Month: April 2020 (Page 1 of 4)

Thursday notes: Backup QB’s, Taco’s & more Clowney

Here are some quick fire notes today. Tomorrow I’m starting my 2021 prospect articles, beginning with Florida’s Kyle Pitts.

— Jameis Winston took a cheap contract in New Orleans for a few reasons. One — he’s seen Teddy Bridgewater rebuild his career with the Saints. Two — Sean Payton is a quarterback guru. Three — there’s a job opening in 12 months when Drew Brees retires. You can’t compare his situation to Andy Dalton and Cam Newton. And there’s no way they’d take a million bucks to hold Russell Wilson’s Microsoft Surface for a season.

— When John Schneider was asked on 710 ESPN how he felt they’d handled the pass rush issue this off-season, he immediately brought up — without any teeing up — Jadeveon Clowney. As noted yesterday — there’s got to be a reason why the Seahawks are not signing other players despite needs at defensive tackle and backup quarterback in particular. They are clearly willing, at the moment at least, to wait for Clowney. Why? Because he’s what Pete Carroll calls a ‘field tilter’. The Seahawks need a ‘field tilter’ on their D-line. And he’s the only one left and might’ve been the only one available to begin with.

— I get the impression there will be some frustration internally about this situation. Probably because Seattle’s is by far the best offer. And yet he still won’t agree to it. However, that also puts them — still — in pole position for whenever he does make a decision. That’s a likely reason why they are continuing to wait — along with the continued availability of Plan B (Everson Griffen).

— There’s so much criticism of Clowney out there. What he’s doing is clearly unconventional. A lot of players just take the best offer available. Yet he’s not like most players. He has made $50,583,998 in his career so far. And he has decided he’s happy to risk losing money to make a decision when he’s ready, rather than take an offer he doesn’t think represents his true value. If he wants to do that, it’s his prerogative — however frustrating that might be to the Seahawks and their fans.

— It was interesting to hear Schneider mention ‘the three linebackers’ in round one when talking on 710 ESPN. It seems like they identified that as a position of value in the late first and an area they wanted to tap into — whether it was Kenneth Murray, Jordyn Brooks or Patrick Queen. For the second year in a row I’ve badly misjudged their interest in the position. That said, a year ago they drafted two linebackers after paying Bobby Wagner big money and re-signing K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks. This year they drafted Brooks with Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven added to the mix. That’s a lot of resource spent on one position — Wagner and Wright alone are taking up $25m of the cap in 2020.

— Taco Charlton is available after being waived by Miami. My question would be — why has he been waived twice already in a three year career after being taken by Dallas with the #28 pick? What’s his deal? Why are teams allergic to his presence?

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Seahawks seem just as willing as Clowney to wait this out

The Jadeveon Clowney stalemate is going to go on and on…

John Schneider was asked after the draft whether the stalemate with Jadeveon Clowney was preventing him from signing anyone else.

“No” was the firm and direct reply.

We’ll find out if that really is the case in the coming days.

The Seahawks created some cap room when they released Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker, leading to frenzied fans speculating about all sorts of potential corresponding moves.

The reality is pretty clear by now. They were always going to make those cuts and were simply waiting to see how things shaped up in the draft.

According to Spotrac they now have about $23m in overall cap space. This doesn’t include the amount you need to save for injured reserve or a practise squad. It doesn’t include the money for the 2020 draft class. It also doesn’t include Bruce Irvin’s currently unknown salary.

Seattle has some flexibility though. Which is important — because there’s still a lot to do.

For starters — there’s absolutely no way they’re going to go into a coronavirus impacted season with undrafted free agent Anthony Gordon as Russell Wilson’s backup. He’s a prime candidate for some practise squad seasoning if he earns the opportunity in a camp. They need to sign a veteran for the season proper and that likely means a return for Geno Smith at some stage.

The Seahawks can sign Smith at any time. They haven’t, so far, despite it seeming like a pretty straight forward arrangement.

They also need to sign a defensive tackle. So far they’ve lost Al Woods at the position and not replaced him. It’s inevitable that someone will be added. However, as of today, nobody has been.

It’s also very possible they will add competition at running back and receiver. That could mean Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman or Isaiah Crowell plus Josh Gordon. Again — these are all deals that could happen at any moment. They haven’t.

The obvious explanation is the Seahawks are still waiting to try and work out a conclusion to the Clowney stalemate. They know it’s going to be an expensive addition, whenever it happens. Eating up their cap space now just makes it even harder.

Until that deal is done — or he signs somewhere else — they can’t really act.

You might say it’s time to move on. Just sign Everson Griffen instead.

I suspect the Seahawks have been tempted. You don’t want a situation like this dragging on for months.

However — I also think they’ve determined that Clowney is their best bet. I think they made that call at the start of free agency too, which is why they never really showed much interest in any of the other free agent defensive ends.

Their apparent willingness to wait this out as long as he is feels like an admission that they can’t get anyone better. If they move on now and just leave him as a free agent, they might just be cutting off their nose to spite their face. They’d be removing the opportunity to make their team the best it can be. I sense they’re not willing to do that and they don’t think any alternative comes close. Therefore, they’re waiting.

I would’ve said a few weeks ago it’s a risky strategy. Now I’m not so sure. Griffen hasn’t signed anywhere else. Damon Harrison hasn’t signed anywhere else. Marcel Dareus hasn’t signed anywhere else. Brandon Mebane hasn’t signed anywhere else.

None of the potential options for Seattle appear to have much of a market. Until things pick up — they pretty much can afford to continue this waiting game.

Ideally someone would force their hand either way. The passing of the comp pick deadline felt like a potential turning point. Would a team offer Clowney a big offer now, knowing it wouldn’t impact their picks in 2021?

The answer was no. The stalemate continued.

That’s probably because any other suitor is in the same boat as Seattle. It’s not really about getting a medical for Clowney. It’s about him wanting more than the league is willing to pay. Nothing will change in that regard. So Clowney, as is his prerogative, is deciding to leave his options open. He knows there will always be a team willing to sign him. He’s clearly willing, as a very rich man already, to gamble a few million to try and win this negotiating battle.

It’s probably not a good strategy — but he’s not going to be forced into a contract he doesn’t like. If he wants to go that route, who can blame him really? You’ve got to put yourself in the position of a man who’s already earned over $50m in his career.

The latest update is he’s still prepared to wait this out.

The Seahawks won’t want to chip away at their remaining cap until the door slams shut with Clowney. While ever the likes of Griffen, Harrison and others are available — they won’t feel any serious pressure either, even if there’s a great deal of frustration.

Seattle’s remaining business this off-season is almost certainly limited to the addition of one or Clowney or Griffen, a defensive tackle, a veteran backup quarterback and maybe a cheap veteran running back and receiver. They appear willing to go with the competition they already have at nickel corner — but that’s also an area they could add to (although there’s never been a splash here previously)

There were all sorts of weird and wonderful trades being pitched on the internet on Sunday. The reality is the Britt and Fluker moves were inevitable and not a precursor to anything big. The key to the remaining off-season is Jadeveon Clowney. The slow dance, I’m afraid, is going to continue.

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Colby Parkinson has a profile you can work with

When it comes to picking in the fourth round, you’re really just looking for someone who can outperform their draft placing.

In the case of Colby Parkinson, he was the 133rd player selected. By that stage in the draft you’re looking at physical ideals.

We saw it with Deejay Dallas and Alton Robinson too. Dallas was in their ballpark for size/explosion at running back and Robinson was a top performer in the short shuttle, a test we’ve identified as important on the defensive line.

There’s been a lot of talk about Parkinson’s potential role in Seattle. This is because he was mainly used as a big receiver at Stanford. He did very little blocking. People have wondered whether, as a consequence, he might’ve been drafted to do a similar job in Seattle.

I’d hold back on that thought for a while.

To me this pick was 100% about profile. It’s not what he showed at Stanford that is the key here. It’s what he showed at the combine.

Firstly, we’ve previously identified the importance of the three cone when it comes to selecting tight ends. The Seahawks have consistently targeted players who ran around 7.10 or faster:

Luke Willson — 7.08
Will Dissly — 7.07
Nick Vannett — 7.05
Anthony McCoy — 6.99
Zach Miller — 7.01
Jimmy Graham — 6.90
Greg Olsen — 7.04
Jacob Hollister – 7.12

This isn’t a coincidence by now. There are too many examples.

