Gavin Escobar might be a little too much like Anthony McCoy

March 17th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

I was a big fan of Anthony McCoy going into the 2010 draft. He never put up big numbers at USC, but the potential was clear to see. Without the character red flags and better production, he had first or second round talent. Of course, those are two pretty big issues. And that’s why he dropped to the sixth round.

Pete Carroll has taken only a handful of players he coached in college. He’s been quite selective overall (see: Lawrence Jackson, Lofa Tatupu) and its testament to McCoy’s potential despite the red flags that he was given a shot. None of the off-field concerns have re-emerged in Seattle so far. With Kellen Winslow failing to make the roster and Cameron Morrah landing on injured reserve, he ended up as the teams #2 tight end last year. And he did pretty well. He certainly managed to limit the drops — an issue that lingered the previous season. He scored three touchdowns for a team that didn’t pass all that much in 2012, with 291 yards.

In some ways you could say that was the next stage of a slow development process. He’s still only 25 and won’t turn 26 until December 28th. With Russell Wilson blossoming into a leading quarterback by the end of the year, any pass-catcher playing for this team is likely to benefit in the future. The addition of Percy Harvin could limit the amount of 2TE sets they use (it stands to reason they’ll want to put Harvin, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate on the field more often than not) but it’s unlikely to be banished to the back of the playbook. McCoy, if he continues as the #2 tight end, could still play a role for this team.

Before the Harvin trade most people expected the Seahawks to explore the possibility of getting a ‘move’ tight end to act as a Joker in certain packages. This would obviously be a big, mobile target who can run a lot of receiver routes but allow the Seahawks to use a lot of big sets up front. They could still look for that guy and you could easily argue they need another tall receiver who can exploit single coverage and high point the football. They tried out Terrell Owens, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow for a reason. I’m not sure they completely abandon that quest for height now that they’ve brought in an explosive guy like Harvin. Targeting a late round guy like Rutgers’ Mark Harrison makes sense.

Yet anyone they do bring in is probably going to need to offer something different. Just like Harvin, I suppose. When I watch Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State) I fear he might just be a little too similar to what they already have in McCoy.

Escobar is 6-6 while McCoy is 6-5. Both players ran in the 4.8’s pre-draft. There’s a weight difference of about 5lbs. And while either player is capable of making those difficult, eye catching grabs in traffic — they’re also capable of the occasional miss.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Escobar as a prospect. I expected him to run faster at the combine (I also expected McCoy to run faster than he did). And there are things he does a little better than McCoy. In his combine work out (see below) he looked a bit more fluid and mobile. I remember the play against St. Louis where McCoy was wide open, Wilson hits him downfield and he kind of awkwardly rumbled forward before being brought down. I think Escobar would’ve been a little sharper in that situation, turning up field and perhaps making more of the opportunity. He seems to keep his balance well for a big guy and he just looks smooth out there. I’d give Escobar the edge as a catcher too — he has soft hands and that’s a pretty handsome looking gauntlet drill in the video below:

I’m sure I read somewhere that John Schneider and his staff look at the roster and have a grading system for each player. Then they look at what’s available and try to see where the biggest possible upgrades can be made in free agency or a draft. When they look at the #2 tight end position, I’m sure they’ll feel it’s an area they can improve. McCoy isn’t Jimmy Graham after all. And I’m not sure you’d feel totally satisfied if he had to take over from Miller either temporarily or full time. But I’m not sure the areas where Escobar has the edge (balance, slightly better athlete, softer hands) will be enough to say, “we need to draft this guy in round two”. I doubt he’ll be available for the Seahawks beyond that range.

I think he’ll be at his best working on the second level where the height and reach becomes an advantage. He’ll be a good checkdown option and could develop into a reliable third down target. I do think Escobar has a shot to be an effective receiver who can find little soft zones and make key grabs. He should also be effective in the red zone at that size. Throw the ball up to him on a fade and there’s a good chance he’ll bring it down.

