Sunday notes: Combine reveals sensational D-line class

March 5th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

TEF proves the NFL has an O-line problem (still)

Why are explosive physical traits important? Pat Kirwan — a confidant of Pete Carroll — tells us why in this piece:

Every time a ball is snapped to start a play there is a critical element of explosiveness that takes place. When two players collide in an attempt to physically dominate each other, the athlete with the edge in explosiveness has the best chance to win the confrontation. It could be a blocker vs. a tackler, a tackler vs. a ball carrier, or many other examples of winning at the point of contact.

Explosiveness is defined in the dictionary as a violent release of energy, a sudden outburst. Football is a series of explosions. How do you measure it in athletes trying to play NFL football?

Take the vertical jump, standing broad jump and the bench press test results and add them together. If the combined score is over 70 there is a reason to consider the candidate at some point in the draft process for his explosiveness.

Kirwan’s formula is flawed because it diminishes the impact of the broad jump. A superb 9-7 only achieves a 1.2 point advantage over a below par 8-5. That’s why we developed our own formula (TEF) to essentially do what Kirwan intended — measure explosive traits equally and emphasise their combined importance.

Last year we used TEF to measure offensive and defensive linemen and compare the results. At the 2016 combine there were six prospects we could classify as having an explosive physical profile. In comparison, there were 26 defensive linemen hitting the same mark.

This year, the results are even more comprehensive.

There are only three offensive lineman scoring a 3.00 in TEF:

Forrest Lamp — 3.23
Nico Siragusa — 3.13
Garett Bolles — 3.00

In comparison, there are 30 (thirty) defensive linemen scoring at least a 3.00. Here’s the list in full, with the players scoring a +3.00 highlighted in bold:

Montravius Adams — 2.75
Jonathan Allen — 2.75
Derek Barnett — 3.16
Tarell Basham — 2.91
Tashawn Bower — 3.16
Caleb Brantley — 2.57
Fadol Brown — 3.01
Josh Carraway — 3.25
Taco Charlton — 3.23

Bryan Cox Jr. — 2.48
Dylan Donahue — 3.15
Ken Ekanem — 3.08
Myles Garrett — 4.21

Ryan Glasgow — 2.55
Daeshon Hall — 3.31
Charles Harris — 2.84
Trey Hendrickson — 3.41
Jaleel Johnson — 2.40
D.J. Jones — 2.85
Nazair Jones — 2.50
Tanoh Kpassagnon — 3.48
Carl Lawson — 3.54
Jeremiah Ledbetter — 3.27

Malik McDowell — 2.89
Takk McKinley — 3.39
Avery Moss — 2.74
Al-quadin Muhammad — 3.07
Noble Nwachukwu — 3.04
Ife Odenigbo — 3.61
Olumide Ogunjobi — 3.23
Carroll Phillips — 3.30
Ejuan Price — 3.03
Elijah Qualls — 3.16
Haason Reddick — 3.93
Derek Rivers — 3.57
Isaac Rochell — 3.12

Garrett Sickels — 2.56
Tanzel Smart — 2.60
Dawuane Smoot — 3.11
Pita Taumoepenu — 2.92
Vincent Taylor — 2.88
Solomon Thomas — 3.83
Dalvin Tomlinson — 2.82
Steve Tu’ikolovatu — 2.43
Eddie Vanderdoes — 3.04
Charles Walker — 2.80
Tim Williams — 3.48
Jordan Willis — 3.70
Deatrick Wise — 3.43

Simply put, this is a shockingly explosive group of defensive linemen. An unreal bunch even compared to last year.

Here’s the top five ‘TEF’ scores among defensive linemen a year ago:

Dean Lowry: 3.54
Sheldon Rankins: 3.52
Robert Nkemdiche: 3.47
Noah Spence: 3.46
Yannick Ngakoue: 3.44

There are seven players alone in this draft that beat or equal Dean Lowry’s 3.54:

Myles Garrett — 4.21
Haason Reddick — 3.93
Solomon Thomas — 3.83
Jordan Willis — 3.70
Ife Odenigbo — 3.61
Derek Rivers — 3.57
Carl Lawson — 3.54

If you’re wondering why teams like Seattle, who never get a chance to pick the handful of good offensive lineman that get drafted in the top-15, struggle on the offensive line — here’s your answer.

In the last two years alone, college football has sent nine ‘explosive’ athletes playing O-line to the combine. They’ve sent 56 defensive linemen.

Talk about an ever expanding mismatch in the trenches.

Once again it highlights the problem the NFL is dealing with. The top High School athletes, most of which play O-line and D-line, are using their preference to play defense as a recruiting tool. They know where the money and the glamour is at the next level. Equally, the sudden rise of extreme spread offenses isn’t developing the players who end up being left to play O-line in college.

It’s never been more important to find capable athletes who can match-up physically to the defensive linemen coming into the league. And while the Seahawks suffered severe growing pains in 2016 — the athletic potential of their young O-line is as good as some of monsters they’ll be facing. It’s a worthwhile project for Seattle even if they need to add some veteran support in free agency this week.

The top-three TEF scores among the defensive linemen are no real surprise. Myles Garrett’s insane 4.21 confirms what everyone already knows — he is genuinely special and definitely warrants the #1 overall pick. Haason Reddick and Solomon Thomas, two other big names in this class, will also leave the board very quickly. Thomas might go #2 to San Francisco — and it’s now highly unlikely Reddick will last anywhere near Seattle’s pick at #26.

Here are some other big-name NFL defensive linemen and their pre-draft TEF scores:

J.J. Watt — 3.82
Aaron Donald — 3.53
Mario Williams — 3.97
Jadeveon Clowney — 3.50
Khalil Mack — 3.81

Garrett, Reddick and Thomas are physical peers.

The sheer depth of explosive athletes in this class will provide teams with opportunities beyond round one. The Seahawks will probably tap into this group at some point. There are too many freaks not to.

