Friday draft thoughts: Seattle’s ideal draft pick?

Still Seattle's ideal first round pick?

Before I start, I wanted to apologise for the hosting issues we’ve had in the last 48 hours. My provider migrated to a new server and there was chaos for a little while. You maybe missed this week’s mock draft or a piece I wrote yesterday on Margus Hunt. Hopefully the problems are now in the past.

Ideal picks for the Seahawks

It’s been a while since we looked at some of the ‘ideal’ options for the Seahawks. The deadline to declare for the 2013 draft is four days away and we still haven’t heard confirmation either way from guys like Brandon Coleman. For now I’m going to concentrate on prospects that are definitely going to be part of this years draft class. I wanted to note a list so that we could come back to this piece and review it in a few weeks to see how things have changed.

Even though it’s only January, I think the Seahawks are going to find it really difficult to address their biggest need in the first round. Sheldon Richardson is the only true three-technique worthy of such grade — and there’s almost no chance he’ll be on the board when the team picks. There’s every chance he could be a top five pick. He plays with an intensity comparable to the classic three techniques, but also moves so well for a guy at 295-300lbs. He’s strong at the point of attack and can provide constant interior pressure. It’ll take a minor miracle for him to fall, or at least some pretty serious character flaws. I’m not sure calling Georgia’s style of play, “old man football” or taking a one-game ban after skipping class is going to be enough.

For me, he’s still the Seahawks #1 ideal draft pick. Richardson’s presence would take an already productive defense to another level. Imagine the coverage skills of Seattle’s secondary, the speed of the linebackers, the size up front to work against the run and a consistent pass rush in base? The word ‘elite’ gets thrown around too often, but with a legitimate three-technique on the roster — the Seahawks would be getting mighty close. We can make an argument for adding a talented receiver, a linebacker or simply the best player available. Richardson would be the perfect storm of need meeting talent. It’s just a shame it’s unlikely to happen.

The only other players I think you could consider for this role are Utah’s Star Lotulelei and North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams. Lotulelei has been very inconsistent but he’s got incredible upside and won’t get out of the top-15. He’s 320lbs which would make him big for a three technique. Williams has a superb swim move, he’s always active and makes plays. His body type looks a little more suited to the one-technique position, but he’s the next best fit after Richardson. I had him at #14 to Carolina in my latest mock.

I said I’d watch LSU’s Bennie Logan this week and I wasn’t all that impressed after watching three games. He gets very little push against the run, he can be driven back and he’s a very limited pass rusher. Johnathan Hankins (who I don’t rate) and Jonathan Jenkins are both bigger tackles ill-suited to the position, while Sharrif Floyd (see tape below) and Jesse Williams might be at their best acting as an orthodox five technique in the 3-4. I still think the Seahawks might have to tap into the free agent market here to solve their biggest need.

For more on why Sheldon Richardson might be Seattle’s ideal first round pick in 2013, click here

Top five ‘ideal picks’ – 11th January

#1 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)

#2 Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)

#3 Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)

#4 DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)

#5 Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)

Wild card: Margus Hunt (DE, SMU) – there’s something about a 275lbs pass-rushing discuss thrower from Estonia that screams Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

Coaching appointments impacting the draft

Thanks to a conversation with Kip for sparking this part of today’s article…

There’s been a couple of interesting developments in the last 24 hours that could have an impact on the draft. Firstly, the Jacksonville Jaguars appointed David Caldwell to be their new General Manager — and he immediately ruled out any possibility that Tim Tebow would end up with the team. Caldwell couldn’t have been any more forthright about it. Being so ruthless on this matter was quite simply the only thing he could be, removing the question from future press conferences and allowing the Jaguars to move on without the need for a quarterback who will never start in the NFL. I’m not sure Tebow has much of a future in the league.

Of course, the issue now moves on to what the Jaguars will do at the position. Caldwell highlighted Blaine Gabbert’s youth in defense of his inauspicious start in the NFL, but made only a passing reference to Chad Henne. The appointment of a new Head Coach will be a big determining factor here. San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman is the hot tip as a close friend of Caldwell, although you have to wonder if the pair want to work together in any environment where the GM might have to one day fire the Head Coach. If Roman lands in Jacksonville, does it increase the chances of a potential trade for Alex Smith? Is that too obvious to be plausible? Do they consider the draft?

