Archive for January, 2018

Wednesday notes: Free agency and Malik Jefferson

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

— If the Seahawks are making sweeping changes to the roster, they’re not going to be able fill every hole in the draft. Some of the solutions are going to have to come in free agency. There’s a precedent for short term deals at relative value and that could be the target again. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks two free agents in San Francisco could land in Seattle:

“You’ve got to wonder for both guys whether the NFC West team to the north of us, the Seattle Seahawks could be the landing place. Kam Chancellor probably is not going to play again up there. Eric Reid obviously plays that exact spot. He’s still young too, he’s 26 years old, just turned 26 this past month. The other part with the Seahawks is that they desperately need a running game. That’s been a big missing element ever since Marshawn Lynch left Seattle. So they’ve seen Carlos Hyde. Carlos Hyde went over 100 yards this season once. Guess what team it was against? The Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 I think it was. Both of those guys seem to fit big needs up in Seattle.”

The article also touches on the market for both players and why they could provide some value. A loaded running back class in the draft is unlikely to do much for Carlos Hyde’s bargaining leverage. The running back position has also experienced a financial squeeze. The highest earners are on out of date contracts (LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Chris Ivory) or they recently entered the league as high picks (Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette). Nobody is earning more than $8.25m a year although this will change when Le’Veon Bell has a new deal.

Devonta Freeman is currently the highest paid back in the league, unsurprising given his production in Atlanta. LeSean McCoy and Jonathan Stewart are #2 and #3 — both players are coming to the end of their contracts. The Dolphins practically gave Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. The position isn’t getting much love at the moment.

Hyde is a physical runner with good size and attitude. He’s 28 in 2018 though and hasn’t had a 1000 yard or 16-game season in his career. His stock might be limited to a short term, one or two year contract at a modest price. That could interest the Seahawks, particularly as a hedge for the draft.

Eric Reid, apparently, isn’t guaranteed to start in San Francisco because they prefer Jaquiski Tartt. He’s also turned into one of the faces of the protest movement in the NFL. The league might be disinterested due to his recent activism but we know the Seahawks haven’t been bothered by that. Reid is only 26-years-old and doesn’t turn 27 until December. He’s at a good age and if his price is reduced, could be a candidate to come in on a one or two year prove-it deal to replace Kam Chancellor.

When we’ve talked about Derwin James, we’ve compared him to Eric Reid. Here’s Reid’s combine workout in 2013:

Height: 6-1
Weight: 213lbs
Arm length: 33 5/8 inches
Hands: 10 inches
Forty: 4.53
Vertical: 40 inches
Broad: 11-2
Short shuttle: 4.22
3-cone: 6.99

That’s an exceptional athletic profile. James will do well to match that. If the Seahawks want a big, athletic strong safety to replace Kam, Reid could be an option.

— What else might they do in free agency? Any move for Andrew Norwell feels like a pipe dream. Dave Gettleman reportedly is determined to re-sign his former UDFA signing and will pretty much write a blank cheque. If it’s not the Giants, the 49ers, Colts, Jets, Buccs, Texans and Vikings all have more than $50m to spend in free agency. The Niners have $114m currently. This one is a long shot.

— A more likely scenario is to keep seeking value on short term deals. Minimal commitment with the chance to extend in the future. It didn’t work out for Eddie Lacy or Luke Joeckel but it did for Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bradley McDougald. If Seattle loses Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson they’re going to need some touchdown makers in the passing game. The strong group of free agent receivers could dilute the market. A year ago Alshon Jeffrey and Terrelle Pryor both had to sign one-year prove-it deals. The Seahawks could seek a similar opportunity with one of the big names available — Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Marqise Lee and Pryor. They could look for a similar short-term option at tight end, possibly with Austin Seferian-Jenkins or often-injured Tyler Eifert.

— One prospect we haven’t really discussed so far is Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson. I spent a bit of time watching him this week. If you want a name that might really shoot up the board after the combine, Jefferson is one to watch.

For starters, he might have the most impressive workout in Indianapolis. At the SPARQ combine he ran a 4.39 at 6-2 and 215lbs. He also managed a 4.12 short shuttle and a 40-inch vertical. His 145.65 SPARQ score is elite and the highest of any player who tested and declared for the draft. He’s now 240lbs and that might impact how fast he runs — but if he’s in the 4.4’s or 4.5’s and nails the short shuttle and the jumps he’ll make headlines.

We’re talking about a comparable athlete to Bobby Wagner here.

Wagner went in round two and currently that’s where I’d expect Jefferson to go but he has massive potential. On tape you see a player who looks better the more you watch. He’s not a majorly impactful prospect, producing splash plays, sacks and interceptions. He didn’t manage a single pick in his college career. The work he does around the LOS, however, is mightily impressive.

That tweet more or less sums him up. He’s a solid force with the range, strength and explosive athleticism to do the little things right. He’ll fill a gap in the running game, he’ll sprint to the outside to make an important tackle and he hits with a thump.

He’s subtly impactful and you have to watch very carefully to realise how good he can be. Take this play for example. Watch how he competes with the offensive line to get through the traffic, then deliver one big jolt to the chest of the offensive tackle to disengage and make the play:

Range? Really good:

How committed is he? Look at this block on special teams:

His combination of power, explosive physicality, speed and ability to compete at the LOS and hit people is really intriguing.

There are some flaws too.

When Jefferson is asked to drop into coverage you see stiffness working in space. He plays with tight hips and sometimes changing direction is tricky. It’s not the biggest surprise considering he’s now 240lbs — but he’s far better working at the LOS than he is in coverage.

He also has some moments where he switches off, for example:

On this play he’s too eager, committing to the runner on the read option and gifting the QB the look he wants. If he holds his position the play breaks down. Texas has the RB covered out wide and the middle is clogged up too. It’s a little mistake and only led to a reasonable gain but it indicates he might need to learn how to let a play develop sometimes rather than sticking his helmet in there.

When he gets it right though, this is what happens:

He had 10 TFL’s in 2017 and 18.5 in the last two seasons. If he gets a crease and can play in attack mode, you see moments like this.

The Seahawks still need to add some young depth and quality at the linebacker position. Jefferson might be too suited to the MIKE or WILL to seriously consider, especially in round two. He’s not a SAM/LEO. Yet he has the incredible upside, physicality, attitude and leadership qualities this team might be looking to add as they reshape the defense.

And they’re going to give Ken Norton Jr someone to work with for sure.

Having two players with Wagner’s size/athletic traits wouldn’t be a bad thing.

— Tony Pauline noted during the Senior Bowl that the Seahawks were taking a shine to Austin Corbett. Today, Pauline again connected Seattle to the Nevada offensive linemen:

Austin Corbett of Nevada had a dominant week in Mobile, and his versatility has pushed him into the second day of the draft. As we reported, Corbett dominated just about everybody at center, guard and right tackle. Depending on what they do in free agency, the Seattle Seahawks are one of the teams that could target Corbett in the second round.

It’d be a curious move, considering they currently don’t have a second rounder. I haven’t studied Corbett enough to judge his play. I’ve only watched one game against Notre Dame from 2016. There are a lot of potentially appealing second round interior linemen — including the likes of Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez and Frank Ragnow. We’ll see how this plays out. Pauline has an exceptional track record in pairing the Seahawks with linemen.

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Breaking down Lance Zierlein’s mock draft

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Another day, another national pundit projecting Derwin James to the Seahawks at #18. This time it’s the turn of Lance Zierlein.

All three of’s draft bods (Zierlein, Brooks, Jeremiah) have Seattle taking a defensive back. Mel Kiper also had them taking James in his opening gambit.

This is a popular pick among the talking heads.

Here’s Zierlein’s note on James to the Seahawks:

“James feels like a perfect fit in Seattle, and he’s a positive influence in the locker room, too.”

We’ve debated this topic a lot so I don’t want to go over old ground too much. I do want to recap a few things though and also share a few further thoughts on the fit.

I’m certainly not opposed to the pick. As noted ten days ago, James has a better athletic profile than first thought. Pete Carroll is a master secondary coach and has only drafted one defensive back in the first two rounds since he arrived in Seattle eight years ago (Earl Thomas). If he makes it two this year, it’ll say a lot about Derwin James’ potential. Carroll knows DB’s.

There are other things too. The blurb in Zierlein’s player profile catches your attention:

“Absolute alpha in the locker room. Comes up to handle film sessions on weekends. When he talks, players listen.”

This quote from an anonymous NFC Scouting Director is also interesting:

“He is going to be the dude in any locker room he ends up in. That’s his makeup. Physically, he’s probably more talented than Jamal Adams but Adams was more consistent as a player. Derwin is still learning so he has a sky-high projection if his play can catch up to the talent.”

The Seahawks are going to lose some alpha’s this year. It’s more likely than not that Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril won’t be on the roster in 2018. Earl Thomas might be traded. Who knows what happens with Richard Sherman? And while Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright will likely remain and new voices are emerging (eg Jarran Reed) they’re going to lose the key architects of the LOB era.

Perhaps Derwin James can help fill the void?

