Archive for February, 2014

Seahawks release Bryant & Rice plus other notes

Friday, February 28th, 2014

This wasn’t a big shock.

The news was already out there, the moves both inevitable. Sidney Rice and Red Bryant weren’t going to go any further with the Seahawks.

And yet there’s still a sense of disappointment today.

Rice was a big free agent addition in 2011 — at a time when Seattle had very little quality on the roster and needed an instant injection of talent.

When he was snatched away from Minnesota, he was seen as a potential #1 receiver. Unfortunately the injuries that plagued his career with the Vikings had a similar impact in Seattle.

His signature, however, still provided plenty of momentum at a time when it was absolutely needed.

He never put up huge numbers — but he provided plenty of big plays. None bigger than the play-action touchdown to beat the Patriots in 2012.

Bryant was one of the few players that survived from the Ruskell era. A fierce competitor, he’d been the heart and soul of the team.

It was Bryant who made “we all we got, we all we need” the rallying call in 2010.

It suited a meandering 7-9 outfit punching above its weight. It equally befit a 13-3 Championship roster three years later.

Whatever your opinion of Bryant’s on the field play, teams didn’t want to face him. It was an obstacle that had to be passed.

He set the tone for the defense, long before the likes of Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman took the baton.

He’ll go somewhere else and be just as impactful. And just as underrated.

Yet this is where the Seahawks are at right now. This is no longer a rebuild — it’s a maintenance job. Keep the key players you can’t live without. Replace the ones you can.

We talked about it throughout the 2013 season, and there were a few candidates who could’ve been cut.

Brandon Mebane’s contract is just as cut-able as Bryant’s — yet he played as well as any one-technique in the league through the second half of the season and the playoffs. It became no contest.

Rice’s ACL injury made his departure a formality. They paid millions to two injured receivers in 2013, while a bunch of UDFA’s and cheap replacements won a title. Percy Harvin isn’t going anywhere, but Rice’s deal couldn’t be retained.

It’s also possible that neither player will need to be replaced — another key reason why they’ve gone and the likes of Chris Clemons and Zach Miller remain.

Most people expect Seattle to add a receiver with one of their first two picks in the draft. Personally, I think it’s a nailed on certainty.

But even if it doesn’t happen — they’ll have the same crew that were good enough to win a Super Bowl if they re-sign Golden Tate.

In fact the prospect of having Harvin for more than a couple of games stands to add a significant boost to the position.

They can live without Rice if they retain Tate.

Bryant’s size will be a loss to the defense, but this is a unit that has constantly found ways to adapt and evolve. They intend to keep Michael Bennett — and there’s no reason why he can’t feature more prominently at end.

Today’s news could open the door for Bennett, Clemons and Cliff Avril to take more snaps together. This trio wreaked havoc together in the post season.

If they find a way to keep Tony McDaniel — or replace him with a similar sized player — there’s no reason why they can’t thrive without having a 320lbs monster playing early downs.

There’s also a chance Greg Scruggs and Jesse Williams come into the fold — and the later rounds of the draft could offer up a Justin Ellis, DeAndre Coleman or Da’Quan Jones.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Rice or Bryant won’t be replaced. As noted, it’s a great draft for receivers. I also projected 303lbs Stephon Tuitt to the Seahawks in my last mock draft.

But if they’d released Zach Miller instead, they’d have to replace him as a priority. A capable run blocking tight end is vital to this offense. The options in free agent are pitiful, and do you really want to be handcuffed into looking at a Troy Niklas in round one?

Likewise Clemons would need to be replaced.

Benson Mayowa remains untested. Bruce Irvin appears destined to remain at linebacker (according to Dan Quinn in a recent interview). O’Brien Schofield is a free agent.

You can’t go into the season with just Avril and Mayowa as your edge rushers. And it’s a rotten draft for LEO’s.

Both players could be cut in the future — or they could be asked to restructure their deals.

But they’re very much safe for now.

If either was going to be cut before free agency, it would’ve happened today — at the same time as Bryant and Rice.

In the case of Clemons, one thing could change that of course — the strong options available in free agency.

What if the market is cold just as it was a year ago?

What if there’s an opportunity to talk to a Michael Johnson, Brian Orakpo or Jared Allen?

If there’s a short term deal to be done, just as we saw with Avril and Bennett, Clemons could become expendable — saving an extra $7.5m in cap space.

Things are starting to get interesting — and with other deals now being completed around the league, prices are being set. It wouldn’t be a total shock if we hear something on Tate or Bennett over the weekend.

So where are we at in terms of the cap?

It was revealed today that the budget is set at $133m for 2014. The Seahawks are able to roll over just under $3m from last season, taking the grand total up to about $136m they’ll have available.

With the cap increasing by $10m, the $3m rollover and the $12.8m saving today — there’s plenty of room for the Seahawks to play with here.

With a further increase of around $10m expected in 2015 (plus another $10m in 2016) — suddenly some of the long term problems are easing.

Really, they should have no problem extending the contracts of Thomas, Sherman and Russell Wilson. The annual cap rises plus the departure of other top earners will provide copious amounts of room to get those deals done.

Bennett will be pricey, as will Tate to a certain extent. Retaining the other free agents will really be down to market value and testing the water.

Yet theoretically you could pay Bennett $8m per year and Tate $5.5m per year and still have around $10m to play with.

If you wanted to go after Johnson — who’s almost certain to leave the Bengals — you make an offer knowing you can cut Clemons and save another $7.5m immediately.

So with Bennett and Tate in the bag, you’d be going into the market with a cool $17-18m to play with.

More than enough to at least make a few enquiries and also look into re-signing Steven Hauschka, Breno Giacomini, Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald.

Re-signing Earl Thomas this off-season shouldn’t have any impact here. His cap hit is already $5.5m in 2014. You could sign him to an extension that pays close to $10m per year on average, and you could still keep that cap number at around $6-8m in 2014.

The extended cap rise really is a gift from the football gods as Seattle tries to keep a Championship team together.

But the most exciting part is — they could get even better.

And if there’s any further incentive to get busy in the market — remember this. Seattle is the most fashionable place to play in the NFL right now. A lot of free agents are going to want to come here.

Come and be part of the dynasty. Come and play for the team that lets you be yourself.

Come and play for the team that won the Super Bowl and intends to win more.

If you can improve an already productive defensive line going into the draft — it frees you up to target receiver and offensive line with the first two picks.

The only stumbling block could be the amount of free cash elsewhere. Jacksonville has around $60m in cap space. Oakland is in a similar position. With teams like that needing to force major rebuilds, they’ll likely get the cheque book out.

But again — players want to play in Seattle. That’s the joker in the pack.

I’m not sure they feel the same way about playing for the Raiders and Jags. And it’ll test their desire to really overpay in order to land key free agents.

Draft notes

— Stephon Tuitt ran a forty yard dash at a specially arranged pro day today. Nobody seems to be reporting anything about this, but the player himself says he ran a 4.8. That’s an impressive time if it can be confirmed.

— Austin Seferian-Jenkins underwent foot surgery today, according to this report. He’s expected to miss around eight weeks, which sounds generous. With the draft starting later this year (early May), he might be able to squeeze in a pro-day.

— The weirdest story of the day involved the Miami Dolphins, who appear to be shopping Dion Jordan. It’s only a year since they traded up to take him with the #3 overall pick. It’ll be interesting to see if they get any takers. After such an underwhelming rookie season and persistent shoulder problems, I’m not sure I’d be racing to make a deal.

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Is Joel Bitonio a first round option for the Seahawks?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

I’d not watched any Nevada games live during the 2013 season and my access to the Senior Bowl was somewhere between non existent and limited this year.

After the combine, I felt obliged to make Joel Bitonio one of the first players I studied.

He’d gained a little momentum in Mobile as the only tackle who had success against Dee Ford. He followed it up by making a major statement at the combine on Saturday.

Here’s what he achieved:

— An official 4.97 forty yard dash, trailing only Taylor Lewan (4.87), Greg Robinson (4.92) and Trai Turner (4.93).

— The second best vertical jump (32 inches) by an offensive lineman. That topped Jake Matthews (30), Lewan (30) and Robinson (28.5).

— A 9.6 broad jump — again ranking second. Only Lewan beat him with a 9.9. Robinson managed a 9.5.

— The third highest three cone drill at 7.37 seconds. Gabe Ikard (7.30) and Matthews (7.34) were the only two to beat him. Lewan had a 7.39 and Robinson a 7.80.

— The third highest short shuttle at 4.44 seconds. Ikard had a 4.37 while Charles Leno Jr had a 4.40. Matthews had the 7th best shuttle and Lewan the 9th. Robinson was way down at #32.

The only area he didn’t grade in the top five was the bench press — managing 22 reps. In comparison Robinson had 32, Lewan 29 and Matthews 24. So he was still in touching distance.

Last years #1 pick Eric Fisher had 27 reps on the bench. Luke Joeckel also managed 27, while Lane Johnson had 28. Nate Solder had 21 reps in 2011

Bitonio’s 22 reps is hardly a cause for criticism.

He measured at 6-4 and 302lbs with 33 and 7/8 inch arms. He’s not freakishly long like Robinson or Morgan Moses, but his arm length compares favourably to Lewan (33 and 7/8’s) and Matthews (33 and 3/8’s).

Essentially, he stands up to all of the top offensive tackles in this class on a physical level. He doesn’t just match up in a couple of categories, we’re talking every single one.

How can we ignore that?

Think of all the praise heaped on Robinson and Lewan for their performance at the combine. Bitonio’s right up there with them.

Of course, it doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily play as well those guys — even if he’s a carbon copy athlete.

So I put on the tape.

Nevada played Florida State and UCLA in 2013 — perfect opponents for a critique.

The BCS Champs with a collection of top recruits on the defensive line.

The Bruins — one of the PAC-12’s best and with a prospective first round pass rusher in Anthony Barr.

How did he do? Judge for yourself:

I kept waiting for the moment where he’d be exposed. The play that showed him up as just a physical specimen without the skills to stand up to 2014’s top tackles.

That moment never arrived.

At one point in the UCLA video, he got beat by Barr and basically tried to tackle him to the ground in desperation. A couple of plays later (around the 5:10 mark in the video above) he drives him deep into the end zone from the 5-yard line. The rest of the offensive line was stuffed at the LOS.

Talk about a comeback.

Here’s what I think he showed on tape…

— Finishes blocks with attitude. Never oversteps the mark but makes his presence felt when going 1v1. Plays through the whistle. Shows plenty of tenacity.

— An ability to mirror and ride off speed rushers. Knows how to use a DE’s speed to his advantage, and will let them run themselves out of the play.

— When he gets his hands on a pass rusher, he’s able to contain and not give up too much ground. Maintains the pocket even when he loses a couple of steps.

— Takes any opportunity to advance to the second level. At times he might be a little too quick to progress and could play with more control, but it’s difficult not to respect any offensive lineman with this level of determination to get to the next level.

— Impressive lateral quickness. Bodes well if he ends up in a ZBS.

— Technique has room for improvement. Looks a bit grabby. Russell Okung had the same issues. He’ll be even better when he gets his hands straight on and into the right areas. Not the lankiest tackle, so he can make leverage work to his advantage with better hand placement.

— Good leg drive. Can push the pile in short yardage situations and also open up gaps for longer runs.

There’s a ton to work with here.

A lot of the talk is he could convert to guard at the next level. I’d love to see him get a shot at tackle, left or right.

To quote Mike Mayock from the combine, “I’d make him prove he couldn’t play on the left side first”.

I ran a Google search to find out more about his character and kept reading the same things. He’s a leader. Outstanding character and work ethic. Responsible individual.

I searched Youtube for an interview. Notice the Russell Wilson style quote early on about “improving every day”…

I’m not sure what else we need to see here to take this guy very seriously.

Interestingly, Tony Pauline had some further information on Bitonio’s stock today

“I’ve learned two things about Bitonio since Saturday; 1) the feeling is he’s cemented himself as a second round pick and 2) he’s going to be drafted at offensive guard and not a tackle. The latter surprised me a bit. Though I initially graded Bitonio as a guard I thought his performance at the Senior Bowl, primarily the fact he was the only one able to stop Dee Ford, would’ve given him more consideration at left tackle.”

So according to Pauline, he’s likely a second round pick at worst.

I’m starting to wonder if he could be an option for the Seahawks at #32…

— Outstanding physical talent as we discussed earlier in the piece. He has as much athletic upside as any tackle in this class, with the possible exception of Greg Robinson.

— He has the required athleticism to work in the ZBS. His desire to reach the second level and good lateral mobility are a big positive here.

— Tom Cable, like most offensive line coaches, loves a player who finishes and plays with attitude. He also likes players that perhaps aren’t quite the finished article. In the past that’s meant drafting for potential later in the draft or during UDFA. This year, the latest project might be a first or second round pick.

— Bitonio’s versatility should also be taken seriously. Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey have both been praised for their ability to play guard and tackle. While other teams want to define roles and limit versatility on the OL — rotation and being able to play multiple spots appears to be a positive thing when it comes to the Seahawks.

If Pauline’s right and he’s receiving a firm grade in the second round, is it such a stretch to think Seattle would be prepared to take him with the last pick in round one?

It’s possible. Let’s not get too carried away here, but nobody can argue he doesn’t tick a lot of boxes. It’s certainly worth further tape study over the next few weeks. It’s a legit talking point.

There are enough teams in this draft that need a tackle or guard and Bitonio could get caught up in the first round rush. It’s not just within the top ten this year, Miami (#19), Arizona (#20) and Carolina (#28) are all expected to target the offensive line.

Who knows — he might not be there for the Seahawks.

But if they are open to going OL early, I think he could be a serious candidate for that first pick.

Examples of ‘Seahawky’ prospects

(including players who only have a slim shot of lasting into the 20-32 range)

Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Fiercely competitive, X-factor playmaker as a return man and receiver. High points the football better than anyone in this class. Impeccable character. Terrific athlete with strong bloodlines. Big hands.

Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Relentless pass rusher who consistently has an impact. Plays with an edge. Leads by example and the heartbeat of everything Pittsburgh did in 2013. Blew up the combine with his athleticism.

Joel Bitonio (T, Nevada)
Unbelievable physical skills — amazing athlete who compares to the top offensive tackles in this class. Gritty offensive lineman you just know Tom Cable will appreciate. Versatile.

Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame)
Massive defensive lineman. Freakish size but when healthy still moves well. Can line up inside or out. Capable of commanding blockers on one side, helping to shut down the run.

Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss)
In terms of SPARQ, you have to respect Moncrief’s numbers. Not everyone’s ideal pick but in a way that alone makes him kind of ‘Seahawky’. Ran a 4.40, had a 39.5 vertical and a 1.50 10 yard split. Managed 11-0 on the broad jump.

Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Length and ball skils. The end. Seahawks style corner. Only 6-3 Keith McGill had longer arms among the defensive backs. Ran a 4.37 and had a cluster of interceptions in 2013. Also an accomplished return man.

Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Long defensive tackle (6-6, 310lbs with +34 inch arms). Former basketball player and it showed with a 35.5 inch vertical. Needs coaching but that wouldn’t bother Seattle.

Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
It’s just a shame he couldn’t run the forty. He had a 42 vertical and 10.10 broad jump. That’s insane. Also managed a 6.91 three cone and benched 25 reps at 6-1 and 237lbs. It’s not a stretch to predict he has 4.4 speed.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Pete Carroll likes size at receiver — and he doesn’t have ‘his guy’ right now. He entertains the concept of winning when you get off the bus. Benjamin doesn’t have Megatron athleticism, but he’s enormous and physical. You can win with a guy like this in the red zone.

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Post-combine mock draft (two rounds): 26th February

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Lot’s of changes as you’d expect after the combine. I’ve also added a second round.

Scroll down for some thoughts on the key moves, including Seattle’s pick (which is a bit of a u-turn on my behalf).


#1 Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)
If they believe they can build around Bortles, there’s every chance he’s the guy. He did every drill at the combine and reports say he impressed in interviews.
#2 Greg Robinson (T, Auburn)
Robinson made some money at the combine. Every measurement screamed ‘physical freak’. He’s the most exciting offensive tackle prospect to enter the league in years.
#3 Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
When the Jaguars met with Manziel, he needed to show them he was the ultimate competitor. I have little doubt he succeeded in that. He’s just not Bill O’Brien’s guy.
#4 Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
With the top two quarterbacks off the board and this insane talent still hanging around, they make the pick and wait on a signal caller.
#5 Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
The best receiver prospect to enter the league since A.J. Green and Julio Jones. You can build around a talent like this. Get a quarterback later.
#6 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
If the Falcons don’t move up to get a shot at Clowney, this looks like a great match.
#7 Khalil Mack (DE, Buffalo)
The Buccs need an edge rusher. Mack is versatile and can line up in multiple positions. This is another team that could move up for Clowney.
#8 Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a Norv Turner quarterback and Aaron Donald probably reminds Mike Zimmer of a certain Geno Atkins. He deserves to go this high.
#9 Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
Some believe he’s a bit of a phony tough guy. Others really like him. It’s would be worth a shot here.
#10 Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
Put him alongside Megatron and let it rip. Isn’t this why the Lions appointed Jim Coldwell? To dominate with a great passing game?
#11 Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
Nothing Ken Whisenhunt has said makes you think he trusts Jake Locker. They snap up this opportunity and put their faith in Teddy.
#12 Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Speed, length and playmaking ability. Exactly what New York lacks at cornerback.
#13 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama)
The Rams need to keep adding talent where they can. A rangy safety at the back-end makes a lot of sense here.
#14 Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Chicago’s defense was a shambles at times this year. It starts up front, especially if they lose Henry Melton. Hageman has unreal upside.
#15 Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Potential stud. Does everything well. Flawless character. Insane competitor. HUGE hands. Absolutely deserves to go this early.
#16 Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
His three cone drill at the combine was among the best in recent history. He can play inside and out. Dallas needs to rebuild its defensive front.
#17 Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Forget the forty time. He did all the other drills perfectly and he’s a fighter. This is what Baltimore needs more of on offense.
#18 Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Adding a massive target like this with a large catching radius would make life so much easier for Geno Smith.
#19 Zack Martin (G, Notre Dame)
An absolutely superb tackle in college, but expected to move to guard in the NFL. Could play left guard next to prospective free agent signing Brandon Albert at tackle.
#20 Morgan Moses (T, Virginia)
If they miss out on Branden Albert in free agency, they have to consider adding a left tackle here.
#21 Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Perhaps not quite ‘can’t miss’ enough to go in the top-15. He’d excel in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers.
#22 Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA)
He’s a work in progress, but Chip Kelly appreciates length and they need another pass rusher.
#23 Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville)
Andy Reid made sure he got a good luck at the top two safety’s, putting his big sandwich down to sit in the stands.
#24 Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
Shazier’s vertical and broad jump were off the charts. Stunning athlete with insane potential.
#25 Xavier S’ua-Filo (G, UCLA)
Major upside prospect who’s separated himself as the top guard. Has the potential to be one of the best at his position.
#26 Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
What? No quarterback? The Browns can’t force this. They wait until round two for a signal caller and add a partner for Josh Gordon.
#27 Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
Rob Ryan likes competitive, sparky corners who can blitz. This is a big need for the Saints.
#28 Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
Just about sticks in round one. Press corner, matches Carolina’s physical defense. Gets dinged up though.
#29 Brent Urban (DT, Virginia)
Missed the combine but we’re talking about major upside here. He could be J.J. Watt-lite. Belichick loves versatility up front.
#30 Jimmie Ward (S, Northern Illinois)
Aggressive, wiry safety. Would fill a need for the Niners. Didn’t work out at the combine due to injury.
#31 Chris Borland (LB, Wisconsin)
Denver needs a tone setter. A leader. A guy who flies around. This would be a smart move.
#32 Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame)
Size, length and versatility. Disappointing 2013 season but could play the five technique and the three. Size matters in the NFC West.


#33 Houston Texans — C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
#34 Washington Redskins — Marcus Martin (C, USC)
#35 Cleveland Browns — Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, Eastern Illinois)
#36 Oakland Raiders — Terrence Brooks (S, Florida State)
#37 Atlanta Falcons — Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)
#38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Troy Niklas (TE, Notre Dame)
#39 Jacksonville Jaguars — Allen Robinson (WR, Penn State)
#40 Minnesota Vikings — Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech)
#41 Buffalo Bills — Demarcus Lawrence (DE, Boise State)
#42 Tennessee Titans — Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
#43 New York Giants — Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers)
#44 St. Louis Rams — Keith McGill (CB, Utah)
#45 Detroit Lions — Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
#46 Pittsburgh Steelers — Antonio Robinson (T, Tennessee)
#47 Dallas Cowboys — Caraun Reid (DT, Princeton)
#48 Baltimore Ravens — Joel Bitonio (T, Nevada)
#49 New York Jets — Paul Richardson (WR, Colorado)
#50 Miami Dolphins — Timmy Jernigan (DT, Florida State)
#51 Chicago Bears — Ego Ferguson (DT, LSU)
#52 Arizona Cardinals — Martavis Bryant (WR, Clemson)
#53 Green Bay Packers — Deone Bucannon (S, Washington State)
#54 Philadelphia Eages — Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
#55 Cincinnati Bengals — Marcus Roberson (CB, Florida)
#56 San Francisco 49ers — Ed Stinson (DE, Alabama)
#57 San Diego Chargers — Jeremiah Attaochu (OLB, Georgia Tech)
#58 New Orleans Saints — Ja’Wuan James (T, Tennessee)
#59 Indianapolis Colts — Jordan Matthews (WR, Vanderbilt)
#60 Carolina Panthers — Davante Adams (WR, Fresno State)
#61 San Francisco 49ers — David Yankey (G, Stanford)
#62 New England Patriots — Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington)
#63 Denver Broncos — Brandon Thomas (T, Clemson)
#64 Seattle Seahawks — Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss)

Seattle’s priority beyond the first two rounds: OL depth

Notable players not included:

Cyrus Kouandjio (T, Alabama) — failed medical/knee arthritis is a major red flag. Will sink like a stone, sadly.

Dominique Easley (DT, Florida) — two ACL injuries are a red flag. Brilliant player, but he’s unlikely to be drafted early.

Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State) — not as good as advertised. Considering which other QB’s dropped last year, a similar fall wouldn’t be a shock.

A.J. McCarron (QB, Alabama) — has given off a very negative, slightly entitled vibe this off-season.

Further notes on the key moves

Jadeveon Clowney to Cleveland at #4

This isn’t a reaction to the over-the-top negativity involving Clowney over the weekend.

It’s becoming apparent there’s a very real chance Houston will draft a quarterback at #1, and Blake Bortles is emerging as a realistic option.

St. Louis simply can’t afford to pass on Greg Robinson if they keep the #2 pick, so Jacksonville would then be deciding between Clowney and, in this projection, Johnny Manziel.

I went with Manziel.

Ultimately, Gus Bradley wants a fierce competitor at every position. He wants someone who’s going to fight until he bleeds.

I get the impression — and I could be very wrong — that Manziel went into his meetings over the weekend and did a heck of a lot of convincing. And then you go back and watch that Duke tape…

People talk about his off-field lifestyle. In Seattle, they don’t try to stop you being yourself — as long as it doesn’t impact the team. Did Manziel’s bizarre time at Texas A&M ever impact on-field performance? Absolutely not.

If Bradley and the Jags adopt Seattle’s way of thinking, they might be all-in on Manziel. And as talented as Clowney is, nobody could ever accuse him of being “pissed off for greatness”.

No quarterback for the Browns in round one

It’s really down to circumstance. Eventually, someone just has to take Clowney.

In this projection, that team is Cleveland.

So we move on to their second pick. The top three QB’s are gone by #26. And despite all the annual debate about teams pinching the second tier quarterbacks by trading back into round one — it rarely happens. Cincinnati got Andy Dalton in 2011 by sitting tight — despite all the bluster about him being a late first rounder.

Cleveland can get a quarterback in round two if there’s a guy they really like. In this projection there is, and that quarterback walks onto a team with Clowney and Brandin Cooks already added to it.

Seattle takes… a guy you said you weren’t crazy about???

I’m not a huge Stephon Tuitt fan based on his 2013 tape.

But then I looked at the measurements at the combine…

Nearly 35 inch arms. 6-5 and a slimmed down 304lbs. That’s hard to ignore. He’s a freak, even if he was overweight last season.

I don’t think the Seahawks will feel like they need to replace Red Bryant (if he is actually cut) because I think they’ll be prepared to adapt and modify their defense.

But imagine plugging a guy with Tuitt’s size into the five-tech.

He’s not a great pass rusher, but it’d be an upgrade over Big Red. He’s supremely strong (some say ‘country strong’) and managed 31 reps on the bench press despite his long arms.

And hey, you need big boys up front in the NFC West. He kind of fits Seattle’s penchant for unique size and athleticism.

If you’re drafting him to be a great pass rusher in an orthodox four man front, forget about it. If you’re willing to play him all over the line mainly as a run stopper and enforcer — I’m willing to reconsider the idea of taking Tuitt in the late first.

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Closing thoughts on the combine & major salary cap news

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Justin Gilbert had the most impressive display among DB's

First, a reflection on what we saw today involving the defensive backs.

Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
The first thing that stood out with Gilbert is just how much of an athlete he is. He looks in fantastic shape and backed it up with the fastest forty yard dash (4.38). He managed 10.6 on the broad jump and a 35.5 inch vertical. Yet the most impressive aspect was his length. He had the longest arms in the DB group at 33 1/8 inches. When people talk about ‘Seattle style’ corners, they think 6-3. That’s not accurate. It’s about length and ball skills. Byron Maxwell was only 6-0 and 202lbs at the 2011 combine. But he ran a 4.46 and has 33 1/2 inch arms. Gilbert is exactly the same height/weight as Maxwell and pretty much the definition of a Seattle corner in terms of physical make-up. Plus he’s a ball hawk (seven interceptions in 2013). There’s only one concern — how dedicated is he to his craft? He admitted during his press conference that he didn’t know who Aqib Talib was. That’s scary.

Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
The other thing Seattle likes to see is grit. Verrett lacks size at 5-9 and 189lbs. He doesn’t have great length with 30 5/8 inch arms. Yet he’s a tremendous athlete and he plays with a major chip on his shoulder. He ran the second fastest forty at 4.38, had the fourth best three cone (6.67) managed a superb 39 inch vertical and added a 10.8 in the broad jump. That vertical is important — it shows he can high point against bigger receivers despite a serious height disadvantage. In the drills he stayed low in his back-pedal, had decent snap in his transition and moved very smoothly. You expect that with a small corner, but Verrett ticked every box today. And perhaps more importantly, he looked completely healthy. He might not crack the first round but whoever gets this guy will have a terrific competitor who won’t back down.

Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
This was always going to be a nice stage for Roby. A year ago he was considered a potential top-15 pick. He was convinced by his family to stay at Ohio State for another season — and he had a classic down year as a consequence. On tape he has all the physical skills you want to see. Yet his on-field IQ leaves a lot to be desired. He struggles against the double move, he’ll let receivers get in behind and he struggles to recover. Every now and again he’ll peak into the backfield and get caught. The big question is — can you coach him up? Because there’s a lot to like — quick hips, loose runner, capable blitzer, plays the ball. Today he had a chance to show off how much of an athlete he is — running a 4.39 with a stunning 1.47 ten yard split. His vertical (32 inches) and broad jump (10.4) were pretty good. He doesn’t have great length at 5-11, 194lbs and 31 1/2 inch arms. There’s also a character red flag after he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery last July.

Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
Deion Sanders told Dennard in an interview he thought he looked stiff during drills. I didn’t really see too much evidence of that personally — although Sanders’ second point was absolutely true. Dennard is a press-man corner. He likes to get into a receivers pads and he’s strong, so he’ll translate well in any scheme that prioritises physicality. I liked his work out and thought he transitioned well, ran smoothly in the open field and did a good job tracking the ball in the air. But here’s the thing — he’s not a ‘must have’ type of player. He’s 5-11 and 199lbs, but lacks length (30 1/4 inch arms) and top end speed (4.51). You can’t bang the table for those numbers. He also didn’t do the vertical or broad jump due to a minor hamstring problem he picked up during drills. Durability is another concern. Is he a first rounder? Debatable.

Keith McGill (CB, Utah)
When he ran an unofficial 4.47 and 4.44 — you sat up in your chair. The biggest defensive back put up two of the fastest times at 6-3 and 211lbs. His official time was later adjusted to a 4.51 — but that’s still mighty impressive. He reminds me somewhat of another former Utah corner — Sean Smith (now with the Chiefs). Smith was 6-3 and 214lbs at the 2009 combine and ran a 4.50. He went in the late second round. McGill actually had a superior vertical (39 inches vs 34) and broad jump (10.9 vs 9.11). McGill’s vertical was the third best on the day among DB’s, his broad jump ranked second. We’re talking about a big-time athlete here, the type Seattle typically shows interest in. I suspect he might go in the same range as Smith, perhaps even a little earlier. People are going to tout a switch to safety — and he did look a little stiff in some of the drills today (it’s tough to stay low and smooth in the back-pedal at 6-3). But before anyone crowns him the next Kam Chancellor — there is one issue. Chancellor is an enforcer, who plays every snap like the Super Bowl’s on the line. On tape McGill doesn’t play with anywhere near the same physicality. He isn’t ‘Bam Bam Kam’. Not by a long stretch.

