Super Bowl mock draft: 5th February

February 5th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Feel free to use this as an open thread for the Super Bowl. And if you’re struggling to handle a Seahawks-free Super Bowl — here’s a mock draft to talk about instead.

Scroll down for notes.

#1 Cleveland — Myles Garrett (EDGE, Texas A&M)
#2 San Francisco — Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford)
#3 Chicago — Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)
#4 Jacksonville — Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)
#5 Tennessee — Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama)
#6 Jets — Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)
#7 LA Chargers — Jamal Adams (S, LSU)
#8 Carolina — Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
#9 Cincinnati — Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)
#10 Buffalo — O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
#11 New Orleans — Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)
#12 Cleveland — Sidney Jones (CB, Washington)
#13 Arizona — Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
#14 Indianapolis — Taco Charlton (EDGE, Michigan)
#15 Eagles — Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan)
#16 Baltimore — Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan)
#17 Washington — Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
#18 Tennessee — Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
#19 Tampa Bay — John Ross (WR, Washington)
#20 Denver — Ryan Ramcyzk (T, Wisconsin)
#21 Detroit — Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)
#22 Miami — Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
#23 New York Giants — David Njoku (TE, Miami)
#24 Oakland — Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State)
#25 Houston — Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)
#26 Cleveland — Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)
#27 Kansas City — Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson)
#28 Dallas — Justin Evans (S, Texas A&M)
#29 Green Bay — Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)
#30 Pittsburgh — Takkarist McKinley (EDGE, UCLA)
#31 Atlanta — Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
#32 New England — Tim Williams (EDGE, Alabama)

This projection highlights the recent talk of teams not being enamoured with the quarterback class. Today, the 49ers were added to the growing list of suitors for Jimmy Garoppolo. Apparently Matt Schaub (!!!) is an alternative option while the Jets are reportedly eyeing Mike Glennon.

Is this unrealistic?

San Francisco — Matt Schaub
Chicago — Jimmy Garoppolo
Jets — Mike Glennon
Buffalo — Tony Romo

It’d have a major impact on the top of the draft, with potentially Cleveland (not an attractive proposition for any of the names above) being left to consider their options.

In a scenario like the one above, moving back into the first round might appeal to the Browns — having already landed the drafts best pass rusher and arguably the best corner too, they can still land a QB.

They might want to get ahead of Kansas City. The Chiefs need a long term answer at QB with Alex Smith turning 33 in May and seemingly incapable of leading a deep playoff run.

Using the draft trade chart, this type of deal could make sense:

Cleveland gets:

R1 #26 — 700
R2 #58 — 320
Total trade value = 1020

Seattle gets:

R2 #33 — 580
R2 #51 — 390
R5 — 44
Total = 1014

It’s just a bit of manoeuvring by both teams. The Browns jump from #33 to #26 to get a quarterback. Cleveland owns Tennessee’s second round pick (#51) so they swap with Seattle (#58) and throw in a fifth round pick to match up the value.

The Browns have two fifth rounders anyway (acquiring a second from New England) so it’s not much of a sacrifice on their behalf to get a possible answer at quarterback.

It also gives the Seahawks a better chance of landing two of the names below at #33 and #51.

Players still on the board at need positions:

Obi Melifonwu (DB, Connecticut)
Kevin King (CB, Washington)
Budda Baker (S, Washington)
Rasul Douglas (CB, West Virginia)
Quincy Wilson (CB, Florida)
Fabian Moreau (CB, UCLA)
Cordrea Tankersley (CB, Clemson)
Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida)
Tyus Bowser (LB, Houston)
Alex Anzalone (LB, Florida)
Dorian Johnson (G/T, Pittsburgh)

What would you do in this situation?

Let me know in the comments section.


Rapoport: Seahawks unlikely to lose second round pick

February 5th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton


Saturday draft links: Bolles, Reddick, Melifonwu updates

February 4th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Firstly, congratulations to Kenny Easley. If you missed BobbyK’s article yesterday, check it out here.

Tony Pauline has some interesting info on Garett Bolles (T, Utah) and Justin Evans (S, Texas A&M):

The buzz continues to build around offensive tackle Garett Bolles. As posted earlier this week Bolles has been stamped the superior athlete from this year’s offensive tackle class and several people have told me for a month now he’s the best left tackle in the draft.

Bolles is likely to measure a shade under 6-feet/5-inches at the combine, which may turn a few teams off, but from what I’m hearing don’t be surprised if he lands in the top half of round one.

I’m told Evans, who had two solid practices at the Senior Bowl before sitting out Thursday with injury, is expected to blow up the combine and put up Byron Jones type numbers.

The belief is Evans could land in the late part of round one and I’ve heard his name linked with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys presently have four defensive backs up for free agency including two safety’s, starter Barry Church and JJ Wilcox.

Bolles could end up in the top-10 as the best left tackle in college football in 2016. Evans’ athleticism and intensity shows up on tape and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he rose like Karl Joseph a year ago and found his way into the top-25.

Daniel Jeremiah says teams are not excited by this years quarterback class:

I couldn’t find a scout or executive who was excited about DeShone Kizer or Mitch Trubisky. When you’re talking to teams that already have an established signal-caller, there’s no reason for them to feed me false information. In fact, it would benefit them if these quarterbacks went early, dropping talented players at other positions into their lap.

Sometimes the NFL is hard to figure out. The lack of interest in Deshaun Watson compared to the building buzz around Jared Goff a year ago is bizarre.

Jeremiah has also info on Haason Reddick’s stock:

Most impressively, he showed excellent run instincts and the ability to sort through the trash and find the ball carrier in team drills. Reuben Foster is the top inside linebacker in this draft class, but Reddick is putting some pressure on Florida’s Jarrad Davis for the No. 2 spot.

