LIVE: 2015 NFL Draft (Rounds 2 & 3)

May 1st, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Live commentary on rounds 2 & 3 with Rob Staton, Kenneth Arthur and Danny Kelly.

Seahawks picks:

#63 — Frank Clark (DE, Michigan)
Long, explosive pass rusher who just makes splash plays. The pick won’t sit well with some fans, given the reasons for Clark’s dismissal from Michigan.

The Seahawks traded up in round three with Washington, giving up a 4th, 5th and 6th rounder.

#69 — Tyler Lockett (WR, Kansas State)
High character, occasionally explosive and very productive receiver. A day one kick returner and special teams dynamo. No surprises Seattle coveted a guy.


Thoughts on round two for the Seahawks

May 1st, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

There are a couple of articles I wanted to highlight today. Mike Florio has the Seahawks taking Markus Golden at #63. I’m a big Golden fan but put him to one side after seeing his lack of length (31 1/8 inch arms) and speed (4.90) at the combine. Golden is a high-intensity pass rusher who’s better than those numbers suggest. But there’s no getting away from the fact Seattle hasn’t taken guys like this. Certainly not early.

Jason La Canfora has the Seahawks potentially taking another pass rusher in Michigan’s Frank Clark. He’s one of the SPARQiest DE’s in the draft and for me his tape is very impressive (see below). The character flags are clear and we’ve spent many days talking about Clark. If they can live with the history — and several reports have teams being prepared to do just that — nobody should be surprised if he goes in the second or third round.

There are, of course, other defensive players who could be enticing. Jalen Collins, Eli Harold, Preston Smith, Mario Edwards Jr and Jordan Phillips all remain on the board.

There are two likely reasons why you would take a defensive player at #63:

1. When Dorial Green-Beckham leaves the board, there isn’t another touchdown maker/field tiling playmaker with his upside. They don’t need to force the receiver need for the sake of it. It might be Green-Beckham or move on. And the feeling is DGB will go in the top-15 picks in round two. Seattle would have to be aggressive to get him.

2. The offensive line depth is so strong in the middle rounds. If you don’t move up, you pick four times in rounds 3-4. That’s ample opportunity to get a receiver, running back and two offensive linemen.

Furthermore, the defensive talent wains as the rounds go on. If you want to add a pass rusher, a little reach here might be your best chance. Not that Clark is really even a reach if you put aside the character concerns.

On Green-Beckham, it’s hard to imagine where he might go. He doesn’t make Mel Kiper’s top-25 remaining players on the board. Tony Pauline previously said he wouldn’t take him in the top-50. They both speak to teams. The Bears got their big target. St. Louis and New Orleans have bigger needs. Where does he go?

Ian Rapoport says the Seahawks are willing to trade into the early part of round two. See his Tweet at the top of the page. Green-Beckham won’t be the only target either. They could be looking to move up for a defensive player.

There’s still room for a wildcard — or another team being very aggressive to get him. Or he could fall. And if he gets close to #50 — watch out for Seattle moving up. If they don’t get a receiver early, they could look at Tre McBride later. They worked out Chris Conley and Ty Montgomery seems like a lock to be a Seahawk at some point.

There are so many options on the O-line. There’s no reason to panic there.

Once again we’ll be doing a live Google Hangout tonight throughout rounds 2-3. I hope you’ll join us.


Players the Seahawks could target in round two

April 30th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Dorial Green-Beckham remains on the board after round one

Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Missouri)
As expected he didn’t go in the first round. How far will he fall? Some teams won’t even consider drafting him in the top-50. He won’t last until pick #63 but if he gets beyond #50 — watch out for the Seahawks trading up. It’s hard to place a team before the 49ers who would consider taking him. Can Seattle work out a deal with Minnesota picking just ahead of San Francisco? Will someone else move up to take him? He looks like the best remaining option for the Seahawks — but can they get into range?

Eli Harold (DE, Virginia)
Another player the Seahawks would probably have to go up and get. He’s not a 1.50 split rusher like Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin but he’s pissed off to be great and explodes off the snap. He’s a little boom or bust at times but he’d fit right into Seattle’s scheme, rotation and identity. Intense in a good way. Compares himself to Bruce Irvin.

Jake Fisher (T, Oregon)
Unlikely to fall much further with teams at the top of round two hunting for offensive line help. He would provide athleticism and left tackle potential, even if his best fit immediately is at guard.

Grady Jarrett (DT, Clemson)
Tenacious interior pass rusher who can get into the backfield but also plays stout against the run. More of a Jordan Hill type than a Brandon Mebane. Some people have him in the early second round, others in rounds 3-4.

Preston Smith (DE, Mississippi State)
Michael Bennett style rusher but a little inconsistent at times. Flashes a disruptive edge and has the potential to cause havoc. Then he’ll go quiet for a half. He has an enticing combination of size and athleticism — but do they need another Bennett? Will be an option for 3-4 teams looking for an athletic D-end as well as teams trying to find a power DE for the 4-3.

Mario Edwards Jr (DE, Florida State)
Three-technique convert if he lands with the Seahawks. He had an official visit to Seattle which is intriguing. Tape is pretty poor but if he can stay in the 280’s and find a role inside there’s something to work with. Certainly one to watch anyway.

Eric Rowe (CB, Utah)
There are still teams with a need at cornerback and you’d expect Rowe to be next on the hit-list. Jalen Collins is a better player with greater upside but Rowe has none of the character red flags. He also has experience at safety.

Devin Smith (WR, Ohio State)
Chunk play specialist and a key special teams gunner. Can make the big play downfield but does suffer the occasional concentration lapse over the middle. Plays above his size, has a little OBJ to his catching style. Lacks OBJ’s massive hands and superstar ability, mind.

