Off-season priority #1… find a pass rush

January 14th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

There are never any secrets in Seattle.

Think back to the start of 2011. In Pete Carroll’s end of season press conference he identified the running game as a cause for concern. It was supposed to be the heart and soul of this team, yet the Seahawks ranked 31st in the league for rushing. Jeremy Bates was fired as offensive coordinator, in came Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable. The teams first two draft picks were offensive lineman. There was no media kidology here — this was pure, unadulterated honesty. Carroll did what he said he was going to do.

A year later the pass rush was identified as a key area of weakness. Only ten teams had less sacks than the Seahawks in 2011. Carroll and Schneider zoned in on a pass rusher in the first round of the draft and selected a player defined by Carroll as, “the ideal LEO.” Bruce Irvin was taken with the #15 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Jason Jones was added in free agency to act as a specialist three-technique. Once again the Seahawks had been honest about their ambitions in the off-season, and most definitely pro-active.

The problem is, one plan worked better than the other. The repair work to the run game turned the #31 ranked rushing attack in 2010 into the third best this season. For all of Seattle’s moves to improve the pass rush a year ago, it’s only warranted a three-sack improvement. Bruce Irvin, Jason Jones, Greg Scruggs, Jay Howard, re-signing Chris Clemons to an extended contract. It all adds up to three more sacks.

Seattle’s total of 36 this year is probably a generous review of the pressure they were able to exert on opposing quarterbacks. An eight-sack half against the Green Bay Packers — more freak than anything – bloated that statistic into mediocrity. Without that blistering half of pass-rushing, the Seahawks are among the league’s worst for sacks. A true bottom dweller, belittling the claims that this is an elite unit.

Of course, it’s not all about sacks. It’s about consistent pressure. Green Bay aside, this was never achieved. The Seahawks faced some of the worst offensive lines in the NFL this year and couldn’t get home. In key moments against Detroit, Miami and in the season finale against Atlanta, a lack of pressure equated to defeat. Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley were forced to rush five against the Falcons in the two key plays that set up Matt Bryant’s game winning field goal yesterday. That’s music to Matt Ryan’s ears. The top pocket-passers in the NFL want. you. to. blitz.

This is one of Carroll’s rare failures so far. He and John Schneider have found a franchise quarterback with a third round pick. They’ve created easily the best secondary in the NFL despite spending only one first round pick on Earl Thomas. They’ve devised a dominating running game and found a superstar running back via a trade worth a couple of late round picks. The roster is deep with young talent and it’s trending upwards.

The lack of pass rush, however, is right up there with the Charlie Whitehurst trade. Two big blotches on the copy book. The plan hasn’t worked and it’s time to start again.

Don’t take my word for it — these are Carroll’s sentiments exactly. He appeared on the Brock and Salk show (ESPN 710) this morning and was asked about the teams needs going forward:

“We didn’t settle the issue of rushing the passer. You know Jason (Jones) came in here and he got banged up and wasn’t really able to contribute the way we’d hoped. He did everything he could but he had a bad knee. We need pass rush, I think more than anything that’s it…. We need to add up front somehow to bring the heat.”

You can here the audio at the top of this article. The quotes used above appear at the 19:00 mark.

Carroll unsurprisingly appeared deflated in his post-game press conference yesterday, where he again addressed the lack of pass rush. On Bruce Irvin he commented, “I didn’t really see him out there.” In today’s open media conference he again stated, “We need another pass rusher. We really do. We’re going to need a couple of them.”

It’s a dose of refreshing honesty in a league where most teams guard their intentions like it’s a matter of national security. Then again, it doesn’t take a genius to work out Seattle’s biggest problem. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal has written a lot of positive articles about the Seahawks this season. Even he couldn’t avoid spelling it out when reflecting on the 30-28 defeat to Atlanta:

When Pete Carroll looks at the film from Sunday’s heartbreaker, he’ll know that his team’s lack of a pass rush hurt badly. The Seahawks’ defense didn’t force a punt until midway through the fourth quarter. The Seahawks registered one “quarterback hit” and zero sacks in 35 drop-backs. With the game on the line, Carroll had no faith he could get pressure Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan with his front four.

Rosenthal’s rather bleak but honest ending to the piece kind of sums it up: “That made the difference in sending the Seahawks home for the offseason.” And he’s absolutely right. The Seahawks were a pass rush away from the NFC Championship game and a one-off shot at the Super Bowl. That’s how vital this issue is — and Carroll knows it.

Everything else in place. The offense will continue to grow with Wilson and Lynch. The rest of the defense is set. There’s plenty of depth across the roster. They just need to do a better job at rushing the passer.

We now know what the primary ambition is going to be during the off-season. This team will add at least two key pass rushers. It all begins when free agency opens on March 12th and moves on to Seattle’s #25 overall pick when the draft begins on April 25th. The hard part is working out what exactly they might do to rectify this problem.

Nobody guessed the Seahawks would take Bruce Irvin with a mid-first round pick. Trying to guess what they’ll do this year could be even tougher.

What are the options?

Free agency

According to John Clayton, the Seahawks have $18.6m in cap room for 2013. Part of this will come from the savings made on Alan Branch and Jason Jones becoming free agents (both could still re-sign for cheaper deals). The other part is down to the rules of the new CBA which allows teams to ‘carry over’ unused cap into future seasons. You have to expect the front office will build on this strategy going forward with many of the teams young stars due major pay increases if they’re going to stick with the Seahawks. For example, in 2014 Richard Sherman is due to earn $690,606. He’s an unrestricted free agent in 2015 and will probably command a much greater salary. Earl Thomas and K.J. Wright will also be free agents that year.

Keeping the band together is not going to be easy unless money is saved.

Even so, there’s enough cap room to at least entertain the possibility of making some moves in free agency. The cap situation could be improved further if Matt Flynn is traded/cut or if Zach Miller is willing to spread some of his $11m 2013 cap hit into future years (he’s due to make $7m in 2014 and $6m in 2015).

In terms of pass rushers, there are some nice prospective options assuming teams don’t use the franchise tag. Desmond Bryant (DT, Oakland), Henry Melton (DT, Chicago) and Randy Starks (DT, Miami) would all upgrade the teams interior pass rush. Bryant (27) and Melton (26) are both entering their prime and will be costly. Starks (29) would probably be more cost effective but with a much more limited upside. The Seahawks made two big splashes prior to the 2011 season by signing Miller and Sidney Rice. Would they entertain a similar move to bring in a veteran three-technique?

It’s unlikely Oakland will be able to afford Bryant, given they’re a projected $4.5m over the cao for 2013. Chicago has enough room at $13.3m to make an offer to Melton, while Miami has $35.8m to play with. Funnily enough, both teams could be impacted by the future of Jake Long. Miami will surely try to re-sign their left tackle, but using the franchise tag would cost $15.4m next season. The Palm Beach Post has already reported that it’s an unlikely scenario for the Dolphins. If Long hits free agency, the Bears could be a suitor given their major issues blocking for Jay Cutler. If the left tackle market dominates the start of free agency, it could present an opportunity for teams chasing the top defensive tackles.