He is a good player. Whenever I talked about him in the past as ‘overrated’ — that’s because he was being projected as a top-10 lock. For me, he was always a mid-to-late first round type. The term I liked to use was ‘he’s more Eric Reid than Eric Berry‘. Funnily enough Reid was the #18 pick in 2013.

Now the national consensus is that James will also go in that range. It feels like a fair value for a player of his talents. He’s physical, delivers punishing hits, flashes occasional big-time athletic ability and he has the size to be physical at the line of scrimmage. He is what he is though — a box safety.

It’s worth considering at #18. Undoubtedly. There are also some factors that make me question how likely it is they’ll actually go in this direction.

For starters, if the Seahawks are able to re-sign Bradley McDougald and don’t trade Earl Thomas, they’re much less likely to consider drafting a safety early (if at all).

Carroll has only spent one high pick on a defensive back of any description and that was Earl Thomas. He and John Schneider have emphatically found later round value at cornerback and safety. Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Shaq Griffin, Jeremy Lane, Justin Coleman, Walter Thurmond. The free agent addition of Bradley McDougald.

It’s going to take something truly special for the Seahawks to take a DB in round one. James, for all his physical potential and leadership skills, didn’t make enough plays in college. At least not enough to be completely convinced he can be a X-factor on your defense. Thomas, in comparison, had eight picks in his final season at Texas.

Carroll might think James has untapped potential. It’s equally possible he thinks he can fill this role without needing to spend a top-20 pick.

For example, how much is Eric Reid going to cost on the open market? I’ve got some thoughts on that coming tomorrow (plus some other notes on free agency). If you can get Reid without breaking the bank, is the difference between Reid and James that significant?

Zierlein compares James to Eric Berry in his prospect write-up. Berry was the #5 overall pick in 2010. If James truly is a comparable talent, he likely won’t last to #18. Which makes me wonder if the comp to Reid is more fitting.

Carroll has also highlighted the importance of repairing the running game and that really has to be the priority. Two years of horrible production isn’t going to cut it. Seattle desperately needs their running game back. It’s central to everything Carroll holds sacred.

He possibly (probably?) believes he can coach up a defense, develop talent and put together a strong unit. They’ve struggled to do that with the running game. One way or another, this is likely to be addressed first and foremost.

If they trade Earl Thomas for a high pick, clearly it opens up the opportunity to address both the defense and the running game early. Until that happens, however, it’s hard to imagine they’d take a safety at #18 and then wait until the second half of round four to do anything about the offense.

It’s also worth noting these mocks don’t include trades, so the writers are somewhat hamstrung in what they can/can’t project. Zierlein’s scenario would present an ideal opportunity to trade down.

Big name defensive players remaining available works in Seattle’s favour. Earlier this week I posted a mock draft where Atlanta traded up from #26 to select Maurice Hurst. The idea was the Falcons jump ahead of Dallas for Hurst. Zierlein has the Cowboys taking him at #19 — so it’s not an implausible suggestion.

Not only that, Marcus Davenport and Derwin James are available too. With Dallas (#19), Detroit (#20) and Buffalo (#21, #22) possibly focusing on defense, it’s a good spot for the Seahawks to field offers.

Furthermore, Zierlein only has one running back (Saquon Barkley) going in the first round. So the Seahawks could trade down once or twice and still address their run game.

One name stands out more than most — USC’s Ronald Jones II.

I think he has a star quality you see from time to time in college football. Odell Beckham Jr had it. DeAndre Hopkins had it. It’s a combination of physical quality, attitude, athleticism, the ability to make the improbable happen and the character that befits a top pro.

The comparison that we’ve discussed over and over is Jamaal Charles. And Jones II isn’t just a little bit like Charles. They are eerily similar. If you missed the piece a few weeks ago, watch their college highlight tapes back to back.

Having the opportunity to move down into the early 30’s, acquire extra picks and take Jones II would be a great start to a new era of Seahawks football. Increasingly, however, I think the chances are he won’t last that long.

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Projecting prospects from the Senior Bowl

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Yesterday we posted a mock draft that had the Seahawks trading down twice, moving from #18 to #33 and acquiring third and fourth round picks in the process. We didn’t, however, pair them with any players. So today I wanted to look at potential options and project where they might go pre-combine.

All of the players included attended the Senior Bowl apart from Nick Chubb, who was invited but didn’t participate.

Below you’ll find my own notes on each prospect and the range they’re currently being projected according to (via Lance Zierlein).

Darius Leonard (LB, South Carolina State)
He did it all at the Senior Bowl — plugging gaps vs the run in the game, playing with range at the second level, performing well in coverage drills and delivering a couple of solid hits. If he has a big day at the combine he could easily land in the second round as teams look for the next Deion Jones. The video at the top of this article feature a collection of Leonard’s highlights from the game in Mobile.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
Multiple reasons. K.J. Wright’s contract expires in a year. The depth at the position is still lacking. They don’t have a possible impact player they can use at SAM. They just re-hired Ken Norton Jr. He has +34 inch arms, +10 inch hands and an incredible wingspan of 82 inches. The Seahawks loved K.J. Wright’s length (34 3/4 inch arms) and Leonard is similar. He’ll need to run well in the forty and the short shuttle.

SDB projection: Round 2 (with a good combine) projection: Rounds 2-3

Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
For some reason everyone seems to be down on Chubb at the moment. Yes there are some concerns. His medial check at the combine is important and it’ll be interesting to see how much the knee injury has impacted his athletic profile. He’s a north/south runner and not exactly Alvin Kamara. There’s still a lot to like. Pre-injury he was one of the best athletes ever to test at the SPARQ workouts and in 2017 he looked more like his usual self. He runs tough and with physicality. He’s surprisingly quick in the open field. There’s still a home for a Jonathan Stewart or Frank Gore type in this league.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
They value explosive power and athleticism over speed at running back (at least they have until this point). If Chubb tests anywhere near his pre-injury level he’ll be one of the most explosive players to enter the league in a long time. He’s a Christine Michael level athlete with none of Michael’s lack of focus. Seattle wants an old school running game and Chubb represents that. He was also coached by Brian Schottenheimer at Georgia.

SDB projection: Round 2 (medical checks are important though) projection: Rounds 3-4

D.J. Chark (WR, LSU)
Chark isn’t the biggest (around 6-2 and 196lbs) but he has a knack of getting open and showed off a genuine suddenness at the Senior Bowl. He regularly beat a weak looking crop of defensive backs in Mobile and turned it on during the game. Defenders give him a big cushion and he uses it to his advantage. If his forty time matches his apparent playing speed he could be a big riser. At the Nike combine he ran a 4.46, jumped a 37-inch vertical and had a SPARQ score of 108.7.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
Paul Richardson is a free agent and there’s a lack of quality behind Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett (a free agent in 12 months). The Seahawks have regularly spent high picks on the position — Golden Tate, Percy Harvin, Richardson. They might have bigger needs this year though.

SDB Projection: Rounds 2-3 Projection: Rounds 2-3

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (DE, Oklahoma)
It seems like the draft media are holding back on Okoronkwo due to his height. It really shouldn’t be that much of a deal. He has 34 1/2 inch arms so while he’s not the tallest, length is certainly not an issue. His wingspan is pushing 80-inches. He has longer arms than Brian O’Neill for example. Simply put, he’s one of the best pass rushers in the draft. He tried a bit too hard on the first practise day at the Senior Bowl but then settled down and had a productive week.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
The last sentence in the paragraph above sums it up. He can get after the quarterback. A good combine will really help his stock. In Seattle he might have to be a specialist pass rusher or even a SAM/LEO at 243lbs. For that reason, he’ll have to be quick and test well in the forty and 10-yard split.

SDB projection: Rounds 2-3 projection: Rounds 4-5

Da’Shawn Hand (DE, Alabama)
The former #1 recruit in 2014, Hand was rated even higher than Myles Garrett. His career in Alabama never lived up to expectations. Other big names like A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne made the headlines. Hand merely made the rotation. That said, the physical potential is still there. At the Nike combine he jumped 35 inches in the vertical and posted a 100.38 SPARQ score.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
They need to find defensive linemen they can build with. In the past they’ve found value in free agency, now they could do with finding some talent in the draft. Hand is 6-4 and 282lbs so can play some inside/out. He also has +34 inch arms and a strong 81-inch wingspan. Someone will take a shot on this guy.

SDB projection: Round 3 Projection: Rounds 2-3

Marquis Haynes (LB, Ole Miss)
Haynes is a flat out playmaker. At 6-3 and 233lbs he isn’t the biggest and he’s likely going to need to be moved around or even limited to a specialist role. However, he consistently impacted games in college and did the same in Mobile. He forced a strip-sack for a touchdown and on another play absolutely destroyed Brian O’Neill with a bull rush. He had 39.5 TFL’s in his Ole Miss career and 32 sacks.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
As with a lot of these players, the combine is big. Haynes will likely need to be a certain level of athlete if he’s going to be considered a SAM/LEO in Seattle. That said, it’s rare to find a player with his history of playmaking quality outside of the top-two rounds.

