Taking stock on Seattle’s potential needs

September 16th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

It’s still way too early to get an angle on draft needs, but every week we’ll consider the teams performance and how it could relate to needs in the off-season.

Perhaps the biggest plus point of last night was the pass rush. It was enough of a concern last year for the team to go out and invest in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Both players stepped up to the plate in a big way against the 49ers.

We’ll see in upcoming games at Houston and Indianapolis whether the success of last night can be emulated on the road. Seattle’s defense has occasionally been accused of being a ‘home’ unit. While nobody can dispute the talent of the secondary, creating pressure on the road has been an issue.

But Avril and Bennett’s display, coupled with the upcoming return of Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin, offers cause for optimism. I still believe a classic interior pass rusher is required. We’ll see what happens there. Clinton McDonald showed again last night why he’s pretty underrated and we’re yet to see anything from Jordan Hill. When you see a run/pass combo performance like last night, this becomes less of an issue.

It is worth noting, though, that Bennett is playing on a one year contract with major incentives. If he performs well in 2013 it’s going to be mightily difficult to keep him. We’ve talked about Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley. For me he fits the role of that hybrid pass rusher.

What about the offense?

In pre-season Stephen Williams made big plays downfield and appeared set for a role in Seattle’s game plan to start the year. In two games so far he has the grand total (I think) of one target. A downfield shot against Carolina that he dropped.

That’s not to say he can’t be more productive down the line. I’m not writing him off. But his absence so far has been a little surprising.

When discussing Williams over the summer, Pete Carroll talked about how much he likes bigger receivers who can make plays. Until Williams proves he can be that man, it’s something Seattle lacks. They don’t have a possession receiver who can high point the ball and stretch the field for big gains.

It’s unclear how long the likes of Sidney Rice will be with the team. His cap hit next year is $9.7m and it’s $10.2m in 2015. The Seahawks were ruthless in cutting Michael Robinson and might repeat the act in twelve months. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman will likely receive contract extensions in the off-season. They need to save money somewhere.

Rice is the nearest thing Seattle has to a possession receiver — and he is talented. But is he worth $10m? That’s the sticking point.

Take him out of the equation and it leaves a big hole. Add in the fact Golden Tate is a free agent in 2014 and suddenly the receiver group could be down to Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams.

Evidently, there’s room for another guy.

This for me could be Seattle’s biggest need going into the draft, particularly if they want to keep developing the offense.

One of the other things to remember is the time it takes for most receivers to adapt to the NFL. The likes of A.J. Green and Julio Jones are not common. And there’s nobody like that eligible for 2014, let alone in the latter part of the first round.

So while it could develop into a big need come draft time, it could also be the kind of position where Seattle continues to look for the diamond in the rough away from the pressures of first round expectation.

The way Brandon Coleman has started the year for Rutgers, he might make a nice project in rounds 2-3. He’s not looking like a first round pick at the moment. The one guy who has really stood out to me so far is Texas A&M’s Mike Evans.

Another tight end is also vital. Luke Willson, like Stephen Williams, has struggled to build on pre-season momentum. Zach Miller is a reliable veteran but isn’t an explosive player. He too is a possible cap casualty.

One prospect we’ve focused on so far is Oregon’s Colt Lyerla. However, I’m starting to wonder what’s going on with him. This article from ESPN is bizarre, with Lyerla calling out his coach after missing the recent victory over Tennessee.

Something isn’t right here, and it’s not the first time Lyerla has courted controversy.

Not only is he not taking on a more productive role within Oregon’s superb offense, he’s making more headlines for the wrong reasons.

Once again it might be a slow draft at the top end for tight ends. Austin Seferian-Jenkins looks to be the best prospect for now, but he too carries questions over his speed and character. Would he be enough of a difference making athlete for a team like Seattle? I’m not sure.

Tony Pauline says Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro is the talk of scouting circles. You can see his tape vs TCU at the top of this article.

Many fans will focus on the offensive line. For me, this is a unit that needs to be kept together. I can live without big names at every position. I think we saw last night how tight they are as a group — they managed without Russell Okung and Seattle ran all over San Francisco’s much vaunted line.

Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan are free agents but the emergence of Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie is encouraging, as is Tom Cable’s ability to coach up UDFA’s and late round picks.