Out of the three options I still favour a move for Starks. He’ll not be as expensive as the other two, while his run defense is superior. He’s still capable of collapsing the pocket and making plays, plus he might be open to a front-loaded two-year contract that’ll end in time for the Seahawks to free up cap room to re-sign their own key players. Both Bryant and Melton will be searching for longer term deals with lots of guaranteed money spread over several years. At the same time, there’s no doubting that Melton is the best pass rusher of the three and would have the greatest impact overall. But at what price?

Finding a veteran edge rusher could also be a possibility, especially if Chris Clemons needs to start the 2013 season on the PUP list as he recovers from an ACL injury. Anthony Spencer (DE, Dallas), Paul Kruger (DE, Baltimore) and Michael Johnson (DE, Cincinnati) will all command good contracts as young, productive pass rushers. Osi Umenyiora (DE, New York Giants) will also be a free agent and at 32-years-old, he might be willing to sign a more modest contract to play for a contender in his final 2-3 years in the league.

Addressing other needs in free agency could allow the Seahawks to concentrate on the pass rush in the draft instead. Receivers like Dwayne Bowe (WR, Kansas City), Mike Wallace (WR, Pittsburgh), Wes Welker (WR, New England), Greg Jennings (WR, Green Bay) and Danny Amendola (WR, St. Louis) are all likely to reach free agency. Victor Cruz (WR, New York Giants) is a restricted free agent, while former USC tight end Fred Davis (TE, Washington) could emerge on Seattle’s radar.

The problem is, this will be an expensive road to go down. Last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars invested $32m in former Dallas wide-out Laurent Robinson (anyone remember him?). He caught 24 passes for 252 yards and no touchdowns in 2012. Rest assured the big-name stars listed above will be wanting at least as much as Robinson stole from the Jaguars.

This is a team being built through the draft, with pay-days earned via performance and competition. It’s unlikely that the Seahawks would ‘chase the dream’ in free agency by making multiple big moves. Stuff like that turned the Philadelphia Eagles into a laughing stock. A choice move or two seems likely though.

2013 draft

Finding productive pass rushers in the draft can be a bit of a crap shoot. For every Aldon Smith and Von Miller, there’s a Derrick Harvey, Brandon Graham or Aaron Maybin. Who expected J.J. Watt to dominate as the most dynamic pass rusher in the NFL? Probably not even the Houston Texans. The Sehawks have been burned before in this situation, owning the #25 overall pick and trading down before taking Lawrence Jackson. No other position is quite so boom-or-bust when it comes to the draft.

The 2013 class actually has a cluster of talented pass rushers available. Bjoern Werner, Damontre Moore, Jarvis Jones, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, John Simon and Alex Okafor could all be first round picks at defensive end or outside linebacker. Sheldon Richardson, Star Lotulelei, Sylvester Williams, Jesse Williams and Sharrif Floyd could all be drafted at the three or five technique positions.

And that’s just a sample size. This is a deep class for defensive lineman.

Seattle’s greatest need is an interior pass rusher. They’ve lacked a natural three-technique all season and it’s been costly. It’s testament to Chris Clemons that he’s once again managed to record double digit sacks this season playing almost as the teams sole pass rusher in base defense.

There’s no reason why the Seahawks couldn’t go big in the draft to improve the pass rush. They drafted offensive lineman back-to-back in 2011 to improve the run game, would they do defensive line back-to-back in 2013? Getting an interior presence is vital, particularly if they don’t find a solution in free agency. Edge rushers and a cost-effective replacement for Jason Jones are also possible.

One player I keep coming back to at the moment is Margus Hunt — the most Seahawky non-Seahawk who’ll turn pro this year. There are numerous things that will put off teams riddled with conventional wisdom. He’ll be a 26-year-old rookie. He has limited football experience having travelled to America to work on his discuss throwing. His technique is raw. None of these things stand to concern the Seahawks, who will no doubt ask what he can do as opposed to what he can’t. What you’re getting with Hunt is a 6-8, 275lbs beast with unnatural speed for his size. While he might be an outside bet as a possible first or second round pick for Seattle, he’s exactly the kind of player you can see Carroll and Schneider taking a chance on.

In the last fortnight I’ve also begun to consider Texas’ Alex Okafor as a more realistic possibility for the Seahawks. His 4.5-sack domination of Oregon State was a master-class in speed rushing off the edge, technique and control. He has a similar frame to Clemons at 6-4, 260lbs and he had 12.5 total sacks for the Longhorns this season. Importantly, he has solid upper body strength, good hands and he understands leverage to work against the run. That’s crucial for a tall and lean defensive end.

If the Seahawks do target edge rushers in round one again, it still won’t shake the biggest need unless they act in free agency. A nasty, violent three technique is a must. Sheldon Richardson is that man. He’s likely to be a top-15 pick given the rarity of good three-techniques in the NFL. The position has proven so difficult to get right in recent years with the leagues best (Geno Atkins, Henry Melton, Darnell Dockett) being found in the middle rounds. Every now and again though, a talent emerges. And Richardson looks like he could buck the trend of disappointing first round defensive tackles.

Do you need further evidence that he fits the Seattle’s scheme? USC spent considerable time trying to prize him away from Missouri during his time in the JUCO ranks. At one point he appeared to commit to the Trojans, only to stick to his initial decision and play in the SEC. Monte Kiffin wanted this guy in his defense — and it just so happens Seattle’s two key defensive brains are both Kiffin disciples.

Getting Richardson with the 25th overall pick would be a gift from the football gods. Yet there’s some hope in the form of character red flags. He’s the prototype three-technique, right down to the attitude and smack talk. It’ll rub some coaches and GM’s up the wrong way. He also served a one-game suspension in 2012 as a punishment for skipping class. It’s still a long shot, but if you’re lucky enough to find a franchise quarterback in round three of the draft, you’ll never rule out Sheldon Richardson suffering a fall on April 25th.

Scheme changes

Carroll seems agitated by the lack of pass rush, and maybe even a little let down. Bruce Irvin has endured a mixed rookie season. He hit a wall mid-way through the year and struggled to have much impact after the bye week. The Atlanta game was supposed to be his chance to show he can be a starter at the LEO position — but he struggled mightily. So concerned at getting beaten by the run, Irvin committed to it almost exclusively. The end result? He was a complete non-factor as a pass rusher.

The Seahawks might be going through the same moment of realisation experienced by West Virginia. They tried to force a starting role on Irvin, albeit in an ill-suited three-man front. He struggled and quickly reverted back to his productive specialist role. The decision paid off and he ended his final year with the Mountaineers strongly.

