Courtney Upshaw game tape vs Ole Miss & Tennessee

I mocked Courtney Upshaw (DE/OLB) to the Seahawks in this week’s mock draft but I’m still trying to work out whether he fits Seattle’s scheme and desires with a high first round pick. If he’s limited to the LEO, is that a position they believe can be filled without the need for top-end investment (see: Chris Clemons)? Would they consider using more orthodox 3-4 looks to accommodate a player like Upshaw? He’s not the lean, fluid pass rusher I’d associate with the LEO, so can his ability to generate leverage and shed blocks negate some of the issues? I’m still working on Upshaw and trying to work out where he fits in the 2012 draft. More importantly, I’m trying to work out whether he fits in Seattle.

Tape provided by JMPasq


  1. Tom Davis

    I certainly don’t have a scout’s eye for these things, but watching him in this series of clips, a few negative things stand out to me: he’s not quick (except in very short, targeted bursts), he seems to look to other members of the defense for direction (even holding his hands out at one point towards the end as if to say, “What do you mean?”), and he seems to slow down/give up if he’s not directly involved in the play (chasing a runner, for example).

    He does seem quite capable at shedding blocks, but is he going to be able to do that with the same level of success against better quality, NFL offensive linemen, especially when he cannot succeed in chasing his target? I suspect he will not.

    As a Seahawks fan, I do not think I would be happy with this pick, even in the 2nd round. Once again, though, I am not a scout; just an opinionated fan.

  2. David

    Hey Rob, I like the Idea of getting a pass rusher but im not sure about it in the 1st, i like the amount of Rushers there is in the mid rounds, but if we can get a good one in the 1st round and hes good and got high potential, more power to em.

    but i was curious about Tannehill as our QBOTF

    i was wondering what you thought of him in the way of Potential, i know you havent really said anything Positive, well least that i can remember, but do you think he could be a good player in the coming years? I look at his Reciever to QB stretch of years and i think thats pretty good how hes converted, it does show potential doesnt it? i dont know if i would pick him in the 1st but i think i would give him a look

    I would like to trade to get Griffin (if he declares) but who knows how that will work out.

    I was also thinking of QBs that are in the NFL already but arent playing or could be traded

    Colt McCoy if the Browns trade for Luck, where is Colt going? or is he in the trade?

    what about Jimmy Clausen? (sp?) hes behind Cam and i dont see him getting any time, do you think he could come here?

    Thank you Rob and hope you had a Merry Christmas.

  3. Kip Earlywine

    Not sure that he’d be explosive enough to be the LEO. Seems like a very average NFL pass rusher to me in terms of tools. His production isn’t bad, but he plays on one of the most elite defenses in college football.

    The way I see it, the LEO is a position designed to maximize production from a quick pure pass rusher without burdening him too much with run stopping responsibility. Sometimes those types go sky high like Von Miller did, but often they can be found in unlikely places, as Brock and Clemons were.

    Let’s not forget something VERY important either, and that is that pass rushers almost always require significant time to develop. The league is full of Jason Babin types who were inept for years, but broke out as they neared their 30th birthday. If Seattle drafts a LEO, there is a very strong chance he won’t be helping this team for years. For that reason, it would be wise to address LEO in free agency or trade. Seattle can’t really afford to replace Clemons with someone who isn’t ready yet, and if you concede the reality that pass rushers take time, you might as well go the mid round route and hope that he turns into the next Jared Allen a few years from now.

  4. Rob

    Hi David Merry Christmas hope you’ve had a good one so far,

    I would avoid Tannehill in the first two rounds. You’ll have noticed a lot of the negatives I’ve written about, but the way I try to judge quarterbacks he’s missing a lot of the fundamentals I look for. His decision making frankly baffles me a lot of the time, the demand the offense places on his shoulders is minimal. He’s not asked to do a lot of improvising and when he does, mistakes tend to happen. I don’t see a lot of field awareness as a play develops either in terms of what is going on in the pocket, how he views the options in front of him. He has an awful lot of passes batted down or deflected due to a side arm throwing motion. The positives are athletic potential and size. I will never be sold on a guy for those reasons alone, I must see more if I’m looking for the long term of this team. I don’t want a guy capable of breaking off a 60-yard run if he can’t master the technical side of the game. I want a quarterback with poise, with the ability to jump through several options, capable of seeing the play call break down but then extend the play and still get a first down. Tannehill is fools gold due to his athleticism – that’s how I see it.

