Monday draft notes: Thomas’ ACL, Latimer & Shazier

April 7th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Brandon Thomas, blocking here for Tajh Boyd, suffered an ACL injury last week

Brandon Thomas tears ACL

According to Adam Caplan, Clemson offensive tackle Brandon Thomas tore his ACL last week. A lot of people have been projecting him as a guard — but he showed enough on tape during 2013 to at least warrant consideration as a NFL tackle.

It’s big news considering he could’ve been a late first or early second round pick. Teams like New Orleans, Carolina and Seattle — who were all potentially in the market for OL help — are unlikely to consider him that early following today’s news. He’ll need a redshirt year at least — and then you’re looking at a 317lbs man with knee history.

It doesn’t just impact Thomas’ stock. It could provide a significant boost for the likes of Joel Bitonio and Morgan Moses.

It’s a further body blow for the tackle class. Cyrus Kouandjio’s injury mystery and a lousy combine hammered his stock. Cedric Ogbuehi, Cameron Erving and La’el Collins opted not to declare for the 2014 draft. What could’ve been a legendary class is taking a hit. There’s still enough talent though to see 6-7 linemen go in round one.

It’s also sad news for Thomas — who enjoyed a productive Senior Bowl before testing well at the combine. He had 35 reps on the bench press despite having nearly 35 inch arms and also ran a 5.09 forty.

He could drop significantly depending on how serious the tear is.

Latimer to visit the Seahawks next week

Aaron Wilson is reporting a date of April 15th for Cody Latimer’s trip to Seattle. He’ll also visit with Buffalo, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oakland, San Diego and Carolina.

I kind of feel like the media — and those of us who discuss the draft — are late to the party on Latimer. He didn’t get a lot of attention during the season. Injury kept him out of the combine and he’s only really gathered momentum after Indiana’s pro day.

He stands out on tape. He’s productive within an average passing offense and he’s one of the more intriguing players in the draft.

It’s no surprise a high number of teams want to get a closer look — he hasn’t done a proper work out yet due to a foot injury. Don’t be surprised if he finds a home in the late first round.

Wilson says he ran in the 4.39-4.43 range with a 39 inch vertical — and that’s with the foot issue. You’re talking about a big-time athlete in perfect physical shape.

There’s also this:

I wrote a more detailed piece about Latimer a week ago. He’s not just an athlete playing receiver — he has strong hands, he competes for the ball in the air and he’s the best run blocking wide out in the draft.

Former NFL Scout Louis Riddick says he’s been training with Brandon Marshall throughout the off-season in Florida. His main focus, apparently, is to work on separation ability. It’s definitely the main area he can improve, but as Riddick notes:

I asked him for some further thoughts on Latimer, who’s beginning to get more and more attention as people watch the 2013 tape. Riddick listed the following positives to me:

“Size, strength at the line, strength at the break point, contested catch skills, strong RAC, special teams value.”

Needless to say, these are all characteristics the Seahawks love.

He could be the 5th or 6th best receiver in the class after Odell Beckham Jr, Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin (with Watkins & Evans at the very top). I think you can make that argument. And it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s off the board before the #32 pick.

This is a very interesting receiver group and I still maintain we’ll see as many as 7-8 leaving the board in round one. If not more.

Unless you’ve handcuffed yourself to certain needs (eg Dallas and defensive linemen), you’d be silly to avoid this years offensive linemen and receivers if there’s a space on your roster.

Don’t sleep on guys like Latimer and even Jarvis Landry — who might’ve had a disappointing combine, but is a heck of a football player.

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen

Speaking of competitive, talented football players…

Ryan Shazier on the Cardinals defense would be terrifying.

I spent a bit of time this weekend looking at a few Ohio State games. Some from the Draft Breakdown database, some that I’d saved on my own system from 2012.

He’s the complete package.

Hard hitting, instinctive, great blitzer, terrific range. He’s possibly the best athlete in the 2014 draft (including Jadeveon Clowney). He’s ripped, but also managed a crazy 42 inch vertical at the combine and ran a 4.3 at his pro day.

There’s only part of his game you need to improve — avoiding getting caught in traffic and shedding blocks. He needs to be protected by the scheme — keep him rangy. Keep him away from the LOS. Too often he gets sucked into the middle and ends up getting blocked. If he can stay in space, react and play sideline-to-sideline, he could quickly develop into one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

He also has all the intangibles you want to see — he speaks well, he’s a great team mate and a leader.

