Projecting impact for Seattle’s rookies

April 29th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Christine Michael (RB, 2nd round)
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks. He is the tone-setter, the heartbeat, the player who drains energy out of a defense while creating opportunities for the passing game via play action. What he isn’t, unfortunately, is invincible. And while he has played through a series of niggling injuries (back, foot), keeping him from a mountainous work-load is vital for both the long and short term. His contract runs until 2015 and I suspect the the Seahawks want to get through the next three years with Lynch leading the way.

They didn’t have to draft a running back in round two to address this situation — there were plenty of other backs presenting value later on (Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington, Zac Stacy). They already had Robert Turbin and Spencer Ware (taken in round six) is no slouch. Yet Christine Michael stood out as the best player available with the final pick in round two. He was arguably the top running back in the draft and worthy of a grade much higher than the #62 pick. His role as a rookie is simple — maintain the high standards of Marshawn Lynch even when beast mode is taking a rest on the sideline. If the drafting of Michael gets Lynch through to 2015 playing the way he has so far in Seattle, it’ll be worth the investment.

Arian Foster arrived in 2010, establishing himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. Houston also added Ben Tate in the second round of the 2010 draft. In 2011, Foster recorded 1224 yards and ten touchdowns. Tate managed 924 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. The Texans spelled Foster and limited his carries to 278 for the season (49 less than 2010). When Tate got injured during the 2012 campaign, Foster again had to pick up the slack and had a career high 351 carries. Lynch had 315 in 2012 (5th most in the NFL) and the Seahawks might want to get that down to around the 260-285 mark (Frank Gore had 258 carries last year). Drafting Michael allows them to do that and like Tate in 2011 he could see around 175-200 snaps.

Seattle might keep Turbin in for third downs. He showed a decent grasp of pass protection last year and he was targeted in the passing game too (with mixed results). Blocking is an area Michael has to improve and he wasn’t really used as a catcher at Texas A&M (predominantly underneath throws). Instead he’ll likely be a first and second round force, sharing snaps with Lynch in a ‘thunder and lightning’ style combo. He’s also effective in short yardage situations. Don’t rule out some special teams duties especially on kick off returns.

I’ve seen this pick described as a ‘luxury’ by some pundits and I understand that opinion. Last year’s second best rusher behind Adrian Peterson was Alfred Morris — a sixth round rookie. However, I also think there’s a slight misunderstanding of Seattle’s offense. The Percy Harvin trade and the emergence of Russell Wilson has perhaps clouded just how much of a running team this is. Seattle ran the ball 536 times last year — more than any other. In comparison, Tampa Bay (starting productive rookie Doug Martin) ran exactly 120 times less than the Seahawks. If you’re going to run that frequently, why wouldn’t you spend a second round pick on Christine Michael?

Jordan Hill (DT, 3rd round)
Seattle only lost two starters in free agency — Leroy Hill and Alan Branch. Hill remains unsigned and the Seahawks showed minimal interest in re-signing Branch (who joined the Bills after firing his agent). The Seahawks have a lot of young depth at linebacker (including Malcolm Smith, Mike Morgan and Korey Toomer) and appear set to experiment with Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin acting as hybrid rushers from the SAM position. At defensive tackle, there was a little more urgency to find a replacement (or ‘replacements’).

The defensive line is something of a point of contention. The Seahawks have earned a reputation as a tough defense that gets after the passer with a hard hitting and productive secondary. It’s not a complete red herring, but neither is it the absolute truth. Seattle ranked joint 18th for sacks last year with 36. It’s a statistic significantly boosted by one crazy half of football against Green Bay where the team sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times. Anyone who watched the Seahawks regularly last year would acknowledge the pass rush wasn’t prolific — an opinion shared by Pete Carroll when he discussed team needs going into the off-season. Seattle had a particular issue getting off the field on third and long, a bizarre fact given how adept the defense was at limiting big plays.

The Seahawks weren’t bad defending the run, but they were frustrating at times. They started the year particularly well, shutting out several opponents before the San Francisco 49ers crashed the party in week 7. At times it didn’t matter — a handful of blow out victories took away the oppositions run game fairly swiftly. According to Football Outsiders, they ended the year ranked #12 against the run. Like the pass rush, it was still an area for improvement.

Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were signed to help create pressure and lessen the burden of Chris Clemons’ ACL injury, but they still needed an interior presence. One of the issues is the total dependence on the LEO in base. Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane are limited pass rushers, as was Alan Branch. Finding someone who can collapse the pocket or at least force the guard/center into his own backfield was a must. That’s where the pick of Jordan Hill (and Jesse Williams) comes in.

Hill isn’t a big guy at 6-1 and 300lbs, but he’s incredibly stout. His performance against Wisconsin — a game he “took over” according to commentator Brock Huard — was particularly encouraging for his fit in Seattle. Not only did he flash strong gap control and the ability to hold his position against hulking, giant Badger lineman, he was also particularly productive at breaking into the backfield. He might be one of the more understated players in the 2013 draft. Having watched several Penn State games last year, his performance against Wisconsin was not a one-off.

Remember when we highlighted an article discussing “the Bill Walsh defensive tackle”? Walsh’s ideal player measured at 6-2 and 290lbs. “You are looking for somebody who can move down the line of scrimmage and make a tackle, pursuing a ball-carrier. That would be lateral quickness in a short area, being able to get under way and move over and through people.” Again I refer to the Wisconsin tape, where Hill was disengaging, moving across and tackling Montee Ball with relative ease for 0-2 yard gains. “The best defensive tackles move the offensive guard back into the quarterback. They won’t have nearly as many sacks as others, but if they can move the guard back into the quarterback, then the quarterback has to avoid his own lineman.” Again, this is another strong point for Hill. He’s not a sack artist. But he has the upper body power, hand use and drive to be disruptive.

The significance of all this? Pete Carroll takes a lot of inspiration from Walsh’s philosophy. Perhaps more so than any other coach he worked under.

I’m not going to argue he’s the ideal player for Seattle’s scheme. That guy was drafted #13 overall by the New York Jets and goes by the name of Sheldon Richardson. However, Hill has a shot to be an instant hit. He’ll have to compete with Tony McDaniel and Jesse Williams to get the gig, but there’s a reason why they drafted Hill as high as round three. This wasn’t a pure reach as some have suggested. He doesn’t have McDaniel’s size. Williams is a better run defender even if he is one-dimensional. But Hill might be a significantly better disruptive force as a pass rusher. And that, for me, gives him the edge. He’ll probably start in 2013 unless Williams proves his health and dominates in camp. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up contributing substantially.

Chris Harper (WR, 4th round)
As Kansas State emerged as a legit BCS title contender in 2012, I watched their games and kept noticing this big-bodied receiver who just made tough catches. It was easy to become a fan. Then during the off-season I sat down to study him as a draft prospect and started to dampen my enthusiasm. He seemed to make a handful of basic errors — fumbles, drops, missed opportunities. He wasn’t a burner and when the play call breaks down, Kansas State basically looked at Colin Klein and shouted “do something”. His receivers, including Harper, didn’t improvise. Whether they were told not to, I can’t be sure. There are several examples where they immediately became blockers for Klein instead of targets. So it might be an instruction rather than an instinctive problem.

Either way it created a slightly negative impression. This was a relatively deep class for receivers. There weren’t any A.J. Green’s for the teams picking early in round one, but there was plenty to be got at in the middle rounds. And I’ll admit there were a few players I preferred in the range Harper was drafted.

