Friday notes: Seattle’s style, draft talk & more

If you missed the instant reaction piece, posted minutes after the Green Bay game, check it out here.

Seahawks continue to prove they’re on the right track

“You’re just a man. We’re a team. You’re a single man. We’re never going to let just one man beat us. It’s not about one man. If they’ve got eleven players out there executing their offense then they’re a hell of a team. One man cannot just beat a team.”

These are the words of a pre-heel turn Richard Sherman, shortly after beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2012.

That quote has always stuck with me. It perfectly encapsulates Pete Carroll’s setup. This is a team. Everything connects. The running game to the defense, both units to the special teams, the explosive plays on offense and the turnovers on defense.

A complete circle is the aim.

It’s not about putting it all on one guy — a quarterback, for example.

As the Seahawks rose to prominence from 2012, we all celebrated this vision. In the superstar quarterback era, here was something different. A band of brothers. Tough, physical. And not relying on one man to be the be-all and end-all.

For some reason a lot of people have forgotten about that. While the NFL samples and experiments with college spread concepts and is, without doubt, more creative than ever — there are still major similarities between the 2012 and 2018 environments.

The Patriots weren’t trying to ram the ball down your throat in 2012. They weren’t playing especially great defense. Neither were the Packers, the Steelers or the Broncos. They weren’t using completely orthodox offenses, there were some spread concepts (especially in New England and Denver). Brady and Peyton Manning put up huge numbers.

They were winning with their quarterbacks.

The Seahawks did things differently. They built a foundation with everything connected. And they won. They showed, emphatically, there is more than one way to win in this league.

Not much has changed since. There are still prolific passing quarterbacks. The Seahawks are still trying to complete the circle. And when it clicks, as Sherman stated, one man cannot beat a team. That was evidenced yesterday.

It’d be wrong to suggest Green Bay were exclusively Aaron Rodgers vs the world. They weren’t. Kyler Fackrell showed all the promise that had us all excited before the 2016 draft. Davante Adams is a production machine. Yet clearly Rodgers was the key.

The stats bear that out:

Green Bay — passing (332), rushing (48)
Seattle — passing (225), rushing (173)

The Seahawks were far from flawless. Russell Wilson had a strange game — mixing maddening errors with typical flair and quality. The defense was like a hot knife through butter at times — but still, somehow, limited Green Bay to three second half points and collected five sacks. No doubt the off-season plan will be to help the defense reach the next level. Achieve that and Carroll will have a heck of a team.

Watching the game, it’d be easy to pick flaws. People love to find fault these days and miss the positives. Here’s the reality though:

— The Seahawks have by far the most productive and best running game in the league. They are now averaging 154.3 YPG. Second on the list are the Rams with 144.8 YPG. Third are the Niners with 133.6 YPG. The difference between Seattle and even the second and third ranked teams is significant. And this isn’t stat-padding with Wilson scrambles anymore. This is a prolific ground attack featuring a terrific offensive line and talented running backs, making life miserable for opponents.

— Wilson might look uncomfortable, inconsistent and a bit frustrating at times — but look at the numbers. He’s on track for 37 passing touchdowns (would be a career high). He’s on track for a passer rating of 110.2 (would be a career high). If you’d said at the start of the season — the Seahawks would have the BEST running game in the league by far and Russell Wilson would be on for career highs in passer rating and touchdown passes, you’d have been delighted. Yet people still question the philosophy, the scheme, the coordinator and the Head Coach. Madness.

— Frank Clark has 10 sacks. Aaron Donald, who’s played the same number of games, has 12.5 and leads the NFL. The Seahawks have a pass rusher to build around. And with a draft rich in front-seven defenders, they will have a big opportunity to build up their D-line. The franchise tag appears likely for Clark.

— The Seahawks can now legitimately do two things. 1 — ram the ball down your throat for an 8-minute opening drive for a touchdown. 2 — ram the ball down your throat to close out a game with four minutes to go. The Packers defenders looked shattered and submissive at the end. On the final, deciding run — Mike Davis ran right behind D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi and George Fant to the right hand side. What a beautiful sight. The Packers said, ‘no thanks’ and slumped back to the locker room. I’d recommend watching the last four minutes accompanied by this song. Because that’s what happened.

— The reason I watch football is because it’s not like a lot of other sports. It has some brutality. A bunch of grown men hammer each other for a few hours. And while I enjoy explosive passing plays as much as anyone — I think some people forgot how fantastic it is to watch your team kick somebody’s ass. The Seahawks are in a reset year. They don’t win every game. Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating (eg the Chargers game) but that’s par for the course. They’re still a kick ass team. And I like that. If I didn’t and wanted to just obsess about numbers and probability, I’d watch baseball. We wouldn’t sit here living through 3-4 hours of beautiful agony with this team, or spend three months obsessing about which college players they might draft. I want to see the Seahawks win more than anything and don’t really care how they do it. But I do enjoy watching them play this way. How can you not love this?

Thoughts on Albert Breer’s big board

The national media are starting to turn their attentions to the draft, with the college football regular season close to a conclusion. Albert Breer at published a big board this week after consulting with sources — and he confirms a lot of what we’ve been saying on this blog:

If you root for the Jets or the Bucs or the Browns, or another team hovering on the fringes of prime draft position, you may be tempted to root for some post-Thanksgiving losses. In some years, especially those with bumper crops of quarterbacks coming, there’s real validity to the idea. Our advice to those good people: Don’t bother, not this year.

That doesn’t mean that the 2019 draft is bereft of talent. It’s not 2013 or ’15 at the top, and it does have depth that, as scouts see, should last into the fifth round. It’s just that, unless you have the first or second pick, this might not be the best year to be high in the draft order. Evaluators across the league will tell you: When it comes down to it, this is one of those years where there isn’t much separating the fourth pick from the 14th.

We’ve been suggesting this for a few weeks now. It’s not a class where having a top-10 pick is necessarily a coveted thing. The distinct lack of quarterbacks, left tackles and skill players is an issue for bad teams looking to take forward steps. It is, however, a very deep and thick looking D-line class for round one. The thing is, the player you draft in the teens might get a similar grade to the guy taken at #5 overall. So there’s very little benefit to tanking and picking as early as possible (unless you’re hunting for #1 overall to select the brilliant Nick Bosa).

Breer goes on to add:

“The first round is full of land mines,” says one veteran AFC exec.

“This is not a top–10 type of draft,” adds an AFC college scouting director. “To me, there are a lot pass rushers and D-linemen, but I don’t know that there’s anyone that compares to, say, Bradey Chubb, if you take [Nick] Bosa out of it.”

That sets the backdrop for you. This year’s class is light on the skill positions, and heavy on defensive linemen, with a shaky group of quarterbacks mixed in.

None of this is surprising but it validates what we’ve been saying. There is a clear strength in this class (D-line) and clear weaknesses (distinct lack of QB, OL, skill player talent).

So how does Breer stack things up?

Here’s his list:

1. Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
2. Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
3. Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
4. Devin White (LB, LSU)
5. Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
6. Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
7. Josh Allen (LB, Kentucky)
8. Jeffrey Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
9. Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
10. DeAndre Baker (CB, Georgia)
11. Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
12. Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
13. Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
14. Jonah Williams (T, Alabama)
15. Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
16. Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi State)
17. Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
18. Dre’Mont Jones (DT, Ohio State)
19. Deionte Thompson (S, Alabama)
20. Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)

Here’s what I like about the list:

— Completely agree with some of the early listings. In our first mock draft posted last week, a lot of the names at the very top were projected early — Bosa, Williams, Oliver, White, Ferrell.

— It’s good to see Devin White recognised for the clear top-talent he is. For some reason you see a lot of mocks with White lasting into the late teens. It won’t happen. He’s too good, too athletic and too consistent for that.

— A lot of the mock drafts on the internet seem deliberately contrarian. Whether that’s for clicks or just to be different, I don’t know. But you often see Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence knocked for whatever reason and undeserving wide receivers listed in the top 10-15. It’s nice to see Breer via his sources rightly credit both Wilkins and Lawrence for the terrific talents they are. And for those who’ve question how we’re judging this receiver class — Breer doesn’t have any in his top-20.

— This is the range where I see Dre’Mont Jones. He’s a nifty pass rusher and has really upped his production in 2018. However, his run defense is problematic and teams will have to think about how he fits into their defense. Can you trust him not to be a liability vs the run? His gap integrity and POA strength just seems lacking. A lot of these athletic interior defenders enter the league and flame out. He’s a talented player — but there are question marks.

— I was harsh on Rashan Gary in my first mock, listing him at #14. I suspect that won’t happen and he will go in the top-10. Due to the lack of deserving top-10 talents this year, someone will take a punt on his massive upside. He’ll be seen as a safer bet than a Brian Burns (for example). I’ll correct this next time.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the list:

— It baffles me why Jonah Williams gets rated as highly as he does. I wrote about this last weekend. It’s pretty clear he has to kick inside to guard. He lacks the length and frame to play inside-out and he doesn’t have the foot-speed and kick-slide to wall-off against the speed rush. He gets beat with inside counters and really, he looks like a square-up blocker you want taking on interior defenders head-on. We often see Alabama offensive linemen get overrated and I think this will be the case here. For me, he won’t go in round one and if he does — it’ll be in the back third of day one to play as a guard.

— I’m also not sold on Alabama safety Deionte Thompson as a first round pick. He’s tall and lean but not a fantastic athlete. Coming into the year, Tony Pauline noted he had him graded as a fifth round talent. Thompson ran a 4.71 at the SPARQ combine and hasn’t shown to be a twitchy free safety. Too me he might be best suited acting as a strong safety or even big nickel. He’s a decent player but nowhere near the talent of future top-10 pick in 2020 Grant Delpit of LSU.

— I’m not convinced Jeffrey Simmons or Montez Sweat warrant a place in the top-20 ahead of prospects like Jachai Polite (who garners double teams every week and still makes plays), Zach Allen (having a sensational season for Boston College) or Brian Burns (dominating despite playing for a bad Florida State team).

— DeAndre Baker is competitive, can be physical and he had a fantastic end to the 2017 season. Is he a difference maker at corner? Not convinced. Greedy Williams has the size and athleticism to work into a very viable NFL starter. Baker, to me, looks like he could be an average combine tester with below-average length and size. Washington’s Byron Murphy looks like a better option for CB2 in this class.

— I like Josh Allen as a pass rusher. He’s having a tremendous year. I’d be very wary of him in the top-10 though unless he has a surprisingly explosive combine. Georgia ran at his side of the line with great success recently. It makes you wonder whether he’ll ever be an EDGE or LEO and whether he’s strictly suited to featuring as a 3-4 OLB. Georgia’s D’Andre Walker, however, provides pass rush, he can drop to play linebacker and he’s tremendous at setting the edge vs the run despite playing at about 245lbs.

Check out this article about Rashaad Penny

Mike at Tasteful Profanity sent this along to me. Having tired of the arguments against the Penny pick over the last few weeks, I found this to be an entertaining counter.

College games on my schedule this weekend

Arkansas vs Mississippi State
Ohio State vs Maryland
Missouri vs Tennessee or West Virginia vs Oklahoma State

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  1. Zxvo3

    Ooh I see that you are watching Ohio State vs Maryland. Hopefully you get to watch #4 safety Darnell Savage. He’s one of those players I like a lot and I want to see him play vs Dwayne Haskins

  2. JB

    “Yet people still question the philosophy, the scheme, the coordinator and the Head Coach. Madness.”

    I kind of disagree with this. Obviously numbers-wise, Wilson is having an excellent year. But it does feel like he is still not fully in gear, and to be honest it feels like some of that is due to Brian Schottenheimer consistently running on first and second which sometimes leads to 3rd and long situations.

    Obviously delighted with the win, and fully agree with your comments about the Seahawks playing as a team. But I just wonder if some shorter passing plays on first and second down – every so often – wouldn’t hurt, helping Russ into a rhythm, and throwing the opposing defense off slightly.

    I may be talking rubbish – this is still the first year that Russ has worked with Schottenheimer, so it may just be teething problems.

    P.S. On a side note… have you watched any Wake Forest football games this year (aside from the Clemson disaster)? In particular interested in their LG, Phil Haynes… I was at high school with him and he’s a senior now. Just wondered if he’s getting any buzz. Whenever I watch their games he seems to my untrained eye to be pretty good – but I’m probably biased!

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve discussed many times this season that Wilson has been inconsistent and at times, quite bad. I don’t think it’s Schotty though. Wilson is responsible. He has to play better. I’m confident it will happen.

      I haven’t seen any of Wake Forest unfortunately but I will keep an eye out.

      • SeaHusky

        Curious to hear your thoughts on a thought I’ve been having Rob.

        While the identity of the offense clearly revolves running the ball, do you have an ideal split between passing/running in mind? As in, in any given game, should we be going into it with the mindset of running the ball 60% of the time and passing 40%? Or would it be a better idea to adapt the offensive gameplan around the weaknesses of the opponent (i.e. throw the ball more if they have a weak secondary)?

        I actually really liked the balance that we had yesterday. I made a fuss earlier in the week about Wilson being constrained to fewer throws this season than seasons past, but I thought that our offense looked great in that we weren’t going R-R-P every drive and threatened both the run and the pass consistently. With a better performance in the first and much of the third quarter by Wilson, we easily could have scored 34+ points on the Packers.

        • Rob Staton

          I don’t have a preference on a pass/run split. I’m happy for it to fit around a game plan or opponent or situation. I think there are benefits to running a lot as we currently are seeing so I have no issue with the current split. But equally, if they were winning games and being highly productive with a different split, so be it. I think their current style absolutely suits the players on this roster.

          • Whit21

            I agree. It has to come down to playing to the opponents weakness’ and what play selection to use for each down and distance. Also the right times to attack short, mid, and deep with the pass play selection. Which i think PC is unoriginal at times. Other times in the past with Bevell, there was some success with Wilson’s ability to make deep touch passes on third and short. Which people have a tendency to forget when they covert on those deep shots to Baldwin or the few Jermaine Kearse got. The times they don’t convert are the ones people (and myself) remember the most.

            So in short I think the success to the offense comes down to Russell’s execution and the play calling to help them out more to get first downs and convert on third downs. Janikowski has about half the FG attempts as your average kicker in the entire league right now. They simply need to convert 3rd down and get at least into FG range.

  3. cha

    “On both handoffs, Penny is decisive, explosive, and displays lateral cutting ability that would make even 2015 Thomas Rawls soil himself.”


  4. Durst

    Great work, as usual. After looking at the games you are watching this weekend, perhaps you could write about your thoughts on the Maryland (Gray and Prince) and/or West Virginia (Cajuste and McKivitz) offensive tackles? To me, Gray and Prince will likely be mid/late round tackle to guard conversions?

    The Miss St and Ohio State DLines get a lot of press, but both teams have some interesting DBs – Peters and Abram on MSU and Sheffield, Arnette, Fuller on OSU.

    Finally, love to know your thoughts on the Buckeyes’ wideouts. Especially, what do you feel the draft value should be on players like Parris Campbell. Similar to former Seahawks’ Percy Harvin, Campbell may not be viewed as a nuanced receiver, and sometimes has to be manufactured touches, but is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve seen West Virginia once already and was pretty ‘meh’ on Cajuste. Don’t see the first round pick people are projecting at all. Was more impressed with McKivitz.

      I intend to look at Campbell and their other wide out Binjimen Victor. I’ve studied Fuller quite a lot and to be honest, I wanted to like him more than I actually did. Very quick. Doesn’t ever seem to have much impact though.

      • Volume12

        FWIW, Ohio St also has 2 other WR’s. KJ Hill is very good. Silky smooth. Terry McLaurin is fun and a STs demon. Incredible gunner and a fantastic blocking wideout.

  5. Trevor

    Green Bay look like a team on the decline right now. The Hawks OL took that defenses soul last night kind of like Tennessee did to us last year and that was the beginning of the end and the massive change this season.

    Have to admit Fackrell was awesome last night and looks legit. I have to admit I was not a fan of his at all coming out and after the first 2 years thought he was just ok at best but this year a light really seems to have come on for him and as of right now looks like I was dead wrong about him. Playing like that he would look nice in a Hawks uni.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not so much a light being lit under Fackrell… and more a case of them actually playing him in his proper position — not as a traditional LB. He’s a rusher. Let him rush. We’re seeing the results now.

      • Bankhawk

        Most I’ve focused on Fackerel-quite impressed by the athleticism, length and the fire he brings. I just see it as another performance-based vindication of Rob and the blog. Keep up the good work, Rob and crew!

    • GerryG

      GB has lost all faith and commitment to McCarthy, and for good reason. I don’t think you have to be an expert scout or scholar of the game to recognize they have not reaped the full benefits of one the greatest players in NFL history

  6. millhouse-serbia

    “And for those who’ve question how we’re judging this receiver class — Breer doesn’t have any in his top-20.”

    If this is on me…

    I will say this again…i am not questioning how you judged this WR class…first of all i am not competent to do that…

    Maybe you dont trust me, but i am really a fan of this site…and i would feel joy if your last pre draft mock could be 100% corect( is impossible)…

    I was just saying that big board isnt mock and it is strange for me to not have any WR(one of most valuable position in NFL) in top 25…but yes when you mentioned 2018 draft i realise that it is possible…

    I am really sorry if anything that i wrote sound like i am calling you out about something…

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not on you — several people have questioned me on the receivers. I just wanted to point out I’m not alone on this. I think there’s a lot of TERRIBLE mock drafts and analysis out there this year. Worse than normal. I’d distrust any mock with a receiver early.

  7. cha

    Time of possession isn’t a silver-bullet type indicator of success in my mind but it should be noted the Hawks have improved quite a bit in 2018 (31:14, 4th overall) over 2017 (29:19, 16th overall). The overall arrow is pointing up.

    Offense is averaging 2:47 TOP per drive, right in the middle of the pack. So the defense is getting the offense the ball back through forcing punts, and giving the ball back to the offense more than the offense gives it away. On turnovers, the Hawks are 7th best in both takeaways (16) and giveaways (9).

    Appears the Hawks are fundamentally sound and completing the full circle team concept. So I’m guessing the key would if the defense can just trim back on the explosive plays a little, and the offense can execute just a little better, they could really keep that arrow trending up as that pound the running game / execute in the passing game / win the turnover battle / pin opponents deep on punts formula proves to be a mighty tough one to beat.

  8. Nick

    Breer’s comments on the depth of the DL class screams “trade back” to me. Maybe not out of the first round, necessarily, but down to 25 or 30? Could be an easy way of picking up another draft pick while still landing a very solid DE or DT that they have rated as almost identical to the ones taken at 15, 16 etc.

    • Rob Staton

      Well, the Seahawks have a track record there. It really depends on their final position though, who’s available and how well players test. If they pick between 12-16 I can equally see a genuine temptation to grab someone they like.

  9. mister bunny

    Biggest shock of Breer’s ranking is Bosa position switch. You know it’s a tough year for QBs when Bosa is the first one off the board!

    • Rob Staton


    • Volume12

      Devin Bush over ‘Bama’s Mack Wilson who’s perfectly suited for today’s NFL combined with his athleticism is something.

  10. sdcoug

    First off, great summary. It may be one of your best intros yet, and that’s saying something.

    Secondly, I often appear contrarian and let my emotions leak into my words, but I appreciate the outlet even when you don’t agree with my opinions, so thank you. To that end, my next comment boarders on semantics but to say the Hawks have the best running game in the league by far…I will pump the breaks a wee bit. Statistically the argument can be made i suppose, but statistics are easy to manipulate. The Rams rushing yds/game is only 10 yds lower than Seattle, but you have to account for the fact that their passing and total yds/game are both 100 yrs higher than seattle. My assumption being that LA doesn’t HAVE to run at a higher clip because their passing attack is more explosive. If they ran as much as seattle, I would guess their averages would outpace us quite a bit. I could be wrong. Regardless , Seattle is leading the pack and it’s awesome.

    But yes, you are very correct to focus on the running game transformation and effectiveness. It’s really quite amazing and something I expected to take much longer to achieve. Love that Solari has our brutes moving forward more often instead of dancing sideways. I loved the Penny pick and the resulting Cerberus we now seem to have. I was indifferent to the Fluker signing and greatly disliked bringing Sweezy back…so what do I know. It was so painful the last two years to watch our backs constantly stoned at the LOS for no gain. How refreshing to line up and watch the defense know they are about to be popped in the mouth.

  11. Nathan

    Did we come out of that 2015 draft with the best D lineman and the best receiver?

    • Rob Staton

      Two outstanding picks.

    • John_s

      Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter and Stefan Diggs would be #1 for me but Frank and Lockett are a close #2

  12. Ashish

    Rob, I know kickers are not given much importance in Draft so does punter untill we saw Mike Dickson. I don’t see SeaBas will be resigned for next year. SeaBas also struggle with kickoff or may be kick coverage at times as per Pete which i don’t get it.

    Rob, do you see any kicker hawks can target in draft?

    • charlietheunicorn

      One of the top kickers is Cole Tracy, K, LSU. Might be worth watching for him in the 5th round range.

      • Ashish

        Thanks Charlie. I doubt with numbers of draft picks will able to spend 5th for kicker. May be 7th or undrafted most likely.

    • Rob Staton

      Only the Georgia kicker, if he turns pro.

  13. RWIII

    I know front seven on the D-Line is a priority. THe Hawks an always use another pass rusher. They can also use another run stuffer. I would like to sign Micheal Kendricks. This would lessen the need for a LB in the draft. However, maybe in the rounds 3-4 what about a wide receiver. I know Tyler Lockett has been fanstatic. But this could be Baldwin’s last year in Seattle. Russell Wilson could use another target. This would give opposing defensive coorindators something else to think about. Remember it takes about a 1.5 seasons for a wide receiver to develop.

    • Rob Staton

      I think with Lockett, Moore and the younger guys they have (including their retained belief in Darboh) they should be fine. Not against adding another WR in the middle rounds but don’t think it’s a huge priority with so few picks.

  14. Trevor

    Still can’t believe I heard Hawks fans boo Russ when he was struggling in the 1Q.

    Does he frustrate me with his inconsistency at times but he has done so much for this team and organization I found it amazing. I hope the coverage just made it seem that way.

    As for those clamouring to trade him I think the most overlooked thing about Russ is his durability the Hawks have never needed to spend any $ or worry about the backup QB spot because he is always available even when he had the MCL strain that would sideline any other QB. His atttitude, work effort and availability are a certainty week in and week out. That is invaluable IMO and makes Russ a bit of a Unicorn. Brady, Bree’s and Rodgers are all durable but each had had a serious injury and missed extended time. Rivers is the only guy I can think of other than Russ and he does not run the ball.

    As Hawks fans let’s just appreciate what we have in Russ and when he struggles ask yourself if you have any off days when you are at work? That is what I will try to do no matter how hard it is at the time.

