PFF highlights possible targets for the Seahawks

January 2nd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Cesar Ruiz led Michigan’s offense to a mid-season improvement

Each year PFF produces a useful ‘best at everything’ team for offensive and defensive college football players.

It can provide some insight into the players the Seahawks might consider in the draft.

They’ve also posted some info in a separate piece that is also of interest.

Here’s a collection that stand out…

Best RB through contact: A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Dillon led the nation with 79 missed tackles forced and gained a whopping 1,104 yards after contact. He was dominant when tasked to run the ball, even though the defense knew the Boston College offense ran through him as he toted the rock 317 times this year.

The Seahawks love physical, explosive running backs who break tackles and set a tone. Dillon’s 1104 yards after contact in 2019 is impressive. It’s also worth noting his physical profile. He’s bigger than the type of runner they usually target (they prefer players in the 5-11, 220lbs range and Dillon is listed at 6-0 and 250lbs). However, they really like explosive testing numbers at the position. Dillon jumped a 39 inch vertical at SPARQ and managed a very impressive 135.39 overall score. He also has quick feet — running a 4.18 short shuttle and a 4.54 forty. These are really good numbers and he might be someone to keep an eye on for day three.

Best post route runner: Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Hauling in all seven of his post-route targets, Aiyuk was the country’s best when breaking toward the goalpost from an outside receiver alignment. He ripped off 357 yards on those seven catches, gained 176 yards after the catch and broke 120 yards after contact, all of which lead the nation by a comfortable margin.

I mocked Aiyuk to the Seahawks recently. Jim Nagy also told us on the podcast that he’s receiving higher grades than N’Keal Harry — a late first round pick a year ago. Seattle loves to get the ball downfield and Aiyuk’s impressive ability to run the post will be attractive along with his speed, playmaking ability and special teams value.

Best run-blocking TE: Harrison Bryant, FAU
Bryant finishes as arguably the most well-rounded tight end at the FBS level, as he also led in receiving grade and overall grade. FAU running backs averaged more than 2.0 yards before contact when rushing around the tight end spot this season.

The Seahawks will undoubtedly add a tight end in the off-season. They might prefer a compliment to Will Dissly and therefore target more of a pass-catching type such as Hunter Bryant. However, we also know they really value blocking. I’m going to spend a bit more time studying Harrison Bryant based on this review, especially his description as the most well-rounded tight end in the FBS.

Best pass-blocking OG: Ben Brederson, Michigan
The nation’s best pass-protecting guard put forth some dominant outings and kept a clean sheet against some top-notch defensive lines. Bredeson spent 451 snaps in pass protection and allowed just seven hurries with no QB hit or sack allowed. He didn’t allow a single pressure against Iowa, Notre Dame or Michigan State and allowed just two pressures against Ohio State.

Best pass-blocking C: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
If you ever wondered why the Michigan offense got rolling late, look no further than the interior of that offensive line, which sports two guys on our list for best pass protectors at their respective position. Ruiz spent 447 snaps in pass protection and allowed just seven total pressures, including eight games without a pressure allowed. He hasn’t allowed a single pressure since Week 7 against Illinois.

I’ve grouped these two together because they really were the bedrock of Michigan’s improved form over the second half of the season. Ruiz in particular jumped off the screen. He’s a terrific prospect and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was taken in the top-25 picks. The Seahawks place a strong value on size, physicality and run-blocking and both are big dudes — Brederson is listed at 6-5 and 325lbs while Ruiz is 6-4 and 319lbs. It’ll be interesting to see how they test. Ruiz was sensational against Alabama this week.

Best run-blocking C: Matt Hennessy, Temple
Finishing as the nation’s highest-graded center, Hennessy used his strength in the run game to bolster his overall grade. He was by far the highest-graded center in the run game and finished as the only center with an elite grade above 85.0 when blocking for the run.

The Seahawks have a call to make with Justin Britt considering his contract and now significant knee injury. They could be in the market for a center. Hennessy is light (6-4, 295lbs) but good run-blocking will get you on Seattle’s radar. He also gave up only 14 pressures in three years as a starter.

