Adam Schefter on the Seahawks and quarterbacks

Schefter produced an article today with a number of short reports, none of which were particularly revealing, prior to the start of the draft.

If we’re being honest, Schefter is a reporter who is willing to work on a quid pro quo basis. That’s why I found it fascinating that he had a whole section in his article titled, ‘Will the Seahawks draft a QB?’ before saying very little other than, ‘well the Seahawks do rate Sam Howell’.

As soon as I read this it just felt like a fairly obvious plant to throw other teams off the scent. This isn’t a topic that’s been discussed enough in the national media to warrant a specific section in this article. Have any of the big national reporters dedicated any time, really, to wondering whether the Seahawks would go quarterback in the draft? Neither is this a big NFL story with widespread interest. It’s a really random thing to include in this article.

We know over the years the Seahawks are a team very willing to lean on the media. Schefter, let’s not forget, was the person to break the news that Geno Smith wouldn’t be cut before his contract guaranteed this year — before adding that his salary provided sufficient value to create a trade market. That equally felt like a very deliberate favour for the team to get the message out there that they were open for business — at a time when the GM and Head Coach were going out of their way to be non-committal to Smith.

Frankly, if this article was an attempt to throw cold water on the possibility of the Seahawks drafting a quarterback, I’m probably more convinced than ever now that they’d really like to. Otherwise what benefit is there to having the info out there that they possibly won’t draft one?

I’ve sensed in recent days a bit of a buzz growing about the Seahawks and quarterbacks. Rick Spielman mocked Michael Pratt to Seattle in a mock draft. Peter Schrager said the Raiders and Seahawks are the two teams being most connected to Michael Penix Jr per his sources. Brady Henderson shared an article about Spencer Rattler. Now we have Schefter writing this. I think among the people talking to teams, there’s a view that the Seahawks are in the quarterback hunt.

Nothing’s guaranteed of course. That’s why they added Howell in the first place — if they miss out, they’ll still have a young QB on the books that they like. I think it’s a hedge. I think they are determined to take shots, starting with Howell and continuing into the draft this week.

That could mean Penix Jr in round one. It could be Rattler in round two. It could be Pratt in rounds 3/4.

My guess is Schefter’s piece is designed to be a misdirection. Probably because the Seahawks have got their eye firmly on one or two of these signal callers and are keen on drafting them. And they’d rather the world think that they’re sorted at the position.

Why Spencer Rattler could be on Seattle’s radar

The draft’s about projection. What can a player become? Rather than what he’s currently shown to be so far.

We spent an entire college football season talking about Rattler, so a lot of this will be rehashed for many of you. Very little about his situation at South Carolina was conducive with aiding his draft stock. A shocking offensive line, very little in the way of weapons apart from Xavier Legette. A team that was often overmatched. Yet Rattler, somehow, still played to a reasonable standard.

Rattler was sacked 3.7 times a game — eighth most in college football — and faced constant pressure (185 total pressures, third most). Despite this, he regularly delivered pro-level passes with defenders breathing down his neck. He also only had 11 turnover-worthy plays, the same number as Drake Maye — the 79th most in college football. It speaks to how he transformed his game from a player who often forced ill-judged passes to someone who was willing to play within structure, while retaining a playmaking quality.

What is he capable of? I’d recommend watching his performance against Tennessee from 2022. Note the high-level of accuracy and dynamism on his throws. This performance speaks to why he was once considered a top-five pick:

I’ve long thought Rattler is a bit of a mini-Mahomes. I appreciate it’s a dangerous comparison to make — but he shares similar traits just in a very different body type. Now, actually going on and turning traits into an effective starting role is the big jump every young quarterback has to make. There’s no doubt though that Rattler has the arm, the ability to extend plays and create, to throw downfield with punch and make plays on the run. These are all things John Schneider seems to like.

If you can acquire his upside potential in round two, you could really reap the rewards of taking a shot on him. Just as the Seahawks did when they took a shot on Russell Wilson. We know Schneider likes a big arm and mobility, a quarterback who can attack every blade of grass and play with creativity. Rattler does all of these things.

I don’t think my mock scenario from Sunday — where the Seahawks trade down and acquire the extra stock required to land Rattler on day two — is far-fetched.

Who would they target if they trade down?

This is still the biggest head-scratcher for me. It’s hard to feel that excited if you drop into the 20’s or 30’s. Once you get into a range where the best pass rushers (Verse, Robinson, Latu, Turner, Murphy) and the best remaining O-liners (Mims, Barton) are gone — that’s when things get a bit dicey.

