Duke’s Issac Blakeney a big target to monitor

Isaac Blakeney is 6-6 and could be an option for a team needing a big target

The Seahawks know they need to acquire a big receiver. That’s why they reportedly contemplated a trade for Vincent Jackson. It’s why they also supposedly contacted Denver, Cleveland and Indianapolis to ask about Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron and Coby Fleener respectively.

Whether it’s a tight end or a big bodied wide out, they need to give Russell Wilson a player who can create a mismatch. Whether that’s over the middle running the seam or winning at the red line. It’s an absolute must for 2015.

Nobody should expect Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas to hit the open market. It’s also unlikely Julius Thomas and Jordan Camerson reach free agency (the franchise tag at TE is favorable, Cleveland also has millions in free cap space). It could leave the Seahawks in a bit of a situation. Either make another trade or turn to the draft.

There aren’t many 2015 eligible receivers with size. Amari Cooper is 6-1. Kevin White is listed at 6-3 but on tape looks like a solid 6-2. Devante Parker is 6-2, Rashad Greene 5-11 and Jaelen Strong looks 6-2 as well. The Seahawks don’t need 6-2. They need bigger.

Devin Funchess is 6-4/6-5 and about 235lbs. He’s played tight end and receiver. He could be an option based on pure physical potential. He’s inconsistent on the field, however. So was Eric Ebron and he ended up in the top ten. There’s every chance Funchess will go earlier than people expect if he tests well at the combine. Dorial Green-Beckham (6-5, 225lbs) could turn pro without playing a snap at Oklahoma — but you have to wonder how much interest he’d generate in the modern NFL given his background at Missouri (including domestic abuse).

As you can see the options aren’t great. I don’t necessarily expect the Seahawks to spend their highest pick on a receiver for the third year in a row (Harvin ’13, Richardson ’14). If they do wait until later, Duke’s Issac Blakeney could be one to monitor.

He’s 6-6 and 220lbs and has room to add more muscle without suffering any consequences in terms of speed. He’s very raw technically — he doesn’t high point the football and has a tendency to body catch. He doesn’t set up his routes particularly well and gets himself into awkward positions, creating difficult catching angles. He’s not a plug in and play receiver — which is kind of what Seattle needs. But they can’t force the situation and if it means playing the slow game with a guy like Blakeney — what choice do they have?

It’s no real surprise he’s raw. Duke spent years trying to work out his best position. He started at defensive end before spending time at safety. He then moved to offense and played tight end and slot receiver. It took four years — his entire time in college — to work out he’s best as an outside receiver. That’s a lot of wasted snaps and development.

The plus side is he’s incredibly difficult to cover. Look at the touchdown in the second video vs Syracuse and fast forward to 2:37. The quarterback loops one up for grabs in a 1v1 situation. The cornerback does a good job in coverage — he’s water tight on the receiver. And still Blakeney goes up and gets the football, destroying the corner and walking in for a touchdown. Seattle needs a guy who can make a play like that.

He appears to have long arms and he’s lean — he’ll have a fantastic catching radius. He looks like he could run in the late 4.5’s and if not — he’s a solid 4.6. He has enough speed to get downfield (see 1:46 in the Troy video). He’s not going to be a high pick but he’s a decent project. He’s also a well-spoken, intelligent player. Devante Parker and Devin Funchess are awkward during interviews, particularly Parker. There’s a temptation to read too much into stuff like this, but the Seahawks favor sparky, competitive players. They don’t mind outspoken. There are very few shy and retiring members of Seattle’s roster. Blakeney could be an option for the Seahawks.

You can watch Blakeney & Duke vs North Carolina on Thursday night.


  1. Jason

    What happened to Brandon Coleman?

    • Rob Staton

      With the Saints.

      • rowdy

        I believe they cut him, maybe he’s on their ps? Who would you rate as a better player? I haven’t watched any duke games this year.

        • rowdy

          And the videos won’t play for me

          • Rob Staton

            Working for me — what are you trying to view them on? Phone or computer?

            • rowdy

              Phone, happens a lot, I’m sure it’s the phone doesn’t happen happen much on your site.

        • Rob Staton

          I think Coleman looked like a better player in college, but clearly the knee issues and perhaps some other concerns we’re not privy to are a greater issue than we anticipated.

  2. smitty1547

    Is he on their active roster or practice?

    • Rob Staton


  3. CC

    Rob – what about Chris Matthews? At this point, with Saunders being signed by the Saints – if CM is re-signed, why not just start with him? He seemed to be caught up in a numbers game after training camp, but at this point, why not bring him back and let RW develop something with him. It seems like Matthews is a project as well. I know he got hurt in camp, which didn’t help him either.

