Damian Swann could be a future Seahawks CB & Friday notes

Damian Swann has regained some momentum after a tough 2013 season

We’ve been talking about Damian Swann for two years. He’s an enigma — experiencing various highs and lows during a four-year stint at Georgia. But there were plenty more highs than lows in 2014 — and he’s recaptured some of the momentum that had him touted as a possible early pick two years ago.

In 2012 he showed flashes of genuine talent. An ability to make the eye-catching play. I remember one interception in particular — a tipped pass by Alec Ogletree that looped into the secondary. There was Swann, one-handed, leaping highest to make the pick. He just had a knack of making big, game-changing plays.

Then the 2013 season happened.

Georgia were a disorganized mess on defense all year. On several occasions they struggled to get lined up properly — leading to numerous blown assignments. Swann in particular had a hard time and chose not to declare after a wretched year. It was a tough watch. The Bulldogs switched defensive coordinators in 2014 — bringing in Jeremy Pruitt from Florida State — and it led to a total revamp the following season.

In a structured defense Swann stood out again as a ball-hawking defensive playmaker. He finished the season with four interceptions, a 99-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, 4.5 TFL’s and a couple of sacks. He broke up eight passes and forced four fumbles. One of the picks stands out — blanket coverage on Devante Parker where he gained position on a shot to the sideline and essentially became the receiver (remind you of anyone?). He knew where the ball was going, read the play and put himself in position to get the interception.

On September 28th I wrote a piece discussing his performance against Tennessee:

Against the Vols he played well in run support and had a sack on a corner blitz. In coverage he was extremely competent. It took a superb route by Marquez North to beat him in the red zone late on. He also had a big time impact on special teams. On a punt he made an incredible play on the ball to down it on the one-yard line. Two plays later Tennessee fumbled the ball in their own endzone for a defensive touchdown. Some players have what it takes they just need the appropriate pro-coaching. Richard Sherman was one of those players. Swann could be a steal if he lands on a team that knows how to develop defensive backs.

Note the special teams value in the middle of that quote.

He’s 6-0 with a nice 180lbs frame. He’s got a natural instinct to play the ball. Throughout his time at Georgia he’s looked like a corner who could really excel with the right guidance and coaching. Seattle would be a great landing spot for Swann.

There just aren’t many corners in college football with his level of flair. He’s a walking highlight reel. He’s also no slouch in run support and he’s an effective blitzer. I’m surprised he hasn’t received more attention this season — although a good Shrine Game performance has put him back on the map.

The Seahawks took a chance on developing Tharold Simon’s raw skill set even after he was called out by LSU coaches for a lack of dedication and a rough final season in college. Swann shares some of Byron Maxwell’s ball skills and ability to just make a play for his team.

If you’re looking for a mid-to-late round corner who can come in and be developed into an effective starter down the line, don’t sleep on Damian Swann.

Here are some other later round options who stood out during the season:

Rob Crisp (T, NC State)
His college career was hampered by injuries, but there’s no doubting Crisp’s potential. He did a great job blocking Vic Beasley during the season and has excellent size (6-7, 300lbs). He has enough athleticism to play the blind side. He can handle speed. If you’re looking to bring in a developmental project for the offensive line with some genuine upside, Crisp is one to monitor.

Josh Robinson (RB, Mississippi State)
Just a cannon ball runner who plays a bit like Michael Turner during his peak years in San Diego/Atlanta. Engaging personality and bubbly character. Incredible back story. Loves the big occasion and can be a dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield. 5-9 and 215lbs — a powerful runner who breaks tackles but has enough speed to find the edge and break off big plays.

Issac Blakeney (WR, Duke)
He’s 6-6 and 220lbs with room to add even more muscle. He’s a project with major upside. Will body catch and hasn’t shown consistency high pointing the football. Needs to do a better job setting up his routes. He does have an excellent catching radius plus speed to burn. Former defensive end. Promising player with excellent size.

Lucas Vincent (DT, Missouri)
Mizzou is loaded on the D-line. They’ve created quite the production line in recent years. Vincent isn’t a flashy player and certainly won’t expect to go early — but he’s worth a camp as a penetrating three technique who holds up against the run. Ideal size at 6-2 and 305lbs. Could be a bargain for someone.