It might be time to accept what Irvin really is — a specialist. He’s always been at his best concentrating on one thing and one thing only… getting to the quarterback. Let him pin his ears back and go. Playing at the line of scrimmage in a four man front carries too much responsibility for a player incapable of manning the role. He’ll get you 8-12 sacks a year as a third down specialist. He’ll make big plays — just like he did against Carolina and Washington. But those big plays will come in decisive and specific moments, not regularly during a four-quarter game of football.

The thing is, Carroll truly believed Irvin was the ‘ideal LEO’ for his scheme. I’m not sure that’s the case. Not any more. That could be premature, it could be unfair. But I have to believe Carroll is contemplating Irvin’s duties going forward, especially if Chris Clemons can’t start the 2013 season. When you draft a pass rusher with your first round pick and 12 months later state “pass rusher” as the teams biggest need, something isn’t right. Irvin can be a fine specialist pass rusher, but that might be his ceiling.

This isn’t about one player though. Overall the Seahawks haven’t rushed the passer well enough in three seasons of Carroll’s programme. If you’re truly going to review how to make things better, don’t you have to look at the scheme too? It hasn’t really ever created sufficient pressure, even against the bad teams.

One of the problems is the unbalanced nature of Seattle’s attack. By focusing solely on a LEO rusher, it’s easier for the offensive line to max protect one side. A running back in pass protection can cover the left tackle and suddenly Clemons is trying to beat a double team to get home on a lot of plays. Using three big bodies in base defense (Bryant, Mebane, Branch) should theoretically make the Seahawks tough to run on. That isn’t the case. The run defense got progressively worse as the season went on. The unit failed to receive any benefit from using three non-pass rushers on their defensive line.

Theoretically things stand to improve immensely with the introduction of a legitimate three-technique. It’s also worth noting that San Francisco use a tandem on one side more often than not with Justin and Aldon Smith. It’s unbalanced, but works because the two pass rushers are high-quality and the rest of the line plays stout against the run. Will it be enough for Seattle though? If the Seahawks are going to use a 4-3 defense, do they need to start running a more balanced pass rush? Do they have to re-consider Red Bryant’s role as a defensive end and consider moving him back inside?

I’ve argued with several people about the significance of Bryant this season. Carroll made him the highest paid defensive player on the team for a reason. I believe the use of a proper three-technique will lift the defense and perhaps legitimise his role as a defensive end if the pass rush and run defense both improve next year. He continues to be a vocal leader for a young roster. That doesn’t excuse poor play, but it has to factor into why the Seahawks are so keen to keep him at the forefront of their defense.

I concede Carroll will likely review the situation during the off-season. He’s shown a willingness to be pro-active and go against his own beliefs for the greater good. I also suspect after some soul searching he’ll stick with his original plan and try to enhance it. That doesn’t mean the Seahawks can’t bring in personnel to incorporate a more orthodox 4-3 front if needs be. I’m not convinced Irvin and Clemons can act as a base tandem without any pass rush up the middle. But get a player who can act as a more natural left end, bring in a proper three-technique and suddenly, you can be flexible against certain opponents and situations.

This is still a good defense overall, but they need a plan to combat late game winning drives like we saw in Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. Being able to turn to a more balanced pass rush in the hour of need is crucial. I don’t think this team will totally go away from the Bryant experiment or the 4-3 under. But I do think they’ll make the moves to be more flexible.

Moving forward

We’ve talked a lot about the defense here and it seems somewhat unfair not to even mention Russell Wilson. Hours after a stunning performance against Atlanta, he was in front of the media today for his final press-conference of the season. His performance in front of the microphone was almost more impressive than the action on the field. He looked and sounded like the heart of this franchise. He oozed confidence and spoke with authority. For the first time, he came across like a spokesperson for the players.

Wilson sported a hoodie noting his slogan, “No time 2 sleep” and acted like a ten-year veteran. This is a team game, he’ll be the first to tell you that. Yet Wilson looked every bit a franchise quarterback during this interview — saying exactly the right things, talking about his optimism for the future. I always believed the identity of this team would come back to Pete Carroll. Slowly but surely, it seems to be shifting towards Russell Wilson.

You’d like to make his life easier next season by at least investing in one more solid receiving option. A Zach Ertz, a DeAndre Hopkins or even one of those free agent pass-catchers could be a key addition to the offense. I suspect at least one of those early draft picks will be saved for a pass-catcher.

Ultimately though the difference between joy and pain this time next year will rest on Carroll and Schneider’s ability to improve the pass rush. To quote Kip — and I’m sure he won’t mind me using this quote — “I truly believe that the Seahawks would be unbeatable if they had a defensive line like Denver’s or Cincinnati’s and stayed healthy. They’d be the Women’s UCONN team of the NFL.”

I tend to agree.

I’ve included some game tape videos below to show off some of the prospects that could provide the answers in 2013. This includes a new Sheldon Richardson video vs Tennesse, courtesy of JMPasq.

94 Responses to “Off-season priority #1… find a pass rush”

  1. Jules says:

    Hey Rob,

    Great article and perspective piece on the year end needs of the Hawks. While I was greatly disappointed by the outcome of yesterday’s game, I knew ahead of time that despite our defense’s ranking throughout the year that it was clear that over the final 8 games our run defence and pass rush were not that good. It seemed like we were getting by more on our offensive production than anything else and a timely turnover or special teams play.

    That said I was wondering if you could do a piece on the players on the practice squad who after a year of seasoning may be able to come in and contribute to next year’s team. I am most curious about Korry Toomer’s progress and if he might be an answer to Hill’s position therefore removing one more need from the draft.

    Thanks for any thoughts you may have on the subject.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I will continue to look into doing a piece on the PS guys. Obviously it’s hard to find out too much about their development without watching them play.

  2. Spencer Vail says:

    Say Pete did change the scheme a little and moved Red inside wouldn’t Ezekiel Ansah be the guy that would look pretty attractive to them to draft? The guy defends the run pretty well for someone so raw and has the tools to become an excellent pass rusher.

  3. epurc says:

    Superb article.

  4. Jeff says:

    I feel like one priority that might be overlooked but is very important is finding a back up QB that is more like Wilson. Maybe its not the 1st or even 3rd priority but its got to be in the top 5. I am thinking that using a 3rd or 4th round pick on an EJ Manual or Matt Scott might be something the team should consider. I just feel like much of what this offense does with RW wouldn’t work with Flynn.

    • Meat says:

      The team plans on always drafting a QB, at least that is what they shared the past year or two. That or bring in an undrafted and they probably will do that, wait, they must. Only two QB’s on the roster and one may find a new home via trade.

    • Josh says:

      True. However, finding a guy who can do what Russell can do will be a crap shoot. The guy can throw in the pocket and on the run, does an amazing job keeping his eyes down field when scrambling always looking for that open man before he runs, and is excellent at the zone read. Keeping Flynn and taking out the zone read is probably the best solution right now. We know he can be productive as a pocket QB.