    I really wonder where the “always compete” is with the WRs? Because if Kearse is beating out Norwood and PRich, it looks like a potentially poor draft again.

    • Rob Staton

      I thought Matthews looked poor in pre-season. The camp reports weren’t that favorable either. Not convinced he’s going to be the answer personally. They’re pretty much stuck with what they’ve got for now. But in the off-season — getting a productive big target will almost certainly be one of the priorities.

    • dave crockett

      Kearse does a decent-to-good job of getting open (or maybe I should say “making himself available”). His problem is that he’s not making contested catches yet. I’d encourage people not to give up on him just yet. His fundamentals are good, and he’s made plays in the past.

      He’s not going to be prolific, but he can be productive.

  4. Phil

    #5 WE in FBS-1 is senior Vince Mayle from Washington State. Other than the fact that he is 6′ 3″ 219# and once won a dunking contest in JC, I don’t know anything about him. Any Cougar fans out there who care to comment?

    • Phil

      Supposed to be WR not WE.

      • Matt

        Combine will be huge for him. Questions about his speed remain.

        • Hay stacker509

          He was making Halliday and now luke falk look great. I’d throw a 3rd at him, maybe a low second. I’ve watched him the last 3 years when I get the games and he just knows how to make db’s look stupid. Catches with his hands and has a great juke/double step move. Acceleration is great but towards. The end of this year I think his knees where bothering him cause his deep ball threat wasn’t there really

  5. SunPathPaul

    The Seahawks do need a 6’4″ + type of player. But what I see from Russell Wilson, they can’t afford a project. RW doesn’t even trust Norwood yet, despite he doesn’t have a drop, and he was wide open uncovered for a TD against the Chiefs. RW needs people he can trust, for right now his struggles come down to only having trust in Baldwin and Kearse. Kearse drops one TD pass, and we lose by 4…

    We need another playmaker on offense, and we need RW to relax and trust his rookie WR’s!!!

    P.Rich is technically faster than Percy Harvin, and Norwood hasn’t dropped a pass…
    Let ’em play! give them a chance to shine! RW is carrying so much responsibility and pressure that he is fearful to throw to the newbies! and thus 6-4

    • JeffC

      You have to wonder if they’ll let Kearse walk after this year. Too many drops this season. Really disappointed in his performance. It was his big chance and he didn’t seize it.

      • Arias

        I think they won’t re-sign him but I believe he’s still under contract for one mite year after this so that could change depending if he starts to play better.

  6. Hay stacker509

    Rob check out Oregon beavers wr Jordan Villamin if you have some chance. , 6’4 240 lbs. he’s got atleast another year left I believe. Their other receiver got injured and this kid has been putting up some numbers.
    Against cal 9-140-1
    Against asu 4-127-1

  7. peter

    I’ve got a sneaking feeling that the guy kicks off the patented SDB Rob Staton fast riser series for the 2015 draft. Yeah he’s a project but it just takes one great game, say the senior bowl or the Acc championship, or a few good marks at the combine to get him going upwards in the draft.

    mostly because this year is so poor at Wr I can see reaches from all the teams.

    that said I think id like to see this guy in the third round.. Again, adjusted for the lack of talent.

  8. John_S

    Maxx Williams is a TE and a RS- soph from U of Minn. I am really hoping he declares for the draft. He looks like the kind of pass catching TE that we are looking for. I am not sure he’s got the blazing TE speed, but his receiving skills are pretty incredible.

    He’s their best and only receiving threat and they’ve lined him up all over the field. His style reminds me of Jason Witten.


    • JaviOsullivan

      Looks good. Interesting gems, although looks like it’s a little early to declare for the draft this year

  9. Spencer

    Jordan Leslie of BYU may be someone they are interested in. He is definitely a project but he is a pretty athletic converted rugby player who has height and is very physical. But once again definitely a project.

    • Spencer

      Just kidding I was combining two player in my mind Paul Lasike is the converted Rugby Player, Leslie is still intriguing though.

  10. lyon

    Hey Rob,

    Fieldgulls did a big draft overview!

    One of the WR’s they featured was Jordan Taylor from Rice.

    Seems like a guy RW would love! Big frame, uses it well to block defenders, huge catch radius. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Not a burner by any means, but definitely a big bodied, sure handed target.