    I was even lower on Clausen and Colt McCoy and I think the Seahawks should avoid both considering they’ve both proven incapable of playing at this level. If this team is looking for an upgrade on Tarvaris in free agency, the options are really limited. I do think Jason Campbell and Tyler Thigpen are capable of doing more than TJ.

  5. Peter


    Are there any LB’s that you think the Hawks might target, with the caveat that they have some pass rush in them. I looked back over your last mock and it seems most of the LB’s taken high were more for defenses that lacked a Mike LB that could lead them to not be so inept. I feel like LB will be a big issue for us next year and it would be nice to get additional pass rush from somewhere besides the guy in the LEO spot.

  6. Peter


    Do you see any mid rounders that may be worked into the LEO spot? Obviously Pete and Co. found Clemons and Brock for a season, but it does seem to me in hindsight their M.O. is to coach up players they like. Granted I’m going to betray my ignorance here but aside from Julius Peppers I can’t remember a DE tearing it up form snap one. But you are right there seems to be a bunch that given a few years can start producing.

    It seems that sacks of course are important, but I wold like to see a player in the LEO spot or a LB who can shut down play-action roll outs and force guys like Smith to actually have to beat us with their arms and not just move the chains running for 8 yards.

  7. Rob

    Sammy Brown at Houston is a possible WILL linebacker that can be had later. Above average pass rusher, could play at the LOS on third downs.

  8. Michael (CLT)

    Upshaw is Curry on a better collegiate defense. Sets the edge well, has average to poor agility, and gets gift sacks when the opposing team makes a mistake. No burst, decent hands, decent leverage, average instincts. A good 4th round pick this guy would make.

  9. Tom

    I agree with Michael (CLT). Upshaw doesn’t fit the LEO nor the flexibility at the WILL where we could use future help. Clemons and Hill won’t last forever.

    I’m disappointed in the 1st rd pass rushing prospects from the edge.

    Might as well make a move for RG3 or we’re going to be reaching for a 1st round prospect.

  10. Colin

    Rob, what do you think of the Seahawks trading down in an attempt to grab another 1st round pick next year? Is there any chance this could happen? I think it’s unlikely, seeing as Seattle will be drafting no higher than 13 or so (ballpark figure) and I don’t know which players would still be available that a team would be willing to part with a 1st round pick for his services.

    Seattle could then, theoretically, have enough ammo to trade up and get Barkley in 2013. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk he goes #1 either.

  11. j

    oh colin if only the real world played like madden. there’s too many what if scenarios to occur before we can even assume we can get barkley for president next year

    i think at the position we draft whether it’s 9th or 20th. we pick the best player available. we have wayy to many needs

    we need a clemons backup and replacement that doesnt get hurt. we are one clemons away from having absolutely no pass rush. we need depth at linebacker and dline. we also need a qb

    we dont need safetys, oline, fb, wr, hb, te’s. we really dont need anything at offense besides a qb and retaining the oline coach.

    im hoping for a splash dt for pressure and backup or a 3rd down pass rushing specialist for de/lb

  12. Darnell

    I do like Nick Perry. Pure pass rusher, really explosive off the snap, young with a whole lot of upside. I think he’ll climb.

  13. Jake

    Watching this tape, a different guy stood out — #99 Josh Chapman. A senior, DT/NT. He looks a lot like Mebane, would be a fantastic backup if he were to be a 3rd day pick (4th or 5th round pick) . He’s a steal, but obviously a luxury since we have ‘Bane.

    On Upshaw though, I’ve watched every Alabama game since Shaun was running wild over the whole SEC… So I have watched a lot of Upshaw. He is ok, no burst – not special in the way Clemons is. More Brock than Clemons, but regardless he does not have the speed of even Brock. I’d rather roll with Konz or Dexter Davis than draft Upshaw.

  14. Jake

    Another option for LEO – Bama’s own Dont’a Hightower. He puts his hand in the dirt on 3rd and long and is a monster pass rusher. Not to mention he is the best run stuffing LB in the nation. I don’t know if he’s coming out or if he intends to play LB or DE, but that man is going to be a hell of a pro.

  15. Colin

    We really need a guy at LEO that’s built like a Richard Seymour. Strong, athletic and fast. This Upshaw guy hasn’t impressed me much. Doesn’t have much speed or pass rush ability. Gets stonewalled easily. Kentwan Balmer-esque.

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