It is set up to be another monster year for offensive tackles. The top 10-15 picks could be dominated by left tackles if they all declare.

Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, Cyrus Kouandjio and Zack Martin are all first round prospects. Antonio Richardson and James Hurst — plus one or two others — could also come into contention.

The sheer depth of Seattle’s team plus the need to cost cut in certain areas (Giacomini and McQuistan are both decent earners this year) makes tackle a possibility. If they’re picking in the final frame of round one, however, a lot of these guys will be long gone.

60 Responses to “Taking stock on Seattle’s potential needs”

  1. NC Hawks Fan says:

    Great right up! The weaknesses I see seem to match up with yours, in order: Receiver, Tight End, O Line, and 3 Tech, depending on who we keep. I would love for us to build some linebacker/safety depth as well. It’s crazy that we have such a stacked team.

  2. Colin says:

    Last night was the kind of game, for most of the first half, you would’ve given nearly anything for Percy Harvin to be on the field. An explosive playmaking receiver. Seattle badly needs one. A solid but unspectacular group is what we have without him.

    I know we’ve talked about this at length, but I don’t think I’d be against Seattle taking an offensive lineman in the first couple of rounds if the LG circus continues and if the team decides to move on from Breno. Russell Wilson needs to be protected better than he’s gotten so far in 2013. How the line plays this year will help determine if this really is a potential need or not.

    Seattle needs a (young, cheap) conistent force on the DL. Last night was a glimpse of the greatness of this defense with a good pass rush. Let’s continue that.

    • Elijah says:

      I thought Carp played really well last night, I don’t understand your statement about a LG circus. He obviously still needs to improve his pass blocking, but he gets phenomenal push in the run game.

      • Rob Staton says:

        It was possibly Carp’s best game for the Hawks last night vs Justin Smith.

      • Colin says:

        I do not like the ‘play McQuistan, play Carp, rinse and repeat’ tactic. They need to pick one. Carp did play well last night and I think he deserves to start.

        • Mylegacy says:

          Colin, there is NO “play McQuistan, play Carp, rinse and repeat tactic” – there is ONLY as soon as Carp shows he’s healthy, ready for the full time load – Carp wins hands down. Period.

  3. Michael says:

    I agree that we need to prioritize the replacement of Rice, but I really really hope that Golden Tate is re-signed. He is just so damn difficult to get off his feet. I honestly think he has the best balance of any receiver in the NFL, and is even better than many running backs.

    Rice is very talented, but the most unique thing about him is his size. I think you keep churning through rounds 2-5 and eventually find a cheaper alternative. After all, Rice himself was a 2nd rounder.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I too would like to find a way to keep Tate.

      But the way teams are paying WR’s on the open market these days — even guys with moderate production — doesn’t fill me with confidence.

      • Michael says:

        Agreed. Pierre Garcon’s 5yr/$42MM deal with Washington comes to mind.

        I thought Tate showed enough last season to warrant some consideration for an early (and hopefully discounted) extension this off-season, but obviously that didn’t happen. Hopefully they find some clever way to keep him around. More versatile than Rice and more durable than Harvin. Get it done PCJS!

  4. kevin mullen says:

    Straight post-up tall and stout receiver in either a 2nd TE (to work with Miller and eventually succeed Miller) or a WR ala Mike Williams in 2010. Russell needs an outlet jump ball guy as a safety valve for redzone and/or broken plays, too many times I thought from last nights game we could have used a player of this mold.

  5. Attyla the Hawk says:

    While I have generally agreed that Seattle has adequate talent on the offensive line, I can see a couple of reasons why Seattle might consider going OL in the first three rounds.

    1. Grade over need. Seattle showed last year, that they are a team that will defy need logic and take guys that are a surprise. And that’s based on the way they grade players relative to what they have on the roster. It’s probable that we lose McQuistan or Giacomini or both next year. They will likely earn equivalent contracts as UFAs next year. That relative grade could easily be lowered based on attrition to the unit. It’s also possible that Carpenter could be jettisoned as his contract guarantees expire this year. Not likely mind you. But is he worth the contract he has? Availability factors into that equation.

    2. Protect the investment. Wilson is a franchise QB. Pass protection for Seattle really vacillates between garbage at the low end and better than it looks at it’s best. Wilson is one of just a handful of guys that cannot be lost. The ability to protect our QB has never been more vital while at the same time, so openly pedestrian. The standard for acceptable pass pro has to be more than, “Well he’s good for a late day 3 selection”.

