Thanksgiving draft thoughts

November 28th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

- Matt Flynn, Charlie Whitehurst, Russell Wilson. Three quarterbacks John Schneider liked for the Seahawks. When Schneider misses, he misses. When he hits, he hits.

- The more I watch of North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, the more I like. I’m still generally suspicious of tight ends in the draft (as noted here). Being big and fast isn’t such a big deal in the NFL like it can be in college. Ebron has a shot though. He’s an exciting player to watch.

- One tight end I’m not overly keen on is Jace Amaro at Texas Tech. I can’t help but feel his stock is grossly inflated by the stat sheet. Granted, he’s had some productive games this year (albeit in a pass-heavy offense). But talk of him going in the first round seems to be based on little else. And watching him tonight against Texas — I don’t see a first round talent.

- Amaro wouldn’t be the first player to gain a production-based boost in November. I’m not convinced UCLA’s Anthony Barr is quite as good as people are making out. He has a ton of upside, he’ll test well at the combine, he has great length and straight line speed. But he still lacks technique, which was one of the reasons I suspect he didn’t declare for the 2013 draft. The team that drafts Barr will be buying potential. He’ll need coaching up though. Ziggy Ansah going 5th overall this year suggests teams won’t run away from this kind of pick.

- Teddy Bridgewater, Khalil Mack and Trent Murphy are also being overrated for me. Bridgewater is a very good quarterback, but he’s attained this assumed status as the #1 pick in 2014. I’m not sure about that. He could go in the top ten, but he’s not a no-brainer #1 choice. There are alternatives. Mack looks like a limited athlete who might struggle to have the same impact in the NFL that he’s having in Buffalo. And Stanford’s Murphy, for all his admirable effort and impressive sack numbers, just doesn’t look special on tape.

- Yet perhaps the biggest production-based climb is Derek Carr’s sudden ascent. I really like Carr and think he has a shot at making it in the NFL. But let’s be realistic here. He probably isn’t going to be a top-10 pick. It seems a seven-touchdown performance against the might of New Mexico has seen a few people get carried away this week.

- Not enough is made of Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. Who wouldn’t want a Vincent Jackson clone? He’ll be a quarterbacks best friend at the next level and should be getting top-ten grades for me.

21 Responses to “Thanksgiving draft thoughts”

  1. cliff says:

    I love Evans but if he runs a 4.60+ would you still want him in the top ten? His forty time could push him down especially when Watkins and Lee are good alternatives.

    • Colin says:

      Irrelevant, but food for thought: The Seahawks had a top 15 grade on Anquan Boldin until he ran a plus 4.6(?) 40 time, and subsequently gave him a 2nd round grade.

      How did that turn out?

      Again, irrelevant because they are so different, but sometimes 40 times and athleticism get in the way of “can this guy play football?”.

      I’m pretty leery of Evans. I haven’t seen enough plays to convince me he’s nothing more than the beneficiary of bad DB play and physical dominance. But you can’t ignore how he’s ALWAYS making big plays. Some guys just have a knack for it.

      • Jim Kelly says:

        Boldin was taken in the second round. He’s been solid for the most part, and occasionally spectacular, almost the definition of a early second round pick.

        I agree wholeheartedly about letting things distract people from seeing that a guy is a football player.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would, because I don’t think his game is predicated or influenced too much by speed. I think good speed merely solidifies a grade in that range and makes him even more of an exciting prospect.

  2. coug hawk says:

    When I think of a player that tilts the field, Kalafitoni Pole, a DT from Washington State comes to mind. He alone has won some games for WSU. He got an interception in the apple cup last year in overtime to give the cougs the win. This year, he blocked a crucial USC field goal that ultimately allowed the cougs to come up the upset. Against Cal this year, he forced and recovered two fumbles inside the ten yard line when it looked like Cal was about to score. Look at the tape of the WSU defense and big 98 jumps off the screen. Keep an eye on him during the Apple Cup tomorrow morning, he’ll impress.
    http://www.wsucougars.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=207917998&DB_OEM_ID=30400

  3. Michael M. says:

    The Ziggy Ansah pick is looking pretty darn good right now. Four sacks in his last two games and 7 total on the year. Imagine if they had kept Avril and added this guy? That might have kept them from finishing in the bottom 3rd of the league in sacks this year.

    Also, I think the Evans/Jackson comp is a pretty good one. Both guys just know how to use their big bodies, and can really jump. As long as he can run sub 4.6 (not sure of the likelihood of this) the Seahawks should have some interest. Neither Brandon Marshall or V-Jack are speed guys, and Seattle showed some level of interest in both.

  4. Ralphy says:

    Completely agree with you on Amaro. He has good hands but seems to be a product of the system there. I like him but I think a first round pick on him would be crazy.

  5. Kyle says:

    I remember after Seattle selected Christine Michael, John Schneider made a comment along the lines of “we draft for athleticism first.” Now that we know that tidbit of drafting criteria, it was no surprise that Michael was selected as he had the highest combine SPARQ score of any player in the draft with a 151.38 score which is absolutely insane. One thing I am going to be doing this year is paying a lot more attention to these SPARQ scores because it is one hell of an indication of who the Hawks will be paying attention to.

