Instant reaction podcast: Rounds 1-3

April 29th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

R1 — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
R2 — Jarron Reed (DT, Alabama)
R3 — C.J. Prosise (RB, Notre Dame)
R3 — Nick Vennett (TE, Ohio State)
R3 — Rees Odhiambo (G, Boise State)

 

Live NFL Draft 2016 — Rounds 2-3 open thread

April 29th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Kenny and I will do a review at the end of round three. In the meantime, here’s an open thread…

The Seahawks traded up from #56 to #49 (Chicago) to select Jarran Reed. The move cost a fourth round pick (#124).

A lot of D-liners left the board early in round two — yet surprisingly Jarran Reed lasted. We mocked him at #16 to Detroit before the draft and yet the Lions passed on him even in round two.

It’s unclear why he dropped so far — is it because he’s considered a two-down player? He and Andrew Billings (who also fell) were labelled as such. That’s not an issue though. He was immovable at times for Alabama — absorbing double teams and holding position.

His performance in the Senior Bowl game was superb — he was arguably the MVP. Watch the fourth quarter on Youtube and you’ll see why. His motor never stopped.

This is likely a direct replacement for Brandon Mebane but he can also line up at DE too. The Seahawks appear to be focusing on size and intensity.

If you want a reason to like him — check this out (taken long before the draft):

C.J. Prosise (RB, Notre Dame) was the pick at #90. He matches Seattle’s trends on running back athleticism/frame. Tough, agile. Just getting started at RB after a position change. He had a nice 2015 season.

Perhaps more importantly — he’ll be a solid special teamer immediately and a third down option.

Nick Vannett (TE, Ohio State) is 6-6 and 257lbs. Urban Meyer described him as an “efficient route runner” and a “move tight end” on the NFL Network. This is a nice hedge with Jimmy Graham recovering from injury.

Tony Pauline called the Rees Odhiambo (G, Boise State) interest weeks ago. He’s coming off an injury and that arguably impacted his workout numbers. However — Odhiambo is a bit of a surprise this early. He was way off on TEF and McGovern, Dahl and Haeg were all available. Plus he has struggled to stay healthy — he hasn’t played a full season of football.

This is a commitment though to establishing an edge.

Seattle’s draft so far:

R1 — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
R2 — Jarron Reed (DT, Alabama)
R3 — C.J. Prosise (RB, Notre Dame)
R3 — Nick Vennett (TE, Ohio State)
R3 — Rees Odhiambo (G, Boise State)

Round two

#32 Cleveland — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
#33 Tennessee — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#34 Dallas — Jaylon Smith (LB, Notre Dame)
#35 San Diego — Hunter Henry (TE, Arkansas)
#36 Jacksonville — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#37 Kansas City — Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)
#38 Miami — Xavien Howard (CB, Miami)
#39 Tampa Bay — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
#40 New York Giants — Sterling Shepard (WR, Oklahoma)
#41 Buffalo — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#42 Baltimore — Kamalei Correa (DE, Boise State)
#43 Tennessee — Austin Johnson (DT, Penn State)
#44 Oakland — Jihad Ward (DE, Illinois)
#45 Tennessee — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)
#46 Detroit — A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
#47 New Orleans — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
#48 Green Bay — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#49 Seattle — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#50 Houston — Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
#51 New York Jets — Christian Hackenburg (QB, Penn State)
#52 Atlanta — Deion Jones (LB, LSU)
#53 Washington — Su’a Cravens (LB, USC)
#54 Minnesota — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
#55 Cincinnati — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
#56 Chicago — Cody Whitehair (T, Kansas State)
#57 Indianapolis — T.J. Green (S, Clemson)
#58 Pittsburgh — Sean Davis (S, Maryland)
#59 Tampa Bay — Roberto Aguayo (K, Florida State)
#60 New England — Cyrus Jones (CB, Alabama)
#61 New Orleans — Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State)
#62 Carolina — James Bradberry (CB, Samford)
#63 Denver — Adam Gotsis (DT, Georgia Tech)

Round three

#64 Tennessee — Kevin Byard (S, Middle Tennessee)
#65 Cleveland — Carl Nassib (DE, Penn State)
#66 San Diego — Max Tuerk (C, USC)
#67 Dallas — Maliek Collins (DT, Nebraska)
#68 San Francisco — Will Redmond (CB, Mississippi State)
#69 Jacksonville — Yannick Ngakoue (DE, Maryland)
#70 Baltimore — Bronson Kaufusi (DE, BYU)
#71 New York Giants — Darian Thompson (S, Boise State)
#72 Chicago — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#73 Miami — Kenyon Drake (RB, Alabama)
#74 Kansas City — KeiVarae Russell (CB, Notre Dame)
#75 Oakland — Shilique Calhoun (DE, Michigan State)
#76 Cleveland — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
#77 Carolina — Daryl Worley (CB, West Virginia)
#78 New England — Joe Thuney (G, NC State)
#79 Philadelphia — Isaac Seumalo (C, Oregon State)
#80 Buffalo — Adolphus Washington (DT, Ohio State)
#81 Atlanta — Austin Hooper (TE, Stanford)
#82 Indianapolis — Le’Raven Clark (T, Texas Tech)
#83 New York Jets — Jordan Jenkins (LB, Georgia)
#84 Washington — Kendall Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
#85 Houston — Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
#86 Miami — Leonte Carroo (WR, Rutgers)
#87 Cincinnati — Nick Vigil (LB, Utah State)
#88 Green Bay — Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
#89 Pittsburgh — Javon Hargrave (DT, South Carolina State)
#90 Seattle — C.J. Prosise (RB, Notre Dame)
#91 New England — Jacoby Brissett (QB, NC State)
#92 Arizona — Brandon Williams (CB, Texas A&M)
#93 Cleveland — Cody Kessler (QB, USC)
#94 Seattle — Nick Vannett (TE, Ohio State)
#95 Detroit — Graham Glasgow (C, Michigan)
#96 New England — Vincent Valentine (DT, Nebraska)
#97 Seattle — Rees Odhiambo (T, Boise State)
#98 Denver — Justin Simmons (S, Boston College)

