length while owners couldn’t see how instable this move would make their teams as massive turnover is required to be competitive.

        • Rob Staton says:

          “Throwing more money into the system doesn’t help that much” — we’ll see what happens. The acid test will come when we see if the elite just end up getting more, or whether the extra cap room actually boosts those second and third tier guys. They had to do something, this is at least a plan. We’ll see what impact it has.

          • cade says:

            In my opinion the league offices have to have a gentlemans agreement ( I think its illegal ) to stop driving up the price of the top 10% by offering the surplus cash to that 10%.

            A side effect of losing vets from this economic landscape is that the product suffers. Lower quality players on the field.

            When the product suffers the owners suffer.

            • MarkinSeattle says:

              Part of the problem goes back to the rules of the game. They have emphasized passing so much, that if you don’t have a good or great QB, then your team will suck. So QB has become so outsized in importance, that even QB’s that are barely good are getting huge contracts. Basically the rules are making Joe Flacco worth more ($20m) than paying him a more modest amount (say $10m) and investing the other money in other good players (say a couple of $8m defensive starters, rather than a pair of mediocre $3m starters).

              That is why so much money is being dumped into QB’s (and to a lesser extent, WR’s). The rules create an outsized impact in the game. Owners and GM’s are just putting the money where they think it can best benefit them and put out a winning team. That formula has been up to this point, great QB’s and WR’s. With Seattle’s success this year, we may see more teams focus more on defense.

              As for a salary cap on individual amounts, I think that is dangerous on a couple of levels. First, it will drive more players up to that max amount. Half the QB’s in the league would suddenly demand to be paid at the salary max. Instead of the amount being seen as what you pay the very best, it will be seen as the amount you have to pay a good QB. So it will benefit the good teams and hurt the teams with mediocre or bad QB’s. Granted, if you are a team like Seattle and they instituted a $8 or $10m cap, it would likely benefit us because it would save us money on a couple of players (same with Carolina and likely San Fran as well). But it would inflate other players’ salaries.

      • plyka says:

        I thought that there was a salary floor? Meaning that teams had to spent X% of the salary cap?

      • Belgaron says:

        I really don’t understand this response at all. The CBA was never designed to limit the salary cap. So saying it isn’t working because it isn’t achieving that just doesn’t make any sense.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I never said the CBA was designed to limit the cap.

          • Belgaron says:

            Sorry, misunderstood your point.

            The main thing that changed in 2011 was the rookie draft picks compensation. The rest of what’s happened recently is the diminishing value of RBs and other weapons in relation to overvaluing top QBs based on the success of the top QBs. I don’t think messing with the cap will impact that. Until teams start valuing other positions more in relation to QBs, it will remain out of proportion.

    • PatrickH says:

      I thought CBS and NFL recently reached an agreement to broadcast the Thursday nights’ games, which were previously shown on NFL network only. Perhaps that’s where the additional money is coming from.

  5. CC says:

    I love Kam!!!!

    Dontae Johnson is another CB that I like – a day 3 pick likely. Moses and Richardson might be worth a pick at 32 if they are there – I like both of them and think they could improve the line. Somebody good will fall to us – and the rich get richer.

    I’m sure the cap being higher is to help poor Jerry Jones, but regardless, it will help us tons! If Clem would restructure, I think he would be kept for sure – I think that we haven’t heard any rumblings on Clem and Zach may mean they are working on that – or maybe wishful thinking by me.

  6. Mattk says:

    Great stuff as always Rob. Thanks for all you’re hard work these last few days.

    JMO, but I thought Donte Moncrief WR, Ole Miss made money this weekend and should be getting more hype within the Seahawks community.

    I’ve watched his tape and its obvious that his measurements and drill times translate to the field, which is huge. He’s not just a combine star and confirms he has #1 potential that a few of the other receivers in this class don’t have (despite much more talk)

    His inconsistent hands are a concern, but its no different than prospects like Lee, Benjamin, Coleman, and Bryant who suffer with drops as well.

    Some team is going to take a gamble on this kid. He’s mostly getting 3rd/4th round grades, but I suspect he could be drafted in the the late 2nd, now.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would agree on that grade for Moncrief. His tape is thoroughly underwhelming for the most part, but you’re right his athletic qualities do show up. Second round seems fair to me.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Didn’t really see many drops from Bryant on film. Not sure where this came from. Also, who started the knuckle-head thing?

      In his interviews he strikes me as incredibly humble. A team player. Seems like a hard worker. In his post game of NC State he mentioned that he called the play that scored their first touchdown. He said he had noticed a tendency by the safety when he was running a route and recommended that play because of it.

