CFB week 1 draft notes: Trevon Diggs impresses

— The Florida vs Miami game was the prior week but I wanted to start with that. It was unpleasant to watch. There were so many errors. Neither team was easy on the eye. The one positive was the Florida front seven against an admittedly overmatched Miami O-line. Jabari Zuniga (a player I mocked to the Seahawks before he opted not to declare) had a good start. He recorded 1.5 sacks and three TFL’s. Keep an eye on Jonathan Greenard (a transfer from Louisville) who had a fine game with 1.5 sacks and two TFL’s.

— Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama) is a name to watch. His injury history is a problem and could limit his stock. He needs to stay healthy. Yet his ability to track the ball in the air combined with his natural athleticism makes him a very intriguing prospect. Against Duke he gave up one deep pass (albeit in tight coverage and it was a good throw) but he fought back with an outstanding interception. Diggs looks like a potential turnover machine at corner. He’s long, fast and physical.

— Staying with Alabama and Tua Tagovailoa certainly had a better start than Justin Herbert. He looked calm, composed and in control. Tagovailoa was accurate and finished with 26/31 passing for 336 yards against Duke (four touchdowns). Herbert and Oregon were so simplistic and conservative. In the second half against Auburn everything was a manufactured throw, a screen or a bootleg. He seemed to lose confidence and momentum after an ugly fumble led to a big points swing with Oregon threatening to run away with the game. If this is a two-horse race to go first overall, the first round goes to the Alabama QB.

— Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama) is so incredibly sudden. He had 10 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown against Duke. His ability to glide into full speed is highly impressive and he will be a high pick in 2020.

— Speaking of high picks, Jeffrey Okudah (CB, Ohio State) will be right up there too. He started his season with a PBU, a forced fumble on a RB screen and a TFL on a pass into the flat provoking a superb open-field tackle. Okudah is a sensational athlete per his SPARQ testing but he’s also big and physical. Ohio State had an easy first outing against Florida Atlantic but still managed to make life harder than it needed to be after rolling to an early lead. Chase Young showed off a combo of great hands and speed to record 1.5 TFL’s and 1.5 sacks. Binjimen Victor the receiver looked good but K.J. Hill dropped a catchable pass on a slightly under-thrown deep ball.

— Andrew Thomas (LT, Georgia) was outstanding against Vanderbilt. He had a superb second-level downfield block to spring a huge gain for D’Andre Swift. He’s so in control of his kick-slide and stance and yet he has the athleticism and recognition to block on the move. Thomas and Grant Delpit (S, LSU) might be the two most talented players eligible for the 2020 draft. Jerry Jeudy is in the discussion too.

— I haven’t been able to watch South Carolina vs North Carolina yet but I’m fascinated to do so. Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina) is one of the big names to watch in the SEC this year and he recorded a sack in the game.

— I like Stephen Montez (QB, Colorado) more than most. He’s tall, mobile and has great arm talent. He missed some throws in a back-and-forth 52-31 win against Colorado State but he also had some good moments. He had a nice pass to Laviska Shenault for a 25-yard score. He’s a very capable deep thrower. He finished 13/20 passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He added 39 yards as a runner. Shenault had a quiet game with 35 yards rushing on three carries (a long of 23) plus three catches for 48 yards and a TD. Maybe it’s just because it’s week one but to me Shenault didn’t quite look his electric best.

— Eno Benjamin (RB, Arizona State) is a powerful, quick running back and one to watch. He had 102 yards on 22 carries plus three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown in a 30-7 win against Kent State. He’s an underrated talent.

— I didn’t see Penn State’s win against Idaho (it was a horrendous 79-7 blowout) but Yetur Gross-Matos, one of our players to monitor this year, had 2.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL’s. A great start for a player who could be one of the top pass rushers in the 2020 draft.