I don’t consider linebacker a big need for the Seahawks — not to the extent they have to spend a first round pick in 2014. Yes, Malcolm Smith and K.J. Wright are free agents next year. But they’re also 7th and 4th round picks. If you can’t re-sign them, do you really need to bring in a first round replacement?

Definitely not.

But I’d make an exception for Shazier.

And I hope for the NFC West’s sake he doesn’t leave the board at #20.

Don’t be shocked if he’s taken at #13 by St. Louis either.

Need convincing?

What are we waiting for?

I’ve always felt the draft process is too drawn out. And I know that’s easy for me to say, as an impatient fan not working in a front office.

It’s just the length of time from the combine to draft day feels like an eternity.

The draft has been moved back by around two weeks this year in order to lessen the burden on teams and front office staff. So I found this Tweet interesting today:

The draft is crucial for NFL teams and with so much money invested — they can’t afford to miss on those first round picks.

And yet I don’t understand why condensing the process and giving staff more time after the event isn’t a much more sensible idea? Work harder to an earlier deadline, but get more time off upon the conclusion of, let’s say, a mid-April draft?

We’re 31 days away from the 2014 event. I wonder how many teams would say they still need that much time to prepare?

45 Responses to “Monday draft notes: Thomas’ ACL, Latimer & Shazier”

  1. Nate Dogg says:

    I’m suspicious that at least part of the reason they NFL pushed back the draft is to keep the fans interested deeper into the offseason. Not that fan interest ever wanes that much, but the post-draft schedule can be pretty barren.

    • Rock says:

      The draft date moved back because of a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall.

      • Colin says:

        They moved it back so the NFL has greater exposure during the “dead period”. It’s all about publicity and the dollar.

        • Michael M. says:

          The NFL making a decision based on money? Say it isn’t so!

          • Cbr1969 says:

            Of course that’s what the NFL says. The same NFL that is made up of 32 teams but still cannot get the draft out of New York. I am sure these 32 teams would love to bring extra income into their cities but to date, it’s still not allowed.

  2. DawgDav says:

    Glad to see the Latimer train has finally left the station both here and over on Field Gulls. For a while there, I was beginning to question my armchair NFL scouting skills.

    In that vein, with Thomas dropping I’ve been looking at some later round RT targets who might move up or at least get second looks. Any thoughts on Matt Patchan out of Boston College? Former DL and elite HS prospect for the University of Florida who despite elite athleticism at the OT position has remained off the radar due to freak injuries (two scooter accidents, shot as an innocent bystander while at a public park, torn ACL in a non-contact drill…) and an eventual transfer. Basically, an athletic, nasty run blocker who needs development in his pass protection. Seems pretty Seahawk-y.

    • MJ says:

      Interesting guy for sure. My only concern is that he’s already 24. Would prefer the developmental guys to be younger.

      • DawgDav says:

        Fair point but worth noting that most of the draft eligible OTs (for example, Moses, Bitonio, Turner, Mewhort, Britt, Schofield, Lucas) will play all or part of the upcoming season at 23. Since Patchan just turned 24 last week, basically, he’s only a year older than comparable OTs.

        Obviously developing a Cyrus Kouandjio (age next season = 21), Ja’wuan James (22) or Tiny Richardson (22) comes with some bonus “youth” but most OTs expected to be available by the Hawks second round pick are in the 23 yr old group.

        • Nate says:

          I like this list of names, would just throw out Cyril OL Baylor, at LG late rd pick. Would excitee at LG of we can’t get Martin, Bitonio or Su’a-Filo

          • House says:

            Jon Halapio is another guy I would be watching in the 4th/5th rd. Aggressive as hell, but his ceiling seems lower than above mentioned…

  3. Hawkspur says:

    With Percy Harvin on the team, and specifically with his YAC and jet sweep type plays, I think the run blocking ability of the other Seahawks receivers becomes a vital aspect of their game.

  4. CC says:

    Total bummer on Thomas! He was a guy I liked in the second round if we went WR at 32.

    Rob, if the Seahawks liked his tape, is there any reason to go UDFA with Thomas and let him heal up until next year? Or is that just a dumb idea? I’m just not sure how all it works.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think he’ll be drafted — in the same way Jesse Williams was drafted last year. At some point on day three he becomes too good to pass.

      • House says:

        I think he is AT LEAST worth having the discussion of a draft/stash. We’ll have 4 FA OL following the 2014 season.

    • hawkfaninMT says:

      Marcus Cannon was drafted in the 5th round after being similarly projected as Brandon Thomas. Cancer was discovered and he would be forced to sit for the first year of his NFL career.

