Scouting combine day six

February 28th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

This is an open thread to discuss the final day of the combine where the defensive backs will perform. The Seahawks are unlikely to be too active with this group considering the talent they have at both safety and corner, but they may look for further depth in the later rounds. I’ll review the numbers when they’re in and provide a breakdown.

Just how well Morris Claiborne works out could be crucial for the Seahawks. Cleveland (if they don’t win the RGIII trade-stakes) and Tampa Bay may see him as an alternative to Trent Richardson – who would be an option for Seattle if he drops out of the top ten. Jacksonville could select Claiborne instead of a top-tier edge rusher – Seattle’s preferred pick at #12. I’m also interested to see how Dre Kirkpatrick performs – a player I’m not overly enamoured with who struggles in coverage and offers more value in run support. Janoris Jenkins’ off-field problems have dominated his projection, he’ll have to explode in drills to rescue his stock.

Select forty yard dash times

Morris Claiborne (LSU): 4.54 & 4.47
Cliff Harris (Oregon): 4.59 & 4.65
Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina): 4.44 & 4.47
Jamell Fleming (Oklahoma): 4.43 & 4.45
Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska): 4.51 & 4.60
Dwight Bentley (Louisiana-Lafayette): 4.37 & 4.41
Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama): 4.44 & 4.50
George Iloka (Boise State): 4.59 & 4.62
Jayron Hosley (Virginia Tech): 4.38 & 4.44
Casey Hayward (Vanderbilt): 4.53 & 4.60
Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama): 4.43 & 4.53

Janoris Jenkins ran a 1.47 10-yard split and showed well overall. Jayron Hosley and Stephon Gilmore also took advantage of the opportunity to impress. Hosley in particular is a bit of a risk taker, but has the speed and playmaking qualities to be a star at the next level. Tony Pauline says talk at the combine suggests Tampa Bay will draft Morris Claiborne with the #5 pick.

A few people have asked about Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly after he ran an impressive forty yard dash yesterday and flashed enough athleticism to warrant serious talk as a top-20 pick. He ranked 3rd among linebackers in the 20-yard shuttle and vertical, 4th in the 3-cone drill and 5th in the broad jump – all after running a 4.58. John Clayton mentioned on ESPN 710 yesterday that there’s a chance David Hawthorne could leave Seattle in free agency, creating a potential hole at middle linebacker. Following Leroy Hill’s latest arrest for drug possession yesterday, the Seahawks are faced with losing two starters in one area of the roster. Only second-year KJ Wright is slated to return at this stage, a situation that could make linebacker a priority during the off-season (if it wasn’t already). The defense already has enough issues with it’s impotent pass rush without another position gatecrashing the party.

Kuechly will likely be your classic safe, impact draft pick. Many people expected Aaron Curry to fit that mantra, but Kueckly’s skill set is completely different. A fine athletic showing in Indianapolis this week was seen as a bonus alongside raw tackling ability, a nose for the ball, field IQ and leadership. Unlike Curry, Kuechly isn’t going to make mental mistakes by the dozen ad collect penalties like baseball cards. He’s the type of player you plug in for week one and let him get to work. Size concerns are in the past after he turned up to the combine above the 240lbs mark and he held the extra weight well during work-outs.

However, I still think he’s an unlikely pick for the Seahawks. Middle linebacker is not a position that has traditionally required top-level draft investment – Seattle has seen that with the way they’ve been able to plug in David Hawthorne (a former UDFA). This front office has also shown a good eye for the position - finding KJ Wright in the middle rounds and finding a 7th round diamond in Malcolm Smith. There will undoubtedly be opportunities to fill holes with a modest outlay – either a mid-round pick or calculated free-agency pick-up at linebacker. Kuechly isn’t going to offer any pass-rushing quality, therefore he won’t be improving Seattle’s target area this year. His presence won’t significantly improve the team from their 2011 performance and although he’s clearly a fine football player – I suspect the Seahawks want more of an impact.

I’ve included Kuechly’s tape vs Clemson below, courtesy of JMPasq:

Day six links

Adam Schefter reports that St. Louis has decided to trade the #2 overall pick to a team intending to draft Robert Griffin III. That team is likely to be Cleveland or Washington, with Miami ranked as an outsider. Schefter: “Among the teams Griffin interviewed with in Indianapolis were Miami, Washington, Minnesota and Kansas City. He said all went well, including his talk with Indianapolis executives trying to decide what to do with Manning and that top pick.”

Mike Mayock runs through who impressed during yesterday’s drills. Like most other people – Mayock really liked the way Dontari Poe performed and highlighted the elite mobility he flashed during his work-out.

Michael Lombardi complimented Melvin Ingram and his versatility. He did play down the fact Ingram had the shortest arms among defensive lineman and although a 4.78 forty was fine, it wasn’t the kind of explosive number that could’ve cemented his place in the top-15.

Lombardi also provides a top-ten mock with the Redskins trading up to get Robert Griffin III. Two of the top-tier pass rushers are off the board – Ingram at #8 and Quinton Coples at #10. With Kansas City unlikely to draft him, this would be a very good situation for the Seahawks with ideal-pick Courtney Upshaw still on the board.

Tony Pauline liked what he saw from the defensive lineman and shows how deep this year’s class is by highlighting so many prospects as ‘risers’. Devon Still wasn’t quite as impressive, according to Pauline: “Still struggled throughout his entire workout. His 5.05-second 40 time paled when compared to many of the top defensive tackles at the combine. Still looked stiff in drills and struggled with his balance throughout the session.”

Pauline also enjoyed watching the linebackers work-out, including North Carolina’s Zach Brown. Pauline: “Brown was quick in the 40, timing as fast as 4.45 seconds on a number of watches after tipping the scales at 244 pounds. He flashed ability during drills, but seemed stiff and off balance at times. Despite that, the size/speed ratio and his game film make Brown a Top 25 choice.”

