Meanwhile, USA Today is reporting that Tyrann Mathieu has admitted to an unnamed team he failed more than ten drugs tests at LSU. Or in his words, “I stopped counting at ten.”
Here are the three people we seem to have talked about the most this off-season:
1. Tyrann Mathieu
2. Da’Rick Rogers
3. Matt Flynn
Two overrated players with major character concerns and a backup quarterback. That can’t be right. I’m not sure what it is about guys like Mathieu or Rogers that make them so appealing to fans, but I’ve been prepared for another team to roll that particular dice for a long time.
Yes, credit Mathieu for being open and honest about his problem. But it’s still a very serious issue and it will be a distraction. I’m not sure what will come first in Mathieu’s life over the next couple of years — fighting an addiction to drugs, taking drugs or playing football. If he’s going to become an All-Pro (something I highly doubt based on his on-field ability) then I’m ready to congratulate the other team who gets him there.
It’s the same with Rogers. Here’s a guy who’s courted controversy everywhere he’s gone. During recruitment, during his time with Tennessee. Then we see reports suggesting the coaches at Tennessee Tech weren’t ready to giving him a positive reference. He too has failed drugs tests, but was a royal pain in the backside to his coaches. And before anyone brings up Percy Harvin — note the lack of Harvin being kicked off his team. It’s not like Florida wasn’t prepared to be tough with Janoris Jenkins. Unlike Rogers.
The team has enough playmakers, receivers and corners to not need to go down this line. It’s not about wanting choir boys. It’s about judging every case on its merits. I’ll pass.
Before I get to the “saying nice things” about Jeff Tuel part, I need to explain why I don’t particularly like him as a quarterback.
The first is that he has a career record of 4-22. Now, I’m not big into terms like “he’s a winner” and I recognize that Washington State was not a good team during his time there. That said, there is historically a very strong correlation with having a losing college record and not panning out in the NFL. Even among loser quarterbacks, Tuel fails to distance himself. I hate to use a rival example, but Jake Locker was not a great quarterback, and lost a lot of games. Yet he clearly elevated a terrible team in a way that Jeff Tuel did not.
Tuel does not have good college production either. He had 6.5 yards per attempt in 3 of his 4 seasons, and his senior numbers in a very pass heavy offense were his career worst. You could argue that he didn’t fit Mike Leach’s style of offense, but even that offense will seem easy compared to learning the ropes in the NFL. Tuel had just 6.3 yards per attempt last season, with a pick for every touchdown pass. Depressingly, those numbers were only slightly lower than the rest of his career outside of 2010. Tuel did have a nice 2010 season, nice but not amazing. Keith Price had an amazing 2011 season, which just shows you how long ago 2010 is.
This is a guy that never really struck fear into opposing teams when he faced them. He never showed any real intangibles, no “it factor.” Nothing. Though he bombed horribly in the NFL, Ryan Leaf was a terror during his Pac-10 days. He scared the heck out of some good Huskies teams before finally kicking their asses in the ’97 Apple Cup. I remember Drew Bledsoe as an over-rated, but highly competent quarterback, kind of like the Andrew Luck of his day (minus the mobility). I remember Jason Gesser from the early 2000s. He was a pesky dude. His worst season was about as good as Jeff Tuel’s best. Alex Brink played for some awful WSU teams but put up numbers for his career that equaled or exceed Jeff Tuel’s best season. Those guys weren’t constantly fighting off backup quarterback scrubs for their starting jobs like Jeff Tuel was, either. Say, whatever happened to Gesser and Brink in the NFL, anyway?
There are no game compilations online for Jeff Tuel, so I have to go strictly off memory with him. I watch a lot of Pac-12 football and I’ve always considered WSU to be my second favorite team even though I’m a Husky fan. My memory isn’t the best, but the Jeff Tuel I remember was a consistently beatable quarterback. Even his impressive 4th quarter rally in his final game felt less like an achievement and more like the beneficiary of an epic meltdown by a fading Huskies team.
All that said, I’m being unfair to Jeff Tuel, because I actually know him well. I don’t know anything about guys like Nathan Stanley or Clay Belton, other than that they have impressive physical tools. Jeff Tuel has some pretty good tools too. He has solid mobility and excellent pocket escapability. He has a plus arm. He has no glaring issues with his mechanics or footwork. He’s capable of progressing through reads. And unlike many late round standouts, Jeff Tuel isn’t under 6’2″. It’s unfair of me to imply hope for prospects like Stanley and Belton when Tuel has the same kind of positives going for him. Jeff Tuel does indeed have the physical ability to be a point guard at quarterback in Pete Carroll’s offense.
So if you just want a “tools” option late in the draft, I won’t hold it against you if you are rooting for Jeff Tuel. In all likelihood, he wouldn’t be much different as a prospect than many of the players in the late rounds that I highlighted on Wednesday. I don’t want to see the Seahawks pick him, but if they did, I’d give Pete the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best.
Eddie Lacy ended the season on fire. He ran all over Georgia, he ran all over Notre Dame. For his size, he showed adequate burst. He has a patented spin move which he uses a lot (but it’s still effective) and he has a little beast mode to his running style.
In many ways he looks like a first round pick. Alabama has had a first round running back in each of the last two drafts. Lacy could make it a hat-trick. He won’t fit every everyone’s ideal as a first rounder, but teams like St. Louis that need a physical runner could consider him as a possible impact player.
