Seahawks unlikely to find defensive line help in first two rounds

February 22nd, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Henry Anderson could provide a cheaper option to Tony McDaniel

If you missed today’s combine live blog you can recap the day here. It includes workout notes, winners & losers, measurements, breaking news and a lot more

We’ll come onto the Seahawks in a moment. Firstly — this is a good class of defensive linemen but it’s also a top heavy group. It’s safe to say after watching today’s workouts there are twelve prospect with legitimate hopes of going in the top-25:

Leonard Williams (DE, USC)
He didn’t jump particularly well with a 29.5 inch vertical (worse than Danny Shelton and Jordan Phillips) and an 8’10” in the broad jump. But a 4.97 in the forty and a good performance in the drills cements his place firmly within the top five. Richard Seymour is a good comparison — he ran a 4.95 in 2001 at 6-6 and 299lbs. Williams is a shade under 6-5 and 302lbs. He could go at #2 to Tennessee or #3 to Jacksonville.

Dante Fowler Jr (DE, Florida)
Another prospect who didn’t jump particularly well — and this matters to some teams who want to see that explosive lower body. He jumped a 32.5 inch vertical and a 9’4″ broad. But he has length (arms just under 34 inches) and a 4.60 forty is good enough. A 1.56 ten yard split should attract a team like Jacksonville. Fowler Jr is a pure playmaker who can line up anywhere to rush the passer — even inside.

Randy Gregory (LB, Nebraska)
He’s far from the finished article and people knock him for a lack of production. At Nebraska he didn’t do a lot of edge rush — he played in the open field and read the offense. 3-4 teams will salivate over his skill set. He’s 6-5 and 235lbs but should be able to add weight. He has 34 inch arms and managed a 36.5 inch vertical. He jumped 10’5″ in the broad and ran a 4.64 with a 1.60 split. He had a great day in the drills, particularly when asked to change direction. Gregory has the hips of a defensive back.

Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)
He didn’t work out today due to injury but he shouldn’t lose any momentum as a consequence. Ray was a monster all season long for Missouri and answered a few questions without performing. He’s closer to 6-3 than 6-2, he has 33 1/8 inch arms and he’s 245lbs. He’s not the biggest but he’s hardly small and plays above his size. At worst you’d expect a time in the 4.6’s. He’s a gritty, competitive player who should be able to stick in a 4-3 rotation.

Eli Harold (DE, Virginia)
This was Harold’s opportunity to announce himself to a mass audience. On tape he flashed explosive pass-rushing qualities, dynamic closing speed, the ability to convert speed-to-power with ease and a relentless motor. He ran a 4.60 with a 1.56 split, jumped 35 inches in the vertial and a 10’3″ in the broad jump. He’s 6-3 with 33 inch arms. He’s the complete package of length, speed and grit. He’s an ideal LEO candidate and should be considered by the Atlanta Falcons at #8 as they build a new defense based on the Seahawks model.

Danny Shelton (DT, Washington)
Shelton is lazily compared to Haloti Ngata, which is unfair. Ngata was a physical freak and ran a 5.13 with a 1.73 split. Shelton’s official time was a 5.64 with a 1.89 split. As pure athletes they don’t compare and it’s wrong to set the bar this high. That doesn’t mean Shelton can’t get around a football field — he flashed impressive mobility and footwork during drills. He is not a rare athlete for his size and he will have limitations. But any 3-4 team looking for a nose tackle will seriously consider drafting Shelton early. He jumped a 30.5 inch vertical and had 34 reps on the bench press. He has 32 inch arms.

Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)
Criticized as small and weak by some, Beasley set out to prove the doubters wrong today. After putting up 35 reps on the bench press, he ran the fastest time by a defensive lineman at 4.53 with a 1.59 ten yard split. He added a 41-inch vertical and a 10’10” in the broad jump. He has 32 and a half inch arms which isn’t ideal, but it’s only a shade under Shane Ray and Eli Harold. On tape he looked great for three years, putting up major numbers for Clemson.

Arik Armstead (DE, Oregon)
He chose to play defense instead of left tackle in college and teams are clearly intrigued by his size (6-7, 292lbs). You’d think he’d have longer arms (33 inches). He ran a 5.10 with a 1.76 split which is pretty average, with a 34 inch vertical and a 9’9″ broad. None of these numbers scream physical freak, but you don’t find many players who look this good at this size. Any team looking for a 3-4 end (it’s a big need in New Orleans) will have to consider Armstead with the idea of developing him into another Calais Campbell.

Malcom Brown (DT, Texas)
He flew under the radar a bit today — doing well in all the tests and drills without making any headlines. He ran a 5.05 with a 1.75 split at 6-2 and 319lbs. He could probably drop to 310lbs and play with ideal size for a three technique. He doesn’t have amazing length with 32 and a half inch arms. He flashes constantly on tape and lives in the backfield. He’s also a dependable character guy with a wife and two kids already. Teams needing an every down interior rusher will give Brown a long hard look.

Eddie Goldman (DT, Florida State)
He didn’t work out due to injury but he wowed the media in the interview room. All of the Florida State guys are very talkative and confident. He’s an absolute beast at 6-4 and 336lbs with 33 1/8 inch arms. He’s a superb run defender who can act as a nose tackle in a 3-4 but he also has the technique to disengage and explode into the backfield. Like Brown he’s a former 5-star recruit and he was probably FSU’s best player in 2014.

Jordan Phillips (DT, Oklahoma)
He didn’t put in the Dontari Poe-type performance we thought he was capable of, but at 6-5 and 329lbs he ran a 5.17 with a 1.84 split. He also recorded a 30 inch vertical and put up 28 reps on the bench press despite having nearly 35 inch arms. The biggest threat to Phillips is a history of back injuries that’ll need to be checked out by any team thinking of drafting him early.

Bud Dupree (LB, Kentucky)
One of the few linebackers to make an impression today, even if he didn’t do drills citing a groin injury. At 6-4 and 269lbs he ran a 4.56 with a 1.60 split. He posted a 42 inch vertical and an 11’6″ in the broad jump. You see that athleticism translate to the tape and he flies around for Kentucky. The problem is — he isn’t a great edge rusher. He doesn’t do a good job rounding the tackle and often runs himself out of contention. He doesn’t always diagnose the play correctly. He might be best used as a Bruce Irvin LB/DE hybrid.

That’s a talent rich group of players. Unfortunately, none of the dozen are likely to make it to #31.

So what’s left?

Seattle loves speed. Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril are in the top-five for defensive linemen in the forty yard dash over the last 12 years. They both posted incredible 1.50 ten yard splits. If you’re going to play LEO for the Seahawks, you need to be long, fast and tenacious.

If the top prospects are off the board, we’re likely concentrating on rounds three and four. The only defensive line prospect Seattle has drafted in the top two rounds since 2010 is Bruce Irvin (who subsequently moved to linebacker). Given the options on the offensive line and receiver, we’re unlikely to see that change in April.

Last year they drafted Cassius Marsh in the fourth round. He didn’t post a great forty time (4.89) but he had a 1.60 ten yard split. Jordan Hill (a third round pick in 2013) managed a 1.75 split at 303lbs (he also had long 33.5 inch arms). If we’re looking at edge rushers, they probably need to be running a similar split to Marsh. Interior rushers need to compare to Hill in terms of length and burst.

Scanning through the results today, these are the few prospects that are in the range for consideration:

Henry Anderson (Stanford)
Ran a 5.03 at 6-6 and 293lbs. Impressed at the Senior Bowl. He recorded a 1.63 ten yard split which is explosive given his size. He managed a 30-inch vertical and has 33.5 inch arms. The most impressive part of his day? Probably a 4.19 short shuttle — tied for first among all defensive linemen. He could be a candidate to replace 6-7, 305lbs Tony McDaniel if he’s cut to save $3m in cap space.

Zach Hodges (Harvard)
He’s nice and long with 34 1/4 inch arms at 6-2 and 250lbs. He ran a 4.68 with a 1.61 split. It’s not overly explosive but he’s a depth option later in the draft or in the UDFA market. He posted a 33.5 inch vertical and a 10’5″ broad jump. He has a terrific back-story.

Danielle Hunter (LSU)
Bit of a ‘looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane’ candidate. He’s 6-5 and 252lbs with 34 1/4 inch arms. He ran a 4.57 with a 1.58 split. He didn’t attempt the vertical or broad jump for some reason. He was too easily blocked at LSU and had a 1.5 sack season in 2014. There’s no denying his potential, but he’s likely to be over-drafted.

Owa Odighizuwa (UCLA)
He had an incredible day, running a 4.62 with a 1.62 split at 6-3 and 267lbs. He also posted a 39 inch vertical and a 10’7″ in the broad jump. He has 33 3/4 inch arms and ran a superb 4.19 in the short shuttle (tied with Henry Anderson). Medical checks are the key with Odighizuwa — previous hip problems will be a concern and need to be checked out. If he’s cleared, he’s one of the combine’s big winners. He needs major work on his technique as an edge rusher, but he’s adept at collapsing the interior.

Preston Smith (Mississippi State)
He’s 6-5, 271lbs with 34 inch arms. He ran a 4.74 with a 1.63 split. He jumped 34 inches in the vertical and recorded a 10’1″ in the broad. He also had an impressive 4.28 in the short shuttle and a 7.07 in the three cone. Smith’s tape drifts between very good and average, but he has the potential to be a terror in the right scheme. I’m not sure where he fits in Seattle’s defense. With Bennett and Marsh, do they need another end who kicks inside?

Anthony Chickillo (Miami)
We’ll need to get a check on his split. In his first attempt at the forty he recorded a 1.59, but in the second attempt he was given a 1.70. His official forty time is a 4.79. He’s 6-3 and 267lbs with 33.5 inch arms. He jumped 34.5 inches in the vertical but only a 9’6″ in the broad. His three cone (7.17) was also impressive. He played out of position in Miami.

Carl Davis (Iowa)
One of the standouts at the Senior Bowl, Davis is just under 6-5 and 320lbs with 34 5/8 inch arms. He ran a 5.07 with a 1.73 split. He also had a 33 inch vertical jump. His tape is flat out bad for the most part. You need to work out whether he can be the guy in Mobile more often than the guy at Iowa. Plays without an edge but he has the size, speed and length Seattle likes inside.

Grady Jarrett (Clemson)
Lacks length and that could be an issue. He’s 6-0 with 32 3/8 inch arms and that might be too short for the Seahawks. On tape he explodes off the screen in some games and today he ran a 5.06 with a 1.69 split at 304lbs. In the middle rounds he’s a value interior pass rusher who can hold his own in the run game. Posted a 31 inch vertical. Could sneak into round two.

Derrick Lott (Tennessee-Chatt)
He’s 6-4 and 314lbs with 33 5/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.99 with a 1.77 split. He didn’t jump particularly well but the speed and length is intriguing enough to search for some tape. One to take a look at.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches (Southern Miss)
6-2 and 307lbs — ideal size to work inside. Only has 32 5/8 inch arms and that might be a problem. He ran a 1.72 split and a 5.02 forty. He also managed a really impressive 34 inch vertical. Another one to monitor moving forward.

Marcus Hardison (Arizona State) and Christian Covington (Rice) didn’t participate.

You might ask about Davis Tull at Tennessee-Chatt who had an excellent workout even though he didn’t run a forty yard dash. He posted a 42.5 inch vertical and an 11′ in the broad jump. The problem is — he’s 6-2 and 246lbs with 31 1/4 inch arms. The Seahawks aren’t drafting a player with such paltry length to rush the edge. Mike Mayock suggested he’ll be a SAM linebacker at the next level.

None of the names above particularly appeal at #31 considering the possible sweet spot on the offensive line and the overall depth of quality at receiver. I would expect Carl Davis and Owa Odighizuwa to be off the board by #63, possibly Preston Smith and Grady Jarrett too. If the Seahawks go OL/WR (or vice-versa) with their first two picks, Henry Anderson could be an option in round three. He is the #88 ranked prospect according to ESPN.

If you need help on the defensive line and you’re picking in the top-15, this is a great draft. Many teams in the second half of round one will miss out. With so many attractive free agents hitting the open market, we could see plenty of interest from the clubs picking between #20-32.

Barring any unforeseen falls, the Seahawks are unlikely to find defensive line value at #31. Is it really that much of a need anyway? Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are a pass rush duo most teams can only dream of. Bruce Irvin has developed into one of the better defensive playmakers in the NFL. Brandon Mebane, Jordan Hill and Cassius Marsh will return. They could keep Tony McDaniel. There’s every opportunity they’ll add a veteran presence to replace Kevin Williams.

Three days ago Darnell Dockett was hinting at a move within the NFC West:

Adding Dockett on a team-friendly deal could be the best way to improve Seattle’s interior pass rush. You might be able to give him McDaniel’s salary and then draft a guy like Anderson in the third. How much can a soon-to-be 34-year-old pass rusher expect to earn as a free agent coming off an ACL? Like him or loathe him, his competitive personality would really mesh with Seattle’s defense.

Of course, Arizona has to cut him for this to have any legs.

There are some players we can possibly rule out today. The early round talk on Nate Orchard seemed premature after the Senior Bowl. He has the length (33 3/4 inch arms) but a 4.80 forty was unimpressive today at just 250lbs. He only had a 31.5 inch vertical too. He’s just not a special enough athlete. Xavier Cooper had a good workout and ran a 4.86 with a 1.68 split at 293lbs. The problem? 31 1/2 inch arms. The Seahawks would need to be willing to make a concession there. Markus Golden is an easy player to root for but he has 31 1/8 inch arms and ran a 4.90 at 260lbs.

The less said about today’s group of linebackers the better. I wouldn’t expect the Seahawks to draft any of the prospects we saw today. They have depth at the position and will probably look for athletic options in UDFA.

Free agency can change things very quickly but are we seeing some clarity on what might be the plan this off-season? Here’s my best projection for the 22nd February:

— Use any free cap room to target a dynamic pass-catcher like Julius Thomas (this could include cutting Zach Miller to save $3m)

— Draft an offensive lineman and a receiver with your first two picks, replacing James Carpenter and adding another weapon for Russell Wilson

— Consider adding a defensive lineman in round three

That would essentially leave one hole to fill — cornerback. This could be the greatest off-season challenge.

Tomorrow the defensive backs workout. Very few prospects fit Seattle’s size ideal (32 inch arms, long). UConn’s Byron Jones — a possible candidate — is recovering from a torn labrum and might not participate. There’s also a real lack of depth and quality at the position — and free agency will be an expensive market to dabble in. It could be a case of searching through the second wave of available veterans — or even looking to make a trade for a player buried on someone else’s depth chart.

The Seahawks are the best team in the league at developing cornerbacks but they’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to replace Byron Maxwell this year. Tomorrow should be interesting, if not a little scary.

 

LIVE BLOG: Combine day five (DE/LB workouts)

February 22nd, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

HIGHLIGHTS

— Bud Dupree with an 11’7″ broad and 42 inch vertical
— Vic Beasley runs an official 4.53
— Eli Harold and Dante Fowler Jr run 4.60
— Danny Shelton rumbles to a 5.66
— Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Randy Gregory both impress
— Shane Ray & Eddie Goldman don’t workout
— Linebackers fail to impress during drills

We’re live blogging throughout the combine. Keep refreshing this page for the latest Seahawks news, data and notes on the DE/LB workouts as they take place today (beginning 6AM PST).

The player I’m most looking forward to seeing workout today is Virginia pass rusher Eli Harold. Check out this video on NFL.com. Aside from his taste in music — what’s not to like? He says this about Bruce Irvin: “He’s a physical specimen, he’s fast he’s quick — he’s like a cat, like a cheetah. That’s who I model my game after.” And then there’s this quote: “My style of play is — speed, I’m quick. I’m tough.” And this one: “I bring a lot of high energy, an unstoppable motor, I go hard all the time, I do whatever I’m asked — you’re going to get a gem.”

If he performs well enough today he could get into the top-15 mix. Atlanta needs a LEO and Harold is the ideal LEO from this class. He’s scheduled to workout with the linebackers — so is Bud Dupree.

Shane Ray and Eddie Goldman have chosen not to workout due to injury. Someone needs to let Mike Mayock and Daniel Jeremiah know.

