Don’t read too much into top-50’s
There was some positivity in the comments section yesterday when Daniel Jeremiah updated his top-50 board. Garett Bolles was at #26, Haason Reddick was at #41 and Zach Cunningham (see video above) wasn’t even listed.
However, here’s a top-50 board Jeremiah wrote on April 26th, 2016 — shortly before last years draft.
The following prospects were ranked beyond Seattle’s pick at #26 but still weren’t available for the Seahawks on the day:
Sheldon Rankins — ranked #26, drafted #12
Will Fuller — ranked #29, drafted #21
Taylor Decker — ranked #31, drafted #16
William Jackson III — ranked #32, drafted #24
Karl Joseph — ranked #33, drafted #14
Josh Doctson — ranked #36, drafted #22
Keanu Neal — ranked #46, drafted #17
Artie Burns — ranked #49, drafted #25
So while it’s fun to consider Garett Bolles or Haason Reddick lasting until #26, it’s impossible to take anything out of these types of lists.
Ultimately it comes down to this — offensive tackles with Bolles’ tenacity and extreme athleticism and linebackers with Reddick’s speed, versatility and major production don’t generally get out of the top-20.
Parsing Pete Carroll
I went back again yesterday to review exactly what Pete Carroll said about needs in his end of season press conference:
“We gotta get Earl back, we gotta get the corner thing squared away. I think that’s one of them. We’ll certainly be looking at that in the draft. That’ll be one of the areas. We need some youth at the linebacker spot now. Bobby and K.J. played thousands of plays this year between the two of them and were extremely successful but we need to address that. We didn’t get anybody that really made a difference in the last couple of years to really fight to take those guys jobs. Think if somebody can battle K.J. and Bobby for the starting now — that’s what we need to draft towards so we’ll be looking there. The offensive line will continue to be an area of focus and it will be. We’re looking at everything — but those — I’m trying to give you guys something you can walk out of here with. That’s kind of probably the obvious focal points.”
This is worth another quick do-over.
— It’s interesting that Carroll specifically mentions the draft when talking about cornerbacks and the linebacker position — with no mention of free agency. He doesn’t specify where they will seek additions on the O-line.
— Carroll went into some depth to explain why he felt they needed help at linebacker. It’s intriguing that he made this point. The Seahawks don’t desperately need a player to challenge Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. At any point in 2016 did you think, ‘if only there was someone pushing these two guys’? It suggests they have their eye on the position in general. Perhaps they’ve simply decided they want to tap into the depth of talent available? It’s a good LB class.
— This feeling might’ve changed slightly since the Senior Bowl with Haason Reddick receiving rave reviews (and the same could happen for Zach Cunningham, Jarrad Davis and Tyus Bowser down the line). When Carroll spoke (pre-Senior Bowl) Reddick was a bit of an afterthought. We might’ve mocked him to Seattle in round one in December — but no national pundits, draft media experts or insiders were talking about Reddick. It’s possible they felt confident a few weeks ago they could get him or one of the other top LB prospects at #26. That feeling might by changing.
— If you want an example of how quickly things can change, look at Trent Williams in 2010. Considered a right tackle-only prospect by the media throughout his final year at Oklahoma and receiving only lukewarm mid-first round reviews, he shot into the top five after a great combine. He was taken at #4 overall and he’s been one of the top LT’s in the league ever since. There’s every chance the Seahawks were targeting Williams early in 2010 and maybe even felt confident about landing him at #6 or #14. Things can change dramatically.
— This might be why a player like Obi Melifonwu ultimately becomes appealing to the Seahawks. If Reddick, Cunningham and Davis are gone (not out of the question) and considering their strict physical preferences at cornerback — a highly athletic, Greek God of a defensive chess-piece doesn’t look like such an unlikely alternative in round one. That is the type of move this team makes.
Todd McShay’s new mock draft
ESPN’s McShay has the Seahawks taking Cam Robinson (T, Alabama) in round one. So how likely is it to happen?
Our Trench Explosion Formula (explained here) helped identify a consistent physical profile for the offensive linemen drafted by Seattle. It helped explain the Justin Britt pick (inexplicable at the time) in 2014 and it helped us project Germain Ifedi as Seattle’s first round pick a year ago.