Bashaud Breeland (CB, Clemson)
He wasn’t as long as he looks on screen — 5-11, 197lbs with 31 3/4 inch arms. It’s not bad size, but it isn’t great either. I noted in the live blog earlier that he had nice length — so it was pretty surprising to see the official measurements. He ran a pretty pedestrian 4.62, had a vertical of 34.5 inches and a broad jump of 10.3. He came into the combine with a bit of positive momentum, but the showing didn’t back it up. Perhaps the national media are trying too hard to find ‘Seattle style’ cornerbacks? Let’s hope other teams try too hard too. At the end of the day, development is king. The Seahawks didn’t just stumble across a cluster of excellent defensive backs. They coached them into productive starters. You can try and draft as many long cornerbacks as you want, but you’ve still got to develop them.

Jonathan Dowling (S, Western Kentucky)
Here’s an interesting prospect. He’s just under 6-3 and 190lbs. That’s slim, but he doesn’t look too skinny and has room to add weight. He had the longest arms in the group alongside Justin Gilbert (33 1/8 inches). He ran a 4.52, which is comparable to Keith McGill. Yet his vertical (33.5 inches) and broad jump (9.10) were both disappointing. In the drills I thought he looked quite fluid for his size. He put in a good performance based on what the feed was willing to show us. Here’s the issue though. He’s a former four-star recruit who played two games as a Freshman at Florida. He got kicked off the team by Urban Meyer, and transferred to Western Kentucky. It wasn’t abundantly clear why at the time, but he says it was over a dispute with a positional coach who he found to be too negative. I’m not sure Meyer would give up on a player over that alone, although he admitted he skipped practise as a consequence of the coach’s criticisms. It’s not a good look. I’d do some homework on this guy.

Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech)
The Fuller family have deep NFL routes — Kyle has already discussed joining his brother Corey on the Detroit Lions roster. I actually really like Kendall Fuller — a 2013 Freshman also at Virginia Tech who had some big games as a first-year starter. He has a ton of potential. But so does his brother Kyle. He’s 5-11 and 190lbs with the fourth longest arms in the group (32 7/8 inches). He had a 38.5 inch vertical — sixth best on the day. His broad jump of 10.8 was the third best recorded among DB’s. In the drills he looked like a natural corner — good technique, sound fundamentals. He might not be the most spectacular player at the next level, but he’ll be a nice addition to someone’s secondary and he should be a day two pick.

Other players of note

Mo Alexander (S, Utah State) — One to monitor for the Seahawks. He’s 6-1 and 220lbs, ran a 4.54 and has nice length (6th longest arms in the class). He also had a 38 inch vertical and a 10.3 broad jump. A definite later round candidate for Seattle.

Brock Vereen (S, Minnesota) — he was one of the big winners with a 4.47 forty, a 6.90 three cone and 25 reps on the bench press. He excelled in drills and the brother of New England’s Shane Vereen is one to keep an eye on.

Jaylen Watkins (CB, Florida) — speaking of brothers, Sammy Watkins’ older sibling ran a 4.41 despite carrying a strained achilles. He’s got short arms, but put up 22 reps on the bench. We know he’s got good DNA.

Deone Bucannon (S, Washington State) — he looked in great shape today and did himself the power of good with a really solid work out. Decent size (6-1, 211lbs) and might be a bit of a safety-tweener, but this was a good day for Bucannon.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama) — he didn’t do anything spectacular. We’re not talking about Earl Thomas here, and I’m not convinced he’s Mark Barron either despite the physical comparisons. But he ran faster than Kenny Vaccaro a year ago and there are teams in the mid-first who really could use a safety upgrade. A lack of depth at the position helps Clinton-Dix.

Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville) — he’s a big hitting safety who’s likely to be a walking yellow flag as a rookie. He ran a 4.58 just like Clinton-Dix and they look very similar — physically and during work outs. This is likely to be a pick your poison situation.

Final thoughts on the DB’s

Overall it’s not a great defensive back class. There’s a lack of obvious first round talent — in fact it’s not unbelievable to think Justin Gilbert might be the only first rounder.

I’d like to be Alterraun Verner or Aqib Talib right now. If they aren’t franchised, they’re both set for a bumper pay day when free agency begins on March 11th.

In terms of the Seahawks, there aren’t a lot of obvious options here for their next later round project at corner. Last year it was fairly simple to identify Tharold Simon — nice length, style of play, 4.5 speed. There’s not a great deal of length/speed in this class.

Justin Gilbert sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s almost too good to be true in terms of physical fit for this team. Of course, he’ll be long gone by #32 unless something seriously went wrong during interviews at the combine.

The one thing Seattle expects is dedication. I’m not talking about the coaches here necessarily — I’m talking about the players. Richard Sherman took it upon himself to become the most prepared cornerback in the league. He critiques his own play, he studies the film.

I’ve no doubt he took his cue from Earl Thomas. Byron Maxwell has been credited for adopting Sherman’s approach to the game. The entire Legion of Boom are film room junkies as much as they are great players.

You can’t expect to survive in that defensive back meeting room unless you’re going to work your tail off. When I hear Gilbert say he doesn’t know who Aqib Talib is, I wonder whether he’s going to know what his next opponent likes to do with route concepts. What are the looks you’re going to get? What does a quarterback like to do to a certain coverage? How can you find the edge, find the way to make a play?

So many of Sherman’s big plays are down to study and hard work. If Gilbert drops into Seattle’s range, it’ll not be because of a lack of talent. It’ll be because he scares the crap out of teams picking early. In that scenario, would they believe he could change with the right influence surrounding him? Or would they merely be the next team to say, “no thanks”.

We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt today. An outstanding work out deserves some credit, and that was a top-15 performance out there.

Further thoughts on the receiver group

Some extra thoughts having sifted through the numbers from Saturday…

Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Only eight players recorded a superior vertical jump (38.5 inches) to Beckham Jr — and he’s 5-11. He also recorded a 4.43 forty with a 1.50 ten yard split. His three cone (6.69) was in the top six for receivers. On the field he competes for everything, high points the ball consistently and makes plays as a wide out or return man. Listen to any of his interviews and you’ll come away impressed. In many ways, he’s the perfect Seahawks prospect. It’s just a shame he’ll be long gone by #32.

Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Many of the headlines discussed Lee’s average forty yard dash (4.52). It could’ve been better, no doubt about that. He’s a hair under 6-0 and sub-200lbs — and players without great size are expected to be able to run. Here’s the thing though — Lee makes up for it elsewhere. He had a 38 inch vertical — like Beckham Jr, among the best in the class. He had the second best broad jump at 10.7. In both those two categories, he beat Sammy Watkins. He’s also a terrific competitor on the field — a real ‘heart and soul’ type. He doesn’t know when he’s beaten and at the back end of the season made some incredible plays at less than 100% health. The forty times aren’t the be-all and end-all for these players. Carroll recruited him and would probably love a shot at him at #32, it’s unlikely though.

Martavis Bryant (WR, Clemson)
Physically this guy is right up Seattle’s street. He’s a shade under 6-4, weighing 211lbs. He runs a 4.42 and his vertical jump of 39 inches was only beaten by two other receivers (Tevin Reese & Damian Copeland). He also recorded one of the best broad jumps at 10.4. You can work with a guy like this. Yet he’s also been labelled a ‘knucklehead’ and just doesn’t seem like a confident character at all. His interviews are shy and retiring, and he doesn’t go into technical detail on routes or defenses like former Clemson team mates Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Having seen how competitive those two players are, you’d think it might rub off on Bryant. It didn’t, and his college career was wildly underwhelming. “Pissed off for greatness” just isn’t the vibe you get. And yet athletically he’s so impressive.

Allen Robinson (WR, Penn State)
I was almost ready to dismiss Robinson as an option for Seattle after seeing a mediocre 4.60 forty. Then I looked at some of the other numbers — tied third best vertical (39 inches), 10.7 broad jump, a 1.54 ten yard split on his forty. He’s not an explosive runner, but he’s not a bad all-round athlete by any means. I still don’t think the Seahawks would pick a 4.60 receiver in round one unless he has Kelvin Benjamin’s size, but Robinson isn’t a total lost cause. If he’s there in round two, it might be one to monitor.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Personally, I just think Pete Carroll would love to wheel out a 6-5, 240lbs receiver who looks as good as Benjamin. There’s a definite ‘win getting off the bus’ mentality to Carroll’s set-up, and Benjamin carries 240lbs better than anybody you’ll ever come across. He has long arms at 34 7/8 inches and a terrific catching radius. And yet compared to Mike Evans, there’s a little disappointment too. Evans had an incredible 37 inch vertical. Benjamin’s is 32.5. He’s big and tall, but he doesn’t have a ton of hop. Only six receivers had a worse vertical jump. He’s an impressive looking guy, but he’s not mind blowing.

Michael Campanaro (WR, Wake Forest)
I’m not crazy about 5-9 receivers for an offense that highlights chunk plays, jump balls and tries to exploit single coverage — but this guy is different. He ran a 4.46, recorded an outstanding 39 inch vertical (same as Martavis Bryant), had a 6.77 three cone, a 10.4 broad jump and even benched 20 reps at 225lbs. I’ll remind you again, he’s 5-9 and 192lbs. That’s one impressive dwarf.

Players with first round potential who looked kind of Seahawky at the combine

Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Decorated, all-round tackle and possible top-ten pick. Wowed with an athletic display for the ages. High character, high motor individual.

Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Basically, the prototype player Seattle goes for. Undersized by conventional wisdom, and yet plays way above those limitations. It also helps he showed he’s a big time athlete with incredible numbers in the vertical and broad jump. Huge hands.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
Not the other-world athlete we expected. He aint Megatron. But he’s the type of player Seattle loves to field — incredible size. And while his vertical wasn’t great, you can’t help but drool at the prospect of him competing in the red zone with that 6-5, 240lbs frame.

Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
We’re led to believe Seattle really looks at the three cone drill, as do a lot of teams. Ealy’s three cone of 6.83 wasn’t just the best this year — historically it was one of the best for a defensive lineman. It’s comparable to Bruce Irvin, Cliff Avril and J.J. Watt. And while he ran a 4.92, Michael Bennett once ran a 5.00. They could possibly get him up to 280lbs and use him as a versatile pass rusher.

Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State)
Do the Seahawks need a linebacker? No. But how can you ignore Shazier’s incredible 42 inch vertical (he’s 6-1), an equally impressive 10.10 broad jump and a 6.91 three cone? The Seahawks could lose K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith after the 2014 season. They like insane athlete’s, and Shazier appears to be one.

Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Length, size and a top notch vertical. That’s what Hageman showed at the combine. It’s hard to imagine they won’t have serious interest here, given their penchant for guys that are 6-6 and 310lbs. His interviews will have been crucial though.

Morgan Moses (T, Virginia)
They seem to want length at tackle. Moses flashed 6-6 and 314lbs size, with 35 3/8 inch arms — third longest among offensive linemen.

Antonio Richardson (T, Tennessee)
The other thing they’ve gone for on the offensive line is abnormal size. Richardson was the biggest tackle on display at nearly 6-6 and 332lbs. He didn’t look good during the drills and some pundits have suggested he’s set for a fall. People also said the same about James Carpenter during the 2011 combine. He has 35 inch arms. There’s a lot to work with here.

Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
Just the perfect example of ballhawking skills, raw athleticism and length. He’d fit like a glove, if he had any chance of reaching the #32 pick.

Troy Niklas (TE, Notre Dame)
He looked really stiff during drills and wussed out of the forty. And yet he has the body of a Greek God. The Gronk comparisons are overblown — he’s not a 4.6 runner. But he could develop into an upper echelon blocker with the right guidance. He’ll provide a major threat with his height (6-6) size (270lbs) and reach (34 1/8 inch arms). His vertical jump (32 inches) matched Eric Ebron’s.

Salary cap set for a huge rise?

This is welcome news.

Initial reports suggested the cap would rise by $7m to $130m. That would’ve significantly boosted Seattle’s chances of keeping the likes of Michael Bennett, Golden Tate and others.

Now Mike Florio is reporting that the cap could go beyond $130m — potentially by millions.

His suggestion is a total of around $135m — a $12m increase from 2013. If the Seahawks do eventually cut Sidney Rice and Red Bryant, they’d be looking at around $24m in cap space.

When you consider the potential savings elsewhere (Chris Clemons, Zach Miller) — Seattle could eventually find itself in a very healthy position in it’s quest to keep the band together.

Essentially the NFL and the NFLPA had to act. The new CBA has absolutely killed the free agent market, as we saw in full view last year. The new deal was supposed to reward proven veterans, while limiting the crippling financial cost at the top end of the draft.

What’s actually happened is teams are making major savings on cheap rookies and they’re not reinvesting the money into the open market.

Under the old system, everyone got paid. Rookies and vets. So paying out for a proven commodity made financial sense.

Now, an influx of players enter the league every year being paid a relative pittance. And it’s revolutionised the market.

Faced with the option of signing Cliff Avril to a substantial five-year contract or waiting to take their chances in the draft, teams are focusing on the draft.

When they are spending, they’re spending on quarterbacks. Teams like Baltimore, Green Bay, Atlanta and New Orleans have given out big contracts to signal callers, limiting how much money there is to spend elsewhere.

The business model as it was planned is failing. And the only solution is to create even more cap space.

It’s kind of like a fiscal economic plan. Speculate to accumulate.

What they’ll hope is — teams paying major money on quarterbacks will still be able to invest in other positions. Teams who were coming into the off-season with major cap room, now have even more incentive to be pro-active.

And teams like Seattle who were up against their budget, can still be financial players.

It won’t surprise me if the total cap increases again and again from here on in. It could be upwards of $150m by 2015.

Whether the plan works or not, we’ll wait and see. But they had to do something — because all the power belonged to the teams. They were having their cake in the draft and eating it in free agency.

The lack of clarity on the final cap for 2014 may also be the reason why Sidney Rice and Red Bryant are yet to be officially released, despite recent national media reports and in Rice’s case a farewell Tweet.

And if the cap increases every year, there shouldn’t be any issues paying Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

Why they might keep Chris Clemons for another year

Just look at what’s available in this draft.

Sure, it’s a deep class. But not for ideal LEO rushers.

There are some options later on, such as Louisville’s excellent Marcus Smith.

But unless you plan on moving up for Jadeveon Clowney, you won’t find a solution early.

It might be a case of going with what you’ve got and what you know. The Seahawks had a formidable post-season pass rush with Avril, Bennett and Clemons working in tandem — even if the latter wasn’t quite at his best across 2013.

And finally…

It’s been a long but enjoyable last three days, spending hours sat in front of a computer screen watching and reporting on the combine. But now that it’s over, I need something else to watch in order to unwind.

This ought to do it…

Tomorrow’s assignment: a post-combine mock draft. See you then.

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LIVE BLOG — NFL Combine (DB’s)

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Live blog to begin at 6AM PST.

Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward will not work out at the combine, according to Tony Pauline: “Routine Combine medical evaluations revealed a foot issue. Ward is still awaiting more to the exact nature of the injury, and initial reports are the injury is considered relatively minor.”


