Tuesday draft links

April 24th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

Mike Mayock names ranks his top-100 prospects. The biggest headlines? Chandler Jones at #9, Shea McClellin at #14 and Quinton Coples at #21. Mayock previously said he would consider passing on Coples in round two, so #21 appears generous.

Chad Reuter goes for a seven round mock draft. Seattle’s first three picks are: Melvin Ingram, Bobby Wagner and Orson Charles.

Mike Tanier has a positive write-up on Courtney Upshaw, a collectors item at the moment. Tanier: “In most years, Upshaw would be a Top-10 pick. He probably won’t be this year, but only because so many of the teams at the top of the draft board have other, more pressing needs.”

Tony Pauline says Cincinnati will draft Upshaw in round one given the opportunity. “Word we heard last night is Marvin Lewis and the Bengals will use one of their two selections in the initial frame to draft Courtney Upshaw.”

Jason La Canfora believes teams are hot for Fletcher Cox. “Continue to hear Fletcher Cox as going very high in draft. Some teams consider jumping to 5, ahead of STL, for him.”

Brad Gagnon passes on a podcast featuring Nick Saban, where he talks about Alabama’s top draft prospects.

Andrew Brandt talks about his time in Green Bay’s front office and how things worked during the draft. John Schneider gets a mention. Brandt: “The best decision-makers, in my view, “trust the board.” Players have been poked, prodded, analyzed and discussed for seven months. It’s time to let the board do the work. The biggest downfall of decision-makers is becoming impulsive and emotional, straying from the board. Nothing deflates the morale of scouting staffs faster.”

Let’s be nostalgic for a moment. Right before the draft last year we understood the team were ‘leaning’ towards the offensive line if they couldn’t trade the #25 pick. After last years draft we were given some direction on how the team ranked the 2011 group of quarterbacks.  Here’s how the top six were described to us after Seattle spent the #6 pick on Russell Okung in 2010. So here’s a few predictions for this year… Running back could be an early consideration, while quarterback will end up being more of a mid/late focus. Round one should be about pressure, or the lack of it in 2010 & 2011. With a run on pass rushers expected in round one, don’t expect Seattle to hang about.

Brock Osweiler tape vs Arizona:

28 Responses to “Tuesday draft links”

  1. Michael Gustafson says:

    Upshaw or Ingram. Whoever is there at 12. Don’t overthink it. Just do it

  2. DavidinBellingham says:

    I prefer Shea McClellin to Ingram. Agree with you on Upshaw.

  3. FWBrodie says:

    48 hours and it’s on. Feels like Christmas Eve as a kid.

  4. Attyla the Hawk says:

    I too favor McClellin to Ingram. I’ll concede to Rob/Kip’s sources on Upshaw. But I just feel like McClellin is the better choice.

    Both guys have different versatility and go about their production differently. I guess I see a greater ability to develop with Shea than I do with Upshaw. For certain, Shea has come a lot further in his college career beginning to end than Courtney. I don’t necessarily see that great a gulf between the two as it stands on draft day. Obviously sources are split on that but it’s clear that both are really seen as first round grade talent.

    I don’t find it inconceivable or even unlikely that after just a single training camp, whomever develops faster will be the better pro on day one and thereafter. If we accept the premise that it’s a development league. And further, that Pete is a master at developing players. Then Shea would seem his ideal medium.

    In the end, I’ll gladly trust Pete on this. This FO has definitely earned a teflon coating from second guessing armchair GMs like myself. Who else would know better what he thinks of who will develop into what he covets best.

  5. Derek says:

    What are your thoughts on Chandler Jones? Would he play the same role as Upshaw? If he is anything like his brother Jon, man that would make me have to think about taking him.

  6. Akki says:

    Wow on Mayock having Jonathan Martin at #34. Can a guy really fall from consensus top-10 in January to outside the top-30 based on only postseason workout activity (that doesn’t involve any legal stuff)?

  7. FWBrodie says:

    I think Jones is the best 4-3 end in this class. Where Upshaw and Ingram have an advantage is in their versatility. I don’t imagine Jones playing any position other than DE and obviously that would limit is ability to get on the field for the Seahawks with Red and Clemons around.

  8. MJ says:

    Be cognizant of McClellin’s concussion issues. Already has had 3 (I believe). I imagine that will make him fall.

  9. Attyla the Hawk says:

    Jones is Coples light to me. Both are guys that have good prototype physical characteristics. Did well in their underwear. Coples is Jones with 20 extra pounds on him.