T.J. Clemmings (T, Pittsburgh)
He could be the first pick in the second round. The only thing that’ll force a fall is a lack of polish and experience on offense. In terms of upside the sky’s the limit and he’s unlikely to make it anywhere near Seattle’s pick.

Mitch Morse (C, Missouri)
Almost identical size to Max Unger and performed admirably at left tackle for Mizzou. High character, tenacious and born to block in the NFL. No slouch in terms of athleticism. A gradual riser during the draft process and probably won’t be available when Seattle is on the clock in round three.

Jalen Collins (CB, LSU)
Again it comes down to how far he drops. He’s a brilliant prospect with bags of potential. Without the character concerns he’s a sure-fire top-20 pick. Long, fast, competes for the ball and a brawler. He’d be a perfect fit for the LOB in terms of playing style. In the late second round his value might be too good to pass up.

Donovan Smith (T, Penn State)
Not too dissimilar to James Carpenter. People will groan at that — but Seattle seems to have a ‘style’ at left guard. They like tackle converts with massive size and length. Smith looks like a guard on tape but they might be tempted by his experience on the blind side. Russell Okung is out of contract next year.

Ty Sambrailo (T, Colorado State)
Like Smith he’s a tackle convert with size and plus athleticism. His personality is similar to John Moffitt’s. He visited with the Seahawks and worked out at center, so he has some flexibility. Just a solid player with a lot of upside who would likely start at left guard.

Ali Marpet (C, Hobart)
The Seahawks worked him out this week. Why so late in the process? He’s worth a look considering the tape doesn’t give much away. How does he compare to some of the other prospects in this class — or Lemuel Jeanpierre and Patrick Lewis? Can he develop from small school standout to established pro?

Jordan Phillips (DT, Oklahoma)
Massive size and great mobility combine to create a tantalising prospect. He has hit and miss tape but the potential is there. He can do back-flips at 329lbs, runs in the 5.1’s and has nearly 35-inch arms. He’s not the finished article but he could be very special.

I could add others. I’m not convinced the Seahawks will look hard at Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona State) and what’s happening with La’el Collins (T, LSU)? They are two names I’m sure people will ask about.

Any of the mid-to-late round options we talked about could also be in play. Teams started reaching to take guys they like at the bottom of round one. The Seahawks, if they stay at #63, are more than likely to do the same. That could mean anything — a random defensive pick, a receiver like Tre McBride, one of the athletic or big offensive linemen we’ve discussed. Don’t be surprised by anything. If they stay at #63, you almost expect an obscure pick.

However, the options above provide a real opportunity to move up. The first name to watch is Dorial Green-Beckham. He isn’t the only player Seattle will consider moving up for though — they could be interested in several defensive prospects and offensive linemen too.


LIVE: 2015 NFL Draft (first round)

April 30th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Join us from 4:30pm PST for live coverage of the NFL Draft’s first round. Turn the volume off ESPN and the NFL Network and get your analysis with a Seahawks slant.

We’ll be back tomorrow to cover the second and third round.


What’s going on with Bruce Irvin & the Falcons?

April 30th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Is Bruce Irvin trying to force a move to Atlanta?

Last month reports emerged suggesting Michael Bennett wanted a trade to Atlanta. Last night it was the turn of Bruce Irvin.

Mike Florio says “chatter” among league sources pointed to a deal being possible to send Irvin to the Falcons. Danny O’Neil initially backed up the report, then somewhat dismissed it.

So what’s going on?

I understand the Bennett/Falcons stuff had some legitimacy. Ditto the new Irvin reports. I suspect the Falcons want to bring in a veteran, proven pass rusher — freeing up the opportunity to go offensive line in the top ten. Atlanta’s offensive line has been poor for a while. The addition of Jake Matthews did little to improve the situation last year.

Several reports are suggesting the Washington Redskins are preparing to draft Dante Fowler Jr — rather than trade down with a team like Atlanta hoping to take him. The Falcons could turn their attentions to Brandon Scherff at #8 or even Andrus Peat.

Another factor at play — there isn’t a natural LEO in this draft. Nobody who runs a 1.50 10-yard split like Cliff Avril or Bruce Irvin. Nobody with that electric speed and length. Nobody who is an ideal fit for the role.

In my last mock draft I had the Falcons taking Bud Dupree. Not as a LEO — as a flexible linebacker similar to Irvin.

Instead they might be using their second round pick (or later picks) to bring in a veteran rusher. That brings Scherff and Peat into play.

If a deal is going to happen, the Falcons would have to take an O-liner with their first round pick tonight. If this happens, it could make for an interesting Thursday night/Friday morning.

Irvin is 28 this year and if the Seahawks choose not to take up the fifth year option on his contract, he’ll be a free agent in 2016. They drafted Kevin Pierre-Louis a year ago and he could move into a starting role. It could also allow them to target another edge rusher in the early second round (Eli Harold? Shane Ray? Preston Smith?) or Dorial Green-Beckham.

However, such a deal still seems pretty unlikely. It’s also unclear whether the Falcons would even be willing to give up an early second rounder. There are two players in Seattle — Bennett and Irvin — both wanting more money, both sensing an opportunity with Dan Quinn in Atlanta.

I suspect both players will be lining up for the Seahawks next season. But you never know…


Will the Jaguars draft Todd Gurley?

April 30th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Could Todd Gurley be a surprise top-five pick?

Last year the Jacksonville Jaguars caused a stir by drafting Blake Bortles with the #3 pick over Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack.

Now it’s presumed they’ll take Amari Cooper, Dante Fowler Jr or Leonard Williams.

