Updated mock draft: 9th April

April 9th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

It’s taken until the second week in April, but finally Joel Bitonio is getting the attention he deserves.

In the last few days Lance Zierlein mocked him to Seattle in the first round, while Daniel Jeremiah is now saying he’s a potential late first round pickto the Seahawks no less.

I wrote this piece on February 27th suggesting Bitonio would be a good fit for Seattle. We first mocked him to the Seahawks on March 5th and if you missed this article the first time — check out how uncanny the comparison is between Bitonio and Logan Mankins.

If they’re going to draft an offensive lineman early — it’s going to be someone with plus athletic skills and upside who can play multiple positions. It also probably needs to be a player who can fill in at left tackle and potentially one day replace Russell Okung if he can’t be resigned after the 2015 season (as discussed here).

I’ve seen some online scouting reports knocking Bitonio’s arm length and consigning him to a role as a pure guard. I’m not sure they realise he has the same arm length as 6-7 Taylor Lewan (33 7/8 inches) and he has longer arms than Jake Matthews (33 3/8 inches).

Not only that — he tested just as well at the combine as the top 3-4 tackles. His 9.6 in the broad jump ranked #2 behind Lewan and just ahead of Greg Robinson. He beat both of those players in the three cone (7.37) and had the second best vertical jump amongst offensive lineman.

He had the fourth best forty yard dash (4.97).

For me the question isn’t whether he’s an option for Seattle at #32 — it’s whether he’ll even last that long. I’m a big Zack Martin fan — but I’m yet to hear any logical explanation as to why he’s a consensus top-25 pick and Bitonio ‘might’ sneak into the first.

Aside from the athletic positives — his versatility will be attractive to the Seahawks. He could easily start in year one at right tackle or left guard. You open up the competition in camp and let Alvin Bailey, James Carpenter, Michael Bowie and Bitonio fight for two spots (plus any other rookies you add to the roster).

In this scenario, Bitonio also becomes your backup left tackle.

They don’t have to go in this direction (drafting a tackle early) even if he lasts until #32. I feel like they’ll be more than comfortable drafting a couple of tackles between rounds 2-7 and letting Carpenter, Bowie and Bailey compete for the guard spot. For those sleeping on Carpenter — check out this photograph he posted on Instagram today. He’s never been in better shape.

There’s tackle depth in the draft this year — meaning they could look at a talented receiver class in round one or potential wild card options such as Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier (who I think will be a top-25 pick, but you never know…).

But I still expect a rush on receivers in round one. And if that happens, it could make for a relatively easy decision at #32.

I’ve also included two trades in the top ten this week. I’ll do a broader trade-mock with multiple deals within the next couple of weeks.

#1 Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)
He’s elusive for a 4.93 runner. He extends plays. Bortles is a very creative quarterback. Houston’s offense is set up for a big rebound year if they find a solution here.
TRADE #2 Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
Doesn’t it just seem inevitable? Thomas Dimitroff and Les Snead are close. The Rams want to move down. The Falcons need a pass rusher like Clowney.
TRADE #3 Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
The Lions appear to be enamoured by Watkins. They also want to set up a dominant passing game. The Jags might be willing to move down for a reasonable price.
#4 Greg Robinson (T, Auburn)
Just take the best player on the board. Robinson would dominate at right tackle or guard. Make the offensive line your identity and run the ball.
#5 Khalil Mack (LB, Buffalo)
I suspect they’d love a shot at Watkins. They might look at Mike Evans. Or they might try and get a pass rusher who can have a quick impact.
TRADE #6 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
Jeff Fisher knows the Matthews family. They’ve seen Mack and Watkins leave the board. The pick makes sense in this scenario.
#7 Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
Josh McCown had Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey last year. If they’ve signed McCown to start, give him Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans this year.
#8 Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
He won countless awards in college, had major production and lit up the combine. Mike Zimmer might see Geno Atkins in Donald.
#9 Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
The addition of Mike Williams gives Buffalo some breathing space to add another offensive lineman at #9.
TRADE #10 Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
Having dropped down from #3, the Jaguars get a fantastic competitor to lead their offense. I suspect Gus Bradley will love Manziel’s fiery character.
#11 Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Not a huge need but this is all about value. Benjamin would make a great tandem with Kendall Wright. He possesses freakish upside.
#12 Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Finding more targets for Eli Manning has to be a priority. It’s easy to forget how dominant Lee was in 2012.
#13 Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
In the NFC West you need speed at linebacker. Pairing Shazier with Alec Ogletree would add to St. Louis’ terrifying front seven.
#14 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama)
They’ve added Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen up front, now they need to improve the secondary.
#15 Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Receiver is a big need for the Steelers. They need someone who can come in and have a quick impact. Out of all the WR’s in this class, Beckham Jr is best served to hit the ground running.
#16 Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA)
I wouldn’t draft Barr this early, but the Cowboys are stuck without moving up or down. After bringing in Henry Melton, they need an edge rusher. They have no alternative.
#17 Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Getting another big target who can work the seam will be attractive to Baltimore. It’d also be good value in this spot.
#18 Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
They need to keep adding playmakers. Rex Ryan will get the defense going. The offense can’t rely on just Eric Decker. It needs a spark.
#19 Morgan Moses (T, Virginia)
Miami needs to keep repairing its offensive line. Branden Albert is a good start. Why not add a bookend here with Moses slotting in at right tackle?
#20 Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
They don’t have a lot of remaining needs — apart from finding a long term answer at quarterback. Even so, Hageman is a value pick at this point. They can add a developmental QB later.
#21 Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss)
They invested free agent money in the defense. That could mean a receiver here — because their options are a little depleted these days. Moncrief has a ton of upside.
#22 Cody Latimer (WR, Indiana)
A physical, competitive receiver who run blocks superbly and competes for the ball in the air. He’ll make Nick Foles look good by winning plenty of 50/50 throws.
#23 Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville)
With the receivers leaving the board early the Chiefs might look at safety in a scenario like this. Pryor would be a nice compliment to Eric Berry.
#24 Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
A player who divides opinion. A year ago he would’ve been a high pick. It wouldn’t be a shock if he’s the first corner off the board.
#25 Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
They need to bring in a nose tackle. Nix isn’t Dontari Poe or B.J. Raji in terms of athleticism, but he can hold the point and absorb blockers.
#26 Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State)
There’s a lot of talk about Carr and the Browns — so I’m going for the ‘no smoke without fire’ approach here. Twitter loves Teddy Bridgewater, but Carr might have the higher upside.
#27 Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Nearly benched last season and overrated after a great combine. He is the ideal athlete for the position though — and that could keep him in the first round.
#28 Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame)
I’m not sure how Carolina has allowed a situation to occur where they’re suddenly desperate at receiver and the offensive line.
#29 C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
This could be a good spot for a team trading back into the first. New England have gone after Alabama linebackers in the past and could use Mosley inside.
#30 Martavis Bryant (WR, Clemson)
Has a little Randy Moss to his game. Could excel playing in a power offense with a big-armed quarterback. He’ll beat you deep and can be an X-factor.
#31 Chris Borland (LB, Wisconsin)
Denver needs a tone setter. A leader. A guy who flies around. This would be a smart move. You want this guy on your team.
#32 Joel Bitonio (T, Nevada)
Terrific player. Compares favourably to all of the top offensive tackles in this class. Can play on the left or right — and could be another Logan Mankins at guard.

