John Schneider has pockets

And he knows how to use them

Be sure to check out Rob’s article on Jarvis Jones if you missed it yesterday.

Last year, we predicted that Seattle would go pass rusher in round one.  We predicted Seattle would go linebacker in round two.  We predicted they’d go running back in round three and quarterback in round four.  I also thought they’d add a second linebacker, as well as a corner and safety in the later picks.

Basically, we completely nailed it, other than Seattle flip-flopping rounds three and four.  While it would be fun to brag, we had some help from some sources with close contacts to the front office, and that information proved extremely accurate, even if a few of the names we were given missed the mark.  Rob even remembers being told that quarterback had possibly moved to a round three priority about a month before the draft, and if we had adjusted for that, we would have basically batted a thousand last year in regards to guessing the order in which needs were addressed.  I remembered hearing that nugget about a quarterback, but for whatever reason I forgot to adjust my projection and was genuinely surprised (in an extremely good way) when Wilson was our 3rd round pick.

This year we’ve had less insider information to go with, which of course coincides with a draft that is widely considered one of the deepest and most unpredictable groups ever.  We are cranking out two articles almost every day and I still think we’ll come up well short of naming every realistic option in the earliest rounds.  Be ready for surprises.

During a recent press conference or interview, John Schneider talked about how there were nice “pockets” of talent here and there during this draft.  We understand that running back was considered to be a round 1-3 priority last year since they liked the talent pool in that area.  It ended up being pushed back one round, but they still got a very nice talent in Robert Turbin.  They thought that pass rusher had to be a very high priority.  They liked quarterback in rounds 4-6, although that was later bumped up to round three for a specific quarterback who’s stock was rising.  I would guess that John Schneider probably had an undrafted free agent pocket for receivers, as he added three UDFA receivers that year and later talked about how he thought it was a weak receiver class.  We saw a gap in this information and concluded that linebacker would be an early priority as well, probably the second round.

So what might those pockets look like this year?  I have no scoop to give you this time, so with nothing other than a few clues and my trusty gut, here are what I think the 2013 draft pockets might look like for the Seahawks this year:


Interior Pass Rush:  Rounds 1-2.

LEO:  Rounds 1-4.

Wide Receiver:  Rounds 1-4.

Linebacker:  Rounds 2-5.

Offensive Tackle:  Rounds 3-5.

Corner:  Rounds 4-7.

Tight end:  Round 5-7.

Safety:  Rounds 5-7.


Defensive tackle:

Seattle wants to improve their pass rush, and it will be an early priority if the exasperation in Pete Carroll’s voice after the Falcon’s game is any indication.  Good pass rushing defensive tackles are some of the rarest and most valuable players in the NFL.  They are extremely hard to project during the draft process.  I think that’s underscored by guys like Geno Atkins and Henry Melton, who are among the NFL’s best but were just 4th round picks.  In a draft where defensive line talent is (in my opinion) being overshot in evaluations, finding that mid round steal will be pretty hard this year.  If you even have the physical potential to be Melton or Atkins, you are going to leave the board very early this year.  Probably as a result of Seattle’s success, teams are starting to weigh upside more heavily than risk this year.

Further, there just aren’t a ton of physically gifted defensive tackles this year.  Only two defensive tackles posted forty times under five seconds.  Jones’ time was easily the fastest this year, but it would not have been the fastest in any of the four previous drafts.*   It’s hard to be a great pass rushing 3-tech if you don’t have speed, and there aren’t a ton of them with speed this year.  If you want a fast defensive tackle, your options are basically between Datone Jones, Sheldon Richardson, and Sharrif Floyd.  Floyd will be off the board in the top five.  Richardson will probably leave the board in the top twenty.  Jones will probably leave the board in the late teens to late twenties.  If you want one of these potential difference makers, it’s starting to look like you’d need to take him in round one, if you were fortunate enough to get the chance.

*Interestingly, there are some really good defensive tackles just ahead of Datone (4.80) Jones in the speed rankings over the last 4 years:  Henry Melton (4.65), Geno Atkins (4.75), Cameron Jordan (4.74 official), Fletcher Cox (4.77).  So there is a pretty good correlation between speed and production.  Fun fact: Jaye Howard (4.83), Clinton McDonald (4.83), and Jason Jones (4.76) all ran forties at or under 4.83.   I think it’s safe to say this isn’t a coincidence.  It appears Seattle is aware that speed kills at defensive tackle.

The Seahawks could wait for round two, but I don’t think they’d pass on Richardson or Datone Jones if they were available, not unless Werner or Jarvis Jones fell, and the reasons that caused that fall didn’t apply to the Seahawks.  I am reasonably sure that Seattle would take Datone Jones over more “touted” outside rushers like Barkevious Mingo.  Seattle can get a backup LEO later, but if they want a difference making interior pass rusher, it has to be very early.

In the event that none of those three defensive tackles make it, Seattle might possibly trade down or consider the best remaining option in round two if they don’t like Kawann Short enough to take him this early.  Candidates in round two include Brandon Williams, Sylvester Williams, and (if I had my druthers) John Simon.  I have a really hard time envisioning a draft where Seattle does not select a defensive tackle in the first two rounds, barring an unexpectedly fruitful free agency (such as signing Desmond Bryant while also retaining Jason Jones).


Last year I watched Bruce Irvin with a focused eye every week, and when he was rarely put in true three down situations (i.e. not against a two-minute offense), the near automatic result was that Irvin vanished.  Irvin is a special athlete who creates pressure mostly from a blistering edge rush, but since his repertoire is so limited he has to commit fully to that one tactic and to beat NFL tackles.  With such a one dimensional attack Irvin has had no choice but to sell out as a pass rusher to achieve results.