They could take Cooper to aid Bortles’ development. They did, however, draft two receivers in the second round last year and bring in Julius Thomas in free agency.

They could take Fowler Jr. to work the edge. They also had the sixth best pass rush in terms of sacks in 2014.

They could take Williams — but didn’t they already fill that role with Jared Odrick?

All three players could be in play. They appear to be a consensus ‘top three’ on most boards anyway. But if the Jaguars do provide a shock (again) — could it be Todd Gurley?

Ideally they’d trade down a few spots first but if they can’t, maybe they just take him? He’d provide a dynamic backfield option to take some of the pressure off Bortles. Gus Bradley knows full well how a tone-setting franchise back can benefit a team.

It’d be a shocking pick. Yet why else did talk of a possible trade involving Muhammad Wilkerson emerge this week? Possibly because the board could fall like this:

#1 Tampa Bay — Jameis Winston
#2 Tennessee (or trade) — Marcus Mariota
#3 Jacksonville — Todd Gurley
#4 Oakland — Amari Cooper
#5 Washington — Dante Fowler Jr.
#6 New York — Leonard Williams

Without the ACL injury Gurley would’ve been talked about as a sure-fire top-ten pick. With positive news about his knee emerging recently, he could still go in that range. It’ll be a surprise if it happens. It probably shouldn’t be.

Don’t forget to join us for our live Google Hang Out this evening throughout the first round.


Final 2015 mock draft (two rounds)

April 29th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

#1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State)
The big question is whether the Buccs trade back into the first for a left tackle. It’ll only cost a later round pick.

#2 Tennessee Titans — Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon)
A couple of weeks ago it seemed nailed on this pick would be traded. Instead Tennessee faces a situation where they end up taking Mariota.

#3 Jacksonville Jaguars — Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)
They ranked sixth in the league for sacks last season. Gus Bradley can manufacture a pass rush. They need to build around Blake Bortles. Is Todd Gurley an option?

#4 Oakland Raiders — Leonard Williams (DE, USC)
With Cooper off the board this could be an easy choice. Keep building up the defensive front and take a receiver at the top of round two.

#Washington Redskins — Dante Fowler Jr (DE, Florida)
Cornerback is a big need and they could move into the teens before looking at Byron Jones, Marcus Peters or Kevin Johnson. If they stay here, Fowler Jr should be the guy.

#6 New York Jets — Brandon Scherff (T, Iowa)
They’ve brought in Brandon Marshall and the defense is based around strong secondary play not outside linebackers. Improving the O-line might be the priority.

#7 Chicago Bears — Kevin White (WR, West Virginia)
If Kevin White falls to this spot they can snap him up and concentrate on defense in round two.

#8 Atlanta Falcons — Bud Dupree (LB, Kentucky)
Dupree could fill the Bruce Irvin role for Dan Quinn. An athletic linebacker who lines up at the LOS on passing downs.

#9 New York Giants — Andrus Peat (T, Stanford)
A prototype left tackle on tape. He doesn’t have a classic body shape but he looked the part at Stanford.

#10 St. Louis Rams — Ereck Flowers (T, Miami)
He’s very underrated. Flowers is nasty — he drives people off the line. He’s big and physical. He’s a better prospect than Anthony Davis was in 2010.

#11 Minnesota Vikings — Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State)
The Bengals drafted multiple first round corners for Mike Zimmer and the Vikings could use a similar approach. Waynes is a nice fit for the scheme.

#12 Cleveland Browns — Devante Parker (WR, Louisville)
Cleveland’s offense looks like a sorry mess. If they can’t trade up for Mariota, what is plan B? Surely they’d have to consider one of the receivers here?

#13 New Orleans Saints — Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson)
Beasley’s still on the board and the Saints need a pass rusher. Perfect fit.

#14 Miami Dolphins — Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia)
They seem to want an impact player on offense. Gurley is one of the best players in the draft — a top-ten pick without the ACL injury. He could still go in that range.

#15 San Francisco 49ers — Arik Armstead (DT, Oregon)
There’s still a big question mark over whether Justin Smith will retire. Even if he continues, it’s probably only for one more year.

#16 Houston Texans — Breshad Perriman (WR, UCF)
They moved on from Andre Johnson. Perriman isn’t the same sure-handed, reliable target. But there’s a physical comparison at least.

#17 San Diego Chargers — Danny Shelton (DT, Washington)
Melvin Gordon will be tempting but Shelton fills a vital need for the Chargers at nose tackle.

#18 Kansas City Chiefs — La’el Collins (T, LSU)
The top four receivers are off the board so they look elsewhere. O-line is just as much of a need. Collins can play guard or tackle.

#19 Cleveland Browns — Malcom Brown (DT, Texas)
After taking a receiver at #12 they know they need to bolster their defensive line. Brown is a terrific prospect.

#20 Philadelphia Eagles — Damarious Randall (S, Arizona State)
He’s the fast riser in this class. Randall has a nose for the ball and the athleticism to become a rangy free safety.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals — Jake Fisher (T, Oregon)
Fisher’s strong combine and legit upside makes him a tantalising prospect. The word is Cincy are keen.

#22 Pittsburgh Steelers — Kevin Johnson (CB, Wake Forest)
There’s a feeling Pittsburgh will go corner here. They’ve avoided character red flags in round one over the last few years.

#23 Detroit Lions — Cameron Erving (C, Florida State)
It’s a big need and Erving is just a really solid, multi-year starter at center.

#24 Arizona Cardinals — Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin)
Run to the podium time. Gordon isn’t just a dynamic runner — he’s a heart and soul type who sets the tone during the week.