But if the Seahawks are going to draft a tight end early, they probably need to do more than offer a slight upgrade over Anthony McCoy. Both Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz ran receiver routes in college, they’ve both shown a similar ability to make grabs at the second level but they’ve also shown they can stretch the field a little bit more. Eifert is a better athlete, Ertz was Stanford’s leading receiver. Despite concerns over Ertz’s 4.7 at the combine, watching him run deep against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl told me all I need to know. I’m not convinced either player makes it to #56, but they’re probably going to have to if the Seahawks draft for this position in the second round.

Free agency has tailed off across the league this weekend despite a number of key names remaining available. Perhaps everyone is taking stock? The league meetings in Arizona are probably having an impact. It could kick start again this week but it’ll be interesting to see what (if any) moves Seattle go for. They only had two starters hitting free agency this year — Alan Branch and Leroy Hill. The defensive tackle and linebacker positions both remain unfilled. Amid the excitement of last week’s triple signing of Harvin, Avril and Bennett, we all talked about how open the draft would be for this team. Yet if those holes remain unfilled by late April —  it’s still hard to look beyond a defensive tackle and a linebacker with those two ‘day two’ picks.

It’ll be very interesting to see whether Branch in particular re-signs with the Seahawks. The noises so far (we’ve talked to his agent etc) don’t sound promising. It could be leverage. Or it could be an indication that they truly believe they can fill that hole in the draft. If they don’t go with Branch then a defensive tackle has to be the favourite at #56.

Below you’ll find Escobar’s tape against Boise State from 2012. The video at the top of the article shows two games versus Washington State and Michigan from 2011.

45 Responses to “Gavin Escobar might be a little too much like Anthony McCoy”

  1. SunPathPaul says:

    Rob – you said “it’s still hard to look beyond a defensive tackle and a linebacker with those two ‘day two’ picks.”

    Did we give Minnesota our 1st, 7th, and next years 3rd for Harvin, YET we got their second round pick?
    Is that true? Is that part of the Percy trade??

    If so, we have 2 picks at the end of R2, about the 23rd and 25th picks of R2??

    That would HELP 4sure! Maybe our TE AND DT we like can be found here?

    Thx Rob! Another home run on your resume’!!

    • Peyton says:

      Day two consists of the second and third round. We have one pick in each of those rounds, thus two ‘day two picks’.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Day two consists of the second and third round. Seattle still has it’s own second and third round picks.

      • SunPathPaul says:

        Oh ok… Thanks for the clarity, cause I heard on one of the Seattle radio shows that they thought we got it…

        That would have been nice, but I still believe the trade wasn’t expensive either in $ or picks.
        It’s PERCY HARVIN!!!

        #SuperBowl

        What about John Simon for a 2nd day draft pick? Khaseeme Greene will be long gone…
        What LB is a potential here now Rob??

    • Madmark says:

      We didn’t get any picks from the trade.

  2. MJ says:

    Great stuff Rob. I could see this FO loving Jordan Reed. He timed poorly but is explosive on the field. Would be an awesome move TE.

    Likewise, Harrison is an I treating option as he is similarly framed with Jordan Reed, but more explosive (though not as smooth). I think we see 1 pass catcher added via the draft. I think it will be a very unique player that on the surface doesn’t fit a traditional role.

    It’s becoming obvious that PC/JS are building a team, that requires a ton of preparation by opposing teams. It’s really a beautiful idea when you have the right pieces. I think we are in for a monster year.

  3. Snoop Dogg says:

    I would argue that WLB isn’t that big of a whole… Maybe some stud like Arthur Brown could upgrade it but I don’t see many options besides him and Zavier Gooden later…

    Our other DT spot seems like it could be fixed with a later round option. Maybe even 4th round?

  4. Bobk3333 says:

    Last year, the Seahawks got the most underrated player in the draft in Russell Wilson – I lobbied for Wilson everywhere I could, before the draft, after the draft, during rookie and training camps, the preseason and throughout the season when he started off slowly.

