Day two reaction, fewer GIFs this time

Christine Michael, my reaction in GIF form:

For those that didn’t see it, I mocked Christine Michael at #56 in my final “what I think will happen” mock draft posted a few days ago.  Michael was a player that was quickly becoming one of my favorites in the entire draft the more I evaluated him.  Though I wrote an article a while back touting Ryan Swope and John Simon as my favorite players regardless of draft stock, in recent weeks Michael had climbed up to #3 on my personal wish list which I’ve mentioned a few times in the comments here at the blog.

Of course, what I think doesn’t matter.  What matters is how he grades for Seattle.  Back in February, John Schneider revealed that his team grades for athleticism first before grading for anything else.  Seattle entered this draft without a true immediate need, so it stood to reason that they’d draft the highest graded player available.  I could count on one hand the number of running backs I’ve scouted with Michael’s burst and athleticism.  I can scarcely say I was surprised when I later learned that Michael set the vertical jump record for a running back (43″).  He also finished #1 this year in the 3-cone and 20 yard shuttle among the running backs.  And he did that in a 220 pound body.

Michael was the only running back I covered on this blog this draft season, and in that article I mentioned that he was my favorite high ceiling running back in this draft.  I was more than a little excited to hear about his undercover trip to the VMAC a few weeks ago, which might have gone undiscovered until Michael decided he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the Seahawks via twitter.  I even commented a few days ago that Seattle probably hoped to keep that visit on the down low, because Michael wouldn’t have been that excited to be a Seahawk before the draft if Seattle wasn’t excited about him first.

As far as my thoughts on Michael, you can read my scouting report on him in the link above if you didn’t see it last month.

As far as my reaction?  I loved this pick.  Last year my two favorite players in the draft regardless of draft stock were Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson, so yeah, that draft was rewarding to say the least.  When the #62 pick arrived this year, my 2013 favorites John Simon and Ryan Swope were available, but a wave of last minute self-hype over Michael left me hoping for Michael the most.  His upside is the highest of the three and his opportunity to achieve it is the greatest.  Shouts and high fives erupted as soon as I heard “Chris…”

I fully appreciate that Michael has risks.  He’s had two serious leg injuries (though the Seattle regional scout responsible for this pick said Michael checked out medically).  I’m not really worried about the dischord Michael created with the 2012 Texas A&M coaching staff as it seems those fences have been mended since then.  The head coach himself admitted that his status as a new coach with a harsh approach played a factor and he didn’t seem to hold any kind of grudge against Michael at all.  Further, Pete Carroll has created the kind of team atmosphere that is perfect for players that are competitive to a fault such as Percy Harvin and Christine Michael.

The reason I’m so jazzed about this pick is because Michael has the athleticism, size, and physical upside of Adrian Peterson.  He even looks like AP a little bit.  And as I found out today, they both spent time doing offseason workouts together in Texas.  Peterson has better lateral agility and doesn’t have a fumble problem, but in terms of physical dominance, Michael’s potential is sky high.  I think Michael has 1800+ yard potential during a career year.

Again, he’s high risk, high reward.  I was once super high on Jahvid Best and that looked justified after he had a stellar debut in Detroit.  Then he got hurt the next week and he’s never been the same since.  The same could happen to Michael.  But similar to the Wilson pick last year, if Seattle hit on this pick, it’s out of the park.  You might have noticed too that Seattle has done pretty well on their home run swings to date.

Jordan Hill, my reaction in GIF form:

Jordan Hill was a player I really liked a ton early in the process, but drifted away from once I noticed that he’s more of an “effort” DT than a physically imposing one.

Back in January I liked him more than most and for a brief time I thought he deserved to be in the conversation with the draft’s top defensive tackles (Floyd, Sly Williams, Short, etc). In fact, when I wrote my DT article back in late February I included Jordan Hill in my analysis of the top DTs even though most sites had him listed as a late rounder.