Irvin has the speed to be a LEO, but not the technique, not the size, and maybe not the strength.  Irvin showed some good strength in college as a bullrusher, but after last season that strength did not appear to translate in the NFL.  Because Irvin is undersized and underpowered, he must sell out to stop the run.  Part of what makes Chris Clemons so great is that he can seamlessly play both the run and the pass on every play, doing an outstanding job in both areas.  Compare that to Irvin, who has to sell out as a pass rusher to get sacks, and has to sell out as a run stopper to not get killed as a run stopper.  Bruce Irvin did look like an ideal LEO in college, but in 2012 he did not.

I’m not ruling out the possibility of Irvin developing.  After all, Chris Clemons himself entered the NFL as a 236 pound linebacker, and had a reputation as a poor run defender for many years before arriving in Seattle.  It took a long time, but he turned into a terrific all around defensive end.  Irvin is much more gifted physically than Clemons, a 2003 UDFA, was.  As one of Irvin’s very biggest fans before the 2012 draft, I won’t be the guy to put limits on his potential.

Regardless, that day when Irvin becomes a complete player is not assured, and if/when it does happen, it’s not likely to be in time for the 2013 opener.  With Clemons turning 32 next season and coming off an ACL, Seattle can’t afford to risk being in position to force Irvin into a role he’s not ready for. When Pete talked about needing pass rushers in the plural, I’m sure it was for this exact reason.  We need depth, and preferably an improved future at pass rushing end.

With the rest of the league playing copycat and looking for the next Bruce Irvin type, Seattle probably won’t be able to wait long if they want a quality option at LEO.  If they rate Werner as being athletic enough, or if they rate Jarvis Jones as healthy enough, they might strongly consider either at #25 if a dramatic draft fall occurs for either one.  Barkevious Mingo will probably not reach Seattle’s pick, but he could be considered as well.

I think a more likely scenario is that Seattle goes for a defensive tackle like Richardson, Jones, or Short in round one, and then hope to get Corey Lemonier in round two.  If Lemonier is gone at #58, Seattle might consider a few other options in the rounds 2-4 range.

While Alex Okafor seems far too slow to be a classic LEO, he is a complete defensive end with good run defense, good size, and an excellent pass rush repertoire (as well as good college production).  Given that even a young, 236 pound Clemons didn’t have blistering speed, I would guess that last year’s Chris Clemons probably wouldn’t beat Okafor in a footrace by much.  So in a situation where the best fast options are all gone, Okafor could come into play if he’s there in round two.  I would keep an eye on Armonty Bryant as a 3rd or 4th round option as well.  Like Okafor, he doesn’t have LEO speed, but has other dominant traits that more than compensate. Brandon Jenkins opted not to run at the combine, and he looks like he’s a decent but not great 4.7 on tape (my estimate).  He had a rough combine in drills, although I think his tape is pretty good- he’s definitely a natural LEO in terms of how he plays the position.  Cornelius Carradine might be an option in this range as well.

If Seattle is adamant about drafting for speed at LEO, Margus Hunt, Ty Powell, Devin Taylor, Cornelius Washington and Trevardo Williams bring excellent athleticism but are completely undeveloped.  And in the case of Williams, I think he’s probably a 4-3 linebacker anyway.  Devin Taylor posted a so-so 4.72 forty time, but I’m intrigued with his 1.59 ten yard split and he had a very strong combine overall.

Wide Receiver:

Seattle needs depth at receiver and is hoping for an upgrade as well.  Seattle likes fast receivers with quick feet that can gain yards after the catch.  They will probably prefer a receiver with deep ball skills, so either one that is fast and tall or one that is fast and can jump high.  I think they will rate Cordarrelle Patterson very highly, and if he’s there Seattle will have an interesting decision to make.  Keenan Allen and Tavon Austin could be worth monitoring in round one as well.  More likely, Seattle will keep tabs on options during the 2nd and 3rd rounds.  In an extreme case, I could see Seattle waiting until the 4th round, as this receiver class is incredibly deep.

I expect Seattle will look to add a second receiver in the very late rounds or in UDFA.  This group of receivers is too good to walk out with just one.


It’s a very thin linebacker class this year, and Pete’s tone of contentment in a recent interview when discussing his “USC backup crew” (Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford, Mike Morgan) makes me think he’s not too panicked about the position.  Rather than talking about upgrading at weakside linebacker, Pete instead talked about finding “competition” for them.  Basically, a peer among a group that includes just one player drafted as a linebacker:  Malcolm Smith in the 7th round.  Smith posted a 4.44 forty, Morgan a 4.46, and Bradford a 4.56.  All would be among the very fastest among the linebackers this year.  Practice squad player Korey Toomer clocked a 4.53 himself.

Alec Ogletree did not run the fastest forty, but is a gifted athlete.  Arthur Brown drew rave reviews from Carroll coming out of high school, and is a sideline to sideline speedster.  Khaseem Greene has average speed but has a great nose for the ball.  You can see some players that might rate highly early, but I just think other needs will likely trump linebacker.  I think it could be an emergency option in the event where the draft board at pass rusher and receiver do not fall kindly for Seattle, but my guess is that Seattle probably looks at linebacker in the middle rounds.  Zaviar Gooden probably makes the most sense of all the fast linebackers available.

Offensive Tackle:

Seattle’s interest in Jordan Mills confirms that they are looking into offensive tackle.  Mills is considered to be a mid-round prospect, although the report mentioned that Seattle might select Mills “earlier than you might think.”  We’ll see.  Unless Seattle absolutely loves freak athlete Menelik Watson, I can’t really see them drafting a tackle in round one or two.

