Sam Montgomery tape vs Alabama & Georgia provided to Seahawks Draft Blog by JMPasq
One thing struck me during Pete Carroll’s end-of-season press conference yesterday – his belief in the need for speed. He talked openly about wanting more pace among his front seven, with the pass rush considered a prime target-area for improvement. The Seahawks generated modest pressure during the 2011 season, often relying on Chris Clemons at the LEO specialist position for sacks. The ‘big three’ in the middle – Alan Branch, Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant – combined for four total sacks. If it wasn’t for a seemingly never-ending question mark at the quarterback position, there’s no doubt what Seattle’s most pressing concern would be.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Carroll spent most of his near 50-minute session answering questions about Tarvaris Jackson. It’s hard to get a read on Seattle’s plans solely based on what we discovered here, but it seemed to me that Carroll appreciates what we all know – that Jackson isn’t a long term option, but right now he’s the best quarterback on the roster. The Seahawks need more than 14 passing touchdowns in the regular season. In fact, Matt Hasselbeck and Jackson combined for just 26 passing scores in the last two years. To put that into context, ten quarterbacks scored 26 or more touchdown throws this season alone – including the much maligned Mark Sanchez. Jackson’s scoring totals matched Colt McCoy, were comparable to Blaine Gabbert and Matt Moore had better numbers in 12 starts for Miami. Sure, he battled a torn pectoral muscle. Yet we didn’t see enough from the healthy Jackson to believe he’d taken any giant leaps from his time in Minnesota.
Carroll has actually been fairly open and honest with his press conferences in the past. Last year he spoke of getting bigger up front and making the offensive line a priority. The end product? Seattle spent its first two picks on big bodied lineman. I believe Carroll was 100% telling the truth when he said re-signing Hasselbeck was the #1 priority, but I also believe the lockout and Tennesee’s offer of a three-year deal changed the situation completely. This year, Carroll spoke about the draft depth at quarterback and the amount of work already conducted by John Schneider to get an angle on this QB-class. Perhaps this is just a presumption made far too early to carry any weight, but I felt like the Seahawks weren’t expecting to make any aggressive moves up the board to target Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. I do believe the Seahawks will be prepared to ‘make their move’ one day to get their guy at quarterback, I just feel like that quarterback is probably playing in SoCal in 2012.
So this brings us back to the front seven. Carroll says he wants more speed and that he’s looking for improved inside and outside pressure. This isn’t a great class for interior defensive lineman, so Seattle may be forced to look at outside rushers and athletic linebackers who can bring it from the WILL position. Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia) would’ve been a perfect fit for the WILL but he’s staying in college. However, a lack of top-end depth could persuade several other players to declare. Michael Brockers (DT, LSU) is among the best interior line prospects in the nation. He’s only a redshirt sophomore and still has a lot of developing to do, but could winning the BCS Championship and seeing a chance to be the #1 player drafted at his position tempt him to turn pro?
Seattle’s pick comes in the form of a different LSU Tiger – outside rusher Sam Montgomery. He’s got a near identical build to Clay Matthews III when he turned pro and a similar intensity on the field. He has nine sacks this season, including a deuce in the 9-6 win over Alabama during the regular season. If the Seahawks are looking for speed and a better pass rush, they could easily line Montgomery opposite Clemons and use a more orthodox 3-4 look with the three big bodies in the middle, while keeping the front four on passing downs. It’s hard to imagine how the Seahawks will significantly improve their pass rush by just improving the outside speed at the WILL linebacker position currently occupied by Leroy Hill. Carroll is quite openly prepared to use a slightly unbalanced line that enhances Red Bryant’s effectiveness as a run stuffer, but also flashes his weakness to provide any kind of edge threat. The only issue is run defense and the lack of size the Seahawks would have at the edge. That’s why they may have to ultimately consider switching to a 3-4 to use players like Clemons and potentially Montgomery, unless they’re going to rely on the linebackers to force runs wide. They have the size at cornerback to manage run support, but ideally you want to remain big up front.
Note: Mohamed Sanu (WR, Rutgers) returns for this week’s mock after choosing to declare. Luke Kuelchy (LB, Boston College) has been removed after reports suggested he was leaning towards returning to Boston College.
