Zach Brown and the Pete Carroll modus operandi

April 12th, 2012 | Written by Kip Earlywine

Written by Kip Earlywine

Sometimes it takes an example for an idea to become clear.  Last summer, many Seahawks fans (including myself) were hearing the term “point guard quarterback” for the first time.  This led to a period of confusion and misunderstanding about the meaning of the term and therefore, Pete Carroll’s intentions at quarterback.  Then, as luck would have it, the starting quarterback for my college football team (Keith Price) provided the perfect example of what a point guard quarterback looks like, and it gave me a much better idea of the kind of quarterback Pete Carroll is looking for.

Rob and I have had the good fortune to have some choice insider info over the last few years, and that source has led us to believe that Seattle holds Zach Brown in high esteem.

Tonight I sat down and began my “Draft Spotlight” writeup for Zach Brown, but then I stopped after I realized that Zach Brown’s tape told me less about him and more about Pete Carroll as a talent evaluator.  (I guess I’ll count this as my scouting report for Brown, since I did scout a five game sample and will cover the essentials down below.)

Zach Brown has elite speed, impressive size, and a frame that appears capable of adding another few pounds if need be, despite the fact that he’s already quite muscular.  Sometimes you see a prospect, and despite whatever flaws or reservations you may have, sometimes the guy just “looks the part” of an NFL player, physically speaking.  I’ve made similar comments about Brandon Weeden and Ronnell Lewis previously.  Quinton Coples could be another example.    Greg Little could be an example from last year.  Zach Brown falls into that category.  Physically speaking, he’s a chiseled 6′ 1 3⁄8″ tall, standing at 244 pounds with long 33 1⁄4″ arms. He could probably bulk up to 250 if he wanted as his upper body still has a tiny bit to go before it’s maxed out.  He has the body of a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 SAM, but the speed of a corner.

Of course, Brown has a lot of issues.  His instincts in run support need some serious work.  He often misreads runners completely and runs right by them.  He tends to avoid physical play despite his amazing physical advantages.  Quinton Coples was blasted for taking downs off last season to preserve his body, but if you watch Zach Brown’s tape from 2011 you’ll see he was every bit as guilty of the same thing.  In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to consider Zach Brown the Quinton Coples of the linebacker group, as his ceiling is off the charts but his motivation and consistency are in serious doubt.  At times, Brown flashes some physicality and impressive power.  He can make a nasty hit as capably as Mychal Kendricks or Ronnell Lewis- when he wants to.  You can see an example of that around the 2:16 mark of his compilation video against Missouri.

There is something I’ve noticed about the way Pete and John go about the draft the last two years.  In the first round, they tend to make relatively safe picks.  In 2010, they twice passed on Jimmy Clausen to select Russell Okung and Earl Thomas- value selections at positions of need with very little risk to the team.  In 2011, they passed on Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Smith, two prospects with outstanding talent but high risk in favor of the seemingly safer James Carpenter.  This is just one of many reasons why Rob and I are suspicious that Courtney Upshaw could be the favorite at #12, because while Upshaw may not have a high ceiling, he does have a pretty high floor.

However, after the first round, the mentality seems to change.  Seattle selected Golden Tate in the late 2nd round, and seemed quite enthused about getting him.  Tate was a converted running back who despite big production at Notre Dame was sushi raw as a receiver.  Seattle later drafted Walter Thurmond coming off a terrible injury.  Later still, they drafted Kam Chancellor, a quality safety who was believed by some to be too slow to play safety in the NFL and might require a position change.  Near the end of the draft, Seattle added Anthony McCoy despite his character issues, and Dexter Davis, who was basically a more athletic Nick Reed.  The next year, Seattle took a shotgun approach to addressing the secondary by adding cornerbacks like Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell who were more known for their size and athleticism than for stellar coverage.  They also drafted KJ Wright, who’s unusual surplus of length had an awkward side effect on his mobility, a bit like David Wilson.  They also added Kris Durham, who was raw from lack of playing time, and Malcolm Smith, who flashed ability but was undersized and could never stay healthy.

I think the reason Seattle took this approach drafting so many flawed but intriguing players is because Pete Carroll does not view a prospect for what he currently is, but for what Pete believes he can transform that player into becoming.  You have to hand it to Carroll, based on how many risks he’s taken later in the draft, the man certainly does not lack confidence… or coaching ability for that matter- given how impressive the returns have been so far.

And this is what brings me back to Zach Brown.  His tape is ugly, but put yourself in Pete Carroll’s shoes for a moment.  Convince yourself that you can motivate Zach Brown to give his all.  This shouldn’t be hard to do, since rookie contracts hardly pay anything these days and young players are playing for their next contract more than ever.  Convince yourself that you can help Brown better diagnose the run, that you can coach him into better tackling technique, and that you can coach him into making more use of his considerable strength, size, and arm length.  Who knows, maybe Brown was held back by poor coaching?  It’s been known to happen.  Just look at how Alex Smith and the 49ers in general pulled a dramatic 180 when Jim Harbaugh replaced Mike Singletary, or how Red Bryant and Lawyer Milloy responded when Pete took over for Jim Mora.

I’m not saying that I necessarily believe all those things, but I bet you Pete Carroll does.  I’m a Zach Brown skeptic, but even I’ll admit that Brown looked poorly coached and unmotivated.  It’s not hard to see him making immediate improvements with Pete Carroll’s guidance.

So while I personally wouldn’t give Zach Brown a very high grade after scouting him, I’m beginning to see how Pete would think the world of the guy, and turn him into a potentially amazing contributor on the Seahawks’ defense.  If Zach Brown does make it to the 43rd pick, not only do I think Seattle will make that selection, but I expect there to be a big celebration in their war room.  I’m not completely wild about the guy, but given my hilariously wrong track record of post draft reactions (look the last two up for a good laugh), that’s probably a good thing.  Almost every time I’ve questioned this front office, they’ve come out looking smarter than I did.  Zach Brown could be the latest and greatest example of that.

73 Responses to “Zach Brown and the Pete Carroll modus operandi”

  1. AlaskaHawk says:

    Or we could pick a linebacker who doesn’t have all these issues.

  2. The Ancient Mariner says:

    AlaskaHawk: that’s the argument for Upshaw in the first, in a nutshell.

  3. Doug says:

    “sushi raw” hehe – good one…

    I suppose you could also just substitute the name Quinten Coples into this piece and get the same result.

    And I agree whole-heartedly with you, on both players. I wasn’t a Brown fan as I thought he shied away from contact. But with some PC motivation and pro level coaching, just like Coples, maybe he can become a beast.

  4. Colin says:

    There is no doubt that Brown has unreal ability. That kid blows up the line of scrimmage on blitzes and can wallop any running back out there. His tackling is sound, so if you can just get him to put it all together he could be a real stud. It is frustrating seeing him get washed out on so many plays though, that needs to get fixed if he is to ever flourish in the NFL.

    Scouts said the same thing about when we drafted Lofa Tatupu, too slow, he’ll get bullied by pulling linemen, won’t last.

  5. SeaHawk Steve says:

    That’s why they call him “Big balls Pete”! Good write up, I think you nailed this one.

  6. rick says:

    aren’t these the same problems that Aaron Curry had? Physical specimen with below average recognition ability. Look how fast Pete got rid of him. Just a thought.