    Waiting for projects to bear fruit is something an organization with little to lose can indulge in. Seattle isn’t that kind of roster anymore. And in particular OUR franchise QB is one that is prone to extend plays and incur much greater risk as he holds onto the ball much longer than other QBs. That’s not something that is likely to get fixed, as Seattle continues to seek and game plan long developing, big play opportunities downfield in the passing game.

    Ultimately, Seattle’s need to excel at pass protection, not merely be workmanlike at it, has grown immensely with the arrival of Wilson. Finding upgrades to expected defections should be widely available and relatively high on our grading scale.

    • Michael says:

      All good points. A few counterpoints one could make might sound something like this:

      1. There are ways to improve pass protection without upgrading O-line talent. Scheme has a lot to do with it, as does the blocking ability of your TE’s and RB’s. The awareness/pocket presence of your QB is also huge.

      2. Continuity might be more important to O-line play than anywhere else on the field. Keeping as much of the band together as is reasonably possible would make some sense.

      3. The Seattle Seahawks currently employ Tom Cable.

  6. rrsquid says:

    I know long snappers don’t get much love, but the Texas A&M guy was really firing the ball back. I think he is a Junior named Alex Freeman.

    I would love a Evans-Lylerla 1-2 at this point in the draft process… wayyyy early.

    • Miles says:

      I’m all for bringing competition in; there’s nothing stopping us from doing that. But until Gresham botches a single snap, especially after his contract restructure, I’m sitting pretty with him as the starter through 2014.

  7. cover-2 says:

    Jace Amaro looks intriguing, he has the size, speed, and fluidity that we don’t currently have on offense. I read up on him and he is a bit of a knuckle head on and off the field, so maybe that fact will hurt his draft stock making him an option for us in the 1st or 2nd round.

  8. Belgaron says:

    If ‘Hawks could add a 9+ grade talent at any one position, I think it would be 0-tech. Imagine if you could put a young Geno Atkins, Vince Wolfork, or Haloti Ngata type in the middle of the defense. Maybe a healthy Jesse Williams?

    Mebane is set to make 5.5M, he will be 29 next year and came into camp in poor shape this year. In two games, all the guys around him have been credited with great plays, he has not been called out in that way, although we all know he’s not a bad player. He is a guy you could add to the list next to Rice for possible salary re-adjustment or release.

    • Mylegacy says:

      Belgaron – Mebane has a groin problem and an ankle problem – and even so he’s been pretty good. Wait til he’s 100%(ish) and then bash him – if you can then.

      • Miles says:

        It’d be nice if we rest him for the Jacksonville game, but if PC feels he is good to go then he will play. It’s all part of his “The most important game is the next game” philosophy. Which seems like the best philosophy to have. So if Mebane is healthy enough to play then he should. I do worry about his body starting to break down, as I do with all players who take a lot of contact.

  9. Aaron says:

    Wow, those comments by Lyerla about Sandyhook are incendiary and just astoundingly ignorant. I hadn’t seen that before. I’ve been a big supporter of his, as a fellow alumn of both his high school and university, but I have to say reading that changes my opinion to a large extent. I understand he’s still a kid, but his callous statement about the parents just smacks of terrible judgment at best and incurable stupidity at worst.

    We’ve discussed quite a bit here whether character is a relevant factor in evaluating NFL prospects. Personally I would be more skeptical of a guy who displays that level of ignorance and lack of common sense than I would of someone who may have had a weed habit. But that’s just me.

    In any case, the links you included provide some valuable context on Lyerla. I’m now leaning toward ASJ if we go tight end in the 1st or 2nd round. I think he could easily be another Jeremy Stevens for us. The similarities between the two players are uncanny actually. Stevens had his flaws, but he did a lot for that 2005 team overall.

    I’ll take the guy who got popped for the DUI over the guy who publicly calls the parents of murdered 6 year olds “liars”. Just my personal preference.

