Two quarterbacks will go early
Pat Kirwan has an insightful video on CBS Sportsline considering the drafts ‘risers and sliders’. He makes a fantastic point about Geno Smith and Matt Barkley.
Essentially, teams without quarterbacks are not going to wait and see how things pan out and risk missing out. You can win in the NFL with Smith and Barkley. If you’re Arizona and you pass on a quarterback at #7, what happens if 2-3 players leave the board unexpectedly before your second round pick? Are you then trying to force an expensive move up the board for a player you don’t really want? Settling for someone you don’t want at all? Or are you facing another year of John Skelton? There is no way — NO WAY — the Cardinals aren’t proactive with this position.
You could say the same for Kansas City and Buffalo too. One way or another, at least two quarterbacks are likely to go in the top ten. And the two most likely to go in that range are Smith and Barkley. Compounding the issue is the lack of elite defensive talent. There are some good players and a ton of depth in the 2013 draft. But there aren’t players that are going to make quarterback-needy teams avoid their greatest need.
Free agency could change things, particularly if the Kansas City Chiefs pursue possible trade-target Nick Foles. Buffalo could look at Alex Smith as a stop-gap while Ryan Mallett has done enough in New England to warrant trade consideration for a team like Arizona. Roll on March 12th when the new league year opens.
Kirwan also touches on Jarvis Jones’ stock and suggests he’ll fall due to his spinal stenosis issue, an issue we discussed in some detail in November.
Freeney leaving Indy, is he an option in Seattle?
The Indianapolis Colts today revealed they won’t offer a new contract to Dwight Freeney. It’s not a complete shock. The five sacks he contributed last year cost the grand total of $14.035m. Even if both parties had the motivation to get a new deal done, the Colts weren’t in a great bargaining position considering his 2012 salary.
Inevitably people will wonder if he fits in Seattle. Let’s say he doesn’t not fit in Seattle. After all, Freeney is better suited to the 4-3 rather than the 3-4 he played in last year. I’m not overly excited about the idea of getting Freeney. If it was a really cheap, throwaway deal to cover Chris Clemons I’d consider it. Anything more than that and I take the stance that Freeney’s better days are in the past. He’ll turn 33 in four days time and his production has gradually been declining.
The thing is, the Seahawks almost have to consider a move like this. They face a tricky situation over the next few weeks. While Clemons is out, they need another LEO — whether Bruce Irvin gets to start or not. You need two LEO’s. Cliff Avril will generate a deal worth around $10m per year, Osi Umenyiora could also be costly and Michael Johnson might get a surprisingly high contract. I’m not sure Michael Bennett is a scheme fit.
One player who might be worth monitoring is Connor Barwin. Houston are notoriously tight and Barwin doesn’t turn 27 until October. He’s 6-4 and 268lbs. He’s not a dominating pass rusher but he has good length and could work into a LEO.
Freeney might present the best value for money in comparison, but that should be the case given his age and declining skill set. Yet given the circumstances you can definitely make an argument for bringing him in. It just depends what he’s asking for. If he has unrealistic ambitions of getting even half of the $14.035m he earned in 2012 then you move on. If he’s willing to take a Raheem Brock-style contract, that’s palatable.
I might feel differently about this when contract demands emerge, but I’d like to see the Seahawks entertain the possibility of adding a proven defensive tackle (Henry Melton, Randy Starks). That really opens up the draft so you can look at guys like Khaseem Greene, Arthur Brown and maybe Alec Ogletree if he falls. You can also consider a tight end or receiver at #25. Investing big in a LEO might be harder to justify given Clemons’ salary and Irvin’s first round cost. Finding a stop-gap such as Freeney, if he’ll play for a modest deal, might be the best option if doubts remain over Clemons’ availability.
Keenan Allen isn’t all that
According to Tony Pauline, Keenan Allen, “Has not looked anything special in combine training nor has he separated himself from the almost dozen wide outs he’s working out with in Florida.”
This isn’t a major surprise. In November I wrote a piece questioning whether Allen deserved all the top-15 praise he was getting. He won’t run well at the combine and I suspect his measurements will be fairly average too. The offense in California was so bad, it really limited his ability to develop and polish up his technique. So you’re basically getting a non-spectacular athlete without the ability to flash crisp routes or safe hands.
