Sunday notes & an interview with Cesar Ruiz

April 5th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Before I get into the notes, check out my latest interview with a NFL draft prospect. This time it’s Michigan center and future first round pick Cesar Ruiz…

Are the Seahawks trying to use the draft to their advantage?

As we edge closer to the draft and with Seattle’s pass rush need still mostly unaddressed, I’ve been trying to figure out what the plan is.

Could they be trying to use the draft as leverage?

The event on April 23rd provides a deadline of sorts without having to spell it out.

For example — Jadeveon Clowney might think his options will be better in a few months. However, teams who end up spending picks on defensive linemen will be less inclined to make a move. There aren’t going to be many teams with the cap space and potential to contend willing to pay him what he’s currently being offered.

That doesn’t excuse Seattle’s inactivity. They called Clowney a ‘huge priority’ and consistently stated their desire to fix the pass rush. Just because he received a cold market doesn’t mean he has to accept whatever the Seahawks offer. He’s well within his rights to think he carried Seattle’s D-line in 2019 and that he’s a superior player to Dee Ford and Olivier Vernon — two players paid an annual salary at about the rate he’s now asking for.

The Seahawks are still risking losing him and weakening their team in 2020. For the sake of getting him at their value and padding the roster with journeymen — that warrants a critique.

Even so — it stands to reason that both parties will want/need this sorted by April 23rd. The Seahawks don’t need to set a deadline and neither does Clowney. One exists in the form of the draft. If nothing is resolved three or four days beforehand, they’ll possibly move on.

What about other options?

Everson Griffen’s quiet off-season seems to indicate he’s being particularly selective on his next move. Understandably so, given his recent mental health struggles. It feels a little bit like that option will always will be there for Seattle and it could be that Griffen signs anyway, whatever happens with Clowney, either before or after the draft.

I do wonder if Yannick Ngakoue remains a possibility too. A few teams might be playing the game a bit here. With both the player and team seemingly prepared to move on — now it’s about Jacksonville trying to get maximum value. And while they won’t give him away (just like Seattle refused to give away Earl Thomas) — there will also come a time when they understand they’ve got to get the best possible return this year. As we saw with Clowney in Houston, Ngakoue’s value will only decrease if this goes beyond the draft.

The Seahawks might still be willing to do a deal similar to the one Tony Pauline suggested. That would mean trading #27 to Jacksonville and then swapping #59 for #42. The Jaguars get another first round pick but they also move down a bit in round two. The Seahawks get Nagkoue and still pick twice in the first two rounds.

Any trade will almost certainly depend on what happens with Clowney. Plus you’d have to wonder why they’d be willing to pay Ngakoue a big contract but not Frank Clark or Clowney. The Seahawks aren’t going to go into next season with Benson Mayowa, Bruce Irvin, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and a rookie as their pass rush though. They just aren’t. And if the Clowney deal doesn’t work itself out — then Ngakoue probably remains an option.

A year ago the Frank Clark trade happened two days before the draft. That’s when things ramp up. It could be that Nagkoue is similarly dealt in that timeframe. The Jaguars will have exhausted all avenues and they’ll know what’s on offer. As long as someone is making a reasonable proposal (which is probably a late first or second round pick), then a trade remains very possible.

As much as we’ve critiqued the off-season so far (and rightly so because at the moment the biggest need remains unaddressed) — there’s still an opportunity to get this right. That’s necessary because while there are some pass rush options in this class (likely between picks #35-75) this is very much a draft where you want the freedom to target skill position players and offensive linemen.

Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s two round mock draft with detailed commentary on each pick…

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161 Responses to “Sunday notes & an interview with Cesar Ruiz”

  1. SteveLargent80 says:

    The interview with Ruiz makes me want him badly. I hope that they can re-sign Clowney and maybe bring in Griffen as well. Ruiz is an incredible prospect, I want him on the Seahawks. Thank you for the interview Rob, I learned a lot about Cesar from it.

    • Rob Staton says:

      My pleasure. Thanks for listening.

      Ruiz will start for a long time in this league. And within 2-3 years could easily be the top center in the NFL. It’s a home-run pick for whoever makes it. You will get a long term feature who will play at a high level, will lead and will solidify a quietly important and vital position.

      • Coleslaw says:

        This is why I believe he goes top 20 all put into one nice, compact comment. You just don’t get surefire picks like this very often, and when you do, they go early.

      • Hawkdawg says:

        It’s interesting, though, that the self-appointed draft pundits who are considered experts by the media are not all in agreement that Ruiz is the best center in this draft, let alone destined for greatness as the best center in the league…

        But he looks and sounds the part, to be sure.

  2. Zxvo3 says:

    Rob, as always the content you put out is superb. Also I’m loving these interviews and mock drafts. Keep ‘em coming if you can.

    But I have one question: in your opinion, would the Seahawks be able to draft someone other than a DL or EDGE position if they re-sign Clowney before the draft?

  3. Gohawks5151 says:

    I can’t say enough about the great work you are adding to an already terrific site. Awesome work. It’s going to be so hard to see some of these guys go to other teams.

    Ruiz is a guy that really hope is considered early by Seattle. Tackle and Center are bigger priorities for me. Duane is old and Shell is a stop gap. Britt may be gone and Finney is a stop gap. At least Haynes, Pocic, Jones, Simmons and Roos have a chance to stick beyond next year. I like Hunt but he gives me pause with the suggestion he could end up at guard. I think you need to come out with one sure stud at either position. Ruiz or Isaiah Wilson.

  4. Denver Hawker says:

    Well said Rob and great interview (again)!

    Signing Clowney seems like such an imperative, not just for helping the pash rush, but also in giving more flexibility in the draft as you suggest.

    If a trade back to late 30s afforded Ruiz, Wilson, Cleveland- who do you pick?

    • If those were the options I would go Wilson.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Thanks Denver.

      As for the question — it depends on what happens with Britt really. Ruiz is the better player but Wilson is very good too.

      • BruceN says:

        Great interview. Thank you for doing these.