After the combine Reddick will probably be considered a clear top-22 pick. There just aren’t many players with his combination of size, extreme athleticism and versatility. He can play any of the three linebacker spots and rush the edge. He’s an incredible player.

It’s interesting though that Jeremiah notes he’s closing in on Jarrad Davis as the #2 inside linebacker. It goes to show that even if Reddick moves up boards — it might just create a different opportunity for the Seahawks if they want to take an athletic linebacker in round one, be it Davis or Zach Cunningham for example.

Reddick, however, is pretty much the perfect type of prospect for the Seahawks. It’s a shame to think he’ll be off the board by #26.

Bucky Brooks offers some insider info on two players we discussed during the Senior Bowl week — Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut) and John Johnson (S, Boston College):

“They did a nice job at both spots,” said an AFC college scouting director. “I wouldn’t want them to play outside extensively, but they are certainly capable of playing on the island in spots. … Every team is looking for a guy who can (handle) dual responsibilities in this league.”

Both players could be on Seattle’s radar.

This video of Melifonwu was posted on Draft Breakdown yesterday.

The draft tracker was updated today with reports on some of the Senior Bowl competitors.

Melifonwu got the following review from a AFC Pro-Personnel Director: “He’s a freak. He’s going to blow away the combine. He’s fast and will post some of the best vertical and broad numbers at his position. He’s going to get a lot better in the pros and he has that elite size that will get him overdrafted.”

Lance Zierlein added: “Big and athletic, he may lack the coverage qualities and instincts needed to work as a “last line of defense” player in a pass-happy division. Melifonwu is an effective downhill tackler who has the ability to match up against tight ends and make a living near the line of scrimmage. His football instincts aren’t up to par, but the size and traits will be extremely enticing for teams who covet traits first.”

The Seahawks don’t necessarily consider ‘traits first’ — but they’re an important part of what they look for in the early rounds.

Alex Anzalone (LB, Florida) got a positive review with a NFC Personnel Director stating: “You saw at (Senior Bowl) practice how gifted he is athletically. He just has to prove he can stay on the field.”

There’s no doubt Anzalone could be an intriguing player. His issues staying healthy are the only concern, otherwise he’d potentially be a first round possibility. Having only checked today, I wasn’t aware he was a former 5-star recruit according to Rivals.

Boston College safety John Johnson is a player to keep an eye on. A NFC Secondary Coach said of Johnson: “He’s really caught my eye out here. Had to go look him up with one of our scouts to find out more about the kid. Way more athletic than a lot of the safeties you see out at this game.”

He excelled during Senior Bowl drills.


Guest article: Kenny Easley in the HoF, what about Earl & Kam?

February 3rd, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Written by BobbyK

Although the season has been over for almost three weeks, there is still hope for one final victory prior to Super Bowl LI.

Tomorrow we learn if Kenny Easley, Godfather of the Legion of Boom, will become the latest Seahawks player enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

While most content on this blog is focused on what may happen in the future, today is appropriate for looking back at a Seahawks draft nearly 36 years ago.

The date was Saturday, April 28, 1981. The Seahawks had a decision to make with the fourth overall pick. The choice was between two defensive backs, Kenny Easley and Ronnie Lott.

“We went back and forth,” said former Seahawks coach Jack Patera in an interview last spring. “There wasn’t a whole lot that separated the two.”

Easley had been a four-time all-conference selection and three-time consensus All-American at UCLA. Lott was coming off a brilliant senior campaign at USC and was taken by the San Francisco 49ers four picks later.

Former safety Eugene Robinson had 57 career interceptions and his vote for best of all-time at his position was Easley and Lott. Robinson emphatically added, “No matter what era.”

The biggest criticism of Easley’s Hall of Fame candidacy is he only played seven seasons. Put into context, current Seahawks safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are seven-year veterans.

Would Chancellor or Thomas be considered for the Hall of Fame if they retired today? It’s possible for Thomas and not likely for Chancellor.

A difference in comparing seven-year careers is Easley did not need a rookie season to develop. He took the league by storm from day one and was AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year 1981 and played at a high level until his final professional game in the Pro Bowl.

Thomas started as a rookie in 2010 but didn’t become a force until his sophomore campaign.

Thomas shared a story of his rookie struggles with former Texas Longhorns teammate Kenny Vaccaro after he had been benched by the New Orleans Saints in 2014. The story was printed in The New Orleans Advocate on January 28, 2015.

“He was real down on himself and I was telling him the story of when coach [Pete] Carroll almost benched me,” Thomas said. “We played the Giants my rookie year. We got blown out and I was giving up touchdowns left and right.”

Chancellor did not start a game as a rookie while serving as backup to veteran Lawyer Milloy.

Although Thomas and Chancellor are seven year veterans, they have not dominated the way Easley did in an equal amount consecutive seasons.

Team success isn’t supposed to be Hall of Fame criteria but numbers indicate chances of being inducted are greater if players were part of championship teams. Thomas and Chancellor were part of Seattle’s only Super Bowl victory.

The flip side is neither player has won an NFL Defensive MVP Award and the Hall of Fame is supposedly about individual greatness – not team success.

Opposing offensive coordinators learned early in his rookie season they had better account for number forty-five. Similarly, Easley had to be accounted for through his final game which was a Wild Card loss to the Houston Oilers on January 3, 1988. He was only 28 years old.

While plenty of Hall of Fame players lasted 10+ seasons, many did not dominate the way Easley did in seven consecutive years.

Earl Campbell and his eight-year career is an example. By his seventh season, Campbell was a shell of his former self, merely averaging 3.2 yard per carry and rushing for only 468 yards in 14 games.