The defensive linemen are dressed in bright green and look like comedy superhero villains.

green goblin

Forty yard dash times with the ten yard split in brackets (first attempt):

Henry Anderson — 4.97 (1.75)
Arik Armstead — 5.10 (1.76)
Tavaris Barnes — 4.84 (1.70)
Vic Beasley — 4.66 (1.72)
Angelo Blackson — 5.06 (1.77)
Malcom Brown — 5.05 (1.75)
Anthony Chickillo — 4.77 (1.59)
Frank Clark — 4.79 (1.70)
Xavier Cooper — 4.88 (1.70)
Corey Crawford — 5.02 (1.79)
Carl Davis — 5.19 (1.87)
Tyeler Davison — 5.29 (1.91)
Ryan Delaire — 4.97 (1.73)
B.J. Dubose — 4.98 (1.66)
Mario Edwards Jr — 4.84 (1.76)
Kyle Emanuel — 4.77 (1.70)
Trey Flowers — 4.94 (1.84)
Dante Fowler Jr — 4.61 (1.59)
Markus Golden — 4.90 (1.72)
Randy Gregory — 4.64 (1.62)
Eli Harold — 4.61 (1.68)
Zack Hodges — 4.74 (1.63)
Danielle Hunter — 4.57 (1.58)
Martin Ifedi — 5.01 (1.73)

This is pretty interesting. Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril in the top five forty yard dash times in the last 12 years. Speed matters at the LEO.

interesting

A quick reminder — both Avril and Irvin had 1.50 ten yard splits.

This is a must read by the way. After the forty times we’ll break some of it down:

Second attempts:

Henry Anderson — 4.93 (1.63)
Arik Armstead — 5.14 (1.76)
Tavaris Barnes — 4.75 (1.63)
Vic Beasley — 4.53 (1.59)
Angelo Blackson — 5.03 (1.79)
Malcom Brown — 5.07 (1.77)
Anthony Chickillo — 4.87 (1.70)
Frank Clark — 4.88 (1.76)
Xavier Cooper — 4.87 (1.68)
Corey Crawford — 5.04 (1.78)
Carl Davis — 5.07 (1.73)
Tyeler Davison — 5.19 (1.82)
Ryan Delaire — 5.02 (1.69)
B.J. Dubose — 5.08 (1.78)
Mario Edwards Jr — 4.79 (1.72)
Kyle Emanuel — 4.79 (1.69)
Trey Flowers — 4.93 (1.74)
Dante Fowler Jr — 4.65 (1.63)
Markus Golden — 4.81 (1.65)
Randy Gregory — 4.57 (1.60)
Eli Harold — 4.53 (1.56)
Zack Hodges — 4.68 (1.61)
Danielle Hunter — 4.58 (1.61)
Martin Ifedi — 4.88 (1.69)

Danielle Hunter with a typically explosive run. I tend to agree with this, however:

Vic Beasley ran an excellent 4.53 with a 1.59 split. Remember, he benched 35 reps yesterday.

We have our first Pete Carroll and John Schneider shot of the day. Again, not as animated as they were with the receivers yesterday.

pcjs

There’s a difference between the first and second forty/split times. Anthony Chickillo ran .11 slower in the forty and split. B.J. Dubose picked up an ugly hamstring injury on his second run.

Eli Harold ran a 4.53 with a 1.56 ten yard split on his second run. That’s the type of time I was expecting — the type of time that can get him into the top-15. He is a perfect LEO prospect for a team like Atlanta.

Avril and Irvin ran in the low 4.5’s and had explosive ten yard splits. It’s hard to match them, as noted earlier — they were top-five in the last twelve years. But he’s just a shade behind. It’s just what Harold needed today.

The drills are underway. Randy Gregory very fluid changing direction. Sharp cuts, really athletic frame. Eli Harold follows him and looks equally polished. The hip movement is exceptional with both players — almost DB-esque. They’re having a good day so far — Dante Fowler Jr too. All three could go in the top eight.

Next it’s the bag drills.

Mike Mayock says Xavier has to get stronger for the next level. Corey Crawford showing good movement running between the bags. Carl Davis also performs well here for a big guy. Malcom Brown had good footwork, wasn’t too upright. Trey Flowers shows quicks and balance and gets a roar of approval from the coaches.

Markus Golden is struggling a bit so far. Randy Gregory just blew up the first bag drill. Did it in record time, explosive. He isn’t polished as a pass rusher but he’s leaping off the screen here. Eli Harold let his eyes drop at the end but was also quick.

Onto the club and rip. One coach screams “fight the bag” at Mario Edwards Jr. Trey Flowers gets another round of applause for his effort — so does Dante Fowler Jr.

Nobody bosses the bags like Aaron Donald last year from this group.

They’re bringing out the football on a stick for the punch drill. Corey Crawford and Malcom Brown the first pair to do the drill properly (it’s about staying low and punching, not speed). Xavier Cooper goes way too fast and barely touches the final bag. Trey Flowers lost balance on his attempt. Looking at his forty times from earlier, it’s hard to see him playing the edge at the next level in a 4-3.

Randy Gregory is again the best so far. Slowed it down and focused on technique. Eli Harold also doing a good job. Markus Golden is improving and looking nimble. He didn’t have a great forty or split but he’ll forge a role at the next level for someone (probably AFC North). They finish off with some running in space drills.

No surprises here — the edge rushers look smooth, the interior guys look like defensive tackles. Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler Jr and Eli Harold shine.

Some of the first DL group are now going to go through linebacker drills for the 3-4 teams. None of the group looked particularly comfortable dropping, opening their hips and playing the ball. Harold looked the best. Even Gregory looked raw here, as did Fowler Jr. Trey Flowers performed surprisingly well.

Neither the NFL Network or the online feed are showing the drills now. We’ll get ready for the second group of defensive linemen to run the forty yard dash.

The first group of defensive linemen are now going through the jumping segments of the day.

Vic Beasley continued his fantastic day — posting a 41 inch vertical. Mario Edwards Jr managed a 10′ on the broad. In comparison, Leonard Williams only jumped an 8’10”.

The second group of defensive linemen are running the forty. Here’s a reminder how the first group performed (unofficial):

forty times

Grady Jarrett — 5.23 (1.84)
Derrick Lott — 5.08 (1.81)
Joey Mbu — 5.42 (1.81)
Ellis McCarthy — 5.23 (1.82)
Rakeem Nunez-Rochez — 5.06 (1.74)
Owamagbe Odighizuwa — 4.64 (1.63)
Nate Orchard — 4.84 (1.67)
Leon Orr — 5.19 (1.85)
David Parry — 5.41 (1.76)
Jordan Phillips — 5.20 (1.84)
Darius Philon — 5.03 (1.82)
Bobby Richardson — 5.20 (1.85)
Ryan Russell — 4.77 (1.64)
Danny Shelton — 5.66 (1.88)
Deon Simon — 5.14 (1.78)
Preston Smith — 4.78 (1.64)
Za’Darius Smith — 4.85 (1.76)
J.T. Surratt — 5.22 (1.89)
Lynden Trail — 4.96 (1.77)
Louis Trinca-Pasat — 5.00 (1.75)
Zack Wagenmann — 4.85 (1.67)
Leterrius Walton — 5.29 (1.79)
Leonard Williams — 5.01 (1.74)
Gabe Wright — 5.09 (1.80)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa looked incredible. Fluid running style. Very relaxed — like a sprinter. Ripped muscle tone. An unofficial 4.64 with a 1.63 split is very good at his size (pushing 270lbs).

Florida’s Leon Orr is challenging the coach ahead of his forty yard dash. He’s trying to argue he wants to start on the first line, adding an extra six inches to his run. It’s bizarre. He’s not taking the coaching at all. It’s a very awkward situation.

Nate Orchard doesn’t look like a quick twitch speed guy on tape — a 4.84 and 1.67 split confirms that. The first round buzz during the Senior Bowl was premature.

A 5.20 for Jordan Phillips isn’t bad at all — but it’s not in the realm of Dontari Poe. The back injuries might scare some teams off. In comparison, Danny Shelton ran a 5.66. Rich Eisen jokes he might be able to out-run him: “I’m coming for you Danny Shelton.”

Leonard Williams ran a very solid time. I still think he can tone up and be even more effective.

Second attempts:

Grady Jarrett — 5.09 (1.69)
Derrick Lott — 5.02 (1.77)
Joey Mbu — 5.57 (1.85)
Ellis McCarthy — 5.30 (1.87)
Rakeem Nunez-Rochez — 5.12 (1.72)
Owamagbe Odighizuwa — 4.66 (1.62)
Nate Orchard — 4.87 (1.68)
Leon Orr — 5.23 (1.87)
David Parry — DNP
Jordan Phillips — 5.29 (1.86)
Darius Philon — 5.05 (1.82)
Bobby Richardson — 5.17 (1.78)
Ryan Russell — 4.84 (1.66)
Danny Shelton — 5.66 (1.91)
Deon Simon — 5.21 (1.83)
Preston Smith — 4.78 (1.63)
Za’Darius Smith — 4.87 (1.77)
J.T. Surratt — 5.26 (1.86)
Lynden Trail — 5.09 (1.86)
Louis Trinca-Pasat — 4.99 (1.77)
Zack Wagenmann — 4.84 (1.67)
Leterrius Walton — 5.27 (1.79)
Leonard Williams — 5.00 (1.72)
Gabe Wright — 5.08 (1.79)

Vic Beasley added a 10’10” in the broad jump to his 41 inch vertical. Very impressive.

Jason Cole says the 49ers are going to draft a receiver at #15. After this weekend, they’ll be lucky if one of the top three lasts until #15.

Tony Pauline says in the piece below that UConn’s Byron Jones, one of the few cornerback prospects with 32 inch arms, is a “game time decision” to workout tomorrow. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum two months ago. Seattle has never drafted a corner with sub-32 inch arms.

A quick comparison for you — Haloti Ngata ran a 5.13 with a 1.73 split in 2006. Danny Shelton ran a 5.66 at 1.91. It’s not a fair comparison. Ngata is/was much more athletic. It’s a lazy comparison based on size and the desire to backup a positive opinion on Shelton with a success-story comparison.

The drills are underway with the change of direction assessment to start. Preston Smith moves nicely for his size. It’s difficult to project his stock — late second? Leterrius Walton showed some good footworka and quickness. Leonard Williams aced this drill.

Onto the bag drill next. Danny Shelton showed good footwork for his size but he kept his eyes down and cheated a little. The second group of defensive linemen is much less impressive compared to the first group.

Davis Tull didn’t run but he’s jumped an 11′ broad. Joey Mbu recorded a 22.5 inch vertical. Mbu has long arms and not much else unfortunately. Shelton had a 30.5 inch vertical.

In the club/rip drill, Williams dominated the bags. He didn’t jump well earlier with a 29.5 inch vert and an 8’10” broad. Preston Smith clubbed the bags nicely and showed some zip. Shelton ran around the bags with real intensity and acceleration.

Owa Odighizuwa managed a 39 inch vertical. Incredible. He’s helping himself big time today. He’s a positive medical report (previous hip problems) from being a genuine first round talent. He still needs to learn how to rush the edge. He presses the interior really nicely with power but often looks lost trying to bend the edge and beat a tackle.

In the stack drill, Shelton got a nice punch in and didn’t rush. Leterrius Walton was told to “bend the knees” — as was Williams. Shane Ray isn’t working out — but he’s holding the bags on this drill getting involved.

The official forty yard dash times are coming in for the defensive linemen. Leonard Williams’ is 4.97. Eli Harold and Dante Fowler both get official 4.60’s. Vic Beasley’s official forty is a 4.53. Danielle Hunter’s is 4.57. Owa Odighizuwa managed a 4.62.

Here’s the top-10:

official forty

Here’s the vertical jump data for the key prospects:

Arik Armstead — 34 inches
Vic Beasley — 41 inches
Malcom Brown — 39.5 inches
Carl Davis — 33 inches
Mario Edwards Jr — 32.5 inches
Trey Flowers — 36.5 inches
Dante Fowler Jr — 32.5 inches
Randy Gregory — 36.5 inches
Eli Harold — 35 inches
Danielle Hunter — DNP
Owa Odighizuwa — 39 inches
Nate Orchard — 31.5 inches
Jordan Phillips — 30 inches
Danny Shelton — 30.5 inches
Preston Smith — 34 inches
Leonard Williams — 29.5 inches

Of all the players to help themselves today — Odighizuwa, Beasley and Harold stood out. Odighizuwa also had a 10’7″ broad jump. Harold’s was 10’3″.

Davis Tull is getting a lot of love from Charles Davis on the NFL Network. Tull recorded a 42.5 inch vert and an 11′ on the broad jump. He’s 6-2 3/8 and 246lbs. Impressive. One to watch. Charles Davis predicted a high 4.5 or low 4.6. He didn’t run the forty due to a hamstring injury.

Some of the linemen are now running linebacker drills — including Preston Smith bizarrely. In a few moments we’ll be ready for the linebackers to run the forty yard dash — including Bud Dupree.

Even in space Odighizuwa doesn’t look uncomfortable. In terms of a physical specimen — he’s as good as anyone in this D-line class.

The defensive linemen are done for the day. I’ll have a review post up later. Now we wait for the linebackers to begin the forty yard dash.

Bud Dupree had a broad jump of 11’7″ and a vertical of 42 inches. To compare, Chris Conley yesterday had an 11’6″ and a vert of 45 inches. The difference is, Conley is 213lbs and Dupree is 269lbs. There’s still time for Dupree to be the star of the day.

Bendarick McKinney had a 40.5 inch vertical, second only to Dupree.

I believe Christine Michael is #1, incidentally.

Here’s the linebackers running the forty yard dash:

Kwon Alexander — 4.59 (1.59)
Stephone Anthony — 4.59 (1.57)
Aaron Davis — 4.99 (1.77)
Paul Dawson — 4.95 (1.69)
Xzavier Dickson — 4.77 (1.71)
Bud Dupree — 4.57 (1.60)
Alani Fua — 4.75 (1.67)
Geneo Grissom — 4.85 (1.66)
Obum Gwacham — 4.77 (1.68)
Bryce Hager — 4.65 (1.64)
Ben Heeney — 4.62 (1.63)
Amario Herrera — 4.86 (1.73)
Jordan Hicks — 4.65 (1.53)
Mike Hull — 4.71 (1.60)
Taiwan Jones — 4.84 (1.56)
Eric Kendricks — 4.66 (1.64)
Lorenzo Mauldin — 4.90 (1.71)
Benardick McKinney — 4.78 (1.74)
Denzel Perryman — 4.81 (1.69)
Hayes Pullard — 4.81 (1.68)
Edmond Robinson — 4.70 (1.69)
Jake Ryan — 4.71 (1.64)
Martrell Spaight — 4.90 (1.72)
J.R. Tavai — 4.94 (1.71)
Shaq Thompson — 4.72 (1.78)
Max Valles — 4.99 (1.77)
Tony Washington — 5.02 (1.75)
Damien Wilson — 4.80 (1.66)
Ramik Wilson — 4.81 (1.70)

Hau’oli Kikaha did not run the forty yard dash.

Here’s Rob Ryan, confused by a Microsoft Surface:

rob ryan

After jabbing his finger at the screen, he shrugged and turned away. This was definitely the lasting image of the combine for me. A genuine rival to ‘Andy Reid eating a sandwich’ from 2013:

Mike Mayock, clearly tired from the long broadcasting stints, is now signing funk music (badly). Rich Eisen found it very amusing:

eisen

According to the NFL Network, Bud Dupree won’t participate in drills. We’ll see if he runs his second forty. Apparently he intends to do drills at the Kentucky pro-day instead. Not sure about that decision.

Washington’s Shaq Thompson ran a mediocre 4.72 with an even worse 1.78 split.

Here’s the second attempt:

Kwon Alexander — 4.63 (1.63)
Stephone Anthony — 4.69 (1.66)
Aaron Davis — 4.99 (1.75)
Paul Dawson — 4.96 (1.73)
Xzavier Dickson — 4.91 (1.77)
Bud Dupree — 4.73 (1.71)
Alani Fua — 4.80 (1.70)
Geneo Grissom — 4.93 (1.68)
Obum Gwacham — 4.75 (1.67)
Bryce Hager — 4.57 (1.56)
Ben Heeney — 4.68 (1.68)
Amario Herrera — 4.95 (1.76)
Jordan Hicks — 4.71 (1.63)
Mike Hull — 4.79 (1.73)
Taiwan Jones — 5.01 (1.79)
Eric Kendricks — DNP
Lorenzo Mauldin — 4.88 (1.69)
Benardick McKinney — 4.69 (1.64)
Denzel Perryman — 4.81 (1.68)
Hayes Pullard — 4.80 (1.64)
Edmond Robinson — 4.63 (1.61)
Jake Ryan — 4.68 (1.62)
Martrell Spaight — 4.91 (1.72)
J.R. Tavai — 4.97 (1.74)
Shaq Thompson — 4.69 (1.72)
Max Valles — 4.87 (1.66)
Tony Washington — 5.03 (1.75)
Damien Wilson — 4.90 (1.71)
Ramik Wilson — 4.81 (1.67)

Bud Dupree ran a 4.73 the second time around after a 4.57 to start. That’s a pretty big difference. I wonder that the explanation is there? He’s inconsistent on tape and at the combine.

