Saturday draft notes

March 9th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Ryan Swope -- Set for Seattle in the second?

Cutting through the hype

This time of year is good for two things — hype and reality.

On the one hand, the combine is fresh in the memory and there’s a new batch of players to overrate. If you ran well, jumped well or interviewed well in Indianapolis, the chances are you’ve ‘boosted’ your stock. Congratulations.

In some cases it’s a genuine boost. In others it’s worthless deception. Admittedly some players are just that good physically that they really do save their best football for the NFL. Others find out that running and jumping well in shorts doesn’t automatically make you a superstar.

Hype also works the other way too. If you’re not quite the brilliant athlete everyone was hoping, you can sink like a stone.

We also discover a few nuggets of truth during the months of February and March. There are leaks in the media where you discover certain players are higher on boards than expected. Sharrif Floyd is a great example. On tape, he had a pretty good year. Most people saw him as a first or second round pick. And yet here we are, a few weeks later, and he could go top five. Whether the tape was deceiving or not, it appears to be true that he’s a favourite among scouts and GM’s. Only time will tell if it’s reasonable to put him among this years elite. I’m sceptical personally. Because while he has a fantastic back story and a lot of talent, he doesn’t exactly live in the backfield, he has short arms, he’s not a sensational athlete and he’s not an edgy, penetrative pass rusher like Sheldon Richardson.

Even so, there are a few players out there who are maybe having their tires pumped up a little too much, even more than Floyd…

Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU) — he ran well at the combine and flashed a lot of physical talent. Ansah also put in a MVP performance in the Senior Bowl. Suddenly everyone from Daniel Jeremiah to Todd McShay is stepping up to praise this apparent top-10 lock. Yet it’s easy to forget how inexperienced he looked this season, often struggling to have any impact as an edge rusher. He ended 2012 with just 4.5 sacks. During the Senior Bowl workouts he appeared lost — like he’d only put pads on for the first time that week. In terms of pure potential, there’s a lot to like here. But he’s not even close to the level Jason Pierre-Paul was at when he turned pro, which is saying something. Expecting him to have an instant impact would be optimistic. And yet he turns 24 in May. When you draft a pass rusher in the top ten you kind of want a decent return quickly. Will we see that from Ansah? In a matter of weeks he’s gone from solid first rounder who could make it to Seattle at #25 to possible top-five pick. Perhaps it’s time to put on the brakes?

Matt Barkley (QB, USC) — last year people were lining up to call him a top-ten pick. I suspect if he had declared, Mike Holmgren would’ve made him the third quarterback to leave the board within the top five picks of the 2012 draft. He’d beaten Oregon in impressive fashion, been the leader of a team facing three difficult seasons and looked so ready for the pro’s. Yet he didn’t run to the NFL and instead opted for one more year in college — to try and achieve that elusive BCS Bowl appearance and a PAC-12 title. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned. USC bombed, the defense collapsed, the offensive line couldn’t block four scarecrows and Barkley’s game suffered as a consequence. And now people are lining up to say he’s a fourth round pick. At the same time, E.J. Manuel — who struggled to convince anyone he was a competent passer at Florida State — is being promoted as a possible first round pick because he runs well and can throw further than most people. I’ll take the accurate, poised, technically gifted quarterback every time. But that’s just me.

If anyone was wondering where the Greg Cosell ‘fourth round grade’ quotes came from by the way, here you go. Cosell states he’s seen a lot of NFL tape and therefore “knows” what works in the NFL. It might be worth “knowing” that a guy who is nearly 6-3 is not “a little short”. Or that he once said this: “The most overlooked characteristic when discussing quarterbacks is accuracy.”

For what it’s worth, Cosell likes Zac Dysert and Matt Scott this year. He compares Scott favourably to Russell Wilson, a player he didn’t like last year — comparing him to Seneca Wallace. He also thought Ryan Lindley made “the most ‘wow’ throws of any quarterback in the draft” last year. Yes, including Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. He also listed Lindley as the most intriguing quarterback from the 2012 class. I doubt that’ll get repeated any time soon by the cult of Cosell.

Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan) — don’t get me wrong, I think Fisher is a fine pro-prospect. Yet it’s funny how impressions change when one big guy runs slightly faster than another. Luke Joeckel just had one of the best seasons you could wish to see from a left tackle. It helps that he was blocking for one of college football’s more elusive quarterbacks. It further helps that he was flanked by perhaps an equally talented right tackle in Jake Matthews. However, Joeckel shut out top-class opponents most weeks in the SEC. He was flawless. What’s more, it comes so naturally to him. You wouldn’t think he looks like an elite tackle based on his appearance. His arms lacks definition, he’s not a brilliant athlete. He’s just a fantastic football player. But shortly after the combine, Fisher was ahead according to many people. Why? Because he ran faster. Because he moved faster in drills. Like that even matters. Whoever takes Fisher will get a good player. Whoever takes Joeckel will probably get a better one.

Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU) — depending on who you ask, Mingo is a possible top-ten pick. In fairness others have countered that (Mayock, Jeremiah) by giving him a more realistic grade in the 25-40 range. Indeed Mayock continues to list Mingo as only the third best 3-4 linebacker in this class. I watched an awful lot of LSU in 2011 and 2012. I recently went back and watched another seven games just to focus on Mingo, suspecting he could be an option for Seattle if he drops. He just wasn’t that effective. He collected a measly 4.5 sacks this season despite featuring with a number of talented team mates. He’d flash every now and again. He started the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson on fire. Then he stopped. He disappeared. Physically he looks like the perfect LEO — tall, lean and fast. He’s a great athlete. Yet he’s ineffective. A bright combine performance has seemingly boosted his stock, but when you weigh just over 240lbs and speed is your main weapon — you should be doing well in Indianapolis. I think his ceiling will be New Orleans at #15.

Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee) — He ran faster, jumped higher and basically did everything better than most receivers at the combine. Yet here are a few things that are also important. Catching the football consistently. Competing for the football in the air. Making a tough grab over the middle on fourth down in double coverage to extend a game winning drive. DeAndre Hopkins didn’t run in the 4.4’s, but he did everything else on tape that you want to see from a leading receiver. Unfortunately he’s only an average-to-good athlete. Yet during the combine drills involving routes and catching, Hopkins looked crisp, confident and better than anyone else on the field. Hunter has plenty of upside and didn’t get much help from Tyler Bray. He was also battling back from a nasty ACL injury in 2011. But if you asked me who I want my second year quarterback throwing to in a big game next year — I’ll say Hopkins over Hunter. Despite the lack of 4.4 speed.

Pat Kirwan dropping hints

The relationship between Kirwan and Pete Carroll is a little overplayed. While they have a previous working relationship that appears to still be going strong, it’s not like Kirwan has dropped any defining nuggets of information about Seattle’s draft plans in the last three years. I suspect he doesn’t ask for lots of inside information, so he never gets lied to. And even if he does get info from time to time, I imagine out of respect he wouldn’t put it out there for public consumption.

Having said that, I’ve noticed a couple of things that raised an eyebrow recently.

You’ll find a video at the top of this CBS article where Kirwan is interviewed for a stock up/down piece. When discussing Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, he makes the following remark:

“One of the coaches said to me, ‘this is what I think of Werner… he’s a B+ player who’s going to be a B+ player for ten years. That’s a good thing, he’ll start all the time. But I’m looking for a guy with a special trait’. I don’t Werner demonstrated that to many of the people that were watching him.”

The words, “I’m looking for a guy with a special trait” are so Pete Carroll it almost seems too likely to be him. Yet there’s every chance it was him. The Seahawks are looking for a defensive lineman after all. And they look for special qualities in all their drafted players.

Even if this coach isn’t Carroll or another member of Seattle’s staff, I suspect they’ll share a similar opinion on Werner. They probably want more. They might be willing to take him if he’s there at #25. But the chances are they’ll hit for the fences with another guy.

Following on from that, here’s what Kirwan said during a radio spot on Friday:

It’s a reminder that when we’re looking at the prospects out there, we need to look for those rare qualities. It doesn’t have to be a player that is so much faster than another, or taller. Or bigger. They just have to have something special about them.

Seattle didn’t draft James Carpenter off the back of a combine performance, they drafted him because he was the left tackle for the best running team in college and he dominated the SEC. They needed to boost the running game. They drafted Earl Thomas because he’s rangy and had a ridiculous eight interceptions as a redshirt sophomore. They needed turnovers. They drafted Bruce Irvin because he’s fast and had incredible production for two years at WVU. They needed a pass rusher. And they still do.  So focus the minds. Look for a blend of athleticism and production. Difference makers. Keep running through those TFL lists and look for the guys who also performed well at the combine or at their pro-day. And be prepared for a surprise come April. Who’d be shocked if Margus Hunt was the pick in the end? I wouldn’t be.