 

Round two Seahawks predictions

April 29th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

— The selection of Germain Ifedi might set the tone for this Seahawks draft. Becoming the bully again could mean re-establishing a physical edge. Size, size size.

— If that is the case — here are some names to monitor in round two: Bronson Kaufusi, Jonathan Bullard, Chris Jones, Derrick Henry, Kevin Dodd. The four linemen are big DE-DT types and Henry would offer unique power and athleticism at running back.

— Andrew Billings and Willie Henry are also still available.

— Here are the names to monitor on the O-line: Connor McGovern (C/G), Joe Dahl (T/G/C), Joe Haeg (T/G) and Hal Vaitai (G). They all pass the TEF test, which was further reinforced with the Ifedi pick yesterday.

— Could the Seahawks use one of their three third round picks to move up from #56? In 2014 Philadelphia moved from #54 to #42 for a fourth round pick. That was a bargain for Philly. A similar trade involving one of Seattle’s third rounders could get them into the #42-46 range. That would be ideal for one of the defensive linemen listed above.

— Alternatively could they trade up in round three as they did last year to select Tyler Lockett? They might have to if they want Connor McGovern.

— It just seems likely the Seahawks are going to add a running back in rounds 2-4. If it’s not Henry, keep an eye on Kenneth Dixon (has fumbling issues though) or Kenyon Drake (underrated).

— A wildcard option could be the DB’s. It’s where the best athletes are in this class. How motivated are they to bring in a CB/S hybrid or a LB/S? T.J. Green, Sean Davis, Justin Simmons and Miles Killebrew could be intriguing.

 

Seahawks take Germain Ifedi in round one

April 28th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

The Seahawks want explosive offensive linemen.

According to our weighted TEF formula Germain Ifedi is the third most explosive O-liner in the draft behind Jason Spriggs and Connor McGovern. They might take McGovern to play center tomorrow.

The pick fits in with everything they’ve done on the O-line since 2012. It’s not about Tom Cable getting ‘his guys’ per se — it’s looking for explosive O-liners to combat the growing disparity between offense and defense in college and the NFL.

You’re going to hear people make comparisons to James Carpenter. Ifedi is longer, taller, much more athletic and more explosive.

Here’s his mirror drill at the combine vs Laremy Tunsil:

And here’s four back-to-back snaps vs Alabama. Note the way he uses length and a strong base to stone edge rushers. On the third snap he drives the DE into the turf and finishes. On the fourth snap he identifies and reads a stunt and shuts it down.

Carpenter was a powerful run blocker who helped Mark Ingram win a Heisman. The Seahawks needed to establish their own run game in 2011.

Ifedi is an athlete built like the Hulk.

He could play left guard, right tackle or even left tackle for the Seahawks. They might try him at all three.

In October we noted him as a possible top-20 talent (click here). When we looked closely at Ifedi in early December, here are the notes:

He’s an enormous 6-5 and 320lbs yet moves superbly. His footwork is quite brilliant for a man his size — his kick slide is good, he moves freely to the second level. In the two games I watched he didn’t get beat once off the edge by a speed rush.

There’s very little ‘bad weight’ to his frame — he’s an enormous tackle and most of it is muscle. When a D-end tries to hand fight he usually absorbs the defender and it’s over. Technically he had some nice blocks — turning his man to open up a crease and moving people off the LOS to create a running lane. He has the athleticism to adjust on the move and if he ever moved to guard he’d have no trouble pulling or kicking out to the next level.

He kind of looks like a more athletic James Carpenter who’s in better shape. I like his chances of playing tackle in the NFL because of the athletic upside. He moves a lot better than Carpenter (who in fairness was more of a run blocker — and did it very well at Alabama).

I’ve seen quite a few complaints about his power in the run game but these issues didn’t show up in the two contests here. I thought he actually showed good leverage and punch to drive a couple of defenders off the line. Perhaps it’s more of a technique issue? Certainly to look at Ifedi you wouldn’t assume any lack of power.

This piece went into a bit more detail and offers some background on the latest Seahawks addition.

We started mocking him to the Seahawks in March and remained fairly consistent with it until our final projection yesterday.

The best thing for the Seahawks is — they were likely taking Ifedi at #26 anyway. They were able to move down five spots, still get their man and collect an extra third round pick in the process.

They’re set to pick at #56, #90, #94 and #97 on day two.

If they want to they have the ammunition to move up in round two — possibly targeting Jonathan Bullard or Bronson Kaufusi.