Elsewhere… It might be time to look at Clemson interior pass rusher Grady Jarrett:

Joe Goodberry’s a great Twitter follow, I’m going to keep mentioning that. And he also highlighted something we’ve discussed regarding promising UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa:

I really like Odighizuwa as a prospect. Ideal size and power. Built like a Greek God. Works inside superbly with explosion and a great punch. But as we’ve noted a few times, as an edge rusher he’s surprisingly lacking. If he’s going to keep pushing himself into the first round talk — he needs to a.) be cleared medically after previous hip trouble and b.) prove he can be an effective edge rusher.

And finally…

Tony Pauline posts a final ‘risers and sliders’ list from the Senior Bowl workouts this week. He says Alabama guard Arie Kouandjio stood out: “Kouandjio battled hard during Thursday’s practice and won out on just about every snap he took. He blocked with great fundamentals, showed a lot of strength in his game and controlled opponents on the line of scrimmage. Scouts praised Kouandjio after practice as many feel he’s solidified his status as a middle-round choice.”

Kevin Wiedl at ESPN praised Duke’s Jamison Crowder for his performance. Arizona State DT Marcus Hardison also received a good review. It wasn’t such a good week for T.J. Clemmings or Tony Lippett, according to Wiedl. On Clemmings: “I think if a team is drafting him it has to be thinking of him as a right tackle, and the value of right tackles as compared to left tackles isn’t as great.” On Lippett: “He didn’t show good body control as a route-runner and struggled to separate. We think he could be a No. 4 WR in the NFL, but he should be a Day 3 pick, not the second- or third-round pick he has been mentioned as.”

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  1. rowdy

    Watching Beasley spin right by the LT in the first vine is awesome to watch. His explosion is impressive. Jarrett looks relentless with real nice body control.

  2. Volume 12

    Really, really good article Rob!

    I love that you’ve highlighted some mid to late round picks and sleeper types. After all, these are the types of draft picks over half of Seattle’s roster is maxed up of.

    Georgia CB Damian Swann- You know how big of a fan I am of this kid. Is there a better fit at CB for Seattle? As you stated, he’s a playmaking machine, with a knack for creating turnovers. I think in order to be part of the LOB, you have to possess swag or as you said ‘flair’ and this kid has it in abundance. Love Swann.

    Missouri DT Lucas Vincent- Another guy who I absolutely love! He’s a 3-tech, but more than capable of playing the 1-tech as well. He has a big personality, outspoken, big on family, great versatility. Your right, he’s going to be a steal for someone and I hope it’s Seattle late on day 3. He’d benefit from learning the ropes and playing behind DT Mebane.

    Clemson DT Grady Jarrett- Glad you finally got to take a god look at this kid. He was someone I mentioned a few weeks ago. He’s the son of former Atlanta Falcon LB Jessie Toggle, Ray Lewis has been a mentor to him and a big part of his life since the age of 5. Him, Lucas Vincent, and Arizona St DL Marcus Hardison are my personal favorites of the interior D-lineman.

    Duke WR Jamison Crowder- I’ll use one of your phrases here Rob. ‘Keep an eye on this guy.’ Love this kid, his size doesn’t woody or bother me one bit. I’ll say it again, Seattle is the smallest team in the NFL for a reason, not accidentally. After the senior bowl practices this week, WR Crowder is my favorite WR. Total man crush on this kid. What a prospect! 3 straight 1,00 yard seasons, broke numerous records, fantastic punt and kick returned, and this guy has some real fire and competitive juices flowing through him.

    Another sleeper IMO to monitor and is a guy who Seattle spent a lot of time with at the Shrine game is LSU HB Terrence Magee. Really intriguing.

    Again, great job Rob. You happened to highlight or mention 3-4 of my absolute favorite prospects for Seattle.

    • rowdy

      Grady Jarrett is a guy I definitely want to see more film of. Those vines look nasty.

      • HOUSE

        I’ve been looking for tape. It appears the biggest knock on him is his height (6′ 5/8″). The concern in the NFL is that he’d get swallowed up. This was something I found today on Jarrett that was written in September…

        “The scoop: An NFC scout has seen some good things from an “intriguing defensive tackle” from Clemson. “Grady Jarrett is undersized but he’s very disruptive and has a big motor,” the scout said. “He reminds me a little of (former Pitt DT) Aaron Donald but he’s not as dynamic of a pass rusher.”

