Bronson Kaufusi could be Seattle’s first pick

April 23rd, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

There’s a very good argument for the Seahawks drafting Florida’s Jonathan Bullard. So why aren’t more people talking about Bronson Kaufusi?

Here’s the comparison:

Jonathan Bullard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 285lbs
Arm length: 33 5/8 inches
40-yd: 4.93
10-yd: 1.66
Vertical: 32 inches
Broad: 9-8
Bench: 23
Three cone: 7.31
Short shuttle: 4.56
2015 sacks: 6.5
2015 TFL’s: 17.5

Bronson Kaufusi
Height: 6-6
Weight: 285lbs
Arm length: 34 1/2 inches
40-yd: 4.87
10-yd: 1.69
Vertical: 30 inches
Broad: 9-3
Bench: 25
Three cone: 7.03
Short shuttle: 4.25
2015 sacks: 11
2015 TFL’s: 19.5

Both weigh 285lbs and ran similar times. Kaufusi’s forty is 0.06 seconds quicker and Bullard’s split is 0.03 seconds quicker. So basically the same.

Bullard performed better in the vertical (32 inches vs 30 inches) and broad (9-8 vs 9-3) and they put up similar numbers in the bench press.

However — look at the difference in the agility testing (important if you want either to play DE).

Kaufusi ran an elite 4.25 in the short shuttle compared to Bullard’s 4.56. The average time among defensive linemen at the combine was a 4.55.

In the three cone, again Kaufusi managed an elite time for his size (7.03) while Bullard recorded a 7.31. The average time this year was 7.50 seconds.

Let’s put those numbers into context. Darron Lee is 53lbs lighter than Kaufusi and ran a 4.20 in the short shuttle. That’s 0.05 seconds faster. Lee is considered an exceptional athlete at 232lbs and is expected to go in the top-15.

In the three cone Sterling Shepard ran a 7.00. He is 194lbs and ran a 4.48 in the forty. His three cone is 0.03 seconds faster than Kaufusi’s.

Will Fuller’s three cone is 0.10 seconds faster and he’s the most dynamic speed receiver in the draft — he also weighs 100lbs (!!!) less than Kaufusi.

That athleticism — along with supreme balance for his size — shows up on tape:

J.J. Watt, for what it’s worth, ran a 4.21 short shuttle at 290lbs and a 6.88 three cone. Kaufusi isn’t Watt — but who is? The short shuttle times are similar though.

I’ve seen some comparisons between Kaufusi and Margus Hunt. They ran a similar time in the three cone drill (7.03 vs 7.08) but Hunt’s short shuttle is way off at 4.51 — and he was 8lbs lighter.

We know the Seahawks, like most teams, treasure three key things:

1. Grit
2. Production
3. Freaky athleticism

Here are some select quotes used to describe Kaufusi:

“Plays with the motor expected from a coach’’s son”
Lance Zierlein

“Is a high character prospect who should only get better”
Tony Pauline

“A fighter that doesn’t back down or get discouraged”
Scouts Inc

Here’s how he’s described by his Head Coach at BYU:

In terms of production he finished ninth in the country for sacks in 2015:

Carl Nassib — 16
Emmanuel Ogbah — 13
Shaq Lawson — 13
Myles Garrett — 12
Jatavis Brown — 12
Kevin Dodd — 12
Jonathan Allen — 12
Ejuan Price — 12
Bronson Kaufusi — 11

That’s some nice company, including several first or second round picks and a potential top-five pick in 2017 (Myles Garrett).

Freaky athleticism? How about running a short shuttle and three cone as fast as some of the smaller speed receivers in the draft at 6-6 and 285lbs?

Grit, production, freaky athleticism? Kaufusi ticks every box.

Let’s go back to the comparison with Jonathan Bullard. While they have some similarities like weight and speed they’re also very different players. Bullard isn’t much of a pass rusher at DE but can play with stoutness, solidity and offer something inside at the one or three technique. Kaufusi can be an absolute demon off the edge — but how does he fit inside?

According to PFF, Kaufusi performed very well in that department:

Whether rushing the passer or playing the run as a 3-4 defensive end for BYU, Kaufusi was one of the nation’s most productive players in 2015, ranking sixth among all interior defensive linemen at +47.1. He led the way with a pass-rush productivity of 13.2, while ranking fourth in run-stop percentage at 12.1. He works non-stop, picking up clean-up pressure more than any lineman in the nation and he looks like an interior pass-rush threat at the next level as he continues to learn how to use his long frame more effectively in the running game.

If the Seahawks are looking for a DE-DT hybrid who can line up outside in base and kick inside on third down — this is another tick in the box for Kaufusi.

An anonymous scout recently told

“Don’t sleep on this guy. He’s a little older (25 after serving a LDS mission in New Zealand) but he’s really productive. He’s always around the ball and he’s always making plays. He could go late first.

“He’s big and very athletic. He could play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. He just needs to get stronger and I think he will.

“He has a real good burst off the ball. He looks like a basketball player (which he was his freshman year). He’s a smart kid and that doesn’t hurt either.”

It often gets said that the Seahawks like to surprise people. None of the players we’ve highlighted so far would be a surprise at #26 or after a trade down. Not Bullard, Butler, Dodd, Jones, Ifedi or Spriggs.

Kaufusi would surprise people. And yet when you compare his physical profile to the rest it stands up beautifully. He has unique athletic traits, production and grit.

The full set.

He’s also a pass rusher. The one thing that makes you pause on Vernon Butler is his lack of a pass rushing skill set. Bullard is better in that regard — but he’s not a fierce pass rusher either. Neither is Chris Jones.

If you’re taking a D-liner early, you surely want to see some pass rush?

So what does Seattle’s previous draft history tell us?

Cassius Marsh didn’t have an amazing workout pre-draft in 2014. However, at 6-4 and 252lbs he ran a 4.25 short shuttle (same as Kaufusi) and a 7.08 three cone. Those were his standout numbers.

Marsh was drafted with the eighth pick in round four. Kaufusi matched those numbers with an extra 33lbs on his frame. It might be good for a couple of rounds.

Frank Clark also ran a 7.08 in the three cone at 271lbs but he recorded a blistering 4.05 in the short shuttle. It suggests the Seahawks put a degree of emphasis on the agility tests for edge rushers. Kaufusi ran a faster three cone than Clark with a weight disadvantage of 14lbs.

People will probably hate it if he is Seattle’s first pick. Just keep this article in the back of your mind.

A quick note as well on another player we’ve talked about — Devon Cajuste. Bob McGinn has quoted an anonymous source stating the following:

“That son of a guy is talented talented,” he said. “Now he’s a weird kid but he’s talented. Not a tight end. He’d be a big slot. Excellent athlete.”

