Thoughts on day three

April 29th, 2012 | Written by Kip Earlywine

Finally I have an excuse to use this picture

Written by Kip Earlywine

Regardless of whether the Seahawks actually had a great draft or not, I found this year’s draft to be one of the most rewarding that I’ve ever followed.  Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson were my two favorite players in the whole draft, and I had no expectation that either would become Seahawks.  So seeing Seattle draft them, even if it was earlier than people like Mel Kiper expected, was pretty neat.  Robert Turbin was another player I’ve really liked for a while now.  In all my years of following the draft, this was the first one where I felt like the front office’s wavelength on their favorite players matched my own.

I also thought it was really neat that Seattle drafted both Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin (purely by coincidence).  The two had a special relationship at Utah State as the two big stars on a small school team.  Now the experience of leaving home for the big scary NFL will be made easier by having a friend close by.

In the previous two drafts combined, the Seahawks drafted one player that I covered pre-draft.  This year, each of their first four picks were guys I had scouted and written reports on, and two others (Toomer and Lane) were names I mentioned here on the blog in the last couple days.  I even included Korey Toomer at #9 on my top 10 linebackers (from the front office’s perspective) list. I was watching the draft with some family members, and I actually called three Seahawks picks seconds before they happened (Wagner in round two, Turbin in round four, and Toomer in round five), while guessing the correct positions in round one and with both of our sixths.  I’m not saying that to brag, but only to say that it feels really awesome to guess so many things right.  It’s more fun to follow the draft when you feel like you have your finger on the pulse of it.

There were a few sad parts of this draft though.  Dwight Jones was one of my favorite receivers in the draft, and he not only went undrafted, but as of this writing he has yet to sign with a team as a UDFA.  He’ll get signed eventually, (maybe he’s holding out for money?), but he’s a guy I would have spent a day three pick on in a heartbeat and he may not even get much of a chance in the NFL.  Chris Polk also went undrafted despite being arguably the best running back in modern Washington Huskies history (alongside guys like 1st rounder Napolean Kaufman and 2nd rounder Corey Dillon).

Polk signed immediately with Philadelphia (a good fit), but still, it was heartbreaking to see that.  There are two things that can damage draft stock like no other- major character risks and degenerative injuries.  Polk was a fringe first round talent that fell completely out of the draft because of reports that his shoulder was degenerative (which he denies).  Polk started 38 straight games for Washington (and produced) despite whatever issues he had.  I feel terrible for the guy.  Most players that go undrafted expect to before hand, or are at least prepared for it.  Polk should have been a 4th or 5th round pick at worst, so this couldn’t have been easy.  Like a bride getting stood up at the altar, what should have been the greatest day of his life becomes his most painful memory instead.  Godspeed Chris.

I loved the fact that this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant” was Chandler Harnish.  They may have to change the name of that distinction if Harnish has the kind of career ahead of him that I think he could have.  Too bad he’ll be stuck behind Andrew Luck, at least for the time being.

Blah, blah, blah, what about Seattle’s picks? Oh yeah, sorry about that.

Robert Turbin is a guy I covered in my draft spotlight series.  Though I did not say so in print, he was one of those players (like Bobby Wagner) who I had a sneaking suspicion would be a very likely candidate for Seattle.  I guesstimated Turbin to be the 6th highest running back on Seattle’s board, and even said that “it honestly wouldn’t blow me away if Seattle took Turbin at #43.”  Turbin is a near clone of Marshawn Lynch.  The two have similar size, similar speed, similar styles, similar attitude, and similar strength.  Turbin calls himself “the Hulk” for his physical style of play.  This is a great pick for Seattle.  Turbin can provide injury insurance for Lynch in the short term while having strong potential to replace Lynch in the long term.  If Seattle had passed on Russell Wilson at #75, there is a decent chance they may have taken Turbin there, given Lamar Miller’s injury related uncertainty.  So getting Turbin in the 4th as running back options were drying up has to feel pretty good for John Schneider and company.

Jaye Howard is a penetrating 300 pound pass rushing DT from Florida.  As you may recall, the defensive coordinator for Florida is none other than Dan Quinn, who did a very good job identifying and developing defensive line talent when with the Seahawks the last several years.  As with Josh Portis, we’ve seen that coaching connections can have an impact on players getting brought in, and I think it’s distinctly possible that Quinn made the hard sell to Carroll for Howard’s NFL prospects.  Getting the assumed Dan Quinn seal of approval is enough to make me optimistic about this pick.  I’ll have a scouting report on Howard up this week some time, but the short version is that he’s athletic and has great arm use, but looks a bit lazy and struggles badly against the run.  That said, his upside if motivated could be another Rocky Bernard.

