Friday draft thoughts & links

February 15th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Does Dwight Freeney have enough left in the tank?

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.

Yes. Please.

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:

49 Responses to “Friday draft thoughts & links”

  1. other ben says:

    I’m totally on the same page with regard to finding a cheap veteran LEO on 2-3 tear deal to compete with Irvin for the starting job.

    You mention Connor Barwin as a possibility and then suggest that he’s “not a dominanting pass-rusher” but “could work into the LEO” (sometimes one of the only pass-rushing positions in our base defense). Could you expand on this a bit? Are you just saying that he’s a middling pass-rusher or that his non-pass rushing skills are what would make him attractive for the LEO spot? I noticed that he had 11.5 sacks last year but only got 3.5 sacks this year (while starting 16 games next to the DPotY).

    If your interested in contract numbers, Rotoworld is a good place to start:

    7/23/2012: Signed a three-year, $22 million contract. The deal contains $10 million guaranteed — a $6.5 million signing bonus, Clemons’ first-year base salary, and $1.5 million of his second-year salary. Another $4 million is available through sack-based escalators. 2013: $6 million, 2014: $7.5 million, 2015: Free Agent

    http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/140/chris-clemons

    (Ignoring the escalators)
    If we cut Clemons tomorrow, he’d be a ~$4.5M cap hit in 2013.
    If we cut him after the 2013 season, he’d be a ~$8.5M cap hit in 2013 and ~$2M in 2014
    If he played through the 2014 season, he’d have a ~$8.5M cap hit in 2013 and a ~$9.5M cap hit in 2014.

    Keeping him on the roster for 2013 (rather than cutting him) will cost us ~$6M in cap space over 2013/2014 and keeping him on the roster through 2014 will cost us ~$17M over the same period (assuming no sack-based escalators). Unless he has a miraculous recovery, that’s going to be very expensive for the type of production he’s likely able to provide.

    • other ben says:

      Actually, my math is a bit wrong. Cutting him will cost us ~$6M in 2013 (due to the $1.5M guaranteed portion of his 2013 salary) and keeping him for 2013 will cost us ~$4.5M in cap space more.

      As a situational pass-rusher that should back to speed around the second half of next year, $4.5M isn’t too terribly much to spend. I can’t see him sticking around on the same deal in 2014, though.

    • Rob Staton says:

      What I meant with Barwin is he’s not an elite pass rusher, or at least he hasn’t shown that so far. He’s not the kind of player that takes over a defense and just dominates. But he could develop into an effective LEO, which is a specialist role designed to put players into favourable pass-rushing situations. It could help manufacture and improve his production and with less responsibility (he played as a linebacker in Houston) he could improve.

  2. Chris says:

    Just watched the whole thing again.

    Russell’s the man. It’s funny looking back at this stuff from even a year later.
    Everything seems like it should’ve been so obvious in retrospect (although I
    did love RW as a prospect, but you can never really KNOW for sure). There’s
    been nothing throughout Russell’s life that would suggest he’d be anything but
    a quarterback-robot god, yet team after team managed to talk themselves out
    of pulling the trigger.

    • Hawksince77 says:

      Yes, it was an interesting process to witness. Amazing how powerful prejudice can be, in this case against short QBs. That alone led one fan/GM/commentator after another to dismiss Wilson’s obvious ability and proven performance.

      Wilson had the good fortune to be drafted by a team willing to play the best player. Who else in the league would have started him over a high-profile free agent? Probably no one.

      The stars aligned for Wilson, Carroll and all of us Seahawk fans, no doubt.

  3. kevin mullen says:

    Since we’re talking FA and offseason, as teams are posturing themselves in recent weeks, notice a lot of moves involving desperate needy teams, (KC, PHI, and JAX) media-wise, saying or signing that they’d rather have a veteran already in place. And possibly “copy-cat’ing” recently successful teams (SEA, SF, & WSH) in regards to offensive scheme.

    If Geno Smith or this EJ Manual (talk of him being first QB taken) get drafted early and I’m looking at Doug Marrone, as the first culprit. Supposedly an OLine guy, with respect to QB, should be thinking read-option QB. As much as I love me some ‘Shawn, if theres a RB more built for this read-option offense, is Spiller. Having Spiller back there is just down right wrong.

