Trying to make sense of defensive line draft plans

January 28th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

The Red Bryant position, the nose tackle, the three-technique and the LEO pass rusher – Seattle’s defensive line scheme is a bit more complex and a little less orthodox than most.

To the eye it looks like a 4-3, but when you consider the roles of each lineman and the strict qualities needed at each position – it could probably be defined as being closer to a 3-4.

We’ve had a year to look at it and using the 2010 season as a basis for my opinion – I’ve come to a few conclusions.

I think the Seahawks will consistently find LEO rushers without spending the top picks. It looks – to me at least – a position designed for production. There’s an emphasis on speed, you put the DE in space and hope to put him in one-on-one situations. Both Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock had double-digit sacks in 2010 despite middling careers before arriving in Seattle.

Given the opportunity to draft an elite prospect in the Demarcus Ware mould, I’m sure the Seahawks would jump at the chance. However, I do suspect it’ll have that ‘plug in and play’ quality to it and that may decrease the likelihood we’ll see a first round pick at the position except in rare circumstances.

In the 2011 class I see only three likely candidates that fit the role.

Robert Quinn (DE, Carolina) has the size and initial burst – but he’s also strong and capable against the run.

 

I’m a big fan of Aldon Smith’s (DE, Missouri) first step and ability to get round the edge.

Justin Houston (DE, Georgia) screamed LEO pass rusher when I watched the Bulldogs against Florida.

Of the three, I suspect only Justin Houston will be available when the Seahawks are scheduled to pick 25th overall. For those wondering about Von Miller (LB, Texas A&M) – even for a position that values speed and not size, he’s too small at 237lbs and will get flushed out against the run. He’s strictly a linebacker prospect in the Seahawks scheme.

The Seahawks found production at the LEO trading Darryl Tapp for Clemons and a fourth round pick. They grabbed Brock as a free agent. Prospects such as Ricky Elmore (DE, Arizona), Cliff Matthews (DE, South Carolina), Brooks Reed (DE, Arizona), Jabal Sheard (DE, Pittsburgh) and Jeremy Beal (DE, Oklahoma) are clear options outside of round one and may be more likely in 2011.

Part of the LEO’s production is down to the other three defensive lineman. The Red Bryant ‘five technique’, the nose tackle and the three technique need to take up blocks to create the edge one-on-one match ups. It also carries significance against the run, with the right end being a lighter player – you need size among the interior.

Losing Red Bryant had an instant impact on the Seahawks. At 6-4 and 333lbs he’s about 30lbs bigger than the average five technique. His main duty appeared to be setting an edge against the run, essentially making a front-three with the interior lineman and offering some pass rush qualities (Bryant flashed an unexpected quality in this area before his injury).

I don’t expect the Seahawks to move away from that too much. We can look at traditional five-techniques and be fooled into thinking they ‘fit’ this Seattle defensive scheme purely due to position name. That isn’t strictly true – any candidate will either need the size that Bryant has or an ability to offer similar qualities (ability to move inside, stout against the run). I can see the Seahawks compensating on the size to draft a guy who offers a better pass rush – but they’d still need to play above their size.

Cameron Jordan (DE, California) would be ideal in that sense. He’s playing at about 285lbs which is considerably smaller than Bryant. However, he’s strong enough in the upper body and wise enough with his angles to make up for the 50lbs drop. His ability as a pass rusher would be a major upgrade over Bryant’s. As a partnership you could get flexible – moving Bryant inside sometimes on passing downs, disguising defensive calls and spelling Bryant with Jordan to get more out of both prospects.

The only problem is – Jordan’s stock has never been higher. A lot of blogs (this one included) have graded Jordan in the top 10-15 for a good few weeks. He flew under the radar until the Senior Bowl – where he exploded onto the scene. He will not last anywhere near the #25 pick now the secret is out.

What about alternatives in round one? Muhammad Wilkerson is a fast riser who’s moving up many boards. He’s played end and tackle for Temple this year and recording ten sacks has boosted him possibly into top-20 consideration.

There’s a fair chance he could last until the #25 pick and like Jordan – he offers that flexibility to play more than one position. He’s playing at around 305lbs, which is still smaller than Bryant but a step up from the California prospect.

The likes of JJ Watt, Cameron Heyward and Adrian Clayborn are capable orthodox five techniques for 3-4 teams, but the Seahawks scheme is anything but orthodox. I wouldn’t consider any likely options for the Seahawks. Watt and Heyward are not big enough. In particular I’m a big fan of Watt (not so much Heyward) but I can’t see them in this scheme. Clayborn is perhaps more likely due to his pass rushing qualities, but he’s better as a power end in the 4-3 or a pure five technique.