Korey Toomer was maybe my favorite pick of day three, in that I highlighted him early this week as a cheaper alternative to Zach Brown.  Despite not being listed by a lot of draft sites, Toomer drew strong interest from NFL teams due to his rare size and athleticism.  I thought I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t a fan of Zach Brown, but I came to terms with it because Brown was a terrific physical specimen and Carroll has a strong track record of developing talent.  I wasn’t looking forward to Seattle spending a 2nd round pick on Brown, but I was prepared to accept it.  Seattle passed on Brown and then instead opted to take a very similar player in Toomer three rounds later.  In terms of measurables, Toomer is 95% the specimen that Brown is, but he comes at a tiny fraction of the cost.  Great pick by the Seahawks.

I don’t think Toomer is going to be handed a starting job, but given how much Pete has preached speed at linebacker, and the fact that as of this moment Leroy Hill is still our starting weak side player, I have to believe that Seattle drafted Toomer with more than special teams in mind.  Between Allen Bradford, Malcolm Smith, and Korey Toomer, we’ll have three weak side linebacker prospects with above average speed competing to replace Leroy Hill in the future.  Hill is a good player and coming off his best season in years, and he’s hardly slow, but he doesn’t possess the same kind of speed those three do.  The Seahawks have done incredibly well with their competition mantra thus far, and I’m really looking forward to the competition for the distinction of becoming Seattle’s future WILL linebacker.  EDIT:  Per Pete Carroll in his day three press conference, the Seahawks will start by giving Toomer looks at SAM.  Toomer believes he can play at all three spots.

Jeremy Lane was a player I listed yesterday as a guy to watch on day three.  As I said then, I had a feeling that Seattle would add some more late round defensive backs this year as it was hinted at in the pickup basketball game rumor.  Seattle also spent more than a quarter of their team invites on defensive backs, which was also a pretty big clue.  Jeremy Lane was one of five defensive backs invited by the Seahawks.  I don’t have a personal opinion on Lane yet, but I did stumble across a well written report on him.

Lane has good size (6’0″, 190 pounds at combine), solid speed (4.53/4.48 forty), and has a rare combination of long arms (32.16″) and a high vertical (39.50″).  Only 6 out of 53 corners at the combine had longer arms, and only 2 out of 53 corners had a higher vertical jump.  John Schneider has often talked about how he values long arms as an asset in coverage.  Lane is tall, he jumps very high, and he has very long arms.  Quarterbacks are going to hate having to throw over the top of him.  Oh yeah, Lane played press corner, and is good at jamming receivers at the line.  Of all the picks on day two, I think Lane has the best chance to be this year’s Kam Chancellor or Richard Sherman.  Which I guess is fitting since he just missed the fifth round by only two picks.

Winston Guy is a hard hitting strong safety that has drawn some comparisons to Kam Chancellor.  Guy was injured and ran a slow forty at the combine, but healed up and posted a 4.53 at his pro day.  Guy is 6’1″, 213 pounds, with very long 33″ arms and a solid 36″ vertical.  Seattle now has two quality depth options at strong safety (Jeron Johnson being the other).  Guy will make a contribution on special teams immediately, and could see the field in extra DB packages.  EDIT:  Carroll said that Guy will take over for the role that Atari Bigby filled last year.

JR Sweezy is a Mansfield Wrotto type pick, having played defensive tackle in college but is now being moved to guard as a project.  Wrotto didn’t work out of the Seahawks, and Sweezy probably won’t either, but he does have some intriguing qualities.  Sweezy posted a 36″ vertical jump, tied for second among all defensive linemen.  His vertical jump would be first among all offensive linemen.  Obviously, linemen don’t need much in the way of leaping ability, especially on the offensive side, but vertical jump ability tends to correlate well with explosiveness, which would hint at Sweezy being a potentially explosive run blocker.  At least one scouting report I read referred to Sweezy as having “sneaky athleticism.”  Sweezy also has long 34″ arms, which is a nice plus.  He fits the Tom Cable mold as having a high height to weight ratio.

Greg Scruggs will compete to be depth at the 5-tech position behind Red Bryant.  Scruggs stands 6’3″ and weighs 284 pounds, with monstrous 35.5″ arms.  His arms are only a half inch shorter than Russell Okung’s.  Scruggs also posted a 4.76 forty time, which is pretty solid for a 284 pound player.  Scruggs wasn’t very productive in college.  At first blush, this pick feels like EJ Wilson with freakishly long arms, but I’ll reserve judgement until we get to see him in preseason action.  EDIT:  Scruggs will play 3-tech in some nickle formations.