  7. rossco17 says:

    Ugh. Missouri makes him look silly in almost every single play in that scouting video. Even if Pete likes a challenge, this guy just seems like too much of a project. He literally looks lost out there, he misses tackle after tackle, and even that ‘big hit’ at 2:16 – he failed to wrap up. In the NFL, that offensive player probably bounces and goes for another 15 yards.

    No thanks.

  8. Rob says:

    It has to be said that pretty much every UNC player mailed in that Missouri game. Shambles all around.

  9. Attyla the Hawk says:

    Outstanding read!

    I’ve felt this exact same way. Before their first draft, I loved the concept of what the front office was doing regarding it’s scouting/draft evaluation. And of course the results are fantastic.

    We’ve all heard the often repeated axiom, ‘The NFL is a development league’. I believe this entirely. And I do not think that the innate ability to develop is a constant. Guys accept/retain and apply instruction at entirely varied levels.

    In fact, I’ve been long convinced this was why Curry was let go for pocket change. He couldn’t develop well (at all?).

    Well, I don’t think there is a finer alignment of scouting and coaching in this league as it pertains to this truth. What we are witnessing here is special. It is the bedrock of the genius in the unconventional drafting.

    I generally believe that you should be wary of ‘guys that should be able to do but don’t’. Clearly Pete delves far deeper than this. If anything, his picks seem to belie his unique interpretation on that thought.

    Pete and John are masters at seeing who can develop well. Their best work is with high ceiling guys that on draft day are covered in all kinds of ill omens. They are adept at identifying players that will rapidly absorb and apply coaching at this level. They seem very attuned to guys that will develop well.

    As a result, I’ve come to expect that their drafts will typically just baffle me. I have no such appreciation or ability to tell who will develop well. These guys clearly do. I am not blessed with the ability to see what they see. I do believe it’s there. I also believe they recognize it.

    I don’t think Brown is a great prospect. I don’t see the affinity for violence that one typically sees in good to great linebackers. I’d question whether that’s something that is even coachable. I concede that Brown has an exceptional ceiling. If Pete sees a guy he can develop, I’m going to just blindly trust him at this point. Because he’d proven too many times that he does. And I’m not a guy prone to just accept something like that.

  10. andy says:

    Great explanations and thoughts in this Kip! I too have been a bit perplexed about Brown and this article helps greatly in the understanding department.

  11. peter says:

    Attyla,

    Nice comment! That’s probably the thing I like most about this regime is the ability to see a players development, it’s potential, and to create a unique scheme that allows fluidity in as much as not needing a “shanahan-type qb” per example or the whole operation fails.

    That’s an example of course but the reality is the same with our QB’s: Two different players with different skillsets being allowed to compete for the same crucial job.

    The switch of Red Bryant from ineffective just-a-guy DT to run stuffing maching at DE.

    The pick of Chancelor and more or less having him sit a year, to get up to the pro-bowl level. A converted WR to DB who also took himself to the pro-bowl. a slightly forgot RB who absolutely excels at the Zone scheme. a second round Center, who played RG and a ton of people were getting ready to call him a bust, playing him back at Center and now he’s probably the least problematic person on the line.

    It’s always great, beyond great even, to find a player who lights the world on fire in his first year. But just as important and a total weakness of most teams in the NFL is the ability to find players, who will grow, take pride in what they do, and can become something more then they were even at College. It is called coaching afterall.

    If the goal is to win, and to get as far as possible in the post season, your never going to be in position to pick the Luck’s, RGIII’s, you are instead going to have to bring players up.

  12. adam says:

    I think the hawks if they draft Brown, have plans to send him after the qb. I could see him working at the leo…to give Clemons some (competition). I would guess that PC wants more consistency from the leo…like perhaps one sack per game…and competition=consistency…so Brown at the leo makes sense.

  13. D says:

    I stopped watching the Missouritape after 60 seconds. I believe it was 3 blown tackles and two missreads where he just stayed put 5 yds behind LOS and the play came to him. Big no-no for a LB. No attack towards the play.

    I have been spoiled by cool LBs vids on this site so it was frustrating to say the least.

    His speed is evident though. Once he gets going, and he really doesn’t do that all that often, he’s like a rocket. Once he arrives to the spot he uses all kinds of funny tackling because he doesn’t break down very well.

    If Hightower had that kind of speed he would hurt people.

  14. NickW says:

    @ Colin, after the several videos I’ve seen of this kid, his tackling is anything other than sound. He tends to hit a guy without wrapping them up or dive onto an already falling pile. Now, maybe Pete can coach him to wrap up instead of hitting and bouncing off a guy. He reminds me of a few years ago when the Hawks didn’t tackle well. I remember how angry I would get to see a Hawk hit someone and the ball carrier just bounced off and kept running. Watching this kids film is like deja vu that makes me cringe. I agree that he tends to get washed out of plays a lot.

  15. Chris from Bolivia says:

    Just had an “aha!” moment, and am putting some things together. Thanks for the enlightening write-up Kip, up to this point I didn’t see anything of great value in Zach.

    Here is my theory. The NFL is quickly turning into/going to turn into a 2 TE league, with 1 who can really knock your socks off with speed, but is not a WR either. Who can cover Graham, Gronk, Hernandez, even V. Davis?

    PFW graded Zach very well in certain areas. He is ranked 53rd overall (because he does have glaring deficiencies) and as the 5th best OLB. Catch the positives on the guy:
    “•Rare speed and acceleration
    • Terrific closing burst
    • Explosive leaper
    • Extremely athletic
    • Outstanding cover ability
    • Effortless movement
    • Blankets the field”

    What if the Seahawks went to a hybrid in the linebacker core? It’s good timing, because we have a lot of odds and ends, and a starting ILB or OLB in K.J. Wright that is exactly that, odd and very good. I’m thinking a 5-1-3 defence. Stay with me here for one second.

    The five front would work somewhat like the usual 3 front of teams like the Steelers. Clemons is a stay all the time, along with Branch (Jones) – Mebane – Red. Outside, as a specialist rusher and specialist run defender would be Upshaw/Ingram/Curry at OLB/DE. It actually would be a tweener role, where the guy is not asked to go back into coverage pretty much ever (aside from the flats and the immediate middle). This would make a nasty line to run against, and lessen the need for multiple linebackers.

    The one for LB would imply that we only have 1 true LB, being KJ Wright. He is your do it all, sideline-to-sideline ‘backer. He plugs the holes in run D, plays coverage, and occasionally adds to the blitz.

    Your 3 in the back would be Earl – Kam as your base, with Brown as a S/LB tweener, actually being a tweener like Upshaw/other would be on the line. His job would be to use his “Outstanding cover ability” to blanket TE’s all over the field, run down the running back with KJ, and blitz as a surprise (4.5 speed can give you the element of surprise).

    My point is this. The NFL is constantly changing on offense, now with multiple backs and TE’s. But defenses are a little behind times (score boards show this). Teams really use the flats, and long bombs more than they used to (am I correct here?) We need fast coverage guys who can hit (Brown) for the former, athletic CB’s and Safeties to cover the long bombs as the latter. This enables you to bring out the best of your DE/OLB and a tweener LB/S. Heck, if we made this work, maybe other teams start changing their schemes because this is suddenly “hot”.