Lynn Swann played nine years but averaged less than a catch per game as a rookie in 1974 and his career concluded in 1982 with only 18 receptions and no touchdowns.

Do some players get “credit” from Hall of Fame voters for having played in the NFL even if they did not impact games early in their careers like Swann or in their twilight years such as Campbell and Swann? There is no arguing the Hall of Fame credentials of Campbell or Swann, but it isn’t correct to insinuate each were more dominant than Easley for any seven consecutive years of their careers.

Tomorrow we find out if Kenny Easley gets his overdue call into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and joins Lott in safety immortality. It would also be fitting if Thomas and Chancellor continue to play at a high level to eventually join Easley in Canton.

Although their season has been over for almost three weeks, there is still hope for one final Seahawks victory.


Updated Seahawks first round watch list

February 1st, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

First of all, thank you to everyone who sent a message about the birth of my daughter. Sasha arrived on Sunday and joins Henry, my three-year-old son.

We do a watch-list review every couple of months. With the Senior Bowl complete, it’s time for an update.

Things I’ve considered:

1. Pete Carroll’s admitted team needs

2. Seattle’s trends under Carroll and John Schneider (cornerbacks with +32 inch arms, explosive O-liners etc)

And a reminder — this is a status check for February 1st. A lot can and will change after the combine.

Here are some names to monitor:

Offensive linemen

Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
Ryan Ramcyzk (T, Wisconsin)


Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
Tyus Bowser (LB, Houston)
Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida)

Defensive backs

Kevin King (CB, Washington)
Obi Melifonwu (DB, Connecticut)
Budda Baker (DB, Washington)
Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
Rasul Douglas (CB, West Virginia)

Some points…

1. Both offensive linemen listed could go in the top-20

Bolles is an elite athlete for his position. His footwork, loose hips, punishing physicality and unmatched ability at the second level should mean he’s long gone before Seattle’s pick.

Tony Pauline confirmed as much yesterday:

On the junior front talk at the Senior Bowl was the expectations of tackle Garrett Bolles being selected much earlier than presently projected.

While scouts are concerned about his lower body strength they’ve classified Bolles as the “superior athlete” in this year’s tackle class.

There’s just too much demand at the tackle position for a player of Bolles’ quality to last. Sadly.

Ramcyzk isn’t the same kind of athlete but he’s solid. He’s having surgery to repair a torn labrum. That could lead to a slight drop but again, the league needs tackles.

The Seahawks might sprint to the podium if either reaches #26.

2. It’s a really good looking group of linebackers

Why isn’t this position getting more attention? It’s legitimately possible we could see at least three first round picks at linebacker (Reuben Foster, Zach Cunningham, Haason Reddick). The likes of Jarrad Davis, Tyus Bowser, Raekwan McMillan and Alex Anzalone won’t be far behind.

3. Is linebacker really a first round possibility?

This is a point worth emphasising again. In an ideal world, a fitting offensive tackle or defensive back will be there at #26. What if that isn’t the case?

In that scenario, getting a really good linebacker to team with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright would be one of the best ways to add an impact player to the defense. Carroll might’ve specifically mentioned linebacker in the context of adding younger depth behind the two key starters — but getting a complete backer that can stay on the field for any down or distance could be appealing.

4. Why do the linebackers listed fit?

They’re all tremendous athletes. Reddick has reportedly run a 4.47 in the past and is expected to possess a similar physical profile to 2014 #15 pick Ryan Shazier.

Zach Cunningham has a chance to test equally well. He’s intense, physical, had 16.5 TFL’s in 2016 and is said to have great length.

Both players will likely appeal to the Seahawks as plug-in-and-play three-down linebackers with the ability to cover and make plays in the backfield. The downside? Both could easily be off the board by Miami at #22.

Bowser could be a consolation prize. He too is a fantastic athlete with underrated range and the potential to be good in coverage. He’s already a solid pass rusher with the size to be a Bruce Irvin-style addition. His stock will continue to rise after the combine. Would you really be shocked if the Seahawks went after a player like this, rich in versatility and with a high ceiling?

Then there’s Davis. He’s not as twitchy as the other three names listed but he’s reportedly capable of a time in the 4.5’s and that shows with his ability to close and cover ground quickly. He’s been compared to Shaq Thompson but he’s more of a leader and tone-setter. He was the heart and soul of a loaded Florida defense filled with future NFL players.

5. Why are only five defensive backs listed?

Purely because we need the combine. Seattle has a ‘type’ at cornerback and it includes strict height and length measurements. For example, they haven’t drafted a single cornerback with sub-32-inch arms.

What’s more, they haven’t drafted a cornerback earlier than the fourth round since 2010. It’ll probably take an exceptional athlete with major upside to break that trend.

Until we get a full list of measurements and testing results it’s difficult to project who is likely to be in contention for the Seahawks.

6. What about the five names mentioned?

Kevin King has the size and likely the length. He had a sensational workout at the 2016 Husky combine. Tony Pauline reported on Monday that teams really like him and a good forty yard dash could secure a first round grade:

Better than expected times in the forty (low 4.4’s) could push King into the late part of round one. Otherwise expect to hear his name called in the second frame. King’s ball skills compare with many of the top corners but teams fear he will be a liability in the deep field.

If he manages a sensational three-cone like the 6.40 he had last year plus the 39.5 inch vertical, that might convince the Seahawks he’s freaky enough for #26. Richard Sherman only ran a 4.56 so something similar for King might not be an issue.

Melifonwu is expected to do everything well at the combine, plus we already know how he measures because he attended the Senior Bowl. He’s 6-4 and 219lbs with 32.5 inch arms. Physically he looks the part of a Seattle DB. Many have tipped him to run in the 4.4’s and record a +40 inch vertical too.