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  1. Sea Mode

    Not going to post full presser notes for Mon, but here’s are some interesting tidbits since many of us were wanting to know more about Nickerson and Polite:

    Q: How do you see Parry Nickerson fitting into your group?

    PC: We’re going to see if he can play the nickel spot. We’re anxious to see it. He played a lot of snaps last year. I could see him on film and see him do the things we’re looking for. You look at it, you can’t help but see the similarities to when we got JC a while back. They looked very similar at about this time in their careers too. So we’ll see what we can do with him. I’m excited about it. He’s really fast, he’s aggressive, and I’ve seen him do all of the things our guys have to do on film, so there’s no guesswork there. It’s just helping him understand and letting him compete and see what happens.

    Q: Was Jachai Polite a guy you guys looked at a lot in the draft process and were you surprised to find him… here?

    PC: We did. Yeah, we did. We studied him very carefully and were surprised that he was available, so we jumped at the opportunity

    Seahawks 2019 Head Coach Pete Carroll Week 1 Monday Press Conference

  2. Volume12

    Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray was incredible. Sideline to sideline speed. Was also wowed by Oklahoma RB Trey Sermon.

    L’ville OT Mekhi Becton dominated a really good pass rusher in ND DE Julian Okwara. A monster human being. Landed firmy on my radar.

    That INT by Trevon Diggs you mentioned was amazingly difficult and he made it look easy.

    • Rob Staton

      I watched Notre Dame @ Louisville tonight. Notre Dame look exactly like they have throughout the Brian Kelly decade. Yes they win these games. But absolutely no teeth for the top level.

    • icb12

      That Freshman free safety for ND caught my eye in the half that I watched. Hamilton?
      Need to look into him, but he’s huge, and his range was impressive.

  3. Eli

    Did you get a chance to watch Eason for UW? Curious for your thoughts… his arm talent was beyond what I expected

    • Rob Staton

      I didn’t… but the big thing for Eason is going to be consistency. He’s always had the talent.

      • charlietheunicorn

        He was pretty on target on some long (ie 60+ yard bombs up the sideline targets in the game.
        He is not a likely 1st rounder in my opinion, but he has “a canon” for an arm. One of the thing Hugh Millen and Brock Huard have both mentioned on local radio is that his ball gets the WR quickly…. not much arch, more like a frozen rope. His biggest flaw has been health and constancy. I think you have to see more short to mid level range / continency / middle of the field, but you already know he can put the ball outside the hashmarks and up the field…. in the NFL.

    • Dawg Paws

      Liked what I saw. Gotta prove it against better competition though.

      • DC

        Cal’s Defense will a good early season test. Just don’t be too good.

  4. Dawg Paws

    Seriously though, Herbert has to be one of the most overrated, underachieving QB prospects in some time. Sure, he’s got a big’ol arm. But what about all his other intangibles? Decision making, reads, touch, accuracy under pressure, leadership, rally in the 4th quarter etc. etc.??

    So far, all I’ve seen is the national media hype up a kid based on his athleticism and none of what was mentioned above.

    • Kenny Sloth

      Does Justin Herbert have a big arm though?

      I think he has awesome intangibles. Maybe not a steely leader, but he’s tough, intelligent. He’s accurate and has nice touch, but he cannot push the ball downfield.

      He’s a real Jared Goff

    • Hilyard Row

      Overrated? Underachieving?? What do you know that every NFL GM doesn’t? This just sounds like you’re sore from losing last year.

  5. Awsi Dooger

    Oregon’s second half could not have been more predictable. It followed the identical script of so many Pac 12 vs. SEC games. The Pac 12 team opens the game with a wave of cutesy short passes, with seemingly no clue that the SEC team will steadily rotate forward and clamp down on those plays, to the point they are wiping them out and delirious in defensive celebration, as the physical pecking order reverses.