Edge Terrell Lewis, Alabama
After multiple injury-shortened seasons, Lewis put together an 85.8 pass-rushing grade this year with 48 pressures.

The medical checks are big for Lewis and it could mean he sticks on the board longer than he otherwise would. We also know the Seahawks are placing a big focus on availability. They’re unlikely to take any big injury risks with their high picks. The Ziggy Ansah experiment isn’t a ringing endorsement to take a chance on health either. If it’s good news on the medical front for Lewis, 48 pressures is a decent tally for the season given he’s spelled as a rusher.

DI Leki Fotu, Utah
The 335-pound Fotu has the chance to be a real playmaker at the position after earning an 83.8 run-defense grade this past season.

Any player with a really positive run-defense grade needs to be monitored. Seattle’s run-defense was poor again in 2019. Fotu is considered a highly athletic and powerful lineman. However, Tony Pauline has also reported teams are scared of his inconsistent play and willingness to turn it on and off ‘when he wants’.

OT Lucas Niang, TCU
While he’s got a ways to go from a technical standpoint, it’s encouraging that he earned pass-blocking grades of 84.8 and 86.3, respectively, in the past two seasons.

I quite liked what I saw from Niang before injury ended his season prematurely. That could work in the favour of teams hoping a tackle prospect lasts a bit longer in the class. The Seahawks will probably draft a tackle at some point this year it’s just a question of how early based on what else happens in free agency. Niang’s SPARQ testing was not good. Hopefully he can recover from injury to perform at the combine and put in a better showing.

IOL Logan Stenberg Kentucky
Stenberg can step in at guard where he allowed all of one pressure in 2019.

Another massive guard (just how Seattle likes them). Stenberg is 6-6 and 322lbs and did a terrific job creating lanes for Benny Snell a year ago. We know the Seahawks like explosive linemen so again, it’ll be interesting to see how he tests.

Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s stats piece if you missed it. It’s worth noting that Jadeveon Clowney’s production came despite being double teamed at the third highest rate in 2019. There’s also our podcast interview with Jim Nagy here.

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72 Responses to “PFF highlights possible targets for the Seahawks”

  1. drewdawg11 says:

    Love Bredeson. Watched all of his film last week and the bowl game. Powerful and surprisingly agile. He and Cesar lock it down inside. My Michigan buddy also raves about him. I saw one mock had him going to Seattle in round two. If he falls that far I would run to the podium. Sooner or later they’re going to need a young player on the interior. Iupati feels like a one year guy.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Ruiz is even better. Round one lock for me.

      • drewdawg11 says:

        Ruiz has that athleticism to be an elite center. I want him to finish off blocks a little more, but he isn’t done getting stronger. If you told me that we ended up with one of these two players on the seahawks I wouldn’t be upset at all. Guard is an easy call, and if Ruiz is our center then they made a call on Britt and used that cap space to fix the pass rush. Win-win.

        • Matt says:

          Ruiz is only 20. You are talking about a really rare Center prospect who is only scratching the surface when it comes to strength. That’s a really easy projection to make.

          *Not to rehash old debates, but that was my worry about Collier last year. I don’t like older trench players who didn’t perform until their senior years. The difference between 23 and 20 is monumental when it comes to physical development. No worries about Ruiz on that front.

  2. charlietheunicorn says:

    During the afternoon drive time talk on 710, they were talking about the safety Brady Breeze from Oregon being someone that the Seahawks could be interested in… he is a Jr and is 6’0″ 196lbs. He has size and range for a FS prospect, but can really stick his nose into run plays. I have no idea if he is staying until 2021, but could be worth keeping an eye on if he comes out early.

    • dcd2 says:

      I think there were 4 Ducks that put in for NFL evals: CB’s Lenoir, Graham. DT’s Scott, Faoliu. (Maybe S: Pickett) * All were told to come back.

      Breeze didn’t really come on until late in the year. I haven’t heard any mention of him considering leaving early.

      The guy from Wisc who stood out to me and will be in this draft was – TE Jake Ferguson: Looked to be a capable pass catcher, and really sealed off his blocks well time and again. First I’ve seen of him, but he looked like a legit prospect all game. Not sure where he’s projected, but I’d like to take a look at his tape.