#25 Carolina Panthers — Nelson Agholor (WR, USC)
They have to find a tackle but value wins out here. Agholor perfectly compliments Kelvin Benjamin and provides a safety net for Cam Newton.

#26 Baltimore Ravens — Marcus Peters (CB, Washington)
Peters would be a fine addition for the Ravens. This is an ideal fit for player and team. Tough, skilled and ready to make an impact.

#27 Dallas Cowboys — Benardrick McKinney (LB, Mississippi State)
With Peters off the board and Shane Ray falling out of the first round, McKinney comes into play. He’s similar physically to Rolando McClain.

#28 Denver Broncos — Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M)
The offensive line is likely to be the priority and Ogbuehi is expected to find a home in the late first round.

#29 Indianapolis Colts — Landon Collins (S, Alabama)
The Colts need to keep improving on defense and Collins is good value here. An instant starter who can hit and cover.

#30 Green Bay Packers — Eric Rowe (CB, Utah)
They could move down with teams looking to get a tackle or Phillip Dorsett. If they stay put — inside linebacker or cornerback appears to be the target.

#31 New Orleans Saints — Preston Smith (DE, Mississippi State)
Smith adds further power and speed to New Orleans’ new front alongside Vic Beasley.

#32 New England Patriots — Eddie Goldman (DT, Florida State)
Arguably FSU’s best player in 2014. Capable of rushing the passer but particularly stout against the run.

Before we get into round two — I was invited to take part in the latest Sea Hawkers Podcast. Check it out here:

Round two

#33 Tennessee Titans — T.J. Clemmings (T, Pittsburgh)
Clemmings has enormous potential as a right tackle. Protect Marcus Mariota and get a running back to pound the rock later on.

#34 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — D.J. Humphries (T, Florida)
The Buccs could consider moving back into the first round to get a tackle. They need to protect Jameis Winston.

#35 Oakland Raiders — Phillip Dorsett (WR, Miami)
They went after Randall Cobb and Dorsett is a similar type of player. They could move into round one to make sure they get him.

#36 Jacksonville Jaguars — Eli Harold (DE, Virginia)
They get their LEO rusher to work the edge with this pick. Harold has massive potential.

#37 New York Jets — Shane Ray (DE, Missouri)
Somebody will stop the fall eventually. Ray isn’t the perfect scheme fit for New York but he gets after the quarterback.

#38 Washington Redskins — Byron Jones (CB, Connecticut)
Jones has the potential to go so much earlier than this. Flawless character, insane athleticism. What a steal for the Redskins.

#39 Chicago Bears — Eric Kendricks (LB, UCLA)
A really solid pick as they look to build a new defense. Kendricks makes tackles and flies around.

#40 New York Giants — Mario Edwards Jr (DE, Florida State)
The Giants move him inside to the three technique and address a big need.

#41 St. Louis Rams — A.J. Cann (G, South Carolina)
The Rams have needs at every offensive line position. Cann fills a hole inside.

#42 Atlanta Falcons — Laken Tomlinson (G, Duke)
The Falcons need help at guard. Tomlinson is a high character, hard working player with plenty of upside.

#43 Cleveland Browns — Denzel Perryman (LB, Miami)
Not the biggest or fastest player but he brings a high level of intensity and can start immediately.

#44 New Orleans Saints — Stephone Anthony (LB, Clemson)
Another defensive need filled. The Saints become even stronger up the middle with the addition of Anthony.

#45 Minnesota Vikings — Grady Jarrett (DT, Clemson)
He flies into the backfield like a three-technique but he’s stout enough to be a nose. Really fun player to watch.

#46 San Francisco 49ers — Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Missouri)
The top linebackers are off the board. They could and probably should move up for one in this scenario. If not, DGB faces the LOB twice a year.

#47 Miami Dolphins — Donovan Smith (T, Penn State)
He starts at guard but could eventually move outside to tackle.

#48 San Diego Chargers — Ameer Abdullah (RB, Nebraska)
Sparky running back who can be a threat in the passing game. It’s a nice match with San Diego’s offense.

#49 Kansas City Chiefs — Devin Smith (WR, Ohio State)
There’s some DeSean Jackson to his game. Andy Reid puts him next to Jeremy Maclin and tries to find a spark in the passing game.

#50 Buffalo Bills — Ty Sambrailo (T, Colorado State)
The Bills need to keep adding to their offensive line. Sambrailo is versatile and can cover a number of different positions.

#51 Houston Texans — Jordan Phillips (DT, Oklahoma)
This feels very low for a huge athletic mountain. If he lasts this long the Texans won’t believe their luck.

#52 Philadelphia Eagles — Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona State)
They still have a need at the position and Strong could provide an outside threat for Chip Kelly.

#53 Cincinnati Bengals — Tyler Lockett (WR, Kansas State)
They like these smaller receivers. Lockett was a production machine in college, he has terrific character and he’s a kick returner.

#54 Detroit Lions — Tevin Coleman (RB, Indiana)
He’s athletic enough to compliment what they already have. A true home-run hitter.

#55 Arizona Cardinals — Nate Orchard (DE, Utah)
The Cardinals reach a little bit to fill a need. Orchard isn’t quick but he’s technically adept.

#56 Pittsburgh Steelers — Henry Anderson (DT, Stanford)
Great length and a superb combine. He can be more than just a great run stopper at the next level.

#57 Carolina Panthers — Ronald Darby (CB, Florida State)
The options at tackle are all gone so they take a corner instead.

#58 Baltimore Ravens — Carl Davis (DT, Iowa)
They need some size up front after trading away Haltoi Ngata.