  10. Hay stacker509 says:

    Personally I think rice is cut and or traded after our Super Bowl win. PC will pull a patriots and trade someone with a crap load of potential but just somehow can’t use it every game to a team who sees him as worthy of a trade. If that is he doesn’t take a paycut for us to resign Tate. Breno will also be gone. Given the chance to keep a vet between Breno or McQ to teach the youth I’d take McQ. Love Breno’s intensity but his penchant for penalties isn’t worth it. Mebane is on that bubble too I think. My guess is he got a little to comfortable knowing branch is gone and its him vs some rookies and mcdaniels… Seeing how everyone else is getting credit for plays and he’s just kinda there, makes me hope he lights a fire in his ass and starts being that terror 1 tech everyone used to fear. And finally who ever said putting big red in at LT?! Crazy Seahawk talk… And I LOVE IT!! Imagine lining up against him thinking wait? Isn’t he a DE? DO IT!!

  11. James says:

    Rob, according to the Over The Cap website, here are the largest 2014 Seahawks salaries, with cap savings in () if the player is cut:

    - Rice $9.7 mil ($7.3 mil)
    - Clemons $9.7 mil ($7.5 mil)
    - Avril $9.2 mil ($7 mil)
    - Bryant $8.5 mil ($5.5 mil)
    - Miller $7 mil ($5 mil)
    - Lynch $7 mil ($4 mil)
    - Mebane $5.7 mil ($5.3 mil)

    A rough estimate of what it will take to begin re-signing guys like Sherman and Thomas and keeping Tate leads me to believe that half of the guys listed above will have to be cut this off-season, unless they take a dramatic pay reduction. Those cuts will determine how the Seahawks draft, for they will be looking for their replacements. My guess is that they will let Rice, Miller, Mebane and either Clemons or Avril go. Therefore, your projection that the Seahawks will be looking at WR and TE is spot-on.

    • Michael says:

      Based on age/production/injury/competition, I would personally line those players up for the chopping block in the following order from most to least likely to be cut:

      1. Clemons – Easy decision if he’s not the same after ACL. Either way he’ll be 32 next month and his replacement is already in the locker room.

      2. Rice – Big savings despite $2.4MM in dead money. If this enables you to keep Tate, count me in.

      3. Bryant – Big Red looked good last night, but ultimately he’s still a one trick pony and will turn 30 this off-season.

      4. Mebane – I don’t think this has much of a chance of happening at all, but it’s slightly more likely than the guys below him.

      5. Avril – I just don’t see any way Avril gets the axe before Clemons barring massive injury, and obviously you have to keep one of them.

      6. Lynch – The Beast does not look to be slowing down at all and won’t turn 30 during this contract.

      7. Miller – His cap number actually goes down each of the next 2 years, and is absolutely vital to the offense. With no heir apparent currently on the roster, I can’t imagine this is a consideration right now.

      I believe that Earl won’t be as bad as people think, as he should double his AAV from about $4MM to $8-9MM. That won’t hurt nearly as much as when Sherman starts making 25 (or more) times his current 5th round pittance.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Personally I would push Mebane higher up that list.

      • James says:

        Yes, it is Sherman and then of course Wilson who will wallop the cap. But these are guys playing at the elite level, and you have to keep them, if you are serious about winning a championship. Wilson’s contract, at least, will come up after the cap is expected to take a nice jump.

      • Mylegacy says:

        Bryant – may be a “one trick pony” but that one trick is smashing through blocks, grabbing runners, ripping their heads off and shovin’ them up their you know wheres. Not a bad trick – even for a soon to be 30 year old.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s a great list of info there James, thanks for posting that.

  12. Kenny Sloth says:

    Well. As far as TE’s go.
    CJ Fiedorowicz from Iowa is HUGE. A grown ass man and one of the best blockers on the Iowa team. Has nice soft hands and is deceptively fast straight line. Pretty fluid cuts, too. Really a superb blocker. Cannot be understated.

    Justin Jones from Eastern Carolina could be one to watch. He’s fast, agile, and has some acrobatic catch potential. Pretty good blocker. I’ll go back to the SCAR tape later.

    Eric Ebron is a skinny framed joker type from UNC. Great hands. Physical. Willing, but weak blocker. Definitely meant for the Joker role. Doesn’t have the athleticism of a Jordan Reed or Aaron Hernandez, but uses his frame like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates.

    For those of you questioning Colt Lyerla’s Sandy Hooks comments
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BgyKnU7290
    He seems to have seen how he err’d and was just trying to express an inalienable right.
    I feel for the guy, how stifled their lives are. I’ve perpetuated some terrible things on the internet.
    His comments seem to lean towards a “seeker of the truth” kind of mentality.

