College football week three draft notes

— San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny is a player to start paying attention to. Listed at 5-11 and 220lbs, he’s right in the ball park for Seattle’s size preference at the position. In three games this year he has 588 rushing yards (8.3 YPC) and four touchdowns. He had a 95-yard run against Arizona State where he accelerated away from the defense showing unique speed and he later added a 99-yard kick return score. He’s one touchdown away from tying the NCAA record for return touchdowns (he currently has six). Against Stanford on Saturday he managed 175 rushing yards and a further 31 in the passing game. A true all-rounder with great speed, thickness and athleticism — he’s a Senior running back to watch for the rest of 2017.

— It’s good to see Georgia’s Nick Chubb back on form. He wasn’t himself in 2016 after returning from a shocking knee injury. Against Samford on Saturday he had 131 rushing yards (8.2 YPC) and two scores. He has 290 yards after three games and four touchdowns. A truly exceptional athlete in High School, Chubb will be an interesting tester at the combine next year.

— We highlighted Kamryn Pettway before the season. He wasn’t helped by Auburn’s O-line and passing game against Clemson but still managed 74 hard earned yards. He had 128 yards and three touchdowns against Mercer on Saturday. A big power back with surprising shiftiness in the open field, he adds to a relatively deep looking group of 2018 running backs.

— Without doubt the top back for next year will be Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. A genuine top-10 talent, you can build an offense around this guy. He is exceptional. His athleticism, toughness, dedication in the weight room and attitude are top notch. He might even go top-five like Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette. Barkley is one of the biggest freak of nature players in recent memory, possibly comparable to Myles Garrett’s freakiness. Here’s what he did against Georgia State on Saturday:

— Pete Carroll mentioned on ESPN 710 this morning that the Seahawks compile ‘effort’ grades for the players after a game. I’m guessing Carroll would’ve enjoyed this play by Florida sophomore Jachai Polite vs Tennessee:

— In terms of the quarterbacks this weekend, it was a weird one. Lamar Jackson came out cold against Clemson and the game quickly got away from Louisville. Jackson showed his usual creativity to make some big plays with his arm and running the ball but he also had a pick six. His receivers also dropped several catchable passes. This shouldn’t have a huge impact on his blossoming stock but it is a missed opportunity to push himself closer to Sam Darnold. The Clemson game was also another example of why defense wins you a Championship. The Tigers’ D-line is sensational, led by future top-15 picks Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. It’s a loaded defensive front with future NFL studs. Just like they did against Auburn, they controlled the game here. Lawrence isn’t eligible to enter the 2017 draft but Wilkins (2.5 sacks in three games) will be a very early pick.

— Sam Darnold really has to be considered QB1 for this 2018 draft class. The way he led the USC team against Texas was exemplary. He’s accurate, mobile, creative, he improvises. There is so much to like and it’s virtually impossible to make a case for any other quarterback being ahead of him at this stage. He looks like the #1 overall pick next year. Look at these plays:

— UCLA’s Josh Rosen had a hit and miss day as the Bruins lost against Memphis. He had some terrific downfield plays that had social media buzzing for a while. Yet he also saw his luck run out on the ‘hit and hope’ type throws that came off against Texas A&M. The pick below is simply horrendous. Rosen’s clearly a playmaker (he currently leads the NCAA in passing yards). He’s a talented quarterback and should find a home early in the draft — but he can’t make mistakes like this at the next level:

— Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield staked his claim in beating Ohio State last week. This week Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald highlighted his first round potential. A big bodied, highly athletic quarterback, Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs to a huge 37-7 win against LSU with a measured four-touchdown performance. He avoids mistakes, makes big plays on the ground (see below) and so far in 2017 has 12 total scores and just one interception.

— Josh Allen came into the year as the trendy suggestion to go #1 overall in 2017. After a disappointing opening week performance against Iowa, Allen went 9-24 for 64 yards and another interception in a 49-13 loss to Oregon. It’s true that Allen suffers from a week supporting cast. He’s played his strongest 2017 opponents so far and struggled on both occasions, so it’s hard to imagine how he can significantly enhance his stock between now and the end of the year. Allen has the arm talent to secure a first round placing but his decision making remains questionable and he can be quite erratic throwing the ball (I know he was under pressure, but still):

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  1. icb12

    All aboard the Saquon Barkley Hype train. I’m driving.

    Is it too early to start the “trade up for Saquon” battle cry?

    • Ishmael

      I think there were a couple of us on board about this time last year haha. He’s magic. I’d probably have a stroke if we managed to get him.