    Basically, they have everything that should translate to best in class. Except their production was mediocre. I have a hard time with guys that should be able to perform but don’t. Because now you have to look at reasons why — with the real possibility that the simple fact is they aren’t very good and don’t have the ability to know what they are doing wrong, or just lack the innate football sense to be good.

    If you’re talking first round pick, then I think you are compelled to pick guys that show actual special talent. Jones is missing that. So now we’re left with trying to determine why he didn’t show that in college and also why he should going forward.

    @akki — I think a lot of people were uncomfortable with Martin at the top half of round 1. Even early in the process, he was considered an inferior talent to Decastro but was elevated to David’s stratosphere on the basis of the left tackle position’s importance alone. He also probably rode his coattails a bit and was credited with more of Stanford’s success than maybe he deserved.

    He never was a really satisfying prospect. I can definitely see him sliding as analysts have now taken more time to inspect a larger pool of tier 2 talent and see some of that talent as better than Martin. Martin was the lower grade tier 1 LT prospect. And so he became kind of the comparative baseline for more obscure prospects who upon inspection appear to outshine him.

  10. Darin says:

    SHawn, I’m with you, Jones seems to me like he is the type of guy Carroll and Schneider would be very high on. I like the kid, he has the physical make up to be a tough pass rusher of the edge. The knocks on him about not being a pure edge guy, remind me some what of the knocks on Brian Orakpo when he came out a few years back.

    I did vote for Barron, but I struggled between Barron, Jones, Brockers and Upshaw.

  11. FWBrodie says:

    Attyla, Jones does not lack special talent. He’s able to disengage on the edge better than anyone in the draft not named Upshaw, which is half the battle out there. He also fights with his hands very well, locates a pursues well, and has an elite body type. He’s got better instincts on the edge against the run than most of the other first round guys many of whom are forced to sell out to the pass rush due to lack of strength and less effective hand use. He’s a better pass rusher than Coples.

  12. James says:

    After dealing with the same few players in relatively the same order in the various mocks, things have really shaken up today. As Kiper, McShay, Mayock and others check in with their sources for the final time, the “consensus” picks around #12 are shifting. It could be that this is how the teams have always rated these guys and the word is only now getting out to the top national draft analysts as they set their final boards.

    Anyway, some surprises to me:
    – Mayock has Kuechly, Barron, Gilmore and Jones at 6 thru 9.
    – He also rates McClellin and Hightower ahead of Ingram, Coples and Upshaw.
    – McShay says a number of teams project Hightower between 10 and 15, right on the Seahawks doorstep.
    – Mayock says Perry and Branch will be available to Seattle in round two.

    …for those of us who have spent the past month wondering if the Seahawks would be picking between Upshaw, Ingram and Coples perhaps should instead be wondering if they will be picking between Jones, Hightower and McClellin.

  13. James says:

    …re the issue of McClellin’s concussions, that was a rumor planted with the nfl network by a team hoping to cause McClellin to fall to them. McClellin was interviewed and said he has had “1 1/2″ concussions: a mild one in 2009, and another one in 2010. Then he switched to the new helmets and did not have any in 2011.

  14. akki says:

    Attyla, yeah in retrospect it looks like Mayock on Martin isn’t the greatest example, as researching a little showed me that Mayock’s never been very high on Martin and never had him in the top 15 or so. Agree that the higher projections of Martin have been due to position, and I don’t think it’s much of a question that DeCastro is better at guard than Martin is at tackle. Watching Stanford a lot, whenever they went into their goal-line power plays, Gerhart/Taylor/Gaffney most frequently ran behind RG DeCastro and RT Fleming. Nonetheless Martin is still a good Eugene Monroe-like LT prospect and he clearly has slipped in the average mock – I don’t know if that’s real, or whether it’s a reverse example of Dontari Poe’s false combine bump. False as in with Poe, I suspect that the media might have moved him into the top 10, but teams never really did.

    On Jones, I was going to ask if there were actually examples of players who had only 10.5 sacks in 3 years, yeah he played with injury last year, that became top pass rushers in the NFL. Then I thought of Pierre-Paul.

    When it seems like about 2/3 of the mock drafts out there have Hightower going as a great value at #24 to the Steelers then perhaps he’s rated too low. I’m starting to think that those who want the Seahawks to trade down and take Hightower might end up seeing them just take him at #12. It would be widely considered a reach, but I think I’d be ok with it, thinking Carroll could maximize his usage.