#59 Denver Broncos — Paul Dawson (LB, TCU)
He had a poor combine but on tape he just makes plays. The Broncos have a need at inside linebacker.

#60 Dallas Cowboys — T.J. Yeldon (RB, Alabama)
Physically he compares well to DeMarco Murray.

#61 Indianapolis Colts — Jalen Collins (CB, LSU)
Could he fall further than this? Sure. A broken foot, lack of starts and some off-field flags could lead to a fall.

#62 Green Bay Packers — Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota)
He just seems like a great fit. Plays tough, reliable, safe hands, slightly cocky attitude.

#63 Seattle Seahawks — Mitch Morse (C, Missouri)
Doesn’t get beat and has almost identical size to Max Unger — Seattle fills the hole at center.

#64 New England Patriots — Devin Funchess (WR, Michigan)
He can play as a hybrid receiver/joker TE for the Patriots.

Thoughts on Seattle’s pick

I didn’t include trades in this mock. By the time Seattle’s on the clock, many of the top receivers and defensive players are off the board. I had them take the best offensive lineman available.

Mitch Morse is the pick. He competes for a start with Patrick Lewis and Lemuel Jeanpierre in camp and likely wins the job. He has almost identical size to Max Unger. He doesn’t get beat. It’s a solid, long term investment at the center position.

Several other O-lineman are off the board — including possible targets Ty Sambrailo and Donovan Smith.

Could Seattle move up in this scenario? Sure. Dorial Green-Beckham is off the board too soon to expect a fourth round pick to get the job done. If he fell any further, he comes into play.

Defensively Jalen Collins is tantalisingly close to #63. Depending on how you feel about his character, you’d almost have to show a degree of interest there. Collins has incredible potential.

I wouldn’t expect the Seahawks to show interest in moving up for Jaelen Strong.

There are a few others that could be targeted via trade if they fell. A lot of those players go in the first part of round two — such as Eli Harold.

What about the rest of the picks?

If they go Morse at #63, they could look at Frank Clark in round three or Tre McBride. Chris Conley can’t be ruled out, possibly in round four. I think the interest in Mike Davis is legit and I still believe Ty Montgomery is going to be drafted by the Seahawks. Josue Matias could be brought in to play guard and I’d be very interested to see where Rob Crisp lands.

Don’t forget tomorrow we’ll be broadcasting live throughout the draft. Listen along for analysis with a Seahawks slant.

I also want to thank the community here for another great year of draft talk. There’s no bickering, no drama. Just a bunch of people debating the draft. You are all first round picks to me.


Pre-draft Podcast: 28th April

April 28th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Kenneth Arthur, Danny Kelly and I talked draft for a good 90 minutes today. It’s long — but we cover a ton of ground. Have a listen:


Seahawks draft: Possible targets in each round

April 27th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Florida State’s Josue Matias could be a Seahawks target

Here’s my best guess at where the Seahawks will target certain positions, what their priorities will be and which players they might covet.

The situation at #63

Trade up for a receiver, stay put and take a wide out or simply draft the best offensive lineman available. The three biggest needs are all on offense and should be in play with Seattle’s first pick in the draft.

You don’t rule out a defensive pick here — and the lack of depth in the middle rounds compared to receiver and the O-line makes it a possibility. Seattle’s meeting with Florida State’s Mario Edwards Jr. makes things interesting. However — the Seahawks retain the vast majority of a league-leading #1 defense. Their biggest loss — Byron Maxwell — has been replaced by their biggest free-agent acquisition (Cary Williams). They added depth to the defensive line with Ahtyba Rubin. The only hole left to fill is a replacement for two-sack O’Brien Schofield.

Jimmy Graham provides a much needed X-factor to the offense but there are still gaping holes at left guard and center. Graham’s arrival also shouldn’t prevent the Seahawks adding more talent at receiver. Jermaine Kearse is a free agent next year and Doug Baldwin’s contract expires after the 2016 season. Will Paul Richardson make a full recovery from his latest knee injury? There’s no saying Chris Matthews or Kevin Norwood will amount to anything. There aren’t currently any long-term pieces here.

A defensive pick probably only happens if a very highly coveted player drops into range for a move up. The Seahawks have been pretty consistent though in addressing needs first, taking ‘their’ guys and not responding to the unexpected.

Could LSU corner Jalen Collins fall? He has a broken foot and some other off-the-field issues. I think it’s unlikely he drops to #63 considering Janoris Jenkins only fell to #39 in 2012. The likes of Clemson’s Grady Jarrett and Edwards Jr. are likely to be gone too. This feels like it’s going to be a pick for the offense in round two, unless of course that highly coveted player falls.

It’s as if the Seahawks have been planning to trade up for some time. Having lost out on an early fourth rounder when the Jets cut Percy Harvin, they quickly acquired another from New Orleans. There is a drop-off in talent at around pick #48-52. That extra fourth round pick gets you into range.

There are two realistic trade-up scenarios.

The Seahawks can move up 10-12 spots by trading their earliest fourth round pick (the one acquired in the Jimmy Graham trade). Philadelphia made a similar move last year to draft Jordan Matthews. Detroit at #54 seems like a viable trade-partner — they have picks in rounds 1-3 and then nothing until round six.

If they want to move up even further — possibly into the 40’s — they could consider trading the same fourth round pick and also their 2016 third rounder. It’d be a bold move — but they will receive a third round compensatory pick next year for Byron Maxwell. That would soften the blow somewhat.