    • Matthew says:

      Breeze seems like a try hard player that doesn’t have the requisite physical talent to play in the NFL. I am not a fan of avoiding schools in the draft process but Oregon is one of those that never seems to develop their guys very well for the next level.

      Yes, I know about Buckner and Armstead…those were bonafide physical freaks of nature. I’m talking about your average draft prospect that is not considered a top 15 talent.

      Side note – I thought Biadasz looked really average. Can’t believe his predator hype.

      Ferguson is only a Sophomore but he definitely has the Will Dissly vibe. Could easily see the Seahawks liking him as a Day 2 guy, in the future.

  3. Volume12 says:

    ND TE Cole Kmet changed his mind and has declared.

    There’s the TE1. Complete package combined with size. Dominated a really good Georgia D.

    • Trevor says:

      Agree 100% I bet he got a 1st round grade.

      I guess Dylan Moses might declare as well. Would be smart for him I never understood him or Tua going back.

      • Volume12 says:

        Did you read that document on Moses? One of the funniest things ever. 😂😂

        Said things like ‘his majesty’ and ‘trust protector of the Royal crown.’ And it’s not lords of London. No such thing. It’s Lloyds of London.

        His dad is crazy AF. Been training him to be an elite level athlete since he was 13. Now he migjt be hijacking his decision all by himself.

        • drewdawg11 says:

          Moses was on the cover of ESPN the magazine when he was 14. I remember that issue sitting in the coaches office and I picked it up and said “really?” and the head coach said “that doesn’t happen unless he has helicopter parents”. 😂😂😂 this was back in like 2013 or so.

          • Volume12 says:

            Yup. Has been in the cfb news forever. Was only a matter of time until something weird got out. Starting to think his lawyer was Manti Te’o’s GF.

        • Sea Mode says:

          lol, saw that document earlier. hilarious.

      • Volume12 says:

        Those ‘loss of value’ insurance protections are fraudulent as hell.

      • Sea Mode says:

        He got a 2nd round grade.

        I’m still struggling to crown him TE1. Yes, he has the ideal size, but I see just an ok blocker, ok athleticism, and ok in the passing game.

        Kmet is listed at 6-5, 250 and has longer arms. But Brycen Hopkins is listed at 6-4, 245 and with him you get outstanding athleticism and route running for his size that LBs can’t cover, and he does about as good blocking. (less “dirty work” type, but just as effective to get in the way where he needs to).

        B1G Tight End of the Year: Purdue TE Brycen Hopkins
        https://youtu.be/A48H0IB5Thc

        • drewdawg11 says:

          I’m in total agreement. Go and watch his film against UGA. Patty cakes on his blocks. Gives up the inside too easily. Not fast, not sudden. Solid hands but rather pedestrian as a receiver. If Kyle Rudolph lost his athleticism… he would be this kid.

        • Matt says:

          Totally agree. I was very unimpressed with Kmet when I watched him. He looked really sluggish to me. Dissly isn’t going to burn by guys but is a really good athlete in tight spaces – didn’t see that in Kmet.

  4. DriveByPoster says:

    Michigan – Alabama was a fun watch. I greatly enjoyed seeing Najee Harris ploughing relentlessly forward with multiple Michigan defenders hanging off him. Very Beast Mode!

  5. Sea Mode says:

    Dang it, and I thought I was the only one sneakily looking into prospects from these lists… 😉

  6. Trevor says:

    I watched every bit of tape I could find on Mekhi Becton (OT / Louisville ) over the holidays and I would be shocked if he is not Solari’s favoirite OL prospect in the draft class. He is enormous and incredible powerful in the run game. Has great length and uses it. His feet are not great but much better than I expected for a man his size. Would be the perfect RT for the Hawks IMO.

    Would love to hear others opinions on him. I see a 1st round OT but I never see him mocked that high.

    • smitty1547 says:

      I asked Rob about him last week, Ive seen him mocked from round1 to 4, so who knows at this point, mammoth of a man.