Today he finally worked out for scouts, running in the 4.59-4.62 range. He was never a big speed guy so that’s no shock. It’s a good enough time. Reports suggest he also ran a lot of passing drills to try and convince scouts he isn’t a one-dimensional bulldozer. Personally, I think he’s good enough as a one-dimensional player to still succeed on talent alone.
Then there’s the issues.
Lacy didn’t feature at the combine and concerns over a hamstring injury still linger. But what’s probably more concerning is his attitude. In Indianapolis he admitted in his media conference that he’d allowed himself to gain weight and hadn’t worked hard enough during the off-season. According to some observers, his conditioning remains an issue:
But he literally shut it down during the positional workout. He was huffing and puffing and unable to finish drills.
This is only one man’s opinion, but the views expressed here by Bucky Brooks fit in with a person who admitted to gaining ‘bad’ weight during the most important off-season of his life. Lacy might’ve been able to rock up to the ‘Bama games, run behind Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker and the rest of a star studded offensive line and produce 17 touchdowns and 1322 yards. In the NFL, that won’t be so easy.
While he played with great physicality in college, he needs to be completely dedicated at the next level. Despite a few off-the-field problems for Marshawn Lynch during his career, I don’t think anyone would doubt how much the guy wants to succeed. He doesn’t appear to need to be constantly pushed. Will Lacy need to be pushed? Especially if he earns a first round salary?
Players like this are very frustrating. Injuries, you can’t account for sometimes. But attitude and being dedicated to your craft are different matters completely. You shouldn’t have to push these guys. And that doesn’t mean everyone has to march into the complex at 6am like Russell Wilson. Just look after yourself, especially when your draft day is just around the corner. Don’t have any regrets.
On talent alone I could see Lacy going in round one. He’d be a player to fear if he’s running for the St. Louis Rams and Jeff Fisher. That wouldn’t be fun. Yet he’s another classic example of just how wide open this draft it. He could go #22 to the Rams. And I’d be equally unsurprised if he lasted deep into the second round. The good news is we’re only a fortnight away from finding out.
If they want extra’s like Minnesota got for Percy Harvin, I’d argue don’t jeopardise the deal. After all, the difference between the #25 pick and the #13 pick is worth more than a 2014 third rounder and a 2013 seventh. Plus the Vikings would’ve had the freedom to franchise Harvin next year. Plus Harvin isn’t coming off an ACL injury.
In fact, why hasn’t this deal been completed yet? Surely the Jets won’t blow this opportunity? Sure, Revis is a good player. A very good player. But they’ll lose him for nothing next year anyway. That much is almost guaranteed. Get the deal done already.
There are two things to remember here in terms of a potential fall. Firstly, Williams seems to get banged up a little bit. Nothing too serious, but he left games as a junior and senior. He missed the Senior Bowl. He didn’t do all the drills at the combine. Secondly, he’s not a pass rusher. He’s a one-dimensional defender who excels in holding position and taking away running lanes.
He reminds me a little bit of Stephen Paea who went #53 overall in 2011. Williams is bigger in size, but Paea has greater core strength (as emphasised by his 49 reps of the bench press). Both will be effective against the run. The Seahawks weren’t particularly hard to run against in the second half of the 2012 season. Put Williams alongside Brandon Mebane and a healthy Red Bryant and that might change. Plus, he has the flexibility to cover Bryant at end which could be crucial.
I’ve included a possible third round pick for the Seahawks at the bottom of the article — Xavier Nixon, left tackle from Florida who’s more likely to end up on the right side in the NFL.
I also wanted to represent a report today suggesting Cordarrelle Patterson could drop into round two, with LSU’s Eric Reid heading in the opposite direction. Patterson has a lot of physical talent as a kick returner and open field runner. Yet he’ll come into the league needing to learn pretty much everything from scratch. He has one year of experience in the NCAA playing receiver, didn’t run any complex routes and his technique catching the ball (always into the body) leaves a lot to be desired. He’s quite a reclusive personality too which I suspect will be difficult for teams to judge. How badly does this guy want to be great? He’ll need to want it, given the sheer number of technical improvements he has to make.
That could lead to a fall. This report, if true, wouldn’t shock me. But of course at this time of year, teams just love to put out a lot of misinformation. So tread carefully.
As for Reid, he’s a brutish safety in the Kam Chancellor mould. While he had a pretty average year for LSU in 2012, I can see why teams needing a hard-hitting safety will look his way. He’s better than Taylor Mays who went in the second round. Quite a few people who’ve worked in the league have talked positively about Reid this off-season.
Most quarterbacks strive for a rifle arm. Colby Cameron prefers a sidearm.
(Note: Prepare yourselves for the tallest article in Seahawks Draft Blog history.)
Previously I had highlighted Seattle’s quarterback options in free agency and the options in rounds 2-4 of the NFL draft. Today, I’ll cover some of the more likely late round options. I was actually going to write this post almost a week ago, but I’ve had horrific computer problems and didn’t fully recover until a couple days back. It ended up being a useful setback though, because now I can cover the late rounds in light of the Brady Quinn signing, which I believe sheds some light on Seattle’s intentions.
Yesterday, I wrote an article that spoke in favor of reacquiring Tarvaris Jackson. What I didn’t write- and should have- was that Seattle obviously wouldn’t trade for Jackson before the draft. When John Schneider specifically talked about not having his hands tied with a backup quarterback signing before the draft, that would obviously preclude a trade for T-jack. Trading anything for a quarterback with Jackson’s experience and connections would essentially cement him as the #2 quarterback the moment the deal was made.