        The skinny: At 6-1 and 295 pounds, Jarrett is smaller than most defensive tackles at the next level, but is built similarly to Donald, who was drafted with the 13th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in May. He gets overshadowed on his own Clemson defense by DE Vic Beasley, but he knows how to play the game at a high level. He has good NFL bloodlines and has been mentored by two All-Pro defenders; he’s the son of former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro LB Jessie Tuggle, and Ray Lewis has been involved in his life since he was 5.”

        From the small tape I’ve seen of him, I would’ve called him an “Aaron Donald Lite”…

        • rowdy

          Thanks for the info. Does anyone know his arm length? Seems like a good rotational guy

      • bigDhawk

        There’s one video on draftbreakdown vs Ohio State. He has good ball recognition against the run and shows ability to get off blocks. He flashes occasional penetration up the middle but gets stonewalled at times too, with hit and miss pursuit effort from behind when the offense gets around the edge.

        • rowdy

          I would expect that from a DT in pursuit. That triple team says a lot, Beasley not a guy easily made an after thought

          • Volume 12

            Rowdy, Clemson DT Grady Jarrett has 31 inch arms and a 78 inch wingspan.

            • Volume 12

              As for Clemson DT Grady Jarrett ‘getting swallowed up.’ I’m not so sure about that.

              O-lineman would much rather go against big DTs, but those short ones give those guys fits. With the bigger DTs, it’s easier to get up under them and control/move ’em around. As for the shorter types (Jarrett, Donald, etc.) there’s less surface area, meaning it’s harder to get your hands on them or find a good spot to put their hands,

              Jarrett is rumored to have a fantastic work ethic, plus he’s been around the game since he was 5 years old. This is a kid who flat out ‘just gets it.’

  3. Volume 12

    Since there seems to be a quite a few U-dub fans on here, what about DL Evan Hudson? (6’5, 280 lb.)

    Is he worth a 6th or 7th round draft pick as a developmental hybrid D-lineman, or is he more of an UDFA? I know there’s not much separating the 2, but would he be worth a draft pick? He caught my eye a couple times when I watched the Huskies play this year.

    • MJ

      I don’t think he’s 280. I was under the impression that he was more 250-60. I definitely like him, but I think he’s more of a UDFA type. I don’t think he has the size or athleticism to warrant a draft pick. I think he has an NFL future, but he doesn’t really have a unique quality.

      • rowdy

        I would say udfa as well, he looked good at times but how much was that was because who he played next to?

        • Volume 12

          Thanks guys.

  4. Radman

    Josh Robinson, David Cobb, and Mike Davis look to be solid RB prospects. They’re not going to blow you away with speed, but they look like solid players who can have value- especially in a committee.

  5. MJ

    Not going to lie, watching that clip of Odigzhuwa is kind of horrific, as an edge rusher. It might behoove him to get up in weight and move inside. He is way, way too stiff for the edge.

    Might be dramatic, but I could see PC seeing that and just cringing. SEA Michael Bennet might not be the best athlete, but he can bend and is fluid.

    I still like him as a prospect, but that looks frighteningly like a limited edge rusher. I don’t want to discount someone getting more flexible, but I think assuming he can dramatically improve on that would be quite the gamble in R1. Would love to see him get up to 285-90 and see what he can do as a 5T and a 3T on Passing Downs.

    • Rob Staton

      He doesn’t even really try and attack the edge that much on tape — which is telling. But he is such an explosive rusher dipping inside. Could be a technique thing. Or he might just be better adding weight as you say and adapting to become a 5-tech.

      • peter

        Does he really need to add weight? I know bennet can play inside and out but it seems mostly plays inside and only has five pounds on him and one inch. Odigizhuwa to me shouldn’t be really considered for the edge except in run plays his calling at the next level is going to be a five technique like you mentioned and i think he already looks good to great there.

    • OZ


  6. Kory

    Hey Rob, whatcha think about Nelson Agholor? (WR/PR-USC)

    I really like Josh Robinson. Seems to be a real high character guy. Never quit attitude plus low center of gravity and great pad level, awesome combo. Plus he has great hands. I’d love to have a guy like him competing for a spot.