    • Dale Roberts says:

      I’m no talent evaluator but it sure is fun watching him rag-doll opposing linemen. He’s throws around college linemen like they’re high school third stringers. He seems like a natural for a team that values running the ball. Right tackle, maybe but a dominating left guard would be good too. That said, if he moves as well as the hype train says he’d make a hell of a left tackle. I’m on board the Becton hype train. Woo woo…

    • Volume12 says:

      PFF just had him going to Seattle in their latest mock. lol

      Was talking to CHAWK about him earlier this year after the ND game.

      Mountain of a man. You expect a guy that size to play the way he does, but he adds ‘the and some.’ Moves incredibly well for such an absolute unit. Not stiff either. There’s some grace there ehich sounds weird for a dude who kicks a** like him. Junkyard dog at the POA. Unreal strength. There might not be an O-lineman in this class who has the same physical traits.

      Daniel Jeremiah comp’d him to Bryant McKinnie and I f***ing love that. Can’t unsee it now.

      I do think he’ll need to drop some weight. Not sold on him as a LT. I guess it’s possible, but see him as more of a RT like you or LG.

    • McZ says:

      He is not that hyped, but that will change in a league thirsty for pass protection.

      Personally, I see Ifedi part II. Misses a lot of assignments through indecision. Often pushing too hard. His feet are dependent on his weight, and his hands are not clean and will create penalties. I fear the day him having a contract and making a party on the local burger factory… then, his weight goes up and his feet become lame.

      Currently, I trust in grown up players in the Van Lanen mold.

  7. Always love Terrell Lewis and Leki Fotu and have started to like Brandon Aiyuk. Interested to check on Harrison Bryant and AJ Dillon. We did have Lacy a few years back and he was around 250 so maybe there is a shot.

    • Couldnt find a ton on Harrison Bryant but what I did find suggests the opposite of what PFF said. He is more of a WR type who isnt very good at blocking. Crazy how much opinion differ.

      AJ Dillon looks like an absolute beast but you wonder about mileage as he has had 845 carries in his three years at BC.

  8. BobbyK says:

    Interesting about Bryant. I don’t think the Seahawks will have both Fant and Ifedi on the roster next year so they won’t have Fant to play the blocking TE role if he’s starting at RT and Ifedi is gone (or Ifedi is RT and Fant is gone). With the Dissly durability question, I can definitely see a blocking TE like Bryant come into play. Even if Dissly stays healthy all season, they’d still have a run blocking TE (as the case when Dissly wasn’t hurt and Fant still logs plenty snaps as blocking TE). I know another OL could be blocking (like Jones did) but it just seems to make the most sense to have another (good) blocking TE because most OL like Fant weren’t also college TEs. Food for thought. Thanks, Rob, for bringing that name into play. Seems like an eye-popping stat you brought up (ASU RBs gaining over 2.0 yards more per pop before contact when running around him). That’s the type of stuff that impressive to me that don’t come in the “fantasy football” stats.

    • 12th chuck says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fant signed to an extension, and playing more of the same role that he has been. He can play T.E., LT and I believe he has gone to R.T. for a game or 2.

      • BobbyK says:

        I know for a fact that scouts from a few other teams view him as a good, solid starter. He won’t be back in the same role. He’ll be a starting OT for someone in the NFL next season.

  9. Volume12 says:

    Much like ‘Bama’s Terrell Lewis, Tennessee G Trey Smith has top 20 traits if his medical history didn’t show blood clots in the lungs. Hope he checks out.

    Absolute mauler. Nasty. Thumping dudes downfield. Dominated tonight.

    • Trevor says:

      Absolute beast when healthy. If his medicals check out he has the most upside of any Guard in this class. The medicals will be huge for him.

  10. What do people know about Amik Robertson? CB from Louisiana Tech, 5’9″ 183. Seems like a guy we need on our team.

  11. Zxvo3 says:

    Anyone’s opinion on Michael Pittman Jr. from USC?