However, now that he’s a Seahawk it’s time to look at what drew them to this pick over a Quinton Patton or Ryan Swope. When you look back with hindsight, it’s fairly obvious why they went in this direction. Chris Harper offers something they didn’t have previously. The Seahawks already have players like Patton and Swope. What they don’t have is a physical possession receiver with strong hands. Harper answers the call.

When I went back to review the tape over the last few days, a couple of things stood out. Firstly, he has a knack of making difficult grabs in double coverage or with a defender draped all over him. Klein was far from a polished, accurate college passer — and a lot of his throws were there to be challenged. I suspect Harper adapted to his environment. He’s adept at positional sense, using his body to shield defenders and competing for the ball. There were two occasions in the games I watched where he made key conversions on fourth down in tight coverage. That’s what the Seahawks have drafted him to be. If he was flawless and didn’t have the frustrating errors, he wouldn’t be available in round four. He’s a possible outside safety-net who can be effective on third and fourth down. He is physical, stocky and competitive. He’s different to what they already have. So while he doesn’t stand to take too much production away from Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, don’t be surprised if he’s out there for a key third down and making a vital catch that extends the drive.

Jesse Williams (DT, 5th round)
A lot of people, including myself, expected Williams to go much earlier than he did. Part of it was hype. Not many college players come from Australia, play for a dominant two-time BCS Champion and have YOLO tattoo’d on the side of their head. He’s a media dream, a story waiting to be written over and over again. As the league desperately attempts to become more global (in a kind of overly forced manner) Williams became a poster-boy along with Menelik Watson, Bjoern Werner and Margus Hunt. As a consequence, medical problems were left largely unreported.

The warning signs were there. Williams only did the bench press at the combine and didn’t appear at the Senior Bowl. He was constantly banged up in 2012, often leaving the field during games. And when asked by Seattle’s media about his draft fall, he admitted he didn’t expect to be a high pick. When a player as well known as Williams falls to round five, you instantly know there’s a problem.

The Seahawks still felt he was worth the risk. Nobody would question his NFL potential. They traded up in round five to make sure they got both Williams and Tharold Simon. You get the sense that John Schneider prides himself on the ability to find value in the 5th round. This was the only time he’s traded up in four drafts. He had to get both of these players.

If Williams is healthy there’s no reason why he can’t fit into the rotation and maybe even start. Carroll says he’s a three technique and that’s the position they have to fill after letting Branch walk in free agency. I’d argue he’s pretty flexible — he’s played the five technique, the three and the nose at Alabama. He could theoretically feature in all three positions in some capacity. There’s a reason he dropped to the fifth, though, and it wasn’t because of a lack of talent. Seattle’s previous hits in this round (Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman) were simply overlooked. It was impossible to overlook Jesse Williams. For that reason you almost have to temper expectations, especially given the fact he’ll be competing with two other off-season additions (Jordan Hill, Tony McDaniel) for playing time.

I wouldn’t rule out his ability to get healthy and even start in 2013. As a pure talent, he’s capable. He’s a terrific run stopper with tremendous upper body power. He plays with attitude and gusto. I’d expect a measured role in year one, helping out in short yardage/run situations. And who knows — maybe he’ll even play some fullback, just as he did in goal-line packages for Alabama. From a talent stand point, there’s no reason why he can’t be another Schneider success story.

Tharold Simon (CB, 5th round)
This could be the most intriguing pick of the bunch. For starters, this is the player Seattle traded up to get. Carroll admitted at the end of the draft that Simon was the player they moved up to get. They were going to take Jesse Williams at the top of the fifth, but didn’t feel they could wait for Simon at the end of the round. Any player that John Schneider moves up to get, you figure they must have something about them.

When you look at Simon’s physical appearance, he just screams ‘Seahawks’. He’s long, tall and pretty much the prototype for Carroll’s vision for the position. There might not be a better staff in the NFL when it comes to coaching cornerbacks. How else do you explain the way Richard Sherman has gone from 5th round flier to elite shutdown corner? Brandon Browner, plucked from the CFL, becomes a pro-bowler. When Browner served a four game suspension, in comes rookie Jeremy Lane to cover Randy Moss in a heated divisional battle. Seattle’s front office knows what it wants in a corner, and the coaches know how to get them ready for the NFL.

Simon’s tape reminds me a little of Sherman’s at Stanford. It’s inconsistent. He gets beat occasionally, particularly on the double move. He’s not a sudden athlete and he’ll give up too many comfortable receptions by easing up on the release. Yet he also plays the ball well and has that aggressive streak that fits the teams current swagger. If you round off the rough edges, coach him up and let him challenge 1v1, he could easily be another late-round steal for this team and a long-term starter.

I don’t expect Simon to start or feature heavily in year one. Like Sherman he’ll need to wait for an opening. It might not come in 2013, he might have to be patient. There’s depth at corner and he better be ready to fight for a roster spot. And when he gets an opportunity, like Sherman, he needs to grab it. He has the potential to start in this league and he couldn’t ask for a better fit. It’s really all down to how much he wants it and his ability to keep working even if he doesn’t see that much game time in year one.

What about the rest?
Like everyone else, I’m scrambling around for information and tape on the other picks. Spencer Ware is going to be tried at full back, but I like his ability as a runner too. As for the rest, it’s difficult for anyone to offer much of an opinion at this stage. Michael Bowie started at Oklahoma State so I’ll run through the back catalogue of games I have saved to get a check on him. I think there’s a feeling they can coach up offensive lineman into Tom Cable’s scheme. Remember, that was Alex Gibbs’ approach too. We might not see any more high picks in that area, given the team is sorted for the long haul at the two key positions (left tackle and center). Bowie, Ryan Seymour and Jared Smith will all get the Cable clinic in camp.

What they’re saying

Evan Silva offers an A- grade for Seattle’s 2013 class. “The Seahawks have drafted just like this every year under Schneider and Pete Carroll. Seems like it’s working.”

Chris Burke gives the group a B-. “The Seahawks had a roster built to roll the dice a bit in the draft, and that’s just what they did with their first three picks.”

Mel Kiper gives it a B, in part because of the Percy Harvin trade. “I don’t know that Seattle added a starter among their picks, but they certainly added one in Harvin.”

95 Responses to “Projecting impact for Seattle’s rookies”

  1. HawkTease says:

    Williams reminds me of a classic bench monkey… only works on his upper body and neglects his legs. Until he gets a strong base, I just don’t see him as a major contributor. Hill, on the other hand, has a very strong base and has an array of moves to get into the backfield. In the Wisconsin footage, he shows very good pad level and gets full extension on his bullrush. Very effective swim move, too.

    Harper seems to have a chip on his shoulder… often comparing himself to Andre Johnson when others compare him to Anquan. Still, I would be much more excited about Harper if he were a DB. Tharold Simon is a mixed bag… he was repeated burned by DeAndre Hopkins in their bowl game. Sherman is the type to get in your head, Simon seems like the type to let others in his. Maybe its just a lack of focus, but for now I think he has a really hard time making the cut.

    Luke Willson is very intriguing. Three sport athlete and seems very smart. The guy must work very hard at his craft… you cant be a three sport athlete and not be a hard worker. IMHO, He should come in much more polished than Darren Fells yet fans are giving Fells the leg up.

    I think UDFA’s have their fair share of intrigue. Alvin Bailey? Ray Polk screams Seahawk both on and off the field. Lotulelei definitely doesnt lack in motivation and he plays alot faster on film than his pro day numbers would suggest.

    • Belgaron says:

      Seahawks have strength coaches that won’t let Williams neglect his legs. They went to work on Carpenter this off season and he is now the strongest guy on the team.