    That scenario plays out time and again and it’s been that way for more than a decade. Oregon’s scheme was so pathetic. The same thing would happen with the new USC offense against that type of opponent. Short passes in college football are an exercise in idiocy. They waltz against outmatched foes but are a regulator against anyone legitimate.

    Oklahoma’s offense is exactly the opposite. They have tons of motion and window dressing but it is designed to free up huge pass plays downfield. That team never would have gotten scared like Oregon did, not even attempting passes beyond the marker.

    Justin Herbert’s resume has sucker written all over it. He was a 3 star recruit. Take a look at the schools who recruited him, other than Oregon. Basically every school that makes me think of Big Sky basketball. I can’t imagine taking someone high in the first round who has not stood high among his peers throughout.

    Tua continues to remain in the 11 YPA range. Lawrence still doesn’t have one game on his college sheet that matches Tua’s YPA average from 2018. There’s nothing wrong with Lawrence’s YPA but it’s kind of amusing when one guy is steady at 11 and the other guy steady at 8, yet public perception based on one game is that the 8 guy is markedly superior.

    BTW, the Canes do have one good offensive lineman who will be a solid pro player. The right guard Donaldson is a wide load tough guy with plenty of nastiness and agility for his size. He’s going to be devalued because the young tackle alongside him is a disaster, alone with the tackle on the other side.

    North Carolina won the game largely because the true freshman quarterback has very nice touch and moxie, especially on deep sideline fades. They abused that play all game long. Bentley from South Carolina had chances to rescue the outcome in the final minutes but made some awful throws, including missing a crosser at the goal line for what should have been an easy touchdown, and then throwing a ridiculous forced deep interception to essentially end the game.

    • Rob Staton

      1. Agree completely on the Oregon offense. It was very predictable and very vanilla. Just the same arrangement of plays to try and manufacture some production on screens, bootlegs and alike. Boring, conservative and simple. They had Auburn right where they wanted them and let them claw their way back into the game. Poor.

      2. The point on Miami’s O-line is more it’s youth than inability. That’s why I say they were overmatched.

  6. Sea Mode

    JS interview on Brock and Salk podcast with Lydia Cruz and Danny O’Neil a few hours ago. Figured I’d do some notes for that instead since we hear from PC so often!

    Take a listen to the Exec of the Year if you have 20 min: fun listen! (and if not, read below…)

    On cut-downs:
    – Weird weekend. Many guys lose their jobs and it’s hard. Focused on how to help these guys with their future and also on how to make our team better.
    – We truly treat it like a draft process, have all of our scouts here, so we stay up pretty late on Fri. and Sat. night and work through it.
    – Of the 1184 guys who are not on practice squads right now, we are already looking at who can we bring in to compete against our guys. Other PS are free agents as well. How do they compare to our PS guys? How do they compare to the guys on the back end of our roster? We’re a team that takes a lot of pride in getting better every single day. I hope our fans appreciate that. We talk about being a “developmental organization” and we have to show that in action every single day.

    On the team:
    – 10 rookies on the roster. We’ve always been about young people. Bobby, KJ, Russ were young, now they are the leaders. There is a balance between the strength in leadership and the enthusiasm and freshness of young guys who are out to prove themselves.
    – We thought we would get a long-term deal with Frank, otherwise we wouldn’t have franchised him. But then other deals hit that threw us off kilter, then we needed more picks, drafted Collier and signed Ziggy.
    – Our LBs are phenomenal blitzers. Bobby, KJ super underrated, Kendricks bend is incredible (can get like 2 feet off the ground)
    [lol he tripped up and said “Swagner” instead of “swagger”. I think I’m just going to call Bobby that from now on… ;-)]
    – Looking at the state of the team. People last year talked about a “reset” or whatever. We do that constantly. We’re going to have fun but you have to work like crazy. “We’re not going to outsmart anybody, we’re going to outwork you.”
    – Run-first offense in a pass-happy league: is that as much attitude as it is strategy? When PC/JS came in, BAL, SF, PIT were the most physical teams in the NFL. We’ve got to be willing to go play those three teams anywhere and anytime. That’s what we wanted it to look like. Fast, smart, tough, reliable. Time of possession is a factor too. College (and pro) game just moves so fast now.