Historically there’s also some correlation between the best tight ends in the league (or the tight ends who are drafted very early) and their performance in the three cone:

Top performing tight ends

George Kittle – 7.00
Austin Hooper – 7.00
Coby Fleener – 7.02
Zach Ertz — 7.08
Travis Kelce — 7.09
Hunter Henry — 7.16
Rob Gronkowski — 7.18

First round picks since 2016

Noah Fant – 6.81
O.J. Howard – 6.85
Evan Engram – 6.92
David Njoku – 6.97
T.J. Hockenson — 7.02
Hayden Hurst – 7.19

We can clearly see that the NFL is placing a high value on this test at the position — and it’s also a good test to determine future success in the league.

Parkinson ran a 7.15 three cone. So while he’s not in the 6.8’s or 6.9’s that likely would’ve propelled him into day one or two of the draft — he’s also in the Kelce, Henry, Gronkowski range. When it comes to using a pick at #133 — he ran a good enough time to believe there’s something to work with there.

It’s not just his three cone either. Parkinson ran a 4.46 short shuttle. That also compares favourably to Seattle’s previous additions at the position and the top TE’s in the league:

Luke Willson — 4.29
Will Dissly — 4.40
Nick Vannett — 4.20
Anthony McCoy — 4.57
Zach Miller — 4.42
Jimmy Graham — 4.45
Greg Olsen — 4.48

Rob Gronkowski — 4.47
Hunter Henry — 4.41
Austin Hooper – 4.32
T.J. Hockenson — 4.18
Coby Fleener – 4.30
Zach Ertz — 4.47
Travis Kelce — 4.42
George Kittle – 4.55

With Parkinson’s profile, at the #133 pick, you can take someone who gives you a chance to outplay his draft placing.

You might bring up his forty time. He ran a 4.77. Clearly that’s a step below people like Kittle (4.52) and some of the freaks who went in round one (Engram, Howard).

Again though, there are positive comparisons:

Rob Gronkowski — 4.68
T.J. Hockenson — 4.70
Jordan Reed — 4.72
Zach Ertz — 4.76

The Ertz profile is particularly interesting. When you put the two former Stanford TE’s side-by-side, they are similar:

Zach Ertz
Forty — 4.76
Vertical — 35.5
Broad — 9-7
Short shuttle — 4.47
Three cone — 7.08

Colby Parkinson
Forty — 4.77
Vertical — 32.5
Broad — 9-1
Short shuttle — 4.46
Three cone — 7.15

Granted, Ertz is more explosive and his three cone is 0.07 seconds quicker. Yet Parkinson also has a length advantage (33 1/4 inch arms vs 31 3/4) and in every other test they are similar.

I don’t believe the Seahawks drafted Parkinson because they saw his receiver-style tape and thought he’d compliment what they already have. I think they see someone with the kind of tight end profile that generally succeeds in the NFL. They have little pressure to start him as a rookie. He can be developed and harnessed in year one. I think they will try to mould him into a typical Seahawks ‘Y’ tight end. The fact he has also shown to be a solid receiver with, reportedly, zero drops in 2019 — that’s simply a big bonus. He’s also very accomplished in the red zone.

This is why I highlight physical ideals in our combine reviews every year. All teams have them and the Seahawks are quite strict with theirs. Parkinson has a profile you can work with.

He’s going to have to work on the consistency of his blocking though, as the video above discusses.

One other thing to consider is how highly rated Parkinson was going into the 2019 season. Some believed he could rise into the top-50 range, perhaps even the first round. It never really happened — in part because Stanford had a bad season and finished 4-8. Parkinson scored 11 touchdowns in his first two years at Stanford but only recorded one score in 2019. Yardage wise he was a consistent contributor.

One of the main reasons I’m starting to run through 2021 tape earlier this year is because I think the Seahawks had players like Darrell Taylor and Parkinson graded highly a year ago. They weren’t able to enhance their stock in 2019 but the talent and potential still exists. It might be something to keep in mind moving forward.

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Thoughts on Jordyn Brooks & a message to the community

A quick note to the community

Usually at this time of year I finish off a few articles and take a break. I’ve decided not to do that this year. At least not yet. Instead I’ve decided to get right into watching and discussing 2021 prospects.

I’m doing this for two reasons.

Firstly, I thought it was telling that Seattle targeted two players who were highly rated 12 months ago but then had circumstances impact their stock. Darrell Taylor and Colby Parkinson were both said to be potential first round picks last summer. Their stock never really took off. But it goes to show — players who identify as potential first rounders can have an impacted final season but retain a high overall grade. For that reason, I want to get an angle on this class now, not just in the fall.

Secondly, I’ve been energised by how people have responded to the blog during this lockdown. People have said it has been a positive distraction and a place where we can talk about something a bit less serious and fun. If we can keep that going for a bit longer, then I’m going to go for it. I’ll keep putting material out — perhaps not every day, but most days — while ever people continue to visit, contribute and discuss in the comments section. If it flattens out and people move on — that’s fine. I’ll take a break. As long as you want this place though, I’m going to keep writing.

Initial thoughts on Jordyn Brooks

I’ve now had an opportunity to watch Brooks. Everything you’ve read or heard over the last few days is relatively accurate.

For example — the concerns about his ability in coverage. It’s understandable why you can single that out as a problem and you can also understand why John Schneider disagrees. The likes of Patrick Queen, Willie Gay and Logan Wilson were adept at dropping and settling in coverage. They’re agile and capable of sinking into a low base and covering ground quickly. That’s not Brooks’ game. So if you’re turning on the tape and trying to make an apples for apples comparison with Queen, Gay and Wilson (as I imagine most analysts will) — then you can easily make the case for saying he’s inferior in coverage to those three.

I don’t think he’s bad in coverage rather it’s just not the strong point in his game. He can move and that shouldn’t be a surprise given his 4.53 speed. My suspicion is if he’d run a short shuttle and three cone it’d be nearer to K.J. Wright’s 4.46 and 7.26 than Cody Barton’s 4.03 and 6.90. They are different players, with different roles.

Brooks is a thumper with speed. He flies to the ball carrier — whether that’s on a designed blitz or if he’s in read/react. It was satisfying to see him attack the perimeter the way he does. He does a good job sifting through the traffic to find a lane to the ball carrier. His acceleration flashes time and time again. When he makes a decision to pursue, he goes through the gears quickly and he’s a violent, jarring hitter.

Texas Tech had him read the quarterback a lot and attack the LOS.

Remember this tweet by Brian Baldinger?

Speed is great, but diagnosing the play first; and then trusting your speed and angles is better.

That’s a good way to sum up how Brooks was used in college. He was seemingly given the trust and the freedom to be patient — to assess what was happening and then use his speed to make a play. And he was good at it. It’s why he ended up with 20 TFL’s. Considering the Big-12 is full of spread out offenses he was quite adept in using the space to his advantage. He can sift through the bodies and if anything was bounced outside — there’s a reasonable chance he could chase them down. Even in the Big-12 it’s not easy to give yourself the time to assess what’s going on and still have the athleticism to make a play. Split seconds are huge in college, not just the NFL. Brooks has the necessary physical profile to play intelligent, fast, patient football.

That matters a lot more than you realise. How many linebackers do you see run head-first into trouble, lose contain or get themselves into bother? Even Devin Bush the #10 overall pick last year was too aggressive at Michigan and regularly gave up long gains in the running game due to a lack of patience. There’s no such issue here — and that’s a big deal for a young linebacker who wants to get involved and wants to be a big part of the defense. You can trust him to have a look and react. Then, he attacks.

Brooks is somewhere between Wagner and K.J. Wright. He has the quickness to exploit opportunities off the read/react like Wagner and certainly shares Wright’s toughness and length — but he also has some of the stiffness. That sounds unflattering and critical of Wright but that’s not my intention. He has plenty of other strengths — you just don’t want him isolated in an unfavourable coverage matchup. You want him up at the LOS, reading and attacking. It’s the same for Brooks.