    • Tien Doan

      I was lucky enough to be at the game Thursday night, Trevor, and I was bummed also when I heard some of the fans boo Wilson.

      I’m as frustrated as anyone with Russell still seemingly unable to throw the quick slants on a regular basis or his penchant to hold on to the ball too long rather than throwing it away to fight another day but we have to give him credit for never giving up and always trying to do his best to help the team win. He’s not elite in my eyes (IMO, only Rodgers, Brees, Brady (though not so much this year) have earned that distinction) but he’s a very good QB and if we get the right pieces around him, he can still lead us to a SB win.

      Go Hawks!!

  15. no frickin' clue

    Rob, in your experience, do you find that the scouts who decry the lack of quality ahead of the Combine are still singing the same tune afterwards? In other words, do you think the scouts will “talk themselves in” to touting a lot more names as legit 1st round quality players, after they showcase their SPARQ-y qualities in Indy?

    I’m maybe a bit biased on this because I would like to believe that our (unfortunately) likely mid-first round pick, in a year when we only have 4 picks to begin with, can be parlayed into extra picks in lower rounds. And the incentive for a possible partner to trade up with us depends on high-quality players still being available.

    • Rob Staton

      I think scouts are consistent but you still have to draft people when the day comes. So you have to find some guys you like or are willing to take.

  16. astraeus

    I’m a big fan of both DEs Zach Allen (whom you mentioned) and Chase Winovich. Both have great technique, motor, and production.

    • Doug

      Chase is outstanding. I am surprised Gary is rated so highly–he hasn’t played much this year and I would wonder about his durability. Bush, on the other hand, is a leader on an outstanding D at Michigan.

      Chase’s attitude is very Seahawk-y.

    • H

      Zach allen is an absolute monster, watched a couple of his games this week and came away so impressed. He’s got great size, can play the run, has an array of pass rush moves (his one arm stab bull rush is particularly impressive) and he has great play awareness (knows when to get his hands up to deflect the pass).
      It feels like a lazy comparison because of his size and skin tone, but i see a lot of JJ Watt in his game. He’s quickly become the no.3 edge guy in this class for me, if I couldhave anyone in this draft thats not going in the top 5 it would be him.

  17. charlietheunicorn

    Here is what makes this year’s draft tough.

    Someone will take QB(s) in the first round, but who will go early and who won’t is very undecided right now. QBs are the proverbial “fly in the ointment” with any mock draft.

    I’m very confident Seattle will trade back from where-ever they pick in the first. What is really tough to figure out, who would be worthy of a (gotten in a trade back in this scenario) 3rd round pick…..

    A true DE could be in the cards or a OLB…. someone in the front seven. But I could easily see Seattle grabbing a RB in this range as well. Not because the 3 guys aren’t performing, but after the 3 top RB in 2018 (Davis, Penny and Carson), there is a decided drop-off and they need more insurance policies on the position. A guy in the Prosise mode might be where to aim my draft eye in the 3rd round………… TE also appears to be a place they could expend some draft capitol.

    I guess it will come down to which positions have the greatest depth and that will be the 3rd* round pick.

  18. Coleslaw

    I find it extremely important that scouts think the depth of this class will last into the 5th. That’s significant. I’m gonna play devil’s advocate to the DL with the first pick theory, not because I don’t believe it will or should happen, just exploring possibilities.

    We need an interior DL and an Edge, but if yesterday was any indication of what’s to come for Rasheem Green, can we cross the interior DL off the list?

    Also Rob noted above Kyler Fackrell is succeeding because he’s being used as a rusher instead of LB. I think we have a guy who should benefit from that in Shaq Griffin, especially after a year of NFL weightlifting.

    We definitely need DL, but those 2 might be enough for us to be able to afford to grab another position of need before we tap into this awesome DL class. If we got a guy like Devin Bush, Deionte Thompson, Jaquan Johnson, Darnell Savage and then got a DL with a similar graze to Burns, Polite, Walker, etc. I think it might be a no brainer

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t see any logic in avoiding the defensive front seven early. It’s fine there is some depth in this class. But none of the defensive backs people keep mentioning deserve to go in R1.

  19. East Side Stevie

    Fantastic write up Rob!

    Forgive me if this question has already been asked… But

    Can someone share with me, what it is that separates an EDGE player from a LEO player?

    Also, why would a player be bwttwr suited strictly playing linebacker in a 3-4 defense?

    • Rob Staton

      A LEO is a more specific type of EDGE, in that Bruce Irvin mould when he played up at the line. Other teams would like a bit more size there. Basically an EDGE is a pure outside rusher (not an inside/out type) and a LEO is specific to Seattle’s current scheme and preference.

    • Volume12

      EDGE is just a designation for a pass rusher regardless of his position. Easier to use that instead of DE or OLB. Someone might be a DE in college, but a pro team will use or see him as a stand-up rusher in a 3-4.

      LEO is the old elephant position from Pete’s defense from Monte Kiffin and used with the 9ers in the early 90’s. Contains the ‘L’ and ‘E’ of Linebacker and End. Switch the ‘E’ with the ‘L’ and you get ‘elephant.’ An undersized pass rusher. Tweener. Not and end, not a LB. Lines up wide on the open part of the field.

      You kinda answered your own question. Typically a smaller, quicker DE who your standing up to keep off the LOS because the DEs and NT in a 3-4 are so much bigger it allows for your 3-4 pass rushers to attack from multiple angles and gaps. One of the OLB’s in a 3-4 is a JOKER, BUCK, or Elephant used to focus on rushing the passer. The other is your SAM that you know and see from a 4-3.

      • T Kelly

        Thanks for the explanation. Does the LEO also have to be capable against the run to be successful?

        • Rob Staton

          They have to have some capability against the run or you’re only going to be able to play them on obvious passing downs.

          • DC

            As examples, Clemons was quite capable against the run, Irvin was much less so. Thus the eventual position switch.

  20. KD

    Great piece Rob.

    A lot has happened in the NCAA and NFL since the last 3000 NFLMD and a lot of paradigms have made both large and small shifts. Can’t wait to hear kenny and yourself give it all a rundown.

    • Rob Staton

      I think Kenny is going in a different direction with the podcast.

      • Hawktalker#1

        Can you provide some more insight on that?

        • Rob Staton

          Not really. Kenny has done a few new podcasts recently that are exclusive to his Patreon account and we currently don’t have anything in the diary.

      • KD

        What a bloody shame. Hearing the two of you back and forth make for one of my favorite podcasts in the world.

  21. Coleslaw

    Something else that I wanna float out there and get opinions on. It might trigger somebody, but just know it’s all hypothetical

    Trade Dougie Fresh? It would suck, I know. I would probably cry, but he could likely net a 2nd round pick and he doesnt seem to be missed when injured and not having the huge impact he once did. Hes a great receiver but what if Schotty’s offense makes Baldwin expendable due to the WR friendly nature? It just seems we could get by without him, and he would likely demand a pretty penny when we need one.

    Lockett, Moore, Brown + a low-mid level free agent might do just as well as Baldwin for $10M+ less a season and net us a 2nd rounder to rebuild with.

    • Rob Staton

      I think they would struggle to get a R2

      • millhouse-serbia

        Well…if he is 100% healthey maybe we could get late 2nd early 3rd (based on Golden Tate trade).

        • millhouse-serbia

          But his health is big guestion mark…and he will be 31 next season…so yes, even late 2nd round for him would be great for us but no so realistic…

    • Volume12

      He tore his UCL, patella tendon, and PCL this year. Let’s cut him some slack maybe?

      • Bluenlime

        That 10 million doesn’t just account for on the field production but also leadership. Baldwin is a huge asset for this team. He knows how to find pockets when the play fails and if you look back on the last couple weeks he’s been getting open alot but RW didnt get him the ball.

  22. Adog

    I’ll own up to my mistake…russel Wilson needs to be kept in Seattle. I thought it best to let him go…now I believe it is tantamount that he is kept. The salary cap is like James joyce sentence…finicky and penultimate to the mortal mind. What seemed like a sunken ship…highest paid qb…now seems like a kite runner. Is there such a thing as a cap when it increases each year?

  23. red

    Looking at this off season FA and draft it seems that there will be some choke points positions wise. I think we sign clark, and the two gaurds along with Coleman. Also think Reed and Wagner will be extended. After this a decision will have to be made on Wright, I assume that after the moves above there will be about 25mil of cap space will be available. The question is do we spend on LBs and draft rush or draft LBs and pay for rush. Paying for rush can be super pricey so i researched some LBs to enter FA and found some interesting possible fits. So Kendricks will be available but we can not really count him until his legal issues are resolved. I found two names that I found interesting Kwon Alaxander (will) and Anthony Barr (Sam /elephant) . I think if we pay some LBs we dont really have to fight this years board by picking a interior guy in the first IE Brown,Davis,Tillery,Buggs, and a edge in the third IE Porter guston or Oshane Ximines.

  24. millhouse-serbia

    I am confused about Pocic…he was starting gard for first 2 games and now he is behind Hunt od depth chart???

    If we re sign Fluker and Sweezy we have our starting 5 for next season. With Fant, Hunt and Simmons as a back ups. Maybe we could try to trade him?

    What is his trade value? Late 2nd or early 3rd? Him + Baldwin for early 2nd?