    On scouting:
    – How do we scout intangibles? All our guys are on it. They’re out there already right now. Then we self scout. Why did this guy make it and another guy didn’t? And we’re just evaluating ourselves all the time. How do we get better at that throughout the process (fall, spring, throughout the season).
    – Relying more on background. “Some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made on character have been when I just cruise into a school–usually I can only go to a school once whereas our area guys are there 3, 4, 5 times if they can, building their sources–and if I go in there, I can tend to have people tell me what they want me to know instead of getting to the truth of it.”
    – More time thinking about the hits or the misses? Good balance between PC and JS. JS has to be in his mode, PC has to be as positive as he possibly can; he’s got to stand up in front of that team every single day. JS in the mode of: “how can we get better, what can we fix, how can we help that guy develop, what does this team look like, what does that team look like”? We’re already looking at who to bring in next to compete with our guys.

    On Clowney:
    – Danny: “Tell me about Clowney.” JS: “Really cool dreads…” 😉
    – From a scouting perspective on Clowney: he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. He’s just a freaky athlete. Tons of pressure as #1 overall pick, because he’s so talented people just expect him to adjust to playing OLB in a 3-4 (which he did). But when he puts his hand in the ground in a 4-3 he’s just coming up-field all the time and just being super explosive.
    – Timeline for trade: talked before the draft, but then things cooled off because of Russ and Bobby extensions that took front seat. Then when things started heating up between Clowney and Texans we got back in.
    – Duane Brown gave us a much better feel for how he would fit in our locker room, which is the most important.
    – Is it flattering to have our team be a desired destination for players? Oh yeah. Fans, facility right on the water, RW… PC/JS have talked about it from the beginning and it’s real.
    – Did they take time just to celebrate having gotten Clowney? Yes, but not as much as you would think, because we are so focused on what is in front of us. That’s more for end of the season.

    On PC/JS 10th Anniversary:
    – Has PC/JS relation evolved over the years? He said from the get-go he wanted to have input on who would be the GM because he wanted it to be the best HC-GM relationship in the history of the league. What a way to start.
    – PC has a unique ability to instill confidence in people.
    – Like in a marriage, there are those moments: are you picking up the kitchen, or am I…? Ego’s are real. We have to trust the coaches, and coaches have to trust the personnel staff on what the league looks like and how to hold on to certain players. PC listens, is open-minded, and then just goes with it.

    • Pickering

      Thanks for the synopsis. It will be interesting to see how Clowney, assuming he plays, and Ziggy are used, and how many snaps for each. The snap count for the team will also be interesting.

  7. Henry Taylor

    I watched Utah State v Wake Forrest today. Jordan Love combines spectacular natural ability with some of the most infuriating decision making in crucial moments, including a crucial and unnecessary pick to cost them a chance to kick a game tying field goal late in the game. He’s the ultimate wildcard in this QB class.

    Utah’s Linebacker David Woodward also made a ridiculous amount of plays, will be keeping an eye on him.

      • Henry Taylor

        Based on the one game of his I’ve watched now, that stat is not at all surprising. I think he had 20 tackles on Saturday.

    • charlietheunicorn

      In general, keep an eye on Utah.. both on offense and defense. Seahawks love poaching from that team.

  8. Sea Mode

    This is cool. Maybe can help us adjust our value of draft picks like JS does. The draft is more about how the rest of the league values a guy and where you have to take him if you want him than a pure indicator of talent.

    Also, R2-R4 being practically the same percentage is telling. This supports the trade-down theory. Would you rather have one shot at 14.3% odds or multiple shots at around 11% odds…?