Breno Giacomini was a penalty machine in the first half of last season, but down the stretch he seemed to get his act together.  A polarizing player, Giacomini could be our worst lineman one week and our best lineman the next.  I do not think Seattle is unhappy with Giacomini, but they might want to improve our depth situation at tackle.  Frank Omiyale is a free agent, and Paul McQuistan is a free agent in 2014.  Giacomini himself is in a contract year.  So being proactive with the tackle situation in the 2013 draft makes sense.


Seattle has drafted a corner every year since Pete took over, but never did they spend higher than a 4th round pick on one.  In a year where as many as twenty corners are expected to go in the first 100 picks, we might see Seattle snag a corner a little earlier than we’re used to as a reaction to the behavior of the market.  There are a very high number of fast corners with decent size this year.

Tight end:

Seattle got very good production out of Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy on a per-target basis last year.  Miller may not be cheap, but he proved late in the season- especially in the postseason- how indispensable he is.    While I really like Zach Ertz and think that Tyler Eifert is a perfect fit for Seattle, I just can’t see Seattle taking tight end in the early rounds with several other areas being much bigger areas for upgrade.  I expect Seattle to look for a mid to late round value addition such as Travis Kelce or perhaps tweener Chris Gragg.  The futures contract given to Darren Fells yesterday might also hint at the kind of investment at tight end Seattle is targeting for a 3rd option.


The Winston Guy pick didn’t work out quite as hoped in 2012, and while I highly doubt they will give up on him just like that, Seattle could certainly look to add competition to the “big nickle” safety role currently held down by Jeron Johnson.  Chris Maragos (a free agent) has provided the speedy safety depth needed for Earl Thomas the last couple years.  Will Seattle bring Maragos back or seek an upgrade?


Free agency could modify priorities, but I’m not really expecting that.  Seattle wants to build through the draft.  I think we’ll see a few complimentary signings.  With Melton, Starks, and Johnson all being franchised, and talk that Cliff Avril will get megabucks, I don’t really see a likely scenario where the Seahawks draft plans change all that much based on free agency.  That said, I’d love to see them be active at defensive tackle.  I’d really hate to see us lose both Jones and Branch.  Branch was a great contributor in 2011 and Jones was definitely helping before he got injured.

I don’t know if this is what John Schneider’s draft pockets actually look like, but hopefully I’m at least close.  Last year was a lot of fun in large part because we felt prepared for what Seattle was going to do.  It’s much more fun and interesting when the Seahawks draft players we actually know something about.


  1. Byrd Flew

    Great assessment, Kip. One question: do you think the Hawks pick up a QB this year (either through the draft or UFA)? If Flynn is not gone this year, he certainly will be gone before next year’s draft. Given that, I would think it wise for the Hawks to spend some capital (again, draft or money for UFA) on getting a likely 3rd stringer this year (maybe backup if another team gets desperate for Flynn) and possible backup in 2014.

    Are there any QB’s out there available in Round 5 – UFA that would fit our scheme and that might work in the same style of offense that RW3 runs? Any possible developmental projects?

    • Aaron

      I’ve seen Matt Scott’s name thrown around. He could be one to watch for those very reasons. Also, Ryan Aplin.

      • Rob Staton

        I like Sean Renfree personally.

        • Kenny Sloth

          He has pretty small hands.. and isn’t very efficient. I’ll watch some more tape, but for now, it’s a no from me. I haven’t heard your thoughts on Ryan Aplin. Also, have you watched any Stansly Maponga from TCU?

      • Madmark

        I been looking at Colby Cameron, QB Louisiania Tech in the 6th round.

    • Phil

      Here’s a real wild card pick. The Williamsburg VA Daily Press reports, “Ricky Dobbs, a former quarterback for the Navy Midshipmen, scored four touchdowns in his debut Saturday with the Virginia Cyclones in Midlothian. Dobbs ran 6 times for 73 yds. and 2 TDs and passed for 243 yds. and 2 TDs. The 2010 Naval Academy graduate is now serving as an officer in the Navy.” Turns out the Cyclones are a semi-pro team.

      For those of you who are saying “Who?”, Dobbs broke Tim Tebow’s record for the most rushing TDs for a QB while he was at Navy. As a past “resident” in Annapolis, I try to get to a Navy game every year and many times I’ve watched the Navy teams get pushed around by other teams who can recruit better talent. But, with Dobbs at QB, Navy beat Notre Dame three straight years.

      I don’t have the time to fully develop an argument for him, but here’s a video of his second start at Navy, where he led a comeback that almost beat Ohio State.
      You can see that he’s got a strong arm. He was actually a passing QB is High School and almost decided against the USNA because he didn’t want to run the triple option.

      He’s got a great personal story. You will read that he came from a home with an absentee father and a drug-addicted mother. He has 2 aspirations in life: (1) play in the NFL, and (2) be president.

      Graduates of the USNA have to fulfill a 6-year military obligation. My understanding of the current rules are that the first 2 years have to be on active duty. The remaining years can be in the reserves.

      Anyway, if JS can sign a basketball player with no college football history, why not a Navy QB? He could certainly run the same offense as RW.

      • Byrd Flew

        Ohhh….that is interesting. You would have some serious leadership qualities at QB, wouldn’t have to spend much, and Dobbs looks athletic enough that he could certainly run the read option as a back-up.

        Nice find!

      • Sam Jaffe

        Any clue as to his measurables? Height, weight, 40 time and hand size would be valuable.