  5. Justin says:

    I agree that pass rush is a top priority and the FO will focus their capital on addressing it but I can’t help but wonder if they will keep their eye on Tavon Austin. Austin could not only provide some slot magic for Bevell but he could double as a replace my for Leon who is pricy for a specialist. Any thought on Tavon being an option at 25 Rob?
    Thanks and great work!

    • SunPathPaul says:

      I keep coming back to Austin… I was convinced otherwise for a bit, but if we don’t take him, one of the playoff teams will…and we will have to face him versus use him as our weapon! He could be our much faster Wes Welker…

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not completely sold on Austin for Seattle. He’s going to need a package of plays and while he’s incredibly fast and a playmaker, he’s also very small. Can he compete even in the slot or is he a pure deep route, screen or bubble option?

  6. TJ says:

    Rob – what do you think about Kawann Short from Purdue? I haven’t seen any Purdue games this year, but preseason, he was highly regarded as a pass rushing DT

    • Rob Staton says:

      His effort is so inconsistent. He can be a really effective pass rusher, but he switches it on and off. He’s quite big too. He’d be a solid R2/3 option if they can’t address this need in FA or round one.

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        Agreed. I don’t consider him till R3. Should be too many good prospects to pick from at the end of R2.

        I was really disappointed in his play this season. Way beyond simply underwhelmed. He had the look of a guy that wasn’t sure football was his passion in life. Just seemed disinterested in making his mark despite good momentum and press heading into the season.

  7. red17hawk says:

    Just wanted to say: wow, great article. Thanks so much for spending the time, love your blog! Daily reading (sometime more than that) for me!

  8. nolan says:

    Rob excellent work as always, if a three tech is vital as we all think wouldn’t it make sense to lock up a young guy like Melton or the raiders guy you mentioned to a long term deal if they are in there mid 20S seems like they would fit the age structure of the roster. Are those guys good against the run or are they like Jason Jones and more specialists. I think osi would be a good pick up to take clems role until healthy. Amother target in the passing game seems like a big need a safety valve pick might be our biggest need a Bobby Ingram type player.

  9. G.C says:

    Quick note, in the Miami Herald today they briefely touch on Starks and re-signing with the Fins…

    http://miamiherald.typepad.com/sports-buzz/2013/01/um-says-no-to-a-gator-dolphins-start-contract-talks-fins-canes-notes-heat-marlins-roster-buzz.html

    I get the gist is that they want to re-sign him however if he costs to much they will definitely let him walk. He personally is my #1 guy this offseason. Immediate interior pass rush can’t be fixed through the draft (other than Richardson which has been touched on) and I think there’s no way Chicago lets Melton get away. Starks is a guy who is proven and the tank is not quite nearing E just yet.

  10. cliff says:

    Rob,
    What are the odds the Hawks would consider trading up for Richardson if he began a small slip in the draft? Last year Dallas traded their #14 and 2nd round pick to get Claiborne at #6. While we’re not going to jump to the top ten, the packets traded up for a pass rusher named Matthew’s and it seems to have worked so far..

    I think they would consider trading their third round pick or a player like Flynn to jump into the teens. I just want Richardson!

    • David says:

      I was also curious about this Rob, i had been thinking of it for a while, sending (of possible) Flynn and our 1st to a QB needy team and moving up

      is there a clear cut number 1 pick in this years draft? or do you see alot of teams trading back and stocking up? maybe KC trades back and then we can trade with them, I know unlikely scenario considering Pete and John seem to take a wait and see type of attitude when it comes to drafting, and they love their picks

      im still intrigued with Jaye Howard, he was our 4th round pick and i would like to see how he does this offseason, and i believe pete talked about that during his presser.

      • Rob Staton says:

        It’s going to be really difficult to trade Flynn IMO. As Adam Schefter discussed last week for ESPN, his market isn’t likely to be very hot. I doubt Andy Reid sees him as the option to replace a very similar QB in Matt Cassel. For me, Flynn is either a Seahawk next year or he gets cut to save about $3m in cap room.

        • CFR says:

          Check out this Twitter account that isn’t really known: https://twitter.com/weekapaug009
          He shares tidbits from Sirius interviews with PC/JS. Today he’s put out a lot of good stuff and said made some comments today (that can be seen on the account) that suggest that the Seahawks would keep Flynn as a backup if there isn’t a very enticing offer on the table. There’s a lot of other great stuff as well – some about the locker room’s belief in Wilson.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I will never rule anything out. If the Seahawks see him as the guy they need, they could move up. Incidentally if he gets past New Orleans at #15 he might make it through to the 20′s based on need.

  11. How have I not heard of John Simon? He may not have the speed Carroll covets, but holy shit can he shed a block. For me he’s a slam dunk pick if he’s there at #25.

    Last year in my day 2 draft preview I highlighted Vinny Curry as a round 2 option and asked if Seattle might not be done taking pass rushers. The way I saw things, Seattle had found their replacement to Raheem Brock, not their replacement to Chris Clemons. Obviously, Seattle did great taking Wagner, but I thought even back then that Seattle hadn’t invested enough in the pass rush and a lot of people disagreed with me on that point.

    Now this season we’ve begun to see the cracks in the armor with this D-line. Seattle should do what it takes and fix things. It’s going to hurt a lot passing on Ertz, Ogletree, or Hopkins at #25 though.

    • Colin says:

      Who would you prefer at 25 Kip, Margus Hunt or John Simon?

    • Nate Dogg says:

      Simon is really interesting. I’ll be very curious to see how he works out in the NFL, not sure I want Seattle to be the team to find out though. He’s got great anticipation when setting up offensive linemen, has really explosive hands, and is completely relentless.

      He’s also got closing speed issues, very little length, and something of a chaotic style defending the run that I have no idea how it will translate. I also don’t really know what role he’d play in Seattle’s defense.

      • On second view, I think you are right about arm length. Short arms are typically a major sticking point for me. That said, Simon does not AT ALL play like a guy with short arm problems (see Ingram, Melvin). If you can quickly shed blocks with consistency, it doesn’t matter how long your arms are. Arm length is only an indicator, and can be trumped by technique. Simon’s technique is outstanding. Could be a little like Russell Wilson, who fell because height is such a strong indicator historically, but clearly didn’t factor in a significant way when you broke his tape down.

        Closing speed is a worry. Kaepernick/Newton will run round him. That’s something you’d have to compensate for with LBs/scheme. Despite having relatively poor speed, Simon has very nice quickness though. He’s great at finishing sacks, I am just worried about designed runs mostly.

        His run defense isn’t elegant, but mostly effective. I can live with that.

        Pete is emphatic about speed when it comes to pass rushers. Should be interesting to see how he views Simon. That said, I think Simon is a draft steal waiting to happen.