Personally I think Jacksonville needs to concentrate on the pass rush, because it’s the worst in the league. In my updated mock I had them doubling up on defensive ends with Bjoern Werner and Alex Okafor. They could also consider an interior pass rusher with the #2 pick. If Roman does move to the Jaguars (and that would be great news for the other NFC West teams, by the way) you have to wonder if he’d target a big running back to compliment Maurice Jones-Dre. Alabama’s Eddie Lacy has a little Frank Gore to his game and is likely to be a second or third round pick. The 49ers built their recent success on good defense and running the football. A Roman-Caldwell partnership would probably go down this route too with a facilitator at quarterback.

I still think it’s too early to completely write off Gabbert – who has the misfortune of having to deal with a third new offensive scheme in three years. It’s hard to think of a worse situation for a young signal caller entering the league. Whatever happens I still think Gabbert, Henne or an acquired veteran is more likely in year one of this rebuild. Why ruin the career of two young quarterbacks drafted in the top ten? They need to put down some roots. Although you can never truly rule out a new GM and coaching combo simply deciding they want their own man. Interesting times for Jaguars fans.

In Cleveland, lifelong Browns fan and former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has been named as the teams new Head Coach. It seems he is set to appoint Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator. Although this news made for some disappointment among Browns fans, I think it’s an inspired choice. Cleveland tried and failed to deliver a big name like Chip Kelly, but this could end up turning out for the best.

Chudzinski and Turner will run a vertical passing game with a heavy dose of run. That completely suits the roster they’re inheriting. Let’s not forget here, the Browns don’t own a second round pick after taking Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. They have the #6 pick as their one true shot to add an impact starter. CEO Joe Banner is likely to be the decision maker within the front office and he’s had his feet under the table for some time now. He’ll have watched a lot of college football in 2012 and will already have an idea of the direction he wants to go in re-shaping this team.

There’s every chance he’s decided, after looking at the top prospects available in this years draft, that there isn’t much of a chance to completely rebuild the offense. They have big receivers who can get downfield, a decent offensive line, a potential superstar at running back and a quarterback with some faults – but he’s a much better fit in a vertical passing attack than the west coast offense run by Pat Shurmur. Turner has had success with virtually every offensive coordinators gig he’s ever had. Meanwhile Chudzinski ran the Browns offense during their 10-6 season in 2007. Derek Anderson – with a similar skill set to Brandon Weeden – went to the Pro Bowl that year.

If you can’t totally rebuild an offense, you might as well get the most out of what you’ve got. This appears to be what the Browns are doing. Chudzinski will no doubt head into the market for a tight end (a focal point of his offense in Carolina and Cleveland in 2007-08) but the Browns made a killer appointment here. Cleveland hit a home run.

Assuming they don’t draft a quarterback early – and I don’t think they will following this appointment – they have a number of alternative options. There’s a lot of speculation that they’ll switch to a 3-4 defense, which would open up the possibility of drafting a pass rushing compliment to the talented Jabaal Sheard. They have enough big bodies up front, but they’re light at linebacker for a 3-4 scheme. Fortunately, this is a draft rich in 3-4 outside linebackers. They could also look at a guy like Anthony Spencer in free agency – speculation suggests he could leave Dallas following the (somewhat bizarre) appointment of Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and the inevitable switch to a 4-3 defense.

While the arrival of Andy Reid in Kansas City increased the chances of a quarterback being drafted first overall, these two appointments suggest the Jaguars and Browns might go in a different direction. Buffalo is a tough one to work out. Doug Marrone knows he has to do something. A lot of people want you to believe he’ll draft his Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib early, but he doesn’t warrant a grade higher than the second or third round. General Manager Buddy Nix has talked about moving on from Ryan Fitzpatrick and bizarrely even mentioned moving up in the draft to get a quarterback. What any of this means I’m not sure. But the Bills remain a candidate to go quarterback early, perhaps even after trading back into the first round.