        I have been hoping we pick Ruiz (maybe in the second round), but it’s not happening. The latest Mock I saw has him going earlier in the top 20. With so many holes, if he’s still there at #27 should we take him instead of a T or an edge rusher? Tough call.

        • Rob Staton says:

          If he’s there at #27 I think you seriously consider it. Especially if you’ve cut Britt to make room for pass rush.

          • Denver Hawker says:

            Here’s a realistic hypothetical related to this:

            1. Assume they sign Clowney ($$ doesn’t matter)
            2. Ruiz falls to #27

            They’ll need to either a) cut Britt or b) restructure to make cap room for Clowney

            Taking Ruiz at #27 makes cutting Britt easy.

            3. Pick #59 can be used for best available DL (Uche, Raekwon, Madubuike)
            4. Pick #64 can be used for best available WR/move TE OR trade down and pickup another pick and do the same (this I prefer)
            5. Pick #101 can be used for RB/Guard/WR

            If Ruiz doesn’t fall to #27, they trade back and gather more picks.

            Either way, seems like Ruiz should be a target for the 1st pick to help clear cap space AND solidify the Center position for a long time.

            • cha says:

              I’m crushing on Ruiz as much as anyone but I can easily see the Hawks sticking with what they have between Britt, Finney and Hunt. Even if Ruiz is there at #27 I can see them “passing” on him trading down for more picks.

              Britt is 29 and we have injury protection in Finney and Hunt. If Britt’s medicals look favorable I could see the Hawks extending him and lowering the 2020 cap hit. Then you have consistency at C on a line that will be starting new players at LG and RT, and that will be a consideration.

  5. TomLPDX says:

    Great interview, Rob. I really wish Ruiz was a realistic target for us, we’d be set at C for years to come.

  6. Jace says:

    I was thinking about Seattle’s running back draft pick history. Almost every back they have selected under PCJS has shared carries or had injuries that limited the amount of carries they have had. Do they prefer RB’s with low mileage in college and not like RB’s that were bell cow type backs in college? Or is this just a fluke?

    2019- Travis Homer: 334 carries over 3 years.
    2018- Rashaad Penny: 488 carries over 4 years.
    2017- Chris Carson: 213 carries over 2 years.
    2016- CJ Prosise: 167 carries over 3 years. Played receiver as well.
    *2016- Alex Collins: 665 carries over 3 years. Exception
    2016- Zac Brooks: 116 carries over 3 years.
    2013- Christine Michael: 529 carries over 4 years.
    2013- Spencer Ware: 295 carries over 3 years.
    *2012- Robert Turbin: 565 carries over 4 years. Exception

    That’s 2 out of the 9 picks being somewhat of a bell cow back. Still none of the backs had over 700 college carries.

    • Jace says:

      Let’s compare that to some of the 2020 draft pick options with a lot of carries.

      Jonathon Taylor: 926 carries over 3 years.
      AJ Dillon: 845 carries over 3 years.
      James Robinson: 797 carries over 4 years.
      JK Dobbins: 725 carries over 3 years
      Zack Moss: 712 carries over 4 years.

      • RWIII says:

        Jace. Excellent point. It will be interesting to see who the Seahawks take at running back.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Well a lot of those players only started the final year or two in college. Plus the Seahawks didn’t need a ‘bell cow’ for the first half of the PCJS era due to Marshawn.

      • brendon light says:

        I’ve been intrigued by Antonio Gibson the last couple of days. He is a really cool Deebo Samuel potential type player (but bigger). He’d be like a super prosise. Not much college production it when he gets the ball it’s over. He scores TDs on like 10% of touches. 6 foot 228 and ran 4.39. I’d target him in rd 5-6 for sure. Thoughts?

        • Jace says:

          Gibson could be a fun gadget in the offense. I like his teammate Patrick Taylor a lot as well as a Hawks option. I feel he would be a bigger name if he didn’t get hurt this year. He also played behind Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard the year before.

          • Jace says:

            Anyone watch a lot of Memphis games? That’s a lot of talent in two years coming out of the RB spot.

  7. Could be but they also just drafted Penny. I’m guessing the later round options are available because they did have something wrong with them.

  8. Sorry, other post was supposed to be on this one. Penny had 425 the last two years. One thing to remember on Penny is he has averaged 5.3 yards per carry over his firs two years. Would be interesting to see what he could do for a whole year.

    • JimQ says:

      Penny has averaged just over 6 carries per game so far in his Seahawk career. One can only wonder if he had the same # of carries as Chubb – what his #’s could be. IMO: PC has Carson, whom he loves and wants to get Penny up to speed as an “up the middle” back in the Carson mold, in spite of the fact that Penny performs best with more outside runs, the vast majority of his runs so far have been “up the middle”. Additionally, many “power type” RB’s get more yards the more they play. What ever happened to using a player to their strongest abilities? Penny’s best games so far all came when he had more than that 6 carry average.

  9. Hojo says:

    Great content Rob. Thank you for keeping the site active and full of quality content.

    Ruiz is the type of player I get excited about pre-draft and then bummed when someone else takes him.

    Rob – are there any LT prospects in the 27 – 64 range that you like? Brown isn’t getting any younger.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Thanks, it’s my pleasure.

      It’s very rare to find LT prospects that late. Cleveland, Jackson, Wanogho might be there but that’s about it really.

  10. Producehawk says:

    Well spoken young man. I hope he goes in the top 20 because I know he will take care of his family and others. The money will not be wasted. Would love to have him on the Hawks but he will be long gone if we trade out of 27.

  11. tatupuTime says:

    Such a clean prospect. Would be really nice to tell Russ – “Here’s your centre for at least the next 4-5 years.” Probably my favourite interviewee so far. Nice to hear Raekwon (and Davis Hamilton) pop as the toughest guys he’s faced. Thanks Rob.