  15. Attyla the Hawk says:

    The problem I have with Jones, is that he didn’t produce well. For all of the talent we see or think we see, we still have a guy who until this year was a .5 sack per game average guy.

    This year, he plays half a season and gets another 4.0 sacks. Looks good. But it isn’t even appreciably better if we prorate that production over the full season compared to other options in this draft. We’re talking about a guy who in 2.5 seasons accrued about as many sacks as McClellin did just in 2011 alone.

    If we look at the body of work, this is a guy with very little production over time. If these talents are truly applicable in the game, I have to wonder why are the results so tepid. To take him in round one is to really ignore the full seasons he logged, and simply take at face value, the shortened season’s production of 2011.

    It’s a much bigger risk. This is a guy who is essentially cashing in on an anomalous half a season. Is that risk acceptable given the players that have more consistent production over multiple full seasons?

    There is no question you see a spike late. And it’s entirely possible he just matured late. But to take a prospect with that risk at 12 when there are established players that are his equal — I think that’s an risk that doesn’t have enough upside.

  16. Rob says:

    James – We’ll see what happens. A lot of the high profile draft pundits thought Seattle would draft Jimmy Clausen.

  17. Jmpasq says:

    U have to really “?” Mayock when he goes from not having Shea in his top 5’s to being ahead of all those guys. Did he just watch tape on him or is he starting to be like Mcshay and Kiper who get there opinion straight from NFL Scouts. Kind of disappointing he was 1 of the few guys that was grading off his own film work.

  18. Rob says:

    Great point. I also think the avoidance to do any mock drafts or projections prior to the night before the draft is a bit of a kop-out. Mayock is a great broadcaster, he’s ideal for the draft entertainment side of things. But he says a lot of questionable things that never get picked up. The sudden rise of Jones/McClellin case in point. At the Senior Bowl, he was raving about Ingram & Upshaw. He called Josh Robinson a R1 pick on the NFL Network just a few weeks ago, now he’s at #48. So what’s happened?

  19. Attyla the Hawk says:

    @jmpasq,

    I think it’s taking a while for analysts to consider him at LB, as opposed to DE. His versatility kind of works against him because it limits the available tape to examine his capabilities as LB.

    I think the first time anyone listed him among LBs was barely a month ago. Up to then, he was just a light tweener DE.

  20. Phil says:

    Rob & Kip — just want to thank you for providing me with hours of enjoyment. It’s a pleasure to be diverted from all the political wrangling and other crap that’s on TV these days.

    As long as the Seahawks address their pass rusher needs, I’ll be a happy camper.

    Go Seahawks!

  21. Phil says:

    As much as I enjoy Mike Mayock, my skeptical side says that as a Boston College grad, his rating of Kuechly may show a bit of bias. Mayock played at Boston College when they were still part of the Big East, so his rating of Chandler Jones (Syracuse) may be a tad biased, also.

  22. peter says:

    Phil,

    Great info! I didn’t know that about Mayock. The Jones thing to me seems like every year a few players get vaulted up at the last minute in part I think simply because we as a whole spend increasingly more time on the draft, and there are only so many players and at a certain point there is an almost critical mass of information. As Jmpasq and Rob stated, how does a player climb up so high the week before draft day? There’s no more games, there’s no more film on the player. And I like Jones. In the second round…..

  23. Phil says:

    Peter – you’re right about the “critical mass of information” comment. I can only imagine what’s it’s like to be in the war room on draft day and to have your livelihood depend on the picks you make, or is more often the case, the media’s “grade” that they give you for your picks. On that point, I think it would make a great TV show to go behind the scenes of how a particular team goes about grading prospects, putting their board together, and reacting as the draft goes down on draft day. It’s probably been done already, but if so, I’m sorry I missed it.

  24. Attyla the Hawk says:

    It’s probably worth pointing out, that many of these guys are part of the entertainment business too. Now I don’t think they’ll go Mike Florio on us or anything like that and write outrageous/sensationalist garbage. But floating the same thing week after week doesn’t get the hits or viewership that is needed from the business side.

    At least what I like about Mayock is that he’ll say why he thinks what he does in a largely intelligent manner. While he doesn’t really do Mock drafts which most definitely introduces the whole new element of team needs as well as force you to slot players relative to all positions — he gives reasoning that you can refute or question. In that sense, he aims to be a lot like this site. Not satisfied with giving some vague or nonexistent reasoning behind the ranking.