    • Rob Staton says:

      John Simon is one of my favourite players in the draft.

    • After thinking this over for a while, I’d probably give Simon a 3rd or 4th round grade. His speed will be a liability against mobile QBs, and Seattle faces at least 6 games vs. QBs next year. I also think he’ll probably fall out of the first two rounds. A ton of teams are going to cross him off their boards for various reasons.

  12. Tomahawk says:

    Rob, I know that PC and JS treasure their draft picks. However, PC keeps saying over and over that they have 10 picks and all of their draftees will have trouble even making the roster. Do you think they buck the trend (ala Belichik) and finally decide to trade up in this draft? If so, is Richardson the only guy worth moving up for…..so long as they only have to move up roughly five spots?

    • Rob Staton says:

      It could happen. They have ten picks, they may get more. Moving up has to be a consideration if the right player is available.

      • Phil says:

        Rob – if improving the pass rush is the #1 priority and if the Seahawks are entertaining thoughts about moving up in the draft “if the right player is available”, then why isn’t anyone talking about Bjoern Werner? I realize that the cost to get him might be huge, but if he’s the player that the team needs to draft to get to the Superbowl, I’d explore ways to get it done.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think the assumption is he won’t be attainable. A lot of mocks have him going at #2 or #3 and there are enough teams needing a pass rusher in the top ten to think he’ll go very early. I’m a fan of Werner’s, really like him. He could be another JJ Watt. But that’s probably why he’ll go so early. And if a team truly believes he can be Watt, I doubt even moving down to #25 and getting a 2014 pick might be a bit steep.

          • Phil says:

            I just listened to PC’s press conference and like many others, I’m impressed with how candid he is. His comment about the upcoming draft and how difficult it’s going to be for the ‘hawks 10 picks to even make the roster got me to thinking. Would the ‘hawks be better off picking players with the 10 picks they have, knowing that some may not make the roster, or would they be better off packaging most of the picks, or at least some of them, to move up to get a player who is more likely to make the roster, or even to be a star? To exaggerate just to make my point, why not package all 10 picks and trade our whole draft class to move way up with the aim of getting the “missing piece” for our defense?

            • Michael says:

              Putting all of your eggs in one basket is always a dangerous proposition. For the fun of dealing in extremes, let’s say you package all 10 picks to move into the top 5 to get Sheldon Richardson. Congratulations, you just filled your biggest need! Now lets say that Richardson gets hit by a bus on his was to rookie minicamps, or the more likely scenario that he simply doesn’t pan out. You took one shot and you missed, and now there is absolutely no chance of the 2013 draft helping your team improve.

              On the other side of this extreme spectrum, lets say we use all 10 picks on 10 different 3-Techniques. What are the odds that one of these guys turns into a difference maker? (keep in mind that Atkins and Melton were 4th rounders themselves) Now logistically this makes no sense at all, and of course it wouldn’t cost that much to move up even into the top 5. But this illustrates the two different sides of the scale.

              I think smart people will always choose to mitigate risk by diversifying whenever possible. It’s the reason you don’t see Peter Lynch or Warren Buffett putting every dime into a single company. I think Pete Carroll and John Schneider are smart people. That’s why they didn’t trade up for RG3 and it’s why I don’t expect a big move up the board in 2013.

              • TJ says:

                Love the investing comparison. I was thinking the exact same thing. When Seattle’s front office can draft guys like Wilson, Sherman, Wright, and Chancellor in late rounds, I think it would be foolish to start dumping draft picks to get one guy – unless he was really, really, really special. With this front office’s ability to find exceptional talent late, I would rather see them cast a wide net – they might just pull in 2 or 3 more Pro Bowlers.

  13. Bird says:

    Great article Rob. Another factor that could influence decisions on the defensive scheme is whether or not Gus Bradley gets a head coaching gig. If so, there very well could be one or more new defensive coaches/coordinators providing fresh perspective. Even so, I would expect this to be in the form of tweaks and not wholesale changes as you state in your article.

  14. E says:

    Brandon Graham – had some injury issues earlier – but is actually doing great now. #2 ranked DE in the 4-3 in 2012 according to PFF – the same site that has Bobby Wagner at #2 for ILB right behind Patrick Willis :).

    Funny thing is that the average fan who doesn’t follow the Seahawks or read PFF probably doesn’t know how good Wagner is.

    • Senepol says:

      PFF has ET at something like the #39 safety – take those ratings with a big old rock of salt.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I spoke to a Philly fan yesterday and he didn’t feel Graham had a great year. The PFF rankings make no sense to me. They had Earl Thomas as the 39th best safety.

  15. kevin mullen says:

    Jebus Rob, great article and too many points to hit.

    Red Bryant position: needs major reassessment, I think with him being able to block 5 FGs in his career, lined up at 3tech by the way, should have some reasoning into that switch. Besides, it was former DLineman coach Dan Quinn who suggested the move to DE. I think Red would be ok back at DT 3tech or 5tech.

    Bruce Irvin: Carroll did sound deflated and disappointed about Bruce. I’ve never heard him so somber, and I think he must seriously be contemplating a pass rusher in first.

    Overall 2012 Draft Impact: would it be fair to say that Wilson was Schneiders pick, Wagner was Bradley/Norton’s pick, and Irvin was Carroll, only Carroll was massively disappointed that in the biggest game to date, on Irvin didn’t show up?

    We have the 2nd youngest roster with a ton of upside and a possible Super Bowl within reach, we can pick arguments within this roster on woulda/shoulda/coulda’s but honestly no one would have envisioned how his season would have played out, let alone be in the playoffs. This team was competitive in EVERY game this year, no other team can say that. We literally could have gone 16-0 if everything would have fell into place. No way am I disappointed in this team whatsoever, I posed the question back in last offseason as to what the expectations were for this team, and now we know. This team is Superbowl bound next season, bank on it. Go ‘Hawks!

    • Matt S says:

      Well the Pats actaully can claim the same. They had 4 losses by less points then us. But that is not to diminish the point you are making which is correct. We are extremely close.

  16. Fudwamper says:

    Rob,

    I know you look at possibilities to start conversation and you like to hit every subject, with that said I think you are getting to lock down about what you think that they should do. From a frequent reader point of view you are getting locked into the more traditional 3 tech with scraping carrols D. I think that is not going to happen. I think we will see just what we have seen. JS and PC will look for a player like Jones again and Branch. They will look for another Clemons.

    I think the big difference of thought is that when PC states pass rush he is talking about on passing downs that his team makes or obvious pass downs. I don’t believe he is talking about every time the QB drops back. He wants a competent Jones with Clemons and Irving.

    Just my opinion.

    with that said who in the NFL looks like a Jason jones or clemons waiting for their big chance?

    • Rob Staton says:

      And that opinion is more than welcome, Fudwamper.