He’s not Telvin Smith or Lavonte David. He’s not Leighton Vader Esch. He’s a lot closer to Ray Lewis in terms of style of play (I’m not saying he’ll be Lewis — simply that he’s that type of linebacker). He’s an inside guy. He needs to play the MIKE or WILL for Seattle. His combination of speed, toughness and power will give him a good opportunity to be very effective in Seattle’s traditional scheme in either role.

I came away believing that this pick is not a replacement for Mychal Kendricks or any steer towards them continuing to play a lot of base defense. Brooks is more than likely a long-term replacement for Wright — with the versatility to play MIKE if needed. He can feature at SAM in certain scenarios if they want three linebackers on the field. That position, to me, didn’t really feel like a fit. He’s much more suited to playing inside and getting his hands dirty — attacking the LOS and flying to the ball.

It doesn’t make any sense for Wright to play 90% of the snaps any more. He played 93% in 2019 and Wagner 98.32%. Brooks can take some of that workload and fit into three-linebacker formations too. A more significant role will have to wait for now — unless, of course, he earns a full-time gig and takes significant playing time away from Wright as a rookie.

I don’t think they set out to add a linebacker in this draft either. I think a focal point of this reset has to been to try and re-establish a culture and physical presence. In 2018 they set out to repair the running game. A year ago their first two picks were a heavy-handed D-liner and a hammer at safety. Now they’ve used a high pick on Brooks.

Listening to the press conference after day one it’s clear they fell in love with the way he presented himself. They clearly liked what they saw on the field and when he blew them away during the combine interview — that stuck with them. I think this pick was as much to do with his attitude, intensity and grit as it was to do with position.

They’re desperately trying to become the bully again. They need some BAMF’s in that locker room — not just in terms of being able to hit as is the case with Marquise Blair. They need guys who are going to come in and take strong leadership roles and lay the foundations. In 2013 they had about eight different defenders who could viably make up a leadership core. At the moment they’ve got about five — Wagner, Wright, Jarran Reed, Bradley McDougald and Quandre Diggs. It’s not enough — and Wright is coming towards the end of a storied career and how much longer is McDougald going to be with the team? Brooks represents the kind of character and personality they want and need to become an important voice in the locker room.

This wasn’t a draft class loaded with personalities like this. Someone asked last week — who are the tough guys? Who are the really physically intense individuals? There weren’t many obvious ones. Brooks, having watched his play and several of his interviews, might be #1 in this class in that regard.

It certainly helps that he was listed by PFF as the drafts best run defender and tackler at linebacker. They missed too many tackles in 2019 and their perimeter run defense was appalling. He will help in that regard.

More than anything though I think Pete Carroll sat back in his chair after that combine meeting and believed he’d found a personality fit. Somebody who embodied his vision for this team.

“He’s just got that grit that we always talk about and that edge, that chip on his shoulder.”
— John Schneider

“We just found a guy that could check all of the boxes… We love his attitude, like John said, it’s just his mentality.”
— Pete Carroll

You might argue it’s a bit rich to take a player in round one for that purpose. I would disagree. Culture is just as important as talent. You need both. You really need both. Speak to successful people in sports and they’ll tell you that. Team building isn’t a game. It’s not just about fitting names onto a sheet. It’s about the personalities, the mental make-up. There are so many moments during a season that fans never see. The situations where a team remains energised and motivated during difficult physical and mental challenges.

It’s easy to write off when you don’t get it. But it’s vital. And based on what Carroll said and listening to the coaches at Texas Tech and to Brooks himself — I’m convinced this pick is a culture + talent pick, rather than a need. Had someone taken him off the board, I don’t think they’d have circled back and drafted one of these other linebackers. I believe they see him as a foundational piece who can help regain their defensive identity.

To them — that was worth a first round pick. And the fact they were able to move up and get the guy they would’ve otherwise taken (Darrell Taylor) suggests a well executed overall strategy for the 2020 draft. The key for Brooks is going to be delivering on their plan for him. He needs to perform to the level of Wagner and Wright while also providing the toughness and consistency they have delivered for a decade. If he does that — and helps them re-establish their defensive culture in the process — it will be a successful pick.

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Early 2021 draft watch-list & mock draft competition results

Florida’s Kyle Pitts is an exciting prospect for 2021

Firstly — here’s a new podcast from Brandan and I discussing Seattle’s draft class, the day three picks in particular and what happens next…

Early 2021 watch-list

The early outlook for next year shows some star, big-name talent destined to go early and once again it could be a good class at receiver. The big difference in 2021? It appears to be significantly better at tight end, with a handful of potential top-40 picks.

If you want some homework for the next few weeks, check out these players…

Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
Lawrence will be the #1 overall pick in 2021. He’s highly accurate, athletic, perfectly sized and a born winner. He can do it all.

Penei Sewell (T, Oregon)
There’s a fairly good chance Sewell will be the #2 overall pick, unless another QB needy team lands in this spot. He’s a prototype left tackle with great size.

Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
A former five-star recruit, Parsons is capable of being a top-five pick at linebacker. He’s fast, physical and explosive and one of college football’s best players.

Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
He exploded onto the scene in 2019 and was virtually unstoppable at times. He can run a 4.09 short shuttle and he’s highly explosive. The only question is his deep speed and whether he’ll be as dominant without Joe Burrow.

Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue)
Speed, speed, speed. He’s already run a 4.33 at SPARQ but he also managed a 43 (!!!) inch vertical. A fantastic athlete like this will always go early.

Shaun Wade (CB, Ohio State)
I think he would’ve been a high pick this year. He’s a five-star talent who is water-tight in coverage but with the recovery speed and fight to be a top cornerback.

Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama)
Had he not suffered an ACL tear before the season started, Moses could’ve entered the draft this year and been a top-15 pick. He’s a 132.48 SPARQ talent.

Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
It was a major shock when he opted not to declare for the draft this year. He ran a 4.43 at SPARQ and jumped a 37 inch vertical. He will be a high draft pick.

Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
He’s a tight end but he plays like he could be a #1 target. He destroys teams on in-cutting routes. His catching radius is superb. He was already running a 4.70 at 6-6, 240lbs in High School and it won’t be a surprise if he gets that down to the 4.5’s.

DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
He had a coming out party in 2019 and was, at times, arguably Alabama’s top receiving threat. He’s extremely quick, sure-handed and he kills teams on slants.

Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
He’s quick and explosive (37 inch vertical) and is rapidly developing into a big time playmaker in the SEC.

Reshod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
He was incredible in 2019. He caught everything. He took over games and dominated — making improbable grabs, scoring touchdowns and looking every bit a quality pro prospect.

Kwity Paye (EDGE, Michigan)
He’s explosive and active off the edge with excellent bend-and-straighten and the ability to threaten with speed or power.

Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
Another player who stunned everyone when he chose not to declare this year. He has fantastic size, explosive power and he can be a threat as a runner or receiver.

Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
He’s good but not as good as the media say. He plays in an offense that churns out mass production at quarterback every season. He needs to take another step forward in 2021 but he’ll miss J.K. Dobbins.

Liam Eichenberg (T, Notre Dame)
Good kick-slide and gets into position very quickly when defending the edge. He has ideal tackle size at 6-6 and 305lbs and has a chance to develop into a first rounder.

Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State)
His body control running routes is superb. He can contort and twist to make difficult catches. It would be nice to see him play in-line a bit more for the sake of a complete assessment but he’s a dynamic, natural receiving tight end with huge potential.

Gregory Rousseau (DE, Miami)
He looks like a long, lean EDGE but he does his best work with the bull rush and moving inside. If he can develop a speed rush too — he could be a high pick. He needs to threaten the edge more often.

Marvin Wilson (DT, Florida State)
A former #4 overall recruit who incredibly ran a 4.56 short shuttle at 332lbs at SPARQ. He has the athletic potential to be a very high draft pick.

Walker Little (T, Stanford)
He’s 6-8 and has fantastic size. He was the top SPARQ scorer in his class at offensive tackle (107.25). He needs to bounce back from an injury plagued 2019.