        • Belgaron

          Rotoworld has him at 6’1″ 190

        • Belgaron

          And has him at 5’11” 215 with estimated 40 of 4.73.

      • D

        Very Seahawkesque pick.

        Heh, I love that I can type that without Amy cynism.

        • D

          Very Seahawkesque pick.

          Heh, I love that I can type that without any cynism.

    • Troy

      I kinda like Nick Florence in RD 6-7

      • Rob Staton

        He’s retired from football to pursue a different career.

        • Kenny Sloth

          I like him even more, now.

          • Kenny Sloth


    • Kip Earlywine

      I’ve been looking and looking for point guard types and they are so rare this year after being so abundant in 2012. I like Matt Scott, but even he wasn’t one, I just think he has the abilities to be one.

      I don’t expect Seattle to spend a draft pick on a QB if he’s not mobile. Nobody saw Josh Portis coming, maybe there is a guy out there from a JUCO that they think is worth a shot. Might be in UDFA though.

      • Leonard

        Have you looked into BJ Daniels from South Florida at all. He just had his pro day and ran very well considering he is 3-4 months into broken ankle rehab. On tape he looks like 4.55 with very good agility. He is just a little bigger than Russell Wilson and seems to show very good leadership. He says he wants a shot at QB first but happily did WR and DB drills at the request of a few scouts. Even joked he would be open to long snapping. I haven’t found any reports on how he did throwing the ball though. He was a four year starter but was a bit under 60% completion rate. I haven’t seen enough tape to judge arms strength or accuracy. Aside from his arm he seems like a great fit for Seattle. I just don’t know enough about his arm to make a better judgement than that.

  2. xo 1

    Kip: Very interesting read and, I’d guess, generally on target – if not the bull’s eye of last year. Regarding tackle, I agree the team seems likely to target a developmental guy but I wonder about plucking Mills higher than you might think. Of course, I don’t know what the speaker thinks might have been thought, but to my knowledge Mills has never played left tackle and I don’t see the skill set to expect it. Obviously if he is a fifth round guy, you can’t complain that he has limitations but with limited roster spots and no real back up left tackle, I wonder if the Hawks can spare the roster spot to draft and develop a right tackle.

    By the way, the more I read about Okafor, the more I like him as a second round pick. He is a terrific football player with good size. He isn’t a traditional super fast LEO, but I can see him being a three-down guy in a way that Irvin may never be. In fact, if Quinn rethinks the DL a bit, I could see him eventually sliding into Red Bryant’s spot as a more traditional 4-3 DE.

    • bhamballer

      I love Okafor and I think he would fit great as competition for Bryant and Irvin. Even a possible Clemons replacement.
      Then I read this article and really wanted him.

      • Kip Earlywine

        I don’t know how Seattle would rate Okafor, but I am a fan of his.

        Loved that link. I’ll bookmark that and reference it if I get around to an Okafor article.

      • Lou Thompson

        I originally liked Okafor a lot, too and if we had an upgrade need at the SS5tech, let’s go. However with that being manned by Big Red and substituted for by Irvin, Okafor doesn’t work. If he had that quick first step and fast twitch off the ball, I’d be all over that selection to.

        However, when you look at tape, he’s solid, but not as spectacular as you’d want to believe and can’t see him being that dynamic LEO. That’s my opinion but if you want to judge for yourself, go watch his 4 sack performance against the Beavers. Yes, how can I downgrade a 4 sack performance? Crazy, huh? Go search it out and let evaluate with your eyes. Enjoy

  3. Hawksince77

    Speaking of WRs, what do you think about Sinkfield?

    • Kenny Sloth

      Poor coverage on him the whole time. He didn’t attack the ball. He runs haphazardly, like Anthony McCoy. Catches with his forearms. Looks small and skinny.

  4. rrrhawkout

    How long did it take to compile the slideshow of Schneider with hands in his pockets? Quite entertaining how many you found.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Not that long. For a short while every other picture of him was with his hands in his pockets. There were a couple I didn’t use too because of resolution.

  5. Sam Jaffe

    What makes you think Trevardo Williams is an OLB? He played a role similar to LEO at UCONN and has the nearly perfect measurables (fast, long, wingspan–although he could stand to add ten pounds) for the position. In addition he has something that a lot of LEO wannabes’ don’t: production. He had 10 plus sacks last year. As an OLB candidate, there’s no evidence that he’s good in coverage or has the proactive instincts that are needed for that position.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Irvin had elite production too.

      Trevardo is smaller than Irvin. Slower than Irvin. Didn’t pop off the tape like Irvin. Really he isn’t close to Irvin physically.

      He had very good production. But he’s a smaller figure and there is no reason to expect he’ll carry 10+ pounds effectively. I like him as a prospect but I see him at OLB too, probably in a 3-4. He does show a natural skill for getting after the QB and you definitely see that. It’s just not a given that he can grow into the role.

      I would expect a team to draft him to fill an OLB role before he’d make sense to draft as a developmental end.

  6. Belgaron

    I note the absence of a late round QB. I think if they sign a veteran who has been cut for salary reasons during free agency that opens them up to have more flexibility in trading Flynn for the right offer (as opposed to now when they have no backups on the roster) it could affect the possibility I guess. Either way, I’m curious to know if they have QB and PK on the board at all. I would hope they never draft a DS.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Bah, I knew I was forgetting something.

      QB will probably be rounds 5-7, although there are so few point guard types this year that Seattle might have to address the position outside of the draft.

      • Madmark

        No point guard but we did get a power forward in FA.