      What I would say is… last year they talked specifically about finding speed within a pass rush. They basically described Bruce Irvin. This year, they’re talking about just a pass rusher. That to me means not another LEO, but either a more orthodox end or an interior rusher. Basically, just someone who gets it done. They need to find interior penetration to help the edge rushers. They also need a safety net for Clemons. I expect two additions on the DL – a three technique and an edge rusher.

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        Yeah, the really generic way in which he put it really sounded like maybe he’s looking at all 3 positions as far as upgrade.

        Now, it’s a well reasoned, educated guess that this entails a 3 tech. That’s because the scheme highlights and demands it. The 3 at SC was always active in the pass rush (Shawn Ellis, Michael Patterson etc.). In this scheme, the 3 is isolated in a one on one. That’s the opportunity matchup. You hear it all the time from Pete that we ‘have to win those man on man matchups’. That’s where opportunity lay.

        Replacing Mebane or Bryant really means plugging that replacement in a double team role. That’s not likely to provide improvement in our rush.

        I would say, that Mebane and Bryant don’t provide much rush at all. Their value is to take blockers on and improve our rush defense. The fact that our rush defense decayed rather remarkably over the last 5-6 games is hard to gauge.

        Mebane, I do believe was suffering injury that sapped his ability to explode. He simply didn’t look the same as he did early in the year. Bryant’s position is always going to be a lightning rod because if he’s not elite at defending the run, then he’s kind of a waste out there. Because that is all he does and all he will ever do. He has a ‘Level Zero” pass rush. I’m not sure he’s not fully neutralized by just a RB.

        I think it’s that end of the line. And if Bryant’s position is not fully secure, then any prospect that is regarded as a replacement better be elite at setting an edge and taking on double teams. Because that is a hard and fast requirement. I believe there is the opportunity to improve the run defense and add some pass rush in this draft at his position. And if there isn’t a good 3 tech, which would have the greatest impact on the rush, then upgrading Bryant’s position in both realms is a worthwhile 1st round selection.

  17. A. Simmons says:

    Bruce Irvin will have to compete for his job like everyone else. We’ll find out how committed he is to improving by how he shows up to camp. He needs to add about 10 to 15 lbs of muscle, improve his hand fighting, balance, and use of leverage, and add some pass rushing moves. Carroll is patient with players with exceptional athletic abiltiy. He’ll give Irvin a good chance to take the Leo position. Just like he didn’t give up on Golden Tate.

    It is refreshing to hear Carroll talk about the pass rush with such intensity. That means Schneider is on the same page and will make job one finding better pass rushers. When John Schneider focuses on an aspect of the team, he generally gets it fixed. They took a step towards improving the pass rush last year drafting Irvin, signing Jones, and extending Clemons. I think Schneider will make some stronger moves to improve the pass rush this year. It took a few years to get the offensive line and run game turned around. Let’s hope this year is the charm for the pass rush.

  18. Michael says:

    I just can’t get away from the idea that by keeping Red at DE, the Seahawks are making it harder on themselves than it has to be. It seems to me that it is easier to find a good pass rushing DE who is adequate against the run, than a good pass rushing DT who is adequate/good against the run. Of course ideally you would have both and be top 5 in sacks (see Bengals).

    Take away the “leadership” and the “gee whiz, Pete salvaged a 4th rounder from the previous regime!” value, and Red Bryant is not a starting DE. Now maybe he is playing hurt and maybe he’s not, but where were all the rushing yards stacked up by Alfred Morris (1st quarter) and Michael Turner coming from? Almost every big run was outside the tackles! Stopping that from happening is essentially Red’s only job, and if he can’t do it when he’s a little banged up (as everyone is in January) then what the hell good is he?

    Moving Red outside was the personnel equivalent of a running play where the back is hit 3 yards in the backfield but somehow fights his way forward enough for a one yard gain. It can be looked at as a victory only because, “it should have been a lot worse.” At the time of the Red Bryant experiment my feeling was, “why the hell not? It’s not like we’ve got anything better to throw in there!” Then it became, “Oh wow, this guy can really stuff the run!” It later turned into, “I sure would like to see him pressure the QB a little more.” Finally I have arrived at, “Not stopping the run or doing a single thing against the pass… why the hell is he playing end again?”

    If you replace Red’s big fat goose egg with say… 8 sacks; all of a sudden you’re sitting at 44 and tied with Houston and Minnesota for #5 in the league! Fun fact, Cameron Jordan had 8 sacks this year! Cameron Jordan was selected 24th overall in 2011. Add a decent 3-Tech to that and you are probably leading the league in sacks and getting very consistent pressure in your base set.

    Again I was completely on board with the move back when the overall talent level of the roster warranted such a thing. It was kinda like repairing the driver’s side mirror of your ’92 Monte Carlo with duct tape. Kinda fun and quirky and a hell of a lot cheaper than taking it to the body shop. But this defense is now a Corvette (with a chance to be a Ferrari with the right moves) and it’s time to stop using duct tape.

    • Steeeve says:

      Having Red at DE is not about having a lack of talent, it’s part of the scheme design meant to counterbalance the undersized DE on the other side. I will not argue that he was largely ineffective in that role for the better part of this season, but the position will exist with or without him in the lineup. Moving to a more traditional 4-3 scheme would also require replacing Clemons. Where exactly are we going to find two good pass-rushing ends in the same offseason? If it was that easy to swap out starters and change your entire philosophy, it would have been done 2 years ago.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      Well Put. I agree that he doesn’t bring it like we need it…

      • SunPathPaul says:

        Maybe Osi Umenyiora can help? He does have 2 rings- even just that might inspire the others…
        Leadership and experience should be bountiful there…

  19. Nate Dogg says:

    Great post Rob.

    One thing I’m noticing the more I watch Ansah, he does some similar stuff to what Seattle asks Red to do. Several times it seems like he’s more responsible for an outlet receiver than rushing the quarterback, and that’s something that Red is asked to do quite a bit. Ansah is much better suited for tracking those guys in space than Red is though, and he also closes better on the QB when he breaks from the pocket. I wonder if Pete/Schneider might see him as giving them some Red-lite flexibility on “unclear” passing downs.

  20. Michael says:

    Rob, will you be able on Tuesday to tell us definitively who has declared and who is going back to school?

  21. Dan says:

    I like Margus Hunt as a short term replacement for Clemons (should he start on the PUP). But as far as I can tell he would be a “specialist.”
    My question is, Where would he fit once Clemons heals up??

    There’s no denying he’s a MAN. Straight beast. But if we take him as a short term replacement/project he’d better be, at most, a 3rd rounder. We’ve got some more pressing needs.

    • Dan says:

      You know, it just dawned on me… I like your DT DT idea for rounds 1 and 2. We could go for a big run stopper in round 1 (Johnathan Hankins) and Hunt in round 2. But there’s no denying the need to replace Hill.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He’d be the new Jason Jones IMO – with some edge value. An intriguing one.