That should be freaky enough for the Seahawks. He could be tried as an outside cornerback but he’s also capable of working in the slot against bigger targets and covering at safety.

Baker is just a superb prospect and could be long gone by #26. His physicality despite a lack of size is impressive, he makes plays beyond the LOS as a blitzer and he has the range to play single high.

Here’s more from Tony Pauline’s most recent report, this time on Baker:

Scouts say Baker is just a terrific football player. They question his speed and tell me despite recent comparisons he’s no Earl Thomas. Grades on Baker presently range from second round through the fourth round.

Baker carries himself like a Seahawk and you can imagine him being part of Seattle’s defense. The way he fits in is the question mark. Unlike Melifonwu he’s unlikely to be considered an outside corner and he’s not going to be covering tight ends or Mike Evans types. Would you have to dramatically adapt your defense to fit him in as a first round pick, using three-safety looks or hoping he can manage a role primarily in the slot?

It’s still worth keeping him on the radar for now, due to his extreme tenacity, athleticism and attitude.

Jackson similarly is more likely ‘just’ a slot corner in Seattle unless he has obscenely long arms for his size like Chris Harris Jr. That said, he’s the kind of ultra-dynamic athlete and playmaker the Seahawks have liked in the past. He’s also high character and could provide depth at safety too, not to mention his kick-return skills (possibly important depending on the health of Tyler Lockett).

Here’s more from Tony Pauline:

Despite the fact he’s likely to measure under 5-feet/10-inches at the combine most I spoke with say Adoree’ Jackson of USC is a lock first round pick.

They are willing to overlook Jackson’s height as teams have stamped the junior “a difference maker” at cornerback, as a return specialist and even at the receiver position.

Douglas had eight interceptions in 2016 and has the requisite size and length to fit the Seahawks. He has a passion for the game and the mentality that will likely appeal to Seattle’s staff. He’s a former four-star recruit that received offers from Florida State and Georgia.

How early is too early for Douglas? The combine will answer that. If he runs a 4.4 with his physical skill set and production — he could be one of the big winners in Indianapolis.

There are others we could add to the list. Sidney Jones is a big-time talent but will likely go in the top-15. Marlon Humphrey is being downgraded by many but cornerbacks with his athletic profile and size usually don’t get out of the top-20. The two Florida cornerbacks did not test well at the Nike Sparq Combine in 2013 and will likely need a better performance in Indianapolis to be considered. Jabrill Peppers gets a bad press but there’s a very real chance someone takes a shot on him in the top-25. Cordrea Tankersley and Gareon Conley are two others to monitor.

It’s such a deep group of DB’s, this list will surely grow after the combine.

7. Are there other positions to consider?

Possibly — but in the past when Carroll has stated a need, they’ve attacked it in the draft.

There are ‘Seahawky’ types elsewhere including Takk McKinley (EDGE, UCLA), Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri), Taco Charlton (EDGE, Michigan), John Ross (WR, Washington), Dorian Johnson (OL, Pittsburgh) and David Njoku (TE, Miami) to name a few.


Senior Bowl game: Open thread & live blog

January 28th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

If you’re watching the Senior Bowl today (2:30pm EST) post your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll update with notes throughout the game.

First quarter

Tyus Bowser (LB, Houston) had the first tackle of the game, working nicely in space. His second snap sent him downfield in coverage. Mike Mayock compares him to Haason Reddick — Bowser is one to watch for Seattle.

The first North drive stalls after Alex Anzalone (LB, Florida) blows up a screen. He’s an underrated player and highlights the depth at linebacker this year.

On the first drive for the South we get a first glimpse of Obi Melifonwu (S, UConn). He’s playing safety and destroys Donnel Pumphrey after the RB squirts into the second level. Melifonwu levels him with a crunching hit. He recovered a Matt Dayes fumble shortly after.

Zay Jones (WR, East Carolina) makes a really nice catch for 14-yards working against Marquez White (CB, Florida State). White has 32-inch arms, monitor him. Jones had a good week and did well to make the grab because the pass-placement wasn’t great.

Eddie Vanderdoes’ jersey and pants don’t fit.

Dan Feeney (G, Indiana) wiped out Carlos Watkins (DT, Clemson) on a run play. On the next snap he did a great job getting to the second level finding a linebacker to block. Nice start for Feeney.

Taylor Moton (T, Western Michigan) gave up a play to Tanoh Kpassagnon (DE, Villanova) and had to resort to tackling him. Clear holding penalty. Great quickness from Kpassagnon.

There are no replay challenges at the Senior Bowl, which is a shame. Zay Jones just made an incredible play at the back of the end zone, extending fully to high point a wayward overthrow and somehow get two feet down. Sensational catch but was called out of bounds. Jones is having a day.

The South team has been decimated by injuries and it’s showing in the game so far. Josh Dobbs just threw a pick after the makeshift O-line collapsed from both ends. Dobbs was hit as he threw and it was an easy pick for safety Lorenzo Jerome (S, St. Francis)

Moton had two flags in the first quarter. The second was for hands to the face with Bowser and Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Alabama) sharing a sack on the play.

Tough start for Connor McDermott (T, UCLA) too. A flag for a false start and giving up pressure on a couple of occasions. He’s very tall and struggling with leverage.

Haason Reddick (LB, Temple) played exclusively in coverage in the first quarter. O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama) finishes the quarter with a nice catch down the seam.

Second quarter

The second starts with Jamal Williams (RB, BYU) catching a pass and getting absolutely decimated by Jordan Herdman (LB, Simon Frazier). Huge hit.