    Goddamn Scorpios.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      DeVante Parker WR Louisville has some of the best measurables in this class. Too many mental mistakes, though.

    • Jeff M. says:

      Fiedorowicz seems like one to watch to me. We could definitely be looking for a true Y TE if we’re seeking to move on from Miller for cap savings and you just don’t see many guys like that produced in the college game any more.

  13. Kenny Sloth says:

    CAMERON ERVING LT FSU SHOULD BE VERY HIGH ON YOUR WISH LIST.

  14. A. Simmons says:

    Definitely need TE and receiver. Maybe LB if we lose KJ. I hope we can get him for a reasonable price. He’s another under-rated player that may not get paid as well as he should do to position and a flat cap. We may get a discount on Okung if he can’t stay healthy. No one wants to pay big money for a LT that can’t stay on the field. He still only has one healthy season. It’s looking like he’ll miss at least six games this year with a partial tear and the season if a full tear.

    Cable can find o-line talent later in the draft given his different physical requirements.

    I definitely want to find a dynamic TE and receiver. Sidney is done in Seattle unless he steps up greatly. We probably won’t be able to retain Baldwin and Tate. Then again if the passing game doesn’t pick up, both might be cheap in free agency. Flat cap is going to keep player’s cheap for a while unless they are truly elite.

    • Miles says:

      Baldwin will be an RFA this year so it’s likely we’ll at least have him through 2014.

    • Belgaron says:

      McCoy will be back in the mix at TE next year and some improvement could make him a valuable piece.

      Okung is under contract throught ’15. KJ is under a very reasonable contract for ’14 but they could choose to extend him if they work out a deal. They have plenty of time on both of these players. KJ’s stock could rise if he makes the pro bowl but LB is very competitive and the SF LBs get picked every year.

  15. JW says:

    The idea that Cable can turn “garbage men” into quality starting Guards in the NFL is a great theory, and potentially offers a great competitive advantage. In practice it hasn’t happened yet for this team. Those garbage men off the street can show up and start providing quality guard play anytime now, please. It’s been 2.5 years for Cable so I’d sure like to see them show up since it’s supposedly so easy for him to produce it.

    There’s a certain kind of thinking in selecting Christine Michael to sit behind Beast and Turbo and pass on quality guard prospect like Larry Warford, and not revisiting the O line until the 7th round and UDFA.

    Some might call that thinking a competitive advantage. But until that theoretical advantage manifests on the field, it looks a lot like hubris.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The offensive line dominated San Francisco, a top run-D team, in the running game. We can’t expect McQuistan to block Aldon Smith. I’m not sure why there are so many complaints about the offensive lineman. We’re not going to see perfect games with elite pass rushers dominated weekly. So far this season the Seahawks have faced two of the best front seven’s in the game.

    • Hay stacker509 says:

      Is sweezy a garbage player that hasn’t lived up to being a 7th rd dt turned starting guard that beat out a 3rd round guard? What about 2 7th rd tackles that could (hopefully not) be a starting LT for us…

    • A. Simmons says:

      Maybe pass pro has been lacking. He’s been great coaching up run blockers. That is an asset to a team that wants to run the ball.

      • Turp says:

        PFF rated Sweezy as our best run blocking lineman against the Niners. It’s his pass pro that definitely needs work.

  16. Cysco says:

    Michael was a value pick last year and I imagine it’ll be the MO of the front office this year too. Take all the positions you think you can upgrade. Grade out your top prospects at each position. Draft the highest-graded prospect available to you from your pool.

    It’s almost like we should be spending as much time looking at last year’s games as this year’s. Which players had great 2012 seasons, stayed for their 2013 season but for whatever reason aren’t having the same level of success this year.

    Who’s going to fly under the radar?

    • JW says:

      I understand the thinking behind it, that’s not the issue for me. The issue is the underlying assumption that you can pass on a top tier guard talent when you’ve clearly struggled at that position, based on the belief that you can take scrapyard heaps and turn them into quality players- and thusly select a 3rd string RB with the 62nd pick. It’s a novel approach. Perhaps cavalier. Perhaps it’s hubris.

      If it pans out that those late round selections turn into quality players, great. But so far that’s not happened.