      In a summer interview he said “We start on thursday, but I been watchin’ film for months.” What a seahawky thing to say.
      He always says “Go back to work” I like it. Blue Collar guy.

      Clearly not the most articulate fellow, but he scored a 21 on the wonderlic. Just three points off of Richard Sherman’s score.

      • Mattk says:

        Not so much drops with Bryant. More that he showed in parts of the season he’s not strong at the point of catch – There’s a difference. I probably should have kept Bryant off the bad hands list.

        As to the knuckle-head thing, personally, I like to leave most of the character and off-field evaluation part to the experts. Unless it’s obvious or well-documented, I don’t want to misjudge someone off minimal info.
        I do like what you’re sharing about Bryant tho.

      • Drew says:

        I’ve watched every game Bryant has played at Clemson. Yes he does show some flashes of brilliance and makes some phenomal plays, but for every phenomal play there are at least 1 or 2 bone head plays. Lots of drops, catches with his body, etc. You would think that someone with his athletic ability and size lined up opposite of Sammy Watkins would be able to dominate….he didn’t.

        I wouldn’t be happy at all if the Hawks drafted him before the 5th. I think he needs a LOT of work.

  7. Seth says:

    Rob did you see any of the linebackers or defensive backs that could be an option to replace some of the Special Teamers? I know that it is an odd question but anything to save some money so we don’t have to pay the veteran min.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s a tough one to answer. Generally Seattle uses some of it’s better players on special teams. I think basically the guys they draft will just be tasked with getting stuck in there. We saw Ricardo Lockette suddenly explode into a top-tier gunner last season. So anyone with speed and grit is good. I’d struggle to name specific players based on their special teams value.

  8. Cysco says:

    So what’s stopping Seattle from being a dynasty now? The cap was the only thing people could point at as stoping us from winning for the next 5 years.

    • Robert says:

      Gotta start attacking the middle of the field behind LB’s and SS who are over committing to crowding the LOS and clogging our running lanes. Chip and release TE’s and 4WR’s split wide sets forcing nickel D and only 6 in the box will make other teams pay for impeding the Beast!

    • Drew says:

      The ferocious NFC West is probably the only thing that could stop us from being a dynasty. The NFC West is scary good, especially defensively. I expect Arizona to leap frog San Fran and St. Louis could make a huge leap this next year with all their draft picks.

  9. RadMan says:

    I wouldn’t draw much from Gilbert not knowing who Talib is. College kid, busy student athlete. Social life. Probably not spending his days or free time geeking out over the NFL like us losers. Can’t draw much from it at all in terms of how he prepares.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not sure about that RadMan. You’d think a prospective corner would be studying the best in the game, trying to work out how to be even better. Can you imagine someone asking rookie Russell Wilson if he knew who Matt Ryan was and his answer being, “Errr…. who?”

      Talib isn’t just a guy. He’s one of the best in the biz. And even if you’re not studying his tape during the season — you prepare for the combine (biggest job interview in your life). You’d think he’d at least know the name of a top end corner going into multiple interviews with teams. That right there shows a lack of prep.

      • Mattk says:

        It’s only been a couple months for most guys since their last game. Honestly, who knows how these guys are training for the combine or what the best way is.

        It could be his trainers have him studying only a handful of players who excel in areas of his game he needs to work on. There’s access to cut-ups of great corner backs from the past 20 years he could be looking at, none of which are Talib.

        Also, Talib isn’t just a guy, but he didn’t really make a name for himself till he was traded to New England late-2012. Russell Wilson would know who Matt Ryan is cause he’s been the face of the Falsons since 2008, but it wouldn’t surprise me he did not use Matt Ryan’s tape to study going into the combine.

        • RadMan says:

          I just dont think you can extrapolate much out if it. If they’d asked him about WRs he’s faced in his conference or QBs he’s faced I’d feel differently. But there’s no part of his game that requires him to know who Talib is. I imagine he could watch tape of Talib abd understand what he’s doing. The fact that the kid doesn’t know who he is interesting but meaningless to me.

          I could just as easily make the argument that he’s so focused on his game and his craft he filters out all distractions. I’d have the same amount if evidence.

          Part if my perspective on this is I work with scholarship student athletes every day. A lot if them are completely oblivious to their own schedule and their own school work. They can be in their own world. I just don’t think we can out any meaning on it.

          • RadMan says:

            -clearly my phone prefers “if” to “of”. Sorry.

