Month: November 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Quick Thursday notes: RB rankings

The Seahawks aggressively address their needs and the running game appears set for major surgery in the off-season. For a team so determined to make the run a focal point of their offense, the 2017 campaign has been a failure in that regard:

The injury to Chris Carson didn’t help — but clearly the likes of Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise haven’t provided an answer to the problem.

Carson’s success (and to some extent Mike Davis’ cameo against the Falcons) shows running backs can succeed in Seattle’s scheme. With Thomas Rawls in the doghouse, it seems like the Seahawks view this as a running back problem rather than an O-line issue (even if chemistry can still be developed up front).

Seattle could draft two running backs in 2018 it’s that deep a class. Whether they stick in round one or trade down to make up for the picks spent on Brown and Sheldon Richardson, they could take one early and one in the later rounds. This feels like the year to do it.

I’ve done bigger write-ups on Damien Harris (here and here) and Kerryon Johnson (here and here) and have spent time studying most of the bigger names eligible for 2018. Harris and Johnson, for now, might be the two to focus on — but here’s a top-eight list based on what I’ve seen so far:

1. Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
2a Damien Harris (Alabama)
2b Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)
4 Nick Chubb (Georgia)
5 Derrius Guice (LSU)
6 Bryce Love (Stanford)
7 Rashaad Penny (San Diego State)
8 Royce Freeman (Oregon)

(**Edit** One of the comments noted Georgia’s other running back Sony Michel. I’m a fan — but haven’t had the opportunity to study his play comprehensively yet.)

The more I’ve watched of Harris and Johnson, the more I’ve liked.

I’ve posted a couple of new ‘highlights’ videos at the end of this article but I wanted to bring further attention to the two videos below. Pass-pro is important for a rookie, it’s often the one thing that stops a young running back getting on the field. Now look at how Harris and Johnson handle their duties in protection:

(Clips 1-4 below are Harris & Johnson, the final clip is a whiff by Bo Scarborough):

I’m going to join Kenny for a Field Gulls podcast later today and I’m sure we’ll talk about running backs, not to mention the Seahawks vs Eagles this weekend.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Monday notes: Life without Kam Chancellor

This wasn’t supposed to be the way it ended.

Kam Chancellor, so often referred to on this blog as Seattle’s answer to Ray Lewis, might’ve played his last snap in the NFL. Unlike Lewis, he wouldn’t be bowing out with a Super Bowl ring. He’d not really be leaving on his terms either.

It’s a double disappointment when you consider Cliff Avril may also be retiring for a similar issue. What a crushing anti-climax for Seahawks fans and the players involved.

Still, nothing has been confirmed. While Kam might be leaning towards a new direction today, tomorrow, next week or even in the new year — who knows how he’ll feel in a couple of months. Will the desire to go out on a positive note be overwhelming? That will depend on how serious the injury is. Nobody should expect Chancellor to be reckless. But just as time was a healer for Earl Thomas a year ago, that could also be the case for Kam.

If this is the end, the Seahawks wisely at least prepared for the future. Delano Hill is getting the redshirt treatment — just as Chancellor experienced in 2010. He isn’t Kam but nobody is. If nothing else they have someone ready to compete for the job. They could also re-sign Bradley McDougald.

They might have to — and this speaks to a number of other positions too. With limited draft stock in 2018 they’ll do well to fill several needs. With only one pick currently in the first three rounds, they’re also going to be challenged to find impact.

It’s entirely possible, maybe even probable, that they will trade down to make up for the picks lost in the Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown trades. That would aid the situation. But they can ill-afford to create multiple holes in a roster that already has some needs.

Big free agency decisions looming

I don’t know the cap situation if Chancellor retires and what benefit (if any) Seattle is set to receive.

As Davis Hsu notes in these tweets, there are things we won’t be able to calculate for a while. We don’t even know if Chancellor is definitely going to call it a day.

If Avril retires it’ll open up $7.5m. If they cut Jeremy Lane they’ll add another $5m. They have around $9m available as a rough estimate for 2018 — although the cap could rise again to provide further relief. Cap space at about $22m seems reasonable. That could be problematic.

Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Paul Richardson and Luke Joeckel are the big four free agents. Let’s go through each case:

— Graham has been a touchdown machine in recent weeks and finally the Seahawks have worked out a way to get the player they traded for. His chemistry with Russell Wilson is strong and the two appear close on and off the field. However, Graham just turned 31 and has been a divisive talking point among fans for some time. Do you want to make a long term commitment and can you afford the franchise tag? What kind of money is Graham going to command on the market? Early in the season it felt like this would definitely be his final year in Seattle. Now? If he leaves you’ll have to find a way to replace him and Luke Willson is a free agent too. The tight end position would suddenly be a dramatic need — and whoever came in would need to replace Graham’s recent strong production in the red zone. Do you really want to start again with that?

— Sheldon Richardson has been a nice addition so far, particularly for the run defense. His personality and character fits this team and he’s at a good age. He turns 27 on Wednesday. He hasn’t, however, added much to the interior pass rush. That might be down to scheme and Seattle’s constant desire to play the run first and foremost. Yet the hope was surely to get more than one solitary recorded sack by this point in the season. His addition was supposed to make the defense unplayable — and he’s been more good than great. It’s impossible to predict his value on the open market. His poor statistical numbers and previous character problems could take zero’s off his contract. He could also, based on talent, get a huge pay day (and teams have so much cap room to splash out now). Seattle’s outlay also plays a part. A second round pick for a one-year rental is a hefty price even if you get a third round comp pick in 2019. If his contract only gets you a fourth or a fifth round comp pick — then that’s a problem. And it wouldn’t be a good look. The other thing to consider here is the health of Malik McDowell.

— Paul Richardson has had a breakout season after finishing strongly at the end of 2016 too. He always had talent and flashed his potential even as a rookie in 2014. Injuries have been a problem in his career and that tempers what he might be worth to other teams. The receiver market is a tough one to workout. A year ago Terrelle Pryor and Alshon Jeffrey had to take one-year prove-it deals because the big money over multiple years wasn’t there. Robert Woods, however, managed to turn an underwhelming spell in Buffalo into a five-year $34m contract worth $6.8m a season. If Richardson gets offers in the $7m range it’s hard to imagine him staying in Seattle. If he leaves though are they creating a void that needs to be filled? Is Amara Darboh ready to step in? Or one of the other younger receivers? Is that a situation you feel comfortable with, considering Seattle’s new-found reliance on the passing game?