    Pete Carroll again has his eye on the most underrated player in this draft, a player he knows and recruited: Robert Woods.

    Don’t be surprised if Carroll and Schneider trade up to get him.

    Woods has all the markings of a *great* – as in all-pro, as in hall-of-fame potential – NFL receiver. Speed is important for an NFL wideout, but the importance has been taken to the extreme. Skill in catching the ball, running routes, fooling defenders, along with intelligence, timing and body control, are more important than raw speed in the 40-yd dash. Woods reminds me of skilled, smooth, intelligent, crafty receivers like Lynn Swann, Jerry Rice and Steve Largent who had extraordinary hands and extraordinary attitudes, who were hard working and ran perfect routes with perfect body position, with the god-given talent of being to fool defenders with seemingly minimal effort.

    Robert Woods is not slow. He was a great 200 and 400 meter runner in high school (track all-american) and college. He runs smoothly and efficiently like a 200 meter runner, with the ability to accelerate when needed. He ran two unofficial 4.4 corties at the combine, but somehow ended ip with an adjusted time of 4.5.

    In his freshman year, I thought Woods was one of the best receivers I had ever seen in the league – maybe the best ever. I think he broke the league record for receptions his sophomore year, before he was the victim in his junior year of an extreme focus by Lane Kiffen on Marqise Lee and some very uneven play at QB. If it wasn’t for Lee stealing the attention, Woods would probably be considered a top ten pick.

    I can understand if you’re skeptical, but most everyone was skeptical last year when I said Russell Wilson was a better leader than RGIII and when I said after the draft that he would be the Seahawk quarterback for the next fifteen years.

    Robert Woods is the Russell Wilson of this year’s draft. He has the most potential for greatness not only among the receivers but among all the players coming out this year (albeit, it is a weak year for really great players.).

    Luckily, Pete Carroll knows as well as anyone how good Robert Woods is. Look for the Seahawks to trade up to draft Woods.

    .

    • JW says:

      I love posts like this. Awesome.

    • The CHawk Talker (aka Eric) says:

      You make a strong argument on his behalf Bob. And although I’m not sure about your prognostication that SEA trades up to take him, I personally can vouch for your assessment of him as a receiver.

      As I’ve said many times in my comments, living in LA and loving college football means I watch a lot of UCLA and USC (disclaimer: I tend to watch more UCLA due to familial ties, but it’s nigh on impossible to be a bona fide CF fan in LA – and a Bruin one to boot – and NOT follow the Trojans). Accordingly, I was one of those jealous Bruin fans who sat gape jawed as I watched local news highlights from Woods’ freshman and sophomore seasons, especially his sophomore season. I can remember a stretch during 2011where it seemed like he was setting and breaking his own receiving records each week. No joke. It was awesome stuff.

      Then he kind of disappeared. Well, to be fair, the entire Trojan football program kind of disappeared. And it’s no coincidence that happened after PC left and Lane Kiffin took over. I’m no fan of Kiffin, but I’m not here to bash him. Suffice to say his coaching style/philosophy did nothing to help Woods display his obvious talents. I also am of the opinion that there was some friction between them, made all the worse by the emergence of Marquis Lee as a viable alternative.

      BUT, and this is something many may not be aware of, the primary reason Woods’ production dropped off so precipitously last year is a nagging ankle injury. And while an undefined ankle injury may not seem like that big of a deal, keep in mind the style of game Woods plays. His game is not power. It’s finesse (and yes, speed). From the games I saw, he tended to beat his coverman with precise moves and a surprising ability to separate from the defender. Once he did that, it was usually lights out, as he has the speed to beat just about anyone down field. Unfortunately, this lack of physical play made him susceptible to getting jammed at the LOS. This wasn’t much of a problem under PC; but it was with Kiffin, and one can speculate that it had more to do with play calls and player utilization as anything else.