    • Brinque

      The highlights of the field gulls article for those who havn’t read the whole thing:

      Vince Mayle: Mayle of WSU comes in at 6’3″/219, has 86 catches, 1152 yards, and 9 TD’s on the year (basically a top 5 performer). He’s also auditioned a bit as a kick returner with a decent 19.67ypr. Seems to be a team guy; willing to take a ton of targets (max catches single game = 14), or willing to play a pedestrian role (min = 5 catches). He does struggle with drops from time-to-time, but so did Martavis Bryant last year. Mayle is on record having run a sub-4.50 forty, so his stock may pop after the combine. For now: available in the 4th where the Hawks will have 3-4 picks.

      Jordan Taylor: from Rice, is listed at 6’5″/210, missed some time this year due to injury, but since returning has averaged 101 receiving yards/game, with 4 TD’s in six games. Taylor looks to be the opposite of Mayle…his hands are his best attribute, but his forty time may disappoint. But those hands.

      Cam Worthy: from ECU, is listed at 6’3″/220, missed two games this year while suspended, but on the field looks to be a combination of Mayle and Taylor’s best qualities. He is on record for a 43″ vertical, 10’9″ broad jump, and runs really well for his size. May not post a 4.4 time, but a 4.55 at 220lbs is fine. Worthy only has 31 catches this year, but they’ve come at a 20.42ypc clip. 25 of his 31 catches have gone for 10+ yards, and he has the same number of explosive catches (20+ yards) as: Nelson Agholor, Rashad Greene, and Jaelen Strong.He gives you all the routes. He catches contested balls. He’ll get some yards after catch. And he’s currently projected as an UDFA. If the off-field stuff checks out…I’d go 4th round…EASY.

      Hope it is OK, that i link to the article?

      Quite interesting perspective on all position groups, not only the WR.

    • Rob Staton

      The guy who wrote the piece for Field Gulls once sent me a series of Tweets telling me he was a “guru” when it comes to the draft. He was deadly serious by the way. I’m not surprised that the theme of the piece today is him telling the “draft media” that they’re looking at the wrong players and that he has all the answers. Or that he suggested in the comments section people should read this blog “at their peril”. It made me chuckle.

      As for Jordan Taylor — there’s one game on draft breakdown vs Texas A&M last year where he had an incredible performance catching the ball. He made two really difficult, high pointed grabs and stole a sure interception away on a tipped pass to score a brilliant touchdown. If we’re going off that one game he’s worth monitoring for sure — good strong hands, nice technique to go after the ball, good size. He looks like a bit of a plodder in terms of speed. But I’d like to see more before making a firm judgement. I’ll see what’s out there.

      • Jarhead

        I will admit after reading his article, he came off like a bit of a douche. A kind of “These are the prospects that MATTER” type stuff. Yeah he may uncover some gems, but he sounds a lot like a hipster trying to tell you why your David Bowie records are garbage because they are mainstream and then lists off 15 bands you have never heard because he just knows what you SHOULD be listening to. And then when I commentor brought up Rob’s site, this Jared guy called Rob out and seemed like a total jerk. You write on frickin Field Gulls man. Get a grip, tiger. Anyhow, Rob even though we sometimes debate about things, you provide a great site, are cordial to your fellow posters, and have a really insightful knowledge of the draft. Especially for someone who lives in the UK.

        • Rob Staton

          Thanks J — and Go Hawks

          • peter

            Everyone knows you are a scout for the AFC north…upshaw, bitonio, Jarvis Jones, Wheaton, shazier…

            I like that Vince mayle (?) has a YouTube video he posted of his highlights.

            Jordan Taylor vs. A&m reminded me a bit of big Mike Williams when he was on.

            and for the strange name of the day…UMass’ own tajae Sharpe allegedly 6’3 215 81 rec. 1245 yards something half of all of umass’ aerial attack still trying to find a video to link up with

            • Rob Staton

              Could also throw in Jabaal Sheard & Jimmy Smith. 🙂

              • peter

                Nice work!

        • Colin

          I find it humorous that he calls out Rob for a “lack of originality” when Rob’s article came out a day before his… haha.

      • lyon


        watched some more tape from 2013 of Jordan Taylor. Looks a lot more like Drops McGhee. Texas A&M game is awesome, but that’s the only tape I could find of this year

        I think A&M game might be the anomaly.

        • Rob Staton

          If you find more games online send me the links if you get a chance. Thanks.

  11. Alex

    Wow, this kid looks the part! I agree, the Seahawks need a BIG body on the outside. It’s what Pete has been looking for his entire tenure from Big Mike Williams, to Vincent Jackson, to Brandon Marshall, to Sidney Rice. Pete wants that big “throw it up and go get it” WR but it just seems like it hasn’t come together.

    It’s amazing when looking around the league how many BIG WR there truly are though. Calvin, Marshall, Alshon, Jordy, Julio, Demaryius, Fitzgerald, Floyd, Benjamin, Dez, etc. We Just have to take our shot on one of them.