They could even stay at #56 and move up in round three — as they did last year to select Tyler Lockett.

Based on yesterday’s final first round mock, the following players remain on the board:

Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
T.J. Green (S, Clemson)
Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)

Also remaining:

Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
Bronson Kaufusi (DE, BYU)
Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)
Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)
Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)

There’s still a ton of depth on the D-line and the Seahawks should be able to address that need in rounds 2-3. Running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back also provide some nice options.

 

Live NFL Draft 2016 — Round 1 open thread

April 28th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Kenny and I will be doing a live broadcast just before the #26 pick so stay tuned. In the meantime here’s an open thread…

#1 Los Angeles — Jared Goff (QB, California)
He reminds me of Brock Osweiler. Both players in college were capable of sublime accurate throws and maddening multi-interception games.

#2 Philadelphia — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
Wentz was one to watch last summer and while he lacks top-level college experience, he has an intriguing skill set and he won’t be expected to start early.

#3 San Diego — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
He was regarded as the best player in the draft throughout the college season and now he’s the best non-QB to leave the board. Smart move.

#4 Dallas — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
Zeke is pretty much ideal in terms of frame and skill set for a running back. Impact player. What about the defense though?

#5 Jacksonville — Jalen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
Ramsey is incredibly athletic with nice size. Is he a corner or a safety? This is a good scheme for him.

#6 Baltimore — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
Ian Rapoport reported after this pick that someone hacked Tunsil’s Twitter account and posted this video. Why risk your career in this way? Why video this? Why is someone trying to sabotage your career?

#7 San Francisco — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
The 49ers now have Chip Kelly, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner — maybe they’ll bring in the Duck next? (only half joking)

#8 Tennessee — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
The Titans trade from #15 to #8 with Cleveland, dealing a 2016 third rounder and a 2017 second rounder. Tunsil’s slide continues.

#9 Chicago — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
The Bears gave up a fourth round pick to move up two spots, trading with the Buccs. They take Vic Fangio’s latest project.

#10 New York Giants — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
Terrific cornerback prospect. Does not get beat deep. Smart and just gets it. A good athlete too. Three Buckeye’s in the top-10.

#11 Tampa Bay — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
Smaller corner, very agile but bites on plays and can get baited into mistakes. Can he play outside at his size?

#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DE, Louisville)
The most explosive defensive lineman in the draft. A fantastic pick for the Saints. How did he last this long?

#13 Miami Dolphins — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
The fall ends here. Based on pure talent this is a total steal. Fair play to Prime for asking the questions after the pick.

#14 Oakland — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
Earl Thomas #14 overall. Karl Joseph #14 overall. I bet he wears #29. He’s recovering from an ACL. A fun player to watch.

#15 Cleveland — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
Electric receiver, truly dynamic and a touchdown machine. Plays with attitude. He’ll give Cleveland a spark.

#16 Detroit — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
Big tackle — very tall. Another Buckeye in round one. Good character but average combine and lacks explosion.

#17 Atlanta — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
Fantastic player and he deserved to go here. He’s that good. Watch this guy go in the NFL. Great pick.

#18 Indianapolis — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
Athletic and tough but not explosive. A good test case on the importance of stuff like TEF. He’ll be one to track in the NFL.

#19 Buffalo — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
Shaq had a terrific short shuttle test — similar to Joey Bosa. Major production and he plays with an edge.

#20 New York Jets — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
This is a tremendous pick. Ideal scheme fit in that roaming LB role Todd Bowles loves. Playmaker.

#21 Houston — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
The Texans traded up one spot with Washington and gave up a sixth rounder. Fuller’s a big play, downfield receiver with great character.

#22 Washington — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
He’s a prolific catcher and a nice safety net for Kirk Cousins. It’s a bit surprising they went receiver over D-line.

#23 Minnesota — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
The Vikings needed a reliable pass catcher for Teddy Bridgewater and Treadwell is great value here.

#24 Cincinnati — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
The rush on receivers forces Cincy to take yet another first round corner. Every year.

#25 Pittsburgh — Artie Burns (CB, Miami)
The Steelers, running out of options at DB, take the best remaining corner available.

#26 Denver — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
The Seahawks move down to #31, acquiring the #94 pick from Denver (round three). They now have #90, #94 and #97 in round three. Good move for both teams.

#27 Green Bay — Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
A player scouts like — but he isn’t a pass rusher. Not convinced he would’ve been an option for Seattle.

#28 San Francisco — Joshua Garnett (G, Stanford)
The Chiefs trade out of round one and the 49ers take a pure guard to try and replace Mike Iupati.

#29 Arizona — Robert Nkemdiche (DE, Ole Miss)
Chandler Jones + Robert Nkemdiche = a risky but possibly scary off-season for Arizona. Two guys with similar character concerns.

#30 Carolina — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
The Panthers love big, athletic D-liners. That’s another big body up front.

#31 Seattle — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
As expected — and as mocked — the Seahawks take Ifedi. Thoughts to come shortly so stay tuned.

 

Final thoughts

April 28th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

— I think the Seahawks will try to trade down. If they don’t, I suspect the pick will be Germain Ifedi, Jason Spriggs or (whisper it quietly) Le’Raven Clark.

— Baltimore looks like a good trade down option. They have multiple fourth round picks. The Ravens could move up for a safety or Noah Spence.

