Seahawks to meet with Cullen Jenkins
According to Adam Schefter, the recently released Eagle will be making a stop in Seattle.
Former Eagles DL Cullen Jenkins, who visited Giants on Friday, is scheduled to visit Seahawks on Monday and 49ers on Tuesday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 2, 2013
John Schneider is familiar with Jenkins during their time in Green Bay and the Seahawks need the ‘Packers version’ of Cullen Jenkins. He has 21 sacks in the last four seasons, so Seattle’s interest is perfectly understandable.
He’s also 32. How much has he got left in the tank? Even on a one year deal, can he continue to be productive? The Seahawks don’t carry ineffective, past-their-best veterans. This is a young, vibrant roster and that’s likely to remain the case. Jenkins would have to be worth it.
This could be due diligence or there could be genuine intent to talk about a contract. It’s no surprise that the Giants, Niners and Seahawks are the three showing the early interest here. They’re all likely to target defensive line help in the draft, and none seem particularly likely to open the cheque book in free agency to address this need. With Henry Melton receiving the franchise tag and Randy Starks likely to follow, the interior defensive line options are dwindling.
I didn’t spend any time watching Jenkins in 2012, but he had an excellent 2011. He looked powerful, quick off the snap and he made a difference. He’s good enough against the run to anchor but he also has a playmaking streak in him. He’s developed a lot of veteran moves and counter’s during his career. This is what Seattle needs.
The only question is, will Jenkins still be up to the task in his 9th season as a pro?
Barkevious Mingo is still confusing
Last night was pretty eventful. I dropped boiling water all over myself which led to a night in serious pain without any sleep. Before that delightful experience, I watched a couple more LSU games to try and ‘get’ Barkevious Mingo. I’d watched five last week and came away so completely and utterly underwhelmed I dropped him out of my first round projection. Then at the combine, he showed enough athletic quality to make me re-consider and put him at #15 to New Orleans.
There are plenty of teams in the NFL looking for pass rushers. I guess that search never ends, really. There are teams transitioning to the 3-4 who could use a skilled outside linebacker. But more than anything, there are also teams looking to mimic the Seahawks. Pete Carroll has created an ‘en vogue’ team. Seattle is flavour of the month, the trendy outfit. Young, fast, skilled and aggressive. Who doesn’t want that?
There will be GM’s out there looking at the moves made by Pete Carroll and John Schneider and they’ll want a piece of that. Bruce Irvin — a much maligned pick 12 months ago — is now considered a great success because he led all rookies for sacks. The truth is, Irvin was the least effective of the three early picks last year. But the NFL loves production and eight sacks is considered a positive in season one.
Mingo doesn’t have the same blazing 4.4 speed or 1.53 ten-yard split, but he’s the player who most closely resembles Irvin in this draft. So while 3-4 teams might be coveting him for a switch to linebacker, 4-3 teams might consider using him as a LEO.
If there’s enough demand for pass rushers this year (remember, Irvin was the first to leave the board twelve months ago at #15), then he could go early. Much will depend on the stock of guys like Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore. Could he fall? Absolutely. The 2012 tape is not very good for Mingo. He hasn’t got close to the level of production Irvin managed at West Virginia, even though he acted mainly as a third-down specialist. At LSU Mingo had the benefit of Sam Montgomery, Michael Brockes and Bennie Logan, not to mention some of the best secondary talent in college football. He had 4.5 sacks in 2012, one of which came against Towson University.
When speaking to John Clayton recently, Pete Carroll stated he wants another LEO. That might be to cover the possibility of Chris Clemons never quite being the same post-ACL surgery. The Seahawks need to plan for the future anyway with Clemons approaching his 32nd birthday in October.
If the top rated defensive lineman at #25 is a LEO, I think they take him. I think they’ll look at any player with that first pick and try to find the best pass rusher. Could be an end, could be a tackle. If Mingo was there at #25, would they pull the trigger? Is a pass-rushing double threat of Irvin and Mingo too good to turn down? After all, nobody is doubting his physical talent and speed. He’s got the kind of length they look for. It’s just the attitude, the motor, the application. Is he a relentless guy who thrives on impacting games? Or is he doing what team mate Sam Montgomery admitted at the combine — picking his moments, taking weekend’s off? To fall to #25 there’d have to be some issues, even considering his measly 4.5 sacks this past year.
I could imagine a scenario where Mingo’s off the board at #6 to Cleveland or #9 to the New York Jets. Keeping him in Louisiana also makes sense for New Orleans. But I could just as easily see him dropping a bit, especially if Werner holds position and other players like Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah go early.
So, would you take him at #25 if he’s there?
Snap judgement? More tape on Cornelius Washington
We published tape of combine warrior Cornelius Washington earlier in the week. Many people were pretty underwhelmed by what they saw in the game versus Buffalo. So it’s only fair we put a couple more video’s on here for a more rounded debate. See what you think.
Further thoughts on Datone Jones
Who is this guy? That’s the question I keep coming back to. In fact, it’s more like two questions.
– Just how explosive is he? He isn’t running a 4.64 like Cam Jordan. He’s running a time comparable to J.J. Watt but at 10lbs lighter. You put his times and measurable’s together and there are similarities to Lawrence Jackson. So are we talking about a difference making, explosive defensive lineman or not?
– What position will he play at the next level? He lined up everywhere for UCLA – nose tackle, three-technique, defensive end. That can be a positive or a negative. On the one hand, you can put him in all kinds of confusing looks — get him rushing from a variety of angles and gaps. At the same time, he might always be a ‘tweener’ without a defined role.