Steve Muench wasn’t too impressed with the Alabama pair of Courtney Upshaw and Dont’a Hightower, but he still believes they will be effective at the next level. Muench: “A pair of Alabama linebackers didn’t look great in space, so they aren’t great fits for schemes that ask a lot of their linebackers in space. However, Courtney Upshaw (6-2, 272) and Dont’a Hightower(6-2, 265) are excellent fits for a base 3-4 scheme – Upshaw at outside linebacker and Hightower at inside linebacker. In addition, Upshaw could even line up at end in a four-man front, so don’t expect their average showing in drills to hurt them too much.”

Muench also praised Dontari Poe for his display, but voiced concerns about Devon Still. Muench: “Memphis DT Dontari Poe ran a 4.98 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3½ and 346 pounds, and he shined during position specific drills. Poe showed exceptional lateral quickness and balance for a player his size during bag work, and given his 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, he’s helped himself as much anyone else with his showing in Indianapolis. Penn State DT Devon Still, on the other hand, did not have a great day. Still looked sluggish changing directions and struggled to bend when asked to slap lower bags while sliding laterally.”

84 Responses to “Scouting combine day six”

  1. Rugby Lock says:

    I for one would not be disappointed if we drafted Kuechly… Kid has great instincts and IQ. Would vastly prefer him over Brown.

  2. John says:

    I really hope we can get a pair of LBs this draft. Hopefully another KJ, because Hill’s newest arrest and Hawthorne’ s knees make me want to move on.

  3. Doug says:

    I would PUKE if we took Brown, in fact, I would push bamboo shoots up under my fingernails. Aint gunna happen.

    I would be happy with Ingram, Upshaw, Poe, Coples, Richardson, Kuechley, Dre K, ..

    We really can’t lose at this point

  4. Hoberk Unce says:

    It seems that if Upshaw and Kuechly are both on the board at 12, the Seahawks FO may look down the draft board to figure out which player offers a greater significant improvement over players potentially available in the middle rounds. My queston for Rob is this: Is there enough depth at DE or MLB to get an impact, mid-round ‘diamond’ at either position? Because if the Seahawks FO thinks they can get a quality DE or MLB guy later, that would be a good indicator about their thinking with the 12 pick.

    IMHO, I’d like to see the Seahawks pick Kuechly and sign Mario Williams.

  5. Rob says:

    Hoberk Unce – If Upshaw is there at #12, it’s almost certain he’ll be the pick. That’s how I see it. Really the team are fully focused on DE’s and not getting cute on the depth to look at other areas. They are targeting positions here, as they’ve done the previous two drafts – value but at positions they want to improve. This year the focus is DE.

  6. MrCysco says:

    Hey Rob, Great coverage thus far (as usual)

    I was just curios how big of a drop off in talent there is between Upshaw and Nick Perry. Perry and a few other “B-level” DE prospects seemed to have pretty good showings. Does the depth at DE in the draft give PCJS the flexibility to go BPA at #12?

    Specifically I was thinking about these two DE/RB scenarios. Which would be considered the better draft?:

    1. T Richardson @ #12 and Nick Perry @ # 42
    or
    2. Upshaw @ #12 and D. Martin @ #42

    Is it April yet!?

    Cysco

  7. Me Ne Frego says:

    At this point I’m starting to really like Kirkpatrick, Kuechly, Ingram or DeCastro for the Hawks, that is if Tannehill isn’t available.

  8. Rob says:

    Cysco – great question. First of all, I think Trent Richardson is going to be a star. The type of guy who’s jersey you’d see regularly outside of Seattle. It’s hard not to want to be the team that drafts that player, even if there are bigger needs. At the same time, I also believe Courtney Upshaw is an elite prospect who will be a stud for many years. Doug Martin is a fine running back who could be the next Ray Rice – so really you can’t go wrong with either scenario. Upshaw and Richardson are unlikely to both be at #12, so the decision will be made for Seattle I think. What I will say about Perry is the tape doesn’t match the pure explosive numbers he’s put up at the combine. So while there’s a ton of potential there, I’m a little dubious relying on him to solve the problem of the pass rush. Really, you can’t go wrong with Richardson or Upshaw.

  9. Rugby Lock says:

    Just read that Peter King hears that Seattle really likes Tannehill and Osweiler so I would think that they will pick one or the other with their 1st or second. 12 is too high for Tannehill but if they can’t trade down a few spots and the really like him as is reported, then they may be forced to as he wont last past 20. Rob/Kip, has your source said anything about what King mentioned?

  10. Rob says:

    I’ve not heard anything about either quarterback as in what their view is of the player or whether they would draft him. I have heard that they’re not interested in Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning and King’s piece said Tannehill/Osweiler if they can’t get Flynn/Manning. So considering 50% of it is contradicting what I’m told, I have a tough time believing the other 50%. What I have been told is not to expect a QB drafted in the first three rounds.

  11. Christian says:

    I dunno I really like Fletcher Cox, and Mychal Kendricks.
    Here is tape of Kendricks vs USC:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx6M5D0RRUo

    and vs Stanford:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_xcgBLTrtY

    He looks like just the sort of search and destroy linebacker I like, and if we re-sign Hawthorne, would love to see Wright, Hawthorne, and Kendricks/Smith LB Corp.

    As for Cox tape
    Cox vs Alabama
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knp2RT5Ijsk
    Cox vs South Carolina
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyd8kpQVz0w

    Looks like his biggest supporter Warren Sapp too me, would love him at 3-tech.

  12. Tom T. says:

    I remember Clay Matthews had great workouts that helped his draft stock, but I don’t remember how his game tape looked. I’m just trying to see how Perry stacks up agains Matthews based on these workouts.

  13. andy says:

    “This year the focus is DE.” From your sources/info is this pick intended to be a LEO to replace Clemons eventually or a bigger guy to play 5tech or a 3rd down only rush specialist? (replace Brock) I still can’t help not thinking a more disruptive/penetrating 3 tech tackle that can play all 3 downs would be more beneficial. They could slide Alan Branch to 5tech and gain pass rush there also over what Big Red gives you….. Would love to hear in this scenario who you guys think may be available at #12 or #42 that could fit that disruptive 3 tech type guy?