    Some guys, they just throw it out there and leave it at that.

  25. FWBrodie says:

    Attyla re: Jones, watching the stat sheet is not the best way to scout a player. Demarcus Ware checked in with 6.5 sacks his last year of college, same with Jason Pierre-Paul. Jones consistently controls his outside lane and applies pressure to the QB. He very rarely looks beaten, and demonstrates the combination of size, speed, power, leverage, hand-use, and athleticism that is very hard to find while also displaying excellent instincts. If there was a knock on him it would be an inconsistent get off, but he also flashed a fantastic first step at times so I believe that’s something he will improve upon with coaching.

  26. FWBrodie says:

    Rob and Jmpasq, I think it’s pretty common for opinions to change, or rather become more dialed in, as the evaluation period moves along. Often times you’ll watch a player and formulate an opinion without filling in the full picture around the player. Meaning the first time you watch a player you may be looking for specific things but as you continue to watch other players and placing them around your board you’re eye gets more educated because you’ve got more things to compare against. Then you go back and watch the film you watched early on and it can look different. Perhaps Mayock was viewing McClellin as a 4-3 OLB the first time around and then went back and viewed him with more versatility for example. Maybe he was blown away by some guys standout plays early and ranked them above him, but later came to realize McClellin was much a more consistent player despite less jump-off-the-screen moments.

    That stuff happens to me every year. I actually respect the willingness to let an opinion on a player evolve over time as opposed to being completely stubborn. Then again, I also frown upon overreacting and hype chasing. To me Mayock is somewhere in the middle with his big board and mock stuff, although the TV Mayock tends to hype it up a bit for the camera.

  27. Attyla the Hawk says:

    @FWBrodie: Agreed. It’s not the be-all barometer.

    Although to be fair, Demarcus did log 9 sacks in an abbreviated 2002 campaign. So him ‘only’ having 6 in his final season is almost intentionally misleading. Obviously Ware was good, with tools and produced like one would expect a good player with tools to do. He was clearly focused on by other teams after his monster 2002 year. Jones was an otherwise faceless and unremarkable threat coming in to 2011. It’s doubtful opposing OCs spent more time devising ways to stop Jones than any other player on his team.

    Ware was a star and was game planned around and still produced. Jones was a nobody and was an afterthought.

    The Pierre-Paul comparison could be valid. Remember though, JPP was an absolutely freakish athlete. He was a risk pick too, but in his draft class, there were almost no DE pass rush talents he competed with (Derrick Morgan and Jerry Hughes being the only other 1st round DE selections that year). There will be more than 3 taken in the first half of this years’ draft alone, and probably close to 6-7 in the first round.

    Also, I’m not sure that comparing him to JPP is a good one. Because for every lankish/angular prospect that turns into a JPP, there are probably over a dozen Aaron Maybin sized busts. One probably would have better luck getting a franchise QB in rd 3 or later, than getting ‘the next JPP’.

    I’m not saying that Jones isn’t compelling. But I am saying that his production doesn’t match the on paper tools he has. JPP had his freak athleticism. Jones has some freak level tools. And he’s elite athletically too. Just that JPP stands alone in his level of elite.

    If we do pick him, then there will have to be something specific that Pete/John identify on tape mechanically that they believe this guy can be truly special and produce like it. I don’t really doubt that if it’s true, that they will see that correctly. These guys are like Nostradamus in their ability to forecast developmental talent.

    I certainly would allow for the possibility that you are 100% right, that they agree with your take, and that Jones’ 2011 season was on it’s way to duplicating Ware’s 2002 campaign when it was cut short. His season did look like it was a year where everything just clicked for him all of a sudden.

  28. FWBrodie says:

    I’m not expecting the Seahawks to be after Jones on the grounds that I think they’ll be looking for more versatility given their current roster makeup. However, I think it would be a huge mistake to look to production guys with huge holes in their games that Jones doesn’t have (Mercilus, Branch, Curry). Mercilus and Branch in particular are going to find real fast that they are going to need to get themselves in the weight room to add lower body strength to anchor against NFL tackles and also need to improve their hand use if they plan on disengaging tackles on the edge. Jones does these things, both imperative to the NFL game, very well already. Leverage is so important. For a team looking for an every down 4-3 end, they won’t do better than Jones.