Last night I was watching game compilations on some of this draft’s top corners, more out of curiosity than of any kind of Seahawks relevance. I started up a game compilation of Xavier Rhodes- a probable top 20 pick- against the University of Southern Florida. I was only about 3 plays in though before the opposing quarterback caught my attention and started to steal the show. A quarterback by the name of BJ Daniels.
Right away, I noticed that this is a bulky quarterback, built for running. He was a strictly read option quarterback that sold play action very well and had maybe the best on-field mobility in this draft, not just really fast, but shifty and instinctive. He also displayed a pretty big arm with good throwing mechanics and above average footwork.
Since I had no idea who he was, I assumed he wasn’t in this draft. But as it turns out, he is. And nobody is talking about him.
Now, there are reasons- great reasons- why he’s not expected to be drafted.
First, he’s short. He’s listed at 6’1″ some places, 6’0″ at others, and even 5’11″ in a few spots. I can believe it, since he has that squatty kind of “muscle hamster” type build that Russell Wilson has and for which Doug Martin got his nickname. However tall he is, he’s a ripped 218 pounds, and other than an ankle injury that cost him a couple games at the end of his final season, he’s been injury free despite his run heavy style.
As a four year starter, his career completion rate is just 57.3%. That’s disappointingly low, and low completion percentage is one of the more potent negative indicators for a quarterback prospect. Consider this though- and this might blow your mind- Russell Wilson’s career completion rate in 3 years at NC State? 57.8%. When Wilson went to a real offense at Wisconsin, his completion rate skyrocketed to 72.8%. His completion rate with the Seahawks was 64.1%.
What little I can find of Daniels, he looks accurate. Could his completion rate be down thanks to a weak supporting cast, similar to Wilson at NC State?
Daniels has a decent career YPA of 7.4 but just a tepid 52-39 TD-INT ratio. That ratio looks quite a bit better though when you factor his 25 career rushing touchdowns.
I’m not saying that Daniels is a surefire star, but I like him a lot. If nothing else he impressed me in limited looks and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a projected undrafted quarterback with a more impressive highlight reel than this one. His style strikes me as a bit of a blend between Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, though obviously with less mental talent than Wilson and less physical talent than Newton. USF fans speak very highly of Daniels not only as a quarterback, but as a leader and hard worker and I can’t help but wonder if good coaching and a great supporting cast might show him to be a hidden gem in this draft.
In a draft class that expects to be fairly desolate for read option quarterbacks, especially in the later rounds, Daniels stands out as an option for teams that are willing to overlook his lack of height. One prospect from last year that Daniels reminds me a little of is GJ Kinne, and it’s worth noting that Seattle invited GJ Kinne for a workout last July. Both have similar height and squatty muscular builds, and both were fearless rushers with similar throwing ability.
In case you’re wondering whatever happened to Kinne, he signed a contract with Chip Kelly’s Eagles a couple weeks ago.
Teams passed on Kinne, and will probably pass on Daniels, because both are “too short.” The Seahawks have the open-mindedness to consider undersized quarterbacks, and whether it’s with one of our four 7th round picks or with a call in free agency, I think Daniels could be a player to keep an eye on.
The ultimate late round competition at weakside linebacker: Jayson Dimanche
Hat tip to Scott formerly of 17power for this next one.
The 2013 fireworks display from the small school ranks continues. Dimanche is not considered a draftable linebacker by most draft sites. And yet his game (as a 3-4 outside linebacker) looks an awful lot like Jarvis Jones. Dimanche measured at 6’0.5″ 231 pounds at his pro day, and ran a 4.53 forty with a 38″ vertical. I always deduct some for pro-day forty times, but even with that deduction, Dimanche is one of the fastest linebackers in this draft.
Further, he shows explosive speed on tape and has incredible pass rush instincts. I don’t think it would be a stretch at all to see him competing on our roster at the WILL spot, especially if Dan Quinn wants to be more aggressive with his linebackers. And while we already have Bruce Irvin, I could see Dimanche fitting in nicely in a Raheem Brock type role on 3rd downs, which could come in handy if Irvin graduates to LEO status in the next couple seasons.
Every draft has great players that nobody talks about. Sometimes they are in plain sight (Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson last year, Ryan Swope and John Simon this year). It’s easy to see how someone like Dimanche is anonymous, but I would think that after what Russell Wilson did last season, overlooking a star quarterback with a similar skillset out of the Big East would be improbable. And yet, it’s happening again, this time to BJ Daniels. Will Seattle capitalize on the league’s small-mindedness again in 2013? Here’s hoping. Grabbing an anonymous stud like Dimanche is something I’ll root for as well.