— If the Seahawks do move down, it perhaps increases the chances they go D-line with their first pick.

— Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Butler and Bronson Kaufusi look like good options.

— Kevin Dodd, Noah Spence, Chris Jones could also be in the running.

— At #56 it looks pretty straight forward — O-line if they take a D-liner first, D-line if they take an O-liner first.

— On the O-line Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl and Hal Vaitai fit this team best in rounds 2-3. Maybe Shon Coleman depending on how they view his health.

— If it’s defense, it depends who is still there. Willie Henry? Kyler Fackrell? Will one of Bullard or Kaufusi fall into range?

— Derrick Henry, Kenneth Dixon and Paul Perkins at RB could be wildcards in round two. It’s worth keeping an eye on the receivers too based on possible value.

— In the later rounds, expect raw athleticism they can coach up. Look at the super-athletic DB’s and guys who could play safety or linebacker. Travis Feeney, Miles Killebrew, Sean Davis, Justin Simmons, DeAndre Elliott, James Bradberry, D.J. Hunter, Keivarae Russell seem to fit.

— Joel Heath looks perfect for a D-line to O-line conversion. George Fant could move from TE to OT.

— Focus on Alex Balducci, Rees Odhiambo, Marcus Henry and some of the other names listed here.

— If you missed our final pre-draft podcast, here it is:

 

The final pre-draft podcast

April 27th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Don’t forget to check out today’s final mock draft — but here’s the final pre-draft podcast.

A couple of other quick points…

Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Bruce Irvin. The Seahawks have been comfortable with their first round picks only lasting one contract.

That doesn’t mean they want these guys to only stay 4-5 years and move on — but it also doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be 10-year starters either.

The Seahawks are in the middle of a Championship window that might only last another 3-4 years. Getting impact players to try and win a Championship now is the key.

A guy who comes in, helps make that happen and then signs somewhere else isn’t a problem (especially with the comp pick system).

How does that impact this draft? Well when people talk about Bronson Kaufusi’s age (25) — if he’s only playing for Seattle for four years it doesn’t really matter.

And it’s worth noting Russell Wilson was 24 in 2012. I’m not 100% all-in on Kaufusi being a Seahawk — but he could be a wildcard for them after trading down. Check out his tape vs Utah.

Meanwhile Mike Mayock has put together his first and only mock draft. He pairs the Seahawks with A’Shawn Robinson, who they probably won’t draft because he’s a marginal athlete, not a pass rusher and his motor runs too hot and cold.

The interesting thing though is like Louis Riddick’s mock earlier in the week — all of Seattle’s VMAC visitors are on the board. Jonathan Bullard, Vernon Butler, Kevin Dodd, Germain Ifedi, Reggie Ragland, Chris Jones, Derrick Henry. Kaufusi and Noah Spence are also available.

Again — this screams trade down.

 

The final mock draft: 27th April

April 27th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Yesterday I was on KJR with Softy talking about the draft — if you missed the spot you can check it out above

Before I post this, here’s a few things I want to stress:

1. This is the mock draft I will be sending to the Huddle Report — so I didn’t include trades

2. I fully expect the Seahawks to trade down from #26 — and possibly out of the first round altogether

3. For that reason I’ve included a separate Seahawks section below

4. Although I’ve chosen a name at #26, I think the Seahawks will probably pick from the following:

Germain Ifedi
Le’Raven Clark
Jason Spriggs
Vernon Butler
Jonathan Bullard
Bronson Kaufusi
Kevin Dodd
Noah Spence

Shaq Lawson is a wildcard if he drops. Derrick Henry could be considered if they move down into round two and it’d be great to think Shon Coleman is being considered too.

I’ve gone with the O-line at #26 but if they trade down I think they’re more likely to go defense. That would open up the possibility of drafting from a group including Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl or Hal Vaitai in rounds 2-3.

So for the Huddle Report I’m going to stick with a pure 1-31 and let’s see what happens…

#1 Los Angeles — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#2 Philadelphia — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#3 San Diego — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#4 Dallas — Jaylen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#5 Jacksonville — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#6 Baltimore — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#7 San Fran — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#8 Cleveland — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#9 Tampa Bay — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#10 New York Giants — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#11 Chicago — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#15 Tennessee — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#16 Detroit — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#18 Indianapolis — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#19 Buffalo — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#20 New York Jets — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#21 Washington — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
#22 Houston — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#23 Minnesota — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#24 Cincinatti — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#25 Pittsburgh — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#26 Seattle — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#27 Green Bay — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#28 Kansas City — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#29 Arizona — T.J. Green (S, Clemson)
#30 Carolina — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
#31 Denver — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)

Here are some predictions:

1. Vernon Hargreaves and A’Shawn Robinson are two huge names in this draft class — but both are vastly overrated and could fall.

2. Keanu Neal will be seen as a ‘surprise’ high pick — but the guy will be coveted by several teams and go early. Plus, unlike Karl Joseph, he’s healthy.

3. Tennessee could move back into the top ten and if they don’t — Miami will climb to get Ezekiel Elliott.

4. The Seahawks will accept a trade down and it’ll involve a fourth round pick or a swap of third rounders. Every team from #26 down would probably like to move down.