  2. Kenny Sloth

    What do you think of Royce Freeman’s resurgence, Rob?

    He’s probably right in our measurement ideals and should run and jump well. He also has decent feet and vision paired with a Devonta Freeman-like jump cut

    • Rob Staton

      I need to watch his 2017 stuff. Last year was pretty meh.

  3. teejmo

    That wasn’t even Rosen’s worst pick of the game. At least with that one you could potentially make the argument that there was some miscommunication between him and the receiver (though it is probably unlikely). His first one though was just plain stupid: he was sitting by the sideline and could have simply thrown it out of bounds (which would have resulted in a punt), but instead he chucked it across the field to a “wide open” receiver. Cue pick six. Quarterbacks are taught not to throw across their body, right?

    • teejmo

      I mean, I get that he’s trying to make a play in a game where defense was kind of forgotten, but once he had rolled out of the pocket, he had no pressure.

  4. Justin

    Darnold looked flat out bad vs Texas. Probably just a case of the Texas defense playing well, but it’s curious to see the up & down nature of his season so far. Definitely not a clear cut #1 QB yet IMO.

    • C-Dog

      That last drive, though. Wow. He showed up big time when it mattered most.

  5. Mike B.

    I wonder how dramatic of an overhaul the Seahawks RB group will receive in 2018. I’m guessing there’s virtually no chance Lacy will be here, that there’s a reasonable chance Rawls might not be here (unless he really turns things around this season), and that Carson will soon be RB1 and stay there. Prosise will be here unless his performance in 2017 is terrible (very doubtful) or if he winds up missing a huge amount of time due to injury.

    RBs going into 2018:
    1. Carson
    2. Prosise
    3. Mike Davis for minimum veteran deal?
    4. Rookie

    Penny is very intriguing. I like Kalen Ballage from Arizona State as well (despite a slow start this year), though he’s more of a tall (6’3″) pass-catching RB with a high center of gravity. I’m a big fan of Sony Michel, who like Penny fits the mold of a Seahawks-type RB. Michel does everything well (except perhaps block)–he has good hands and always finds a way to create positive yardage. I also think Michel could be had in the 3rd round or later.

  6. Awsi Dooger

    San Diego State and Stanford should play every week. Fantastic game. Mirror image basic tenacious football. I looked forward to that game as soon as I saw the schedule. It lived up to everything and beyond. Such a joyous departure from the typical spread garbage.

    As soon as the game ended I posted on a college football site regarding Rashaad Penny and Bryce Love, who was fantastic on the losing side. Those were two elite backs in the same game.

    San Diego State is not good enough to run the table but that is my favorite college program right now and for the past three seasons. They are so well coached and physical and intense. Show up lethargic against that team and you’ll get your teeth handed to you, as Houston found out in the bowl game last season.

    I’m a USC alum. Darnold’s receivers are not as reliable as last season. That’s a major variable that is not emphasized enough. They may be premium recruits but simply don’t have the instincts or toughness. Darnold launched a perfect deep ball early in the fourth quarter that could have provided separation on the scoreboard but the receiver misplayed the ball to such extreme it was absolutely remarkable. He looked like he was trying to catch a mirror image of the actual ball, but a foot away.

    I wasn’t surprised at Rosen’s game. That’s a weird and mostly negative situational spot, playing a third tier program away from home on turf. More often than not the defense suffers in a game like that, which is exactly what happened. Then the quarterback is forced to press.

    I didn’t see the Wyoming/Oregon game. Outclassed or not, Josh Allen seemingly has no excuse for those numbers. It’s going to be interesting to see what the scouts do with Allen if he continues to struggle in 2017. That was the likely trend given all the helpers he lost. Once a logical trend is identified the results normally follow suit but to greater degree than the forecast. Allen has tons of physical talent but some of the throws are baffling, including the game ending interception against BYU in last year’s bowl when that result was right there to be stolen.

    BTW, J.T. Little Game Barrett of Ohio State won’t get any play here as pro prospect but be is immensely notable given the sustained ineptitude of the past three seasons. It shouldn’t be possible in an Urban Meyer offense, given all the elite talent on both sides of the ball. I have no idea how Barrett has escaped national scrutiny as one of the greatest flops in recent college football history.