Lorenzo Jerome makes another nice play. He has contain on an end-around. Although he semi-whiffed the tackle, he fought back to force a fumble by Josh Reynolds (WR, Texas A&M).

Zay Jones has a second touchdown ruled out, this time for an offensive facemask penalty on the center. He locates a deep ball, tracks it in the air, shows terrific body control and completes the catch in the end zone. Jones is the star of the game so far.

Montravius Adams (DT, Auburn) pushed people around all week during drills. He’s playing well here and creating constant pressure. On the next snap Zach Banner (T, USC) and Adam Bisnowaty (T, Pittsburgh) are easily beaten by Tyus Bowser and Jordan Willis. Both rushers hit the QB at the same time forcing a fumble that is comically recovered by Banner.

The defensive lines are dominating the offensive lines. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The best athletes vs big bodies. That’s all it is in college with a few exceptions. And it shows up when we do the TEF studies. There’s an O-line problem in football.

Bowser is looking good so far. If you want a Reddick alternative, here’s your guy.

O.J. Howard says during an interview with the NFL Network that he wants to run a 4.58 at the combine.

David Webb (QB, California) has looked the best at quarterback so far. He threw a nice mid-level touchdown to Josh Reynolds. He then throws a nice fade on the 2-point attempt but Reynolds bobbles the football. Antonio Garcia (T, Troy) had nice pass-pro on the original score.

Bisnowaty, who didn’t have a good week, struggles vs Tanoh Kpassagnon and gives up a pressure before the two-minute warning. In fairness, on the next snap Bisnowaty did a much better job and shut down Kpassagnon.

Reddick ends the half rushing the edge for the first time today.

Jordan Willis gets the final big play of the half, destroying Bisnowaty for another sack/fumble. Bisnowaty barely looks draftable here.

Half time

Things to look for in the video below:

1. Haason Reddick taking control of the North huddle

2. Tyus Bowser working in space

3. Obi Melifonwu’s big hit

Third quarter

Highly underwhelming start, including two early time-outs.

The NFL Network tries to kick things into life by interviewing a rep from Reece’s to basically spend five minutes giving a hard sell for their product.

“Thanks for all the awesome candy this week” is the way the interview ends.

Great play by Melifonwu to clatter Pumphrey again. He closed from distance, great speed and a nice fit.

Connor McDermott continues to struggle. This time he gives up a sack to Derek Rivers (Youngstown State). David Webb comes back on the next play with a fantastic throw for an improbable first down to Fred Ross (WR, Miss. State). Webb is easily the best QB we’ve seen today.

The throw gives the South team some momentum. Matt Dayes has a really nice 15-yard run (ended by a good tackle by Melifonwu) and scores on the next play. After the early fumble, Dayes looked sharp on this drive.

Kareem Hunt (RB, Toledo) had a nice burt on a +20-yard run and followed it up immediately with another long run for a gain of 43. Impressive shiftiness. Bisnowaty did well to block two defenders. Bowser chases him down from nowhere to make the tackle. Great hustle:

In the red zone, the North run the ball three times and decide to kick a field goal, trailing by 13 points. Yes, John Fox is coaching the North team.

Mike Mayock lists Haason Reddick, Obi Melifonwu, Rasul Douglas and Zay Jones as big winners on the North roster this week.

Another possible Seahawks target, Carroll Phillips (LB, Illinois) gets a sack before Antonio Pipkin (QB, Tiffin) throws a pick to Brendan Langley (CB, Lamar).

Jordan Willis has had a big impact in the game. He just beat Julien Davenport (T, Bucknell) easily to hit the QB. On the next snap he bull-rushed Davenport and just pressed him into the quarterback. Davenport is overmatched against a player like Willis.

Fourth quarter

Zay Jones continues to make plays. On offense he has been the big winner today. He starts the fourth quarter with a nice completion off play action and then picks one off the turf with his fingertips.

Nice play by Alex Anzalone to chase down an underneath throw on play action. Great range and instinct.

Wow. Montravius Adams just had a fantastic get-off to collapse the pocket. At the same time, Kpassagnon destroys Julien Davenport off the edge and forces a sack/fumble. Adams scoops it up for the turnover. A play started and finished by Adams with a really good example of Kpassagnon’s upside sandwiched in-between.

Matt Dayes has flashed in the second half. He’s not the biggest back but he’ll have a shot to make a RB rotation at the next level and contribute. Nice burst here and showed some toughness plus quick feet.

Lorenzo Jerome has his second pick of the game after a terrible throw/decision by Pipkin. Just awful. On the next play Hunt has a mini-beast mode run. Nice cut, breaks a tackle, makes a move, keeps the legs churning. Impressive second half for Hunt with over 100 yards.

Dion Dawkins (T/G, Temple) just dumped Duke Riley on his backside.

In the red zone and trailing by seven, the North team throws it to Zay Jones. Nice underneath route, contested catch. Jones has been superb today. The player of the day.

The two-point conversion fails and the South are set to win 16-15.

Best performers

Zay Jones (WR, Eastern Carolina)
Kareem Hunt (RB, Toledo)
Jordan Willis (EDGE, Kansas State)
Montravius Adams (DT, Auburn)

To wrap up, here’s Mike Mayock’s top performers in Mobile.


Updated mock draft & discussing linebackers

January 27th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Pete Carroll mentioned ‘linebacker’ as a need in his end of season press conference.

Defensive backs. Offensive linemen. That was expected.

Linebacker? Don’t they have Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright? Didn’t Mike Morgan start 29% of the snaps some of the time and as little as 5% in other games?

