Seattle is looking for a read-option capable quarterback backup quarterback. In my opinion, there are only three of them among the well known names: Geno Smith, EJ Manuel, and Matt Scott. I think Smith is under-rated in media circles and I would be surprised if he’s not a top five pick, but that’s a discussion for a different time. There were whispers that Manuel was a potential top 15 pick in the 2013 draft a year ago, similar to the kind of early hype Ryan Tannehill got. Given Manuel’s physical gifts and obvious parallels as a prospect to Colin Kaepernick, don’t be shocked if he ends up going somewhere in the first round.
Matt Scott is a favorite of mine and I had been waiting for the right time to explain why I think he’d be great for us. Unfortunately, word surfaced shortly after the combine that Matt Scott is a much more popular prospect with scouts and coaches than media types portrayed him, and his status has probably been elevated to a late 2nd round or early 3rd round type pick. Unless Seattle drafts Matt Scott at #56 overall, they probably aren’t getting him. That obviously isn’t happening, and if I had to bet, I’d keep an eye on Jacksonville in the 3rd round if they don’t select Geno Smith #2 overall. Their quarterbacks coach is reportedly a huge Matt Scott proponent. Since Matt Scott probably won’t be a Seahawk, I’ll have to put that post on the back burner and see if I run out of more relevant prospects to talk about first.
I like Tyler Wilson especially as a backup, but calling him a read option capable quarterback feels debatable, and will he fall far enough in the draft for Seattle to consider him? Something tells me that quarterback probably isn’t a first four rounds priority.
After that, there isn’t much.
I’ve cut against the grain in the past for several quarterbacks that were dismissed out of hand by the majority, including Russell Wilson. I’m not afraid of standing alone for a player I see potential in. That said, Marqueis Gray won’t get that endorsement from me, he’s just simply not a quarterback. Even his own team had him playing receiver near the end. Gray had more rushes than pass attempts last season. Having watched him some, I’m not even sure if he checked his first read before running half the time, much less a second. His mobility looks less impressive than his 4.72 forty time as well. And now I’ve already wasted too many words on him. I’d put Denard Robinson in this category as well.
John Skelton was cloned and renamed Zac Dysert. Dysert has good arm talent and can make throws from within the grasp, but locks onto receivers and has slow feet no matter what his forty time might indicate. Like Skelton, he’s capable of annoying you with fluke plays, but eventually reality will crash down on him. I personally do not view him as a read option capable quarterback.
Tyler Bray… moving on. Not a mobile quarterback. He’d be a great pick for Cincy as a backup- as he reminds me of a poor man’s Andy Dalton.
Colby Cameron is cited by some since he has read option experience and didn’t embarrass himself in the forty. Cameron has a lot of problems though. He officially weighed in at just 212 pounds, but I would guess that he played around 200 flat. He has a very skinny frame that does not look conducive to taking hits. He also has a sidearm release and at just 6’2″ that could result in a very high number of batted passes and accuracy problems. He has a big windup on his throws- though like Colin Kaepernick coming out of Nevada- he compensates for a very inefficient motion with a ton of arm speed. Cameron’s overall technique isn’t pretty. I feel like I see players like Cameron every year and they never last in the NFL, much less turn into impact starters.
There are things I do like about Cameron though. He plays the game at a very fast pace, a rare quality. He has solid footspeed on the field, somewhere between Jay Cutler and Tony Romo levels. He has an impressive feel for the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield, and he showed himself capable of checking through multiple reads, then tucking to run after completing several reads. He can change reads quickly, though he isn’t as smooth at checking reads as guys like Russell Wilson or Matt Barkley.
There is enough to like that Seattle might consider him, but I’m worried enough about his mechanics, accuracy, and lack of durability potential to pass on him if the choice were mine.
Then you have BJ Daniels who I highlighted yesterday. If you detected a tone of excitement in that post, it was partially from a sense of relief that I found a worthwhile consideration in an otherwise desolate landscape for late round read option quarterbacks.
It is possible that Seattle does not draft a read option quarterback this year. After all, John Schneider said his “primary model” included keeping Matt Flynn. If he does, the pressure to add a quarterback is lessened.
If Seattle does draft a quarterback, I could see five possibilities: Tyler Wilson if he tanks, Matt Scott if he doesn’t go as early as speculated, Colby Cameron if they feel comfortable with his flaws, BJ Daniels if they are okay with having two short quarterbacks. That’s four, with the fifth option being a quarterback that essentially nobody knows about- ala Josh Portis in 2011.
Would Seattle spend a high pick on a quarterback? That strikes me as unlikely, though it would become a little less unlikely if Matt Flynn is traded.