    I think there’s gonna be a lot of peeking at Seattle this offseason, I firmly believe that this past year was a wake up call for the other 18 non playoff teams, shows you can a ton of youth and build a dynasty at same time.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      They will be looking at the 49ers too. Contrast our two teams with Saint Louis. Lots of draft picks but not so many wins. It all seems to boil down to good draft picks, even better coaching, a decent QB, and a solid team with excellent defense.

  4. Zach says:

    Interesting how draftinsider.net has Sam Montgomery at #16 of the top 25 prospects.

  5. Stuart says:

    Thank you Rob for the links. John Gruden loved Russell Wilson as a player and as a leader of men. Chris was so right about his comment. Mock season is in full swing but Rob is by far the best! Rob you should work in the Hawks FO with JS.

  6. Ryan says:

    Regarding the Hunter Ansley mock: I think our chances of getting DeAndre Hopkins in the 2nd rd are about the same as Matt Barkley going at the end of the 3rd in the same mock (behind Tyler Bray!).

    • jon says:

      I think his point in the presentation of this mock was to point out the differing opinion regarding this coming draft. Maybe that there is less seperating the 1st and 3rd rounds than we have seen in recent years.

    • Rob Staton says:

      You know, I hadn’t even noticed Barkley going that late! I can already hear the teeth gnashing that’ll occur when he goes in the first round in two months time.

  7. Phil says:

    Richard Sherman was a guest on NFL Live last night and he was publicly begging Charles Woodson to join the Seahawks. Do you think he was just voicing his own wishes, or do you think that the Seahawks FO would really want a 36 year old DB to join the team? Woodson, when cut, said he wants to play for a Super Bowl contender. I’d like his presence in the locker room, but at what cost?

    • SunPathPaul says:

      If we had Woodson playing in the nickel, I bet he would make some turnovers, and that ‘underneath’ weakness might become a strength! Doubt they go for him though…

    • Colin says:

      I’d love Woodson on a 1 or 2 year deal, but personally this nickel corner situation is a tad overblown. Get better pressure with your front 4 and you won’t see the issues with the underneath guys. The underneath routes will not get you if your guys up front are hurrying the QB.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Upgrading the front four, even if we don’t get to the QB, we can pressure him, and our linemen can jump and batt balls down. Batting a ball down is just as disruptive as a hurried throw, and it can get inside a QBs head where he is always thinking there could be a deflection maybe an interception…

        I like the dream draft, but even if we don’t get Sheldon Richardson, Jess Williams and Short are right in our pick range. It shouldn’t be a problem finding some one for the line. If we are adament about coverage we can probably get the #2 cornerback off the board. Or the $3 receiver if we want offense.

      • Dan says:

        Ya it would certainly help but there are tons of teams transitioning into a quick route passing attack to get the ball out before the rush has a chance to make an impact. Especially if they’re running a 2 minute offense, and we’ve seen in multiple games last season that our 2 minute defense is very poor.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Richard was having some fun. They’ve managed to find corners with late round fliers that can contribute, I expect Woodson to end up at a Denver or New England.

  8. Richard says:

    Hi Rob, I really like the 1st and 2nd picks on the Hunter Ansley mock, but would like to have seen Travis Kelce or Jordan Reed in the 3rd to balance out the selections for need. Granted, it appears the 2 LBs selected would address the pass rush DE and WLB, but I would hate to pass up the opportunity to get at least 1 TE for depth. Maybe with that correction we could just go ahead and turn this in as our 1st 4 picks. 1) Richardson, 2) Hopkins, 3) Kelce and 4) best WLB/DE available.

    Maybe I’m not the only one that has to admit that I know very little about Brandon Jenkins and Devonte Hollaman. Would they justify being taken ahead of these tight ends, Rob? Thanks as always, I try to catch your articles, but haven’t commented for quite awhile.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’ve never been a fan of Jenkins and the injury issues put me off even more. Hollaman I know very little about. If Reed’s there in third I dance to podium.

  9. Eran Ungar says:

    I do not agree, i don’t, not at all, NO.

    I am an old dog. It takes more then repeating something again and again for me to repeat it as a clear fact.

    So, even if you tell me again that our obvious need is rushing the passer on D, that Clem is hurt, Irvin is one dimensional, etc. etc. etc…I don’t buy that a DE is our true 1st. need. I certainly don’t buy spending the cap space we\” need to keep ET, Okung, Chancelor, Sherman Brawner etc. on a guy who did well elsewhere and is in decline for years.