      Seahawks want their receivers to be as tough as DBs, they want to run the ball and have the receivers throw some pancakes.

    • Alex says:

      I’ve seen Hopkins bowl tape and I absolutely loved it (loved the Texans 1st round pick) though I didn’t specifically note how Simon looked in that. I’ll go take a look.

      As for Simon’s game tape above, I thought he was worth the trade up. Zone wise, he can get lost, but it’s evident that the FO didn’t draft him for zone coverage. In press coverage, Simon showed enough potential to be as good as any of the CBs in this draft. He uses the press to direct, he shades, he forces WRs to the sideline, he turns his head, and he plays for the ball. That’s classic.

    • Alex says:

      I just rewatched the Deandre Hopkins tape against LSU, Hopkins moved around quite a bit, but he was facing Simon about 70% of the time at the right side of the QB. Simon usually stayed on that side.

      Of H2H matchups I saw, Hopkins only beat Simon once in press coverage. That play was around the 1:50 mark when Hopkins got Simon on a double move. Simon initially handled it correctly, but he then panicked and started to hold, which is when the refs threw the flag.

      Every other catch was made against Simon in zone coverage. Sometimes it was his fault, sometimes it was the safety’s fault, sometimes Hopkins just found the “hole” in the zone.

      If you look at the tape closely, Simon was actually keeping up with Hopkins in the 1st half. In the 2nd half, John Chavis evidently went into more zone and that’s when Hopkins really started to do his damage.

      As a whole, I thought Simon did really well in press coverage.

  2. Miles says:

    Great post Rob. Thanks.

    You probably already know this, but you can watch tape on Ryan Seymour by looking at Jordan Rodgers’ and Zac Stacy’s tapes on youtube. They both feature a lot of Seymour. He’s number 62 and plays left tackle and left guard in the videos. Although in one of the tapes he gets pulled out of the game halfway through.

  3. dirk says:

    The more I watch Hill, the more excited I am for his addition. Really like his quickness and ability to navigate in tight spaces. He almost looks like a giant Lofa at times.

  4. Maz says:

    Jordan Hill is definitely a quality choice. I thought he would be available later in the draft. The more you watch him though, the more you realize that he deserved to be picked where he was. Go Hawks!

    • Michael says:

      Apparently, the ‘Hawks would have been willing to take him at #62 if Christine Michael hadn’t been on the board. Makes me feel even better about him, and I’m glad we were able to get him almost a full round later than JS had him graded!

  5. glor says:

    One thing people also forget when looking at Seattle’s picks is what JS always harps on about. They grade players in relation to their current players on the roster. I wouldn’t doubt it if their board is broken out by position group and sub group, so receivers that would play the slot are matched up against our slot receivers in terms of a draft grade, etc.
    So when we complain about taking a RB over a LB, or a DT over a receiver, or even a particular receiver over another, we kind of need to look at our current roster and see who those players are being matched against, and when looking at the guys we passed on, likewise we should look at the guys on the current roster who maybe they resemble and say that JS and PC didn’t feel that they would be an upgrade over what they currently have at the spot.
    anyway, my 2 cents. Not sure if it made much sense :)

    • SES says:

      Glor
      Great thought, I agree completely. J&S have earned the benefit of the doubt. We all have our opinions, but who of us could do a better job. The Ruskell era w/ all of its frustrations was not that long ago. I like who is running the show right now and I hope they stay a long time.

  6. Davison Phipps says:

    I hate to be the writing police on such a well put-together post, but I think you mean it’s impossible to overstate Lynch’s importance. “Impossible to underestimate” would imply he’s really terrible.

  7. AlaskaHawk says:

    Nice article Rob. I like our draft. I was surprised by the emphasis on running backs when we are paying 30 million a year on receivers. I can see why PC did it, just not sure why he needs to spend so much money on receivers. I was a bit dismayed by choosing Harper over other more well known receivers, but I can see what they are trying for. Not sure that they will be able to replace 30 million worth of receivers with less than a second round pick. Apparently the position isn’t that important in the draft as we didn’t even try for Swope or Patton.

    Overall I am happy, but It is hard not to look enviously at San Francisco’s many picks.

    • Michael says:

      I was surprised by the lack of attention paid to the WR position too. Not that it is a need at all right now, but Sidney Rice looks like the most likely cap casualty of 2014. In my ideal world, we get Tate back on a reasonable deal and draft Brandon Coleman in the 1st round next year to replace Sidney Rice.

      • Belgaron says:

        With the way this offense runs so much and has so many great receivers, it will be more difficult for individuals to rack up the numbers necessary to break the bank. That’s not to say they won’t get offers from other organizations but it will keep them in a more reasonable range.

        • adog says:

          i see the Harper pick as a Obomanu replacement…as in younger, stronger, and quicker. Someone they expect to excel on special teams and contribute on third down passing downs.

  8. Nolan says:

    Good work as always rob!

  9. Davison Phipps says:

    This is my first viewing of Chris Harper. It’s easy to see what the Seahawks like, and it’s also clear he’s a long way from being a quality starter. He’s strong, and he uses both his body to shield defenders and his arms/hands to make sure he catches the ball even when they’re being hit by the defender. The Boldin comparison is apt; another one would be David Boston, who might have been one of the top receivers of the last decade had he put his efforts toward improving as a football player rather than a body-builder.

    The glaring weakness is that he doesn’t get separation very well. It looks to me like he has serious trouble sinking his hips in order to make sudden breaks. His outs are rounded, and his stop and go double move is more like a slight hesitation. Is hip sinking the sort of thing that can be learned, or is it more of an innate athletic trait? If it can’t be learned, I don’t see a future at WR for Harper.

    • Robert says:

      Good question and I will check back to see if others respond. My guess is he can improve his route running, particularly the “selling of the route” dramatically. Golden Tate finally emerged last year after 3 years of working on the subtle nuances of running routes. Steve Largent had minimal athletic potential compared to most WR’s. But he was a master at running routes, particularly selling the fake. I, myself was a soccer player very adept at dribbling around opponents. I always dominated as a WR in sandlot football games. From soccer, I had learned to make my break around the planted leg. The defender could not follow until his weight was shifted to the other leg. That step is all I needed to create ample separation. The skill, I suppose, was the ability to focus on my opponents hips and see in slow motion his weight distribution and correctly time my move. In addition, soccer caused me to develop great quickness and explosion when I changed directions. But my top speed was not blinding. I am very excited about Chris Harper. RW’s leadership, work ethic and communication skills combined with our excellent coaching staff and philosophy of competition will likely combine to make him into and extraordinary WR!

    • Beanhawk says:

      Glad someone else brought up David Boston. I see that too (minus the steroids we hope!).

    • Belgaron says:

      It is possible to coach them up but more challenging if the player doesn’t have an aptitude for it. Scouts can get a feel for how much coaching they’ve had and wouldn’t recommend drafting them if they didn’t think they could master the art.

      • Beanhawk says:

        On the positive side, for whatever it’s worth, Harper had the highest Wonderlic score of all the receivers. Seems like that would be a positive in picking up concepts and coaching.

        • pqlqi says:

          stellar find. as “useless” as the wonderlic is in predicting success, the FO has continuously reiterated that they want tough, competitive, and intelligent football players. of course, if you aren’t an elite athlete, you don’t even get to that stage of the conversation.

          I wonder if there are some players we were thinking about that don’t meet the wonderlic threshold for this team.