78 Responses to “Updated mock draft: 9th April”

  1. Nate Dogg says:

    You mention that Roby divides opinion and I’m curious what your thoughts on him are. I’m just finishing up his 2013 games on draftbreakdown and I’m not feeling it. The athleticism is obvious but his game doesn’t impress me, especially when it comes to tackling. Lots of corners aren’t fans of tackling though, so maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on something that doesn’t matter.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think he’s an athlete playing corner and he needs to become an athletic corner. In terms of pure upside he’s right up there. It’s not that he has an attitude problem or a bad work ethic either. It’s just a case of coaching and scheme and fitting him into a system, plus developing his skills. There’s a ton to work with. But it’ll be work getting him to the finish line. High risk/reward.

  2. Colin says:

    I want the Seahawks to walk away from round with Joel Bitonio, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief, Stephen Tuitt or Kelvin Benjamin. One of those guys.

    Really, I think we need a receiver. I know the attention is offensive line, but I think it’s been easily forgotten what a healthy Okung and Unger do for it. The line was pretty good in 2012, but not so good in 2013. What changed? Health, that’s what.

    I’d like us to add some OL later on, but if there is talent to be had in the late 1st/early 2nd, I think it outweighs taking another lineman.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I agree on the receiver point. I may do a mock where my belief in a high number of WR’s leaving the board isn’t expressed and that might open things up a bit. But in this situation it was hard to shoe-horn a receiver into the #32 spot.

      • James says:

        Rob, the 9 WRs appear to come at the expense of the 3 DBs generally mocked in R1: Dennard, Fuller and Verrett (along with Bridgewater, of course). I would think if Bridgewater is still there in the last few picks of R1, someone at the top of R2 will trade up to grab him. Even if the WRs do indeed displace the DBs, that still lands Bitonio for the Seahawks as you indicate. If Bitonio, Bryant and Benjamin seem to be the consensus picks of the readers of this blog, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where at least one of them is not there at #32.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I actually think if teams are looking to move back into round one it won’t be for QB’s. I think we overestimate every year the desire of teams to move back into round one to fill that need. It just doesn’t happen. And yet we’ll see Tampa Bay trade up for Doug Martin, or Minnesota trade up for Cordarrelle Patterson, or New Orleans trade up for Mark Ingram, or again the Vikings for Harrison Smith.

          Presuming Houston takes a QB at #1 and the Raiders are willing to keep adding starters around Schaub this year — in round two the first team using this mock who needs a QB is Minnesota at #40. So I’m not sure why any team would feel the need to trade back into the late 20′s for a QB. I could, however, see teams trading back in for a defensive player (eg a corner) or even one of the receivers.

          In fact moving up for a corner makes a ton of sense considering Houston, Washington and Cleveland — the first three teams to pick on day two — will be considering that position.

          • cha says:

            Why hasn’t there been more trades into the bottom of the first round specifically to get the 5th year option on players? I would think many teams would desire cost control.