    Before you panic and consider me a traitor to the cause i’ll offer you a calming new mantra – “The 6th ranked defense in the NFL against the pass has fewer urgent needs then the 27th ranked pass offense”. Just say it 10 time with conviction and forget the hunt for the next LEO DE and start looking for a right side offensive lineman that can actually pass protect. Even a 3 tech DT that can rush the passer is needed more then another LEO.

    Again, it’s not that we cant use a 3 tech that can rush the QB, a backup or starting LEO should be on the shopping list as well. We’ll have 10-11 draft picks to pick those guys. If one is available in FA at a bargain 4M a year – get him, if not draft one during rounds 3-5.

    The 27th ranked pass offense needs better pass protection on the right side of the line before we handle any other need.

    Russel Wilson needs to be protected and given the extra second before he needs to start scrambling.

    Last night, having this very same argument with a fellow fan he said – “Wilson brought us back after being 20 points down just to see the lack of pass rush allow Atlanta to come back….”

    That hurt. Just remembering those last painful seconds of this amazing season hurt. So yes, the heart cries for a pass rush to prevent that nightmare from happening again. However, the brain says – they were leading by 20 UNANSWERED points…we’ll do better working on answering those points then blame it all on the pass rush.

    I know JS/PC will pick the right guys on FA and draft. I just hope their answer to our needs does not include a big payday reward to someone for the great job he did for another team.

    But then that’s me, a bitter old dog….

    • Rob Staton says:

      Really don’t know where to start with this…

      First and foremost, I don’t share the opinion that the right tackle position is a need. I mean — what do we really expect here? That an offensive line can be created that means the quarterback never ever faces pressures? That is never going to happen. I watched every Seahawks game in 2012, some more than once. I do not see any evidence what so ever that pass protection on the right side held this team back. Not one jot of evidence. For example, the leagues best pass rushers were consistently shut out by this offensive line. Mario Williams, Jared Allen, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Cameron Wake. I could name others. They had zero impact and influence on the games versus Seattle. The pass protection was a tour de force against some of the leagues supreme pass rushers.

      In other games the Seahawks struggled against the blitz. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Wilson is still learning how to adjust his protections via audible, especially with an empty backfield. He’s learning how to use a blitz to make a quickfire play and exploit the pressure. There isn’t an offensive line in the NFL that can consistently stop 7-8 rushers vs 5-6 lineman. And for what it’s worth, the two teams that blitzed Seattle the most? St. Louis at the CLINK and Washington in the playoffs. Two wins.

      There is no way… no way the Seahawks had the 27th best passing offense in the NFL. It might be that for yardage (means nothing) but the reality is Seattle was fielding a top five passing offense by the end of the year. Efficient, explosive, superb. The reason the Seahawks were 20-0 against Atlanta was NOT because of bad pass protection on the right side. I’m not sure how anyone can see that as the issue. The offense grew as Wilson grew. By the end of the year we were watching an elite unit. Simple as that.

      Clearly the pass rush is the elephant in the room. That must be addressed. Even then right tackle isn’t even the second or third biggest need for this team. If pure statues like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can win titles without elite book end tackles, then the most elusive quarterback in the NFL right now doesn’t need two top-ten picks protecting him.

      • Hawksince77 says:

        I understand both sides of the discussion. Seattle had the best scoring defense in the league and arguably the best defense in Seahawk history. With that being the case, why put any aspect of the defense as the over-all priority this off-season? The last two plays against Atlanta? That’s 28 seconds of football against the other 59 minutes plus. Also, Seattle’s two best pass-rushers weren’t playing – Clemons and Jones. Next year both, or neither, may be playing for Seattle – we don’t know yet.

        Not only that, but consider the possibility of Seattle scoring 35 points a game. Last year, ceteris parabis, Seattle wins all 18 games they played. Improving the offense would conceivably make more sense than attempting to make the defense any better.

        If Clemons recovers and Jones and Branch get re-signed (may happen, may not) the only missing piece from last year’s defense is a starting WILL – could be Malcolm Smith, could get drafted.

        Two impact players likely to return next year are Carpenter and Thurmond. They might both start (Carp at LG and Thurmond at nickel corner).