Arizona also has to be in the market for a quarterback, while the New York Jets seemingly have to do something at the position despite Mark Sanchez’s hefty guaranteed salary. Unfortunately, I still don’t see any of these teams showing any great interest in trading for Matt Flynn. Adam Schefter reported today in his mailbag column for ESPN Insider: “Everyone keeps bringing up Flynn, but what people forget is that last offseason there were only two teams, Seattle and Miami, mildly interested in him. He did not get near the attention many thought he would. And he didn’t play this season. His value isn’t as high as many people think.”

Alabama trio going pro

Dee Milliner (CB), D.J. Fluker (T) and Eddie Lacy (RB) all confirmed today that they are turning pro. Milliner is a complete cornerback prospect and a likely top-15 pick. Fluker improved as the 2012 season progressed and had a tremendous game against Georgia in the SEC Championship. His best position might be guard at the next level, given his massive 335lbs frame is unlikely to fit at tackle in the modern NFL. Lacy is a physical, dominating running back without supreme speed but anyone looking to mimic Seattle and San Francisco and how they run the ball should consider him early on day two.

Sharrif Floyd (DT/DE, Florida) game tape vs Texas A&M


  1. Ely

    Jesse Williams is someone who intrigues me at DL for the Hawks. I know he isn’ the perfect body style for the 3 tech but with his strength and athleticism he should be able to get good push and disrupt the pocket. Having him and Big Red in the middle the opposing O-line would have to decide who to double team and make runs up the middle non existant and spring the dogs loose. Otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a push up the board for Sheldon Richardson should he make it past the first ten. They presumably had plans to go all in at QB this year and so now that need is met you have the availability to get the next biggest need piece which I think everyone agrees is 3-tech. Unless JS has a name up his sleeve who he knows will be around.

    • Rob Staton

      I think that’s part of the issue though Ely, he could do those things – but you’d be drafting on the off chance because there’s not a great deal of evidence on tape. I love Williams’ game and I think he’s going to make a team very happy. He won’t be a big sack or production player, but he’ll have a role. But I just can’t place him on Seattle’s roster right now.

  2. stuart

    As sad as they are, the Jags have got to feel good about their future. Honestly I think they wont draft a QB until later in the draft. They are going to give Gabbert another shot, last call anyone…Selecting Lacy sounds exciting for them. MJD may be on the down side of his career. Or did the long hold out just do what it does to most players, they get injuried soon after they report because they are not in football shape and miss a big portion of the season due to an injury. In any case adding Lacy has got to be a big positive for them. I would love it if the Hawks got him but that wont happen.

    Good stuff as always Rob, Go Hawks!

  3. Bob

    Do you think the Browns could be asked to trade Seattles 1st and 2nd + Flynn for their 1st? Of course they would have to be enamored with two 28 + QB’s on the roster but new GM’s usually go for new QB’s. Long shot, but the only move that would surprise me now that Schneider and Carroll would make is a trade up and they do need a starting 3 tech more than any other position. Only spending big on Melton might come into play, Starks even older could be cheaper if they like Howard to develop with an older starter for a year or so.

    • Rob Staton

      There is absolutely no way Cleveland makes that trade unfortunately. They are installing a vertical passing offense with their new staff. Apart from the zone read, that’s the worst possible fit for Matt Flynn. The Seahawks will be fortunate to get a 4th rounder for Flynn in my opinion and I can’t place a team that runs a timing offense that fits around his game.

      Adam Schefter today: “Everyone keeps bringing up Flynn, but what people forget is that last offseason there were only two teams, Seattle and Miami, mildly interested in him. He did not get near the attention many thought he would. And he didn’t play this season. His value isn’t as high as many people think.”

  4. G.C

    More of a free agency question but what about Desmond Bryant UFA from Oakland? He’s rated as Pro Football Focus’ top interior lineman available in FA with a +16.5 rating (Henry Melton is #2 for comp at +15.7 with pretty much same number of snaps).
    Never really heard of him (undrafted from Harvard!) but he’s got great size 6-6 310, and 9 sacks last two years. Coming off rookie deal and Oakland isn’t in the greatest cap situation so may not be able to afford him.
    Would he be a straight up 3 or more in the Jason Jones role?

  5. Connor

    Man would Sheldon Richardson be the perfect fit for our Defense its a shame we won’t have a chance to get him.

    Am I crazy for starting to think that Markus Wheaton might just be better then DeAndre Hopkins? after watching multiple games of both no doubt Hopkins I would say has amazing hands, and the ability to make tough catches in traffic. He is a good route runner but yet I still don’t see him creating separation consistently enough which I wonder is why we see him make so many great catches in traffic, but with his hands it may not matter. And then obviously he is a little limited in what he can do after the catch which I think is his biggest weakness. I still think he is a very good WR I could see him as a Reggie Wayne,Anquan Boldin, type player.

    I just think Wheaton is more explosive while still possessing good hands, good route running and also an ability to make tough catches.IMO his speed is what really separates him, the ability to get yards after the catch and have the threat of taking any play to the house.

    Hopkins and Wheaton are both listed at 6’1 but Hopkins is definitely the bigger more physical receiver and may hold up better in the NFL, but I would give a slight edge to Wheaton just because of his big play ability.

    Pretty excited for this draft a lot of different WR options can’t wait to see where the Seahawks go.

    • blazerbill

      I agree, I am hoping that the Hawks get one of those two WR in the 2nd round, but they will likely be gone in the late 2nd rd. A DL in the first rd would be good, or one of the top two TE.

      Would like to see Kenjon Barner in the 3rd rd, similar to 49r’s LBJ.

  6. Snoop Dogg

    I have followed the draft and the Seahawks for a long time, and it seems to me like there is a Margus Hunt 50% chance we draft him. He is as much of a Seahawks first round pick as I have ever seen.

  7. NMD

    I sent a tweet to Tony Pauline yesterday asking if he’s heard anything on Brandon Colemon and he said he hasn’t heard anything and he has never heard anything to make him think Colemon was ever thinking about declaring. I’m just wondering if he just never considered declaring or if he’s still really thinking about it seeing as how he hasn’t said anything.

    • Rob Staton

      He spoke in an interview recently about how he was leaning towards turning pro, and then flipped over and was then leaning towards staying in school. I think the fact it’s got to this point… when two other high profile Rutgers guys have already declared, that he probably isn’t going to turn pro. Which is a shame for a team like Seattle, but he’ll be a high pick in 2014 if he doesn’t head to the NFL this year.

  8. Kip Earlywine

    I hope Schefter has more to go on than “Flynn didn’t have much of a market last year.” Different year, different situation. Flynn didn’t have a market because teams expected he’d get Kolb money and they weren’t interested in that. There was also the whole Peyton Manning insanity going on with half the teams in the NFL trying to keep their options open in case Manning chose them.

    Now that Flynn is on a contract with 2 years, $15.5 million remaining, he’s a low risk player. I really doubt Seattle would ask for much. I expect interest. Nothing intense, but teams will be asking about Flynn before they go asking about Alex Smith.

    • Kip Earlywine

      For the record, I do not expect Flynn will be traded. I just think Seattle will get phone calls.

      • A. Simmons

        I also think the perceived strength of last years QB class was also a factor limiting Flynn’s market value. This years QB class isn’t nearly as strong.

        I don’t think we trade Flynn for less than a 3rd round pick. I do think they will make an earnest effort to trade him. He wants to start. John and Pete won’t hold a young player back.

        • blazerbill

          Then again, having a quality QB as a back up could be good, especially since Wilson is a running QB and is vulnerable to more hits.

  9. Clayton

    I know this goes against the movement that Pete Carroll preaches in getting younger and faster, but if there’s any year to move up in the draft to get the guy you want, this is it. If the team is indeed near complete, with a few pieces to fill, then why would the team need future picks? We’re one of the youngest, if not THE youngest team in the league, and we’re competing for a SuperBowl!! I think last year’s draft really afforded us to move up. If Sheldon Richardson is the player that the Seahawks need, then let’s move up and get him.

    • Rob Staton

      If he’s a top five pick, that’d be very, very costly. The bust rate at the position is so high I’d be very cautious about moving up unless it was a bargain price.

    • A. Simmons

      Let’s not forget John may have some interior rushers on his list that aren’t as well known as Richardson they plan to target.

  10. Brandon

    My #1 goal for the Seahawks in this draft remains the same: draft something we don’t already have, if at all possible.

    • Rob Staton

      That’s a great way of looking at it.

  11. Barry

    Rob, or anyone. I recently was watching the film on the Penn St Vs Bamma ’11 game, and notice Jordan Hill doing decent against Warmack and even drawing doubles from Jones while engaged and still holding POT. I saw he’s had his knee scoped due to going down with injury in November thats going to drop him back a bit as far as his stalk goes. But I was wondering what the thoughts on Hill as a later round pick. From watching what little tape I have he seemed to hold great leverage, pursue well an even have a little burst.

  12. stuart

    How low would Richardson have to slide for the Hawks to get interested in a trade? Maybe they have their hearts ready to commint to Ogletree? Could it be TE Ertz in R-1, Wheaton in R-2 and Melton or Starks as a FA?

    PC/JS will do what’s best, they always do…Oh, I just heard the GM on Indy won top executive of the year. Are you kidding me??? He had the wisedom and foresight to select Andrew Luck with the 1st overall choice… It’s like the Sherman snub for the pro bowl but worse. Remember the national media critisism and how they said the Hawks had maybe the worst draft ever, I mean ever.

    Go Hawks! Beat the Falcons!

    • A. Simmons

      John Schneider not winning Executive of the Year is a freaking travesty. Two of his draft choices are legitimate Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Our first round pick lead all rookies in sacks. We have two 7th round draft choices contributing to wins. They pretty much made their award look stupid by picking someone other than Schneider.

  13. kenny

    Watching that tape made me really not want Floyd unless it was in rounds 3 or later, which probably will not happen. I am very intrigued with Margus Hunt and am curious if he would be able to gain around 15-20 Lbs to help him hold the point of attack and yet still be able to split the gap. If he did that then I could see him being the full time starter.

  14. Barry

    Stuart- That is crazy about the Exec of the year going to Indi, total press BS..

    I’d say before pick 10 would couldn’t expect PC or JS to make a move to move up, maybe even 12. But ever draft is different and once everything starts moving it can change in the blink of a draft pick. I’d like to point out that both PC and JS believe in team before player and that shows in the draft how they make their moves in it. Its smart not to fall in love with one guy and get him at all cost. Players get injured, most recent example RG3.

  15. kevin mullen

    Rob, you can’t put articles out like this! Too many hopes lost and disappointment all around. That said, real focus should be on bottom half of Rd1, maybe a riser on top of Rd2.

    My ideal pick would be Ertz, think he can really open up our red zone and middle of field on 3rd downs. My second wishful draft pick would be Matt Elam, SS Florida. Hear me out:

    If there’s a guy that can push Kam out of SS position, it’s Elam. He’s as physical but has more range and center-field type coverage than Kam. Trust me, I love me some Kam but Elam would be ET2.0 back there. Bradley and PC would have a field day on single cover 1 packages with both ET and Elam on the field, never knowing whose blitzing in and whose dropping back. Plus Kam can get pushed to Will and problem solved, of there’s anyone athletic enough to make a switch on our defense it’s Kam at Will.

    Hate all you want guys but I love this scenario, Kam can cover TE’s, just not from the SS position. Let him terrorize the middle, knock a few heads off that way.

    • A. Simmons

      I like Kam as a safety. He’s our enforcer. You don’t fix something that isn’t broken by moving Kam, especially when you just came off a franchise record setting defensive performance.

  16. MattyB

    random question for you Rob. Do you think that the seahawks could take a chance on Marquess Wilson later in the draft after his troubles at wazzu? I know he has had some problems with discipline but with at 4th round pick or higher I feel he could serve as great value and with the way Pete carroll coaches he is a good gamble, either he is in or out and he has great upside. With the need at receiver i feel he would be a good late round pick. Thoughts?

    • SunPathPaul

      I’m curious also…besides his attitude, do you think Rob he is a good, or possibly great player??
      What skill level do you see?? I do think Pete could control him through his philosophy…

    • Rob Staton

      I think the 4th will be a little high. Very inconsistent in college, his departure from Wazzu was bizarre to say the least. I think he’s more of a late round pick or priority UDFA.

      • Elijah

        I would say Wilson was very consistent in college. 3 straight 1,000 yard seasons, he was just about the only receiver the Cougar quarterbacks could rely on. It’s not hard to go out and say he’s the greatest receiver to play for the Cougars. Obviously, there are some character concerns or something, but I think he’d be a great Day 3 pick, and would end up being a steal.

        • Rob Staton

          He had good yardage during his time with the team, but every game I saw him play I noticed inconsistency. For example – capable of the big play, but also capable of 2-3 lousy drops in the same weekend.

  17. Tarry

    The name I like for Seattle is DT Kawann Short – Purdue, I expect his to go around where we will be picking 1st round or early 2nd. I Read a quote from him on why he returned for Sr year… “I felt I had another year, I could develop and become a power player, get my body right, get in better shape and learn the game more.” He just sounds like the type of player Schnider and Carroll like. He has good framework but technique needs a bit of work, but overall think he’s a realistic option where we will be picking.

  18. SunPathPaul

    I do feel more and more that with our Defense all ready strong, that if we CAN reinforce that pass rush and D-line, we would be even more impenetrable!!! So that feels exciting!
    BUT, I also feel that since we dominate SO MUCH on Defense usually, that we should use our first round pick to add to our weakest aspect, the PASSING game. If we moved from 27th to in the middle at around 15th, we would be unstoppable I believe… Esp since the D will get some depth even through later round picks… So that brings me back to wanting an EXPLOSIVE player that is multidimensional. I mentioned him before and many doubt his durability, but what about the leading total yards from scrimmage all purpose Tavon Austin! I understand he might have a chance of getting hurt at 5’9″ 174, but he also might be DYNAMITE! Imagine using him out of the backfield with Lynch too…Imagine some pistol offense with him running a 4.39! He is faster than RG3, and we could make great use of that… He also is great at Kickoff/punt returns, and could step in for Leon Washington when he gets done. We would get multiple uses out of one guy.

    I also badly want a catching TE, but let’s say Chicago or someone takes Ertz, would Austin make you happy with his versatility, or would you still want Hopkins or ______? instead… Thx

  19. Bishop

    I’m all aboard with Seattle drafting Margus Hunt. Has the size, strength, and speed….just a little light on the experience aspect. Hasn’t faced top level OT talent throughout the year, but you can’t ignore the 20-something blocked kicks. Watching him discus the Fresno State offensive linemen to crunch Carr on multiple occassions was vicious….and delicious

  20. Robert Loeder

    Brandon Williams MSSU! Defensive lineman – played at all spots including end. He is 6’3, 340 and runs the 40 in the 4.9’s and possesses freakish upper body strength and wicked hands. He is married with a kid and has a great work ethic. 2012: 68 tackles, 31 solo, including 16.5 for a loss of 58 yards. He had 8.5 sacks for a loss of 39 yards, two pass break ups, eight quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and one safety. Nearly as productive in 2011, 2010.

    Next to Brandon Mebane, who do you double team? Together they will collapse the pocket turning Bruce Irvin into the unblockable monster who chases down QB’s under duress in the open field. Pressure up the middle changes the dynamic of our entire defense and will solve our 3rd down and late game pass rush maladies. It is a testimony to how great our D can be that they were so awesome (#1 in points allowed) despite an inconsistent and sub-par pass rush!

    • Rob Staton

      I did a piece on Williams recently with Senior Bowl tape. He’s another big body but he really struggles to get off blocks.

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