There was a tone of excitement in John Schneider’s voice when he acquired Stephen Williams on a dirt cheap two year contract earlier this winter. Some of you might be asking “Williams who?” Williams had been a failed member of Arizona’s wide receiver corps; you might say he was their version of Ricardo Lockette. That said, you know else was a castoff from an NFC West team in recent times? Danario Alexander. Alexander had a monster second half of the season in 2012, and finished #1 in the NFL in yards per target. Alexander proved to be one of the NFL’s most explosive deep threats, even if just for half of one season. Williams has very similar height/weight/speed/potential to Alexander. Maybe Williams is another Lockette, or maybe he’s another Alexander minus the injuries. All I know is, John Schneider was pretty geeked about acquiring him. “We got him!” Those were his exact words as I recall.
Ahead of Williams on the depth chart is the following crew: Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin. John Schneider recently admitted that wide receiver was not a need this offseason, but they just felt Harvin was too good an opportunity to say “no” to. Would Seattle pass on this excellent receiver class as a result? Maybe, but then again, we have ten draft picks. What’s the harm in trying to jump on a value pick here and there?
As much as I’d love to get Ryan Swope at #56, that feels unlikely, unless Seattle feels they are likely to lose Golden Tate to unrestricted free agency in 2014. I think our best bet is later in the draft for tall receivers to compete with Williams, guys like Mark Harrison or Rodney Smith. I prefer Harrison, but Smith has some yards after catch ability and great measurables, so he’s worth keeping an eye on as well.
I think Seattle is very comfortable with Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy as a starting duo. That said, I do think tight end could be an early priority for a few reasons. The first is that Seattle will run into cap problems next season, and that could force them to approach Zach Miller with a restructure, and that carries a strong risk of having to release him. Having a guy like Zach Ertz or another starter option gives Seattle leverage, and an insurance policy if the team is forced to terminate Miller’s contract.
The second is that Seattle doesn’t truly have a “joker” type tight end that is versatile enough to play several roles on offense. Chris Gragg, Vance McDonald, Jordan Reed, Dion Sims, Nick Kasa, Luke Wilson and Jake Stoneburner are some examples. Luke Wilson in particular could be a guy to keep an eye on since he’s almost more of a Riley Cooper type receiver than a true tight end. I’m lukewarm on Luke Wilson as a prospect, but he does strike me as a “Seahawky” pick at tight end.
My favorite tight end is Tyler Eifert. I was just about to give him a glowing writeup the day of the Harvin trade. Without a first round pick, we probably don’t have much chance to get him. His overall game is excellent but it’s his jump ball ability that I think would be a devastating weapon in our offense with Russell Wilson. If he somehow slides into round two, I would love to see the Seahawks make a dramatic move up the board to get him.
Zach Ertz will probably be an early to mid 2nd rounder. In a draft that has close to 100 players carrying round two grades, not to mention a very competitive tight end group, it’s conceivable that he could reach the #56 pick. I’d be a big fan of that pick as well.
Tight end is one of the positions in this draft where I could see Seattle grabbing one almost anywhere.
With the departure of Leon Washington there’s a new opening on Seattle’s roster at running back. Seattle has an interesting choice to make here, as there are some interesting bell-cow type backs in this draft with question marks. Marcus Lattimore and Knile Davis in particular. Seattle has the roster spot and lack of urgency required to draft Lattimore and stash him until his leg heals. Knile Davis is a gamble but his upside in a power zone is astronomical. He has some Terrell Davis type tape from his 2010 season, and his combine measurables are almost identical to Ahman Green’s. Both backs were 6’0″, 220, and ran a shockingly good forty time.
I don’t think Giovanni Bernard reaches the 56th pick, but if he did, I wouldn’t complain about selecting him. He has excellent smoothness and speed but is also tough and smart- he reminds me a little of Doug Martin last year. Utah State’s Kerwynn Williams is a similar player. Cierre Wood had a nice career at Notre Dame and posted decent enough combine numbers, but appears to be destined for the late rounds. I think he’d be a great pickup as his game reminds me of Chris Polk. He’d give Seattle a well rounded, versatile player.
I think the most likely option is that Seattle targets a dynamic and versatile player for that 3rd running back spot- with Denard Robinson being the front runner. Robinson has elite speed with excellent rushing talent, and might develop into a Percy Harvin type receiver with time. He can also return kicks. He’s about as Seahawky a pick as any in this draft. If Seattle took him in round three I would not be shocked, though I would hope they get him later.
Maybe they draft a Vai Taua type that can play both running back and full back. Michael Robinson is 30 years old and the fullback position means a lot to our offense. In fact, maybe Seattle just drafts a second fullback outright. It’s very hard to predict what Seattle could do here. Which I guess is a good thing, because having more options means more opportunity.
Seattle is set at center with Max Unger and Lemuel Jeanpierre.