SDB projection: Round 3 projection: Rounds 3-4

Durham Smythe (TE, Notre Dame)
Widely considered the best ‘Y’ tight end in the draft, Smythe’s blocking will appeal to many teams. College football just isn’t producing many traditional TE’s any more. For teams determined to run the ball and feature their tight end as a blocker, Smythe is a collectors item. Zierlein suggests he plays ‘like an offensive linemen’ in his blurb. He also had a terrific Senior Bowl, showing he’s much more than a mere blocker. Former four-star recruit.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
Seattle gushed about Nick Vannett’s blocking ability when they drafted him in 2016. Clearly this has been a point of focus. With Jimmy Graham’s days in Seattle seemingly numbered, getting a player who could be Zach Miller-lite in the future could be appealing. The only concern? He has great size but short 31 1/2 inch arms.

SDB projection: Rounds 3-4 projection: Round 4

Tyquan Lewis (DE, Ohio State)
Despite some negative reviews elsewhere, I thought Lewis had a good Senior Bowl week. He showed versatility and an ability to rush inside/out. He made a splash in the 1v1 drills and in the game itself. He’s a tough character, well spoken and seems focused. He’s a shade under 6-3 and 276lbs but he has a near 80-inch wingspan. Lewis has some explosive physical skills — he jumped a 37-inch vertical at the Nike combine and managed a 108.57 SPARQ score.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
They need to find at least another unheralded gem for the D-line rotation. If this is the end for Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in Seattle, they’re going to have to look for alternatives in free agency and the draft. Lewis rushed the EDGE well in Mobile but also had some success stunting inside.

SDB projection: Round 4 projection: Rounds 5-6

Austin Corbett (T, Nevada)
Tenacious and smart, Corbett was incredibly durable and started 49 of 50 games during his college career. At times in Mobile you saw him really get after defenders, work well on double teams and play with the kind of attitude you want from your O-liners. At 6-4 and 310lbs he’ll likely kick inside to guard (he has +33 inch arms).

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
If they don’t want to spend yet another high pick on the O-line, they could invest in a player who’s been compared to Joel Bitonio by Mike Mayock. We’ll see if Corbett can get anywhere near Bitonio’s impressive combine numbers — but he’s a versatile player with experience at multiple positions (and we know the Seahawks like that).

SDB projection: Round 4 projection: Rounds 3-4

Andrew Brown (DT, Virginia)
There were moments during the Senior Bowl were Brown wowed you. There were also moments where he barely registered. He’s a former top-10 recruit with a ton of athletic potential. He’s 6-4 and 295lbs with +35 inch arms and a wingspan of +82 inches. In High School he was already 6-4 and 295lbs and ran a 5.06 forty at the Nike combine with a 4.47 short shuttle and a SPARQ score of 103.11 (highest among DT’s).

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
Consistency is his big problem. Talent is not. The Seahawks love to back themselves to get the most of untapped talent. With that kind of size, length, speed and power, Brown could be a useful rotational defensive linemen and at the very least could provide a cheap interior run stopper.

SDB projection: Round 5 projection: Rounds 6-7

Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
Turay stood out during practise week in Mobile, just looking quicker and more explosive than most of the other players working the EDGE. He was noticeable and had several good snaps in the 1v1 drills. He’s had some injuries in his career and at times his technique was suspect (little in terms of hand-use and not much of a counter). Yet in terms of pure potential, there’s something to work with here. He’s 6-4 and 252lbs with nearly 34-inch arms and an 80-inch wingspan.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before but the Seahawks need to find cheap talent to bolster their defensive front seven. Turay looks like he might genuinely have the speed and quicks to play DE or SAM/LEO.

SDB projection: Round 6 projection: Rounds 6-7

This is just a collection of some of the players I could’ve included from Mobile. There are also a number of intriguing players who didn’t attend the Senior Bowl or declared as underclassmen.

I also wanted to highlight two tweets today:

If Isaiah Wynn doesn’t go in the first round, something isn’t right.

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Updated mock draft: 28th January

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

I want these to be about scenarios rather than prospects. So in this mock draft, I wanted to represent what happened at the Senior Bowl and look at a situation where Ronald Jones II is off the board before pick #18.

This mock includes trades. Notes are underneath.

The trades

Buffalo trades #21, #22 & #53 to Indianapolis for #3
The Bills move up to draft Sam Darnold

Arizona trades #15, #47 & 2019 R1 to Cleveland for #4
The Cardinals move up to draft Josh Rosen

Atlanta trades #26 & R3 to Seattle for #18
The Falcons move up to draft Maurice Hurst

Cleveland trades #33 & R4 to Seattle for #26
The Browns trade up to draft Da’Ron Payne

The mock

#1 Cleveland — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
#2 New York Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 Buffalo (via Indy) — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
#4 Arizona (via Cle, Hou) — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#5 Denver — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#6 New York Jets — Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)
#7 Tampa Bay — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#8 Chicago — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
#9 San Francisco — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
#10 Oakland — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
#11 Miami — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
#12 Cincinnati — Orlando Brown (T, Oklahoma)
#13 Washington — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#14 Green Bay — Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
#15 Cleveland (via Ari) — Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
#16 Baltimore — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
#17 LA Chargers — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#18 Atlanta (via Sea) — Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
#19 Dallas — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
#20 Detroit — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
#21 Indianapolis (via Buf) — Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
#22 Indianapolis (via Buf, KC) — Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
#23 LA Rams — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
#24 Carolina — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
#25 Tennessee — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
#26 Cleveland (via Sea, Atl) — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
#27 New Orleans — James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State)
#28 Pittsburgh — Harold Landry (LB, Boston College)
#29 Jacksonville — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#30 Minnesota — Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
#31 New England — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
#32 Philadelphia — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)


— Josh Allen at #1 number represents two thoughts. Firstly, that John Dorsey will likely add a veteran quarterback such as Alex Smith. Whoever they take at #1 surely isn’t going to be tasked with immediately leading the Browns back to relevance? Smith instantly made Kansas City competitive after they ‘earned’ the #1 overall pick in 2013. A move like that buys Allen time. And if you’re drafting to develop a QB, Allen is the prototype. Great size, mobility, arm strength, hand size, the ability to make gains on the ground. Fans and media might prefer the bigger names but it’s completely plausible that GM’s and coaches will look at Allen as the ultimate lump of clay to mould.

— Saquon Barkley is so good, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s receiving Andrew Luck level grades from some teams. I don’t think it’s automatic that the Giants just draft a QB to eventually replace Eli. Dave Gettleman is determined to repair the O-line and will reportedly do whatever it takes to sign Andrew Norwell. If he gets it right up front, imagine how potent the Giants could be with Odell Beckham Jr, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. They also have enough talent on defense to be competitive. Are they thinking long term, or about the opportunity to win immediately?

— Teams were aggressive in trading up for quarterbacks a year ago. This mock represents the possibility that this could happen again, with the Bills and Cardinals making big moves to get Darnold and Rosen.

— A lot of mocks only have one running back — Saquon Barkley — going in the first round. Ronald Jones II is certainly talented enough to go very early, possibly top-20. I gave him to the Browns here because John Dorsey had first hand experience of Jamaal Charles’ impact at Kansas City. Jones II is Charles 2.0. I still think it’s possible Kerryon Johnson goes in round one too. He ran with toughness, legitimised Auburn’s season in 2017 and shares Le’Veon Bell’s patience in the backfield. Josh McDaniels spent a top-15 pick on Knowshon Moreno when he was in charge in Denver. He could push for another talented runner if his new team trades down.

— I made some picks that I don’t necessarily agree with. I think Billy Price is one of the best players in the class but many others see him as a borderline first rounder. Having him go at #20 was a compromise between the two positions. Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State) is expected to have a sensational combine and that could propel him in a week year at cornerback. It also felt like the right time to move Isaiah Wynn up the board. Following his sensational Senior Bowl and superb 2017 season, he thoroughly deserves to go in the first round. What a talent.

Notes on the Seahawks

— As I said at the start, I want these to be about scenarios not players for now. That’s why I deliberately didn’t place Seattle with an individual at #18 or after the two trades. That said, there are appealing options left on the board at running back, the O-line and defensive front seven. Will Hernandez and Frank Ragnow are there. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Rashaad Penny are there. There’s a whole host of defensive possibilities, including the find of the Senior Bowl Darius Leonard.

— I wanted to do a mock where the Seahawks don’t get a golden ticket offer via trade. Fans have talked a lot about doing a deal for a couple of second round picks, or a second and a third. It’s possible such an offer isn’t available — especially with this being a draft with minimal legit first round picks. Here the Seahawks are forced to trade down twice just to get a third and a high fourth. They end up with pick #33 but could feel obliged to move down again.

— If there’s one running back I think the Seahawks might consider taking at #18, it’s Ronald Jones II. He’s different to any of the backs Seattle has drafted in the Pete Carroll era so far but he has a special quality. He could be a star. He’s off the board here so it takes that option away. They trade down instead.

— This scenario raises what I think is a key point — the likely need to hedge at running back. They’ll possibly sign a veteran RB of some description. Whether that’s a Carlos Hyde type or someone a lot less high profile, they probably have to at least prepare for needing to wait on the running backs longer than they might prefer.

