This piece came out in December — but it’s worth exploring. Bob McGinn puts out an annual ‘early look’ at the draft using unnamed scouting sources. Here are some of the highlights:
On Will Fuller:
“Fuller will run low 4.4s, high 4.3s,” one scout said. “Better player than Devin Smith, who went top of the second (No. 37) last year. Just a better overall receiver.”
Fuller is arguably the most dynamic offensive player in the class. Pure speed — he’s a game-changer with incredible upside. The Seahawks like special athleticism and Fuller fits the bill.
On Laremy Tunsil:
“Tunsil is a good athlete with strong hands,” said one scout. “Little bit of a finesse guy. They (Ole Miss) are almost like the Oregon teams now. They’re really not physical players.”
He doesn’t play with the same edge as Shon Coleman — and that’s why I prefer Coleman. Tunsil is technically very good and he’s a nice athlete. But you want to see that nasty streak.
On Ronnie Stanley:
Stanley, according to the scout, isn’t regarded as a great worker off the field and doesn’t always play hard. “He needs to get stronger,” another scout said. “But he’s really good technically as a pass blocker.”
He was embarrassed by Clemson’s Shaq Lawson and doesn’t show any desire to get to the second level. There’s no edge to him. He has the upside — but is he ever going to push himself? I wouldn’t spend a first round pick here unless I absolutely had to have a pass protector and he was the last one available.
On Jack Conklin:
“He played left tackle and can probably survive there, but eventually I think you’ll want a better athlete,” one scout said. “I think he’s a right tackle. Kind of a self-made guy who kind of grew into his body.”
He’s no slouch but he’s also not a special athlete with a ton of upside. You can plug him in at right tackle or guard. Low ceiling, high floor.
On Germain Ifedi:
“He’s just real inconsistent,” one scout said. “Effort level is down. I don’t think he’s playing as well as a year ago. He’ll work out well so somebody will take him in the second.”
Superb frame with minimal body fat. A great specimen and his play wasn’t as bad as some will tell you. Could easily find a home in the late first as a right tackle.
On Paxton Lynch:
“There’s stuff Lynch doesn’t see but then he makes some plays that look like he knows what he’s doing,” one scout said. “But, boy, is he a great athlete for a big guy. He’s going to run in the 4.5s. He’s got good feet and can make all the throws.”
Yes he had a poor Bowl game. Memphis also lost their Head Coach before the game and what was at stake? Teams will believe they can win with Lynch. Big, athletic, accurate quarterbacks go early. It’s trendy to want to go with Jared Goff — Lynch is the safer bet for me.
On Jared Goff:
“In terms of arm talent, he’ll be like (Jay) Cutler,” said one scout. “Skinny kid. Gets hit a bunch. Doesn’t see everything. Accuracy is off at times. But he can really spin it and has really good feet.”
The Cutler talk is fair. Nice arm talent and capable of making some pretty mid-range passes. He also struggled in Cal’s big games — completing 44% of his passes against Oregon, throwing five picks against Utah and two more in a loss to USC.
On the running backs available after round one:
Utah’s Devontae Booker (5-11, 210) is versatile but is prone to injury and fumbles too much. He’s in the second-third round range with juniors C.J. Prosise (6-1, 220) of Notre Dame, Paul Perkins (5-10, 212) of UCLA and Alex Collins (5-11, 220) of Arkansas.
Perkins and Collins intrigue me the most. Perkins has tremendous character, a deadly cut and some upside in the passing game. Collins is a work-horse with surprising speed. The Seahawks need a third-down/passing back to pair with Rawls and Perkins looks like the best fit.
On Robert Nkemdiche:
“He’s really athletic and he’s got strength,” one scout said. “He’s really a different kid. He may scare some people. He’s strange strange.”
This article was published before the bizarre window incident and subsequent Bowl game suspension. If Nkemdiche was considered ‘strange strange’ before it happened — you have to wonder what teams are thinking now. Can you seriously take him in round one?
On Jonathan Bullard:
“Bullard isn’t special.”
Bullard says he returned to Florida this year to prove he’s better than the draft committee suggested a year ago. He had some nice plays — but the scout is right. He isn’t special. The Seahawks don’t draft unspectacular athletes early.
On Alabama’s D-line trio:
“(A’Shawn) Robinson is a giant,” said one scout. “Big run stuffer with pass-rush ability. Top-15 pick. (Jarran) Reed got in a lot better shape this year than he was as a junior. He was more in the 330 range. Excellent run-down player, and he’s showing a little bit more of a push in the pass game. Top 25. (Jonathan) Allen spells them and is more of a pass rusher. Kind of an in-betweener. End and outside linebacker. He’ll go late first, early second.”
I’m not sold on Robinson as a pass rusher. You barely see any evidence he can do it consistently on tape. Reed is tough as nails but he’s a pure run stuffer. I’m not sure what Allen is at the next level. I’d put all three in round two. I think it’d be surprising if the Seahawks took any of them early — they clearly value stopping the run but they’re getting production out of Brandon Mebane and Athyba Rubin.
On Kenny Clark & Andrew Billings:
“Clark’s probably the best run stopper,” said one scout. “They bill Billings there as the strongest college-football player. He’s a limited athlete but he’s got incredible strength.”
Aside from the odd flash, I thought Clark was an unspectacular player whenever I watched UCLA. The kind you find in a lot of drafts. Billings might be the best at getting into the backfield but even then — I’m not convinced he’s a natural rusher. I’m generally wary of Baylor linemen (both sides of the ball).