Seattle’s situation at guard is unsettled but make no mistake, Seattle has talent there. JR Sweezy progressed much faster than anyone could have possibly envisioned. He is already a very good run blocker with elite second level blocking ability. He has elite athleticism (outperforming prospects like Matt Khalil in agility drills) and also has long 34″ arms for good measure. He makes a lot of mistakes in pass protection, but the future is very bright for Sweezy and I would expect him to be an asset next season. John Moffitt is a technician, not a juggernaut. He won’t blow you away but I noticed him creating several instrumental blocks on rushing touchdowns last season. I’d feel comfortable grading him as an average guard last year. James Carpenter has a ton of power and pulls well, he reminds me of the kinds of guards the 49ers have. He just needs to stay healthy and stay in shape. Rishaw Johnson showed a lot of promise as a road grader type last preseason. Paul McQuistan had a solid year starting at left guard. Overall, I think we are set at guard at least for 2013.
For the most part I am content with Breno Giacomini. A lot of his negative value comes from his penalty issues early in the season, but he seemed to improve on that area by the end of the season. He is a force in the running game, and he’s had some notable victories against top shelf pass rushers. That said, both Giacomini and McQuistan are free agents after this season, and Frank Omiyale is a yet unclaimed free agent right now. Drafting an offensive tackle as an upgrade makes sense. Not only as an upgrade, but as a way of saving some cap space that will be desperately needed next offseason.
Tom Cable’s preference so far has been for very tall offensive lineman that generally weigh less. Athleticism, power, and nastiness are emphasized over pass protection and polish.
My favorite, easily, is Menelik Watson. Unfortunately it’s looking like a poor showing at the combine can’t keep him out of the first round. That’s too bad, because his athleticism and power on tape is eye-popping. Less impressive tackles have gone top ten in previous drafts.
Terron Armstead is a small school option that tore up the combine and looks like a developmental type with a lot of power and quickness. I like that he wears my number. We haven’t had a #70 worth remembering since Michael Sinclair.
Brennan Williams is massive, powerful and very athletic. He’s 6’6″, 318. He doesn’t show a ton of nastiness in his play and has a problem with his hand placement, but I could easily see him being picked by the Seahawks in the early to mid rounds for his physical gifts alone. Williams was as high as #5 overall in a September mock draft on this very site. As Rob mentioned, Brennan Williams is the son of former Seahawk defensive lineman Brent Williams.
Jordan Devey doesn’t look athletic on tape, but he tested surprisingly well at the combine. He checks in at 6’7″ and 317 pounds. Devey plays with a nasty streak and is adept at getting defenders on the ground. Lumbering but powerful and probably a little too nasty for his own good at times, he reminds me of a taller Richie Incognito. Devey will likely go undrafted.
John Wetzel needs to be coached up some but he has very quick feet for someone in a 6’7″, 315 pound body. He has a ton of strength too and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Not a ton of stuff out there, but what I’ve seen of him strikes me as a Tom Cable type. Like Devey he’s not the fastest guy but he has a lot of power. Wetzel will likely go undrafted.
And of course, you have Jordan Mills, who was linked to the Seahawks, a team that might draft him “earlier than you’d think.”
There are many more offensive tackles, and I’ll probably break them down three at a time over the next six weeks. Those are just a few I thought I’d mention.
Fitting it all together
Here is a rough guess of what John Schneider’s draft pockets might look like on offense right now:
Quarterback: Very late rounds unless someone like Matt Scott or Tyler Wilson tumbles.
Wide Receiver: Rounds 5-7, barring an extreme value opportunity.
Tight End: Rounds 2-5. A good tight end class creates incentive for Seattle to grab one relatively early.
Running Back: Rounds 5-7, barring a draft steal falling into their lap.
Offensive tackle: Rounds 2-5. Adding a second one in the 7th or later as competition is possible.
Kicker: Maybe in the 7th. We’ll see.
There will be surprises, but in a predictable world, Seattle’s draft plan might look something like this (combining the draft pockets from both offense and defense):
Round 2: Defensive tackle, Offensive tackle, Tight End, Corner is a fringe possibility, as is a pass rusher if someone like Corey Lemonier is there.
Round 3: Defensive tackle, Offensive tackle, Tight End, Corner is a fringe possibility
Round 4: Defensive tackle, Offensive tackle, Tight End, Corner, Safety, Linebacker
Round 5: Offensive tackle, Tight End, Corner, Safety, Linebacker, Receiver, Running back
Round 6: Corner, Safety, Linebacker, Receiver, Running back
Round 7: Remaining needs and value selections
As you can see, this is a really wide open draft for Seattle so it isn’t easy to narrow things down much. That said, I think it’s pretty likely that Seattle will go defensive tackle, offensive tackle, and tight end with their first three picks, though there will be room for surprises depending on how the board falls in each round. I think Seattle will probably draft a cornerback later, but their interest in Robert Alford hints at it being a surprisingly early possibility. I think Seattle will probably bypass LEO given the additions they’ve made on a crunched roster, but I wouldn’t rule it out if an unexpected value falls in their lap.