    Also on 3rd downs, You’d take Branch and Red out, and put in Jones/McDonald and Thurmond, having Upshaw as a true edge rusher and Thurmond/Trufant as your extra cover man.

    Does this make any sense? I believe this would help our coverage, solidify our run-D, help us cover the TE’s and flats, and overall make our D much more surprising and difficult to scheme against.

  16. Bryan says:

    I will start out by saying I am not in favor of Zach Brown, even in the 2nd round. As someone stated above, many of his issues on tape are the same ones that I saw in Aaron Curry in NFL games. In the tape posted above, Brown runs past the RB he needs to tackle, puts his head down and gets taken out on a block rather than fighting through to make a tackle and consistently fails to wrap up, just like Curry. Intensity and physical ability alone don’t cut it as the intellectual level and feel for the game needs to be there too along with a willingness to seek out contact and apply fundamental tackling techniques. Curry and Brown are not the same player and that the intellectual level develops differently in different players, but with the holes we have at LB such a project as a LB is not where we need to go. I will also say that all of my comments were based on only two tapes and they may have been “off” games for Brown. Personally, I think the interest in Zach Brown is a smoke screen to get someone to either overdraft him or offer a trade to us for him.

    I have not been in favor of Luke Kuechly until I really sat and watched him on film. The guy can flat out play. Safe pick in 1st round and should anchor the MLB position for years. I would be okay with this pick at 12, although I doubt we actually make the pick. I can also see us taking Melvin Ingram at 12 as the guy leaps off the video in his ability to get at the QB.

    I guess I would close by saying that I hope that a combination of three of Riley Reiff, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Michael Brockers are all available at our #12 pick. Those players are guys that many team below us are allegedly very high on and may necessitate a trade down to get some more picks.

  17. James says:

    Kip, I believe you are right on in decipfering Pete’s thinking. His mantra of “bigger, faster, stronger” is clearly seen in the picks of Wright, Sherman, Chancellor, etc. All were superior athletic specimens whose tapes showed big holes in their games. Big Red Bryant is a physical mis-match at the 5 tech. Even the pick of Carpenter over Carimi in round one last year was probably because Carpenter is the superior athlete. The margin between win/lose in the NFL is so narrow that you have to find an edge somewhere. Lately, the edge has been at the QB position, with Brady, Manning (x2), Brees, Roethlisberger, Rogers, etc winning Super Bowls over teams with comparable talent. Since a franchise QB is very difficult to find, Pete seems to be looking for his edge with a superior athletic roster at nearly every position. If Pete can coach Zach Brown up, he will have the most athletic Will LB in the league… yet another edge over the competition.

  18. Madmark says:

    Certain colleges bug me, like Notre Dame. I m less likely to draft a project from them because of Rick Mire. John Carlson and Golden Tate haven’t change my mind either.
    North Carolina seems to give me the chills after they got sanctioned there program has been lacking not just in the coaching but in attitude. Now you coach up the skills but you have to inspire the heart and i m not sure anyone from North Carolinia has it.
    If Pete thinks he can why not draft Quinton Coples 12 if hes still there and Zache Brown at 43.

  19. Jazz says:

    My only issue with Kuechly Bryan is that he doesn’t usually take cut off angles or attack up field like I would like to see. He is great at moving from sideline to sideline usually but I have seen him get beat by a guard at the point and buried or minimized to only being a moderate influence on the play. While what I see from some of his play is concerning to me I still think he is a good MLB but would not want him in the first half of the draft. If we are at all considering a MLB I hope we trade down.

    Adam- I agree that Brown reminds me more of a project Leo than an adept Linebacker. I honestly would be baffled if they drafted him to play Linebacker. But like Attyla the Hawk says so eloquently above who knows what this regime sees and based on the results I have to trust that these high ceiling boom or bust player types are kind of the bread and butter of the process and the churn.

  20. Hawkfaninmt says:

    @chris from Bolivia:

    This article, http://www.fieldgulls.com/2012/4/12/2941583/nickel-corners-slot-receivers-and-the-seattle-seahawks , talks about a few of the things you discussing. One thing that I feel like I disagree about is the 3rd S/LB role. Where you are saying Zach Brown would be a good fit, I think the SS from Boise St (Iiolka?) would be a better fit. More in the mold of Kam and probably availabe in the mid to later rounds at that.

  21. Justin says:

    Chris I do enjoy your theory on the defense and think that a hybrid defense that can cover TE would be great and think that our defense is actually a little of a hybrid. I do think that they have looked at the three safety look last pre-season and decided against it. If we were to go something along those lines Alabama’s safety Barron would fit perfectly, not Brown.

    I have an idea of a 4-2-3 with one of the safety’s (Chancellor being able to play in the box and act as an outside linebacker with cover duties on passing situations). Or you can put one safety on TE and play a role of a nickle corner. Just some ideas, because having a safety that is as big as a linebacker, but faster, seems pretty awesome to me. So when speculation came about concerning drafting Barron, I was not disappointed. But then again just an idea.

    Nice insight and I think whatever happens it will be something to get excited about.

    As always great right up Kip. I do have one question do you think Brown has a higher ceiling than Kendricks? Because out of the two I think Kendricks might be the first choice.

  22. Chris from Bolivia says:

    @hawkfaninmt:

    Good article, just read that also. Thought I was reading about Zach. I also like the point about Iloka (in the article they point out Barron, which would be a costly experiment), and we can add names like Sean Spence to the list. He is an undersized LB with “fine cover instincts” (per PFW), but it says he has struggled against TE’s. Also, Lavonte David fits the tweener role, and PFW grades him very hightly. Sorry to use PFW so much, but I do trust their judgement in a general way. I have seen film, and like Spence quite a bit, and want to watch more on Iloka.

    Spence and Iloka would be available later, in the 3rd, so maybe better investments that way. We could grab RB Martin or Miller in the 2nd that way. Or get Brown/David in the 2nd and RB Polk/L. James in the 3rd (though the possible signing of Hester could make this unnecessary).

  23. Joe The Jarhead says:

    Alaska said what I was thinking, right away. I would rather see Carroll try and find a less talented player with more desire and thirst for contact and tap into HIS potential. To convince him that he is a human wrecking ball and unbeatable. I mean at LB, you must have a nose for the ball. Brown has always been an athlete playing football to me. Upshaw appears quite the opposite. A pure football player who is moderately athletic. There are no LB’s out there with the phyical abilities of Brown, but there are several who are near that level who, operating under the MO that you have established for Carroll in this article Kip, I believe can take Carroll’s motivation and tutelidge and turn it into greater on field production. Kendricks, Wagner, and maybe even Robinson or Spence in the 3rd 4th might be better served from Carroll’s training and coaching

  24. Chris from Bolivia says:

    @Justin,
    I get excited about that too! About Barron, as I just said, Field Gulls was talking about him too, but he would be an expensive experiment as well. Also, Pete Carroll was just on with Softy yesterday saying they won’t be moving their ProBowl safety Kam to draft Barron. For that to work, they would both have to excel, and it could also fail. Someone like Iloka, similar to Kam would give us a big-bodied Safety to play as a quasi-linebacker, for a 3rd rounder. Wouldn’t that make a little more sense than moving Kam? Iloka, as Brown would, could play the TE and also attack the run, though I’d say Brown would be better suited to this because of his size. Also, Brown is faster than Iloka and Barron, how crazy is that? I know that doesn’t mean everything, and game-speed is more important, but that is an important piece to playing coverage and helping to assist in tackling.