I eventually cooled on Hill and stopped talking about him once I realized that he’s essentially a poor man’s Sharrif Floyd, and I was NOT a fan of Floyd’s, essentially considering him the Aaron Curry of defensive tackles. (Or perhaps a more accurate comparison would be him as a Floyd/Short hybrid: He has Sharrif Floyd’s two-gapping ability and lack of pass rush combined with Kawann Short’s quickness and gap slipperiness but also Short’s poor run anchor and lack of strength).

Here is what I wrote about Hill two months ago:

Jordan Hill:

Hill isn’t very big nor does he anchor well, but he is probably good enough against drive blocks to be a non-specialist defensive tackle. He partially makes up for this by being consistently very fast off the snap, and keeps a good pad level.

Hill’s uses his arms a lot like a 3-4 defensive end would, excelling at disengaging via extension, not unlike Greg Scruggs but with shorter, weaker arms. He has excellent backfield vision and tracks the ball well. If I had to highlight Hill for being the best at anything out of this group, I think he might have the best short area quickness. He can cover two yards side to side very fast, and despite being weak to interior drive blocks he’s actually an asset against slower developing stretch runs because he can disengage and cover short areas of grass very quickly. Not only is he very quick, but he’s exceptionally instinctive and knows where to move to keep a runner in front of him while keeping his shoulders square.

Unfortunately, Hill can’t seem to use his shed ability to actually swim past defenders, which I theorize is from a lack of functional upper body strength. If he had it, I think he’d be using it. He also lacks lower body strength and is impotent as a bull rusher.

Hill is a bit like Kawann-Short-lite as a 3-tech. He can sometimes slip through exploitable mistakes but he doesn’t force guards back. He could be a serviceable 3-tech, but not a star. I like him more as a 3-4 defensive end, where he can use his quickness around the edge more and will get more mileage out of his talent for two-gapping and reading the football. Then again, Hill stands just 6’1″ and doesn’t appear to have the longest arms, so he’d be a bit of a gamble in such a role. Those factors might explain why he’s expected to be drafted in the mid to late rounds despite having some talent.

Bottom line, I think Hill is a high floor, low ceilling option at defensive tackle that might make a nice option for the Red Bryant role in the future while manning either defensive tackle spot in the short and intermediate term (1-tech in emergencies).  He’s good for a few nifty plays a game in the backfield, but he’s not a dominant force. In terms of upside, there were many other DTs who are better that Seattle passed on for Hill. In fairness, Stefan Charles may have the highest upside of them all and he could last into the late rounds, and it’s not inconceivable that Seattle could draft a second defensive lineman with a late pick.

I don’t think John Schneider is immune to reach picks. I don’t think Irvin was a reach, and I don’t think Carpenter was a reach and I absolutely didn’t think that Wagner was a reach. That said, I felt EJ Wilson was a big reach in 2010 as was Kris Durham in 2011. I wasn’t wild on the value of the Jaye Howard pick either. Though I like Hill, I think I’d feel safe calling this pick a reach. I feel pretty good about Hill reaching the 5th or 6th round, and even if he didn’t, there were better options available when Seattle picked him.

Not a horrible pick, but I think in four years time every Seahawks fan (if not every NFL fan) will know Christine Michael’s name, but only the dedicated among the Seahawks faithful will know who Jordan Hill is, because I think he’s pretty likely to be an NFL average player.

Now that I’ve said all that, Hill was a player I liked a ton early in the process, so part of me smiled a bit with this pick.  There isn’t a ton that separates Jordan Hill from Kawann Short and Short was a player I was hoping for in the late second but didn’t make it that far.  Short is much better at penetrating the line but both have very similar strengths and weaknesses and Hill brings consistently high effort whereas Short is known to take plays off.  There are probably 40-50 players I would have preferred over Hill in the late 3rd round, but in an ordinary draft Hill would be essentially a BPA type talent in the late 3rd.  It’s not terribly fair of me to hold it against him that he came out in a historically deep draft.