— They might need to add to multiple positions. D-line, linebacker, cornerback, safety, receiver, tight end, O-line, running back. This would be exercise in finding value and identifying the pockets of talent available at each position. For example, how long can you wait on a running back? Are Nick Chubb and Rashaad Penny, for example, second or third rounders? How early do you want to add a receiver? Do you wait until day three or consider D.J. Chark (one of the big risers in Mobile) earlier? How early is Durham Smythe going to go and could he have some appeal as a ‘Y’ tight end? When do you start re-stocking on defense and who are the players that can help make up your next core? How early is Darius Leonard going to be taken? Do you need to find a safety? And will you have enough room for the customary fifth or sixth round cornerback pick?

— A lot of the questions above are difficult to answer. And there are more. For example, can anyone say with any confidence where they think Marquis Haynes, Tyquan Lewis, Andrew Brown, B.J. Hill, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Lorenzo Carter, Jeff Holland, Terrell Edmunds, Justin Jones, Da’Shawn Hand, Kyzir White and others are going to go? You could list more. The combine will provide some answers. Yet there are a long list of defensive prospects (and some offensive ones too) where the stock could be anywhere from round two to round five. We know the Seahawks are going to try and start re-shaping the defense. Projecting who might go where is the challenging part.

— Durham Smythe (TE, Notre Dame), Darius Leonard (LB, SC State), D.J. Chark (WR, LSU), Austin Corbett (T, Nevada), Marquise Haynes (LB, Ole Miss) and Tyquan Smith (DE, Ohio State) gave off quite a ‘Seahawky’ vibe at the Senior Bowl. We’ll see how they test at the combine.

— One other thing I’ve noticed doing these mocks this year is there’s something slightly unsatisfying about the projections. That’s indicative of where the Seahawks are right now. In previous years they’ve had one or two needs. It’s been possible to identify someone they might like or at least someone fans can agree would fill a need. This year, there’s a lot more work that needs to be done to the roster. You’re unlikely to take solace in any mock draft over the next few weeks, pairing Seattle with one name at #18. You’re probably going to be more reassured by an overall assessment of what’s actually out there in this draft class. The positions of strength, the options, the possible targets. So that’s what we should aim to cover over the next few weeks.

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Senior Bowl game notes

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Top performers

Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming) — He came out for the second half against expectations and led two terrific touchdown drives. Allen showed why he could be the #1 overall pick. He has a fantastic arm but can also throw with touch, he’s mobile and can extend plays plus make gains with his legs. He played with aggression and attitude and looked the part. This was a statement performance by Allen that will have teams mightily impressed.

D.J. Chark (WR, LSU) — Of all the players on the field, Chark arguably boosted his stock the most. He looked sudden and he consistently found ways to get open. He made downfield catches and looked like an X-factor — but also made a tackle on special teams as a gunner (which he celebrated with gusto). It has to be said, he looked like a Seahawks-type receiver. Slightly unheralded, a little bit undersized. Yet he’s highly athletic, he’s a nuanced route runner, he plays with intensity and he makes explosive chunk plays.

Durham Smythe (TE, Notre Dame) — Ian Thomas had his moments too but of all the tight ends to boost their stock, it feels like Smythe did the most this week. He was excellent in the game. Smythe is well established as the most natural ‘Y’ tight end in the class. He’s considered a good blocker. In this game he showed what he can do as a receiver, getting open on a well timed wheel route to grab one of Josh Allen’s touchdowns. Smythe could be a third rounder.

Marquis Haynes (LB, Ole Miss) — All he does is make plays. Despite being modestly sized at around 6-3 and 233lbs, he ran over Pittsburgh tackle Brian O’Neill early in the game and later beat Brett Toth with a classic speed rush. Haynes had a sack fumble that led to a touchdown. He consistently impacts games. Whether he’s a nickel rusher or a SAM/LEO type — Haynes will likely provide great value because he’s such a playmaker.

Kyle Lauletta (QB, Richmond) — Western Kentucky’s Mike White also played well but Lauletta had a terrific second half. He extended plays, made a superb downfield throw close to the right sideline, scored three touchdowns and finished his work off with a highly accurate red zone pass to Marcell Ateman. Lauletta is worth a camp this summer.

Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA) — For all the talk of Davenport being laid back and maybe being a bit hit and miss in practise, this game showed why he’ll be a high first round pick. He destroyed Brian O’Neill on one snap and easily turned the corner against a variety of the lesser tackles. He had a fumble recovery for a touchdown too. There just aren’t many players with this kind of length, speed, power and upside.

Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State) — After a relatively quiet practise week for Penny, he had two really good plays in the game. A nice burst up the middle led to a significant early gain and then he caught a pass on a scramble drill for a long touchdown. Penny might not be a tone-setting back at the next level you use as a feature runner. He will, however, be the type of player who makes big chunk plays fairly regularly — as a runner, receiver or returner.

Tyquan Lewis (DE, Ohio State) — Whether he was rushing the edge, stunting inside or attacking the B-gap, Lewis had a day. He combined with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on one sack/fumble and was a constant threat. Powerful and quick, Lewis has plenty of upside and could work in a rotation at the next level.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (EDGE, Oklahoma) — In the process of trying to work out what his best position is, I think this game summed it up. He’s a pass rusher. He isn’t agile enough to play as a linebacker and cover and he’s not a base end. Yet put him up 1v1 off the edge and he makes plays. Great quickness, excellent hand use and he has a nice spin move to counter. He’ll likely be a role player at the next level but he could contribute 8-10 sacks. Think 2012 Bruce Irvin. This was a big performance by Okoronkwo.

Darius Leonard (LB, South Carolina State) — Wow. Superb size, athleticism, tenacity and unique length. Leonard flew around the field, made shoestring tackles, clattered Kalen Ballage in the open field and was clogging gaps in the run game. He is the modern day NFL linebacker. His upside is so high for the next level and with the kind of guidance and coaching he’d get in Seattle, he could end up being a big deal.

Game notes (posted live during the Senior Bowl)

— The first big play of the game came from first round pick Marcus Davenport. He crushed Pittsburgh tackle Brian O’Neill, putting his blocker on skates and walking him back into Baker Mayfield for the sack. It was a perfect illustration of Davenport’s talents. He isn’t just a speed rusher who excelled against weaker opponents — he can win in multiple ways. It also highlighted how O’Neill is quite overrated. He has upside — but he’s raw and needs major work on his technique, hand use and set. It was an ugly rep for O’Neill. On the previous down Jaleel Scott (WR, New Mexico State) dropped an easy pass from Mayfield that was right on the money.

— Rashaad Penny made the first big play on offense. Ian Thomas (TE, Indiana) came across the line to make a key block on Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, the O-line all connected on their blocks and together it created a huge running lane. Penny took advantage, running right up the middle and making a 34-yard gain. Mike White (QB, Western Kentucky) looked really good on the drive, completing two big passes including a touchdown to UCF’s Tre’Quan Smith.

— On the North’s subsequent drive, there were three key plays. Firstly, Will Hernandez pulled from the left guard position, locked onto the linebacker and allowed Kalen Ballage to make a 16-yard gain. It wasn’t a pretty move by Hernandez — he doesn’t look overly comfortable in space. It was strangely effective though. Shortly after Ballage was running free again thanks to two key blocks from Virginia Tech’s Wyatt Teller and Mason Cole. And then as the drive stalled, 233lbs Marquis Haynes bull rushed Brian O’Neill into Baker Mayfield forcing an incomplete pass. O’Neill has really struggled on the first two drives.

— Mike White has enjoyed a really strong start at quarterback for the South team. He completed a deep pass to LSU’s D.J. Chark in single coverage. Chark beat his guy and got open by the left sideline. Nice throw, route and catch. Tyquan Lewis stalled the drive by sacking White on an edge rush from the right side. He bull rushed the tackle and managed to trip up White. He had a good week in Mobile. Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson had an ugly looking field goal attempt drift wide of the upright. Oh dear.

— We talked about Kemoko Turay (EDGE, Rutgers) during the week. He had two really good rushes before the end of the first quarter. On the second occasion he easily beat Alex Cappa. Mike White just got the ball out before Turay sacked him. White has looked sharp, poised and accurate. They switch possessions at the end of each half and he led a nice two-minute drill. Daniel Carlson, having missed the easier kick earlier, then nailed a difficult 53-yarder. Go figure.

— The first big play of the second quarter involved Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis again. What a get off, rushing the B-gap and absolutely hammering Rashaad Penny in the backfield for a loss. Lewis is worth keeping an eye on here. The same can’t be said for the two big name quarterbacks so far. Neither Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen have played particularly well. Kurt Benkert of Virginia stepped up to the plate after Mike White’s fast start. Benkert scrambled to the right and from a different throwing angle, dropped a perfect pass into Rashaad Penny who took it the distance for a big touchdown. Great improvisation from the QB, great finish by the RB. Penny looks like a weapon.

— With the greatest respect to Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage, anybody watching this game actually wants to view it, rather than listen to interviews. I’m not sure why the NFL Network is trying to grab the casual viewer — or that the casual viewer wants to see a game broadcast interrupted by interviews — but it’s quite frustrating.