      Do you see the 5th round as a decent projection for Brandon Thomas? I think to get out of the 5th with Dowling from W Kentucky and Brandon Thomas to put on the IR would be a pretty successful 5th round IMO.

  5. sdcoug says:

    Hearing “high-end prospect in need of a red-shirt year” makes me cringe as it plays right to a team like SF. A fairly stacked roster and 52 picks; could be looking at another Lattimore steal

    Thanks for your work Rob; I can’t get enough of this site

    • williambryan says:

      Is SF really that stacked anymore? I think they are becoming overrated. Sure they still have a great group of starters but even there secondary had become suspect last season, not to mention the Dline depth. I expect SF to clearly be the third team in the standings of the NFC West (with Seattle and Arizona separating themselves).

      • Belgaron says:

        I agree, I could totally see a scenario where they miss the playoffs to the other 3 West teams, fire their coach and maybe fire their GM after they are forced to franchise their QB for one year before losing him to Miami as a free agent (joking mostly)

        • Robert says:

          And after next season, they’ll just be the 9ers…’cuz we’re gonna OWN the number 49!

    • Belgaron says:

      If SF actually keeps all those picks, they are going to have a cherry pickable practice squad so the Seahawks can put their fans into a tizzy the way they did when they picked up BJ Daniels by claiming some. The 9ers really haven’t drafted well overall since Scot McCloughan was there (now with the Seahawks). They have a few hits here and there but a lot of misses. Plus a system just can’t get too overloaded with injured players because they will have attrition during the season. They might do it but their scouting department doesn’t put the fear in me the way others would with that many picks. I like the idea of stashing one injured guy per draft but 2 or 3 would be overkill unless the roster was really that stacked and SF has some holes. They could realistically finish 4th in the West this year with a little bit of bad luck (like starting with their best defender injured) and a disgruntled, entitled QB who didn’t get the $25M/year he demanded.

  6. Stuart says:

    Thomas and and the redshirt year, do we take him late or pursue him as an UDFA?

    sdcoug is right! It would suck if SF picked him up….

    Prediction; WR Jarvis will have a fine pro day and his stock will go up significantly. Will he pass Latimer?

  7. Madmark says:

    The reason for the 2 week delay I heard on ESPN morning show with Brock and Danny here in the NW was that the Radio City Music Hall was booked for an Easter Event. They talk a little of how bad it had been at Madison Square Garden one year. They talked about options of moving it somewhere else but currently they would like to keep it in NY.

  8. Stuart says:

    Started my post, then my phone rang. Talked on the phone long enough that by the time I posted, Rob has already answered my question….

  9. David M says:

    I keep forgetting about Chris Matthews the WR they brought it from CFL. seems like they have high hopes in him because he was signed like right after the Super Bowl, kinda like a priority to sign him… Obviously he is a big WR, so that could factor into who the pick at #32? Maybe a guy who excels at blocking, and such, I.E. Latimar, Landry, one of those tough guys who puts there body second in order to help make a play or catch a ball.. Also, a receiver with EXCELLENT hands

  10. Jordan says:

    Damn, Shazier pops off the screen. He is an absolute homing missile. What is keeping him from being projected as a top 15 lock? Positional value? He is extremely impressive

  11. Bobby Cink says:

    If Thomas is there in the 5th round, I don’t see how you pass on him. Give him a redshirt year. It’s not a big deal to essentially defer a 5th round pick until the next year.

    • House says:

      Considering we have an extra 5th rd pick from OAK (M. Flynn trade), it couldn’t/wouldn’r hurt. I think the only reason not to is if we could get another OL that could contribute now.

  12. Colin says:

    I can’t remember where I saw it/heard it, but a former personnel guy mentioned how everyone pretty much had their boards set by the 10th of April- the rest of the time is just time to over think things, and let’s be honest- if you haven’t seen something out of a guy in the 3+ months since his last meaningful football game, you haven’t looked very hard.

  13. Michael M. says:

    Rob, has Shazier showed any kind of pass-rush moves that you’ve seen? All the QB hits I’ve seen him make came when he is completely unaccounted for. Is rushing the passer a part of his game at the moment, or something he will have to develop?

    • Rob Staton says:

      He’s a terrific blitzer. In terms of edge rush he was rarely asked to do it. He’s not a long player. I’m not sure he’d do much rushing in Seattle’s scheme — more dropping in coverage, read and react. He could be a pick machine as we saw from Malcolm Smith towards the end of last season.