10-yard splits are important

A 10-yard split in the 1.5’s is considered ‘elite’. Today Haason Reddick (1.59), Jordan Willis (1.54) and Trey Hendrickson (1.59) all achieved the mark.

Cliff Avril ran a 1.50 at his combine, with Bruce Irvin recording a 1.55.

Willis in particular might be one to monitor. He has a similar physical profile to Irvin:

Name: Jordan Willis
Height: 6-4
Weight: 255lbs
Arm length: 33.5 inch arms
Forty: 4.53
Split: 1.54
Vertical: 39 inches
Broad: 10-5

Name: Bruce Irvin
Height: 6-3
Weight: 245lbs
Arm length: 33 inch arms
Forty: 4.50
Split: 1.55 split
Vertical: 33.5 inches
Broad: 10-3

Willis is 10lbs heavier than Irvin but has comparable speed and length plus a more explosive physical profile.

It’s possible they see him purely as a LEO/EDGE rather than a SAM linebacker — but Willis is someone to keep in mind the rest of the way.

Agility drills

A handful of defensive linemen have been drafted by Seattle having really impressed in the agility tests (short shuttle, three cone).

Frank Clark’s 4.05 short shuttle is the second best time recorded in the last five years. Jackson Jeffcoat, an UDFA who signed with Seattle, has the third best time (4.18) and Cassius Marsh is at #10 (4.25)

This year, Carl Lawson ran a 4.19 (#4 in the last five years) and Trey Hendrickson a 4.20 (#7). Both are faster than the 4.21 run by Joey Bosa a year ago.

Jordan Willis meanwhile had the fourth best three-cone drill in the last five years (6.85) again beating Bosa’s time (6.89). Pita Taumoepenu (6.91), Derek Rivers (6.94), Solomon Thomas (6.95) and Derek Barnett (6.96) all cracked the top-15.

Basically, a lot of teams are going to go back and review Willis’ tape after today.

Haason Reddick ran a 4.37 short shuttle and a 7.01 three-cone.

Linebackers hard to judge

This was a weird day for the linebackers. It started well enough — Tyus Bowser, T.J. Watt and Zach Cunningham all performed very well in the broad and vertical jumps:

Tyus Bowser: 37.5 inch vert, 10-7 broad
T.J. Watt: 37 inch vert, 10-8 broad
Zach Cunningham: 35 inch vert, 10-5 broad

This was encouraging, especially with Reddick likely moving himself out of range for the Seahawks at #26.

However, none of the three ran particularly well. Bowser ran an official 4.65 with a nice 1.59 split, with Watt managing a 4.69 and Cunningham a 4.67.

None of these times are horrible but compared to Haason Reddick’s 4.52, they don’t look particularly great either.

Bowser might be in play at the SAM, just like Jordan Willis. His split in particular is encouraging, he has experience at linebacker with Houston and he has the size and length to make that role work.

Cunningham is really lean with a safety-like appearance. He has good length and attitude — but are the Seahawks going to draft a 4.67 linebacker at #26? T.J. Watt is explosive and tough but looks more like a Paul Kruger-type 3-4 OLB.

One final note on the linebackers — we know Pete Carroll coached Clay Matthews at USC and used him as a SAM. Here are Matthews’ combine numbers:

Name: Clay Matthews
Height: 6-3
Weight: 240lbs
Forty: 4.67
Split: 1.61 split
Vertical: 35.5 inches
Broad: 10-1
Bench: 23 reps

And here’s Jordan Willis, Tyus Bowser and T.J. Watt:

Name: Jordan Willis
Height: 6-4
Weight: 255lbs
Forty: 4.53
Split: 1.54
Vertical: 39 inches
Broad: 10-5

Name: Tyus Bowser
Height: 6-3
Weight: 247lbs
Forty: 4.65
Split: 1.59
Vertical: 37.5 inches
Broad: 10-7

Name: T.J. Watt
Height: 6-4
Weight: 252lbs
Forty: 4.69
Split: Unknown
Vertical: 37 inches
Broad: 10-8

It’s unclear whether Carroll would’ve hand-picked Matthews to feature for the Seahawks in the NFL — but the three 2017 prospects have a superior physical profile.

It’s possible all three are considered better suited as an EDGE rather than a SAM — but it’s food for thought.

Florida’s Jarrad Davis could also be an option for the Seahawks. He didn’t workout at the combine as he continues to recover from an injury. He’ll perform at the Florida pro-day on March 28th.

Thoughts on how the combine so far impacts Seattle at #26

For a few weeks now it’s felt like the key to this draft (based on who is available) would be Seattle’s ability to add a cornerback capable of competing to start, find better depth at safety and linebacker and identify a solution for this position:

The role highlighted by the green circle could be a SAM or it could be a ‘Buffalo’ nickel (the position is explained in more detail here).

It’s entirely possible they could draft a strong-side linebacker at #26 or in the second round. Pete Carroll referenced his desire to add a linebacker at the end of the season. In the past, players like Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin have featured in games taking 90% of the defensive snaps.

However, in 2016 they showed their willingness to play predominantly in a 4-2-5. Mike Morgan (starting SAM) only had one game where he played more than 50% of the snaps (@ LA). When he returned from a sports hernia injury, he only had one game where he had more than 30% of the snaps (vs Arizona).

Jeremy Lane on the other hand played 71% of the defensive snaps in 2016.

Finding someone who can combine the two roles is very trendy in the NFL — but with good reason (see: the tight end workouts on Saturday).

Eric Edholm reported earlier today that the Seahawks have spent a lot of time speaking to Obi Melifonwu. Shalom Luani also revealed he met with the Seahawks in Indianapolis.

Both players have the size and length Seattle likes at corner, the speed to handle coverage duties and the size/tackling qualities of a lighter linebacker.

Melifonwu was measured at 6-4, 224lbs at the combine. Deion Jones was 6-1 and 222lbs a year ago. If Jones can become one of the more impactful defenders in the NFL at that size, why can’t Melifonwu? Especially considering he’s expected to have a phenomenal workout tomorrow.

