Today we could be watching Seattle’s next first round pick. Pete Carroll has been pretty open about his intentions this year, stating at the end of the season his desire to improve the team’s front seven. This week he reiterated those desires: “We need to address the issue about our pass rush, and it’s a big factor for us. We would love to see if we can make some movement there.” There is no doubt at all what area the Seahawks are focusing on in round one – pass rush. Defensive lineman (9am EST) and linebackers (1pm EST) work out today – Seahawks fans should take notice.
I’ll be blogging live on Group 7 (keep refreshing for updates), recording forty-yard dash time’s and the all-important splits. We’ll be passing comment on how the likes of Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram perform and get the numbers for groups 8 & 9. It’s also important to concentrate on the second tier in the event a situation such as Brian Billick’s mock draft occurs. Vinny Curry, Nick Perry, Chandler Jones, Cam Johnson, Andre Branch and Whitney Mercilus are all worth monitoring. I’ll be watching linebackers Zach Brown and Sean Spence with great interest too. Bobby Wagner of Utah State will not work out as he’s suffering with pneumonia, per Tony Pauline.
One man who will be working out is LSU’s Michael Brockers – he measured at 6-5 and 322lbs this week. Opinion is really mixed on Brockers – Mike Mayock describes him as ‘special’ and a top-10 pick, while others have been more sceptical. He declared as a redshirt sophomore without a lot of pass-rush production and people wonder what his best position could be. At 322lbs, he might end up being a nose tackle.
My initial impression of Brockers was positive, playing on a dominating LSU defensive front. However, the more I’ve studied since he declared the more lukewarm I’ve become. He has great size and he carries it well, but he just doesn’t look like a three-technique to me. He gets very little inside penetration and doesn’t look much different to what Seattle already has with Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch. While he could have value to a team like Carolina who want to mix between 4-3 and 3-4 looks, I’m not sure why the Seahawks would make that pick.
Update – Brockers ran a 5.37 and a 5.33 and looked heavy. More and more he looks like a nose tackle or one technique.
I’ve added his game tape below from the BCS Championship vs Alabama (courtesy of JMPasq):
Group 7 forty times:
Chas Alecxih (Pittsburgh) – 5.34 & 5.44
Frank Alexander (Oklahoma) – DNP
Jake Bequette (Arkansas) – 4.78 & 4.84
Jamie Blatnick (Oklahoma State) – 4.85 & 4.84
Andre Branch (Clemson) – 4.62 & 4.68
Michael Brockers (LSU) – 5.37 & 5.33
Josh Chapman (Alabama) – DNP
Quinton Coples (UNC) – 4.75 & 4.72
Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State) – 4.79 & 4.85
Jack Crawford (Penn State) – 4.78 & 4.76
Tyrone Crawford (Boise State) – 4.84 & 4.81
Jared Crick (Wisconsin) – 4.97 & 4.94
Vinny Curry (Marshall) – 4.97 & 4.85
Hebron Fangup (BYU) – 5.15 & 5.22
Marcus Forston (Miami) – 5.15 & 5.10
Trevor Guyton (California) – 5.10 & 5.15
Dominique Hamilton (Missouri) – 5.50 & 5.59
Dajohn Harris (USC) – DNP
Akiem Hicks (Regina) – 5.22 & 5.21
Jaye Howard (Florida) – 4.75 & 4.78
John Hughes (Cincinnati) – DNP
Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) – 4.66 & 4.78
Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) – 4.50 & 4.43
Malik Jackson (Tennessee) – 4.93 & 4.94
Jamaar Jarrett (Arizona State) – 5.00 & 4.94
Cam Johnson (Virginia) – 4.75 & 4.75
Chandler Jones (Syracus) – 4.85 & 4.82
Markus Kuhn (NC State) – 4.91 & 4.90
Bruce Irvin – 1.54
Andre Branch – 1.56
Tyrone Crawford – 1.62
Quinton Coples – 1.63
Fletcher Cox – 1.63
Jamie Blatnick – 1.65
Melvin Ingram – 1.65
Cam Johnson – 1.66
Vinny Curry – 1.68
Jared Crick – 1.69
Malik Jackson – 1.69
Jack Crawford – 1.70
Jake Bequette – 1.70
Bruce Irvin ran the fastest forty yard dash with a 4.43, not totally surprising given his college production and smaller size (245lbs). He also the best 10-yard split at 1.54. This was important for Irvin after not receiving an invite for the Senior Bowl and being a smaller pass rusher. He needs to show he has the speed to make up for a lack of size and teams will show a lot of interest in him as a specialist rusher at the next level. Andre Branch has been as high as #13 in my mock drafts and could move back up the board after flashing a 1.56 split and two forty’s in the 4.6 range.
Quinton Coples and Fletcher Cox both impressed given their near-300lbs size. Many people anticipated Cox moving up the board after the combine and a 10-yard split of 1.63 at 298lbs could put him into top-ten contention. Jaye Howard at Florida also impressed. Melvin Ingram ran two contrasting times of 4.66 and 4.78, recording a 1.65 split in his slower attempt.