    2019 NFL Rosters by Original Draft Slot

    UDFA- 30.9%
    Rd 1- 14.3%
    Rd 2- 11.0%
    Rd 3- 11.1%
    Rd 4- 9.9%
    Rd 5- 8.6%
    Rd 6- 8.4%
    Rd 7- 5.7%

    11:56 PM · Sep 3, 2019

    I would be interested in seeing the split between picks #1-16 and #17-32 of R1 as well. I have strong suspicions that the #17-32 range (i.e. the range we trade out of every year) would show similar percentage to R2-R4.

    • Rob Staton

      The entire NFL world overvalues picks. It’s bizarre really. In a world where everyone is so keen to diminish aspects of the sport, very few have ever challenged the value of picks vs players. Even though this is a ‘draft’ blog (although it’s been more of a general Seahawks blog for years now) I take some pride in the fact we’ve never gone down the road of being obsessed with draft picks and collecting them. Talent acquisition is multi-faceted and while it’s nice to have lots of picks and to imagine the players you can get with the higher picks — the whole process is really about identifying the type of player and scheme you are going to utilise and building accordingly. And that does mean going after ‘your’ players irrespective of round.

      • cha

        Shhh! Don’t let that get out! Let’s keep that little Moneyballing all to ourselves.

  9. Coleslaw

    Rob, you gotta watch that Colorado vs Colorado state game.

    • Rob Staton

      I watched it. I wrote about it in the piece.

  10. SgtPeppy

    Goff extension: 4 yrs, 134M, 110M guaranteed.
    Wilson extension: 4 yrs, 140M, 107M guaranteed, and with a lot less leverage.
    Gonna look even better when Mahomes get his, as Rob’s been saying. Mediocre QBs making RW money these days…go hawks!

  11. Denver Hawker

    Took a look at Epenesa- he was getting doubled and chipped most of the game which took away from his numbers but I’m curious to see what he does this year. Also want to watch Raekwon Davis more to see if he could fit our 4-3- he’s a big dude that could perhaps anchor Collier nicely. Quite a few interesting CB prospects this year too. I’d like to catch some tape on Cameron Dantzler- big CB that plays in the SEC should have good film.

    • Trevor

      It will be interesting to see what the DL rotation and look is this year without at true LEO if it works and they can resign either Clowney or Ansah the a guy like Davis could definitely be in play. I personally and hoping Rasheem Green can take step forward and be that guy. I do like Davis and the length he has a lot however.

      My favorite Hawks prospects entering the CFB season.

      #1 Delpit- unique talent who could transform our secondary. Him and Blair patrolling at Safety could be special. Clearly he is a top 5-10 talent but Derwin James plays a similar position and fell to the middle of RD#1.

      If the Hawks can extend Clowney or Ansah to sure up the DL I would love to see JS target Delpit even if it meant giving up a future #1 to make it happen. A special playmaker in the secondary is the one piece this team is missing now IMO.

      • Rob Staton

        Grant Delpit is on a different level to Derwin James.

        Delpit will not drop out of the top 10.

        It was always predictable James would drop to where he did. I spent an entire draft season predicting it, as you well know.

        • ZB

          Sounds like Delpit will be quite the NFL pro. Too bad he’s gonna be a Cardinal.

        • Trevor

          James was an All Pro as rookie if Delpit is at a different level then I really hope the Hawks figure out a way to get him. A play maker like Delpit changes the entire complexion of the secondary.

          Is there anyone you would compare him to coming out of college? He seems almost like a hybrid who could play either FS or SS.

          • Rob Staton

            Nobody springs to mind.

            Delpit is far better than James. I’m not going to go over old ground because I found the constant discussion about James a bit dull when it was his draft year. But the difference between the two players is massive IMO. Congrats to James for having a good rookie season on a talented team at a time when the safety position is in a major down period. But Delpit is a different class. There’s a reason James fell and there’s a reason Delpit won’t.

