Thoughts on Derek Wolfe and the Seahawks options in round one
Derek Wolfe has flashed some big plays during his time at Cincinnati, but it’s tough to fit him into Seattle’s defense. He’s been used at both tackle an end in Cincy’s system, but his home at the next level will surely be as a five technique. He’s got the kind of height that teams like for the position (6-5) and his size (300lbs) means he’ll hold up well against the run and help set the edge. When he plays inside he often gets flushed out of plays and he struggles to attach the point, often leaning into lineman and becoming ineffective. When Wolfe is able to use his hands and keep an opponent away from his frame, that’s when he penetrates. He’ll be better served away from the busy interior and should get looks in the middle rounds for teams running orthodox 3-4 schemes. He’s not an explosive athlete, which will limit his stock and should put him behind Fresno State’s exciting and underrated Logan Harrell.
It’s difficult to imagine he’s the answer to Seattle’s interior pass rush concerns and he’s not powerful enough as an inside force to generate consistent pressure and absorb blocks. Although he may be considered a slightly better attacking threat off the edge, the Seahawks are seemingly committed to stopping the run and I expect they’ll keep using bigger players like Red Bryant at DE, mixing in spot pass rushers for certain downs. It’s a bad year for the Seahawks to try and find interior pass-rushers. Last year, picking in the #11-12 range would’ve provided an open shot at Corey Liuget. Phil Taylor went at #21 to Cleveland and offered superb size to work against the run, but also the foot speed and athleticism to get into the backfield. There’s nobody in this class who is close to that level of talent. Round two may offer more hope if Brandon Thompson is still around, but there’s no Brian Price or Lamarr Houston as in 2010.
It really depends on what the Seahawks are looking for as to whether there’s an obvious round one option on defense. Pete Carroll says he wants speed and a better pass rush, but prospective WILL linebackers like Jarvis Jones chose not to declare. A player like Star Lotuleilei would’ve offered a better interior rush (although he must improve his ability to stay strong against the run) but he’s staying at Utah. Zach Brown is a better sideline-to-sideline linebacker than most in this forthcoming class, but is he good enough to offer consistent pressure on passing downs if asked to play closer to the LOS?
Will the Seahawks see enough value in drafting Michael Brockers or Devon Still in round one? They are two players capable of playing inside, but also two players that have flashed inconsistencies and may be better suited to the five-technique. Luke Kuelchy is very talented and a tackling machine, but he’s undersized to play the MIKE and hasn’t offered any pass rushing threat at Boston College (not that it was a big aspect of his game). I’m not convinced the Seahawks will see the LEO as enough of a priority in round one unless a star pass rusher is available. Chris Clemons is still the starter and the specialist nature of the position dictates a skill set that can be found beyond the high picks. Despite a cluster of solid LEO options last year (Jabaal Sheard, Brooks Reed) the Seahawks passed. I’m not sure Andre Branch and Whitney Mercilus are truly good enough to warrant consideration, while I’m still trying to work out exactly where Courtney Upshaw would fit in Seattle’s scheme.
This just isn’t a good draft for defense and it keeps me coming back to two areas. One – the possibility that the Seahawks will consider adding to their quota of receivers. This is a very strong draft at the position, with top end talent (Dwight Jones, Kendall Wright, Justin Blackmon) a strong second tier and a handful of sleepers later on. Although it lacks the superstars we had in the top six last April, it’s a group filled with starting potential and depth. The second option? The Seahawks target a quarterback one way or another, possibly after moving up or down the board. I’ll be publishing an updated mock draft tomorrow.
The tape above was supplied to Seahawks Draft Blog by JMPasq
Dre Kirkpatrick arrested for marijuana possession?
Reports today claim that Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested after being found in possession of twenty grams of marijuana. It’s pretty ridiculous, considering Kirkpatrick is about to go through what equates to a three-month job interview. Yet to put this into perspective, it’s hardly earth shattering news that a football player has been found carrying some weed. Teams will do all of the necessary homework and if this isn’t a wider problem for Kirkpatrick, it shouldn’t impact his stock more than the fact his coverage skills are pretty basic compared to his excellence in run support. However, what should be a big deal for teams is the rank stupidity of a player you’re about to pay millions of dollars being caught in this situation. It’s not exactly difficult to avoid such a potential red flag between the months of January and April. If Kirkpatrick can’t be trusted to put himself in the best possible situation for the draft, can you really trust him to cover Calvin Johnson?
Dolphins about to turn into Green Bay mark II?