Brady Quinn couldn’t illustrate the idea of a non-committal signing better. What I think Seattle wants is a robust August competition that results in either Josh Portis or a 2013 draft pick stepping up to earn the #2 job. Brady Quinn gives the team not only a low cost option, but he’s not exactly a tough hurdle to clear either. Josh Portis and the assumed 4th quarterback from the draft could enter the preseason with real hope of earning a #2 job, and that wouldn’t be as true with a former Seahawks starter like Tarvaris Jackson in tow. Even in a worst case scenario where all three quarterbacks struggle enough to worry the brass, they could always see who’s available after the final cuts at the end of the preseason. I have to admit, there is a lot of wisdom to this approach, so long as this process doesn’t result in Brady Quinn being named the #2 without showing massive strides in the preseason. And even then, the odds of that move hurting the team aren’t that high.
As far as who that drafted quarterback will be, I do think Seattle prefers a mobile quarterback, but I don’t think they’d rule out players with average mobility that show good instincts (Tyler Wilson, etc). With that said, here are some of the prospects that I think could make some sense from Seattle’s point of view:
Note: Given that these are late round or undrafted players, there typically isn’t enough material that is easily available to make a legitimate scouting report. Please treat these evaluations as first impressions, not as a final word.
Ryan Katz, San Diego State
Once the starting quarterback at Oregon State, Katz transferred to San Diego State for the 2012 season. Katz is no stranger to injury (wrist, ankle) and it caused him to miss the team’s final five games and most of a sixth. His entire career he’s been a wild up and down performer, and at 6’1″ 210 he’s a pretty good bet to go undrafted.
That said, I must confess I see more “Russell Wilson” in Katz’s game than any other 2013 quarterback. The way he runs, the way he sells fakes, the way he checks reads, the arm strength, it’s all remarkably Wilson like. The big difference between the two is consistency and intangibles (not that Katz lacks them, but Wilson’s intangibles are not of this earth). On tape, Russell Wilson was Mr. Perfect. Katz has his share of flaws.
If Seattle wants a backup that resembles Wilson’s skillset, Katz would be a great choice. He’s hardly a lock to pan out, but the skills are there. He just needs to harness consistency, and learn how to stay healthy.
Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech
Cameron is one of the more likely options for Seattle. He has plus mobility and solid arm talent despite his inconsistent delivery that can go full sidearm. Cameron is only 6’2″. You couple that with a low release point and you have a recipe for batted passes. Ryan Tannehill has a similar problem, but that doesn’t mean pure talent can’t overcome this drawback.
I’ve talked about Cameron before. There are things I like, but they are outweighed by my concerns over his mechanics, accuracy, and skinny frame. I wouldn’t hate the pick if it happened, but I’d stay away, personally.
Casey Brockman, Murray State
A favorite of a certain reader here, Brockman impresses with a well rounded skillset. His overall game reminds me some of Kirk Cousins (though at a much lower level of competition).
Kirk Cousins, Ricky Stanzi, Matt Flynn, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson all come from the “Matt Hasselbeck category” of quarterbacks. Most of them won’t wow you with their arm or their forty times, but they can surprise you with their mobility, intelligence, and expertise within a timing offense. Brockman may not be a read option prospect, but he would be a good fit for a West Coast Offense, which Seattle runs.
Ryan Griffin, Tulane
Highlight package caveat. Career best game caveat.
That said, Griffin looks pretty interesting to me as a likely undrafted player. His athleticism and arm strength are just average- but look at that touch on his throws- he throws the most catchable looking ball in this draft. I’d really like to see him more, because based on this his accuracy looks pretty good too. He reminds me a bit of Christian Ponder. Both are touch throwers more than a fireballers, and both languish with a low career YPA. Basically, Griffin looks like a low floor / low ceiling type, which could make him a good long term backup in a possession oriented offense.
Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State
Undersized at just 6’1″, 202 pounds, Aplin is very unlikely to be drafted. That said, Aplin might be the best pure point guard at quarterback in this draft- he’d fit our offense like a dream. Aplin has good mechanics, a very quick release, a strong arm, and plus mobility. He didn’t play at a high level of competition, but consider his stat line this past season:
68% completion rate, 8.23 YPA, 24 TD, 4 INT.
He has 1778 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns over his career. Playing for Arkansas State, two of his three losses last season were at Oregon and at Nebraska. Against Oregon he had 304 yards and 3 touchdowns against one pick. He also won his final 8 games in a row. He has never missed a game from injury (shocking considering he’s had 468 career rush attempts at weighs just 202 pounds).
I think we might have something here.
Sean Renfree, Duke
Renfree appears to have a strong arm, but a bit like Griffin, he opts for touch over zip on most of his passes. He’s a career 64.7% passer, including a completion rate of 67.3% last season. That would certainly hint at him having terrific accuracy. With average at best athleticism and a tendency to stay inside the tackles, Renfree profiles as a classic pocket quarterback in the NFL.
Also like Griffin, Renfree has a low career YPA. He’s also got an uninspiring touchdown to interception ratio, poor footwork and a tendency to throw flat-footed. I love touch quarterbacks with accuracy, but that appears to be all Renfree has to offer.