    • Dave says:

      I was trying to think of David Boston’s name. It finally came to me tonight. I googled his stats and came on to SDB to share. Two of you guys already mentioned him. As for the comparison, their barrel chested build is what makes them similar. However, Boston entered the league as the #8 overall pick and Harper comes in as a low 4th rounder. In 2001, Boston caught for nearly 1600 TDs, averaging nearly 17 yards/rec and had 8 TDs. In 2000, he had over 1100 yards.

      Harper needs to work on his route running for sure. He hasn’t played WR long, so I think a good coach can instill good footwork and hip drop. Harper is definitely not as fast as Boston. Boston was a freak, running 4.32 at 22bs. That’s how he created separation. When you weigh 230 lbs, hip drop is incredibly important to get in and out of breaks.

  10. SES says:

    Rob, you have done it again.
    I have to admit, this is the one article I look forward to every year. I don’t have time to scout so many players like you and Kip and some of your readers do. I do however, love to scout my team.

    I was ecstatic when I heard we drafted Michael in the 2nd for the exact same reasons you mentioned. Great value / impact pick.
    Loved the Hill pick in the 3rd because I feel he is one of the few DTs that can get some pressure up the middle. Hawk fans should be pleasantly surprised how he fills the niche.

    Having said all that, I have a wait & see attitude w/ most of the other picks, although I’m high on Ware’s potential as FB/RB/ST player.
    If Williams can stay healthy he will be a nasty presence in the middle and will upgrade the depth of the DL rotation.

    Have to trust that J&S know what they’re doing.

  11. SES says:

    etc…
    Jets had a GREAT draft. The “hated” Niners & Rams picked up some nice players too. Hate that SF got Lattimore. And hate that StL got those “smurf” receivers. I think they have figured out how to beat Seattle’s vaunted secondary w/ the small, quick type WRs. Oh yah, ARZ got that playmaker HB!

    I said it last year… The meanest, toughest division in the NFL is right here, NFC WEST baby! Just the way football was meant to be played. Leave the women and children and those faint at heart at home, ’cause its going to be nasty!!!

  12. Robert says:

    This is my 1st year as an Internet Draft scout. I learned a lot. The picks make so much sense to me now. With such a great roster, we weren’t able to draft starters. But we did a great job of drafting players who will be contributors today and starters down the line. Our stable of RB’s is the best in the NFL now. It is likely that our OL play will improve dramatically. In particular, Sweezy has a year of earn while you learn under his belt. And Carpenter is finally completely healed from his major injury and should become a road grader at LG. Have you seen how fast Christine Michael gets to the edge? The only way to slow down our Beast game will be to stuff 8 in the box. RW will simply audibilize to a play action fake and destroy teams as soon as they abandon the middle of the field in an attempt to slow down our ground game.
    On defense, I believe our pass rush will be much improved. I think we’ll get significant contributions from our 2nd year players, FA’s and Drafted players. I would be much more surprised if we go 9-7 than if we end up 19-0!

    • Belgaron says:

      When they drafted Sherman, they already had Trufant and Thurmond penciled in as starters.

      Carroll and Schneider try to draft starters every year, its just a matter of when they emerge through performance or circumstance.

  13. I was never impressed with Jordan Hill, and re-watching the Wisconsin game makes me even less encouraged. He does have some talent and skill, though, so I can see the potential in him. I just thought he was a 5th round pick.

    He’s definitely not a complete tackle. He makes more plays than he has any business making, which is a credit to his capabilities, but he got pushed around pretty thoroughly and had trouble shedding blocks. Wisconsin’s line and the Senior Bowl are the two most analogous levels of competition he’ll face and the senior bowl reports were fairly negative on his ability to make an impact vs. more skilled, larger linemen.

    So I was not a fan. Modern NFL fronts are built on gap concepts, and Carroll’s Seahawks have been a mix of 2- & 1- gap assignments, but even the single-gap assigned defenders have demonstrated a coaching point to hold the gap, not penetrate it. This may change a bit under Quinn, but the philosophy doesn’t change under Carroll so I’m not terribly optimistic.

    Hill has closing speed for the interior, for a defense that produces closing sacks, and so for that I can envision Hill being a rotational spot contributor on passing downs when the aces package isn’t brought in (Clemons Irvin Avril Bennett). The team has found ways to utilize incomplete players by leveraging their strengths, and Hill has some. But man I’m not looking forward to subbing him in vs. SF vs 1x or 2x personnel, and I’d say Hill is by no means out of the woods in making this team over the next two years just on account of his draft position.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Given your lack of enthusiasm regarding Hill, Jacob, I’d be interested in your take on Jesse Williams and how you see that position shaping out as to who starts in 2013.

      • Hill & Williams are sort of hedges against each other. Neither are complete tackles, and Williams’ medical issue must be fairly concerning. But if Jesse’s knee holds up, or only does for a few years, there’s some potential, there.

        What I like about Jesse is the strength. On tape he looked like a creator of disruption that may be more valuable in pressure than the individual pass rush a guy like Hill or a Clinton McDonald can provide themselves.

        That’s how Mebane’s made more impact at the 1-tech position. Hill received a lot of Mebane comparisons in scouting reports, but to me, he’s got much better closing burst, but much less strength. Put Hill & Williams together and you’d have a Mebane, essentially.

        Anyway, I know enough not to fully trust my own scouting eye too far. Prospects are changing things, not static, and even if my observations are correct about college play they can develop intro contributors.

        • Rob Staton says:

          It’s an interesting take. I respectfully disagree with some of your points on Hill, but I’m fascinated to see how this thing plays out.

          • Belgaron says:

            I think some of these reviews are trying to hold 3rd and 5th rounders up to 1st round expectations. If they didn’t have flaws in their films they would have been long gone. These guys seem like great raw prospects who will benefit from being professional athletes with all of the training and coaching that will fix some of their deficiencies.

            • Rob Staton says:

              And the defensive tackle position is notorious to try and get a grasp on. There’s only one DT I’ve ever watched and thought, “Wow, this guy is nearly flawless” and that was Ndamukong Suh. Even the ones who go in round one have 2-3 things you’re concerned about. Sheldon Richardson was my favourite player in the draft this year and he had a couple of things that made you second guess how high he could go. He ended up being the first DT off the board in what was considered a quality group at the top end, and he goes 13th overall.

              Just look at how people approached Sharrif Floyd. Some thought he was a top-five lock. Others thought late first at best. He ends up going at #23. It’s a really though position to judge. For me, this is one of the reasons why some teams prefer to look in the middle rounds for their DT’s. Better to take one in R3-5 every year then go all guns blazing in the first, unless you’re staring at a can’t miss player. The fact is, even with Alan Branch starting last season the Seahawks could and probably should’ve made the NFC title game. Now they have Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Christine Michael. Russell Wilson is a year more experienced. So even if they don’t find an answer at DT for 5-10 years, it probably won’t cost them a title. And they can continue the search.

              I might do a piece on this during the week.

              • Belgaron says:

                Yeah, the contracts help/hinders as well. Before the new CBA the first rounders would have already gotten “paid” and be more likely to bust whereas those mid-rounders are extra hungry.

        • Kenny Sloth says:

          I agree with you on Williams. He seems like a choas maker. He just finds ways to get in the backfield. I saw him struggling to disengage a lot and just trying to pull guys down with one arm. I saw that with Hill a little, too. But I think Hill was the best DT in this drafrt, laterally. He moves side to side extremely well. Has LB like pursuit abilities. It was reminiscent of Sheldon’s tape. I would say Williams seems faster than Hill on tape.