— Luke Joeckel has missed time through injury and fans mostly seem to have a negative view of how he’s played. Personally I think he’s done pretty well. The Seahawks clearly like him and have talked very positively about him this season. The O-line looks to be taking shape and with Duane Brown, Justin Britt, Ethan Pocic and Germain Ifedi all under contract, it’d be nice to retain some continuity in 2018. They also seem to be placing a high priority on the O-line (see: Ifedi, Pocic picks, Britt re-signing and Brown trade). So while fans might not think much of a new deal for Joeckel, the Seahawks might see it as an important move. Again though, it’s tough to work out what his value might be. He’s earning $7-8m for this season which isn’t actually that high in the current O-line market. Yet further injury issues have to be taken into consideration. The last five games are big for Joeckel.

They might not be able to keep all four but they could find a way. All four players would have to be replaced after all. And with no second or third round pick, it’ll be hard to address the current needs (EDGE, RB) sufficiently without then needing to add TE, WR and G into the equation.

A reminder — the Seahawks are not built like the Pats

It’s very easy to look at the Patriots and wonder why the Seahawks with all their talent can’t emulate their relentless run. The two teams are just built so differently. And in reality, there’s no peer for New England, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

When Carroll arrived many people looked at the Pittsburgh Steelers as the model. A tough, hard-nosed, physical team that won consistently. If we consider the Seahawks as the NFC’s answer to Pittsburgh, then you might look at their current 7-4 season a little differently.

Here’s every Pittsburgh season since they drafted Ben Roethlisberger:

11-5 (won Super Bowl)
12-4 (won Super Bowl)
12-4 (lost Super Bowl)

Russell Wilson is currently in his sixth season with the team. After six years Roethlisberger and the Steelers had been to two Super Bowls, same as the Seahawks. By the end of year seven he’d been to three with a 2-1 record. That’s still possible for Wilson too.

Roethlisberger’s Steelers won 65 regular season games in their first six seasons. Wilson currently has 63 wins — with five more games to play in 2017.

This is Pittsburgh’s 14th season with Roethlisberger now. As you can see, they’ve had some ups and downs. They’ve had a few 8-8 seasons.

Yet nobody would say this period of Steelers’ football has been mediocre or suggest that they’ve necessarily underachieved. One more Championship would probably cap it off. That could happen this year.

Any upstart team as the Seahawks were when Pete Carroll arrived would look at Pittsburgh and say ‘we’d like to emulate their success‘.

They’re some way to achieving that, having accomplished a roster rebuild similar to those Steeler teams in the early Roethlisberger years.

When you start to view the Seahawks as a blood relative of the Steelers (sorry, I know that will be tough for some to read) instead of comparing them to the Patriots — it might make their current form more tolerable.

The Steelers have gone through some pretty significant makeovers over time. When Roethlisberger was drafted they were a fearsome defensive behemoth with a tough running game. Classic AFC North football. As the likes of Joey Porter, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu aged, however, they shifted. They built around Roethlisberger.

Now they’re all about Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

This doesn’t have to be the way the Seahawks go but if they’re forced to lose some of their big defensive stars in the future, it’s an option. That could be why the O-line suddenly gets more investment. It could be why they retain someone like Paul Richardson and/or Jimmy Graham. We might see future high-ish picks spent on the offensive skill positions (eg running back in 2018).

It’s something to consider, anyway.

They may also have some down years in the future. Some 9-7 or 8-8 type seasons. Just like Pittsburgh.

But if by year 14 Russell Wilson has a record similar to Roethlisberger’s — another Championship with an average of 10.4 wins a season — is anyone really going to complain?

Texas left tackle turning pro

It’s shaping up to be another rough year at offensive tackle in the draft. Texas’ Connor Williams is taking advantage, announcing he’ll head to the NFL and miss his teams Bowl game.

Williams is one of the few prospects likely to be drafted highly as a blindside blocker, so the move makes sense.

Here’s a statement from Williams:

“My family and I have decided it is my best interest to forgo the bowl game and my senior season to begin preparing for my professional football career. One of the reasons I worked so hard to come back from my injury was to help the team reach its goal of playing in a bowl game, and I’m proud we were able to accomplish that. I will continue to support my teammates in their efforts to finish the season strong.”

Nobody should criticise him for skipping the Bowl game either. Remember what happened to Jaylon Smith?

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Instant reaction: Seahawks beat Niners, move to 7-4

If ever there was a game to sum up Seattle’s season so far, this was it.

The sloppy first half on offense, the toiling running game, keeping an inferior opponent alive, a vastly superior second half and a Jimmy Graham redzone touchdown. All features to perfectly illustrate the 2017 campaign.

The good news is it’s a win — and at least something to take into a difficult looking meeting against Philadelphia where the Seahawks are looking to avoid a third straight home loss.

If they’re going to become a dark horse in the playoffs, however, this type of football offers little cause for optimism.

A slow start in a game like this against a one-win team isn’t costly. We saw what a rough start meant in the last game though. Atlanta were spotted 14 early points in a contest lost by three on a missed field goal at the end. If the Seahawks have to go to New Orleans or Minnesota or Philadelphia in the post-season (providing they get there), such a lethargic opening could be lethal.

Eddie Lacy had 17 carries for 46 yards — an average of 2.7 YPC. The Niners came into the game with the 30th ranked rushing defense. J.D. McKissic offered more of a spark on his five carries (22 yards) but still seems more of a compliment than a feature.

It’s quite something that a team that used to be able to run the ball with relative ease is now left praying for Mike Davis, a player recently plucked from the practise squad, to get healthy and be the saviour.

Thomas Rawls, from memory, had one snap. He’s officially in the Christine Michael commemorative doghouse.

Thank goodness it’s a deep draft for running backs in 2018.

The pressure on Russell Wilson these days isn’t so much from the opponent as it is the situation. Seattle is completely dependant on their quarterback on offense. In the last four games he has four interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown. He had four picks in his previous seven games.