Clay Belton, Findlay
There isn’t a ton of stuff out there on Belton (#13 in the video), but if nothing else he’s got the size, athleticism, and arm that could interest Seattle as his upside is very high for a potential undrafted quarterback. As I’ve mentioned before, Seattle wants to turn their backup quarterback spot into a future trade chip, so swinging on a toolsy option like Belton could make sense for Seattle.
Dayne Crist, Kansas
Mobile and possessing a strong arm with great touch, Crist is a developmental prospect worth keeping an eye on. He has many problems though, most conspicuously his struggles with accuracy, particularly deep accuracy. I think quarterbacks with mobility plus arm talent will interest Seattle the most, so he could be a player they go after depending on how things go down.
Seth Doege, Texas Tech
Texas Tech hasn’t exactly had the greatest track record with quarterbacks in the NFL despite having several prolific college passers, but I must confess, watching Doege is just plain fun. He reminds me of Case Keenum from last year in many ways: same size, same exaggerated offense, same sneaky mobility, same strong intangibles, same dead on comparison to Jeff Garcia.
I was a fan of Keenum’s last year in what was a stellar group of 6’1″ quarterbacks. Of that group, only one (Chandler Harnish) was drafted, but Austin Davis made the Rams’ roster, GJ Kinne was picked up by the Eagles in February and Case Keenum is on the Texans’ practice squad. I expect that Doege will make a roster somewhere. Depending on who’s available, I’d love to give Doege a look in our style of offense.
Nathan Stanley, Southeastern Louisiana
Stanley only threw 57 career passes before 2012, and his 2012 season isn’t even listed at sites like ESPN or sports-reference.com. So I’m not quite sure what to make of him.
That said, he’s big (6’5″, 220), is very athletic, and can throw the pigskin through a brick wall. Like Belton, Stanley is a swing for the fences type with terrific physical potential.
Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt
You may have heard that Jordan Rodgers is the brother of megastar quarterback Aaron Rodgers. What I think interests me more is that Rodgers played for Vanderbilt, a doormat team in the SEC. It’s quite the difference in competition when considering how the late round quarterback class is dominated by small school players.
I like Rodgers quite a bit, but I don’t think comparisons to his brother help him. The only similarities the two share are the quick pace at which they play and the “body language” they give off when scanning the field on the move. Jordan Rodgers can’t match his brother’s arm strength and mobility though. While he’s (generously) listed at 6’2″, the same height as his brother, he’s only 202 pounds, which could be reason for durability concern in the NFL.
Rodgers did have a very strong senior season, completing 59.9% of his passes for 8.0 yards per attempt with 15 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions. And remember, he did that in the SEC.
(And while it has nothing to do with my evaluation, NFL.com had a fun little segment with Jordan Rodgers and Mike Glennon that you can see here.)
I’ve already written an entire article expressing my support for BJ Daniels in Seattle’s style of offense.
Others worth mentioning:
Landry Jones won’t be a Seahawk (lacks athleticism), but he will be a big name late round option.
Tyler Bray gives me strong Andy Dalton vibes- but I should also say upfront that I was lukewarm at best on Dalton before the 2011 draft. Bray is not athletic in the slightest and doesn’t really fit what Seattle appears to be searching for.
Collin Klein has an amazingly underpowered arm. I’m less of an arm strength nut than most evaluators would be, but he’s clearly below any kind of sane minimum standard. I think he can improve with coaching, as he doesn’t step into his throws very well and improving in that area would boost the zip on his throws. It would not shock me if Seattle drafted Klein late. He has the kind of “tilt the field” intangibles that John Schneider likes, he’s highly mobile, he’s durable, and he’s not a terrible quarterback, he’s just extremely weak armed.
Zac Dysert has his fans- I’m not one of them. His game reminds me a lot of John Skelton’s. I wouldn’t rule out Seattle drafting him since he’s resilient in the pocket (meaning that like Skelton and Big Ben, he can make strong throws while being sacked). His mobility is just average, but his arm strength is legitimately impressive. The one really good thing about Dysert- if Pete can make him look good in our offense, I could see Seattle getting a nice draft pick for him in a trade down the road. Teams are already salivating over his arm talent.
Jeff Tuel has average mobility, a below average arm, and never completely nailed down the starting job during his time at Washington State- a team that was one of the very weakest among the BCS conferences during his time there. I’m a big Pac-12 fan and I’ve seen a lot of WSU football. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game of his where I thought “NFL future.” As a Huskies fan, I remember rooting for a very similar quarterback in a very similar situation many years ago: Carl Bonnell. Bonnell showed enticing ability at times, but was highly inconsistent and ended up being a forgotten man by the end. I could see the Seahawks inviting Tuel in as a 5th quarterback during undrafted free agency just because of the Pac-12 connections, but I’d be stunned if they drafted him.
Brad Sorensen is sometimes talked about as a draftable prospect, but based on what I’ve seen, I’d pass. His footwork and accuracy are awful, he’s nothing special physically and he played for a tiny school. I don’t get it.
There are of course many more quarterbacks that I won’t mention here (I’ve gone down NFL Draft Scout’s entire list of 43 quarterbacks). Of the remaining options I am either unable to find enough material to form an opinion or felt they were not worth discussing.
Overall thoughts and a preliminary attempt at a ranking
After going over this quarterback group, it’s not as weak in the late rounds as I initially thought. Katz, Cameron, Aplin, Belton, Crist, Doege, Stanley, Rodgers, Daniels, and Klein all have the mobility necessary for the read option and/or a point guard at quarterback type role.