    I am wondering if a vet with a big contract like Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson ends up getting cut after the year. If that is the case I think Pete and John will go hard after them.

    It could be the perfect marriage, a developmental player like Blakeny paired with an experienced vet like Fitz or Johnson. I’m hoping that is the route that unfolds.

  12. Barry

    I think the Hawks staff targets receivers that are solid in size but not nessicerialy your “big tall” guys. Often the size can be misleading. I think they look for more physical quicker guys much like Anquan Boldin . The have in the past (Phil Bates). A player that is has caught my eye is Antwan Goodley from Baylor. He has shown the same natural skills as Golden Tate being 5-11 220 along with explosive power and has shown the ability to high-point the ball.

    Goodley stands out to me as a player who might be on the Hawks radar from rounds 3 and back. I might say higher but he has missed some time with injury but looked solid in his games back, see TCU and West Virginia.

  13. Ed

    Rob I think we can all agree OL/DL/TE/WR are our biggest needs. Wanted to get your thoughts on a few players not necessarily top names at their positions. Respect your thoughts and eye.

    D. Fuchess (Michigan)
    J. Taylor (Rice)

    B. Koyack (ND)
    T. Kroft (Rutgers)

    T. Jackson (FSU)
    T. Thompson (OK)

    P. Smith (MS)
    C. Davis (IOWA)
    M. Bennett (OSU)

    • Rob Staton

      Funchess — Fantastic size and fluidity. Really comfortable running over the middle and down the seam. Can line up anywhere although probably reverts back to TE at the next level. The problem is he’s so inconsistent and isn’t a competent, reliable catcher. Has some of the same issues as Ebron who went in the top ten. If he performs well at the combine he goes early — teams are looking for the next great move TE.

      Taylor — only seen one game. Appears to be incredibly sure handed with excellent catching technique. Not sure he’s sudden enough for the next level — labors into his routes and appears to be a bit of a plodder. Contends for the ball nicely, however, and is a fighter.

      Koyack — liked him whenever I’ve watched Notre Dame. Not in the Eifert/Rudolph class or even John Carslon. Not a prolific pass-catcher and doesn’t feature as much as previous TE’s at ND. Might be worth a late round flier.

      Kroft — not focused on and can’t offer a take unfortunately.

      Jackson — again not focused on.

      Thompson — massive player and size is a bit of an issue at times. Not overly mobile, gets into awkward positions and not a great kick slide. Might be better on the right side. Leader on the offense and well liked. Not sure he’ll be on Seattle’s radar as an early day one or two pick because they’ve invested in Britt at RT and neither Britt or Thompson looks like a potential cheap Okung replacement after 2015.

      Smith & Davis — can’t comment

      Bennett — not that impressed to be fair. Gets pushed around. Not sure he can play inside at the next level unless it’s in the nickel or third down. Not sure why he gets all that much hype really. Mid round at best for me.

      • Ed

        Good stuff. Your’e like the Office Depot button. “That was easy.” I really think top 3 need to be:

        1. DT (with some pass rush)
        2. TE or DE
        3. DE or DE

        Really think Richardson and Norwood can play once Wilson plays with them a bit. Norwood has not dropped a pass and while not huge, can be solid. We have seen we can win it all with a top notch D and we need some Dline help. Maybe some solid FA picks can help (Pierre Paul/Fairley)

        • Alex

          I love the quick takes. Some of the best information is when Rob answers a commenters questions on players. Would love to see some more live chats on the blog once draft season starts heating up.

        • AlaskaHawk

          I like the quick takes too. My drafting priorities:
          1. DT
          2. WR
          3. LB
          4. OL
          5. RB
          6. DE
          7. CB
          8. OL

          We got to shore up the middle of the defense with a really good player. Offense needs a #1 wide receiver. Linebacker because it is such an important position, we need to keep adding fresh players. As for the rest, I’m hoping they will draft two more offensive linemen, just like they did last year. And we need to replenish our defense.

  14. House

    I think Blakeney could be a mid-rd hope pick. I remember when we drafted Kris Durham. Injuries seemed to be the reason he didn’t stick. We need a BIG WR on this team.

    If Funchess is available and doesn’t seem like the MUST HAVE guy, we can’t afford to get cute in the 1st rd…

  15. Hay stacker509

    I haven’t caught much of number 14 Arizonas games but what’s everyone’s take on trey Griffey? He’s the son of baseball great ken Griffey jr, 6’2 190 lbs. any takers out there, Rob?

    • Rob Staton

      Not someone I’ve studied much HS509 — I’ll take a look.

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