Clemson’s Breeland one to watch?
Walter Thurmond is a free agent this year, and Brandon Browner’s time in Seattle appears to be up.
Byron Maxwell has one year left on his contract and could be a leading free agent in 2015 if he continues to start and play well.
If all three players eventually move on, it’ll leave Richard Sherman (assuming he’s re-signed), Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon.
Unless the likes of Thurmond are kept on, we should expect another corner to be drafted at some point.
The Seahawks have consistently gone after cornerbacks in the later rounds and so far they’ve been able to find some real gems.
But as Super Bowl Champions, they have to expect other teams are going to start trying to copy their style.
Some of the players who previously would’ve been available in the middle or later rounds might go earlier as a consequence.
That doesn’t mean the Seahawks are going to start reaching for this position. I think they see themselves as ‘cornerback city’, capable of consistently taking players off the production line and developing them into starters.
It’s not just about finding any corner with length and plugging him in. Pete Carroll is a secondary guru with decades of experience, while Rocky Seto is one of the great unsung heroes in Seattle.
Other teams can try and mimic the Seahawks, but they’ll need the same level of coaching to make it work.
The combine will uncover some potential mid-to-late round targets and it’s an area we’ll look into at the end of the month.
Clemson’s Bashaud Breeland is one player to monitor.
He’s a former four star recruit who played safety and quarterback before switching to corner in college. I’ve seen him listed anywhere between 6-0 and 6-3, but on his recruitment page on Scout.com he’s down as 6-2.
Here’s the blurb on his evaluation:
Breeland is a long defensive back that is a good cover guy. At a combine, he would get behind a little off the line, but his closing speed may be his best trait. He really closes on the ball well and after being behind the receiver. He has long arms, a rangy body, great closing speed, has good instincts, and he really plays under control.
Long corners who cover well seem to interest the Seahawks.
Here’s some tape against NC State from 2013:
It’s difficult to judge cornerbacks without all-22 tape. Most of the time they’re off screen. It’s often difficult to see whether a quarterback goes away from the read because of the coverage.
I’ve tried to break down certain plays but yeah, it’s tough.
At 0:27 he gets beat down the right DEF sideline. I think the receiver runs a good route and he’s forced to try and recover. A bad throw bails him out.
At 1:27 we see what looks like the kind of play that’ll interest Seattle. He’s physical at the top of the route and basically takes the receiver out of the game. No flag, so I guess you’d call it perfect coverage.
He could’ve had an interception at 4:21 with nice downfield shadowing. The quarterback underthrows the ball and Breeland is in position to make the play. He should probably get that one.
Kudos to the ref for a great pick play at 4:36.
He flashes nice tight coverage at 5:13 and ends the game with a Hail Mary pick at the end.
Right now Breeland’s being touted as a second or third rounder. It’s not a great class for corners, so a good work out in Indianapolis could propel him up draft boards.
Are the Seahawks going to draft Breeland? Not if he goes in that range. I’m not sure he’s good enough to warrant that level of investment, and they’ve shown they can find players from all kinds of backgrounds later on.
Even if Thurmond departs, I’m intrigued by the potential of Tharold Simon if he can stay healthy and get a full camp under his belt.
As teams set about trying to copy Seattle, I think Breeland ends up getting overdrafted. If he slips a little, then he could be someone they look at.
Senior rankings, Moses impressive
I’ve spent a bit of time this week going over some of the videos of the Senior class, namely those who appeared at the Senior Bowl.
For me it’s pretty clear who the top players are who appeared in Mobile:
#1 Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
#2 Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame)
#3 Morgan Moses (T, Virginia)
#4 Brent Urban (DT, Virginia)
#5 Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
#6 Dee Ford (DE, Auburn)
I know Dee Ford had a great Senior Bowl game, but I’m still trying to work out where he fits. He didn’t do any linebacker drills in Mobile and consistently lined up in the widest wide-9 I think I’ve ever seen.
There’s talk he could run a 4.4 at the Combine and he’s someone to watch closely, without doubt. But on tape he’s hit and miss and I want to see just how much of an athlete he really is.
The one who surprised me the most was Moses at #3.
I’d read reports last October suggesting he’d endured a slow start to the season and his stock was falling. I actually put on the tape mostly to see how Jeremiah Attaochu faired against him when Virginia played Georgia Tech.
This was a one-sided domination, in favour of Moses.
He flashed superb footwork and movement for his size (6-6, 320lbs). He smothered Attaochu whenever he engaged and wasn’t beaten once for speed off the edge.
Take a look for yourself…
Moses looked like a genuine left tackle prospect in the game, and further tape study backed that up.
Whether he’ll look quite as comfortable against NFL lineman remains to be seen and he could end up at right tackle — the position most people have him tagged at.
For me, if I was a team picking later on (Miami at #19, Arizona at #20 or New Orleans at #27) I’d happily take him with a view to putting him at left tackle.
Aside from the list above one other player caught my eye (although I’ve only watched one game so far). Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward is an unlikely target for the Seahawks, but I’m intrigued to see more. Good cover safety.
And I’m loathe not to mention the guy at the top of the list — Aaron Donald.
Man, how did I get it so wrong with this guy with my first take?
With every fresh game I watch, the more I like him. The guy is insanely good. I really hope it works out for him at the next level — whether he’s in Seattle or not, I want to see this type of defensive tackle make it in the NFL.
Relentless, consistently in the backfield, stout and powerful with a wonderful swim move.
He has to be Geno Atkins. Has to be. If he isn’t, let’s forget about finding another Atkins. We’ll leave it to chance in future.
As much as the Seahawks want size up front (and they need it to match up with the likes of San Francisco), it’s hard not to imagine how good the defense could be with a guy like Donald rushing inside.
If a lack of size keeps him on the board (and for me he’s easily a top-20 pick, but you never know), then they have to pull the trigger. Even with a similar type of player (Jordan Hill) already on the roster.
Donald is just too good.
Free agent tight end Travis Beckum posted on his Instagram today that he was now a member of the Seahawks.
Linebacker Mike Taylor was also added.
Both players featured for Wisconsin in college.
Beckum was a third round pick in 2009 and had four largely unsuccessful seasons with the New York Giants. Taylor struggled with a sports hernia during his rookie year and spent time on Seattle’s practise squad last season.