Hartline signing good news for Seattle?

I have a hunch — and that’s all it is — that the Seahawks will be infatuated with Ryan Swope. Everything about him says John Schneider. Personality, production, speed. He’s got that ’tilt the field’ aspect to his game where to look at him, he doesn’t look like anything special. Yet he is. In fact he’s very special.

I was watching some Texas A&M tape last night and watched one play where Johnny Manziel was scrambling around. Swope cut off his route noting his quarterback was in trouble, found a soft zone underneath, tracked to the right and then set off downfield. I counted three times where he was open and should’ve received the football. Manziel didn’t throw it. Russell Wilson probably would’ve done. Swope worked that opening.

That level of improvisation interests me in a big way, because I think it’s one of the things Golden Tate and Sidney Rice struggle with. They round off a lot of routes and don’t often come back to the ball. Swope has dealt with two very athletic quarterbacks so far that frequently left the pocket. And the guy knows exactly what he needs to do in that situation. The thought of having him as a target while Wilson does his Frank Tarkenton thing is pretty exciting. Throw in impressive 4.34 speed, consistent hands and the ability to get open and he just sounds like another classic Schneider find.

One other thing that is crucial for any prospective Seahawks receiver — blocking. This remains a power running offense. The receivers are expected to get involved. Watch the tape against Auburn and Mississippi State from 2012 and make your own mind up on his blocking ability. I’d say it’s superb, vastly underrated and should be classified as a major positive if you’re hoping he lands in Seattle.

Before the Dolphins signed Brian Hartline to a 5-year $31m contract, I suspected Miami might take him with one of their second round picks. They have Swope’s old college coach running the offense and his former team mate at quarterback. They could still take him in round two. But with reported interest in Mike Wallace plus the possibility they could still go receiver at #12 (Cordarrelle Patterson?), how much do they want to spend on the position?

Swope’s concussion problems that emerged this week are a slight concern. Based on some quick research, it appears he had four suspected concussions during his time at Texas A&M although he never missed a game. Given the extreme focus on safety in the NFL, he might find life slightly easier. Yet one of the problems with improvising receivers who are fearless over the middle of the field is they’re likely to take hits. So it’s something teams will have to check out.

If he makes it to #56, he could be Seattle’s guy. He isn’t the big, tall 6-4 type they’d ideally like to find. He’s only 6-1. Yet I think in terms of value, he’ll be too tough to pass. And you don’t have to be tall to be a #1 receiver. You just need to get open, make plays and bail out your quarterback from time to time. Wilson-to-Swope could be an unlikely but brilliant combination.

Tony Pauline had this to say about Swope following his pro-day yesterday: “By all accounts Swope dazzled during pass catching drills. He ran crisp routes and caught everything thrown in his direction. His position work today along with his combine performance has Swope heading into the late part of round two.”

Mike Mayock has a short report on Swope from the Texas A&M pro-day. He calls him a second or third round pick.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this ‘trick shot’ video Swope made as part of his campaign to be on the cover of NCAA ’14.

Pining over Richardson

Sheldon Richardson remains ‘the guy’ for me. Exactly what Seattle needs at defensive tackle. And probably what Seattle isn’t going to get unfortunately because he’s just too good. Yet there are almost weekly teases at the moment to get your hopes up. Such as this:

This:

This:

And this:

We can but dream.

69 Responses to “Saturday draft notes”

  1. nick says:

    interesting way to jump into the endzone on the “longest td pass ever.” I think I have seen that before.

    • Rob Staton says:

      A tribute… maybe he’s been googling Seahawks highlights for his imminent arrival in Seattle…

      • nick says:

        It is the coolest way to enter the endzone just after breaking 9 tackles. This was his junior year though right?

    • glor says:

      I don’t think there is anyway this guy is going to drop to us in the 2nd round.

      • If Seattle took Swope with their first pick I wouldn’t complain, or even be that surprised. He is the exact perfect player for what we could use on offense.

        Despite everything he’s done, Swope still appears to be lacking the hype he deserves. I think he’ll go mid 2nd, but late 2nd or even the 3rd round wouldn’t be too surprising. Actually, I’d be a little surprised if Seattle passed on Swope twice.

        • glor says:

          I’m right there with you, I wouldn’t complain if we got him with our 1st.