“He’s that new breed of receiving tight end,” another scout said. “Put him in the slot. I like him to a point.”

“Boy, this guy likes to sneak up on ’em. He (hit) a couple guys from UCLA and turned ’em thistle end up, I’ll tell you. … He’s one of those gliders and sliders in that you don’t have to be real fast but you time where you pop open in the seam. He’d be that fourth or fifth wide receiver who comes in on third down because he can block and catch in traffic.”

Cajuste ran the fastest three-cone drill (6.49) at the combine (all positions) and ranked fifth among all receivers this decade.

A quick reminder — he’s 234lbs, not 185lbs.

Cajuste’s run blocking, catch/target efficiency and relationship with Doug Baldwin makes it almost too easy to link him to the Seahawks.

If they can acquire an early fourth round pick — pencil him in to Seattle.


Louis Riddick’s mock draft is fascinating

April 22nd, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

So this is interesting for three reasons:

— Louis Riddick is connected but not in a way that’ll have agents and teams using him to put out bad information (as we see occasionally from the big ‘news breakers’)

— Riddick highlights some of the ‘chatter’ we’re currently hearing — Tunsil might fall behind Ronnie Stanley, Cleveland goes OT (before potentially trading Joe Thomas) and Vernon Hargreaves is set for a fall

— It’s unlike any other mock draft we’ve seen so far — and yet there are no stand out bizarro picks

The ideal trade down scenario?
The Seahawks have worked out or met with Reggie Ragland, Kevin Dodd, Vernon Butler, Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, Derrick Henry and Chris Jones. All seven are still on the board when they pick at #26. By the time the first round ends — only Ragland is gone.

With two teams (Arizona & Denver) selecting quarterbacks after Seattle’s pick — the Seahawks might be able to generate interest in #26. Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans are just three teams that might want to jump back into round one.

Likewise a team like Baltimore might be interested in grabbing a defensive playmaker.

With so many potential options still on the board, moving out of round one would make a lot of sense for the Seahawks if this scenario plays out.

It screams trade down.

What about Ryan Kelly?
If the Seahawks draft Kelly, you won’t hear any complaints from me. He’s a tough, solid, intelligent center. A lot of fans want him to be the guy at #26 and I understand why. It’s equally understandable why a national analyst like Riddick would pair Kelly with the Seahawks.

That said, I’m not at all convinced he’ll be their pick. It would be a distinct shift in philosophy compared to their previous first round picks.

The Seahawks under John Schneider and Pete Carroll have generally gone for difference making athleticism and unique traits early in the draft. You might well disagree with that approach — but there’s no disputing that’s what they’ve done.

Brock Huard did a good job breaking down Kelly on ESPN 710 while acknowledging he probably won’t be their guy (click here and fast forward to 24:37).

Huard sums it up perfectly. There is a lot to like about Kelly’s game — but is he a Seahawk? His physical profile doesn’t stand out. He doesn’t match-up with TEF. He jumped only an 8-7 in the broad.

You can ignore this if you want to — but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Based on the options available what would they do?
Certainly trading down is a distinct possibility. I think it’ll ultimately come down who is the most explosive defensive or offensive lineman available with the grit they cherish?

Of the players they worked out (Kevin Dodd, Vernon Butler, Germain Ifedi, Jonathan Bullard, Chris Jones) they all have different qualities. Butler is a tone-setter who players gravitate towards, Bullard plays with his hair on fire, Ifedi has explosive athleticism and a hulking frame, Dodd has the production and size to play inside/out while Jones has freakish size/length/athleticism but a questionable motor.

If they move down and grab any of that group — they’ll probably feel pretty satisfied.

Unless they truly believe in Ifedi or Spriggs — the percentages add up to going D-line first and taking two of McGovern, Haeg and Dahl (or Coleman?) in the second and third round range.

Any disagreements with Riddick’s mock?
If we’re going to see quarterbacks propelled into the late first — I think Cardale Jones and Christian Hackenburg — rather than Connor Cook — will get the push.

Cook isn’t just a character concern for teams. Some of his throws have to be seen to be believed. Hackenburg and Jones didn’t have Cook’s production at college — but they have much higher ceilings.

Keanu Neal will go in the first round in my opinion — and people will act shocked. He is a terrific, excellent football player. The Cardinals will probably run to the podium if he’s there at #29 — but keep an eye on Washington and Pittsburgh too.

That’s really about it. This is a very interesting mock draft that is different but makes a ton of sense across the board.


100 players to monitor for the Seahawks

April 21st, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Sheldon Rankins probably won’t fall to #26 — but it’d be great if he did…

Here’s the premise…

— 100 players
— Realistic options only (no Laremy Tunsil)
— Players we have discussed
— Players that visited, met or worked out for the Seahawks

Some other things to consider…

— The round-by-round breakdown is just a guide
— Physical ideals & red flags were considered
— The Seahawks pick late in each round so they might take players a round early
— The UDFA’s listed are also potential 6th and 7th round picks
TEF qualifiers on the O-line we identified are highlighted in green

First round (the ideal/dream scenaro) (1)
Sheldon Rankins (DT)

Fringe first/second round (12)
Vernon Butler (DT)
Jonathan Bullard (DT)
Kevin Dodd (DE)
Shaq Lawson (DE)
Emmanuel Ogbah (DE)
Reggie Ragland (LB)
Derrick Henry (RB)
Germain Ifedi (OL)
Jason Spriggs (OL)
Ryan Kelly (OL)
Keanu Neal (S)
William Jackson III (CB)

Second round (10)
Kenneth Dixon (RB)
Braxton Miller (WR)
Sterling Shephard (WR)
Kyler Fackrell (LB)
Bronson Kaufusi (DE)
Chris Jones (DT)
Shon Coleman (OL)
Le’Raven Clark (OL)
Nick Martin (OL)
Artie Burns (CB)

Third round (17)
Connor McGovern (OL)
Joe Haeg (OL)
Joe Dahl (OL)
Tyler Ervin (RB)
Paul Perkins (RB)
Devontae Booker (RB)
Kenyan Drake (RB)
Willie Henry (DT)
Hassan Ridgeway (DT)
Jihad Ward (DT)
Javon Hargrave (DT)
Charles Tapper (DE)
Eric Murray (CB)
Darryl Worley (CB)
Joshua Perry (LB)
T.J. Green (S)
Sean Davis (S)