Overall, I think Jordan Hill will be a John Moffitt type 3rd round pick. John Moffitt is not a star but he’s a perfectly adequate NFL starting guard in my view. The reason he’s struggled for playing time is because Seattle values upside (rightfully so), and that is an area where Moffitt lacks. I see Hill getting playing time and being a rock solid contributor, but never a star. That’s a good return for a 3rd round pick, though I felt Seattle could have done better with the options that were available at #87.


  1. Alex

    “Peterson has better lateral agility and doesn’t have a fumble problem”.

    Side note: Peterson absolutely had fumble trouble early in his career. Whenever Adrian Peterson is named, the first game I think of is the 2010 NFC Championship game between the Vikings and Saints. Yes, Farve threw that interception that ended the game and the Saints were a highly opportunistic team that year, but I just keep remembering the fumbles. He had like 3 fumbles I think.

    • Michael

      Great point Alex, I opened the comments section with the intention of making this exact point. I remember a game against the Packers where Clay Matthews just snatched the ball right out of Peterson’s grip and ran it back for a touchdown without the ball ever touching the ground.

      It should also be pointed out that with a little coaching and effort this problem can often be remedied. In his first 46 games in the NFL, AP fumbled the football 20 times (approx 1 out of every 46 carries). In the 43 games since then, he has fumbled only 6 times (approx 1 out of every 140 carries). If we’re talking in terms of fumbles-per-carry improvement, AP has improved approximately 304% in that area between the 1st and second half of his career-to-date.

  2. Glor

    Nice write up Kip, thanks!

  3. Madmark

    It was after your article on Chritine Michaels Kip that I put him at pick 56 and was all in on him. I was thinking He’s that RB you bring in when ya got the other teams defense huffing and a puffing. I passed over Hill because of his size looking more at Quinton Dial who had the size and versatility to play the 3 or 5 tech.
    I moved Travis Kelce my favorite to 3rd round after that article and sure enough he goes next pick. I can live with it I think Michael is the better pick but both of those two would have been a jackpot.
    I stated I liked to see a picture of Green and E.T. and instead I got one of Michael and E.T. The Omen never lies and we got 2 more picks on top of that.

  4. Morgan

    Good stuff as always, Kip. You know, I’ve had Hill moving back into the picture for the Seahawks since his pro day where he showed much more athleticism than he did at the combine. He improved his 40 time by 2/10ths of a second (though some say the track slightly sloped downward), and his vert from a pedestrian 22.5″ to a really-good-for-a-DT 30″. You usually don’t see the endomorphs get that much spring.

  5. Michael (CLT)

    Hill will take a job from Scruggs, Howard, or McDonald. I would not be surprised if Moffit is cut this year. I feel Hill will follow a similar trajectory. Hopefully it does not cost us the equivalent of someone like Rob Sims

    • Bryan C

      Moffit will not be cut because he is cheap and he is a good locker room guy. Moffit also provides depth and injury insurance.

    • Madmark

      It have to be Howard because Scruggs is a DE that has put on 10lbs. and I think they are grooming him to take red’s place.

      • Michael

        I can’t imagine Scruggs will be out of a job any time soon. He looked good in limited time last season, and if I had to pick a guy to have a Chancelloresque emergence this year, it would be him.

    • Jacob Stevens

      You may be right. I doubt Hill will take anything away from Scruggs or McDonald, though. McDonald provides about the same impact, but with less strength liability. Jaye Howard may amount to nothing so I suppose it’s possible.

  6. Trudy Beekman

    I also crossed Hill off my personal big board, thinking that Seattle would go after someone with more height and length, but it makes sense after watching the PC/JS interview where they said they liked him because he brought a different skillset to the table.