Depth at the position is crucial and I’m not sure the Seahawks will rely on Kentwan Balmer like they did in 2010. Christian Ballard (DT, Iowa), Jarvis Jenkins (DT, Clemson), Lawrence Guy (DT, Arizona State) and Terrell McClain (DT, USF) are possible transition options ala Bryant outsie of the first round.

In my latest mock draft I touted the possibility that the Seahawks could draft a nose tackle. In the right scheme, a good nose tackle can define a defense. While the Seahawks don’t run a pure 3-4 defense, I certainly believe a stud NT can make a huge difference. If he can be a dominating run stuffer and consistently carry two blockers – that’ll free up the LEO and three technique to get into the backfield.

The team felt the departure of Colin Cole through injury and struggled losing his size inside. With Bryant and Brandon Mebane also missing time – the team lacked quality size depth along the interior. The result was a disjointed run defense – a contrast to the team’s early success there.

Phil Taylor (DT, Baylor) is clearly the top prospect in that nose role. He’s 337lbs and carries it like a guy 30lbs lighter. He has the size to play the NT, but also the mobility and agility to maybe even play some three and five technique. Long term – he could even be an upgrade for Bryant. Both could spell each other, mixing up the two roles.

The issue of course with a guy that size is that he may only play 25-30 snaps a game. Can you really add a first round pick who plays so little? You can when you’re not picking in the top ten. If said prospect creates a lot of third and long situations, likewise it’s worth the investment.

Here’s what Scouts Inc had to say about Butler during Senior Bowl week:

“At 6-foot-3½, the thing you notice is how well he carries his 337 pounds. Compared to last year’s class, he looks more like Tennessee’s Dan Williams than Alabama’s Terrence Cody. He has used that weight well, showing a wide base and anchoring against double-teams all week as a run-stopper. He has quick feet for his size and very active hands. He has a deadly club move. Taylor is an adequate run-stopper, gives you some presence as a pass-rusher, and flashes enough lateral agility to get down the line and make tackles outside the tackle box.”

“Taylor is the top two-gap player in this class. There are character concerns (he transferred from Penn State after being dismissed from the team, and he’ll have to answer questions about that), but due to how hard it is to find guys with his strength, size and mobility who can play in the middle of the three-man line, he’s likely a late first-, early second-round pick. If he’s not a first-round pick, it won’t be because of talent.”

Pete Carroll has stressed depthon bothlines is a priority. If the defensive line needs depth at any position – this may be the answer. There aren’t a cluster of alternatives to Taylor – Kenrick Ellis (DT, Hampton) and Jerrell Powe(DT, Ole Miss) are both slated in the mid/late round range and will interest 3-4 teams. If the Baylor prospect is there in round one, it could be tough to pass.

The final position to look at is the three-technique. Brandon Mebane is a free agent, so we’ll have to monitor that situation – not easy given the CBA situation. I actually believe Mebane is better in the one-technique role or nose tackle – and losing weight to play at the three hasn’t had the expected impact. It’s a stretch to expect he’ll be asked to re-gain lost weight – but again it’s something the team may consider.

Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus are likely top ten picks, but Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois) isn’t too far behind and has the perfect frame and skill set for Seattle’s three technique role. I’ve mocked him to the Seahawks recently and he’s an option depending on Mebane’s situation.

I’m not convinced the team keeps Mebaneand drafts for depth there in round one. Again it may be an area targetted later in the draft. Carroll will know all about Jurrell Casey (DT, USC). Drake Nevis (DT, LSU) is a three-technique but at 290lbs may be considered a bit light inside – without having the necessary height/size to play the five technique. I can see Nevis on a team like Indianapolis that values nimble lineman.

Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon State) similarly has that Nevis-like size, but actually his strengths come against the run. He’d be a good nose tackle for the Colts, but perhaps a better fit at five-technique for Seattle. It’s still a slightly awkward fit.

Overall the depth on the defensive line makes it a realistic proposition with the #25 overall pick. Defining which positions carry the value to warrant the selection and determining the areas Seattle will target remains a work in progress.

35 Responses to “Trying to make sense of defensive line draft plans”

  1. Cliff says:

    I think given the right personnel the Hawks would love to switch to a 3-4 but we didnt have the players. I don’t think our 5 tech has to be in the mold of Red Bryant, they probably though he’d be a good fit there and moved him. Even if he’s 30 pounds lighter thats okay. I’d love Cam Jordan but think he’s a top 15 pick now. Maybe Adrian Clayborn or Watt if they fall. If we do draft NT in the first i expect us to switch to a 3-4 shortly after.