Round four (10)
Devon Cajuste (WR)
Ben Braunecker (TE)
Justin Simmons (S)
Miles Killebrew (S)
Ronald Blair III (DT)
Deiondre Hall (CB)
Keivarae Russell (CB)
C.J. Prosise (RB)
Jordan Howard (RB)
Dak Prescott (QB)

Round five (7)
Ricardo Louis (WR)
Moritz Boehringer (WR)
Jonathan Williams (RB)
Keith Marshall (RB)
Kevon Seymour (CB)
Travis Feeney (LB)
B.J. Goodson (LB)

Round six (6)
Joel Heath (DT)
Kenny Lawler (WR)
Jordan Payton (WR)
Daniel Braverman (WR)
Blake Countess (CB)
James Bradberry (CB)

Round seven & UDFA (37)
Rees Odhiambo (OL)
Hal Vaitai (OL)
Alex Redmond (OL)
Marcus Henry (OL)
Torian White (OL)
Justin Murray (OL)
Lene Maiava (OL)
Liam Nadler (QB)
Keenan Reynolds (QB/RB/WR)
D.J. Foster (RB/WR)
Zac Brooks (RB)
Devon Johnson (RB)
Darius Jackson (RB)
Paul McRoberts (WR)
Marquez North (WR)
Jay Lee (WR)
Jaydon Mickens (WR)
Dez Stewart (WR)
Brandon Swindall (WR)
Davonte Allen (WR)
Hakeem Valles (TE)
Terenn Houk (TE)
George Fant (TE)
Alex Balducci (DT)
D.J. Reader (DT)
Justin Zimmer (DT)
David Onyemata (DT)
Trent Corney (DE)
Alex McCallister (LB)
Christian French (LB)
DeAndre Elliott (CB)
Rashard Robinson (CB)
Brandon Williams (CB)
William Parks (S)
Andrew Adams (S)
Taj Letman (S)
D.J. Hunter (S)


Updated two-round mock draft: Eagles move up to #2

April 20th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

The Cleveland Browns — a franchise in dire need of an answer at quarterback — clearly don’t think much of the guy the Rams aren’t drafting.

Today they traded with the Eagles, dropping down to #8 and sacrificing the chance to get one of the perceived top two quarterbacks.

So what do we learn from this deal?

— All the talk was that Cleveland wanted Jared Goff. This latest trade suggests the Rams will be taking him at #1 and the Browns weren’t in love with Carson Wentz.

— The Eagles are making a big splash despite already re-signing Sam Bradford and adding Chase Daniel. If there’s one position worth overloading — this is it. Unlike the Rams, Philadelphia can afford to sit their rookie for at least a year or two.

— The Browns might still take a quarterback at #8. Paxton Lynch is the forgotten man of this QB class but arguably has greater upside than both Goff and Wentz. He also has the kind of signature win (vs Ole Miss) that Goff lacked at Cal.

— Cleveland might trade down again. Anyone who wants Lynch (Jets? Bills?) might be forced to negotiate with the Browns (providing San Francisco doesn’t take him). Could they drop as far as #20 while accumulating extra stock in the middle rounds and 2017?

— Another option is Cleveland trades Joe Thomas and takes a left tackle at #8. Tony Pauline earlier today described Thomas as a “locker room lawyer”. The Seahawks appear set with Garry Gilliam as their left tackle so no, I wouldn’t expect Seattle to be interested. They don’t have the cap room either.

— We’ve mentioned a few times the likelihood of three quarterbacks going in the top ten and consistently mocked that scenario. What about the rest of round one? Jon Gruden predicted as many as five or six quarterback would go in round one recently. Christian Hackenburg, Connor Cook and Cardale Jones might find themselves thrust into the first frame.

Here’s an updated two-round mock draft with trades (explanations below)…

Los Angeles (#15) >>> Tennessee (#1)
This deal has already been concluded for a king’s ransom. The Rams moved up to secure their quarterback — presumably Jared Goff.

Philadelphia (#8) >>> Cleveland (#2)
The Eagles move up to #2 where they’re expected to draft Carson Wentz as their quarterback of the future.

Tampa Bay (#9) >>> Jacksonville (#5)
The Buccs offer up their second round pick to grab an impact defensive lineman. It’s their biggest need — and with this move they can put Joey Bosa on the same line as Gerald McCoy. The Jags move down knowing they will get either Myles Jack or Sheldon Rankins.

New York Jets (#20) >>> Cleveland (#8)
In this scenario the Browns make it clear they will draft Paxton Lynch if no deal is forthcoming — and the Jets take the bait. The Browns collect another second round pick this year and the Jets’ #1 pick in 2017.

Tennessee (#33) >>> Cincinnati (#24)
The Bengals are said to be looking for a receiver and can drop down into the early second round and get a good one if it plays out like this. The Titans jump back into the first round to get a left tackle (Jason Spriggs).

Baltimore (#36) >>> Seattle (#26)
The Ravens move up to secure a replacement for Kelechi Osemele (Germain Ifedi) and the Seahawks move down ten spots. The two teams swap third round picks. The Seahawks get #70, the Ravens #90. The trade chart says Baltimore wins the deal by 60 points but Seattle might take the hit for the early third rounder.

New York Giants (#40) >>> Denver (#31)
The Broncos once traded out of the late first round with Tampa Bay and the Buccs drafted Doug Martin. The two teams simply swapped fifth round picks. History could repeat — with the Giants getting a bargain deal to select Derrick Henry.

Round one

Trading teams are highlighted in capitals

#1 LOS ANGELES — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#2 PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#3 San Diego — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#4 Dallas — Jalen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#5 TAMPA BAY — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#6 Baltimore — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#7 San Fran — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#8 NEW YORK JETS — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#10 New York Giants — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#11 Chicago — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#15 Tennessee — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#18 Indianapolis — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#19 Buffalo — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#20 CLEVELAND — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#21 Washington — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#22 Houston — Hunter Henry (TE, Arkansas)
#23 Minnesota — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#24 TENNESSEE — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#25 Pittsburgh — Kendall Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
#26 BALTIMORE — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#27 Green Bay — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#28 Kansas City — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#29 Arizona — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#30 Carolina — Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State)
#31 NEW YORK GIANTS — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)