          • Mattk says:

            I agree and that’s great perspective from you RadMan. There’s probably a lack on understanding on student-athletes, in general. Furthermore, I think expectations can get a bit too high sometimes when we’re discussing first-round prospects. Not all players will compare to Russell Wilson. Lucky us :)

            • Radman says:

              ha

              to be fair, Rob does write that he gives him a pass. So I don’t want to seem too argumentative.

              Young people in college- especially student athletes- are busy as heck, and live in their own bubble a great deal. I was a bit surprised at the tumult Gilbert’s comments caused. To me it just read as a young person who is doing his own thing (“staying in his lane” as marshawn put it haha).

  10. Cameron says:

    Interesting speculation re: the salary cap Rob. You think it will work? I don’t. The rookie wage scale has killed the mid and low level FA market. These guys are still having to compete with rookies, and having more money to spend isn’t going to make a front office hang onto a guy for 3 million when he can get similar production for 600k. The rich will get richer.

  11. JeffS says:

    why not turn willson into the jumbo wr?

    • Jon says:

      He is an athletic TE but he would not be an athletic Big WR. I think you use him where we have allready seen and some WR but we need another weapon, not just to shift a player to another position.

      • Mattk says:

        I agree. Willson can handle going out wide occasionally, but he’s not an every down outside wide receiver by any means.

        • Robert says:

          I hope they use him a lot more this year. Teams were stalling our offense by stuffing the box with LB’s and SS crowding the LOS and overwhelming our OL blocking with shear numbers. Wilsson can chip block and release at random and easily get behind LB’s who are out of position and cannot run with him anyways. This constraint play strategy will open up our Beast game and our entire playbook of play action shots down field and dirty deeds with Percy Harvin! I know PC hates to throw over the middle. But you have to when the D is cheating up and clogging our running lanes. PC would rather try a bubble screen, which is cool if it’s used sparingly and not as your only constraint strategy to keep LB’s honest…

    • Rob Staton says:

      Too stiff, better suited to TE. An athletic tight end but not a huge athlete for a WR.

  12. Stuart says:

    I have thought that many times myself Jeff. Cold water is always poured on the idea. PC would know best and has not gone that way, ever, has he? Maybe he will experiment in pre-season based on how the draft goes.

  13. Kenny Sloth says:

    An interesting note came out after the superbowl: Kam Chancellor is the Quarterback of the defense. He makes the coverage calls and alerts the front seven. I guess it makes sense, Earl’s way back and can’t communicate with the linebackers as readily. I think he should get more praise than simply as “The Enforcer”.

    • cade says:

      I would think he was more like the mouth piece of the secondary in communicating with the linebackers. Really its a circular communication that goes through (in no particular order) Sherman, Thomas and Kam. Kam communicates with LB’s. Wagner makes changes at the Line for the front seven.

      I think that’s how it works. Could be wrong.

    • Belgaron says:

      I’ve seen it posted in other articles that Wagner makes the calls, but they probably work together.

  14. Robert says:

    Great clip! Remember the play vs the Cardinals when Kam destroyed the RT and slammed the RB for a loss…of yards and coherency. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKN8LXWu8Y4
    Kam was my pick for Superbowl MVP. I thought Kam’s early bone jarring hit on Demarius Thomas sent the message that we owned the middle of the field and trespassers would be annihilated without mercy. The interception was cool. But coming from behind and over the top to knock the ball out of Welker’s hands and following through with the BAM was so awesome!

  15. red says:

    Hi Rob

    You think with such a deep roster including solid guys on Practice Squad. The Seahawks might draft some guys in the middle rounds/late rounds coming off injures for IR redshirt IE Morgan Breslin Easly Colvin.

    • Robert says:

      Oh, Hi Red!

      That’s a good way to get some early round value out of a later round pick. The challenge is stashing them on our roster, which is so talented from top to bottom.

      • David M says:

        i believe they can do what they did last year, three draft picks (ware, simon, and williams) were all on IR.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Possibly. They essentially took Jesse Williams knowing he’d be a red shirt.

      • David M says:

        I think Williams will be a big contributor this year, Figure he has all year to get his knee healthy, if it can stay that, hats the only thing holding him back. He is a great player with a never ending motor, would love to see him make it in the NFL. SO true how Bama players get beat up though

  16. DHawk says:

    Rob, I’d like to get your opinion on two questions:

    1. You noted that Keith McGill looked a little stiff in backpedals and some drills. Do you think this is more of an athletic issue or could some of it be attributed to his inexperience playing CB. I’m not sure if you knew this already, but McGill has only played 12 games in his college career at CB. He switched from free safety to corner in spring of 2012, but didn’t play the 2012 season due to rehab from a shoulder injury. His only experience at corner has been his 12 games this past season. Here is some info on that history:

    http://utahutes.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/keith_mcgill_757033.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_McGill

    http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/57181384-219/whittingham-mcgill-utah-injury.html.csp

    Do you think some of his stiffness/movement is poor technique and inexperience, which is coach-able, or is he more likely to need to switch back to safety in the pros?