    I think his ceiling is higher than you give him credit for. With the size that the Seahawks have at the 1 and 5 techs, it allows for a smaller guy at 3-tech that can get into the backfield while still being solid against the run given his amazing vision and tackling ability. If the ’95 Niners are the dream and Stubblefield is the prototype, I think that the Hill fits nicely.

  7. Miles

    I have said a lot about Christine Michael on this blog. I love the pick; can’t wait to see him suit up. He’s going to look really good in a Seahawks uniform; too bad we won’t be able to see him as he speeds upfield. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I was disappointed with the Jordan Hill pick when I saw it as well. I so badly wanted us to take Lemonier at that pick, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was compounded by the 49ers drafting him the next pick. That really bummed me out.

    But the mroe I think about it, the more this pick makes sense. Jordan Hill is a versatile, pretty unique DT and if he develops the way the Seahawks want him to, he could become a Henry Melton-type player in this league. His lateral quickness is really impressive and the way he’s able to sneak by offensive lineman does not go unnoticed (obviously).

    I don’t know if this pick was reach, but honestly, so what if it was? The same thing was said about Bobby Wagner, and this pick emulates that one. Jordan Hill is an athletic but undersized player with a high motor and presumably high motivation. I think the guy will make it in this league and he also fills a positional need. Hill will have the opportunity to rotate in a now-deeper defensive line class. Sure, we could have taken Khaseem Greene or Ryan Swope, or Lemonier. We could have taken Brennan Williams, BRANDON Williams or even Jesse Williams. But something tells me with Jordan, the Hawks know what they’re getting. They’re getting a pass-rushing defensive tackle who can chase down stretch running plays. Any other pick could have been risky. Some of these guys have high upside but also seem to have really low floors. The Seahawks love upside but I think they try to find the right balance between ceiling and floor for certain positions. They really don’t want to use their 3rd pound pick on a boom or bust player. They want a solid defensive tackle who is going to inject some interior agility into this D-Line.

    Can’t wait to see whichof these six players might make it to our 4th, or if we’ll trade up for one of them given we have 10 picks. Would love to give up a 5th for one of these guys.

    Shamarko Thomas
    Ryan Swope
    Kyle Jusczyk
    Quinton Patton
    David Bakhtiari
    Matt Barkley

    • Kip Earlywine

      Lemonier was near the top of my board as well. It’s not every day you get a physical talent like that for the LEO spot in the late 3rd round.

      • Michael

        There is always the a chance they think they can bring something out of Cornelius Washington and take him in day 3. Every bit as “physically gifted” though he definitely needs to improve technically, and show more consistent effort.

        • Barry

          Washington is a Rnd 7 guy. If our staff is feeling cocky maybe 5. Such a talent but you have to wonder about why .. just why he looked so bad. I’m not as down on him as a lot of people are. I think he played very much out of position at Ga and is a three stance lineman not a LB in any sense of the word.

          • Miles

            Personally I like Devin Taylor a lot. I think he’d be a good pick for the Seahawks. But as our front office has shown with the DT pick, they really don’t care what I think. They are probably focusing on upgrading the weakest parts of the roster with guys they had rated highly, not thinking about how the roster will shake out in 2014.

            Because Lemonier definitely would have been more of a future-oriented pick. We’re pretty set at DE this year, although having Lemonier may have allowed us to do a little more schematically, like dropping Avril back as the WLB, or using Bruce Irvin in the “spinner” linebacker role.

  8. CHawk Talker Eric

    I was hoping for Michael all the way, but I thought he’d be slightly overdrafted at 56. Glad they found BAL looking to trade. This way we added a couple Day 3 picks, and still got Michael. He may not seem like it now, but he’s one of the better picks to help defensively in the sense that a strong running game keeps your defense off the field. His addition makes our backfield the strongest in the League.

    Hill surprised me. I like him as a player and he addresses a need. But I’m surprised they took him at 87. Seems like he could have been taken later. And I guess we know JSPC didn’t like Greene as much as we thought.