        • Denver Hawker

          Agree Delpit doesn’t slip out of 10. If Hawks project in the 20’s they won’t be close to even trade up for him. It’s been so long since the Hawks drafted that high, I’ve stopped even being interested in watching Top 10 prospects.

    • icb12

      I’m a big fan of Epenesa. He will struggle to produce the same as last year, simply because his efficiency was crazy last year, and because he’s going to see a lot more time, and a lot more of the opponents focus. Just look at the first game. Half the game the entire left side of the OLine is sliding his way, the TE is lining up over there to chip, and the RB is staying in the backfield as the final line of defense. His teamates need to get going, because this is how it’s going to be until other teammates start making opponents pay for putting all the focus on him.

      Epenesa played less than 50% of the defensive snaps for Iowa last year. Used in a specialist role, and he did it quite nicely. He had one job, make game changing impact plays when he was in. I had these stats written down previously, intending to post them in a thread a couple weeks ago and ultimately did not.

      Young: 784 Snaps, 33 Tackles, 14.5 TFL, 9.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 5 PD

      YGM: 633 Snaps, 54 Tackles, 20 TFL, 8 Sacks, 2 FF, 0 pd

      Epenesa: 412 Snaps, 37 Tackles, 16.5 TFL, 10.5 Sacks, 4 FF (1 TD), 3 PD

      • Rob Staton

        If he’s so good why is he being spelled in college?

        I just saw a really average player to be honest.

  12. clbradley17

    Excellent breakdown video of Clowney’s evolution as a DE/LB/DT from college to the NFL.

  13. Mac

    I still like Herbert better than Tua. Tua is a good kid with a great story, I just worry about his flaws last year when he got exposed after he got injured. Mechanically, he wasn’t the same. I like Steven Montez’s velocity while throwing, he seems like he might be a good system qb if he can get a coach or OC to design easy reads around him. Might be a good fit for the Jaguars if their OC can stick around or a team with weapons like the Bengals.

    Oregon’s coaching is very bland and came out of the second half flat. I still like Herbert’s size and athleticism though. I often feel the offensive and head coaching changes around him have done him a disservice. Helfrich, Taggart to Cristoball, this a big year for him though as a second year in the same system. He has adapted to change due to his intangibles but I worry it has damaged his development.

  14. Paul Cook

    I’m kind of amazed at how many draft prospects you can keep track of. I can barely keep track of the two-deeps on my favorite team, the Huskies. LOL

  15. CaptainJack

    Don’t sleep on Jacob Eason.

    The only thing is his receiving talent at Washington is a bit sub-par.

    Also look at Levi Owuzurike at Washington.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m certainly not going to sleep on him.

      But he’s going to have to show a bit more than one game against a weak opponent to justify any level of pro hype.

  16. RWIII

    Neither Clowney/Ansah have not practiced or practiced very little. Brock was talking about soft tissue injuries. For guys who have not practiced. If I was coaching I probably would limit the snaps for Clowney/Ansah to just passing downs. At least the week. Then after they get a week under their belt they can increase their snaps.

    The Hawks have some big guys that can play defensive end against the run. You have Quinton Jefferson(290lbs) Brandon Jackson(295lbs). Rasheem Green can also play a few snaps at DE. I think at least for the first week the Hawks should save Clowney/Ansah for passing situations.

    • Rob Staton

      I would also manage their snaps on Sunday and think they will.

      The Seahawks should be able to beat a weakened Cincy team at home anyway.

      • CaptainJack

        Cincy will be a candidate for worst offensive line in the league this year, lots of injuries.

        • Rob Staton

          Indeed. But I’ve just re-watched Seattle vs Miami from 2016 for my sins. Overmatched opponent, poor O-line, new coach. Wilson got hurt, Seattle was awful and made mistakes and should’ve lost. Hopefully this will be a lot more straight forward.

  17. Sea Mode

    This is pure gold…lmao…

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