It’s indicative of his need to do a bit more. He’s throwing more passes, needing to take more chances early. His second pass of the game against Atlanta was a bad pick. His first pass against the Niners was a bad pick.

Not that this is a cause to criticise Wilson. He’s keeping Seattle’s season alive. And in this one against San Francisco he took things over in the second half with another great performance.

There are two things he can rely on at the moment that are new and of real benefit.

Jimmy Graham is the touchdown machine in the red zone this team traded for. It’s taken three seasons and perhaps a removal of the internal desire to make Graham a ‘complete’ TE — but this is the player Seattle wanted and needed.

Do not underestimate this sudden and regular impact. The Seahawks had a horrible red zone offense for a long time — even with Marshawn Lynch on the roster. Now the Wilson-to-Graham hook-up is almost automatic. They’re scheming to isolate Graham and taking the 1-on-1 opportunities. He has eight touchdowns in seven games.

They’re also using Wilson as a runner smartly in the red zone. He has rushing scores in back-to-back games too on the kind of run-pass option that would’ve looked great in the Super Bow….. let’s not go there.

Graham’s production is a huge boon for a team that simply cannot run the football for a score. Seattle has one rushing touchdown this season from a running back. It’s an incredible stat.

The other big plus on offense is Paul Richardson. He’s become a consistent, dynamic weapon. When you consider the Seahawks will always be able to rely on Doug Baldwin too — Wilson has some options now.

Richardson is finally healthy and showing why he cost a second round pick in 2014. Both he and Justin Britt have flourished over time — changing the complexion of how that draft class will be viewed.

Graham and Richardson are both upcoming free agents. Considering how discombobulated other parts of the offense are currently, you almost feel like it’d be a huge step backwards if either player walked in the off-season.

There were some other good moments today. Nick Vannett got his first touchdown. Bobby Wagner was again exceptional and possibly only second to Calais Campbell in the DPOY race. Marcus Smith and the backup D-line players stepped up.

With the Rams, Falcons and Panthers winning — not much changed today in terms of the playoff race. Seattle’s margin for error is tiny. With the Rams going to Arizona next week (a team they hammered in London a few weeks ago) — the Seahawks likely need to beat the Eagles to stay in touch.

It’s not just about that, however. The Seahawks also need a win to prove a point. They need to beat the best team in the NFC. They need to avoid losing an embarrassing third straight game at home. That’s about pride more than anything else. Seattle losing three in a row at the Clink? Shouldn’t happen. Not with this team. They need to stop it happening next week.

If they defeat the Eagles (and it’s a big ‘if’) it will ignite the season and provide fresh life to a fan base badly needing hope and a reason to believe this can still be a year where the Seahawks challenge.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Auburn handle Alabama — thoughts on the game

Auburn are the most fun team to watch in college football and it isn’t close. Physical, tough, enjoying themselves and making big plays. They’ve beaten Georgia and Alabama in back to back weeks, both #1 teams at the time. They didn’t just beat them either — they hammered both.

Alabama couldn’t convert third downs, were disjointed on offense and tried a bit of everything. Instead of doing what they’re good at and sticking to their identity, they played too much to the opponent. After watching Georgia toil and struggle to run up the gut, they didn’t want to take on Auburn’s D-line. Alabama, fearful of an opponents D-line? When’s the last time that happened?

What we saw was a gameplan with no fluidity or focus. A quarterback draw here, try every running back on a drive without letting any of them settle. Short passes, bootlegs, deep shots. Alabama, known for being so tough and physical up front, avoided that type of game.

With 12:48 remaining and with Auburn suddenly leading 26-14, Damien Harris had only four (!!!) rushes for 43 yards and two catches for 20. 63 yards on six touches. And yet they kept spelling him. At this same point another running back Josh Jacobs had taken one more carry — recording 5 for 21.

Harris came into the game averaging 8.2 YPC. He could’ve helped them control this thing, allowing their mobile quarterback to roam around and improvise. Instead it felt like Alabama overthought this one. Harris ended with only six carries for 51 yards as a runner and was severely underused.

Auburn, on the other hand, did exactly what they’ve been doing for weeks. They ran the ball with Kerryon Johnson over and over again. The great thing about Johnson is he always seems to get four yards. He’s tough to stop, wore down even Alabama’s D-line and kept his feet moving. He is special.

Don’t forget — Leonard Fournette struggled to run on Alabama in back-to-back years. Few runners have success against their rotating front seven. Yes they were missing linebackers to injury — but the studs on the D-line were present. This was a very impressive performance.

The commitment to the run provided balance and developing quarterback Jarrett Stidham showed off pro-talent with a number of accurate throws and a decent amount of mobility.

They sprinkled in just enough of the gimmick plays but this worked because they had the orthodox balance. Johnson threw a jump-ball for a touchdown and ran occasionally in the wildcat. They didn’t overdo it.

On the other side of the ball, while benefitting from Alabama outthinking themselves, Auburn’s D-line played like their lives depended on a victory. I almost added edge rusher Jeff Holland to my watch-list this week. Every single game he turns up. He’s harassing the QB. He’s making plays. He doesn’t look like a freaky athlete but he’s always there. He’s not the only one — Auburn have yet again put together an ultra-talented D-line and they were the best defensive unit on the field in this one, even against Alabama’s laundry list of five-star recruits.

Back to Johnson — he is such a good player. Physical when he needs to be, patient and capable of letting the gaps develop. He’s a factor in the passing game and he’ll block in protection (more on that in a moment). He won’t win the Heisman but there might not be a more important, crucial individual player in college football.

He left the game with an odd injury at the end. It wasn’t clear which part of his body was hurt. Hopefully it’s not bad news. It could’ve been a shoulder issue or a stinger. Fingers crossed he doesn’t miss the re-match with Georgia next week.

He finished with 30 runs for 104 yards, three catches for 21 yards and he had two touchdowns including a TD pass.

Johnson was absolutely hammered by Ronnie Harrison just before he scored his rushing touchdown. That could’ve led to some kind of injury. Harrison delivered two crunching hits during the game and made some really crucial tackles. He flashed on a tough day for Alabama. Harrison is a very interesting prospect.

I wanted to spend a bit of time talking about pass protection. It’s important. It’s really the one thing that’ll keep a rookie running back off the field.

