Kansas State’s Arthur Brown still looks like a future Seahawk
Last week I wrote a piece about Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown and why he’s worth keeping an eye on for the 2013 draft. He seems almost ideal for Pete Carroll. There’s the history of recruitment at USC, the schematic desire to get the linebackers in space to make plays. Brown is almost the definition of what I think Carroll wants from the MIKE and the WILL.
That’s not to say he’ll definitely be taken by the Seahawks with an early pick. Leroy Hill started the Buffalo game but was swiftly replaced by Malcolm Smith who took most of the snaps at the WILL. If Smith wins the job permanently before the end of the season, he may win it for the long haul. Even so, the Seahawks are a good enough team these days to take the best player available in the first round of a draft. And who’s going to argue with Carroll and John Schneider, whoever they determine to be BPA?
The video above shows Brown’s 2012 tape against West Virginia. I think it shows off why he’s a good fit in Seattle. He’s rangy with excellent speed and the Seahawks want guys who can cover at the second level, react to the play call and gravitate to the football. He’s an opportunist and that’s really what this defense is about – capitalising on pressure to create turnovers. Of course, the Seahawks won’t really benefit from an opportunistic group of defensive backs and linebackers unless the front four can create more pressure. And that comes back to the teams absolute #1 need – an upgrade at the three technique. Did I mention I Randy Starks yet?
Have a look at the tape above and let me know what you think.
Turning pro… or not?
A few players made their intentions known today ahead of the January 15th deadline. Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter tweeted, “declared”. Using my excellent detective skills, I’ve determined that means he’ll be turning pro. That’s a significant move and could be a precursor to Tyler Bray and Cordarrelle Patterson also entering the draft. An argument can be made for all three returning and benefiting from another year with the Vols. However, with a new coaching staff taking over and a new blue print set to be installed, it won’t be a big shock if all three head for the NFL.
Bray has plenty of arm talent but is hugely erratic, inaccurate and has poor mechanics. There are also several character issues to address. Patterson is close to Hunter and that could have a big impact on his decision. ESPN’s Chris Low is reporting that he’s expected to declare. In my next mock draft on Wednesday, I’m going to put Patterson in the top-15.
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr will return for another year with the Bruins in 2013. He’s a fullback-turned-pass rusher and had a terrific season with 13.5 sacks. Barr made the right call here – UCLA stands to make further strides next year and should contend for the Rose Bowl. If he can tally another 10-15 sack season he could easily be a high pick in the 2014 draft. Barr could use the extra time on the field, helping a winning team.
Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix also made the same decision to stay in college. Had he declared, he could’ve been a top-15 pick. Nix and Stephen Tuitt are the unsung heroes of the Irish defense, lost among a wave of publicity for Manti Te’o. Both will be high picks in 2014.
5th seed crucial for the Seahawks?
It seems improbable that the same San Francisco team that beat New England last night will now lose two games against the Seahawks and the Cardinals. The victory all but secured a second successive NFC West title for the 49ers. Good for them.
However, nobody should feel next weeks game is any less important for the Seahawks.
As things stand, Seattle owns the #5 seed. If the season ended today, the Seahawks would be travelling to face the Washington Redskins in the wildcard playoffs. The victor would probably play the Atlanta Falcons on the road in the second round. Assuming the NFC West crown is now out of reach, there’s no point wasting time dreaming of home playoff games and first round byes. The Seahawks are almost certainly going on the road if they make the post-season. And facing the NFC East champions and the Atlanta Falcons is not a death sentence.
If the Seahawks were to finish in the #6 slot instead, you’re looking at trips to San Francisco and Green Bay. That’ll be much more difficult to overcome.
I’m not trying to argue here that a combination of Dallas/Washington/New York and then Atlanta would be easy. Nothing is easy in the post-season. But one scenario appears more favourable than the other. It’s crucial that the Seahawks finish strongly even if the 49ers are destined to be the NFC West Champions again. Nobody will want to face an 11-5 wildcard in the playoffs. The next two weeks are a great opportunity for this team to prove they truly are Super Bowl contenders, even if they have to do it the hard way. They have to go for these next two games. Win both and they’re guaranteed the #5 seed.
The ultimate Russell Wilson video
After another record breaking performance by Russell Wilson yesterday, I think it’s only fair to remind ourselves what people were saying about the decision to draft him in April. Finally, Wilson is getting some rookie of the year love from the mainstream media, and it’s about time. He’s out-performing Andrew Luck (he really is) and Robert Griffin’s case is being weakened by injury.
Nobody’s perfect when it comes to projecting the draft… but here’s a gentle reminder that none of us should jump to conclusions too quickly – especially when it comes to teams we don’t cover exclusively. Check out the video below. There’s some irony that the supposed ‘worst pick’ of the third round in the 2012 NFL Draft could actually be one of the greatest third round picks in the history of the league.
Quote from B******r R*****t’s Matt Miller: “The Seahawks continue to fumble in the 2012 draft“.
Seahawks picks when the comment was made: Bruce Irvin (leads all rookies for sacks), Bobby Wagner (legit candidate for DROY), Russell Wilson (legit candidate for OROY).
*Disclaimer – this will be the only time in the 2012 NFL season I’ll be linking to anything from the B******r R****t website.