5. If they do make a trade I’m not convinced Ifedi will be waiting for them when they’re next on the clock.

Seahawks predictions

Projection: The Seahawks (#26) trade with the Baltimore Ravens (#36) for a fourth round pick

Reason #1: Seattle wants to move down and the Ravens move back into the first frame to grab a safety

Reason #2: The Ravens have a fourth round compensatory pick and might be willing to give up #104

Alternative trade partners: Dallas, San Diego, New Orleans, Cleveland

Possible targets after the trade down: Jonathan Bullard, Bronson Kaufusi, Le’Raven Clark

O-line options rounds 2-3: Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl, Hal Vaitai

Players to keep an eye on

I’m going to predict that Seattle’s VMAC/workout list is pretty genuine this year and add in a few other options too:

QB — Dak Prescott
RB — Derrick Henry, Darius Jackson, Jonathan Williams, Paul Perkins
WR — Braxton Miller, Michael Thomas, Daniel Braverman, Moritz Boehringer
TE — Ben Braunecker, Terren Houk
OL — Rees Odhiambo
OL converts — George Fant, Joel Heath
DL — Alex Balducci
LB — Travis Feeney, Miles Killebrew
DB — Sean Davis, Justin Simmons, DeAndre Elliott, James Bradberry, Keivarae Russell

UDFA targets

Liam Nadler (QB)
Zac Brooks (RB)
Jaydon Mickens (WR)
Jay Lee (WR)
Terren Houk (TE)
Marcus Henry (C)
Lene Maiva (OL)
Justin Murray (OL)
Alex McCallister (LB)
Christian French (LB)
Rashard Robinson (CB)
D.J. Hunter (S)
Terron Beckham (stud)

 

Notes: Mike Mayock’s rankings reinforce Riddick’s mock

April 26th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Yesterday I made an appearance on ESPN 960 in Utah to discuss Bronson Kaufusi. You can hear the audio above. I’ll also be on KJR with Softy today at 5pm PST so if you get an opportunity check it out.

Plus — here’s a podcast with two days to go. Kenny and I will be recording another on Wednesday too:

Last week we linked to a mock draft by ESPN’s Louis Riddick which was interesting for two reasons:

1. It was different

2. It wasn’t totally absurd despite being different

It also presented a scenario where several potential Seahawks were still on the board.

Reggie Ragland, Kevin Dodd, Vernon Butler, Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, Derrick Henry and Chris Jones all visited the VMAC and were sitting there for the Seahawks at #26.

Mike Mayock published his top-100 yesterday and it continues on a similar theme. Look at the following prospects and where they’re ranked:

#26 Reggie Ragland
#28 Germain Ifedi
#29 Emmanuel Ogbah
#30 Kevin Dodd
#31 Vernon Butler
#32 Noah Spence
#36 Jason Spriggs

If Seattle’s board is anything like Mayock’s this group could be available to them.

Perhaps more interesting is the range Mayock had some other prospects ranked:

#57 Chris Jones
#58 Keanu Neal
#64 Derrick Henry
#65 Jonathan Bullard
#77 Bronson Kaufusi
#80 Shon Coleman
#92 Connor McGovern

Mayock is connected — and that perhaps gives his top 30-40 some genuine credence. I’m not sure he’s using total insider info though on a top-100. I would expect Keanu Neal, for example, to go a lot earlier than the late 50’s.

That said — there might be some useful info here. Are teams simply grading Jonathan Bullard as a second rounder? Could he be there at #56? Will Derrick Henry last until Seattle’s second rounder and could he be an option?

And perhaps more importantly — could we really see Shon Coleman, Connor McGovern, Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl available within range of Seattle’s two third round picks?

Imagine a scenario where the Seahawks came out of the draft with Noah Spence, Jonathan Bullard, Connor McGovern and Joe Haeg. Or any combination of the players listed above.

It wouldn’t be a total surprise if someone like Bullard lingered into round two. Especially after one scout described him as such:

“Is he a great player? No. Solid rotational player.”

This also reinforces why teams are really valuing the second and third round. Just looking at Mayock’s board you can see it’s stacked in that range. The Tennessee Titans played an absolute blinder in their trade with the Rams.

Jason La Canfora has really interesting things to say

So what are the Seahawks going to do per JLC? In a really detailed piece that is worth checking out, he had the following to say:

The Seattle Seahawks are not afraid to wheel and deal. GM John Schneider might be the best in the business and he loves this draft — especially deeper along. The Seahawks believe it’s the richest draft since 2010, and he is never averse to trading out of the first round when picking so low. If someone wants to jump up from the early-second round to here to get a quarterback, well, sources said other execs are well aware the Seahawks are open for business. They have a bunch of picks and wouldn’t mind having more.

It could be the Browns, Bills or Saints or any team that wants to get ahead of the Cardinals and Chiefs that could go QB late in the first round to get their guy, whether it be Lynch or Connor Cook or Christian Hackenberg.

Now, I will mention that the Seahawks believe their medical team and advanced sport science department give them a competitive edge (consider their work with Michael Bennett, for instance) so if a stud player slips for a medical reason and Schneider sees value there, that could be the pick. And they certainly have a need on the offensive line. All things being equal, however, this spot is ripe for a trade and there would be linemen on either side of the ball who Seattle would likely fancy in the top half of the second round.