        Upgrading the RG might make a positive difference on the offense. Getting more playmakers at TE and/or WR would seem to be the other way to increase the scoring potential of the offense.

        I know people are calling for improving the pass-rush, in particular obtaining a starting 3-tech, and that will probably happen, either in FA or maybe the first round. But I can also understand an argument for improving the offense. If they play next year like they did in the second half against Atlanta, who in the league can beat them?

        • Rob Staton says:

          My argument is that a first round pick on the offensive line isn’t likely to generate a tangible improvement to the offense. We’re already fielding an elite running attack and by the end of the year, an elite passing game. We have the two key positions nailed at left tackle and center. We should hope that Carpenter will return and feature (that’s the plan anyway). I like Breno and firmly believe he’s as good as any other NFL right tackle. At right guard, Cable appears to like Sweezy’s potential. And I like Cable’s judgement and ability to coach, so if he’s good enough for TC he’s good enough for me. Now if they were picking 15th overall and Chance Warmack was sitting right there, I might think differently. But Warmack will be long gone and I think Jonathan Cooper will be too. Do you try and lure Andy Levitre in FA? Not for me, unless the deal is terrific value. I think we have to prioritise here. I want to see them adding more weapons for Russell Wilson. But I think the offensive line has elite talent at the two main positions, as a cumulative it’s a very good unit that will get better with increased playing time and there’s some depth too that can be enhanced with 12 draft picks. Is it a defining ‘must fill’ need though? I’d say it’s not even third on the list. Maybe not even fourth.

          • Hawksince77 says:

            At RG I am thinking if Cooper is available, he should be considered. If he’s not, I don’t know who or when a guard could/should be taken in the draft, certainly not at 25.

            And based on what I have read here about WRs likely to be available at 25, I don’t know any of them that scream ‘must have’.

            That leaves TE, the one position on offense likely to have a very nice option at 25 for Seattle, if they don’t like the DTs left (not sure where the cut-off for Seattle would be). I also haven’t seen any DE options that jump off the screen, either, likely available at 25.

            I actually like the idea of a franchise WILL (just made that up). Drafting a top starting LB at 25 would be fine with me. Sure, not the highest value position, but getting a long-term near-elite starting caliber player at a position of need sounds like a decent way to improve the team, both next year and in the long run.

        • SunPathPaul says:

          Eran and Hawksince77- I agree totally that working on offense, albeit I want just WR’s and TE’s, is HOW we become that next level of quality TEAM. Yes I understand the need for DT/DE’s and a pass rush, but get so sick of hearing that is the ONLY way to improve, OR the ONLY reason we lost. It was 20-0, ZERO, at half… Like someone said, if it is 20-10, we walk away with that win easily. NO late drive can overcome a 10 or 14 point lead. I see it clearly that because of RW, arming up the offense is the BEST way to raise the TEAM OVERALL. We know PC will work on Defense, that is a given, but please let’s not blame losing on one area ONLY… It simply isn’t real. The game doesn’t live in a vacuum…

          • Rob Staton says:

            I don’t think anyone has argued improving the pass rush is the ‘only’ way to improve. Rather it’s the easiest way to improve, with a huge benefit if you can get it right.

            • SunPathPaul says:

              I know I was being hyperbolic, but it FEELS like a wall…If you mention using a R1 to 2 pick on offense, a BUNCH (not all, my bad) just throw up a wall of NO NO DEFENSE PASS RUSH!!

              Like a panic almost. I can’t wait to see who they choose, it is going to be fun!!

              • Hawksince77 says:

                I don’t know, perhaps we are reading different sites. I have seen many (if not most) commentary discussing something other than a DT/DE at 25. Rob here has been projecting Kaseem Greene, an OLB at 25 (and he’s not alone with that idea). At Field Gulls a recent discussion/poll had OG Cooper as the top choice (that was based on that particular mock, and who was available at 25).

                Lots of others like a TE at 25 (Ertz mostly) and a few Tavon Austin.

                Speaking of Austin, I can’t see Seattle drafting short WRs. That have/had Butler who is very fast and a good WR, but they haven’t kept him around. They keep going after the BMWs, TOs, Edwards, Durhams – all guys like 6’3″ or taller. Given RW at QB, I can see an advantage to having the taller receivers, both in the middle and the outside. I suspect Tate and Baldwin simply exceptions and unlikely to be replicated.