  25. SHawn says:

    @CHris
    @Justin

    You are talking about a 5-1-3, or a 4-2-3. This only adds up to 9 players. I assume you are overlooking the corners, so you’re really talking about a 5-1-5 or a 4-2-5. I happen to like both of these concepts, especially in Pete Carroll’s hands, being a former Safety himself.

    As for Brown himself, i will pass. The fact that he RUNS PAST THE BALLCARRIER is a major red flag. That kind of mental lapse or lack of vision is not correctable. He would be a disappointment at LB or S.

  26. Jake says:

    Kip,
    One particular statement you made is very intriguing. “In the first round, they tend to make relatively safe picks.” I can see how that leads you and Rob unflinchingly back to Upshaw. I have often countered with Dont’a Hightower, ideally with a moderate trade down. The rumors about Barron and Hightower are probably nothing more than bull; but consider for a second how “safe” Barron is. He has no injury red flags, he is an elite safety prospect who plays both the pass and run well. Upshaw (due to lack of explosion) is not a sure thing, nor is Hightower (due to injury concerns). I can see how Barron makes the most sense. He is insurance against an injury to ET (sorely needed), he could easily play 75% of the snaps in various alignments, most importantly, he is practically a sure thing – very low risk player at a position of need (he’d take the place of an OLB if we go primarily Big Nickel).

    When we decided to make over the LB corps – the focus was on pass rush and covering TE’s. Who’s better suited to covering TE’s than Barron? We were DESTROYED by TE’s in 2011 and with the success around the league of TE’s we’re only going to see more of them. I have to believe that Redskins game was the beginning of the end for Hawthorne in Seattle.

  27. Trakar says:

    Peter (re: comment at 9:48)

    “…That’s an example of course but the reality is the same with our QB’s: Two different players with different skillsets being allowed to compete for the same crucial job…”

    I almost wonder if the best offseason pick-up might not have been a new QB coach? I sure Smith provided Pete with a lot of continuity and is familiar with the style of play Pete’s looking for in the position, but I’m beginning to wonder if we might not need a little more roster turn-over in the coaching staff, up to, and including OCs, at the least, there might need to be some more consideration given to the idea. T Jackson is what he is, and I’m not sure that any of that is adjustable by coaching, but Flynn, seems more impressionable and at a completely different point in his development and potential. A good QB coach at this point in his career could easily be the difference, long-term, between a sevicable back-up and a franchise baller.

  28. Justin says:

    @SHawn You are correct in your presumption I am not counting the corners.

    @Chris I like the idea of a OLB/S hybrid and this could be done by Kam or some one who is not currently on the team. I think my version of the hybrid would be what is known as a passing down linebacker or a safety added on passing downs instead of linebacker. For me having some one play a free safety role in the box on run plays and be able to play coverage on pass plays seems great. This player can be a fast coverage linebacker like Brown or a physical safety like Barron or Chancellor. I heard the FO go on record saying they are not moving Chancellor, I understand that. I just think having a player that can play multiple positions is what our FO is looking for in a draft. IMO finding some one who can play all three downs would make our defense unique and help stop the progressing passing game in the NFL.

    One problem with Alabama players is that they have a great coach who has already tapped into there talents. For instance Alabama players have already been coached up and play closer to their potential then some one else who has not had the coaching. This means that their ceiling of potential is not as high as those who have not had a great coach. This also means that Alabama players are more ready for the NFL because of the coaching they received. This was a problem with USC players when Pete was coach there. They were great at USC but not in the NFL because Pete already tapped into their potential. I hope this makes sense (it makes sense in my head).

    One has to decide to draft an NFL ready player or a player with the potential to be great. Both sides have positives and negatives, it depends on what our FO wants and think they are getting.

  29. peter says:

    Trakar:

    I completely agree. The Bevell to Jackson ship has run it’s course to me. At some point you have to sit back and say “after X years, this is the ceiling….” I understand that the Hawks are a run based offense, but in some ways I am suspect of the lack of dynamism in the offensive play calling. It may be personell,ie, WR, TE, etc….but I do wonder why the emphasis on finding the absolute best coaches for each position is seemingly less important then roster churn.

  30. Jake says:

    You don’t “move” a pro-bowl safety… you “feature” him. It’s the same thing, just a different way to say it in order to appease and motivate the player. Kam isn’t going to become a LB no matter who we draft – no coach would ever even consider that. If Barron was the pick, Kam (and Barron) would then fill the role traditionally played by a OLB on some downs, but on others be the single-high safety or man-up on a TE, RB, whatever. Both would do it all in other words, just like Kam did in 2011. We would have to get past traditional position labels at that point. “Positions” appear to be completely irrelevant to PC and co. in a lot of ways on defense anyway. Getting impact defensive players is more important, it’s why PC created position names like LEO and Elephant in the first place.

  31. Jim says:

    Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina, 6-1.5, 210 – could probably be had with the round-4 pick (#106) if PC/JS are looking at a hybrid LB/safety to add to their defense.

    This guy could be as good or perhaps even better than George Iloka, as he has some specific experience in the hybrid role.

    Quote:
    “Played the “Spur” in college, a hybrid safety-outside linebacker combination”

    Scouting report: http://www.sidelinescouting.com/ranking … nio-allen/

  32. Madmark says:

    I really like a Nigel Bradham in the 3rd, This guys got the attitude, passion, and heart. The next thing i do is check his height and weight from combine and Pro Day. I like seeing if they stay the same especially with bigger lineman. This guy is 6’2 and 241 at both combine and pro day. I check this cause i want to know there true dimensions. I’ve seen him listed at 6′ and 231 and for linebacker thats hard to swallow. This guy has all the potential to replace David Hawthorne who I’ll sadly will miss him. Love his twitt to 12th man after he signed with Saints, Classy guy. I have to admit i look at linebacker alot higher than others and thats probably cause i played outside linebacker. for first couple of years i played, Seattle didnt even have a team i was forced to use Jack Ham from Pittsburg. I’m kindia was under the idea that Pete wanted to keep KJ Wright staying at SAM spot. Rob could i get some feedback about that?

  33. Attyla the Hawk says:

    This is one thing I’ve seen said in more than one place. And I’m wondering if we maybe read too much into it:

    “In 2010, they twice passed on Jimmy Clausen to select Russell Okung and Earl Thomas- value selections at positions of need with very little risk to the team. In 2011, they passed on Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Smith, two prospects with outstanding talent but high risk in favor of the seemingly safer James Carpenter.”

    I tend to think the sample size is just too small. Certainly, I don’t think 2010 indicates anything. We desparately wanted LT and safety in that draft. Although perhaps the willingness to trade away from 14 entirely instead of taking Clausen there might be indicative of that. Or it could have been we didn’t think he was a 1st round grade and wanted to add a first round pick in 2012 as trade stock should Barkley declare.

    2011, I think is plausible evidence of this. It’s hard because Smith wasn’t this clear and obvious better choice. He had significant issues. It’s not hard to imagine that when Pete/John interviewed him, he could have stricken himself from our board right there. We know he was a knucklehead.

