Tuesday draft notes: Underclassmen deadline & defense

January 15th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Could the unfortunate Kaleb Ramsey be a late-round steal?

Further thoughts on the defense

Coaching changes?

Suddenly both of Seattle’s coordinators are hot property. Gus Bradley is meeting with Philadelphia and Jacksonville. Darrell Bevell will also speak with Jacksonville along with division rival Arizona and Chicago. The NFL wants a piece of Seattle’s 2012 magic and Pete Carroll could have two big holes to fill this off-season.

If Bradley leaves — and premature reports suggested he’d already accepted the Eagles gig — who replaces him? And how will that impact Carroll’s ambition to improve a struggling pass rush?

New Mexico State Head Coach DeWayne Walker was linked to the Seahawks upon Carroll’s appointment in 2010. He runs an aggressive and creative defense, having previously worked for Greg Williams in Washington. Walker and Carroll became close during their time at USC. His spell at New Mexico State has been something of a disaster so far – they recorded a 1-11 record in 2012 and he’s 10-40 overall with the Aggies. Whether that would have any impact on a potential return to the NFL remains to be seen, but he has pro-level experience and a move to Seattle could prove to be a convenient way out of a bad situation.

Would Carroll consider appointing from within? Rocky Seto (pass-defense coordinator), Kris Richard (secondary coach), Todd Wash (defensive line) or even Ken Norton Junior (linebackers) could be promoted in order to maintain stability.

What about trying to entice Dan Quinn back to the Pacific North West? He took over as the Florida Gators’ defensive coordinator last year after a spell as Seattle’s defensive line coach. Could they go for a big name looking for a route back into the league? Lovie Smith is unemployed and wants to coach in 2013. He hasn’t received much interest in terms of becoming a Head Coach again, but a productive year as a coordinator could make him a popular choice in twelve months time.

Why not make a left field decision? Who expected Monte Kiffin to go to Dallas? Could there be a similar surprise in Seattle, with a name nobody expects? Perhaps from a background nobody expects? Pete Carroll is the main architect of this defense, but would he welcome an outside voice and some fresh ideas to get the pass-rush going?

Bradley would leave a void on the coaching staff, but it’s something Carroll is used to. His success at USC meant he was forced to replace coordinators all the time. While the Seahawks keep winning and setting trends, other teams are going to want to try and mimic that success.

While it’s unlikely they’ll go for a complete 360 by switching schemes like Jerry Jones in Dallas, it’ll be interesting to see who — if anyone — replaces Bradley. And it could bring some insight into the kind of players they’ll look for in free agency and the draft.

Trading up?

Some people have asked how likely it is the Seahawks move up in round one to target a specific player. Sheldon Richardson appears to be the best true three-technique in the 2013 draft class. He could be a top-1o pick, but there’s also every chance he slides a little. New Orleans at #15 overall might be his floor, but even they have to consider other needs such as an effective edge rusher.

Moving up would appear to be detrimental for this team given how well they’ve used later round picks in the Carroll/Schneider era. Losing a third or fourth rounder could mean losing out on another Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright or Kam Chancellor. Even so, the team is in a stronger position today to consider moving up. There’s really only one striking need — improving the pass rush. Targeting a particular player to fill that remaining need would be considered a pro-active move.

Schneider was part of the front office in Green Bay that completed a big trade to get Clay Matthews in 2009. The Packers moved from #41 to #26 — a jump of 15 spots — to acquire their pass rusher. That year Green Bay was transitioning to the 3-4 defense and picked B.J. Raji to play nose tackle with the ninth overall pick. Matthews was going to be the edge rusher in the scheme, and they had to get their guy. He won defensive rookie of the year in 2009 and followed it up with a Super Bowl ring the season after. It proved to be an unmitigated success.

The trade cost the Packers two third round picks. It was a steep price, but ultimately worthwhile. There’s a tendency to overvalue draft picks sometimes, even when you have a front office with Seattle’s recent success in the middle rounds. Eventually, you’re going to have more drafts than not where you aren’t finding impact starters in the 4th or 5th rounds. You’re not going to find a franchise quarterback in round three every year. Being pro-active can be part of tipping a team over the edge. Matthews had that kind of impact for the Packers. We’re seeing some of that with Julio Jones in Atlanta too.

It’s also worth noting what the New England Patriots got in return for that trade. They used the #41 pick to draft to get cornerback Darius Butler (since released), traded one of the third round picks to Jacksonville — who selected cornerback Derek Cox (a regular starter for the Jaguars in 2012) — and selected receiver Brandon Tate with the other pick (since released). For all of Bill Belichick’s reputation as an arch-trader on draft day, he didn’t win this battle with Ted Thompson.

Moving up isn’t a total write-off for this team. There’s no doubting they’d rather avoid doing it, but sometimes needs must. The Seahawks’ window is officially open and they need to make the most of it.

The impact of free agency

March 12th can’t get here soon enough. That’s the day when the new league year starts and free agency begins. Ever since Pete Carroll’s admittance yesterday that he wants to improve the pass rush, I’m guessing a lot of people have been trying to work out how he’s going to do it. And the truth is, we won’t really know until we see what they do in free agency.

Do they re-sign Jason Jones and Alan Branch? Do they go after a veteran three-technique? Will they consider signing a proven pass rusher like Osi Umenyiora? These are all questions that’ll shape the Seahawks ambitions in the draft. I’ll be publishing an updated mock draft tomorrow, and it’s difficult to consider anything but defense. Yet the Seahawks have used free-agency to fill needs in the past. They paid big money to land Robert Gallery, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Matt Flynn. Although we’re looking at a defensive draft today, things could be very different by March.