      • Miles says:

        What about JR Sweezy? No he’s not perfect but he’s a very serviceable guard when it comes to the running game. McQuistan was never a slouch but no one expected him to come in and start handfuls of games either. Giacomini was someone’s practice squad guy. To me, “garbage men” is a metaphor to describe guys who no one thought could start in the NFL and now they are for this team. And regardless of anything else they did a damn fine job Sunday after losing one of the best LTs in the game mind you.

        I understand guard is one of our less-stacked positions, but we have other needs too that we needed to fill and I don’t disagree with the tactics PC/JS used in the 2013 draft.

      • Belgaron says:

        There are high pick OLineman that fail to produce every year. A high pick guarantees nothing.

        Like DBs, the OLine performs more like a single unit. Even great individual talents have to figure out how to communicate effectively between each member to achieve high end performance. It takes time and it helps when the starters are already known on the first day of camp. This year both LG1 and RG1 were still up in the air in camp.

        Carpenter is the strongest Seahawk and could become a real asset. Sweezy is the quickest offensive lineman on the team. If they can stay healthy and play more with Unger, the interior will come together. Now if we could just get Okung back…

        • MJ says:

          Thank you! It gets said, far too often, that highly drafted OL are safe. They flop regularly as well, and more often than not, it takes a few years to adjust. DeCastro is a great example of a guy who was the next greatest thing ever…he’s played very poorly when not hurt. And we are talking about “the best guard since Hutch.”

          Bottom line, draft guys who fit the personality/philosophy of the team. Don’t pass on high end talent to fill a need. If there is a special talent available, find a way to make it work and fit him in. I think we see another highly drafted pass catcher this year because I don’t think there’s any chance that Sidney Rice is back. He is talented, but not worth $10M.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think pretty much every year there’s a ‘next Hutch’. It’s quite ridiculous. Draftniks and media types have a lot to answer for. DeCastro is a great example. Can anyone remember a guy named Duke Robinson? Another ‘next Hutch’ who ended up in round five. Lineman get so overrated. The game has changed, with the top elite athletes in college all playing defense. The game needs to shift towards equally elite lineman. It’s starting to happen, it’s why Fisher goes above Joeckel and it’s why Johnson went early to Philly. But there have been so many busts on the OL in recent years. More busts than WR — the position most people usually criticise.

      • Colin says:

        Maybe the value of that “3rd string running back” is greater than that “top tier gaurd talent”?

  17. SES says:

    Rob & Hawk loyalist…
    After just two games I am concerned about the hits Russ is taking. Yes, as Carroll acknowledged, the scramble is an intrinsic part of their offense. And yes, the read option opens the QB to more hits. But in just two games (actually going back to the last game vs the Rams), it seems that the opposition is purposefully bringing more heat on Wilson, trying to get more shots on him. At the very least, we all can see the gradual effects that attrition can bring, but he also is being exposed more to the possibility of an acute injury.
    Although Okung is by far the best OL, he has an on-going history of injuries. Carp showed a lot of promise Sunday night, but he too has yet to prove that he can stay healthy. And as I said last year, as good as Unger is, he struggles against the bigger DLmen. Beyond them, there are a lot of journeymen and unproven rooks.
    This line could be the difference between a SB championship and another year of “almost”.

    Can’t wait till we get our full contingent of defensive players.

    Enjoy the season… It’s going to be brutal to see some talent go else where in the offseason. We can’t sign them all! But until till then… Go Hawks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I share that concern SES. Last season he was rarely hit, even in the games where he was pressured quite a lot. Those heavy blitz games he faced at the back end of the year, really only the Rams got to him. And yet this year he’s taking a few cringeworthy hits, where he’s getting slammed into the ground.

      They must do a better job protecting him on those plays. Part of it is on Russell — he seems to be holding onto the ball a bit longer this year. Part of it is protection. And some of it is the receivers getting open and making plays. We’ve not seen enough from the wide outs so far.

      Thankfully, and without wishing to tempt fate, the next game should be plain sailing for Russell.

  18. Dan says:

    The way I look at is this… if the hawks have their choice of a potential pro bowler at the 3-Tech, WR, TE, and OL, I’m taking the 3-Tech

    • James says:

      I totally agree that a 3-tech would be top priority, but historically, picking at the end of R1, etc, the flame-out factor for WRs and DTs so late in the round is high. I believe OL and TE are the safer picks late R1.