          • Clayton Russell says:

            I beg to differ and say Seattle would not even touch Swope if he was available in the 4th. Concussion problems big time, lacks the height we need and does not meet the PC/JC requirements to fill in for Sidney Rice if he cannot stay healthy. This is a great smoke screen of course so that is all I will take from the Swope article.

            • Rob Staton says:

              Where’s the smokescreen? I’ve written a piece about Swope. I don’t work for the Seahawks.

              You’re assuming about the concussion issues. He had four suspected concussions during all his time at Texas A&M. He stayed until his senior year and never missed a single game due to a concussion. I suspect if it was a big time problem, he would’ve missed games.

              If the Seahawks are concerned about height, why did they draft Russell Wilson and Golden Tate?

              Why doesn’t he fit the ‘requirements’ to fill in for Sidney Rice? Why does he have to meet those requirements?

              • Derrick says:

                I’ve never heard of a guy with “suspected concussions” that didn’t actually really have concussions, have you? Who?

                Guys often get concussions during a game and don’t miss the next week’s game, particularly in years past.

                Picking Swope would be a risk akin to the Lions picking Jahvid Best a few years ago…how’d that work out? Serious red flag here!

                • Nolan says:

                  Jahvid best had missed significant time, was much smaller, was a running back, there is a big difference. As far as suspected concussion not being actual concussion how about sydney rice in the bears game last year, not only did i suspect he had a concussi9on for a minute I thought he was dead, and he passed all of the concussion test and played the next week and that is just off the top of my head i suppose there would be alot more if we watched closley and followed everyteam the way we do the seahawks.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  Yes I have. Players often leave games with suspected concussion symptoms. I’ve seen players from different sports show symptoms of a concussion, even go to hospital, then be cleared.

                • Eric says:

                  Unless you’re a head trauma expert, I doubt anyone would have any authority to comment on this. So, with courtesy, your challenge regarding who’s ever heard of this sort of thing is simply baseless; just because you haven’t heard of it…

                  Moreover, since when did something “suspected” become THE reason to pass on an obvious talent like this? Swope did not miss a single game because of head trauma.

                  And finally, as has been stated on SDB before, the NFL is much more sensitive to the whole concussion issue – better head protection (helmets), better player protection (rules against head-to-head contact).

                  Of all the players you like with KNOWN injuries, Swope’s “suspected” concussions are the least problematic.

                  • Derrick says:

                    Last year prior to the draft Shea McClellin disputed a report that he had suffered 3 concussions. McClellin admitted having one concussion but stated he had otherwise just had concussion-like symptoms, rather than a concussion. McClellin ending up going 19th overall and missed time with a concussion this year.

                    So, in short, my point is, it is a risk to disregard a significant history of “suspected concussions” or violent hits to the head with subsequent concussion-like symptoms. A risk I wouldn’t take!

                    And as for the NFL’s new found sensitivity on the subject, that just means it’s going to be more acceptable for Swope to miss time as a result of concussion-like symptoms. Also, better head protection only goes so far as concussions are the result of the brain being jarred about the skull not the skull being jarred about the helmet.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    I doubt think anyone is discarding the issue. It’s not being written off.

                    But with the available medical information and an expert to discuss this with, people are also keeping an open mind. It could be a problem, but then it might not be. We can only really judge players based on their on-field talent. I would never say ‘no’ to a player based on speculated injuries.

              • Clayton Russell says:

                Rob, yes I have read many of your articles and of course I know you do not work for the Seahawks. If you remember I was sending you emails and made multiple post on Russell Wilson and stated why he would be such a great fit for the Seahawks, Intelligence, work ethic and efficiency last year at this time. As far as Tate, he was brought in because he could make plays and has only started to blossom for the Seahawks as his first year he had trouble running routes. Swope as I see it does not fit what the Seahawks will draft which will be a receiver over 6″2 (Mark my word) As for the concussions college programs many times “cover up injuries” do not state the whole truth: and not until the concussion problems in the NFL have colleges started making players sit out a play if it appeared they suffered a concussion.

                Swope I agree had a nice college career and may even offer a team a 3rd or 4th WR option in the near future but will never be a superstar in the league. This is of course my personnel opinion and we truly will not know the outcome of any of these players until 2-3 years down the road. I suspect in that time we will be talking more about Justin Hunter, C. Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins and DaRick Rogers than Ryan Swope.