    • Rob Staton

      He’s behind Hunt at Center. If Sweezy gets hurt, Pocic would start at LG.

      I suspect his trade value is non existent.

      • Hawk Eye

        why trade him? you won’t get much back, he is cheap for 2 more years, is an injury back up.
        Who knows if they resign Sweezy and Fluker and he is only in year 2.
        where was Ifedi in the middle of year 2?
        keep and develop

        • Rob Staton

          Yep, the OL depth is a positive at the moment and Pocic is cheap so no need to trade him for a sack of balls.

  25. Alex H

    Mike Solari is living up to his rep as a top 5 O line coach.

    • Trevor

      +1 he has done a fantastic job with this group!

  26. Hawk Eye

    I know everyone likes to play pretend GM, but I cannot see the Hawks

    1. trading RW. He has flaws, might never be a top 3 QB, will one day be the highest paid, if only for a few months, but if you draft well and have an influx of good young talent, you can win with him. He is a top 10 QB, sometimes top 5. Sometimes frustrating. But ARod made some mistakes on Thursday also and did not win the game for his team.
    2. trading DB. Not going to happen, best hands and route runner on the team, one of the best in the league. Russell’s safety blanket. Not overpaid. Just had a slow first half due to injury. He will finish his contract. His game is not built on speed and he will age well unless he has a major leg injury. He is intense, but does not disrupt the team like Sherm.


    not sure on KJ. If he is healthy, I think the Hawks make him a competitive offer next year, but not a huge offer. Could use a smart vet on what is becoming a very young defense. His injury has affected his play this year, but if healthy he is a pro bowl caliber player.
    I doubt they sign a major free agent. They have cap room, but also a bunch of their own to resign and this years group of mid level signings were cost effective. I think they do more of the same and look for depth, develop their own stars instead of signing someone else’s.

    and random thought, I think eventually Shaquem emerges as an excellent linebacker. He has speed and so much desire. No one will outwork him. By year 3 I think he is a full time starter, I would not bet against him.

  27. Blue Goulding

    Hi Rob,

    With Kenneth Arthur going in a different direction (the fool), the site should consider mobilizing and funding the Rob Station Podcast. It would be great to hear you host other knowledgeable and interesting personalities regarding the Seahawks.


    • Rob Staton

      I am open to a podcast of sorts down the line, maybe over draft time. I might interview some people over the draft season. We’ll see. But if/when I do a podcast it will be free. No need for any funding.

  28. cha

    So Glazer reported it was Detroit that called right after the Penny pick and tried to negotiate a trade for him. They ended up with Kerryon but still nice to know who it was.

  29. millhouse-serbia

    @ dane brugler

    Big time play by Darnell Savage to read Haskins’ eyes, drive on the throw and deflect the pass which led to the pick-six INT.

    Savage is a NFL prospect that doesn’t get talked about enough. Top-five senior safety prospect.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m watching the game. Not seen too much so far. Tony Pauline had him listed as an UDFA in the pre-season. I’m not going to judge him on one game but the ‘draft analysis’ on the internet this year has been quite poor, with the exception of Tony’s fantastic site.

      That said, Savage tested well at the SPARQ combine. Very well actually. So it’ll be interesting to see his combine. I will try to watch more.

      • Volume12

        Ohio St WR Terry McLaurin is fun huh? 😉

        Think Seattle will really like him.

        • Rob Staton

          Brilliant athlete.

          4.41 forty at SPARQ… 42 inch vertical… 141.96 SPARQ.


    • Volume12

      I really like Miami’s Sheldrick Redwine. Not the biggest guy, will have to add some weight, but he gives ya more positional versatility as former CB and he does not miss tackles. Like at all.

  30. Volume12

    Wait…what? CBS’s new/latest mock draft has Udub’s Ben Burr-Kiven in the 1st? As a LB too?

    • Rob Staton

      Stop reading them. Terrible.

      • Volume12

        I should, but I can’t. They’re so terrible it entertains me.

        • DC

          That’s like advising the Twitter crowd bashers to stop looking at Twitter. Ain’t happening.

  31. Volume12

    Kentucky’s Josh Allen becomes the school’s all-time sack leader and sets another record for most sacks in a season.

    Maybe most impressive is the fact he’s only the 3rd player in the SEC since 2000 to have at least 15 tackles and 2 sacks in a game.

    He’s not just a great player. He’s a great story as well.

  32. Volume12

    Derrius Guice was pumping gas and a dude walked up to him to ask if he could spare any change. He said no because the guy was wearing a ‘Bama hoodie. Dude walked away and when Guice was finished pumping he called him back over. Handed him a $100 bill. Love hearing stories like that. I’m a firm believer that we live in a karmic universe.

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