    • Rob Staton

      Agholor grew on me this year. Always seemed like Mr. Consistent in the past. This year he took it on a level. There are some size concerns but he appears to have nice length. He’s dependable, gritty and he has enough athleticism to be of interest. Can high point the ball too.

    • rowdy

      I been looking at him a lot lately. Watching him return is what caught my eye but his separation is what intriguing the most. And no one seems to be talking about him but I can’t find a reason why.

      • Volume 12

        This is just me speculating, but maybe teams think he’s just another ‘USC WR.’ Meaning great college production, but will it translate to anything more than a few flash plays in the NFL?

        IMO he’s a pretty exciting guy and seems to be of a really high character too.

  7. jason

    Will other teams overdraft Swann to tru and duplicate what the Hawks are doing? Doesn’t seem to be a lot of tall, physical corners available.

    • Volume 12

      With Seattle it’s not really height they’re after in CBs, but more so length.

      Seattle under PC/JS have never drafted a CB with arms that are less than 32′ inches. The taller the CB, the more likely it is that their arms are going to be long.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think they do prefer ‘taller’ CBs, but they got to have that required arm length.

      • jason

        I understand that, but I was more making a reference to teams copying our style. It will make it harder to find the diamonds in the rough. Where before Swann might have been available in 4th-5th round might a team look at him in 2nd?

  8. bigDhawk

    Rob – speaking of late round (and UDFA) prospects, I found a random video on draftbreakdown of a interesting RB – Michael Dyer, formerly of Auburn but due to a series of problem lost his last two years of eligibility and is now available for the draft as a “senior”. The video is from 2011, so who knows what kind of shape he is in now, but back then he looked quick and powerful, with wiggle to break tackles and breakaway speed. It’s an impressive video really. Was wondering if there is any scouting buzz on him from your sources.


    • Rob Staton

      I know his career was all but over a couple of years ago. After a promising start at Auburn it all turned into a bit of a mess. Lacks functional strength to be a NFL runner, on the small side. Not particularly explosive. I think he’ll be lucky to get a camp shot.

  9. Volume 12

    Rob- a couple intriguing mid round pass rushers to maybe keep an eye on are Kentucky’s DE-LEO Za’Darius Smith-6’5, 270 lbs., former JUCO guy with 32 inch arms and an 80 inch wing span.

    This guy is the one who really has my radar piqued. Oklahoma DE-LEO Geneo Grissom-6’3, 264 lbs., with 33 inch arms and an 81 inch wingspan. Grissom is a former TE, and he rivals the physique of UCLA DE Odighizuwa. Grissom looks like he was chiseled from stone.

    Thought they might be worth mentioning, especially Grissom.

    • Matt

      Over the handful of Sooners games I’ve watched over the last 2 years Grissom made his presence felt in every one of them. He consistently makes splash plays. He’s got an NFL frame and should test fairly well. This DE class is loaded with pass rushing talent! He’s another good one to keep an eye on in the meat of the draft. Rounds 3-5 where we will have 5-7 picks!

      Henry Anderson has looked great using his hands getting off blocks. 6’6″ 287 lbs only 32.68″ arms though. He’s got the frame to easily get up to 310 lbs. Think he’s probably better suited to be a 3-4 DE, but he could fit as a 3rd down inside pass rusher. His skill set is similar to Cassius Marsh, so maybe we don’t look at Anderson. I like him in the 5-6 rd range.

      • Volume 12

        Thanks for the info on DE-LEO Grissom Matt! Glad there’s someone else who saw what I saw.

        As for Stanford DE Henry Anderson, I liked him earlier in the year, but as the season went on and especially this week at the senior bowl, he played kind of soft at his size. His arms are also less than 33 inches and at 6’6, that’s not ideal nor particularly appealing. Also doesn’t seem to keep himself in great shape, a little flabby.

        I’m sure quite a few people or teams could care less about what a guy’s mid-section, arms, etc. look like, but as Rob has pointed out as well, when you look at Seattle’s roster when they’re on the field, there’s really no one who seems ‘flabby’ or ‘excessive weight.’ I mean, I guess you could make the case for OL Bailey and OL Big Carp, but I think when describing an O-lineman’s body that’s a different animal.

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