    We also know, that John looks long at the board. Taking talents early where the depth value is less acceptable and betting late picks on positions where he thinks quality will slip. I sure didn’t see Sherman or Maxwell’s value. They were, along with many other picks, panned on draft day as reaches. I’m thinking John/Pete liked them from the start and knew they could get them — making a Smith pick unnecessary.

    Probably the biggest indicator that they play it safe was the pick not taken. Trading out of the 2nd round entirely instead of picking up a Mallett or some other option. It’s possible we thought he’d be there at the 3rd pick. NE scooped him up exactly one pick ahead of us. They seem to have a knack of doing that the last 20 years running (Bledsoe, Seymour, Wilfork, Graham and possibly Mallett).

    I can see plausible reasons why we passed on guys we did, given the circumstances at the time we picked (not using a revisionists’ eye). I wouldn’t say it’s a cinch that we play it safe though. I mean if that really were the case, why would we be so keen on trading out of the first/second rounds as we have been (or attempted to have been).

    I would also add, that it’s entirely possible that given the understocked nature of our roster — that there were just too many roster holes to fill to get a good read on how we really view the draft. As our roster fills out, we should get a clearer picture of how we view the first round.

  34. Bug Juice says:

    “Of course, Brown has a lot of issues. His instincts in run support need some serious work. He often misreads runners completely and runs right by them.” Uh, Aaron Curry, anyone? I’d rather not go down that road again. Give me Keuchly over this guy any day. I want someone with some speed and instincts; Brown gives me only half of that.

  35. Rob says:

    The problem is, Bug Juice, we’re talking about round two here. And Luke Kuechly isn’t going to be there in round two.

  36. NYCHawk says:

    After watching Aaron Curry exhibit some of the same anti-skills that Brown shows consistently I’d pass. But who am I? I’d much rather have Lavonte David if he reaches round 2, despite him being a tweener. I think Pete would rather have a guy with amazing heart and determination rather than eye popping measurables because he knows he can help them take their performance to a whole other level ala Joseph Bryant.

  37. NMD says:

    I’ve been downloading the ESPN Seattle local radio podcasts (I’m from New Mexico) and they’re all convinced it’s coming down to Coples, Keuchly, with an outside chance of DeCastro. Jon Clayton has been pretty much saying there’s no way they pass up Coples.

    Rob – Do you see the Coples fit at all? I just don’t see how PC/JS spends the 12th pick on a guy who would pretty much only be a passing down rusher. I don’t think he fits as a backup/future LEO and while he could be a pretty good backup to Bryant at 5-tech his snaps would seem to be so limited for the price.

  38. Rob says:

    NMD – The only people who know who it’s coming down to work in the front office. The names touted there are just the names being linked everywhere. What I know is this – Seattle wants to get a pass rusher in round one. Unlike a few teams, they aren’t put off by Coples Senior tape or perceived lack of motivation. Seattle has a coach that believes he can reach out to any player. There is some concern about his run defense. Is it enough to put them off drafting the guy? I don’t have that answer.

  39. A. Simmons says:

    I think work ethic and character are important for the first round pick. Athleticism and physical characteristics are also important. I think experience is least important as was evidenced with the Earl Thomas pick. I would think Coples questionable work ethic and motivations would turn our front office off. If a guy tells you he works hard, but you see he doesn’t on tape it gives you two worries: that he decides when to go hard and he’s a liar. The lying part makes most coaches very angry, even a guy like Carroll. You dont want a guy that tells you what you want to hear to your face, but then you watch him on field taking plays off. That’s Quinton Coples. I think that kills him in this draft, though someone like Jerry Jones will definitely take a chance on such a player.

    I’m wondering which mock draft guy will get our pick right. I know Rob Rang used to be pretty good about calling Ruskell’s pick. Not so much with Carroll and Schneider. They are extremely hard to read until they make the pick, then you see it’s as obvious as the nose on your face given what they’re looking for.

  40. Christon says:

    Great write up! Pretty accurate accessment I’d say.

    I would MUCH rather have Lavonte David (who was still on the board in Rob’s latest mock in the 2nd). And Pete wouldn’t have to teach him anything!

  41. Kip Earlywine says:

    @Justin, Brown has the higher ceiling in coverage, he’s taller and has longer arms. In run support, I’m not sure. I would assume Brown because of his measurables, but he’s got a long way to go to fulfill that potential.

    @Jake, Seattle has no interest in any DB in round 1, including Barron. Also, Seattle badly needs a pass rusher and I fully expect the first pick to be a pass rush player barring unusual circumstances. I think the Barron rumor was probably started by a team picking ahead of Seattle to entice a trade with Dallas/Philly/Jets. Or if it was started by Seattle, it was done to muddy the waters after our blog tipped their hand a bit in the first round.

    Regarding Curry, I say this as someone who wasn’t a fan of either Aaron Curry 3 years ago or Zach Brown now, while they are both very flawed, I don’t think they are comparable. Curry was a SAM with limitation as a pass rusher and questions about his coverage, but excelled in run support. Brown is a Mike or Will (or potentially a 3-4 OLB) with outstanding coverage ability who is a liability in run support. Curry was passionate. Brown is quiet. Both are flawed and athletic, but otherwise they might as well be polar opposites. I also don’t think that one bad experience with one very different linebacker would discourage Pete from trying to develop another different linebacker with some issues.

  42. Michael (CLT) says:

    Living in Charlotte, I can say I have watched this dude play more than I ever cared for. If Seattle drafts him, they will reap what they sow.

    This guy does not like the physicality of football. He does not shed well. He has little power.

    If coverage is what you want, draft an over-sized SS and move him to WILL like Thomas Davis. My God, if this team constantly forces 1st and 2nd round picks based on “concepts”, they will fail.

    As a side note: I find it strange that so many are willing to move KJ to MIKE but are not willing to move Chancellor to SAM. Upshaw will force KJ to MIKE or WILL.

    KJ, by the way, is the player today that everyone hopes Upshaw becomes.

    Draft Shea. Get your Clay Matthews and go 3-4 all the way. Stop this dink and dunk 4-3 crap and go with your strength.

    Shea at 12. Or Gilmore. Not sure the magic with Browner/Sherman will strike twice. This dudes a baller.

    My ten cents… again :)

  43. Hawkfin says:

    Shea is a complete reach at 12… That would be sickening.
    I think he’ll be there in the 2nd for us even, if not later. I like him, but NOT in the 1st. That’s crazy. Not even close to a 1st round talent.

    Some of these players are going to drop a lot further then what you guy’s think.
    Curry – I see 3rd if he’s lucky. No thanks
    Perry – He’s a 2nd rounder at best – No thanks

    Even Upshaw I could see falling into the late teens or 20’s.

    Just because Rob puts a video on these guy’s doesn’t make them all late 1st’s and 2nd’s. I think values are way off here. Just my view.
    It seems like when a guy gets viewed and rated on here with video clips and write up’s, people start to fall in love as if that was meant for our early draft picks. A lot of these guy’s are late draft picks. Great to research, but not geared for early picks sometimes.

    The one guy here that I’ve NEVER seen a negative comment about by anybody is Hightower. I think he should be a big target for us. Almost everybody likes him, including me. Don’t be mistaken that he’s a late first round pick. I see him going early!

    I’m still on board for Whitney also though. I think this could be a surprise pick for us that many of you will not be expecting if they pull that trigger. And some of you won’t understand it. I for one would be very happy. Just like the Flynn move that I wanted from day 1.