  14. AlaskaHawk says:

    Poe or Cox could provide that strong DT role. I’m not impressed by Brockers.
    I would favor Ingram, Upshaw, or Branch for DE.
    At least one of the guys in each position will be available at our pick.
    But if Trent Richardson falls to us, we should take him.

  15. Misfit74 says:

    Re Powe:

    “One veteran offensive line coach who faced Memphis NT Dontari Poe in college says Poe showed first-round talent in Conference USA, but had a suspect motor.
    “He’s probably the best talent I’ve seen in several years,” the coach said. “He took plays off and wasn’t a great effort guy, but he is a freakish talent. He took off more than most. He did get better last year than he was the year before. He just was never that productive, but I heard they didn’t require him to do that much. He was definitely someone I took into account with schemes. … I’m not at all surprised to hear that he’s blowing up at the Combine.”

  16. Hawkfan says:

    Hey Rob,

    If we end up drafting DE with the 12th pick, do you think this player will replace Clemons at the LEO spot? I don’t think there is much value in our pick if we bring in a guy to rush opposite of Clemons on passing downs. If we are using a high draft pick like #12, I would like to see it on a impact player that will be on the field for most of the time. Do you think that guys like Ingram or Upshaw could play SAM for us, then move to DE on passing downs? Kuechly looks like a guy that would stay on the field on all downs and keep Wright at SAM where FO likes him.

  17. Ryan says:

    No QB in the first three rounds prett much strikes out Osweiler, Tannehill, and Cousins, and puts us in the territory of Davis or Harnish.

  18. AlaskaHawk says:

    With all due respect to our current line they are stong when the play comes to them, but don’t have the speed or stamina to chase anyone down. Just about any first round DE or DT will be an upgrade. In fact I prefer we choose two – and I’m not real worried about who it is or where they play.

    Is anyone watching the DBs? I’m curious about who we can pick in the later rounds.

  19. Norm M says:

    With RG III’s strong workout and interviews and St. Louis taking bids on the second pick of the draft I am curious on your take on which team would benefit the Seahawks the most by moving up. The teams mentioned as most likely to make a move up are Cleveland, Miami, and Washington. Which of those teams would be looking at a DE such as Upshaw if they did not move up? In my mind, Cleveland and Washington are looking offence with Miami being the most likely to go for a DE. So to help us, should we be hoping Miami moves up? This is assuming that St. Louis would be looking to upgrade at WR. I would have to agree with Alaska hawk in that Seattle should look at what ever d-line player will provide improved pass rush, either from the interior or at the end.

    Rob, as you mentioned a while back, picking a pass rushing d lineman with both the first and second round picks might make sense as well. With a deep pool of talented RB’s it would seem like we could find a Lynch back up with our third pick. I would be shocked and disappointed if Seattle decided to pick a LB at 12 with the proven ability to find talent at that position in the mid rounds and UDFA.

  20. David says:

    hey Rob,

    With the Recent talk of Leroy hill being in trouble and the possibility of Hawthorne leaving

    do you see the hawks addressing LB in the draft or FA? and if its in the draft do you see the Hawks maybe going after a A. Davis or D. Thomas for our QB pick if we use early pick on the LB and DE position? and one more, how high are you on A. Davis and D. Thomas for the Hawks after their Combine showing?

    I Dont know if that makes sense but im hoping you can answer, have a good day.

  21. AlaskaHawk says:

    Yahoo just posted an article about the NFL Combine – DBs. Some good reading there.

  22. SHawn says:

    Josh Robinson in the 4th could backup ET. Has the speed and ball skills to play deep safety.

    George Iloka in the 3rd could backup Bam Bam. Great height weight speed combo and an excellent tackler.

  23. AlaskaHawk says:

    Also an interesting rumor that Allen Bradford will be converted to Linebacker. That would fill one position if he works out. Just leaves one more for the draft.

    I wouldn’t mind picking DL, LB, RB, QB, CB, WR in that order.

  24. Ox Canard says:

    Just to be contrary-

    Richardson: “it’s almost never a good idea to spend a high draft pick on a running back”. CBS Draft Scout.

    Big 3 edge rushers: All three have limitations like a nickel head (Coples); short & slow (Upshaw); small (Ingram). Mayock likes the DT’s says 5-6 could go in first round. Isn’t there a one gap 3-tech in that bunch? He doesn’t like the DE’s.

    All of the above could be gone by 12 anyway.

    Drafting a LB in round one would be a waste. Sad, bad LeRoy Hill will be back because he’s a bad ass. We like bad asses especially if they work cheap like Leroy will.

    If the Seahawks really like Tannehill or Osweiler then take one in the first. By the time of the draft, second tier QB’s will be inflated to R 1 value anyway.

    Thanks for the great work Rob & Kip.

  25. SHawn says:

    I can’t remember where I heard it, but we could be looking at signing Larry Grant from SF to take over for Hawthorne if we decide not to trust his knees. That would take Kuechly out of the conversation entirely.

  26. David says:

    haha Alaska Hawk- i was just on Fieldgulls and saw you asking that, just thought it was funny

    and i believe it was confirmed last year that he can play LB aswell as RB and thats why the Hawks picked him up for LB depth last year.

  27. David says:

    Shawn- I think i saw that on Mynorthwest.com, and he did well filling in for Willis so i wouldnt be appose to it.

    theres also Dan Connor who played for the Panthers and then theres always trying to get Stephen Tulloch again.

  28. SHawn says:

    Trade Clemons for a early-mid rd pick (2 or 3)
    Trade Gallery for a mid rd pick (3 or 4)
    Trade Trufant for a mid rd pick (4 or 5)
    Trade Leon for a late rd pick (5 or 6)

    All of a sudden we have 10 picks this year, without trading down once. Maybe it could be other guys, but these are who I see as expendable.