    Meyer’s offense is so well designed it always enables very high yards per attempt. Alex Smith was a career 8.9 under Meyer at Utah and Tebow was 9.3 at Florida. Every Ohio State starting quarterback under Meyer has averaged above 8.0 YPA, including Barrett himself as a freshman at 9.0. Then somehow Barrett has put up back to back 6.7 YPA seasons in 2015 and 2016. That is surreal incompetence. I couldn’t begin to place odds on it. Meyer yanked Cardale Jones in midseason 2015 despite Jones well above 8 YPA. He was rewarded with Barrett delivering a comical 2.9 YPA in the home loss to Michigan State as 14 point favorite. Fast forward to the 2016 season when Barrett put up a similarly laughable 3.8 YPA in the shutout playoff loss to Clemson. Now we’re in 2017 and Barrett has already managed a pathetic 5.2 YPA in the home defeat to Oklahoma, compared to Baker Mayfield at 11 YPA for the winning spiking Sooners.

    • Old but Slow

      It is good that you are posting, Awsi, you add much to the conversation, and your post is always “must read”.

    • Volume12

      USC WR Deontay Burnett has only carried this passing game on his shoulders, but he’s not reliable?

  7. Ed

    Funny, biggest needs this year have been the biggest needs for years. OL and WR. The stocked up on DB this year, but Wright/Wagner/Bennett/Avril all have expiring deals soon.

  8. Aaron

    It’s comforting to see that the Hawks aren’t the only ones having issues on the o line. Manning is practically DOA with his o line. The similarities between us and the Giants are striking. Both teams lean on defense, both teams struggle to run the ball, and both teams have a young o line. At least Russ is a mobile QB, Manning is a statue.

    • cha

      Detroit had the same amount of OL issues, but adjusted better. Stafford was rarely clean in the first half. While the Giants left Flowers on an island vs Ansah, Detroit gave Robinson a TE at times to help with Vernon, and still had a decent range of offensive options available to them. JB Cooter is going to get a lot of rising star coordinator guff this offseason.

  9. Ishmael

    The Giants suck. They’re Seattle-lite.

    Detroit better than I thought they’d be. Unsurprisingly, Jarred Davis looks right at home. They’re doing enough to win without looking super threatening.

    • 503Hawk

      How different would last year’s division playoff game against Detroit have been if Stafford hadn’t had that injured finger on his throwing hand?

      • Ishmael

        Not very? Idk man, they look like they’re just okay to me. Decent across the board, but nothing special. They don’t match up well against Seattle.

    • Trevor

      Giants and Hawks have the same issue a garbage OL they failed to fix in the off season. Same players and coach expecting different results. At least JS tried to add some talent with Joeckel and Pocic.

      Both OL cant pass block or open holes in the run game. How can you design or run an offense when that is the case. Look at the Vikings last year.

  10. 503Hawk

    That highlight of Polite’s hustle is INSANE!!!

  11. Sea Mode

    Since we will obviously not even sniff Barkley range, sign me up for Penny!

    If he is really 220lbs as listed (looks like it to the eye test), that is amazing speed. Add to it the excellent vision, as displayed on KR duties, and this guy could be gold.

  12. Sea Mode

    OT, but all those who were barking at JS for passing up “super solid O-liner” Cam Robinson can go watch the Jaguars vs. Titans highlights…

    • RealRhino2

      Not sure what you are getting at. Gave up 1 sack after having a very good game last week. It happens. Otherwise the only plays he was really involved in that showed in the highlights was blowing his man up in the run game to help score a TD, an effective combo block on the DE, and a clean pocket for his QB.

      I liked the McDowell pick better, but would love to have Robinson on this team.

  13. swisshawk

    The draft haul we got this year seems to be pretty good. But with all the comments JS/PC made in the last half year, I think the draft could have been one of their bests, if not for some teams (philly, SF) to interrupt with their plan.
    2 DT McDowell
    2 OL Pocic
    3 CB Griffin
    3 S Hill
    3 DT Jones
    4 WR Darboah
    7 WR Moore
    7 RB Carson

    • swisshawk

      Not saying I know what they wanted, only my guess. I know that ifs and whens don’t bring anything anymore, but it gives us some information about the upcoming draft and our preparation 🙂

  14. Trevor

    Went back and looked and some games from 2012 and 2013 looking only at the OL. They were nasty bordering dirty run blockers. Every play guys were getting cut blocked to open plays on the backside.

    On almost a quarter of the run plays there would have been penalties with the rules in today’s game. Perhaps that is why our run blocking has been so poor the last couple of years.

    Also the read option really opened up so easy plays for Russ when he was young and definitely slowed the pass rush.

    • Sea Mode

      Hmmm, interesting consideration on the rule change. Has Cable not been able to adapt, or has it just not come together for them quite yet having broken up the group so frequently?

      I also mean to take a closer look at the 2nd half of 2015 for reference. That was sans Marshawn, and we were definitely doing something right on offense.