Here’s a series of protection clips involving Harris, Johnson and Bo Scarborough with a breakdown underneath:

Clip 1 — Damien Harris absolutely unloads on a rushing linebacker and dumps him on the ground. Harris seems to enjoy pass pro and this another great example. He’s a bad ass. This block allows the QB to make a key gain on the ground.

Clip 2 — Kerryon Johnson takes on an edge rusher here and does a really good job stalling him. There aren’t many RB’s who can block a defensive end like this.

Clip 3 — Ronnie Harrison blitzed up the middle. Kerryon Johnson wipes him out, sending him to the turf. Huge hit. It allows the QB to convert a big third down.

Clip 4 — Minkah Fitzpatrick blitzes tentatively off the edge. Johnson takes him out of the play allowing the quarterback to convert another third down.

Clip 5 — In a similar situation to Damien Harris’ block in the first clip, Bo Scarborough gets absolutely nowhere near blocking anyone and the quarterback is sacked.

Little things like this matter. And while nationally Bo Scarborough is the more well known player — he isn’t the better player either as a running back or doing the little things that go with making a complete player.

I didn’t intend to focus on pass-pro in this game. It was just noticeable with Harris and Johnson in a big, positive way. Johnson in fairness also had a whiff against Fitzpatrick on a blitz not highlighted here — but there’s plenty to work with.

Harris and Johnson, if they declare, might be the next two best running backs available after Saquon Barkley. They warrant a lot more hype for 2018.

The good news for Seahawks fans is this going to be potentially a deep draft for running backs.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Updated 2018 watch list: November 22nd

#1 Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
His production stalled for a while but that’s as much on Penn State as it is Barkley. He’s an explosive athlete and an incredible playmaker, destined for greatness. Puts points on the board as a runner, receiver and returner. Will join Fournette, Gurley and Elliott in a growing group of young studs at RB.

#2 Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
Only knocked off top spot by Saquon Barkley. Nelson is nasty at the LOS with the mobility and desire to pull and get to the second level. Just a fantastic football player. Guards go early if they’re good enough — Nelson certainly is.

#3 Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
Redshirt sophomore so might not declare but Settle is ready for the NFL. He’s 6-3 and 328lbs but moves like a 290lber. Fantastic pass rusher with the size to work against the run. Tremendous prospect.

#4 Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
There are question marks about his personality but on the field Rosen is a surgeon. He ticks every box — accuracy, poise, ability to make every throw. His talent is worth taking a chance on in the top five.

#5 Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
Sensational athlete with great bloodlines (Nick Chubb’s cousin). Carries 275lbs superbly, can round the tackle with speed but also sets the edge vs the run. Lively personality and big production at NC State.

#6 Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
Sheldon Richardson type — a compact, energetic D-tackle. Wilkins isn’t Aaron Donald or Ndamukong Suh as a pass rusher but he just doesn’t stop. His motor keeps revving, making plays sideline-to-sideline and in pursuit.

#7 Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
Having a great year for Alabama. Capable of dropping down and covering the slot, physical enough to play man-to-man but with the range to play as a roaming safety. Doesn’t give up any plays. Not outspoken, a reserved leader.

#8 Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
Jackson compares favourably to Michael Vick and there aren’t enough good QB’s in the league to ignore a talent like that. He’s shown development as a passer. It’s been Jackson vs the world this year at Louisville.

#9 Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
Rare nose tackle. Watch him live and he’ll wow you with how much ground he covers. Stout against the run, plugs holes but shifts around the field in pursuit like a much lighter D-liner. Cornerstone defender.

#10 Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Shaq Lawson type who could play five technique or power end. 7.5 sacks this season and plays bigger than his listed 6-5 and 260lbs. Might not be a sack specialist at the next level but will tie up an end.

#11 Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
Sparky character and won’t appeal to the stuffed-shirt element in the NFL. More open minded coaches and scouts will see a playmaker who is adept at improvisation and keeping things alive. Accurate, in control. Will be very good.

#12 Damien Harris (RB, Alabama)
Underrated back who is averaging 8.2 YPC this year. Much better athlete than people realise — his Nike SPARQ combine matched Bryce Love’s despite carrying a lot more weight. A bit stiff stretching plays out wide but he’s fantastic at breaking off big north-south runs given a crease. Great in pass pro too.

#13 Taven Bryan (DE, Florida)
Florida’s season has collapsed and it’s tempered some of the attention their only genuine pro-prospect deserves. Bryan can play inside or out and wins with power and speed. Fun player to watch and his best football should come at the next level.

#14 Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
Bradley Chubb’s cousin and he’s basically a 225lbs version of the NC State pass rusher. Fantastic athlete pre-injury but looking back to his best now. Very serious individual. If the medical checks are fine and he matches his 2013 Nike SPARQ performance at the combine, he’ll go very early.

#15 Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
Another really underrated running back. Johnson has taken Auburn to a new level with his tough running style. He’s a great athlete once touted to play defensive back. Long legged runner similar to Chris Carson. Has a similar running style. One to watch this weekend in the Iron Bowl vs Alabama.

#16 Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
Completely shut down Harold Landry when Notre Dame faced Boston College. That tape will be poured over by scouts and coaches in the off-season. Maybe won’t show to be a fantastic athlete at the combine but that wasn’t a problem for Taylor Decker.

#17 Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
In a fairly middling season for Michigan, Hurst has been a real bright spot. Wins as a three technique and consistently disruptive. These types of players aren’t readily available and that should ensure Hurst goes early.

#18 Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis)
Miller is having a fantastic year and has a little OBJ to his playing style. A yardage and touchdown machine, Miller is appointment viewing. Fantastic backstory will appeal to teams — Miller has shown tremendous grit as a former walk-on.

#19 Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
Not a million miles behind Quenton Nelson. Price could play guard or center at the next level. Tenacious blocker who loves to get to the second level. Both Nelson and Price are aggressive, active and have the kind of mean streak teams will love.

#20 Connor Williams (T, Texas)
He’s back from his knee injury and has a chance to end the season strongly. There aren’t enough good left tackles in the league so Williams has a shot to go very early if he declares for the 2018 draft. Very athletic.

#21 Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
Guice’s 2016 tape carried a lot of excitement. He was lightning quick, physical and explosive. 2017 has been a bit of a disappointment despite a couple of really good games (eg Ole Miss). Guice is good but is he that much better than Damien Harris?