    I know Clem is pretty much our entire pass rush, but he is gonna decline in a year or two (or this year!), and then we won’t get any value out of trading him. After two straight 11 sack seasons, he should bring us at least a 3rd rd pick, maybe a 2nd rd, and if there is someone on our board that we really like at that spot, and if we already drafted Clem’s replacement in rd 1, it seems to make sense from a business POV to make the move.

    Everyone else on the list under performed last year (or not at all), and we already have replacements in place (Sherman, Baldwin, Carpenter/McQuistan/Jeanpierre).

  29. david says:

    I dont like the thought of trading Clemons, like you said hes our only pass rush and i dont like the idea of trading him away, but i see Tru being expendable even Obo or one of our TE’s.

  30. david says:

    wait, isnt trufant a FA?

  31. Smeghead says:

    I think Larry Grant is an RFA which i’m not interested in messing with personally.
    Add Curtis Lofton to the FA ILB list who could replace Hawthorne.

    I think Hill and Hawthorne won’t be back but I suppose Heater has a chance to be brought back if he isn’t asking for too much money.

    I think we ride Clemons out for one the last year of his deal and move on after that.

    I don’t think Tru is a FA and I believe is due a hefty amount of cash. I bet he will be cut or restructure at best…

  32. Smeghead says:

    what about this guy as a replacement for Hill? I know nothing about him…

    Ahmad Brooks, DE/OLB, 49ers. Age: 28.

    Ahmad Brooks has developed into a potent pass-rusher. He had seven sacks in 2011, but could have had a few more, as he was unlucky in certain situations.

  33. Smeghead says:

    Nevermind – Ahmad Brooks just resigned with the Niners for six more years…

  34. Rob says:

    Andy – I’m not sure it’s any of those things. I think they want a pure pass rusher to use in many different looks. The one thing Coples/Ingram/Upshaw all have in common is experience dipping inside to rush the passer. They’ve all rushed the edge. Two have experience – albeit limited – in coverage. They’d be used in many different ways – with different looks to keep teams guessing. So it’s hard to say whether they’d be LEO’s or whatever years down the line. I’m not sure there’s a disruptive three-technique in the first two rounds of this draft.

    Hawkfan – same answer really. I think the LEO is really specialist and it may be that the bona fide starter there always has a certain skill set. The guy at #12 will be used from day one to provide balance, to keep teams off guard by appearing all over the line. When Clemons leaves he’ll probably be replaced by the next Chris Clemons – the idea at #12 is to add to the pass rush not plan for the future or eventually replace anyone.

    Norm – Undoubtedly it would help if Miami moves up, but I suspect that won’t happen. With Washington and Cleveland it’s really much of a muchness.

    David – I definitely think they’ll draft a linebacker in the first four rounds. Running back and defensive will definitely be taken early.

    Shawn – Those trades look a bit Madden 12 to be honest.

  35. Thomas says:

    This quote was from a SI article

    “It’s the most unusual year I’ve seen,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “You’ve got good college players, potentially good free agents. You’ve even got a baseball player. And don’t forget the big kid, [Arizona State's 6'6" Brock] Osweiler. He’s really interesting.”

  36. David says:

    Rob, what do you think of the current young Pass rushers on the seahawks like

    Levingston and Pierre Allen? I remember somebody last off season said to keep an eye on Pierre Allen.

  37. andy says:

    From CBS “on Dontari Poe………, coaches and coordinators from 4-3 teams were intrigued by putting him in the inside of their line.

    “The guy is pretty rare,” said Seattle coordinator Gus Bradley”
    Could he be an option at #12 and play some 3 tech?
    Imagine the Hawks starting front 4 being Clemons, Mebane, Poe and Branch. (if Big Red is re-signed throw him into the rotation too) Lotsa luck running against us!!! They could still pick up the edge rusher/LB in rounds 2 or 3.

  38. AlaskaHawk says:

    I wouldn’t mind if they picked up Poe in the first and a DE in the second round. Not sure who will be left, maybe Cam Johnson or Chandler Jones. We would still need a LB in the third.

  39. Colin says:

    Why is everybody in a big huff to get rid of our current defensive tackles for guys who aren’t going to produce anymore? Remember when we got Red Bryant, he was supposed to be the guy who was big and fast and play inside…. yea that didn’t work. Our tackles are fine.

  40. MLT says:

    My best guess after the combine and before pro days and personal visits I would think its either upshaw or ingram. My question is this rob, could we trade down if upshaw is gone to say 15-20 range and still get ingram? If so what do you think we could get xtra from a trade like that? 3rd, 4th rounder?

  41. FWBrodie says:

    I really don’t understand the interest from Seahawks fans in Poe. I mean great combine, but Mebane and Branch are better defensive tackles. Why would the Hawks be interested? Hope someone before us falls for the combine warrior and let the football players fall to the Hawks. He’s nowhere near the player Phil Taylor was in college and Taylor went 21 to Cleveland. Poe isn’t even in the ballpark of Taylor. I don’t see it. You can’t bench press you’re way to being good at football. Don’t confuse Poe with the freaks of the past who had the tape to back up the workout long before the combine. He’s not very good. Slow get offs, off balance, poor nose for the ball, plays WAY too high. Yeah, worth a chance at some point to try to harness the specimen, but I’d much rather draft a player that was good at football in college than good at working out.

  42. Rob says:

    David – I quite like Allen and Pep Livingston looked like he had potential. Two guys to monitor in camp, but still a way away from being impact players in the NFL.

    Andy – He’d surely be the first 345lbs three-technique. At least the first I’ve seen. The Seahawks need a pass rusher and while Poe is a pretty rare athlete, he’s no history of rushing the passer in college. He’s a size guy with nose tackle potential, and Seattle has enough big bodies.

    MLT – I think if Coples, Upshaw, Ingram or Richardson are there at #12, the Seahawks won’t get cute by moving down. I’m pretty sure Seattle will just spend its pick this year.