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        I’d see Hunt as shifting between the Jason Jones role, and the old Raheem Brock role.

        Recall, that Brock, when he was producing, was playing a good 60% of the snaps. If I recall, Bryant was out for the year, so he platooned with someone else. Ultimately though, I think if personnel allowed, they would seek to limit Bryants’ snaps to somewhere less than 50%.

        I don’t think they felt comfortable giving Irvin the other 50% at all. I can’t disagree with that. On down/distance where a run was possible but more likely to be a pass — Bryant stayed in. I think they would have liked to have had a talent who could do both situationally. But essentially were left with just 2 specialists who were very one dimensional.

        Hunt is a multidimensional talent. He slid back and forth between defensive end and 3 tech this year frequently. I could see a similar role for him in Seattle. Take around 25-30% of the DE snaps, Irvin takes roughly the same, leaving Red with 40-50% instead of 65%+

        On the packages where Irvin comes in, slide Hunt inside. That would account for a better than 50% of the snaps. He is not a liability against the run and has shown the ability to take on double teams stoutly. Despite his height.

  22. Jeff M. says:

    Rob, what do you think of Travis Kelce (Jason’s brother)–TE from Cincy? Scouting reports (and I agree from the little tape I’ve seen) have him as an elite blocker, both in-line and as H-back, plus an able enough receiver–good hands, route-running, and a little bit of after-the-catch ability.

    Frankly, to me he seems like a Zach Miller clone (and I mean that in the most positive sense). I know the team has been looking for a pure pass-catching TE (Winslow, Moore, etc.), but just think about how good this offense could be with two complete TEs out there, blowing defenders up in the run game and either one able to leak out on PA or be flexed out to create mismatches.

    Particularly watching how well Miller did as a receiver against Atlanta, I’d also like to see us acquire another great blocker to let him run more routes. While Ertz is probably a better pass-catching weapon, I think I prefer Kelce’s blocking and overall versatility for our offense (and particularly if he can be gotten one or two rounds later).

    • SunPathPaul says:

      Travis is 6-5, 260 and a bit faster than Ertz/Eifert at 4.68 – 40.
      I’m intrigued! I would definitely take this guy as an option, esp if Ertz is taken before us, maybe then get a WR, and take Travis in RD 2! Most want picks to go Defense, I want them to go Offense. Our D crumbles on game winning drives, but if we are winning by 14 or more, then that can’t happen. Let’s unleash RW!
      Look what he can do in a PASSING OFFENSE! 385 yard rookie record!!!!!!! Dude, Crazy.

      PC needs to be flexible with his ‘vision of his team’, and let the players mold the vision. We can’t win the SB with this lame “we are a running/possession/Defensive team BS!” WHY? Cause it didn’t work, our D isn’t THAT good, and because we have the miracle that is RW! We should use the PASSING game to set up Lynch in the RUNNING game… then he would destroy them!

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        I’m a fan of Kelce. Zach Miller is a quality pass catcher. I’d really rather just have Zach be the pass catching TE honestly. I love Ertz too, but Ertz seems like the kind of TE you’d draft if you didn’t have a Zach Miller on your team.

        I’m a big fan of creating mismatches. Ertz/Miller is an awesome combo that Russell can work mismatches against over the middle.

        Kelce looks like a quality TE prospect who is more block than catch at this point. Going that route allows the team to address defensive need early. Taking Ertz means John’s going to really going to have to do his voodoo well.

        In the end, it’s all about the defense in my opinion. Russell, with as presumably poor offensive talent as was advertised going into the season, Put the team ahead in how many losses? AZ, Detroit, Miami, and Atlanta. And the defense did it’s best to scuttle the Chicago win.

        We won’t get where we want to go, until the defense can protect the wins that Russell is going to afford this team. I desperately don’t want to be the late 2000s Patriots. I want to be the early 2000s Patriots. They lost their way.

        I say no to Ertz. No to Hopkins. Which is hard because I love both prospects and would be extremely excited for them to be Seahawks*. But it’s about preserving the success we SHOULD have had. And if there isn’t a guy worth getting at 25 to help, move up or down to where you can get value.

        * – of course failing that I’d like to see Hopkins on this team. Just pure quality.

        • Turp says:

          If we sign Melton, then I am all for grabbing Hopkins!

          • SunPathPaul says:

            I really hope they do get Melton… what about Cliff Avril?? If we had both of these guys and 10 picks, our Draft opens WAY up!!!

        • SunPathPaul says:

          I hear you about the Defense losing leads at the end of games, but those leads were small point margins…
          With RW and weapons, we start fast(esp after an offseason knowing he is the QB) in each game and OUTSCORE our opponents so badly that our Defense can play ears pinned back (w new FA or Draft picks in there)!

          My point is score so easily and often that there IS NO GAME WINNING SCENARIOS… 27-10 with 5 min left… who CARES!?!? 34-17 with 10 min left… 28-9 with 12 min left… and YES to Hopkins!!!! I know Miller played well, but he was also hurt…if he comes out, who do we have- McCoy?? Come on…He is good, but keeps dropping MAJOR passes at CRUCIAL times… But like you, if we took Hopkins, and got Kelce in the 2-3 round range- BOOM! Success

    • Michael says:

      Kelce looks SO much faster than Zach Miller. Yes please!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I have some tape on Kelce to watch tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

  23. James says:

    Rob, this was probably your best-ever analysis piece. This is why this is the place to be for the Seahawks offseason. …Let me add more thoughts about the defensive problems being scheme-related, and not just lack-of-talent related. Gus Bradley is one of the nicest guys in football, many say. His players love playing for him, the ultimate players coach. He has rare charisma for a football coach. He may very well be a better head coach than a DC. Here’s the problem, and why I would not be sad to see him go to the Eagles: Gus (and Pete also) are disciples of the Monte Kiffin Tampa 2 system. This is an issue because the Tampa 2 has been figured out. The Tampa 2 is a soft zone that excelled in its day with the right players at LB (Derrick Brooks to jump the underneath stuff) and 3-tech (Warren Sapp to disrupt the passer). The Tampa 2 is not an aggressive scheme and it does not blitz and terrorize the QB. The Tampa 2 has been solved by quick-witted and uber-accurate pocket passers (Brady, Manning, etc) who riddle the underneath of the Tampa 2 zones with short and medium passes and matriculate the ball down the field into the end zone. That is exactly what happened to the Seahawks too many times this season: Russell Wilson gets the Seahawks into a lead late in the 4th quarter, and then the opposing QB easily rips right down the field with short laser passes underneath the zones and Seattle loses another one on the road (home games don’t count because the noise and thunder overcome the pass rush liabilities). See Kevin Kolb, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan. How many times did we have to watch this movie this year? Instead of Gus Bradley and the Tampa 2, which will never work without the DEs, DTs and LBs that Seattle may never obtain…give me Ray Horton’s blitzkrieg. What the Cardinals did to the Patriots and Seahawks before their QB woes undid their season, what they almost did to Atlanta, holding them to 23 pts, is the sort of defense we need. And it will be easier to find the players than for Pete’s weird Leo unbalanced schemes, which have proven not to produce the pass rush needed to win at the next level.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      Glad you wrote this… I hope Gus does move on and it opens up the chance for a shift…
      I really want the weapons on offense to increase, then we can’t get beat so easy on D with a big lead.

