There’s a tendency to concentrate on forty times, splits, the vertical and broad jumps at the combine. Less time is afforded to the short shuttle and three cone.
In many ways these tests are more important than the forty yard dash. The majority of NFL plays require short-area quickness and the ability to change direction — not straight-line speed.
The short shuttle measures change of direction and agility. The three cone reveals straight line and linear power, change of direction, ‘braking’ and regaining top speed.
Agility testing is even more crucial these days for Seahawks offensive linemen. Russell Wilson’s mobility and ability to improvise demands the ability to react and adjust on the move. They often aren’t blocking straight ahead for a pocket passer like Peyton Manning. It’s probably one of the reasons they generally look for tackle converts to move inside. They’re used to blocking on the run.
We’ve focused a lot on Germain Ifedi because he had a terrific vertical jump of 32.5 inches at 324lbs. His overall size, length (6-6, 36 inch arms) and terrific physique make him an appealing option. Yet it’s worth noting the players who performed better than he did in the agility tests. It could be important.
Ifedi didn’t run a three cone at the combine for some reason but did manage a 4.75 short shuttle — good for 22nd among offensive linemen.
It’s not terrible by any means — and his hulking size and physical comparisons to Kelechi Osemele make him an attractive option at #26. Here are some other offensive linemen, however, that arguably fit better for a team that asks it’s blockers to do a lot of moving around in pass protection:
Cody Whitehair (T, Kansas State)
He had the third best three cone (7.32) and the eighth best short shuttle (4.58). He also had the sixth best split in the forty (1.73). His vertical jump was disappointing (25.5 inches) but in terms of short-area explosion and agility — it’s easy to see why he faired so well as a left tackle at Kansas State.
Joe Haeg (T, North Dakota State)
Haeg’s 7.47 three cone was the fifth best and he impressed in the short shuttle too with the third best time (4.47). Like Whitehair he disappointed in the vertical jump (27.5 inches) but had a good split in the forty (1.75). He’s another player who has the agility and reaction speed that suits Seattle’s O-line.
Connor McGovern (T, Missouri)
With the seventh best three cone (7.50) and 14th best short shuttle (4.65) — McGovern didn’t test as well here as Whitehair and Haeg. However — he had an explosive vertical that topped all offensive linemen (33 inches), had a really good split (1.72) and managed one of the best broad jumps (9-1). His strong, explosive base perhaps lends itself best to center in Seattle’s scheme — but he’s still pretty agile.
Evan Boehm (C, Missouri)
While everyone raved about Ryan Kelly’s athletic performance — he actually ran a slower three cone than both Boehm (7.52) and Nick Martin. We know the Seahawks worked out both McGovern and Boehm and we shouldn’t sleep on either. Mizzou’s center added a 4.69 short shuttle which was quicker than Ronnie Stanley, Christian Westerman and Willie Beavers.
Here are some other interesting numbers to consider:
Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana) ran a 7.70 in the three cone. That’s considerably poorer than the four prospects listed above. It’s strange because Spriggs ran a 4.44 in the short shuttle — the second best time among offensive linemen. There’s such a difference between the two tests it’s hard to determine what it tells us.
Ronnie Stanley (T, Notre Dame) had two horrendous agility tests. He managed a wretched effort of 8.09 in the three cone and an equally bad 4.90 in the short shuttle. For all the hype about Stanley in the top-15 — these are really bad numbers.
It’s also interesting when you consider some of the top performers a year ago. Some of these names were either linked to the Seahawks by Tony Pauline (Ty Sambrailo), were drafted by the team or were considered viable options:
2015 top ten performers in the three cone
1. Jake Fisher — 7.25
2. Ali Marpet — 7.33
3. Cam Erving — 7.48
4. Jarvis Harrison — 7.51
5. Ty Sambrailo — 7.54
6. Mark Glowinski — 7.56
7. Mitch Morse — 7.60
8. Andy Gallik — 7.66
9. T.J. Clemmings — 7.68
10. La’el Collins — 7.70
Four of the top five here were taken before Seattle’s first pick. Jarvis Harrison at #4 lasted until round five and spent 2015 on the Jets practise squad. The Seahawks drafted #6 on the list — Mark Glowinski — and likely had a lot of interest in #7 Mitch Morse.
2015 top ten performers in the short shuttle
1. Jake Fisher — 4.33
2. Ali Marpet — 4.47
3. Mitch Morse — 4.50
4. T.J. Clemmings — 4.54
5. Laurence Gibson — 4.56
6. Andy Gallik — 4.58
6. Mark Glowinski — 4.58
6. Ty Sambrailo — 4.58
9. Rob Crisp — 4.60
10. Jarvis Harrison — 4.62
Again, the top three prospects were off the board before Seattle’s first pick. Fisher, Marpet and Morse could’ve been strongly considered by the Seahawks in round two. Ty Sambrailo at joint 6th was also off the board and he managed the same time as Mark Glowinski.