— Will Hernandez just had a great battle with Virginia’s Andrew Brown. 340lbs vs 294lbs — and after a great tussle Hernandez won, sending Brown to the turf. Great hands and power from Hernandez, affording Tanner Lee to make a throw to the tight end Mike Gesicki. The catch is initially made until Quin Blanding tackles Gesicki and he drops the pass. They call it incomplete. Gesicki should’ve made the catch, it was a bad miss. On the next snap Brown gets revenge with a wonderful get off and swim move to beat Wyatt Teller and force some pressure. Darius Leonard helps about by tackling Kalen Ballage in the open field. There are two names to monitor — Leonard and Brown.

— LSU’s Darrel Williams just had a beastmode run. Nice initial cut, pushed the pile and kept his legs moving for a nice gain. Great run. He could be a Seahawks target later on in the draft or UDFA. Mike Mayock noted on the broadcast he was named LSU’s MVP in 2017. His team mate D.J. Chark also had a nice run on an end-around. Chark looked sudden, decisive and quick.

— Darius Leonard is flying to the ball. He’s working to plug gaps in the run game, he just chased down Mike Gesicki after he caught a pass, he’s roaming to the ball carrier. Leonard looks fast, explosive and physical. Huge potential. Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo recorded a sack beating Alex Cappa with a standard edge rush. It looked like he lined up in a wide-9 stance and Cappa never had sufficient depth in his drop to stand a chance at preventing the sack. Okoronkwo role in the NFL is going to be difficult to work out. He’s not a SAM. He arguably doesn’t have the size to be a base end. Can he play 3-4 OLB? Debatable. He might be a nickel rusher — but he’s good at it. Stanford’s Harrison Phillips made a play before half time, hitting the quarterback after beating Skyler Phillips of Idaho State.

— Nevada tackle Austin Corbett gave up an ugly sack before half time. Jayln Holmes of Ohio State worked to the outside then beat him with a spin move inside. Corbett had no answer. Holmes had a pretty underwhelming week in Mobile but he had Corbett’s lunch money there.

— At half time the South team led 18-3. Bill O’Brien and the Houston staff had their team ready to play with the unheralded quarterbacks impressing. Vance Joseph’s Denver staff had the North team playing, ‘differently’, to put it mildly.

— Josh Allen started the half making a good throw to Durham Smythe. The Notre Dame tight end has looked good this week and has made a couple of good grabs so far. Certainly one to monitor. Marcus Davenport appeared to hurt his ankle on a good edge rush vs Army’s Brett Toth. Davenport has played well today. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton has had two bad drops. Kalen Ballage is getting outside with speed and quickness — then turning upfield. Ballage really looks the part. You just wish he did more at Arizona State. He also left the field with an apparent injury. Oren Burks was a late call up to the Senior Bowl. He’s a linebacker from Vanderbilt. He’s making some plays, he looks quick and physical.

— The first drive of the second half was a big one for Wyoming’s Josh Allen. After a disappointing first half, he was allowed another series (he wasn’t expected to play in the third quarter). Allen converted a fourth down to Mike Gesicki, made a third down with his legs and ended the drive with a wonderful touch pass to Tyler Conklin for a TD. He played angry, aggressive and made a statement there. Listen, he has a lot to work on. Nobody would deny that. But he has the perfect frame, arm, hand size, mobility and the ability to complete a range of throws. And if the Browns bring in a veteran like Alex Smith, it’s highly possible they take Allen as the eventual heir apparent with the #1 pick.

— Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (it’s fun typing that out several times during a live blog) and Tyquan Lewis just combined to make a great play. Lewis bull rushes the left tackle right into the quarterbacks lap, while Okoronkwo went up and under Brandon Parker the right tackle and had a meeting with Lewis in the backfield. The ball was fumbled by the QB and gathered by the offense. Okoronkwo and Lewis have put on a show and look like the two most distinguished pass rushers in the game.

— Back to complaining about the NFL Network now. They somehow managed to time a promotional fluff interview with a guy from Reese’s telling us about a new chocolate product called ‘the Outrageous’. Well, you know what’s even more outrageous than some chocolate, peanut butter and caramel in bar form? Missing two fantastic touchdowns because we’re basically watching an advert while the game is going on.

— Wow, Josh Allen. He completed a great play action pass to Michael Gallup for 31 yards and then followed it up with a great touch pass to Durham Smythe who got open on a wheel route for a touchdown. Two plays in the drive, two big passes and a score. This is Allen competing. Staying in the game, making big plays, flashing what he’s all about. I’ve already put together a mock draft to go live after the Senior Bowl. Allen was going to stay at #1 to Cleveland and that isn’t changing after this performance. The pass to Gallup was particularly strong. Great work on the PA, then a rocket into a tight window right on the money. Smythe is also putting on a show too. Any hope that he might be there on day three, that’s diminishing. He is the tight end separating here. He is the one who looks the part.

— Immediately afterwards, the South team responded with a huge downfield pass from Kyle Lauletta to D.J. Chark. The LSU receiver is another player having a huge day. He just gets open, he looks sudden and his finish was superb — running away from the defensive back. He has an attitude I think the Seahawks will like. On the opening kick off of the half he was the gunner and took great joy in making the special teams tackle. He has long limbs, he looks like a great route runner. Big day and he’ll be rising up boards after this.

— Poona Ford forced had a sack fumble. Will Hernandez tried to chip him and run to the second level as they tried to set up a screen. Ford was barely disrupted and just had a straight run to Josh Allen. Big hit, forced fumble although it was recovered by the offense. It stalled the drive so on third down they just ran the ball with Akrum Wadley. Mike Gesicki barely tried to block Darius Leonard. The linebacker dodged him easily and made the tackle. This is the problem with a lot of the names in this tight end class. They can’t or won’t block. That’s what’ll set Durham Smythe apart.

— Big play by Marquis Haynes. He easily beat Toth off the edge, hammered the quarterback and forced a fumble. It was scooped up by Marcus Davenport who ran it in for a touchdown. Haynes won with power and speed today. He’s only 233lbs but he made plays against O’Neill and Toth and he just finds a way to have an impact. Great quickness and finish to make the strip sack. Daniel Carlson, who missed a straight forward field goal earlier, missed the extra point. He does not look like the solution at kicker for the Seahawks based on this evidence.

— The North team imploded late on. Marcus Davenport pressured him after beating the left tackle and forced a bad throw from Tanner Lee that was picked off. Davenport clubbed the hands of the left tackle Jamil Demby and just caught Lee’s arm as he pulled the trigger.

— Quarterbacks Josh Allen and Mike White both played well — so did Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta. He had three touchdown passes and looked incredibly sharp. He found Marcell Ateman in a really tight window in the red zone for his final score — but made a variety of completions including a terrific deep ball down the right sideline. Lauletta has something about him. Interesting prospect.

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Observations on the draft post Senior Bowl week

Friday, January 26th, 2018

— To me the week of practise in Mobile confirmed a few things about this draft class. Firstly, it’s light on legit first round talent. Secondly, while there are going to be pockets of value at different positions in various rounds — I’m not sure it’s a nice, thick class all the way through. There will be good options on the interior O-line in rounds 2-3. There will likely be a run on running backs in that same range. We’ll see a cluster of quarterbacks go early. And day three will have some appealing defensive and receiver projects. It also feels like you could write down 7-8 good ‘fourth or fifth round’ options and half of them will go in round three because the depth of talent overall isn’t that great.

— I think this assertion is backed up by how aggressive Seattle was in making trades during the season. They’ve never done that before. The Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham deals came pre-draft, where they could make a considered decision judging the draft options vs the potential to acquire veteran talent. It’s quite possible they just felt the deals for Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown presented excellent value. Yet the decision to go into the off-season with only one pick in the first three rounds perhaps suggests they too believed this class was a little light in certain areas.

— Here are the players I thought impressed based on what I saw at the Senior Bowl:

Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
Unsurprisingly, a fantastic week. It emerged yesterday that Wynn practised with a torn labrum too and will have surgery next week. He probably won’t be at the combine but he’ll be ready for camp. To play as well as he did given the injury (and his decision to compete) is really something. Don’t be shocked if he sneaks into round one. Power, control, footwork, finish, subtle technique. He is a terrific prospect. ESPN’s Louis Riddick called him the most impressive player in Mobile. Agreed.

Justin Jones (DT, NC State)
Practised with intensity, power and explosion. Good size (6-2, 311lbs) with impressive length (33 5/8 inch arms plus big 10-inch hands). Attacked his gaps with vigour and could be a useful rotational pass rusher in the NFL. Looked really good.

B.J. Hill (DT, NC State)
Jones’ team mate also came away with an impressive week of work. He’s bigger at 6-3 and 321lbs and is a very different player to Jones. On the one hand you’ve got a possible third-down pass rusher capable of two-gapping and attacking from different angles. Hill is tough, strong and shakes off blockers.

Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
One of the few players who could work into first round consideration. He had a terrific first day looking like the best player in Mobile. He overpowered players, showed a genuine edge and attitude and surprising agility on his feet (a slight concern going into the week). Impressive and at the very least a second round prospect.