  7. Kenny Sloth

    I would resign Jones.
    Draft Sylvester Williams in the first, that way you have comparable size to Alan Branch with more pass rush ability.
    Take a Will in the second, as it appears that the top prospects at the position will fall greatly after pretty mediocre combines. Hoping for Greene in the second.
    WR in the third. Maybe Swope. I like his ability to ad lib.
    Fourth, I’d like Trevardo Williams LB UCONN as a Leo prospect, because all we need is depth and he has the speed and length to play the position.
    Fifth I’d like to see Chris Gragg TE Arkansas, but he probably won’t be available. He looks explosive, shifty, strong, and has decent hands. Great Joker prospect in my opinion. Wouldn’t mind if he was ours in the fourth round.
    Sixth I’d like Shamarko Thomas S, Syracuse. Not sure where exactly he’s going to fall, but I’d hate to leave this draft without him. Boy looks like a cruise missile on the field. Could see some time in the big nickle. He could, potentially, take up both Winston Guy’s and Chris Maragos’ spot as FS depth for ET and the Nickle/Dime safety. I’d love to see those Amoeba/Bandit packages come back, too.

    Seventh Round is a toss-up, usually, but I’d hate to leave this draft without Walter Stewart and Ryan Aplin. Essentially I’d hate to leave this draft without any of these players.

    Stewart DE Cincinatti looks long, explosive, crafty, and powerful on tape, but has spinal stenosis which has pretty much taken him off of most draft boards. If he’s there in the seventh or as an UDFA, take him.

    Ryan Aplin (QB) played for Arkansas State and was extremely efficient last year. He has good size and is fast, but looks to throw first and when he escapes the pocket he travels the line of scrimmage with the ball up, ready to throw. When nothing’s there, he takes off, and boy does he take off. Seems just as fast as Russell. In fact, his game reminds me of Wilson’s.

    • Kenny Sloth

      I could see us moving down and still get Williams in the top of the second. I could see the 9ers trying to take him, though.

    • Kenny Sloth

      OH! We have another seventh rounder. Maybe take a corner, there? I like our depth, honestly and don’t see it as much of a need as other’s, but Pete will probably fall in love with one in this draft class of size and speed. Maybe OT. Same thing, but change Pete to Tom. And change size and speed to tenacity.

    • Kenny Sloth

      I actually wouldn’t be too upset if we didn’t get Williams. But he’d be nice depth, I suppose.

    • Belgaron

      Latest on Swope is that he suffered multiple concussions in college.

      • peter

        I see this statement about Trevardo Williams a lot “he a the ideal size/length/what not to play LEO.” I’m not following the logic. I’m not saying he wouldn’t be great…maybe? But if you take Pete Carrol at his word that Irvin is the “ideal LEO,” then Williams measuring in at 2 inches shorter, 1.5 inch arms shorter, not as fast, then I’m not seeing how old Trevardo fits the mold.

      • Kip Earlywine

        I’m still taking him. I don’t think those concussions caused him to miss any time. I think he had a few gameday decisions. So were probably not talking the more serious variety.

    • Byrd Flew

      I’d like to see John Simon instead of Trevardo Williams. However, I am not sure he would fall to us in the 4th.

    • Eric

      My understanding regarding Stewart’s condition is that it’s far more serious than Jones’ stenosis. I’m no expert, but Jones’ stenosis is described as a mild narrowing of the C4-C6 vertebrae. The concern is that these vertebrae are close enough to the spinal cord, that if subjected to sufficient forces, they could impinge on the cord (or worse). However, despite the narrowing, his vertebrae are completely intact and provide the full measure of spinal cord protection.

      By contrast, Stewart has a true defect. He does not have a narrowing of the spinal cord (stenosis); rather, he’s actually missing a crucial structure in one of his vertebrae – the posterior arch of his C1 vertebra. The concern with this is that the defective vertebra cannot provide a sufficient level of structural support, resulting in an essentially unprotected cord at that location. Moreover, Stewart’s defect is at the C1 vertebra, the highest in the column, which could lead to a higher level of paralysis (or even instant death).

      Which brings me to the topic of Jarvis Jones. This part of my post probably belongs in the discussion of Rob’s excellent article on Jones yesterday, but I’ll include it here.

      I’m a big believer in personal liberty. My body, my life, MY decision. Give me the facts, explain the potential consequences, and then get the hell out of my way so I can determine what is right for ME. Nobody else can (or should) make that decision; it’s mine, and mine alone. Or in this case, Jones’.

      Having said that, it is difficult to ignore the fact that USC refused to clear Jones to play. Obviously, they had legit concerns regarding his safety. But at the same time, it’s equally difficult to ignore that, post-USC, Jones went on to play successfully for a team that, by most measures, competes in a more physical, NFL-style division (no offense to the PAC-12, but it’s not the SEC). Not only that, but Jones went on to be the best defender on a defense chock full of very talented players. Accordingly, it’s not a stretch to claim that USC’s concerns were overblown.

      From a purely football-centric perspective, Jones is a tremendous defensive prospect, perhaps the best in this draft. Any team, including the Hawks, would do well to have such a player. From a purely ethical perspective, I say it’s his life and it’s his decision. Who are we (anybody other than him) to deny his dreams and aspirations?

      A final thought: my reasoning regarding Jones does NOT apply to Stewart. Stewart’s situation is dire in the extreme. His condition is far more dangerous.

      • Hawksince77

        Concerning Jones, would the NFL team that draft and plays him be subject to liability if he is subsequently injured, and the injury directly related to his condition?