Danny Shelton found a camera in Michael Bennet-finds-a-bicyle style:

shelton stole a camera

That concludes the forty yard dash for today. The linebackers are heading out for drills.

This is a really poor group of linebackers — and I can’t imagine the Seahawks drafting any of this group. They have a group of backers under contract, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Brock Coyle will return. They’ll likely shop in the UDFA market again.

Only four guys ran in the high 4.5’s. You really want to see that explosive speed — early 4.5’s.

In the change of direction drill, Ben Heeney is warned not to guess the drill as he stumbles a couple of times. Obum Owacham gets praise for his drill and looked as smooth as anyone.

Bud Dupree isn’t working out (apparently due to a groin injury, even though he ran a forty). Eric Kendricks is clearly the next best linebacker out there.

Hau’Oli Kikaha didn’t run the forty but is doing drills. He looked really stiff trying to change direction in space. Shaq Thompson showed a nice backpedal and transition. He ran a disappointing pair of forty’s but looked good in space.

This is pretty funny:

mayock tweet

Paul Dawson always felt a bit overrated to me. He ran in the 4.9’s and doesn’t look free and easy in the drills.

Mayock calls Davis Tull his “best value” player of the day based on his athletic performance. He did everything but run the forty. Mayock says he’s a SAM linebacker.

Even the better runners in this linebacker class don’t look fluid in space. It’s a stiff looking group with a distinct lack of explosion in space. Penn State’s Mike Hull looking as good as anyone. Most are struggling to get low and stay balanced. Hayes Pullard was standing up far too tall.

Kikaha really tight and struggling to get around. Tony Pauline graded him as an UDFA recently. He might be right, despite all of the production.

Mayock says of this linebacker group: “They all have hands like feet.” He goes on to add he’s disappointed with the groups performance in field drills. It’s even worse than the tight ends on Friday. Just mediocrity across the board — no spark, nobody shining or standing out. The coaches are clearly frustrated, barking at the group and telling them basic things like “keep your eyes up”.

One of the few players that has done even OK is Stephone Anthony of Clemson. I don’t understand why Max Valles decided to turn pro. Anthony will make a nice inside guy for someone — he’s moving pretty well for a big guy. He’s 243lbs and ran a 4.57.

One of the coaches just stopped the final drill, told the players the performance wasn’t good enough and started again. It’s a really flat group — nobody is encouraging anyone. There’s no applause.

Shaq Thompson’s official forty yard dash time is a 4.64. He did a good job in the penultimate drill and drew some praise from the coaches. Nice transition, hip movement, catch and finish.

Denzel Perryman is a curious case. He’s thick cut and struggles to change direction. He’s a thumper inside. Is he an every down backer? Is he big enough for the 3-4?

The final drill is the rip. Lorenzo Mauldin showed some nice power here. Perryman cheated a little bit and just ran by it.

Here are the official linebacker forty times:

The NFL Network has completed its coverage so we’ll call it a day too for the live blog. Stand by for a new post debating Seattle and the defensive line class in a few moments.

 

Receivers impress at the combine — where does it leave Seattle?

February 21st, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Tre McBride ran a 4.41 and recorded a 38 inch vertical jump

If you missed today’s combine live blog, you can recap the day here. It includes workout notes, winners & losers, measurements, breaking news and a lot more

The #1 thing we learned today? This receiver class has everything. Explosive athleticism, freakish size and speed, suddenness and most of all — depth.

While a hyped-up running back class chugged it’s way through a bitterly disappointing, average workout — the receivers lit up Indianapolis with a series of dynamic performances.

Nineteen players ran sub-4.4. Thirteen players jumped above 37 inches in the vertical. If you’re a team in need of a receiver or two — congratulations. The Seahawks happen to need a receiver or two.

It’s hard to read too much into the body language of coaches at the combine. Some sit in the stands with their own stopwatch (Tom Coughlin). Others kick back and let their scouts do most of the data-recording. Jason Garrett joined the NFL Network crew for an interview as Jerry Jones attempted to type forty-times into an Ipad.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider stayed glued to their seats in the Seahawks booth — side-by-side. And they paid particular attention to the receivers. Carroll was seen scribbling notes at a pace. Schneider was deep in conversation, binoculars in hand. The room was a hive of activity. When the running backs started to workout, they sipped soda and looked positively relaxed. No notes were being taken. For once, I think we can read into this.

Rand Getlin is reporting the Seahawks have offered Marshawn Lynch a contract extension worth over $20m for the next two years. It’s a significant offer. If Lynch wants to be the best paid back in the league, this is his opportunity. If Adrian Peterson departs Minnesota he might have to take a pay cut (especially if he wants to join his favorite team in Dallas). Peterson is the only challenger to Lynch in terms of salary if he signs this new deal.

Assuming it gets done, there’s very little reason for the Seahawks to draft a running back. It’s going to be hard enough for eleven or more rookies to make the roster without asking a mid or late round pick to beat out Robert Turbin or Christine Michael. Secure Lynch and you can focus elsewhere. The average performance today of the running backs — where most just looked sluggish and slow — just compounds the situation. Do what it takes to keep Lynch and move on.

They can focus on other needs — receiver, tight end, cornerback, offensive line and defensive line.

I think the Seahawks will address the tight end position in free agency as they look to bring in that elusive second level mismatch for Russell Wilson. They need a guy who draws attention in the way Rob Gronkowski did in the Super Bowl. They need a red zone threat in the passing game. They need someone who can run the seam route and make big plays. All signs point to Julius Thomas — a player they tried to acquire during the season. While he has his critics and doubters, there’s no mistaking his physical quality, speed and production (24 touchdowns in 2013/2014). He’s the type of player who demands respect from a defense and constant attention.

If they sign Thomas (and there’s no comparable TE mismatch in this draft class), the focus turns to receiver, the offensive line, cornerback and the defensive line.

Cornerback could be a problem area. The options in the draft are limited. The 2015 prospects were measured today and we know the Seahawks like their outside cornerbacks to have 32-inch arms. Here’s a full list of defensive backs with +32 inch arms:

Adrian Amos
Alex Carter
Jalen Collins
Kurtis Drummond
Durrell Eskridge
Gerod Holliman
Byron Jones
Cody Prewitt
Jordan Richards
James Sample
Tye Smith
Jaquiski Tartt
Julian Wilson

That’s it. And they’re not all corner prospects either, there’s a few safety’s in there. You can pretty much limit your Monday viewing to this group when the DB’s workout.

(Note — Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will also go through cornerback drills. He has 32 1/8 inch arms and ran a 4.54 today)

Tony Pauline gave Byron Jones a fourth or fifth round grade last summer but he’s been steadily rising. He’s a press-corner coming off a torn labrum. Alex Carter flashed at times for Stanford. There’s some debate whether Adrian Amos is a safety or a corner, but he’s another to monitor.

The top-talent on the list is clearly Jalen Collins. I suspect he’ll end up going in the top-20. This is a bad group and teams know it. The good cornerbacks will go early. The other possible first rounders — Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters, don’t pass the 32-inch arms test. Neither does Utah’s Eric Rowe or Georgia’s Damian Swann.

This is why Byron Maxwell is going to get $10m (too much, in my opinion) on the open market and why he’ll be priced out of a return to Seattle. It’s a really rough year if you have a need at the position. We probably need to scour the free agent market for a diamond in the rough. I’ve always liked Brandon Flowers but he’s short and lacks length — plus he could be costly. 2015 will provide the greatest test to Seattle’s vaunted cornerback production line.

Assuming they don’t go cornerback early, that leaves receiver, defensive line and offensive line as the most likely options at #31. We’ll see the defenders workout tomorrow. I’m not sure the D-line is quite the dramatic need some people believe. Brandon Mebane and Jordan Hill are under contract. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are both signed-up. Cassius Marsh will return. Tony McDaniel is under contract. They’ve done a good job finding defensive line value in the free agent market. Players like Brian Orakpo might be willing to work on a cheap prove-it deal. There are other candidates too.

There’s also a good chance of a first round rush on defensive linemen. Eli Harold is one to watch out for — a good fit for Seattle’s LEO position. Shane Ray wont perform due to injury. We could see Harold, Ray, Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler Jr, Danny Shelton, Jordan Phillips, Eddie Goldman, Malcom Brown, Arik Armstead, Vic Beasley, and Bud Dupree off the board by #31, limiting the available options.

We’ll see if tomorrow changes anything, but I’m leaning towards receiver and offensive line being a likely bet for Seattle’s first two picks in this draft as we edge towards free agency.

I noted at the start of today’s live blog that #31 could be a sweet spot for the O-line. With the reports today that James Carpenter will be a target for the New York Jets, it’s looking increasingly likely the Seahawks will need to fill a hole at left guard. While the receivers are flying up the board today (more on that in a moment) — several good O-line prospects could be available at #31 or even after a small trade down. Ereck Flowers, Cameron Erving, Jake Fisher, La’el Collins. Players who could, theoretically, play guard or tackle. There’s enough OL depth in this draft to wait and let Tom Cable bring in his guys to fill out the roster. But there’s even more depth at receiver.

The top three wide outs all confirmed their status as probable top-18 picks today. Kevin White’s official 4.35 was as unexpected as it was impressive. He’s not a quick-twitch receiver but he has great acceleration and long speed. He has the frame and hands to win in the short game and the ability to get deep and take the top off a defense. He’s smaller than Larry Fitzgerald but plays with a similar physicality. And he’s faster.

Amari Cooper is a naturally gifted receiver — the smoothest wide out to enter the league since A.J. Green. The fact he also ran a 4.42 shows he’s no slouch either. But he doesn’t have great height or length and he suffered with drops in college. White has possibly usurped Cooper as the top receiver — and he’ll be a candidate to go fourth overall to Oakland. Cooper shouldn’t last beyond Minnesota (#11) and Cleveland (#12).

That leaves DeVante Parker, who also performed well today (4.45 forty, 36.5 vert, 10’5″ broad). He could go ahead of Cooper if it comes down to personal preference. Greater size/athleticism versus polish. It’s also worth noting Parker is curt and introverted while Cooper is well-spoken and competitive. Either way, there’s a chance both players will be off the board by San Francisco at #15. The worst case scenario is Kansas City at #18.

Here’s the possible problem for Seattle. If White, Cooper and Parker are off the board by #12 or #15, we have to assume Kansas City will take the next best receiver available. That could be Jaelen Strong — who had a fantastic combine performance (4.42 forty, 42-inch vert, 10’3″ broad). With the likelihood of four receivers leaving the board in the top-20, you’re looking at taking the 5th or 6th best receiver at #31. There’s probably ten players with similar grades vying to be #5 and #6. The value at #31 will be pretty similar to the value at #55.

Theoretically, you could trade down from #31 and fill a need on the offensive line — then trade up from #63 to get a receiver you like. You run the risk of losing picks, but you also have the chance to make a cumulative gain and get the players you really want.

So who are the ten if White, Cooper, Parker and Strong are off the board?

Nelson Agholor (USC)
Ran an impressive 4.41 with the top ten-yard split (1.53). He makes up for a lack of size (6-0, 198lbs) with suddenness, catching technique, good hands, leaping ability and grit. He’s an effective kick returner too. It’d be more of the same for Seattle, but this is the type of receiver they’ve shown interest in. If they sign a big target (eg Julius Thomas) in free agency, this could be an option.

Sammie Coates (Auburn)
He was as advertised today. Coates is a physical freak with fantastic muscle tone and a T.O. style frame. He ran a 4.43 with a 41-inch vertical, 10’11” broad jump and he put up 23 reps on the bench press. Physically he’s a top ten pick. Catching the ball he might be an UDFA. During drills he struggled to track the deep ball and had some drops. For all the potential, he’s likely to be a frustrating player at the next level. Very boom or bust.

Phillip Dorsett (Miami)
He’s a really effective deep-receiver with 4.33 size. He posted a 37-inch vertical today with a 10’2″ broad jump. He’s not just a sprinter playing football — he’s very much a football player. He uses his athleticism to get open and does a good job catching the ball. Can he win in the short game? He showed flashes at Miami. He’s a competitive player but he’s only 5-9 and 183lbs. How many receivers with that size become anything more than a sparky role-player?

Devin Funchess (Michigan)
Funchess really should’ve worked out with the tight ends yesterday. Instead of shining as the obvious top athlete among a bad group, he just looked like a slow receiver today. He’s always been a build-up-speed player at 6-4 and 232lbs — but a 4.70 was considerably worse than Dorial Green-Beckham’s 4.49 at a similar size. He did have a 38-inch vertical to fall back on. He lacks suddenness (1.67 ten yard split) and won’t win off the snap. He needs to be used as a mismatch in the slot or working the seam. He is adept at boxing off defenders, the head-fake and making difficult grabs.

Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma)
DGB has a very peculiar body shape. He’s 6-5 and 237lbs but only has 32 and a half inch arms. He doesn’t appear long despite the height. If anything he looked quite stocky. He only has nine inch hands. Running a 4.49 at that size was impressive, but he only managed a mediocre 33.5 inch vertical and a 9’11” in the broad jump. He’s fast but he doesn’t have a great catching radius or wingspan. The off-field concerns are legit and he didn’t do a convincing job in front of the media. Tall but not long, fast but can’t jump.

Rashad Greene (Florida State)
Mr. Consistent for FSU but doesn’t seem like a fit for Seattle. He’s only 5-11 and 182lbs, ran a 4.53 today and posted a 36.5 inch vertical and a 10’2″ broad jump. He catches everything and any offense needing a reliable slot receiver will consider Greene on day two. But the Seahawks don’t need a 4.5 runner at 5-11. The ten-yard split on his first forty yard dash matched Nelson Agholor’s 1.53. He has nine inch hands and 31 5/8 inch arms. He’s a competitive player with lots of production.

Tyler Lockett (Kansas State)
After a fantastic Senior Bowl, Lockett further improved his stock at the combine. He’s just under 5-10 and 182lbs (similar size to Rashad Greene) with 30 inch arms and sub-9 inch hands. That’s not a great mix and he too might be out of contention for the Seahawks. But he looked sharp running a 4.40 forty and he also posted a 35.5 inch vertical and a 10’1″ broad jump. He showed spectacular hands in Mobile and he has some kick return potential. His stock has risen so high he’s probably drifted out of any reasonable consideration for Seattle.

Tre McBride (Williams & Mary)
A Seahawks Draft Blog favorite coming into the combine — McBride showed up big time. He’s 6-0 and 210lbs and ran a 4.41 with a 38 inch vertical, a 10’2″ broad jump and a 4.08 short shuttle (top five among WR’s). On tape he makes numerous circus catches — flashing excellent catching technique and the ability to make plays in the short game and downfield. He’s a kick return specialist too. He has average height at 6-0 but plays big with a nice thick frame. He could play at 215lbs comfortably. He has A+ character — he’s well spoken and polite during interviews, gritty and fun on the field. He’s rising and could be a legit second round option for the Seahawks.

Breshad Perriman (UCF)
He didn’t workout at the combine due to injury. He’s very much flavor of the month among draft pundits. Mel Kiper recently put him at #15 in a mock draft. Mike Mayock has also discussed his possible rise up the board. He’s 6-2 and 212lbs with NFL bloodlines. On tape he’s comparable to Sammie Coates — capable of big plays and equally capable of some horrendous drops. Neither player is going to be on a quarterbacks Christmas Card list. He does have enough potential to entice a team to take a shot on day two. The first round would be a significant reach in my opinion.

Devin Smith (Ohio State)
The expected contest with Phillip Dorsett never really materialized but a 4.42 is still a decent time for a 6-0, 196lbs receiver. He’s a smooth, fluid runner — very natural with no wasted steps. You can see why he’s such an effective downfield catcher. He posted a 39-inch vertical with a 10’2″ broad jump. He made several Odell Beckham Jr-style catches for the Buckeye’s. He doesn’t have ODB’s unreal hand size (only nine inches) but they share similar athletic traits. He’s a fantastic high point catcher and a big play artist. He also has genuine special teams value as a gunner.

You might have to take Nelson Agholor, Devin Smith or Devin Funchess at #31 or in the top-40 if you trade down. You might be able to get Tre McBride in the #55-63 range. That’s what you have to consider here. Where is the best value coinciding with the best way to upgrade the existing roster? There are likely two sweet spots at this position — #4-15 and then #35-50.

The Seahawks manipulated the situation last year to get the player they wanted (Paul Richardson) in the right range. I can see a similar situation here. Either take the guy they like after a small trade down, or find a way to get the receiver you want in the late second round. The alternative, of course, is to make a Julio Jones-style trade into the top ten to target Kevin White. Can anyone really see that happening?