                As for filling the requirements for Sidney Rice, Rice is 6’4 take that away and what do you have (Doug Baldwin 5’11 and Golden Tate 5’10) correct me if I am wrong but that would leave us with no starting WR’s over 6’2. Which brings us back to the point Ryan Swope does not meet the Seahawks requirements for a tall receiver. Lastly, Sidney Rice has had two surgeries on his shoulders and has also experienced concussion like hits multiple times last year. IMO this all leads to the Seahawks drafting height at the WR position and that starts with a receiver likely 6’3 or taller.

        • Phil says:

          This is a really strange draft in the sense that none of the players that interest me are first-rounders, except for Tavon Austin. I think he will be gone by #25, so it would be my strategy to move down in the draft, trading our #25 pick for a high-second round pick and others. I’d then target guys like Swope, Khaseem Greene, John Simon, Chris Gragg/Jordan Reed. And, I wouldn’t be worried about “overpaying” for anyone, because there doesn’t seem to be any clear consensus on “value” in this draft.

      • TJ says:

        Perhaps not, but that medical is a major factor. If he has indeed had multiple concussions, he could be one or two big hits away from an early retirement.

      • bjammin says:

        I fear you may be right. It’s certainly possible, but perhaps a move up in the 2nd would get him. The saving grace is all the wr talent around him in that range.

  2. kevin mullen says:

    Improvisation of our WR’s improved on latter half of the season, though to be fair of the Rice critiscm, there were plays where it did look like he was obviously open but threw his arms in the air and gave up. Rice needs to adapt and adjust his route just because a 5’10” QB couldn’t find him every single time. I felt Tate and Baldwin did a better job at adjusting routes (as they should since they aren’t deep treat receivers, and play more slot).

    Swopes wouldn’t be a bad pickup if we didn’t already have Tate and Baldwin. And I’m fine with them as is, but now comes the dilemma of how many balls can only go to each receiver per game? Rice, Tate, Baldwin, and Miller? We’re a run-oriented team, maybe throw the ball 25 times max? There’s only so much catches that can go around, personally prefer they draft a tall jump ball for red zone situations. Whether it be WR (Harrison?) or TE (Escobar?) don’t matter, we need that GUY.

    If we walk out with Sheldon Richardson in the first round, no question we win the pick of the round. And hopefully when it’s announced that the ‘Hawks select Richardson, if it were me, I’d drop the mic on stage, middle fingers in the air, exiting stage left.

    • I personally don’t think Swope is redundant. He brings skills we don’t truly have, and he has HoF caliber intangibles. Nobody on our WR corps runs a 4.34 either.

      • kevin mullen says:

        I’m not discrediting Swope’s skill, to me he reminds me of a taller Wes Welker, but to anoint him HoF stuff is a little out there. His ball catching is spot on, route running is ahead of schedule, and his improvisation is probably what separates him from a majority of the other possession-type receivers. His fearlessness catching in the middle of field is also something to consider as well. And the fact that he’s going from one 12th man to another is pretty cool.

        But again, I say we already have two receivers like him and are already ahead on the curve of learning the playbook. Isn’t it fair to say that WR drafted usually take a year to develop? He’d be almost useless in 2013 as we would certainly having expectations to go beyond the first round of playoffs.

        If he were available, say 4th round (and we didn’t address WR with earlier picks) then sure, I’d be game for his pick. I’d rather we pick that Harrison kid, like you mentioned the other day, than go with Swope.

        Swope would actually be better off being in the Pat’s offense, where they do more 4 WR sets.

  3. Madmark says:

    Last year I said i be looking really hard at our receivers this year because I really didn’t think they was showing me anything other than injuries and flashes here and there of any playmaking ability. Now that we found our QB its time to grab that playmaker that RW can grow with and get better. I have DeAndre Hopkins slightly above Ryan Swope but not by much. Hopkins will in all likely hood be gone and if so I wouldn’t hestitate to grab Ryan Swope. I truly believe a large possesion receiver can be had in the later rounds but a Swope who can fill any spot Sydney, Tate, or Baldwins plays is more ideal for us in the 2nd round.
    1st round is a defensive lineman its time to start here and get more youth as this defensive line is getting older. I’d be running to the podium to pick Sheldon Richardson if he drop to 25. I don’t really see it happening as this guy is to damn good to drop.