Jake Ferguson (TE, Wisconsin)
A former four star recruit, Ferguson ran a 4.15 short shuttle at SPARQ and added a 35 inch vertical. He’s a traditional blocker who needs to become a regular feature in the passing game.

Nate Landman (LB, Colorado)
Full blooded, all-action linebacker who jumped a 37 inch vertical at SPARQ. He’s been nicknamed ‘the hammer’ by teammates. Landman has 260 tackles in the last two seasons and hasn’t missed a single game. He’s the heart and soul leader on Colorado’s defense.

Jamie Newman (QB, Georgia)
He’s transferred from Wake Forest where his deep-ball throwing was exceptional. His placement, velocity and accuracy downfield is impressive. He has a chance to make a name for himself at Georgia.

Brevin Jordan (TE, Miami)
The #20 overall recruit in 2018 — Jordan ran a 4.21 short shuttle at 250lbs at SPARQ. That kind of short area quickness and change of direction will put him on the NFL map. He’s a unit who gets around the field and is tough to bring down.

Carlos Basham Jr (DE, Wake Forest)
He’s a bit of a clean up artist but you see flashes of real quickness and power. If you give him a route to the QB he can explode, eat up ground quickly and finish.

Seth Williams (WR, Auburn)
He’s so smooth as a route runner and glides into position. He tracks the ball well, makes difficult catches and he looks like a 4.4 runner with good size.

Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State)
His stock will depend on his recovery from injury and his testing. He doesn’t look like anything more than a 4.5 runner but he has incredible body control, no wasted movement and he has a natural ability to track the football.

Damonte Coxie (WR, Memphis)
He’s tall and lean with long arms — creating a big catching radius. He runs the red line well and he’s an accomplished pass catcher. His stock will depend on his ability to run well and prove to teams he can create easy separation at the next level.

Brock Purdy (QB, Iowa State)
He’s creative, mobile, can throw from difficult angles and off his back-foot with velocity, he can deliver a touch pass or drive the ball downfield. He’s one to watch.

Mock draft competition results

Another big thanks to community member David for setting this up. He sent me this note to reveal the results…

Thanks everyone for participating and for a great and very needed draft season! The last 3 days & nights bore witness to both emotional highs & some entertaining lows. Once the dust settled and the BAC levels lowered, the SDB community once again finds itself united in support our bless-ed Hawks. Now the results are in. Out of 160-ish entries, (I counted on my fingers so if you think you got jobbed let me know) these are the number of times each of the Seahawks’ draft picks were chosen by a member.

Jordyn Brooks @ 1.27 — 0
Darrell Taylor @ 2.48 — 28
Damien Lewis @ 3.69 — 14
Colby Parkinson @ 4.133 — 0
DeeJay Dallas @ 4.144 — 0
Alton Robinson @ 5.148 — 8
Freddie Swain @ 6.214 — 1
Stephen Sullivan @ 7.251 — 2

There was a 3 way tie at the top.

TDD correctly guessed Darrell Taylor & Damien Lewis.
Greg Haugsven got Darrell Taylor & Alton Robinson.
NickATL got Damien Lewis & Alton Robinson.

We had to go to the 1st tie breaker. Who got their players in the correct round? Drum roll please………………

Ladies and gentlemen… Put your hands together for SDB’s inaugural Mock Draft Champion…

NickATL!!!! who correctly guessed both Lewis in the 3rd and Robinson in the 5th. Congratulations!!!

Rounding out the bottom of the pack was none other than our very own Kenny Sloth… A Ducks fan of all things (-1).
Thanks again y’all and hopefully we get to enjoy a 2020 NFL season followed by a 2021 NFL Draft.

Peace out!

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Instant reaction: Thoughts on Seattle’s 2020 draft

Seahawks 2020 draft class

R1 — Jordyn Brooks (LB)
R2 — Darrell Taylor (EDGE)
R3 — Damien Lewis (G)
R4 — Colby Parkinson (TE)
R4 — Deejay Dallas (RB)
R5 — Alton Robinson (DE)
R6 — Freddie Swain (WR)
R7 — Stephen Sullivan (TE)

Thoughts on Seattle’s 2020 draft

The Seahawks know they need to be tougher.

They’re no longer the bully in the NFL. They’re not even the bully in the NFC West.

The attitude, intensity and swagger of the LOB era is missing. Their run defense is poor. Their pass rush is poor. They miss tackles. They struggle to defend the perimeter.

They’re trying to fix the problem.

They added a thumping, physical linebacker, a speedy edge rusher who plays with attitude and a violent run blocker with their first three picks. They followed it up with more pass rush help, a big move TE and a fierce running back.

They’re going to keep trying to create the team they want. They crave to be the punishing, physical, take-your-soul team that they used to be.

Smart, tough, reliable.

It makes sense. It’s reasonable. It’s something they’ll need to reclaim if they’re going to get back to the top.

If you take a step back and acknowledge, rightly, that the Seahawks were never going to blow your socks off with this class — you can look at it through a positive lens. It wasn’t realistic to address the large collection of needs they had. They needed to do more in free agency for that to be the case. They’ve added fast, physical tough guys with upside and potential. That’s a good thing.

There are also issues though.

They didn’t draft a defensive tackle to help anchor or provide pass rush. In a reasonable DT class, that’s disappointing.

They drafted two pass rushers but they still require the veteran proven quality of a Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen. It’s an absolute must that they secure one of those two as soon as possible.

They’ve not added a nickel corner. They need one. Ugo Amadi is not a guaranteed solution.

They’ve not added a developmental left tackle or further competition for Brandon Shell.

They’ll need to add at least one more running back to the stable.

There’s so much that still needs to be done.

While there’s nothing this draft class could really do to change this — the Seahawks have not moved the needle this off-season towards winning a Super Bowl. San Francisco added two first round picks then stole Trent Williams from Washington. The Cardinals nabbed DeAndre Hopkins and Isaiah Simmons.

In comparison, the Seahawks have been strangely quiet. They’ve padded their depth. Their biggest investment so far is on a linebacker — despite the fact Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are taking up $25m in cap space this year.

Russell Wilson keeps Seattle a contender of sorts but his presence shouldn’t be taken for granted. You can’t pretend that this team isn’t dragged along by the quarterback. It is. And there’s been a lack of aggression this off-season. Failing to land the pass rushers in free agency or improve the front seven forced them to prioritise both areas in a draft that was superior at offensive tackle and the skill positions early.

Russell Wilson called for superstars. They haven’t been added.

The roster, currently, is good enough to once again make the playoffs. Taking the next step — being a genuine contender and reaching a Super Bowl — requires more talent. Whether it’s developed or added. There’s still an awful lot of work to do.

The problem is — they no longer have the benefit of draft picks and a heap of cap space to work with. They are somewhat limited — even if they start cutting the likes of Justin Britt to create space.

The next few weeks are vital. They have to find a way, somehow, to add more.

Thoughts on each pick

R1 — Jordyn Brooks (LB, Texas Tech)
I need to spend some time over the next few days studying him closer but the initial thought is you can see why the Seahawks like him. He’s extremely physical. He knifes through gaps with suddenness and explodes to the ball carrier. His attitude and intensity will appeal to a team still seeking an edge. His ability to defend the run and handle the perimeter is much needed.

R2 — Darrell Taylor (EDGE, Tennessee))
He bends-and-straightens as an edge rusher as well as anyone in this class. He’s classically sized for the position with the length and build to play early downs and get after the quarterback. His pass rush win percentage (18.6%) is good. He needs to develop a repertoire and develop his technique vs the run. He might not have a major impact early in his career but he has the upside to develop into a top pass rusher. Going into the 2019 season he was being tipped as a first round possibility.

R3 — Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
He’s a top-50 talent in this draft. He’s perfectly suited to play guard with the size and length (33 inch arms) to bulldoze opponents. The Seahawks love explosive linemen and he scored a 97.1 in weighted TEF. He was superb at the Senior Bowl, scoring PFF’s top grade in 1v1’s among offensive linemen. Lewis is a physical tone-setter in the running game who plays with passion and leaves everything on the field.