You could end up with a starter at nickel who can provide depth for Earl Thomas and/or Kam Chancellor at safety.

This might also be a way for the Seahawks to justify taking Budda Baker despite his lack of size (5-10, 195lbs) or length (30 5/8 inch arms). The 4-2-5 puts a safety hybrid in the nickel (a role Baker is familiar with) but also has a common look with a pair of rangy free safety’s playing cover-2 and the strong safety lining up at the LOS (something Kam Chancellor is capable of doing).

It’s interesting though that they’re clearly doing their homework on Melifonwu and Luani — two safety’s that have size, length and athleticism.

If the likes of Haason Reddick, Garett Bolles and Forrest Lamp don’t make it into range at #26 — and if they’re not sold on the likes of Tyus Bowser, T.J. Watt, Zach Cunningham or Jordan Willis at #26 — getting an athletic safety carries some logic.

It wouldn’t be a big shock if Seattle ultimately goes safety/hyrbid and cornerback with their first two picks. The talent is their to justify it.

Tomorrow is a big day at the combine. The entire league is going to want to tap into this incredible DB class. Our next live blog begins at 2pm PST on Monday and we’ll be providing updates throughout the day.

146 Responses to “Sunday notes: Combine reveals sensational D-line class”

  1. Kenny Sloth says:

    Go Hawks!!

  2. Sea Mode says:

    Amazing stuff, Rob. This opens up so many different options for us to consider.

    If Haason Reddick or Jarrad Davis is not there for us at #26, I’ve got my eye on Carroll Phillips in late R2-early R3 for the OLB role. Plays with his hair on fire. Might drop a bit for off-field concerns.

    *Trade down into early R2, swapping native R3 picks in compensation. This spreads our picks evenly throughout R2 and R3 so we can target the value we want at each spot.

    R2 (early): Evan Engram/Budda Baker/Forrest Lamp/Justin Evans/Curtis Samuel/someone who falls
    (the rest of the draft can fill the needs, so look more to BPA here)
    R2: Obi Melifonwu
    R3 (early): Carroll Phillips
    R3 Comp: Isaac Asiata

    *Trade down last R3 comp for R4 + R5 picks. JS said they almost traded out at the end of R3 last year. There will always be a team that wants to grab a certain player before heading to sleep on day 2.

    R4: Tedric Thompson/Shalom Luani
    R5: Jeremy Cutrer
    R6: Chris Carson
    R7: Stevie T

    Look for RT competition in FA or move Ifedi to RT, Glow to RG, Asiata to LG.

  3. BobbyK says:

    Drafting an EDGE, LB/DB, and CB in any order feels right. Can definitely see them get the third of what they don’t get in the first two rounds by using a pair of their late threes to move up (aka Tyler Lockett) to get a player they feel is going to make an impact in ’17. Adding youth to the established veterans would make for another year of leading the league in scoring defense again.

    Score on the rookie defenders and add a veteran OL like Okung and there’s no reason they can’t be hoisting the Lombardi again in Minneapolis in 11 months.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Carroll not naming EDGE as a need makes me suspicious that it’ll be an early target. I think any player in that type of role that they take early might have to be a SAM/LEO type. Could be a Willis, Bowser or Watt but they all kind of feel like they’re edging to LEO more than SAM. And none could play inside — which Carroll hinted was what they were looking for (someone to push Bobby, KJ).

      Plus the DL depth this year means they might find someone they really like in R3 or beyond.

      I think it could come down to S and CB at #26 unless Reddick/Davis are there.

      • BobbyK says:

        I think you’re right.

        • GerryG says:

          Agreed.

          I am also feeling that with some of this amazing top shelf talent that will be available in the latter half of RD1 and first half Rd2 that for once I would be in favor of moving up and sacrificing our total number of picks. It just seems like there is more top end D talent available there than a typical year.

          If you have can move up 5 or 6 spots for one of your 3rds to secure Reddick do it. Give up a little more to move up in RD2 to secure one of these hybrid DBs or long CBs, do it?

      • FresnoBrad says:

        1st round must be future ProBowler or we should trade first pick! That includes OL.
        Davis gets hurt a lot? Quinton Jefferson should be our LEO that’s why he was mirroring Bennett at practice. We are currently trying to get a cheap DT or two were going after both 3tech & nose.

  4. BobbyK says:

    There are now projected to be 54 players drafted in the first round and 28 of those players will be taken in the top 15. πŸ™‚

    • nichansen01 says:

      πŸ™‚

    • Hawksince77 says:

      Funny you say that. I count at least 27 players going in the top 25:

      CB – I count at least 4, probably more
      DE – Myles Garrett, Soloman Thomas, Charles Harris, Haasan Reddick
      DT – 2 per CBS: Jonathan Allen, Malik McDowell
      FS – Malik Hooker
      ILB – Rueban Foster
      OG – Forrest Lamp
      OLB – two of Cunningham/McKinley/Williams
      OT – Ramczyk, Robinson, Bolles
      QB – Tribisky, Kizer, Watson
      RB – Davin Cook, Leonard Fournette
      SS – Jamal Adams
      TE – OJ Howard (could be another)
      WR – at least two of the following, perhaps all three (Williams, Davis, Ross)

      That’s a total of 27.

      This includes only two guys this blog really likes – Bolles and Reddick.

      So somebody really good has to fall to 26, unless I am missing something. Is this list wrong?

      • Hawksince77 says:

        UPDATE adding a TE to the list (from Rob’s comment below:

        “Howard and Njoku to go top-25, Hodges and Engram possibly top-45.”

        That makes 28 in top 25. πŸ™‚

      • Rob Staton says:

        Of the names listed, these are the ones I think possibly or probably won’t go top-25:

        McDowell
        Cunningham
        T. Williams
        Robinson
        M. Williams
        Kizer

        Have my doubts about Cook, Takk, Ramcyzk too.