Round two

#32 Cleveland — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#33 CINCINNATI — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#34 Dallas — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
#35 San Diego — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#36 SEATTLE — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#37 San Francisco — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
#38 Jacksonville — Artie Burns (CB, Miami)
#39 JACKSONVILLE — Bronson Kaufusi (DE, BYU)
#40 DENVER — Connor Cook (QB, Michigan State)
#41 Chicago — Le’Raven Clark (T, Texas Tech)
#42 Miami — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#43 TENNESSEE — A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
#44 Oakland — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
#45 TENNESSEE — Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
#46 Detroit — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
#47 New Orleans — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
#48 Indianapolis — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
#49 Buffalo — Christian Hackenburg (QB, Penn State)
#50 Atlanta — Hassan Ridgeway (DT, Texas)
#51 CLEVELAND — Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)
#52 Houston — Cody Whitehair (T, Kansas State)
#53 Washington — Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
#54 Minnesota — Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
#55 Cincinnati — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
#56 Seattle — Connor McGovern (T, Missouri)
#57 Green Bay — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
#58 Pittsburgh — Su’a Cravens (S, USC)
#59 Kansas City — Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
#60 New England — Devontae Booker (RB, Utah)
#61 New England — Sean Davis (CB, Maryland)
#62 Carolina — Kenneth Dixon (RB, Louisiana Tech)
#63 Denver — Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State)

Seahawks picks — rounds 3-7

#70 Joe Dahl (T, Washington State) or Joe Haeg (T, North Dakota State)
#97 Tyler Ervin (RB, San Jose State)
#124 Devon Cajuste (WR, Stanford)
#171 Justin Simmons (S, Boston College)
#215 Joel Heath (DT, Michigan State)
#225 DeAndre Elliott (CB, Colorado State)
#247 Alex Balducci (DT, Oregon)

In this mock the Seahawks address key needs at DT-DE (Jonathan Bullard) and the O-line (Connor Mcgovern and one of Joe Dahl or Joe Haeg). McGovern and Dahl could go into camp competing at guard and center, while Haeg has a classic guard frame but could be a swing tackle.

Tyler Ervin adds another X-factor to the offense while Devon Cajuste fills the Ricardo Lockette/Chris Matthews role. Justin Simmons would provide raw athleticism at safety and he could be trained to be a hybrid deathbacker.

Joel Heath is a possible D-line to O-line convert in the sixth round range, DeAndre Elliott fits their physical profile at cornerback and Alex Balducci would provide some depth to the D-line. There’s a cluster of very interesting possible priority UDFA’s.

Tomorrow I’ll be publishing a 100-prospect watch-list for the Seahawks with players listed round-by-round (includes UDFA’s).


Podcast and some personal views on the draft

April 19th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

With less than 10 days to go, in this edition of the podcast we run through some of the big talking points and yesterday’s ‘mock draft with trades’. Check it out:

I noticed a few interesting comments in response to yesterday’s mock draft. The general gist was that Germain Ifedi had become ‘our guy’ and that we were ‘overrating’ his talent.

I want to take a moment today to clarify a few things.

This blog is very active during the college football season and not just in the January-April ‘draft months’. We spend a lot of time reviewing different prospects, discussing options and debating team needs.

Among the players we focused on and considered were: Shon Coleman, Will Fuller, Keanu Neal, Derrick Henry and Nick Martin. That’s just a small sample.

When we get this close to the draft — we have a lot more information to hand. We have combine and pro-day numbers to review, we know what the team did in free agency and we know the holes they need to fill.

The reason we’ve projected Ifedi to the Seahawks frequently isn’t necessarily based on a personal assertion that he’s going to be the next Walter Jones. While you may not like the pick or have a certain opinion on Ifedi — it doesn’t mean the Seahawks will agree with you.

Simply selecting the most popular player for the Seahawks and creating a mini campaign for that prospect isn’t something I want to get into. I see on social media almost a cult-like status developing for Ryan Kelly. And yet when we look at Seattle’s draft history under Carroll and Schneider (no pure center’s drafted, focus on explosion) Kelly would be something of an outlier.

The intention is not to create a fervour for one guy and then react to the inevitable disappointment when the Seahawks do something else. The aim of the blog is to review what is most likely — focus on a collection of players without picking favourites and try to understand why they might be drafted by Seattle.

If they go in a different direction — that’s good because we can look at the reasons why.

Yet the selection of Ifedi in this instance is not just a personal fantasy lived out in print form. It’s a pick made because whether you like it or not — it makes sense.

For example:

— Our TEF study revealed and helped us to understand Seattle’s focus on explosive athletes on the offensive line. Ifedi ranked #3 only to Jason Spriggs and Connor McGovern in weighted TEF.

— Respected Draft Insider Tony Pauline has twice reported interest from the Seahawks in Ifedi, noting 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’.”

— The Seahawks have looked for size (320lbs) at right tackle and left guard. Look at J’Marcus Webb, Justin Britt, James Carpenter and Robert Gallery. Ifedi’s physical profile is a perfect match.

— The Seahawks have consistently looked to draft unique traits and athletic upside early. Ifedi has 36 inch arms and jumped 32.5 inches in the vertical and 9-1 in the broad. That’s freaky at 6-6 and 324lbs.

None of this means the Seahawks will definitely draft Ifedi — but I’m sure you can accept why the projection is being made.

From a personal point of view I’d like nothing more than for the Seahawks to draft Shon Coleman. Regulars during the 2015 college will know how highly we rated him, including this piece from mid-October titled:

‘Is Shon Coleman the best tackle in college?’

You hear a lot about Ronnie Stanley, Taylor Decker, Jack Conklin and a few others.

Not enough people are talking about Auburn offensive tackle Shon Coleman.

He has everything you want in a NFL starting OT. He’s too powerful for college defensive linemen — when he locks on it’s over. He doesn’t get beat with the bull rush. He drives people off the ball in short yardage situations. He has that nasty element to his game you want to see — and he LOVES to get to the second level. He can kick-slide with fluidity, takes good angles and he isn’t troubled by speed off the edge. He has a very natural shuffle and mirror and he maintains balance at all times.

I’ve watched several Auburn games this season and I’m struggling to find many flaws.

He’s a monster.

Not only is Coleman an inspirational human being — his attitude in beating cancer is positively fantastic. Watch this video below:

This quote stands out every time I hear it:

When I found out it (cancer) was in remission I knew it was time to get back to business.”

The words are said with a confident nod and a steely look in his eye. No thoughts other than ‘get me my pads’.

His tape, in my view, is fantastic. Punishing, physical. He frequently speaks about his passion for run blocking. No offensive lineman in this draft plays with his edge. He’ll dump you on your ass before leaning over to tell you it’ll happen again on the next play. In pass protection he handled Texas A&M’s sensational edge rusher Myles Garrett just as well as Laremy Tunsil did.

Here’s Coleman blocking possible top-15 pick Leonard Floyd into the parking lot despite playing with a torn MCL:

In so many ways he is an ideal Seahawk. Grit, passion for the game, overcoming extreme adversity, physicality, attitude, run blocking.