  43. MLT says:

    Yeah I guess I’m just in dream mode hoping we get xtra picks and still get a premier rusher @ a lesser pick! Would be sweet but I think your right! Although I do disagree with richardson I just don’t like him @ 12 for us. Is he worth it yes but do we absolutly need him no. Plus if richardson is still there teams will surely pay a lot to trade with us. In my opinion he is the type that teams would trade a future 1st rounder for which would be a steal for us. I don’t know just a thought but me personally am not high on richardson he wasn’t even the best back in sec before lattimore got hurt. I would much rather get an xtra 2nd or future 1st rounder then him! And teams will pay that I’m almost sure of.

  44. Misfit74 says:

    Personally, I’m pretty happy with our 3 DLs in Mebane, Branch, and Bryant. I’m also very happy with Clemons.

    I think Larry Grant would play SAM or WIL, not in the middle. Grant, though less-likely as I’m now reminded he’s been recently correctly id’d as a RFA rather than UFA. We could certainly draft Kuchley to play MLB and keep Wright at one other spot. I’m not sure if we’ll retain Heater, though we should. If not we’d have to add two LBs as I don’t expect Hill to return and would miss 1/4 the season, minimum, even if he was re-signed. Still, I think LBs can be found throughout the draft and am not thrilled with adding one or more in the early rounds.

    It should be noted that talk is heading up regarding Mario Williams to Seattle. Clayton had this to say:
    ——
    Mario Williams – LB – Texans
    ESPN’s John Clayton passes along Combine buzz that NFC West teams believe the Seahawks will be one of the primary suitors for free agent OLB/DE Mario Williams.
    Clayton personally asked coach Pete Carroll if he would consider pursuing a high-end defensive end such as Williams or Robert Mathis. After much hemming and hawing, the answer ultimately came back “Yes.” While the Seahawks still have to devote money toward re-signing Marshawn Lynch and DT Red Bryant, Clayton believes they will have enough cap room to make Williams the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player.
    ——-

    Something like that could do wonders for our defense, as Mario could play Leo or traditional 43 DE depending on matchups or utilizing different looks. That would certainly boost the pass-rush immensely.

    If we did sign Mario in FA, then perhaps our sights are on Tannehill, RB, WR, LB, or other position. Has me pretty excited to think about all the changes that could happen. At the same time, if we address arguably our #1 ‘need’ we could be using our pick or picks for something else…

  45. MLT says:

    Misfit love the idea! I do think if we get mario williams they would still target upshaw or someone else @ linebacker though! Or trade and get more picks seems we already took care of our 1st need in fa! whew imagine wwilliams and upshaw added to this defense! them 40 whiners better be scared they all the sudden don’t have the best d in the west or nfl!! Hawks all the way boys..

  46. AlaskaHawk says:

    Williams and Upshaw would be great! But will we still have enough money for Peyton Manning and his two best receivers??? :-)

  47. Randy says:

    On Kuechly:

    I have to admit, I haven’t watched much of Kuechly, other than the gametape posted above, but I wasn’t impressed. I am not a professional scout by any means, but there were plenty of times he either got beat on a throw, got washed out of the play, or otherwise was a step slow. Seems like the only reason he got tackles was because the ball was run right at him. Or when he did make a tackle it was 5-10 yards downfield.

    Am I just wrong, and that’s why Kuechly is rated so highly? Was that just a bad game?

  48. MLT says:

    Highly unlikly we get williams and peyton. Williams is younger and will be here for 5-7 more years. Peyton is aging, I don’t deny he has talent still left but is he really worth a kings ransom on your payroll over a young premier pass rusher in his prime and proven?

  49. JoeV says:

    Randy, i dont know where i read it but BC’s D is designed to funnel everything to the MLB. Hence his high tackle #’s. I agree with him being overrated, but he’s still pretty good odviously.

    I agree with christen (at the top) about kendricks. He has a knack for slicing through defenders and can turn on the speed to close on the ball carrier or QB. I’m pretty sure he meets the definition of “More speed at LB” for PC. Its hard to invision Seattle going OLB in Rnd 1 and then MLB in Rnd 2 though. But i guess they did it with the OL last year.

  50. Dave says:

    Randy- I’ve been sayin it for months now, you are spot on. Most overrated player in this draft to me by far. I think he will be a solid MLB if he plays behind a decent DL. But if a team is taking him with the expectations of becoming an Urlacher or Willis type they are going to be very disappointed. He will probably put up over 100 tackles a year, but that stat doesn’t mean a thing to me if they are coming 5 plus yards downfield like the majority of his tackles in college.

  51. Rob says:

    Seattle’s priority in free agency is going to be keeping their own (eg Lynch, Bryant and probably Hawthorne). We’ll see what happens with Williams, but I would be shocked and stunned if he signs with the Seahawks. Houston have to make sure he stays right where he is. Worth remembering though that as good as Mario Williams is he’s ended the last two seasons on IR.

  52. Phil says:

    Whenever my mind starts to wander to Richardson as our pick at #12, I go back to this stat.

    IN THE 2 GAMES LAST YEAR vs. SF, THE 49ers HAD 9 SACKS AND THE SEAHAWKS HAD 2.

    This tells it all — we need a better pass rush and a QB who can throw the ball away when appropriate.

    The way to the Seahawks future leads through SF. If we can’t beat them regularly, then I see us mired in mediocrity.

  53. Rob says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Phil. And that’s why the Seahawks will target a DE early in the draft and almost certainly an upgrade/competition at quarterback when the free agency/trade market re-opens.

  54. Scott says:

    @Phil. Trent Richardson has never been sacked.
    Sorry. It had to be done. Seriously, though, it has been pointed out that the top 3 pass rushers all have serious question marks. Richardson does not. If we want pass rushers with question marks, we can find them later in the draft.