It could be, though, that Seattle is taking a quantity over quality approach with this deep class. I think that makes sense to a degree — but you’d have to make sure you hit on some players. There’s nothing worse than the guy at #16 having a thriving career and you pick 11 times like you did in 2017 and come out with very little.

I wonder if trying to emulate their pick ranges in 2017, though, could be a plan of sorts. They had two second rounders (#35 & #58) and three third rounders after trading down.

The 16th pick could be a range where the Commanders look to package their two early second rounders (#36 & #40) to move up for a left tackle. Daniel Jeremiah did a conference call last week where he talked about this:

“I’m not loving the fact of sitting at 36 and 40. I think they’re a prime candidate to come back up and try and scoop up one of these tackles. Like if you’ve got Amarius Mims, who’s floating around there in the teens, they have plenty of ammunition to be aggressive and go get a starting offensive tackle.

“That to me is something I would keep an eye on. I don’t see them standing pat and sticking in there at 36 and 40. I think you’ll see them try and make a move and address the offensive line.”

From there, the Seahawks could look to further trade down from #40 to get an extra third rounder. It would leave them with a board that shows two second rounders, two thirds and two fourths.

They’d be ideally positioned to draft someone like Rattler in round two if that happens. I just struggle to work out who they’d take at #36. By that point, the better O-line options are gone. I don’t think they’d go linebacker or safety at #36. Are you looking at players like Marshawn Kneeland or Braden Fiske? The 36th pick feels like a really awkward range to select in this year.

Why I still wouldn’t rule out Darius Robinson

For some teams, he could be the apple of their eye. I’m talking about legit, ‘this is the person we want’ among all options, priority target. The Seahawks could be one of those teams.

There are a few things working in Robinson’s favour. He has unique size, length and power. For all the people comparing Robinson to L.J. Collier because they didn’t run fast — they are nothing like each other. Look at their body types. Robinson has the frame of a terminator. He might lack Jadeveon Clowney’s twitch but as I’ve mentioned a few times, that was the player I thought of when watching him. Ungainly, a little bit out of control, but a regular menacing disruptor who blows up plays.

There’s a reason why Kirby Smart, the Georgia Head Coach, singled him out before their game against Missouri.

Robinson was player of the week at the Senior Bowl. Everyone who’s played with him speaks to his leadership qualities. When I interviewed Mekhi Wingo a few weeks ago, he said Robinson taught him how to be a pro. At Missouri, Robinson would arrange extra gym sessions with his team mates. He led from the front. His nickname in college was ‘Mr. Mizzou’.

Jim Nagy told us recently that he was so bought into the Senior Bowl event, he handed out résumés to teams during meetings. We’re talking about an individual who could become the vocal leader of the team within a couple of years.

In Seattle, it’s quite easy to picture Robinson lined up next to Leonard Williams with the pair collapsing one side of the line, affording opportunities for the edge rushers. Mike Macdonald has talked about having versatile players and Robinson has more or less done it all — playing across the line in various positions.

Then there are these quotes from Bob McGinn’s anonymous scouting sources:

“He’s determined to be great,” said one scout. “That’s what I love about him, and it’s all real. He comes from (bleep).”

“This sucker might have the highest ceiling in the whole draft,” said a second scout. “The build, the talent. You watch him in the SEC, they line him up over tight ends in a 6-technique and he beats the shit out of that tight end. Kind of like Wayne Simmons back in the Brent Jones era. You say, ‘Holy smokes, they might throw him in prison for that.’ He is physical and violent.”

“He’s an edge rusher all day,” a third scout said. “He is violent. Plays his ass off. He’s gonna be really productive. He can win outside with a 4.97 40 because he can kick your ass. He’s got enough get-off. He’ll win because he’s got 34-inch arms and (big) hands. He’s as good a grab-and-jerk pass rusher as there in the draft.”

A year ago the Seahawks took Devon Witherspoon fifth overall. He did no testing pre-draft. Witherspoon was not expected to run a fast time, despite weighing as little as he did (181lbs). He was an older player (turns 24 this year).

Robinson has similar characteristics — outstanding football character and competitiveness, a violent playing style, experienced, non-ideal testing numbers but finds a way to impact games anyway, has made himself a great player who developed over time in college.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Seattle coveted Robinson. Trade down, get into a range where you can take him, set up your board to get the other players you need. Whether you agree with it or not, it chimes with moves they’ve made in the past.

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