R4 — Colby Parkinson (TE, Stanford)
Going into the 2019 season, Parkinson was being touted as a potential first round pick. He was used as a big receiver at Stanford and didn’t do much blocking at all. Reportedly he didn’t drop a single pass in 2019. The Seahawks possibly saw a player with first round potential who suffered a little bit as Stanford stalled. We’ve noted consistently how much attention they pay to the three cone at tight end. Anything around 7.10 is the ballpark. Parkinson ran a 7.15. They could try to develop him into a complete TE or they could use him as a big target.

R4 — Deejay Dallas (RB, Miami)
Dallas was on our list of ‘physical ideals’ from the combine. He also runs with toughness and physicality. He lacks the top level explosion to jump-cut from tacklers and his upside will always be somewhat tempered. However — he loves to hammer defenders and gain yards after contact and if he’s given a crease he has just enough speed to break off considerable gains. They badly needed some depth at running back.

R5 — Alton Robinson (DE, Syracuse)
His tape is underwhelming considering his physical profile and he didn’t shine at the Senior Bowl. His pass rush win percentage is 15.9% which is in the ‘good not great’ bracket. However, we’ve consistently noted they pay attention to the short shuttle on the D-line and his 4.32 time was the second fastest at this years combine. He’s also an explosive tester scoring a 3.41 in TEF (the same mark as Marcus Davenport).

R6 — Freddie Swain (WR, Florida)
He’s a 4.46 runner and we know the Seahawks want their wide outs in the 4.4 range. Swain is a slot receiver with the quickness to separate and he has no limitations in terms of running across the middle to get open or sprinting downfield. His route running needs some work. His main asset to Seattle will likely be his ability to compete quickly as a kick returner.

R7 — Stephen Sullivan (TE, LSU)
Sullivan had an incredible journey to LSU and he has outstanding length (35.5 inch arms) on a 6-5, 248lbs frame. He ran a 4.66 at the combine and jumped a 36.5 inch vertical. His agility testing, however, was dreadful. That’s one of the main reasons he’s lasted this long. He’s a high character team player who could develop into a big target (the Seahawks are listing him as a receiver). He had a good Senior Bowl. Hopefully he produces some of this magic in Seattle.

Undrafted free agents

I will update this list as we go along. Here are the reported signings so far:

Anthony Gordon (QB, Washington State)
Eli Mencer (DE, Ualbany)
Anthony Jones (RB, Florida Atlantic)
Chris Miller (S, Baylor)
Gavin Heslop (CB, Stony Brook)
Seth Dawkins (WR, Louisville)
Marcus Webb (DT, Troy)
Debione Renfro (CB, Texas A&M)
Kemah Siverand (CB, Oklahoma State)
Josh Avery (DT, Southeast Missouri)
Tyler Mabry (TE, Maryland)
Tommy Champion (T, Mississippi State)
Aaron Fuller (WR, Washington)

Other draft notes

— The first pick was a difficult one to project. After that? I’m happy with the way we identified potential targets. Things like the three cone for tight ends, weighted TEF for offensive linemen, explosive traits and size for running backs and the short shuttle for pass rushers all proved accurate yet again. It shows we generally know what to look for. All of their selections apart from Stephen Sullivan were listed on our board. Realistically I’m not sure we could’ve done much more to prepare for this draft.

— I take a lot of pride in getting more first round players right (28) than any other mock draft scored by the Huddle Report. I liked the way we approached this draft and that will be a lesson for future years.

— I much preferred the broadcasting format they were forced into due to coronavirus. Can we keep it? It was fun, intimate and cut away a lot of the fat.

— Trey Wingo is a superb host. World class. The gold standard.

— Running backs don’t matter? 10 went in the first three rounds and 12 in the first 120 picks.

— Well done to the NFL for persisting with the draft. Lots of people criticised the decision and used the overused ‘tone deaf’ term. We all needed a distraction and the NFL provided it in a safe and professional manner. This was the most enjoyable draft experience I can recall from a broadcasting and entertainment perspective.

A message to the community

None of us ever thought we’d be in this situation — trying to work our way through a global pandemic. I don’t know how many of you have had the virus, have the symptoms currently or have family or friends who are suffering. You may even have lost loved ones. Yet the fact we’ve been able to spend these last few weeks talking Seahawks and draft — I’ve found it energising. A needed distraction from the reality of the situation we all face.

We’ve done things we haven’t done before with the interviews and videos. It’s been a pleasure, from the start of the college football season to this point at the end of April. That’s because of the people in this community. We don’t always agree. We can argue. But we’ll always come together and continue to be civil.

Thank you for supporting this web site. Thank you for caring about anything I have to say. Thank you for giving me an opportunity. And I hope Seahawks Draft Blog has helped — and will continue to help — during this difficult time.

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Live: 2020 NFL Draft (rounds 4-7)

Seahawks picks

Round four (#133) — Colby Parkinson (TE, Stanford)
He’s a tall, lean, move-TE. The Cardinal used him as a receiver and he didn’t do much blocking. He’s 6-7 and 252lbs with 33 1/4 inch arms. He ran a 7.15 three cone — which is in the ballpark. Again — it’s the three cone that’s the big thing here. He only ran a 4.77. But a good three cone puts you on the radar at this position. According to PFF, he didn’t drop a single pass in 2019. Going into the 2019 season he was being talked up as a player who could rise into the first round range. It never happened — but that’s the potential he has.

Round four (#144) — Deejay Dallas (RB, Miami)
Yet again, we’ve been able to identify a Seahawks running back. He was on our physical profile list from the combine. He fits their size and explosive trait ideals. He’s 5-10, 217lbs and jumped a 33.5 inch vertical and a 9-11 broad. He finishes his runs. He’s tough — just as they like. This isn’t a surprise at all — and they badly needed to add some depth at the position.

Round five (#148) — Alton Robinson (DE, Syracuse)
He ran a superb 4.32 short shuttle (second best time at the combine) and that’s a test we’ve identified that really matters for defensive lineman and Seattle. His 4.69 forty shows off his athleticism and he had an explosive 35.5 inch vertical. They probably had him this low due to a lack of length (32 3/8 inch arms) but in this range you can take a shot. His pass rush win percentage was only OK — it’s 15.9%.

Round six (#214) — Freddie Swain (WR, Florida)
Once again, the Seahawks target a 4.4 (4.46) runner at receiver. I had him on the horizontal board as a seventh round possibility. Seattle uses their last pick to tap into the deep receiver class. He’s considered a contender to return punts in the NFL and a dynamic slot receiver. However, he’s also been knocked for his attention to detail when running routes.

Round seven (#251) — Stephen Sullivan (TE, LSU)
The Seahawks traded their 2021 sixth rounder to Miami to jump back into the seventh round. Stephen Sullivan had an incredible journey to LSU and he has incredible length (35.5 inch arms) on a 6-5, 248lbs frame. He ran a 4.66 at the combine and jumped a 36.5 inch vertical. His agility testing, however, was dreadful. That’s one of the main reasons he’s lasted this long. He’s a high character team player who could develop into a big target (much like Colby Parkinson).

2020 draft class

R1 — Jordyn Brooks (LB)
R2 — Darrell Taylor (EDGE)
R3 — Damien Lewis (G)
R4 — Colby Parkinson (TE)
R4 — Deejay Dallas (RB)
R5 — Alton Robinson (DE)
R6 — Freddie Swain (WR)
R7 — Stephen Sullivan (TE)

Here’s a short podcast Brandan and I recorded reflecting on day two…

Day two review: Seahawks make two quality additions

Today was a good day for the Seahawks.

Granted — a significant number of holes remain unaddressed.

They haven’t added a defensive tackle or running back and the options are really thin going into day three. It’s increasingly likely they will have to sign a veteran at each position after the draft. Isaiah Crowell or Marshawn Lynch (or both) could be in play, along with ‘Snacks’ Harrison or Brandon Mebane.

This was a really strong receiver class and yet the Seahawks haven’t been able to tap into the supply yet. They also haven’t been able to add an offensive tackle — either to compete with Brandon Shell or be developed as an heir apparent to Duane Brown.

There’s a lot of work to do both in the draft and the veteran market in order for the Seahawks to be in a position where we can say, with confidence, they can seriously challenge for the Super Bowl.

Yet the two picks today should be applauded.