        I’m no lawyer, but I think he (or his estate) might have a case. Perhaps against the NFL. If so, I am not sure a team should take that on. If Jones could sign some kind of document waiving any rights for such a claim, perhaps that would be enough, I don’t know.

        From an ethical stand-point, I agree: it should be Jones’ decision. Just not sure if that’s how the law sees it.

        • Eric

          Hawk, I am a lawyer (though I don’t practice anymore). Also, assumption of risk was never my area of expertise, so my advice on this particular subject is somewhat akin to having someone like Dan Quinn evaluate prospective WRs in this draft.

          Nonetheless, allow me to state a reasonably informed answer to your question:

          There is a specific field of law commonly known as “assumption of risk” which basically says that some activities are so inherently dangerous the participant assumes ALL risk for participating. A perfect example is snow skiing. If you’ve ever bought a lift ticket, I guarantee the backside of it contains boilerplate language that says (in much greater length) “USE AT YOUR OWN RISK”. This makes pretty good sense: skiing can be dangerous, and if you’re injured because you hit a tree or another skier, it’s NOT because the lift owner/operator did (or didn’t) do something they should (or shouldn’t) have, and so they shouldn’t be held liable. Obviously, this wouldn’t apply if the injury resulted from some problem with the lift equipment. Nor would it apply if the injury resulted from some hazard that the owner/operator either knew, or SHOULD have known about (but that’s a whole other issue).

          I am certain that, among its seemingly endless provisions, the NFL CBA contains numerous (and no doubt repetitive) waivers for liability in cases of injury/death. However, as we’re starting to see happen with concussions/head injuries, boilerplate liability waivers are NOT an impediment to legal action. In fact, even specific waivers don’t necessarily provide legal protection. In this instance, the deciding factor would likely be, what did the NFL actually know about head injuries, and equally importantly, what SHOULD the NFL have known about head injuries.

          It’s easy enough to extrapolate this to Jones’ situation, but nearly impossible to determine the answers (even whole juries – 12 minds working together – would struggle mightily). I can’t even begin to go into why it’s so difficult in this post – I’d probably need to write an article for a legal publication (or even an entire book).

          In the end, suffice it to say that if the Hawks draft Jones, and he were to suffer a career-ending injury (or worse, a life-ending one), I’m fairly certain that he (or his estate) COULD bring an action against the NFL (and by “could” I don’t mean simply filing a law suit. I mean that, upon filing the claim, a judge would agree that enough questions of law and fact exist to warrant a trial on the merits). I’m also fairly certain that, in this scenario, the Hawks would also be named in the suit.

          Whether or not such a suit would be successful, I have no idea. But even if it were, there would NOT be personal liability on the part of PC, JS or Paul Allen. If there were liability, it would be at the institutional level.

          Hope this helps.

          • Hawksince77

            Thanks, that’s a great response. Very helpful.

      • Kenny Sloth

        I knew it was more severe, but had not done the research. I suppose he goes undrafted now. Poor guy.

  8. Eran Ungar

    Great work kip.

    I really do hope we can get some DL help on FA, DT or DE. It will ease the need to dedicate the 2 first picks to rebuild it.

    I see the need for better pass protection on the right side of the OL to be a serious one. Breno at his best is great for the run game but a poor QB protector and Sweezy to the rescue doesn’t help. Must protect the lil guy.

    Rice and Miller did great but they both carry heavy contracts. We may not want to keep both when the rookies will come to get paid. Having a possible future replacement should count when scouting for TE and WR. I think Kelce can block as well as Miller so he is a better choice then a lighter joker TE. I went to watch the tapes on Swops and fell in love. He is Fast, he has great hands, he plays very smart, he is tall etc. etc. but what made me fall in love was his blocking. He is there, blocking linebacker in the box, corners and safeties. He plays till the whistle is blown with or without the ball. We need this guy.

    I know the LEO is all about speed and yet Clem is not that fast and boy is he good. We already have the fastest LEO in the business and we can’t play him 2 out of 3 downs. We play SF and the Rams 4 games every year…they will make minced meat out of Irvine in running plays. I say that whenever we do draft a DE this year – get the best player not the fastest(yes Okafor). By April they should have some idea regarding Clem’s recovery. If he looks to be available early – get a Margus Hunt. In a year this guy will be a terror. He could play DE or DT and he is from Estonia so he wont feel the cold comes February in N.Y.

    • AlaskaHawk

      My take on the LEO position is that the most important things are toughness and tenacity. When you line a guy up that is 50-75 pounds lighter than a tackle, and expect him to go around that tackle and hurry the QB, you need a guy with a fighters mentality. He is going to be punched, pushed, held and will only get through a fraction of his attempts. But he still has to go out and give 110% every play. He has to be willing to keep pushing and struggling.

      The best pass rushers may get pushed entirely past the QB, and loop back for another shot. Of course they also develop a few moves to help them out.

      So where do you find a tough guy that won’t give up, even when faced with opponents much larger than him? Wrestlers would be a good start. They are used to feeling pain and fighting even harder.

      The more I look at this LEO position the more I think we are in trouble if other teams want to imitate our defense. The LEO position is not sustainable league wide. There are only a handful of guys with the speed and toughness to fill the position. I can’t see this as ever being a common position to teams. It is more a feature if you have the right personnel and they are uninjured.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I like Breno and I think Seattle does too, but our backup T (Omiyale) is a free agent, and both Giacomini and McQuistan are free agents after next season. So I could see this as a proactive move in case they don’t sign any of those guys back.

  9. Kid Danger

    Do you guys feel that Clemons will return from this injury? My gut is telling me that Clemons will not make it back. I hope I’m wrong. Go Hawks!