      At any rate, I have no new information regarding that ankle injury. I can tell you he’s had multiple MRIs on that ankle over the past couple of years, all of them negative except for lingering inflammation. If [and this is a big if] his ankle is healthy, he definitely SHOULD be among the top 3 WRs available this year. Also, if [and this could be a bigger one] he could add some muscle to his frame without sacrificing his finesse and speed, he very well could become that potential HOF you describe.

      • Rob Staton says:

        The only issue I have with the Woods pick is how many 5-10-6-1 receivers does one team need? You’d have Harvin, Woods, Tate and Baldwin to go with Rice.

        I guess you could let Woods take a lot of kick off duties if they don’t want Percy getting hurt. But is it worth it all for #56? I’m not sure really. I like Woods a lot. But he might be an extreme luxury pick. Getting another big receiver later on would seem more logical. But then I like Woods. Pre-draft I think it’s hard to see. Post draft I would probably end up applauding the move.

      • The CHawk Talker (aka Eric) says:

        I just remembered that Woods had surgery on his ankle recently. Don’t recall much more than that, but will research and return with more info.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’n not sceptical at all Bob… I love it. Count me in.

  5. Bobk3333 says:

    >>Did we give Minnesota our 1st, 7th, and next years 3rd for Harvin, YET we got their second round pick? Is that true? Is that part of the Percy trade??

    I’m pretty sure we did not get Minnesota’s 2nd round (or any other round) pick.

  6. Madmark says:

    Alan Branch resigning will influence how this draft will go I’m sure of that. If he doesn’t resign I would decide to go draft at round 2 Kawann Short and I’d trade a 7 to move to get him if I have to.
    If he resign then I’d feel free to go with best player available. I like Khaseem Green but I just get that feeling that Pete probably doesn’t like his speed, everything else is a match to what he looking for.
    I kindia marked my TE all ready and i think there will be a run on TE. PC/JS aren’t going to rush the basketball player in to take Zachs place if he gets hurt. Anthony McCoy is on the last year of his contract. I like the do it all package but I at least want them to know how to block and to be able to move around a bit also. I like Travis Kelce He has all the upside potential and a attitude I like, MEAN!
    I just not sure he would be at pick 87 in the 3 round. I’ve see him going from late 2nd round to early 4th round.

    • The CHawk Talker (aka Eric) says:

      Second on Kelce. The guy run blocks like a road grading OG and he can catch. I was disappointed he didn’t make his pro day last week, but he’s scheduled to hold a personal pro day on April 9. Depending on the results, he should be available on Day 3. If he is, I’m in.

      • xo 1 says:

        I have been a Kelce fan, but there are enough character and injury concerns to be wary. A later round alternative that might interest the Seahawks is Colorado’s Kasa. He is new to the position but is tall, fast and strong. He was a willing blocker last and an evolving receiver (without much of a quarterback). While he has more experience on offensive than Sweezy did last year, I think of him as a similar physical talent.

    • Leonard says:

      I think Short probably goes in the first 5-10 picks in round 2. It would take way more than a 7th to move up that far. I doubt a 7th even moves you up one spot. It would probably take a 3rd or 4th to move up +-20 spots.

      • Chirp says:

        Roughly, swapping our 2nd rounders, plus giving up 3rd and 4th round picks for SEA would be required to move into the top five of round 2 (Eagles 2.3 specifically here, but they are all pretty close and this isn’t an exact science). Swapping 2nds and giving up our 3rd would be needed to hit Tennessee’s 2.10 pick. As far as I can tell from a draft value chart. Sounds pretty pricey. Worth it for the player based on the draft capital lost? I’m leaning toward no.

      • Chirp says:

        Also, giving up our higher 7th would move our 2nd round pick up PRECISELY one spot. That 7th is worth more on a player, certainly.

  7. MJ says:

    Rob, what about Eddie Lacy at 56?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think he’d fall that far MJ. If he did I’d want to know why before making the call. It’d be exciting to think of him spelling Lynch. Luxury pick but would be exciting nonetheless.