#22 Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
Sutton’s frame reminds you of Dez Bryant. SMU haven’t had a great year and it’s maybe dented his stock. His talent and potential is unquestionable though and he could provide real value in a draft class light on good receivers.

#23 Derwin James (S, Florida State)
When James squares up a ball carrier and delivers a jarring hit, you get excited. Sadly there are occasions where he’s covering the open field and looks so stiff, you wonder if he has more limitations that people thought after a strong freshman campaign (and an injury-hit sophomore season).

#24 Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
Nowhere near as exciting as Jarrad Davis a year ago but Smith roams around the field as a tone-setting inside linebacker. Not a big playmaker but rarely puts a foot wrong. Has shown up as much as anyone when watching Georgia’s defense this year.

#25 Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)
The latest big-production running back at Stanford. He’s smaller, listed at only 5-10 and 196lbs. He only ran a 4.47 at the Nike combine while weighing in the 180’s. There’s no doubting he’s an excellent player and a legit Heisman candidate — but will he be less of an X-factor at the next level?

Note — Sam Darnold (QB, USC) and Trey Adams (T, Washington) were not included. Numerous reports suggest both players will likely opt against turning pro in 2018.

Value prospects to keep an eye on

Javon Wims (WR, Georgia)
Georgia has a knack of producing big, athletic pass catchers who fly under the radar until the combine. Wims is 6-4 and 215lbs and has become a go-to target for the Bulldog’s freshman QB. High-points the ball, makes plays.

Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
Fits Seattle’s size profile at running back. Physical and fast — Penny is a productive return man and could be a diamond for someone in the second or third round.

Hercules Mata’afa (DE, Washington State)
Mata’afa is a pretty unique player, rushing inside at just 6-2 and 252lbs. A lack of size could hamper his draft credentials — but he’s just such an active pass rusher, he’s worth a shot at the next level.

Marquise Haynes (LB, Ole Miss)
Haynes stood out in 2016 but has been lost in the wash with Ole Miss regressing under a messy coaching situation. He has 7.5 sacks. A lack of size will put off some — but he’s a playmaker.

Derrick Nnadi (DT, Florida State)
Like Haynes, Nnadi is suffering a bit because FSU are having a down year. He’s stout against the run but offers enough pass rush to be a Brandon Mebane-style one technique in the NFL. Big potential.

Josey Jewell (LB, Iowa)
Not the biggest or the fastest player — but Jewell is a hard-hitting, passionate linebacker who plays with his hair on fire every week. The type of guy you want on the roster and at the very least will provide some special teams value early in his career.

Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
Phillips is getting some nice publicity after a strong year. There’s even been some first round talk but that’s a bit rich for me. Henry Anderson was bigger and a fantastic athlete but he only went in round three in 2015. Phillips might go in a similar range.

Greg Gaines (DT, Washington)
I’m a huge Greg Gaines fan. Watching him next to Vita Vea is a joy for anyone who loves watching good run defense. He’s also more active than he gets credit for as a pass rusher. Gaines is a very intriguing prospect and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares in the NFL.

A few further thoughts after the Atlanta game

It’s often useful to reflect back on a game after a period of thought. A day is sometimes a good benchmark.

The defeat to the Falcons was damaging and could cost the Seahawks a playoff berth. The two home losses to Washington and Atlanta were avoidable and mistake-ridden. The margin for error is so small now — and yet this is a team that hasn’t been able to get out of its own way all season.

They can still win the NFC West though — and that has to be the focus now for the fan base. Whatever hopes you had of a #1 or #2 seed and a 2013-14 type post-season run are likely evaporated. Yet the Seahawks can still make the playoffs. And in a year where the NFC is wide open with weird, strange things occurring — you just don’t know what’ll happen if you get there.

Here are LA’s remaining games:

New Orleans (H)
Arizona (A)
Philadelphia (H)
Seattle (A)
Tennessee (A)
San Francisco (H)

That’s a tough run. And with the Seahawks owning the tiebreaker over Los Angeles, staying alive until the game at Century Link the week before Christmas has to be the target.

Make that contest, if possible, a kind of NFC West ‘Championship’ game.

And ‘staying alive’ is very much what Seattle needs to do here. This has been an arduous season. The injuries, the mistakes, the slow starts, the penalties. So much adversity, so many self-inflicted wounds.

For the first time in a long time, there’s also a fair amount of uncertainty. What does the future hold for some of the ageing veterans on the roster? Are we seeing the slow death of this Championship window? Are we witnessing something akin to the 2007 season under Holmgren? What happens if the Seahawks don’t make the playoffs? How much longer does Pete Carroll want to do this?

Were the aggressive trades for Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown indicative of a team leaving no stone unturned, always looking to add talent? Or was it about ringing the last few drops out of this current group before an inevitable changing of the guard, possibly in 2018 or 2019?

Fans can be forgiven for feeling quite insecure at the moment because there are so many things to consider and contemplate. It’s unnerving. There’s not an expiry date on the bottom of the roster, you can’t just check how long you’ve got.

We also know tough decisions are forthcoming. Do they almost have to find a way to keep Jimmy Graham now? He’s become an automatic go-to solution in the red zone. It’s taken three years — but he’s now the player they traded for. A touchdown machine.

If they keep Graham — and considering they’ve also added Duane Brown’s contract now — is there room to re-sign Sheldon Richardson? Will they move on from some of the ageing players regardless and be bold and aggressive to start the roster re-shape?

And with limited draft stock in 2018, what positions will they prioritise?

They’re approaching the most significant off-season in a long time.

These are things you don’t really want to think about at the moment — but they creep into your mind. Because nobody expected this group to be struggling to make the playoffs.

In two weeks time they could be 8-4 and we’ll be talking about playoff seedings again. In two weeks time we could also be having a conversation about whether Derwin James could be a possible Kam Chancellor replacement.

Hopefully it’s the playoff conversation — because nobody wants to see this unbeatable era of Seahawks football drift towards a sad conclusion.

Keep battling. Keep trying to stay alive in the NFC West. Rather than hope the likes of New Orleans and Philadelphia can be caught in the NFC — you instead root for them against the Rams.

Limit the mistakes and the penalties, give Russell Wilson the best shot to win you a few games.