  2. Patrick says:

    I would be very excited to see us draft someone like Justin Houston. Although it’s easy to see what guys like Chris Clemons can do in the LEO spot, imagine what someone with 1st round potential could do. Really, if a QB doesn’t slip, I say D-Line could be the next best thing, even over CB

    • plyka says:

      I’ve always thought cb is the second most important position on a football field, although dline is close. I’d love it if the hawks were able to get jimmysmith although his draft stock has been rising much like the author of this blog projected. Although a qb comes first, I’m hoping for mallet.

  3. CalHawk says:

    Just a thought… Curry is about the same size as Clemons. Do you know why they decided he wasn’t an option at LEO? I thought I read he was a consideration coming into the 2010 season but then that talk faded. He seems lost in space and the only time I notice him is when he makes it into the backfield. I really wish the guy could make the splash he was supposed to. I he seems like a great guy to have on the team and like his fire (except when he tweets stupid stuff about leading the cops on a highs peed chase). I just wish we could figure out what to do with the guy.

    So anyway, you know why he doesn’t seem to be a super LEO option?

    • Rob says:

      Curry doesn’t explode off the line and he hasn’t got a sufficient enough pass rush repetoire. Can he beat a guy off the edge? I’m not convinced. He’s big and athletic for a linebacker, but he’s stocky and not got the burst of a LEO.

      • CalHawk says:

        Thanks, well linebacker I’ll just go back to looking forward to seeing him become a good linebacker.

    • Chavac says:

      Because if Curry played on the line all game he would probably cost us about 200 yards in offsides penalties.

  4. D says:

    Great post, just great!

    I do think DL is the most pressing need and what Carroll was refering to when he had his press conference the other day. Granted OL could also be what he meant but I have always thought that good enough interior OL can be had in the later rounds or as cheaper free agents. I also have a nagging feeling that Cable migt be bringing along that LT-bust-now a-LG. What’s his name, never mind. That pickup would increase the freedom in the draft a great deal.

    Barring a deep fall by a stellar QB, OL, or CB, DL will be the pick.

    As you have pointed out there is good value to be had in the 25 range.

  5. Frank says:

    This is a 3-4 defence slightly highbred but a 3-4 non the less. Love Taylor and Pea both as well as the others you mentioned that probably won’t be on the board at 25. Locker makes it to #25 he’s a shoe in but he won’t. With all these DL climbing the draft boards does Ayers make #25 isn’t that the definition of a leo, speedy and rare athlete. Just wondering if he fits although I agree 100% talent and size at NT is more vital to this scheme.
    Any chance of adding depth at MLB later in the draft? We need to get bigger there as well to fit scheme. It’s hard to gage the CBA affect on free agency, we have too many hole to fill in the draft alone.

    • Frank says:

      Acho LB and Hankerson WR looked great in senior bowl. The Norths Tackles looked horrible you called that Rob, overated. You have really good eye for most possisions Rob suprises me for a guy that isn’t a just pure football buff. Did you ever play? I know you’re a soccer reporter and boxing right. I fight and train fighters MMA now that I’m too old for football. If you ever want to write about local Portland Ore. MMA I know all the players hit me up I’ll get you in the Locker room.
      Lockers feet need retrained, much like Micheal Vick or Tim Tebow he won’t hit targets untill major changes to his mechanics happen. I really see a Donavon McNabb type potential some day, but like Donovan he will always miss wide open receivers and cost you some games. He’ll win some that he shouldn’t with his legs as well on the bright side. I like Locker A+ on everything but accuracy but players don’t get more accurate they don’t sorry.
      Kaepernick however is sick, his mechanics are better than he gets credit for, his reads and footwork need developed. Sounds like a more accurate version of Locker, with a much higher ceiling. Colin still likes to run to quick but he can be taught. The most complete QB in the draft this year once he gets a few more reps under center, just so raw and talented right now. I worry about him getting pushed up too high for us to get.
      This year really perplexes me more QBs that can’t shake baseball mechanics my 17 year old daughter has a better throwing motion than at least 3 first round Qbs. Did coaches stop coaching or have players stopped lisening?
      Rivers gets knocked for his mechanics but look at his motion, feet sholder width apart ball high and tight, two hands untill the moment he lets it rip. Very compact very quick very accurate thats a perfect motion. I’ve personally spent at least 10 grand on a pletra of camps from San Deigo to Boise while I played learning to perfect my motion, really bugs me to see these kids not get it right at this point in their development. If its not fixed yet its not fixable, again sorry.