          • You may be right about his lateral movement being best in the draft. Definitely stood out to me more than anyone else I looked at, which was, what, probably 10 tackles. I also agree on the LB-like pursuit abilities. There’s a lot to like. I just believe that prospects with lesser talents but also lesser liabilities would hold a better chance at staying on a roster and making an impact in rotation than a prospect like Hill. But this team is proven at utilizing strengths and mitigating weaknesses, so I’ll be happy to be wrong on Hill.

    • HawkTease says:

      Jacob, did you stop watching at the 2:30 minute mark or did you watch all the way through?

      • I did watch the whole thing, and yeah, he showed himself to be quite a playmaker as a defensive lineman that isn’t easy to come by. I easily find myself rooting for the guy.

        He’s smaller and is higher-effort to begin with than a lot of guys, so it’s not surprising to see him not wear down as fast as larger players. I concede he’s around the ball and making an impact much more often than I would have expected. He keeps himself in plays in impressive fashion, especially laterally.

        All I could find on him was this Wisconsin tape and two highlight tapes, which I tend to be wary of, but they definitely demonstrated the best he has to offer. And I still didn’t think that kind of impact has much chance translating very well into the pros just because of the size & strength. But I trust & respect Rob & Kip’s scouting eyes better than my own, and they’re not nearly as down as I am, so I’m trying to be hopeful.

        • HawkTease says:

          The reason I ask is because Hill does nothing in the first 2 minutes or so of that Wisconsin footage, but it’s very clear to me he makes an impact the rest of the game.

          • HawkTease says:

            Just re-watched it again myself, the first half was very boring. Second half, Jordan Hill turns up the heat while everyone else gets burnt out.

            I know this is a terrible analogy but the tape reminds me in ways of Russell Wilson’s highlights. What gets lost in the highlight video is the context. Even though Russell Wilson has a phenomenal highlight tape, I still don’t think they do him any justice because it’s difficult to portray the “clutchness” of Russell Wilson. Many of my friends couldn’t understand my Wilson fanaticism… they’ve had many opportunities to watch his highlights but they still didn’t “get it”. That all changed when they saw him perform in the playoffs. It’s not only what he does, it’s when he does it.

            This is all a long-winded way of saying Jordan Hill is very clutch. Watch the tape one more time, fast forward through to the 2nd half and pay particularly close attention to the game situation. Jordan Hill is a winner.

        • pqlqi says:

          Jacob,

          Remember that Hill’s 2012 “anchor” was on a sprained knee after November 3rd game, so look at the game date and realize that him being overpowered pretty easily may have been to instability/pain and probably a decreased workout schedule to maximize healing time b/w games.

          Instead, look up Devon Still tape from 2011 – Hill was playing inside next to him on 80% of most downs.

          I watched the Alabama PSU footage from 2011 and saw a player who Alabama coaching chose to double team the entire game (along with Still). He didn’t beat the double team much of the time, but he rarely lost more than 1-2 yards. PSU linebackers stuffed inside runs with relative ease because Saban basically decided that he wasn’t gonna let the Hill/Still combo disrupt his game.

          Devon Still vs Illinois tape is particularly telling because Illinois chooses to double team Jordan Hill more often than they double team Devon Still. By drawing double teams, Hill gave Still more opportunities to make big plays. At the minimum, I think a 3rd round grade for this player is reasonable if you know his knee is not fucked, and probably worth a 2nd, as Schneider and Carroll have both alluded that he and Michael were their two best players when they looked at the board at #56 – the trade down was likely made thinking that one of those two players would be at #62.

          This search (below) shows two games against Alabama and Illinois in 2011. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=devon+still+2011&oq=devon+still+2011&gs_l=youtube.3…1440.1823.0.2135.4.4.0.0.0.0.90.320.4.4.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.ShPdly8zA2s

          • Didn’t realize the Wisconsin game was post-sprained knee, Pickles, thanks. That could change things. I’ll try to loo into the 2011 tape to see how he fared beside Devon Still, soon. I can imagine that would be the difference between Hill looking like an intriguing if incomplete 3rd round prospect with upside and a 5th-round interior rush specialist who’s a longshot to make any kind of impact.

    • Chris says:

      Jacob-

      I understand your disappointment in Hill as a complete tackle but I don’t think the Hawks were looking for him as a Branch replacement. He seems like he was more of a J.Jones replacement. Basically to pressure the interior line into the quarterback. He seemed like a high motor guy making a difference in the 4th quarter. So hopefully if they are subbing him in throughout the game in 2nd and long or 3rd downs you can pretty easily get value out of him as a third round pick. I think through FA we addressed the run stopper and Williams should be considered depth, but what we hadn’t addressed is passing down interior pressure which is Hill.

      • Right, I recognize he’s not a complete tackle or should be expected to be; that’s not the source of my disappointment. I’m a total amateur in all this, and I don’t get to check out that many prospects.

        I tend to stick to a couple positions I believe Seattle needs, but when I amateur-scout a guy, I try to go really deep. I’m never satisfied with surface analysis. I felt I did due diligence on Hill, and he was probably the only guy who really disappointed me. Perhaps if I went deeper through the tackle class I would have just figured him to be at the top of where the significant decline in prospect quality began, but I didn’t want to give up on him because the National Football Post scouting report on him was encouraging and exactly what I thought Seattle would be looking for, short of trading back into the 1st round for Sylvester Williams.

        Jonathan Hankins was the other prospect I was very bearish on, partly out of expected draft position. I just felt like Hill was a 5th rounder, and were that the case my expectations would be a little more forgiving. But either way I don’t have much hope for him. He wouldn’t be the first or even 10th prospect to prove me wrong, so we’ll see.

  14. Fletcher says:

    Williams reminds me a lot of Red in his skillset, I kinda wonder if they aren’t planning to use smaller 3 techs like Bennett and Hill and really got Williams as a back up to Red and Mebane who can play 3 tech on running downs.

    With Harper, thanks for talking me down, I was shocked to see us grab him with Swope and Patton still there, but it makes sense since we haven’t really had a big possession receiver since BMW left.

  15. Michael says:

    Wish we had Harper on the field week 1 against the Cardinals last year…

  16. Kenny Sloth says:

    You can watch Bowie tape from Brandon Weeden’s.

  17. kevin mullen says:

    Although this draft doesn’t really make a ton of noise in likes of well known names (like SF and Jets) but this draft will have more to do with 2014 and 2015 offseasons: Sidney Rice, MikeRob, Browner, Lynch, Zach Miller, and not to mention the short term contracts of Avril, Bennett, and McDaniel on our DLine. At some point in the next two years, these current players will be cap casualties and/or simply not resigned. I think this class will spell these players at some point and be their heir.

    That being said, I’m intrigued with Harper. Although shorter than probably ideal, if he can mold himself to an “Anquan Boldin” type player, this dude might be the steal of this draft.

    • Belgaron says:

      The nice thing about it is bringing in understudies to compete with the veterans as well as the limited available future cap creates more incentive to compete hard which is the way PC drives the organization. Then he makes the environment fun and light-hearted to keep morale high. Finally, you’ve got an owner who has provided facilities, jets, and all the amenities. It’s starting to show what all the pieces together can accomplish.

  18. Kip Earlywine says:

    I smirk a bit reading draft grades from people who probably know nothing about any of the players we picked, and reveal as much with generic answers that they could have said pre-draft. It would be like you handing in your Senior Thesis that you worked on for months, only to have the University return it to you immediately with a “A-”, saying that you had done a lot of good work in the past so this must be good too.