If there is one thing that stands out from this group, it’s that John Schneider clearly has a thing for long arms.  Robert Turbin was the only pick in the whole draft that didn’t have above average arm length.  The same was true on day one.  Bruce Irvin has decently long arms.  Bobby Wagner had some of the longest arms among inside linebackers.  Even Russell Wilson has decent arm length for his height.

To me the most surprising thing about Seattle’s 2012 draft (other than the Irvin and Wilson picks) was that Seattle had ten picks, yet didn’t draft a single Pac-12 player.  Pete Carroll has gone on record saying that 2012 would probably be his last year where his insider knowledge of the Pac-12 would work to his advantage, so I was pretty surprised to see them completely avoid the conference.  Then again, they may very well have drafted Mychal Kendricks at #47 if he was available, and they did bring in receivers Tuinei and Kearse in undrafted free agency.  Still, I was expecting a lot more activity out of the Pac-12 than that.

Kearse has a chance to make it in the NFL, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him on a roster that is already bursting at the seams with backup wide-receivers.  I’ll probably write about him in more detail at a later time.

Anyway, that’s it for now.  It’s silly to hand out instant-reaction draft grades, but I feel like being silly, so I’ll have a draft grade post up later today tomorrow.

22 Responses to “Thoughts on day three”

  1. DavidinBellingham says:

    I am all smiles that you were able to puzzle out those picks Kip. I don’t think there is much reason, as a Hawks fan, to read mock drafts from most of the media writers. The draft is well covered between here and Field Gulls by smart, dedicated people who I know love, Love! the Seahawks.
    I am happy that Irvin, Wagner, and Turbin all appeared on my Arm Chair GM list. Thank you for your help with that.
    After reading your observation about the wingspan of our draftees, I am nicknaming this draft “A Hello To Arms”.

  2. Seth says:

    It has been a great weekend for all of us Seahawks fan for sure. Rob and Kip if you could help me I live in Louisville, KY and I am to my knowledge the only Seahawk fan out here. Since we drafted a U of L and a UK player I am going to have to them what exactly they are going to do on defense. I know that Guy will be playing in nickel dime packages but what will his responsibility be? Same with Scruggs, I know that he will play the 5 but does that mean for him? All I can say is that I live in Louisville and people love the guy here. Defensive captain last two years and a big fan favorite. Hope all of the guys we drafted and some of our undrafted guys make the team.

  3. The Ancient Mariner says:

    I think it might be that avoiding the Pac-12 (except for UDFA) *was* the result of his insider knowledge, given how the conference as a whole played last season . . .

  4. A. Simmons says:

    I need a more in-depth write up on Bruce Irvin. That guy is ridiculous. I can’t wait to see him play.

  5. Kurt says:

    I laugh at the term “draft expert”. These guys are guessing and how they evaluate talent is not how teams evaluate talent. I’m glad for that. I love our draft thus far and am excited to hear more about these guys. Too bad training camp is so far off.

  6. dave crockett says:

    I probably should stick this in Rob’s writeup re: Wilson (but I’m a lazy, lazy man–Krusty the Clown)…

    What’s intriguing about Wilson is less the possibility of him emerging as a starter. I think it’s low. It’s more about the value they clearly are placing on having a backup QB ready to go. It’s clear they see him as that. Consider the absolutely effusive praise Carroll and Schneider have lavished on Wilson.

    They have been FAR more cautious from day 1 in how they talked about TJax. I really think they believe Wilson is ready to come in and overtake TJax right now. THAT’s interesting, considering all the talk about Wilson in the national press.

  7. Phil says:

    My biggest post-draft impression is how the front office kept their focus on the team’s perceived needs and didn’t fall into the best player available trap in the early rounds. I’m bummed that they missed Kendricks by trading back, but maybe the extra picks they got by doing so will compensate in the long run.

    The competition at QB is going to be fun to watch. One challenge will be to make sure that Portis, Wilson, and Flynn get enough snaps to showcase their skills before we jump into the Matt Barkley frenzy next year.

  8. tonydif says:

    What is our Depth Chart at Linebacker now. I got Wagner and Toomer added to Wright and Hill. But people keep mentioning Bradford, Konz, Dexter Davis and all those practice squad guys. Its a bit confusing to me!!!