    • Rob Staton

      Hard to say at this stage.

  10. Michael Terry

    So there are only 3 DTs that ran under 4.8. But, I feel like the 10 yard split would be even better correlated. Who are the top 3 DTs this year in 10 yard split? The same?

    • Eric

      Top 10 in descending order (slowest to fastest):

      10. Akeem Spence…….1.67
      9. Datone Jones…………1.63
      8. Margus Hunt………….1.62
      7. Trevardo Williams….1.61
      5. Barkevious Mingo…..1.60
      5. Devin Taylor…………1.60
      4. Ty Powell……………..1.59
      3. Corey Lemonier……..1.58
      2. Dion Jordan……………1.57
      1. Ziggy Ansah………….1.56

      Shariff Floyd…………….1.73
      Sylvester Williams……1.73
      Sheldon Richardson…..1.77

      • peter

        I like that a 307 pound Spence is just a hair slower then Mingo, Jordan, and Williams all of whom he has 50 plus pounds on! Amazing. It’s pretty cool to take a look a splits and see where the speeds match up in the more realistic short area distance of football as opposed to lining up all the DT’s and seeing how they sprint in case you want to put say Sly Williams on kick off duties in a pinch.

        • Eric

          I wasn’t aware of Spence before the Combine, but his performance in the agility drills impressed me so much that I looked at his game film. After watching his film, I was impressed enough with his run stop that I started plugging him here on SDB. I think I even posted links to his film in one of my posts.

          Despite his relative quickness for a 300lb-er, he’s not a pass rushing DT. In fact, that’s the worst part of his game. He is, however, a run stuffing machine. He plays low, with an anchor that can hold the LOS against his blocker(s) while the play develops, and he’s strong enough to shed those blocks and make the play.

          I think he’s worth our R5 pick.

      • Kip Earlywine

        Datone Jones had a 1.63 split. He’s special quick.

  11. Sawker_Dawg

    I think Kip was loose with his rounds mainly because there is uncertainty who might drop to them and possibly switch up priorities. For example like he stated, what if WR Patterson is there for them in the 1st, do they pass on him because he is not a 3 tech or take him because he is so much of an improvement over what they have based on rating against their own players?

    I agree with your assessment with the exception of the WR and OLB possibly switching round projections. I’m sure with all the info we will get before the draft, Kip will be able to provide a very tightened up projection (one round range instead of two).

  12. Madmark

    I”m down to pick 1, 3, 5, 7 defense and 2, 4, 6, other 7 for offense other for trade up or down if i need could use at least to move a couple picks if i need to like maybe in the second round. I want Ryan Swpoe in the 2nd but might have to jump ahead of miami to get him. Swap the 2 with other and 2nd and throw in 1 or 2 7th rounders to do it if i have to. Swope as a Seahawk makes since the name just fits Seahawks better than a dolphin.

    • peter

      I like Swope as well, but that seems like a lot of draft capital to move ahead of Miami for a WR.

  13. Geoff

    Stumbled across this article

    Not sure how accurate these stats are, but it makes me very interested in Alex Okafor. Fastest to the quarterback, no coverage sacks, good variety on how he got his sacks, and played against tough opponents. At 265, I wonder if he could be slimmed down to play the LEO? Although considering most athletes increase their weight in the NFL, that might be a tall order.

    • Geoff

      Also, is it a weird that he lined up against the right tackle in college? How does that effect his evaluation?

      • Kip Earlywine

        Depends. If he was playing a 5-tech role, then sure. But if he was in a LEO type role, then probably not.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Agreed, on Lemonier. I do like Okafor though. I have a thing for polished pass rushers.

  14. Bishop

    Jordan Mills, I was talking about him earlier this morning and then I stumble over here and there’s links of him to Seattle. I was saying that he’s a fourth round grade, but I would take him in round three. I like his technique and he’s a brute as well. He’s definitely an upgrade at the position and would definitely push Breno in training camp for the starting job.

    Wide receiver, I’m reading up a lot on Seattle taking one in round two. Justin Hunter seems to be the name linked to the team, but I’m thinking go as far back as round four to fill the position. Even though he has an attitude problem, I would like Seattle to take the big wide receiver from Virginia Tech: Marcus Davis. If they want to roll the dice for round two, Aaron Dobson or Da’Rick Rogers. Both have the required size for the split end and then you can play with Tate/Baldwin for big mismatches in coverage.

    I wonder if they will give a look at John Boyett from Oregon. It wouldn’t be the first time PC/JS go after a former Duck coming off an injury either. There’s your speedy and good size FS to back up Earl Thomas. He can be a late round guy and could be a pretty good value pick.

  15. Aaron

    So how about putting your money where your mouth is Lou? If you’ve been nailing actual drafted players at an alarming rate I’d really like to hear your predictions for this year’s draft…

  16. Kip Earlywine

    That’s a good list. The reason I have a wider range is because of the unknown. For example, what if they rate Menelik Watson and Tyler Eifert really high and both are there at #58? Might Seattle feel they are too good to pass on? Same thing with Patterson in round 1. Last year, Seattle was dead set on pass rush, but would have strongly considered Kuechly or Barron at #12 if Irvin hadn’t been there. That was by Schneider’s own admission after the draft.

    I also think you will see some good value at LEO in rounds 3 and 4. Lemonier probably won’t last that long, but there are other good gets that could be available in that range. It’s not a small pocket, so it has a wider window, similar to RB last year. DT is a smaller pocket because the available good options are so thin.

    I don’t think you were a schmuck for nailing the last four. I got Okung right and and I got pass rusher right in 2012, so I have half your batting average.