    Still hoping for JSimon and KJuszczyk.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Also, I have think JAX takes Barkley with the 1st pick tomorrow.

      • Trudy Beekman

        It would be silly of them not too. Light a fire under Gabbert’s ass at the worst, but the upside is they could either trade him later or give him a shot at starting if Gabbert continues to struggle.

        I really wanted to root for Jacksonville this year with Bradley going there, but I think they have blown it pretty hard in the draft this year. Cyprien is the only pick that I think is even close to decent. No idea how you take Gratz over Wreh-Wilson.

        • Miles

          The Jaguars could have other QBs ranked higher than Gabbert. Looks like Nassib is still on the board. So are Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, and Matt Scott. Those are the biggest quarterbacks worth looking into in this draft. I’m a huge Matt Scott fan; if he makes it to our early 5th we may have to take him, or maybe even our 4th.

          At the place I work people were asking if we would take Barkley if he was there at 56. Obviously we wouldn’t even doing at 87. But would we pull the trigger in the late 4th? Carroll has to be thinking about it, don’t you think?

    • Madmark

      I’m really thinking the 40 time for green drop him. It just seems that the will linebacker needs to be faster than the other linebackers but in Pete’s defense it’s probably more true.

      • Miles

        I still like Khaseem Greene; he could fill in as the Leroy Hill-type WILL and also be a reserve SAM linebacker. But if Carroll wouldn’t take him in Round 3, it strikes me that he probably wouldn’t take him in any other round. Whether or not he’s there for us in the 4th today I think the Hawks are not big on him and will pass.

        There are some interesting names on the board though, who I would have liked at 56. To get them in the 4th would be fantastic.

  9. A. Simmons

    Interesting. Jordan Hill was an under-dized one tech at Penn State. He was relied on as the guy to take up double teams at Penn State. I wonder if being lined up at the three tech against single blocking will help him. I like hearing from Jordan Hill he was a one tech. For a 302 lb man to play the one tech position effectively means he must have some ability.

    • Miles

      He’s going to have the “reach” label all the way until the season starts, but if he puts up 4 or 5 sacks I think those whispers go away.

      • Trudy Beekman

        If he can land the starting job he should have a few sacks and a ton of TFL being that he would mostly be in on running downs.

    • Trudy Beekman

      In the Wisconsin and Iowa games you see him getting chipped by the center sometimes, but he’s not taking double teams almost every play like Lotulelei or Jessie Williams. His skill set is really not suited to 2-gapping at all. He is not strong at the point of attack, but is very good at keeping defenders off him, getting into the backfield and making tackles.

    • Jacob Stevens

      There are two highlight clips out there of Jordan Hill and he was the 3-tech most of the time.

  10. A. Simmons

    Christine Michael talks fast. Lots of energy in his voice. The man sounds like a ball of energy. It shows up in how he plays. I like that.

  11. The Ancient Mariner

    I can’t claim to have watched lots of tape on Jordan Hill, but he strikes me as a guy who’s going to work as hard as it takes to get where he wants to go — and having Russ in the locker room is only going to reinforce that. From what he’s saying, he wants to be a three-down DT in the NFL, and he has the burst and the quicks for it; with our conditioning staff, I have to think he can add the strength/power he needs without losing the gifts he has. I’m betting he can step off the bus and play the Jason Jones role as it is, but if his body holds up, I think the odds are pretty good he can be a lot more than that.

  12. Michael

    40 yard dash
    Doug Martin – 4.55
    Christine Michael – 4.54

    225 lbs bench
    Doug Martin – 28 reps
    Christine Michael – 27 reps

    Vertical Jump
    Doug Martin – 36″
    Christine Michael – 43″

    Broad Jump
    Doug Martin – 120″
    Christine Michael – 125″

    3 Cone Drill
    Doug Martin – 6.79 Sec
    Christine Michael – 6.69 Sec

    20 Yard Shuttle
    Doug Martin – 4.16 sec
    Christine Michael – 4.02 sec

    Draft Position
    Doug Martin – 31st Overall
    Christine Michael – 62nd Overall

    • dave crockett

      Interesting comparison. In part because of injury, suspension, and A&M’s commitment to a RB-by-committee approach, Michael won’t come to the league fresher than did Martin.

