This was a day that promised much. Overall, it didn’t quite live up to expectations apart from the defensive tackle group. I’ll discuss in this piece why that might nudge Seattle closer to addressing the pass rush in free agency.
Firstly though, we need to talk about the story of the day.
Jordan Davis owns the combine
We’ve just witnessed one of the all-time great athletic performances. It doesn’t matter what the sport is or what the occasion is. Davis’ combine was a wonder of the world. A tour de force to match any physical achievement on the planet.
At 6-6 and 341lbs he ran an official 4.78. To put that into perspective — Nick Bosa ran a 4.79 at 266lbs.
Davis then set a combine record by an offensive or defensive lineman in the broad jump (10-3). He added a 32 inch vertical.
If he’d done the bench press and achieved a fairly standard 27 reps for a 1.00 score in TEF, his weighted TEF score would’ve been an obscene 119.7. Given he’s 341lbs, there’s every chance he would’ve done far more than 27 reps.
It’s not just the testing numbers though. He danced around the field with ease — moving subtly between the bags, changing direction quickly and moving in a way I’ve never seen a defensive tackle move before.
It’s not particularly surprising. In my initial breakdown of the overall class on December 6th, I noted:
Jordan Davis is 6-6 and 340lbs but he will be one of the stars of the combine. He will run quicker than anyone expects and make headlines.
In a year without clearly defined top-10 prospects, he deserves to go in that range. Dontari Poe was a lesser talent and went #11 overall.
Davis is a physical marvel. A superhero.
If the Seahawks had the #10 overall pick, we could’ve been dreaming about drafting him tonight.
The defensive tackle class dominates overall
Davis wasn’t alone — his Georgia team mate Devonte Wyatt looked absolutely sensational too. He ran a 4.77 and moved around the field like a linebacker.
We’ve never seen players like Wyatt and Davis before. They had 10-yard splits of 1.66 and 1.68 respectively. They are unique athletes. Not in that casual throwaway sense when talking about a pretty athletic player. They are legitimately different to what we see in the NFL.
Travis Jones is 6-4 and 325lbs and ran a 4.92. He ran a 4.58 short shuttle and a 7.33 three cone — both outstanding at his size. He’s also explosive — adding a 9-2 broad jump. In any other year we’d be raving about him. Instead he’s being blanketed by the Georgia duo.
Jones dominated the Senior Bowl by driving opponents backwards with brute force in 1v1’s. Now he’s shown he’s an elite athlete too and he deserves a first round grade.
Perrion Winfrey also had a superb week in Mobile and plays with an aggression and intensity. He got injured running a 4.89 with a 1.68 split. That’s superb. With that level of athleticism he could easily go in round one.
Tennessee’s Matthew Butler is an underrated player in the class. He ran a 5.00 at 297lbs and then jumped a 32 inch vertical and a 9-4 broad. He ticks a lot of boxes for Seattle and could be an early third round target.
DeMarvin Leal also ran a 5.00 but the key positive for him was a 4.49 short shuttle at 283lbs. Teams will like that a lot.
Eyioma Uwazurike will be a player I study tonight after he jumped a 33 inch vertical. He’s 6-5, 316lbs and has 35 1/8 inch arms.
Defensive ends fail to sizzle
There was a lot of hype and expectation among this EDGE group but unlike the defensive tackles, nobody really made any big headlines.
It’s disappointing from a Seahawks perspective. They generally target brilliant athletes who are quick, long, explosive and test well in the short shuttle. It’s hard to find those guys based on what we saw today. There aren’t many Darrell Taylor’s here, if they want to draft a similar partner in crime.
Let’s start with the positives.
Amare Barno will gain further study by teams post-combine after running a remarkable 4.36 — beating Montez Sweat’s record for a pass-rushing forty. He added a 37 inch vertical and a 10-11 broad but his short shuttle (4.45) was disappointing. He’s 6-4, 246lbs with 34 inch arms and could be interesting later in the draft.
Ole Miss’ Sam Williams has felt like a possible Seahawks option at #41. He’s angry, aggressive and has been a very productive pass rusher — with some concerns about his ability vs the run. He ran an excellent 4.46 with a 1.60 10-yard split. His 32.5 inch vertical was well below what was expected though and in drills some of his change of direction movements were stiff. He lacks the natural bend, lean, balance and straightening ability of Darrell Taylor. Even so — he can get after the quarterback thanks to his straight-line speed and aggression.
Dominique Robinson and DeAngelo Malone both pass the eye test in terms of body type for a Seahawks pass rusher. They’re lean and long with muscle definition. Robinson’s runs were mediocre but he jumped a 41 inch vertical. Malone only did on-field drills after adding 8lbs since the Senior Bowl. He appeared to be carrying the extra weight very well.
Joshua Paschal is a blog favourite. He only has 32 3/4 inch arms which could be an issue — the only pass rusher Seattle has taken with sub-33 inch arms of note is Alton Robinson in round four. He’s explosive and powerful and jumped a 10-3 broad. His run of 4.77 was good for a player weighing 268lbs. He didn’t do the short shuttle or three cone which is a shame given he ran a 4.30 shuttle at SPARQ.
Logan Hall ran a 4.44 short shuttle at 283lbs which is impressive. Trevon Walker managed a 4.32 at 272lbs — plus a brilliant 6.89 three-cone. Hall’s was a 7.25.