If I had to attempt a ranking of my favorites from this group (meaning that guys like Matt Barkley or Tyler Wilson are excluded), I think I’d go with the list below for the moment. Remember, I don’t have enough material to scout these players to my own standards, so writing this list feels a bit like giving draft grades the day after. Take it more as a form of entertainment than the final word:
#1. Ryan Aplin: The more I see, the more I learn about him, the more I like him.
#2. Seth Doege: I’m not sure why I have Doege this high. Probably because I’ve always been a big fan of Jeff Garcia, particularly because Garcia was very good when placed in offenses just like the one Seattle currently runs. Doege’s big ugly whip-action windup does scare me, but he seems to compensate for it with outstanding arm speed. It may not look pretty, but his release time is just fine.
#3. BJ Daniels: Daniels is the most extreme read option quarterback of this group. I don’t think he’d pan out just anywhere, but in Seattle’s offense I could see our coaching staff emphasizing his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. I’d take him any day of the week and twice on Sundays over Collin Klein.
#4. Jordan Rodgers: If there’s a saying I live by- it’s never underestimate a cerebral quarterback. Rodgers shows NFL level awareness and plays at a very fast pace. That he played an entire season in the SEC with just 5 picks should get him drafted.
#5. Ryan Katz: Inconsistent, injury prone, and undersized, but he has “Russell Wilson” type moments, and that makes me think he could be worth a look.
I’d be happy with any of those five in the late rounds. As for rounding out a top 10 of this late round group:
#6. Nathan Stanley: I don’t profess to be an expert on him, but his tools are jaw dropping for a likely to be undrafted player.
#7. Clay Belton: Like Stanley, Belton has excellent physical talent.
#8. Casey Brockman: Of all the game manager types listed in this article, Brockman’s tape shines the best and reveals the fewest flaws.
#9. Colby Cameron: I’m not a big fan of Cameron’s, but other teams will remember the hype Cameron had pre-draft and that will help his trade stock if Seattle turns him into a good quarterback.
#10. Collin Klein: Something tells me that Seattle could make the Collin Klein experiment work. Obviously, there are many quarterbacks I’d rather have. Klein would be an adventure. Maybe the good kind. Maybe the bad kind. Just as a fan, I think I’d rather have an interesting, enigmatic backup than a blase clipboard holder. Wouldn’t want all the winning of football games to make life dull.
With Brady Quinn expected to sign and Josh Portis already back with the team, I suspect this weakens the likelihood Seattle goes for a quarterback relatively early in the draft (as in rounds 2-4). Of course, if the right player is available, they’ll probably take him. Yet the team has a solid and largely inexpensive trio now. A late rounder or UDFA could be thrown into the mix as further competition. These things are hard to project, but Sean Renfree or Colby Cameron could be options in that range.
Quarterback A isn’t very good, but he looks like Aaron Rodgers in comparison to quarterbacks B and C. Quarterback B is 2012 Ryan Lindley. Quarterback C is 2012 Brady Quinn- when his outlier performance against Kansas City is excluded (more on that in a minute). The relatively sterling Quarterback A? Curtis Painter.
I think a lot of people have a falsely good image of Brady Quinn based on all the publicity he received for thrashing the Carolina Panthers last season- which happened to be the only game that Carolina lost in their final six contests. In that game Quinn was 19/23 with 8.7 yards per attempt and two touchdowns against zero interceptions. It was no doubt a great performance, especially when you consider how well the Panthers’ defense played down the stretch last season.
But when you look at the sum of his other 2012 performances (Quarterback C above), the obvious conclusion is that Quinn’s week 13 performance is among the greatest single game outliers of all time. I’d compare it to Aaron Curry against Jacksonville in 2009. If you saw that Jacksonville game and knew nothing else, your perception of Curry would be very different. And also very inaccurate.
Truly awful quarterbacks tend to play for truly awful teams, and the Chiefs are certainly that, their laughable 2012 pro-bowl list aside. It stands to reason that Brady Quinn would be more successful here than he was in Cleveland, Denver, or Kansas City. Yet I still can’t get over how bad Quinn was last year. He was one extreme outlier performance away from playing at a Ryan Lindley level, and Ryan Lindley was a rookie in a hopeless situation (on a team that had the NFL’s toughest schedule).
Quinn’s career numbers are right in line with 2011 Curtis Painter. I know he’s not assured a roster spot even if signed, and backups are rarely depended on. But I think I’d rather spend a roster spot on a second kicker than spend one on a second quarterback named Brady Quinn.
The last time that Matt Leinart worked with Pete Carroll, he was hoisting a Heisman trophy in one hand and a national championship trophy in the other. It’s been a precipitous fall from grace since then, and I think it’s more than fair to question Leinart’s desire to play the game at this point. He truly seems to have “checked out” emotionally and mentally some time ago.
He’s also left handed. As a fellow lefty I would normally be a fan, but I only see disadvantages with flipping formations, especially when we have a left guard who always wants to play on the left. And if Seattle wanted to add a read option cabaple quarterback, that’s not Leinart.
Seneca Wallace. Tyler Thigpen. Matt Leinart. Brady Quinn. Those are the quarterbacks the Seahawks brought in for a look-see this past week. Leave no stone unturned, indeed.
As a very young kid living in Spokane, myself and a friend would go out in the countryside during the summer and flip rocks looking for crickets. It was all fun and games until one day my friend flipped over a rock and was oblivious to a black widow less than two inches from his hand. It took him several seconds to notice. A black widow bite to the hand of a 7 year old is bad news. Thankfully, black widows are not as aggressive as people think, and nobody was hurt. That was the last time we ever flipped a rock looking for crickets, though.
