Trio visit Seattle
The Seahawks have at least three players visiting their facility today — UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, Indiana receiver Cody Latimer and Canadian offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
The most high profile of the three is, of course, Latimer. He caused a stir with an impressive pro day — registering a forty yard dash in the 4.39-4.43 range and recording a 39 inch vertical. He’s since started to appear in multiple first round mock drafts.
Latimer’s virtually taking a tour of the NFL before next months draft — visiting with a whole host of teams. He didn’t do any drills at the combine or his pro day due to a foot injury. This is the first chance anyone gets to really test him.
Although how much of a challenge running routes in shorts will be for such a talented athlete is open to interpretation. Here’s the bottom line with Latimer — he run blocks better than any other receiver in the class, he has incredibly strong and reliable hands and he’s a freakish ‘basketball player’ athlete.
On tape he does it all — drives defenders off the ball in the run game, high points the football, makes spectacular grabs, runs downfield and takes the top off a defense. He even has some special teams involvement — although funnily enough I think he can show a little more intensity in that area given the way he plays on offense.
If he doesn’t go in the first round, I think it’ll be an upset. There’s simply too much upside on offer. He’d be a terrific pick for Seattle at #32.
— Cody Latimer (@CodyLatimer3) April 15, 2014
Zumwalt really made an impression at the Senior Bowl. Here’s Tony Pauline’s three-day assesment of his performance in Mobile:
Day One: Had several nice plays throughout the day. Stomped on a tight end during blocking drills then showed a lot of discipline throughout the rest of the day.
Day Two: Had a “WOW” sort of day. Dominant during blitz drills, showed a lot of skill in pursuit and held his own in coverage. Just a lot to like about his game.
Day Three: Not as effective as yesterday yet played well in all areas. Leaves Senior Bowl practice as a winner.
When I spent a bit of time during the 2013 season watching UCLA to monitor Anthony Barr’s progress — I kept being drawn to Zumwalt. I’m not sure he’s the type of player who will ever develop into a bona fide starter in the NFL — but he’ll be a special teams demon. And hey, I wouldn’t rule out a starting role one day. If it doesn’t happen, it won’t be due to a lack of effort or intensity.
We all know Seattle wants competitive, fiery individuals. That’s Zumwalt. He puts his body on line time and time again. He seems like the type of guy who’s up for any challenge — a dependable tone-setter.
According to Scott Enyeart, he’s also a player Seattle knows all about:
— Scott Enyeart (@ScottEnyeart) April 15, 2014
He’s one to keep an eye on in the later rounds or even UDFA. Enyeart also points out he had some injury/concussion issues at UCLA and that could hamper his stock.
And then there’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, or ‘LDT’ as the draft community has started to call him. Unsurprisingly there’s not a great deal of McGill University tape available on the internet, but I did manage to find some footage from his pro day:
He’s a medical student from Canada who practised once a week with his team in college. So you’re talking about a guy who’s raw and relatively new to the game. He ran a 4.94-5.08 forty at his pro day, had a 32 inch vertical, a 9.5 in the broad jump and managed 34 reps on the bench press. He’s 6-5 and 320lbs. He also ran a 7.3 three cone and a 4.59 in the short shuttle. Those are all impressive numbers.
Some scouts are grading him in the third or fourth round. Nolan Nawrocki highlights LDT’s, “Stout anchor in pass protection. Violent shock in his punch. Plays with a nasty temperament and seeks to bury defenders into the ground. Aggressive run blocker — runs his feet on contact and plays beyond the whistle.”
Nawrocki also says he can learn to take better angles in pass protection and improve his recovery speed. Clearly there’s something to work with here — but where do you take the guy with so little football experience? Out of all of today’s three visits — LDT’s might be the most important.
One note of caution — according to ESPN he only has 33 inch arms. His body type is that of a guard. That might be his best position at the next level.
Notes on Billy Turner
Today was the first chance I’ve had to watch Turner. I only watched one game (vs Kansas State) but wanted to put a few initial thoughts out there.
Right off the bat you can can tell he’s a strong, combative run blocker. There were several occasions where he drove his man downfield while the rest of the line stalled. When you’re watching a small school prospect you want to see flashes of quality where they just stand out. Turner on numerous occasions looked to be playing at a different level to the rest of his line. That’s to be expected if he’s going to play in the NFL.
I was actually surprised that he only managed 25 reps on the bench press at the combine — because he looks very powerful on tape. Particularly with his initial punch. Maybe it’s a work-out thing coming from a small school? Either way, when I went back to the combine notes I expected to see an extra ten reps.
He has the kind of attitude you want to see (plays to the whistle, drives into the second level, always looking for someone to block). He’s a level headed, well spoken individual.
However, I also saw some key issues that I think will limit his stock.
When I started to write about Joel Bitonio and the Seahawks — people asked what was the difference between Bitonio and Turner. On this evidence, quite a lot. As a pass protector Turner’s technique leaves a lot to be desired. His footwork is all over the place and his kick slide looks clumsy and sluggish. His pad level is inconsistent and too often he overextends and bends at the waist.
He wasn’t exposed against a very average looking Kansas State pass rush. But I’m concerned at the next level he’s going to really struggle against even solid speed rushers. Anyone with a nice get off and a counter will cause him problems.
Bitonio is such a smooth operator in comparison. He glides into pass pro, makes blocking the edge look comfortable and he’s shown genuine ability to shut down leading college edge rushers such as Anthony Barr and the Florida State defensive line. Technically he’s very sound and it compliments the rare athletic potential he showed at the combine.
Often when he comes up against speed he has the ability to just guide the DE/LB out of the play. When he faces a dip inside or counter he can handle it. He doesn’t struggle against the bull rush. Turner isn’t going to be able to set the edge moving like he does in the Kansas State tape. In fact he’s going to watch people run past him, straight into the quarterback.
Comparisons have been made athletically between the two players, but Bitonio had a better broad jump, 10-yard split, forty time and vertical at the combine. Turner had far from a poor work out in Indianapolis — but Bitonio had an explosive performance. So he’s a superior athlete with less of a learning curve from a technique point of view. That’s why, in my eyes, he’ll be a first round pick and Turner won’t be anywhere near that type of grade.
Both players ultimately might end up at guard. And both could end up being very accomplished players at that position. Turner’s footwork will be less of an issue inside and he has the potential to develop into a very good run blocking interior lineman. As long as he isn’t trying to set the edge, he can prosper.
Out of the two — Bitonio has the greater potential to have a shot at playing right tackle and he could act as a backup left tackle. For me, Turner’s a pure guard.
I’ll go back to Pauline’s Senior Bowl notes. This is what he had to say about Turner’s week in Mobile:
Day One: Struggled and had coaches screaming at him. Lined up at right tackle but never seemed to get his feet underneath him. Lacked balance, footwork and not a good start to the week.
Day Two: Not a good day for Turner. Lined up at right tackle and was torched throughout the practice. Consistently beaten like a drum.
Day Three: Played a lot of guard. Was slightly better but in the end did nothing to improve his draft stock. Tough three days for Turner.
Here’s the Kansas State tape. Take a look for yourself and see what you think:
Tomorrow I’ll have a new mock draft on the blog. 23 days to go.