      • Rob says:

        Hi Frank, thanks for your insight there – really enjoyed reading it and I agree with a lot of what you had to say. I have never played football – being based in Europe until moving over to the Northwest for a while I never had the opportunity. I trained with a local team a few years ago as a receiver (6-4 – seemed like a good fit) but I couldn’t commit to work, the various other things I do and three hours training every Sunday. I do report on boxing – we have a great local scene on the patch I work currently and it’s already led to one great day in Miami covering a world title bout. Next time I’m over in the North West I’d love to get in touch and meet the guys over there. Would be great.

  6. fountaindale says:

    Rob… I’d love to see you write a piece about Curry. What does he need to improve? What is he capable of fixing? Does he fit this defense? What team would best use his talents? Could he be traded? Break down Curry like you did the linemen in this article. Thanks.

    • plyka says:

      Seconded.

      • T-Town says:

        Thirded.

        I had been wondering if he would make a good LEO prospect. I liked your breakdown on him in a comment response. Answered some of the questions I had about that.

        Would love a full blog writeup though if you ever get the time.

  7. Alex says:

    I’m not a fan of Clayborn. JJ Watt maybe. Phil Taylor maybe as well. If Jimmy Smith somehow gets down, then it’s him. If Locker falls down, he would be a great prospect for 2-3 years down the road.

    My priority at this point would be somewhere along of the line of Locker, Smith, Taylor, Mallet (only because we’re at 25). If we somehow whiff on all 4 which I highly doubt, then I’ll start thinking about Brandon Harris, Muhammad Wilkins, Corey Lieguet, and Drake Nevis.

    I always thought Justin Houston was a 2nd rounder, but I may be wrong.

    The only reason I’m opening up to Mallet is because scheme wise, we’re no longer locked down with the high mobility aspect. Otherwise, I wouldn’t touch Mallet with a 11 foot pole considering what I’m hearing about his character especially for someone in the QB position where leadership and character is a must.

    Alex

    • Matt says:

      Completely agree with you. Too many people are clamouring for a RT at 25, thinking that is the missing piece. We still don’t have a #1 WR or a QB to threaten a defense.

      I think the target HAS to be QB, CB, DL, or WR (ONLY if Julio Jones slips, possibly Baldwin if nothing else there). I can see no logical reason for Gabe Carimi to be picked over Wilkerson, Taylor, Liuget, Smith, Harris, Williams, even Baldwin. Just makes no sense to me with such a limited guy. I don’t thing Carimi could play guard either (too tall). So we are talking about a guy who is strictly a RT with limited potential.

  8. Brian says:

    I’m not overly fond of the idea of using a #1 pick on another Leo.

    As you say, the big advantage of the Leo is that you can plug guys like Brock and Clemmons in and be successful with it. If you’re going to use high picks to take personnel, you might as well look for “real” 3-4 personnel.

    Although my preference would be drafting a franchise QB or shutdown corner, I doubt either will be available. All the QB’s are projects and the top two CB’s should be gone when we pick.

    Any chance there’s a Steve Hutchinson level guard in this draft?

    • Rob says:

      I’m not sure we’ll ever see a Steve Hutchinson level guard. He really was a once in a generation type prospect. In this class there is – in my opinion – only one guy you could consider and that’s Pouncey. Even then, I suspect he’ll be off the board before Seattle pick and I’m not convinced guard is the best direction for the Seahawks to go in round one considering other needs

    • Alex says:

      I definitely don’t think Pouncey is at the Steve Hutchinson level and I would grade him a little lower than his brother (though close). 1st round worthy, but if we can get a guard at FA or the middle rounds (due to ZBS scheme), then save the 1st round for a more critical position like Nose Tackle, QB, CB, or 5 tech.

      Alex

  9. FWBrodie says:

    Does anybody have any idea where I could find some film/highlights on Phil Taylor/Baylor defense from the past two years?

    • Rob says:

      I’m searching for some – if I get hold of it I’ll put it on the blog. I’ll also have some senior bowl thoughts tomorrow aswell.

  10. Jules says:

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for this article it was awesome and kept me going for a few days. I appreciate the fact that you take the time to keep the Hawks in a regular conversation online. I’ll admit that I know defer to your site first thing every morning to see if there’s a new post, new opinion, new insight on our team!