It is often believed that there is no harm in looking at bad players. That said, I think the Mariners would probably be better off right now without Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez. They had to clear out a better, younger player in Casper Wells to make room for them. ESPN’s Ed Werder is “reporting” that the workout competition appears to be down to Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart now. What if Josh Portis or an interesting 2013 draft pick is the one who becomes expendable for the likes or those two? I trust our front office- “trust” is an understatement- but they are not immune to questionable roster cuts. Why tempt a mistake? Even if none of those quarterbacks make the final roster, they are still using preseason reps that would be better served with another option, and I have one such option in mind.
Please excuse me for my long winded and meandering preamble. However I felt was necessary to set the table for the first of my preferred offseason moves that remain for the taking. There is an obvious remaining candidate for Seattle’s backup job, and as yet he hasn’t yet been connected to the Seahawks. That player is Tarvaris Jackson. Funny enough. At first it seemed like a crazy idea, but the more I mulled on it the more I realized it was the best move the Seahawks can make to address the backup job outside of the NFL draft.
Jackson had a mixed performance as the Seahawks starter in 2011. He was terrible at the start behind a then miserable offensive line. Then he appeared to turn the corner against the Falcons and Giants. Then he got hurt. Then he struggled with up and down performances. Yet near the end of that season Jackson seemed to be getting healthy and back on track. He had a 93 passer rating over his final five starts as a Seahawk. Now, passer rating isn’t a perfect stat and there is certainly a difference between a “sexy” 93 passer rating and an “ugly” 93 passer rating. It wouldn’t be unfair to put Tarvaris Jackson in that ugly but good category- similar to Alex Smith under Jim Harbaugh.
Still, it was a promising end to the season for Jackson, and the Seahawks “primary model” during the 2012 offseason had Tarvaris Jackson remaining the starter (with competition brought in to push him). Seattle did not plan nor expect to acquire Matt Flynn until his price fell through the floor, and they did not expect third round pick Russell Wilson to be ready to start so quickly. Tarvaris Jackson became the NFL’s best and most expensive 3rd string quarterback. The deal that sent him to Buffalo was in no way an indictment. It saved the team $4 million in cap space which will roll into future cap figures, and it netted the team a draft pick.
Tarvaris Jackson signed back with Buffalo on a one year deal this past February. Contrary to what some people appear to believe, Jackson was never available to Seattle this year as a free agent. Jackson signed with Buffalo because he believed he’d have a real chance to start in 2013. Since then the Bills acquired Kevin Kolb on a pricey two-year contract. It also appears that the Bills are undetered from drafting a franchise quarterback prospect early. Given the large salary difference between Jackson and Kolb and the likely nature of a high draft pick at quarterback, it stands to reason that Jackson is doomed to be a 3rd stringer in Buffalo next season.
Jackson’s cap hit this season is only $1.75 million, which is a very good price for a #2 quarterback. It might be a bit rich for a #3 though, and that could lead to Jackson being cut by the Bills in late August. If Seattle wanted, they could swoop in and sign Jackson then. Obviously, the Seahawks are no stranger to signings in late August and early September. The downside is that Buffalo might not release him at all, and even if they did, Jackson would arrive here without a single preseason rep with the team. That’s hardly ideal for a #2 quarterback. I’d prefer to acquire Jackson before the preseason begins. I’m sure Buffalo would be amenable, especially if it means getting a 2013 draft pick (they only have six of them, and they didn’t receive any compensatory selections). Given the circumstances, I’m sure Buffalo would be all over it if Seattle offered a 7th rounder for Jackson.
It’s funny, because we got a 7th round pick from Buffalo dealing Jackson in the first place. Having lost Buffalo’s 7th in the Harvin trade and gaining two more from compensation picks, Seattle still has a whopping four 7th round picks. No other team has more 7th rounders than Seattle does, and no other roster is tougher for a 7th round pick to make. Is the difference between Matt Leinart / Brady Quinn and Tarvaris Jackson worth one of those 7th rounders? I would say yes. I would say hell yes.
We know what we have in Jackson, he knows our playbook, our offensive coordinator, and all of the team’s leading receivers, including Percy Harvin. We probably won’t win a superbowl with Jackson, but could we go 4-2 with Jackson on this team if Wilson misses six games? I think we could, yes. And don’t forget, Jackson gives us a read option backup. I have to assume he won’t hurt himself on his first keeper during his second go around here. To me, this is a complete no brainer, and while it appears he won’t be a Seahawk this month, I do think he’ll end up a Seahawk again.
Antoine Winfield: the latest victim of NFL ageism
When I first heard about Seattle’s interest in former Vikings corner Antoine Winfield, my initial response was instantly, unthinkingly dismissive. I must confess, I am far from an expert on the NFL outside of my own team. All I saw was an over thirty player at a position where the Seahawks have perpetually attempted to get younger and younger. And with fantastic results in doing so. What sense is there in replacing a 32 year old Marcus Trufant with a soon to be 36 year old Antoine Winfield?