Last year the value at #32 was probably leaning towards the offensive line (Joel Bitonio) and at #64 towards receiver. It might be a similar situation again this year. The Seahawks kind of fought the board a little bit — especially in admitting they took Justin Britt in the second round to avoid missing out altogether on a right tackle they liked (they didn’t own a third rounder). That’s what the Seahawks do — they draft for their roster and not for the league.

With four solid fits at receiver likely to leave the board before the #31 pick — going OL with the first pick and WR with the second could make a great deal of sense. And who would rule out some movement up and down the board to make it happen?

One receiver we need to go back and have a look at — Georgia’s Chris Conley. At just under 6-2 and 213lbs he ran a 4.35 forty, recorded a 45 inch vertical, an 11’7″ in the broad jump and even had 18 reps on the bench press. Oh yeah, he also has 33 3/4 inch arms and just under ten inch hands. That’s incredible size, length, speed and athleticism. I’ve scanned through some clips and there’s a lot to like here. He can separate, high point the football, get behind the defense and make big plays. He appears to be well respected with tremendous character. Can’t wait to see more.

Also today the quarterbacks and running backs went through drills. Jameis Winston put on a masterclass — on and off the field. He gave a superstar interview with the NFL Network, took on a leadership role within the QB group and was the clear vocal leader on the field. Greg Knapp working the drills took a clear shine to him. He nailed a tough media conference last night and just looks the part of a #1 overall pick. It’s not a done deal, but you get a real vibe that Tampa Bay is going to take Winston with the first pick. Everything is trending that way. I mean, how impressive is this?

Marcus Mariota also performed well but faded into Winston’s shadow when they both appeared on the NFL Network and the same thing happened on the field. He’s not a loud person and prefers to lead by example. He will be a high pick, but you sense he’s losing ground to Winston in the race to go first overall. The big question could be — will Tennessee take Mariota at #2, or will they take a defensive prospect like Leonard Williams? If Mariota lasts until the #5 pick, will that encourage a team like Cleveland or Philadelphia to trade up? If the Eagles are being aggressive at cornerback (willing to pay Maxwell), they could be laying the foundations for a big trade up on draft day.

The running back workouts were miserably average. It’s shocking how slow the group looked. Even Melvin Gordon put in a disappointing performance — running a 4.53 and recording a 35 inch vertical. During drills they nearly all looked sluggish. T.J. Yeldon is too big, Gordon was stiffer than expected, Duke Johnson was slow, Josh Robinson was even slower and David Cobb pulled a quad. Jay Ajayi and Ameer Abdullah both posted impressive vertical jumps (39 and 42 inches respectively) but that’s about as good as it gets for this years crop. This was a total anti-climax.

For all the combine data from today, click here.

And one final note to close out the day — Vic Beasley put up 35 reps on the bench press. That’s more than Danny Shelton (34). Incredible. We’ll be live again from 6AM PST tomorrow with coverage of the defensive linemen and linebacker drills.

 

LIVE BLOG: Combine day four (QB/RB/WR workouts)

February 21st, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

HIGHLIGHTS

— Kevin White runs an official 4.35
— Jaelen Strong runs a 4.46, jumps a 42-inch vertical
— Amari Cooper & Devante Parker also run in the low 4.4’s
— Nelson Agholor runs an impressive 4.41 but dislocates finger
— Tre McBride runs a 4.41, Devin Smith a 4.42
— Jalen Collins’ arms longer than Seattle’s cut-off of 32 inches
— Waynes, Peters, Rowe have sub-32 inch arms
— Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota thrive during throwing drills
— Running backs fail to impress
— Melvin Gordon runs unofficial times of 4.52 and 4.53
— Shane Ray won’t workout at the combine due to injury

We’re live blogging throughout the combine. Keep refreshing this page for the latest Seahawks news, data from the cornerback measurement session and notes on the QB/RB/WR workouts as they take place today (beginning 6AM PST).

Before we get started, a further thought on the offensive linemen from yesterday. I’ve been thinking this morning — what constitutes a ‘Seahawks’ type of offensive lineman? Given their penchant for difference making athleticism and unique physical qualities, that’s not necessarily what they’ve gone with on the O-line. There’s nothing particularly ‘SPARQ-y’ about James Carpenter (first round pick), Justin Britt (second round pick) or John Moffitt (third round pick). It’s in the later rounds where they’ve looked to target physical upside (J.R. Sweezy, Garrett Scott).

Tom Cable clearly has a lot of sway in the decision making here. He knows what he wants — and essentially, we don’t. He’ll take the length and brutish size of Carpenter (plus the masses of tape showing an excellent run blocker at Alabama). He’ll take the workmanlike nature of Moffitt or the wrestling background and honesty of Britt. He has his guys and they don’t always fit a ‘type’.

If the Seahawks are considering drafting an offensive lineman early, I’m not sure we can assume what type of prospect it would be. It could be the size of an Ereck Flowers, the rare athleticism of Jake Fisher or the versatility of Cameron Erving. It might be the toughest pick to work out if, for example, the Seahawks let Carpenter walk in free agency and fill other needs (WR/TE/DL/CB). A case can be made for the #31 pick providing a bit of a sweet spot on the offensive line.

The first group of quarterbacks run the forty without any headlines. Brett Hundley managed a 4.63. Now it’s time for the receivers.

Nelson Agholor — 4.44
Mario Alford — 4.43
Kenny Bell — 4.42
Sammie Coates — 4.45
Chris Conley — 4.41
Amari Cooper — 4.43
Jamison Crowder — 4.56
Stefon Diggs — 4.46
Phillip Dorsett — 4.35
Devin Funchess — 4.70
Antwan Goodley — 4.46
Dorial Green-Beckham — 4.50
Rashad Greene — 4.47
Justin Hardy — 4.56

Mike Mayock calls Nelson Agholor a second round pick, praising his punt return qualities. His first run is a nice 4.44. Agholor and Amari Cooper ran faster than Sammie Coates in the initial run through. Here’s a note — Cooper and Coates have the same weight, height and speed (based on the unofficial times). I noted earlier in the week I didn’t expect Dorsett to run sub-4.3 — he manages an unofficial 4.35 in the first run.

Devin Funchess ran with a long stride. He’s incredibly long in the frame. He’s a build-up speed runner and it showed with his forty. A 4.70 would’ve looked good with the TE’s yesterday, but here it doesn’t look so great with all this speed on display. Dorial Green-Beckham had a nice 4.50 to start and appeared to be carrying the extra weight well. Mike Evans ran an official 4.53 last year.

The NFL Newtwork is showing a comparison between Agholor and Jeremy Maclin. Very similar physical traits. Worth noting — Maclin glides as a runner. We don’t see that from Agholor. There are very few receivers in the league with Maclin’s suddenness.

Second attempts:

Nelson Agholor — 4.47
Mario Alford — 4.45
Kenny Bell — 4.40
Sammie Coates — 4.43
Chris Conley — 4.35
Amari Cooper — 4.42
Jamison Crowder — 4.58
Stefon Diggs — 4.50
Phillip Dorsett — 4.33
Devin Funchess — 4.70
Antwan Goodley — 4.46
Dorial Green-Beckham — 4.49
Rashad Greene — 4.54
Justin Hardy — 4.62

Sammie Coates is in incredible shape. Not that you didn’t know that already. Fantastic athlete. Really inconsistent and suspect hands though. Amari Cooper ran a fantastic time. He’s the most natural receiver to enter the league since A.J. Green and could go just as early (top five).

Devin Funchess is in incredible shape and has great length too. But two 4.70’s just highlights why he should’ve worked out yesterday. Why not look great at the position you’re most likely to play (tight end) instead of looking like a big, slow receiver? Not helping matter, Dorial Green-Beckham is the same size as Funchess and ran a 4.50 and a 4.49.

We’re now waiting for the drills to begin. Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock are discussing Jameis Winston. Apparently Steve Mariucci told Eisen Winston is the most impressive prospect he’s met with. For the last few years, Mariucci has down a whiteboard session with one quarterback prospect. Last year it was Blake Bortles.

The first drill is a toe-tap exercise. The quarterback is having an issue putting the ball in the right place. Really messy drill so far. The ball is being thrown short or too high. Amari Cooper catches his throw but it warned to be faster by the coaches (he jogged the drill). Phillip Dorsett made a nice two-handed catch. Devin Funchess and Dorial Green-Beckham also caught the ball well here.

The quarterbacks continue to struggle and it’s hurting the receivers on the deeper routes. They’re slowing up to track the ball in the over-the-shoulder downfield throws. It’s messy. It’s making this session pretty much a write-off. How can you judge these receivers? Just for comparison, the second group of receivers get Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota throwing at them.

It’s more of the same in the gauntlet. Errant throws, balls flying into the receivers face. Devin Funchess dropped a pass straight into his hands. Dorial Green-Beckham had a really nice gauntlet and so did Justin Hardy.

Nelson Agholor had an exceptional gauntlet. EXCEPTIONAL. Caught two really difficult passes away from his body. Great instinct and feel, soft hands, cupping the ball. Agholor is having a great day as expect. Sammie Coates had a clean run but let one ball into his frame. Amari Cooper looked polished but double-caught his last ball. DGB let four balls into his frame and didn’t pluck. Devin Funchess also let some throws into his body but also had a nice high-pointed grab.

The funny thing about DGB is he doesn’t look long. He’s tall, but not long for the height. He only has 32 and a half inch arms at 6-5. Funchess should’ve worked out yesterday. He’s not a fluid, sudden athlete. He’s stiff. His best skills are boxing out defenders, throwing a head-fake to get open and winning contested passes. You can’t show that off here. Instead he looked like a big, slow receiver. He would’ve shone in a bad tight end group yesterday — and it’s almost certain he ends up working as a move-TE/ or slot/seam receiver at the next level.

Agholor for me has been the most impressive player so far catching the ball and running in the 4.4’s will aid his stock. There’s a lot of similar receivers in this group — 6-1/6-2, over 200lbs, running in the 4.4’s. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Seattle dropped back into the second round and targeted a guy like Agholor. He’s a reliable, competitive receiver with kick return skills. And he can do this:

Agholor had the best ten yard split among receivers too at 1.53. That’s sudden.

The quarterback group, which is incredibly mediocre, are now going through passing drills. We sit and wait for the next group of receivers to run the forty.

One of the QB’s just threw deep to Sammie Coates who dropped the football. Mike Mayock highlights it — when he has to adjust and track the football, he struggles. Coates the athlete is top-notch. But Coates the receiver just isn’t all that great.

The second group of receivers are going through the jumps. Jaelen Strong posted a 42-inch vertical, which is not a surprise at all. He has basketball bloodlines and consistently won in jump-ball situations in college. He’s only 6-2 with 32 and a half inch arms, but that’s some vertical jump there. His forty will be interesting to see today.

Nelson Agholor dislocated a finger during the drills.

Yesterday Tony Pauline reported Philadelphia had interest in Byron Maxwell (and might be willing to pay him $10m APY). Today, Pauline links James Carpenter to the Jets:

Pauline’s report also says Julius Thomas is “done” in Denver. He could be a target for the Seahawks. He also has quotes from former Cleveland offensive coordinator regarding Joel Bitonio: “Shanahan called (Bitonio) ‘great’ and the ‘best rookie lineman I ever coached’.”

The cornerback measurements are coming in. Marcus Peters is 6-0, 192lbs with 31.5 inch arms. Trae Waynes is 6-0, 186lbs with 31 inch arms. P.J. Williams is 6-0, 194lbs with 31 inch arms. Eric Rowe is 6-1, 205lbs with 31.5 inch arms. Jalen Collins is 6-1, 203lbs with 32 and 1/8 inch arms. Out of all the cornerbacks in this class — Collins is the most intriguing to me. Incredible potential and should be a top-20 pick.

The 32-inch arms are key for the Seahawks. You can probably rule out an early pick at the position unless Collins falls. We highlighted Alex Carter at Stanford as an option — he has 32 and 1/8 inch arms. We’re still waiting on Damian Swann’s numbers. You might be able to rule out Peters, Waynes, Rowe, Williams and a few others.

Jaelen Strong also had a 10-3 in the broad jump to go with a 42-inch vertical. That’s explosive. He’s a good forty away from being a very, very intriguing player. He couldn’t separate in college but he’s showing a ton of athletic potential here. Mike Mayock says he has a Larry Fitzgerald body type.

Devante Parker had a 10-5 in the broad.

The next group of quarterbacks are preparing to run the forty yard dash.

Sean Mannion — 5.16 & 5.14
Marcus Mariota — 4.52 & 4.56
Nick Marshall — 4.60 & 4.54
Blake Sims — 4.59 & 4.58
Jameis Winston — 4.97 & 4.99

Chris Conley who worked with the first group of receivers just recorded an 11-7 broad jump and a 45-inch vertical. That is incredible. We need to go back and look at this guy. He suffered in Georgia playing for two quarterbacks who couldn’t throw deep. He ran a 4.35 earlier (unofficial). He did drop a few passes during drills.

Time for the second group of wide outs.

Tony Lippett — 4.67
Tyler Lockett — 4.40
Vince Mayle — 4.73
Tre McBride — 4.41
Ty Montgomery — 4.58
J.J. Nelson — 4.29
Devante Parker — 4.45
Devin Smith — 4.47
Jaelen Strong — 4.51
Darren Waller — 4.46
Kevin White — 4.35

That’s a really poor first attempt for Tony Lippett and Vince Mayle. Ouch.

Tre McBride has a superb 4.41 and looked really, really smooth. He’s one of my favorite players in the draft — we wrote about him here. That is a fantastic time to go with his natural competitive spirit, ability to make chunk plays, catching technique and special teams value. I’d consider him in the late second or early third round, if not higher.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider are spotted making a lot of notes in their booth during the forty runs for this second group of receivers. No surprise there.

Devin Smith with a surprisingly slow 4.47 the first time around. A 4.51 will help Jaelen Strong — he’s had a fantastic day so far. Darren Waller is also having a tremendous day with a 4.46.

Kevin White just ran a 4.35. That could be enough to usurp even Amari Cooper. If that stands officially he could easily be a top-10 pick. Outstanding. So far White and Jaelen Strong are significantly boosting their stock. Having pondered whether Strong could be an option for the Seahawks at #31, he could easily be gone now. If Cooper, White and Parker boost their stock into the top-15, you know Kansas City at #18 will take a receiver.

Here are the second runs:

Tony Lippett — 4.62
Tyler Lockett — 4.40
Vince Mayle — 4.67
Tre McBride — 4.41
Ty Montgomery — 4.55
J.J. Nelson — 4.36
Devante Parker — 4.50
Devin Smith — 4.42
Jaelen Strong — 4.44
Darren Waller — 4.54
Kevin White — 4.36

Tre McBride pumped up after his second run, saying to himself, “Let’s go”. Mayock enjoys that. McBride very exciting prospect. Jaelen Strong runs an even better forty time the second time around with a 4.44. Why couldn’t he separate in college? Everything he’s done today was explosive — forty, vertical, broad. That’s a question we need to ask going back into the tape. On this athletic display he could easily go in the first round.

Kevin White validates his first time with a 4.36. There’s a headline for you. He is going to go in the top-12 with a time like that. Oakland, the Jets, St. Louis, Minnesota and Cleveland have a need at the position.

Onto the drills…

Kevin White is putting on a clinic. He’s tracking the ball on the downfield routes, he tapped his toes nicely on the initial drill. The tape is great, he’s having a fantastic combine. He’s gritty. His catchphrase became the slogan for WVU’s season in 2014 (“Too easy”). He is going to go very early.

Tre McBride was given a difficult gauntlet but did well to catch one ball thrown behind. Devante Parker sauntered through his gauntlet. He caught the ball well but never got out of third gear. Jaelen Strong and Devin Smith also aced the gauntlet. Darren Waller looked uncomfortable and dropped a couple. He looks fantastic for his size though. Remember, earlier he ran in the 4.4’s. Kevin White looked great. Tyler Lockett looking smooth in the gauntlet — no drops.

One thing is clear watching the receivers today — this is an incredibly athletic group. Much faster than we anticipated. You’ve got all types too — bigger, slot, sudden, jump ball specialists. You can either go early on one of the studs or wait a little while for a Tre McBride. Or double down. Great class — and another good year at a position Seattle still has a need.

Parker’s second gauntlet was even slower. He trundled along drawing criticism from Mike Mayock. He’s playing it too safe.

Daniel Jeremiah compares Kevin White to Julio Jones. Suddenly it doesn’t seem unrealistic. So who fancies trading up ala Atlanta?

The quarterback drills are underway but Tyler Lockett just made a stunning leaping catch on a deep pass. Jameis Winston is hitting the mark on the majority of his throws. There’s a real vibe this week that he’s going to be the #1 pick. Bryce Petty is throwing the ball well. He seems to be in pole position to be the #3 quarterback after Winston and Mariota.