Durham Smythe (TE, Notre Dame)
I hadn’t watched any of his tape going into the week but read a lot of reports suggesting he was the best ‘Y’ tight end in the class. Blocking is going to be a big deal for the Seahawks at this position. That said, he really flashed as a pass catcher on Thursday and looks the part. The only concern might be his short 31 1/2 inch arms. Good character, got open in the TE vs S drills and made one terrific catch on a fade against Kyzir White.

Brett Toth (T, Army)
I hadn’t really written about Toth during the week because he’s in the army. Last year they incorporated a rule that basically made it a lot harder for recruits to play in the NFL without undertaking two years of service. Apparently, there might be a way around this. If he can go to the NFL in 2018, Toth is one to keep an eye on. He’s tough, in control and had some big moments as a blocker. Could be a mid-rounder and play right tackle or guard.

Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
He’s had two years of injury issues and he’s raw. However, Turay will be a nice project for someone as a late round pick or UDFA. He looked really quick and sharp in Mobile. He’s quick off the snap, showed good bend and footwork. Technique wise he needs some work — he needs to learn proper hand-use and develop ways to get off a block. He’ll be worth a camp though.

Bradley Bozeman (C, Alabama)
On Tuesday he was great. He controlled defenders with great hand placement and leverage — plus he had the strength to finish. He wasn’t quite as effective on day two. For some reason all of the great technique went by the wayside in the 1v1 drills. However, he’s a tough, competitive interior lineman with good size (6-4, 317lbs). At the very least could be a strong backup.

Darius Leonard (LB, South Carolina State)
He’ll be a project — but what a project. Fluid hips, great speed, ideal size (6-2, 229lbs) and great length (34 1/8 inch arms plus 10 3/8 inch hands). Get Leonard on the roster. He started the week struggling in coverage but on Thursday showed major strides. He loves a hit too — he absolutely demolished one of the running backs towards the end of the day yesterday on a pass into the flat. He’ll need time but Leonard is a modern day NFL linebacker with a ton of potential.

Marquis Haynes (LB, Ole Miss)
Haynes is a playmaker, always has been. And while his role at the next level might be limited to nickel pass rush duties, he did a lot this week to prove he’s worth considering. He moves well in space, he showed well in the pass rush drills (great quickness, flashed a counter and was willing to use power in the bull rush). It’s hard to determine what round he’ll land — but he’ll be worth a shot to be an impact rotational player.

Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
The tough thing to work out with Ballage is whether all of the positivity he built up this week is ever going to lead to anything. He’s a sensational talent, looked like a receiver running routes and he’s a natural athlete. But when the grind of a 16-game season is ongoing, is he going to be there for you? That’s the big question. In Mobile he looked terrific.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (LB, Oklahoma)
He seemed to be trying too hard on day one but once he settled in he showed what he does best — get after the quarterback. He beat Tyrell Crosby on back-to-back snaps using an outside speed rush and then an inside spin move. He has great length (34 1/2 inch arms) and he’s versatile.

Darrell Williams (RB, LSU)
Yesterday was my first opportunity to watch the running backs and Williams stood out. He’s sturdy and well built and right in Seattle’s wheelhouse for RB’s (5-11, 229lbs). Downhill runner with power but intriguing quickness. Was stuck behind Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice at LSU. Could be a later round value pick.

Austin Corbett (T, Nevada)
I thought he looked a bit sluggish on Wednesday but in the team drills yesterday he took no prisoners. He was driving defenders off the LOS, attacking the second level, working well with Bradley Bozeman on double teams. Top performance.

Da’Shawn Hand (DT, Alabama)
Hand looked good when he was able to avoid Isaiah Wynn. The standout moment for me was a rush he had at defensive end during team drills on Thursday. He stunted inside and just blew past the interior linemen to get into the backfield. Marcus Davenport also rushed the edge and the two met the QB at the same time. It was a flash of genuine quality and showed why Hand was once the #1 overall recruit.

— I remain relatively convinced that acquiring talent at running back will be a significant draft priority for Seattle (especially given the quality of player available). Pete Carroll pretty much spelled that out when he spoke at the end of the season. Adding at least two backs from this class seems likely.

Daniel Jeremiah listed Nick Chubb at #49 on his top-50 list. That would suggest a R2-3 type range. Lance Zierlein on the other hand lists him in R3-4. If he has a clean medical check and the kind of combine we know he’s capable of, I think he’ll be nearer round one than round four. Frank Gore lasted into round three after seriously injuring his knee in college. Chubb might provide similar value and toughness. It’d certainly give Seattle’s running game a shot in the arm if they were able to get Ronald Jones II and Nick Chubb. How likely that is, I don’t know. It’s a fun thought.

— Both Jeremiah and Zierlein have Billy Price rated in the late first/early second round range. I think he’s a top-15 talent. If Price, Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn and Frank Ragnow were available it’d be very easy to feel quite positive about getting one to potentially play left guard. However, there might be a reason why they’re looking at players like Austin Corbett. Firstly, they already have a first rounder, two second rounders and a player who cost a second and third round pick starting on their O-line. At what point is it down to Mike Solari to make this work, while focusing on other areas? Secondly, they might want (or need) to focus on RB and defensive front seven.

— Ultimately I don’t think there’s a right or wrong approach for Seattle at #18 (even though fans will, inevitably, pick a side on the debate). There is some value in staying put — especially if they think as highly of Ronald Jones II as I do (for whatever that’s worth) and several others do (Jeremiah and Zierlein). There’s also some benefit in trading down and being able to address several needs instead of one. If I could try and shape the debate within this community for the next few weeks I would propose the following. Debate the pro’s and con’s of both, rather than argue vehemently for one or the other.

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Senior Bowl day three notes

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Quickly if you’ve missed anything this week…

Senior Bowl measurements
Senior Bowl day one notes
Seahawks interested in Austin Corbett?
Senior Bowl day two notes

They didn’t do any OL vs DL drills today so I paid most attention to the RB/TE vs LB/S drills. I’ve posted my notes below.

— Notre Dame tight Durham Smythe is one to watch. Absolutely 100%. Described by Lance Zierlein asa classic “Y” tight end who carries himself like an offensive lineman” — this is the type of TE you’d expect the Seahawks to target. They want to run the ball. They want players who can do the Zach Miller type work. Smythe, unlike Mike Gesicki, Troy Fumagalli and Mark Andrews, was actually tasked with blocking duties at Notre Dame. Today he showed off what he can do in the passing game. He was tremendous. On one snap vs Armani Watts he had a nice, subtle push off to create separation and make a catch. He absolutely bossed Kyzir White twice. On one occasion he faked an inside move then darted outside to the sideline to get open. Then he caught a badly underthrown fade vs White — competing for position and making the difficult catch. He also got the better of Trayvon Henderson in emphatic style. Henderson tried to jam him at the line, got into his pads and clung on for about 2.5 seconds. Smythe just blasted out of his grasp and completed the route before making the catch in the red zone. Hands, physicality, focus, smooth routes. If you’re looking for a day three tight end for the Seahawks this could be your man. He seems like a good character too:

— I did wonder if Smythe’s length might be an issue. He’s 6-5 and 253lbs so there’s no problem there. He only has 31 1/2 inch arms though. Length can be important but having checked, Luke Willson pre-draft was 6-5, 251lbs with 32 1/4 inch arms. It’s something to consider though. Nick Vannett for example was 6-6 and 257lbs at his combine with 34 1/4 inch arms. Hopefully Smythe measures a little longer in Indianapolis (not uncommon).

— The other tight ends were really hit and miss. Penn State’s Mike Gesicki had a couple of great routes. He destroyed Kyzir White with a double move near the end of the session. He’s a great athlete and when he gets a free release and a chance to win with speed and agility he’s tough to stop. Yet he’s not the most physical when engaged. White controlled him quite easily on one snap by getting into his pads. He’s a big target — long, tall and not overpowering. Fumagalli is quite similar. He had a wonderful route vs Marcus Allen, creating separation and completing a difficult one handed grab. Yet when he got stuck on a jam he couldn’t release. White again got into his pads, just like Gesicki, and stayed with him (might’ve been called a hold, mind).

— Smythe didn’t let a pass hit the deck. Fumagalli had one bad drop and so did Tyler Conklin. Both showed a frustrating lack of focus on those plays.

— Mike Mayock isn’t messing around this week. Charles Davis tried to compliment Gesicki and Fumagalli on their blocking, saying, “they block the same way, they position on just about everything.” Mayock then chimed in, “Oh, I thought you were going to say non existent.” In fairness to Mayock, he’s right. It’s a big problem within this class and within the position overall in college. It’s why O.J. Howard was so rare and so coveted a year ago in round one. He was a sensational athlete who’d actually been taught how to block.

— The safety class remains unimpressive in my eyes. Seattle’s biggest needs are O-line, defensive front seven and running back. That’s a good thing, because it’s not an exciting DB class.