Well after actually looking into Winfield’s track record and situation, I’ve quickly reversed course. He was released last month because 36 year olds that don’t play quarterback almost never make $7.25 million in salary. Winfield is not your average 36 year old though. He’s had 3 pro-bowl seasons and even an all-pro honor, and those seasons occurred during his age 31, 32, and 33 seasons. He did not make the pro-bowl in 2012, but he had one of his best seasons last year at age 35 (more on that in a moment). Obviously, we’re dealing with a late peak player here. Antoine Winfield’s career path is not like most players, so we shouldn’t compare him to the typical mid-thirties player. This always has to be a consideration when dealing with players over 30. You wouldn’t treat a 30 year old London Fletcher the same way you’d treat a 30 year old Lofa Tatupu.
Here’s a highlight video of Winfield. It contains plays throughout his career and lacks anything from the 2012 season, but I still found it informative of his ability.
Yes, this is a highlight video- not a scouting tool- but even from this you can see the physicality, the closing ability, and the tackling ability which are all extremely impressive for any player, especially one well into his 30s.
Winfield may be old, he may be short, and he may be small, but few players can close and finish like he can. In an odd sense Winfield fits what our secondary needs the most- a hyper quick player with the physicality of a big corner. Try to imagine Sherman, Browner, Winfield, and Thurmond in dime formations.
Last year- Winfield’s age 35 season- he had 101 tackles. As a corner. To put that in perspective, rookie sensation Lofa Tatupu had 104 tackles. As a middle linebacker. In Winfield’s fully healthy seasons he’s posted the following tackle numbers: 101, 91, 95, 97, 98, 107, and 80. You’d think a 101 tackle season for a corner would have to be a fluke, but it turns out it’s not. Tackles are a flawed stat and can be a negative indicator for a corner since it implies being targeted more frequently. That said, Pro Football Focus ranked Winfield as the NFL’s #1 run defense corner last year and also noted that he did not allow a touchdown in the passing game all season.
I think it’s telling that Winfield refused a paycut last month. How many soon to be 36 year old defensive backs making $7+ million refuse a pay cut? Obviously, he must still believe he has a lot of good football left. There is a reason why Minnesota is working hard to get him back, and why the Redskins are making a charge as well. It’s not every day you see three playoff teams fighting over a 36 year old corner.
Of course, Seattle could just draft a corner and in doing so get younger while saving a little money. I’m a big fan of Walter Thurmond and adding Winfield would diminish his role on the team. Winfield has some durability concerns as he’s missed significant time in three of his previous six seasons. Seattle doesn’t have a lot of cap room to work with. This is a good year to draft a corner in the mid to late rounds. I get all of that.
But I also think the Seahawks will be a better team with Winfield than without him. This is not your typical mid-thirties free agent we’re talking about here. Winfield would make our defense better. Maybe a lot better.
Edit #1: I just stumbled across the Vikings SBNation reaction to Winfield being released last month, which described the move as “shocking.” It’s not every day you see a fanbase react with shock when a player is released to avoid a $7+ million cap hit during their age 36 season.
Wow….it’s still sinking in.
I’ll say it again: wow.
Antoine Winfield has been the anchor of the Vikings‘ secondary for the past nine seasons. He is one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the league. Check that–he’s one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the history of the league. Winfield has been the one consistent force in an otherwise tumultuous stretch of players and quality for Minnesota’s defensive backfield. He had 606 tackles, 21 interceptions, eleven forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, five return touchdowns (two fumble returns, two pick sixes, and one blocked field goal return), three Pro Bowls, innumerable big plays, and a partridge in a pear tree over the past nine seasons.
And now he’s gone.
Getting rid of Percy Harvin was one thing. We saw the writing on the wall with our talented malcontent wide receiver. It wasn’t if he would leave the Vikings, it was when. Moving Harvin now while the team could get some solid compensation was understandable.
But Winfield? I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense. He is basically everything you’d ever want in a football player. He’s smart. He’s a leader. He leads by example. And by all accounts, he was even better off the field.
I wonder how Vikings fans will react if Seattle rolls with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Antoine Winfield next season.
If you’re hoping the Seahawks draft some kind of swing tackle/guard at #56, the above tweet probably concerns you. Supply might not meet demand.
D.J. Fluker looks on tape to be a pure right tackle or guard. There’s very little evidence he’d be comfortable protecting the blind side. He isn’t great working against the speed rush and those issues will almost certainly translate to the next level. He’s a lunger who’s off-balance, pawing against a quicker defensive end who wins with the initial step. He needs to improve his stance, foot speed and kick-slide. The big positive is he’s a road grader type and if he doesn’t work out at tackle, at least you’re going to get an above average guard.
There is something to be said for that. As Tony Pauline notes, “Most of the decision makers in the Dolphins front office were taught under Bill Parcells, who loved road-grading offensive linemen.”
One thing that does work in his favour is insanely long arms. At nearly 37 inches, Fluker has a greater wingspan than any other highly touted offensive lineman in this class. And it isn’t close. Luke Joeckel’s arms measured just over 34 inches. That to me is the main reason why teams are starting to talk themselves into believing he might be able to play left tackle. That kind of reach is attractive. Perhaps some teams will just be happy to draft him early to play right tackle? I’d never draft a right tackle that early, but I’m not a NFL GM. He is a terrific run blocker and dominated Georgia’s defense in the SEC Championship.
If you can live with Fluker’s issues against speed (I couldn’t, personally… not in the top half of round one) then you can probably convince yourself that he’s worth drafting early. I think he’s a similar prospect to Andre Smith, who remains a free agent after being drafted 6th overall in 2009. Smith is only 26 and had his best year as a pro in 2012. And he can’t find a home. Despite Smith’s size and struggles against speed, he played left tackle for Alabama. Fluker didn’t. But he hasn’t run a hideous shirtless forty yard dash, either.