    2. You noted how smooth and athletic Johnathan Dowling looked, so I checked out some video of him and I agree. He seems to have good body control and movement skills for his size. My second question is about position switches once again…Dowling played free safety his entire career…

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000297919/article/western-kentuckys-jonathan-dowling-says-he-will-enter-draft

    Are you looking at him as a corner or a safety in your analysis? Do you think he has the skills to make the switch to corner?

    Here are some nice highlights of Dowling:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRu4sC6bI3Y

    (the lateral agility he showed in juking the RB after the interception at the 1:15 mark is particularly impressive for a 6′ 3″ DB)

    Also:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXnlm3xoP6E (great catchup speed)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i41kJkR0EwY (LOB type hit)

    http://draftbreakdown.com/players/jonathan-dowling/ (draftbreakdown vids)

    Thanks for doing so much analysis on the combine, it really makes the whole draft process more exciting and informative because of your work. How great is it that we won the Super Bowl AND we get some of the best information and analysis to go along with it. Your work is much appreciated.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think most of the issue with McGill is just height to be honest. It’s very hard to look smooth in a transition at that size, which is why you don’t see a lot of 6-3 corners. He will get a shot in rounds 2-3 for sure, definitely a lot to like with that frame. But he has to not only play in a physical, press man system — he also has to show a lot more physicality in his play.

  17. PatrickH says:

    On Keith McGill, I remember when Gus Bradley was interviewed by Mike Mayock during the Senior Bowl, talking about tall CBs, the first one that Bradley mentioned and discussed for a minute or so was McGill. Assuming Bradley is running the same defense as Seahawks, this would indicate that McGill could be a fit for the Hawks as well.

    Also, Field Gulls has posted an article on this year’s prospects with LEO profile in terms of combine measurements and workout results. I noticed that UNC DE Kareem Martin seems to fit the LEO profile really well. I haven’t watched any UNC games at all, so I just wonder if anyone knows how well he had played?

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Lol should’ve refreshed before I posted below.

      His numbers haven’t translated to the field. He seemed to play at his speed. Seems like he doesn’t like to get hit.

      No fire in his belly.

  18. Kenny Sloth says:

    Here are the official numbers on Kareem Martin of UNC. Pretty ugly tape, though.

    Height: 6’6″
    Weight: 272
    Off. 40 Time: 4.72
    Unoff. 40 Time: 4.68
    10-Yd Split: 1.53
    Bench: 22
    Vert: 35.5
    Broad: 10-9
    Arm: 35

    • dtrain says:

      Cable is licking his chops…6th round O-Line project!

    • Dave says:

      Martin looks like a LEO. 1.53 10-YD split is legit and he’s got length!

      Rob, thanks for posting that video. It makes humpday a whole lot better. Vernon Davis, who’s your daddy?

    • Jim Q says:

      DL-Kareem Martin, North Carolina, 6-057, 272-lbs currently ranked as a mid to late 3-rd round pick. Why he’s maybe a good DL pick for the Seahawks?
      1. 35″ arms 2-nd in the DL group at the combine and he’s 6′-6″ tall.
      2. 35.5″ vert. #1 in DL group. (6′-6″ + 35″ + 35.5″ = 148.5 (12.37-ft.)
      3. 10′-8″ broad jump #1 in the DL group (really an impressive #)
      4. 1.53 10-yard split #1 in the DL group (really an impressive #)
      5. 4.72 40=yard dash, pretty impressive for a 272-lb guy (with room for more lbs.)
      Maybe he can be a replacement for Clem as a possible Leo candidate?

      Another potential Leo candidate that doesn’t get much press:
      DE-Marcus Smith, 6-3, 252, Louisville, 14.5 sacks, 18.5 TFL, 4-FF, also projected Rd-3.

  19. Russ James says:

    Man… I just uploaded that Bam Bam video yesterday and now everyone, including Kam, has mentioned it. This interweb is a crazy thing.

    You guys have a great blog here. Can’t believe it took me so long to discover it.

  20. EranUngar says:

    Rob,

    With the Clem situation unclear and with Avril on the last year of his contract, I think they will go for a LEO DE. Howard Jones, Kreem Martin, Jackson Jeffcoat type of a guy. Long limbed and fast.