  55. MrCysco says:

    The way things are shaping up, it looks like a legit possibility that Richardson could be there at 12. Luckily for us, free agency takes place before the draft. I can see the luxury of going best player available at #12 as being appealing to PCJS. Perhaps that’s at the heart of the Mario Williams rumors. If Pass rush is priority #1 this off season, solve it with the best possible option available and draft the best football player available to you at 12 regardless of position. (Richardson/Upshaw/Poe/Brown/etc.)

    Rob, if you get a chance, could you give us the Cliff Notes version of how/if Williams could fit under the Seahawk’s cap? I’ve heard conflicting things about whether they could afford him or not.

    Cysco

  56. Morgan says:

    Leroy Hill will probably remain unsigned by any team until after his suspension and maybe, depending on how the LB rotation is looking, maybe we look at him then. Carrol says Wright can play inside but prefers him outside. Heater was hobbled by injury last year but if he checks out medically I think he’s back with us. When healthy, the guy is pretty darn good.

    Malcolm Smith has speed to burn, I just don’t know how he’s developing as a player. If he’s ST or situational-only, we have a hole at OLB. A hole I still feel can be immediately filled with a 4th-round (maybe even later) selection of SDSU LB Miles Burris…but probably warrants stronger attention.

    At DE I read a piece yesterday about Jax UFA DE Jeremy Mincey. Not a sexy acquisition to be sure but a steady one and more cap-friendly than Mario Williams. I’d prefer Mario myself as I think he’s dynamic enough to be moved around to make mismatches and dramatically improve our pass rush.

  57. Jeff M. says:

    Dreaming about adding both what this defense could look like if we added both Williams and Upshaw…could put all kinds of looks on the field with their versatility.

    We could go with a heavy under front with Williams-Branch-Mebane-Bryant and Upshaw at SAM, and we’d improve both in pass rush and against the run at LEO and SAM.

    Then we could stay in the under but kick Williams inside replacing Branch to be that premiere 3-tech pass rusher (he hasn’t really played this role before, but he has the size and could truly dominate one-on-one against guards…) and put Clemons back at LEO to get three strong pass rushers on the field.

    We’d also have the ability to go with a more conventional base 4-3 look with Upshaw/Clemons-Mebane-Bryant/Branch-Williams, and finally in obvious passing situations with our Nickel/Dime on the field we could go Clemons-Mebane-Williams-Upshaw.

    I’m sure the coaching staff could come up with other ways to use them, but basically I’d love to see what they could do with a couple more big, fast, athletic, versatile pieces to move around and create mismatches with.

  58. AlaskaHawk says:

    I liked Upshaw, but after that combine he needs to have a good showing at pro day. He didn’t even participate in half the events.

    Branch might be a safer option. And of course Ingram or Coples if they fall to us.

  59. Smeghead says:

    @ Morgan – I’m definately curious what they think of Malcolm Smith and whether or not he could fill the WILL role likely vacated by Hill or if like you suggest he is just ST type guy. I remember PC saying they prefer Wright at the SAM spot and if that is the case I hope they don’t move him over to the middle if at all possible… Either resign Heater or draft the replacement…

  60. Brad Q says:

    If we sign Mario Williams then I don’t see room for big Red unless they decide to move him inside. Then you have Clemons and Mario as book ends with a Mebane/Branch/Big Red rotation at DT.

    Both Clemons and Mario would have to be on the field at the same time even on 1st/2nd downs. A solid SAM would complement Mario on the strong side so we don’t lose run support on the power side.

    If you want to play Upshaw, the only place for him is at the strong side outside linebacker, who could be used to rush from the 9 tech next to Mario at the 5-7 on passing downs.

    Now that would be a solid front with pass rush ability and stout against the run.

  61. Brad Q says:

    What events did Upshaw particpate in? He’s a good football player and that’s what matters most over combine events but I know he would’ve bombed on the 40, 3 cone and shuttle because he’s not quick or flexible.

    What do fans see in multiple game tape on an outstanding bama defense that makes Upshaw look like an NFL superstar and guy we need at #12.

    I don’t see it. I don’t see quickness for a pass rush. I don’t see the flexible turn and burn hips to cover any tight ends or turn the corner on a RT. I don’t see a guy that can play in space.

    What I do see is a guy with good football instincts at the line of scrimmage to contain run support to the strong side. I see a tough football player who would be a solid piece but in our D, but strong side LB’s can be had for a dime a dozen in mid rounds, not #12 in the draft.

    He doesn’t have the pass rush skills that our fans think he has. It’s a 1 trick pony bull rush.

    Please, someone try to refute my eye test. It’ll be difficult. I’ve watched guys like Upshaw for decades transition to the NFL = not worth the #12 pick for the Hawks. You can take that to the brinks truck. :-)

  62. Misfit74 says:

    Brad, I’m with you on many of your points. I think Mario can play a more traditional 43 DE, Leo, and some extra pass-rush on plays we either rest or are without Big Red. Mario proved he can play the 34 OLB pass-rush role, similar to our Leo. He also dominated a DE for the Texans before the scheme change.

    I’m exactly with you on Upshaw and the pass-rushers in general in this draft. All of them have flaws. Upshaw was showcased among an elite Alabama squad. He lacks length, size, and explosive speed around the edge. Players like him can be found in later rounds – perhaps better players for our scheme, too. Speed rushers seem to work and a 2nd-round guy like Irvin or Z.Brown could also be options. Branch intrigues as a later-pick, too. Bottom line is that I’m not sold on any pass-rusher in this draft as a ‘sure-fire lock top-10 to 15 pick’. Mario would solve our biggest need other than QB. And, according to Clayton and other reports we have the cap-room to make it happen.

    We should re-sign Red and Heater. After that I’m cool with axing guys like Big Mike. I’m not sure about Tru.

    Best Player Available is the way to go.

  63. Colin says:

    I don’t think Upshaw has to be the guy with the unbelievable rush talent to be successful. He isn’t going to be asked to play DE on every play; he’ll probably only be there in passing downs (what Saban did at Alabama). I’d love to have that guy blitzing from the weak side. He is a solid tackler, VERY assignment sound and has the ability to rush the passer. That’s what I find important. Rush. The. Passer.