  9. lemonverbena says:

    I despise Philly but will be rooting hard for Chris Polk. As a lifelong UW fan and SDSU alum, I saw Polk and Ronnie Hillman play a lot and feel that Hillman may have just as much durability concern as Polk. Obviously I don’t know what NFL teams know about Polk medically, but if James Andrews says gives you a clean bill of health I don’t know what more can be proven. To slide all the way out of the draft is bizarre. That said: I don’t see Polk as near the player of Kaufman or Dillon and am really excited that we got Turbin instead. He could help lighten Lynch’s mileage and possibly vulture goal-line carries.

    The Russell Wilson pick is incredibly intriguing, but the Seattle fanbase’s tourette’s-like impulse for QB controversy is amusing. Flynn is the starter this year barring injury or total performance meltdown. Wilson will be a change of pace scrambler with a package of option plays, and future stalwart backup ready for his chance. Tarvaris is a swell guy loved by his teammates but he has no place with this team anymore, and I’d be a little surprised to see him break camp with Seattle. Carroll will want to give him an opportunity elsewhere if Wilson picks up the system as quickly as he appears to be able to.

    A little surprised Irvin was assigned a LB’s #, 51. I guess it doesn’t matter since it’s just a camp number, but Lofa was a standout in those digits and Bruuuuce is a rush end. Give the man #77.

  10. Madmark says:

    Three depth spots on defensive line needed to be addressed. Clemons is 30 years old and has 1 year left on his contract. I’m thinking a year of coaching and BBBRRUUCCEE will step into the LEO spot. The other spots open is depth behind Red and Mebane and lets not forget that they was injuried in 2010 and the defense sucked why they was out. Wagner will step into the MIKE spot and will be faster than Hawthorne. Wilson, at the least will step in for portis and the next year take TJs place at backup he’s that good. I think in a year he can actually push whoever for the starting position. QBs to important to a team and I expect another one will be drafted next year to compete until we find our guy. Toomer will stick with us on special teams and as a backup may even push for starting WILL spot with Hill having 1 year contract. Lane will do the same in CB position with Trufant having 1 year contract. I like this guy he’s not afraid of covering the middle. Sweezy being changed to a guard I have complete faith in Tom Cables who i think was the best pickup for the Seahawks. What he did last year with that offensive line was nothing short of a miracle. If Guy turns out to be like Atari that will be a win. Last with 3 top RB gone in the 1st and questions on Miller and Polk, Turbin was a steal in the 4th round. The draft makes since to me and from what i see as soon as the draft ended, the FO was on the phones getting whoever was left on there board to come to us on UDFA. Can’t wait for camp.

  11. James says:

    Kip, this was a really exciting Seahawks draft for me also, because I too saw some of my favorite players be selected, specifically Wilson and Turbin. I honestly believe Wilson will be the long-sought franchise QB, and unless Matt Flynn also shows this ability, Russell will be starting no later than 2014. The guy is a special player and he seems to tilt John’s field, and Pete totally gets him, so Wilson is at a place, like Drew Brees when he landed in New Orleans, that appreciates what they have and knows how to use it. I have previously posted that Wilson’s QB rating for this past season is the highest in football history, NCAA or NFL (Aaron Rogers had the second highest ever, also last year). The guy takes his troops on a charge across the field like Stonewall Jackson (also someone Mel Kiper would not have liked).

    Turbin is Beast Mode, the Sequel, and will have the 12th man in a frenzy. Remeber that he had an ACL in 2010, so he will have even more speed by this fall. …Bruce Irvin is maybe the best story the NFL has had in years and a movie about his life, should he succeed here, wouldn’t surprise me. Pete said Bruce is his holy grail of a Leo, and he should know, since he has been searching his whole career, so this is going to be far out, as Pete would say. …A previous poster noted that the Patriots kept 4 QBs on their roster in Tom Brady’s rookie year, because they did not want to risk him. The Seahawks could do the same, to keep Portis, who would never make it through a full season on the practice squad. T-jack will be a solid back-up this year before his contract expires, and Seattle can hold both Wilson and Portis for future purposes. The full 53 man roster isn’t active anyway, and they will have so much depth stashed on the practice squad, this could actaully happen.