            • Geoff U says:

              Sounds good, but how many GMs or coaches are there for that player’s 5th year? Or can afford to think into their 5th year? Half dozen? Most need to win now.

    • Ray bones says:

      What has changed Colin, is 2/5s of the starting lineup is now gone. Say what you want about breno and Paul mcq, they were starting caliber veteran o linemen. I think people are overselling the loss of golden Tate because he has been replaced by Percy Harvin. This is still a run first team and with the unreliable health of Okung and for that matter unger, the unknown quantitys that are Bowie, Bailey and sweezy and the underwhelming carpenter I suggest that the need at oline far out weighs the need at WR. In a perfect world everyone stays healthy and the two b’s develop nicely. Sweezy takes a big step forward and carpenter finally delivers on his lofty draft status…… However that’s a lot of what ifs and maybes! Give me the best available OL at 32, hopefully someone as versatile as Bitonio and look for a Landry in the 2nd.

      • MJ says:

        Any OL in the draft would qualify as an “unkown,” as is anybody new to the team. Realistically, that logic doesn’t justify arbitrarily drafting an OL at 32. I’m not disputing the need on the OL, but I would debate the value at 32. If a no brainer OL is there, then by all means pick them up (ie Bitonio).

        What I don’t want to see, is a team that pigeon holes itself into the mindset that we need OL at 32 no matter what (think Carpenter’s draft). I will go bananas if we pass on a superior WR for the likes of a David Yankey or Antonio Richardson. Of course we’d love to be staring at Greg Robinson, but more than likely, we will be staring at a very good WR or an OL with either limited athletic ability or sizeable holes in “their game.”

        Bitonio would be a great pick, but I really don’t think he will be available at 32. He’s too athletic and has good tape against good competition. He also possesses really good upside. He’s just too good of a player/value to fall that far IMO.

        The real kicker in this debate, is that we do have a serious need at WR. Again, there always seems to be the rebuttal from the “OL no matter what crowd,” that Kearse and Lockette are going to take the next step, but won’t allow that same notion to be extended to the likes of Bowie, Bailey, and Sweezy.

        These are really good debates, but again, the way Seattle will fall from the top is by passing on superior talent. Holes obviously need to be filled, but you can’t start getting $80 of value from your $100 bill. I’d argue that most OL that will most likely be available at 32 (excluding Bitonio) represent this type of value while we will be looking at a bonafide WR, who likewise fits a need, but just happens to provide more bang for the buck.

        • Ray bones says:

          Very good points mj, but I disagree with some of your conclusions. I completely agree that arbitrarily picking an o lineman would be a bad thing however no one suggested that. I believe the quote was “best available”. If as Rob predicts and I happen to agree, that there will be a run on WRs then other quality players will fall. It’s all about “value”. On a team that throws the ball 20-25 times max, after Percy, Baldwin and the TEs get their touches what’s left for the rookie? If a special talent fell to us then by all means grab him and shore up the o line later. However IMHO the hawks will fall from the top for certain if they don’t rebuild the o line with quality players.

          • Colin says:

            Re-building the line with 2nd round lineman taken in round 1 doesn’t help you.

            The line does need attention, and again, getting Okung and Unger back to health WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. This cannot be understated.

            Sweezy will also have another year under his belt, and continuity is huge in pass protection.

            If a good player like Bitonio or Morgan Moses is there at 32, they are good choices. But I’ll say what I said below: grabbing an offensive lineman in round one is not an end all be all cure.

            • Madmark says:

              No one saying drafting 1 OL is the end all be all cure. What we are saying is that with 2 OL lost another one or 2 needs to be drafted. I think Bowie would do just fine at RT and who knows maybe Carpenter gets it together this year and holds on to the LG spot. Like the DL some of these guys contracts will be coming to a close in a couple years and you can’t pay them all 10 million like Okung so stocking up the line won’t hurt us one bit especially with the talent in this draft. I don’t care what anyone says McQuinstan may not have been a starter but he started 14 games last year at tackle and guard position. He’s gone now and Bitinio or Martin seem to be as versatile and more of a upgrade athletically for his position if they just don’t outright win a starting job out of camp. Competition, next year we can look at DL for prospects although I think they like the season veterans that they can work into there system

            • Ray bones says:

              Like MJ says, really good dialogue here. I think we are almost splitting hairs when we discuss 1rst round talent as opposed to 2nd round talent when we pick at #32. They are essentially the same thing. I love the fact that most of the people on this blog are reasonably well informed and provide well thought out arguments. The overwhelming opinion here seems to favor the o line or WR for the early draft picks, which means PC/JS will probly throw us a curveball and go in a completely different direction!! Lol either way I trust them completely!! GO HAWKS!

          • MJ says:

            Good dialogue here. I think we are getting at the same thing, just approaching it from 2 different angles. I am with you in regards to needing to upgrade the OL and it probably wasn’t fair of me to exclaim “draft any OL at 32.”

            Realistically, I’m not even arguing a WR at 32. I really want us to take advantage of the best talent available. I just happen to think that a DT/WR has a higher likelihood of being that much more talented than the OL that will be available.