For the first question, I went back to my notes during our live blog for the combine. It’s very easy to look at a list of numbers and get caught up. Tape, tape, tape. That’s how to do this. Whether it’s a work out in shorts or watching a game. Trust your eyes. And I asked myself this week — why am I still doubting this guy’s athleticism? This is what I wrote about Jones when watching the drills:
“Datone Jones is a superb athlete.”
In the video below you’ll find the defensive lineman vs offensive lineman drills from the Senior Bowl. I’d recommend watching the first 3:50, even if you can’t watch the full 46+ minutes. At 3:18 Jones makes his first appearance. And he destroys the interior lineman. The reason I’d recommend watching the first 3:50 is simply to see how things suddenly kick into life when Jones turns it on. Prior to that play you see John Simon get absolutely stoned, Brandon Williams get floored, Alex Okafor struggle a little bit with bog-standard blocker Ricky Wagner. Eric Fisher dominates his guy. Then there’s Datone Jones.
Mike Mayock is commentating from the booth and it’s like someone just injected him with a shot of caffeine. You can picture his eyes lighting up as soon as Jones flies into the backfield. “Boy was that a quick, explosive move there. Wooof, I like that. Let’s see it again here.”
On the next play, he does beat his guy again. Pure athleticism. And yes, he looks like a difference maker.
I’m at the point now where I really don’t care what forty time he runs, or whether his vertical jump and bench press compare favourably to Lawrence Jackson. They are just numbers. When I watch the tape, his athleticism stands out. And I get the impression in a few years time we may well be comparing other 275-285lbs defensive lineman to Datone Jones when it comes to combine performances.
Over the last two nights I’ve gone over seven UCLA games to revise my position on this guy. I made the decision to place him at #25 last week based on how he might fit as a Jason Jones replacement in Seattle. He could still fit into that role. However, can he be more than that?
The question over whether he’s a tweener will be a legitimate one for a lot of teams. If you’re running an orthodox 4-3 you’ll need to decide whether he’s stout enough to play inside permanently or whether he’s a power end. A 3-4 team will need to know if he fits at the five-technique, or if he can be that same roaming pass rusher that J.J. Watt is in Houston’s scheme.
Some might just say, “too many question marks.” The thing is, I doubt the Seahawks will be one of those teams.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider appear to be spending less time on what a guy can’t do. Of course, you never ignore a player’s limitations. You just don’t want to be consumed by them. So while we can sit here and argue Jones is maybe a shade small to feature as a permanent three-technique, or a bit too big to play the LEO, Carroll and Schneider might be debating what he can do for this team. What he can be is a possible upgrade for Jason Jones in an underrated role for the Seahawks.
He had 19 tackles for a loss in 14 games this season. He’s strong enough at the point to push his blocker into the backfield — something we recently highlighted as a key need for Bill Walsh defensive tackles. He also has a good enough first step, repertoire of moves (swim, spin, club, rip) and explosion to shoot a gap and make his presence known.
One of my big issues is execution. Given how often Jones has success in 1v1 battles, he should be even more productive. I’m a little surprised watching the tape that he only manufactured 6.5 sacks in 2012. Yet it’s not all about pure sacks. We should know that from the Walsh article. Being able to impact plays by your very presence is good enough for an interior rusher. And Jones appears to impact his fair share of plays, even if he doesn’t always finish.
The Seahawks really benefited from using Jason Jones at an interior starting point while getting Bruce Irvin to stunt around and come at the offensive line from a different angle. As well as Greg Scruggs played in relief of Jones, I’m not sure this tactic was quite as effective in the second half of the season. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Irvin’s production fell of a cliff as a consequence. So it was pleasing to see UCLA running similar stunts with their edge rushers while Datone Jones worked inside.
Jones has some pretty good tape (see: Washington State) but he also has some pretty average tape (see: Nebraska). There are occasions where he just absorbs blocks and doesn’t have any influence on the play. There are times where he’s not blocked and given a free road into the backfield, but he makes a bad read — pursuing a running back on a QB-keeper or failing to detect a draw play. He’s not a brilliant run stopper working inside, although upon further review I’m less concerned about using him inside as a conventional three-technique. I also think he gets tired in games and despite being athletic enough to shift around at 280lbs like he does, he could maybe use some pro-conditioning to max-out his potential for sixty minutes. He tired a bit at the combine too.
When Seattle drafted Lawrence Jackson in 2008, it was seen as a copy-cat move to mimic Justin Tuck’s role in the Super Bowl winning Giants team. Of course, it never worked out. Jackson was a pure effort and hussle guy, not the kind of versatile, roaming athlete that Tuck’s been in New York. Jones is bigger than both Jackson and Tuck, but he appears primed to take on a role that puts him in different positions. That probably puts him on New York’s radar. He should be on Dallas’ too as they move to the 4-3.
If Jones ends up being a top-20 pick, it could push two or three other defensive lineman down the board — which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Seattle. If he is available, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be on Schneider and Carroll’s radar. And even if they feel he isn’t an orthodox three-technique or end, don’t rule out this team drafting a specialist rusher in the first round. They want to play stout on early downs then create turnover opportunities in third and long by bringing the pressure and putting athletes in coverage. The Jason Jones role might be specialist, but it could also be crucial for this defense. Jones is the most likely candidate to fill that position in round one. If he’s available.
Here’s all the Datone Jones tape… this will keep you busy for a while…