Forget smokescreens and all of that — by now we have a pretty good idea the Seahawks have interest in Dorial Green-Beckham. Tony Pauline’s recent report validates that and there’s no need to second guess it. He’d be an ideal outside receiver with the potential to be that true #1 Russell Wilson hasn’t really had as a pro. Imagine putting DGB and Jimmy Graham on the field to compliment the running game. That’s why we can’t rule out a slightly more ambitious trade.

You might balk at the price. There aren’t many moves Seattle can make in this draft that’ll have a dramatic impact in 2015. This is one of them. They’d have a legitimate chance to field an offense as potent as the defense. And they’d still have nine more picks in the draft to fill other needs.

If Green-Beckham goes too early (late first, very early second) there’s not much you can do. I highly doubt they’d be willing to trade a future first or second rounder. In that scenario, you accept defeat and move on.

There aren’t many alternatives at receiver for the #63 pick. Devin Funchess provides similar size and mismatch value but he lacks DGB’s speed and upside. Tyler Lockett is a fiery, gritty receiver with major production and great bloodlines. Do they want to add another smaller receiver with an early pick? Or will they target someone like Ty Montgomery later on?

Could they make a bit of a surprise pick like Tre McBride or Chris Conley? You can’t rule it out. Why would you? Look at Justin Britt a year ago. They’ll take their guys instead of risking missing out altogether.

That’s likely to be their position on the offensive line too. If they can’t find a receiver at #63 they should be able to find an offensive lineman they like.

Mitch Morse is a better tackle than people recognise. He doesn’t get beat. He’ll move inside to center — but part of the reason he’s rising so much is the way he performed at tackle at Missouri. Seattle will likely have one chance and one chance only to draft him — and that’s at #63 (unless they move down a few spots — but only a few).

Ty Sambrailo gives them the best shot at a guard for today who could be a tackle tomorrow. Russell Okung’s contract ends after the 2015 season. Sambrailo is a better fit inside but he has the quick feet and the mobility to give it a go.

Seattle has to consider possible Okung replacements. For that reason Donovan Smith is an option. He has the length and size to play tackle. The problem is he has the game to be a guard-only. His tape, for example, doesn’t even get close to James Carpenter’s at Alabama (where he played left tackle). He’s had difficulty with conditioning too, which is surely a turn-off after all the issues with Carpenter, Michael Bowie and now Alvin Bailey.

They could also plug in a pure guard like A.J. Cann, Tre Jackson or Laken Tomlinson.

What about round three?

If they don’t take a receiver in round two, this could be the range where they go for it. Is one of McBride or Conely still on the board? Part of me feels if they don’t get a big wide out in round two they might just pass altogether. Seattle has enough developmental receivers and really needs an injection of pure class. An impact player. Not a raw-with-upside type who spends most of the year inactive ala Kevin Norwood.

Georgia Tech’s Darren Waller compares physically to Vincent Jackson. They had almost identical combine performances. It took Jackson four years to have an impact in the NFL — and Waller looks like a late developer. He doesn’t play with Jackson’s intensity either. Can you afford to sit and wait for a player like this? Seattle’s is bang in the middle of a Championship window.

Dezmin Lewis receives some attention — but he ran a 4.58 at 214lbs at the combine and jumped only a 33.5 inch vertical. He improved both tallies at his pro-day (as is the norm). How athletic is he? And coming from Central Arkansas, how long is he going to need to get up to NFL speed?

If they don’t go O-line at #63 it’s an option here too. Yes — there are nice options throughout rounds 4-5 (more on that later). However, this late third round pick gives the Seahawks a chance to ‘jump the queue’. That’s especially important if they traded up in round two using the early fourth rounder. We’ll run through some of the names in a bit — but if there’s an O-liner you have to have, this could be a valuable pick.

Don’t rule out a running back — either here or in round four. Marshawn Lynch could retire after this season. Robert Turbin is a free agent. Christine Michael has underwhelmed. A team that runs the ball as its core identity isn’t going to sleepwalk into 2016 thin at running back. This is a good class of runners. If they’ve identified one they like and the value fits — they might do it. People have scoffed at this suggestion in the past but it makes a ton of sense. Even if the pick ultimately only replaces Turbin next year, you’re making a significant cost saving. If the worst happens and you lose Lynch and Turbin, at least then you have Michael and a sophomore RB to compete. You’re not handcuffed into making an early pick at the position. Let’s not forget they drafted Michael as a ‘running back of the future’ in 2013, so they’re open to it.

Mike Davis visited with the Seahawks. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea — but he catches the ball well, has a somewhat physical style and he’s a classic one-cut-and-go type. He’s a scheme fit. He’s graded anywhere from round three to the later rounds. He could be one of the players they make sure they don’t leave the draft without.

Then there’s the defensive line option. This probably comes down to who’s left. Is Frank Clark still on the board? If so, he may be your O’Brien Schofield replacement. The options on the D-line only get thinner from here. Cassius Marsh returns from injury though and Schofield’s impact in 2014 was minimal. They’re unlikely to force anything and might be happy to add an athletic upside D-end later on (or even in UDFA).

Round four looking good

Whether the Seahawks pick two or three times in this round, they’re going to get at least a couple of role players. That’s all you can ask for on day three. There’s a host of offensive lineman they could target. I’ll probably miss out on some possible targets — there are that many.

During Tom Cable’s time in Seattle they’ve always had size at left guard. I can see why people are projecting SPARQ’d out athletic linemen for the Seahawks — but I still think their left guard next year is going to be big. Not 300lbs big — probably more like 320lbs big.

Oklahoma’s Daryl Williams could go in this range — a pumped-up team player with the size and length Seattle loves. Aside from Williams they might look at West Virginia’s Quinton Spain or Louisville’s Jamon Brown.