To compare, here’s the top ten in each drill this year…
2016 top ten performers in the three cone
1. Jake Brendel — 7.31
1. Tyler Johnstone — 7.31
3. Cody Whitehair — 7.32
4. Isaac Seumalo — 7.40
5. Joe Haeg — 7.47
5. Joe Thuney — 7.47
7. Connor McGovern — 7.50
8. Austin Blythe — 7.52
8. Evan Boehm — 7.52
10. Nick Martin — 7.57
2016 top ten performers in the short shuttle
1. Jake Brendel — 4.27
2. Jason Spriggs — 4.44
3. Joe Haeg — 4.47
4. Isaac Seumalo — 4.52
5. Austin Blythe — 4.53
6. Joe Thuney — 4.54
7. Jack Conklin — 4.57
8. Cody Whitehair — 4.58
9. Ryan Kelly — 4.59
9. Cole Toner — 4.59
When you look at the two groups — Cody Whitehair compares very well. His three cone would’ve been #2 to only Jake Fisher a year ago and his short shuttle is exactly the same as Mark Glowinski’s.
Joe Haeg would’ve ranked in the top three in both tests last year.
It’s unclear whether the Seahawks are willing to change their approach at guard. In the past they’ve used bigger left guards weighing in the 320lbs range (James Carpenter, Justin Britt, Alvin Bailey). It was interesting, however, that Terry Poole was drafted a year ago seemingly to compete at left guard and he weighed only 307lbs.
Whitehair’s tackle experience, run blocking, toughness, consistency and agility make him something of an ideal prospect for the Seahawks. The only thing letting him down is length — and that could be a sticking point.
He has 32.5 inch arms. In the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks have never drafted an offensive lineman with sub-33 inch arms. We know they have strict size ideals at cornerback (32 inch arms, have to be taller than 5-10). They might feel the same way about their offensive linemen. They haven’t quite spelled it out like they have at cornerback.
“You mean to tell me, you’re interested in drafting a quarterback that’s 5-10 when we won’t take a corner that’s under 5-10?”
Perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for anyone who wants Whitehair to be drafted at #26? Seattle’s ideal size for a quarterback isn’t 5-10. They drafted Russell Wilson anyway because of his extreme talent. So while they are very strict about their ideals — there’s possibly a chance they’ll compromise for the right guy.
For what it’s worth, Joe Thomas also has 32.5 inch arms.
I mentioned yesterday that I watched Whitehair vs Emmanuel Ogbah and that’s another reason why I wanted to write about him today. He shut Ogbah down in that game, forcing him to switch sides so he could have a better showing against the right tackle.
His balance, strong base, power at the POA and complete body control is reminiscent of Zack Martin during his Notre Dame days. Martin also had sub-33 inch arms and played left tackle but had an immediate impact as a pro after switching to left guard.
Whitehair might go higher than a lot of people believe for that very reason. There are teams in the late teens and early 20’s that might believe he can be that plug-in-and-play guard. The type you don’t have to worry about for the next eight or ten years.
His lack of length and the hulking physicality of Germain Ifedi moved us away from considering a guy like this. Keep him on the radar for now. He’s 0.5 inches in arm length away from being virtually the ideal pick for this team and his excellent agility is a key reason why.
If they go in a different direction at #26 (especially if the don’t draft an offensive lineman in round one) — the likes of Haeg, McGovern and Boehm should also be monitored closely. It might even be a pretty accurate prediction to suggest they’ll try and draft two of Whitehair, Haeg, McGovern and Boehm.
A Seahawks contingent travelled to the North Dakota State pro-day recently where Haeg performed and they also worked out McGovern and Boehm at the Missouri pro-day.
Three of the four players listed above can play multiple positions:
If the Seahawks want competition and options at multiple spots on their offensive line — that’s another reason why this quartet make sense. Players like Ifedi and Shon Coleman also have the potential to play tackle or guard.
If they draft a prospect like Jonathan Bullard in round one, they could look at Haeg, McGovern and Boehm in rounds 2-3. Remember — the Seahawks draft for their team and will take guys that fit their system even if the pick is considered a reach.
If they draft Whitehair (or another offensive lineman like Ifedi) in round one they could consider a defensive lineman like Willie Henry in round two (he had a quicker short shuttle than Bullard despite weighing 18lbs more). It’ll also be very interesting to see how Kyler Fackrell tests in the agility drills. He didn’t do them at the combine or the Utah State pro-day, probably due to some lingering injury issue.
If the Seahawks don’t like the DE-DT options in this class there’s every chance they’ll just add an EDGE or a player who can compete for the role vacated by Bruce Irvin. Fackrell is a splash-play specialist who impacts the passing game. He’s a high-energy, big effort prospect who had an excellent broad jump (10-1) at the combine and managed a 1.62 split.
He’s also long at 6-5, 245lbs with +33 inch arms and massive hands. They visited with Shea McLellin before he signed with the Patriots. Fackrell would provide a similar option and he might be there at #56.
Two possible scenarios rounds 1-4:
R1 — Cody Whitehair
R2 — Kyler Fackrell
R3 — Joe Haeg
R3 — Tyler Ervin
R1 — Jonathan Bullard
R2 — Connor McGovern
R3 — Tyler Ervin
R3 — Evan Boehm