Winston is now throwing down the left sideline and it’s a beautiful sight. Effortless. He looks the part here and aced his media interview last night. Mariota isn’t far behind in the same drill. Winston is almost leading the group drill-to-drill, he’s encouraging the rest of the guys along while the rest remain pretty silent. Greg Knapp (former Seahawks OC who’s leading the drill) is asking him all the questions before each drill.

On the last throw on a short-and-out-drill, Winston barks out to the receiver, “Let’s save the best for last” before throwing a dime. He’s showing alpha-male traits here, leadership and confidence. Both of the top two quarterback prospects are performing very well. This should be a lesson for future prospects debating whether they should throw at the combine.

Jaelen Strong dropped a few during the drills.

That’s the end of the throwing drills. Next up today — the running backs.

Mike Mayock, who just had some nice praise for LSU cornerback Jalen Collins, called Melvin Gordon “special”. Get ready for a huge performance here.

By the way — we’re still waiting for most of the broad/vertical jump numbers for the receivers, or a full list of measurements for the DB’s. It’s taking a while to get this information out this year.

Running back forty yard dash (first attempt)

Ameer Adbullah: 4.61
Jay Ajayi: 4.62
Buck Allen: 4.55
Cameron Artis-Payne: 4.54
Malcolm Brown: 4.67
David Cobb: 4.81
Mike Davis: 4.61
Michael Dyer 4.58
Melvin Gordon: 4.52
Duke Johnson: 4.55
Matt Jones: 4.62
Jeremy Langford: 4.43
Josh Robinson: 4.71
T.J. Yeldon: 4.65

Apparently Jay Ajayi was born in England. That should provide a nice boost to his stock. David Cobb pulled up with a quad injury during his forty yard dash.

Some of the official forty times are coming in. Marcus Mariota had a 4.52, Phillip Dorsett managed a 4.33.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider are not actively writing down notes and times during the running back forty’s. They were very active during the receiver drills.

john and pete

I think on this occasion, you can read a ton into that. Expect Marshawn Lynch to re-sign. Expect the Seahawks to go receiver with at least one of their early picks.

Not much to get excited about so far with the running backs. Even Melvin Gordon ran in the 4.5’s. He also had a 35-inch vertical earlier. I thought he’d do better than that to be honest. As the receivers rise, the running backs are heading the other way. We’ve seen all the running backs run once and it’s been pretty underwhelming. Todd Gurley’s stock is rising and he’s stood watching the drills.

Second attempts:

Ameer Adbullah: 4.62
Jay Ajayi: 4.57
Buck Allen: 4.53
Cameron Artis-Payne: 4.53
Malcolm Brown: 4.62
David Cobb: DNP
Mike Davis: 4.63
Michael Dyer: 4.63
Melvin Gordon: 4.53
Duke Johnson: 4.60
Matt Jones: 4.61
Jeremy Langford: 4.43
Josh Robinson: 4.77
T.J. Yeldon: 4.61

This comparison raised a laugh from Mike Mayock:

lynch gordon

The NFL Network created a system to churn out these comparisons based on physical attributes. Yesterday’s examples weren’t too bad, today’s have been all over the place. Clearly Lynch and Gordon are very different backs. He completed two runs at 4.52 and 4.53. That’s a fair bit slower than Jamaal Charles — the player Gordon is usually compared to. This isn’t the big day we expected and it could impact his stock.

Of all the players standing out in this running back class, Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford has been the most impressive so far. Great size and ran two 4.43’s.

Rand Getlin is reporting the Seahawks have offered Marshawn Lynch $20m over two years:

It’s essentially a three-year deal according to Getlin, with up-front pay in the first two years. It would allow the Seahawks to assess the situation after the 2016 season — and delay the need to go big on a running back replacement. They are trying to maintain the status quo and keep one of only two true starts on offense in place. They need to add receiving weapons to help Russell Wilson, not take away their only top-tier skill position player.

Instead of making the pipe-dream move for Ndamukong Suh, they might use any spare cap money to go after Julius Thomas while also adding a receiver early in the draft. That would bolster the offense significantly. They’d still need to focus on replacing James Carpenter if he moves on, plus Byron Maxwell. Defensive line depth could also be considered.

The running backs are going through drills. Duke Johnson gets a few cheers from the coaches for his cut and run — as did Florida’s Matt Jones. Josh Robinson ran two slow times and looks a bit sluggish during drills. T.J. Yeldon looks big and it shows — he’s not quite as sharp in these drills as he looked during the early days at Alabama. His footwork was plodding and he struggled to change direction off the cut. He could do with dropping a few pounds.

Sammie Coates had a 10-11 broad jump and a 41-inch vertical. Special, but we knew that already. If only he had hands.

Dee Hart had some nice change of direction skills in the slalom, drawing applause. He finished with a nice spin-move flourish too. Impressive run. Melvin Gordon didn’t look quite as fluid as I expected. The group overall again looked average. Duke Johnson ran the slalom nicely.

More of the official forty times are coming in for the receivers:

Phillip Dorsett — 4.33
Tyler Lockett — 4.40
Tre McBride — 4.41
Devin Smith — 4.42
Nelson Agholor — 4.42
Amari Cooper — 4.42

Compare those times to this group of running backs. They just look slow. The entire group.

McBride’s 4.41 is impressive. We talked about him earlier today, but it validates what you see on tape. He high points the ball, makes circus catches, always competes and plays big. He’s an exciting prospect. Nelson Agholor’s 4.42 is also impressive.

Vertical jumps:

Jaelen Strong — 42″
Sammie Coates — 41″
Devin Smith — 39″
Devin Funchess — 38.5″
Tre McBride — 38″
Darren Waller — 37″
Kevin White — 36.5″
DeVante Parker — 36.5″
Dorial Green-Beckham — 33.5″
Amari Cooper — 33″

DGB might have Mike Evans size and speed, but he has considerably shorter arms (smaller wingspan) and his vertical jump is 3.5 inches shorter. In terms of a catch radius, Evans is far superior.

Tre McBride had a 38-inch vertical to go with his 4.41. He’s 6-2 and 205lbs with room to get up to 210lbs.

Some breaking injury news:

So no Shane Ray tomorrow.

The running backs are now going through catching drills. Melvin Gordon impressed in the corner route, flew down the sideline and made a safe catch. Matt Jones dropped his pass. Jeremy Langford continues to show as much promise as anyone from this group. Josh Robinson is a fantastic catcher (huge hands) and he made a couple of good catches in the throwing drills.

The forty times were average for this group, but the vertical jumps were better. Ameer Abdullah managed a 42-inch vert, Jay Ajayi had a 39-inch vert. Melvin Gordon only managed a 35-inch vert in comparison. I’m not convinced the Seahawks will draft a running back if they re-sign Lynch to a new deal. Why would they with Robert Turbin and Christine Michael under contract? What have we seen here to think they’d draft a RB?

It’s clear what the priorities are — WR, DL, OL and TE if they don’t fill that need in free agency (I think they will).

Things are winding down now (Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock have finished for the day already). I’ll have a review piece on the blog later today discussing the receivers and the options Seattle has at #31.

 

Thoughts on Oregon’s Jake Fisher and his fit in Seattle

February 20th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Jake Fisher stole the show at the combine today

If you missed today’s combine live blog, you can recap the day here. It includes workout notes, winners & losers, measurements, breaking news and a lot more

There were several key performers today but nobody had a better athletic performance than Oregon’s Jake Fisher. His 7.25 in the 3-cone and 4.33 in the short shuttle were top-five for OT’s over the last decade. He ran an official 5.01 in the forty yard dash with a 1.75 ten yard split and posted a 32.5 in the vertical jump.

Nobody came close to that kind of performance this year. It brought back memories of Joel Bitonio twelve months ago and Kyle Long in 2013. Both players went in the top-40 of their subsequent drafts. Fisher might be on the fast track to a similar result this April.

I’ve spent the last hour digging through some Oregon TV tape to have another look at him. Here’s some thoughts before we get into his potential fit in Seattle…

He doesn’t jump off the screen like Bitonio, but then it’s easy to forget just how accomplished Bitonio looked at Nevada. Against top-tier opponents in 2013, he excelled (National Champions Florida State, Anthony Barr and co at UCLA). He mirrored well in pass protection, drove people off the ball in the running game, loved to get to the second level and played with a constant edge. I recall one play against Fresno State where he dumped a linebacker on his backside. He finished plays every game.

I guess you’d call Fisher more ‘finesse’, but that’s really just a kind way of saying he doesn’t play with the same level of intensity. He’ll do his job on each given play to a reasonable level. But he rarely goes above and beyond — rushing to the second level, finishing a block with a little extra spice or driving someone out of a play after the whistle. He’s very grabby and gets a ton of flags (six for holding in 2014 alone). You don’t see the same kind of raw attitude. He’s a converted tight end and plays up to that.

One thing he does really well is recover. In the National Championship against Ohio State there were at least two occasions where he got beat on an inside move in the run game. He had a nice counter — pushing the defensive end into the pile and creating a new crease off the edge. In one particular play it created a huge lane for the running back. You can’t expect him to dominate every snap so it’s good that he’s alert and intelligent enough to counter-attack.

He’s an effortless lateral mover — that’s no surprise given what he achieved at the combine today. He’ll be able to cope with speed. There’s very little tightness in his hips and that’ll bode well if a team decides to keep him at tackle (more on that later).

Sadly, though, he is not a great run blocker. Not yet, anyway. He lacks punch and very rarely pushes people off the LOS. He can hold position nicely, but you don’t see those ‘wow’ blocks where the defensive lineman just gets jolted back. His footwork, while good when he tries to set in pass protection, is inconsistent in the running game. He needs to keep moving and work the defender, using his speed and size as an advantage. Too often when he initiates contact he stops and tries to win purely with upper-body power and this is where he struggles. He should get better here over time, but for now it is what it is. He must continue to get stronger.

Both Bitonio and Long showed more snap on tape. For that reason it might be worth pumping the breaks on his sky-rocketing stock. Yet the fact is — there just isn’t anyone with his level of athletic upside available at offensive tackle this year. There’s no Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan. No Bitonio sitting there in round two. We’ve talked about this a lot — the top college athletes are gravitating towards defense. It’s been happening for a while. And it’s putting a premium on athletic offensive linemen who can match-up at the next level. It’s why Eric Fisher jumped Luke Joeckel as the first pick in 2013 — and it’s why Lane Johnson went in the top five.

There’s a big market for players like Jake Fisher in the league, however much work they require. A top-40 grade feels right today, but you’d still expect several other offensive linemen to leave the board first (including Andrus Peat, T.J. Clemmings, La’el Collins, Brandon Scherff and the blossoming D.J. Humphries).

So what about his fit in Seattle?

Some people believe a long-term plan is required on the offensive line, essentially to prepare for life after Russell Okung. I’m not one of those people. For me, Okung is a core guy on the offense. I don’t think he’s in the top echelon of NFL left tackles, but he’s probably in the next tier. It’s incredibly difficult to find even a solid starting left tackle and they usually cost a top-ten pick. The Seahawks have their guy and depending on what they do in free agency, they should work to extend his contract which expires after the 2015 season.

Of course, this all depends on what happens in free agency. If the Seahawks make an improbable move for Ndamukong Suh, they’re going to have to make savings somewhere. Signing Suh is attractive but still only a dream at this point. I’d expect Seattle to be active in free agency — probably to add a veteran receiver or tight end and maybe some depth to the defensive line — without spending mega-money.

There’s a theory that Okung is too banged up — and he has missed games. A bit of context is required though. Okung has never missed a full season or even most of a season. His most injury hit campaign was 2013 when he played eight regular season games. It’s easy to forget how poorly the O-line played in his absence with Paul McQuistan and Michael Bowie at tackle. He returned late in the season to help the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl. He was needed.

In 2014 he missed two games. In 2012 he missed one game. Bobby Wagner has missed seven games in the last two seasons. Players are going to get injured. Had Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas picked up their late-season injuries earlier, they probably go on I.R. in 2014. Okung has a tendency to get banged up, but it’s more a case of frustrating niggling injuries instead of anything career threatening. This is part of the game and for me, it’s overstated when people talk about Okung. Especially when you consider every member of Seattle’s starting offensive line has missed time in the last two seasons.

The idea you could draft a tackle at #31 and use that player to replace Okung down the line is slightly fanciful for me looking at this crop of players. None get close to the kind of quality Okung showed entering the league. You’d be banking on serious development at the next level. I’d rather look into a Jared Veldheer type extension for Okung like Davis Hsu has suggested — he penned a 5-year, $35m deal with the Cardinals.

Of course it’s not just about potentially replacing Okung. James Carpenter is a free agent and might not be retained, creating a hole at left guard. I’m not convinced Alvin Bailey will simply step in to replace Carpenter. Even if he does, they need to add depth to the offensive line.

You could draft Fisher and move him to left guard. The switch to guard worked well for Kyle Long. You could put Fisher at right tackle and move Justin Britt inside. Would either move appeal?

Firstly, Fisher is a very different player to both Carpenter and Bailey. I’m not sure if Seattle is totally focused on massive size and length at left guard, but that’s what the current incumbents provide. Carpenter is 6-5 and 321lbs. Bailey is 6-3 and listed at 320lbs (but looks bigger). I quite like the size they bring even if performances have been inconsistent. Long is 6-6 and had to work to get to 306lbs for the combine. Run blocking, as discussed above, is not his calling card. The Seahawks do run a zone blocking scheme at heart, but they’ve also used players like Okung, Carpenter, Bailey and Giacomini to offer some power/size and grit. I suspect they’d like to retain that edge. With Fisher, Sweezy and Britt all starting on the line — there’s a real danger they’d get over-matched against tougher opponents (eg Arizona).

The Seahawks want to run the ball as their identity — I’m not sure getting lighter at guard will aid that cause.

Would you move Britt inside? Possibly. He had a mixed first year at tackle and has similar size to Carpenter (6-6, 325lbs). He also has short arms and might even suit the switch. The Seahawks like their guards to have tackle experience. It makes some sense. It would also mean two high picks at right tackle (Carpenter, Britt) who lasted a year before needing to move inside. If Fisher is also better suited to guard, are you going for the hat-trick? How many high picks do you want to spend trying to solve a position (RT) that most teams fill without the big price tag?

I wonder whether Fisher’s best role at the next level might be at right guard — just like Kyle Long and Seattle’s own J.R. Sweezy. He’s smart enough to play the position and teams seem to like extra mobility in that area. Of course, the Seahawks already have a long term starter there (and J.R. Sweezy is almost assured of a contract extension considering how much Pete Carroll gushes about his performances).

Ultimately I think it comes down to this — how much of an upgrade are you getting swapping Carpenter for Fisher (if any), versus swapping him for someone like Terry Poole who also enjoyed a good combine workout? Tony Pauline reported at the Senior Bowl that Seattle has interest in Poole. He also has tackle experience. He has similar size to Fisher (shade under 6-5, 307lbs, 33 1/4 inch arms) and also tested well (1.79 split, 5.09 forty, 31 inch vertical, 7.90 3 cone and 4.66 short shuttle). Poole could be had in the mid-to-late rounds but if you want Fisher, it might be #31 or bust.

There could be other options in the late first round based on today’s workouts. Ereck Flowers performed poorly in drills but he’s a terrific drive blocker who plays with an edge. On tape you really see him finish blocks — in one game he drove a right end to the left sideline and played beyond the whistle. He gets a nice push at the LOS in the run game. He has experience playing both tackle spots, he has size (6-6, 324lbs) and enough foot speed to evolve into a ZBS tackle or guard.

Today’s sluggish display could cost Flowers a place in the top-25, but is he be an alternative choice to someone like Fisher? He has 34 and a half inch arms. His official 5.31 forty time isn’t great, but it’s better than Ju’Wuan James’ last year (5.34) and he looked the part of an established NFL tackle in 2014.

Cameron Erving is also an intriguing option. He’s versatile enough to play guard, center or right tackle. The NFL Network pundits repeatedly compared his physical skill set to Eric Wood — which is no bad thing. He ran well — posting a 5.15 at 6-5 and 313lbs. He has 34 and 1/8 inch arms. He’s a work in progress as a converted defensive lineman who only kicked inside last season after starting at left tackle. He’ll be a tremendous project for the offensive line coach who gets to work with him at the next level.

And then there’s La’el Collins, who had a really good day today. He looked good in the Senior Bowl game, if not during the daily workouts. I’ve flip-flopped on Collins, originally seeing him as a top-five prospect in this class, then feeling he would be better at guard and more of a top-15 selection as a consequence. The all-22 tape against Alabama exposed some flaws (lack of push off the line, tendency to lunge) and suggested he simply had to move inside. But then you see this workout and can’t help but be impressed. He looked superb carrying very little bad weight. He moved around in the drills with a lot of grace for his size. He ran a nice 5.12 at 6-4 and 305lbs. I think he’ll go in the top-25.