  64. Smeghead says:

    I don’t think Upshaw will blow up the world, but maybe 8 sacks/year avg…. plus not be a liability in the run game… gotta love his attitude and toughness as well – seems to fit with our D

  65. Brad Q says:

    Rob, I’d be surprised if Houston re-signed Super Mario because of their cap and the fact that the way CBarwin and JJWatt added rush and their move to a 3-4 scheme, Mario is expensive for their scheme and strengths.

    If Mario can stay healthy, he’s a 4-3 DE (either side) and not the 3-4 olb that Houston had moved him to.

    If Mario can be lasso’d, I’d have less of a problem with Upshaw. Upshaw does bring some toughness and could support Mario on the strong side for run plays and bring some occasional blitz package.

    I would forecast Upshaw to be more of a 5 sack guy, if that. He’s not that long rangy athlete we had in Julian Peterson that you could move from weak to strong side and get some pass rush from all over the field.

    If we sign Mario then I could see settling on Upshaw at #12 as he’d bring that junkyard dog street fight mentality that Rob has talked about.

    If we don’t get a guy like Mario that would have flexibility to move from Leo to strong side and bring the heat, then I’d pass on Upshaw.

    We need the pass rusher and Upshaw is more solid tough run defender and less of what we need to win in this new era of NFL football, QB pressure on D.

  66. Misfit74 says:

    “The Cardinals have used fourth-round picks in back-to-back drafts on pass-rushing outside linebackers O’Brien Schofield [9] (2010) and Sam Acho [10] (2011), who combined for 11.5 quarterback sacks in 2011.” -FootballOutsiders.com

  67. Misfit74 says:

    Sporting News’ Russ Lande and NFL Network’s Charley Casserly both noted that Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw exhibited disappointing edge-rushing ability during field drills at the Scouting Combine.

    “I just didn’t see the explosion that you want to see from a pass rusher off the edge,” wrote Casserly. Added Lande, “(Upshaw) was upright and stiff in drops, could not flip his hips to change direction quickly and lacked the explosiveness and burst that NFL teams wanted to see.” Upshaw was a 3-4 outside linebacker at Alabama, but he may be ticketed for 4-3 left defensive end in the pros.” -Rotoworld / Sporting News 2-29-12

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-02-28/2012-nfl-scouting-combine-the-biggest-risers-and-fallers-in-indy

  68. Phil says:

    MrCysco – To me, Best Player Available has never made sense. It’s like going to Sears to buy a replacement dishwasher and coming home with a refrigerator. Your spouse says “Why did you buy a refrigerator when we are washing dishes by hand?” Your reply, “Because I got a really good deal.” So, you end up with 2 refrigerators, but you’re still washin’ the dishes.

  69. FWBrodie says:

    Heard a great comp for Courtney Upshaw. Bigger James Harrison.

  70. David says:

    Hey Rob. How do you feel about, Mychal Kendricks. Do you think we would look at him with our 2nd or 3rd round pick.

  71. Misfit74 says:

    Not only that, Brad et al, we could likely find a similar pass-rusher later in the draft the way the Cardinals did with Acho or Bengals did with Michael Johnson or Carlos Dunlap. I’m not sure that Upshaw represents a significant upgrade over some of the other, less-costly (in terms of draft capital) guys that can be had later. Upshaw doesn’t have an elite skillset and if you’re investing a #12 pick, the guy should be Jason Pierre Paul or Demarcus Ware.

  72. FWBrodie says:

    Classic combine foolishness. All the guy does is dominate the man in front of him on the football field and you throw all that out the window because you don’t like how he played against some cones and bags? That’s insane.

    32.5 TFL, 16.5 sacks, 6 FF in his last two seasons
    5 sacks against Auburn in two games, 3 on Newton
    12 tackles and 3 sacks in his last two bowl games
    13 tackles and 2 sacks in his last two games against LSU

    All he does is produce in big games against the best competition in the country.

    On a good defense, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, SF, Jets, you have your base of reliable players covering zones, filling lanes, and in man coverage, and then you have your weapons. These are guys that you send out on the field to chase the football and make plays, the guys that coordinators and quarterbacks fear. Earl Thomas is our guy in the back, Upshaw can be that guy up front. The dog the Seahawks unleash at the LOS that is going to take all kinds of energy and planning and personnel to stop, and when he does get to the ball he’s gonna take game-changing knockout shots. The dude is relentless.

    Pete Carroll himself said he’s a better player than Von Miller, allegedly. Add to that the nonstop praise by Nick Saban who clearly knows how to assess the value of a defensive player and Upshaw’s resume is elite. If Steve Jobs told you someone was the most creative programmer he’d ever employed you’d listen. Nick Saban doesn’t BS.

    How you can watch Upshaw play football and not fall in love with his game is beyond me. You can’t teach that mentality.

  73. MeatWad & a Fry says:

    Upshaw looks stiff. I know Pete and John will stay pat at 12, but if they can trade back a few slots and grab an extra pick that may behoove them to do so especially if they can grab a LB and a DE. I am concerned now that SF resigned Grant. SF is set in their front 7 and are scary good, and have some youth. Upgrades and depth Seattle is needing and lacking currently especially with two potential starters at LB may be MIA. The news this past week made me nervous. Then, I think about the offense and Seattle’s QB… FA signings and the draft need to happen so I don’t need to get some klonipin to relax.

  74. Smeghead says:

    thanks for those stats FW

  75. AlaskaHawk says:

    That’s a good point FWBrodie. He is more stiff then some, but clearly stronger. I was puzzled as to why he wouldn’t do the benchpress. I think it will boil down to pro day and individual team tryouts.

    As for the doubters. You don’t like Upshaw but you won’t say who we should get instead. Who is worthy of the #12 pick? Trent Richardson? Michael Floyd? An LB or CB?