  12. Benjamin I. DAVIS says:

    Spoke to a Browns insider, for whatit’s worth. Apparently they had a deal with Clowney done, but it fell apart at the last minute. The GM isn’t that high on Vernon, as he wasn’t “his pick.” They’d like to bookend Clowney with Garrett and have the cap space to do so.

    Personally, I think he’s going to Cleveland. But I know nothing. This is all just a rumor. So take it with a minor grain of salt.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think we’ve had enough rumours to last a lifetime on Clowney.

      • Even if they have a deal Clowney said he would give the Seahawks a chance to match. Whether they do or not is another story.ike he said though,the rumors dont really mean anything.

      • RWIII says:

        Rob. I agrée. I am tired of hearing about Clowney. Would rather not talk about Clowney until he signs.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I’m happy to talk about it. It’s the big off-season storyline. But I can live without the rumours and people claiming sources. InkZone guy was bad enough on twitter. And that random Jags fan.

  13. Awsi Dooger says:

    The flurry of interviews has been a terrific addition this year. Well done.

    I was particularly interested in this one because early round centers have become one of the best and most dependable investments recently. Ruiz should also be a consideration for the Dolphins.

    CommonManFootball on YouTube had a great breakdown the other day regarding each position and how the NFL fares in terms of success rate by round. Success is defined as 64+ starts. He went back to 1969 then also had a separate sampling of the most recent 10 year sampling. Center was atop the 10-year category in both the first round (86%) and second round (75%). Then it really drops off in the third. Get your centers early.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiYO8GZ5MEs&t=

    That link is valuable in demonstrating that certain positions are better scouted than others. Wide receiver, for example, is the only position other than quarterback that drops below 50% success rate whether the spotlight is long term or short term. So much mental tenacity required at that position. Speed is vastly overrated compared to competitiveness. I think we still have too many old time scouts envisioning a Bob Hayes, Cliff Branch, Don Maynard, Isaac Curtis type of NFL where throws were seldom but you needed to take full advantage of them, as opposed to current NFL where receivers and cornerbacks are like boxers in the ring, fighting in tight corners for boasting supremacy in every round even if the ball never goes anywhere near them. Consequently I can’t imagine drafting a wide receiver high without getting a full feel for his personality as opposed to merely the tape stuff.

    That link also demonstrates how the success rate plunges well below 50% in the third and fourth round, basically regardless of position. I often see projected trade downs here and elsewhere to acquire picks in those rounds. Not wise, IMO. Selections in those rounds are too often confusing activity with accomplishment.

    • Hawkdawg says:

      Tell that to Sherman, Chancellor (in fact, everybody on the LOB but Earl), Bennett, Carson, etc. I think Schneider drafts/acquires better down below 4 than most.

  14. charlietheunicorn says:

    I’m watching the FOX replay of Superbowl 45 this afternoon.

    The Steelers had ridiculous WR options in the game. They had a draft for the ages that preseason. Emanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown were rookies I believe. They also had Wallace at WR as well.

    The Packers had such great LB play. Pass rush, they also more or less shut down the Steeler rush…. Clay Mathews was a real force, causing a key fumble, as was AJ Hawk causing constant pressure making Big Ben uncomfortable in the pocket. I had forgotten they had last 3 guys in the secondary before or during the game. They really stepped up… especially for who they were going up against at the WR position.

    Long story short, I would not be against brining in Mathews as a depth pass rush option… after taking care of Clowney (or Griffen). Veteran depth is under rated. This would possibly free up the early draft options for a guy such as Ruiz if he were available.

  15. GerryG says:

    As long as I’ve been reading this site, I can’t recall a time that strength of draft and OL were used in the same sentence. It’s going to be a shame if we can’t tap into that because the DL is in shambles.

    Even if they get Clowney and Griffen, you could argue the need to draft DL since Griffen is 33, and the the two depth rush options they added are one year deals.

  16. Rob Staton says:

    Latest interview recorded with…

    Lance Zierlein.

    Absolutely fantastic insight from Lance. You will enjoy this.

  17. RWIII says:

    Yes. I will be looking forward to the interview with Zierlein.

  18. charlietheunicorn says:

    Quick note, I’ve noticed several players have changed significantly in the last few days in their ranking on the mock draft site. The most obvious example is the CB Bryce Hall, he went from 131 to 94. I suspect he will go even higher than that, but it is curious to say the least.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Yep, they made some big changes. I like it though because it’s mixing things up.

      • charlietheunicorn says:

        Hall is a guy I’ve been trying to target in the 3rd round range, so it was painfully clear when he went earlier than I expected 😉

    • Denver Hawker says:

      Makes me wonder if they have an algorithm built in for players that are being mocked higher.

    • AndrewP says:

      Noticed that, too…

      In some cases, it’s potentially very beneficial (Nick Harris ~6th RD grade, Cam Akers late 3)…

      Others, not so much [Hall, Adeniji going in RD2 several times (Tony hears things)]…

      Gonna be a fun couple of nights…

  19. Bankhawk says:

    Rob, you knocked it out of the park with the Ruiz interview! Asked all the right questions, and he was certainly equal to the occasion. His responses elevated my mental picture of him from ‘a player with a good rep’ to a well-rounded image of him as ‘just the kind of guy I’d love to see on our team’.
    Hope the situation evolves in such a way between now and the draft that we actually could feel we have the freedom vis a vs needs to snag him if he were there! Keep it up; you the man!

  20. Ralphy says:

    It feels like the Hawks must have a backup plan in place if they don’t sign Clowney and I’m sure it involves a trade because it can’t just be Griffen. Are there any other players that come to mind at this point of the offseason that could be in play besides Ngakoue?

    • Ralphy says:

      I know Im not the only one wondering about Myles Garrett.

    • Eburgz says:

      I want Cam Jordan. That dude is a beast and he has a really fun personality. Saints would be dumb to deal him.

      • Ralphy says:

        Obviously I know it isn’t likely but we don’t know how his attacking of Mason Rudolph played out in the locker room, especially considering what he accused Rudolph of saying which I don’t think many people believe he said. Add to that Clowney is sitting on the market still and will probably be signed for less than anyone thought. Perhaps some of their motivation in signing Clowney is knowing what they can get for Garrett? Again I know it isn’t likely but its a thought.