I still believe they’d like to add at least one new target to the offense for Russell Wilson. Guys like Zach Ertz and DeAndre Hopkins make a lot of sense for this offense and for this quarterback. Unless they use free agency to solve the problems up front on defense though, can they really afford to go in that direction?

Semantics?

Last year, Pete Carroll didn’t simply identify the pass rush as the teams greatest need. He actually said he wanted to add speed to the front seven. It wasn’t just about bringing in a guy like Bruce Irvin, it was just as much about getting a linebacker who could move around too. Bobby Wagner was the pick in the end, but he could easily have gone for a Zach Brown or Mychal Kendricks instead.

This year, Carroll isn’t using the word ‘speed’ anymore. And he isn’t talking about the front seven. This is all about the pass rush and the defensive line.

Maybe this is just pure semantics, but I’m going to read into it anyway. The Seahawks might not be looking for a certain physical trait here. They might just be looking for guys who gets it done. Whatever position, whatever way. It could be a great edge rusher, or a dominating interior presence. I suspect this will be a broad search.

What I’m trying to work out is whether this means a raw, untapped talent is less likely than a guy who has shown he can get the job done. Will Carroll be less inclined to go for a Ezekiel Ansah at BYU or a Margus Hunt at SMU because they’re more upside than proven commodity? Do we need to look at prospects with a track record of success in college (or the NFL if we’re talking about free agents)? Or does that work against one of their key philosophies of looking at what a player ‘can’ do as opposed to what he ‘can’t’ do?

Carroll and John Schneider have been emphatic in filling needs so far and there’s no reason to believe they won’t succeed in this latest challenge either. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they try to work this out.

Late round defensive tackle

Kaleb Ramsey weighs 285-290lbs at 6-2 and he rushes the passer. He also has a very unfortunate injury record. He applied for an extra year of eligibility after missing almost all of Boston College’s 2011 season. Unfortunately, things didn’t get much better in 2012. He played two games before again succumbing to injury. A plantar fasciitis issue kept him out, much to the disappointment of his teammates and any fan of a team looking for a three-technique option beyond round one.

Not many defensive tackles can chase down Colin Kaepernick. Kaleb Ramsey can. I’ve included his game tape below against Nevada from 2010 and you can see the kind of talent that’s been wasted the last two years. It’s going to cost him on draft day — teams will not be able to trust an injury record consisting of so many problems. He’s had concussions, hip problems, a nasty foot injury in 2011 to go along with the plantar fasciitis. The concern isn’t going to be so much what he does on the field, rather that he may never actually leave the medical room.

Even so, it’s a name I wanted to throw out there as a possible late round option for the Seahawks. He’ll probably get a chance in the NFL to prove he can stay healthy and pro-conditioning could boost his chances of making it at the next level.

Underclassmen update

Today is the deadline for underclassmen to declare, and we’re not expecting any late drama (see: 2009, Mark Sanchez). A lot of Seahawks fans will want to know about Rutgers wide-out Brandon Coleman, but it appears he’s be staying in school. He admitted he was considering the NFL to his local media, but with no official announcement either way it looks like he’ll play another year of college football in 2013.

Here’s the list in full of the underclassmen declaring for the draft:

Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee)
Kyle Padron (QB, Eastern Washington)
Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
Giovani Bernard (RB, North Carolina)
Joseph Randle (RB, Oklahoma State)
Marcus Lattimore (RB, South Carolina)
Le’Veon Bell (RB, Michigan State)
Jawan Jamison (RB, Rutgers)
Cierre Wood (RB, Notre Dame)
Knile Davis (RB, Arkansas)
Spencer Ware (RB, LSU)
Stefphon Jefferson (RB, Nevada)
Michael Ford (RB, LSU)
Travis Ward (RB, Tennessee State)
Keenan Allen (WR, California)
Robert Woods (WR, USC)
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
Da’Rick Rogers (WR, Tennessee Tech)
Stedman Bailey (WR, West Virginia)
Kenny Stills (WR, Oklahoma)
Josh Boyce (WR, TCU)
Brandon Kaufman (WR, Eastern Washington)
Marquess Wilson (WR, Washington State)
Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
Jordan Reed (TE, Florida)
Dion Sims (TE, Michigan State)
Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
Levine Toilolo (TE, Stanford)
Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
D.J. Fluker (T, Alabama)
Justin Pugh (T, Syracuse)
Chris Faulk (T, LSU)
Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
David Bakhtiari (T, Colorado)
Alvin Bailey, (G, Arkansas)
Travis Frederick (C, Wisconsin)
Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
William Gholston (DE, Michigan State)
Stansly Maponga (DE, TCU)
Joe Kruger (DE, Utah)
Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia)
Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois)
Bennie Logan (DT, LSU)
Kwame Geathers (DT, Georgia)
Brandon Moore (DT, Texas)
Darrington Sentimore (DT, Tennessee)
Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)
Jelani Jenkins (LB, Florida)
Tom Wort (LB, Oklahoma)
Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State)
Logan Ryan (CB, Logan Ryan)
David Amerson (CB, NC State)
Tharold Simon (CB, LSU)
Nickell Robey (CB, USC)
Tyrann Mathieu (CB, LSU)
Terrence Brown (CB, Stanford)
Steve Williams (CB, California)
Mike Edwards (CB, Hawaii)
Matt Elam (S, Florida)
Eric Reid (S, LSU)
Tony Jefferson (S, Oklahoma)
Brad Wing (P, LSU)

The following players have announced they won’t be turning pro this year:

Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson)
Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State)
A.J. McCarron (QB, Alabama)
Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia)
Bryn Renner (QB, North Carolina)
Dri Archer (RB, Kent State)
Jake Sims (RB, Kansas State)
Trey Millard (FB, Oklahoma)
Cody Hoffman (WR, BYU)
Jordan Matthews (WR, Vanderbilt)
Ace Sanders (WR, South Carolina)
Ju’Wuan James (T, Tennessee)
Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame)
Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
Morgan Moses (T, Virginia)
Zach Fulton (G, Tennessee)
Garrison Smith (DE, Georgia)
Kyle Van Noy (DE, BYU)
DeAndre Coleman (DT, California)
Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Daniel McCullers (DT, Tennessee)
Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
Will Sutton (DT, Arizona State)
Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA)
Jonathan Brown (LB, Illinois)
C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
Aaron Colvin (CB, Oklahoma)
Antone Exum (CB, Virginia Tech)
Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)

Today’s game tape

Yesterday I published tape of Sheldon Richardson, Margus Hunt, Alex Okafor, Ezekiel Ansah and Sylvester Williams. In order to continue to look at the pass rushers available in 2013, I’ve posted further tape below of Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn), Kawann Short (DT, Purdue), John Simon (DE, Ohio State), Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU) and Malliciah Goodman (DE, Clemson).

69 Responses to “Tuesday draft notes: Underclassmen deadline & defense”

  1. kevin mullen says:

    Left field would be to switch to a 3-4, which in my opinion, we aren’t too many pieces away. Red is already a DE, albeit a very large one. Mebane and Branch could fill out the NT and other DE, leaving Irvin as the stand up OLB edge rusher. KJ and Wagner are our two insides and drafting another edge rusher opposite of Irvin could realistically make this 3-4 a real transition. Clemons might be SOL and odd man out as he’s better fit in a 4-3. If Irvin is what we think he is (specialist, poor man’s Aldon Smith) then we would need a “Justin Smith” to help him out.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The 3-4 requires big inside linebackers because there is so much responsibility versus the run. I’m not totally convinced Wright and Wagner are suited to that. In fact I’m convinced Wagner isn’t. I wouldn’t trust Irvin as a full time stand up rusher because it comes with more duties than just getting to the QB. Plus we have to remember here that PC is running the show and he’s a staunch 4-3 guy and Kiffin disciple. I’m not sure by left field I meant a change to a 3-4. I think they could bring in a guy with 3-4 experience though to consider some fresh ideas and looks. But I cannot see a 3-4.

      • kevin mullen says:

        Well, 3 out of 4 defenses left in playoffs utilize a 3-4 defense. Probably more like 3.5 since before this year, NEvused a 3-4. Also 7 of the top 10 Total Defense this year use a 3-4. 6 of the top10 in Pass Defense, with all 5 in the top5.

        Just saying we don’t necessarily have to make a complete switch, but fooling them like we did switch would be fun to see.

  2. kenny says:

    So with the thoughts of going pass rusher first, then grabbing a weapon for Wilson and then depth guys, what do you think of Keenan Davis from Iowa as a potential late round big bodied receiver? Not a fast guy but looks like he has strong hands and is a willing blocker. Plus it sounds like he is having a good time at the east west shrine practices. Currently he is graded out as a 7-fa but might be worth a look in the 6th.

  3. Ralphy says:

    Do you see Haushcka being replaced? I sure hope so. Pete not letting him try long field goals burned us a few times this year. I would love to see Quinn Sharp replace him!

    • Rob Staton says:

      It depends who’s out there. It’s a tough position to ‘scout’. I didn’t think Blair Walsh would make it but he had a superb rookie year.

  4. John says:

    What I think really stood out to me was Carroll’s language in the end of season presser. When he described Irvin as “regular” it REALLY made me think he’s given up on him as the ideal LEO. Now that’s me reading in between the lines (alot) but that’s just the feeling I get. Now I don’t think that means he’s going to go big on the LEO position now, but it just felt that Carroll is supremely disappointed in Irvin’s progress. All season it felt like Pete would say he played “real well” or just put in “tremendous effort”. It just felt like Carroll was just disappointed while he talked about it. I would not be surprised if Irvin’s role is diminished next year unless there is significant improvement in his play. Either way I think he is going to be put on the spot in OTAs.

    As to trading up. I’m really not against as much as I’d normally be. That said, D line is one of the hardest transitions to make from college to the pros, and it makes me a little hesitant to go big on one. So I’d kind of like to see how some of our younger D lineman progress this off season instead of just going big. Also, I don’t know about trading up due to Pete’s language (again reading between the lines). Carroll seemed to bring up “We have ten picks” a lot, and the way he said it made me feel that he wants to use them all on players. But that’s just my perception of it.

    But there is no doubt in my mind Seattle is going to go all in on getting the D line in order. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this regime is to take them at face value even if it defies conventional wisdom. I’m going to spend my Seahawk time looking at all the DL talent I can find. But the way Pete talked made me think every player (except maybe Clem) is going to be tested this offseason. I think Carroll is going to make that the most competitive area during training camp.

    • James says:

      …I have to admit that, much as I had high hopes for Bruce Irvin, he has not shown natural pass rush skills. Look at the John Simon tape and see what natural skills look like. I don’t believe Bruce will ever be more than a situational rusher, maybe getting a valuable 10 sacks a year, but the odds of him justifying his high draft choice is not looking good. Janoris Jenkins would be my do-over pick, he would have solved the nickle and prevented the late-game meltdowns in the secondary. Bruce has blazing speed and want-to, but the moves aren’t there at this point. He might benefit from some new blood coaching him up as well.

      …as far as a new DC, I would like to see a strong personality like Lovie Smith come aboard. Pete needs some dynamic tension to push for changes in his Tampa 2 variant scheme that proved over and over again this year to not be a sound defense against a rapid-fire attack going after the underneath zones.