Don’t sleep on Rob Crisp by the way — a player we highlighted during the college season. Nobody dealt with Vic Beasley better than NC State’s Crisp last year. He’s 6-6 and 5/8th’s, 301lbs, has 34 and a half inch arms and had an impressive 32.5 inch vertical jump plus a good 4.60 in the short shuttle.

Players like Crisp and Poole offer some depth to this class, not to mention other performers today like Mitch Morse, Ali Marpet, Takoby Cofield, Jamil Douglas, Donovan Smith and Jeremiah Poutasi. There is real depth on the OL to go with the options at WR, RB and DL. Seattle can afford to let Tom Cable keep adding his guys, even if Fisher’s performance today warrants greater attention moving forward. On the other hand, the #31 pick has the potential to be a bit of a sweet spot for offensive linemen.

 

LIVE BLOG: Combine day three (OL/TE workouts)

February 20th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

HIGHLIGHTS

— Jake Fisher has an outstanding day, could be a first round pick
— Maxx Williams runs an official 4.78, excels in pass-catching drills
— Missouri’s Mitch Morse performs well across the board
— OT’s Flowers, Peat lose ground to Humphries, Clemmings & Collins
— Tony Pauline suggests Byron Maxwell could earn $10m APY
— Eagles reportedly leading the chase for Maxwell’s signature
— Pete Carroll says negotiations with Marshawn Lynch continue “in earnest”
— Eddie Goldman won’t work out tomorrow
— Eli Harold is 6-3 with 33 inch arms
— Jameis Winston shines during his press conference

For the next four days I’ll be live blogging during the combine. Keep refreshing this page for the latest Seahawks news, data from the defensive linemen measurement session and notes on the OL/TE workouts at they take place today (beginning 6AM PST).

Join in the debate using the comments section.

To start the day — the DE measurements are coming in:

Shane Ray — 6-2 5/8, 245lbs
Dante Fowler Jr — 6-2 5/8, 261lbs
Vic Beasley — 6-3, 246lbs
Randy Gregory — 6-4 7/8, 235lbs

That’s big news for Beasley. He’s bigger than many expected. There was some talk he’d be in the 230-240lbs range. Gregory basically is an outside backer at 235lbs.

Mike Mayock says there are six potential first round offensive linemen. He touts Ali Marpet from Hobart College as one to watch.

The O-linemen are running the forty. The NFL Network is providing an immediate time with a 10 yard split (in brackets).

The average times last year were 5.21 (1.82). The splits are really the thing to look for here. Anything under 1.80 is exceptional.

T.J. Clemmings — 5.24 (1.84)
La’el Collins — 5.13 (1.86)
Rob Crisp — 5.27 (1.91)
Jamil Douglas — 5.20 (1.75)
Cameron Erving — 5.16 (1.86)
B.J. Finney — 5.26 (1.84) — former H/S wrestler
Jake Fisher — 5.05 (1.75)
Ereck Flowers — 5.32 (1.90)

Jake Fisher looks the part of an athletic tackle or guard. I’d prefer him inside. Looks in excellent shape, nice length (33 3/4 inch arms) and ran a 5.05 with a superb 1.75 split in his first attempt.

Here are some of the key times on the second runs:

T.J. Clemmings — 5.15 (1.80)
La’el Collins — 5.16 (1.81)
Rob Crisp — 5.34 (1.97)
Jamil Douglas — 5.25 (1.81)
Cameron Erving — 5.20 (1.84)
B.J. Finney — 5.34 (1.88)
Jake Fisher — 5.01 (1.78)
Ereck Flowers — 5.29 (1.78)

Ereck Flowers managed a 1.78 split on his second run at 6-6, 329lbs. Remember, these are not official times. But if that holds, it’s big for Flowers.

Tight end Tyler Kroft won’t be running a forty today:

The O-liners are now going through movement drills (the wave drill). This is all about changing direction quickly, how quickly you can react and the coaches want to see if you have any stiffness in footwork and lateral mobility.

T.J. Clemmings looked very fluid and loose — very impressive. He looks the part of a high first round prospect he just needs time and coaching. Mike Mayock is signing his praises on the NFL Network, while noting his poor Senior Bowl display.

Rob Crisp looked a bit stiff but carries his weight well. It’s a really nice start for Cameron Erving who moves well for his size.

Jake Fisher’s lateral movement is good as you’d expect. Wonderful side step. Just looks like a really fluid athlete. Ereck Flowers also showed a nice slide. He’s not on Fisher’s level but he’s carrying an extra 30lbs, it’s hard not to be impressed with the start to his day.

They’re onto the pull drills — taking a stance and then off the snap tracking the direction they have to go (signal by the coaches) and the idea is you stay low and move fluidly, keeping your eyes up without a false step. Clemmings again looks sensational. Like the former D-end he is.

Cameron Erving has a football to snap for his version of this drill as a center.

The second stage of this drill has the players blocking a fake strong safety at the second level. Clemmings again is the star. It’s effortless. Jake Fisher almost just sprints the drill. This was the first time Ereck Flowers looked a bit sluggish.

The live feed has compared La’el Collins to Logan Mankins. I prefer the Joel Bitonio/Mankins comparison a year ago, but the two players do have a lot of physical comparisons (length, size, speed).

Mayock’s top OT in the class is Clemmings and it’s easy to see why teams might agree with him on this evidence so far. You can coach technique — and he only recently converted from defense. You can’t teach this combination of size, length and speed.

The bags are out and now they’re asking two linemen to work together. One runs a down block with the aim of driving the guy with the bag 6-7 yards downfield. The other blocks inside. This is where the technical flaws of Clemmings shows up. His hand use was poor, took a poor angle and struggled to drive the bag-man downfield. It was really awkward. La’el Collins looked good here. Shaun O’Hara compares Collins to Bitonio.

Fisher had good leverage on this drill, gaining pad level with his hands and driving forward.

Now it’s the kick slide. Clemmings is reminded, “Don’t wait for him” by a coach, as he slows to monitor the rusher. They want to see him finish this drill and flash how quick he can be. He’s showing by far the smoothest footwork here. Jake Fisher is a close second.

Clemmings and La’el Collins in their second go-around actually tried to block the guys getting their hands up — this is a footwork drill and they had to be reminded of that. Collins looked really smooth with excellent size/definition. He’s carrying minimal bad weight.

Here’s Ereck Flowers’ two attempts at the kick slide:

As you can see — not great. He looked surprisingly sluggish on both tries (left and right side).

Pete Carroll and John Schneider are watching closely:

pete and john

Mike Mayock says Ereck Flowers should be a right tackle at the next level, but can play on the left. He’s starting to struggle here.

Now it’s the mirror drill. Another big tick for Clemmings here. Wow. Just so athletic. Cameron Erving did an accomplished job with his footwork and staying square. Jamil Douglas also did well, ditto jake Fisher.

Ereck Flowers looked tired and all over the place on this drill. His arms flailed around, he struggled to stay square, he was blowing a lot. Flowers started well and gradually got worse. It’s hard to say we saw a first round performance from him today.

That’s the end for group one. The two standouts were Clemmings and Collins with an honorable mention for Jake Fisher. Charles Davis compares Collins to Josh Sitton of Green Bay.

Here’s the Collins/Mankins comp:

mankins

A quick further note on Ereck Flowers — James Carpenter didn’t have a great combine but he had tackle experience and projected well inside. Today’s performance wasn’t indicative of a NFL left tackle, but there’s no reason why he can’t be highly drafted as a guard. Daniel Jeremiah just compared him to Cordy Glenn.

Group two is just about ready to get going. For more on Tyler Kroft — this is bizarre:

A quick reminder, the average times last year were 5.21 (1.82). The ten yard split is in brackets.

Key Group 2 forty times

Chaz Green: 5.16 (1.75)
Rob Havenstein: 5.48 (1.86)
D.J. Humphries: 5.13 (1.81)
Tre Jackson: 5.54 (1.92)
Ali Marpet: 5.10 (1.81)
Andrus Peat: 5.20 (1.82)
Terry Poole: 5.10 (1.79)
Jeremiah Poutasi: 5.33 (1.86)
Ty Sambrailo: 5.37 (1.84)
Brandon Scherff: 5.07 (1.78)
Donovan Smith: 5.37 (1.86)
Laken Tomlinson: 5.39 (1.89)
Daryl Williams: 5.41 (1.86)

Andrus Peat is an odd shape. He was a big lower body and a flabby upper body. He didn’t look in great shape.

A Seahawks scout timing group two is spotted yawning on the live feed. Long days for these guys.

Daryl Williams sported gold track shoes to run his forty, before pulling off a 5.41. Talk about a deceptive image.

Tony Pauline reported during the Senior Bowl that Seattle had interest in TY Sambrailo and Terry Poole. Sambrailo is almost certainly destined to move inside to guard with a 5.37. Poole is intriguing with an above average forty and a sub-1.80 ten yard split.

Onto the second runs:

Chaz Green: 5.25 (1.83)
Rob Havenstein: 5.48 (1.86)
D.J. Humphries: 5.16 (1.82)
Tre Jackson: 5.56 (1.94)
Ali Marpet: 5.00 (1.74)
Andrus Peat: 5.26 (1.85)
Terry Poole: 5.17 (1.79)
Jeremiah Poutasi: 5.38 (1.87)
Ty Sambrailo: 5.38 (1.81)
Brandon Scherff: 5.07 (1.79)
Donovan Smith: 5.28 (1.84)
Laken Tomlinson: 5.33 (1.86)
Daryl Williams: 5.29 (1.75)

The NFL Network is comparing D.J. Humphries to Bryan Bulaga. Ali Marpet ran the quickest forty and ten yard split of the day (unofficially) with a 5.01 and a 1.74. Mayock says he projects to center at the next level.

The cameras panned onto Bill Belichick (wearing a hoodie sporting his own name) polishing off a chicken wing. There was no meat left on the bone. He ate every last bit. So far we haven’t seen the usual ‘Andy Reid devouring a big sandwich’ clip.

Brandon Scherff has the build of a guard — but moved really well. Very fluid athlete with a sub-1.80 split. Daryl Williams had a major improvement in his second run (he ran in a straight line for a start). He posted a sub-1.80 split at 6-5 and 327lbs. That’s special if it holds up officially.

No offensive linemen ran a sub-5.00 forty yard dash. There were five last year including Joel Bitonio and Taylor Lewan.

Tony Pauline is reporting Byron Maxwell could be set to earn $10m APY in free agency. He wont be returning to Seattle.

Time for the drills.

Andrus Peat moved really well in the lateral drills. Effortless. Terry Poole also showed well and received praise from the coaches. They called for Ty Sambrailo to open up more and show more fluidity in his hips. “Stay down low” was the shout. Brandon Scherff clung to his hamstring after his first drill — hopefully it’s just a twinge.

Tyrus Thompson looks a lot like James Carpenter in body type. He took an age to stand up for the first drill but once he got moving he covered some ground. Donovan Smith also performed well, showing good change of direction and foot speed. This was a good start for group 2.

Neither the NFL Network or the online feed is showing the second drill. Brandon Scherff has changed and is done for the day with a tweaked hamstring.

D.J. Humphries did a nice job firing off the snap in the second pulling drill. Ali Marpet continues his athletic performance, sprinting in a similar fashion to Jake Fisher. Possible Seahawks target Terry Poole looks really crisp getting out of his stance and exploding to the second level. This is a nice, mobile group.

The tight ends will run later but they’re starting to go through the jumps. Jesse James posted 10-1 broad jump (impressive). Some more of the DL measurements are coming out too:

Eddie Goldman — 6-4, 336lbs, 33 1/8 arms, 10 1/8 hands
Arik Armstead — 6-7, 292lbs with, 33-inch arms, 10 1/2 hands
Eli Harold — 6-3, 247lbs, 33-inch arms, 9 3/8 hands
Dante Fowler — 6-2 1/2, 261lbs, 33 3/4 arms, 9 1/2 hands
Danielle Hunter — 6-5, 252lbs, 34 1/4 arms, 10 1/2 hands

The offensive linemen are onto the bag drills as we’re skimming through some of these measurements. Nobody stood out, but nobody had any glaring issues here.

There’s also some breaking news on Todd Gurley:

D.J. Humphries cut off his kick-slide. Missouri’s Mitch Morse looked good in this drill and received praise from the coaches. Robert Myers went the other way — putting in a poor effort. Andrus Peat’s was a little clumsy. Terry Poole was good here. Ty Sambrailo moves a lot better than his 40 would suggest. Tyrus Thompson just got hammered by the coaches. One shouted, “Don’t you listen?”

The full list of measurements is slowly coming out for the defensive linemen. You can see them here.

Vic Beasley is tall (6-3) but only has 32 and 1/2 inch arms. Eli Harold has decent length at 6-3 and 33 inch arms. Markus Smith had 34 inch arms last year.

Xavier Cooper is tall (6-3) but shockingly short arms (31 1/2 inches). That might put him out of contention in Seattle.

Leonard Williams is 6-5, 302lbs, has 34 5/8 inch arms and 10 5/8 inch hands.

Back to the OL drills — D.J. Humphries has really nice hips, opens up in the change of direction drill and looked incredibly smooth. Mitch Morse again looked good. He has short arms but incredibly mobile. I like Terry Poole’s overall workout. Moves well. Looks like a guard convert. Ty Sambrailo looked really tight in the hips. Daryl Williams also struggled somewhat.

Mike Mayock is praising the injured Brandon Scherff, comparing him to Maurkice Pouncey. At the same time, Daniel Jeremiah is Tweeting this:

They’re onto the mirror drills. Humphries again moves well and might be seeing a nice boost for his stock having got above 300lbs. Mitch Morse looks really, really smooth. Love the way he’s worked here. One to go back and watch on tape next week.

Mike Mayock on Andrus Peat: “He looks like a young, big (Barack) Obama.”

Shaun O’Hara watching Ty Sambrailo work out says he could use a redshirt year. Andrus Peat is tough to diagnose. He’s huge in the lower body and moves surprisingly well. But when he got tired, his technique disappeared and he looked awkward. He doesn’t have a traditional left tackle body despite having ideal length and weight. He’s going to be a really tough one to work out. He could go anywhere from #10-25.

That’s the end of the second group’s drills. The winner’s for me were Mitch Morse, Ali Marpet and D.J. Humphries. Both Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis say they expect Humphries to be the first offensive tackle taken this year.

Now we wait for the TE’s to run the forty and perform drills. And it’s time for me to eat…

Florida State DT Eddie Goldman says he will not do the drills at the combine.

There’s also this:

The official forty times are the offensive linemen. Here are the best times:

Ali Marpet (4.98)
Jake Fisher (5.01)
Laurence Gibson (5.04)
Brandon Scherff (5.05)
Terry Poole (5.09)
La’el Collins (5.12)
D.J. Humphries (5.12)
T.J. Clemmings (5.14)
Mitch Morse (5.14)
Cameron Erving (5.15)

Tight end forty yard dash times:

Blake Bell: 4.80 & 4.82
Nick Boyle: 5.04
Jesse James: 4.86 & 4.83
Nick O’Leary: 4.93 & 4.94
Wes Saxton: 4.56 & 4.66
Jean Sirfin: 4.84 & 4.84
Clive Walford: 4.79 & 4.81
Maxx Williams: 4.90 & 4.77

Nobody expected Williams to run a great forty, but I don’t think anybody expected a 4.90. His second time of 4.77 is more realistic for his skill set. It’s about what you’d expect.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Seahawks are reportedly very interested in Julius Thomas. The few TE’s who actually ran here (many didn’t) showed very little explosion. There’s just not that much to get excited about with this group. People who fantasize about later round picks will convince themselves there’s a find here. In reality, this is yet another poor class of TE’s.

If the Seahawks want a dynamic pass-catching tight end, they are probably going to have to look at Thomas and Jordan Cameron. Thomas is a fantastic open-field runner who can make big YAC in the open field. He can take a pass over the seam for a chunk play. He’s an exceptional athlete and receiver, not just a dynamic red zone target (24 touchdowns in two seasons).

Mayock compares Maxx Williams to Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph.

The drills are about to begin. There’s really only two things I focus on here — hands and catching technique. Do they cup the football? Do they double catch? Is it smooth?

Nick Boyle double catches on the sideline and spills the ball, getting the attention of the coaches who say he should’ve caught it. The coach leading the drill says, “You need to move your feet like a typewriter but you guys probably don’t know what one is.”

Jean Sifrin looks lean, almost more like a big receiver. Clive Walford and Maxx Williams do a great job on the first drill (route to the sideline, catch in bounds) — the coaches let them know it too with some big praise.