Still, there are three possible reasons why this is a target need:

1. Depth
It’s currently Mike Morgan, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Brock Coyle. One of these three has to play.

2. Base formation
Would they like to play more in base or just feel more comfortable when they do?

3. Strong draft
Looking at the linebackers potentially available at #26 compared to some of the other need positions, it might be the best chance to draft a core impact player.

Let’s represent this in a mock draft. Here are some other things to consider…

1. Haason Reddick looks like a top-20 pick
Production, elite athletic profile, great character, outstanding Senior Bowl week. The Seahawks will be lucky if he lasts until pick #26.

2. Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham is also really good
He has unique length and great size. He had 16.5 TFL’s in 2016 as a pure linebacker (and he doesn’t rush like Reddick).

3. Reuben Foster will be long gone by #26
He should be gone in the top-12 and could be the next Wagner or Kuechly.

Who else is available?

Florida’s Jarrad Davis. Bruce Feldman named him on his list of college ‘freaks’ in pre-season, noting:

Gators LB coach Randy Shannon said Davis has the competitiveness of Jon Vilma, the athleticism of Jon Beason and the football knowledge of Ray Lewis. DC Geoff Collins told me that Davis’ “desire, drive and willpower are at the highest levels there is. Every rep he takes at practice or in a walkthrough is at a game-level focus. He’s as intense of an individual as I’ve ever been around and one of the highest character kids as well.” The 6-2, 240-pounder has timed in the 40 in the mid-4.5s and done 318 pounds in the clean and jerk.

If he is capable of running in the mid-4.5’s as suggested above, that’ll be similar to Luke Kuechly (4.58). Davis is listed at 6-2 and 238lbs, Kuechly is 6-3 and 242lbs.

He won’t blow up the combine like Haason Reddick. The key is to have a really good workout. Kevin Wiedl’s review of Davis suggests it’s possible:

He is an explosive athlete who has sideline-to-sideline range and an internal GPS for the football. Although he needs to add bulk and improve his point-of-attack skills, Davis is a name we’ll hear a lot next fall as a prospect. “Space” linebackers such as Davis are coveted in today’s NFL.

For the Seahawks it might be harder to define this position with a specific physical profile. Bobby Wagner was a 4.4 athlete, Kevin Pierre-Louis ran a 4.51 and jumped a 39-inch vertical. Bruce Irvin is/was a freak.

However, K.J. Wright ran a 4.75 at the 2011 combine with a so-so 32-inch vertical. In his case length (nearly 35-inch arms) was the unique aspect he offered.

Navorro Bowman, one of the best linebackers in recent years, ran a 4.77 at the 2010 combine at 6-0 and 242lbs. He improved it to a 4.62 at his pro-day.

Across the league, there are varying physical profiles among the NFL’s best linebackers.

Whatever Davis achieves at the combine, this anonymous AFC Executive maybe sums it up:

“He’s good. I don’t care about some of those holes you are talking about. Kill him so maybe somebody will listen to you and he can fall to us. We’ll take him.”

Another name? How about Houston’s Tyus Bowser.

He had a really nice Senior Bowl. He’s 6-3 and 244lbs and possibly as twitchy as any other player in this draft. He might’ve had the play of the week in Mobile beating Antonio Garcia in the OL vs DL drills. It was like a scene from the Matrix. His ability to lean and dip while retaining balance and finishing was exquisite.

Can he cover? Reports suggest he didn’t do a great job at the Senior Bowl in coverage but there is some evidence available:

Here’s what an AFC Scouting Director says about Bowser:

“His tape from last year and this year are way different. He’s getting better. There will be some teams who miss him because their scouts are too lazy to keep an open mind that they will have written him off. He will be an early NFL starter. Watch.”

That, ultimately, is what the Seahawks need. An impact, early starter. While Davis is more of a traditional plug-in-and-play OLB, Bowser has the potential to be a dynamic SAM/LEO.

It’s worth debating different options. You might think a great cornerback or offensive tackle would be a better pick. What if that player isn’t available? That’s what we have to consider here.

We have a month to kill until the combine. We have plenty of time to talk about different options in round one.

First round mock draft

#1 Cleveland — Myles Garrett (EDGE, Texas A&M)
#2 San Francisco — Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson)
#3 Chicago — Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)
#4 Jacksonville — Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford)
#5 Tennessee — Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama)
#6 New York Jets — Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)
#7 San Diego — Jamal Adams (S, LSU)
#8 Carolina — Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State)
#9 Cincinnati — Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)
#10 Buffalo — Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)
#11 New Orleans — O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
#12 Cleveland — Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)
#13 Arizona — Sidney Jones (CB, Washington)
#14 Indianapolis — Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)
#15 Philadelphia (via Minnesota) — Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
#16 Baltimore — Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
#17 Washington — Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan)
#18 Tennessee — Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
#19 Tampa Bay — Budda Baker (S, Washington)
#20 Denver — Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
#21 Detroit — Taco Charlton (EDGE, Michigan)
#22 Miami — Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
#23 New York Giants — Ryan Ramcyzk (T, Wisconsin)
#24 Oakland — Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)
#25 Houston — Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)
#26 Seattle — Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida) or Tyus Bowser (LB, Houston)
#27 Kansas City — Takkarist McKinley (EDGE, UCLA)
#28 Dallas — David Njoku (TE, Miami)
#29 Green Bay — Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)
#30 Pittsburgh — John Ross (WR, Washington)
#31 Atlanta — Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
#32 New England — Tim Williams (EDGE, Alabama)

Three possible defensive back options for later (if no DB at #26):

Rasul Douglas (CB, West Virginia)
Ahkello Witherspoon (CB, Colorado)
Shalom Luani (S, Washington State)
John Johnson (S, Boston College)


New Podcast: Senior Bowl thoughts

January 27th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

This week we talk about players at the Senior Bowl and options for the Seahawks in round one…


Senior Bowl day three notes: Reddick & Melifonwu

January 26th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Haason Reddick — top-20 talent

Nobody has had a better Senior Bowl.