— Arizona State’s Kallen Ballage was unblockable. Absolutely unblockable. Bigger, faster, quicker. No safety or linebacker could stick with him. It was noted by the broadcast team that he worked well in pass protection yesterday. He seems to be gaining some momentum this week. Ballage has so much potential but underwhelmed in college. It won’t be a surprise if he has a big workout at the combine.

— On the other hand Iowa’s Akrum Wadley was unimpressive here. He struggled to get open and separate. On one snap he allowed the safety to force him to the sideline, narrowing the window for the QB. On another snap he just fell over as soon as the whistle blew. He couldn’t separate when a linebacker got his hands on him. He just looked so limited. Daniel Jeremiah added he wasn’t good in pass protection either. He finally had a nice route and catch on a fade to the back corner of the end zone late on. This was a bit of a disappointment though considering he’s a smaller back and will be looked at as someone who needs to contribute in the passing game.

— USC’s Uchenna Nwosu showed well in coverage. He has a nice, physical jam and an ability to stick on the route and play the ball. He hasn’t looked particularly strong as a pass rusher but this was a positive. He’s a former safety and it shows.

— South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard had a terrific day in coverage. He especially performed well vs Rashaad Penny. He broke up a wheel route in the team scrimmage vs Penny, didn’t bite on a double move in the 1v1’s and had the quick reactions and speed to recover on any route. He’s big, fluid as a runner and gets around the field. He’s going to need time to develop and learn but he’ll be a decent project for someone.

— San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny had a bit of trouble catching the ball again. He hasn’t had good reviews this week in terms of his hands. He had a really bad drop in the 1v1’s vs Darius Leonard. If the Senior Bowl was a chance to separate and boost his stock within a loaded RB class — I’m not sure he capitalised on that opportunity.

— Indiana’s Ian Thomas looked a bit stiff and sluggish in the 1v1’s. Virginia’s Quin Blanding covered him with ease on one snap — and Thomas wasn’t as fluid as Gesicki (another athlete type TE). It’s hard to be overly excited about his stock or the TE class on the whole.

— Nevada O-liner Austin Corbett dominated in the team drill, lining up at guard and tackle. On one snap he drove a LSU lineman down the field five yards, then he worked a nice double team with Bradley Bozeman. He finished blocks, played with an edge and looked the real deal. The Seahawks reportedly like him.

— Marcus Davenport had a terrific sack in the team drills, working inside and exploding to the QB. That was a first round move. Terrific. He’s raw and he’s working stuff out. He will be a high pick though. There’s too much upside. He’ll likely go in the top-15. Here’s the play:

— With this being the final day of practises, I don’t feel like we’ve really learnt a lot of new information. There weren’t many first rounders in Mobile. We can clearly see some of the issues at DB, TE and DE. We already knew there was some nice depth and talent along the interior O-line. This is a draft class without a lot of star power. There will be pockets of value at various positions (RB, OL, defensive front seven) and the key to a good draft is going to be finding the hot spots and working that value. There will be good options at RB and OL in rounds 2-4. There will be some good defensive talent available on day three. This Senior Bowl didn’t uncover any new gems who are set to fly up the boards and some of the bigger names didn’t elevate their stock. This is encouraging though:

— On a general point away from the Senior Bowl, some words on USC’s Ronald Jones II. We’ve talked a lot about him due to Seattle’s need at running back. For me he’s a Jamaal Charles clone, one of the few legit first round talents in the draft and someone who warrants genuine consideration in the first frame. He’s tough for his size, finishes runs, he is sudden and glides at the second level, he’s a home run hitter and he flashes vicious cuts at the LOS to break big gains. Daniel Jeremiah listed him at #12 in his top-50 earlier this week. Now Lance Zierlein appears ready to offer a similar grade. Believe in this guys ability. For all the talk of moving down, it might be hard to pass on Jones II if he lasts to #18. He is that good. Doesn’t mean that’s what they’ll do — just don’t be surprised if he’s firmly in their sights. He’s a potential superstar.

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Senior Bowl day two notes

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Quickly if you’ve missed anything this week…

Senior Bowl measurements
Senior Bowl day one notes
Seahawks interested in Austin Corbett?

Here’s what I’ve seen on day two…

— Isaiah Wynn had a fantastic performance in the 1v1 drills against the defensive linemen. He absolutely dominated LSU’s Greg Gilmore on his first snap. Wynn stayed square, showed great hand placement and just flat out stoned Gilmore. Perfect. On his second snap he delivered an incredible jolt to Virginia’s Andrew Brown to knock him off balance and then just controlled the block. He has everything — a powerful base, great hand technique, strength, balance. What a prospect he is. Look at him:

— Alabama center Bradley Bozeman had a good day yesterday but took a step back today. Texas’ Poona Ford beat him with a spin move where he had no answer and then he struggled to anchor against LSU’s Gilmore. His hand placement was as poor today as it was exceptional yesterday. He lost all control.

— Former #1 overall recruit Da’Shawn Hand has a lot to prove and faired
better today (at least when they kept him away from Isaiah Wynn). He beat Nevada’s Austin Corbett to the left shoulder. Corbett struggled to turn his hips and keep the defender in front and ended up one-arming the block. He didn’t look comfortable and Hand won.

— Alex Cappa from Humboldt State is getting a lot of push from Mike Mayock on the NFL Network but he can’t defend a spin move. He did have a good snap vs a Marquise Haynes bull rush but then he completely whiffed on his next two blocks including a waltz to the QB from Utah’s Kyle Fitts.

— For some reason Haynes bull rushed on all of his snaps and so did UTSA’s Marcus Davenport. Let’s see some speed! Davenport had an ineffective snap against TCU’s Joe Noteboom. The South coaches are using a snap count (the north aren’t) and Davenport is having trouble timing his get-off. He has potential and he looks the part. He isn’t dominating though — he’s raw and will need time to learn the fundamentals at the next level. Get-off, hand use, technique, variety of pass-rush moves. He might need a red-shirt year.

— It’s pretty clear the most talented receiver in Mobile is James Washington of Oklahoma State. He’s explosive, quick, powerful and has long levers. He has a very strong opportunity to go in the top-40 and potentially round one.

— Washington’s Oklahoma State team mate Marcell Ateman also showed well, including a nice 1v1 against North Carolina’s M.J. Stewart. He’s long and tall but not quite as stiff as some of the bigger north team receivers.

— I also spent a little bit of time watching the North team WR’s vs the DB’s. Allen Lazard at Iowa State is big, physical and looked quite smooth. There were also some snaps where his size was a problem when he had to run shorter routes and create separation. This was a common problem with the group. Jaleel Scott at New Mexico State had even more difficulty creating space in the short game and really only shone when offered a big cushion and was able to work the sideline or run straight downfield. DaeSean Hamilton looked like the most natural receiver on the north team.

— South Carolina State Darius Leonard absolutely hammered Ito Smith on a pass into the flat. Leonard showed good range, timing and brought the heat. I want to see more of him. There are some day three defensive players in this draft with the potential to come good.

— Nathan Shepherd, a small school prospect from Fort Hays State, started brightly but has since picked up a hand injury. He’s gone for X-Rays. Reportedly it’s a broken hand. He didn’t feature in the OL vs DL drill.

— The OL vs DL drills started with Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo against Oregon’s Tyrell Crosby. On the first snap Crosby false started and Okoronkwo still beat him. He was too quick and just got to the edge before Crosby had even got into his backpedal. They replayed the snap because of the false start but Okoronkwo won easily again — this time using a spin move to beat Crosby inside. They were two ugly snaps for Crosby. He looks out of shape, like he’s carrying bad weight. When he gets his hands on a defender (as he did in a snap later vs Garret Dooley of Wisconsin) he can lock on and finish. He dominated Dooley. Too often though his footwork is stodgy and he’s beaten by a better athlete.

— Harrison Phillips always seems to have a plan. He knows what he wants to do pre-snap and he has a nice repertoire of pass rush moves. He’s quicker than you’d think for his size. However, his counter is sometimes suspect. He was stoned by Cole Madison and Mason Cole on separate snaps. Occasionally he struggles to disengage.

— Brian O’Neill at Pittsburgh. Hmmm. #16 in Mel Kiper’s mock draft and sometimes you can see why. He has upside. In a later drill he pulled to the right sideline from the RT position and drove a defensive back downfield 10-yards, then threw the guy to the ground. In space he worked well, located and connected with a more athletic second level defender. Yet his technique in pass protection is concerning. He ended yesterday overextending against Garret Dooley and started in exactly the same fashion today. Dooley let O’Neill shoot his hands and then just swiped them away. He’s reaching. O’Neill got some heavy coaching after that snap and didn’t fair much better against the speed of Kemoko Turay. He got beat to the outside and his footwork this time was suspect. He looks raw.

— Will Hernandez was the star of day one but he didn’t quite reach those heights today. He was grabby in pass pro and didn’t shoot his hands inside. A lot of his work was to the shoulder pads. Justin Jones from NC State beat him quite easily on one snap (before Hernandez got revenge in a rematch). Still, he looks completely comfortable squared up blocking front on. The only concern is how he’ll fair when he has to move off the spot and shift the angle of his block. It’s not an insignificant issue.