                Not sure how else to argue this, but I see them adding a very tall guy on the outside, and a prototypical-size TE at some point. I just don’t think the little guys will fit what PC wants to do.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  I think they’ll make exceptions for shorter wide receivers (eg Tate) if they compete above their size. Can they win jump ball situations? I think Tate stuck in the mind of PC, he had a game against the Trojans in 2009 where he made a couple of tough leaping grabs against taller players. I suspect that registered and played a part in the decision to draft him. Guys like Tavon Austin though… I don’t see it. In fact any player where you have to manufacture his production I can’t see it. Not many shorter WR’s compete physically like Tate. So I think we’ll see bigger, athletic, stronger WR’s going forward. It’s a great point regarding the bigger WR’s they’ve gone after. And I think that’ll continue.

                  • SunPathPaul says:

                    We did all ready get Stephen Williams from AZ at 6-5 / 200. So there is that size they like…wether he will play is yet to be seen.

                    I agree that a joker TE / ‘Y’ TE would probably be the best value for us since we run so much. Albeit I know Austin is small, but I can’t get the visual of him getting tackled for a loss, picking up say 7 on a slant…then BOOM 63 yard TD run!!

                    4 yards, loss, 37 yards, TD! He just gives me that unpredictable lightning characteristic that would be hard for me personally to pass on. Not to mention his KR/PR ability. Leon is one of the best ever, but is slowing a bit… Austin would replace that in a jiffy with major production. Please tell me those that don’t want Austin, that at least you see the potential?!? Right? He could possibly be Harvin 2.0. If he remained healthy, don’t tell me Harvin 2.0 (production, not size) wouldn’t be a great 1st round VALUE. If he performed even 80% as good as college, he would be a STEAL at #25, right? Even if you don’t want him, can’t you be honest enough to see at least that ‘potential’? He DID it for more than 1 year…I just want to test that…

                    Now I have to admit I am in reality, being realistic, and since we DO have Tate, I agree with you peeps that they would prefer a fast 6-3 or above guy. Maybe a 6-1 WR “IF” he shows them all around skills and as Rob mentioned good “ball tracking” in flight. If we go DE/DT/OLB or anything else in R1, I hope R2 saves a great receiving talent- whether TE or WR.

                    If Ertz/Reed/Escobar/Eifert are gone at TE in R2…
                    & WR’s Hopkins/Austin/Patterson/Wheaton/Allen Etc. are GONE, who do we go with?

                    Depth at WR this year, but what part of that do we want to end up with for the next 3-10 years? The #56 pick is a ways back in R2. Who would you target there at WR with these TE gone???

                    Hamilton / Dobson / Bailey / Rogers / M.Wilson??

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    I still believe there’s a chance Keenan Allen falls into that range. He’s not quite as good as everyone wants to believe. Keep an eye on Levine Toilolo — 6-8 tight end out of Stanford. And Steadman Bailey is a beat — the kind of smaller receiver again this team would probably consider.

    • ChavaC says:

      That 27th is really a loaded stat, considering it fails to include two of RW best games all year, and doesn’t account for the night and day difference after they opened the play book.

      On the other hand we were 18th in sacks, despite being a top 5 defense. If you think 18th isn’t bad, consider also that we own the best secondary in the NFL. Most of the recorded sacks were coverage sacks that our corners and ET deserve a lot of credit for. On another team this d line would rank well into the bottom half of te league

      • Rob Staton says:

        Those sack numbers are also influenced by eight in one crazy half vs Green Bay. Aside from that, Seattle was among the worst teams in the league for sacks.

        • SeaMEAT says:

          The pass rush was just nonexistent most games. I am baffled why people still ignore the fact and continue to bang the oline drum. Dl, lb, and playmakers! :)

  10. Hawksince77 says:

    Rob, I have been meaning to comment since reading your piece on the potential for Seattle to trade up for a particular player. The mock draft you link is a good argument against.

    It seems to me that JS is all about letting the draft come to him. Without trading up, he knows that a great option will be there at 25. And with how unpredictable this draft, he is almost certain to be pleased with his choices. Same goes throughout. He will identify players that others under-value, and he will get them at a bargain. He won’t reach for a player because nobody’s a sure thing, and he wants more opportunities to hit, not fewer. Given the circumstances, this might even lead to him trading out of the first altogether.