      • Trevor

        Good point as the zbs requires working as a unit. Whatever it is something has changed.

        perhaps it is as simple as the loss of Beast Mode and Russ running a lot less zone read. After all we had the worst run game in the league the year before we traded for Marshawn.

  15. David

    Rob, you think Charles Nelson (Oregon) has a chance to play in the NFL as a returner/slash player (kind of like the role McKissic has for the Seahawks now).

    • Rob Staton

      Not watched him yet but I will do

  16. David

    In the Oregon/Wyoming game it was beyond clear who was the NFL caliber QB in that game. And it wasn’t Allen.

  17. JimQ

    Another player that I think is worthy of keeping an eye out for (as a potential Rd. 3/4/5 draft pick):

    WR/KR-Dante Pettis, Washington, 6-1/195
    In the first 3-games this season: 478-yds of total offensive production, 159.33-yds per game average.

    -#1 in FBS with 6-punt returns for 233-yds (38.83*-yds. avg.) & 3-TD’s = career record # of return TD’s.
    -12 receptions for 209-yds a 17.42-yd avg., 3-TD’s + 1 of 1 passing for 36-yds. —-So far this season.

    • East Side Stevie

      He’s a top 50 pick my man. I dont see Seattle wanting to spend that high of capital at WR position. We have glaring needs at Guard and Edge with Avril and Bennett’s contract coming up soon (not to mention age). If we dont re sign Sheldon and Malik ends up never being able to play football again (which is possible) then we will at least spend a R2 on a Defensive Linemen

      • Volume12

        I’ll bet he blows the roof off the combine.

        Thing I like most about him is what I like the most about Tyler Lockett. They’re sparks, but more importantly they give/bring something different almost every game.

        One game it could be PR & KR’s, the next it could be explosive plays down the field, or beating DB’s with route running, finding soft spots if its against a zone D, jet/fly sweeps, making contested catches.

        • C-Dog


    • Ishmael

      Pettis has the WEIRDEST running action. He looks like Donald Duck or something.

      Works for him though I guess?

  18. Volume12

    Whoo! This boy is saucy!

    Former JUCO standout W. Virginia HB Justin Crawford 5’11, 205 lbs.

    Has all the traits to be a top tier back at the next level. Great vision, elusiveness, burst, versatility, plays with attitude, and just has that ‘it’ factor. His ability to makes guys miss is special. Pair this with HB Chris Carson? 🔥

    Highlights- (his Oklahoma tape in the snow is something else)

    • Volume12

      Look how fast he gets in and out of these cuts.

      • East Side Stevie

        His ability oozes off the tape

        • Volume12

          Naturally huh?

      • Volume12

        Very cool story too. One of 7 siblings, lost his dad in HS, is already married with 2 kids, worked at Taco Bell during his JUCO stint to support his family, described by coaches as ‘different, highly motivated, and not afraid to speak his mind.’

        • Old but Slow

          Love his wide stance running, and high knee lift.

      • Sea Mode

        Nice find, V12. We know this kind of character/background has the Hawks’ attention from the getgo.

        Love how he sets up and uses his blockers, all the while almost never slowing down too much. He even sets up the defenders to block themselves in a lot of those highlights! That’s not just athleticism, that’s vision and “feel” for the flow of the play.

        Will definitely add him to my early Seahawks watch list.

  19. Ground_Hawk

    What do you all think of TE’s Mike Gesicki (Penn State) and Troy Fumagalli (Wisconsin)? Both have experience in run-heavy offenses, and they both have the ability to score TD’s. Depending on what happens with Jimmy G after this season, adding a quality TE could become a top priority.

  20. Ishmael

    Good string of tweets –

    Some interesting thoughts on Graham and the O-line

  21. CharlieTheUnicorn

    There has been a ton of banter on the local radio about OL problems….. with a few interesting observations. Something came out in the wash. A guest on one of the shows said that Seattle had a problem with the TE and FB specifically. The FB was not seen as a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, so when Seattle went to two RB/FB sets, the opposition teams are keying into run and selling out to stop it. The TEs have not had enough consistency blocking or catching to be considered a threat in either aspect of the game right now. The inline TEs were not helping the OL blocking enough to justify them being delayed goign into their routes or not even being considered a legitimate pass catching target on many plays. The OL might not be up to snuff, but some other elements of the offense are actually making them look much worse than they are playing as a OL unit. The other scuttlebutt locally is that Glowinski will get replaced by Aboushi at RG for week #3.

    • Sea Mode

      Makes sense. May be time to bring Reece back on board as well.

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