            If we go OL at 32, I desperately don’t want it to be the type of guy we are looking to upgrade in the next year or 2. That’s my biggest concern. I’d rather gamble on a potential #1 WR who needs seasoning over a middling OL prospect who we are constantly looking to replace/upgrade.

    • Arias says:

      @Colin:

      You say:

      “I know the attention is offensive line, but I think it’s been easily forgotten what a healthy Okung and Unger do for it”

      Actually I think you’re too easily forgetting that Okung has only had ONE healthy season out of the four years he’s played. With that sort of track record of unreliability those of us with a strong preference for an offensive lineman are NOT the ones that are too easily forgetting. I’d posit that it’s completely the other way around.

      • Colin says:

        Eh, if Trent Cole doesn’t take the cheapshot on him in 2011 he wouldn’t have missed a game in 2011 or 2012. Is he really THAT unreliable?

        I’d be happy with Bitonio at 32, but let’s not get caught up in the thinking that adding one guy magically fixes everything.

        Oh, and we won a Super Bowl with an offensive line that many people said you could not win one with.

        We do need a couple bodies, but I don’t buy for a minute we have to spend 32 on it.

  3. Mattk says:

    I would love the Hawks to sign Sidney Rice to a one-year vet minimum deal and look to draft a swing offensive tackle in the first round, like Bitonio. Then in the 2nd round take an aggressive approach; trade up for “their receiver” should he fall a bit.

    Signing Rice affords them the opportunity to draft that raw, upside receiver and take the pressure off him to contribute right away. Rice would also provide that leadership/teacher ability that I think helped turn Tate into the player he is today.

  4. drewjov11 says:

    If the Niners get Bryant I will not be happy. I’m
    Really starting to like that kid.

    • Hay stacker509 says:

      If the 9ers get Bryant, I’m hoping PC tells chancellor to treat him like he did Vernon… How would that impact a rookies feelings getting hit lights out style!!

    • John says:

      Bryant is legit, but needs time to adjust to the NFL and the right situation to keep him focused. I don’t think SF is that place. Harbs is not great at developing younger players and I don’t think Kaep is a good enough passer to elevate Bryant’s play the way a RW will. Bryant to SF would bum me out (Like Lemonier last year) but not have me super concerned.

      • Rob Staton says:

        “Harbs is not great at developing younger players”

        Not sure I agree here. The 49ers have a lot of good young players and Kaepernick, for all the stick he gets from Seahawks fans, is an accomplished and dynamic player.

        He also has an absolute cannon for an arm. Bryant can create separation downfield and they could strike up a very dangerous deep passing game.

        • Miles says:

          On Kaepernick, I would say that yes he does have a cannon for an arm and all the physical attributes that you want. But his football IQ is pretty shallow and that’s why he’ll never be an elite QB.

      • Mattk says:

        Latimer is another receiver I’d really worry the 49ers get. Kaep is a one-read, force it to the receiver type QB. Latimer’s hands are good enough to make that work.

      • Arias says:

        What makes you think Harbaugh’s not great with developing young players? He’s actually got a rep for the opposite. The niners are built from their depth in the draft, not as good as the hawks, but then again no one is.

        Their depth at WR last year appeared to take a major hit when rookie Quinton Patton suffered a foot injury eary on after dazzling in the preseason. He also flashed brilliance in their final regular season game his 3rd game back. I don’t see their lack of depth there as a problem with their inability to develop receivers.

  5. Madmark says:

    Joel Bitinio T/G Nevada 6’4″ 307lbs. 33 7/8″ arms, 9 7/8″ hands, 32″ vj, 114″ bj, 22 reps, 4.97-40
    7.37 3cone, 4.44 shuttle
    Donte Moncrief WR Ole Miss 6’2″ 221lbs. 32 3/8″ arms, 9 1/8″ hands, 39.5″ vj, 132″ bj, 13 reps
    4.40-40, 7.02 3cone, 4.30shuttle
    Ed Stinson DE/DT Alabama 6’3″ 287lbs. 33 3/4″arms, 9 3/8″hands
    Antone Exum CB Virginia Tech 6′ 213lbs. 31 5/8″arms, 9 5/8″hands, 35″vj, 117″bj, 17reps, 4.59-40,
    7.05 3cone, 4.13shuttle
    Kevin Norwood WR Alabama 6’2″ 198lbs. 32 1/2″arms, 10″hands, 4.48-40, 6.68 3cone, 4.32shuttle
    Zack Moore DE Concordia(MN) 6’5″ 269lbs. 33 3/4″arms, 9 5/8″hands, 33.5vj, 123″bj, 23reps
    4.84-40, 7.41 3 cone, 4.46shuttle
    MarQuis Flowers SS Arizona 6’3″ 231lbs. pro day 4.58-40 and 24reps
    we all know what 1st to 3rd rounders will likely be but I take any input on round 4 to 7 if you have your mock that far.