        • Ralphy says:

          I also thought about Bosa because he could bring in a ton and he’s got one year left on his contract.

          • Rob Staton says:

            It’s an absolute fantasy to think either would be available.

            It’d be like a Chargers fan wondering if maybe Kansas City fancied trading them Mahomes.

            They are elite cornerstone players for their teams.

            • Ralphy says:

              No its not. You know it and I know it and everyone on here knows that that is not accurate. Mahomes is a QB that just won a SB. Garrett is a great player that just attacked another player, was suspended for the remainder of the season and accused that player of using a racial slur that he most likely did not use. Now his team is talking to Clowney. Clearly not like Mahomes. Bosa is a great DE with one year remaining on his contract, on a team without a QB that plays its home games in front a stadium of visiting fans. Who knows how close they think they are? Clearly not like Mahomes.

              • Rob Staton says:

                They don’t need to be a direct comparison in terms of value. I merely used Mahomes to illustrate how unlikely it is.

                Let me put it this way then. There’s simply no reason for either the Chargers or Browns to trade us their best player. I don’t mind discussing trade scenarios but not when they involve elite players who also happen to be the best player on two respective teams who have no reason to move them.

                • Ralphy says:

                  This is surprising because you have suggested Von Miller and some other players who are arguably one of the best players on their roster. We have also seen Odell Beckham, Clowney, Mack, Hopkins, Clark, Campbell and others traded recently who all fit in that category.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Ralphy, it’s completely different.

                    Come on.

                    Do I really need to spell out why Bosa and Garrett are different to Von Miller? Go and read the piece I wrote about Miller.

                  • Ralphy says:

                    Rob you know I am a huge fan and I am not here to argue. My original post here was asking what DE could be in play as a backup to Clowney? I mentioned Garrett because of the incident that happened last year and the fact that the Browns are now talking to Clowney. I know its unlikely but it made me wonder. The trades of Hopkins, Mack, Clowney etc also felt unlikely until they happened. I don’t think it is like suggesting Mahomes. I was just wondering on here what DE could possibly be in play. That’s it.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    It’s all cool. It’s just Garrett/Bosa have been suggested a few times now. And really, it’s like picking the two best, young players at any position (especially a premium one) and saying they might trade them. The reality is neither are going anywhere.

  21. Tecmo Bowl says:

    Another cool interview! Thought it was interesting that Ruiz said the Hawks havent contacted him at all. JS could be laying in the weeds on Ruiz.

    Stoked for the Zeurlein interview!

    • charlietheunicorn says:

      That stood out to me…. no interest might mean, extreme interest. They’ve been known to keep it cool in the past.

      • They have laid low before on guys so you never know.

        • yimba says:

          with the amount of ol weve signed this offseason, and the glaring other needs we have. i highly highly doubt cesar is even on our radar. im sure they would love to draft him. but we have way bigger needs imo.

          • charlietheunicorn says:

            I look at it this way.

            For the foreseeable future, the center position would be solidified. No if ands or buts, he would be an upgrade to anything they have right now. Dominant center play is crucial, when you have to face Donald 2x per season. Hell, even the interior of the 49ers is very formidable. I think of him as the 1st long term piece on the line… and if they do indeed draft Hunt at Guard, then you have 2 pieces that can be built around for 3-5 years at a very attractive cost.

            All the guys (FAs) they brought in this offseason could easily be seen as hedges or bets, that if they pan out great, if not, no real loss.

    • Lewis says:

      Ditto to all.

  22. JJ says:

    Random question…Lets say the hawks trade for Ngakoue two days before the draft. He doesn’t get a physical until after the draft. For some reason he fails the physical. What happens to the pick?

  23. Donny Henson says:

    So first, I apologize in advance if anyone has made this comment in an earlier post as i tend to scroll through in some of Rob’s articles and others i read attentively. I have been thinking about the Clowney situation and how it got out of hand not just between him and Schneider, but the other GMs who placed bids on him.

    1) Clowney asks for $20 Million APY
    2) Miami offers 17 Million APY, rejects offer, Miami goes and signs Van Noy and Lawson
    3) Another team offers 18.5 Million APY ( I’m assuming Cleveland due to rumors), this is the highest offer.
    4) Schneider wants to match highest offer, Clowney lets Schneider that the 18.5 million APY was the highest bid, and Seattle matches
    5) Clowney still wanting 20 million, goes back to Cleveland asking for 20 and Cleveland says no. Schneider still keeps 18.5 on table.
    6) Clowney desperately is looking for another team, but no takers.
    7) Seattle withdraws the 18.5 million offer.
    8) Clowney asks for 17-18 million APY. Clowney still not receiving bids
    9) Pauline on the PFN Draft Insiders Podcast says Clowney drops price down to 15 APY (This could be the short term deal, to get back in free agency and hope to cash in on new CBA)
    10) I believe Seattle is offering 13 Million APY with incentives that could reach to 15 Million APY (1 or 2 yr deal) , and now Clowney is waiting to see if other teams makes bids, with the only report coming from Josina Anderson that Tennessee is still interested.
    11) If Tennessee made a bid, the question becomes who does Clowney go with. I can’t imagine Clowney saying no again to either offer because if he does, then the market price will drop further.

    • I’ve said this many times before. If Clowney lowered his asking g price to “17 it’s most likely for one year only. I believe the Seahawks would pay the $18+ but only one multi year deal. They want his 2020 cap hit at $13m.

      • charlietheunicorn says:

        Guaranteed money verses average salary.. could be the sticking point.

        I agree, it is more or less a one year deal right now.

        Sadly for Clowney, his stock mirrors the real stock market right now… down 30% since the beginning of the year.

      • Hawktalker#1 says:

        I can’t believe no one is listening to you, but as everyone is having a hard time tracking all the potential offers that took place let alone anything else . . . How do you know they want his cap hit to be at 13.5M?