If the Seahawks draft Coleman I’ll make my wife give me a high-five.

The problem, however, is that Coleman is recovering from a torn and repaired MCL. The Seahawks just let an often-injured Russell Okung depart for Denver. Are they going to take a chance on a player that has endured the most terrifying health problems already in his career and now has a knee injury?

Especially when there are alternatives that are younger, with as much upside and are currently healthy?

These are the things I have to consider when putting together a mock draft. It doesn’t mean I don’t want them to draft Coleman or that I prefer him over Ifedi.

My best case scenario is probably similar to a lot of people’s. In fact even those who want to go in a different direction will probably approve of my ideal draft:

— Add explosive, physical, tough, punishing linemen on both sides of the ball in rounds one and two

— Find a way to add one of Vernon Butler, Sheldon Rankins or Jonathan Bullard

— Hopefully they’re satisfied with Shon Coleman’s health and draft him too

— Find a running back who can compete for snaps immediately with Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael

— Increase the competition and quality of the O-line with at least one, maybe two extra additions in the middle/later rounds

— Add a big, athletic, physical receiver in rounds 4-5 to compliment the quicker options they already have

— Draft a hybrid secondary prospect (or two) on day three with major athletic upside and see if they can play safety/linebacker/deathbacker

In this scenario you’re getting an amped up, explosive defensive lineman who can play DE and DT. Players gravitate to Butler and he was the heart and soul of the Louisiana Tech defense. Bullard likewise has amazing character and plays with a major chip on his shoulder.

Rankins is the most explosive defensive lineman in the draft based on our research.

Coleman loves to hit people in the mouth and bully linebackers at the second level. He’s a terrific run blocker with a desire to play in a scheme like Seattle’s. He can also slot in at left guard or right tackle.

The rest is straight forward — help at RB, WR, DB/LB and more competition on the O-line.

However — I make this projection without any knowledge on Coleman’s knee injury or what his physical profile is (he hasn’t worked out). I don’t know whether Butler lasts until #26 — Rankins almost certainly won’t.

So we work from the information we do have — and what might be likely or possible.

If it was down to me the Seahawks wouldn’t have traded for Percy Harvin in 2013 and would’ve taken DeAndre Hopkins — in this piece I talked about how he was a legit top-20 talent:

Time to start a new bandwagon. A DeAndre Hopkins shaped bandwagon.

Without any doubt at all, he’s a stud. Any doubts about this guy need to be firmly removed following an incredible solo-performance against mighty LSU yesterday. He’s a top-20 talent who may go later… and a smart team will be ready to capitalise.

Or they might’ve gone for Kawann Short with their pick at #25 — who we declared should’ve been on their radar in round one:

Nobody should panic if Kawann Short is the best defensive tackle available when the Seahawks are on the clock. He’d be a fine choice with the #25 pick.

Ultimately the Seahawks drafted neither and went for the upside and fireworks of Harvin. Yet if you disagree with that move and other subsequent moves — you take away one of the main reasons this team has succeeded with personnel. Their desire to find special talent they can develop is what brought Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and others to this roster.

We have to project what they might do — not what we hope they do. So if Ifedi is the pick at #26 in our final mock draft (FYI I haven’t decided yet) it won’t necessarily be because we think he’s gods gift to pass protection (although I do think his tape is better than some people are willing to give him credit for).


First round mock draft… with trades

April 18th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Will the Buccs trade up for Joey Bosa?

The trades

Los Angeles (#15) >>> Tennessee (#1)
This deal has already been concluded for a king’s ransom. The Rams moved up to secure their quarterback — and it looks increasingly like Jared Goff is their guy.

Tampa Bay (#9) >>> Jacksonville (#5)
The Buccs offer up their second round pick to grab an impact defensive lineman. It’s their biggest need — and with this move they can put Joey Bosa on the same line as Gerald McCoy. The Jags move down and select Sheldon Rankins — who they coached (and loved) at the Senior Bowl.

New York Jets (#20) >>> New York Giants (#10)
The Jets won’t have a deal in place with Ryan Fitzpatrick before the draft, per reports today. They might decide to address this long term need by making an aggressive trade for Paxton Lynch. The Giants can fall back and still grab a big offensive tackle (Taylor Decker).

Indianapolis (#18) >>> Oakland (#14)
The Colts see an opportunity to move ahead of Tennessee and Detroit to land the second best offensive tackle in the draft — Jack Conklin. The Raiders might be targeting William Jackson III and they can probably afford to drop down a few spots and get their guy. This could be a bargain deal for the Colts.

Kansas City (#28) >>> Seattle (#26)
The Chiefs see a rival in Green Bay and make a cheap trade (5th rounder) with the Seahawks to secure Jarran Reed. Let’s say it’s the 5th rounder Seattle previously traded for Kelcie McCray.

Tennessee (#33) >>> Cincinnati (#24)
The Bengals are said to be looking for a receiver and can drop down into the early second round and get a good one in this scenario. The Titans jump back into the first round ahead of Pittsburgh to get a cornerback (Kendall Fuller). He could be highly coveted now that he’s healthy.

Miami (#42) >>> Arizona (#29)
With Keanu Neal off the board the Cardinals decide to trade down. They don’t have a second round pick so collect Miami’s third rounder to drop down 13 spots here. The Dolphins need a running back and see an opportunity to get Derrick Henry. Arizona targets athletic safety’s at #42 (T.J. Green? Karl Joseph?).

Baltimore (#36) >>> Denver (#31)
The Broncos once traded out of the late first round by merely swapping 5th rounders. Here they make a similar token move down the board. The Ravens step up to guarantee a new left tackle for their O-line.

The mock draft

#1 LOS ANGELES — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#2 Cleveland — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#3 San Diego — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#4 Dallas — Jaylen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#5 TAMPA BAY — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#6 Baltimore — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#7 San Fran — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#8 Philadelphia — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#9 JACKSONVILLE — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#10 JETS — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#11 Chicago — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#12 New Orleans — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#13 Miami — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#14 INDIANAPOLIS — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#15 Tennessee — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#18 OAKLAND — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#19 Buffalo — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#20 GIANTS — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#21 Washington — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#22 Houston — Hunter Henry (TE, Arkansas)
#23 Minnesota — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#24 TENNESSEE — Kendall Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
#25 Pittsburgh — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#26 KANSAS CITY — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#27 Green Bay — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#28 SEATTLE — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#29 MIAMI — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)
#30 Carolina — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#31 BALTIMORE — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)

Only a small trade for the Seahawks?
With Sheldon Rankins and Vernon Butler off the board, the Seahawks can’t get too cute. They need to address one of their two key needs (OL, DL) with a player they like. Butler would’ve been a nice option — but instead it’s Ifedi over Spriggs here because of his size, upside, length and ability to play left guard or right tackle.