Maurice Alexander (Utah State) — 4.44 & 4.57
Ricardo Allen (Purdue) — 4.53 & 4.53
Dion Bailey (USC) — 4.69 & 4.68
Bene Benwikere (San Jose State) — 4.63 & 4.60
Deon Belue (Alabama) — DNP
Nat Berhe (San Diego State) –4.59 & 4.70
Tre Boston (North Carolina) — 4.62 & 4.53
Bashaud Breeland (Clemson) — 4.59 & 4.53
Terrence Brooks (Florida State) — 4.41 & 4.43
Deone Bucannon (Washington State) — 4.50 & 4.50
Travis Carrie (Ohio) — DNP
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) — 4.52 & 4.50
Ross Cockrell (Duke) — 4.43 & 4.50
Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma) — DNP
Chris Davis (Auburn) — DNP
Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State) — 4.42 & 4.46
Pierre Desir (Lindenwood) — 4.52 & 4.53
Ahmad Dixon (Baylor) — 4.56 & 4.54
Brandon Dixon (Northwest Missouri State) — 4.41
Jonathan Dowling (Western Kentucky) — 4.50
Antone Exum (Virginia Tech) — 4.51 & 4.50
Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) — 4.40 & 4.40
E.J. Gaines (Missouri) — DNP
Phillip Gaines (Rice) — 4.34 & 4.34
Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State) — 4.35 & 4.38
Demetri Goodson (Baylor) — 4.44
Andre Hal (Vanderbilt) — 4.40 & 4.50
Victor Hampton (South Carolina) — 4.62 & 4.50
Marqueston Huff (Wyoming) — 4.47 & 4.47
Bennett Jackson (Notre Dame) — 4.46 & 4.47

The Seahawks box watching the defensive backs run…


The first drill is a back pedal, transition and sprint.

Kris Richard is helping with the work out, along with a Giants coach.

During the pre-drill huddle, The NYG coach says, “Have you ever heard a DB group this quiet Kris? Are your guys in Seattle this quiet?”

Justin Gilbert looked mightily impressive. Nice long arms, smooth running style. He ran in the 4.3’s.

There’s no denying he’s a playmaker, but this quote over the weekend was pretty scary…

He was asked what he thought about Aqib Talib…

“Who? I don’t know who that is.”

“I don’t watch a lot of football. I mean, we have practice on Sundays, and I didn’t get a chance to watch a lot of games.”

Oh dear.

Dion Bailey looks like a linebacker convert out there. Stiff hips, not a smooth runner.

Bashaud Breeland showed a nice back pedal and transition. He didn’t run a fast time but looked good in the first drill.

Deone Bucannon is an intriguing looking guy. Nice safety prospect out of Wazzu.

Darqueze Dennard exploded out of his turn after the back pedal. He also looked incredibly smooth running the forty. Dennard putting on a really impressive display here.

Phillip Gaines had a really nice 2013 for Rice with five picks. He ran the fastest forty, but didn’t look as polished in his transition after the back pedal.

Jonathan Dowling looked good in the first drill. Former Florida guy who got kicked off the team by Urban Meyer. Perhaps the smoothest runner on the field, nice change of direction. Worth looking at as a project for Seattle.

The next session is an interception drill.

Purdue’s Ricardo Allen just made a spectacular diving catch. Great ball skills.

Bashaud Breeland has really nice length. He also looked good on this drill — nice hips, tracked the ball effortlessly and caught it.

Deone Bucannon got into position so quickly for his throw he had to stop and wait for it to get there.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fumbled his catch. Darqueze Dennard again impresses on this drill. So smooth.

Jonathan Dowling didn’t do a good job adjusting and locating the ball on his turn. It ended up flying over his head because he was in the wrong position.

I’m not sure what Justin Gilbert was doing on his attempt. Got out of the transition and into the open field. Never tracked the ball and made a has of his catch.

Really though the main thing on these drills are hip movement and recovery speed. Dennard looked the best.

We’re now onto another catching drill. This is a back pedal, sprint and catch on the right sideline — locating the ball and catching it at the highest point.

Ricardo Allen flipped his hips nicely but could’ve done a better job high pointing the ball.

Bene Benwikere just made a spectacular grab. Superb.

Bashaud Breeland looked silky smooth in his transition — and he tried to high point the ball better than anyone else. But he struggled to track the ball in the air and failed to make the catch.

Jonathan Dowling is really long. Just looks like a Seattle prospect.

Justin Gilbert looked good in this drill. High pointed the ball, much smoother transition this time. He and Dennard are separating themselves a little here — but the ball skills overall within this group were poor.

The next session is a double move drill.

Breeland again looked good here. Had a really sharp change of direction and recovery.

Matt Millen poking fun at himself on the feed, while discussing Detroit’s need for another receiver. Guffaw.

Dowling high pointed the ball nicely in this drill. He’s impressive.

Kyle Fuller — superb change of direction, closing speed and a high pointed catch here.

Seahawks coach Kris Richard is running the next drill. It’s two drops, a catch and finish.

Good job Deone Bucannon. Finished on a high note.

Not really sure what to make of Clinton-Dix’s work out. He isn’t Earl Thomas in terms of range and speed.

Darqueze Dennard dropped his final catch, as did Bashaud Breeland.

Kyle Fuller was a little high on his final attempt, could’ve done with bending his knees a little more.

The next drill is an drop and catch. They want to see low bend, smooth hips and ball skills.

Gilbert looked a little high. Phillip Gaines looked pretty good here — very polished.

Clinton-Dix looked really good in this test.

They’ll end with the competition drill. I think this is new. They’ve split the group into two and have a drop counter. The losing team has to do push-ups.

The session ends with a NYG coach telling the DB group Seattle won the Super Bowl fielding a 1st, a 4th, two 5th’s and a 6th in their secondary.

He also turns to Kris Richard to ask where Malcolm Smith was drafted, and whether he even attended the combine.

So much Seattle focus here.

Group two forty’s on the way shortly.

Pete’s ready…


Kenall James (Maine) — 4.42 & 4.65
Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska) — 4.53 & 4.58
Dontae Johnson (NC State) — 4.45 & 4.43
Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State) — 4.53 & 4.52
Kenny Ladler (Vanderbilt) — 4.75 & 4.72
Nevin Lawson (Utah State) — 4.52 & 4.53
Isaiah Lewis (Michigan State) — 4.56 & 4.57
Craig Loston (LSU) — 4.62 & 4.59
Dexter McDougle (Maryland) — DNP
Keith McGill (Utah) — 4.47 & 4.44
Terrance Mitchell (Oregon) — 4.60 & 4.61
Jabari Price (North Carolina) — 4.49 & 4.47
Calvin Pryor (Louisville) — 4.62 & 4.60
Loucheiz Purifoy (Florida) — 4.55 & 4.56
Keith Reaser (Florida Atlantic) — DNP
Ed Reynolds (Stanford) — 4.64 & 4.59
Rashaad Reynolds (Oregon State) — 4.57 & 4.55
Marcus Roberson (Florida) — 4.66 & 4.59
Bradley Roby (Ohio State) — 4.40 & 4.41
Daniel Sorenson (BYU) — 4.72 & 4.69
Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama) — DNP
Jemea Thomas (Georgia Tech) — 4.52 & 4.55
Brock Vereen (Minnesota) — 4.42 & 4.43
Jason Verrett (TCU) –4.41 & 4.41
Jimmie Ward (Northern Illinois) — DNP
Todd Washington (SE Louisiana) — DNP
Jaylen Watkins (Florida) — 4.50 & 4.44
Lavelle Westbrooks (Georgia Southern) — 4.65 & 4.66

If you ever wondered how they determine the unofficial times, this is it:

Charlie Casserly with a stop watch.

Bradley Roby had a 1.47 10 yard split on his first attempt.

Sammy Watkins’ brother, Jaylen Watkins, ran in this group.

Keith McGill ran an unofficial 4.44 at 6-3 and 214lbs. Wow.

A quick note on the safety times (with Calvin Pryor running an unofficial 4.6) — Kenny Vaccaro had an official 4.62 last year and was the #15 overall pick.


The first drill is the turn and go. They want to see the back pedal and hips. Can you stay low?

The first few players didn’t finish the drill properly. These are timed tests. Not sure the coaches made that clear.

Keith McGill’s transition was fine, but he needs to get lower. That’s difficult at 6-3, but he can bend a little more. Stll, very interesting prospect with 4.4 speed and incredible size.

They’ve finally told the guys they’re timing the drills, after Calvin Pryor rounded off the end of his run.

Stanford safety Ed Reynolds looked pretty stiff in his transition.

Bradley Roby looked really polished — nice and low, great snap in his transition. Finished the run.

Jason Verrett the latest prospect not to finish the drill properly. The message is starting to get across though — they’re really finishing the drill in the second go around.

McGill nice and low on his second attempt. He’s looking good out there. Another tape review is in order here.

The feed’s back upstairs for a second interview with Joe Haden, so we can’t see practises right now.

The feed is already starting to wind down despite work outs ongoing. We’re now getting adverts for the Rich Eisen podcast.

Now we get a trailer for the film ‘Draft Day’ — which couldn’t look any more cheesy.

Does the film end with a sweaty press conference in the war room?

Now we’re getting Buck Brooks’ review of the last four days. This might be as far as we go for the work outs. Shame.

The official times are coming in…


Ha Ha Clinton-Dix — 4.58
Calvin Pryor — 4.58
Justin Gilbert — 4.37
Jason Verrett — 4.38
Brock Vereen — 4.47
Terrence Brooks — 4.42
Darqueze Dennard — 4.51
Brandon Dixon — 4.41
Phillip Gaines — 4.37
Kendall James — 4.44
Bradley Roby — 4.39
Jaylen Watkins — 4.41
Keith McGill — 4.51
Deone Buchanan — 4.49
Marqueston Huff — 4.49
Kyle Fuller — 4.49
Jonathan Dowling — 4.51
Lamarcus Joyner — 4.51
Ed Reynolds — 4.57
Pierre Desir — 4.59
Stanley Jean-Baptiste — 4.61
Bashaud Breeland — 4.62
Victor Hampton — 4.69

At last, goes back to the drills. Just in time for Seattle’s Kris Richard to get back in the action.

One thing I’ve noticed today — Richard is no-nonsense with instructions. Very to the point. He’s leading the ‘W’ drill, back and forth then catch a pass.

I love McGill’s length, but to me he looks more suited to a Kam Chancellor type role at safety. A little stiff in the back pedal here. I’ll be interested to see on tape whether he plays with the same intensity.

Bradley Roby looks smooth here — he’s having a really good work out. Richard screaming “speed” at Florida’s Marcus Roberson, who jogged through his drill.

The feed cuts out AGAIN for more Matt Smith and Bucky Brooks face time, just as Jason Verrett was due to run.

We’re now with the NFL Network, who are showing the drills with Mayock. About time.

Mayock unhappy that the St. Louis Rams Twitter account photo-shopped a picture of him with Les Snead’s hair. Belly laugh.

Onto a deep catching drill.

Calvin Pryor a little leggy in his deep transition. Took too many steps.

Ed Reynolds moving better here. Keith McGill stutter steps on his run — unnecessary steps like Pryor.

Roby continuing to excel, just looks like a natural.

Brock Vereen, Shane’s brother, has had a nice work out with 4.4 speed.

Tony Pauline seeing the same thing…

Jason Verrett has fantastic footwork. He just exploded through his run and made a difficult low grab to get the coaches barking.

McGill’s official forty listed at a 4.51. A little slower than the official times. Someone’s going to try and turn him into another big, rangy safety.

Having said that, he had a 39 inch vertical and a 12-9 broad jump. Crazy.

Marcus Roberson looks like he could play in Seattle. Decent size.

Man, I really like Jason Verrett. One of the winners today.

We end with the catching competition, with the group split into two again.

And for the second time we get a speech relating to Seattle’s success in the secondary.

This is where I’ll end the live blog for today. Again, I’ll have another post up later to review the work outs so stay tuned.

Thanks for joining in over the last few days and don’t forget tomorrow’s post-combine mock draft.

Combine Monday review & Seahawks notes

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Aaron Donald had a fantastic day at the combine

Here’s what I got out of today…

Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Without a shadow of a doubt, he’s a top-15 pick. He ran an official 4.68 at 285lbs with a 1.59 10 yard split. He had the fourth best three-cone drill (7.11) — superior to Jadeveon Clowney’s 7.27. Let’s just put this into perspective — he’s 19lbs lighter than Clowney, his split is only 0.03 seconds slower, and he has a better three cone. Don’t call this guy undersized. Call him a beast. He ticks every single box — production, athleticism, attitude, relentless nature, he’s a skilful technician. The only thing stopping him being the perfect three technique is an inch or two in height. Which is nothing. Draft the man.

Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
He’s one of the toughest players to judge on tape, so today was about finding some clarity. Mission:unaccomplished. I’m still left asking — what is he? He ran a poor 4.92 (with splits of 1.66 & 1.72) at 6-4 and 273lbs. For a player tipped as a possible outside linebacker, that was disappointing. His vertical jump was 31 inches — an inch shorter than Aaron Donald’s (despite a height and weight advantage). And yet despite all this he ran the fastest three cone among defensive linemen. In fact, he ran the third fastest three cone since 2006. Here are comparable performers in the drill since ’06: Bruce Irvin, Barkevious Mingo, J.J. Watt, Cliff Avril. He’s also long — with 34 /14 inch arms. He tests like he plays — sometimes mediocre, with flashes of quality.

Demarcus Lawrence (Boise State)
I came into the combine wondering if he could be an option for the Seahawks. He has great length (6-3, 251lbs, 33 3/4 inch arms). He recorded a 34.5 vertical jump — among the best on the day. Yet his official 4.80 forty is disappointing and a 7.93 three cone was worse than 326lbs nose tackle Zach Kerr. To get into the first round mix he needed to be closer to a 7.05 in the three cone and hit the 4.6/4.7 mark. Players like Marcus Smith at Louisville simply outperformed him on the day. Back to the drawing board here.

Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Another player who tested brilliantly in some categories, and not so much in others. He’s a former basketball player and managed the seventh best vertical (35.5 inches) at 6-6 and 310lbs. He had 35 reps on the bench press despite his long 34 1/4 inch arms. His 5.02 in the forty isn’t amazing, but it’s about right. Yet his three cone drill (7.87) was among the worst for defensive linemen. Will Sutton, who struggled badly all day, managed a 7.93 in comparison. His two 10-yard splits were 1.81 and 1.75 — again, among the worst. He coasted through his forty without any real running technique, and he was hit and miss in the drills. He’s going to need some coaching up. If he’s willing to work, he could be fantastic. I still think he’s a first round pick.

Jackson Jeffcoat (DE, Texas)
A lot of people expected Jeffcoat to run in the 4.7/4.8 range. Instead he managed an official 4.63 and had the second best three cone — only beaten by Kony Ealy’s historically good attempt. He had the sixth best vertical (36 inches) and he’s got really good length — 6-3, 247lbs, 33 7/8 inch arms. He’s a former 5-star recruit and he flashed some of those skills today. Tony Pauline really likes this guy. He has NFL bloodlines — his father Jim Jeffcoat was a standout defensive lineman for Dallas and Buffalo. You have to wonder if he’s due for a bit of a rise up the boards.

Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
He admitted he’d dropped 20lbs for the combine — we’ll never now why he let himself get to 350lbs on a compact 6-2 frame. Was it an overreaction from Notre Dame, after getting beaten up by Alabama in the BCS Championship? Was it ill-discipline? He’s not a top-15 nose tackle with unbelievable athletic qualities. He ran a 5.42, only managed a 25.5 vertical, had a lousy 8.29 three cone and didn’t compete in the bench press. Vince Wilfork (6-1, 323lbs) recorded a 5.08 forty, a 7.62 three cone and had 36 reps on the bench. Wilfork went 21st overall. It’s difficult to see Nix topping that, but he might find a home at the end of round one. It’s no guarantee, though.

Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA)
At no point in the last two years has Barr looked like anything but a work in progress. He’s got a great lean off the edge (big positive) — but his hand use is really poor (big negative). He lacks core strength in the upper body and struggles in 1v1 combat. He looks like a guy who made a late transition from full back. 15 reps on the bench press is below average for the position, and he needs to get on those weights. His forty time at 4.66 was OK — but he’s only 244lbs. He did run the third best three cone among the linebackers with a decent 6.82. He’s a project for me — and not an obvious top-ten pick. He should go in round one, but I doubt it’ll be as early as a lot of the mock drafts are suggesting.

Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
The media narrative has been particularly negative throughout the combine. Mike Mayock has been extremely critical of Clowney, while other pundits have questioned whether you can trust him at the next level. I understand those concerns — Clowney is incredibly laid back. You get a vibe of entitlement. And you do have to wonder whether he truly wants to be ‘great’ — or will he just accept being rich and ‘good’? The thing is, it’s difficult to watch him run a 4.53 and not get excited. However critical people want to be about this guy, it’s going to be so hard to pass on him — whether you need a quarterback or not.

Timmy Jernigan (DT, Florida State)
On tape, Jernigan doesn’t blow anyone away. He’s not an explosive speed rusher, and that showed up today with a 5.06 forty (he didn’t run the three cone drill). He’s in between 6-1 and 6-2 at 298lbs — but he doesn’t get close to the type of athleticism flashed by Aaron Donald. He only had a 29.5 vertical and an 8.6 on the broad jump (9th worst). He doesn’t have much length either — with 31 5/8 inch arms to go with a compact frame. I’ll say this though — I kind of like the way he plays. He’s edgy, he has a good motor. He actually tires out sometimes because he tries too hard. He can manage that situation better and it cost him some crucial snaps at the end of the BCS Championship. I just have a really hard time placing him in the first round without the brilliant physical skills or the big-time production.

Players making an impression

Marcus Smith (DE, Louisville) — I’m going to watch tape on this guy tonight. Ran a 4.68 at 6-3 and 251lbs. He’s got 34 inch arms, managed a 35 inch vertical and a 10.1 broad jump. Doesn’t have Bruce Irvin (4.43) or Cliff Avril (4.51) speed, but he’s someone I want to get a closer look at.

Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB, Boston College) — ran a 4.51, made a 39 inch vertical and a 10.8 broad jump. He looked terrific in drills too. This was an explosive performance from the 6-0, 232lbs linebacker.

Larry Webster (DE, Bloomberg) — former basketball player. Lacked polish during the drills, but could be another Jameson Konz project with the ability to try-out at multiple positions (although he’s not a 4.38 guy like the Konz). He ran a 4.58 at 6-5 and 252lbs. Managed a 36.5 vertical and a 10.3 inch broad jump. A 7.29 broad jump is in the Jackson Jeffcoat range.

Caraun Reid (DT, Princteon) — Really shone in the drills — looked smooth, mobile and effective. Ran a 4.91 at 6-2, 302lbs. Nice three-tech prospect. Has 33 inch arms.

Telvin Smith (LB, Florida State) — any team trying to find a rangy, hard hitting safety should think about converting this guy. He’s 6-3 and 218lbs — but ran a 4.52. There’s a lot of potential here.

Anthony Johnson (DT, LSU) — Made the biggest impression during drills when the first group of defensive linemen were working out. Strong, violent hands. Effortless in the club/rip session. Solid looking frame, extremely powerful. Another player I’ll go back and re-assess. Could be a very solid mid-round type who develops into an effective run blocker.

Several big names missing

Stephon Tuitt told’s live feed that his medical picked up a stress fracture on his left foot. He says he intends to delay surgery until after his pro-day, which could take place on March 6th.

Dee Ford was advised by combine officials not to participate. The medical exams revealed a problem linked to a 2011 surgery regarding a herniated disc. That could be serious.

Brent Urban hurt an ankle during the Senior Bowl and didn’t take part in the forty or any of the drills today.

C.J. Mosley didn’t run the forty and there were some concerns relating to his medical.

Ryan Shazier pulled out of the forty after hurting his hamstring doing the broad and vertical jumps. He did run a three cone — and made a decent 6.91.

Thoughts on Seattle and the defensive linemen

I think it’s pretty likely they’ll re-sign Michael Bennett, but they’ll lose Red Bryant (discussion coming up below) plus possibly Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald. Chris Clemons is also a potential cut.

There are existing players on the roster who will get the opportunity to step up (namely Jordan Hill), but they’ll likely have to re-stock the defensive line — even if they manage to keep one or both of McDaniel and McDonald.

There are players with length and athletic upside in this class that’ll be interesting if they make it to #32. Ra’Shede Hageman is a good example, while Kony Ealy’s three cone effort piqued my interest.

It’s debatable either will be available, while Aaron Donald will be long gone (sigh).

There probably isn’t a LEO you’d take in the first round — and there weren’t any pass rushers running in that 4.4/4.5 range today.

I still see Brent Urban as an option for the Seahawks, it’s a shame we didn’t get to see him work out.

The value in the mid-to-late rounds could be more attractive than what’s available at #32. Can you get an Anthony Johnson to plug into that line as a run stopper? Do you consider adding a Marcus Smith to your pass-rush rotation? Is Urban going to be there at #64 so you don’t have to look at him too early?

Any team wanting a top defensive lineman better get in there early. There’s quite a talent drop after the first 4-5 players leave the board. If we see a little rush early on, this won’t help the Seahawks if they want to go DL in the first round.

I’m loathe to keep ruling out options at #32. Having already poured cold water on a tight end in round one, I don’t want to necessarily do the same with the defensive linemen. I do think there are prospects that would be very attractive to Seattle, but the idea of a mini-rush on pass rushers seems plausible, limiting the options at the end of day one.

This might be an area they address in the middle rounds — where the value is greater.

And maybe this is just me getting carried away, but I think there will be opportunities in free agency similar to the deals for Bennett and Avril last year.

Players want to play in Seattle — and with a deep draft upcoming, not everyone’s going to get paid.

They might be able to find another impact rusher on the open market, on a bargain one or two year deal.

That possibility increases if they cut Sidney Rice, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Zach Miller — and the cap is set to increase by $8-9m too.

Free agency begins on March 11th.

Nailed on first rounders

After three days of combine work outs, these are the players I think are assured of being first round picks:

Eric Ebron, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, Jake Matthews, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack.

Which takes me on to my next point…

Unpredictable first round?

This is a very deep draft, and things might settle down over the next few weeks.

But I think this is going to be one of the more unpredictable first rounds this year.

After the top 10-12 players, there’s about 30-40 players who probably have very similar grades.

It’s a draft that has a bit of everything, too — so we might see teams attacking needs early knowing they can still find starters in the middle rounds.

Bill Polian is even saying tonight he thinks Jimmy Garoppolo could be an early pick.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be that shocked if it happened.

I’ll do a new mock draft on Wednesday where we’ll go into this in a bit more detail.

Pauline: Seahawks covet Beckham Jr

According to Tony Pauline, “If the Seattle Seahawks had their choice of player with the last pick of round one it would likely be Odell Beckham Jr.”

I guess you could say there are 31 other teams who’d be willing to draft Beckham Jr in that range too.

He’s a terrific player, a definite top-20 talent and has no business being on the board when Seattle’s on the clock. Speed, competitive nature, a playmaker, capable of high pointing the football and competing in the air. You’d be shocked if the Seahawks weren’t all over Beckham Jr.

Ultimately though he isn’t going to be there, as Pauline admits.

Earlier in the week he also reported Seattle liked Aaron Donald.

So basically, they’re willing to take the best players in the draft.

That’s reassuring.

Red Bryant the next high profile cut?

Late yesterday this report emerged out of the blue…

Cutting Bryant would save $5.5m. Add that to the saving made when Sidney Rice is officially released and you get a total of $12.8m.

Bryant’s departure wouldn’t be a huge shock. He averaged 29 snaps a game, playing in less than 30% of the Super Bowl snaps.

He’s been a valuable role player and leader, but they clearly believe he’s just not worth the $8.5m he’s due in 2014.

There’ll be more decisions like this to make in the future.

The Seahawks could afford to splurge in 2011 to try and get the rebuild going. Keeping Bryant and Brandon Mebane was key — and so was adding the likes of Zach Miller and Sidney Rice.

At the time they had plenty of cap room and were on the verge of adding starters in the later rounds of the draft. Overpaying a little for Bryant, Miller and Rice wasn’t a problem.

But is it now.

This is all about paying the people who are having the biggest impact on what is now a Championship team. Michael Bennett is criminally underrated — he did as much as anyone to take Seattle’s defense to another level in 2013. Losing him would be devastating, and the Seahawks know it.

Bryant’s role as a two-down run stuffer just cannot compare to the impact Bennett provides as a relentless pass rusher. So it’s pick your poison time. Where you going to spend the money?

On the pass rusher, of course.

The Seahawks spent four years trying to get their rush right. Now they’ve finally achieved it, they aren’t going to let it slip away.

They’ll face similar dilemma’s soon. Zach Miller is a great run blocking tight end, but a great run blocking tight end isn’t worth $7m. If you can keep Miller and do everything else you need to do, fine. But if you can save money on that position and pay an Earl Thomas for example, you’ve got to do it.

Releasing Chris Clemons also saves $7.5m — but it’s interesting that despite speculation relating to Rice, Miller and Bryant — none of the national pundits have name-checked Clemons as an expected cut.

I wonder, after four years of trying to get the pass rush right, whether they want another year of Clemons, Bennett and Cliff Avril working in tandem?

Going back to Bryant, the debate now is — how do you replace him?

I’m not convinced they’ll go in search of a cheaper big man. I’m also not sure they’ll look to promote a Jesse Williams into the same role (and really, he just has to get to a point where he can take the field again).

I think they’ll adjust and adapt. They found a role for Bryant and made it work. They’ll have a plan to move forward, and when the draft and free agency have been and gone — they’ll simply work out a formula that suits their personnel.

This is a team that’s constantly evolving. It might not be a case of looking for another 323lbs lineman. It might be more about continuing to look for length, power and the ability to play the run particularly well — whether you’re 290lbs or 320lbs.

Brandon Coleman met with the Seahawks

No big surprises here.

We’ve talked about Coleman a lot, so we don’t need to go over old ground. I suspect they’ll have a degree of interest in him — really it’s just about the grade he gets. Do they see him as a first round option, or would they only take him later on?

We’ll be back for the final day of the combine tomorrow, featuring the defensive backs.

Join us for the final time for the Live Blog from 6am PST.

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LIVE BLOG: NFL scouting combine (DL & LB)

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Live blog to begin at 6AM PST.

Some key news before we get underway today. Stephon Tuitt has a foot fracture (just like Austin Seferian-Jenkins) and won’t participate. It’s a big blow — he had an opportunity to regain some momentum today after a poor 2013 season.

Dee Ford also won’t take part. An unknown medical issue flared up. When interviewed by the NFL Network, he admitted he wasn’t aware what the issue was.

No Tuitt and no Ford is a big deal.

We’re off and running with the forty yard dashes for groups 7 & 9.

I’ve included some of the unofficial 10-yard splits in brackets for key players.


Jay Bromley (Syracuse) — 4.93 & 5.13
DeAndre Coleman (California) — 4.78
Will Clarke (West Virginia) — 4.72 (1.69) & 4.75 (1.63)
Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) — 4.47 (1.56) & 4.48 (1.59)
Scott Crichton (Oregon State) –4.78 (1.62) & 4.82 (1.76)
Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh) — 4.65 (1.59) & 4.66
Kony Ealy (Missouri) — 4.84 (1.72) & 4.84 (1.66)
Dominique Easley (Florida) — DNP
Kasim Edebali (Boston College) — 4.69
Justin Ellis (Louisiana Tech) — 5.15
Ego Ferguson (LSU) — DNP
Dee Ford (Auburn) — DNP
James Gayle (Virginia Tech) — 4.65 (1.60)
Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) — 4.97 (1.81) & 5.02 (1.75)
Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas) — 4.60 (1.60)
Timmy Jernigan (Florida State) — 5.09 (1.72) & 4.93 (1.75)
Anthony Johnson (LSU) — 5.25 (1.88) & 5.25 (1.78)
DaQuan Jones (Penn State) — 5.28 (1.81) & 5.34 (1.87)
Howard Jones (Shepherd) — 4.60 (1.58) & 4.57 (1.66)
Zach Kerr (Delaware) — 5.07 & 5.03
Demarcus Lawrence (Boise State) — 4.72 (1.63) & 4.81 (1.62)
Aaron Lynch (USF) — DNP
Cassius March (UCLA) 4.89 (1.69) & 4.89 (1.66)


That 4.47 (unofficial) is why Jadeveon Clowney is going to be nearly impossible to pass on with the #1 pick.

Aaron Donald had an unofficial 4.65 with his first run — and a 10-yard split of 1.59. That’s very, very impressive at 285lbs. He’s a top-15 pick.

Not a great time for Kony Ealy. Datone Jones was the #26 pick in a weaker draft last year. He ran a 4.75 at 283lbs with a 1.61 10-yard split. Ealy’s about 10lbs lighter and only managed an unofficial 4.84 with a 1.72 split.

Ra’Shede Hageman was slower than expected. Jackson Jeffcoat was quicker than expected.

Demarcus Lawrence looked really good on his runs — it was surprising to see the times he clocked. That’s slow for 250lbs.

Some more info on Dee Ford not participating:

So apparently it’s a herniated disc for Ford. That’s not good news.

Jadeveon Clowney says he’s not going to do any field drills after running a good forty time.

That’s very frustrating. It would’ve been good to see him out there competing.


Aaron Donald in the movement drills (stepping over and between the bags). He looks like a running back. How high is he going to go?

Kony Ealy not quite as impressive. I wanted to see what kind of athlete he is, but he looked a little stiff.

James Gayle continues to move well, he’s a possible later round option. Ra’Shede Hageman did a better job on the movement drill than he did in the forty.

Demarcus Lawrence looked stiffer than expected getting in between the bags. Jackson Jeffcoat did OK, but was a little slow to finish — jogging home.