    • Rock says:

      4. DE Jackson Jeffcoat 6-3, 247, 4.63
      5a. CB Keith McGill 6-3, 211, 4.51
      5b. FS/CB Dontae Johnson 6-2, 200, 4.45
      6. TE Colt Lyerla 6-4, 242, 4.61
      7. OG Brandon Thomas 6-3, 317, 5.09 (ACL Injury)

      • Madmark says:

        Late 3rd or early 4th McGill will be gone. I wouldn’t touch Colt Lyerla at all. Thomas will go in the 6th he has potential even if he on injuried for a year. I will look closer at Jackson thou.

      • James says:

        Brandon Thomas was injured in a private workout for the Saints. It will be interesting to see if they feel “guilty” enough to draft him. A medical redshirt year is not so bad for teams that can afford to wait. The Seahawks did this with Jesse Williams. The 40-whiners did it with Lattimore, etc.

        • Arias says:

          They can’t really afford to wait on developing an offensive lineman for their position of most need. Doesn’t mean they won’t take a flyer on Thomas in later rounds if he’s available, but not at the cost of not taking one in the earlier rounds if a guy they like is still on the board.

        • Rock says:

          New Orleans does not have a pick in the 7th round. They will need to burn a 6th. I am sure someone will draft the kid and give him a year to rehab. Before the injury I would have said he was perfect for the Hawks.

          I see Lyerla as another one with a redshirt year on the PS. He needs a father figure. Being around the team may straighten him out. The talent is there. If it works out you hit the jackpot. If not, we haven’t lost much.

  6. Stuart says:

    Rob, you called it early on Bitonio, ad this success to your resume! Next year at this time when you are working for a national company, don’t forget your family here on SDB. :-)

    There are great arguments on both sides of taking WR v OT in R-1. The ultimate success of our offense comes from Russell Wilson, not a true #1 WR. We won the Super Bowl last year without a true #1 (excluding Harvin).

    I submit a healthy Russell Wilson is more important than any member or our Offense. Draft Bitonio at 32, don’t dick around, sorry to WR fans at 32.

    From my couch I felt every one of those crushing hits on Russell Wilson last season. He is tough, nimble, mobile etc etc etc but he can only absorb so much punishment before it effects the series, game, season and career longevity. Protect your number one asset, duh….From the mind of GM Stuart.

    The Rams would be smart to take your advice at 13.
    The Cardinals would be smart to take your advice at 20.

    Another fine mock Rob, thanks.

    • James says:

      I tend to agree that the area of the team that is most important to improve for long term success is the O line. RW came close to being killed last year when the O line was mostly second teamers. Even if everyone is healthy (not a wise assumption, especially given that Okung has missed significant time every season in his four years), pass blocking needs to be improved. As much as a legit SE could boost the offense, and as much as Leo depth is needed with Clem gone and Avril entering his contract year, protecting Russ has to be job-one. That could make it Joel Bitonio’s very, very lucky day (imagine getting drafted in R1 by the best young team in the league, with the best facilities, best coach, best owner….after watching your Nevada program going in the wrong direction despite your best efforts).

      • James says:

        Bitonio would mean that three of their five years with the Seahawks, Pete and John used their first draft pick on an O lineman. That’s what you call a priority, and you can get away with it when you find an elite QB, CB and SS in R3, R5 and R5.

  7. Nolan says:

    Rob,

    I know you like BITINO me 2, u talked me into it. My question is though you have Carolina taking Zach Martin a few picks earlier… What makes you think they take Martin over BITINO? And let’s say this mock is the same but Carolina takes BITINO over Martin do you have the Hawks taking Martin? Or are they taking a receiver ?

    • Madmark says:

      You bet I’d take Martin at 32 in a heart beat just watch the senior bowl.

    • EranUngar says:

      Martin is there because Rob predicted Moses will be picked ahead of Martin. I do not share this evaluation.

      However, if any of them, Martin or Moses is there instead of Bitnio i’d be very happy with either of them. very very happy….

  8. Stuart says:

    A team could also pick Cyrus Kouandjio in R-1 making it even more likely Bitonio is there at 32.

    Great question Nolan. Personally I would be stoked to have Zach Martin if Bitonio was already selected.

    It seems that most GM’s go with safety high floor players in R-1. Job security is their #1 objective no matter what they say (we know that with PC/JS that is quite their opposite approach).

    With that in mind, nearly all GM’s would take Martin over Bitonio for that very reason.

    As the draft gets closer, and following all the options, I am convinced we should trade next years #1 for a teams #2 this coming draft. We will still have 10 draft picks next season and a player picked in R-2 this year, could be better than a player from R-1 in the draft of 2015.

    • Arias says:

      Your latter reasoning is exactly why I’d be shocked if a GM were to risk selecting Kouandjio in round one. His health concerns and combine times don’t exactly inspire the ‘safety’ portion of the safety-high floor equation in comparison to the other guys at his position. Because of that his floor is potentially a lot lower in comparison.

  9. Cysco says:

    Man, I’d be thrilled if Bitonio landed with the Hawks, but really bummed to see Martavis Bryant go to SanFran. I really don’t want to have to face that guy for the next 5+ years. Is there any way we can have them both? :-)

  10. Christon says:

    I would love to have Bitonio added to this line – my favorite potential first round pick.