    Any of those guys can help on special teams and be ready to step in next year.

    your take ?

    • Drew says:

      I think Benson Mayowa is the next guy up. They wouldn’t have stashed him on the roster all year if they didn’t have big plans for him. I think he’s the LEO of the future.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think health is the key for Jeffcoat. Jones is a small school guy who looked good but I want to see the tape. Martin’s tape is so hit and miss. It’s not a great draft for LEO’s to be fair. Marcus Smith is probably the best option.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I like it when draft picks turn out to be hidden gems. But in the LEO position it is easier to pay for a free agent that has already proven themselves. Because we are really only talking about 16 players or so in the entire league that have proven themselves to be excellent. So they will probably continue to pay for free agents.

  21. MJ says:

    Rob, any chance the Seahawks would look at Jason Verrett at 32? I know he doesn’t have the size, but he amazed me at the combine and has great tape/production to back it up. Could he be the primary nickel as well as possibly being ETIII insurance as a FS? I know Earl has him by about 10-15 lbs, but Verrett seems like a very physical guy despite his stature.

    Also, what are your thoughts on S Terrence Brooks?

    Yes, this is a very outside the box type of proposition. Kind of like your mock drafts, I like to come up with various scenarios as we can re-hash the OBJ and Donald scenario a million times even though it wont’ happen. In all honesty, the further we go into this process, the more thoroughly confused I am about what they do at 32.

    Excellent work Rob. Keep it up.

  22. Belgaron says:

    What you’ve posted here is just not accurate. The cap number has nothing to do with any new action taken by NFL/NFLPA. It is based on the agreement that is still in place. The number is a certain percentage of total revenue so the new higher number has nothing to do with to do with any player contracts or worthiness, it is a mathematical formula. They are also projecting it to rise drastically over the next few years, primarily because the business model the NFL banked on in terms of distribution, online presence, television channel, and merchandise is growing very well. The NFL is just doing extremely well in the business choices it has made.

    When the current agreement between the NFL and NFLPA runs out, they will bargain for a new one and perhaps changes will happen then but nothing has changed about their agreement this offseason.

    • Rob Staton says:

      From the report by PFT discussing the cap rise:

      “…the cap, which is based on revenues but inevitably is negotiated by the NFL and the NFLPA.”

      Here’s more:

      “A cynic may wonder whether the spike in the cap for 2014 is aimed at helping NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith fend off a 2015 challenge from Sean Gilbert or, possibly, Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks.”

      So unless the mathematical formula also takes into account DeSmith’s desire to keep his job, it appears the cap is completely open to negotiation between the NFL and NFLPA within certain boundaries — and a concerted effort to raise the cap is in place due to a level of discontent among players. So much so, they’re seemingly willing to vote out the guy who negotiated the rotten CBA — and he’s now trying to survive by negotiating a way around this.

      • Belgaron says:

        That negotiation happened in 2011, the last time the CBA was extended. They argued over what had to defined as revenue and what counted as contributions to players. The formula hasn’t changed from the 2011 agreement. The NFL is just making more money now and expected to grow even bigger over the next few years.

  23. Belgaron says:

    “Under the old system, everyone got paid. Rookies and vets. So paying out for a proven commodity made financial sense.”

    This didn’t work for teams because it placed too much risk on high picks which altered which positions they could select from with those picks and created adversity for cellar dwellers to get ahead. It actually created some devaluation of high picks and in some instances made it harder to trade down in the draft.

    It didn’t work for veterans because year after year they saw guys get drafted, get “paid”, and then become slackers, getting flushed out of the league without ever helping the team.

    The latest agreement happened primarily because of the second group, the veterans who voted to limit the earning potential on draft picks. They tried to mitigate some damage with the shared money that goes to players like Wilson. IMO this is the area that should be fixed. They just need to pump up that amount for rookies who do extremely well early in the league.

    • Belgaron says:

      Back then, New England correctly identified the real value of 2nd round picks and started hoarding them. 2nd rounders didn’t have the risk of 1st rounders, were still playing with the incentive to get paid, but still were highly skilled.

      They have abandoned that approach now with the fixed rookie contracts that guarantees they all make training camp. High picks are now worth more than 2nd rounders again.

  24. YDB says:

    Rob,
    You wrote that only two recievers bested Bryant’s vert of 39″. Moncrief vert was 39.5, his broad (11′) and 40 (4.40 with1.50 10yard split) were also better. His tape verifys that this is legitimate game speed/explosion.