Here are a couple of highlights from today’s drills:

When we mocked him to Seattle in round one in December, there was a mixed reaction. Today, it seems pretty unlikely he’ll even last until the #26 pick.

Play recognition, quickness to close on the ball-carrier, cover skills, the ability to play the edge and rush the passer. He’s highly impressive.

He has similar size to Ryan Shazier with the athleticism to match. Shazier was the #15 pick in 2014. That’s starting to feel possible for Reddick.

At the end of the 11v11 drills he was interviewed by the NFL Network. He spoke really well. Teams are going to love his physical profile, incredible production, character and versatility and stamp him firmly in the first round.

It’s safe to say, the Seahawks will be lucky to get him.

Here’s what Tony Pauline had to say about Reddick’s performance yesterday:

“You can already tell the linebacker has the “it” factor. He was dominant in pass-rushing drills both blitzing as a stand-up linebacker and coming out of a three-point stance. In several instances he beat opponents so badly Reddick got a rise from scouts in attendance.”

And here’s Mick Mayock’s take:

I had several scouting friends of mine asking me if I had seen Reddick. I had and loved what I saw. At 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds, he rushed the quarterback, where he’s comfortable, and showed he could play in coverage, both in man and zone. And in team drills he was everywhere. For a guy most consider a “tweener” he made a big statement on Wednesday. He’s an ultra-versatile player.

Top-20 pick? Looks that way.

Obi Melifonwu at cornerback?

At the end of day two Daniel Jeremiah and Mike Mayock picked their two best performers. Mayock unsurprisingly went with Haason Reddick. Jeremiah picked Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu.

He’s an intriguing player. If you missed the piece we did on him in November, check it out.

Melifonwu measured at 6-4 and 219lbs in Mobile with 32 5/8 inch arms. He’s expected to have an insane workout at the combine, with many touting a 40-inch vertical and a possible 4.4 forty.

Considering his size, length and athletic profile, would the Seahawks be interested? And if so, how would they use him?

It’d be very easy to single him out as a strong safety prospect given his size. Can he convert to cornerback like another UConn athlete Byron Jones? Possibly. Like Jones he doesn’t necessarily have to be strictly an outside corner. He can be moved around as Mayock notes:

He’s a matchup chess piece with movement skills. If Greg Olsen comes to town, you say, “That’s your guy.” The next week a wide receiver like Mike Evans comes to town, you say, “Go get him.”

The Seahawks tried this type of role with Brandon Browner in pre-season. Generally they handled tight ends a lot better in 2016 — but adding a player capable of playing in the slot, outside or backing up the two safety’s might be intriguing.

Plus he has the complete physical profile they look for. He’s big and lean with ideal length. He’s a superb athlete. He has the +32-inch arms. He’s the type of athlete they’ve drafted in the first round previously.

If the likes of Reddick, Garett Bolles, Ryan Ramczyk and Zach Cunningham are off the board — it could be an option at #26.

That said, he’s going to need to show he has the loose hips and short-area quickness required to play cornerback. Not everybody watching today’s practise was overly impressed with Melifonwu:

Keep an eye on his three-cone and short-shuttle times at the combine.

Here he is in coverage:

The idea of Melfionwu being a defensive chess piece is exciting — but it’s also a project and a gamble. Byron Jones worked for Dallas but there’s no guarantee lightning will strike twice.

And while Haason Reddick looks like a relatively straight forward plug-in-and-play linebacker with impact potential — Melifonwu’s success would depend on his ability to forge a role creating a high ceiling, low floor situation.

Rasul Douglas had a good day today

Aside from Melifonwu, there’s really only West Virginia’s Rasul Douglas and Florida State’s Marquez White that fit Seattle’s cornerback profile. It was good to see Douglas having a good outing in the 11v11’s:

Douglas was a playmaker in 2016 with eight picks. The Seahawks need to force more turnovers next season and he could easily be on their radar. Keep an eye on him at the combine among a loaded group of underclassmen.

North team gravitates to Dan Feeney

A quick note about the end of the North practise today. Chicago coach John Fox called the players into the huddle and read out the schedule for tomorrow. After he’d finished he called out Dan Feeney (G, Indiana) specifically to end the meeting.

Little things like this are worth paying attention to. Leadership is important and the players reacted positively to Fox’s announcement. Feeney is all business. He’s not a flashy player but he’s destined to be an extremely competent right guard for someone at the next level.

South practise notes

A number of injuries on the south roster hampered today’s practise, with a collection of late arrivals filling in.

Eddie Vanderdoes continues to impress. I wasn’t a big fan during his time at UCLA. He always looked out of shape, badly conditioned and he struggled to live up to his previous recruiting hype. He looks a bit lighter in Mobile and could stand to lose another 10-15lbs.

He jumps between out of control and really refined and quick. It’s boom or bust but you can live with that. At least he’s showing a flash. When he’s on it he has a devastating get-off, shoots the gap and he can penetrate. Other times he’ll end up with his face in the dirt. Coach him to be more controlled and in a year or two he could be a nice rotational piece to a D-line.

Alabama’s Dalvin Tomlinson looked good again in the OL vs DL drills. He had his way with recent call-up Eric Smith from Virginia.

LSU linebacker Duke Riley flashed some nice closing speed and recognition in the 11v11’s. It’ll be interesting to go back and watch more of his tape. Cal quarterback David Webb also showed a really nice touch and accuracy. He’ll be a nice project for somebody.