Darrell Taylor has outstanding potential and he fills arguably Seattle’s greatest need — speed off the edge. They didn’t have any last season and it was a major issue. The Seahawks have collected bigger defensive ends in recent years but haven’t been able to add a player to fill the ‘premium’ pass rush role.

Taylor is unrefined and will need work. His repertoire is limited and he’ll need to prove he’s capable of playing early downs. He struggled against Georgia’s two first round tackles and he wasn’t particularly consistent. While his highlights tape showed flashes usually reserved for a top-15 talent — his overall game tape was much less inspiring.

The flashes, however, still offered a glimpse of that rare and coveted ability to explode off the edge with speed then bend-and-straighten to the QB. He has the powerful frame to convert speed-to-power and he’s so fluid when he times things up.

This wasn’t a twitchy pass rush class. The Seahawks made sure they landed one of the few players who had that quickness and burst.

It was good to see them show conviction to go up and get their guy, too. That has worked for them in the past. Trading up for Tyler Lockett, Jarran Reed and D.K. Metcalf has delivered three of their best picks in recent memory. Taking a chance on raw physical upside has also worked in the case of Metcalf and Frank Clark.

Taylor’s win percentage was 18.6% — marginally lower than Yetur Gross-Matos’ (18.9%) but superior to A.J. Epenesa (17.5%), Marlon Davidson (16.2%) and K’Lavon Chaisson (13.1%).

A report from the Seattle Times claimed that had the Seahawks completed a proposed trade with Green Bay to move back from #27 to #30, the Ravens would’ve taken Jordyn Brooks. Had that been the case, Taylor might’ve been their pick at #30 (Schneider has now confirmed this).

To get a player in Brooks at #27 that they really like then move up aggressively to also add Taylor — that feels like a win for the defense. They’re faster, tougher and capable of threatening teams after adding these two players. That’s a big positive — even if they still need to add at least two more significant defensive linemen.

Damien Lewis is a top-50 player in my opinion.

I thought he was a clear second round pick.

Frankly, I don’t care if the Seahawks now have 19 offensive linemen on their roster and enough guards to set up a union. Lewis was too good to pass up.

I suspect that’s what they were thinking too. I think this was a BPA pick. They saw him there at #69 and made their move. If they too also viewed him as a top-50 talent, that’s great value. Superb value.

So what makes him so good?


Lewis is a punishing blocker who takes the fight to the opponent. He loves to get down and dirty in the trenches and Clyde Edwards-Helaire often ran behind him for big productive gains.

If Lloyd Cushenberry is the technician and Saahdiq Charles the athlete — Lewis is the beast on the LSU line.

We’ve often highlighted the importance of the Senior Bowl for Seattle’s picks. Lewis was the best offensive lineman in Mobile. He earned PFF’s highest grade in the 1v1 drills and won 69% of his contests. In the game itself I recall on one scoring drive he reached the second level at full speed and hammered a defender. In one 1v1 session the coaches asked Jabari Zuniga and Lewis to face-off in three back-to-back snaps (the only players to do it). It was clear there was an admiration and respect for Lewis.

This is a quality long term investment in a player who perfectly fits Seattle’s offense. Both Lewis and Taylor tick the 33-inch arm mark. Lewis scored highly in w/TEF (97.1) showing a high level of explosive athleticism at 327lbs.

He’s also shown tremendous character and grit. I interviewed him three weeks ago and his journey to LSU is incredible. Listen for yourself…

There’s still so much that needs to be done, particularly in the veteran market, but the Seahawks made two important and quality additions on day two.

Who’s left?

At defensive end, at what point does the production of Bradlee Anae and Curtis Weaver trump their less-than-ideal physical profile? Trevis Gipson is an Obum Gwachum-style project and remains available.

Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence and Benito Jones stand out as remaining options at defensive tackle — but keep an eye on Teair Tart later on.

Bryce Hall remains on the board and while his serious leg injury is clearly a concern, eventually he will provide a worthwhile shot at getting a starting cornerback with size and length.

There are plenty of nickel/hybrid options — from Amik Robertson to L’Jarius Sneed to Kenny Robinson and John Reid.

Nick Harris, Tyler Biadasz and Keith Ismael are still on the board at center while
Saahdiq Charles or Alex Taylor could provide a project at tackle. Prince Tega Wanogho remains available for some reason but shouldn’t last long in round four. Other guards remain available too but I’m not sure they’ll revisit that position to go for the full 20.

Running back options are running out but Anthony McFarland is worth a shot eventually. Hunter Bryant will provide fantastic value at tight end in round four. John Reed could be selected as a specialist kick returner.

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Live: 2020 NFL Draft (rounds 2&3)

Welcome to the live blog. I’ll be posting thoughts on every pick as they come in.

Join in via the comments section but please — no tipping picks.

This is a key day for the Seahawks. There are lots of good players still available. Their picks at #59 and #64 match up well to the pass rushers and defensive linemen.

Second round

#33 Cincinnati — Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson)
Higgins is fine. He can be productive, especially with Joe Burrow. He needs a big target. But I can’t get over him pulling out of the combine because he needed a ‘rest’.

#34 Indianapolis — Michael Pittman Jr (WR, USC)
The second round kicks off with a run on receivers. This was a big need for the Colts. Pittman is a classy player. The concern is whether he’ll be able to separate.

#35 Detroit — D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia)
And now here comes the run on running backs. Detroit will have a tandem of Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift. That’s a good duo.

#36 New York Giants — Xavier McKinney (S, Alabama)
He was always overrated by the media. He’s not a rangy safety, he’s a 4.6 runner and he was blitzed a lot. You can get after him in the running game.

#37 New England — Kyle Dugger (S, Lenoir-Rhyne)
This is such a Patriots pick. Versatile safety. Physical. Alpha male. A perfect fit.

#38 Carolina — Yetur Gross-Matos (DE, Penn State)
Roger Goodell said Gross-ma-toast! He must’ve been speaking to JC this week. They needed a bigger end to compliment Brian Burns. I like it when a team commits to improve one particular unit and Derrick Brown plus Gross-Matos will do that.

#39 Miami — Robert Hunt (T, Louisiana-Lafayette)
Superb pick for Miami. Whether he plays guard or tackle, he has a chance to be a long-time exceptional offensive lineman. This is superb value.

#40 Houston — Ross Blacklock (DT, TCU)
I was never a big fan of Blacklock’s. Didn’t have a great short shuttle and his win percentage wasn’t anything special. Shorter arms.

#41 Indianapolis (v/CLE) — Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin)
The Colts moved up three spots to secure Taylor. They’re building around Philip Rivers and this is tremendous value. A stud player with outstanding upside.

#42 Jacksonville — Laviska Shenault (WR, Colorado)
He can be a playmaker but you’ve got to have a plan for him. He’s caught between a runner and a receiver and he needs a manufactured role.

#43 Chicago — Cole Kmet (TE, Notre Dame)
Everyone says he put on a show at the combine. Check his three cone. It was poor. And that’s the test that history tells us really matters.

#44 Cleveland — Grant Delpit (S, LSU)
A year ago they took Greedy Williams when he fell. History repeats here. Delpit is a top-15 talent. Goodness knows what the league found out for him to last this long.

#45 Tampa Bay — Antoine Winfield (S, Minnesota)
Wonderful player. A huge playmaker. Fast, fluid, mature. Tampa Bay’s productive off-season continues.

#46 Denver — K.J. Hamler (WR, Penn State)
I like this move. You’ve got to try and outgun Kansas City. You’ve got to give Drew Lock a fighting chance. Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant and now Hamler can help create a dynamic offense.

#47 Atlanta — Marlon Davidson (DT, Auburn)
He’s full of personality but what is his position? Can he adjust to play three technique? It’s a big question mark.

#48 Seattle (v/NYJ) — Darrell Taylor (DE, Tennessee)
The Seahawks trade #101 to move up 11 spots to go and get… Darrell Taylor. A highly athletic, massive potential pass rusher. I love the pick. Go and get some pass rush. Go and get some upside.

#49 Pittsburgh — Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame)
Claypool is a fantastic, physical specimen. He’ll do it all — special teams, blocking and receiving. The Steelers always hit on receivers.