      • Cade says:

        Define natural pass rush skills.

        Simon looked like a great pass rusher and a huge liability in the run game. Not that you were saying he would be a good LEO.

        Im not sure we will know what we have in Irvin till next year or so. Im a bit discouraged but he could become a dominant specialist pass rusher or who knows he could gain 20 lbs in muscle and more experience to where he can be more instinctual and think less out there. He could become our ideal LEO.

        What facets of Irvins game do you think lack as compared to Simon? Honest question here. Im still learning.

      • Michael says:

        Personally I don’t want to bring in any DC that would put more zone in the game plan. We have Richard Sherman, and the more man coverage we run the more valuable he, and the rest of our secondary, is. Just look what happened to Asomugha when they told the “shutdown corner” to stop playing man.

        • John says:

          Actually I just recently read an article that Seattle runs Cover 3 press alot. Sherm and BB are actually in zones apparently. The press element of it differentiates it from typical zone play.

      • PatrickH says:

        The Seahawks don’t run Tampa-2 in their base defense coverage. The Tampa-2 scheme has 2 deep safeties, with the MLB dropping back into the deep middle. Pete Carroll, on the other hand, likes to have a single safety (mostly Earl Thomas) covering the deep middle, with the CBs playing press coverage outside but also staying on top to make sure that they don’t get beaten deep (basically a hybrid of cover-3 zone and man coverage concepts). The 4 underneath defenders (LBs and Kam Chancellor) sometimes played zone and sometimes played man coverage. In the last drive of the Atlanta game, the Hawks were running the classic zone blitz, with 5 pass rushers, 3 deep zones, and 3 underneath zones.

        BTW, Lovie Smith and the Bears ran Tampa-2 as their base defense.

        • Cade says:

          So the weakness of the Cover3 compared to Tampa2 is that Cover3 is more liable against the deep pass (Unless you have ET)? The cover3 is better against the run and underneath passes … correct?

          • PatrickH says:

            No, Tampa-2 is more vulnerable to the deep passes than cover-3, because the safeties and the MLB are in general not as athletic as CBs and the single safety (unless you have Brian Urlacher as your MLB). Tampa-2 is less vulnerable to the underneath passes because it has 2 CBs and 2 LBs as the underneath defenders, compared to 3 LBs and a safety in cover-3. However, that makes Tampa-2 more vulnerable to the run, since in general the CBs don’t play the run as well as a LB and a safety.

            • Alex says:

              Well said. If you play Madden at all, the general gist is that certain defenses are fit for certain calls. If it’s 3rd and 6 and you predict a intermediate or underneath throw, you would call a Tampa 2 to have the LBers and CBs sit near the 1st down marker so that you can either break up the play or at least stop them short of a 1st down. It’s also not terrible against the run since the linebackers are still in the play. The tampa 2 is also relatively effective against the quick horizontal throws because the corners and linebackers can quickly converge on the target. At that point, it’s simply about making the tackle.

              The cover 3 on the other hand is used to prevent 3rd and long because of the number of people you drop back deep into coverage. Naturally, the underneath area (dump passes) is vulnerable. That’s why it’s only used in situations like 3rd and 10 or longer. Of course, in 3rd and 10 or longer, you would probably switch to a nickle or even a dime package to get more DBs to defend against the run.

              Some people like to pressure in 3rd and long situations. Some are conservative by rushing 3 and dropping 8. The effectiveness of each really depends on the personnel and the opposing QB. Some QB are really, really good against the blitz. Aaron Rodgers is IMO the best right now against the blitz. Brady and Manning are both up there in the top 5 against the blitz. Aside from the aptitude of the QB against the blitz, a defense with a stronger secondary may prefer to drop 8 while a defense with a stronger front 7 may pressure. It really depends.

              As an example, of each type of situation, Tony Romo is the last game of the regular season against the Redskins clearly did not handle the blitz very well. That was a clear situation where blitzing in 3rd and long was the right choice.

              A few years ago (the year GB won the SB), the Steelers and Falcons blitzed the living out of Aaron Rodgers only to be continually picked apart by the crossing route.

              In that same year, Tom Brady fell to the Jets when they continually rushed 3 and dropped 8. For every receiver, there were 2 players covering them. Part of the reason to draft the bigger TEs by Bill Belichick was to combat these DBs draping over Brady’s receivers.

              If we want to go back even further, the 1995 NFC Division game between the 49ers and Packers was another classic situation where the Packers decided to rush 3 and drop 8. The running game by the 49ers was largely shut down by Reggie White and of course the departure of Ricky Watters. With no running game, Steve Young threw for over SIXTY times. If you’re throwing 60 times into 8 defenders playing the pass, chances are you’re not going to be very successful. Young barely completed 50% of his passes and the 49ers loss.

      • MEat says:

        I had high hopes for Bruce as well, but with his size and rawness he is a project really. He only was successful when the rest of the line played very well. At least it seemed that way.

        Strange news, Chip Kelly won the Eagles coaching gig despite Gus getting a second interview. So it looks like Jags are next on the list and the Cards. I sure hope Gus does not decide to go with either team. Jags are in pieces and if he is going to take a job as a HC I would like to see it with a better team. Arizona has no business talking to either Gus or Bevell being divisonal opponents, imo.

        • MEat says:

          Not saying Bruce won’t be succesful. I expected he would take time to develop and may only every be a situational pass rusher, and that is fine. You can never have enough pass rushers, period. Like SF with the Smith’s. Aldon is able to get to work when Smith is next to him.

    • A. Simmons says:

      The same guys giving up Irvin right now are the same people that have given up on players in the past. Pete is far, far, far from giving up on Irvin. Just like he didn’t give up on Tate, Okung, Carpenter, or any other raw player they have drafted. Irvin will get at least three or four years to work out. Pete will keep developing him. The only thing that would cause Pete to give up on a player is a lack of effort.