    I see people disapointed that Bryant could end up in SF – I see the massive upside but he is also a massive risk (only one decent year in school & knockheadedness). The kid is talented but is the will the win there? I could see SF taking him and PC & JS taking someone like Bitionio, Latimer, or Landry and feeling quite smug about their pick – knowing that they got the guy they wanted all along.

    • James says:

      Anyone know the story about Bryant? Some sites indicate that his playing time was being decreased as the season progressed, as younger players were taking his minutes. Dabo Sweeney seems to have been upset over Bryant’s poor route running and lack of on-field discipline? Watch the guy’s highlights and he can look like a Randy Moss, but what does he look like when it is not a highlight?

  11. EranUngar says:

    LOL…you are doing it again Rob. By nexy week we won’t be able to get Bitonio because he’ll be picked before the 32nd.

    It’s happening week after week – You find a player you like that no one else had mocked in the 1st 2 rounds. You study him, display him for all to see and fall for him. The next time you mock the draft you are so up on that guy that you can’t resist mocking him earlier.

    So, suddenly Latimer is the 22nd pick, Moncrief and Bryant are out too. Next week Landry will join them.

    You must allow for perception to effect your none seahawks picks.

    As for the Bitonio pick – I love it. I think that if either Bitonio or Moses are there at 32nd due to a gold rush on receivers, either will be a great pick.

    • EranUngar says:

      Also, Benjamin at 11th before Lee, Beckham and Cooks ? really?

    • James says:

      Let’s remember that we are all just playing fantasy GM…and these mock drafts are for fun. Unlike many so-called draft experts, Rob actually invests a lot of time grading the tape on these guys. He identifies earlier than most that players we have never heard of (Bitonio, Latimer) are actually outstanding prospects. Eventually, other mocks based on real scouting begin to pick up on the guy as well. So, it is a reasonable thing to create a mock with 9 WRs going R1, given the skill at this position this year. Most likely, 9 will not go, but it is fun to play “what if”….. The thing almost impossible to do is to grade a guy based on every play of every game. We look at highlights and go “wow” and see how he would fit the Seahawks, but Rob is one of the few who put the time in. Of course, that still only provides a partial picture….only a pro scout can find out things like his work ethic, leadership, etc.

  12. jake says:

    Seahawks MO: Bitonio…sorry, but don’t see it happening. If they pick OL, it’ll be someone totally unexpected.

    • Ben3 says:

      Not really. We have this image of a Seahawks FO that does things that no one would ever see coming, and that’s sort of true, but not really. They take what they need, they just use different criteria than everyone else does. They go more by upside than anything else. Bitonio has great upside, he has nastiness, he’s got athleticism, he’s got production. That’s what the Seahawks look for. If he’s there, they’ll give him a long, hard, look.

  13. Belgaron says:

    I would not be unhappy at all if they draft Bitonio at any point in the draft. I also wouldn’ t be unhappy if they said thank you very much to a “short” but super talented WR “drops” to them or even an injured local TE finds his way into their draft.

  14. Belgaron says:

    The riots-in-the-street pick would be a K, P, or LS. The Whisky Tango Foxtrot pick would be a QB, RB, or FB. The shocking pick would be a TE or DB. The “huh?” pick would be an LB or Leo. The not unexpected pick would be 0, 3, or 5 Tech. The I told you so pick would be OL or WR.

  15. EranUngar says:

    As for this FO draft tendencies -

    As much as we like to look at the “unexpected” nature of those picks, picking OL in the 1st round is not highly unexpected. In fact, 50% of the 1st round draft picks in the PC/JS era were indeed offensive linemen. The other 2 were a safety and a LEO DE turned LB.

    As for WR’s – Other then Tate in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft the only other non late rounder pick was Harper last year. Going for Rice and Harvin in FA was the preferred method..

    Looking at the top 2 rounds of the past 4 years it seems that this FO is not too thrilled with picking the high skill positions early. It might be that those positions take a year or 2 to mature into contributors and you are left with too little time to enjoy thier contribution under rookie contract. It could be that the potential of a “bust” is higher when picking skill positions.

    Couple the above with a very deep draft class at receiver and the result could indeed be going for an immediate starter/contributor at OL and take a flier on 2 potential WRs afterwards. . I will also not be surprised if contrary to popular opinion this FO will place polished skills and production ahead of huge upside if they pick a WR on the first at all.

    At the end of it all it’s a bit of a money ball consideration – Spend your top picks on guys who could step in immediately and give you 4-5 years of cost free production rather then on a player that will give you just 2 years(see Tate). For the SB champions with 2 UDFA out of thier top 3 receivers that should make a lot of sense.

    Picking a DE to replace Avril next year or a Shazier to replace K.J./Thomas next year is 7M net saving on the 2015 cap. Money talks.

    • oz says:

      Spot on Eran….

    • Arias says:

      I think too much is made of past difficulty in finding polish/skill position players being picked in the early rounds factoring into their decision making at all. Obviously if a polish/skill position player is picked early, their expectation is for the player to make immediate contributions. They’re not going to burn a high round pick on a player they don’t expect to contribute until years down the line. Carp and Moffitt were reaches made on positions of immediate need, and indeed they were plugged into glaring holes on the team right away and were expected to contribute immediately while developing on the job. They just didn’t turn out as well as hoped. That doesn’t mean they’re going to pass up on a player they think can make immediate contributions to a position of need the next time because of what happened there. But it does mean they might think about exercising more caution in reaching for a player for a position of need in the early rounds.