#50 Chicago — Jaylon Johnson (CB, Utah)
There was a feeling he could sneak into the back end of round one. This is decent value at pick #50.

#51 Dallas — Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama)
Dallas double down on value. Whatever anyone says about Jerry Jones — the man has drafted well for a few years now. Diggs can track the ball, he has ideal size and he has as much potential as his brother.

#52 LA Rams — Cam Akers (RB, Florida State)
The Seahawks better get on the phone to Isaiah Crowell or the Beast. The fantastic five are down to just J.K. Dobbins. It’s a great scheme fit, unfortunately for Seattle.

#53 Philadelphia — Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)
This is interesting. Not sure how Hurts or Carson Wentz will feel about this. Wentz will wonder if he’s looking over his shoulder. Hurts will wonder if he’s going to be stuck behind another QB — just like he was in Alabama.

#54 Buffalo — A.J. Epenesa (DE, Iowa)
I said I wouldn’t take him in the top-50. The NFL seemed to agree. Look — he can do some things well. But he’s lacks quickness. He won’t find easy wins in the NFL. He’ll have to make it happen. He needs to get quicker and stronger.

#55 Baltimore — J.K. Dobbins (RB, Ohio State)
There go the top five runners. Now there’s a serious drop to the next tier. The Ravens love to run and Dobbins is highly explosive and athletic. He delivers in big games.

#56 Miami — Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
Really like Miami’s two picks today. Robert Hunt and now big Raekwon. That’s a lot of toughness and physicality. He has Calais Campbell level potential.

#57 LA Rams — Van Jefferson (WR, Florida)
He’s very polished and well coached. We don’t have testing numbers though. What is his upside?

#58 Minnesota — Ezra Cleveland (T, Boise State)
He was getting a lot of first round buzz but he lasted deep into round two. The Vikings needed some O-line help. He is very explosive and athletic.

#59 New York Jets (v/SEA) — Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
This was Seattle’s original pick. It’s unclear why Mims lasted this long. The Jets get good value and fill two big needs with Mekhi Becton and now Mims.

#60 New England (v/BAL) — Josh Uche (EDGE, Michigan)
Another great and typical defensive fit for New England. They took Chase Winovich a year ago. They love players with this kind of size and pass rush production. The Pats are taking their guys. They moved up a few spots here in a deal with the Ravens.

#61 Tennessee — Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU)
This is good value. He lacks size and length but he competes well above his size and like Trevon Diggs he can track the ball.

#62 Green Bay — A.J. Dillon (RB, Boston College)
This is a reach for me. He’s hugely athletic and powerful but he’s also a north-south type who is a bit stiff. There’s no jump cut.

#63 Kansas City — Willie Gay Jr (LB, Mississippi State)
As you can probably guess, I love this Chiefs draft. They’ve taken two of my favourite players. Gay is a fantastic athlete comparable to Bobby Wagner and he’s a playmaker.

#64 Carolina (v/SEA) — Jeremy Chinn (S, Southern Illinois)
The Seahawks have traded down to pick #69 and gain pick #148 (the second pick in round five). I mocked Chinn to the Panthers a couple of times. They needed a safety and Chinn is a dynamic, fast last line of the defense. He’s got range. I don’t know why people think he can play linebacker though. He’s 100% a safety.

Round three

#65 Cincinnati — Logan Wilson (LB, Wyoming)
Love this pick. Wilson is physical and he flies to the football. He’s a leader and was a three-year captain at Wyoming. He had a ton of interceptions. Superb value here.

#66 Washington — Antonio Gibson (RB, Memphis)
The player many talked about in the build up to the draft about his ability to switch from receiver to running back.

#67 Detroit — Julian Okwara (DE, Notre Dame)
He’s going to join his brother in Detroit. This is a great value pick. He had a 23% win rate. He has speed and length. He’s stronger than people think.

#68 New York Jets — Ashtyn Davis (S, California)
This is the pick the Jets got for Leonard Williams. I wasn’t a fan of Davis. Great athlete but his tape is all over the place sometimes.

#69 Seattle (v/CAR) — Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
I love Damien Lewis. I loved interviewing him. He’s a powerful monster of a man. He was superb at the Senior Bowl. This is great value. I thought he was a second rounder. He scored an excellent 97.1 in weighted TEF. Great day for Seattle.

#70 Miami — Brandon Jones (S, Texas)
There were no testing numbers for Jones and this is probably a round higher than most expected.

#71 Baltimore — Justin Madubuike (DT, Texas A&M)
In the last week there were some reports there were character concerns with Madubuike. Nevertheless, he’s highly athletic and has a lot of potential.

#72 Arizona — Josh Jones (T, Houston)
I was never big on Josh Jones. It’ll be interesting to see if there was a reason for him lasting this long. Or maybe the league just weren’t keen.

#73 Jacksonville — DaVon Hamilton (DT, Ohio State)
This is a quality pick for the Jaguars. He can pressure up the middle and he can anchor. He has a lot of potential.

#74 New Orleans (v/CLE) — Zack Baun (LB, Wisconsin)
I was never big on Baun. He couldn’t play rush edge at 238lbs. Yet that’s what he did best at Wisconsin. So now he has to transition to linebacker. And nobody knows how that’ll go.

#75 Detroit — Jonah Jackson (G, Ohio State)
He wasn’t great at the Senior Bowl but his tape was good. He adjusted well to the change at Ohio State. You can see why the Belichick coaching/front office tree like him.

#76 Tampa Bay — Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB, Vanderbilt)
Many believe he suffered due to Vandy’s collapse in 2019. Going into the season he was very highly rated. I liked him. A flier on him here could turn into a steal.

#77 Denver — Micheal Ojemudia (CB, Iowa)
This is a lot earlier than expected. He has Seahawks size. The cornerbacks have really flown off the board in the early rounds.

#78 Atlanta — Matt Hennessy (C, Temple)
This could mean they save some money on Alex Mack. I thought Hennessy was really good at the Senior Bowl.

#79 New York Jets — Jabari Zuniga (DE, Florida)
There goes Zuniga. He had a 20% win percentage and he has a ton of upside. I’m not crazy about Ashtyn Davis but overall I like this Jets class.

#80 Las Vegas — Lynn Bowden Jr. (WR, Kentucky)
Bowden doesn’t look that fast (and he dodged the combine) but he just has a knack of making plays. They can use him in so many ways. He has a Raider attitude.

#81 Las Vegas — Bryan Edwards (WR, South Carolina)
I love this pick. Fantastic value. He’s incredibly talented and set records at South Carolina. He plays with fire. He’s an ideal compliment to Henry Ruggs and Lynn Bowden. A classic west-coast-offense type.

#82 Dallas — Neville Gallimore (DT, Oklahoma)
Gallimore was a weird prospect. He ran a great forty but his short shuttle and three cone was abysmal. He was superb at the Senior Bowl but underwhelming on tape.

#83 Denver — Lloyd Cushenberry III (C, LSU)
He’s a really smart, consistent player. He’s not a flashy athlete. The Broncos will get a solid interior lineman though. He’s not a violent blocker like Damien Lewis.

#84 LA Rams — Terrell Lewis (DE, Alabama)
The injuries have taken a toll. He just tried to get through last season. He didn’t even try to rush the edge and plant his leg. He looks the part but will he ever be healthy?

#85 Indianapolis — Julian Blackmon (S, Utah)
On the conference all with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham this week, he was effusive in his praise of Blackmon. He talked about him more than any other Utah draft prospect.

#86 Buffalo — Zack Moss (RB, Utah)
For all the pissing and moaning by some Seahawks fans and media, the NFL has made sure the running backs have flown off the board in the first three rounds. Moss is really tough and he runs hard but he’s not a difference making athlete. Seattle’s depth at running back is going to be a question mark next season.

#87 New England — Afernee Jennings (DE, Alabama)
I thought he looked spent at Alabama. However, he’s another classic Patriots fit in terms of playing style and frame.

#88 Cleveland — Jordan Elliott (DT, Missouri)
PFF loved Elliott and Josh Jones. I didn’t at all. Both lasted into round three. I’ve no idea what PFF saw.