      You’re assessment of his post-game press conference is way off. You need only look at how Pete has handled other players. He’s a patient coach and will let quality players develop.

      • Cade says:

        If you read Irvins story and check his experience in college the guy is sooo RAW. Im sure that JS/PC knew this when they drafted him. I do think that Pete seems a little dissapointed that Irvin hasnt developed as quickly as the team ended up needing in the Falcons game. People are reading way too far into that. He knew what he got when he drafted him. Even the more polished DE usually take some time to develop in the NFL right? Well this guy is gonna take a bit of time also. He wasnt intended to be the main guy this year. He was intended to be in class with Clems tutelage.

        Id be bummed out if my rd.1 draft pick was victimized in a playoff game and possibly a primary reason why they lost the game. Falcons ran at him and he couldnt handle the edge. He couldnt generate a pass rush because he couldnt beat the LT who btw gave up like 5 sacks all year and because he wasnt very aggressive due to being on his heels anticipating the run.

        Pete wont give up on him. Hes a potential superstar, give it time. Shoot Aldon Smith isnt very good without Justin Smith in the lineup.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I don’t think it’s a case of ‘giving up’ on Irvin, more like an appreciation of his true role. As a specialist pass rusher playing the same number of snaps he did in 2012, you’ll get 8-12 sacks and he’ll do a job for this team. As a starting LEO though, we might see a lot of games like Sunday. I have no issues at all thinking Bruce might always have to be a pass rush specialist. He’s good at it.

        • RJ says:

          All he needs is another 20lbs and a good teacher to give him the spin and swim moves to complement his bull rush. Once he has those tools he can be a LEO. Until then situational pass rusher.

          • Rob Staton says:

            It’s pretty hard to add 20lbs… plus it’ll completely negate his speed. It’s also hard to teach a prospective 26 year old basic pass rushing skills. Unfortunately Bruce is what he is. We should play up to his skills and minimize his weaknesses.

      • John says:

        I didn’t say Pete was giving up on Irvin, I said I think he’s giving up on him being the LEO. They were quick to give up on Carp at Right Tackle, and I think they can do the same here with Irvin. The amount of progress (or significant lack there of) that I saw from Irvin this season makes me truly believe that Pete is thinking on similar lines as the Carp situation. Irvin did not seem to learn how to use his hands all year and I couldn’t help feeling that most of his sacks this year were very well schemed or coverage sacks. I can see Carroll looking for a better LEO in the future. And that’s not saying Irvin won’t get his shot. But I felt that Irvin hit a wall this year mid season and was an absolute non factor in most games. I feel that the Irvin today is almost the exact same player as Irvin of week 1 in terms of pass rush ability.

        Its important to note that I also said DL was one of the hardest transitions from college to the pros, so I am fine giving Irvin some time. But I wouldn’t be surprised if his role as he heir to the LEO position is significantly challenged this offseason.

        I would also add that Tate was facing a “make it or break it” year and I think Wilson has alot to do with that success. I also think maturity was the main thing holding Tate back. As for Okung, he had injury concerns on talent concerns. I think the best parallel we can find is Carp and I think Carroll with handle the situation similarly and find a role he’s more suited for (i.e. Carp to guard).

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          My main issue with Irvin is that I don’t see the fight in him. If you are going to send an under sized pass rusher he has to fight through a big tackle over and over. He doesn’t have that energetic fight of Clay Mathews. His best position will be roaming around behind the line before the snap and then rushing in at an unexpected angle.

          Should be some interesting draft picks for the defensive line.

  5. Cade says:

    Can I get some help on what to look for in evaluating pass rush DT?
    The reason I ask is because when viewing Sheldon Richardsons tape I was underwhelmed as compared to Hunt or Kaleb Ramsey.

    Sheldon did command alot of double teams but he didnt appear to collapse the pocket or get penetration as much as I expected.

    Hunt seemed much stronger than Kaleb or Sheldon but he appeared to be the least coordinated of the three. Not great at pursuit and awkward to watch at times. He collapsed the pocket well and was better penetration than Sheldon.

    Kaleb seemed like the most dominant of the three based on his tape. Commanded doubleteams. Extremely quick explosive and agile. Seemed to be good in both running game and passing game.

    Im a rookie in all of this evaluation stuff. Where am I getting it wrong and what am I missing in Sheldons tape? Im assuming many of you folks would have a more keen eye for this sort of thing.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      I’m a rooie at evaluating O’line and D’line stuff too, but I wasn’t impressed by Sheldon. Especially if he cost a huge trade up… Just saying, he looked average… I want weapons to outscore the opponent with RW…

      • Cade says:

        What weapons would you go with?

        Right now it seems that our most obvious needs are on defense… which is pretty awesome considering we had the best scoring D in the league. I think patching a few holes on D would take us from a top defense to elite.

        Those needs being:
        - pass rushing DT to collapse the pocket (think what Justin Smith does for Aldon Smith production wise)
        - backup LEO DE for depth. Someone who is big enough to play the run but has great pass rushing.
        - nickel corner to replace trufant
        - OLB to replace hill and create more speed/depth with smith

        Then we have “nice to have” upgrades for the offense
        - Speed receiver for WR depth and to add that dimention
        - Joker TE or a TE like Kelsey who is more rounded but allows Zack out more to run routes.
        - Offensive line depth or project like Sweezy
        - Potential QB project with Wilson like skill set

        We have 10 picks plus free agency and almost 20m cap space ( i think ) to fill those needs/wants.