One other name to keep an eye on — Florida State’s Josue Matias. He’s 6-5 and 309lbs (but he can play bigger) with the all important tackle experience. Tom Cable attended FSU’s pro-day. Was he looking at Matias, Tre Jackson or both? Matias could be their guy. There’s a ton of upside there.

What about center? If this remains unaddressed, there are plenty of options. Shaq Mason looks like a very realistic possibility. Accomplished run blocker, very stout at the point. It’s hard to judge his pass-blocking skills in the triple-option but he has a lot of upside. Florida’s Max Garcia had an extremely impressive Senior Bowl and could go in this range. Kansas State’s B.J. Finney is a no-thrills, meat-and-potatoes type of blocker but he could be an early starter. Auburn’s Reese Dismukes is a good fit for a zone blocking team and could be available in the late fourth. San Diego State’s Terry Poole is a tackle convert who could work at guard or center.

If drafting a possible replacement for Okung is a priority, they could even look at tackles in round four. Green Bay found their starting LT (David Bakhtiari) in round four. NC State’s Rob Crisp is long, athletic and severely underrated. Vic Beasley’s probably going to go in the top ten this week. Nobody in college football handled him like Crisp. Virginia Tech’s Laurence Gibson has similar length and athleticism. He only has one years experience as a starter — but he flashed enough to warrant consideration as a developmental left tackle.

Whether it’s in round four or five — I expect Stanford’s Ty Montgomery to be a target. He’s visited with the Seahawks. He fits them like a glove. Incredibly competitive and smart. A driven character who lives for football. He can forge a role on the offense but more importantly — he’s a fantastic kick returner. He’ll have an impact in week one returning kicks, replacing fair-catch specialist Bryan Walters. Montgomery in Seattle seems like a perfect day-three match.

Round five and beyond

We could start to see more of a defensive focus here. This is where they’re likely to pluck a tall, rangy corner to put on the production line. Stanford’s Alex Carter might be off the board, but Texas Southern’s Tray Walker passes the size/speed/length test. Oklahoma’s Julian Wilson has ugly tape (really ugly at times) but he too fits Seattle’s corner criteria. Penn State’s Adrian Amos will be projected by many to play safety. The Seahawks could consider him a flex option. There are likely to be one or two obscure targets too.

When Frank Clark leaves the board they’re going to struggle to find explosive, physical pass rushers or ideal LEO’s. The closest thing might be Shaq Riddick — a victim of the bizarre three-man front at West Virginia that dogged Bruce Irvin’s final season with the Mountaineers. He’s tall and quick. He’d need some work. Watch Southern Miss defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches give Alabama fits and you can see why he might be a target. Tenn-Chat’s Derrick Lott is another to keep an eye on.

At safety USC’s Josh Shaw and Michigan State’s Kurtis Drummond are possibilities — although it’s unclear how much of a need they have at the position. How highly do they rate Dion Bailey? Can they find another UDFA to replace Jeron Johnson?

Georgia cornerback Damian Swann just finds a way to make plays. He’s a turnover machine who’s a good coach away from being a nice little project for someone. He only has 31-inch arms. Is it a deal breaker? Possibly.

There’s at least a chance they’ll draft a quarterback at some point. Plucking an UDFA like Blake Sims possibly makes more sense than blowing a pick on a camp body. He could be a seventh round option.

I could run through a list of athletic VMAC visits here as possible later round options. We all know they’ll focus on the SPARQ’d up remains of this draft later on and in UDFA. There’s no great skill in pointing at a list of names just because they’re athletic. You know what to expect. I’ll just link to this Chawk Talk piece that notes all the pre-draft visits. They’ll take a selection from that group.

Possible draft plan (without trading up)

Round 2 — WR
Round 3 — OL
Round 4 — RB, OL, KR/WR
Round 5 — CB, DL, OL
Round 6 — DL or CB, S
Round 7 — QB

Tomorrow is podcast day. Wednesday the final mock draft. Thursday — you know what happens Thursday.


A tale of two seven-round Seahawks mocks

April 26th, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Is Devin Funchess a possible alternative to Dorial Green-Beckham?

Trade up for a receiver? Stay put? Draft the best offensive lineman on your board?

Our conversations over the last few weeks have been dominated by these questions. This weekend, two different seven-round mocks highlight the possibility that Seattle’s front office will be having the same debate.

Evan Silva and Josh Norris have put together a list of needs and a seven round Seahawks projection.

Silva: “Seattle’s offensive line could afford upgrades, beginning with center and left guard…. The Seahawks have one of the NFL’s weakest receiver corps.”

Norris’ mock has them taking Devin Funchess at #63: “The Super Bowl and acquiring Jimmy Graham makes it seem like Seattle is putting an emphasis on contested catches.”

Funchess is an interesting case. It’s logical to expect the Seahawks will target size. They already have one of the better slot receivers in Doug Baldwin. They’re likely to add a smaller receiver who can return kicks on day three (more on that later). Outside of one-game wonder Chris Matthews there’s a distinct lack of size on the perimeter.

They went away from this last year, seemingly believing speed and the intermediate game would mesh nicely with their power-run attack. Let’s call it the ‘Percy Harvin blueprint’. When Harvin departed the Seahawks lacked the punch to make it work. Having already lost their best contested-catch maker in Golden Tate, they didn’t really have a red-line winner who could make the tough grab.

The reported interest in Vincent Jackson before the trade deadline suggested a change in philosophy. In fairness to the Seahawks, nobody can argue they’re stuck in their ways. They’re willing to evolve.

This probably doesn’t stop with Jimmy Graham. It’s not about one player, in particular a player who’s going to work the middle exploiting match-ups against linebackers. They need that taller outside threat — and they’re unlikely to thrust all their hopes solely on Matthews based on the Super Bowl.