Boye Mafe ran a 4.53 at 261lbs — then added a 38 inch vertical and a 10-5 broad.
Jeffrey Gunter impressed during drills with his athleticism and mobility. He ran a 4.70 at 258lbs, had a 1.63 split and then added a 4.35 short shuttle. As a possible day-three rotational end, he has potential.
Now onto the question marks.
Only two players ran an elite 1.5 10-yard split — Amare Barno (1.54) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (1.59). I thought we might see multiple testers in that range today.
Why is Myjai Sanders now 228lbs, considerably lighter than the Senior Bowl? Has he been sick? This is a major question mark. His testing numbers were nothing to write home about either and well below expectations.
The following players all had sub-33 inch arms:
Aidan Hutchinson (DE) — 32 1/8
George Karlaftis (DE) — 32 5/8
Logan Hall (DE/DT) — 32 3/4
Joshua Paschal (DE) — 32 3/4
Myjai Sanders (DE) — 32 5/8
Cam Thomas (DE) — 32 1/2
Boye Mafe (DE) — 32 5/8
Kayvon Thibodeaux refused to do any on-field drills, jumps or agility testing for no serious justifiable reason — adding fuel to the fire that he has character flags.
The likes of Arnold Ebiketie and Drake Jackson didn’t run a forty. Jackson looks like he’s added a fair bit of weight — although he did jump a 36.5 inch vertical and a 10-7 broad.
Players who were expected to run blazing short shuttle times only did OK. George Karlaftis (4.36), Myjai Sanders (4.37), David Ojabo (4.45) and Amare Barno (4.45) were all expected to do better.
To compare, Frank Clark ran a 4.05 shuttle.
Aidan Hutchinson was expected to get into that range but only managed a 4.15. It’s still a very good time but there was talk of a similar time to Clark.
It just all felt underwhelming, including during on-field drills.
What does it mean for the Seahawks?
It suddenly looks like a top-heavy pass rush class and with the best players likely to be long gone by #41, I think what we saw today increases the chances of two things happening:
1. The Seahawks address their pass rush need in free agency
2. They are more likely to draft for the offensive line with their top pick, where there is a lot more available depth
I’ll write about this more after the combine. Yet my initial reaction to today is Seattle needs to go out and get a Chandler Jones type (or another) and then focus on potential targets such as Abraham Lucas, Cole Strange, Cam Jurgens or Zion Johnson in round two.
Failing that — look at other positions depending on what happens over the next week or so. You can add a quality linebacker at #41 if you move on from Bobby Wagner, potentially an excellent running back if Rashaad Penny moves on, there’s great talent at receiver and tight end plus we’ll see how the defensive backs get on tomorrow.
But unless one of the top defensive tackles — Wyatt, Jones or Winfrey — falls into round two, it’s hard to suggest which pass rusher actually makes sense with Seattle’s first pick.
We know the Seahawks love special traits. Right now — the players who could be there at #41 with those traits are not edge rushers:
Breece Hall (RB)
Kenneth Walker (RB)
Zamir White (RB)
Greg Dulcich (TE)
Abraham Lucas (T)
Cole Strange (C)
Cam Jurgens (C)
Travis Jones (DT)
Perrion Winfrey (DT)
Channing Tindall (LB)
Troy Andersen (LB)
Leo Chenal (LB)
You could add Boye Mafe to the list but again — he doesn’t have the length Seattle typically goes for.
Several linebackers stand out
Channing Tindall said he was a ‘freak of nature’ in an interview during the 2021 season. He proved it at the combine — running a 4.53 forty and then jumping a 42 inch vertical and a 10-9 broad. He is a special talent — capable of flying to the sideline and hunting down ball-carriers. Tindall is violent, quick and can be a destroyer of screens and stretch plays.
Troy Andersen has been threatening to break into round two after a good Senior Bowl. He ran a 4.42 forty at 243lbs then jumped a 36 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad.
Christian Harris’ tape never really lived up to expectations at Alabama but here he ran a 4.44 at 226lbs then added a 34 inch vertical and an 11 broad.
Damone Clark has the body of a Greek God and ran a 4.56 forty at 239lbs. He jumped a 36.5 inch vertical and a 10-7 broad.
Leo Chenal is stocky and doesn’t have a traditional body type for the position. However, he ran a 4.53 forty at 250lbs then jumped a 40.5 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad. He’s a special athlete.
Chad Muma ran a 4.63 forty and then jumped a 40 inch vertical and a 10-9 broad jump. His short shuttle of 4.28 is pretty good (although not in the range Seattle loves). He also ran a 7.06 three cone. Overall though he’s an explosive, agile athlete who flies to the ball on tape.
Agility testing is key at linebacker and the Seahawks typically target players who run well in the short shuttle. Given how late the linebackers did on-field drills, it’s unclear how many actually did the short shuttle.
I will update this article if/when the full results are revealed. Players testing particularly well (in the 4.00-4.10 range) will almost certainly be on Seattle’s radar.
Join us again tomorrow for the final day of combine coverage. I’ll be hosting a live stream with Robbie Williams at 8:30am (PST). The live blog will then start up once more and we’ll have the usual recap at the end. Workouts start at the earlier time of 11am (PST) tomorrow.
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