        • SunPathPaul says:

          I would go after Henry Melton from Chicago in FA. He’s a Pro Bowler for goodness sakes! Then take a FA DE like Osi Umenyiora…then trade up a few spots in the first if we want for someone on D, but I would prefer they use their first on DeAndre Hopkins, then trade up in the second by bundling some picks and Flynn to a QB needy team(if possible), and grab Tavon Austin, Kelce, or whatever LB we need… I just don’t get why people think we should focus primarily on Defense. We are all ready the best scoring D in the league. YES, always enhance your strengths, but why not spend 2-4 picks on WR/TE/RB to arm Russell Wilson for years to come! Imagine him working with these guys this offseason- he is SO amped!

          If we get TWO Defense needs met in FA, then we have supreme flexibility in the draft…JS will find other good Defensive players in later rounds…let’s arm up our Offense and RW and score so many points we don’t have to worry about late game comebacks against our D… IMO

          • Cade says:

            Problem with going after a big dollar player in FA is that we need to continue to roll over our cap space to retain the “Legion of Boom” when their rookie contracts are up. Having Melton would rock though.

            The reason I think we should focus on defense is because we have the most obvious holes on D. Filling those needs would potentially bump us into the elite level where if Wilson got hurt the D could win a game for us.

            On offense we dont have any gaping holes. What we have is some mediocre play at times. What is scary is the lack of depth at skill positions in offense. We need quality WR and TE’s incase of injury. We also need to look at a RB with leg drive (turbin has burst but not power). We need to continue to fortify the offensive line. We need a backup QB if we traded Flynn.

            I think that Wilson will develop into a QB like Brady who can make mediocre talent into big producers.

    • Dan says:

      Ramsey does look legit. Could he be an every down 3-tech?

      If we’re talking late round gems, you should look into Mike Atkinson from Boise State. He’s not a 3-tech, but is big and can be disruptive. He blew out his knee, and was just starting to make a name for himself. If we lose Branch, we may need to bring in several DT’s for preseason.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Ramsey could be a 2/3 down player… if he could stay healthy. That’s the only thing holding him back. Immense talent.

        • RJ says:

          Could be a great addition as a situational pass rusher. Maybe not trying to make him a 3 down player is the key to keeping him healthy. Really liked his tape against Nevada. For a late round pick, sign me up!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think what you’re looking for is a guy who isn’t a liability against the run despite the fact he’s in that 290-305lbs range. You’d like to see some form of repertoire – swim move, bull rush, quick feet. Hand use and understanding leverage is vital. An aggressive attitude is key, because they need to jolt and create separation in order to explode into the backfield. They need to be able to get consistent interior pressure – doesn’t have to be a sack because it’s hard to drive straight to the QB, but if you see the QB bailing from the pocket consistently then you know the DT is having an impact.

      For me, Richardson does a lot of these things. He’s got that sparky attitude of a Suh, Dockett. He plays with great leverage and isn’t pushed back very often despite his size. He is a great athlete for the position and he consistently disrupts things in the backfield. He doesn’t have a great range but the athleticism and hand use makes up for it.

      • Dan says:

        And you have to understand that if Richardson was on our team, he wouldn’t be double teamed the entire game. I agree with Rob on this one… Sheldon’s our guy

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        I just said almost verbatim that exact same thing yesterday.

        I couldn’t agree more with Rob. Richardson is rather unique, because he displays most of the attributes you want at a very high level. A DT’s tape is often times going to look unspectacular. RIchardson as a 3 in a 4-3 scheme isn’t going to get double teamed a lot. But the fact that when teams double him (on runs in particular), he’s the kind of player that will command a double team and act as a 2 for 1 trade on the play. He won’t be double teamed and completely destroyed. And that’s where leverage and size can factor in.

        For me, Richardson is not the only DT prospect in this class that would dramatically improve our DL. He is just the one best equipped to improve it. There will be a couple guys that will fall to us in R1 that would be worth taking.

        And it’s still early. There could be really attractive UFA options available. And that will be key. Because there are several talents in this draft that are perfect fit/plug and play options for us that will fall to 25. If we are relieved from taking a 3 in the draft, it really opens up our options come April. As the discussions move along, and fans get a taste of the prospects (Senior Bowl and combine), keep that in mind. It’s important to not lock into one guy and fail to see alternatives.

  6. Cade says:

    Looking for opinions

    How much do you think it would impact our productivity if we got a Justin Smith(Aldon has gotten no sacks since he was out)?

    Scenario:

    We get a dominant DT in free agency or through the draft… or both and let the rookie develop
    Irvin gains some muscle and skills in the off season to improve on the pass and run D
    We get Clem back and a Clem look alike insurance policy in the draft to play LEO if Irvin doesnt get a more rounded skill set. ( another project to develop a DE… since they are notorious to take a few years)

    I would think we could get another 15 sack production next year or so. Not to mention increased interceptions.

    • Steeeve says:

      Irvin is 26 years old. Expecting him to add much muscle without affecting his speed and agility is a bit of a farce. If he was 21 or 22, maybe, but in general, 26 year olds have already reached their physical peaks.

      • Cade says:

        Irvin was so raw out of college its hard to say if he ever peaked physically through training. While age effects a bodys ability to retain muscle mass or heal, it doesnt dictate a window by which people can become stronger or faster through training. His pure speed could decrease, but his torque and ability to fight off a block would increase.

  7. Michael says:

    “They paid big money to land Robert Gallery, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Matt Flynn.”

