Yesterday I mocked Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois) to the Seahawks in round one of the 2011 draft. I wanted to represent comments made by Pete Carroll during his recent press conference that he was making improvement on both lines a priority.
With a certain degree of depth on the defensive line this year – it’s not a stretch to consider the Seahawks going in that direction early this April.
However – my knowledge of Liuget is limited to restricted tape and one game in 2010. I need to study up and learn whether he’s a clear upgrade over other DL prospects who will go later in the draft at a lesser cost. Depth on both lines may be a priority, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s forthcoming via a first round pick.
Two other ‘alternative’ prospects I’m going to highlight today are Marvin Austin (DT, UNC) and Jurrell Casey (DT, USC).
Austin was one of the North Carolina prospects suspended for the entire 2010 season after accepting gifts from agents. Based on 2009 evidence I had Austin in the round 2/3 range but wondered how the suspension may affect his stock.
Despite not playing any football this past season it’s to Austin’s credit that he’s appeared at the East/West Shrine work outs this week and reports indicate he’s performing well. I still think there’s a chance Austin will go lower than most expect. Aside from missing the entire 2010 season he was suspended for two games as a coaches decision and some have questioned his work ethic and attitude.
I also think he plays soft for a guy at 6-2, 305lbs with an ideal frame. As you can see (courtesy of Aaron Aloysius) I’ve published tape of Austin vs Pittsburgh from last year. He’s frequently driven back by the Panthers offensive line and doesn’t do a great job penetrating into the backfield. I think he best suites Seattle’s scheme as a nose tackle (the role used by Colin Cole) but he needs to be stronger and not get pushed around as much as we see here:
Even so, if we’re talking about depth Austin has the potential to fill a role on the roster without spending millions of dollars.
Jurrell Casey is someone who Pete Carroll will know all about from his USC days. He’s more of a three-technique who does a good job getting into the backfield. His frame is a bit sloppy and he could add a bit more tone, but nobody can deny his ability to be disruptive. He owns good gap control and offers benefits against the run with suprising agility at times.
I rate Casey above Austin at this point but a lack of major production (five sacks in 2010) and certainly not elite athleticism limits his stock. He’s also a pure 4-3 scheme prospect.
Casey is graded in the round 2-3 range this year but depending on work outs I appreciate there’s at least some chance he could be around when Seattle has the second pick in round four (thanks to the Deion Branch trade with New England).
He’s also famous for being removed from USC’s spring game last year after driving QB Matt Barkley into the ground and hurting his hand.
I wanted to publish this tape of Casey against Stanford’s elite college offensive line because he won’t face any better opposition than this ahead of the NFL:
So there are two alternatives if the team aren’t going to look at the Liuget’s, Paea’s and Nevis’ in round one. I still think the real position of value on this Seahawks defensive line – as proven in Red Bryant’s absence – is the five technique position. It’d be wonderful to have a shot at Cameron Jordan (DE, Cal) – someone I think is under rated with top-15 potential. He’s more than capable of adapting to 5-tech or DT for Seattle.
I’m not convinced he’ll be around at #25 though – perhaps making a prospect like Muhammad Wilkerson a more likely (yet much less spectacular) option.
I’ll look at the five-technique or ‘Red Bryant role’ in more detail this weekend.