    I enjoyed that latest mock with Whitney going #7. I think he just might be a top pick and somebody we should be looking at for sure.

  44. Bobby Cink says:

    Rob, did your sources in the organization tell you that “Unlike a few teams, they aren’t put off by Coples Senior tape or perceived lack of motivation”?

    If that is straight from the horses mouth, I just can’t see them passing on Coples; Small concerns about run defense be damned.

  45. A. Simmons says:

    They are never, ever, never, ever going 3-4 with Pete Carroll as coach. Not even sure why it is even mentioned any longer. It will never happen. He is a 4-3 guy. Why anyone would even question his ability to build a quality 4-3 after basically watching the defense carry us to a 7-9 record with virtually no help from the offense why anyone would want us to switch. It is the first time we have been a top 10 defense in both points and yards in 20 years. The first time we have been top 10 points with this bad an offense. We don’t need to change to a 3-4 when what we have is working so well and our coach knows it better than 95% of the coaches in the league know defense. Whenever I read someone mention switching to a 3-4 again, I have to wonder where they head is at. They certainly aren’t watching Seattle nor are they interested in results. You don’t switch defensive schemes when you get these kinds of results from your defense. You find ways to make the type of defense you run better.

  46. D says:

    Hawkfin, I feel I need to add yang to your Hightower-ying.

    I would be critical of a Hightower pick at 12. The guy is a thumping ILB, a great one but that’s his role and I don’t see that as a great role to pick at 12.

    He’s not sideline to sideline fast, his zone coverage is average at best. His playreading was good but not great. The pass rush I saw on film was not from a DE position but maily from his MLB where it often was made possible by stunts and twists.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great football player but he’s not P Willis or R Lewis and if he isn’t why pick him at 12 with all these great LBs in the draft.

  47. Rob says:

    Bobby – Yes, my sources tell me Seattle are not too concerned about Coples perceived attitude or motivational issues. But they are concerned about his run defense.

  48. Hawkfin says:

    D – That’s cool and fair points. I just had not heard any negative talk on him until now. :)
    It would be better if we could try and trade down first, I admit that. But, it’s not a reach to take him at #12 either I don’t think. Plus, I bet he goes higher then where he is on Mocks.

    He is a LB, so I wouldn’t expect or even want a pass rush from a DE spot. Yet, I’ve seen him play just off the line on a rush package as well. But, he’ll be a true LB in the NFL, and rushing from stunts and twists are what you want from a LB. I think he can move around a bit also to give different looks and packages.
    But, he’ll also be able to drop in coverage and stuff the middle while laying the wood.
    To me, I see all the attributes from Hightower. So I do kind of see a little bit of a Ray Lewis with him. I don’t consider Ray all that fast.

    I’m not sure how you can tell his playreading was not great? More explaination would be cool? I saw him blow up plays myself and seemed to know what’s going on quicker then say his teamate Upshaw from what I saw.

    I think he’s fine in Zone/coverages. You wouldn’t expect that when he does. He’s more you’re MLB instead of you’re coverage OLB. This might be Luke Kuechly if you want the true coverage guy, but Luke is not you’re MLB type who steps into the RB’s face to me.

    Hightower will make you STRONG up the middle and gives you things that people are wanting from the Upshaw pick. And he still can offer some pressure capability.

    He’s not sideline to sideline fast – I would agree. But, he looks much faster then Upshaw on tape. He timed decent I believe at the combine. Like I said, I don’t see Ray Lewis being all that fast either. Or at least now, but he’s still one of the best.

    I think Hightower will be really good! I don’t think he solves our pass rush problems completely, but he gives us everything else with some ability for the rush too.

    Upshaw to me will not solve the pass rush either though.
    You want pass rush, then the pick is Whitney or Ingram and let them fly.

  49. Hawkfin says:

    Rob – I don’t see a concern with Run Def from Coples at all. I think he’s a solid DE in run support and he seems strong and big enough to hold his own pretty easily.

    My problem with him is he doesn’t seem to give constant effort or speed. Something lacks or he’s just not that much of a playmaker? Maybe it’s him taking plays off?
    I’m not sure exatly what it is and maybe it won’t be a problem at the next level, but he’s not a standout on tape to me as a “high pressure guy”. Seems like it’s always late by the time he gets to the QB.

    So, I somewhat see him as a good DE in the NFL, but not one with a “high motor” that give pressure time and again. This is why I like Whitney better. I feel it’s just the opposite with Whitney.

    But, I still like Coples. I think he would make a good pick at #12 as long as the attitude is in check, which I’m sure is a concern too.

  50. Rob says:

    Only reporting what I was told Hawkfin.

  51. Hawkfin says:

    Whitney:
    High Motor – Check
    Does he play to the Whistle – Check (I’ve seen him down the field chasing)
    Speed on Def – Check
    Sack and pressure ability – Check
    Size and measureables – Check
    Run support – I think, Check
    Stats (even if it’s for 1 year) – Check
    Young and growth potential (i.e. JR. / frame to gain size) – Check
    Is PC scared to take a guy rated a little lower then average – No, Check
    Is he good for Leo, and what we run currently – Yes, Check
    Is he a playmaker and cause the “big play” – Yes, 8 forced fumbles, etc. – Check
    Does he play some good/big schools – Yes, some, – Check
    Is he a standout – Check
    Combine good? – Yes, Check (Including the bench)
    Does he play hurt? – Yes, he got his finger cut off and still was ready to play – Check
    Injury history ? – No, check
    Would he be a top 5 pick if his stats were duplicated for his SR. Year – Yes – Check
    Tackle well – yes, Check

    Power – I guess this is debatable, but I’ve seen him handle some double teams.
    I’m not sure where the TE over powers him comes from? Never saw that. Only through a double team.

    Set the Edge – Not the best, but I’ve seen him stay home. I don’t want my every down speed rusher to set the edge all the time anyway.

    Every down player – I’m sure PC can get him in the game and figure it out. But, he’s a future replacement in the long run anyway. Brock replacement, Clemmons replacement, Red replacement, whatever.

    I’m sold. :)

  52. Hawkfin says:

    Rob – Gotchya, all good

  53. peter says:

    Rob,

    How does the resigning of Hill change the scope if at all of the draft, primarily from the standpoint of Upshaw?

    I understand Upshaw to be a DE/LB hybrid….but with Hill and Wright, where would his “LB” side come into play? Neither Upshaw or Hill can play the MLB and they both play the same OLB spot if I am not mistaken. I still think Upshaw can rock it as a DE opposite Clemmons, though I don’t think he can spell him unless you tucked a guy like malcolm smith behind Red Bryant for a LB blitz on first down…something like that…

    anyways I’m rambling, just wanted to know where the two Hill, Upshaw would play at the same time…

  54. Morgan says:

    This is a pretty excellent draft for LB’s and I hope we wait until the later rounds to address the position. DeMario Davis is the later-round version of Lavonte David. Delano Johnson is the later-round version of Hightower, and Miles Burris is the later-round version of Shea McClellin. I’m not convinced they won’t be equally good at cheaper draft capital.