  17. A. Simmons

    Rather than argue, I’m going to state the problem I saw with Irvin. I did not see a strength deficiency as stated in this article. Physically, Irvin is very capable of playing the Leo. The term “selling out” is what you always do each play. Clemons “sells out” against the run or pass depending on what the play call is. It is what is expected of any player. There is no way to play both the run and the pass at the same time. If you are doing that, you have made a mistake in how you read the play meaning you aren’t reacting or correctly carrying out your assignment.

    This is where Irvin is weak. Irvin’s recogniction of run/pass is usually late by half a second. Whereas Clemons reads the play and carries out his assignment with little to no hesitation. This gives him the half second or so Irvin loses to set up for run or pass and make a play. Whereas Irvin is often trying to read the flow of the play. When a run play is coming his way, he loses sight of the ball carrier and engages his blocker as though he is trying to not make a mistake rather than looking to make a play. That is a big disadvantagein the NFL.

    Only two areas Irvin needs to improve on is play recognition and technique, then he can play Leo. Once he can immediately read run/pass and set up prior to the snap for either, he’ll be a nightmare. As long as he is watching the snap, trying to read the stance of his blocker, listen to the QBs cadence, and process all that information, he’s going to appear a bit lost. That will prevent him from being a highly effective starting Leo.

    Technique wise, he needs a move or two beyond the speed rush or bull rush. And he needs to improve his hand fighting as that first punch often slows him down. If he does get into the tackle, he drives them back. If he gets a clear lane, he is there. One thing I do like about Irvin is when he does get that QB, he wraps and brings down. No trying to make a big hit and glancing off the QB. He wants that QB down. Those long arms and strong hands make sure it gets done.

    I believe he’ll be the every down Leo by next year. I can’t help but think he will diligently work at his recognition skills, hand fighting, and technique. He seems motivated to succeed.

    • Turp

      Great post Simmons. Hard to disagree with any of that after watching Irvin last season. His worst plays were run plays that started with poor recognition on his part and followed with a hand punch he couldn’t get away from.

    • Barry

      I agree good post Simmons. As far as physical ability, there is nothing wrong with Irvin. He needs to see the play faster then he is. Hopefully he is/did put in some film time this off-season and worked on his recognition.

  18. Barry

    Thoughts at pick #25 –
    Other then the fact he is white Justin Smith coming from Missouri was about 10 lbs lighter then Datone Jones and about 5lbs heaver then Werner reminds me both of each a bit. The former fourth overall pick was touted as more of just a pass rusher and many worried that due to his slight lower body build he wouldn’t be able to add the extra weight and because a more rounded DE in the pros.

    Jones already has the thicker lower body and I think if he were going to add more weight it would be mid-section, and the way he is build it shouldn’t take much or slow him down much. Rob has said he likes Werner heavier and I agree. While Jones and Werner’s builds are not very similar they are both ripped dudes who could add weight and possibly move into a 3-tech position on more then just passing downs. Only thing that really worries me on both is they have short arms, Jones is listed at 6’4 and only has 32 in arms, and Werner’s not much better but at a inch shorter he has 33 in arms.

  19. Barry

    This Draft is amazingly deep. A player I want more info on and am trying to find film on is Lavar Edwards from LSU. I was watching the two LSU rush-ends, MIngo and Montgomery trying to warm up to them more after so so production this year and kept seeing this guy in great/relentless pursuit. Checked his numbers at the combine and he looks like a player.

  20. A. Simmons

    I don’t see a Justin Smith in this year’s draft. The guy is an animal. Sheldon Richardson might have a motor equal to Smith, but I don’t see Smith’s strength. Smith is one of the strongest lineman in the league on either side of the ball. He plays with an intensity you rarely see in a man his size. Going to be a huge loss for Frisco when Smith leaves, a hard to replace huge loss.

    • Barry

      I agree, and he’s always played that way. In fact he was compared to Junior Seau coming out of MizzU because of his intensity. But the point was that He wasn’t a large guy coming out. He was rush-end/LB size and build himself into the large monster we know today.

      Smith is a reason why I say you can look at a smaller guy with room to grow and if he has the intensity and work ethic to get stronger and bigger what is his value?

      The guy I would say with out a doubt could be the same player is Margus Hunt. Jones and Werner just have similar traits such as hard workers with ability to add weight.

  21. Eran Ungar

    Your range is very small. In case you haven’t noticed here is what you outline :

    rounds 1-2 – LEO & 3 Tech.
    round 3 – WR. (can’t be 2nd due to Leo and 3 Tech)
    round 4 – OLB.(the only option you gave for the 4th)
    round 5 – RT and 2nd WR.(The only options left for the 2 picks in the 5th.)
    rounds 6-7 – CB & S. (we have 2 more picks in the 7th.)

    Not only is is a very small range, it also deprives us from picking a TE in a very nice draft for tight ends. Can’t we have at least one ?

  22. Eran Ungar

    I think we are missing something here.

    It’s clear that we will need to see 2 new guys in the DL (LEO/DE and 3Tech) and 1 in OL (RG/RT). I’m not talking depth, I’m talking starter caliber guys.

    I cant see the FO waiting for Draft to get all 3. So, one of the 3 will come from FA.

    That will have a major effect on your predictions. If we get a DE or DT in FA and there is a nice list of candidates there – it will clear that pick from the top of the draft.

    If we get a RG/RT in FA – round 1 will be DT/DE and the other DT/DE at rounds 2-3.

    If we get a DE/DT in FA – Rounds 1-2 will go for OL,DL.

    Swope in the 3rd…..and i’m done.

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