The TE’s are now running downfield. Maxx Williams is putting on a clinic. No wasted steps, tracking the ball downfield, catching over his shoulder, cupping the ball (perfect technique) and catching it at the highest point. NO body catches so far. Just a really, really nice workout.

He isn’t a mismatch in terms of size/speed (or a great blocker) but he’s going to be a very reliable target for someone at the next level. There’s a bit of Dallas Clark on show here. He is very clearly the best tight end in this years draft, assuming Devin Funchess continues on this quest to prove he’s a receiver for financial purposes (he lacks the short area quick’s or long speed, he’s better working the slot or TE).

The one thing Funchess does that Williams won’t? Box off defenders. And that’s one of the things Seattle desperately needs on offense.

Official forty times for the TE’s:

M. Pruitt — 4.58
W. Saxton — 4.65
M. Williams — 4.78
C. Walford — 4.79
B. Bell — 4.80
J. James — 4.83
J. Sifrin — 4.84
N. O’Leary — 4.93

4.78 seems about right for Maxx Williams.

Now it’s time for the gauntlet. Blake Bell showed nice catching technique and didn’t drop a ball. The coaches yelled, “Classic” at him. Nick Boyle had a tough run, dropping a couple of balls. Cam Clear dropped two passes. Jesse James dropped one pass, let the ball into his body and he weaved around the route.

Ben Koyack looked smooth apart from one bad drop. Nick O’Leary was slow but showed fantastic hands — and he didn’t wear gloves. MyCole Pruitt jogged through his rep and dropped a couple. Wes Saxton labored through his. Jean Sifrin double caught one and missed another, but also high pointed a high throw.

Clive Walford dropped one but like Sifrin high pointed a really tough catch. Maxx Williams caught every ball away from his body and looked excellent. Again. He probably has the best hands in the draft (WR and TE).

In the second run it was more of the same. O’Leary was incredible again — natural catcher, no gloves, ran in a straight line, didn’t miss a step. No double catching. Excellent rep. Jean Sifrin dropped two passes on his second go-around. Walford’s second attempt was much better — no drops. Maxx Williams had another clean run with zero drops. Again, brilliant hands. Doesn’t let the ball into his body. All natural movements and technique.

Mayock: “This whole thing (the workouts) confirms to me that this is a below-average group of tight ends in this draft class.”

Clive Walford jumped 10-feet in the broad jump. Still waiting on the other numbers. Jesse James had a 10-1.

You can’t help but feel Devin Funchess missed a trick not working out with these TE’s. Instead of looking like a physical freak among an average class, he’ll look like a big target among a bunch of really athletic receivers tomorrow.

It’s been a tough day for Nick Boyle. He had a nice Senior Bowl game but has struggled a bit here. Jesse James is lean — almost skinny — but runs nicely and can get to the second level. I don’t think he’s a big mismatch who can box people off, but give him a year to add size and maybe he’s a nice project for someone.

Every single tight end just struggled on a deep drill to the right hand side — except Maxx Williams. Whether they couldn’t locate the ball, catch it, get deep enough. Williams ran a fantastic route and caught it in stride without breaking sweat. Wonderful.

If you want to compare TE’s:

That ends the drills for today. The most impressive performers? Mitch Morse from Missouri, D.J. Humphries from Florida, T.J. Clemmings from Pittsburgh, Jake Fisher from Oregon, La’el Collins from LSU, Maxx Williams from Minnesota, Terry Poole from San Diego State and Ali Marpet from Hobart.

I’ll keep the blog open for another hour or so. We’re still waiting for news on the vertical/broad jumps and the full list of DL measurements. There’s also this:

According to Mike Loyko, Jake Fisher posted the third best short shuttle (4.33) for an offensive lineman and the fourth best 3-cone (7.25) since 2006. It’s impressive. We’ll need to consider his stock moving forward. Is he getting into Kyle Long territory? Very possible. Look at the physical similarities.

Jameis Winston is holding a press conference — and you have to say, he’s owning it. Very confident. Very chatty. Cracking jokes. The off-field concerns are legit but he played the role of a franchise quarterback very well today.

Pete Carroll’s press conference is taking place at the same time, meaning it’s getting very little attention and no live feed. The only news so far is he’s still looking to fill a couple of assistant coaching spots.

He praised Bruce Irvin, leading to this Twitter response:

Carroll says they are negotiating “in earnest” to re-sign RB Marshawn Lynch. “We’ve had big offers out there.” He praises Jim Harbaugh and says he’ll “kick butt” at Michigan (it seems the pair became BFF’s following Seattle’s victory at Century Link during the 2014 season).

Going back to Jake Fisher, I had a look at Joel Bitonio’s combine numbers for a comparison. Bitonio had a 32 inch vertical (Fisher — 32.5), a 4.97 forty (Fisher — 5.01), a 7.37 3-cone drill (Fisher — 7.25) and a 4.44 short shuttle (Fisher — 4.33). Bitonio had 22 reps on the bench, Fisher had 25 reps. They are very similar. I’ve seen plenty of Fisher and felt, like Bitonio, he might end up moving inside. Bitonio is 6-4 and 302lbs with 33 7/8 inch arms. Fisher is 6-6 and 306lbs with 33 3/4 inch arms.

I’ll go back and review his tape with this new information. You have to say he’s in with a very good shot of the top-40 after this display and could easily land in round one if teams see the comparisons to another former Duck in Kyle Long.

That’s pretty much it for today. We’ll be back to do it all again tomorrow from 6AM PST. Don’t forget if you want to see any measurements or timings from today at the combine, click here.

 

Julius Thomas rumours, Darnell Dockett & live combine day two

February 19th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

I’ll update the blog as we go along. Today the offensive linemen and tight ends will do the bench press. The quarterbacks, running backs and receivers will be measured and interviewed by the media.

This is the big early headline:

That’s some considerable weight gain by DGB. Is it good weight? He looked slim at Missouri and had room to add bulk. But 12lbs is quite a lot. It’ll be interesting to see how he tests on Saturday. Meanwhile Jameis Winston is just under 6-4 and 231lbs, Marcus Mariota is just under 6-4 and 222lbs.

The other thing to start with today — speculation linking Seattle with Julius Thomas, courtesy of Matt Bowen:

“The Seahawks are looking to upgrade the tight end position, and league sources say Julius Thomas could be in play once he hits the free-agent market. Thomas would give quarterback Russell Wilson a true matchup weapon to target inside the numbers and in the red zone. Think of “50-50″ balls that Thomas can go up and get at the point of attack.”

“League sources” doesn’t mean a deal will happen. Reports recently suggested Thomas turned down a multi-year contract with the Broncos worth $8m a year. That was in 2014. Since then, he’s had another injury plagued season (but still scored 12 touchdowns in 13 starts). His stock might not be quite as high today, but it won’t be far off.

Would the Seahawks pay $8m a year? They would if they genuinely see Thomas as the kind of dynamic threat they’re missing on offense. They paid Zach Miller a lot more than $8m in 2013. Seattle needs a mismatch at the second level and a red zone option. Thomas provides both — when he’s healthy.

Whether it’s at receiver or tight end, they need an impact player on offense. The draft might not produce that immediate production. And the veteran receiver options are dwindling with Larry Fitzgerald signing a new contract in Arizona — and the Buccs stating at the combine they’ll keep hold of Vincent Jackson.

Seattle can afford Thomas. If they want him, they can get him. And while they’ll likely face competition from teams like Oakland — he’ll know he has a chance to win a Championship with the Seahawks.

And if you weren’t aware, Seattle reportedly tried to trade Percy Harvin for Thomas during the 2014 season.

Adding a unique edge to the story, Thomas’ father Greg played football at University of the Pacific in 1983. Coaching him at the time? Pete Carroll, who was the offensive (!!!) coordinator. Greg Thomas suffered a career-ending leg injury during his time at Pacific. After a quick scan on Thomas Senior’s Twitter account, you’ll find these:

But before you get too carried away (if you want to see Thomas in Seattle), there’s also this:

The running back measurements are coming in:

Todd Gurley — 6-0 and 5/8, 222lbs
Melvin Gordon — 6-0 and 5/8, 215lbs
Jay Ajayi — 5-11 and 6/-8, 221lbs
T.J. Yeldon — 6-1 and 2/8, 226lbs
Tevin Coleman — 5-10, 206lbs

John Schneider is up at the podium for his press conference:

He says “not really” in response to a question on whether he’d be shocked if Marshawn Lynch retired. There’s still no clarity on whether he’ll return. Schneider complimented the group of running backs in the draft.

Schneider also admitted Seattle could get 11 draft picks after all. He claims he previously said 10 because he didn’t want to be disappointed if the Seahawks missed out on an extra compensatory pick.

It’s been revealed receiver Breshad Perriman won’t workout at the combine due to injury:

The receiver measurements are coming in. Some early details:

— Devin Funchess has a 82 and 5/8 inch wingspan.

— Amari Cooper and Justin Hardy have ten inch hands. Todd Gurley also has ten inch hands.

Dorial Green-Beckham has been speaking to the media too. For a full set of quotes click here.

Green-Beckham is 6-5 and 237lbs with 32 and a half inch arms and nine inch hands. That’s big but he doesn’t necessarily have the length or hand size you’d expect. Devin Funchess is 6-4 and 232lbs, with 33 and a half inch arms and nine and 3/4 inch hands.

Jaelen Strong is only 6-2 — something I suspected watching tape. He didn’t look 6-3. Here are the measurements for some of the receivers:

Dorial Green Beckham — 6-5, 237lbs, 32 1/2 inch arms, 9 inch hands
Devin Funchess — 6-4, 232lbs, 33 and a half inch arms, 9 and 3/4 inch hands
Jaelen Strong — 6-2, 217lbs, 32 and a half inch arms, 9 inch hands
Amari Cooper — 6-1, 211lbs, 31 and a half inch arms, 10 inch hands
Tre McBride — 6-0, 210lbs, 32 and 1/8 inch arms, 9 inch hands
Nelson Agholor — 6-0, 198lbs, 32 and 1/4 inch arms, 9 and 1/4 inch hands
Sammie Coates — 6-1, 212lbs, 33 and 3/8 inch arms, 9 and 3/8 inch hands
Phillip Dorsett — 5-10, 185lbs, 30 and 1/4 inch arms, 9 and 3/8 inch hands
Tyler Lockett — 5-10, 182lbs, 30 inch arms, 8 and 3/8 inch hands
Vince Mayle — 6-2, 224lbs, 31 and 3/4 inch arms, 9 inch hands
DeVante Parker — 6-3, 209lbs, 33 and 1/4 inch arms, 9 and 1/4 inch hands
Breshad Perriman — 6-2, 212lbs, 32 inch arms, 9 and 1/4 inch hands
Devin Smith — 6-0, 196lbs, 31 inch arms, 9 inch hands
Kevin White — 6-3, 215lbs, 32 and 5/8 inch arms, 9 and 1/4 inch hands

For a full list of today’s QB, RB and WR measurements, click here.

Todd Gurley (10 inches) and Melvin Gordon (9 and 3/4 inches) have bigger hands than most of the top-tier receivers.

Alabama quarterback Blake Sims confirmed he has met with the Seahawks. Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Josh Robinson also said they have had meetings with Seattle. Tight end Maxx Williams confirmed he met with the team yesterday. Auburn QB/CB Nick Marshall also had a meeting.

Todd Gurley says he won’t workout at the combine or the Georgia pro day on March 18th. This is the right move. Too many prospects rush back to get a workout in before the draft. Focus on recovery.

One note we missed earlier — John Schneider has all but admitted Byron Maxwell is going to be moving on:

One thing to remember on this — Seattle has significant finances pumped into its secondary. Overall there’s quite an imbalanced swing towards the finances on defense vs offense. That will change when Russell Wilson gets paid, but Bobby Wagner (and probably Bruce Irvin) stand to get significant pay increases too. Maxwell is a good player, but he’s not irreplaceable. A salary worth around $8m might be too much for Seattle and just right for other teams trying to build a defense from scratch. C’est la vie sometimes.

Meanwhile Jason La Canfora wrote a post today suggesting the Seahawks could allow Russell Wilson to play out his rookie contract, essentially saving several million against the 2015 cap:

At a time when everyone is assuming that, voila, this Wilson deal will just automatically get done this offseason, let be among the minority, if not the only one, to state that it’s possible that Wilson actually plays out his rookie contract. It’s plausible. Might even be probable.

Schneider joined La Canfora and Pete Prisco after his press conference today and was asked about this. He refused to comment on specifics, but did mention aggressive acquisition of other players as part of his answer. If there’s a guy they want in free agency — and if paying Wilson next year helps — you know they’ll do what is best for the team.

The projected franchise tag for quarterbacks in 2015 is $18.38m. That will increase in a years time, but could still be lower than $20m. The Seahawks have that option in a years time. It might be a little harsh on a player who deserves a long-term deal — but if it helps improve the roster enough to win another Championship, could it happen?

The one concern I’d have is this — the price of a franchise quarterback is only going to increase. Especially when Andrew Luck gets paid. Waiting to do a deal with Wilson only makes it more expensive as you delay the inevitable. An expensive contract today might be a bargain in three years time.

Ian Rapoport had this to add:

And I’d recommend this piece by Davis Hsu at Field Gulls on Wilson’s contract:

La Canfora also has this to say about the Marshawn Lynch situation: “From what I hear, this Lynch deal is getting close to being resolved.”

And just when you think things couldn’t get any more interesting today:

The quote ends: “ill be in az next year 1way or another rather its 1 game or 8. #thinkaboutit!”

It doesn’t mean Seattle but tell me it doesn’t half feel like they’d be interested. The Seahawks are crying out for a guy like Dockett working the interior pass rush and might need that veteran presence if Kevin Williams moves on. Dockett is 34 this year and tore his ACL last August, missing the entire 2014 season. There’s still a decent chance he ends up back with the Cardinals. But a year in Seattle makes sense if he’s released.

He peaked in the 2007-2010 portion of his career, collecting 25 sacks in four years. He had 4.5 sacks in 2013. His competitive edge, ability to play the run and pass and pocket-collapsing skills would still be intriguing.

The bench press reps are starting to come in for the tight ends and offensive linemen. Here’s a selection:

Maxx Williams — 17 reps
Jeff Heuerman — 26 reps
Jesse James — 26 reps
Tyler Kroft — 17 reps
Clive Walford — 20 reps

Brandon Scherff — 23 reps
La’el Collins — 21 reps
T.J. Clemmings — 22 reps
D.J. Humphries — 26 reps
Cedric Ogbuehi — 26 reps
Cameron Erving — 30 reps
Rob Haverstein — 16 reps
Rob Crisp — 26 reps
Jake Fisher — 25 reps
Ereck Flowers — 37 reps
Ty Sambrailo — 23 reps
Corey Robinson — 28 reps
Terry Poole — 25 reps
Donovan Smith — 26 reps
Tyrus Thompson — 29 reps
Darryl Williams — 27 reps

Melvin Gordon combine press conference highlights:

 

Sea Hawkers Podcast appearance & combine day one

February 18th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

I’ll update this post as we go along. Feel free to use it as an open thread. The TE’s and O-liners get measured today. Good times.

While we’re waiting — this week I was invited to join Adam Emmert and Brandan Schulze on the official Sea Hawkers Podcast. We talk free agency and the draft.

Check it out by clicking here. The interview begins 45:31 into the piece.

The big news of the day so far is a new deal for Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. He’ll finish his career with the Cardinals. Strike off one veteran receiver option for the Seahawks.

Marshawn Lynch update

Here’s Rapoport’s piece.