I considered having Seattle move down into round two but didn’t see a team needing to get ahead of Green Bay and Kansas City or a quarterback worthy of such a move.

As discussed yesterday, there’s still a chance they could move down from #56. Such is the depth on the D-line this year.

For example, Gil Brandt’s fairly well informed ‘top-100’ board has Hassan Ridgeway, Willie Henry and Kyler Fackrell lasting into range — plus a cluster of other defensive players they might be interested in if they swap from #56 into the early third round.

They might even consider moving up in round two. Brandt has Jonathan Bullard ranked at #47.


The trade down for Devon Cajuste scenario

April 17th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Before we get into today’s piece — the Seahawks are bringing back another familiar face. Brandon Browner joins Chris Clemons in re-signing with the Seahawks.

If you wanted to know how they were going to become the bully again in 2016 — here’s your answer.

Trade down scenario involving Devon Cajuste

The Seahawks will manufacture a way to get the players they want.

Sometimes it’s hard to do. John Schneider admitted a year ago they came out of the draft with all but one of their ‘targets’. It’s a safe assumption that player was Mitch Morse — an explosive center convert who enjoyed a productive rookie season in Kansas City.

They also had to move up aggressively to get Tyler Lockett. They still managed to come away with a nice collection of players that fit their physical and character ideals.

2014 is a good example of things falling nicely for the Seahawks. They were able to trade down from #32 acquiring picks they needed to select certain targets. Despite those moves, they still got two players they really wanted in rounds 1-2 (Paul Richardson, Justin Britt) and the extra picks helped them select the likes of Kevin Pierre-Louis.

You might look back on that class and comment, not unfairly, that Richardson is injury-prone, Britt has performed poorly and KPL hasn’t had an impact. The point in this piece isn’t really to judge the quality of the players chosen — rather the fact Seattle was able to get the prospects that ‘fit’ what they wanted.

For example — Joel Bitonio is a fine offensive lineman that fit what they were looking for. However — if they were targeting Bitonio at #32 they knew they wouldn’t get the players they wanted in the mid-rounds (couldn’t trade down) and they wouldn’t get a receiver like Richardson (who they clearly really liked).

Selecting Bitonio would’ve secured one good player — the Seahawks wanted to secure multiple players they were comfortable with. Thus the trades and the selection of Richardson/Britt.

Our TEF piece on the 2014 draft explains why they wanted to draft Britt in the second round.

This is how the Seahawks generally work. How can they manipulate the board to find value and physical ideals in every round to fill various needs? It isn’t about selecting one player at a certain position and seeing what happens the rest of the way.

It’s more of a calculated, universal approach to all seven rounds. Not a narrow-minded focus on just the earliest pick.

Many consider 2014 a ‘dud’ class — but this approach has also brought about the brilliance of 2010, 2011, 2012 and potentially 2015.

Expect the Seahawks to work out a plan to address both their key needs (OL, DL) sufficiently at #26 and #56 with an eye to potential targets later in the class. If that means going D-line at #26 because they like the O-line options in rounds 2-3 — so be it. If it means going O-line first because they see great depth within this D-line class, that is an option too.

And don’t be shocked if they move around to acquire extra picks with another prospect or two in mind…

We’ve discussed possible trade scenarios in each of the first three rounds — but here’s another scenario that might make some sense:

Round 1 — #26
Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)

Round 2 — #56
Trade down from #56 with Miami (#73) for a fourth round pick (#107)

Round 3 — #73
Connor McGovern (T, Missouri)

Round 3 — #90
Joe Dahl (T, Washington State)

Round 3 — #97
Tyler Ervin (RB, San Jose State)

Round 4 — #107 (acquired from Miami)
Devon Cajuste (WR, Stanford)

If the Seahawks decide to go D-line first, they’re likely comfortable waiting until the second and third rounds where Connor McGovern, Joe Dahl and Joe Haeg are expected to come off the board.

Tony Pauline recently reported that Dahl’s stock was rising into day two — while Haeg has also received positive reviews (especially after a very good combine). McGovern’s stock has been a little quieter — but according to TEF he’s the second most explosive lineman in the draft.

In 2011 Seattle moved down from #57 to #75, acquiring an early fourth round pick. On that occasion Detroit wanted to move back into round two to select running back Mikel Leshoure. The Seahawks took John Moffitt in round three.

There might be an opportunity for history to repeat here. Again Seattle might be targeting an offensive lineman that will be available in the early third. The Miami Dolphins might also be thinking of adding a running back — having seen Lamar Miller bolt for Houston and the Broncos retain C.J. Anderson.

If Ezekiel Elliott is off the board by the #13 pick and Derrick Henry is gone by #42 — the Dolphins might get a little anxious to add a runner. The likes of Devontae Booker and Kenneth Dixon are being projected in the late second round.

The overall value of the deal favours the Dolphins — but the Seahawks might be willing to take the hit for the following reasons:

1. The guy they’d take at #56 would be expected to be available at #75 anyway

2. They desperately want an early fourth rounder to select a player they covet

The thinking here is they might have a crush on Devon Cajuste, the receiver at Stanford. The Seahawks don’t really have a big athletic target following Ricardo Lockette’s career-threatening injury and Chris Matthews’ departure.

Cajuste is attractive for many key reasons. Aside from his athletic profile — he’s a terrific run blocker (important in Seattle), he’s used to working in a run-first offense with a scrambling quarterback, he maxed out his limited targets in college, he’s a red zone threat and he’s very close to Doug Baldwin.

“I feel like I represent Doug in a way because he wore ’89’ at Stanford, so the fact that I got to wear that, I had to keep his legacy going.”
— Devon Cajuste

Everything about his character, his athletic profile, his experience — it screams Seahawks. He’s being projected in rounds 4-5 — and there’s no guarantee he lasts until the late fourth.

Getting that early fourth rounder would give them a better shot at Cajuste.

John Schneider has a history of drafting this type of receiver in this range. Kevin Norwood, Chris Harper and Kris Durham were all previous fourth round picks. All were bigger in stature compared to Golden Tate, Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett (drafted in rounds 2-3).

Of course, the Seahawks might still be able to pull off a trade like this even if they go O-line at #26. The sheer depth on the D-line could allow them to move down from #56 and still take a defensive player.

Alternatively they could drop down a few spots in round one with the intention of acquiring a fourth rounder.

In this scenario I had the Seahawks taking Vernon Butler at #26. He has a lot of buzz at the moment and could easily be off the board as early as #19 to Buffalo.

People talk up his potential as a pass rusher but he has a lot of work to do there. That said, he’s amped up on the field and set the tone for the Louisiana Tech defense. Every other player gravitated towards him on the field — that was evident.

Here’s how Scouts Inc describes him:

Plays with a mean streak. Tough dude. Well respected by teammates and he’s also known as the enforcer in their locker room. The only area on tape that gives us concern is his inconsistent fight as a pass rusher, particularly when he doesn’t win with first move.

This just about sums him up perfectly. He’s a fun guy with a serious football side — but he needs to improve his pass rush to max out his potential. This video offers a good insight into his personality:

Scouts Inc go on to add:

Butler is a massive interior defensive lineman with good overall strength, explosive upper-body power, and above average mobility for his size. He’s capable of playing DT, NT and 34DE in the NFL. There are flashes of Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets) in his game, but Butler needs refinement as a pass rusher. He’s a likely top-50 pick overall.

A quick reminder that when we put Butler through weighted TEF — he was the #2 defensive lineman behind Sheldon Rankins.

It’s his versatility, on top of his explosive physical profile that could appeal to the Seahawks. If he can line up at DE and one-technique in base but also act as an interior pass rush option on passing downs — he’d be exactly the type of player they currently lack.

They’ll need to work out whether they can enhance his pass rush before they spend a high pick on him. Plus the need to address the O-line right off the bat might prove too strong — especially with a plethora of D-line options available in this draft class.

Even so — Butler looks like an option. We’ve run through a few scenarios with an O-liner at #26 so it was time for a change. And while they might end up addressing their biggest need with a Germain Ifedi type at #26 — there are options in McGovern, Dahl and Haeg in rounds 2-3 that could also afford them the opportunity to go D-line first.


Guest Post: Bob Kaupang on Kyler Fackrell’s fit in Seattle

April 16th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Utah State’s Kyler Fackrell could be a target for the Seahawks

Written by Bob Kaupang

Each year fans get excited about certain prospects they hope are drafted by their favorite teams. This year Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell is on a short list of players I hope are selected by our Seattle Seahawks. He is big, strong, fast, quick, and impacts the game in a variety of ways.

He simply makes things happen.

Looking at the numbers. The twenty-four year old Fackrell is comparable to Bruce Irvin, who was the same age when the Seahawks made him their first-round draft choice in 2012. Many envision Fackrell as a replacement for the recently departed Irvin — a player who will play strongside linebacker (SAM) on early downs before putting his hand in the dirt to rush the passer on money downs.

With that being said and as Rob Staton pointed out last week, here is a comparison of the two:

Bruce Irvin
Height: 6-3
Weight: 245lbs
Vertical: 33.5 inches
Broad: 10-3
Bench press: 23 reps
10-yard: 1.58

Kyler Fackrell
Height: 6-5
Weight: 245lbs
Vertical: 34.5 inches
Broad: 10-1
Bench press: 15 reps
10-yard: 1.62

While it may be true that Fackrell could take over the role played by Irvin the past three years, Pete Carroll has a track record of moving his playmakers to maximize their talents – chess pieces, if you will.

In fact, Fackrell may be used more like Clay Matthews was by Carroll during his senior year at USC and the way the recently resigned Chris Clemons was used by the Seahawks from 2010-2013. If you compare the combine numbers of Fackrell to both Matthews and Clemons, you will see similarities:

Clay Matthews
Height: 6-3
Weight: 240lbs
Vertical: 35.5 inches
Broad: 10-1
Bench press: 23 reps
10-yard: 1.61

Chris Clemons
Height: 6-3
Weight: 236lbs
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad: 9-8
Bench press: 18 reps
10-yard: 1.72

While many have focused on Fackrell being a replacement for Irvin, let’s not forget that Irvin was drafted with the intent that he would be the eventual replacement for Clemons at Leo. This obviously didn’t happen.

While Clemons has been resigned, the fact of the matter is he’s 34-years-old. Even though Frank Clark is shedding weight this off-season in what appears to be a move to play an expanded role on the outside, this is a team that preaches competition and has a coach with final say on draft day. Carroll noted they hope to address the pass rush — the exact quote was, “we’ll see what happens in the draft.”

General Manager John Schneider and Carroll have consistently stated through the years that you’re not going to find these pass rushers, at least the ones who are going to contribute right away, unless you take them early in the draft.

Whenever Carroll says they need to do something at the conclusion of any season, they go out and do it. In addition to specifically mentioning the pass rush, he also noted that the offensive line is a priority. They haven’t ‘nailed’ that unit yet. There’s a good chance the Seahawks will go with either a pass rusher or offensive lineman in the first round, followed by the whatever they didn’t get in the second.

Adding Fackrell to the edge with Clark, Clemons, and Cliff Avril would give defensive coordinator Kris Richard a plethora of pass rushers coming off the edge. That depth could help prevent fourth quarter meltdowns such as the many squandered leads last season and Super Bowl XLIV when Avril went out with a concussion. The pass rush became anything but a ‘rush’ as hopes of a repeat vanished with Brady surveying the field with time for picnics with Gisele and naps during the nightmarish fourth quarter in which the Patriots scored two touchdowns.

The Giants have proven twice against Brady that the best formula is adhering to the philosophy of one can never have too many good pass rushers and adding Fackrell would be a big step in the right direction.

Even if the Seahawks don’t land a pass rushing defensive tackle in the draft, the potential move of Clark and addition of Fackrell would allow Michael Bennett to spend all third downs rushing from the interior, which would indeed improve the Seahawks push up the gut more consistently, too.

There are various scouting reports on every player expected to be drafted later this month. Unlike reading a report and forming an opinion, I have always wanted to see the player for themselves to form a final conclusion.

For example, many scouting reports said that Tyler Lockett would have trouble getting deep in the NFL because he got caught from behind too often at Kansas State. However, when you actually watched his offensive snaps for yourself, you could see that it was usually the quarterback under throwing a pass and Lockett having to slow down for it, which led to him getting caught from behind by a toasted cornerback running at full speed.

As I watch the only two games available from Fackrell’s senior season, I see a relentless player who is almost always strong at the point of attack and a difference maker when moving forward. He is extremely athletic and has the height and length that Carroll loves.

As I project Fackrell to the Seahawks, I see a player who would spend more time attacking the line of scrimmage than he did at Utah State so a few of the completions you see him give up aren’t as big of a concern for me as they would be for a team hoping to draft a linebacker who would spend the majority of his time in coverage on passing downs.