  4. SunPathPaul says:

    Swope – As you said, Hartline for $31 million. If they sign Mike Wallace in FA, excellent. If they drafted Cordarelle Patterson, man Tannehill and the Dolphins WR corp would be ROCK solid!

    And that would be excellent news for us having a chance at Swope in R2 without having to trade up. Albeit maybe the best way to use Flynn & possibly Leon W, would be to trade to the Jets or Jags for only a Swap of R2 picks. Maybe throw a 7th in to sweeten it. Think about it from their perspective. The Jags or Jets get a relatively inexpensive QB with some actual NFL experience, AND they keep their R2 pick and gain a 7th for their rebuilding. That would definitely ensure we get Swope in R2…

    As far as Sheldon Richardson, I can’t see him AT ALL getting past Dallas. Monte Kiffin loves this guy, and with them converting to the 4-3, they NEED a good 3tech just like we do to anchor that D.

    If we want to trade up, it would need to be before Dallas IMO to have a shot. Maybe on draft day, they talk with Pittsburgh and arrange something just in case Sheldon makes it to 17…then they pull the trigger to trade up?

    Another possibility- What if Tampa Bay wanted to challenge Josh Freeman, who they like but want more consistency from, and they would do a R1 pick swap with Flynn attached?? Maybe we give our 1st, 5th and Flynn to move to 13 to get Richardson?? Just trying to find new wrinkles and possibilities… I doubt the Rams, being our division foes, would let us trade up to 16, but maybe?

    Any ideas?

    • SunPathPaul says:

      Also, with Anquan Boldin hitting FA, would anyone here bite? Rob? Kip?

      He definitely showed he can play, and play when it counts! Talk about that ‘clutch’ guy?
      and at 32, he should have some left in the tank…

      Any takers on Boldin??

      • Rob Staton says:

        At the right price, yes definitely. He was immense in the playoffs.

      • Adrian Wilson is out there as well. I am a huge fan of acquiring John Abraham to a 1 year deal. Boldin is 32, Wilson is 33, Abraham is 34. I don’t know about Wilson, but the other two still have gas in the tank. Seattle has shown a strong preference for old FAs on 1 year deals. Cullen Jenkins too.

        • Jon says:

          I can see us picking up 3-4 players that are over 30 on 1 year deals this year if other options dont work out.

          Boldin WR
          Abraham LEO
          Jenkins DT

          What ever happened with that DE that we brougt in for a work out. He was released mid season, but was one of the top free agents last year.

        • Nolan says:

          I would love to have Wilson as chancellor depth, and to just randomly lay fools out

        • Brian says:

          There are a bunch of advantages to this, IMO. 1) We have a really young roster that could use some veterans to serve as mentors. 2) We should be in contention for a championship next year and can offer those veterans another shot at a ring. 3) One year deals don’t compromise out ability to take care of our younger guys in the future.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Tampa Bay will give Freeman a chance to shine in his contract year, unchallenged. But if he doesn’t perform, they’ll move on.

      • SunPathPaul says:

        Rob, do you agree Dallas would be Sheldon’s max floor?

        …and which team/teams do you see a potential swap up with? Rams, Panthers, Pittsburgh possible?

  5. Eric says:

    Thanks for the link to that Trick Shot vid Rob. I really enjoyed that. Like you, I’ve gone back to look at A&M games in the last day or so to focus solely on Swope.

    Leaving aside his impressive Combine showing, and his obvious improvisational skills on the field, in 2 words here’s what I like most about him, and what makes me think that, while there may be “better” receivers in the draft, there isn’t one who is a better fit for the Seahawks: Situational Awareness.

    What I see in his game is an almost preternatural ability to “see” things on the field. And not just those things immediate to him, but from an omniscient perspective, almost as if he’s watching the game from the outside. To me, this is what we mean when we talk about how the game “slows down” for those truly elite players. It is, IMHO, as important a factor in being an elite player as superior athleticism. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, MEN keep their heads while everyone else around them is losing theirs. Sometimes, victory does go to the swiftest and the strongest. But usually, it goes to the one who can adapt and overcome.

    Russell Wilson has Situational Awareness. He demonstrated that in no uncertain terms last season. I believe Ryan Swope has Situational Awareness. And I fervently believe that a Russell Wilson-Ryan Swope combination could light the NFL on fire and go down as legend.

  6. Cysco says:

    Swope seems like a perfect match and seems like a really likable guy. I could see him becoming a fan favorite pretty quickly.