  12. drewdawg11 says:

    I like Pittman a lot. He has had to deal with a revolving door at QB and competing for catches with a stable of future pros. I have no idea how fast he will run, but he’s a guy who could help us. Big, and plays big. Knows how to box out defenders and goes over the top of them. He’s fast and agile enough to break long plays. I think his best football could also be in front of him. Can’t teach that size and the ability to go and get the ball.

    • Rob Staton says:

      You also can’t teach suddenness and the ability to create easy separation —- which is the big question with Pittman and all college WR’s turning pro. Size and getting the ball just isn’t the same factor at the next level.

  13. drewdawg11 says:

    Of course, rob. I think he does a decent job at that, actually. Breaks off of press very well. Time after time he was able to get behind people in college. He did it against teams like Utah and Washington who field elite secondaries. I don’t know how he will translate to the league, but he’s put up a lot of film of getting open and using his athletic ability to break off long pass plays. He’s also made people miss in the open field, and on screens.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He’s not sudden and quick though, is he? I’m not talking about getting off press or getting behind people. Suddenness is that ability, that we see from most of the top WR’s these days, to create easy separation through pure speed and movement very early in the route. College is full of productive bigger guys that people fall in love with but it doesn’t translate. The NFL is full of quick, sudden receivers.

      • drewdawg11 says:

        Like who? Honest question. The top big receivers in the game are Thomas, Hopkins, Julio. Julio has straight line speed but he’s not out there cutting lines in the turf with his sharp moves and cuts. Hopkins doesn’t even have the long speed but he’s a power forward out there with superb hands and body position. Michael Thomas is setting the standard right now and he’s got special body control and can run routes like a beast. Not a ton of separation to speak of. You’ve been lauding Aiyuk this week because someone said they had him rated better than Harry, who you yourself didn’t think much of. That kid is fast. He reminds me of the college version of David Moore. Has the jets, has the body type to be strong at the catch. Doesn’t make anyone truly miss in the open field. Lots of arm tackles preventing a really nice 20 yard play from going the distance. That’s your dude, and you’re saying that Pittman is just an afterthought. I am getting the very distinct feeling that only agreement is acceptable in this forum, which is unfortunate because I’ve been reading your stuff since the beginning. Lots of yes men here in the community and not a lot of back and forth discussion about these prospects.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Thomas and Julio are incredibly sudden and looked incredible in college (I have archived articles about Thomas). Julio is super human. I said Hopkins was a top-20 talent in his draft. Mike Evans has elite quickness. It’s not just about big guys either. Look at the landscape —- lots of small, quick, sudden receivers. And every year the internet talks up bigger receivers who can’t run with the quickness to create easy separation. Happens every year. Receiver is one of the easier positions to project for the next level.

        • Volume12 says:

          Sorry if I missed it, but what is it you don’t like about Aiyuk?

          • Rob Staton says:

            Don’t expect an answer V12. For some reason drewdawg11 has decided Aiyuk isn’t worth a high pick. He won’t tell us why. But he’ll keep saying it. And then accuse me of ‘lauding’ him for saying he’s the high pick Jim Nagy confirmed he is on the podcast this week.

  14. Nick says:

    “Of the 132 teams to make the playoffs since 2009, the Seahawks’ 4.3% sack rate ranks 129th.”

    https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28403463/barnwell-guide-2019-nfl-playoffs-how-all-12-teams-win-super-bowl#sea

  15. Volume12 says:

    Chase Young declared. $ talks. Bulls**t walks.

    • Paul Cook says:

      That’s one way of putting, perhaps a little harsh. 🙂 Perhaps a little “gentler” way of putting it might be common sense winning out over sentiment. I think he really liked the college experience he was having, and was emotionally invested in his team and OSU. But, like you said, it’s just too much money hanging in the balance there.

  16. Volume12 says:

    Someone get this man to teach all those geeks in WWE how to cut a promo. My god.

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1212554029743689728

  17. Sea Mode says:

    Well, when you look at it that way…

    Football Perspective
    @fbgchase
    5h

    Playoff wins by NFC QBs:

    0 – Garoppolo
    10 – Rodgers
    8 – Brees
    0 – Wentz
    8 – Wilson
    0 – Cousins

  18. Volume12 says:

    QJeff with basically an 11% (10.9) win rate against 2+ blockers. Good for 17th in the league amongst DTs

    Love seeing Mo Hurst at #2 behind Aaron Donald and having the early success he’s had so far.