While it’s been assumed Allen will be a first round pick, I think there’s a good chance he’ll dip into round two. And I’ve thought that for some time. Don’t forget he’s also returning from injury.
Right now Pauline is the defining draft insider. He consistently comes out with little nuggets of information with a proven track record and his site DraftInsider.net should be a daily visit. In his latest blog post he also praises the potential of Steadman Bailey, Ryan Swope and Gavin Escobar. He’s also hearing negative things about Tyler Wilson: “Last week I was told several teams had a third round grade on Wilson. Teams are seemingly concerned with Wilson’s small hands, which measured 8.58-inches at the Senior Bowl. Sources told me most teams have a cut off at 9-inches for quarterbacks and Wilson was the only one in Mobile under that number.”
Would the Seahawks really draft another injured pass rusher?
Josh Norris updated his mock draft today and had the Seahawks taking FSU’s Cornellius ‘Tank’ Carradine at #25. It’s an interesting mock on the whole, but I have serious doubts about the projection for Seattle.
It’s bad enough that the team is going to be sweating over Chris Clemons in 2013. They’re scheduled to pay him $8.17m this year and $9.66m in 2014. I don’t have the guaranteed totals and breakdown information to determine how likely it is he’ll get that salary over the next two seasons, but the fact is he’s due to earn a lot.
The risk factor just seems too strong to then go and take a player with the exact same ACL tear and hope that either or both are healthy by September. Improving the pass rush is too important for this team. Relying on two players with ACL injuries would be incredibly unnerving and borderline foolish, both financially and production-wise.
John Schneider and Pete Carroll have so far tried to draft immediate starters in the first three rounds. Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, James Carpenter, John Moffitt, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson all started straight away in some capacity. The one player who took a little while to adapt was Golden Tate — which isn’t a total shocker given the amount of technical improvement he required after leaving Notre Dame.
Drafting Carradine in round one would go against their philosophy so far. I’m not sure he’s good enough to justify the long term planning plus the obvious risk involved.
The dream draft?
Hunter Ansley published a four round mock draft today. The Seahawks get Sheldon Richardson in round one and DeAndre Hopkins at #56.
I may well compile a ‘big board’ this year, something I haven’t done in the past. I feel it’s maybe a little more justified this season with the Seahawks picking 25th overall rather than in the top-15. If/when I do compile that big board, Sheldon Richardson and DeAndre Hopkins would both be in the top ten.
I’d settle for either being available at #25, let alone both.
Charting the unpredictable
The above mock from Ansley may sound a little idealistic, perhaps even unrealistic. But the fact is nobody can call how the 2013 draft will play out. It’s going to be more unpredictable than ever before. Could the Seahawks really get Sheldon Richardson and DeAndre Hopkins? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Emphasising how unpredictable things are, here’s a nice piece from Kenneth Arthur at Field Gulls. He highlights how contrasting people’s views are, with the quarterbacks proving to be the most divisive. This quote sums it up perfectly, “The funny thing about this years draft is that its common to have a polarizing quarterback. It’s less common to have five of them.”
Jon Gruden quarterback camp 2013
In what has quickly become a draft tradition, Jon Gruden will again be hosting his ‘QB Camp’ series this year. Matt Barkley, Tyler Bray, Zac Dysert, Mike Glennon, Landry Jones, E.J. Manuel, Ryan Nassib, Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson will take part.
There’s a twist for 2013, however. Luke Joeckel, Marcus Lattimore and Manti Te’o will also be appearing. It’s not the first time Gruden’s interviewed non-quarterbacks — he spoke to Earl Thomas amongst others prior to the 2010 draft.
Gruden was less critical in 2012 with the quarterbacks and I hope he continues to grill the players rather than revert to his ultra-positive MNF persona. It’s good to see these guys out of their comfort zone in an extended feature where they can’t just reel off scripted cliche’s. It’s also good to get the players working the white board. One of the more memorable moments in 2011 was seeing Ryan Mallett put together his favourite play with ultimate detail. Expect Tyler Wilson — another former Bobby Petrino quarterback — to similarly stand out here.
It’s a good move by Lattimore’s representatives to get him on the show. You’ll struggle to find a more engaging character in football and I guarantee right now he’ll be the most impressive player from the group appearing on the show. Matt Barkley will be a close second.
For nostalgia’s sake, here’s Russell Wilson’s appearance from last year: