With three weeks to go this is how I’m looking at Seattle’s options:
1. Will Sheldon Rankins (yeah right) or Jonathan Bullard (more likely) make it to #26? If not, it’s hard to identify the DE-DT they’d be willing to take in round one. They haven’t drafted a defensive tackle earlier than round three (Jordan Hill) and there are players with Hill’s underrated explosion and agility likely to be available in rounds 2-3.
2. If it isn’t going to be Rankins or Bullard, the safe money is on an offensive tackle. Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs are the most likely options based on everything we’ve covered that appears to be important to Seattle for the O-line. Size, length, tackle experience, unique traits, versatility, and explosive athleticism.
3. The four first round players I’m focusing on are Rankins (the pipe dream), Bullard, Spriggs and Ifedi. Rankins is such an explosive player (more on that in a bit) it’s almost certain he won’t be there at #26. If he is, run to the podium. Shon Coleman could also be in contention.
4. At #56 we’ll more or less know what they’re likely to do based on their first round decision. If they go defense at #26, expect them to take an offensive lineman in round two. If they take an O-liner, it seems likely they’ll add some kind of pass rusher with their second pick.
5. If it’s offense at #56, Connor McGovern could be their version of Mitch Morse. He’s the second most explosive lineman in the draft after Jason Spriggs, he has the tackle experience and he can play virtually any position on the line. Joe Haeg could be an alternative choice if they go offense in round two.
6. If they’re picking defense in the second round, Willie Henry has the DE-DT capability. He’s not far off Jonathan Bullard in some of the testing and ran a nice short shuttle. Kyler Fackrell is a DE/SAM who could be intriguing at #56 and Bronson Kaufusi’s size and agility makes him a unique talent. Charles Tapper and Ronald Blair III could also be options.
7. Could they take a wildcard in round two? Of course. Running back and wide receiver could be considered. They’ve drafted two receivers in the second round (Golden Tate, Paul Richardson) and one running back (Christine Michael) so they have previous here. Kenneth Dixon’s ball security is an issue but he’s their type. I’m not totally sold on Devontae Booker but he’ll go in the second or third. Braxton Miller could be a player they look at. They might even consider Tyler Ervin if his stock continues to rise.
8. In round three they’ll have options on the offensive line (possibly Joe Haeg, Joe Dahl) and running back (Ervin). There’s a general feeling in the league that the depth on the O-line and D-line drops after the third round. I still think Stanford receiver Devon Cajuste is primed to be a target possibly as early as round four. He’s extremely athletic for a big receiver, he run blocks very well, he maximises his targets in a run-first offense and is very close to Doug Baldwin.
Before we get into this weeks projection, I wanted to talk about four prospects I spent some extra time looking at today.
Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
Only listed at #26 on Daniel Jeremiah’s latest big board, Rankins is arguably the most explosive defensive player in the draft class. His combination of a 34.5 inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump and 28 reps on the bench press at 299lbs is far superior to nearly every other defensive lineman available. He’s more explosive physically than Robert Nkemdiche.
When we put his numbers through TEF he had an incredible 3.52 grade. Even though TEF is set up to judge offensive linemen relating to Seattle’s physical ideal — it’s still a useful tool to see how the defensive tackles match up. Rankins’ score blitzes every O-liner in the draft other than Jason Spriggs. He is simply a lot more explosive than people realise.
In comparison, DeForest Buckner is a 3.33 in TEF and Jonathan Bullard is a 3.18. Rankins is going to be considerably more explosive than the vast majority of interior offensive linemen he’ll face at the next level. He’s a candidate to put up big time sack numbers and cause major disruption working at the three and five technique.
Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
I made the mistake of reading too much into Spence’s disappointing 4.80 at the combine. Looking at the rest of his numbers there’s a lot to like. A 1.62 split, a 35-inch vertical, 25 reps on the bench press, a 10-1 in the broad jump and a 4.35 short shuttle. He has the quickness and change of direction to work the edge. These numbers prove he’s a great athlete — and his bench performance is good for his size.
The concern from Spence shouldn’t be that he underwhelmed at the combine. It should be his one-dimensional style (speed rush) and the character concerns that led to his departure from Ohio State. For those reasons there is a slight risk factor that could see him drop into the top half of round two. That still wouldn’t be a bad slot for a player who has essentially had to rebuild his career.
Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
Here are Bruce Irvin’s combine numbers compared to Kyler Fackrell’s:
Vertical: 33.5 inches
Bench press: 23 reps
Vertical: 34.5 inches
Bench press: 15 reps
There’s virtually nothing between the two players.
An argument can be made for a SAM/DE not being a priority for the Seahawks. They can start a mix of Mike Morgan and Cassius Marsh in that role if required — plus Eric Pinkins may also challenge.
Yet there’s also an argument to be made for adding Fackrell. He’s very similar to Bruce Irvin and would be able to do, essentially, the exact same job. It’d be a like-for-like replacement.
Both John Schneider and Pete Carroll have talked about their desire to add someone to the defense who forces turnovers. That could very easily mean a DE-DT type who can work inside on third down. Yet if Sheldon Rankins and Jonathan Bullard are unavailable at #26 (not terribly unlikely) the Seahawks are going to struggle to find that type of player. Willie Henry, a possibility in round two, also might not make it to #56.
In that scenario — Fackrell makes a nice alternative. He’s a splash play artist who impacts the quarterback. His flawless character and passion for the game are also appealing. The Seahawks might prefer to add a DE-DT but if they can’t — Fackrell’s combination of size, length, athleticism, character and impact could make him Seattle’s pick at #56.
A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
Everyone’s heard about Robinson’s upside and potential. Daniel Jeremiah, who considers Robinson the 17th best player in the draft, states:
“He has outstanding height, bulk and athleticism for the position. As a pass rusher, he flashes an explosive first step as well as an effective slap/swim move. Overall, Robinson has all of the tools to be a dominant three-down presence but he hasn’t put it all together yet. His best football is ahead of him.”
When I watched tape of Robinson I thought he was distinctly average. No explosion, minimal impact, very few splash plays let alone sacks. He was too easily blocked and didn’t play with any great strength, power, quickness or intensity. He just looked good aesthetically. By that I mean he carries 307lbs very well. He doesn’t have a sloppy frame — he’s chiselled.
I suspect appearances in this instance are deceptive. He looks like he should be very athletic. The truth is completely the opposite — and backs up the disappointing tape. Robinson’s best football isn’t likely ahead of him.
Vertical: 26 inches
Three cone: 7.80
Short shuttle: 4.74
I collected the data for all of the defensive linemen in this draft that weigh more than 285lbs and worked out the average for each test. Here are the results:
Vertical: 29.7 inches
Three cone: 7.65
Short shuttle: 4.63
In relation to the defensive tackles or bigger DE’s in this draft class, Robinson tests below average in every single category.
He is thoroughly miscast as a player with upside who didn’t quite play his best ball at Alabama. His ceiling, physically, is pretty low. Robinson might prove to be an average defensive tackle at the next level who isn’t a liability and does a decent job defending the run. That’s all well and good, but he isn’t special.
Kyler Fackrell had his pro day today, we’re waiting for news on how he performed in the three cone and short shuttle. He did improve his bench press mark from 15 to 17.
Germain Ifedi also had his pro day today and went through drills with none other than Tom Cable. If Ifedi’s on the board at #26 he could be Seattle’s pick.
#1 Tennessee — Laremy Tunsil (T, Ole Miss)
#2 Cleveland — Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
#3 San Diego — Jaylen Ramsey (CB, Florida State)
#4 Dallas — Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
#5 Jacksonville — Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
#6 Baltimore — DeForest Buckner (DE, Oregon)
#7 San Fran — Jared Goff (QB, California)
#8 Philadelphia — Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
#9 Tampa Bay — Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida)
#10 TRADE Los Angeles — Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
#11 Chicago — Jack Conklin (T, Michigan State)
#12 New Orleans — Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
#13 Miami — Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
#14 Oakland — Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
#15 TRADE New York Giants — Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame)
#16 Detroit — Reggie Ragland (LB, Alabama)
#17 Atlanta — Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
#18 Indianapolis — Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor)
#19 Buffalo — Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson)
#20 New York Jets — Germain Ifedi (T, Texas A&M)
#21 Washington — Jonathan Bullard (DE, Florida)
#22 Houston — Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
#23 Minnesota — Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
#24 Cincinatti — Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
#25 Pittsburgh — Keanu Neal (S, Florida)
#26 Seattle — Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
#27 Green Bay — Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
#28 Kansas City — Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
#29 Arizona — William Jackson III (CB, Houston)
#30 Carolina — Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
#31 Denver — Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama)
#32 Cleveland — Karl Joseph (S, West Virginia)
#33 Tennessee — Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
#34 Dallas — Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State)
#35 San Diego — Taylor Decker (T, Ohio State)
#36 Baltimore — Le’Raven Clark (T, Texas Tech)
#37 San Francisco — Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
#38 Miami — Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
#39 Jacksonville — Xavien Howard (CB, Baylor)
#40 New York Giants — A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
#41 Chicago — Chris Jones (DT, Mississippi State)
#42 Tampa Bay — Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucy)
#43 TRADE New York Giants — Sterling Shepard (WR, Oklahoma)
#44 Oakland — Robert Nkemdiche (DT, Ole Miss)
#45 Los Angeles — Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
#46 Detroit — Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
#47 New Orleans — Austin Johnson (DT, Penn State)
#48 Indianapolis — Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
#49 Buffalo — Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State)
#50 Atlanta — Cody Whitehair (G, Kansas State)
#51 New York Jets — Travis Feeney (LB, Washington)
#52 Houston — Joshua Garnett (G, Stanford)
#53 Washington — Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State)
#54 Minnesota — Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA)
#55 Cincinnati — Willie Henry (DT, Michigan)
#56 Seattle — Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
#57 Green Bay — Tyler Boyd (WR, Pittsburgh)
#58 Pittsburgh — Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech)
#59 Kansas City — Kamalei Correa (DE, Boise State)
#60 New England — Devontae Booker (RB, Utah)
#61 New England — Jihad Ward (DE, Illinois)
#62 Denver — Hassan Ridgeway (DT, Texas)
#63 Carolina — Kenneth Dixon (RB, Louisiana Tech)