    Matt Flynn seems to have been thrown into this sentence simply to point out the fact that he was acquired via free agency. And I don’t mean to pick on Rob, or the minutiae of a great article but I have to get this off my chest after hearing so many people, fans and pundits alike, talk about it…

    We did NOT pay Matt Flynn “big money”

    Kevin Kolb got “big money”, Matt Cassel got “big money”. Flynn, not so much. The average annual value of Matt Flynn’s contract comes out to roughly $6.5MM per year, that’s $3.1MM below the average “starting QB” salary. He was signed to compete for the starting job, and if you compare him to other starting QB’s you would find that he ranks 24th in the league, and behind the likes of fellow bench warmers Alex Smith and Matt Hasselbeck. In fact the only starting QB’s with a lower AAV than Flynn are those players still playing under their rookie deals.

    • Cade says:

      Interesting points. I had no idea. Thanks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      In the context of the position they didn’t pay Gallery or Flynn big money. But they were pro-active in trying to solve a hole in the team. Flynn earned $10m in 2012 to essentially compete for a starting job. So while yes, he’s not earning as much as some other QB’s – if he leaves this summer, the Seahawks paid Flynn $10m for virtually no end product. Which is why I included him on the list.

  8. Aaron says:

    Brad Wing, 3rd Round, let’s do it :D

    That’s a lot of underclassmen going to the draft. Time to dig into the tape and watch them all.

  9. Colin says:

    What’s startling to me with the size we have on the defensive line, we should not be getting run on. Period. At all. I tend to think Red’s foot was bothering him more than we know, and maybe our young guns at LB were a bit overwhelmed (B wags). Pass rush will make this defense one of the best in the last few years, bar none. They could easily be a SCARY good Defense next year, and I expect them to be a 12 win team.

  10. Chris says:

    Mingo looks like the perfect LEO. He’s longer than Irvin, seems equally as freakish athletically, and seems to have way more natural pass rush moves. I’m really liking that guy.

    Sullivan at DT also seemed solid in this tape as well. Looked better than Richardson’s, although I’ve seen other Richardson stuff where he looks dynamite.

  11. Nate Dogg says:

    I wonder if Seattle doesn’t become more interested in Alec Ogletree as they become more interested in pass rush. They need an OLB with Hill likely out and Smith not locking down the spot, but they’ve also featured JJ and other DBs (Roy Lewis, ET, Guy against the Falcons…) in their 3rd and long pass rush packages. Ogletree is an OLB and a former safety, he can give them a lot of the speed that they liked from Smith along with giving them some flexibility/deception they looked for from the bandit looks in their nickel/dime packages. I have no doubt that they’re look to find interior pass rush (although I think they like Branch and that Branch is underrated), but Ogletree is a first round talent that seems to fit a give them a lot of what they’re looking for. My only concern is how vulnerable a LEO/Ogletree side would be in run defense.

    • Cade says:

      If Ogletree is a liability like Smith is against the run I dont see adding him as tilting the field much in our favor. Our young guys at linebacker will improve against the passes underneath and if we get a nickle corner who is decent that will help resolve our issues with 3rd down conversions.

      Right now I see our 2 biggest position needs to tilt the field in our direction to be DT like Justin Smith to add productivity for guys like Irvin and Clem and nickle corner to help with 3rd downs etc.

      The 3rd need would be for another DE so if Irvin or Clem get hurt we have some production still.

      I agree a OLB to replace Hill is necessary but Im just not certain its one of the top needs. Any thoughts fellas?

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        I believe for us, the way that Pete defines the Will role, Ogletree looks like he was crafted by God to be just that.

        I’m not as sure as Rob that he’ll go as high as he thinks he will. Ogletree is really not good at taking on blockers. And most schemes don’t anticipate their LB as playing in free space as we do. His speed and athleticism and range is going to appeal. But his stoutness at the point of attack is going to cause many teams to seek help elsewhere.

        I think for us, Ogletree is a top 10 talent. For others, probably a 20-45 talent. A top ten — that’s Kuechly range. I don’t see that happening. Our needs are unorthodox and Ogletree fits those needs perfectly. His liability though is significant enough to merit him sliding to the second round on many teams’ boards.

        Of course it only takes one…

    • Rob Staton says:

      Ogletree is almost the ideal WILL for this scheme. The problem is – I think he’s going to be a top ten pick.

      • Dan says:

        All the more reason for us to trade up this year. Every player that fits our needs AND our scheme is projected in the top-15

      • Cade says:

        Yep, but would filling this position (WILL) with our top pick make the biggest impact of improvement for our Defense or team for that matter? I didnt think we were bad in that area and could find other options deeper in the draft or otherwise.

        What do you think?

        • Attyla the Hawk says:

          Outside of interior pocket collapse, this isn’t a team where you can replace a bad component with an impact component. We’re very close to the point where we are adding prospects that would need to replace or support already good players.

          There is room for improvement really at multiple areas on this team. Although the impact of that improvement is likely to be smaller. The draft is very likely to shift into more of a talent replenishment tool, than a mechanism to fix broken aspects of the team.

          • Cade says:

            Well we were specifically poor at pressuring the QB and we need a nickel guy. I figure the nickle db can be picked up in the later rounds because its Petes specialty. When people talk about picking up Ogletree it doesnt make sense to me because we need DT, backup LEO DE, and Nickle more. Of course it may all come down to best player available.

            I think we are bad at nickle coverage without thurmond and bad and DL interior rush and vulnerable at WILL (hills lack of speed, smiths poor run D)

            Thats why I talk about priorities

  12. Kingdomer says:

    Kiper’s first mock is out, and love him or hate him, it at least gives us more stuff to talk about… He has John Jenkins from Georgia mocked to the Hawks at #25. I haven’t seen him mentioned yet in your run downs for interior linemen, have you had a chance to watch any film/evaluate him? I ask, because I haven’t seen him mentioned anywhere else either…curious if there’s an opinion on the guy. Base size looks good if he can get penetration (6-3, 358).