  19. Ukhawk says:

    Hi Rob. As you said, with the Hawks picking in the bottom frame of round so a lot of guys won’t be around. What you implied but didn’t say is whether you think there are realistic odds any of the following realistically fall as far as pick 32? ASJ, Lyeria, Evans & Coleman?

    Agree the Rice, giac, miller, and a DE is on the block depending on who we can get to replace or re-sign.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s early, but I suspect Lyerla could end up being a millions miles away from round one the way things are going. Coleman needs to sharpen up quickly, I’m not seeing tangible improvement from last year. If you go back to college like he did you can’t stand still. Evans could be a round one pick. ASJ could be a first round pick but much will depend on how athletic he looks at the combine.

      • Ukhawk says:

        Ron. Thx for the reply & apologies for the grammar on my original post. Really loved your follow up article on judging receiving talent. Love your response in saying that all prospects had major doubts…and I agree all could slide for different reasons but there are some counter arguments too. Coleman hasn’t performed but neither has Lee without a legit QB?! Lyerla has produced and is only being dinged for his off field behavior (even if his (freshman?) substitute also did well whilst filling in last week). Likewise with ASJ’s off field issues nevertheless he is also extremely productive. Finally Evans played well and has all the tools. Agree it’s tough to project but all the guys do something’s extremely well and would bring a unique, exceptional skill the hawks both lack and would covet.

        I for one am more excited about picking later than in previous years.

  20. A. Simmons says:

    At this point we’re really in get best talent available mode. We have a front office that is relentlessly searching for talent in the draft, in free agency, in other countries, on the waiver wire, off the street, wherever the Schneider and his crew can find talent they are looking. I think Rob and Kip are going to have a very hard time calling any draft from here on out. John and Pete want to stock the team full of as much talent as possible. The coaching staff seems to take unknown players and turn them into productive contributors like Coleman and Kearse.

  21. Colin says:

    I think we’ll see Christine Michael make his debut this weekend. Spencer Ware is going to be down a few weeks due to his ankle injury. This game against Jacksonville has all the makings of a huge day on the ground.

    • Miles says:

      I think if Spencer Ware is down for more than a couple weeks we should stick him on IR. I don’t know that it’s worth saving a roster spot for him. No knock against him but he’s essentially our fourth-string runningback (Well, third if you consider Christine Michael has gotten zero regular season looks).

  22. Miles says:

    Considering Walter Thurmond is playing so well in the slot and outside, it could be a smart decision to allow him to continue starting in place of Browner. Byron Maxwell has also shown to be a solid outside corner as well, but he can also play the slot. Thurmond might be one of the best if not thee best nickel corner in the NFL right now. It could be prosperous to rotate Thurmond and Maxwell between the outside corner and nickel corner to get these guys on the field, not just for their talent level but because it’s hard to game plan for a team that rotates one of it’s starting corner positions so much. This could create lots of optimum situations for our defense because we can adjust to offenses based on whether they are running 10 personnel or 11 personnel or otherwise. Thus you could leave Thurmond in for 10 personnel to defend the 2nd best receiving option, and put him in the nickel during 11 personnel since he is the best nickel corner on the team. Thurmond could shut down the flanker and the slot receiver every game.

    This means the odd man out is Brandon Browner. Browner is expert at jamming the receiver at the LOS, but he is not as good a cover corner as Thurmond, and I couldn’t envision playing any other position than the one he plays now. Would it be possible, then, to trade him for an early-to-mid round draft pick to solidify the core of our draft next year while optimizing our defensive backfield? I am curious as to whether other teams would be willing to give up a fourth or even a third round draft pick for Browner. I don’t think we will be retaining both Browner and Thurmond next year as they will both be free agents, and between the two of them I would much rather hang on to Thurmond at this point. He’s a much better all-around player, though he will likely cost more than Browner to keep around.

    • Belgaron says:

      I think they’ll play it by matchup. They could start Thurmond outside against teams with smaller, quicker receivers depending on where they line up. The guys that gave us fits last year. Browner is a great matchup against a Joker or tall, strong receiver. The two problems with Thurmond are A) he needs an extension and B) Seahawks could also use more of his clones. If he keeps playing the way he has, it will become more and more difficult not to keep him on the field for every snap.