      • millhouse-serbia says:

        Christian Mccaffrey, Njoku, Jarrad Davis, Jabrill Peppers…

      • Nathan says:

        All of those players on your list will go in the top 10.

  5. Zach says:

    Rob, I wonder if the combine results to date increase the odds that the Seahawks move in one direction or the other from #26: either up to grab one of these incredible athletes (maybe with that extra 3rd round pick) or down because the next group is hard to differentiate between? From a very broad perspective it seems like up would make more sense since there just aren’t all that many roster spots up for grabs in 2017, but certainly moving down and getting more cracks at a very strong pool of players makes sense too. What do you think?

    • Rob Staton says:

      With the likelihood of the more preferable options moving well out of range (Bolles, Reddick) I think it certainly increases the chances we’ll see Seattle trade down from #26.

      • Zach says:

        A humble request, then: any chance you could at some point (maybe after the combine) write up some potential players who would be on the board (QBs seem obvious) at that point who would prompt a team to want to move up (but whom the Seahawks wouldn’t want)?

        • Rob Staton says:

          One of the top four QB’s, Mike Williams, Corey Davis, a specific CB — I think they’re the names that could provoke it if they lasted.

      • FresnoBrad says:

        Reddick most likely won’t start he needs to learn linebacker 1st. Why not late 1 to early 2.

  6. nichansen01 says:

    I am excited about second year players contributing A LOT to this team next year.

    Germaine Ifedi- Starting right guard, should improve

    Jarran Reed – starting defensive takcle, should improve

    CJ Prosise- if he stays healthy, has the potential to win the starting running back job and even if he doesn’t, will still factor in as a change of pace back and pass catcher.

    Nick Vannet – should get more playing time as a blocker and pass catcher especially if willson leaves

    Rees Odhimabo – opportunity to pretty much back up four oline spots, meaning he will for sure see playing time, as little injuries happen.

    Quinton Jeffreson- If he stays healthy, he can provide us with a jordan hill type interior pass rush.

    Alex Collins- Has the chance to feature more prominently in the offense after what was essentially a redshirt yea. Looked a lot better towards the end of the season.

    Joey Hunt – you can basically pencil him in as the backup center

    Tanner McEvoy- should be on the team as a wide receiver, should get more looks after developing more throughout the season.

    George fant – the team’s starting left tackle.

    The team was REALLY young last year so everyone in this group having a season under their belt is going to be huge.

    I am also excited about seeing Paul Richardson contribute more after being fully recovered. If he picks up where he left off, this offense could be much improved from last year.

    Hopefully we don’t have to deal with all the youth and injuries on offense this time around.

    GO HAWKS!!!

    • Totem_Hawk says:

      I agree…only glaring question is RT…Gilliam seems to have plateaued

      • Ishmael says:

        Too early to write Gilliam off. Tackle is a brutal position, have to give some of these guys time to grow and develop.

        • Hawk Eye says:

          yes, takes time to learn the position and adjust to NFL speed. He played better when he came back from being benched. At worst, he would make a decent back up. And as a back up, I like him as a 6th lineman on occasion, since he was a tight end before. I think he has the athletic profile of a LT, but has adjusted to playing RT and it might be harder to go to LT.

          • All I see is 12s says:

            Even pff was grading him nicely after he came back. However, Jason Cole was reporting that Seattle has definitely been in talks about free-agent card. I wonder if they’re not planning on signing a right guard and kicking out ifedi to right tackle.

  7. Ehurd1021 says:

    Rob… you don’t see any way possible Peppers being able to play SAM in this defense? I know you mentioned the change that happened last year (4-2-5) but do you think that change was made out of necessity due to Morgan being injured, losing Bruce to injury, and not having depth and talent? Peppers played WILL/SAM at a very high level at UM. Would I trust Peppers at WILL/SAM in the NFL, not at his current weight but he has shown the ability to do so. It would be interesting to see him at SAM; almost like Deone Bucannon was able to do for the Cardinals.

    I’m only asking because I’ve heard Pete say before that within the defensive philosophy they like to stay in their base defense as long as possible before they move to nickel; dictating tempo and personnel matchups. Seems like Peppers would have that ability; very aggressive and physical with great covering skills.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It is very possible they changed to a 4-2-5 because of the talent available — but in turn that’s the situation potentially this year too. If the best options in the draft lean to 4-2-5, don’t fight it.

      Pete also noted with John Clayton last week that every team is in nickel so much these days — and we know Jeremy Lane was on the field 71% of the time last year, so Seattle is comfortable in this formation.

      Peppers would be a Buffalo rather than a SAM. It’s possible but I think someone will take him before #26.

      • Ehurd1021 says:

        Agreed. Reddick isn’t making it to 26, clearly. But if we’re going to draft towards that 4-2-5 out of necessity (depth/talent) and changing scheme/NFL the question I have is who fits that mold better out of Baker and Peppers.

        You think Peppers will be gone by 26 – damn! I know it might sound crazy but I honestly think Peppers could play SAM/Buffalo at 5’11″/220. That’s the question I have because I would take Peppers over Baker all day.

    • Ehurd1021 says:

      Bruce to FA, not injury.

  8. nichansen01 says:

    Also, a note for next season, watch these Huskies who I think all have major pro potential for the 2018 draft.

    Vita Vea, DT
    Greg Gaines, DT
    Jojo McIntosh, SS
    Lavon Coleman, RB
    Dante Pettis, WR
    Azeem Victor, ILB
    Keishawn Bierria, ILB
    Trey Adams, OT (might stay another year)

    I suspect Browning and Gaskin to both return for their senior years.

    • peter says:

      I don’t follow the huskies that much not living in Seattle anymore but Vita Vea I think is going to go top ten barring injury.

  9. Kenny Sloth says:

    Rob, can we get a blurb on the lack of DTs in this draft in the next piece?

    Great work as always, man!