      • DJ says:

        Would you trade up for him? I would. We’ve invested in the passing game with Harvin, I’d like to double down on the power run game now.

        • Jake says:

          If you insist on a power back to eventually replace Lynch, then wait for Lattimore in the 4th or 5th. We could “redshirt” him and let him rehab. Lacy is a spin move and NFL offensive line. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but he’s no Trent Richardson/Lynch. Not experienced with pass blocking or receiving. Value just isn’t there, besides I’d rather take a wait and see approach to the offensive evolution as Russell becomes the focus and Lynch the “2nd fiddle”. Turbin could be a better compliment to Russell with 3-wide on the field with his hands/speed than Lacy or other power back.

  8. Stuart says:

    Another day and another day of great stuff on SDB, Rob and you guys are the best. Since next season will be McCoy’s contract year, I expect him to improve modestly in all areas, my guess is he will play like a #2 TE. Now that we have Harvin, it’s doubtful we run many 2 TE sets next season. For those two reasons drafting a TE before R-4 seems unlikely.

    It would be fantastic to draft a TE in R-6 that could be special one day but of course will be flawed, why else would he be their in R-6. JS knows who that player is.

    Before the Combine and before Harvin I was driving the Zach Ertz bus in R-1.

  9. DJ says:

    Ol’ Stone Hands McCoy! But: last year he got a lot better at catching. He looked much looser too behind the LOS. Similarly to Tate, we paid our dues with with McCoy and now he’s set to perform. Moving away from either of those guys now would be buying low and selling high(ish).

  10. david p says:

    Hey Rob, I know you’ve mentioned and had conversations about it but at 56 do you take S. Willimas from UNC or short if there? and do you think either of them is suited for the 3 tech or is williams with his size maybe better suited for the 1 and rotate with mebane- not my total thoughts just thinking. Also if Brandon Coleman had come out this year where do you think he would go?

  11. Recon_Hawk says:

    I’m beginning to like Escobar the more I watch him. He offers a real potential redzone threat in double TE sets that I think we lack. More of a receiver than Mccoy. A long arms, tall guy Wilson can find, plus he seems to have clutch, reliable hands. At this point Id trust him to make a catch more than I would McCoy… I hope he’s there in the 3rd.

  12. Nog says:

    A few comments: there has been some mention of avril spending some time as SAM linebacker. Do we think that we would slide kj over to weak side? Also from watching avril on film last year I’m convinced he feasted on suh taking away the QB’s ability to step up and throw…which ain’t happening with our current DT’s…maybe we would start bennett at Leo instead for downs 1-2 then move him inside for the 3rd down 3-tech. Either way our biggest gap is still at DT 3-tech position…how about a draft analysis of who we may consider that can start on day 1 to stuff the run in downs 1-2

  13. A. Simmons says:

    I really like how Schneider does his board. That’s a smart way to conduct a draft rather than the BPA approach we hear so many folks talk about. It’s a best upgrade player available. It fits well with the competition mantra. I’m glad John Schneider is young. I hope he stays on if Pete leaves. With John Schneider as GM, we might be able to have a sustained period of success equal to Frisco in the 80s. That would be fricking awesome.

    Glad to see another Anthony McCoy fan, Rob. McCoy had a rough first year. He showed nice progress in 2012. He seems to have great potential if he puts the work in. Not sure he has the work ethic necessary to reach his potential, but if he is solid depth for the next five years, he’ll be worth more than the 6th round pick we paid for him.

    I’d really like us to find a stud WLB that can cover. I feel like coverage amongst the LBs, especially at the WILL, has been weak. Wagner I expect to improve with experience. I know Pete wants a heat seeking missle that moves to the ball and makes the tackle at Will. If that speed isn’t there, we probably won’t draft a LB.

    You know anything about the 6’8″, 280 lb. basketball player we signed to a UDFA contract to compete at the TE position?