    Having said all that, there are two positions that can be upgraded in the first or second round, depending on the status of Clemons and pending FAs – Jones and Branch. Assuming that they sign Starks or Melton, a fair possibility, that means that drafting a WILL LB or an elite guard will provide two starters next year.

    No other position offers this possibility. Everything else is depth and/or competition. QB/FS/SS/SAM/MLB/OT/RB/WR/TE/DE/DT — all with proven starters in place. Any WR drafted will be working to displace one of the starters – not an impossibility but unless the new guy is a Green/Bryant/Jones talent, unlikely to take things to another level. Someone like Austin offers something new, but only a piece-part. Joker TE is something, but what about Morrah? He might be just the ticket, instead of using a top pick.

    It almost doesn’t matter. Seattle will have good options in FA, and they should be an attractive location for pending FAs. They will have good options in the draft, and will likely end up with three or four players that make a positive difference.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think getting Melton or Starks is crucial, Hawksince77, for the reasons you mention. Then you can sit tight. You’ve solved a huge issue inside. You can consider a WILL at #25 (Ogletree, Greene or Brown) and get a pass catcher in round two. Then you have eight other picks to bring in quality depth and maybe find or two more diamonds. It all starts with the ability to land a proven DT for me. Put Melton on the field, Greene at the WILL and the defense improves by 20% — about enough to turn it into an elite unit.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        If we do get a free agent DT, I would use our first round on offense as either an offensive linemen or a great tight end. That would give us even better blocking and help with both passing and running game. I think we can find a will in the later rounds. It hasn’t been an issue finding LBs in mid to late rounds for us.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Well, we took Bobby Wagner in the mid-second round. So they felt obliged to spend an early pick there. I’m really looking at the value on the board. It’d take a special offensive lineman for me to go in that direction again (I think it’ll be many years before SEA drafts an OL in round one again) and at tight end — if Ertz’s is there, I’m down. But I’m not sure he will be. And I wouldn’t fight my appreciation for an Ogletree or Greene to go for an Escobar or Eifert. We can’t fight the draft and if the value is good for the WILL (I know some people don’t rate Ogletree and Greene as highly as I do) then I think you consider making the pick to fill one of the few needs left on the team. Plus, you’re getting an immediate impact starter.

          • SunPathPaul says:

            Rob, which would make the Seahawks a better overall team?

            Ertz or Greene?

            Both are ideal in my mind, just curious what your thought process would be here…?

  11. James says:

    Why not sign Mr Freeney to something like a 3 yr/$20 mil contract? Have much of the bonus money a roster bonus each year. Based on reports, this would probably be enough to land him. Then, a year from now, we will know if Clem has fully recovered. Cut either Freeney (more likely) or Clem, and then go into the future with the DE position in good shape. Bruce will be fully seasoned by this point, and Dan Quinn will have probably found the best way to use him (maybe like Matthews with the Packers), where he slides along the line, almost like a LB, and cuts into a gap when the ball is snapped. Bruce has always looked best on a stunt or delayed rush, rather than a bull rush straight at the RT. Add a monster DT in the draft, and the Seahawks pass rush will be much improved. I agree with a previous post from Rob that it is very possible that the Seahawks might go for Jenkins or Hankins. Mother nature just did not put that many 340 lb men who can move on planet earth, so land one when you can. One of the top six DTs will still be available at 25. Then land a pass rush 3 tech specialist in R2 or R3, and the line is completely set. Top it off with a WR in R2 or R3, then a LB and DB in the mid rounds. Blue thunder.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s way too much for Freeney IMO. He’ll be 36 by the time that deal ends. I’d be looking at two years maximum, but preferably a one-year stop-gap deal. He’s declining as a force, but may provide the most cost effective LEO stopgap option. I wouldn’t want to pay top dollar though. If he’s looking for $20m I’ll just start Irvin and take my chances with Clemons getting healthy.

  12. CFR says:

    Any particular reason that Bennett isn’t a scheme fit? Loved what I saw out of him last year! Lots of tackles for loss in addition to his sacks

  13. Hunter says:

    Thanks for the mention and the link, Rob. Trying to get a little blog going again. Hopefully my insane draft comes true, haha.