    • nichansen01 says:

      I think the DT class is underrated.
      Johnson, Adams, Tomlinson, Vanderdoes, Qualls, Nazair Jones, Jarron Jones, Smart, Tuikolovatu, Brantley, Glasgow all good options.

      Olumide Ogunjobi also intriguing,

      Allen and Thomas elite.

      Not a great class, but there are some options.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Vanderoes, Ogunjobi and Qualls big highlights today in terms of explosive traits. The rest? Very meh. And Vanderdoes the only one of the three with +33 inch arms.

      • Sea Mode says:

        I was high on Naz Jones as a late rounder who could develop into something later on, but he had the worst 3C time (7.93) of the entire class and is not very explosive either. That doesn’t bode well for his chances of becoming a Hawk. Length sure is nice though, and the SS was good. Maybe he just had a poor rep in the 3C or something.

        6051, 304, 34 5/8 arm, 2.48 TEF, 4.63 SS, 7.93 3C

    • BobbyK says:

      Schneider commented on the lack of DTs in this 2017 class after they traded up (and a pick this year) for Jefferson last year. He was essentially the last DT available with the upside they coveted last year because they knew there wasn’t much available for them in ’17.

      This is kind of a position I haven’t paid much attention to because I don’t think the Seahawks will take one. Actually, that’s wrong – the Seahawks have already used this years 4th round pick on a DT. πŸ™‚

      • PPast says:

        If the ‘Hawks grab a DT in free agency, then I expect they will wait until after the draft to pick one up as a UDFA.

      • C-Dog says:

        The have been interviewing DT’s in this class though with Watkins, Tomlinson, and Stevie T, all run stopper types.

      • Brad says:

        Quinten Jefferson was a College DT but he is our LEO. If we don’t get a 3 tech & 1 Tech in Free Agecny we have to draft them.

    • The Hawk is Howling says:

      You crack me up Kenny!

      Go Hawks

  10. Naks says:

    Lot of talent. I’m happy with one of freak te/lb/dbs. I agree with a lot of people that we trade down if reddick/bolles is not there.

  11. BobbyK says:

    One interesting scenario I’ve been thinking about (of the 192,294,578,912) is a potential 1st/2nd round duo of Obi and King. That would be two big, tall, and long dudes. That would still leave three picks in the third round for at least one LB and a probable EDGE guy (then an offensive player, which would make this year like last year in terms of going heavy on one side of the ball with most of their day 1-2 picks). We know no LB is going to take playing time from Wagner/Wright – but that’s the round to add “LB depth” to compete with those guys if guys like Reddick/Davis are unavailable at #26. Wish I knew what they were thinking!

    • peter says:

      I now there’s been talk of a Fournette/Bolles move up but for me if the FO does something wonky I’d love to see Obi/King/Jarrad Davis. I see a some chatter about Obi in the second round on this site but I actually think it hampers them that Seattle has talked to him so many times. If he tears it up tomorrow I think he’s going to rise into the first. KIng’s saving grace (for us) is that his team mate still gets tons of pub nationally.

  12. Cameron says:

    With respect Rob, I think you might be forcing a narrative a bit with your SAM snap % numbers. Did we play in nickel a bunch last year because of an ideological shift, or do we just not have a good SAM? Mike Morgan is who he is, but I wouldn’t play him on 3rd downs either.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not at all. I’ve made reference multiple times in discussing this that there’s a chance they played a lot of nickel because of personnel (as in, they preferred Lane on the field instead of Morgan).

      That said, it’d be naive to think the only reason Seattle did this is because their arm was being twisted. Switching to a 4-2-5 isn’t some major ideological shift either. It’s basically one player. Malcolm Smith, who was 226lbs at his combine, was starting for Seattle at LB when they won a Super Bowl. We’re discussing the possibility now of a player weighing 223lbs potentially playing that role. ‘Buffalo’ is essentially some of the aspects of a LB with the athleticism of a DB. The actual role doesn’t change, just it’s a more athletic player. And they’ve looked at players for this role before 2016 (eg Eric Pinkins).

      Only last week Pete Carroll made reference to how much nickel every team has to play. And beyond Reddick, there isn’t an obvious dynamic SAM in this draft. So if they were forced to run more 4-2-5 in 2016, this draft class will only push them towards doing it again in 2017. It’s the exact same situation. Personnel dictating your ultimate decision.

      • Cameron says:

        I can see the appeal of the player and the scheme, but you are basically describing a platoon at SAM. Can Obi Melifonwu hold up in the run game or will he be subbed out? What about against teams with elite slot receivers? Obi Melifonwu m2m against Julian Edleman? I shudder.

        Obi lined up against a TE or big WR? Yes, I get that. That’s appealing, ideally we draft a scheme transcendent player at 26.

        Malcolm Smith, let us not forget, left for peanuts.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Why would they match Melifonwu up with Edelman? Did they match Bruce up with Edelman or Malcolm Smith?

          Cassius Marsh actually played more snaps vs New England (47%) than Jeremy Lane (40%) in 2016. They didn’t have Marsh covering Edelman.

          Just because Melifonwu would be playing as a buffalo nickel doesn’t mean he has to play 1v1 against any slot receiver. I think you’re over complicating things here. Deion Jones, fresh from a fantastic rookie season in Atlanta, is 6-1 and 222lbs. Melifonwu is 6-4 and 224lbs. If they take Melifonwu, clearly they believe he can handle lots of different duties like Jones.

          • Cameron says:

            So why not just draft a SAM and upgrade the nickel corner? Honestly curious.

            • Rob Staton says:

              That’s a possibility too. But the whole point of the blog is to cover possibilities, not assert to people what will or won’t happen. The concept of a hybrid ‘big nickel’ is a distinct possibility based on the players available in the draft, the precedent they set in terms of 2016 formation and their decision to try and develop guys like Eric Pinkins. Heck, they even tried Brandon Browner for this role a year ago.