— NC State’s B.J. Hill continues to look extremely powerful and quick. He’s one of the big performers so far. His bull rush is pure nasty and he always has a counter move to disengage. He flashed quickness and agility too with a great spin move to win inside. Hill looks fantastic out there.

— Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis also showed well attacking the interior. He destroyed Scott Quessenberry on an inside move and walked Cole Madison back into the quarterback. He impressed today.

Here’s a few notes from elsewhere:

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Seahawks showing interest in Austin Corbett?

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Tony Pauline is the best in the business when it comes to insider info on the draft. He also has a proven track record connecting offensive linemen to the Seahawks (see: Terry Poole).

He’s in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and filed this report at the end of day one:

The Seattle Seahawks, a team that needs offensive lineman, were very complimentary of Austin Corbett throughout today’s first practice. They mentioned his durability (Corbett played more than 600 snaps in college), versatility (he played three positions today) and ability to obliterate defenders.

Corbett isn’t a player we’ve focused on yet but he’ll be someone to check out. Mike Mayock made a loose comparison to Joel Bitonio during the NFL Network coverage.

He had some decent snaps in the 1v1 drills. Pauline had these notes from practise:

One of the better blockers on the South. Lined up at center, guard and right tackle. Shows some stifness in his game but displayed strength, staying square and controlling opponents in one-on-one situations. I like him better in a smaller area, but he definitely has next-level stuff.

So who is Austin Corbett? Here’s what you need to know courtesy of Chris Murray at the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Over the last couple of years, the Wolf Pack’s Austin Corbett has developed into one of the best offensive tackles in the nation while academically working toward becoming a surgeon.

With a bachelor’s degree in his pocket and a potential position in the NFL draft coming soon, Corbett certainly could have been tempted to rest on his achievements. But, there was one big reason that could never be the case. As well as he was doing, his girlfriend was besting him at every step.

Corbett started dating Madison Morell, a Wolf Pack volleyball star at the time, during his freshman season. When Corbett posted GPAs in the 3s, Morell was carding 4.0s. When Corbett earned second-team All-MW honors, Morell was recording back-to-back first-team awards. When Corbett was named a two-time team captain, Morell was traveling to Slovenia to compete with the MW’s global all-star team.

“She pretty much always had a 4.0,” Corbett said at the MW Media Summit. “I was always above a 3.0, but I wanted to beat her. I finally pulled my first true 4.0s the last couple of semesters, and it was because of her and making sure my life was set up to provide for her. And her being all-conference, she said, ‘How come you’re not all-conference yet?’ I was, like, ‘I’m sorry. I’ll do better, I guess.’”

And some more info from the same writer, pre-Senior Bowl:

Corbett started 49 of 50 games at Nevada, missing only one game during his freshman year because of an ankle injury. Those starts all came at left tackle, but the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Corbett is likely to move inside at the pro level. Most sites have him listed as one of the draft’s top offensive guards, but the Senior Bowl roster lists him at center. Corbett figures he’ll see time at each position this week.

“Right now, I’m listed at center,” said Corbett, who worked on his center snaps after practice with Nevada offensive line coach Mason Miller throughout the season. “I’m sure I’ll play all five positions and I’m sure that’s how it will go for the majority of the offensive line. Most scouts want to see what you can do where, so I’m sure there will be a good rotation. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll start off on day one.”

Smart, tough, durable, versatile and driven. It’s not a surprise the Seahawks are showing at least some interest. They’re probably not alone.

I could only find one game tape on Youtube. It’s against Notre Dame from 2016. I haven’t studied this yet but if you want to take a look, here you go:

If you missed our Senior Bowl day one notes, click here.

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Thoughts on day one of the Senior Bowl

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

If you missed the measurements (and some thoughts on Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 list) be sure to click here.

The best part of the Senior Bowl is the O-line vs D-line drills. It’s the one thing the NFL Network sticks with and you genuinely get a good look at how these players compete 1v1.

I was able to go back and watch these drills on repeat — but I haven’t had access to any other parts of the day apart from some of the receiver drills where I thought Oklahoma State’s James Washington set about confirming a top-40 grade.

It’s also worth noting that a bad performance here doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be drafted by the Seahawks. Justin Senior was a late Senior Bowl call up a year ago and looked quite out of his depth on day one. He showed relative progress as the week went on and that’s probably why the Seahawks ended up spending a sixth round pick on him. Even so, his first showing in Mobile wasn’t good.

Here are my day one notes:

— The big winner, without doubt, was UTEP’s Will Hernandez. He started working against Ohio State’s Jalyn Holmes. On the first snap he just walled him off, showed excellent footwork to guard against a counter and rode him out of the play. His second snap was just pure dominance. Hernandez showed great initial footwork and balance to mirror and then dumped the DL on his backside. You could see how frustrated Holmes was after. He couldn’t beat him. The coaches put Hernandez up against Miami’s Chad Thomas at the end of the drill. Thomas had been arguably the most productive performer on the North D-line to that point. This was best vs best from day one. Hernandez won again — emphatically. He got into Thomas’ pads and just overpowered him, sending him to the turf as he tried to counter. I’ve had Hernandez in my top-50 from the start and this was a fantastic start for him.

— Isaiah Wynn worked at left and right guard but didn’t get any tackle snaps which was a shame. He’s going to play guard at the next level but it still would’ve been good to see him have a little time at tackle. He had a great snap against Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand — great footwork, set, an initial jolt to engage and he finished the block by shoving Hand to the floor. Technique, footwork and finish. Wynn is really good.

— After Will Hernandez, you could make a case for Alabama center Bradley Bozeman having the second best performance. He consistently won with leverage which is impressive considering he’s pushing 6-5 and 317lbs. He gets his hands inside, locks on and gets a good knee bend. He had a nice win against Texas’ Poona Ford who really should’ve won the leverage battle considering he’s under 6-0. Bozeman controlled the block and finished. On his next snap he won again with great hand placement against Greg Gilmore of LSU. We’ve talked about it for years — but hand technique is so underrated when judging these players in the trenches.

— Brian O’Neill at Pittsburgh was listed as the #16 pick in Mel Kiper’s mock draft but his technique needs a lot of work. He’s clearly athletic (he is a former tight end) but he reaches with his arms and it’s easy to counter. On his first snap here he engaged well against Garret Dooley from Wisconsin, kept his frame clean and won. Yet on the next play Dooley knew what he was going to do. He simply clubbed his hands away, knocked him right off balance and all O’Neill could do was grab Dooley and hold. It was an ugly snap. You never see Isaiah Wynn reach and overextend. O’Neill might have the physical upside but he’ll need work based on this evidence.

— They didn’t show enough of UTSA’s Marcus Davenport to judge but I saw one snap where he bull rushed Auburn’s Austin Golson and walked him back into the quarterback. He’s quick enough working the edge to be satisfied with his game in that regard. When you see him rushing inside like this with leverage and power — that’s why he might go in the top-15.

— Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes is going to provide a steal for someone. He has good size, he’s a playmaker and he’s versatile. Here he had a great rush against Alex Cappa of Humboldt State — swiping at his arms and brushing him off. He dipped inside for the win and it all looked so easy. Cappa had no answer — it was like he was stuck in the mud (bad footwork). Haynes had a lot of production at Ole Miss. He’s one to watch during this process.

— One of the bigger 1v1 disappointments was Ogbonnia Okoronkwo from Oklahoma. I’m not sure if he was trying too hard or what. On his first snap he did a great job getting into Tyrell Crosby’s frame, jolting him right off balance for the win. He bullied him. Yet on the next snap he went way too wide to try and win with speed and Crosby just used his length to ride him out of the play and onto the ground. They put Okoronkwo against a different blocker on his third snap — he tried a spin move, fell over and ended up on his backside. He lacked control.

— NC State’s B.J. Hill looked big, quick and physical. He refused to be blocked when getting upfield against Washington State guard Cole Madison (who had a good performance overall). Mason Cole managed to stone Hill on another snap though, slowing him down. That was a good battle inside.

— Harrison Phillips probably had the rep of the day. He looked more like Justin Timberlake pulling off an incredible sidestep to fool Scott Quessenberry of UCLA, darting from left to right and exploding into the backfield. He looked quick, athletic and sharp. Quessenberry recovered on the next snap though — stoning him inside on a bull rush. The third contest between the pair was pretty much a draw. Phillips engaged and tried to work upfield but Quessenberry stayed with him.

— Two unheralded names to watch for the rest of the week are Kemoko Turay from Rutgers (long, lean, really quick with a nice spin move) and Nathan Shepherd from Fort Hays State (aggressive, tough, intense). Turay’s had injury problems and Shepherd is a small schooler but both made decent starts today.

Here are some other thoughts from the day courtesy of Tony Pauline and Draft Analyst:

Tony has an excellent prospect-by-prospect recap at Draft Analyst. These words on Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe will be interesting for Seahawks fans: “Smythe had a terrific day and was the best tight end on the North. Was dominant in blocking drills and as a blocker in scrimmage. Manhandled Jalyn Holmes a number of times. Also caught the ball very well.” If the Seahawks draft a tight end this year, you better believe they’ll be good at blocking.

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