Seattle’s five starters that ended the 2016 season were all explosive athletes. If Cam Robinson is going to be a Seahawk, he’s probably going to need to match that.
It seems unlikely.
At the 2013 Nike Sparq Combine he jumped a 27-inch vertical which is well below the mark for TEF. An average or bad vertical rarely translates to a good broad jump (the other key explosive test). So it’s fair to assume he’s not going to hit the TEF mark.
There’s always a possible exception to the rule where they draft a non-ideal early. A 5-10 quarterback is the key example — yet Wilson was exceptional in virtually every gradable aspect apart from height. Even then, they didn’t take him in the first round.
Is Robinson exceptional enough in other areas to make up for a lack of explosion?
He’s certainly got the kind of size they like but his footwork is sluggish and choppy. An anonymous scout in this piece referred to him as “talented but he gets lazy” and Tony Pauline noted the following on Monday:
I’m not saying Robinson won’t be a good tackle in the NFL;, I just don’t think it will be on the left side.
Robinson looked dominant on film but he also looked stiff, displayed poor footwork and will have trouble protecting the edge on Sunday. In my opinion, it adds up to a move to right tackle or possibly guard for Robinson.
The last thing the Seahawks need is another tackle prospect kicking inside, failing to address their greatest need on the O-line. They’ve been there three times before with Carpenter, Britt and now Ifedi.
So who else was available at #26 in McShay’s mock that wasn’t in our latest projection on Sunday?
Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and linebackers Haason Reddick and Zach Cunningham were all available. Florida’s Jarrad Davis is off the board to Oakland at #24, with Garett Bolles going at #25 to Houston.
I hope I’m 100% wrong — but it will be quite astonishing if these four all last into the mid-20’s. It’s improbable.
The league-wide need at left tackle will likely force one team in the top-20 to invest in the sensational Bolles. Reddick is basically a more productive version of Ryan Shazier — a player taken at #15 three years ago. Cunningham is expected to be a very impressive tester at the combine and will probably appeal to teams in the late teens or early 20’s. Marlon Humphrey has the physique of an Olympic sprinter and despite some flaws in his deep coverage, someone in the top-15 could/should take a shot on his extreme potential.
All four players have exceptional football and personal character too. When you have a really productive, highly athletic player with great college production and character — they don’t last. They jump off the screen and the scouting report and they get drafted early.
See: Keanu Neal, Sheldon Rankins a year ago.
Are the Seahawks interested in Calvin Pryor?
There’s probably nothing in this but we’ll throw it out there and you can make up your own mind.
Pryor, the Jets’ 2014 first-round pick, is entering Year 4. He hasn’t been a huge difference maker so far. The Jets have to decide this offseason whether to pick up his fifth-year option for 2018 (which doesn’t become a meaningful, binding decision until next offseason). They could also trade him. One trade possibility floated by a league source: Pryor to the Seahawks for Germain Ifedi, a first-round pick last year. Ifedi was Seattle’s right guard last season, but he has a background at right tackle. The Jets are expected to cut right tackle Breno Giacomini. And this draft’s tackle class is weak, remember.
Is there anything in this? In a word, no.
Ifedi has a $5.185m dead cap hit. Trading him would actually cost the Seahawks $4m.
Considering Pryor’s cap hit is $2.7m in 2017 — you’d be eating $7m of cap to have Pryor instead of Ifedi on your roster.
That isn’t happening.
It doesn’t mean the Seahawks wouldn’t be interested in a move for Pryor though.
Who knows if this league source was just throwing a dart — but we know the Seahawks want to add to their secondary. Pryor is a tone-setting, hard-hitting safety. He had a good year in 2015 but regressed with the rest of the Jets roster in 2016.
He’s not a fantastic athlete but he plays with the kind of intensity Seattle likes. He’s also only three years removed from being the #18 pick in the draft.
At the right price, it wouldn’t be a total shocker if they made a call. Pryor would provide some quality depth behind Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and free up the Seahawks to consider cornerback and linebacker with their first two picks (or a hybrid like Obi Melifonwu).