There’s a reason Tony Pauline is reporting interest in Dorial Green-Beckham and a reason why we’ve spent so much talking about him as a possible trade target. Seattle’s offense will always be run-first — but that puts more pressure on the passing game when you do throw the ball. With Baldwin in the slot, Graham working the seam and a dynamic big target outside — the Seahawks can finally field an offense as potent as the league-leading defense.

If they can’t get into range for DGB — the closest alternative is Funchess. He’s slower, less sudden and has nothing like Green-Beckham’s upside. There are question marks about his drive at Michigan. He certainly underwhelmed. But he is a big target who can make plays downfield, box-out defenders and win contested catches.

He wasn’t always reliable at Michigan. It kind of makes this performance against Ohio State all the more frustrating:

He’s making tough grabs, he’s finding ways to get open. He has a chunk play downfield. He looks good.

We just didn’t see enough of this in college.

He’s definitely a build-up speed runner but he can eat up space with long strides. He has one of the best head-fakes you’ll see, setting up a corner to the inside before a nifty little double move to create separation.

If the Seahawks just want a big target they can work with, Funchess could be a consolation prize if DGB ends up elsewhere. He isn’t too dissimilar to Mike Williams. That might put you off — but clearly Carroll has time for that kind of receiver.

Funchess didn’t have a great combine, running a 4.70 at 232lbs. You’re not drafting him to run by people though. You’d be drafting him for this:

The great thing about Green-Beckham is the rare gliding ability at his size and the YAC potential. He’s a downfield threat at a playing weight of around 225lbs. That’s insane. Funchess isn’t the same smooth athlete. He can go up and get a football though — and he has underrated ball-skills and the ability to work to get open.

There are divided opinions on him. Lance Zierlein has him down as the #88 player in the draft. Bob McGinn’s anonymous scouts have him right behind Green-Beckham with an early second round grade: “I wouldn’t take him first (round) but I’d take him early two.”

It’s an alternative option that could be a possibility at #63 or with a small move up the board. Make no mistake though — he’s no DGB. Is he ‘Seahawky’ enough? Is he the gritty determined character they want at the position? Or is he just a slightly passive big target without the offsetting speed and dynamism DGB provides?

Norris has the Seahawks taking Frank Clark at the bottom of round three: “Clark is an outstanding athlete who flashes bend and a conversion of speed to power.” If you’re looking for an impact D-end in the middle rounds, Clark’s probably the best bet (if you can live with the character flags).

You can see the mock for yourself but Norris also gives the Seahawks guard Mark Glowinski and center Shaq Mason in round four. My only question here — is Glowinski big enough? Seattle has used major size at left guard under Tom Cable. Ty Montgomery is also taken in round five.

Increasingly Montgomery is being paired with the Seahawks. He’s tough and plays with grit. He can be more than just a kick-return specialist — although he excels there. Character wise he ticks all the adequate boxes and seems like he’d fit right into Seattle’s ultra-competitive locker room. I’d almost be surprised if he wasn’t taken in round four or five. Whenever they can get him.

The Seahawks need a productive kick-returner who can contribute. Special teams is the one unit on the roster (kick returns specifically) that can dramatically improve in 2015. It’s going to be a priority. So much so — don’t be shocked if some of Seattle’s later round picks or UDFA’s carry specific special teams qualities.

Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter have also put together a seven-rounder for Seattle. They have the Seahawks taking Hroniss Grasu at #63, Tre McBride in round three and of course Ty Montgomery is a fourth round selection.

Both scenarios make a lot of sense. The Seahawks can take the big receiver early and address a defensive need (or even running back) in round three because the depth is so good on the O-line this year. Yet if the options at receiver don’t match up at #63 (and a trade up isn’t possible) taking the top offensive lineman on your board in round two makes just as much sense.

Grasu is intelligent, athletic and just a really solid prospect. You have to be comfortable with the injury history (could be a difference maker given Max Unger’s health issues) but nobody is going to be left scratching their heads if the Seahawks take Grasu at #63. McBride isn’t a big, physical mismatch like DGB or Funchess, but he’s ultra-competitive, wins the contested catch, is certainly athletic enough with special teams value and he’s a great character guy.

You can easily imagine both players in Seattle.

Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Everyone will have their own opinion on what they should do — but for a while now it seems like the options are:

1. Trade-up for a receiver

2. Look at the remaining wide-outs at #63

3. Take the best O-lineman on your board

These two seven-round mocks are a further example of that situation. I think we’ll almost certainly see a power running back drafted in rounds 3-5 (neither mock has considered that scenario). Mike Davis remains an option. It’s interesting that in some quarters he’s rated as high as a third rounder — and yet Bob McGinn’s poll of scouts had him outside the top-12 for the position. If the Seahawks can get him in round four — keep an eye on that. With Todd Gurley now expected to go in the top 10-15 and Melvin Gordon likely to follow, we could see the entire class jolted upwards slightly.

The Seahawks have had a lot of success finding cornerbacks in the fifth and sixth round range. They’ll surely add a corner at some point — but it’s probably unlikely to be early unless a big name suffers an unexpected fall. It was good to see SDB favorite Damien Swann projected to Seattle in Norris’ mock. He lacks ideal arm length but he’s a real playmaker.

A heads-up for the rest of the week. We’ll have a podcast on the blog on Tuesday, with a final mock draft on the Wednesday. I’ll probably do two rounds and cover rounds 3-7 for the Seahawks. On Thursday I’ll be doing a live Google Hangout for the third draft in a row with Kenny and the guys at Field Gulls.