  76. FWBrodie says:

    Another point I forgot to mention is that Courtney Upshaw was named defensive MVP of Alabama’s last two bowl games. Of all the talent they had in two dominant defensive performances, he stood out two years in a row as the most valuable player on the field.

  77. MLT says:

    Combine speed and game speed are 2 different things. Some guys just have a knack when its game time to use there speed when needed. Upshaw has that ability he may not be a workout warrior but he has huge heart, mean attitude, and just a knack for the game. Screw the combine workouts this kid could be the leader we need up front while earl runs the back end. If pc/js think he is that and with his skills how could you not want that @ 12? Plus he is young some of his flaws will be fixed with our coaching and he will be there for years to come.

  78. RJD says:

    FWBrodie is totally right on Upshaw. The guy is a big game “thumper”. Remember when we all fell in love with a combine freak by the name of Aaron Curry? Game tape is the most important evalution tool.

  79. Misfit74 says:

    There is no doubt Upshaw looked fantastic while at Alabama in college. He was a dominant force on a dominant defense. I’m not convinced he’ll be a dominant player at the NFL level. He could be the next James Harrison. I don’t claim to know and admittedly have my doubts. I did watch a few games of his this past season and was very impressed. For me it is hard to separate him as an individual among a great team and also to forecast how his college game might translate to the NFL, esp. in light of his poor ‘measurables’, including arm-length, height, and perceived explosiveness and fluidity. He doesn’t look the part of a speed-rusher that I probably prefer. It seems a lot of guys can power-rush but the explosive speed guys with excellent body-lean around the edge are more rare. I like Upshaw but I have questions. Obviously, as a passionate Seahawks fan, I was badly for the team to get this pick right.

  80. Rob says:

    Cysco – Sure I’ll work on that. Although I don’t expect Williams to be a free agent and just walking into the market for free. As weird as it sounds, I think if they want Williams Seattle might have to trade for him (aka – Houston franchise him knowing he’s leaving, he’s then traded to a team that agrees the contract and the price).

    Alaska – Always be cautious of making too many judgements on the combine. Branch had a better combine, but nobody thought he was a better player during the season.

    Brad (part 1) – as mentioned above, I think Houston will find a way to get something for the guy even if they’re losing him. You don’t let guys like Williams walk away. Houston could easily franchise the guy then trade him for a first round pick – essentially saying “sure – we expect you to leave and you can talk to whoever you want, but we’re getting compensation.” If Williams ends up staying put, you find a way to make it work. Stars rarely hit the free market for a reason. I can’t see Houston letting him wonder off for free.

    Misfit74 – That’s fine, because it gives him more chance of being there at #12. Tape wins out every time and for me, having watched Upshaw in double figure games now, I’m confident he will be able to rush the passer just fine.

    FWBrodie – Upshaw is a Pittsburgh football player who wont be playing in Pittsburgh. Harrison, Woodley – those guys aren’t conventional pass rushers but heck they do a fantastic job. Upshaw will be exactly the same. Bravo on the counter argument BTW. Completely agree with you.

    Brad (part 2) – I’m happy to debate with anyone, but I can’t tolerate statements like, “Just watch the guy and if you know ball, your eyes will tell you what to look for.” That’s assuming your opinion is better than others, or that other people don’t know what they’re talking about. I appreciate others disagree with my opinion, but I’ll never assume I know better. I may be completely wrong about Upshaw, but then I might not be. And for what it’s worth – a lot of big name pundits didn’t rate Cam Newton last year, so two guys saying Upshaw didn’t have a great combine doesn’t bother me. The combine can be fools gold a lot of the time which is why we spend September-December talking about tape. The draft doesn’t start in February here.

    David – Explosive athlete. Would happily consider him in 2/3 and I can envisage interest there. DE/RB/LB could be the top three picks.

  81. MLT says:

    @ brad who over upshaw would you take @ 12 pick then? Oh and who cares about von miller I want to know who you think in this years draft class is better then upshaw or a better fit for us?

  82. PatrickH says:

    Rob,

    According to Brian McIntyre of footballoutsiders.com, Houston only has about $4 million in cap space. Franchise tag Mario Williams will require about $22 million (120 percent of his 2011 cap charge, under the new CBA rules). So the Texans don’t have the cap room to franchise tag him.

    That said, Jacksonville has about $45 million cap room and is rumored to be strongly interested in him, along with a few other teams. I don’t expect the Seahawks to outbid them.

  83. Jake says:

    MLT: I’m not brad, but with number 12: I would take Richardson or trade down and take Perry later. Top 12 is a decent range to pick in most years, but this year’s talent crop is fairly level after the top 5-6 prospects. Upshaw isn’t going to bull rush anyone in the NFL if he doesn’t have another set-up move, a spin move or edge speed or an inside move. Perry can get on the edge, can dip inside after getting the tackle in a backpedal, and has flashed a bull rush. He’s a work in progress, but more talented. I’ve read here previously that Perry doesn’t play as fast as his workouts… I don’t agree with that, on tape he’s pretty damn quick around the edge with a great closing burst (similar to Clemons).

    Considering the lack of premier players at positions of need in this draft, just go get the future – RGIII in all honesty. It’s just unlikely that Richardson falls to #12, so use it as capital and package it – use next year’s first, this year’s second, whatever it takes. Look at what the Giants did to get Eli… how’d that work out for them two Super Bowls later? Think they care what those picks are doing these days? Teams with elite QBs win – it’s just a fact. Sure, defensive teams can win sometimes too, but teams with elite QB’s win regularly and make repeat playoff appearances. This #12 isn’t worth much to us, it’s probably good enough to get the Rams J. Martin though – maybe they consider our trade because of that, a high 2nd, and their assumption that we’ll draft high again next year. I’m no GM, but I am a salesman – spin it to make them jump.

  84. andy says:

    I agree Jake. If Coples and Richardson are gone a trade back down would be great! I would be really happy with Branch, Perry, Mercilus or Irvin as our pass rusher and we could pick up an additional 3rd/4th rounder to use on a LB or RB…..