Now we’re onto the club-rip drill.

Scott Crichton looked good in this drill — nice hips, good sharp rip. No surprise that Aaron Donald continues to impress.

James Gayle needed to be compact here, he struggled a bit. Ra’Shede Hageman could’ve been more violent on the club.

Anthony Johnson is having a really nice work out — defensive tackle out of LSU. Nice compact frame. He’s as impressive as anyone out there in these drills. Howard Jones is a small school guy who has a lot of quickness. One to monitor as a later rounder.

Timmy Jernigan’s legs were all over the place. He nearly fell over and ran way too wide on what is essentially a quick lean, good hips drill.

Donald called out by the coaches for not striking the second bag on his second attempt.

Gayle struggling on this drill, just looks really stiff and awkward. Jernigan tried to punch the life out of the bag and just looked silly.

Man, Anthony Johnson is having a DAY. I know who I’m watching more tape of tonight.

The next drill is a three point stance, punching the bags with two hands. They want to see quick hand movement — shuffle, punch, shuffle, punch.

The thing I love about this drill — the football on a stick they get out to mock the snap.

Kony Ealy too deliberate, didn’t show much power on his punch.

I want to see a team hand the ball off to Aaron Donald next year as a running back. He can do it.

Jackson Jeffcoat looked pretty smooth in this drill.

This was Jernigan’s best drill so far. Lot’s of power on his punch.

Now onto the last session. Jim Tomsula, the 2015 Niners Head coach, is running a cone drill.

And the NFL Network goes upstairs to talk about Clowney. Of course they do.

Oh great. Greg Cosell is on the set now. And he’s already been introduced as a demi-god. Ugh.

Greg’s already used his favourite word, “I”, several times.

Timmy Jernigan is walking around singing, “I want to be like Clowney.”

Cosell spending a long time discussing what Johnny Manziel can’t do. Spending no time on what he can do.

Matt Millen has been especially condescending to Scott Hanson on the feed over the last couple of days.

Jadeveon Clowney had a 37.5 inch vertical jump. In comparison, Mario Williams had a 40.5.

Ra’Shede Hageman had a 35.5 vertical.

Clowney gets 10.4 feet on the broad jump. Aaron Donald managed a 9.8 broad jump, which is superb.

Hageman gets a 9.6 on the broad.


Kareem Martin (North Carolina) — 4.73 (1.60) & 4.68 (1.53)
Daniel McCullers (Tennessee) — DNP
Tevin Mims (USF) — 4.95 (1.69) & 4.95
Jonathan Newsome (Ball State) — 4.69 (1.62) & 4.75 (1.66)
Louis Nix (Notre Dame) — 5.35 (1.85) & 5.37 (1.87)
Jeoffrey Pagan (Alabama) — DNP
Tenny Palepoi (Utah) — 4.94 (1.72) & 5.12 (1.75)
Kelcy Quarles (South Carolina) — 5.00 (1.81) & 5.10 (1.87)
Kaleb Ramsey (Boston College) — DNP
Caraun Reid (Princteon) — 4.90 (1.69) & 5.00 (1.69)
Michael Sam (Missouri) — 4.79 (1.72) & 4.84 (1.75)
Chris Smith (Arkansas) — 4.54 (1.59) & 4.69 (1.63)
Marcus Smith (Louisville) — 4.63 (1.57) & 4.65 (1.60)
Shamar Stephen (Connecticut) — 5.17 (1.81) & DNP
Ed Stinson (Alabama) — DNP
Will Sutton (Arizona State) — 5.37 (1.75) & 5.47 (1.82)
Robert Thomas (Arkansas) — DNP
Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame) — DNP
George Uko (USC) — 4.90 (1.75) &
Brent Urban (Virginia) — DNP
Larry Webster (Bloomberg) — 4.62 (1.63) & 4.60 (1.57)
Ethan Westbrooks (West Texas A&M) — 4.97 (1.75) & 4.85 (1.75)
Chris Whaley (Texas) — DNP

Disappointing that Brent Urban isn’t healthy enough to work out. He picked up an injury at the Senior Bowl.

I’ve never been a big fan of Will Sutton. He ran a terrible first attempt in the forty and his second go-around was even worse. Ryan Mallett ran a quicker forty by .10 seconds.

Larry Webster looked good running the forty. Small school guy out of Bloomberg — ex-basketball guy. One to monitor.

Kareem Martin — nice length. 35 inch arms. Decent runs today.

After running well, I’m going to check out the Marcus Smith tape tonight.


Louis Nix is moving well for 330lbs in the first drill — a mobility session focusing on change of direction and footwork.

Kelcy Quarles was a little stiff and didn’t run well. Princeton’s Caraun Reid is having a good day so far — another athletic gem.

I have no idea what Larry Webster’s tape is like, but he looks damn smooth running around out there.

The bags are coming out for the agility drill. Kareem Martin looked really good to kick things off. He’s having a good work out so far.

Louis Nix is working too high on this drill, he also stumbled on a bag.

Caraun Reid again with really quick, nimble feet. Agile guy at 6-2, 302lbs.

Onto the club/rip — Kadeem Martin strong again. Daniel McCullers didn’t run but he’s working this drill.

Kelcy Quarless had his best session on the club/rip. Violent hands, the best so far. Very smooth.

Chris Smith showing a nice punch in the bag drills. George Uko showing the exact opposite — very weak punch. Larry Webster also struggled a bit on this drill.

Louis Nix not a fantastic athlete, far from it. A big man, but not that rare nose tackle type.


They’re starting to filter through…

Jadeveon Clowney — 4.53
Aaron Donald — 4.68
Kony Ealy — 4.92
Jackson Jeffcoat — 4.63
Howard Jones — 4.60
Kareem Martin — 4.72
Chris Smith — 4.71
Marcus Smith — 4.68
Michael Sam — 4.91
Larry Webster — 4.58

Webster, the last guy on that list, just looks like a Seattle prospect. Great athlete. Ex-basketball. Could probably play defense or become a Jameson Konz style athlete.

Disappointing 4.92 for Kony Ealy. That aint great. I’m not sure why there’s so much talk about him going in round one.

That’s a good time for Jackson Jeffcoat.

Aaron Donald is being interviewed on Camera A. Very level headed guy, good talker. The kind of player you want on your team.

He’s going in the top-15. Book it. It’s a shame, he keeps using the word “compete”. He’s so Seahawky.

I’ll have some reaction to the Red Bryant news later, but there’s also this today:

We could be seeing a changing of the guard in Seattle.

Tony Pauline has some Seahawks rumours on his Draft Insider blog today

If the Seattle Seahawks had their choice of player with the last pick of round one it would likely be Odell Beckham Jr. Chances are Beckham won’t be available to the Seahawks at the end of the first frame. I’m told look for the Seahawks to go offensive line heavy in the draft.

I trust Pauline, who does great work, but Seattle almost never lets anything out during these combine events. So we’ll digest this information, but not take it literally.

Assuming this is a non-Seahawks source, the reference to the offensive line might just be a perception based on what a lot of outsiders perceive to be the teams greatest need.

At the same time, I think it makes sense to consider they spend multiple picks on the OL. It won’t necessarily be the #32 (see: the interest in Beckham). But they’ll likely add 2-3 guys by the end of the draft.

But it’s very easy to see why Seattle would love Beckham Jr. He’s a fantastic player.

Stephon Tuitt says on air he has a stress fracture in his left foot and was held out of the combine. He wants to do a pro day on March 6th and have surgery after that date.

Khalil Mack just recorded a 40-inch vertical. Wow. And a 10.8 broad jump.

Ryan Shazier had a 42 vertical and a 10.10 broad. That’s very impressive.


Anthony Barr (UCLA) — 4.66 & 4.63 (1.56)
Lamin Barrow (LSU) — 4.67 & 4.68 (1.59)
Chris Borland (Wisconsin) — 4.83 (1.62) & 4.78 (1.63)
Carl Bradford (Arizona State) — 4.74 & 4.72 (1.66)
Preston Brown (Louisville) — 4.75 (1.68) & 4.76 (1.64)
Max Bullough (Michigan State) — 4.78 & 4.75 (1.62)
Adrian Hubbard (Alabama) — 4.63 (1.62) & 4.53 (1.63)
Christian Jones (Florida State) — 4.63 (1.66) & 4.60 (1.60)
Devon Kennard (USC) — 4.62 (1.60)
Khalil Mack (Buffalo) — 4.66 (1.56) & 4.62 (1.63)
C.J. Mosley (Alabama) — DNP
Trent Murphy (Stanford) — 4.75 (1.66) & 4.78 (1.63)
Kevin Pierre-Louis (Boston College) — 4.44 (1.53) & 4.41 (1.54)
Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) — DNP
Ronald Powell (Florida) — 4.53 (1.56) & 4.60 (1.56)
Shayne Skov (Stanford) — DNP
Yawin Smallwood (Connecticut) — 5.00 (1.60)
Telvin Smith (Florida State) — 4.48 (1.53) & 4.41 (1.53)
Kyle Van Noy (BYU) — 4.66 (1.63) 4.60 (1.60)
Jordan Zumwalt (UCLA) — 4.70 (1.59) & 4.72 (1.59)

Ryan Shazier did not run due to a hamstring issue. C.J. Mosley has an IT band issue.

Ronald Powell appeared to hurt himself at the end of his second run. Yawin Smallwood got injured on his first run.

Gus Bradley better not be trying to get a peak at Seattle’s notes…


Adrian Hubbard probably isn’t a fit for the Seahawks, but he’s moving really well here after a solid forty time earlier. Nice hip movement, low shape.

C.J. Mosley didn’t run the forty but is doing the drills. He looked really smooth in the mobility drill. Great shuffle, quick burst. Looking good.

I’m not really sure why Trent Murphy is running linebacker drills. Surely he’d have been better with the D-liners?

Got to love Scott Hanson as a presenter. Does a great job on red zone, having some fun here too.

Adrian Hubbard struggling in the bag mobility drill — while Christian Jones didn’t even jump over the bags. Cal’s Khairi Fort looked good in this session — nice agility and quick feet.

Khalil Mack is in great shape, but he did look a little stiff here.

Linebacker official forty’s

Kevin Pierre-Louis — 4.51
Telvin Smith — 4.52
Lamin Barrow — 4.64
Khalil Mack — 4.65
Ronald Powell — 4.65
Anthony Barr — 4.66
Anthony Hubbard — 4.69

Anthony Barr not in the top five there. He needed to run well, because he lacks technique and doesn’t have great upper body strength. Hard to picture him in the top ten after today.

They went upstairs very quickly on the linebacker drills, cutting the work outs from the feed. I’m going to close the live blog for today, but I’ll have a big piece up later discussing everything we’ve seen with the DL/LB and a thought on Red Bryant’s potential release form Seattle.

Combine Sunday review: thoughts on the receivers

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell worked out the QB's and WR's today

Today provided more questions than answers.

First of all — how good is this receiver class? I mean, really?

There’s a heck of a lot of depth — enough to extend into the second round before a considerable drop in talent. That’s one major positive to come out of the day.

The other was Odell Beckham Jr — who put on a clinic during the Group 1 receiver drills.

He ran an official 4.43 and looked impressive in every session. He’s always been a top-20 talent. Go and watch the Mississippi State tape from 2013 if you have any doubts.

Yet his performance today provided a rare moment of clarity.

Here’s what we can say with some certainty. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Beckham Jr all deserve to be top-20 picks.

Can we agree on that?

In terms of the rest — well, we could see 8-9 receivers go in the first round. That’d be a new record.

Or we could see as little as four — an underwhelming suggestion given how many people are praising this receiver class.

In many cases, there are plenty of question marks.

Let’s start with the three we can feel confident about…

Sammy Watkins
Didn’t run as fast as expected (official 4.43) but didn’t harm his stock after a superb on-field work out. He was silky smooth throughout — running crisp, effortless routes and catching the ball with natural ease. You have to assume he’ll be the first receiver taken.

Mike Evans
He ran a 4.53 which is perfectly acceptable for a 231lbs receiver. It isn’t the 4.41 Vincent Jackson managed at 241lbs however, probably ending any chance he usurps Watkins to be the first receiver taken. Here’s the major positive though — he has 35 1/8 inch arms and recorded a 37 inch vertical jump. That’s some catching radius.

Odell Beckham Jr.
He’s a superb football player who’ll be able to start very quickly. It’s not just the physical qualities either, he’s technically a gifted receiver. There’s a little Golden Tate to his game — he’ll be able to work the sideline despite a lack of size (5-11, 198lbs). He has 10-inch hands that absorb the football. He’s a fantastic competitor, an explosive return man and he high points the ball better than anyone in this class.

And here’s the rest…

Kelvin Benjamin
He ran a 4.61 at 240lbs. Which is fine. But we mentioned Vincent Jackson with Mike Evans — and he managed a 4.41 at a similar height/weight to Benjamin. Jackson was the 61st pick in 2005. I’m not suggesting Benjamin will fall that far, because he won’t. But can we really say with any confidence he’ll be the top-20 lock we’d started to predict? He’ll be a 23-year-old rookie, he had some ugly drops in college. He had the worst three-cone drill along with Brandon Coleman (7.33). And yet he’s the prototype size for a #1 receiver and has almost no body fat at 240lbs. I could see him going in the top-15, I could see him going in the 20’s or 30’s.

Marqise Lee
The NFL Network had a camera on Pete Carroll during Lee’s forty yard dash (see the video here). When the timer showed a 4.5, Carroll mouthed “wow”. Everyone expected him to run faster, especially the guy who recruited him to USC. He’s only 5-11 and 196lbs and with an official 4.52 he isn’t going to go as early as expected. Lee didn’t have a great 2013 season — he was injury-hit, the Trojans imploded and he had a high drop percentage. We all saw Robert Woods as a top-15 guy at one time. He ran a 4.42 at 6-0, 201lbs and was pick #41 last year. Lee might suffer a similar fate, but he is better than Woods. Would you be shocked if the Jets took him at #18? I wouldn’t be.

Brandon Coleman
I noted earlier in the live blog that this was ‘job done’ for Coleman. He had his knee cleared. He had 21 reps on the bench press and looked in fantastic shape at 6-6 and 225lbs. He ran an official 4.56 which is only 0.03 slower than Mike Evans. But he also had the joint worst three cone at 7.33 (with Kelvin Benjamin). That’s a big deal for teams like Seattle, who DO take combine drills very seriously. How do you balance out a nice forty with a disappointing three cone? We’re talking about a guy with mountains of potential, an insane ceiling. There aren’t many players capable of doing what he does. But he’s a complex mix of extreme highs (size, forty, upside) and lows (inconsistency even in a crappy offense, lousy three cone, technical flaws). He could go anywhere — round one, round two, lower. Who knows?