    I have to think that the pending labor unrest really impacts the Hawks. I was listening to sports radio the other day and they were going on about how the Bucs and the Rams were really impacted by the labor situation because they really needed the opportunity to keep building their teams through free agency and subsequently the draft. I would have to put the Seahawks in the same category in part because you have to believe that the coaching additions might make the Seahawks a bit more attractive to some of the pending free agents on both the Vikings and the Raiders.

    I’d be all for adding some of their available pieces to the Seahawks knowing that their position coaches (Tom Cable and Bevell) should know if they might be diamonds in the rough in the system Seattle is expected to run.

    I’d also be the first to say that many of the free agents Seattle has could be let go however I am concerned that given the number of free agents on this team if we don’t find some improved parts via free agency then simply turning this team over to our younger players under contract would probably leave us fighting for the 3rd or 4th spot in our division given how badly the talent underperformed on the other teams in the NFC West last year.

    At this point, assuming the team kept the same players as last year, do you believe the offense or the defense is furthest ahead? What area could be fixed the quickest with the least amount of work? I really believe for the Hawks to be a force in the league, let alone their conference, they will need another 2 years in the least to improve. Would you agree or do you think they are in worst or better shape overall?

    • Rob says:

      Hi Jules,

      I think the labor unrest will hurt every team except the obvious contenders – New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Baltimore etc. The teams who were basically going to add a few rookies and re-charge will be largely unaffacted. The majority of teams in the NFL haven’t got that luxury and are pretty much handcuffed right now to their left over starters. Teams who may have wanted to move on at certain positions will likely have to stick with what they had.

      Personally I think the offense is in need of major investment and more so than the defense. That’s not to say there are key positions on defense that need improvement – clearly the team lacks a top end cornerback and depth on the defensive line is crucial. However, we’re looking at a stagnant running game, a general lack of playmakers, a not-great offensive line and a situation at quarterback that has not long term planning. I also think this can be rectified quickly with some clever OL additions, a young QB and at least one more great pass catching target. Atlanta went from hopeless offense to one of the best when they drafted Matt Ryan, drafted a LT the same year, signed a great running back and then one of the best TE’s a year later. You can build an offense quickly and IMO – that’s what Seattle has to do. To win in this league you have to put points on the board now. The Seahawks haven’t been consistently good or balanced on offense since 2005. The defense has needs, but the offense has been neglected for too long at key positions.

  11. Curlin says:

    Great post … very interesting. The one comment I had is in regards to the idea that the Leo is a position designed for production, and as such we may not require a top-level talent. I’m not sure I follow the logic here … couldn’t you say the same thing about a MLB? That their position is “designed for production” because they are put in the middle of the field giving them the maximum opportunity to make tackles? Even a lousy MLB will have a shot at 100 tackles in a season just because of the position they play, but that doesn’t mean a team should only settle for a lousy MLB.

    Sure Clemons was able to put up 11 sacks … but that doesn’t mean we have to settle for that. If Clemons got 11, then how many would an elite talent get in that role? How much chaos would a Peppers or Freeney or Ware type pass-rusher cause? The pass rush is too critical to NFL defense now-a-days to settle for 1 solid-if-unspectacular pass rusher, especially if we’re going to team him up with average or worse pass-rushers from the other 3 d-line spots.

    I look at the Leo position as the exact opposite of “plug-and-play” … to me this seems like a position where an elite playmaker can have the biggest impact on the game. The players in this position are put in position to make a large number of high-leverage plays, and it seems to me we whould want a guy in that role who is going to make as many of those plays as possible.

    Also worth noting that I seem to remember that the Hawks made a serious run at Julius Peppers last offseason, so it seems they want an elite player there as well.

    Am I missing something?

    • Rob says:

      Hi Curlin,

      I did actually reference that getting an elite talent (such as Ware) would be attractive to Seattle. However – the role of the LEO is so defined and will put players with a certain skill set in position to make plays. With the right fit (Clemons, Brock) you will be able to get 10-12 sacks every year. If the interior guys are good enough, that could increase. You’re essentially looking for quick step, lean, edge rushers who have the minimum size to cope with rushing downs. You can find those guys outside of round one. I would argue that unless you’re looking at a Demarcus Ware potential prospect, you don’t need to spend a R1 pick at the position. If Ryan Kerrigan is going to get you ten sacks – what’s the difference?