I’m not sure what to make of the talk of a ‘stud player’ slipping. There aren’t many candidates — and they’re not going to take Jaylon Smith at #26.

Is this a Myles Jack thing? Or is it someone else?

The player in question could be Shaq Lawson. There’s been a lot of talk about a bad shoulder for Lawson impacting his stock. He actually has a nice athletic profile:

Height: 6-2 1/2
Weight: 269lbs
Length: 33 inch arms
40-yd: 4.70
10-yd: 1.64
Vertical: 33 inches
Broad: 10-0
Three cone: 7.16
Short shuttle: 4.21

At his size that short shuttle time is elite. His broad jump is highly explosive. His split is pretty good for his size and not far off the elite 1.5’s.

In some mocks Lawson is listed in the top-15 and in others he drops well down into the late first. Just keep him in mind based on what La Canfora is saying here.

Mayock lists him as the 13th best player in the draft.

Initially I linked these two sentences together:

If a stud player slips for a medical reason and Schneider sees value there, that could be the pick. And they certainly have a need on the offensive line.

I thought he was referring to an injured O-liner (aka Shon Coleman). On reflection I think it’s more a case of they’ll stay at #26 if:

a.) a stud player slips for a medical reason

b.) They really like an O-liner at that spot

So it looks increasingly like the Seahawks are going to move down unless there’s a major rush on O-liners and they get spooked into taking Germain Ifedi (for example) with their top pick. All the signs point to a trade down into the 30’s.

My prediction is when they finally start to take players off the board — they’ll be gunning for size, athleticism and impact.

When John Schneider talked about becoming the bully again — I think it’ll mean they want to get bigger and faster. They’ve kind of emphasised speed over size since 2013. This year I’d expect physical, big, tough and athletic to be the priority.

That’s evident from the list of names they’ve met with — Ifedi, Bullard, Butler, Jones, Henry, Dodd etc.

The exception could be if they see a truly excellent EDGE available (that could be Lawson or Noah Spence). Even then a hybrid DE-DT with size and rare mobility seems much more likely on defense.

How the ideal scenario could play out

I really don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that Sheldon Rankins will fall to #26.

Daniel Jeremiah published a mock yesterday where that exact scenario happened. It’s worth noting that Jeremiah has consistently graded Rankins at about #26 on his big board. Contrast that to Mayock who has him at #11 overall.

Someone will undoubtedly take him before Seattle’s pick because he’s the most explosive defensive lineman in the draft. Here’s what would need to happen, however, for the ideal prospect to fall to the Seahawks:

1. New Orleans would need to take Paxton Lynch at #12

2. Miami and Oakland would need to pass on Darron Lee, pushing him to the Falcons

3. The Lions and Colts would need to be focused on their O-lines

4. The Bills would need to prioritise either a quarterback or an edge rusher

5. Scot McCloughan would need to be temporarily distracted or perhaps tied up and locked in a closet

6. Cincinnati would need to be totally zoned in on receivers and not put off by two going right in front of them to Houston and Minnesota

7. Pittsburgh would need to focus on their secondary

It’s asking an awful lot as you can see. You could argue stranger things have happened — but even this seems really far fetched.

 

Monday draft notes: Seattle’s first round dilemma

April 25th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Jason La Canfora mocked Noah Spence to the Seahawks today

Where are the special players?

The guys who are unique athletes? The guys who stand out?

This is a nice deep class overall — but there aren’t many players projected to go in the top-40 that scream ‘Seahawks’.

In the middle rounds you can come up with several examples:

Joe Haeg and Joe Dahl — explosive, long offensive tackles expected to kick inside

Connor McGovern — Missouri coached, tough and extremely explosive with the ability to emulate Mitch Morse

Tyler Ervin — an electric playmaker who plays big despite his size and has a fantastic attitude

Devon Cajuste — SPARQ demon who run blocks brilliantly, maxes out his targets and has a quirky ‘Seahawks’ receiver personality

Joel Heath — up for the challenge, incredibly athletic and could convert to the O-line

There’s also a whole host of athletic defensive backs expected to be available on day three that fit Seattle’s criteria.

Yet in terms of that perfect combination of grit, athleticism, upside and production — there aren’t a ton of options at #26.

Jonathan Bullard is a nice overall prospect — but he has limitations. Bob McGinn put out a piece today on defensive linemen and here’s the blurb on Bullard:

Considered coming out a year ago. “He was smart,” said one scout. “He had a heck of a year for them. Played his (expletive) off. He can play 3- or 5-technique. Is he a great player? No. Solid rotational player.” Finished with 175 tackles (34 for loss) and 12 sacks. Described as an “overachiever” by a second scout. “More of a strength than finesse player,” a third scout said. “He does not have the explosiveness or twitch that you’d like shedding blocks. His pass rush has no personality or power. His only source of quarterback harassment was a collapsing power rush. He’s not around the ball like he should.”

There’s a lot to like about Bullard’s game — but are the Seahawks really going to draft a “solid rotational player” in round one given their previous trends?

Vernon Butler has a nice physical profile and the players at Louisiana Tech appeared to gravitate towards him. Is he a pass rusher though? Not yet. Is he only ever going to be a one (or a three) in Seattle and is that worth a high pick in this defense?