Martavis Bryant
Bob McGinn reported today that Bryant could slip into the first round mix. Athletically, it’s not impossible. He’s 6-4 and 211lbs running a 4.42. He completely looks the part of at least a high second rounder. And yet McGinn’s report also labels him a “knucklehead” and someone you wouldn’t want to grab in the first round. Despite his good showing in the forty, his three cone time of 7.18 is lower tier and worse than Mike Evans. He has shorter arms than Odell Beckham Jr. He did post a 39 inch vertical jump — third best for receivers. The tape isn’t great. Another guy who really could be anything to anyone.

Brandin Cooks
He ran a 4.33 and with his massive production in 2013, it won’t be a shock if he goes in round one. He’s also in-between 5-9 and 5-10 and only 189lbs. With guys like this, you have to create a gameplan around them. Brian Schottenheimer in St. Louis refused to do that for Tavon Austin, and the results were a mediocre rookie year with only flashes of brilliance. A creative coach picking in the early 20’s might fancy a shot here. But what if Odell Beckham Jr is still on the board? His floor will be round two, he could go in the first — but nothing’s certain.

Jordan Matthews
I don’t think anyone expected him to run a 4.46. He followed it up with a 35.5 inch vertical and a 6.95 three cone. Very few players did more to help themselves than Matthews today. Understandably, it’s kicked off the first round talk again. I don’t think you can rule it out. But I’m still not sure the tape indicates much more than a solid #2 receiver. He just looks pretty good. He isn’t overly physical, contesting (and winning) passes down the sideline. He’s a crisp route runner with a ton of savvy working the middle of the field. That has some value, but I’m not sure anyone bangs the table for him in round one. He is a hard worker though, with the right attitude. You can’t help but like him, but it’s hard to get too excited at the same time.

Davante Adams
I think he got a bit too much hype during the season. He lacks size at 6-0 and 212lbs. Watch the San Jose State game and tell me he didn’t benefit from a serious lack of quality opposition last year. Fresno State were found out by a pretty average USC team, the one opponent of any quality they faced. And yet despite the lack of speed for his size (4.56) he pulls out a 39.5 inch vertical jump — third best among receivers. His three cone was in the top-15. It’s probably not enough to get him in the top-50, but he has a weird blend of fantastic jumping ability and middling speed.

Allen Robinson
He just isn’t an explosive player, and nobody should’ve expected more than a 4.60 forty today. He’s a shifty open field runner, a tremendous competitor and a really level headed prospect. The big question is — can he continue to be elusive and a YAC threat at the next level? Can he get downfield to take the top off a defense? I’m not convinced. Everything is faster in the NFL. And watching the Penn State tape, you can’t help but wonder if he can remain effective. There’s only one nagging thing in the back of my mind. I didn’t really like Keenan Allen, and he wasn’t a burner either. Allen’s a former 5-star recruit, so he was still a vastly superior athlete to Robinson. But still, fool me once –shame on you etc.

Donte Moncrief
He’s not quite as big as expected (6-2, 221lbs) but he promised a decent forty time and he delivered a 4.40. His 39.5 inch vertical is equal to Davante Adams’ — tied-third best among receivers. He had a 7.02 three cone. And yet during the drills he looked exactly like he does on tape — kind of cumbersome, going through the motions. There’s a really good player in this guy waiting to break free. Someone needs to light a rocket up his ass and he might actually deliver on his potential. Nobody in this class has more self-confidence than Moncrief. That can be a good and a bad thing, I think in his case he needs to realise what is he right now — and what he could potentially become if he just worked that bit harder.

So yeah, we could see 8-9 receivers in the first round. It wouldn’t be a major shock. It’s a good group.

But it also wouldn’t be a big surprise if by the end of day one — most of these names were still on the board, with a rush on the position commencing shortly after round two begins.

I’ll also add — after yesterday’s underwhelming performance by the tight ends, we might only see one Eric Ebron drafted in the first frame.

How the Seahawks might approach this receiver class

Assuming they retain Golden Tate (increasingly likely with the cap set to be extended to $130-132m), they simply don’t need another sub-6-0 receiver. Neither do they need a relatively well sized, technically gifted 6-1/6-2 type.

What they need is a beast. A guy with the size to develop into a true #1. Someone who can win jump balls downfield, dominate the red-line and be a much needed force in the red zone.

Seattle doesn’t have that right now.

Mike Evans will be gone. Kelvin Benjamin could be gone. They both look like classic #1 receivers, the type Pete Carroll admires.

So it could come down to how they view the remaining options. Do they see Coleman as a player worthy of the first round? They’ve shown they’re not afraid to draft for athletic potential early in the draft. And it was reported earlier today that Seattle has shown genuine interest in Coleman.

Do they like Bryant enough, with all of his scary athleticism, to take a major chance on him at #32?

If they don’t see a big receiver worthy of a first round pick left on the board, I think they’ll simply look at other positions. I doubt they’ll take another receiver just for the sake of this being a good class.

The way they judge needs is to grade where they can get the biggest on-field improvement. With Percy Harvin, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse — they don’t need to add to the group for the sake of it. They need what they don’t have — a 6-4/6-5, +225lbs monster.

If that guy isn’t there, I think they’ll simply look at other positions.

Time for the defense to shine

With a lack of great front seven depth beyond the first round or two, we might see teams prioritise the defensive talent early.

Unlike at receiver, where you can get a good one in round two — that probably won’t be the case up front on defense.

Here are the players I’m particularly keen to see work out.

Demarcus Lawrence (DE, Boise State)
Ideal length for a LEO, 6-3 and 250lbs. Long arms. On tape he has speed to burn, a relentless attitude and he gets to the quarterback. He needs to prove he has top-end speed with a solid 10-yard split. I touted him for Seattle in my pre-combine mock draft and he’s someone we should be taking very seriously. I just wonder if he could be set for a Chandler Jones-style rise — respected within war rooms for some time, but doesn’t get any media attention until late in the process.

Brent Urban (DT, Virginia)
Another player with the kind of length Seattle loves on the defensive line — 6-7, 295lbs and 34 1/4 inch arms. Looks the part on tape. Had to leave the Senior Bowl with an injury, so this is a good chance to get some momentum going as a potential first round pick. I’ve said many times he could be the steal of the draft. Get him in the weight room and try to turn him into J.J. Watt-lite. He has a ton of potential.

Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
A former basketball player, Hageman has the odd moment where he looks unstoppable on tape. Can he prove he’s worthy of a top-25 grade tomorrow? Another player with ‘Seattle length’. You could see him going to Arizona or Green Bay. He could be another Mohammed Wilkerson. I thought he’d blow up the Senior Bowl, but he left that to Aaron Donald. Now this is Hageman’s time to make a statement.

Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame)
He’s lost weight for the combine. Some pundits rank him in the third round, others say he’s too athletic for the size not to be a day one pick. I’m leaning towards him being in the round 2-3 range, but if he runs a 4.8 tomorrow at 6-5, 304lbs — I have to reconsider. Big guys who can run don’t last long. So let’s see if he can run.

Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri)
I’ve not seen anything on tape to get really excited about. I’m not sure what he is — a 4-3 end? A poor man’s version of Michael Bennett? Does he need to play inside as a nickel pass rusher? Some people think he could play outside linebacker. The fact is, however, that if he performs well at the combine at 6-4 and 273lbs — someone will take him early. You can work with a guy like that.

Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
For me, you could take him as early as you wanted. Terrific football player, without doubt one of the best in the draft. He has nothing to prove tomorrow. But can he be the star of the show? Tony Pauline has been reporting all week he could run in the 4.6/4.7 range. If he manages it, he’ll be a top-15 pick. He should be anyway.

Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
Apparently he dropped 20lbs for the combine. How on earth did he get up to 350lbs? And why? He won’t run like Dontari Poe, but it’s not that long ago people considered him a top-15 pick as a rare 3-4 nose tackle. Let’s see if he can give his dwindling stock a boost.

Closing notes

Tony Pauline has the latest on Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ foot injury:

Doctors x-rayed Seferian-Jenkins left foot with the sole intention of examining the ankle which he sprained a year ago and kept him on the sidelines during a small portion of the 2012 season. In reviewing the x-rays doctors noticed what seemed to be a potential small fracture in the foot and ordered more tests. I’m told Seferian-Jenkins was getting ready to take the field for his workout when he was pulled from the line and told additional tests were needed. The big tight end was as surprised as anyone as he’d never experienced pain in his left foot to that point. Seferian-Jenkins combine weight of 262-pounds is a number significantly lower than his playing weight of 2013. I’m told Seferian-Jenkins had been timing in the 4.6’s during recent training.

— Blake Bortles looked good today throwing the ball, but is he really #1 pick material? Johnny Manziel won’t suit every team — and might not fit the club picking first overall. But he’s the only quarterback in this draft I’d really want to build around.

I sympathise with those saying they’re not sure Bortles or Bridgewater are top-ten locks. I know the QB position is important, but there’s a ton of value at offensive tackle (Robinson, Lewan, Matthews), defensive end (Clowney) and receiver (Watkins, Evans). If I’m Houston or Cleveland, I consider taking Manziel. If I’m Jacksonville or Oakland, I’m not sure I force a quarterback pick. Keep building. Draft smart.

— This could be the end for Big Red…

“We all we got, we all we need”

This would save $5.5m, to go with the $7.3m saved when they officially release Sidney Rice. There could be more painful cuts to come. Keeping Michael Bennett is a priority, and so it should be. Re-signing Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman is a priority. There’s a handful of other free agents you’d ideally keep. Any why not at least have the option to look at the open market?

— And what a strange story this is…

Tomorrow we’ll be live blogging all throughout the drills, starting at 6AM PST.

See you then.

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LIVE BLOG: NFL scouting combine (WR, RB & QB)

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Live blog to begin at 6AM PST.

We’re up and running with the quarterback forty yard dashes…

These are the unofficial times.

Blake Bortles (UCF) — 4.81 & 4.88
Tajh Boyd (Clemson) — 4.75 & 4.84
Teddy Bridgewater — DNP
Derek Carr (Fresno State) — 4.68 & 4.65
David Fales (SJSU) — 4.94 & 5.03
Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) — 4.93 & 4.95
Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois) — 4.72 & 4.72
Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) — 4.63 & 4.56
Jeff Mathews (Cornell) — 5.22 & 5.22
A.J. McCarron (Alabama) — 4.94 & 4.91

Here’s some mid-combine reading from Bob MGinn at the Journal Sentinel. He’s well sourced.

He looks at 32 players in this class, with a scouts take on each.

Demarcus Lawrence is included, the guy we had going to Seattle in our pre-combine mock draft.

Here’s McGinn’s report:

“He can fit anywhere,” one scout said. “He’s athletic enough to play outside linebacker. He’s long enough to play an edge 4-3 rusher like Seattle uses. Worker. Good athlete. Second round.” Was suspended three times for team violations.

Note the Seahawks reference. This is a guy we have to look at for pick #32.

There’s a scathing review of Austin Seferian-Jenkins too…

He’s going to be close to Gronkowski talent-wise,” one scout said. “Now he’s lazy and a (expletive). It’s all kinds of just minor stuff. There’s always something wrong with him.” Had 146 receptions in three seasons. Played some basketball for Huskies. “I think he’s a pretender,” another scout said. “Not really a football player. The hype is big, but he don’t want to block and he is kind of half-(expletive) in everything he does. Inconsistent and unreliable.”

Back to the quarterback forty’s — Johnny Manziel had the fastest unofficial time (4.56).

In comparison, Russell Wilson had an official 4.55.


Again, these are all unofficial.

Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin) — 4.50 & 4.44
Davante Adams (Fresno State) — 4.50 & 4.54
Odell Beckham Jr (LSU) — 4.40 & 4.31
Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State) — 4.59 & 4.53
Chris Boyd (Vanderbilt) — 4.60 & DNP
Corey Brown (Ohio State) — 4.37 & 4.44
John Brown (Pitt State) — 4.30 & 4.35
Martavis Bryant (Clemson) — 4.34 & 4.35
Isaiah Burse (Fresno State) — 4.56 & 4.50
Michael Campanaro (Wake Forest) — 4.46 & 4.44
Brandon Coleman (Rutgers) — 4.50 & 4.53
Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) — 4.30 & 4.30
Mike Evans (Texas A&M) — 4.50 & 4.47
Damian Copeland (Louisville) — 4.43 & 4.40
Quincy Enuwa (Nebraska) — 4.40 & DNF (hamstring)
Bruce Ellington (South Carolina) — 4.37 & 4.31
Shaq Evans (UCLA) — 4.50 & 4.50
Bennie Fowler (Michigan State) — 4.50 & 4.48
Jeremy Gallon (Michigan) — 4.45 & 4.42


Kelvin Benjamin looked superb. He carries 240lbs perfectly. This is prototype, #1 receiver size.

His first time of 4.59 was 0.09 slower than Davante Adams. He’s over 4 inches taller and 28lbs heavier.

His second time — a 4.53 — topped Adams’ 4.54. This is why Seattle will be drooling over Benjamin — and why I don’t think Adams is a likely option at #32.

Brandon Coleman looked chiseled and ran a 4.50. That’s good enough for me at 6-6 and 225lbs to say “job done”.

Interesting tweet…

Been saying this for a while. Don’t sleep on Coleman to Seattle at #32…

Odell Beckham’s second unofficial run was a 4.31. Wow.

The Bob McGinn piece earlier referred to Martavis Bryant being a possible #1 pick. Hmmm. He ran a 4.34 at 6-3/4 and 211lbs.

Mike Evans’ 4.47 was excellent. That should be enough to put him in the top 10-15. It might not be enough to put him ahead of Sammy Watkins as the #1 guy.

From Group 1 — it wouldn’t be a total shock if Benjamin, Evans, Beckham Jr, Cooks and Coleman all went in the first round.

What a year for receivers.


The receivers are running downfield, the quarterbacks get a chance to show off some arm strength.

Blake Bortles is throwing. Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t appear to be doing anything today.

A.J. McCarron throws despite suggesting he wouldn’t. His first attempt downfield was a shocker, way off target. His second attempt was much improved.

Brandon Coleman looked as smooth as caramel on his route. Great strides, caught the football. He’s killing this so far.

Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin didn’t look quite as comfortable. Evans made a nice adjustment to a loose throw from Bortles.

Now it’s time for the gauntlet.

Jared Abbrederis had a drop. Davante Adams looked sharp. Odell Beckham Jr is one of the most natural catchers you’ll ever see.

Kelvin Benjamin avoided drops (shock horror) and looked pretty good after a false start.

Got to say, Martavis Bryant has looked extremely good so far. He caught the ball away from his body. Made a difficult grab on one wayward pass.

Brandon Coleman had zero drops and also caught the ball away from his body. He hasn’t put a foot wrong so far.

Mike Evans showed strong hands, just looked like a natural out there.

Man this is a receiver class and a half. And we’ve still got Sammy Watkins and co to come later.

The record number of receivers taken in the first round is seven.

That is going to be smashed this year.

Now the receivers are running in-routes. Benjamin made a lovely high grab on a pass thrown behind him.

Bryant just laid out to get an errant pass, but couldn’t bring it in.