Smith’s inability to generate a free agent market might be down to existing interest in this years tackle class. Three players — Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson — could be gone by as early as the #5 pick. At the latest they’re probably all gone by #7. Considering the need at tackle stretches to San Diego and Miami at #11 and #12, Fluker could benefit as the next man up. It could be that we have to start considering his floor is Carolina at #14.
If the top four tackles go that early, there’s likely to be another rush long before Seattle picks at #56. Kyle Long, Terron Armstead and Menelik Watson could go earlier than people perhaps expect. It doesn’t leave much to get at in the late second round, unless you’re a big fan of Brennan Williams, Xavier Nixon or Jordan Mills.
Not that this is some huge need that needs to be addressed right now. Breno Giacomini starts at right tackle this year regardless. And he could still be re-signed to a modest extension. So there’s no need to panic.
By the way, speaking of Jordan Mills…
Antoine Winfield update
#Vikings DB Antoine Winfield will be en route to Seattle for a visit with #Seahawks today. Vikings making a strong push, mending fences tho
I’m intrigued to see how this situation plays out. Personally, I still wouldn’t be making any big push for Winfield until after the draft. This is a front office that has consistently managed to unearth talent in the secondary without major investment or turning to ageing veterans. Winfield was good in his day, but he’s still a free agent for a reason.
The return of Jon Gruden
It’s that time of year again. Jon Gruden’s QB camp’s are compulsive viewing during the draft process. The likes of Marcus Lattimore, Luke Joeckel and Manti Te’o are also taking part this year (which isn’t unusual, Earl Thomas met with Gruden in 2010). You can see Geno Smith’s grilling above. They’re fun to watch and Gruden is an engaging personality. Although he gets touted for coaching jobs every year, he has a certain flair for broadcasting. It’s no surprise he hasn’t rushed back to the NFL, or college. Although personally I think he would’ve been a great fit for the San Diego Chargers gig this year.
The Seahawks also met with Cullen Jenkins and John Abraham. They signed neither. Winfield’s visit is no guarantee of a deal. It’s likely a meeting was proposed when he was initially cut by the Vikings. “See what your market is and if you want to come for a meeting after that, we’d be happy to entertain you for a meeting.”
It’s worth remembering how much success this team has had drafting young corners (or in Brandon Browner’s case, plucking them out of the CFL). Winfield has a great reputation but there’s a reason he’s still a free agent. The Seahawks might return to this situation after the draft when they can take stock of where they’re at.
Personally, I’d be surprised if this meeting led to a contract unless he was prepared to take a miniature salary to play for a competitor.
It seems likely one of these guys will be signed, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be the backup. I would expect some form of training camp competition involving one of these four, Josh Portis (re-signed last week) and a rookie (drafted or undrafted). Then it’s a case of who wins the job.
That’ll make the pre-season games slightly more interesting than they otherwise would be.
In terms of possible late round or UDFA quarterback prospects, I still like Sean Renfree (Duke), Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) and B.J. Daniels (USF).
Yesterday I posted a piece discussing the possibility of Seattle looking at Quinton Patton. It included quotes that made it seem like he was the second coming of Chad Johnson. And I’m not talking about on the field.
I think the interview above puts things into perspective. He’s sparky on game-day, he likes to talk. But he’s also articulate and not a clown. I can see why the Seahawks would show a lot of interest here. Having watched four Louisiana Tech Games this weekend to focus on Patton, he’s also a little more talented than I initially thought. He has a knack of making one bad play for every three good plays. But there’s something there.
He’s an interesting player and one to keep an eye on for sure. He’s an option if he’s there during day two.
Being British myself I’ve followed this story closely, but I feel obliged to tap the breaks a little bit too.
Lawrence Okoye competed in the discuss at London 2012 for Team GB. Essentially, British athletics were desperate to put on a strong performance as the home nation. Armed with fistfuls of cash, they spread their net far and wide to find potential Olympic athletes who could win medals for Team GB.
Okoye was a rugby player who fit the criteria and took on the discus. He didn’t do particularly well (in truth, he struggled). So after trying his hand at rugby and discus, he’s now having a go at the NFL.
Gil Brandt’s article suggests he turned down a place at Cambridge University to try for the NFL. This isn’t strictly true. He put on hold the opportunity to read Law at Oxford for the Olmypics. Whether he’s continuing to delay that decision now, I’m not sure. I don’t know how long Oxford waits for you. After the Olympics he did say he was going to stick with the discus and he’s since stated he’ll return to athletics if the football doesn’t work out.
Okoye has the look of a NFL player. However, several other British athletes also looked the part and found themselves to be out of their depth with the Gridiron. For example, if you put Marshawn Lynch on a rugby field he’d be less ‘Beast Mode’ and more ‘what am I supposed to be doing here?’
Physically you can be a match made in heaven, but you just can’t start playing a sport and excel. Okoye has never, ever played American Football. Think about that for a second.
Dwain Chambers was another British Olympian and still competes in the 100m today. He tried out for NFL Europe as a receiver and couldn’t pick it up.
I’m rooting for Okoye, but I fear the hype factor is set to go into overdrive, particularly with the NFL seemingly desperate to branch out internationally. Don’t expect him to be drafted as suggested in the NFL.com article. He’ll have to do it the hard way. We’ll wish him luck in his latest venture.
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