I had a chance to ask Fackrell a few questions for this story and when it comes to what he can bring to an NFL team, he stated, “I think that one of my strengths is versatility and being able to use me to rush, drop into zone coverage, and cover man-to-man.”

I asked Fackrell about the game above and here was his reply: “The Colorado State game is probably the most fun I’ve had in a game. Our rush was very strong and being able to put on that kind of pressure was important against them because of the threats they had in the passing game.”

Fackrell quote: “The Boise game was something I’ll never forget. To be able to cause seven turnovers in one half was shocking even to us. They just kept coming and our offense capitalized on nearly all of them and I remember there being just stunned faces on our own sideline at the amount of success we were having against a very good team.”

As I was able to ask Fackrell a few questions, I knew there would be certain responses due to the fact that he could be drafted by any NFL team. However, one area of interest reminded me of having the opportunity to interview my boyhood hero, Kenny Easley, last month. When I asked Easley about his career highlights, he talked about the Dolphins playoff win at the conclusion of the 1983 season and when the Seahawks returned four interceptions for touchdowns in a game versus the Kansas City Chiefs in 1984. Two of his three individual highlights was with the team in mind.

Fackrell went from giving politically correct answers to passionately gushing when he talked about the team success in both of these games. It reminded me of communicating with Easley. Some players talk about winning and team success but I don’t know how genuine it is. With Easley and now Fackrell, I got the sense they care (or cared) about their teammates and having success with them and some of what they chose as “individual” highlights was impressive.

Regardless of how Fackrell would ultimately be used in Seattle, there are other aspects important to Schneider and Carroll such as character, competitiveness and grit. Fackrell has these in spades.

I cannot count the number of times I have read comments from Seahawks fans such as, “I can’t believe we passed on Martavis Bryant. How could we have done that?” The only comments from fans today revolve around thankfulness their team did not select someone who finds themselves out of the league for at least a year.

Randy Gregory is the latest poster boy for being careful with early picks. Gregory was projected by many to be a top ten pick last year but slid to late in the second round. Like Bryant, addiction can be a terrible thing to overcome and adding a player like Fackrell ensures you don’t have to worry about these types of potential headaches as an organisation.

Another strength Fackrell possesses is the ability to play assignment sound football. How many times do we hear Seahawk coaches and defenders talk about doing their jobs and trusting others to do theirs on the field? It seems Fackrell is the type of player who would fit perfectly due to his nature of doing his job and not freelancing to be the star. When you can get a star talent who embraces the team mentality — you have a special type of player.

Thankfully Schneider and Carroll have assembled a roster of players who fit these ideals and when someone doesn’t buy into the program, they are often jettisoned out of town. Fackrell would most definitely be part of the solution, not the problem. That’s the kind of players you want with all of your picks.

I was able to ask Fackrell about the upcoming draft and potential fit with the Seahawks: “There is obviously a good history of USU Aggies going to Seattle and I would count myself lucky to have the opportunity to play for the Seahawks.” The last time the Seahawks drafted a Utah State linebacker they were able to add Bobby Wagner in the second round in 2012.

If Fackrell does become a member of the Seahawks, he’s already said that he’ll answer some additional questions for us, too. Here’s to hoping the Seahawks draft another Utah State linebacker in a few weeks!


Thoughts on the Seahawks draft via podcast & Q&A

April 15th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Over the last couple of days I’ve done a couple of things I want to highlight today. Firstly, I took part in a Q&A on the Seahawks draft with Stephen Cohen from the Seattle PI. We go into a lot of detail on the class and the options for the Seahawks.

Check it out.

Secondly, I was invited onto the Seahawkers Podcast to talk about the draft with two weeks to go. You can listen here:

Also I wanted to compare mocks today using Daniel Jeremiah’s latest projection. It’s important to look at other mock drafts and see if there are players we don’t expect to fall who might be available.

Jeremiah had the following players available that we had off the board in our updated mock yesterday:

Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
Keanu Neal (S, Florida)

The following players were available in both mocks:

Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)

Dodd, Butler, Bullard and Henry have all visited with the Seahawks per reports. Tom Cable worked out Ifedi at the Texas A&M pro-day.

Based on that information it’d be an intriguing scenario for the Seahawks with at least a couple of legitimate D-line options to go along with Ifedi and Spriggs. Such a proposition might encourage them to move down — even if it was just a few spots.

Jeremiah actually has the Seahawks selecting Mississippi State’s Chris Jones. Is it an option?

Jones tested fairly athletically for his size (6-6, 311lbs) running a 4.62 shuttle and a 7.44 three cone. Those numbers compare favourably to Willie Henry, a player who could go in round two.

A 24.5 inch vertical however is very disappointing and alongside an 8-10 broad jump doesn’t hint at an explosive physical profile.

Perhaps the greatest evidence that he won’t be a Seahawk, however, is this observation by an unnamed scout:

“He could easily be in the top 50 but he is such a dog,” said another scout. “He’s an underachiever. Very good ability.”

I’m not sure the word “underachiever” screams Seahawks first round pick. Jones admitted he didn’t try hard enough in 2014 and as a former #2 overall recruit — he never truly hit the marks expected of him.

With so many intense, amped up D-liners in this class (Vernon Butler and Jonathan Bullard were both available in Jeremiah’s mock) this seems like an unlikely fit.

There might also be further movement in the top ten according to Jason La Canfora:

La Canfora even suggests the Titans are working hard to move back into the top ten.

It might be difficult for the Browns to get a deal done. The Rams were motivated to get ahead of Cleveland to select their preferred quarterback. Does anyone really expect San Diego, Dallas, Jacksonville or Baltimore to go QB?

Why would you need to move up to #2?

Even though there’s a fairly established top group of around 8-10 prospects — this could be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent history.


NFL Mock Draft: Post-Rams trade 14th April

April 14th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Before we get into the mock draft, here’s a podcast appearance I made today with Kenny and Danny from Field Gulls discussing the Rams/Titans trade. Check it out:

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

The early run on defensive linemen (Billings #18, Butler #19, Bullard #21) forces Seattle’s hand. They take an offensive lineman they’re comfortable with. Ifedi can play left guard or right tackle.

I suspect the Seahawks will like Sheldon Rankins, Vernon Butler and Jonathan Bullard at DE/DT. None last until #26 in this projection.

With a deep class of defensive players they should be able to get one they like at #56. It could be a defensive tackle (Willie Henry, Hassan Ridgeway, Kenny Clark) or a SAM/DE (Kyler Fackrell).

It’s still a fair expectation that they’ll take two offensive linemen in the first three rounds. If Connor McGovern or Joe Dahl last — they could be tried at guard or center. Joe Haeg has the makings of a very accomplished guard.