    Here’s a link to 4 articles on fieldgulls about the Seahawks and drafted players SPARQ scores which includes a calculator. I’m definitely going to keep a spreadsheet handy this year.
    http://www.fieldgulls.com/seahawks-analysis/2013/5/23/4361420/sparq-rating-nike-seahawks-pete-carroll-john-schneider-nfl

    • Kyle says:

      I would also add that the Nike SPARQ system was, in part, developed by *drum roll please* Pete Carroll while he was at USC as well as Chris Carlisle who has been the strength and conditioning coach under Carroll for a very long time. So, yeah, this is an important statistic.

      • JW says:

        One thing to keep in mind about that SPARQ series ( it’s a great series of articles), is that it tells us how they evaluate ‘football smarts’, too.

        There are a few players they passed on at positions of some need who had terrific SPARQ scores. And, Carroll plays a few players with rather pedestrian SPARQ scores while high scorers get benched.

        As insightful and compelling as it is, it’s important to remember it’s not the whole story. Not that any of you guys did say that. Just saying… Guys like KJ will play above their score because they are guys who ‘move before the snap’. There’s a handful of guys in the league like that, who shave 3/10ths of a second off their 40 by game smarts (while their opposite adds it). WR is a position group that seems to have a lot of those types of players because so much of it is on your feet thinking, instincts, combined with craft work. I think Carroll values those traits considerably.

        Of course, it’s great to have both.

        • cover-2 says:

          This whole SPARQ stuff is ridiculous. It seems like you guys are suggesting this SPARQ rating is a new revolutionary take to scouting a player’s athleticism for a specific position. The SPARQ is just a more simplified NFL combine.

          The SPARQ test the following,
          - 40 yard dash (which is part of the NFL Combine)
          - Kneeling power ball chest launch which is the equivalent to the bench press (Bench press is part of the NFL combine). The ADJ Power Ball is just messing with numbers IMO. Player Joe Smith does 28 reps of 225 at the combine so his ADJ is 48. Which another way of say little Joe Smith got a B on his test so is ADJ is 3.0 test score.
          - The 5-10-5 agility test (which is the same exact test as the NFL Combines 20-yard shuttle test)
          -vertical jump, with air time calculated in the it (NFL combine with no air time taken into account of vertical jump).

          Waaaay too much hype behind this SPARQ testing!

          Coach Carroll & Schneider have made it know they prefer bigger, faster, stronger players. So when watching college football games, if you see a player that looks to have very good straight line speed, looks fluid when changing direction, and shows great initial quickness… then guess what? That player is probably going to be a stud at the NFL Combine, which means he will have a good SPARQ (assuming he does good on the bench & vert. jump), which also means he is on the radar of the Seahawks scouting department.

          Hey I love the type of players that Carroll and Schneider Bigger, Faster, Stronger….but lets chill out with this whole SPARQ thing like its a new way of evaluating a guy’s athleticism.

  6. Kenny Sloth says:

    I am so thankful for this site. I don’t kknow of anywhere else that has such classy commenting. This site has upheld a level of professionalism unmatched by any public blog of which I know.

    I can’t go anywhere else and get the level of interesting and logical debate that I can here.

    Thanks to all of the regulars, lurkers, and a big thanks to Rob for making this site so unique and informative.

  7. House says:

    In my opinion, TE is not even a need for our team. Amaro is not a CLEAR upgrade over Miller or Willson and college production doesn’t translate well for TEs. I think we can re-sign Anthony McCoy who has shown progressive growth since 2010 before getting hurt. Miller’s contract takes a drop in ’14 and Willson seems to be getting better and better.

    I hope Evans has a bad day and runs a 4.8. (Just kidding) I’d jump all over the opportunity to draft him. I know the talk about 40-times will jade the conversation/decisions, but it is used as a tool, not the end-all-be-all decision on a player. I personally put a bigger emphasis on how someone does on the wonderlic and deciphers/interprets information in a short period of time. I know people say, “you can’t speed”, but it can always be improved.

    There was a guy named Jerry Rice that ran a 4.71, but his football IQ and determination to be the best player he could be turned out okay in my eyes.

    • House says:

      “You can’t teach speed”

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I see a need for a big tight end that can block and provide a target for quick passes into the middle. That hasn’t been a part of our game. After watching the Saints and Patriots work those tight ends over and over, I would like the Hawks to have the same ability. We don’t need a speed burner for TE, just a big guy that has good hands and will wrestle for the ball.

        • House says:

          Do you have any suggestions in the draft? I know some people are still high on ASJ, especially since he’s a WA homegrown. I just don’t see Amaro being the answer

  8. Michael (CLT) says:

    I wonder if Seattle will consider a DT early. Or maybe stash one on the PUP with Florida’s injured Dominique Easley. There seem to be some options for LEO mid-round as well. I really like Michael Sam. He is a tweener, but the dude just pops off the screen. Living in the South, I get lots of opportunities to watch the SEC (which, I must admit, I’ve grown to love). I really like Missouri’s defense as a whole, with Sam’s being a favorite.

    I must also admit interest in Will Sutton. He is disruptive, has good size, decent footwork. He holds the point consistently, gives good effort. Maybe he is the backup to Bennett.

    I am beginning to think Seattle will draft on the lines early, and fill DB/WR needs mid round. I would love Easley on a red shirt in the mid rounds (of course, we don’t have a 3rd… yet).

    Some food for thought.

  9. Y2k2000 says:

    I think you’re wrong about Derek Carr. The guy has a rifle for an arm. He’ll will surprise a lot of ppl his rookie year. I bank on him to have the most success out of next yr crop of QBs.