        • millhouse-serbia says:

          He definitely cant know how much they are willing to pay him in 2020 (cap hit)…but this I can tell you …it will be tough as hell to put 18mil under cap for 2020…is it possible…yes of course…but here are facts…currently seahawks are around 9mil in cap space…(and if season starts tomorrow it will be around 2mil – when you account PS, IR, rookies)..

          So you would need to create 16mil more…not so easy…is it done deal that they will cut Britt? are they willing to cut KJ? Are they willing to restructure Russel’s contract and to have his cap hit number for 2021 at 40mil?

          Here are possible savings: I am not counting Bradley and Diggs (think chances for that are really slim)…

          Holister: 2.5mil
          Moore: 1.35mil
          Hunt: 1.35mil
          Jackson:1.35mil
          Britt: 7.75mil
          KJ: 5.75mil

          So to cut all of them except KJ it is 14.3mil. Still need 2mil…

          …right know they don’t have cap space, they will need to create it…yes they have possibilities…but they already spent to much money on average and below average players…we will se how they will solve this situation…

          • Rob Staton says:

            Yes, but they’re not going to give him $18m for one year. That’s not an option. It was never going to be option.

            • millhouse-serbia says:

              I agree with that but I was answering on hawlktalker question and he obviously doesn’t agree with that (he asked greg how he knows they want Clowneys cap hit for 2020 at 13,5mil, and Greg mentioned 18+mil in his post)…maybe I understood all that wrongly and if that’s the case I apologies to hawktalker…

    • Hawktalker#1 says:

      Nice post btw. Well communicated and good logical thought.

  24. Spencer says:

    Has anyone taken an extensive look at Tanner Muse?

    He’s a massive safety at 6-2, 230. People think he’ll move off of Safety, but he’s got 4.41 speed and played a Center Field type role for Clemson. Pretty impressive stats as a Senior: 4 Ints, 5 PBUs, 2 Sacks, 6 TFLs. Would have liked to see his agility testing numbers, but looks like he can contribute on ST right away and would be worth a look to see if he can fulfill a more Kam-like Box Safety role.

    • Spencer says:

      Lance Zierlein:

      “Savvy and tends to smell a rat during misdirection and trick plays
      Quick to diagnose and trigger downhill against the run
      Should be a four-phase special teams player as a pro”

      Sounds like how Kam used to go and boom guys on misdirection and outside runs. Could contribute on ST immediately.

  25. swedenhawk says:

    Another great interview, Rob. Really appreciate what you’re doing during these trying times. Ruiz’s tremendous character really comes through here, super thoughtful and driven.

  26. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    I’m a couple of days behind replying to the 2-hour 3-round mock post. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it never occurred to me to control the draft for all the teams. I’m really only interested in what SEA do, so why wouldn’t I let the PFN algorithm choose for all other teams?

    But after watching you do it, I went and tried it myself and it took the experience to a whole new level of involvement and entertainment. I really enjoy running the whole thing. So I did a scenario that’s been stuck in my head for a while: a situation where MIA trade up with CIN for the first pick. For some reason I see CIN being ok with drafting their QB a bit later in Justin Herbert (who is not too dissimilar to Andy Dalton), and picking up a bunch of extra draft picks in the process. I went all out on this draft; I had a team’s depth chart open when I made their pick so I could be sure to get a good fit and realistic scenario. It’s really hard to keep track of everything though so I had to make a couple of late trades for SEA to get their guys (Davis and Hunt). Not sure I’d want to go trading next year’s R3 and R4 picks but that’s the way it worked out here.

    SEA’s Day 1 and 2 draft class:
    Jonathan Taylor
    Julian Okwara
    Raekwon Davis
    Robert Hunt

    I’ll only post the first two rounds, and the first 4 SEA picks (one pick in R3).

    Trades:
    MIA trade 5 + 26 + 39 + 70 + 2021 HOU R1 + 2021 HOU R2 + 2021 MIA R2 to CIN for 1; MIA want Burrow; CIN is willing to take Herbert later
    LAC trade 6 + 37 to CIN for 5; LAC really want Tua and again CIN is okay with Herbert
    CLE trade 10 + 41 +115 to CIN for 6; CLE want to jump in front of the OL needy teams to get the best LT prospect in the draft
    NEP trade 23 + 87 + 100 + 2021 NEP R2 to SF for 13; Pats want Jordan Love and SF want some Day 2 picks
    SF trade 23 + 31 to DAL for 17; SF are delighted to see Jedrick Wills fall into range so they trade back up to snag him
    SEA trade 27 to CIN for 37 + 65
    SEA trade 37 + 59 + 65 to CIN for 39 + 41
    SEA trade 64 + 144 + 2021 R4 to MIN for 58
    SEA trade 101 + 2021 R3 to LVR for 81

    ROUND ONE

    01. MIA — Joe Burrow (from CIN)
    He’s the new Dan Marino

    02. WAS — Chase Young
    Replicating SF’s (and SEA’s 2013-24) front 4

    03. DET — Jeffrey Okudah
    Perhaps the best player in the entire draft at DET’s position of biggest need

    04. NYG — Isaiah Simmons
    Perhaps the other best player in the entire draft at NYG’s position of biggest need

    05. LAC — Tua Tagovailoa (from CIN)
    LAC are confident of his long term health

    06. CLE — Andrew Thomas (from CIN)
    CLE need a LT in the worst way and Thomas is the best one in this draft

    07. CAR — Derrick Brown
    CAR have other needs, but ain’t no way they pass on Brown

    08. ARI — Javon Kinlaw
    ARI really wanted Brown but settle for Kinlaw instead

    09. Jax — CJ Henderson
    Gotta replace Jalen Ramsey, or at least try to

    10. CIN — Justin Herbert (from CLE)
    CIN decided when they got MIA’s offer that they would target Herbert instead of Burrow so they could cash in on the draft capital