Get a win next week and play the Eagles with a point to prove.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Instant reaction: Seahawks lose 34-31, drop to 6-4

Two home games, two late comebacks after a difficult start. Eventually, two losses.

The difference between 8-2 and 6-4.

Following ten days of injury-related adversity, the Seahawks clearly fancied a bit more this evening.

A calamitous beginning proved that while you can, often, win a game in the fourth quarter — it’s also possible to make life incredibly difficult with a bad start.

Seattle opened this game conceding a big kick off return (Blair Walsh saved a touchdown). The Falcons wasted little time taking a 7-0 lead before a carless Russell Wilson interception soon contributed to a 14-0 deficit (along with a dropped pick by about three different Seattle defenders).

The Seahawks clawed it back with the now customary Jimmy Graham touchdown — and managed to get the ball back shortly after.

Wilson fumbled after a whiff by Germain Ifedi, defensive touchdown. 21-7.

The Seahawks also lost Shaq Griffin to injury after just a couple of snaps.

Nightmare start confirmed.

The game wasn’t lost at that point — but the dynamic had completely changed.

With so many injuries on defense (Chancellor, Sherman, Reed, Avril) it was always going to be on Wilson and the offense to keep scoring. Could they outgun Matt Ryan? The evidence tonight suggested they most certainly could.

Yet having gift-wrapped 21 points early in the day, Wilson alone wasn’t gone to be enough. Suddenly the defense was going to have to make big plays too. They needed to make up for the turnovers, try to get Seattle back level and turn it into a true shoot-out again.

A special teams fumble by the Falcons helped. Yet the defense, crucially, couldn’t get the sudden change. A pick, a fumble, something.

Even a couple of big stops would’ve been useful. A converted 3rd and 15 (checkdown to Tevin Coleman) and a converted 3rd and 8 (Matt Ryan scramble) led to 10 Atlanta points instead of two punts.

Instead, Seattle kept producing on offense but it was never enough. Jon Ryan punted for the first time with about nine minutes left in the game after multiple successful offensive series. And yet the Seahawks still trailed by eight.

The Falcons were 9/14 on third downs. An incredible stat. The Falcons ended with 34 points. The Texans scored 38 in Seattle — and Tennessee put 33 on a much healthier defense in week three.

The margin for error, once so wide, is now much smaller:

The late final defensive stop to give Seattle one more chance was valiant — but sadly not enough.

The Seahawks’ braintrust did their best to contribute to an odd night.

The fake field goal to end the first half was completely befuddling, purely because the odds of it succeeding were so slim. Luke Willson, handed a hot potato by Jon Ryan, was dumped for a loss by Grady Jarrett. With only seven seconds remaining it was touchdown or bust. However much you think you’ve seen something in the way Atlanta lines up — three points there in a high-scoring game felt like a no-brainer instead of asking Willson to make an incredible play.

It also meant Seattle couldn’t tie the game with their late touchdown and two point conversion and had to chase an extra field goal at the end.

You have to ask — has the Houston game given the Seahawks a misguided view on spiking the ball? Against the Redskins and Falcons there were opportunities to spike the ball, get set and work the field. Against Washington Wilson snubbed the spike and took a sack — tonight he chipped away and drained the clock. There was plenty of time — about 1:55 — to get into range and make it an easier kick (although you’d hope Walsh would have the leg from 51 yards).

Carroll was also seemingly persuaded into challenging a clear Doug Baldwin drop by the receiver. It took away a time out that would’ve been very useful at the end.

This result leaves the Seahawks sitting as the #8 seed in the NFC, swapping places with Atlanta. They’re still only trailing the Rams by one win in the NFC West and they own a tiebreaker.

Yet to have any genuine faith that they can threaten the NFC’s best with all of the injuries, they have to be able to play a much cleaner brand of football than they’ve shown so far. Too many mistakes and penalties.

The good news is Wilson’s performance and with LA’s handsome defeat in Minnesota, winning the West is still possible. It’s strange how these things work out. Suddenly the most consistent thing about the Seahawks is the Wilson-to-Graham connection in the red zone. Who would’ve predicted that a few weeks ago?

There’s little else that is consistent, however, and even when they started to see some progress in the running game it was cruelly snatched away with yet another injury — this time to Mike Davis.

The target now has to be winning the NFC West, collecting the #4 seed and at least making the playoffs. Nevertheless, you’d be forgiven tonight for being sceptical of Seattle’s chances. It just might not be their year — and if they don’t make the playoffs, it’d be a crushing disappointment for a team clearly chasing a Championship towards the edge of a very wide window.

If you want something to take your mind off the game, here’s a piece on Nick Chubb from earlier.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Nick Chubb could still land in round one

In our recent review of running backs (a safe bet target for the Seahawks in the off-season), we noted the underrated talent of Damien Harris (Alabama) and Kerryon Johnson (Auburn). It’s the Iron Bowl this weekend, so a good opportunity to see both on the same field.

Today it’s time to look at Nick Chubb.

We’ve talked a lot about Chubb over the years. His explosive entrance at Georgia, replacing the injured Todd Gurley. The knee injury that threatened his career. His fairly modest 2016 return. His decision not to declare. A 2017 that saw a return to something like top form.

It’s been quite a college career so far. He’s only the fifth player in SEC history to record three 1000-yard seasons (Alex Collins is one of the others). He’s up to fourth for career rushing yards in the SEC (recently passing Bo Jackson). He could still end with a SEC title and a playoff berth.