  12. reccos82003 says:

    DAVIDINBELLINGHAM: i live there too ha

  13. reccos82003 says:

    I have friends that didn’t like the last two drafts and think it’s the beginning of the end for carroll. They think schneider should be canned now and that we are the laughing stock of the draft; that carroll’s old and doesn’t care. I disagree and think they know what they want and don’t care what everyone else thinks. I also find it interesting how the nfc west, specifically san fran and seattle, a little with the rams that we made a lot of surprising picks; meaning it seemed like there were a lot of reaches or picks that the general public never heard of. It sounds like it is bc our coaches have so much say that we think we can coach them and make them stars…Do we just have a nack for finding talkent? What’s your opinion on the matter..

  14. Joe The Jarhead says:

    I feel that Wilson is a zero with knowledge of the playbook along with Flynn, it’s a brand new system for both of them. But Wilson is by far the superior athlete, stronger arm, more poise, and has experience mastering a new system in no time. Plus Wilson is much mreo charismatic and has been a stronger leadership role more recently. The only advantages Flynn has is heighth and a bigger contract. So I am totally rooting for Wilson to win the starting job. He has me excited again. To have him and Barkley going to toe to toe next for QB supremacy is a great problem to have. I believe we addressed all our issues in this draft well. I wanted the Turbinator from jump street, ever since I saw him run at the combine I said ‘This man is a Seahawk’. As for Wagner, I had him rated below Kendricks but he was very next in line. So I feel good that we took the best available at our spot. I sincerely feel that we have added great depth with Lane and Guy, a couple of hard hitters that will come in to their own much like Browner and Dick Sherman. Howard could become our pass-rushing 3 or 5 if coached up properly but the potential is at least there. As for Sweezy- no one will say he will suffer from a lack of coaching. Cable has his work cut out for him. As lemonverbena stated, the leading orthopedist in the entire world has given Chris Polk his seal of approval- much as he did for Peyton Manning- and Polk was still snubbed by the NFL. I feel that is a sad injustice. I personally don’t like the Eagles one bit but will be rooting for Polk every snap. With Shady McCoy providing the lightning I hope CP becomes the Thunder and shows the NFC East what a little Monster he is

  15. James says:

    Here is a link to a Len Pasquarelli story confirming that the NY Jets were indeed going to pick Bruce Irvin at #16. Several other teams poised to take Bruce, and a GM was quoted that Irvin was the hottest player in the draft in the couple of days leading up to it. The ESPN folks, Kiper, Clayton, don’t have their facts straight on this one.

  16. Jim Kelly says:

    James, Thanks for the link.

    Good write-up Kip, per usual. Love that picture. I liked Bobby Wagner, but I wanted the Hawks to draft Robert “Mini-Mode” Turbin. When they drafted Wagner, I was kinda upset: a player I liked, but I didn’t feel that the Hawks would draft two players from Utah State. I was so freakin’ happy when they did. I’m even happier now that I know more of Turbin’s back story.

  17. Leonard says:

    James, that HAS to be a lie. Didn’t you hear? Several posters here knew for certain that Irvin was a huge reach and could have been taken in the 2nd or 3rd round. ESPN and some dude’s mock draft told them so. If only Schnieder and Carroll had access to that kind of scouting then they could have gotten a sure fire 1st rounder like Stephen Hill.

  18. A. Simmons says:

    The Seahawks should just pay Kiper to scout for them and do their draft board. That would make quite a few Seahawk fans happy.

  19. Reccos, I wouldn’t really worry what your friends think right now. I have a lot of faith in this draft class producing at least a couple good players, and the total upside of this draft might be the highest in team history. Lets wait and see how this draft looks in three years time. Pete and John have already proven themselves as phenominal talent evaluators- especially when they are getting players with a hole in their game that needs to be worked around.

  20. Good post James. I agree completely with your point about 4 QBs.

  21. Steve in Spain says:

    James, the Pasquarelli story doesn’t say that the Jets were planning on taking Irvin at their original pick. Instead, it appears, piecing together various other sources, that the Jets’ plan had been to trade down into the 20s and take Irvin there.

    “Manish Mehta ‏ @TheJetsStream
    Although Jets had interest in West Virginia OLB Bruce Irvin, they would not have selected him at No. 16 if he was still on the board. #nyj”

  22. nepacific says:

    There’s an outside chance that Irvin would still have been there later in the first round, if the Hawks traded down again, but the reports are that at least the Jets, Houston, and SF were interested in him, and others could have been, too. So the Seahawks took no chances and drafted him a bit early. In the fourth round, they traded down and may have missed out on Kendricks.

    Apparently Irvin and Russell Wilson were the two players Pete and John decided they absolutely had to have. So this draft is where they show us whether their judgment is better than that of other GMs and coaches — and better than media draft experts. Time will tell, but I’m optimistic.