  14. Aaron says:

    I go back and forth on these things (like everyone I think) but at this point I’m thinking the way to get the most bang for the buck out of our first (aka 2nd round) pick would be to trade up to the top of the 2nd round (probably giving up our 3rd round pick) to take Ertz or Eifert. I think it would most likely be Ertz since Eifert is more likely to go in the 1st round.

    In this scenario you are getting a guy who’s universally acknowledged to be a great player and instant contributor. I personally still view tight end as an area of need, and also an area of great opportunity. I understand the argument that TE is less of a need because of the Harvin acquisition, but consider that if Ertz develops into the pro that many believe he will, it could conceivably allow the Hawks to eventually shed Miller and his giant cap number.

    I think the only other way for us to get as much out of the top of this draft would be to get either Sylvester Williams or Kawaan Short, and that would likely require us to trade up as well. I’d be happy with that scenario too. Of course it all depends on how other teams’ picks unfold, but that’s my feeling as of right now. (What time is it?)

    • oz says:

      Well put Aaron, I would rather give up our 4th, our own 5th and 7th considering what JS and PC are capable of doing with a 3rd rounder. I am sure they are considering it. I also like Margus Hunt a lot for our front. I think he is going to be a special player. We need to keep him out of San Fran. We may have to trade up with Jacksonville to get him though. I think he will be moving up team’s draft boards come draft day.

  15. Eran Ungar says:

    Great work Rob. I think you answered your own questions on that one.

    Obviously without signing Branch the DT position becomes a high priority hole in the roster that will need to be addressed first. WLB – I think they like Smith to try for it.

    As far as high pick for TE – If they do go that way – it will not be to improve of the 2nd TE. With Harvin in – we’ll see less 2 TE looks.

    However, Miller carries an expensive contract. If we are to start signing our rookies next year, we may not be able to keep Miller and Rice. Hence, we should be looking for a TE with the potential to step in for miller in 2014. Somebody that can block as well as Miller (Kelce ?) and catch the ball. I know its a tall order but wouldn’t it be the smart way to go looking beyond 2013 ?

    With Clem not getting any younger and Bennett on a 1 year contract – We’ll face the need to draft a DE very high next year so i’m not sure we get that TE then.

    • Misfit74 says:

      I think having a quality two-way TE like Z.Miller is vital. As a team, we shouldn’t mind paying good money to such a valuable and key position. Zach is a hell of a player, too, but it seems people recognize this infrequently.

  16. Misfit74 says:

    I watched Escobar perform at the Combine and was very impressed with his size and fluidity along with showing the best hands of any TE that I watched.

    I read yesterday that Russ Lande of the NFP basically thinks he’s the second coming of Gronk. Rates him as the #1 TE and his 14th overall player in this entire draft class.

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/scouting_department.html

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/college_player_scouting_report.html&player=44183

    “Escobar is going to present significant challenges to NFL defenses because of his ability to play jump ball in the red zone and down the seam. If he can improve in the blocking area, he will be the complete package and a rock star in the NFL. He warrants consideration in the middle of Round 1, and should be in consideration to be the first tight end off the board in April.”

  17. [...] piece was partly inspired by a reader comment on Sunday. ‘Bobk333′ wrote in the Gavin Escobar article that he considered Robert Woods the most underrated player in the draft, stating: Woods has all the [...]

  18. Tim B. says:

    First off, love the write ups, they keep me entertained all night long at work. So, reading this I am disappointed to think Pete and John are still not looking for that 3 TE set. It just seems so dangerous to have that in the pocket close to the goal line, and how cool would it be to sign our lives away for a TE like Ertz or Eifert. I may be getting ahead of myself and correct me if this isn’t even feasible but a 3 TE set with Lynch and Harvin in some kind of pistol in the red zone just seems so right?!?!?! Anyways keep the write ups coming so I can continue to fantasize of what could be in the 2013/14 season.