Another nice job by Coleman and Evans. Smooth route, nice cut. Both caught their passes.

Evans looked crisper on the curl route than Benjamin. Coleman looked a little safe on his, focusing too much on catching the ball and hesitating a little.

A.J. McCarron after a tough start looked good throwing the ball. Bortles really warmed up on the deep out throws.

Coleman rounded off his deep route. Benjamin looked really good — and Beckham Jr was even better. Evans got the timing on his route all wrong and didn’t catch the football. It was messy.

I’m crossing over to Camera 2 now to watch the forty yard dashes for the second group of QB’s and WR’s.


Stephen Morris (Miami) — 4.62 & 4.57
Aaron Murray (Georgia) — DNP
Bryn Renner (North Carolina) — 4.85 & 4.88
Tom Savage (Pittsburgh) — 5.00 & 4.85
Connor Shaw (South Carolina) — 4.58 & 4.55
Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) — 4.60 & 4.57
Dustin Vaughan (WTAMU) — 4.91 & 4.94
Keith Wenning (Ball State) — 4.88 & 4.85

An unofficial 4.57 is superb for Logan Thomas. He struggled the last two years at Virginia Tech, but he’s got a ton of potential as a longer term project.

And don’t rule out someone taking him much earlier than expected.

The time will increase talk he could switch to tight end.


Robert Herron (Wyoming) — 4.45 & 4.50
Cody Hoffman (BYU) — 4.54 & 4.53
Josh Huff (Oregon) — 4.45 & 4.47
Allen Hurns (Miami) — 4.53 & 4.55
Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley State) — 4.30 & 4.44
T.J. Jones (Notre Dame) — 4.40 & 4.50
Jarvis Landry (LSU) — 4.65 & DNP
Cody Latimer (Indiana) — DNP
Marqise Lee (USC) — 4.50 & 4.44
Marcus Lucas (Missouri) — 4.52
Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) — 4.40 & 4.44
Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss) — 4.40 & 4.35
Kevin Norwood (Alabama) — 4.39 & 4.48
Tevin Reese (Baylor) — 4.40
Paul Richardson (Colorado) — 4.35
Allen Robinson (Penn State) — 4.60 & 4.56
Jalen Saunders (Oklahoma) — 4.42 & 4.41
Willie Snead (Ball State) — 4.60
Devin Street (Pittsburgh) — 4.53 & 4.47
L’Damian Washington (Missouri) — 4.43 & 4.43
Sammy Watkins (Clemson) — 4.34 & 4.37

Jeff Janis out of Saginaw State Valley — wow. An unofficial 4.30 and a fairly big guy. That’s impressive.

Jarvis Landry slower than expected — his first run is an unofficial 4.65. He didn’t run a second attempt, complaining of a ‘right hamstring injury’.

Marqise Lee’s first run of 4.50 is the same as Brandon Coleman’s at 6-6 and 225lbs.

Here is a video of Carroll’s reaction to Lee’s first run.

Lee’s second attempt was a 4.44.

Jordan Matthews’ 4.40 is very impressive. That’s much better than I expected.

Donte Moncrief also managed a 4.40. Again — that’s impressive. Can we afford to say again how good this wide receiver class is?

Another shock — Kevin Norwood with a 4.39? We’ve got to wait for the official times, but man.

Allen Robinson got a 4.60. Not a shock — he was never expected to run a good time. He’s shifty in the open field, but not an explosive athlete.

Most ill-advised comment of the combine so far? That award goes to Oklahoma State quarterback Justin Gilbert…

The NFL Network/ killed us again during these runs, going away from any live action to show talking heads.

Some of the second unofficial runs won’t be listed here. But at least we got to hear Charles Davis talk about Sammy Watkins (unbelievable).


Jarvis Landry is back on the field despite not running a second forty yard dash. He is struggling with the hamstring though.

Despite their good runs, Jordan Matthews and Donte Moncrief just don’t look as big as the earlier guys (Evans, Coleman, Benjamin). Both very athletic, but are they what Seattle is looking for.

The first drill is a short out route.

L’Damian Washington ran a sloppy route, followed by Sammy Watkins dropping his catch.

Matthews and Marqise Lee looking smooth on the deep routes. Paul Richardson high pointed the ball nicely.

Stephen Morris floated his passes a little too much. He’s athletic, but doesn’t have a great arm.

Connor Shaw was putting a little too much juice on his throws, while Logan Thomas completely under-threw his guy.

Allen Hurns had a hot-potato drop on his deep throw. L’Damian Washington had two attempts — laying out and failing to get one, and spilling the other.

Sammy Watkins had one of the best gauntlet runs. Very soft hands, flawless movement.

Jordan Matthews equally looked good. Donte Moncrief made hard work of his, dropping one ball and looking a little awkward.

Allen Robinson was a little tight but didn’t have any drops.

I liked Marqise Lee’s gauntlet runs. Like Watkins — very smooth, very natural.

Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell led some of the wide receiver and quarterback drills:

Defensive back measurements

These are starting to filter through. You can see them here via Walter Football.

Bashaud Breeland is 5-11 and 197lbs.

Official forty times

These are starting to filter in.

Logan Thomas — 4.61
Stephen Morris — 4.63
Connor Shaw — 4.66
Johnny Manziel — 4.68
Blake Bortles — 4.93
Derek Carr — 4.69
A.J. McCarron — 4.94

Sammy Watkins — 4.43
Allen Robinson — 4.60
Jordan Matthews — 4.46
Donte Moncrief — 4.40
Brandin Cooks — 4.33
John Brown — 4.34
Marqise Lee — 4.52
Jeff Janis — 4.42
Jarvis Landry — 4.77
Kelvin Benjamin — 4.61
Odell Beckham Jr — 4.43
Martavis Bryant — 4.42
Mike Evans — 4.53
Paul Richardson — 4.40
Jared Abbrederis — 4.50
Davante Adams — 4.56
Brandon Coleman — 4.56

I’ll do a review piece later going into some of the big stories from today. But Marqise Lee running a 4.52 at his size is very disappointing.


Antonio Andrews (Western Kentuck) — 4.76 & 4.69
Dri Archer (Kent State) — 4.29 & 4.28
George Atkinson (Notre Dame) — 4.41 & 4.39
Kapri Bibbs (Colorado State) — 4.60 & 4.72
Alfred Blue (LSU) — 4.63 & 4.78
Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona) — 4.65 & 4.62
Isaiah Crowell (Alabama State) — 4.50 & 4.50
David Fluellen (Toledo) — 4.69 4.66
Devonta Freeman (Florida State) — 4.50 & 4.53
Tyler Gaffney (Stanford) — 4.43 & 4.48
Jeremy Hill (LSU) — 4.63 & 4.63
Carlos Hyde (Ohio State) — 4.62 & DNP
Storm Johnson (UCF) — 4.50 & 4.50
Henry Josey (Missouri) — 4.40 & 4.40
Tre Mason (Auburn) — 4.44 & 4.50
Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern) — 4.38 & 4.35
LaDarius Perkins (Miss State) — 4.40
Silas Redd (USC) — 4.68
Bishop Sankey (Washington) — 4.47
Lache Seastrunk (Baylor) — 4.45
Charles Sims (West Virginia) — 4.48 & 4.47
De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon) — 4.34 & 4.40
James White (Wisconsin) — 4.52
James Wilder (Florida State) — 4.78 & 4.78
Andrew Williams (Boston College) — 4.54 & 4.53

To put Archer’s 20 reps into perspective, earlier today Jadeveon Clowney managed 21 reps.

Once again the feed has jumped away from the action. It’s pretty obvious the NFL wants you to watch the NFL Network (or in my case, spend money to watch it).’s coverage this year has constantly jumped away at the worst times. Frustrating.

Once again the forty’s above will be incomplete as a consequence. I’ll keep an eye on the running back drills but otherwise I’m ready to call it a wrap for this piece.

I’ll have a review of the day on the blog shortly, discussing some of the key talking points.

NFL Combine: Saturday in review

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Today was pretty disappointing.

Injury news, players not working out, bad results.

Today had the lot.

Let’s start with the big headline of the day.

Cyrus Kouandjio had a rough outing to put it mildly, looking totally unprepared for the drills and running a 5.59 forty yard dash.

All the positivity over his size and frame washed away in a nightmarish session.

But the work outs weren’t the worst part.

This is going to hammer his stock I’m afraid.

A guy who was once considered a first round lock will end up being little more than an after thought.

You have to feel for the player, but any hopes he had of going in round one are now surely a distant memory. We could be talking about a Jesse Williams-style fall here.

He wasn’t the only injury story of the day.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn’t work out at all because of a fractured foot. Tony Pauline is reporting he’s unlikely to be healthy enough to fit in a pro-day before the draft.

ASJ did a live interview with (you can see it here) and he revealed he hadn’t been medically cleared to work out.

The medical checks are the most underrated part of the combine. Nobody knew about Kouandjio’s knee issue, not even Seferian-Jenkins himself knew he had a foot injury.

This is a significant blow for a player who had a lot to gain this weekend. His stock is a complete mystery now.

How serious is the issue?

How does he compare athletically to the other players in this group?

Is he a first, second or even third rounder?

We have no answers.

It kind of sums up what ended up being a pretty miserable day for the big name tight ends.

Jace Amaro ran an official 4.74 forty and an average 7.42 three cone drill. He just didn’t look like a great athlete.

In fact Amaro’s athleticism was comparable to C.J. Fiedorowicz — a limited player who is expected to be a mid-round pick.

We’ve seen only three tight ends drafted in round one since 2009. Nothing about Amaro’s display today made me believe he was going to add to that list — especially in a deep draft like this.

The one positive with Amaro is the 28 reps he managed on the bench press despite his 34 inch arms. That was a pleasant surprise yesterday.

It was extremely disappointing, if not surprising, that Troy Niklas didn’t run the forty. He complained about a vague ‘strain’ on Thursday and we should’ve known that was a big fat hint towards a limited work out.

He said he was “80%” and that’s why he didn’t run.

Strangely enough he still completed the other drills — recording the worst three cone drill (7.57) and the second worst short shuttle (4.55).

Either the strain is a real killer, or he’s just not that great an athlete after all.

There’s every chance Eric Ebron will be the only tight end drafted in the first round. He managed an official 4.60 at 250lbs before shutting it down due to a minor injury issue.

This position carried some momentum going into the combine, but a lot of that has evaporated in the space of one day.


I will say this about Niklas though — Seattle likes size just as much as brilliant athleticism. His bloodline attachment to the Matthews family is also intriguing. He carries almost no body fat at 6-6 and 270lbs. Today was a disappointment with him not running, but he’s got to remain on the radar.

Before we move onto the good news, a couple of other notes on the offensive lineman work outs…

— Antonio Richardson looked sluggish and clumsy. He ran a 5.30 and challenged Kouandjio for the worst performance during drills. Great size, but this was a bit of a reality check. The mirror drills were cringeworthy.

— David Yankey is another player who just looked so limited today. He ran a 5.48 despite being 20lbs lighter than Richardson. A lack of athleticism here follows an average bench press performance (22 reps). He’s got mid-round pick written all over him.

— I wasn’t blown away by Morgan Moses today. He looked OK. That’s it.

So what about the positives then? Let’s have some good news.

— Greg Robinson should be the #2 overall pick at worst. He ran a 4.92 at 332lbs with a 10-yard split of 1.68. Add that to the 32 reps on the bench press yesterday with his long 35 inch arms. In the drills he looked stunning — flashing superb footwork and mobility. Robinson is a superstar in the making.

— Jake Matthews had a good day to keep his name in the mix for a top-ten spot. His work out performance was a big improvement on Luke Joeckel last year. He ran a solid 5.07 forty with a 1.70 split. For me Robinson and Matthews are going to be the top two tackles off the board.

— Third on the list will be Taylor Lewan. Somehow, he managed a 4.87 forty and a stunning 1.64 split. Known as a terrific run blocker, I’m not sure anybody expected to see this show of athleticism from Lewan. He can book a place in the top-12.

— I thought Florida center Jonotthan Harrison really looked the part today. He looks ripped, he’s technically sound on tape and he moved around very well today. He’s also a big time leader and worth tracking in the mid or late rounds.

— Seantrel Henderson struggled to earn a start in college, had major character red flags and was a complete headache for the coaches in Miami. Yet today’s performance made you think, ‘what a waste’. He looked incredibly agile and did all the drills well. The character and attitude problems are a concern, but he’ll make a nice project for someone. He could be anything — mid rounder, UDFA.

— Xavier Su’a-Filo, as expected, showed a ton of upside. He’s the best pure guard in this class and it’s not even close. He’s a bundle of potential. It was no surprise at all to see people jumping off the Yankey bandwagon today and leaping swiftly onto the Su’a-Filo cart. The tape told you everything you needed to know.

For all of today’s combine numbers, check out Walter Football.

Defensive linemen/linebacker measurements

Here are some of the headlines. Remember, length and speed are key here when it comes to Seattle. You can see a full list of the defensive line measurements here.

— Demarcus Lawrence, a player we touted for Seattle at #32 this week, has 33 3/4 inch arms and is listed at 6-3 and 251lbs. This is prototype LEO stuff we’re talking about here. Let’s see how he runs on Monday. Lawrence is a player we have to take seriously.

— You just know Pete Carroll would love to coach Jadeveon Clowney. 6-5, 266lbs and 34 1/2 inch arms. Majestic. He’s also dropped a few pounds to record a dynamite forty time. He reckons he can crack 4.4 — but a solid 4.5 would still be beastly.

— Aaron Donald is 6-1, 285lbs and has 32 5/8 inch arms. He could’ve been tagged at 5-7 and 125lbs for all I care — the guy can play.

— Stephon Tuitt needed to lose weight before the combine and he managed it. He’s 6-5 and 304lbs with long 34 3/4 inch arms. He’ll be one of the more fascinating players to watch on Monday. If he runs well at that size, he’ll be back in the first round mix.

— Brent Urban has Seattle-size at 6-7 and 295bs with 34 1/4 inch arms. Some teams will be turned off by his personality, but physically he’s exactly what NFL teams should be looking for.

— Kaleb Ramsey is one to monitor out of Boston College. He’s had a horrendous injury record but he’s going pro and is undoubtedly talented. He came in at 6-3 and 293lbs.

— Dee Ford has actually added weight (9lbs) since the Senior Bowl. He’s now 252lbs. He clearly wants to try and prove he can stay at defensive end, but will this have a negative impact on his forty time?

— Louis Nix, at 6-2 and 331lbs, was both shorter and fatter than expected.

When I looked down the list of linebackers today, I was pretty underwhelmed. We’ll keep an eye out for the fast, depth guys as usual.

Brandon Coleman benches well…

We’re still waiting for the full list of receiver bench press numbers, but Brandon Coleman put up some impressive reps today…

And if you want to get your hopes up…

Tomorrow I’ll be live blogging throughout the drills and forty runs. Join us from 6am PST.