    11. NYJ — Tristan Wirfs
    OL is the Jets’ biggest need

    12. LVR — Jerry Jeudy
    LVR could go with a couple different choices, but they take the consensus top WR

    13. NEP — Jordan Love
    BB makes a bold move for what he hopes will be his Mahomes

    14.TBB — Mekhi Becton
    Same as NYJ (OL Is TBB’s biggest need)

    15. DEN — Henry Ruggs
    DEN run almost as fast as Ruggs to the podium for this pick

    16. ATL — Trevon Diggs
    ATL have a couple of holes to fill on D and Diggs is the best player available at one of them

    17. SF — Jedrick Wills
    SF didn’t expect Wills to fall far enough for them to be able to move up for

    18. MIA — Austin Jackson
    MIA were hoping Wills fell to them but Jackson is a decent consolation pick

    19. LVR — Kenneth Murray
    Murray fixes LVR’s biggest defensive need

    20. JAX — Antoine Winfield, Jr.
    JAX’s defensive secondary is FIXED

    21. PHI — CeeDee Lamb
    Eagles are pinching themselves to see if it’s real; Lamb is arguably the best WR in the draft

    22. MIN — Kristian Fulton
    The deep WR class enables MIN to focus on the other side of the ball at CB

    23. DAL — Cesar Ruiz (from SF)
    This pick is the LOCK OF THE DRAFT

    24. NOS — Jalen Reagor
    Can you imagine Reagor teaming up with Drew Brees and Michael Thomas?!?

    25. MIN — Justin Jefferson
    MIN preferred Reagor but they needed Fulton more because they knew they could get a WR like Jefferson after NOS picked

    26. CIN — Ezra Cleveland (from MIA)
    First they took their new QB, now they take their new LT to protect him

    27. CIN — K’Lavon Chaisson (from SEA)
    CIN have the draft capital to move back into R1 for their EDGE

    28. BAL — Kyle Dugger
    I don’t care if you think this is too early for him. He screams Ravens safety to me

    29. TEN — AJ Epenesa
    Epenesa just seems like a Titans DE and they need one badly

    30. GBP — KJ Hamler
    Hamler has what it takes to be the Pack’s Tyreek Hill

    31. DAL — Damon Arnette (from SF)
    This could be the value pick of the draft. DAL fill a huge need with an excellent prospect

    32. KCC — D’Andre Swift
    I thought long and hard about Taylor instead, but something about Swift seems “taylor” made for the Chiefs

    ROUND TWO

    33. CIN — Utah Gross My Toast (YGM)
    34. IND — Clyde Edwards-Helaire
    35. DET — Patrick Queen
    36. NYG — Denzel Mims
    37. CIN — Isaiah Wilson (from SEA)
    38. CAR — Josh Jones
    39. SEA — Jonathan Taylor (from CIN)
    40. HOU — AJ Terrell
    41. SEA — Julian Okwara (from CIN)
    42. JAX — Prince Tega Wanogho
    43. CHI — Lucas Niang
    44. IND — Jacob Eason (don’t laugh he had a nice pro day and IND will take a chance on him here)
    45. TBB — JK Dobbins
    46. DEN — Grant Delpit
    47. ATL — Joshua Uche
    48. NYJ — Brandon Aiyuk
    49. PIT — Curtis Weaver
    50. CHI — Tee Higgins
    51. DAL — Malik Harrison
    53. LAR — Terrell Lewis
    54. PHI — Jordyn Brooks
    55. BAL — Bryan Edwards
    56. MIA — Michael Pittman Jr.
    57. HOU — Justin Madubuike
    58. SEA — Raekwon Davis (from MIN)
    59. CIN — Tyler Biadasz (from SEA)
    60. BAL — Willie Gay Jr.
    61. TEN — Matt Hennessy
    62. GBP — Jabari Zuniga
    63. KCC — Jeff Gladney
    64. MIN — Jeremy Chinn (from SEA)

    81. SEA — Robert Hunt

    • GoHawksDani says:

      LOL, make this happen and I’ll fire JS and appoint you as the new GM…heck, you can have the keys to Seattle and maybe a title of Lord too? 😀
      This would be my dream scenario. Okwara is my fav rusher, Rakewon is my fav DT, Taylor is my second best RB (after CEH) and I really like Hunt too. Maybe make some magic to be able to add Devin Duvernay and it’d be the perfect draft for me

    • Hawktalker#1 says:

      What were the other Seahawk picks in the remaining rounds?

      Nice work & Thx

      • CHawk Talker Eric says:

        Unfortunately not because I did only a 3 round draft. Even that took me a few hours to get it done. I really agonized over some other team’s picks, not knowing them the way I do SEA. All I had to go on was the current depth chart and my memory of what I remember about them. BTW digging into the depth charts I can say that the PFN “team needs” aren’t always accurate. A couple are way off.

        Doing the trades were the most fun. Especially where the team trading up swiped another team’s target. And each trade was the minimum the other team would accept. My first offer was intentionally low and I incrementally increased the offer until it was accepted.

        Gotta say it’s an amazing simulator, even if I don’t agree with some of the rankings.

    • God of Thunder says:

      Great mock. Appreciate the labor that went into it.

      Am in a hurry but just wanted to disagree mildly on a couple things. I think Jeudy will be taken after Ruggs and Lamb. I’m also not sold on Winfield going that high. But admittedly my brain tends to think BPA when in fact most teams do draft for positional need. I also doubt that the Seahawks take a RB that high. Though I think they’ll grab one later.

      Great job!

      • CHawk Talker Eric says:

        Thanks. I don’t disagree about Jeudy. I think it’s hard to know which order the consensus top 3 WR will go — Jeudy, Ruggs and Lamb.

        I think Winfield will go in R1, maybe not at 20 but still in the first frame. Usually I’d agree with you about drafting a RB first. But Taylor is too good to pass up. I’d be mildly surprised if after they trade down he’s still on the board and they pass him up.