Updated first round mock draft
|#1 Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)
Despite a lot of talk about keeping Manning and drafting Luck, it remains an unlikely proposition. Long term thinking will win out.
|#2 Matt Kalil (OT, USC)
The Rams have to take Kalil, he’s too good to pass up. There’s enough depth at receiver to wait until round two.
|#3 Jonathan Martin (OT, Stanford)
Minnesota would love a shot at Kalil. It might be a bit of a reach, but protecting Christian Ponder must be a priority.
|#4 Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama)
Last year Cincinnati used this pick to draft a supreme playmaker in AJ Green, before taking a quarterback in round two. Cleveland might do the same.
|#5 Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU)
He’s had a fantastic season with six interceptions. This seems like an obvious match for the Buccs.
|#6 Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa)
I still predict Peyton Manning will be a Redskin, and that Mike Shanahan will target Ryan Tannehill in round two for the future.
|#7 Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State)
This is too high for Blackmon in my opinion, but his production will interest teams. The Jaguars need to help Blaine Gabbert.
|#8 Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)
Miami will pick 8th if they win a coin toss with Carolina. If Cleveland and Washington pass, RG3 will take his talents to South Beach.
|#9 Michael Brockers (DT, LSU)
A complete lack of defensive line talent could encourage one or two unexpected players to declare. Brockers is one to watch against Alabama.
|#10 Dwight Jones (WR, North Carolina)
If Stevie Johnson doesn’t return, the Bills will be paper-thin at receiver. Jones is the complete package.
|#11 Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
Built like Clay Matthews and with a similar intensity. Montgomery could play opposite Chris Clemons to improve Seattle’s pass rush.
|#12 Barrett Jones (OT, Alabama)
Another underclassmen few expect to declare, but a need at tackle and a weak top-15 group could push him into the NFL.
|#13 Andre Branch (DE, Clemson)
With the tackles leaving the board early, Arizona will be forced to address their second most important need – an outside rush.
|#14 Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Alabama)
He’s big and good in run support, but struggles in coverage at times. Jerry Jones will like this guy, so will Eli Manning.
|#15 Zach Brown (LB, North Carolina)
The Eagles will look closely at the linebacker position and Brown is a good fit for Philly’s scheme.
|#16 Mark Barron (S, Alabama)
Few players have enjoyed the level of progress shown by Barron in 2011. He’s firmly in the round one equation.
|#17 David DeCastro (OG, Stanford)
Slightly over rated, a technician who looks great on the move but lacks elite power at the point of attack.
|#18 Courtney Upshaw (OLB, Alabama)
The kind of pass rusher San Diego have drafted in the past. They need to find some outside pressure.
|#19 Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor)
The ultimate deep threat. Jay Cutler will get the most out of Wright, who should be able to have a Mike Wallace-type impact.
|#20 Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina)
Coples is a complete enigma. He has the physical talents to be great, but we don’t see enough of it on tape.
|#21 Janoris Jenkins (CB, North Alabama)
Elite cornerback talent but troubled by off-field problems. The Bengals needs to draft a corner and Jenkins is good enough to start quickly.
|#22 Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)
Cleveland needs to keep adding playmakers. Floyd has his issues, but put him on that offense with Trent Richardson and it’ll be much improved. They’d still need a quarterback.
|#23 Whitney Mercilus (DE, Illinois)
With 14.5 sacks this year, someone will give him a chance early in the draft. Detroit has bigger needs but could show interest here.
|#24 Lamar Miller (RB, Miami)
The Broncos run the ball well and could look to add another back to their stable. Carolina had two first round runners under John Fox.
|#25 Michael Egnew (TE, Missouri)
He’s very much the modern tight end – a pure pass catcher who will make spectacular plays downfield.
|#26 Vontaze Burfict (LB, Arizona State)
Although I think his stock is falling, someone could take a shot on Burfict. My guess is he’ll end up playing AFC North..
|#27 Devon Still (DT, Penn State)
I’m still trying to get an angle on Still. It often looks like his best fit may be at the five-technique.
|#28 Peter Konz (OC, Wisconsin)
Stood out last year in a big-name Badgers offensive line. Could return for another year, but ready to have an impact as a pro
|#29 Mohamed Sanu (WR, Rutgers)
Sanu can line up anywhere and Jim Harbaugh will find different ways to get him involved. Another powerful weapon for San Fran.
|#30 Jonathan Cooper (OG, North Carolina)
A player not a lot of people are talking about, but has stood out every time I’ve watched the Tar Heels this season.
|#31 Alshon Jeffery (WR, South Carolina)
Jeffery divides opinion. He is capable of making big plays, but he runs sloppy routes and looks ‘too big’. Could go much earlier than this, or much later.
|#32 Fletcher Cox (DT, Mississippi State)
He plays a bit like a runaway train. He’s a bit unbalanced, but moves well for a big guy. He looks ideal for a move to the 5-technique position.