Groups 8 & 9 analysis
I couldn’t live blog the second two groups as planned due to an impromptu TV appearance (seriously – and I have a face for blogging), but have since gone back and watched the workouts. Don’t forget, to see a full breakdown of every prospect’s measurement and work-out results, you can check out this database. Courtney Upshaw didn’t run the forty yard dash, although that is understandable. He was never likely to compete with Melvin Ingram in terms of straight line speed and only stood to negate his stock by running a slower forty time.
There were several headline makers in groups 8 & 9. Dontari Poe ran an official 4.81 forty despite weighing 345lbs – one of the more sensational combine performances in recent memory. To compare, Alameda Ta’amu ran a 5.34 despite weighing just 3lbs more. Elite nose tackle prospects are like gold dust and this will almost certainly push Poe into top-15 contention, if not top ten. It’ll be of huge benefit to the Seahawks if Poe begins to interest teams such as Miami, Carolina and Kansas City. Poe and Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox did more than most prospects to boost their profile this week. Devon Still ran a 5.03 and didn’t look quite as explosive – his stock could drift back into the late first round or even early second. Plenty of fans are asking about the possibility of Seattle drafting one of these impressive interior defensive lineman – but I think it’s very unlikely. The Seahawks are zoned in on edge rushers this year and should be able to get one of the ‘big three’ at their position. A strong second tier will make life easier if they take another player – such as Trent Richardson – in round one.
Whitney Mercilus needed to prove athletic ability matched production and he achieved that with a blistering 1.56 10-yard split and an official 4.63 forty. USC’s Nick Perry continued his momentum drive by running an excellent 4.50 with a 1.57 split. Perry, Mercilus and Andre Branch should see their stock improve to solid first round grades as the defensive end class grows and becomes one of the stronger areas of this draft.
Two linebackers boosted their stock in a big way by running well. Tremendous run-stopper and physical force Dont’a Hightower showed he can also moved with a 4.62 forty that could push him into mid-first round contention. Luke Kuechly managed a 4.58 which will have a big-time impact on his stock. A tackling machine at Boston College, there were some questions as to whether he was an overachiever without elite tools. Now he’s shown he has size (242lbs), speed and leadership – he could be a target for teams like Kansas City, Philadelphia and Dallas. Zach Brown managed a 4.50 forty, with Lavonte David recording a 4.65.
Day five links
Tony Pauline lists Doug Martin among the players to boost their stock this week. Pauline: “Martin continues to impress scouts and move North on draft boards. His 28 reps on the bench tied Robert Turbin for the most by any running back. Martin’s 40 time of 4.53 seconds was faster than expected. Later in the day he looked polish in all the drills.”
Pauline says yesterday was a bad day for Dwight Jones, but a good day for Michigan State’s Keshawn Martin. I like both receivers – you could be looking at two major steals on days 2-3. Pauline: “Jones ran an adequate time of 4.53 seconds in the 40 yet his other marks including a broad jump of 9 feet, 1 inch and vertical jump of 33 inches, were pedestrian. Jones struggled through the pass-catching workout and dropped several easy throws besides running poor routes.”
Pauline also claims teams are contemplating a change of position for Iowa’s Riley Reiff, a move that could severely damage his draft stock. Pauline: ”We’ve been told a number of teams have moved Reiff from offensive tackle to guard on their draft boards.”
Matt Smith and Bucky Brooks conduct an interview with Brock Osweiler that almost had a ‘rehearsed’ feel to it. I’m a fan of Osweiler’s, but this video reminded me of my last job interview. Admittedly – this is a job interview for the former ASU quarterback. However, I get the sense that sometimes prospects can try a little too hard to impress.
Smith and Brooks also spoke with Kirk Cousins in an interview which was almost the polar opposite. Cousins is a natural public speaker who exudes confidence in his interviews. Alongside a very solid work out in Indianapolis, it wouldn’t surprise me if he impressed just as much in the meeting rooms. Cousins could easily go as high as round two in April.
Russ Lande believes Kirk Cousins could’ve pushed his stock into the late first or early second round. Lande: “After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Cousins could not have helped himself any more than he did Sunday. He may have put himself in position to be considered by a team looking for a young, developmental quarterback at the end of the first round or top of the second.”
Evan Silva reports that teams could be striking Janoris Jenkins off their draft board. Silva: “One AFC executive told Yahoo Sports that he expects at least a handful of teams to remove North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins from their draft boards due to off-field issues. Jenkins has been arrested three times, was suspended at North Alabama even after being kicked out of the University of Florida, has four children under the age of four, and had an admitted ongoing drug problem as recently as a year ago. “We haven’t decided what to do with him,” said the AFC exec. “We might take him off our board. I know there will be 3-4 teams that will take him off right away, at least for the first round.” Said one NFC executive, “I know this movie. It usually doesn’t end well.” Added an AFC defensive coordinator.”