#89 Minnesota — Cam Dantzler (CB, Mississippi State)
His tape is fine. He’s sparky. He played well. But he’s small and lacks length.

#90 Houston — Jonathan Greenard (DE, Florida)
He’s an alpha. Great character. Good agility testing. But he’s not fast enough to trouble the edge as a pass rusher and the wrist injury is a concern.

#91 New England (v/LV) — Devin Asiasi (TE, UCLA)
Awesome pick. The Pats are having a great draft and I love this aggressive move to trade up and get Asiasi. He’s so underrated. He’s a natural running the seam and he has soft hands. He’ll be great in New England.

#92 Baltimore — Devin Duvernay (WR, Texas)
He took a lot of screens at Texas. He’s very mature and a good character. He’s a 4.3 runner. Lot’s of potential here. It’s a nice fit for Baltimore.

#93 Tennessee — Darrynton Evans (RB, Appalachian State)
Another running back off the board. I guess they don’t matter. He looked good at the combine. Nice quick feet and he’s quick.

#94 Green Bay — Josiah Deguara (TE, Cincinnati)
He had some admirers but I’m really surprised he’s gone ahead of Hunter Bryant. For me Bryant and Asiasi were the top two TE’s in this class.

#95 Denver — McTelvin Agim (DT, Arkansas)
I thought he could be a day three option for Seattle. The defensive tackles have left the board — apart from Leki Fotu. Increasingly it looks like a veteran fix there.

#96 Kansas City — Lucas Niang (T, TCU)
He surely only lasted this long due to the injury issues. It’s worth a flier in this range for a team that is already loaded.

#97 Cleveland — Jacob Phillips (LB, LSU)
He was supposed to be the big star this year, not Patrick Queen. It worked the other way round. Yet he’s still found a home in a decent range.

#98 Baltimore — Malik Harrison (LB, Ohio State)
This is a very Ravens-style Baltimore draft. They have a clear type. It all seems so obvious after. He’s a thumping 3-4 inside linebacker.

#99 New York Giants — Matt Peart (T, Connecticut)
He’s raw and needs a lot of work. However, he has ridiculous size and length and he’s highly explosive. As a raw talent — his potential is immense.

#100 Las Vegas — Tanner Muse (S, Clemson)
Of course. Mike Mayock loves these Clemson guys. Muse is that honest, hard-working type but with major athletic traits that didn’t show on tape.

#101 New England (v/NYJ) — Dalton Keene (TE, Virginia Tech)
The Patriots move up again for another tight end. He ran a superb three cone and that really matters. He’ll be a nice compliment to Devin Asiasi.

#102 Pittsburgh — Alex Highsmith (DE, Charlotte)
He had a nice win percentage of 21.7% but I couldn’t get excited about him on tape.

#103 Philadelphia — Davion Taylor (LB, Colorado)
He’s lightning quick and will fly around. He’s an Eagles type linebacker.

#104 LA Rams — Terrell Burgess (S, Utah)
He’s played corner and safety and his best fit at the next level could be at nickel.

#105 New Orleans (v/MIN) — Adam Trautman (TE, Dayton)
The Saints move up again in a trade with the Vikings. Trautman has the great three cone. There was some talk he could go as early as round two.

#106 Baltimore — Tyre Phillips (G, Mississippi State)
I liked Phillips. He deserved more attention for the way he played at the Senior Bowl. He’s massive and will kick inside perfectly to guard. This is, again, a very Baltimore type pick.

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Looking ahead to day two

I won’t have an opportunity to watch Jordyn Brooks tape until the conclusion of the draft. I’m eager to get started, having (wrongly) assumed that linebacker wasn’t a position worthy of this level of investment.

It’s been brought to attention that he made a stop on 15.1% of his run defense snaps in 2019, which led all linebackers in the draft. He ran a 4.53. These are positive things. We’ve talked a lot about the need to be more physical when defending the perimeter. They can’t, as I’ve said too many times (but I’ll say it again), have their linebackers being blocked by Aaron Rodgers.

It’s still a really difficult pick to justify, though.

Firstly, the investment level at the linebacker positive is reaching an obscene level. Bobby Wagner is being paid $18m a year, with a 2020 cap hit of just under $15m. K.J. Wright is still on the books on a $10m contract. That’s $25m for two linebackers alone — a huge chunk of the salary cap this year. Now they’re about to guarantee a further $10m to a third linebacker in Brooks.

It’s not just the money either. They’ve spent a first round, third round and fifth round pick on the position in the last 12 months — and yet the old guard are the presumed starters again in 2020.

At the same time, they were unwilling to pay Frank Clark or Jadeveon Clowney to bolster the pass rush. Now they’re left with a significant task of repairing that area of the team with an increasingly smaller amount of money to play with.

I’ve seen it suggested that Brooks could be a SAM — at least initially. And yet the base-defense experiment a year ago was hardly a success. It’s exploitable against the dynamic TE’s in Seattle’s division and despite having the 4.4 speed of Mychal Kendricks last year, they still struggled to defend the perimeter.

If he’s more of a long term successor to either Wagner or Wright — it’s extremely difficult to justify an investment on this scale to secure a position like this. Especially when there are gaping holes on the roster that remain unaddressed.

As I asked yesterday — what’s the plan?

While the Cardinals have added DeAndre Hopkins and Isaiah Simmons and the 49ers Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk, the Seahawks run the serious risk of losing their top defensive lineman. They’ve only signed journeymen as a counter. They haven’t made any significant additions to the offense apart from a 35-year-old tight end who had to choose between one more season or moving into a broadcasting booth.

The Seahawks have collected offensive linemen — bringing a mix of backups, busts and retired players in for a big competition. They’ve zapped cap space re-signing their restricted free agents and their fringe, replacement level players.

Their biggest off-season move so far is to add a thumping middle linebacker.

None of this is a review of Jordyn Brooks as a player. Let’s wish him the best as he starts his Seahawks career. Hopefully he goes on to be a terrific player for this team.

In terms of moving the needle towards winning a Super Bowl, however — how can anyone say the moves they’ve made so far has made that any more likely? You could even reasonably argue that if they lose Clowney they are worse.

That makes today a huge day. The Seahawks have two second round picks at #59 and #64. They won’t pick again until #101. Trading down from #59 and #64 feels pretty futile if it’s with the intention of adding to the seven selections they have. What are you going to get in return? Some day three fodder?

This team needs contributors in the front end of the draft at serious positions of need. They still require D-line help (EDGE and DT). They should attempt to come out of this class with a receiver and a running back. It would be wise to at least try and find an offensive tackle with the potential to develop as a prospective starter.

I wouldn’t hold out much hope on any of the top runners lasting to #59 — or even into a range where you can move up. The value now, in the second round, for Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins is too good. Clyde Edwards-Helaire going at #32 could and should launch a run on the position.

It’s possible Cam Akers will be there when they pick. A receiver like Bryan Edwards could be available in the late second. It’ll be interesting to see where Chase Claypool lands (keep an eye on New England at #37).

There are still offensive linemen available — such as Josh Jones, Robert Hunt, Prince Tega Wanogho and Lucas Niang.

The end of the second round has always felt like the best place to target the D-line. Josh Uche and Julian Okwara are still available — and so are most of the other ‘big name’ defensive linemen that we correctly identified during the college season wouldn’t go as early as many expected (Gross-Matos, Epenesa).

Darrell Taylor has been a hot name in the last 24 hours and if nothing else — he would provide a heap of potential working the edge.

As expected — none of the defensive tackles being touted for the late first actually came off the board. The Seahawks will have opportunities to make a solid investment there.

And while they haven’t added any new picks so far — how many of you would like to see them commit to someone by moving up in round two? Given the success of Jarran Reed, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf — it should encourage people if they do move up to get ‘their guy’ in the second frame. They have a spare fourth rounder to play with. Yet their inability to trade out of #27 limits their ability to move down.

Finally, a couple of notes. It’s now been confirmed that I finished third in the Huddle Report this year. I also got 28 out of 32 first round players right — more than anyone else. Considering how many people enter the Huddle Report each year (and it includes all of the ‘big name’ analysts) — I’m very happy with that.

I also joined Brandan Schulze last night to reflect on Seattle’s surprising first round pick…

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