Some of the OL measurements are trickling out:

Jake Fisher (T, Oregon) — 6-6, 306lbs, 33 3/4 inch arms
Ereck Flowers (T, Miami) — 6-6, 329lbs, 34 1/2 inch arms
Cameron Erving (T, G, C, Florida State) — 6-5, 313lbs, 34 1/8 inch arms
Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M) — 6-5, 306lbs, 35 7/8 inch arms
Andrus Peat (T, Stanford) — 6-7, 313lbs, 34 3/8 inch arms
La’el Collins (T/G, LSU) — 6-4, 305lbs, 33 /14 inch arms
Jeremiah Poutasi (T/G, Utah) — 6-5, 335lbs, 33 7/8 inch arms
D.J. Humphries (T, Florida) — 6-5, 307lbs, 33 5/8 inch arms
T.J. Clemmings (T, Pittsburgh) — 6-5, 309lbs, 35 1/8 inch arms
Rob Crisp (T, NC State) — 6-6, 301lbs, 34 1/2 inch arms
Terry Poole (T, San Diego State) — 6-5, 307lbs, 33 1/4 inch arms
Corey Robinson (T, South Carolina) — 6-7, 324lbs, 35 5/8 inch arms
Ty Sambrailo (T/G, Colorado State) — 6-6, 311lbs, 33 inch arms
Brandon Scherff (T/G, Iowa) — 6-5, 319lbs, 33 3/8 inch arms
Donovan Smith (T, Penn State) — 6-6, 338lbs, 34 3/8 inch arms
Tyrus Thompson (T, Oklahoma) — 6-5, 324lbs, 34 7/8 inch arms
Daryl Williams (T, Oklahoma) — 6-5, 327lbs, 35 inch arms

Some comparisons from last year:

Taylor Lewan — 6-7, 309lbs, 33 7/8 inch arms
Joel Bitonio — 6-4, 302lbs, 33 7/8 inch arms
Justin Britt — 6-5, 325lbs, 33 1/2 inch arms
Zack Martin — 6-4, 308lbs, 32 7/8 inch arms
Jake Matthews — 6-5, 308lbs, 33 3/8 inch arms
Greg Robinson — 6-5, 332lbs, 35 inch arms

Some thoughts on the numbers here:

— Cedric Ogbuehi, Corey Robinson and Daryl Williams have incredible size. Someone will get a nice player in Robinson later on. Ogbuehi is recovering from a torn ACL after a disappointing 2014 season.

— Ty Sambrailo is a T-Rex — 6-6 and 33 inch arms. It’s hard to imagine he’ll play tackle at the next level and should kick inside to guard, although it’s worth noting Justin Britt has 33 1/2 inch arms and the Seahawks were comfortable playing him at right tackle.

— D.J. Humphries has cracked the 300lbs mark — if he moves well in drills he’ll continue to bolster his stock. I skimmed two Florida games on Monday and came away impressed.

— Brandon Scherff has almost identical size to Riley Reiff and Robert Gallery. And like that pair — his future is almost certainly at guard or right tackle.

— Rob Crisp has good size — he’s a later round sleeper to keep an eye on. He did a great job against Vic Beasley in 2014.

— Jeremiah Poutasi has been compared to Mike Iupati. You’ve got to like his size working inside at 335lbs and 33 7/8 inch arms.

— Ereck Flowers looks the part at 6-6, 329lbs and 34 1/2 inch arms. Andrus Peat was as tall as advertised at 6-7 and has 34 3/8 inch arms.

— Is Donovan Smith too big at 338bs?

Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams will be meeting with the Seahawks at the combine:

Here are some of the tight end measurements:

E.J. Bibbs (Iowa State) — 6-2, 258lbs, 31 1/8 inch arms, 10 1/4 inch hands
Nick Boyle (Delaware) — 6-4, 268lbs, 33 3/8 inch arms, 10 3/8 inch hands
Jeff Heuerman (Ohio State) — 6-5, 254lbs, 33 1/4 inch arms, 10 1/8 inch hands
Jesse James (Penn State) — 6-7, 261lbs, 33 inch arms, 9 3/8 inch hands
Ben Koyack (Notre Dame) — 6-5, 255lbs, 32 5/8 inch arms, 10 3/4 inch hands
Tyler Kroft (Rutgers) — 6-6, 246lbs, 33 inch arms, 9 5/8 inch hands
Nick O’Leary (Florida State) — 6-3, 252lbs, 29 3/4 inch arms, 9 3/8 inch hands
Wes Saxton (South Alabama) — 6-3, 248lbs, 32 inch arms, 9 5/8 inch hands
Jean Sifrin (UMass) — 6-5, 245lbs, 33 3/8 inch arms, 11 inch hands
Clive Walford (Miami) — 6-4, 251lbs, 34 inch arms, 10 1/4 inch hands
Maxx Williams (Minnesota) — 6-4, 249lbs, 33 1/2 inch arms, 10 3/8 inch hands

— Jean Sifrin is a basketball-style talent with massive 11-inch hands. One thing to remember though — he’s already 27. Meaning he’s two years older than Rob Gronkowski.

— Maxx Williams matches his listed size by Minnesota. He has decent length and huge hands. He doesn’t drop passes on tape. Very consistent catcher. Only one receiver in the 2014 draft had hands as big as Williams — Jordan Matthews. Mike Evans’ hands are 9 5/8 inches. This is a major positive for Williams.

— Jesse James is 6-7, but has shorter arms than Maxx Williams and only 9 3/8 inch hands.

— Devin Funchess was originally listed to work out as a tight end. He didn’t measure today or take interviews. Presumably we’ll see him with the receivers after all.

Yesterday we debated Melvin Gordon’s stock. If you need convincing over his willingness and ability to run up the middle, get the tough yards, patiently set up blocks, exploit small holes to make big gains, push the pile for extra yards, produce in the red zone and be a chunk-yard specialist — here’s the tape vs Auburn:

 

Melvin Gordon is ready for the combine

February 17th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Check the second video — it offers an insight into his personality and competitive streak.

 

What I’m looking for at the combine

February 16th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Will there be another Bruce Irvin this week?

I’ll be conducting a daily live blog Friday-to-Monday during the combine workouts. I hope you’ll join in the debate and get involved. Today I wanted to run through some of the things I’ll be looking out for over this year. Measurements begin on Wednesday with the OL’s, TE’s and PK’s. Workouts begin on Friday. For a full schedule breakdown, click here.

— Eli Harold is a perfect LEO pass rusher. He’s long, lean and explosive. I think he could end up going in the top ten. Is there a more natural fit for Dan Quinn if he wants to emulate Seattle’s scheme in Atlanta? Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin are good comparisons for what to look for. Avril ran a 4.51 with a 1.50 ten yard split. Irvin ran a 4.50 with a 1.55 ten yard split. They were both 6-3 — Avril had 8lbs on Irvin (253 vs 245). Harold is listed at 6-4, 250lbs.

— Will LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter win the combine? He has a ridiculously low body fat percentage (4%), he’s incredibly long and fluid. Personally I think his tape is horrendous but you can see the upside based purely on athleticism. He could go off in Indianapolis, excelling across the board in every drill.

— Who are the candidates to challenge Hunter? Eli Harold has to be in with a shout. Owamagbe Odighizuwa is built like a Greek God and could have a Ziggy Ansah type weekend. Ansah ran a 4.63 at 271lbs, had a terrific 4.26 short shuttle and a 34.5 inch vert. Odighizuwa doesn’t have Ansah’s 35-inch arms but he has enormous 11-inch hands and similar size (266lbs).

— Melvin Gordon is a workout machine. A true gym rat. Let’s see if all the work was worth it here. Jamaal Charles, the player he’s often compared to, ran a 4.38. I wouldn’t expect that kind of speed, but he’s probably a solid 4.4 runner. He has a fantastic, errr, ‘ass’, so he could challenge the 11-2 broad jumps by Lache Seastrunk, Anthony Alridge and Carl Stewart (best recorded jump in last ten years).

— Can William & Mary receiver Tre McBride prove he’s a fantastic athlete? Reports suggest he can get into the 4.4’s. I need to see it to believe it. Even if he runs in the 4.5’s — it shouldn’t be a concern. He’s shown enough suddenness, playmaking ability, ball skills, size and character to warrant serious consideration possibly as early as the late second round. He’s one of the most exciting receivers in the class and deserves more attention.

— Will Tevin Coleman work out? Tony Pauline reported in December he was carrying a foot injury. He was compared to Darren McFadden by Mike Mayock today. It’d be interesting to see if he can get anywhere near McFadden’s 4.33 forty time. UPDATE — Gil Brandt has confirmed Coleman will not participate.

— How fast is Jaelen Strong and what is his broad jump? I think he’s going to produce an excellent vertical with his basketball bloodlines. The main concern is separation skills. Can he show initial quickness in the forty and lower body explosion in the broad? He’s got a real chip on his shoulder — his Twitter timeline is a constant stream of retweeted criticisms. Let’s see if he can prove the doubters wrong.

— Just how fast are Devin Smith and Phillip Dorsett? I think Dorsett has a clear edge between the two and should provide the fastest time over the four days. Considering both players lack size, speed is going to be crucial. The quickest time by a receiver in the last ten years was the 4.27 by Marquise Goodwin in 2013, followed by Jacoby Ford (4.28) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (4.30). If I had to guess, I think Dorsett runs in the 4.3’s.

— Sammie Coates and Breshad Perriman have similar traits. They look the part and should have excellent combines. They need to. They have to convince teams to invest in upside potential because catching the ball consistently is a problem for both. If they want to generate high second round (or even first round) grades, they have to live up to expectations and test well across the board. And they need a team or two to believe they can improve with a summer on the jugs machine. Athleticism alone wasn’t enough for Cody Latimer (who had amazing hands) to get in round one. I think Coates and Perriman will struggle to crack day one, but if they’re going to — it’ll be down to their physical skills.

— Can Dorial Green-Beckham make a statement? He doesn’t just have to ace team interviews in Indianapolis. I think he needs to speak well to the media and show a ‘changed man’ vibe. I want to see him answer some difficult questions. On the field he needs to flash freak-of-nature talent at 6-6 and 225lbs. This is an opportunity to regain some momentum. The character concerns are legit and damaging for DGB. He needs to make some positive headines. Cornerback Marcus Peters faces a similar test — although I expect he’ll ace team and media interviews. He’s a smooth operator.

— How quick is Nelson Agholor? Watching him dunk a basketball, compete all over the field, return punts and play with real grit and determination makes you want to believe in the guy. A really good forty time could pump up his stock. Running a 4.52 last year hurt former teammate Marqise Lee. I’m not sure he has the potential to add too much weight and he’s skinny. That’s a concern. Guys without size need to be sudden and quick. I think he can beat Lee’s time. I like him.

— Just how special is Devin Funchess? Speaking of dunks, how about the video posted in yesterday’s piece? Expect an incredible vertical jump. I think he can produce a terrific 3-cone too, he shows good change of direction skills on the field. The main concern is he’s a build-up-speed runner and might not break the 4.7’s. If he can crack the 4.6’s — watch out. He’s working with the TE’s not the WR’s. Mike Mayock says he has better movement skills than Kelvin Benjamin. Funchess is the biggest enigma in the draft.

— Will we see any separation among the top three receivers? Hand size, forty times, vertical jumps — all could be difference makers for Amari Cooper, Kevin White and Devante Parker. For me Cooper is the cream of the crop and could surprise a few people. He’s more athletic than he gets credit for.

Yesterday we discussed how Maxx Williams won’t be judged on speed. He has a knack of making plays, he has exceptional character and he’s just a good football player. But if he can impress here with a great work out — and if he has above average length/hand size, it won’t hurt. If Coby Fleener can manage 27 reps on the bench press I’d like to see that from Williams. He doesn’t look particularly toned in the arms. Has he got natural strength? If he is going to run in the 4.8’s like Marcedes Lewis — a 37-inch vert would be a nice trade-off.

— How does Penn State tight end Jesse James perform at 6-7 and 245lbs? We’re all looking for a freak of nature TE. At that size it’s harsh to expect a remarkable workout. You can guarantee if we do see a special workout warrior at TE this year (we didn’t in 2014) he’ll be going earlier than he probably should. Every team is looking for the next Gronk/Graham. Of all the tight ends capable of making a statement — Wes Saxton at South Alabama might be the guy. He’s lighter (6-4, 235lbs) and that could help in the quickness drills. He looks good on the field.

— Which of the OT’s separate? Every year athletic linemen really boost their stock. It’s why Eric Fisher ultimately usurped Luke Joeckel as the #1 pick in 2013. It’s why Lane Johnson propelled himself into the top-five. D.J. Humphries at Florida has reportedly added 20lbs of weight. He’s long and smooth. If he can show mobility despite the extra size he could jump into the round one mix. T.J. Clemmings should also impress physically. Teams really focus on the athletic qualities here — much more so than they used to. Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan and Joel Bitonio were all incredible athletes with consistently good physical traits and drill performances. It’s no surprise Lewan and Bitonio impressed in year one. With the best athletes in college playing on the D-line these days, agility on the O-line has become absolutely vital.

— Will Andrus Peat and Ereck Flowers perform as well in the kick-slide drill as I expect? Can they match it with the length and strength to cement their place in round one? Can Brandon Scherff and La’ell Collins convince teams they can play tackle? How will Ty Sambrailo do in the bench press? He needs to show strength to match his foot speed. Can Jake Fisher likewise show upper body power and maybe a little extra (good) weight? How athletic is Penn State’s Donovan Smith or Corey Robinson at South Carolina?

— Is Leonard Williams as good as advertised? I think he shows real flashes of quality and his production at USC is good. But I’m not sure he’s quite the player he’s been hyped up to be in the media. If he shows up here with a supreme workout — I’ll eat my words. Speaking of USC prospects — how does running back Buck Allen perform? He doesn’t flash eye-catching size, speed or power — but he cuts on a dime. He has a shot to break round two as a top-notch cut-and-run back.

— How big is Shane Ray? He’s listed by Missouri at 6-3 and 245lbs but he looks smaller on tape. If he’s 6-1 and lacks length, how does that impact his stock? Rest assured he’ll do well in every drill as an explosive pass rusher. But teams value length and size, especially if you’re going to play D-end in the 4-3.

— I’ve seen some tape complaints on Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips. You know who had lousy college tape? Dontari Poe. Then he ran a 4.98 and went in the top-12 picks in 2012. If Phillips can run a similar time — and if he passes all the medical checks on his back — don’t be shocked if he enjoys a similar rise.

— Arik Armstead appears to be a favorite within the various front offices, much more so than in the media during the 2014 college season. He’s listed at 6-8 and 290lbs. Let’s see how big he really is and whether he can put on a show at that kind of size. You want to believe he’s another Calais Campbell. And yet Campbell didn’t have an amazing combine — running a 5.04 in 2008, posting 16 reps on the bench press (long arms — problematic here) and a 29.5-inch vertical. He had a 1.69 ten-yard split. It’ll be interesting to compare.

— We’ve been waiting 18 months to see Vic Beasley run a forty yard dash. He’s small, light and lacks length. It’s all about the speed with Beasley. Can he get anywhere near Bruce Irvin’s numbers (size and speed)? He’s going to have to run in the 4.5’s at least — you’d hope for the 4.4’s if he’s in the 230-240lbs range. He needs a great ten yard split too. Given his shorter arms you’d like to see a not-hopeless performance on the bench press too to alleviate some of the strength concerns. Irvin had 23 reps.

— I don’t see any of Carl Davis, Preston Smith, Henry Anderson or Mario Edwards Jr going in the first round. But they get hyped up a lot, so let’s see how athletic they really are. Smith is the most intriguing with excellent size and length. I’m just not sure he’s a top-athlete. Datone Jones forced his way into round one with a 4.80 forty, 112-inch broad jump and an excellent 4.32 short shuttle. That’s the benchmark for guys like Smith and Edwards Jr. Davis is bigger and has to look good compared to Malcom Brown and Eddie Goldman — two former 5-star recruits. As well as he played at the Senior Bowl, Davis’ tape is rank average.

— The defensive tackle I’m most interested in watching here? Washington State’s Xavier Cooper. I watched my first batch of games last week and he was very, very impressive. A possible second or third rounder for me, but I want to watch more before making a firm judgement.

— Hau’oli Kikaha’s medical checks will be interesting. Is he 100% healthy? And how athletic (or not) is he? He has the production, he’s a great hands fighter and he just gets to the quarterback. But he’s going to need to prove he’s more than a good college player. I’m not overly optimistic. If he he’s healthy though, teams will take interest in his production.

— Alabama safety Landon Collins was touted as a SPARQ demon a couple of years ago. Here’s your chance to prove it, Landon. In an especially weak year for safety’s he could go very early.

— LSU cornerback Jalen Collins is one of my favorite players this year. I think he could be a top-15 pick. He has the size and length. We know that already. I think on tape he shows rare athletic qualities too (eg chasing down Melvin Gordon in the open field). Monday could be his day. Get ready because Collins is a stud in the making. Jonathan Joseph ran a 4.31 at 5-11 and 188lbs in 2006. I’ll stick my neck out and say Collins pushes the 4.3’s at 6-2 and 198lbs.

— In terms of later round corners, I really like Alex Carter, Steven Nelson and Damian Swann. Out of the three, I suspect only Swann ticks the required ‘length/size’ boxes for Seattle. Which other corners stand out athletically to be the next possible Sherman/Maxwell/Browner? It’ll be a fascinating watch on Monday. This is the position, more than any other, where you can look at a sheet of measurements and eliminate three quarters of the group and focus on certain size ideals.

— Is Quinten Rollins a safety or a corner? You can ask the same question about Utah’s Eric Rowe. They need to show nimble footwork, change of direction skills, initial quickness and explosion. Still, Richard Sherman didn’t have the greatest combine so it’s never worth ruling anything out.

Let me know what you’ll be looking out for in the comments section.