      If a guy like Bitonio is on the board, they won’t be “reaching” if they select him.

    • cha says:

      I think your premise is interesting Eran but make sure you take into account the state of the Seahawks roster when they made the WR moves they did and how they go about talent acquisition.

      Rice was a pure talent upgrade, and probably an overpay to get him to join probably one of the least-talented rosters in the league at that point.

      Fast forward two seasons, Harvin was a ‘final piece of the puzzle’ move – a shot to add some dynamic playmaking ability to an extremely solid and well built roster. If they hadn’t made the move, it wouldn’t have shocked me one bit to take a Cordarelle Patterson with their first pick. He had some similar dazzling skills that Harvin brings.

      And now, the current roster probably has the fewest holes / most remaining upside of any in the NFL so they can be free to draft how they like without pigeonholing themselves into a specific mold or manner of thinking. The Hawks scout players available in terms of how do they compare with the current roster rather than ‘fits’ or being position specific necessarily.

      As for moneyballing, they’ve done that all over the roster – OL, DL, LB, QB, CB, not just at WR and not just at skill positions only. I’d argue if they think a WR is the best value in this draft they’ll select him without losing a bit of sleep over it.

      At the beginning of the PC/JS era almost every position was up for grabs. But at this point – the plan has worked! There aren’t many roster spots open for first year players to step in and play immediately…so now they can focus on choosing talent over depth and develop players without losing games waiting for them to mature.

      And now that they’re in that position, they have the “great problem” of worrying about how to keep all their talented young players. ;)

  16. EranUngar says:

    Perception -

    A big part of predicting who’s going to be there when we get to pick at 32nd has to do with what other teams do. The players we got to know and like here are not by default the players other teams evaluate so high. Looking at what other drafts predict gives you a broader view of what the perception of value is.

    see – http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/mock-drafts

    7 mocks by 7 “experts” and the consensus is that when the hawks get to pick at 32nd – the following prospects are still on board:

    Landry, Moses, Bitonio, Latimer, Bryand, Moncrief, Robinson, Adams, Tuitt and a few others we talked about.

    Not even one of those is predicted by any of those mocks to go in the first round.

    That should give us an indication of who will probably be there for us to pick and not our evaluation of who we think is better.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Only if you believe the NFL.com mocks are worth paying any attention to. One of them has Aaron Donald dropping to 32 which almost certainly will not happen.

      • EranUngar says:

        Rob, I think all mocks are worth paying attention to. I’ll explain why -

        The amount of busts after teams spend millions on evaluating and scouting means that no matter what you think you know it’s still a hit or miss gamble. The certainty is never there even when you did all the hard work to get there. That’s where common perception start effecting your view. A consultant i worked with 20 years had a saying – “No one will lose his job for picking IBM”. A GM is not only worried about hitting or missing on his picks, he is worried that his missed picks will look like he doesn’t know what he is doing.

        If the common perception is that player X is a top 20 pick and you pick him at 25 and he is a bust nobody can point a finger you. If at 25 you picked a player nobody had as a first rounder and he is a bust the fingers will have a field day.

        Perception has an effect. and once you except that it changes thew way you view the big picture. When you look for a WR and two player have very close marks by your book, one has been on most mocks and talks as a 1st rounder and the other was mainly predicted by most as a 2nd rounder. How many GMs will go for the safe public view pick and how many will say – sorry, the other guy had a 2% higher score?

        I’m an old dog and the world i know works exactly that way. so yes, i pay attention to CBS/NFL mocks etc.

        • Belgaron says:

          There’s a lot of copying in the hive mind or the collective that picks the same guys on mock after mock. I find it interesting to find the outliers and see if they have any valid reasoning. Everything that is on the web is pretty suspect and while it’s influenced by reporters talking to team personnel, that’s all tainted as well because the draft is about as highly competitive as it gets. But they can eek out some honesty about players that the source truly isn’t interested in, but that can be hard to pin down when you aren’t talking about hindsight.

          It’s all good fun. You can’t grade draft picks until 5-10 years later, anyway and even then you can only grade versus the next available options they could have picked. People can say “they should have drafted a X” but that doesn’t magically make a viable candidate appear at that spot in the draft. Again, at least not without hindsight. Many teams would have taken Russell in the 1st, now.

          • Madmark says:

            they rightly should have taken RW in the 1st. His stats at Wisconsin were outrageous. His scouting report had only 1 negative to say about him and that was his height. He throw 33TDs and 4 INT with a rating 192 and all because he was to short. He dropped to us in the 3rd.

        • Michael Terry says:

          I find your posts insightful, not just today’s.

          Every mock draft is valuable because it’s evidence about how good the players are. Even if you don’t like a particular mock, you see patterns as you look at a collection. The wisdom of crowds is real, we see it in every field of endeavor, from stocks to sports gambling to “ask the audience” on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It’s the same force that the invisible hand uses to set prices in a free market. Someone should put up a site that just eats published mocks and ranks players by their average mock position across the web. Maybe someone has.