It’s a big question on Butler — who appears to be a big favourite among NFL scouts. He does have a ton of upside though and he could be one to watch if he lasts. Here’s McGinn’s notes on Butler:

Can play anywhere across the front. “He wore a single-digit jersey, No. 9, that really made him stand out in terms of his movement skills,” said one scout. “I wouldn’t classify him as a grinder type of D-lineman. He really relies on his athletic ability. He’s got a lot of potential.” Finished with 170 tackles (29 ½ for loss) and 5 sacks. “He’s got some quickness for a big man,” said a second scout. “He’s more of a nose but he has some movement skills. He can push the pocket and get an edge on occasion.” Long arms (35). From Summit, Miss. “His body balance, bend, acceleration is very good,” a third scout said. “He’s a big finesse athlete. This year, he used his hands much better and played with better strength. He’s a little bit of a goofball, in a good way. Not a bad kid. Athletic as hell. You need the right D-line coach and then coach the crap out of him.”

For what it’s worth, McGinn has him as the #3 defensive end in the draft behind only Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner. He might not make it to #26.

Chris Jones has plenty of upside — but there are major concerns about his character. Here’s more from Bob McGinn:

Quintessential underachiever. “Boom or bust,” said one scout. “Yeah, he’s talented as hell, but his whole makeup is very, very limited. He shows everything you want in flashes, but it’s just so hit or miss. Our area guy hates him, but I bet him someone will take him in the first.” Tied for the longest arms (34 ½) and biggest hands (10 ¾) of any DT. “He’s got talent but he’s a mess as a kid,” said another scout. “He really flashes but has character concerns.” Started 16 of 39 games as a third-year junior, finishing with 102 tackles (18 for loss) and 8 ½ sacks. “He’s 6-6, he’s gonna be 320, he’s got really good feet,” a third scout said. “But he’s got two things going against him: he’s a junior from Mississippi State, and he’s not too smart (Wonderlic of 15). He’s country. He’s a bad (expletive) but he has to be more consistent.” From Houston. Added a fourth scout: “How much dog does he have in him I guess is the old phrase. They’re the same questions about Albert (Haynesworth) when he came out. At some point you figure the maturity will kick in and he’ll say, ‘You know what, this is what I want to do for a living.’ If he can get the right (coach) in his ear he can do whatever he wants to do.”

Can you really expect the Seahawks to spend a first round pick on a “quintessential underachiever”?

This trio have some positives — but the Seahawks haven’t drafted a defensive lineman earlier than the third round. Are they going to break that trend with these guys? Butler might be the most likely candidate.

This is why we brought up Bronson Kaufusi on Saturday. He might not be everyone’s favourite but at least he offers genuinely unique size and athleticism. His 4.25 short shuttle is incredible at 6-6 and 285lbs. So is his 7.03 short shuttle.

He didn’t provide a truly explosive combine (30 inch vertical, 9-3 broad) though — which was somewhat disappointing given his combination of size/quickness.

Here’s what McGinn’s sources have to say:

“Real effort player,” one scout said. “He’s smart (Wonderlic of 32), alert, instinctive. But he’s not an explosive player. He has enough strength. He knew his weaknesses and compensated well. He’s a thinking player and he has length (34 ½ arms).” Finished with 167 tackles (44 for loss) and 26 ½ sacks. Will be a 25-year-old rookie because he served a two-year Mormon mission to New Zealand. “They just think the world of him there,” another scout said. “He’s going to be a big surprise for somebody. He’s just going to get better. He’s got takeoff and speed to the corner.”

That’s quite a positive review.

If this is a case of compromise for the Seahawks with their first pick — Kaufusi might just be ‘more special’ than some of the other options. And that could put him on their radar earlier than anyone expects.

In a similar way, it’s probably what makes Germain Ifedi the odds-on favourite to be picked if they stay at #26. He has unique size (6-6, 324lbs, 36 inch arms) and athleticism (32.5 inch vertical, 9-1 broad). He isn’t Bruce Irvin or Frank Clark or Jimmy Graham — but he’s the type of player they’ve drafted early.

As Tony Pauline reported recently:

Most people I speak with feel Ifedi is a great fit for the team at the end of round one. The recurring comment is “Ifedi is a Seattle Seahawks type of lineman.”

He could easily be their pick, solidifying the left guard spot. He does compare favourably to Kelechi Osemele’s physical profile. Yet with attractive O-line options available in rounds 2-3 (Haeg, Dahl, McGovern), they might be obliged to go defense first.

And while nearly every national mock has the Seahawks taking Ryan Kelly these days — here’s a quick reminder on why that would be a major outlier based on how they’ve drafted since 2012 (click here).

All of this points to one thing — trading down.

There’s really very little difference in terms of talent between the 20th pick and the 45th. That range is going to all be about jockeying for position. Getting ahead of certain teams, moving down because you can.

None of this lends itself to any kind of ‘great deal’. You’re not going to get a 2017 first rounder. It’s more about getting into the position that suites your need.

The Seahawks should be able to find a trade partner.

According to Tony Pauline, the Ravens are keen to draft a top safety:

During combine week I mentioned on Walters Football the word around Indianapolis centered on the Baltimore Ravens dropping back into the bottom half of round one then selecting a safety. I was told last week the team loves Su’a Cravens, hence he could be the target if they trade down.

Instead of moving down from #6, could the Ravens move up ten spots from #36 and get ahead of teams like Arizona?