We’ve talked about Chubb as a potential Seahawks option for the reasons outlined in the Damien Harris piece. Seattle seems to have a ‘type’ at running back. Here’s a reminder:

Here are the running backs drafted by the Seahawks between 2012 and 2016:

Robert Turbin — 5-10, 222lbs
Spencer Ware — 5-10, 228lbs
Christine Michael — 5-10, 220lbs
C.J. Prosise — 6-0, 220lbs
Alex Collins — 5-10, 217lbs
Chris Carson — 6-0, 218lbs

Some of these players either didn’t test at the combine or had reasons for underperforming (injury, illness). We can make some physical comparisons though:

Forty yard dash

Robert Turbin: 4.50
Christine Michael: 4.54
C.J. Prosise: 4.48
Chris Carson: 4.58

Broad jump

Robert Turbin: 122 inches
Christine Michael: 125 inches
C.J. Prosise: 121 inches
Chris Carson: 130 inches

Vertical jump

Robert Turbin: 36 inches
Christine Michael: 43 inches
C.J. Prosise: 35.5 inches
Chris Carson: 37 inches

Short shuttle

Robert Turbin: 4.31
Christine Michael: 4.02
C.J. Prosise: DNP
Chris Carson: DNP

Bench press

Robert Turbin: 28 reps
Christine Michael: 27 reps
C.J. Prosise: DNP
Chris Carson: 23 reps

Look at the similarities here across the board. It doesn’t mean they’ll never sway from this profile. They did sign Eddie Lacy after all. It’s not completely down to physical profile either. Attitude, running style or versatility also seem to be important.

Yet when we’re running through possible targets, physical profile is something to consider.

Chubb is a perfect fit in many ways. He’s 5-10 and 225lbs, so he ticks the size box. He’s also an incredibly explosive athlete.

If you weren’t aware, Nick is the cousin of Bradley Chubb at NC State. Bradley is a pass rusher with 10 sacks this year, destined to go in the top-10. He carries 6-4 and 275lbs perfectly, is quick on his feet with all of the speed, explosion and agility you want from a top-tier pass rusher.

Nick has the bloodlines and is basically a 5-10, 225lbs version of Bradley.

He ran a 4.47 forty at 5-10 and 217lbs at the Nike SPARQ combine in 2013, jumped a 40-inch vertical and ran a 4.12 in the short shuttle. His SPARQ score of 143.91 is elite at any position.

In comparison, Christine Michael’s SPARQ score was 147.4. The Seahawks drafted Michael with their first pick in the 2013 draft despite some fairly substantial character concerns (he was basically banished from Texas A&M’s line-up). They took him because of the extreme athletic potential he offered.

If Michael had the focus to match the body — he could be one of the NFL’s leading running backs.

Chubb’s athletic profile from 2013 is similar to Michael’s. His story, however, is obviously very different.

This is a player who has battled adversity with the knee injury, fought to recover in time for the 2016 season and then snubbed the chance to turn pro because he wanted to come back and leave a mark at Georgia. Go out on his terms.

He’s football 24/7 with a steely, serious personality.

If he tests at the combine (we have to at least be prepared that he might not) and performs anywhere near his 2013 marks — he’ll be talked about as a first round pick. He might not even be available to the Seahawks.

The key is — has he made a full recovery? It was a really bad injury. How much explosion did he lose? And do the medical checks show his knee has fully recovered?

We can’t answer those questions for a long time yet — but it’s encouraging to see plays like this:

In his weekly ‘risers and sliders’ piece, Tony Pauline talked up Chubb’s first round credentials:

“The Kentucky contest was a nice rebound game for Chubb, who was held to 27 rushing yards against Auburn one week ago. The Wildcats boast one of the better rushing defenses in the SEC and rank just below Auburn in yards allowed per game (121.9). Chubb shredded the Wildcats for 151 yards on 15 carries with 2 TD’s. The Georgia ball carrier is often lost in the shuffle as much of the talk focuses on Saquon Barkley of Penn State while his own teammate Sony Michel steals a bit of thunder. Make no doubt about it, if Chubb checks out medically he’s worthy of being selected in the late portion of round one and projects as a feature runner for the next level.”

I watched the Kentucky game live and it was a fantastic performance. Last week against Auburn was a grind. The Tigers’ D-line dominated throughout and made Georgia’s running attack look very similar to Seattle’s. It was easy to watch that game and imagine Chubb and running partner Sony Michel wearing navy blue and toiling for 2-3 YPC. This Kentucky performance was a reminder to hold that thought for now. Georgia will either get a rematch against Auburn or a contest with Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Let’s see how they do there.

As Pauline notes, Kentucky has a good run-defense. Here’s how well they handled Chubb:

Look at the initial patience to let the gaps develop, the explosion Chubb shows when he finds his crease, the agility to move to his left and the acceleration to run away from the defense and score. It’s a special play.

Chubb is a nice blend of a lot of running styles. He can be shifty when he needs to be, shrinking at the LOS to find a hole and picking his way through traffic. He has some power and physicality to his game. He also has enough speed to make a good run a great run.

Here’s a good example of some of those skills combined on one play:

One thing he does better than Damien Harris is his ability to stretch plays wide when needed to max out the run. Harris is no slouch — but his lateral mobility isn’t great. He’s better running north-south.

In the play below Chubb makes the defender miss at the LOS but what he does next is exceptional. He sees his forward progress blocked but rather than take what’s there and grind out a handful, he quickly changes direction and darts to the left hand side. He finds the space and has enough speed to turn the run into a chunk play:

Here’s another example:

Chubb’s athleticism tends to be underrated, possibly because of his build. To look at him you’d probably compare him to Michael Turner (who was actually 10lbs heavier than Chubb).

Then you see this lateral mobility and the acceleration and you realise he’s different. He has the advantage of a compact, powerful running frame but enough quicks and explosive qualities to work in most schemes. He can cut at the LOS, he can run outside — but he can also pound it up the middle.

The Seahawks will have options in the 2018 draft if they want to aggressively upgrade at running back. The lack of a second or third round pick limits them somewhat — but it also possibly increases the chances they look at the position early.

Nick Chubb, Damien Harris and Kerryon Johnson are all possibilities, whether that’s first round or after a small trade down. They’re really good RB’s.

The key for Chubb is whether he has retained his incredible athletic profile post-injury and whether he gets a clean medical report at the combine.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

Thoughts on Seattle’s growing injury problem

The Seahawks can still make a run at the playoffs, can still win the NFC West and can even still claim a first round bye.

But the injuries are mounting — and Monday’s game against Atlanta will show us just how badly they’re impacting Seattle’s chances.

Kam Chancellor has been ruled out already, amid reports from the NFL Network that he’s out for the season. Pete Carroll tempered those reports during his press conference today:

It’s often said the healthiest teams are the ones who prosper. The NFL is a war of attrition. Surviving and being balanced are as important as anything.

Seattle’s roster has been hammered by injuries. And there’s still seven games to go.

No Cliff Avril, no Richard Sherman and now possibly no Kam Chancellor.