    Miles Burris is still one of my favorite players in this draft. Highlights may not do complete justice to a player but this is 9 minutes of 2010 footage. If you can even GET nine minutes of highlights in one season…that’s a pretty good player.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtlONCH8jPA

  55. Rob says:

    Hawkfin – Mercilus could become an X-Factor in this draft. I had him at #7 in my last mock because with the production and the measurables, he could end up going higher than some think. Similar to the way Aldon Smith did. And it is a copycat league. However, I’m still struggling to get a grip on the guy. I’m going to go back over the tape I have this evening.

    Peter – I don’t think it changes much. Hill on a one-year deal is expendable. Deals done now really are just value, no-risk deals that provide further options going into camp. The deals that could’ve impacted the draft happened at the very start of FA.

    Morgan – it’s very possible they wait on LB’s.

  56. Hawkfin says:

    Rob – Please, DO let me know you’re findings when you go back over the tapes on Whitney? I’ll be interested.
    I might do that myself, just to be sure I’m not seeing something I’m not and try and look for his shortcomings.
    I wanted to go over Upshaw again also.

    I agree, I think he’s an X-factor in the draft though. And maybe even an X-Factor for our pick.

    Also,
    I think these signings are allowing us to really take the best player available at 12 or a player that they want even if it does not support a position of need/every down use. They’ve even came out and said as much when talking about Decastro.

    In the mean time we are getting some depth at LB, which is badly needed. I agree it doesn’t change much of anything though. And LB is still a huge need along with a pressure guy. I am surprised they brought Hill back as I didn’t think he would be back. Although, I didn’t see Trufant either for that matter.

    Anyway, the draft can’t get here fast enough! Can’t wait.
    Just please – NO Tannehill at 12.

  57. MJ says:

    Please no DeCastro or Kuechly at 12. They very well could become all pro players that have little effect on the W-L column. I would gladly take a “good” pass rusher over a great MLB or OG any day.

  58. Joe The Jarhead says:

    Changing the defense should indeed not even be a consideration. We need to begin to accentuate what we do well on defense. There ARE no strong pass rushers in this draft, but they can be manufactured to be effective. And I will wager that our offense will be even worse and less effective than last year. Now teams that face us, especially in division, will be keyed on the run game, and with zero viable option to beat them with the pass we will be left trying to keep games low scoring and close. We can have our Flynn’s and Mercilus’s and see how far they take us. If we manage to find players that will play above their perceived ability, like many of our defensive players do, then our defense will come another step closer to the ‘Steeler/Raven’ model that we are hoping to acheive

  59. AlaskaHawk says:

    Just to add to my first comment about picking a LB that can play instead of picking one to coach up. I wouldn’t mind picking a Zach Brown in the 5th or later as someone to take a chance on. Players in the first and second round should have the skills to step into the team right away. I don’t buy into this notion that a receiver can’t step in from day one. All they got to do is learn the routes and catch the ball. It isn’t that hard. Likewise a running back.

    A line backer needs to have a nose for the ball carrier. They need to be sure tacklers. In todays pass happy NFL it would be great if they could intercept the ball. Since they will be doing a lot of tackles they should also perfect the rip move on the ball. Being speedy allows them to get into plays and recover from mistakes. Being strong keeps them in the plays and allows for violent tackles. Now of those skills, most of them should be present coming out of college.

    I would especially focus on tackling ability and ability to intercept or catch the ball. If you don’t have that trained into you in college, it is unlikely you will learn it later.

    To finish – there are better picks in round 2 for LB.

    Also warming up to Kuechly LB in the first round. He is a little undersized but I think his speed will play well against the pass.

    We might pick Barron (or Richardson if he falls) as trade bait.

    We really need another wide receiver. Hopefully some one will step up, but if not we are going to be looking for one next year.

  60. Soggyblogger says:

    My opinion is evolving. What I see is everyone in disagreement on which players represent the least risk, and highest reward with each opinion justified by their own priority of what is important. Speed, instincts, coachability, quickness, power, short arms, FB IQ, and the list is nearly endless.

    What information is available comes down to game film, combine (measurables) and off-field information such as interviews, scrapes with the law, test scores, and the like. To me it is inarguable that game film is first and second most important, and combine adding to or subtracting from the film. Off field stuff is a wild card.

    That being said, guys like Brown have questionable film, and that makes them questionable. I think almost every player discussed for our first round pick (assuming we can not trade down even if we want to) has flaws with the exception of DeCastro and Kuechley. Both fit the Seahawk mold in terms of length and speed. Both are smart. Both have great work ethics and desire. I know less about DeCastro in this regard, but Kuechley has ALL of those things in abundance. He is DEDICATED in all aspects of football. He seems focused like a laser beam on being the best football player he can become. He has universally acknowledged great instincts and the film to prove it. The combine CONFIRMED his athleticism, speed, size, and attitude. He is a leader. He is a relentless student of the game in the film room.

    Think about all the other candidates in relation to that list of Kuechley traits, and most have multiple flaws compared to him. He keeps moving up Mock draft boards, and could easily be gone before we pick. So alternatives need to be thought of.

    @Rob: Who said above that it is certain that we will draft a pass rusher in round one, and I don’t think PC has ever said that. He has said we need to address pass rush in the draft, but not necessarily in the first round. If we assume we had CB targeted for upgrade last year, then he passed up about 10 higher rated players before drafting Sherman in the fifth round – which is about where he was projected – to fill that need. If Bruce Irvin, Sean Spence, Vinny Curry or any number of other players are seen to fill our need in the later rounds then we can take the BPA when we draft in the first round. I enjoyed reading your insight on Brown, but came away unconvinced. Like most here, I will have quite a bit of initial acceptance of whatever this FO decides as their track record is well above average. But to my untrained eye, he looks like a risky project with a highly uncertain outcome while Kuechley looks like a day one starter and upgrade for the next decade.

  61. MJ says:

    Soggyblogger – I think it’s inaccurate to say that the “combine CONFIRMED Kuechly’s speed and athleticism,” because everybody and their mother thought he’d run a 4.8. He’s like Michael Floyd to me…everybody was concerned that the tape didn’t show speed, then at the combine they ran good 40s. That doesn’t sit well with me. I’d rather have a Kendall Wright situation where on tape he looks blazing fast.

    Kuechly is a fine player that will make a minimal impact in regards to wins and losses because his position is simply not important anymore. I am also concerned about zero ability to pass rush on top of playing his season at 232 (very light). I don’t care about his 150 tackles that are 5 yards downfield…thats not what this team needs IMO. We need to pressure the QB, plain and simple.

  62. Soggyblogger says:

    I do like Hawkfin’s check list for Mercilus. I especially value that he would be a top five pick if he had two years of production at the college level. I hope he is all Hawkfin says and then we take him. On the other hand, if we take Brown in the second we probably won’t take Irvin in the third, and that’s my pick to shore up the pass rush while getting Kuechley as the value pick in the first round.

  63. Soggyblogger says:

    @MJ: I keep hearing your complaints about Kuechley, but discount it because saying you don’t care about 150 tackles (Leading the nation in tackles two years in a row) because they were all five yards downhill is an exaggeration and shows a bias. You want to ignore the film. He moves fast. He makes quick decisions. He rarely is just standing there. He is around the ball at a freakish rate.

    And as to the combine…..he did confirm athleticism in his times. He is strong, quick, with great lateral movement. CONFIRMING THE FILM. What seems inarguable to me is that he was in the right place at the right time MOST OF THE TIME. Whether that was at the line of scrimmage or five yards downfield. He had 10 teammates remember.