      I’ve also tried to convey here that I believe the production of the LEO will be improved by the (in this scheme) more important interior positions. I don’t see the LEO as the key position. The three interior guys (I do classify the 5-tech as an interior really, even though they line up in the same place as a RE) need to take up the blocks and draw attention. Against the run they need to block the inside with Bryant and the OLB needing to set the edge. But on passing downs you’re really looking for the 3-tech (and the NT to an extent) to create as much pressure and disturbance as possible. That’s the impression I got – because it allows the LEO to stay in a 1vs1 situation where the speed is a difference maker in space. More orthodox DE’s aren’t playing with that level of space/freedom and therefore need a much more complex skill set. The LEO is almost like a floating OLB that you see a lot in college – Everette Brown played LEO at Florida State and had a lot of success and pursuaded Carolina to trade a #1 pick for him with San Francisco.

      Clemons and Brock both had career years playing the LEO. It’s not a coincidence. Can they upgrade the position? Sure. But if it’s always going to have a level of production and with such a defined skill set needed for the position, I don’t think the need is there to spend a pick unless the talent is ‘cant miss good’. To an extent that is the same as a MLB.

      As for Peppers – I don’t recall Seattle making any move for Peppers. I may be wrong, but the Seahawks never appeared to be in contention there. They very quickly identified Clemons though – and we’ve seen the results.

      • Jim Q. says:

        I have to wonder if it is wise to spend a first round pick, even at #25 on a “backup” player.

        I would hope, (with the logical exception of QB), that any player the Seahawks end up with should be an instant starter or capable of becoming an effective starter within -at least- a few games into the season.

  12. Misfit74 says:

    Rob I’m certain this is the best article I’ve ever read from you. It’s great to see people improve at their crafts like this.

    The depth and detail between scheme-related questions and prospective answers was intelligent and valuable for me to learn. This happened to be a subject I was fascinated by and it’s hard to find information like this and get opinions about prospects as potential scheme ‘fits’.

    I sure do keep drooling over Dareus. To bad it would take massive trade-up normally reserved for a QB.

    A bright spot is that this seems like the best draft to be in if your team needs/wants defensive line help like the Seahawks surely do. DT and DE might be the deepest, most talented position in the 2011 draft. Gotta love it!

  13. Misfit74 says:

    I’m becoming a big fan of Seattle drafting Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois. Looks like he can play 3-tech and 5-tech, making him a good fit for us.

    From NFLDraftScout.com:

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1630900

  14. Jim Q. says:

    Hey Rob, here are a couple of DE/LEO players that will likely be available in rounds 4/5 that look pretty good on paper, may be worth a quick look see.

    Marcus White, DE/LEO, Florida St., 6-4, 262, 4.69/40 – “explosive pass rusher with a never-ending motor, causes havoc”. (CBSSPORTS.COM, #192-overall as of 02/01/11)

    Cliff Matthews, DE/LEO, S. Carolina, 6-4, 268, 4.77/40 – “considered one of the hardest-working, best-effort players in recent memory – possesses tremendous quickness and athleticism and superior overall ability”. (CBSSPORTS.COM, #152 overall as of 02/01/11)

    Also, have you looked much at Sione Fua, DT/NT as a potential later round NT?

    • Rob says:

      Hi Jim thanks for the tips. I fully agree on Matthews and I’ll look into Marcus White who isn’t somebody I’ve focused too much on. I haven’t seen much of Fua unfortunately but I’ll take a look and get back to you.

  15. Joe McKenna says:

    Rob – why not Greg Romeus as a Leo? I think if he lasts until the Hawks pick in the 4th round he is the perfect fit for a Leo backup with potential to grow into a starter as Clemons ages.

    Also, I love Phil Taylor in the first for the Hawks. It protects against losing Mebane (if the CBA is not in place prior to the draft, leaving that spot as an unknown), and can provide depth for Bryant – or even for Cole.

    As much as I would like to see the team get a CB ion the first round, I think this is the best path for them.

    • Rob says:

      To be honest Joe – I’ve never been a big fan of Romeus. For me he’s not going to have an impact at the next level. In terms of the LEO role, he hasn’t got that initial burst or speed round the edge to really excel there. He’s about 270-275lbs and looks bigger on tape. I think if he does work out at the next level, it’ll be as a 4-3 left end.

  16. […] Taylor helps Seattle get bigger up front with greater depth against injuries if the likes of Bryant, Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane miss time as they did in 2010. Eventually I suspect Taylor could develop into the integral part of the defense, given the relative importance of the five technique and nose tackle in this scheme (as discussed in more detail here). […]