Add this to the Luke Joeckel, Duane Brown, Jarran Reed, Chris Carson, Malik McDowell and other injuries.

It’ll be hard to criticise anything the Seahawks do the rest of the way in 2017. Imagine how ineffective the Rams would be if they suddenly had to deal with the following:

— Todd Gurley broken leg
— Andrew Whitworth bad ankle
— Trumaine Johnson torn achilles
— Robert Quinn neck injury
— Roger Saffold knee surgery
— Lamarcus Joyner neck injury

Then have Jared Goff have his jaw reset as Russell Wilson did this week. Let’s also say Aaron Donald misses a couple of games too as Earl Thomas just did.

The Rams would struggle to survive such a long list of key injuries.

Instead it’s the Seahawks needing to cling on.

The season really comes down to Wilson and his ability to keep the offense ticking along. They need to become what they’ve never really been under Carroll — a team dependant on the quarterback.

They can’t lean on the run. They might not be able to rely on the great defense. Indeed the biggest impact might be felt on the run defense. Chancellor and Sherman so often helped set the edge against the run and teams weren’t able to misdirect to the edge because of their tackling form. Now? It’s going to be a real test.

They might give up more pass plays too. Teams will want to test the cornerbacks more than ever. That could create some opportunities and it might be to Seattle’s benefit — but only if the DB’s can make the plays.

It’s not all bad of course. The front seven remains as good as any in the league and Bobby Wagner should be a candidate for defensive MVP. Earl Thomas is still the best safety in the NFL.

Wilson and the offense still might need to score more points. It’s some relief that so far they haven’t suffered any major injuries to the TE’s and WR’s. Getting Duane Brown healthy and on the field is vital.

Wilson has always been good enough to lead the team forward. His connection with the players he’s throwing too has never been more efficient or important.

LA has a difficult run of games coming up. They might win some of those — but Seattle’s road win against the Rams and current 3-0 record in the NFC West works in their favour. They could, quite easily, be #1 in the West by the end of this weeks games.

Monday is such a big night. The Seahawks need to, somehow, fight through the adversity and make a statement that their season is still very much alive.

As for Chancellor’s injury — there’s no denying it’s another huge setback. Hopefully this neck injury isn’t the end of his playing career. Ditto Cliff Avril. One thing is sure though — we’re talking about two warriors here. It’ll need to be very, very serious for either to walk away under these circumstances — without going out on top.

Either way though, it does feel like we’re edging closer to the end of an era in Seattle. The aggressive trades felt like this was a team trying to get another Championship, possibly ahead of inevitable change at the end of 2017 or 2018.

That’s a discussion for another day. With seven games to go, it’s time for new stars to emerge. Or for one quarterback to prove once and for all he’s right at the top of his craft.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

A follow up on Damien Harris & Kerryon Johnson

I’m currently working through the running backs eligible for the 2018 draft. It’s a relatively impressive group. There will be a handful that ultimately make it to the NFL and become more than backups. I’m not convinced that outside of Saquon Barkley we’ll have another Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott or Leonard Fournette type — but there are options for teams that want to add a runner.

I’ve watched most of the big names now. I haven’t done articles on them all — that will come in time. I’m not sure anyone’s impressed me more so far than Alabama’s Damien Harris and Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson.

Read more about the pair here and here.

Both players seem to fit Seattle’s physical profile (we won’t have full confirmation until the combine — if they both declare) and they are both underrated.

For example, Harris is much more of a playmaker than people maybe realise. He’s on 8.4 yards per carry this year. Bo Scarborough — his much more publicised and touted team mate — is only managing 4.6 YPC.

Now let’s compare Harris’ YPC to some former prolific Alabama running backs:

Mark Ingram 2009 (Heisman winner) — 6.1 YPC
Mark Ingram 2010 — 5.5 YPC
Trent Richardson 2009 — 6.3 YPC
Trent Richardson 2010 — 5.9 YPC
Eddie Lacy 2012 — 6.5 YPC
T.J. Yeldon 2012 — 6.3 YPC
T.J. Yeldon 2013 — 6.0 YPC
T.J. Yeldon 2014 — 5.0 YPC
Derrick Henry 2014 — 5.8 YPC
Derrick Henry 2015 (Heisman winner) — 5.6 YPC
Bo Scarborough 2016 — 6.5 YPC
Bo Scarborough 2017 — 4.6 YPC
Damien Harris 2016 — 7.2 YPC
Damien Harris 2017 — 8.4 YPC

Alabama has been able to run the ball with great success for years. Ingram, Richardson, Lacy, Yeldon and Henry were all first or second round picks.

None of them at any point in their careers got close to Damien Harris’ 7.2 YPC in 2016 or his 8.4 YPC in 2017.

Maybe it’s because he isn’t enormous like Henry, fun like Lacy (with that crazy spin move), highly touted like Yeldon and Richardson or just playing for an Alabama team that strangely isn’t getting much hype. Nobody really talks about the Crimson Tide. The playoff committee did their best to conjure up a headline by putting Georgia at #1.

In previous years, maybe Harris would get more attention? Perhaps it’s because he’s not receiving the mammoth workload Henry took on? That’s mainly due to the committee approach with Scarborough and the fact the quarterback is also a better playmaker these days. Simply put though — when Harris gets his opportunities he’s taking them.

He’s not a plodder working the hard yards in a grinding offense. He’s making big chunk plays and scoring touchdowns. Eleven so far to be precise. We already know he was running a 4.48 at the Nike SPARQ combines — an almost identical time to Bryce Love despite carrying an extra 20lbs. He’s no slouch.

And take a look at this:

Don’t you just love that? Don’t you want the running back on your team doing that?


Johnson is a different type of player — more comparable to Chris Carson. Harris is compact and explosive while Johnson is longer and makes the most out of every run. They share one thing in common though — they’re both really impressive talkers during press conferences, expressing high character.

Don’t be surprised if these two make a big move as we get nearer the draft. Other running backs are getting more publicity — but I get the feeling Harris and Johnson will get ahead eventually.

High character, physical runners with great production, making big plays consistently for big teams — they tend to go early.

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

Nike NFL Team Free Trainer v7 Collection Shoes

« Older posts

© 2024 Seahawks Draft Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