    • Aaron says:

      I agree with what you’re saying. I’ve been thinking pretty much the same thing. I don’t think most of the analysts understand what Seattle did in the draft, and if it were anytime prior to last season they would probably tear into Seattle with criticism. But they don’t dare do that after being made to look like fools last year. So you see alot of B’s and B minuses for grades without much in-depth commentary. Everyone falls back on siting the Percy Harvin trade and leaves it at that. Frankly I can’t blame them but it’s funny to watch.

      • Yup. There were a few reviews that pretty much said “Don’t forget Percy Harvin” and then stopped writing. Exactly like you said, they probably would have ripped this draft in past years, but they’ve been burned enough times now to know better.

    • Belgaron says:

      Yep, and the index they use as their baseline to decide if a pick was “A” or “D” is the index of where the hive mind (everybody’s copied mocks) decided they should be drafted. All you have to do is look at Seattle’s results from the last few years and especially last year to show that what round a guy is drafted doesn’t mean much in the long run, especially to a great organization who will give them an opportunity to excel.

    • EranUngar says:

      Well Kip,

      You are right to smirk at such fast uneducated marks.

      However, let me put the following to you and Rob :

      You both analize the pick with a lot of authority. After all, you have spend the time to actually study the tapes of most of them. Maybe even spent hours on a player.

      On the other hand, when you listen to interviews with seahawks regional scouts and find out that players like Harper were beeing monitored for over 2 years by guys who do that for a living that actually left the couch and went to see them play up close and personal don’t you feel they have the right to smirk at your view ?

      Since it’s obvious that the picks were anything but follow the herd picks they must have seen a lot that made them take the road less travelled right ?

      And if those are the same guys who saw those attributes in guys like Sherman, Chancellor, Browner, Wright, Willson etc. and proved that they really do better then guys like us who’s evaluation tool is youtube donwt they deserve the – “I don’t know what the F@@k they are doing but i’m not going to give those guy less then a B ever again” ?

      It’s not like first draft for those guys or the first draft we watched and wanted to bang our heads into the wall during and after.

      For the life of me i cant understand why we dont have Kelce or Swope/Patton on the list now. I wanted Jesse all along but Hill at 3rd ? WTF…

      However, i’m an old dog, I’ve learned to respect my “elders” and tone my views by the big picture.

      The reason we got those grades has very little to do with the guys we drafted. It has everything to do with the guys drafting them.

      Hell, if JSPC drafted my gentle 82 year old mother i bet she would show a mean drive to run over peaple, block like a bat out of hell and be the first senior citizen at the pro bawl.

      Smirking is a chain…you smirk down at them and others smirk down on you…

      • pqlqi says:

        I think your post is a little over the top, but I think there’s also some tongue in cheek in there. The problem with most of the national pundits is that the say “why the fuck did they do that?” and give a draft grade out of incredulity mixed with the desire to not make a fool of themselves given recent success. Kip and Rob say “why the fuck did they do that?” and then actually sit down with tape, analyze play and potential, and try to come up with the best answer. They then “grade” the draft in that context, and try to come up with a better understanding of the FO philosophy so they can be more accurate than last year.

        On that note, Rob and Kip, liked the analysis right around the draft and the start of the post draft coverage quite a bit more than last year. Keep up the solid work. Love to learn who to watch when I attend training camp sessions in July. I’m gonna try to attend as many as possible this year, and throw some updates on fieldgulls from time to time.

        Have a great summer.

    • DavidinBellingham says:

      Good point Kip. It is lazy.

  19. James says:

    The Seahawks were thought to need immediate help in the D Line, at Will LB, and at Right OT. In addition, future starters were needed to replace Lynch, Rice, Miller, Mebane and Bryant, when their contracts expire in a couple of years. Hill and Williams will be a huge boost for the D Line, but LB and OT were passed over. PC & JS have explained in their pressers that there simply was not a Will who met their criteria for extreme speed, and that they are actually good with Giacomini for now (who might be re-signed for a reasonable cap #). But Lo and Behold, you can clearly see the plan to replace the older guys:

    Lynch – Michael
    Rice – Harper
    Miller – Willson
    Mebane/Bryant – Hill/Williams

    …the plan is clear, and we will know if it is successful if these new guys can play as well or better than the current guys. If PCJS are right, as they always have been up to now, the roster will be in place in a couple of years for a Super Bowl run, Phase II.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t see it quite like that, James. I don’t think any of these moves were designed to replace anybody. I see Michael as a compliment designed to extend Lynch’s time in Seattle. I see Harper as a possession receiver who will add a different skill set to what they already have among the group. Wilson I know nothing about, but I have a hard time believing Rice’s #2 tight end is being tagged to replace Zach Miller. And Hill/Williams for me are replacing Alan Branch, not Mebane or Bryant.

      That’s not to say they won’t look to get away from Rice’s massive contract in 2014 or 2015 (for example). But I don’t think any of these guys were brought in as potential replacements. They all offer something different or add to the competition. And I think this is what the draft class was about more than anything.

  20. Dan says:

    I haven’t seen much tape on Jordan Hill up to this point. But from a first glance I’d say he’s best when his arms aren’t locked up. When the big Wisconsin lineman (and I mean BIG) got ahold of him, he was driven back fairly easily.
    Gotta love his effort though. Really good athleticism in open space for someone who’s 300 Ibs. Real compact.
    If he can master his hand usage, he could be the surprise of the draft.

  21. James says:

    …no wonder Christine Michael was upset this season. Watch the Jesse Williams highlights above of the Texas A&M game. The worst possible offense for a back like Michael. Lots of slow-developing delays, etc. Absolutely no cut and go zone runs. When Mike Sherman was replaced by Kevin Sumlin and his spread offense, Michael’s career with the Aggies was toast. I hear that Michael and Sumlin have since made up, and Sumlin has proven to be a terrific coach, but it is understandable that a guy like Michael, with the goal to be great, saw his life’s ambitions going down in flames. He is lucky to have PCJS see the potential. Michael is the perfect runner for the Bevill/Cable quick strike zone run game.

    • Belgaron says:

      According to JS, he wouldn’t have lasted much longer and they didn’t want to risk him not being there in the 3rd. They knew other people had his number as well.

  22. Aaron says:

    It’s uncanny how perfectly Hill fits that Bill Walsh description that you reminded us of Rob. I remembered the part about disrupting the pocket and moving the quarterback, but not the part about shedding blocks and moving laterally, which is exactly what Hill does.

    Although Carroll didn’t come right out and say it, I’m inclined to believe Williams and Hill were both brought in to stop the run almost exclusively. I see this as Pete sticking to form and planning on getting the vast majority of his pass rush from the outside. Would they have liked to acquire Sheldon Richardson to push the pocket? Obviously. But that wasn’t going to happen. They were able to compensate for the loss of Clemons’ pass rush on the outside, and perhaps then-some in free agency. (And hopefully get a little more inside with Bennett.)

    He said in his press conference that he liked Hill because he’s different from what they already have, and they’ve been looking for a little more activity in the middle part of the line. It seems to me a fairly obvious follow-up question to ask would be, “Specifically what type of activity does Hill bring in there that’s different from what you have now?” But apparently none of our intrepid beat writers thought to ask that. I think he means the ability to shed blocks and stop the run.

  23. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    I feel like weighing in on Williams.

    What reassures me:
    Superior upper body strength
    Virtually immovable at the LOS
    Great team fit – super character, media darling, international appeal

    What concerns me:
    Lack of lower body strength
    Inability to penetrate the backfield
    Difficulty shedding blockers
    Medical issues

    Firstly, I agree with HawkTease’s opening comment that Williams lacks strength in his lower body. Proportionally, he’s much stronger up top. I expect he could improve in that regard with pro-level focused training. If he does improve his leg strength, it should benefit his game tremendously.