Such a trade could see both teams swap third rounders for a fair deal.

The Browns might look to move back into the first too. Charlie Campbell claims it’s a possibility:

In speaking to sources, the Browns and Denver Broncos have been speaking to teams to feel out potential deals to trade up from their picks at 31 (Denver) and 32.

Peter King also projects Seattle trading down with Cleveland in his mock draft today.

Either way it seems likely. And an extra fourth rounder (King’s projection) could secure a high enough pick to select Devon Cajuste on day three.

Who are some of the outsider candidates?

Moving back into round two could bring Derrick Henry into range. The Seahawks are a run-first team and Henry is one of the few ‘freaky’ athletes in this class. He’d be a size/style outlier based on what the Seahawks have previously looked for in a running back — but there aren’t many players with his combination of skills.

Henry was also on the list of confirmed VMAC visits. That said, he might be more of an option if he lasts to #56.

EDGE rusher isn’t really that much of a need. After all, the Seahawks drafted Frank Clark a year ago while Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are signed up long term. Chris Clemons was also re-signed so that’s four solid options for a healthy rotation.

However, Jason La Canfora put out a mock draft today and selected Noah Spence for the Seahawks. In the piece he admitted he was tempted to pair Emmanuel Ogbah at #26 too.

According to Zach Whitman’s Three Sigma rankings, Spence isn’t a freaky overall athlete. However, neither is Joey Bosa according to Whitman’s site — and yet it’s Bosa’s elite agility testing that makes him so interesting as a prospect (he ran an incredible 6.89 three cone and a 4.21 in the short shuttle).

How does Spence compare? He ran a very good short shuttle (4.35) but his three cone was fairly disappointing given his size (7.21). He did, however, manage a 35-inch vertical and a 10-1 in the broad jump. He had 25 reps on the bench (decent) and ran a 1.61 10-yard split (just shy of the 1.5 ‘elite’ bracket).

Yet look at the top NFL pass rushers Von Miller and Khalil Mack and see how Spence compares:

Von Miller
Height: 6-2 5/8
Weight: 246lbs
40-yd: 4.53
Broad: 10-6
Vertical: 37

Khalil Mack
Height: 6-2 5/8
Weight: 251lbs
40-yd: 4.65
Broad: 10-8
Vertical: 40

Noah Spence
Height: 6-2 1/2
Weight: 251lbs
40-yd: 4.80
Broad: 10-1
Vertical: 35

The only similarity is size. Still, we’re talking about two top-five picks and a guy who might be available at #26.

He’s a former 5-star recruit — something Pete Carroll is evidently drawn to. And here’s something else to consider — they tried Cassius Marsh at linebacker and appear to be projecting him as such again this off-season.

Here’s Marsh’s combine compared to Spence’s:

Cassius Marsh
Height: 6-4
Weight: 252lbs
Arm length: 32 3/4 inches
40-yd: 4.89
10-yd: 1.70
Vertical: 32 inches
Broad: 9-0
Bench: 14
Three cone: 7.08
Short shuttle: 4.25

Noah Spence
Height: 6-2
Weight: 251lbs
Arm length: 33 inches
40-yd: 4.80
10-yd: 1.61
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad: 10-1
Bench: 25
Three cone: 7.21
Short shuttle: 4.35

Physically there are similarities — but Spence has a lot more burst (10-yard split), explosion (broad, vertical) and he’s stronger.

On tape you see that too. Marsh wasn’t much of an edge rusher but Spence has shown to be an excellent edge rusher — albeit slightly one-dimensional (he needs to increase his repertoire).

Spence could be a candidate to play SAM/DE. Possibly. And the difference between his character issues and someone like Robert Nkemdiche is Spence actually went to Eastern Kentucky to prove to teams he’s a changed man. Nkemdiche’s issues are very much in the here and now.

The counter to this projection is fairly obvious. Seattle’s two greatest needs are a DE/DT hybrid who can kick inside on third down and the O-line. Taking an EDGE is a bit of a luxury unless, like Louis Riddick, they think he’s special:

“This is the best edge rusher in this draft… no-one has this kid’s hand use, no-one has his feel for pad-level, leverage points in terms of attacking offensive tackles and getting people on the ground.”

I would agree with Riddick — Spence is the best edge rusher in the draft. He isn’t Von Miller, Khalil Mack or Bruce Irvin though in terms of an overall athletic profile. It still shouldn’t be a total shock if they take him at #26 — or if he goes before they’re on the clock.

With a few days to go my hunch right now is they’ll trade down and take the most ‘Seahawky’ prospect on the O-line (Ifedi?) or D-line (names noted above). An EDGE or running back is a wildcard.

Are we looking at this group (in no particular order)?

Germain Ifedi
Jason Spriggs
Shon Coleman (if they see beyond the health issues)
Jonathan Bullard
Vernon Butler
Chris Jones
Bronson Kaufusi
Kevin Dodd
Noah Spence
Derrick Henry
Emmanuel Ogbah

They can draft for the O-line in rounds 2-3 if they go defense first (McGovern, Haeg, Dahl) and it won’t be a shock if they zone in on Tyler Ervin and Devon Cajuste by round four.

If you want to hold out hope on the ideal scenario coming true — Daniel Jeremiah today mocked Sheldon Rankins to the Seahawks.