  17. Ben2 says:

    Thanks Rob, that was the defensive line reference (Donald) I was looking for….there have been a series if articles on Fieldgulls in which the author has recreated the SPARQ formula and has been looking at current seahawks vs league trends at certain positions and then also SPARQing that position group for the upcoming draft eligible players.At the beginning of this whole draft conversation I was big on Hageman, then Benjamin, then Moses, then Shazier, then Moncrief, and now I’m kinda back to Hageman. The 2 top SPARQ DL guys were Donald and Hageman – and Hageman has those athletic attributes at 6’6″ and 300+ lbs! I know, I want more OL depth and want to tap some if the WR riches out there this year but I think that Hageman, if he’s still there at 32 (which he wasn’t in Robs last few mocks) would be irresistible!

    • Madmark says:

      Robs had him going to cardinals at 20 the last 2 mocks.

      • Ben2 says:

        I’m hoping the Cards will draft one of the QBs that fall as Palmers heir apparent leaving Hageman available. Probably not in the cards though…pun intended!

    • Robert says:

      I think Hageman is higher on our board than Bitonio or any WR likely to be available…

  18. Arias says:

    Rob, so I’m wondering how you’re able to say how great of shape Carpenter is in just going by the Instagram photo of him with all the baggy gear on?

    • James says:

      He is pretty well covered up, but if you have seen big Carp enought, even with that photo you can clearly see that he has lost 20 or 30 lbs.

      • Arias says:

        Really? Well that’s great to hear. Yeah, I’m not familiar with seeing him out of his pro uniform. But that insight does have me beside myself wondering how bloated he must have looked to for that to be evident even while sporting the XXXL outsized gear.

      • Cysco says:

        lol, well in fairness a man of Carp’s size probably loses 20-30 pounds going to the bathroom.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He clearly looks a lot slimmer, baggy clothes or not.

    • Colin says:

      He has lost a bunch of weight. There’s no doubt.

    • OlyFrank says:

      I remember an article a couple months ago where supposedly Carroll said about Carpenter that this had to be his year & he needed to get in shape. Getting in shape would help but not just getting in shape, I haven’t seen the aggressiveness in him that I think Cable wants. I really want Bitonio (or Martin)

  19. James says:

    For those old-timers, do you see a similarity between how John & Pete draft, and how the Cowboys under Tom Landry and Gil Brandt used to draft? The old Cowboys would search high and low for elite athletes, bring them in, and see what they can do. If they hit on a guy, he had the skills to be elite, almost like finding a R1 guy in R5…..sound familiar?

    • xo 1 says:

      Very interesting observation. How do you separate the old-time Cowboy approach from the Al Davis Raider approach?

      • James says:

        Al Davis was pure speed only. He certainly would have liked the Cowboys Bullet Bob Hayes, but Gil Brandt was much more innovative. He mined the small schools for elite athletes, bigger/faster/stronger, and hit the gold mine enough times to win Super Bowls.

  20. smitty1547 says:

    id love to draft Bitonio he makes all the since in the world, 2 reasons it won’t happen

  21. James says:

    If you are temporarily worn out from subjective speculation (I will recover and be back at it in about 10 minutes), and would like some objective metrics, NFL.com has a good analysis of the success of first round picks. They analyzed what percent of a position group still started one or more games in year six of their career. The winner: LB (Aaron Curry notwithstanding) at 61%. Also, G: 57%; T: 52%; DE: 40%; QB: 39% and WR on the bottom at 25%! That is a huge disparity. For those wanting Latimer over Bitonio, the odds are that he will have less than half the chance of success.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000340246/article/which-firstround-picks-have-most-staying-power?campaign=Twitter_atl_sessler

  22. Don says:

    A surplus of WR talent does the opposite and teams will wait until R2 . Supply and demand rule.

    It could be possible that because there is a surplus of WR talent we will NOT see a run of WR’s taken in R1. Only the top tier WR like Watkins, Evans, Lee, Becham, and Cooks will be taken in R1.

    Most teams will fill other positions of need because there are fewer talented players, where as there are so many “good” WR’s they can wait to R2 to take one.

  23. [...] Here’s some of the other players who were still on the board that I included in my first round mock draft yesterday: [...]

  24. OlyFrank says:

    Here is a reason for Bitonio as an og or wr with our 1st pick & wait till following year to think ot:

    1) One more year to see if Okung can stay healthy.
    2) I like Bowie, Bailey & maybe a late round competition for rt. for next year.
    3) Look at this list of ot prospects for 2015 draft: Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M, Brandon Scherff, Iowa, Cameron Erving, Florida State, La’el Collins, LSU, Eric Lefeld, Cincinnatti, Andrus Peat, Stanford, Spencer Drago, Baylor, Le’Raeven Clark, Texas Tech, Brandon Shell, South Carolina, D.J. Humphries, Florida, Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame. Maybe some of the underclassmen stay, others might develop. Seems a lot deeper to find an ot with late 1st round in 2015 than this year.