  27. I am leaning hard towards Clowney being gone. I do believe the Seahawks offered him there best offer. It was most likely a multi-year 18.5 mil a year deal and he wasn’t having it. Now that he hasn’t gotten an offer from others at that rate, he put it out there that he was willing to play for that now, but it is too late the Seahawks have moved on.

    I think when they signed Mayowa that was them moving on and doing what they could to add to their pass rush for next year. I am not saying I am happy about this, just trying to figure out what Seattle is doing. I think they will go into the draft with what they have and into next year of they need to.

    I also still think their plan is to draft a running back first. I could be completely wrong, but I think they have decided their best chance for wining with the defense they got is to keep that defense off the field as much as possible. I would love to see them sign or trade for someone else, but unless they miss their guy in the draft, I think this is it.

  28. Rico says:

    So Athletic (paywall but really good imho) have a speculated “7 trades that still make sense” and in there they have Seahawks trading 3rd for Larry Warford. This scenario assumes they use some of the money allocated for Clowney and add Griffin as well on top of Warford.

    Also, as part of that equation, they say “the more likely scenario” is that it loses out on Clowney and trades for Ngakoue, causing fans to have collective meltdown.”

    I don’t think they have any special insight, but it is an interesting set of speculation, neither of which has Clowney staying with Hawks.

    My personal opinion is that Clowney blinks first, Hawks give him enough to save face, and he uses some nonsense excuse like “i always wanted to stay with Seattle and stated such, but wanted to see all their moves first and am excited to help them to Super Bowl.” Maybe it comes out somewhere in the 15MM range with a one year hit of 10-13 on cap.

  29. Rob W. says:

    Rob- I noticed that coming out of MD, Yannick only had 32.5 inch arms and pedestrian agility numbers – wouldn’t that be considered a major flaw based on what we know of PCJS??

    • Rob Staton says:

      Sure it could be. But he’s also had four years of very successful production in the NFL. And the point of the ideal physical ideal is to maximise your chance to get a great player, not simply avoid players for the sake of it.

    • WALL UP says:

      Signing Chris Clemons wasn’t a problem for being him an impact Leo for the Hawks. His arm length was 32 1/4 inches. These two are so remarkably similar, with their get off and hand fighting techniques.

      As Rob mentioned in the article, which I wholeheartedly agree with, this may be the plan they have had in mind, is to bring back that elusive Leo that they have yet to fulfill since Clemon’s hay day. Signing both Clowney & Ngakoue could have been their initial plan to solve the pass rush. It still is a viable option, even though it appears unlikely.

      • WALL UP says:

        An important stat to look at is the 10yd split.

        Cliff Avril 10 yd Split: 1.50 seconds, BP 27

        Chris Clemons 10 Yd Split: 1.72 seconds, BP 18

        Yannick Ngakoue 10 yd Split: 1.64 seconds, BP 26

        These (2) measurables are important for the Leo position, in order to bend & hold the edge. Ngakoue definitely fits the requirements for that Leo, and would be surprised if not pursued as Pauline mentioned earlier.

  30. Rob W. says:

    Good point, Rob. FWIW, I did some research and Chris Clemons only had 32.25 inch arms and his short shuttle time was 4.58 coming out of GA, which drives home your point above.

  31. cha says:

    Golf fans rejoice…how amazing will Augusta look with fall colors?!

    The Masters
    @TheMasters

    Statement from Chairman Ridley:

    “We have identified Nov 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters. We hope the anticipation of staging the Tournament brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and those who love the game.”

  32. Frank says:

    The thing about Clowney to me is that his value is always challenging to determine, he’s not a 10 sack a year guy and his market reflects that. I’ll admit that he’s a superior player the Davis, or Ford but essentially doesn’t play the same position. They are edge rushers, and he’s a run stuffer and generally a play disruptor.
    I definitely agree that he’s a perfect fit for the Hawks defense, and the Hawks have been needlessly cute with their negotiating tactics. I’d really like to see them go for a two year at 17m a year and be done with the BS.
    Just being a superior player isn’t enough to be payed more than others, the best fullback in the league, isn’t going to make as much as the top 40 QBs in the league. Clowney is never going to be paid as well as true edge players, although his value on a play by play basis is greater.
    Ngakoue is over rated, his pressure numbers without being schemed open is garbage and I think he’s a below average starter without the Ravens scheme supporting him. I’m not sure why anyone would even bring his name up other than desperation to be in the headlines as being proactive about free agency. Just pay Clowney and move on to the draft already lol.

    • mishima says:

      Ngakoue plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I somewhat agreed right up until you mentioned the full back position. Because if decent-ish full backs were earning $17-18m a year, they’d be able to ask for that too. Dee Ford and Olivier Vernon are not better than Clowney. He’s well within his rights to be expected to be paid more.

    • dcd2 says:

      Disagree on Ngakoue. First off, he plays for the Jaguars. Secondly, here’s some highlights from last year.

      http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap3000001105098/Yannick-Ngakoue-highlights-2019-season

      Tell me where they are ‘scheming him open? He’s an EDGE who goes one on one against the LT every play, and sometimes gets doubled. The reason people are bringing up his name is because he has demanded a trade, is a 25 year old pro-bowler and plays our biggest position of need at a high level.

      Does he do what Clowney does? No. Is he “a below average starter without the Ravens scheme supporting him”? Also, no. Is he worth draft picks and a high salary? IMO, no. It’s not a preposterous thought though, and he isn’t a bad player.

      • Lewis says:

        I was surprised on Friday when Mark Dominik was discussing this whole thing and said he thought Ngakoue was a better player than Clowney. Then again, it seems clear that execs around the league (in general) doesn’t think much of his season last year, otherwise he’d have been paid.

      • Frank says:

        I was thinking of the wrong guy. Just watched the highlights of him, which is nothing like watching the game tape, but shows really good bend and instincts. I’m still in agreement that” if they wouldn’t pay Frank Clark, why would they pay him?”. I just want to see them pay Clowney and wouldn’t mind targeting an edge, to develop behind that.