      • RadMan says:

        I don’t think Shazier will be there at 32. But he’d be a terrific fit. This is not a draft with great LB speed. Rare commodity this year.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      He doesn’t have any moves. He relies on athleticism and only gets to the QB when unblocked.

      • Michael M. says:

        Ya, that’s what it looked like to me. Not a problem in our scheme, but AZ loves bringing the ILB’s, so I was curious.

  14. SHawn says:

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    Been waiting for more on Shazier. This wasnt nearly enough, but Im glad you see the same things I have been seeing with him. He makes, honestly, every LB on the team except Wagz expendable. And I am a huge fan of KJ and Bruce. Less so MVP SMith, but none of these guys NEED to be upgraded.

    But they could be. It hasn’t been that long since most people on this blog agreed the Seahawks needed to target a WILL in the early rounds.

    It might (maybe) take Shazier a year (offseason) to get coached up on things like shedding and getting through traffic, but those are correctable, coachable things. We have, at least for the near future, a HOF LB coaching our guys.

    Imagine what he could do with a smart, instinctive, INSANE athlete like Shazier. (Seriously.) Now imagine that beast of a LB playing next to BWagz and Bruce for the next 10 years.

    Our secondary might quickly become the 2nd best unit on the team. (Not seriously).

  15. EranUngar says:

    I have to admit I can’t wait to see what treasures this draft will bring.

    However, sometimes it’s the picks we do not make that helps you evaluate your team’s potential.

    JS stated repeatedly that the Seahawks are ranking the value of potential picks based on comparison with the current roster. It makes perfect sense that if the goal is improving the roster you need to see what extra you bring in over what you already have.

    It’s impossible for us to evaluate how high the Hawks are rating some of the current talent we have such as Hill, Mayowa, Williams and Scruggs in the Dline or Bailey and Bowie in the Oline. They had at least a year with those guys so they should know a lot more about their true NFL potential.

    With all the above in mind, it’s those available talented players they do not pick that serves as an extra indication regarding how they evaluate the current talent in the roster. If the first 2 picks do not include OL – they must be pretty high on Bailey and Bowie. If no DL players are targeted it’s a vote of confidence for the others. Since you can never really tell how a player will survive the transition to the NFL level, having already semi proven players in your roster is even better then an unknown talent that may need a year or 2 to be fully effective.

    In other words – 2 first picks that are clearly BPA rather then filling needs is the biggest indication that those needs do not exist.

    Picking a RB in our first pick last year should have told us we are perfect otherwise and we were.
    This draft is very deep with Receivers and not that deep with DL talent. Picking a WR at 32nd is a clear message that the current Dline roster is fine. It will also be an indication that the need on the Oline is not that dire.

    On the other hand, avoiding a WR in the first round in favor of a Hageman or a Bitonio will indicate that the need at those positions is greater then we thought.

    Picking someone like Shazier means the roster is ready to repeat as is 

    Should be interesting…

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I think it doesn’t really matter where they make a pick. It’s about who they take.

  16. Beanhawk says:

    Some Seahawks related notes from Tony Pauline (

    “- John Ulrich, a sleeper offensive tackle from Georgia State who recently ran 4.93s in the forty at 290lbs during a regional combine, has trips lined up to see the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks.

    – Last week sources told me they expect an offensive tackle heavy draft from the Seattle Seahawks next month. The hope is to select a versatile edge blocker as protection in case the team cannot resign Russell Okung when his contract is up in two years.”

    Also notes on Benjamin, Lattimer, and Coleman with the Eagles as well (Chip Kelly may be looking wide receiver early).

  17. David M says:

    Check out Cody booth from Temple, he had an outstanding year in 2012 at the TE position, but for 13, them converted him into a left tackle. Has crazy athleticsism because of his experience playing TE, SPARQ is really high. Could be someone to watch.

  18. David M says:

    Gil Brandt tweeted this: @Gil_Brandt: WR Allen Robinson having big day at #PennState pro day. 42 VJ, 11 BJ, sub-4.5 40. Stock will be up after today. #NFLDraft

  19. john g says:

    i also think that moncrief could be seahawkes first pick this is why
    there is really no one else who can jump and has the speed as well and if they dont pick him they will be sayin man i coulda had him.
    moncrief =sidney rice=one year contract=ingery a lot.

  20. john g says:

    my dream draft lol
    1moncrief=they really no one like him in this draft
    2 bitonio=ol help thats need
    3i feel they will trade into the third at some point. jackson jeffcoat=cris clemens
    4 snaq evans=golden tate
    5de= red bryant
    5 s=cris marigos
    6 qb= conner shaw