Ogbah struggles redirect so you've gotta value end holds point to like Emmanuel. Hawks covet a Michael Bennett type https://t.co/3cND5TDJAg
— NFL_DRAFT_Bites (@NFLDraftBites) March 23, 2016
This is the second time I’ve seen someone suggest that the Seahawks want an inside-out type rusher as opposed to a pure edge or defensive tackle.
The Seahawks are minded to shut down the run with cheaper, bigger bodies in base. Then it’s time to unleash the hounds.
A player of this description is flexible enough to play a high percentage of snaps. You don’t need to take them off the field in base (they can play end) and they can move inside in nickel or nascar.
If the idea is to get bang for your buck — this type of defender makes sense. Since Bennett joined the Seahawks, it’s generally the type they’ve gone for. Even though Cassius Marsh and now Frank Clark have dropped weight — they both played a similar role in college.
That said, I doubt they’re married to the idea. If the draft provides an opportunity to add a talented defensive tackle instead so be it. This could be as much about an ideal rather than a priority.
So who’s out there?
DeForest Buckner will be long gone, Robert Nkemdiche is possibly going to fall out of the first round and might not be on Seattle’s board. Sheldon Rankins seems likely to go in the top-15.
Jonathan Bullard is one to monitor as we’ve previously discussed. He’s also one of the hardest prospects to assess in terms of draft range.
Tony Pauline is projecting him firmly in round one. Yet Bob McGinn’s anonymous scouting source had the following to say about Bullard:
“He’ll go second or third round just because of limitations on flexibility.”
He won’t fit several schemes. He’s not an ideal five-technique and yet he plays his best football off the edge working the B Gap. With the Seahawks generally using 3-4 personnel in their 4-3 scheme — that’s probably a good fit. Other teams might see him as a tweener.
“He lacks elite physical tools, but he grows on you the more tape you watch. He’s a high-motor player.”
“He lacks the girth to consistently hold up vs. angle blocks and double teams. As a pass rusher, he uses his quick feet and hands to work through edges of blockers. He lacks knock-back power as a bull rusher. Overall, Bullard doesn’t fit every defense but he can be a disruptive presence on the inside.”
“He might not be a first round pick like former Gator defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd (Vikings, ’13), Dominique Easley (Patriots, ’14), and Dante Fowler (Jaguars, ’15) but Bullard should hear his name called on Day 2.”
Opinions are clearly mixed. Tony Pauline’s first round grade probably matches up with several teams in the league — as does Bob McGinn’s source suggesting the second or third round.
How far do the teams let him fall? Is he the best option for the Seahawks to fill this need?
Pauline has Oklahoma’s Charles Tapper in round two. He also played inside and out at college and blew up the combine with a surprisingly brilliant athletic display. He was one of the few D-liners to post a 1.5 10-yard split and he ran the fastest forty (4.59) despite weighing 271lbs.
As an athletic profile, that’s outstanding. He also has 34.5 inch arms and posted a 34 inch vertical.
Athletically he might as well be wearing College Navy right now — but here’s the thing. When we all thought he was probably a 4.7 runner his tape was palatable. Now that we know he’s an athletic freak of nature you kind of want to see more. You want to see him dominating — because we know he’s so much better physically than anyone else on the field.
The Seahawks might be able to buy into his upside — but he never got close to the kind of performances Frank Clark showed at Michigan. He dominated.
Tapper never really did.
He is a three-year starter who has the length and two-gapping ability to fit as a 5-technique in a base 3-4 defense. He continues to develop as a pass rusher and came on late in the year with all seven of his sacks coming in the final six games. Tapper projects as a fringe Day 2 prospect who should add immediate depth and quickly develop into a starter along a front line.
Ronald Blair III might come into focus again. He didn’t have a great combine but he has the size (6-2, 284lbs, 34 inch arms), first step quickness and he performed well in the short shuttle (Blair III’s 4.53 beat Bullard’s 4.56). He has his supporters but round two might be a bit rich.
Sheldon Day worked inside and out for Notre Dame. His production isn’t great (four sacks in 2015) and although he’s a very active player, he didn’t spend a lot of time in the backfield. He’s also small in stature at 6-0 and 293lbs with 32.5 inch arms. He did manage a 1.69 split which is decent for his weight and he had a very nice 4.50 short shuttle. It’s hard to imagine a player of his size on Seattle’s D-line, however.
Jihad Ward likely isn’t athletic enough for Seattle, Bronson Kaufusi might be more of a pure edge and after that the options aren’t great.
So it brings up two thoughts. Do they like a guy like Bullard enough that they can’t leave the draft without him? Remember, the Seahawks identify areas to get ‘their’ guys. If Bullard gets the special ‘we have to have him’ treatment he could be their pick at #26. If he’s a guy they like but can live without because they want to go O-line first — then they’ll have to see what’s available in round two.
Getting a guy they like on the O-line and D-line (one way or another) is probably a safe projection for the Seahawks in rounds one and two.
If the top DE-DT’s are off the board, other D-liners might come into focus.
McShay had UCLA’s Kenny Clark on the board at #56. Clark had one of the better workouts at the combine — looking sharp throughout the drills.
He’s 29lbs heavier than Bullard but had a similar 10-yard split, a forty time that was only 0.13 seconds slower and there was 0.07 seconds difference in the short shuttle. They are different players but Clark’s athletic profile for his size could be appealing.
He’d provide a like-for-like replacement for Brandon Mebane in terms of style and position. He’s a classic one-technique. Adding him to Seattle’s D-line rotation could give them a nice, cheap Mebane replacement for the next few years.
Willie Henry’s technique needs work (drops his head way too much) but he also does things very few guys his size can do. In round two, he could also be an option. He’s close to Frank Clark.
We’ve noted Kaufusi — who aced the agility drills at the combine despite being 6-6 and 285lbs.
Austin Johnson plays with his hair on fire and I think the Seahawks will like that even if he isn’t an amazing athlete. They might be willing to turn a blind eye. Jordan Hill isn’t a big time athlete and Johnson plays with real intensity. Here’s McGinn’s source:
Fits multiple schemes. Late first, early second. Like him. Plays more 3-technique but he can play nose.
Maliek Collins also had a great short shuttle and is a former wrestler. Joel Heath’s athletic performance led us to wonder if he could be their next O-line convert — but could they work him into their D-line rotation as a surprise pick? Quinton Jefferson also tested well for agility. Adolphus Washington, aka the forgotten man, didn’t have a good combine on top of some character concerns late in the season but he might be the closest comparison in this class to Malik Jackson.
Chris Jones had an underwhelming combine for a player of his potential — an issue that seems to sum up his pro-prospects. Here’s what McGinn’s scout said about Jones:
He could easily be in the top 50 but he is such a dog. He’s an underachiever.
The Tweet at the top of the page insinuates the Seahawks wouldn’t be interested in Emmanuel Ogbah based on scheme fit — but athletically he’s an intriguing proposition as more of an EDGE.
It seems likely that the Seahawks will use their first two picks to address the trenches, whether it’s an O-line then D-line combo or vice versa. While adding to the offensive line might be Pete Carroll’s self-confessed priority — getting another DE-DT hybrid (and some extra depth at running back) might be next on the list.