The alternative to Haason Reddick

I spent a bit of time going back to focus on Houston linebacker Tyus Bowser after the second practise concluded. If Haason Reddick is off the board before Seattle’s pick, Bowser might be a nice consolation prize.

He’s better in space/coverage than I expected after watching a game tape. He didn’t necessarily show that in Mobile during drills — but there’s something to work with.

We saw the damage he could do as a pass rusher on Wednesday, demolishing Antonio Garcia with a superb bend. It was like watching the Matrix the way he dipped, retained balance and finished. His get-off and explosion were top notch.

He’s in tremendous shape and looks like a great athlete. He’s slightly bigger than Reddick at 6-2 1/2, 244lbs and with 33-inch arms. That’s Bruce Irvin-type size and the expectation is he’ll have a great combine.

We’ll see how much his stock grows in Indy but don’t be shocked if he’s firmly in the second round range at least. He’s nowhere near as polished as Reddick — but that’s no surprise. Physically they might have similar ceilings.

If you’re wondering why Pete Carroll noted ‘linebacker’ among Seattle’s needs and desires in his recent press conference — here’s why: Haason Reddick, Tyus Bowser, Zach Cunningham are three reasons. There a quite a few others too. This is a good looking class of linebackers and worth tapping into.


Senior Bowl day two notes: Haason Reddick shines

January 25th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

Haason Reddick is putting on a show

Dubbed the MVP of the North team session by Daniel Jeremiah, Reddick had a great day on Tuesday according to those in attendance:

Here are some of the highlights of his workout:

Look at the twitchy quickness he shows attacking space, the way he throws off the fullback in the second clip and the impressive inside swim move to defeat Adam Bisnowaty in the DL vs OL drills.

Don’t be surprised if he leaves Mobile ranked as a possible top-20 pick. He could go in the top-25 and if not — he could be an option for the Seahawks at #26.

He’s an impact player with supreme athleticism. Is linebacker Seattle’s biggest need? Perhaps not. But if the top offensive tackles are off the board and the top cornerbacks are gone — it’s a strong option. A reminder — Reddick had 22.5 TFL’s in 2016 and 10.5 sacks. He’s not just a cover guy or a third wheel that’ll play 25% of the snaps. He’s an every down, impact player who can cover, run to the ball, blitz and play some LEO.

Isaac Asiata forced out through injury

It was disappointing to hear that Utah guard Isaac Asiata had re-injured a hamstring yesterday and won’t be doing any further drills at the Senior Bowl. One of the few South O-liners that seemed to have a good day yesterday, Asiata and Garett Bolles have the exact same playing mentality: ‘we’re going to hit you in the face, we’re going to run through you and then we’re going to get to the second level and hit someone else.’

They aren’t just road-graders either. Look at the way they handle this screen:

Bolles is an elite athlete but Asiata is no slouch. There aren’t a ton of viable O-line options for the Seahawks in this draft but they could do a lot worse than double down on these two. They’re tone-setting linemen. Physical, nasty, mean, play with an edge.

It was interesting to go back and watch the Utah vs Washington game again yesterday. Asiata arguably had the better game against a loaded Husky D-line rich in NFL talent.

There’s every chance Bolles will end up being a top-20 pick and it’ll be out of the Seahawks hands. He has to remain on the radar for now, just in case. Seattle might not be in the market for a left guard but Asiata is also worth monitoring at the combine if he’s healthy.

Forrest Lamp is also out

Lamp received a lot of positive feedback for his one day of drills at the Senior Bowl. Personally, it was hard to shake the way he was absolutely rag-dolled by Tanoh Kpassagnon and beaten with a quick swim move by 320lbs Eddie Vanderdoes. He handled his business apart from that — but he’s not coming up against big-time prospects in Mobile. If Kpassagnon can do this (see below) to Lamp, how’s he going to handle Calais Campbell?

Thoughts on the OL vs DL drills (North)

During the pass-rush drills it was a little surprising to watch Indiana guard Dan Feeney comprehensively beaten twice. He had a really rough rep against Michigan’s Chris Wormley (beat him with a quick get-off) and was walked into the backfield on the previous play. After receiving rave reviews on day one, this was a little unexpected.

Dion Dawkins had some nice reps at left guard. His lack of height (6-3) probably places him inside at the next level. He was consistently effective. Bucknell’s Julien Davenport had a nice inside-out rep, using his length (36 inch arms) to full use. His raw nature was a little exposed on the next snap when he was easily beaten on an inside counter.

USC’s Zach Banner just looks too big. He lacks great mobility and had one of the ugliest reps of the day, offering an easy target for a two-handed punch that jolted him off balance immediately.

On the defensive side of the ball, Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot was a bit underwhelming. Wormley and Reddick were the standouts.

South notes

Tanoh Kpassagnon (DE, Villanova) had another good day. He’s long, tall and well put together. He beat Kentucky center Jon Toth working inside, had a nice rep sailing by Antonio Garcia and had a spin move to get off a block by the right tackle on one rep.

If UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes gets in his best shape he could be quite an effective player. He’s 320lbs but could probably lose another 10lbs. He frequently plays out of control but every now and again he flashes a really quick inside rush.

The Troy tackle Garcia is not having the week so far that many anticipated. He looks very raw and his lack of size (293lbs) shows too. He had the rough rep against Kpassagnon but was also well beaten by Houston’s Tyus Bowser (it was admittedly a very good rush by Bowser).

Alabama defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is going to make a really good pick for someone. Powerful, jolting interior lineman. He looked really good today.

Kansas State’s Jordan Willis failed to flash in the NFL Network footage shown.