              They’ve met with Melifonwu at every opportunity. Do you think they’re meeting with him to replace Kam (I certainly don’t)? Or is it more likely they see him as an option as a Buffalo?

              And sure — they might take a SAM and a nickel. But you tell me the SAM LB’s in this class beyond Reddick and a couple of others? And then let’s run through the huge list of big, athletic, versatile safety’s.

            • Sea Mode says:

              2 in 1 also saves a roster spot, allows you to use another draft pick elsewhere, and also gives you matchup versatility as well without having to substitute.

              Doesn’t have to happen, but there are benifits.

  13. JimQ says:

    It appears that the excellent site 3sigmaathlete,com has spark rankings up and they clearly indicate the “OL problem”. Bad, bad class after the first few, no wonder their is merit in the idea of seeking sparky DL guys to convert to the OL.

    https://3sigmaathlete.com/rankings/ol/

    • Rob Staton says:

      SPARQ is very useful at some positions. For others (eg, O-liners) the explosive tests are more crucial.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        I find it useful when looking at WR, RB, CB and LB types. It is especially useful once you get past the first and second round probable draft picks that everyone knows or has heard of during the off-season.

    • JimQ says:

      Just looked at OL spark #’s from previous years:

      WOW, this is insane!!!! Anyone see a trend? At this rate, next year will be really bleak. Might mean get your OL guy now or never.

      2017 = 9 player over 100 spark.
      2016 = 54 players over 100 spark
      2015 = 84 players over 100 spark

      • Cameron says:

        Terry Poole would be a top 5 OL in this draft athletically.

        What the heck?

      • mister bunny says:

        Or it might mean that in 2018 there are 65 players over 100 sparq, proving this draft to be a fluke?

  14. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    So what this tells us….. the 3rd round will still have some very explosive DL available.
    (adjusts personal mock draft accordingly)

  15. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    Rob’s boy, Bowser had a nice combine.

    Notes from NFL.com

    BOTTOM LINE Ascending pass-rush prospect who is still learning the fundamentals of his position thanks to a late commitment to the sport. Bowser’s movement ability in space creates interesting possibilities for teams looking for a twitched-up toy to play with. Bowser lacks production, but his explosive characteristics off the edge will push him up the draft board and give him a chance to play well above where some scouts might project him.

    I think it is very intriguing that they mentioned his ability to play in space.

  16. ET8 says:

    Love your work, Rob! (first post)

    The question I have after watching the LB today is:

    Can Jabrill Peppers play outside LB in this defense at 6 ft and possibly 210-15 pounds? Malcolm Smith was 6 ft/225 pounds when he was drafted in 2011. Obviously, the weight would be an issue, but JP covering ability and match up potential on passing downs would be fantastic. I know most people might think he would be a liability in running downs, but he has the aggressiveness and nature to play the position — which he did in college.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Peppers could be a ‘Buffalo’ or big nickel. Not an orthodox LB though.

      • ET8 says:

        Which I don’t understand — but I’ll take your word for it, absolutely. I think he ends up being a safety in the NFL but it’s interesting. I love watching his highlights while he’s playing inside LB at Michigan — ridiculous the talent(s) that young man was blessed with.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Well he’s 213lbs for a start and looks maxed out in terms of size. Deion Jones is pretty small for a LB and he’s 10lbs heavier.

          • ET8 says:

            The size is obviously a concern. The only thing that gave me hesitation was his ability to play inside backer — at his size — in college. Obviously, the NFL is a different monster. Really interested to see what they’re gonna do at the Linebacker position.

  17. Hughz says:

    This may be a question to answer closer to the draft but when do you expect the run on the TEs? 2nd round?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Howard and Njoku to go top-25, Hodges and Engram possibly top-45.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      I would guess if there is a “run” it might be 3rd. Njoku and Howard in R1, Engram late 1st to mid-2nd? But there are so many interesting guys I can’t see why there would be a run as early as the 2nd.

  18. JSites says:

    Rob,

    As a K-State fan, I’m excited that Jordan Willis is getting a bit of recognition. He didn’t get much during the year due to the Wildcats’ underwhelming season.

    If you watch film on him, please also watch his teammate, Dante Barnett (Safety). In my opinion it was a huge snub for him not to be invited to the combine.

  19. Ehurd1021 says:

    Rob…

    Malcolm Smith is FA, is he a possibility? Signing him would obviously provide key depth and talent and helps with the rotation. Could you slide Malcolm Smith inside (WILL) and move KJ to SAM; which happened a lot back in 2011/12. Or simply sign Smith to provide depth and competition at SAM with Morgan.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think they’ve moved on. Pete referenced drafting for the LB position.

      • Ehurd1021 says:

        Maybe the FO feel in love with LB’s on the board more so than I have with this class. I still like Davis; I would’ve liked to see him compete in the combine and run. Just throwing Malcolm Smith name out there because he might come cheap, still is a productive player and fits a need on this roster.

        • peter says:

          To be fair Davis is healing a lingering Ankle injury. I like to see prospects do the drills and workouts but he has nothing to gain from a crappy showing on a bad ankle.

          Now a prospect I’ve got concerns about is Elijah Hood, who as of the combine due to training for the combine has hamstring issues. Probably true. But the cynic in me wonders if he isn’t ready for the testing aspect….

          • Ishmael says:

            With that weight gain? I’m with you.

            I’m glad guys like Evans and Davis are sitting out though – if they’re injured then what’s the point? They could push themselves, perform poorly, and possibly injure themselves further. Get your body right, then crush it at the pro days.

  20. nichansen01 says:

    Is peppers a fit for washington? I know they need a safety, and isn’t Su’a Cravens out of the league?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think there was talk about Cravens but he never actually confirmed anything. They need a safety though — but more pressing needs at LB and DL.

  21. Martin says:

    Rob, how come you’re not talking about Peppers for a hybrid role? He’s a much better prospect than Luani ( day 3 pick ) and is very athletic, can cover TE’s, back up Kam, very versatile. I wouldn’t feel badly if he was picked at 26. Thoughts?