    Richardson? Yes please! You have to imagine that if Seattle was taking a long look, they must believe that either he has a chance of falling to them, or they’re willing to move up. Interesting that packers, patriots, seahawks were all looking hard. I can’t wait for the draft!

  7. AlaskaHawk says:

    Rob- any chance of getting footage on Texas A&M, Uzima Nwachukwu? I’m liking the idea of taking two WR from Texas. He could be a late round pick. I’m wondering how good his hands are?

  8. Hawkfin says:

    LOVE the write up! Thanks guy’s. :)
    I agree with every single thing in this, and they align perfect with all the evaluations I’ve done.

    I agree about Richardson, I agree about Swope. I agree about Harrison.

    Swope really does seem like a pick we would make in the 2nd round. And he would be really deserving of it. He’s a perfect player and really under the radar still I think.
    He reminds me of the next W. Welker or J. Nelson. I think he runs very crisp routes, good hands, fast, and always gets open. Smart. I like this kid a lot.
    He also, seems like a NE pick!
    IF NE does not sign W. Welker, I could see them moving around the 1st-2nd to get this guy.

    I’m on board with Richardson as a target in the 1st. (Also Patterson, Austin for me )
    Swope target in the 2nd
    Harrison target in the 3rd or 4th

    I have not done my DE evaluations yet, so hopefully there will be some of those to target too.

    Oh yeah, I also enjoyed the nugget about Floyd. I think he’s overrated too. Not a big fan of him or Star at the DT spots. (I want high pressure guy there)

  9. bjammin says:

    I’m sold on Swopes. I agree with all the points being made in his favor for being a Hawk. And he’s smooth as butter. He has that Golden Tate explosive play-making, but he is way smoother than Tate. Tate really impressed me this year with that. Swopes makes it look easier.

    Kinda narrowing down my favorites (depending on FA) for Hawks
    1-Richardson (with trade) or D Jones (no trade)
    2-Swopes (even if we need to trade down in the 2nd)
    3-Margus Hunt (if he’s here) or Zavier Gooden
    4-Mark Harrison

    That scenario wouldn’t suck.

    • Scott Allen says:

      It wouldn’t suck at all. I’d be thrilled.

    • Jon says:

      My goodness, every minute leading up to this draft is making it better.
      I would cry if Seattle got
      1) Sheldon Richardson
      2) Swope
      3) used to grab Richardson
      4) Mark Harrison

      It’s hard though, this still leaves us with an impact need at WILL and possibly LEO
      I really want Swope and Harrison, but I think it would be more likely we get the second reciever later on.

      This is an insane draft class

      • bjammin says:

        If we could give the 3rd to move up and grab Richardson and still grab these other two, I’d cry right there with you. Cry even harder if we could somehow manage all this and still have the 3rd.

        • Jon says:

          no kiding
          I have seen more mocks lately were Richardson falls all the way to 25 than I though I ever would. I don’t think it is possible but I must ask.

          IS IT POSSIBLE

  10. Scott Allen says:

    Rob, I found myself coming to similar thoughts about Swopes for some of the same reasons. It was a funny route that took me there too.

    A few months ago I was thinking to myself that we needed a WR who could really improvise and have a solid feel for open zones and timing of their QB. At first I tried ridiculous search strings on google like, “best improvising ncaa wide receiver”. There’s a lot of info on the web but apparently that’s just too specific. So then I started thinking about what team had a QB that moved around and made plays creatively. Obviously I eventually thought of Manziel and TA&M. That lead me to Swope.

    When I think of Manziel and Swopes or the potential of Wilson and Swopes for that matter I am reminded of another combo that I used to watch. A pair that often relied upon improvisational problem solving, a knack for knowing each other and how to read in unison, the soft spots in the field when everything else was falling apart around them. The pair was Zorn and Largent.

    I hope Swope can be Wilson’s Largent. It would be awesome.

  11. James says:

    When Kip and I and many others were going ga-ga over Russell Wilson tape about this time last year, there was another guy who also jumped out: his WR Abbrederis. Swope could do for Russell in the pros what Abbrederis did for him at Wisconsin…be a go-to guy who can run around the secondary for as long as Russell is running around in the backfield, and then outrun the DBs to the open spot far downfield (often in the end zone). He would be the perfect addition for Russell.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      …and I was thinking earlier this year about maybe getting Abbrederis in next years draft is possible. RW and him have some good chemistry all ready! Wouldn’t be hard to get them in synch…

      “Wilson scrambles, Swope swoops through and – TOUCHDOWN!”