    Any thoughts?

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      Terrible pick.

      No ability to push/collapse a pocket. He doesn’t have any appreciable leg drive. His stride is incredibly choppy and he doesn’t get push. He looks eternally tethered to a 1 or maybe two yard radius from where he lines up.

      Probably an acceptable NT where he can just eat up blockers. He doesn’t make plays. He doesn’t really come close to making plays either.

  13. YankinTa says:

    Hi Rob,

    I understand we have 10 total picks. Which rounds are those picks in? Are we due to receive any compensatory picks this year?

    Will you be writing an article on potential Matt Flynn Trade Partners? What are the potential value/picks we would be able to get back in return for a starting caliber QB?

    • SunPathPaul says:

      We have our 1-6 round picks, traded our 7th rounder to Tampa Bay, but have New Orleans 7th in a trade, 15th pick of 7th.

      We also have Oakland’s fifth rounder, 3rd pick…Also the Bills 6th rounder, 8th pick…
      I hear we have 10 picks, but can only account for 9…

      What is the tenth Rob?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I can write a piece on Matt Flynn suitors but personally, I don’t think there’s going to be any. And I think it looks like he’ll be with the Seahawks in 2013.

      • YankinTa says:

        Hmmm….that’s hard to believe since I count about 11 Teams with QB needs and there isn’t any QB in the draft that could come in play the was the great 3 Rookie QB did this past season. I would have to disagree with you there.

        I am thinking we could get 2nd round pick or 3rd round pick for Flynn, if not more….

        • Rob Staton says:

          Adam Schefter reported only last week that the market will be cold. And there were a lot of QB-needy teams last year too, and his market was ice cold. Plus he’s 28 next year, physically he’s not a great player. We’ll really struggle to get a pick in that range.

  14. Cameron says:

    Looks like the word is out on Margus Hunt. Even Mel Kiper Jr is mocking him in the 1st.

    I’m not a guy who watches a lot of tape, but I like what I see out of this guy. He seems to have enough speed and natural pass rushing ability to play the LEO but is big enough to slide inside and play the Jason Jones role. In passing situations we could throw out there Irvin – Bryant – Hunt – Clemons. That would be fearsome.

  15. David says:

    I am not Sold on Hunt really, I’m not a guy that really enjoys rookies that are in their mid 20′s i wasn’t too sold on Irvin unless he made a big impact in his Rookie year, it’d be nice to get a guy who can grow and not have to find a replacement for him in 5 years.

    I’m not saying Irving was a waste of a pick but hes gonna be 26 and getting Hunt whose gonna be 26 i believe, it would be one thing if they weren’t so Raw and somewhat Polished, i hope we don’t go this route. I believe in what Pete and John are doing so whatever they feel is right ill believe in.

    If Ogletree is there in the 1st Rob, do you think we could select him and still have plenty of DT prospects in the mid rounds?

    and didn’t Pete say pass rush? couldn’t that be from a OLB position? I’m not opening up a debate its a genuine question

    You and kip do a great Job, i just wanted to pass that on and thank you for giving me something to read during the Off season.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Yes absolutely I think they have to take Ogletree if he’s there at #25. I doubt he will be though. And there will be other DT’s to be had outside of round one in FA or in the middle rounds. As for could the LB position provide a pass rush… based on what I’ve seen from this defense in 2012, they love to keep the linebackers in coverage and rush four. So I’m not convinced they’d use the position as a rusher too much. But then Ogletree is such an athlete it’d seem a waste not to.

  16. Barry says:

    I think the value in draft picks is having them. Some are more mixed with star first rounders on both offense and defense. Sometimes that makes the draft go down with less depth in the mid rounds.

    Trading into the back end of the first round is completely different then trading into the top 10-12. In this draft I reason that unless there are two players there at the end of the first round that PC and JS have and believe are what the teams needs, to me that would be shrewd choice. But this is a D heavy draft and that will push a lot of quality players back. Just like last year when we moved until the time was right.

    I just hope to see this team maximize the value of the number and position of picks we have. One player I am not big on in the first round is Okafor. He just doesn’t have the burst/agility for a rush end or the power to move inside to D-tack. He reminds me a lot of a ex-Hawk and fellow UT alum Cory Redding. Solid player but not one for the first round. Redding came out around 275, I tend to think Okafor is closer to that then his 260, or maybe I hope. If he is around 260 I am interested in seeing him play for a 3-4 team.

  17. Bob says:

    If you can’t work out a trade for Flynn and also/or make a big enough splash for Starks or Melton than I would pay Branch and draft two DE’s and a later round 3 tech developmental player. Branch is good enough against the run and can play Mebane or Red’s position in an emergency (according to the coaches) and that is pretty valuable. Also, with Clemons banged up, DE becomes more important in my opinion. We gave Bryant the money and we can’t give up on him after one lousy year and I don’t think John will reach for a 3 tech that isn’t there. We need a DE that can start as soon as possible, we’ll still have Bryant and Irvin on the edge in a rotation so someone that can take over Clemons spot and hold up is more important. It may just be wishful thinking to be able to upgrade Clemons, Red, and Branch in one draft and off-season while neglecting WR, TE, nickle CB, OLB needs as well.

  18. Justin M says:

    Don’t give up on Bruce, he will develop into a situational player. IT usually takes a year or two for a rookie to make an impact on the pro game. Watching the tape again he can beat one on one match ups, if we get a pass rushing DT then he will get that chance. He will benefit from another year of OTA’s and will make all you doubter believers. Also, because of the transition time it takes for a DE/DT to make it at a pro level, I would almost prefer getting a free agent like Kruger (Balt), Starks (miami), or whoever else.