    • nichansen01 says:

      I warmed up to peppers a bit after seeing his combine results. I think he could fit in a hybrid role.

    • Rob Staton says:

      1. I’ve never felt personally he’ll be there at #26 and only referenced such a fall in mocks to represent national sentiment.

      2. He could do the role.

      3. Don’t sleep on Luani.

    • peter says:

      Honestly I see Peppers falling til the third. I should say on Seattle’s board. Sure some FO will fall in love with him but he shouldn’t have done LB testing. I know he was amazing in college but really what’s his position? His testing was good but none of it was great in context of being faster but nato nearly much more explosive then guys with significant weight/length on him. I’m not the biggest Cunningham fan but he’s got 20 lbs, four inches of height and 3.5 inches of arm length to produce near enough numbers in the explosive testing except the 40 times.

      • McGruff says:

        He didn’t have a choice on performing with the LBers, since that was his position in college.

        He did show great initiative and desire by Choosing to workout two days in a row while volunteering to work out with the DBs.

  22. Aaron says:

    I’m so jacked up about this draft on the defensive side of the ball! The Hawks keeping their second and getting a third for Okung is such a gift to this team. The depth in this draft at DB, LB, and EDGE is so great that I hope they find a way to trade down at some point to get more picks. While I’d love them to pick someone at 26, these first three rounds are so loaded with defensive talent. Why not get more picks to take advantage of it? Focus on the o line and d line in FA and use this draft to reload the defense with young, talented, and explosive depth. Go Hawks!!!

  23. Martin says:

    I have to admit I haven’t seen much of Luani tape.
    Would it be a shock if we picked a pure pass rusher at 26– not a LB/DE type– given Avril and Bennett will be 30+ this year? Not sure if Tim Williams or Charles Harris can drop into coverage but as pure edge players, maybe a fit at 26?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not quick enough for SEA (need 1.5 speed). If they were taking an EDGE, Bowser maybe more likely. Willis based on testing but not sure he’s enough of a junkyard dog for them.

    • Jujus says:

      I think we should for sure capitalize on the strength of this draft and go pass rush, corner, Lb then go From there.

  24. Joshua Smith says:

    Plenty of pro bowl offensive lineman have been drafted after the first round since JSPC took over the franchise. To say that Seattle has a bad offensive line because they pick outside of the top 15 is a myth. I respect what you do here, but dont understand this narrative.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Seattle’s R1 draft position over the last 5 years (2013-2017) is 25, 32, 31, 26, 26. That’s an average draft position of exactly 28.

      Please list me all the Pro Bowl OL drafted in the last 4 years after R1P28.

    • Rob Staton says:

      What evidence do you have to back that it’s a myth, Joshua?

      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2010: 0
      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2011: 2 (Rodney Hudson, Jason Kelce)
      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2012: 1 (Kelechi Osemele)
      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2013: 1 (David Bakhtiari)
      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2014: 1 (Trai Turner)
      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2015: 0
      Pro Bowl O-liners drafted after first round in 2016: 0

      So in seven years, five O-liners have been drafted beyond round one and made the Pro-Bowl. Less than one a year.

      It’s not a myth, is it?

      • Josh Smith says:

        Just googled 2010 draft. First o-lineman I saw picked after round 1 was Zane Beadles, who was a pro bowler in 2012 according to wikipedia. Thats literally all that Ive looked up so far. The first one after round 1 in 2010 and already found one you missed. I’ll look more in depth later, but I dont want this to turn into something besides a friendly disagreement.

  25. Phil says:

    The Seahawks have a history of trading their #1 picks for veteran players. Why is nobody talking about trading #26 for a veteran OL or a veteran pass rusher? Who might be available in return for #26?

    • Misfit74 says:

      Brandin Cooks would be nice.

    • DC says:

      The Harvin & Jimmy trades, aside from the draft capital required, also came with big money contracts. We are not super flush with cap space and more importantly, it ruins day 1 of the draft!

      • Misfit74 says:

        Cooks is under an affordable rookie deal through 2018.

        That said, even though it appears a Seahawks type of move, I fully believe other teams will offer more than us and that we’re happy with the first round depth this season.

        • HI Hawk says:

          Brandin Cooks for #26 overall? With the WR depth the Seahawks already have, I hope they don’t even consider the option. They need reinforcements at DB and LB, this draft is flush with talent at those two particular positional needs. These five early round picks are more valuable than they are in most years on the defensive side of the ball.

    • FresnoBrad says:

      We don’t want a veteran DE we want a cheap DT free agent.

    • Rob Staton says:

      This draft is too good to trade #26 for a veteran. They traded their #1’s in 2013 and 2015 because the options in round one were poor.

  26. nichansen01 says:

    I disagree about the O line D line difference. When watching tape of elite edge rush prospects, they are more consistently dominated by the o linemen. It is across the board.

  27. Ed says:

    Love draft time. Love this blog (want to contribute more than just words). Love talking Hawks. But most of all, love talking football. I don’t have the time to put into watching all college football players, and those of you that make the time (volume 12 and of course Rob, what a baller), but I know when I see players.

    Thanks for having this blog, it’s truly a multiple time a day glance.

  28. Josh emmett says:

    I was just going over the numbers for the oline at the combine and Avainte Collins jumped out at me. 6’4″ 295lbs +33 inch arms. Ran a 4.81 and put up 34 reps on the bench. He didn’t do all the drills. Anyone know anything about him? From TCU, I guess he played RT. Sounds like an athlete to me, maybe under the radar?

  29. GreginAlaska says:

    Rob,
    I want to second what Ed says. Thanks to you for putting on this blog. It is truly the best out there and multiple times a day must reading. It must be a tremendous effort, which is very much appreciated. Thank you. I also very much appreciate the knowledgeable comments from the other commentators on this blog. I go into the draft each year far more informed than I was prior to finding this site. Thanks to all and Go Hawks!