        • dcd2 says:

          Maybe you were thinking of Judon?

          I tend to agree that we are probably unlikely to want to give him a $20M/yr deal after trading away a high pick for him. The one nice thing with YN (as a backup plan) is that we could give him a long-term deal that has a low year one cap hit. That would let us add a veteran DT and not be forced into multiple cuts/restructures. He’d still be in his late 20’s by the time his contract was up, or we could walk away with little cap issue.

    • God of Thunder says:

      “ the Hawks have been needlessly cute with their negotiating tactics.”

      Prove it. Quotations, citations needed. Do you know something the rest of us don’t? Do you know what Clowney’s agents are asking, money AND term?

      Suppose Clowney’s asking for 21+ per year over 4 years? Or over 5? Do we do that? I’d say no.

  33. Murphy says:

    I’m assuming the answer is no, otherwise it would have been discussed, but does Britt have any trade value? His high cost, injury, and a strong OL draft class probably eliminates it but if you are going to cut him, I’m wondering if you could get a later pick from someone like Dallas who needs a center.

    Honestly after hearing that interview, I just want Ruiz on this team and have been dreaming up scenarios that could get Dallas to look somewhere else. As always great work Rob.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think you could’ve got a pick for him (round four or five?) if he was healthy. As a player recovering from an ACL — and with teams unable to do medicals — he’s virtually untradeable.

      • WALL UP says:

        Agreed. That’s why it’s possible that a release. or restructure. may occur in the near future for Britt. A restructure for KJ & Russ could also be in play, in order to obtain that ‘Leo’ they’re seeking.

  34. Rob4q says:

    I’m thinking Ruiz won’t make it past Dallas pick in the draft…he’s too good a prospect and they need a Center pretty bad now.

  35. Rico says:

    What is most confounding about this off-season (and Rob has hammered this home tbf) is that we consumed a lot of cap space and have done very little to ensure we improved our #1 weakness last season, with what is a weak draft class wrt solving that problem

    And let’s imagine the following scenarios:

    1) Clowney at 17-18 million and all our picks; or
    2) Ngakoue at 16 million (just picking for sake of scenario) and we lose our first round pick and swap seconds per suggested…

    Is Ngakoue a significant improvement over Clowney? Otherwise, it is really bad asset management imho…

    Frustrated to say the least…

  36. Daniel Jeremiah:

    I talked to 2 GMs in last 24 hours and both believe UGA OT Isaiah Wilson will go in the 1st round. That’s too rich for me but it looks like it’s going to happen. Betting on the upside.

    Rob knows…bravo sir…

    I dont agree with you on lot of things…but your player evaluation Is among the best(if not the best) on internet…

  37. Big Mike says:

    Gently letting you know that Boise is pronounced Boysee or Boyzee.

  38. Logan Lynch says:

    I’ve had a lot of thoughts going through my brain about the plan for the defense. Mostly wrong I’m sure, but still. With the limited investment in DL currently, it would seem pretty likely that SEA will draft pretty heavily there. Irvin and Mayowa are on 1 year deals. Reed was brought back short term. The prevailing thought is Clowney is being offered a short term deal also. I wonder if SEA is thinking about changing up the rush scheme a bit? Pete mentioned in offseason interviews that there will be some changes on the defense. If we see Irvin and Mayowa as draft hedges, seems like there will be a rush LB type and another possibly more traditional rush DE or LEO. I think Rob’s thoughts about Uche make a lot of sense. Maybe SEA sees this as the year to switch up the scheme a bit a remake the defense? Not saying that’s a smart idea in this draft, but given their moves so far it’s a possible explanation.

  39. Rob4q says:

    How about this crazy trade I was able to make on the Sim:

    SEA Received:
    Pick 16 – Andrew Thomas
    Pick 47 – Justin Madubuike
    Pick 78 – Jabari Zuniga

    ATL Received:
    Pick 27 – Patrick Queen
    Pick 59 – Lloyd Cushenberry
    Pick 64 – Adam Trautman
    2021 SEA 1st

    • Rob4q says:

      I also made this trade later in that draft:

      HOU Received:
      Pick 144 – Robert Windsor

      SEA Received:
      Pick 171 – Joe Reed
      Pick 248 – Jonathan Garvin
      2021 HOU 6th

      • Rob4q says:

        Full draft came out good, it’s really interesting how the updates to the rankings have affected a few guys that are well liked here…

        16.
        Andrew Thomas
        OT Georgia

        47.
        Justin Madubuike
        DT Texas A&M

        78.
        Jabari Zuniga
        DE Florida

        101.
        Cam Akers
        RB Florida State

        133.
        Damien Lewis
        G LSU

        171.
        Joe Reed
        WR UVA

        214.
        Tanner Muse
        S Clemson

        248.
        Jonathan Garvin
        OLB Miami

        2021 HOU 6th

    • God of Thunder says:

      It’s giving up the 2021 first that I don’t like. And I think JS wouldn’t.

  40. Colin Carney says:

    I like the PFN simulator, but it seems like trades are way to easy with this program. Trading back, trading down, always find a willing partner doesn’t seem very realistic. I could not get the same trade you made with the Colts get accepted when I tried. Do you think that the Colts will be looking to trade back into the 1st round? I made a bunch of other trades, dropping farther down the board until I ended up with the following:

    39. Joshua Uche OLB Michigan
    55. Ross Blacklock DT TCU
    56. Bradlee Anae DE Utah
    101. Matt Peart OT UConn
    122. Eno Benjamin RB Arizona St
    129. Antonio Gandy-Golden WR Liberty
    133. Jack Driscoll OT Auburn
    144. Leki Fotu DT Utah
    183. Nick Harris C Washington
    197. J.R Reed S Georgia
    218. Tyler Bass K Georgia Southern
    227. MonQuavion Brinson CB Georgia Southern
    252. Nick Coe DE Auburn
    254. Patrick Taylor RB Memphis

    2021 Indianapolis 3rd Round Pick
    2021 Baltimore 6th Round Pick