    At worst, Kuechley will be a very good NFL player. At best, he will tilt the field and be a Dick Butkus. Someone who motivates others, leads on and off the field, and solidifies a defense. An elite player contributes wins no matter what position he plays. Granted there is a hierarchy of positons, but that is trumped by individuals like Polomolu.

    Seattle’s defense is quite good in every other position besides LB. Our CB/safeties are young and excellent. Or front four is aging but solid. Especially with the addition of Jones who has a lot of versatility and may add the necessary pass rush Pete has talked about. Jones can be used in a lot of ways. He is better than any of the potential draft candidates I see to replace him. With the front four requiring the double teams, our defense has allowed rather slow LB’s to perform adequately. Partly because they are uncovered due to the front four needing double teams. Kuechley is a lot faster than Hawthorne. Uncovered, he would reach the ball carrier sooner. He has good pass coverage skills and decent hands. How many times did we see Curry drop a sure interception? If he had caught those interceptions he would have changed some of those games. The middle linebacker has to be the most versatile player on the team. Kuechley does not have film to demonstrate pass rush skills, but he was never asked to do that. In the film I saw he never rushed the passer. Maybe if asked, he could develop that skill?

    As I stated originally, my opinion is evolving and humble, but that’s no reason not to express it.

  64. Hawkfin says:

    Good points Soggy – I also disagree that a MLB is unimportant in wins? How’s that?
    Maybe the Mike has gone away, but that doesn’t mean the position has.

    You want a Balt Def – Then you need a Ray Lewis in the middle. You want a Pitts Def, then you need all those Studs in the middle that they have.

    I think Hightower brings more of a Ray Lewis type then Kuechly ever will. He’s bigger, stronger, and hits harder. Kuechly probably will go to the outside in the Pro’s I bet. He’s a little thin.

    But, Kuechly might bring the better coverage for us that we need.

    I could see us drafting him. He is solid.

    But, I do wonder that his team around him sucked so bad, that he made tackles 10 yards down the field and basically padded the stats.
    This DID bother me about him. That needs to be answered?
    Why was everything down the field?

    I agree about the combine. I think that reinforced his status.

    I prefer Hightower. But, I also see a LB and especially a MLB very important.
    But, I do love me some Whitney. :D

  65. MJ says:

    Soggyblogger – easy cowboy. Just trying to hold a dialogue…a lot of people getting worked up here. In no way, am I saying you are “wrong,” or that your opinion doesn’t matter or hold merit. Furthermore, in no way am I saying I am right. And please drop the “ignoring film,” comments. Some of you guys act like you are at the VMAC right now, spending hours on “coach’s film,” when in reality you are watching YouTube highlights…I am not discounting the fact that Kuechly is a fine player, which I’ve stated many times. Once again, “CONFIRMING” his athleticism and speed implies that everyone thought he was very fast on tape, which was not the case. An overwhelming vast majority of major outlets (that have significantly more credibility on the subject than you and I), constantly opined at what they perceived was less than desirable measurables that were masked by great instincts. Meaning, on “tape,” he didn’t come across as the most overly athletic person despite being a very fine player. Once again, you are using the term “CONFIRMED,” which means that one’s opinions/thoughts are proved by a factual measurement. Now, perhaps you were the only person who thought he’d run a 4.58, but public sentiment was that they expected a slower time as a result of what they saw during the season on the field. Do you see what I am debating?

    Kuechly will be a fine NFL player, no doubt. And of course his contributions will be positive. My simple argument against a player like him or DeCastro, is that unless they turn into “Elite” players (think top 2 or 3), then they will have a minimal impact in the grand scheme of things because they play non premium positions. Doesn’t mean they are useless, it just means that their respective contributions have to be overly outstanding to have the same impact over a position that holds more value (ie Pass Rush). Hence me saying, I would take a “good pass rusher” over a “great MLB or OG,” any day of the week. Once again, please don’t skew this as “Kuechly or DeCastro suck.” I like both players, but they play positions that simply don’t have as much value in today’s NFL. This isn’t unique to me, but a rather largely accepted idea across board. If they ge drafted by the Hawks, it’s not a “end of the world” scenario, I would just view it as a lost opportunity to address positions that are harder to find and that can have a bigger impact.

    I apologize if previous posts came off as abrasive or attacking toward you or others. I just don’t appreciate when my argument/debate gets skewed. All is well and I appreciate the dialogue good sirs.

  66. Rob says:

    Soggyblogger – Just relaying what I’ve been told bud. The guy I speak to was very accurate the last two years with information, so I’m trusting the source. We never get, “Seattle is drafting this guy”… but we get bits of info such as positions, players they like/don’t like. Sometimes there’s a pecking order. I’m led to believe that whoever Seattle takes at #12 – be it LB or DE – will be contributing significantly to the pass rush.

  67. CSN says:

    Even though I think Zach Brown is beast at linebacker, I get the feeling that although the Hawks need linebackers that they’ll get them in the mid rounds and coach these guys up, much like they did with KJ Wright. It seems like the Seahawks don’t value linebackers enough to burn them on first or second round picks. With that, I hope they pick up Brown or Kendricks, but I don’t think its likely. I also like Nigel Bradham in the third or fourth.

    I think they value the offensive line the most, which is why I think they’ll go with DeCastro if they get the chance.

  68. AlaskaHawk says:

    Maybe Seattle is reevaluating the LB position. If they pick Upshaw he will be playing the OLB/DE positions, so there you have #1 pick. The alternative is Ingram, who could also be playing LB?DE, or Kuechly LB.

    I am amazed at all this talk about how the LB is devalued. A great LB is there to plug the holes in the line when it’s a running play, the second line of defense. In an outlet pass or QB sneak they will be the one making the tackle. When the tight end crosses the middle, they will be the one in coverage and making the tackle. It could be argued that in this pass happy league that is emphasizing the tight end more that there position is vitally important.

    This wouldn’t even be a conversation if we were talking about a safety. But that safety would be playing out of position to do the same things a line backer does. I love watching Troy Polamalu tackle the QB on a blitz. Really it should have been a linebacker blitzing , but there talent was at safety. You have to wonder though, who was covering his area when he blitzed?

  69. Soggyblogger says:

    Thanks for that, Rob. I did not know you were reporting from a source.

    MJ: Sorry, I was too strident. I appreciate all opinions.

  70. Darnell says:

    So true about coaching.

    Bad coaching was the reason Red Bryant underachieved in college when his size/athletic ability should have made him a 1st round pick. Dennis Franchione was an absolute disaster in terms of devloping talent at A&M.

  71. Jim Kelly says:

    Rob and Kip,
    Did you see the NFL.com mock draft that has the Hawks drafting Janoris Jenkins in the second round. The pick was unusual because both Zach Brown and Courtney Upshaw were available. What would you think of this choice? Also, who would you chose between Brown and Jenkins? I know whom you would chose if Upshaw was available.

  72. Rob says:

    Jim – Jenkins the player has elite potential. His bust potential is just as high. You can’t trust the guy. If you could, he’d be a top-15 pick. Seattle won’t be making that choice. I like Charlie Casserly’s stuff on the NFL Network, but that mock was a bit out there from a Seattle P.O.V.