  30. Derron James says:

    The Seahawks are strong candidates for Kamar Aiken. Any thoughts???

  31. seattleblue says:

    How far would John Ross have to fall for to consider trading up for him and what would that cost? A receiving group of Baldwin, Lockett, Richardson, Ross and Graham would be deadly. The route running ability and elusiveness of that core out of 11 personnel or empty sets would make me consider it.

    • All I see is 12s says:

      Ross is a Great prospect, but he is not the missing piece of a super bowl. Baldwin, preach and locket will do the trick. Depth at the second level defense and a developed ol will do he trick.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

      He will not make it out of top 12 picks.

    • Josh Smith says:

      Have to pass protect better before further investment in offensive weapons gets us anywhere. We dont even fully utilize the weapons we have now, and we have a lot. There are games where Jimmy Graham only gets like 3 targets. We need to figure out how to get our playmakers the ball before we spend even more draft capital on them. Think about how much we’ve spent on skill positions recently: Harvin, Graham, Richardson, Lockett, Michael…hasnt done as much for our offense as you would think.

  32. FresnoBrad says:

    We already have our Peppers it cost us our 7th round pick for Dewey McDonald has 4.4 speed very athletic former Colt safety. “We know he can play safety we wanna find out if he can play line backer” Pete Carroll
    Ronald Powell is also a knew addition by John Schneider a solid try out for SAM
    Our scouts have spoken too several lower round WILL linebackers like the 6th rd projected Penn State linebacker. FYI Malcom Smith is a Free Agent Raiders said they will only sign him on a low deal. This could be a cheap pick up but he had a bad year with no MLB or DT help. Pier Desir, Sessay etc our corners are good, As far as Kevin King CB the tape I watched he wasn’t physical enough tackler.
    I’m stuck on Dion Dawkins can we trade back and get him in 2nd? What you guys think? AZ state kicker 5th,6th,7th? Who knows bout kickers?

  33. Kenny Sloth says:

    Vol, you know who Chris Carson reminds me of?

    Christine Michael!

  34. Kenny Sloth says:

    http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jeremy-cutrer-vs-hawaii-2016/

    New Cutrer tape up. Beaten badly over the top several times and make lack the short area quickness we seem to value in our corners, but is very physical and has great length. One of the best set of press moves in the class. Increasingly seems like a player I’d like to grab on day 3

  35. Kenny Sloth says:

    Aviante Collins’ tape isn’t bad actually.

    http://draftbreakdown.com/video/aviante-collins-vs-arkansas-2016-2/

  36. All I see is 12s says:

    Rob, I see your point about Bowser’s slower than expected 40. however when I remember the way he ran down hunt on his long run at the senior bowl, the 40 fails to bother me.

  37. Kenny Sloth says:

    Bucky Hodges gave Cam Sutton fits on the outside. Drew at least two flags that I saw.

    Really like the way he plays as an H-back TE. Of course V-tech had him run the ball.

    He’s about the worst blocker you’ll, see though.

  38. Kenny Sloth says:

    N’western Ifeadi Odenigbo is one to watch as a LEO prospect.

    Great bull rush reminds me of Irvin’s college tape.

  39. millhouse-serbia says:

    Report from walterfootball on Charles Harris: Much was expected out of the defensive linemen during Sunday’s combine performance, but several in the first group disappointed. Charles Harris was one such player. His 40 (4.82) needed to be much faster, considering he’s just 6-3, 253. He also posted an epically slow 3-cone time of 7.47, while his broad jump of 9-1 was about what some defensive tackles achieved. Harris may have fallen out of the first round.

    WTF???

  40. Trevor says:

    The two guys Rob was on really early as potential Hawks targets when they were considered day 2 prospects at best were the biggest winners at the combine.

    Bolles is now a lock to be a top 10 pick to either the Jags, jets or Panthers

    Reddicks performance was off the charts yesterday and there is no chance he gets past the Ravens now at 16 he could even go higher.

    It is too bad because both players were the ideal fits character, talent and need wise. Sucks for the Hawks but great job of identifying these guys Rob long before the National media.

  41. Trevor says:

    Rob what are your thoughts on Duke Riley? He ran much faster than I expected at the combine and I really liked his tape. Not seen him discussed on here yet.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Undecided on him. Wasn’t overly impressed with his tape. He ran a 4.58 which is fairly good but not great. Had some nice jumps. A player to look at again after the combine.

  42. McGruff says:

    Daeshon Hall put up good numbers, has pretty much an ideal build, and to my eye in nimerous games looked better than teammate Miles Garrett.

    Why is he being underrated and where does he end up going?

  43. HI Hawk says:

    Depending on how far he falls, I think Raekwon McMillan would be the ideal LB to fill the role Pete talked about in his press conference, when he said he wanted someone to push Bobby and K.J. His athleticism checked out and his tape is ferocious. This is assuming they don’t get Jarrad Davis or Tyus Bowser in round 1.

    Also, who else feels old now that guys who are in their 20s are named after members of Wu-Tang Clan?

  44. HI Hawk says:

    Pita Taumoepenu looked like a good later round SLB project, I thought he moved well in the space drills and showed off good hands, especially since he’s been a pass rush specialist only throughout his college career. His lack of playing time and inexperience operating in space could push him down the board into the 5th or ideally UDFA.

  45. Jesse Cobb says:

    This post kicks ass. Great work!

  46. Dale Roberts says:

    I’ve been on the bandwagon for a defensive draft because I believe we already have an athletic O-line that just needs to grow and meld. However, that only three O-line prospects have TEF profile of at least 3.0 makes me ask this question. If a commodity is that scarce should we be drafting one of the three O-line guys if any of them fall to #26 and then rely on the defensive depth of this draft?

  47. Josh emmett says:

    Tony Pauline:

    7) People will ogle over Obi Melifonwu after his superior testing Monday, but I can tell you scouts are concerned he’s soft on the field and I agree with that concern.