      • Barry

        This ^
        Martin came in as a much higher character guy then Michael.

  13. dave crockett

    My initial thoughts on Jordan Hill is that he’s an upper-middle class man’s Craig Terrill. In the abstract Seattle won’t regret drafting Hill.

    I wonder if they had Lemonier, who went to SF with the next pick, rated higher but went with need.

    • Miles

      I just couldn’t believe that Lemonier was available there. How do you not pull the trigger on that? Obviously there are ways this works out for the Hawks (with Jordan Hill), but I do wonder if Schneider has an ace up his sleeve at the DE position. Lemonier could have solidified the outside edge long-term. We’re not going to keep both Avril and Clemons in 2014, so we could have developed Lemonier this year in a limited role so he could play far more in 2014.

      So I think there are two scenarios here: Either A) The Seahawks just don’t see what I see in Lemonier (because the knew he wouldn’t be available to them later), or B) … Schneider is getting ready to make a play for a big-time DE next year. *cough* Jadeveon Clowney! *cough cough*

      This might be taboo language around here, but since the Seahawks are going to be running into a wall with Sherman’s huge contract, maybe they would consider trading him for multiple picks and a high first rounder (maybe the number one selection). Then they could take Clowney.

      Call me crazy…

      • Trudy Beekman

        I think it had something to do with need. Schneider said in that interview that there was a drop off in DT talent after Hill, and that DT was the one spot they felt they needed in this draft. Where does Lemonier fit on our roster this year with Avril/Clemons/Irvin? I think he had to be a guy they rated well because he looks a lot like Clemons when he plays, but not high enough to beat out Michael, and not needed enough as Hill.

        I think Armonty Bryant, John Simon, and Quanterus Smith are two guys that are similar later on in the process.

  14. Barry

    Overall i agree with your analyses Kip. But considering Hill played nose at Pen St and all of his coaching as been geared towards that I like his physical skills he showed in college over what a lot of guys much larger showed. He is very much the blue collar high floor low ceiling you mentioned but a lot of the time in the NFL its those guys who make a difference and play at a high level year after year.

    • Miles

      I think Kip said he had a high floor and a low ceiling, meaning he’s going to be an average to slightly above average player at best.

      • Miles

        Oh, sorry. That’s exactly you said. Why am I correcting you? Lol it’s early.

  15. Cysco

    Pulling this over from a previous thread
    RB #1
    40yd dash – 4.4 seconds
    3-cone drill – 7.09 seconds
    20-yd shuttle – 4.40 seconds
    Vertical leap – 38.5 inches
    broad jump – 127inches

    RB #2
    5′ 10″
    40yd dash 4.54 seconds
    3-cone drill – 6.69 seconds
    20-yd shuttle – 4.02 seconds
    Vertical leap – 43 inches
    broad jump – 125inches

    Glad I’m not the only one who draws the AP comparison physically. Peterson is RB1 Michael is RB2. I love this pick.

  16. Eburg

    I’m a very happy and excited Seahawks fan. The upside of Michael and need/potential of Hill. In Pete/JS I trust

  17. Trudy Beekman

    What the hell are the Jaguars doing trading down there.

  18. Jeremy

    Kip, maybe I’ve missed this somewhere, but I think it should be discussed further. What does Michael mean for the future of Turbin? Maybe it’s because my wife went to Utah St., but I still think Turbin is a future star in Seattle. I don’t see all 3 of them splitting carries. Would they use Turbin as more of a wide out, maybe turn his massive frame into a fullback? I’m interested in hearing your views on this new situation.

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