      Wilson rolls out to his right, and abracadabra!!! He hits Abbrederis for the TOUCHDOWN!”

      : )

  12. bjammin says:

    The other great thing about this draft is that if we miss on Swope, there’s still a lot of good unique receiving options. That being said, I’m nearing Kip level of not wanting the Hawks to leave this draft without him.

  13. Chesterfield Seahawk says:

    I see Swope wears number 25. A little something for the superstitious amongst us.

  14. Miles says:

    Rob,

    I normally agree with you in your assessments of prospects. For the first time ever though, I strongly disagree with you in the case of Barkevious Mingo. He may not have had a lot of sacks last year, but sacks are not the be-all-end-all of pass rushing skills. They are merely an indicator of those skills. I watched four games of Mingo on tape from last year and I not only saw an effective speed rusher, but a guy who can drive back the tackle with power to collapse the pocket. He is also very good at jumping up to swat away passes (an underrated skill). In the NFL, I suspect he will be a monster, especially if he gets a d-line coach who knows how to tutor him. Any team that drafts him from picks 5-15 will be making a good decision, in my opinion. And if he’s on the board at 25, unless Sheldon Richardson is inexplicably available, I would bang the table to draft Mingo on the spot.

    Thanks man.

    Miles

    • Rob Staton says:

      Thanks Miles, always happy to receive a counter debate.

      I watched seven games recently from 2012 an just didnt see anything from Mingo aside from a couple of flashes. He was anonymous against Bama. He started brilliantly against Clemson and then disappeared. I appreciate that sacks aren’t everything, but he didn’t have many flash plays period and he didn’t even register among the top 50 for TFL. Plenty of athletic quality but just not enough impact on a talented defense.

      • Miles says:

        He may not have flash, but I don’t think he’s necessarily a “flashy” player, though one would hope to see flash in a 240-pound defensive end. I think he’s more of a consistent pass-rusher who makes quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket and is much more apt to cover the run game than Bruce Irvin is. The TFL stat is concerning, but I think he’s one of those players that will break loose in the pro ranks. I have a good feeling about this guy, Rob.

  15. brad says:

    Great article! I appreciate you discussing how players become so overvalued after the combine. I can’t believe how draft ‘experts’ would bury their year of research on a player becuase of fractions of a second combine times or lift numbers. These drills are obviously necessary, but I’ve always been puzzled as to how drafts evolve so much because of combine results.

    Thanks again and keep up the great Seahawks Draft coverage!

  16. Lou Thompson says:

    After Kirwan said that the Hawks would draft CJ Spiller and Derrick Morgan in the 2010 draft and all these Hawk fans were arguing with me when I said, no, it’s Trent Williams and Earl Thomas because Kirwan had supposed inside information because he’s buddies with Pete Carroll, I laugh at anything he projects like he’s some draft guru. Sorry Pat!

    Barkley is easily a 1st round pick and would fit perfectly with a quick 3-5 step drop back and release. If a team is counting on him going 7 step and then throwing anything but a 9 route lob ball, they’re going to be disappointed. Smart QB and can excel in the right system but is Matt Barkley a game changing QB that can carry a team or is Matt a game managing QB that needs to be surrounded by a lot of talent to succeed. We’ll know in10 months.

    When I was checking out Texas A&M in 2011, I was scouting the skills of Ryan Tannehill and their big receiver Jeff Fuller, but it was always Ryan Swope that made the big catch and stole the show. Swope is a player and will have a nice NFL career. He knows how to get open especially when RWill starts moving around the pocket. Love Swope! Not sure how he fits with our crowded slot players but he’s a player.

  17. Don’t like the idea of a Margus Hunt pick at 25, but I guess I wouldn’t be surprised, either.

    I like Sheldon Richardson more than Star & Sharrif, and wonder if Seattle is considering trading up for him. Shonka’s mock draft, there, had 5 OTs going prior to make him reaching 25 happen, which is questionable. It seems to me picks 17 & 18 would be where some trade talk starts for Seattle re: Richardson, if he drops beyond the Rams.

  18. Oh and Michael Buchanan from Illinois looks like a Seattle pick to me, in the mid rounds. I think he moves a lot like Dion Jordan, with longer arms, ran a better 3-cone drill. Sheds blocks better than Damontre Moore, but his run defense is really bad.