    Secondly, I see a lot of rugby in the way he plays, which is good for his ability to “scrum” at the LOS and hold his ground against run blocking. However, it often looks like that all he’s trying to do – occupy (scrum) his blocker(s) up front while his LBs play off that to their advantage, similar to how RBs play off their OL blocks. I think it’s partly a lack of coaching (e.g., once he engages a blocker, he stops moving his feet), and partly a lack of ability due to his relatively poor lower body strength. Both are coachable/trainable/correctable.

    Finally, I am slightly concerned that he seems to give up on plays from time to time. I’m not questioning his hustle or work ethic, but I saw more than a few instances where he seemed to ease off the gas before the whistle. Perhaps that’s something conditioning and proper rotation could prevent.

    At any rate, because of all that, it took me a while to appreciate Williams’ game. At first, all I noticed was his strong anchor at the point of attack, but otherwise I saw a complete lack of backfield penetration. Moreover, I thought he couldn’t disengage from his blocks effectively, tracked the ball poorly, took bad pursuit angles, and basically failed to make much of an impact.

    But as I continued to watch, I noticed how his mere presence in the middle of the LOS broke plays apart by forcing ball carriers to adjust laterally, often to the waiting arms of another Bama defender. Rather than impact a play directly by penetrating the backfield and flushing the QB, or by shedding his blocker laterally to stop the runner at the hole, Williams makes his impact felt by becoming an immovable object somewhere in the middle of the play.

    I noticed it particularly on double teams, where he would engage the initial blocker, hold his ground like always, then basically drop a knee and anchor for the second one. Sure, he may not be pursuing the play anymore, but suddenly there’s an OG and OT stacked up together somewhere along the LOS, often at the point of attack (hence the purpose of the double team at that spot), and the runner has no choice but to turn laterally where a Bama DE or LB would be waiting to make the stop. In that sense, Williams is like a human detour.

    In the end, he’s pretty 1-dimensional at this point. He’s not a pass rusher; he’s not really a run stuffer either because he lacks lateral mobility and the ability to shed blocks. He can hold the LOS and he can occupy 2 OL at the same time. In that sense he’s an improvement over Branch, who not only failed to penetrate the backfield, but who also was vulnerable to the double team. Williams may even be an improvement over Mebane in that regard – honestly, I don’t think I saw a single play where Williams was blown back off the snap.

    I think he’s capable of making a contribution immediately. However, the degree of his contribution, and his ability to deliver it consistently, rests on how much he can improve his technique and leg strength before the season. Fortunately, he’s young (he doesn’t turn 23 until Nov.) and extremely powerful. and his value as a R5 pick is tremendous. Also, I love his fit on this team. He’s got a great character, he’s a bit of a media darling, his style meshes with the organization’s, and his international appeal is considerable.

    • Belgaron says:

      There were comparable concerns about a tall stiff CB from Stanford, a big slow S from Virginia Tech, and a short QB from Wisconsin. Good prospects take advantage of opportunities. He may have the best chance at stardom after Michael if he puts his superior strength to good use and listens to his coaches. He could be the pocket compactor this defense has needed.

      • CHawk Talker Eric says:

        Space eater – that’s how I meant to describe him. Williams is a space eater, as good a one as I can remember. He takes territory and holds it. He’s ideally suited to short yardage/goal line situations, and perhaps a little less so for early down run plays. If he develops some lateral movement and ability to shed, he could be a true every down DT. If he adds some push, he could be even better.

    • Alex says:

      Your scouting on Jesse Williams pretty matches how I feel about him. I think he’s perfect for the 5 tech role occupied by Red Bryant where you have to hold the edge (2 gaps) and allow the LBs to clean up the stalled RB. He could also work the 1 tech role. What concerned me was that Pete Carroll said he wanted to try him at the 3 tech, which is the role that happens to require the one skill that Jesse doesn’t have- penetration.

    • Robert says:

      I Think The Problem With Branch Is He Did Not Exploit The Opportunities To Make Plays Despite The Fact That Brandon Mebane Is Often Double Teamed. Whoever Plays Next To Mebane Should Be Able To Exploit 1 On 1 Matchups And Make Plays.

  24. James says:

    About our UDFAs, whom we know next to nothing about, who is your sleeper? We need to continue the tradition, even with this roster, of having an UDFA make the team every year. My pick is Ray Polk, S Colorado, 6-1, 215, legit 4.40, 39 vert. Got the dreaded high ankle sprain in the first game of his senior year and came back 6 games later, but didn’t really heal until the offseason. We need some speed behind Earl, and this is one of our few positions without a lot of depth.

    • Leonard says:

      I really like the OLB from Old Dominion, Wilkins. He plays very fast often running the RB down from the back side. He also is a violent hitter. Most of his YouTube videos show him knocking a QB out.
      Another interesting guy probably has very little shot of making the team. Austin Coleman from St. Francis is a 5-8 WR-Return specialist who flat out flies. His 8 KO return TD’s is amazing considering teams just stopped kicking to him. He made some pretty big plays at WR too but if he has a shot in the NFL it’s probably as a return specialist. I hope they put him on the practice squad so we can see him in several preseason games. I encourage everyone to look him up on YouTube for entertainment value alone.

      • Belgaron says:

        In his interview this morning, JS said the Seahawks purposely avoided drafting LBs late so it would be easier to recruit the UDFA LBs. They view those guys as additional draft picks.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      I’m very glad to see Justin Veltung and Casey Brockman on the unconfirmed signings list. I watched whatever film of Veltung I could find and came away impressed. I know he’s similar to Tate, but he has wheels. I’m bullish on Brockman making the practice squad. I think he’s a competent game manager who is technically sound and makes good decisions quickly. He plays like he sees the field well.

      Also, Akeem Davis is intriguing – 6-0, 201lbs with 4.4 speed, 39.5″ vertical, 10’06″ broad, and 19 reps BP.

  25. Tomahawk says:

    Rob, I’m curious how you’d compare Hill to Floyd. They are both similarly built with lower than average height at the position (yet very explosive). I thought they looked really comparable on tape, but you’d know better than I. Is Hill in the same ballpark as Floyd?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Floyd is a better athlete, more storied prospect. Had every major college chasing him in HS. I’d say from an upside standpoint his ceiling is limitless. Hill is the type of guy who just fought his way into reckoning. Built himself up. Hill’s upside might be limited, but I suspect he’ll work at his craft.

  26. Glor says:

    Well JS singled out their LB udfa signings, so I would suspect one of them has a shot

  27. EranUngar says:

    Hill & Williams,

    I am not an expert upside evaluator so i wont predict that aspect of them both.

    However, i’ll call it the way i see it -

    Hill looks to be ready to play. His hands work is very good and he can get into the backfield. At worse – he can be a rotational player for passing plays.

    I love Williams, he is truelly a monster. He can be a better Branch against the run and if cable can improve his pass rush…wow….

    All in all – put them together and they should be as good if not better then Branch+Jason last year.

    I see Williams as a possible backup for both Mebane and Red if needed.

    Hill can sub for Red on clear passing plays.

    What’s not to like ?

    They are not floyd ? of course they are not. Get used to it – we are a good football team, we dont get to draft floyd for the D line, we dont get to draft Fisher for the O line. it takes lots of losing to get those guys and we win too much.

    I can live with that. I can even live with drafting at the last place of every round next year.