    • Colin says:

      Good piece, but you are convieniently leaving out the downside to Horton’s scheme: AZ was consistently gashed in the run game and they got bitten by the big play in the passing game.

  24. Dave says:

    Rob, i asked you about his before and im still curious. Where do you think quinton patton of Louis Tech. 2nd? 3rd? because if we can get him in the 2nd or 3rd then we can def go Defense in the 1st, which brings up my othe question how much better is hopkins then patton? beacuse in all of pattons games he is quick on his feet but not the level of catching that hopkins has, Your thoughts

  25. Donald Duck says:

    Great article. I appreciate your analysis.

  26. Ralphy says:

    Rob what do yo think about the RB position. Obviously not early but Lynch was very banged up and it showed. I like Turbin a lot but as for Leon Washington at RB I thought he looked terrible all year. I think we need a third RB and to possibly get rid of Washington.

    It seems to me that this is a very deep RB class especially when you consider that no team has a pressing need to take a guy in the first round anymore. What do you think of a Jospeh Randle or Montee Ball in the third or fourth round for the Hawks?

    It will also be interesting to see who rolls the dice with Lattimore.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d be very interested in Ball in that range. Randle I also like, he’s a little different to what the team has. I’d love a shot at Eddie Lacy but I think he’s going to go too early for that.

  27. Henrique says:

    People, Red was playing hurt. He had a foot injury almost the whole season.

    He was dominant in 2011 and didn’t play well in 2012. People want to point the finger to the new contract – I say look at the injury report.

    • Michael says:

      I don’t care what you want to point the finger to. I just want results. This is the NFL, you are gonna have to play through injury quite a bit. The fact of the matter is that Red was ineffective, and when you are a one trick pony it better be a damn good trick and you better be able to do it when you’re banged up. Pete Carroll obviously thought Red was healthy enough to play. If you’re healthy enough to play you should be making plays.

      • Coug1990 says:

        Everyone wants results. However, this is the real world, not some fantasy world. Injuries do affect play, no matter what you want to happen.

  28. Spencer says:

    What are your thoughts on Armond Armstead? Seems like he’s generating some NFL interest (although it doesn’t look like much from the Seahawks yet) but on the surface it seems to be a really good fit. Played for USC for Carroll, was a beast for the Argos this year (I’m a Seahawks fan living in Toronto so I’ve had the pleasure of watching him play).

    Seems like best case he could be our Jason Jones, worst case he could compete with Jaye Howard and Clinton McDonald for rotational snaps.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think the most telling thing so far is the lack of interest from Carroll. He knows the guy better than anyone. I think his career at USC ended due to heart problems and this is maybe a cause for concern. It could even be that the doctors at USC recommend he didn’t play again. That’s speculation, but if that was the case it’d have an impact on any decision PC made about the player.

  29. [...] Yesterday I published tape of Sheldon Richardson, Margus Hunt, Alex Okafor, Ezekiel Ansah and Sylves…. In order to continue to look at the pass rushers available in 2013, I’ve posted further tape below of Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn), Kawann Short (DT, Purdue), John Simon (DE, Ohio State), Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU) and Malliciah Goodman (DE, Clemson). [...]

  30. blazerbill says:

    Excellent article Rob, I hope Carroll reads your analysis, it would serve him well.

    Looking at the tape of Richardson I wasn’t that impressed, especially in the 1st rd. I was more impressed with Tennessee’s WR’s 2 Hunter and ?. I would like very much for Wilson to be throwing it to one of them in a 4 wr set. Is it possible that Hunter can last until #50 for the Seahawks?

    Generally, when Carroll took over, he had to completely rebuild/ replace the team, and the emphasis was quantity draft picks because there were better talent in the later rounds then what was on the team. Now, the team has talent, so I think the draft emphasis should be quality picks- moving up to get specific elite palyers like Atlanta and Greenbay did to put them over the top.

    I would like to see Seattle trade their 9 picks in the draft to move up and get 4 higher picks and get “their guys” that would make an impact.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’s very possible Hunter lasts that long. He didn’t look quite the same after a serious knee injury. He has an AJ Green type frame, but he was very frustrating in 2012. I would recommend checking out other videos of Richardson because he looked better against different opponents. If you select archives in the menu bar and search for Sheldon Richardson tape you should find some of the others I posted.

  31. Matt Gibson says:

    Hey rob, you kept saying that pass rush is a priority and that it was a “failure” of PC. I don’t necessarily think it was a failure, I mean Irvin had 8 sacks and you don’t always see a need fixed after one season. DE’s are usually a process and it takes time for them to develope. Besides Irvin and Clemons there was a lack of pass rush and you add the fact that JJ has been hurt all season. Don’t see that as PC’s fault, but still pass rush is a must. I take a page out of the Giants book and always try to improve the pass rush. I never saw Irvin as a typical DE or “Leo”, defending the run wasn’t his strong suit. With Clemons more than likely out for the start of the season and him being 32 I can see us drafting his replacement. So that being said I have a couple questions. What are the chances they take a shot at someone like Dwight Freeny? I’ve been hearing sumors that the Colts are probably going to part ways with him so they can younger. He could fill in and add depth untill Clemons comes back. He could also be used as a Teacher and role model for Irvin, like Clemons is. If Bryant doesn’t perform like he was a couple years ago, is there any chances he get’s repaced by another guy once Clemons returns? Finally, what are the chances Seattle trys and moves Irvin to OLB and use him as a Von Miller/Ware/Matthews? We have a knack for moving players and it working out. Having Clemons on one side, maybe Hunt on the other, JJ up front, and Irvin coming off as a blitzing OLB. This could idealy be his future position on this team.

    • Matt Gibson says:

      Also I have been a huge fan of drafting Eifert. He would be a huge addition. we could have a miniature Hernandez-Gronk combo going on their with Eifert-Miller and possibly McCoy. McCoy has been very inconsistent. Eifert is a big playmaker and could help our red zone wues. As much as I absolutely love Eifert I feel defense is a priortity. If Clemons doesn’t return, we lose Hill, and JJ and Branch are gone then we could be in a world of hurt. I feel Branch is more important than JJ. We had trouble stopping the run at times. It seemed toward the end of the season and it came in chunks. Stopping the run is a must in every defense and I feel we could replace JJ in the draft, but Branch would be much harder. So with all this said defense is a top priority, but could you see us taking a player like Eifert if he’s there?