    • Volume12 says:

      Oops. Actually he’s 3rd.

      From PFF:

      1. Aaron Donald- 18.2%
      2. Javon Hargrave- 17.2%
      3. Maurice Hurst- 16.6%
      4. Kenny Clark- 13.9%
      5. Cam Heyward- 13.6%
      6. Sheldon Richardson- 13.3%
      7. Grady Jarrett- 13.1%
      8. Calais Campbell- 12.6%
      9. Matt Ioannidis- 12.1%
      10. DJ Reader- 12.1%
      11. Fletcher Cox- 11.8%
      11. Chris Jones- 11.8%
      13. Gerald McCoy- 11.5%
      14. Jurrell Casey- 11.4%
      15. Leonard Williams- 11.0%
      15. Maliek Collins- 11.0%
      17. Quinton Jefferson- 10.9%
      18. DeForest Buckner- 10.8%
      19. Romeo Okwara- 10.6%
      20. Roy Robertson-Harris- 9.9%

  19. Eli says:

    Auburn CB Noah Igbinoghene declared today. 5’11” 200 lbs. Could be a possible development type at corner depending on his length?

    Positives:
    – Very, very physical and not afraid to come up and make a tackle
    – Really good at jostling with receivers and reducing the ability for opponent to have a clean catching radius
    – Super fast; his parents were Olympic track athletes, and he was on the Auburn track team as well
    – Accomplished return man; averaged 35.2 yards per kick return this year, 27 yards over his career

    Negatives:
    – Not the best awareness in pass coverage i.e. notice he doesn’t get his head and body turned around as much as he should. Looks a lot better when he’s playing with guys in front of him so maybe he’s more of a fit as a nickel/safety type?
    – Not a lot to show in the turnover department (only 1 career INT)
    – Has only been playing DB for a couple seasons apparently so overall might just be raw

    Highlight Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzVtl8brAJ4

  20. line_hawk says:

    Just one Hawk rookie in PFF top 50 list – https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-top-50-highest-graded-rookies-through-week-17

    This team cannot take the next step until they start hitting a few home runs in the draft.

  21. Logan Lynch says:

    Can’t wait for Sunday. Beat the Eagles, nothing else matters. Go Hawks!

  22. Rob Staton says:

    Cesar Ruiz has declared for the draft.

    The media is sleeping on him BIG TIME. Ridiculous really. Fantastic talent.

    Ruiz, Jalen Reagor and Isaiah Wilson will go earlier than people think. Shaun Wade too.

    • TomLPDX says:

      They’ll wake up. I sure would like for us to get a legit blue chip player this year. I feel we were so fortunate to have DK drop into our laps last year.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Oh, they’ll eventually be on to them… just a few months later than Rob and SDB, as per usual. 😁👍

      BTW, with the OL I can at least kind of understand, cause the average fan/twitter scout doesn’t have the patience/knowledge/interest to evaluate the maulers. But with Reagor, I honestly don’t know how anyone can watch his games and not see a potential star.

      • Trevor says:

        Agree about Raegor the separation just looks so easy. Mclaurin was the same way last year though and we kept expecting him to be a big riser but he didn’t. If he is on the board when the Hawks pick and they pass I will be legitimately disappointed. Just seems like the perfect compliment to Locket , D.K. and Ursua.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I think too many people look at Reagor’s 2019 stats and don’t realise just how bad TCU’s quarterback play was this season.

        To me Reagor does everything you want. Sudden speed, ability to get downfield, incredible explosive athleticism that enables him to vertical jump like a BAMF in the red zone and high-point unreal catches above bigger defenders, special teams value as a returner. Everything.

    • Trevor says:

      I would be happy if the Hawks ended up with either of those 4.

  23. […] the best SPARQ tester at center in 2017 with an overall score of 97.92. He’s 6-4 and 319lbs. As we noted yesterday, PFF crowned him the best pass-blocking center in college football in 2019 and he allowed just […]