  28. Madmark says:

    Gratzs to Kip who got a honorable mention on 710 KIRO Radio by Brock Huard as being the only one that wasn’t surprised by the Christine Michaels pick. What I see in this draft class is they all have a nasty, high motor feel to them.
    Spencer Ware excites me. As a RB you usually like to avoid tacklers if its possible but as a FB you got to want to hit people and that’s what I see in Ware. I think he’s a perfect conversion for FB and he definitely has the nasty attitude it takes.
    Ty Powell is another guy that intrigues me. I keep thinking of the elephant spot and I wonder how he would do there.
    The later round OL have the size but it will be up to Tom Cable to sort them out and train them up. Cable has been a miracle worker for Seattle since he arrived and I still think was the best hire when the Raiders let him go.
    I think they hope that Harper becomes that physical receiver that Golden Tate is suppose to be. The difference between them is 3″ and about 20lbs., hopefully it doesn’t take Harper like take a couple years to get it figured out.
    Luke Wilson understands what being a pro is about with baseball and the joke on KIRO was if ya was looking for highlights on this guy you weren’t going to find any.
    All these guys have a chance otherwise Seattle would never have picked them.

    • HawkTease says:

      How quickly people forget that Golden Tate was a human highlight reel last season. I know schematically, Harper overlaps with Golden Tate. But I would be much more comfortable replacing Sidney than losing Tate.

      Rob likes to say that these guys were drafted because they offer a different kind of flavor to what we already have. I think the Hawks have an identity… that identity is physicality and toughness. IMO, players with a reputation for being brittle such as Sidney Rice don’t fit that identity.

    • Alex says:

      Golden Tate’s development period of 3 years is actually the norm for most WRs in the NFL. It’s pretty rare to see a WR come in instantly and dominate (like AJ Green).

  29. HawkSoup says:

    I am curious if the Hawks will utilize 3 RB formations, double wing formation, “T”, Daimond, etc. With so many quality backs AND Percy Harvin I am eager to see the creativity on the offensive side of the ball.

  30. Alex says:

    My take. I’ll list them in order of my liking.

    Christine Michael- I can see why the FO rated him so highly. The first thought that came to mind is explosive. The first player that came to mind was AP. I’m not sure about the specs and measurements of AP and Michael, but their running style are ridiculously similar. I definitely see him as the lighting of the group.

    Tharold Simon- I loved his tape. I can see why the Seahawks traded up for him. He has decent speed, great size, and a certain toughness that our CBs have. He is a classic Seahawk CB. Though he showed some flaws in zone (he can get lost in the shuffle), I’ve seen enough press coverage in the tape to say that he could possibly be as good as Sherman if coached to his full potential. The way he directs, shades the WRs, play for the ball, turns his head (and avoid the PI) are all top notch. Great press coverage.

    Jesse Williams- He intrigues me as a 5 tech (in Red Bryant’s 2 gap role) or 1 tech (Mebane’s 2 gap role). His strength probably tops this class. His lower legs can be trained up. Assuming he is healthy, I think he is perfect for our 2 gap roles. The concerning thing for me is that Pete Carroll said in the press conference that he’s trying Williams as 3 tech (HUH?)- the 1 gap penetrating role- when Williams is not exactly a pass rushing type of DT. As a matter of fact, I distinctively remember the SEC Championship Game against Georgia (watched that like 3 times. Great game with tons of NFL prospects) when the analysts specifically stated that Jesse Williams is as good as a run stopping DT as you’ll see but he is completely useless for pass rush. And, from what I remember of the game, the analysts were spot on.

    Jordan Hill- I’m mixed about him.

    I recognize that DT is one of the hardest positions to scout and that there have pretty much only 2 DTs I’ve seen where I was absolutely sure they would make it if injuries weren’t a concern. One of them was Steve Etman who Mel Kiper gave the highest grade (9.8) ever to a defensive player (he gave John Elway a 9.9). It’s a shame injuries derailed his career. The other was Ndamakung Suh who had the greatest hand use I’ve ever seen from a DT prospect. His ability to disengage, regain leverage, and use his power to drive back guards were unmatched. The scary thing with him is that he could disengage 3 times within one play. The real only “weakness” was the initial explosive burst of the LOS was average (by comparison, Sapp and Etman had elite burst).

    Anyhow, getting back to Hill. He, like Suh, has average-above average burst off the LOS. He showed decent hand use and could disengage as well as any tackle I’ve seen (not counting Suh) in recent memory. The impression that I got from the tape was that he mostly beat his man with hands rather than burst, which is fine. His run stopping is good if he only has to worry about 1 gap. If he’s handling 2 gaps, he’ll get swallowed up. He simply doesn’t have the core strength of a Suh or Jesse Williams to hold 2 gaps. On the pass rushing front, he may be able to beat his man with his hands, but his closing speed is at best average if not below average. This is why I felt he had some difficulty finishing plays. FWIW, he makes some of it up with a strong motor. I see enough to say that he has a future in the league and is at worst a rotational DT. If he pans out, I think he can be a staple at the 3 tech. Can he be someone who holds one gap and penetrates in pass rushing situations to pressure the QB? Yes. Will he be a star at the DT position? Not likely. Not with that athleticism.

    Chris Harper- It’s clear that they’re looking for a different type of WR. If they’ve passed up other WRs like Patton or Swope (who I love), there must be something there. As of right now, he looks like he’ll need the classic 2-3 year development that most WRs go through.

    • pqlqi says:

      Swope: Between his production, tape, and his combine measurables, he should’ve been a round 3-4 picks, but with 4 concussions in college, I think this team, and many others, had him redflagged for injury. It’s unfortunate, and hopefully doesn’t happen, but he has a chance to go the Jahvid Best route.

      • Alex says:

        It is a shame. I thought he and Hopkins were to two most “clutch” wideouts of this class. Whenever the offense was in trouble, they just dumped it to them and they somehow get the catch. In Hopkin’s case, he always found a way to be open (especially against the zone) and Swope just somehow caught it even when the ball is overthrown and he’s double covered. Hopkins tape against LSU and Swope’s game against Alabama really stood out in my mind.

      • Leonard says:

        It wouldn’t shock me if his very small 8″ hands hurt him in the eyes of the Seahawks. They might become a problem in the cold and rain. Maybe not. They do seem to put a premiuim on long arms and big hands though. That being said, the he awfully fun to watch in college.

  31. hawkfaninMT says:

    One thing I noticed while watching the first few minutes of the Simon video…

    He plays man most of the time like the Seahawks, but there was little to no jamming of the WR/RB on the line. Any thoughts on why this is? He trailed the WR on almost every route, and he played the ball very well while it was in the air. But If he got a good jam on the WR, it would throw off timing, slow the route down, and he would be in better position for ints. Does LSU not playas physical a style? Is jamming at the line not allowed in CFB?

    This guy looks to have everything Browner has with the exception of that physicality at the line IMO.

    Thoughts?

    • Alex says:

      he doesn’t have that hard punch (e.g. Sherman to Steve Smith) that disrupts everything, but he does use his hand to try to redirect to the outside. Could be coaching. The thing about having a strong jam is that if you miss, you can be burned badly. If you just try to put your hands in their body and redirect, you have a larger margin of error. FWIW, even when he trailed (like he did against that Georgia WR), he was able to recover quickly and reclose the space between him and the WR.

  32. A. Simmons says:

    Nice writeup. It will be fun to see which guys make it onto a roster as deep as ours. The only lock I see is Christine Michael. I think it is highly probably Jesse Williams, Tharold Simon, Jordan Hill, and Chris Harper make it as well. Everyone else is a longshot.