Chris Kouffman is reporting on Twitter that the Dolphins are close to appointing Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as Head Coach. Kouffman, who writes for ‘Universal Draft’ and a football blog at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, claims Tom Clements could also be appointed as offensive coordinator with Matt Flynn likely to reunite with the pair as the team’s new starting quarterback. It’s unclear at this stage how legitimate this is, but it’d certainly change the dynamic of the draft. Everyone expects the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings to be inundated with trade offers as teams battle for Robert Griffin III. I’ve always felt the one team likely to make a big splash for RG3 were the Dolphins – a franchise in need of a star for many different reasons. By going the Packers-route, Miami would be less likely to make a bold move up the board.
Suddenly, those trade offers seem a lot less likely. Washington at #6 are the nearest threat to Cleveland – who may or may not be even interested in Griffin III – and who’s to say the Redskins aren’t preparing to go in a different direction themselves? We’ve long discussed the possibility of Peyton Manning landing in Washington as a free agent, a move that seems a lot more likely now that Jim Caldwell has been fired by Indianapolis. Shanahan could still add someone like Ryan Tannehill as a long term option, but Manning would be a tremendous bridge to the future.
Although Griffin is a tremendously talented quarterback with a ceiling as high as most young players entering the league, the simple fact is team’s like Miami and Washington have to prepare as if Cleveland are going to take him at #4. That could take the two franchises into completely different directions during free agency, so if the Browns end up drafting – for example – Trent Richardson instead, what happens to Griffin? Although it’s assumed this year’s fastest riser will go in the top three, we can’t rule out the possibility he suffers a minor fall – potentially putting him closer to the Seahawks at #11 or #12 and making a deal up the board more manageable. A pipe dream? Maybe, but in mid-January we’re still working out how this draft is going to fall.
Mike Adams rising? Kendall Wright the top receiver?
I’m not a big fan of Ohio State tackle Mike Adams – he’s never stood out on film as an obvious first round talent. He’s neither truly dominating in the run game or a brilliant athlete who projects as an ideal blind side blocker. I expected him to receive a mid-round grade and end up playing right tackle at the next level. According to Tony Pauline at SI.com and DraftInsider.net – Adams will go much earlier. “Word from scouts at the Shrine game is Mike Adams/T/Ohio State will be drafted much earlier than most predict.” Pauline’s sources are to be trusted, so against my will I will be including Adams in my latest first round projection tomorrow. Pauline later added on his blog, “Many in attendance think Mike Adams/T/Ohio State will go much higher than he’s presently projected. How high? Though we don’t share the opinion I am hearing anywhere from the middle of round one, on. Adams is slated to play in the Senior Bowl next week.”
It was also interesting to see the wide receivers come into discussion. According to Pauline’s sources, some teams have Baylor’s Kendall Wright ranked as the #1 at the position this year, “Additional sources here at the Tradewinds confirmed our report from Friday that a number of teams presently rate Kendall Wright/WR/Baylor over Justin Blackmon. The list of teams that have Wright over his Big 12 counterpart is either growing or was underestimated by myself last week.” This isn’t surprising, given that Blackmon is pretty overrated while Wright and the likes of Dwight Jones have usually been (wrongly in my view) graded below players like Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery. I like Blackmon as a prospect – he’s got the competitive streak you want to see from a receiver, he’s an alpha-male type who can make spectacular plays. Yet he’s also inconsistent and makes a lot of sloppy mistakes, while the offense at Oklahoma State is tailored for production. The result? A two-time Biletnikoff winner, just like another receiver coming from a yard-happy system – Michael Crabtree.
Brock Osweiler heading for the top-20?
I’ve been promoting the talents of Brock Osweiler this week, even going as far to say he could be a first round option for the Seahawks. Some have disagreed (strongly at times) but there’s been a healthy debate on the blog. I’m expecting to have further tape published soon, with Osweiler’s performances against Illinois and Arizona on the way to go along with the tape we’ve already dissected against USC, Utah, Oregon and Boise State. The idea of Osweiler going in the top-20 might not be such a far fetched suggestion after all if Wes Bunting at the NFP is to be believed: “Just got off the phone with an NFL scout who he thinks Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler is a 3rd round talent, who could go top 20.” As I said earlier, I don’t expect the Seahawks to reach for a quarterback. Yet it’s clear John Schneider and Pete Carroll have a different way of doing things. A lot of pundits shouted “reach!” when Seattle drafted James Carpenter with the #25 pick, likewise when they drafted John Moffitt and Kris Durham with several other ‘bigger names’ still on the board. For what it’s worth, I thought the Carpenter pick was great value at the time. If it so happens that the Seahawks do think Osweiler is worthy of a top-20 grade, they won’t be concerned by others who think he’s worth a grade in round three.