T’Vondre Sweat tanks his stock

There were already concerns about Sweat within the league. The feeling before the 2023 college season was he couldn’t control his weight and that he’d failed to live up to his talent at Texas. There was hope the light had finally switched on going into his final season — and so it proved. Sweat had a terrific 2023.

The weight concerns remained, though. They developed further when he refused to weigh-in at the Senior Bowl. Sweat performed very well in Mobile and when he weighed in at 366lbs at the combine, things seemed to be going well.

That is until he was arrested on Sunday morning and charged with DWI.

When you’re two-and-a-half weeks away from the draft, not being able to keep your nose clean means one of two things. Either Sweat has a problem, or he’s incredibly stupid. Neither will do much for his stock.

Further to this, it’s now being reported that Sweat was ‘up front’ with teams about his ‘partying’ and that he ‘made it a point of emphasis (to teams) that it was all in the past’. So much for that.

This is going to tank his stock. Like I said, there were already concerns about his weight and conditioning. Now it appears he lied to teams that he’s stopped partying — and has shown he cannot be trusted when he’s being charged with a DWI so close to the draft. He couldn’t even just stay at home for a fortnight and binge Netflix or whatever.

There were already people thinking he’d last into round three. Where he goes now is anyone’s guess.

The Seahawks might be sensing an opportunity here. Reportedly, he’s set to visit Seattle for an official visit later this week. If he’s tanked his stock enough to end up in day three, it’d be a shot to nothing.

Bo Nix visits the Seahawks

You can read too much into these things but it was certainly interesting to hear the Oregon quarterback had taken an official visit to Seattle.

So what does it mean?

My best guess is this — Nix’s stock seems to be sinking. He’s doing a lot of media — doing long interviews with Colin Cowherd and Chris Simms recently. While the likes of Michael Penix Jr are being talked up a ton, Nix’s name has mostly dropped off the radar apart from the occasional, slightly lazy, connection to Sean Payton and Denver.

In my latest mock draft I had the Broncos trading up for J.J. McCarthy, with the Vikings instead pursuing Penix Jr (more on that in a moment). If this scenario came to pass, who takes Nix? He doesn’t feel like a Raider. After a mediocre combine and Senior Bowl, it’s possible he could drop into round three.

Maybe the Seahawks are anticipating this possibility? I have Nix graded in round three. If he’s there for Seattle, it’d be justifiable to consider him. If their intention is to start taking shots at quarterback until they find the guy, this would make sense.

After all, John Schneider was in Green Bay when the Packers used a second rounder on Brian Brohm, despite having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers on the roster. When you don’t have the long-term answer, you look until you find it.

Ryan Grubb also attended Nix’s pro-day in person. I think they’re doing homework here. But I’m not convinced it’s much more than due diligence just in case Nix is available in a range few anticipated at the turn of the year.

One thing to remember — it’s been reported fairly extensively that Schneider liked Andy Dalton a lot in 2011. It’s even been suggested they had his name written on a card that was never turned in. Just keep that in mind.

The truth about Cooper DeJean

I’ve seen an increasing number of people suggest the Seahawks might use a first round pick on the Iowa defender, with the feeling he could be Mike Macdonald’s ‘Kyle Hamilton’ in Seattle.

I think this is 2+2=5, just like the talk about Seattle signing Patrick Queen, Geno Stone or Jadeveon Clowney because they were in Baltimore.

The truth is DeJean is nothing like Hamilton. They don’t have similar playing styles, physical profiles or college backgrounds. DeJean played almost exclusively as a zone cornerback in college. He had 1183 snaps at corner for Iowa in 2022 and 2023. He only had 173 snaps in the slot, 23 in the box and one snap at deep safety.

Projecting him to safety based on this is pure guesswork. I get the feeling it’s because it’s widely accepted that his biggest flaw as a prospect is stiffness in his hips in transition. So because he’s a great athlete and had some opportunistic picks, stick him at safety. There’s nothing to say he’ll make that transition smoothly — so it’d be a gamble for any team in round one. Especially one with major issues in the trenches who just signed two veteran safety’s.

There’s really no reason for the Seahawks to do this. There are a cluster of safety’s set to be available between rounds 2-4 who’ve actually done roles similar to Hamilton’s in Baltimore. Cole Bishop for example had 247 deep snaps, 180 snaps in the box, 25 at corner and 97 in the slot in 2023. He had 553 snaps in the slot or the box in 2022. Dominique Hampton had 366 at deep safety, 296 in the box, 249 in the slot and 36 at cornerback in 2023. He had 503 in the slot in 2022 alone.

Hampton is far better suited to this role and I think he’ll be a round three pick, maybe early fourth. If the Seahawks really believe they need this type of player — they’re better off taking someone like that.

As far as athleticism goes — DeJean ran a 4.43 pro-day forty today. Bishop ran a 4.45 at the combine. Why would you take one in the first round, when Bishop (and others) will be available later?

What the Ron Wolf tree tells us

A few weeks ago I was speaking to someone who used to work for Wolf. I asked what his approach to drafting was, given John Schneider credits Wolf as a mentor. I was told that Wolf was big on the trenches. ‘Trenches, trenches, trenches’ was the way it was emphasised to me. Very little focus was paid to the combine. Wolf wanted football players and relied on the tape. A good testing performance would simply give you a nudge to return to the tape to see if there was anything you’d missed.

What does this mean for the Seahawks in the 2024 draft? They might not focus on certain physical traits the way they did under Carroll (although, that said, the Packers seem to share similar preferences and ideals under Brian Gutekunst). Physically dominant trench players (but not necessarily amazing testers) could be the focus — even if said players lack eye-catching ‘twitch’.

It’s why I’m keeping Darius Robinson in mind. I think the Seahawks are going to focus on the O-line. However, if they trade down and out of range for the best O-liners, Robinson could be an alternative first pick. He’s the type of player Baltimore and Pittsburgh draft. Cam Heyward ran the same forty and jumped the same vertical (he was only 9lbs heavier). Robinson is big, physical, mature, has supreme leadership qualities and can play numerous positions on the D-line. He might not be the best athlete and there may be some stiffness in his movement — but he went to the Senior Bowl and showed he can win 1v1.

Abe Lucas could be the key to the draft

If the Seahawks really do believe he has a ‘chronic’ knee injury, the chances of them drafting a right tackle are massively increased. This is an unusually strong draft at right tackle.

There’s a lot of talk online about Troy Fautanu and Taliese Fuaga — for good reason. I think they’ll be 1a and 1b targets for Seattle (I just don’t expect either to last to #16). After that, you hear chatter about Byron Murphy and players like DeJean who we talked about earlier.

There’s not enough talk about the right tackles given the concern about Lucas. J.C. Latham, Amarius Mims and Tyler Guyton are very realistic options for Seattle. Any decision on whether to trade down could be dictated by their confidence in one of the three being available, or Graham Barton, if they trade down — assuming Fautanu and Fuaga are gone.

Either way — given Seattle’s O-line needs, lack of investment in the unit so far this year and the fact it’s a great offensive line draft — I’d be shocked if the Seahawks didn’t use two of their first three picks on offensive linemen. They might do what they did in 2011 and go O-line in round one, then in round three. They might even try to use one of their fourth rounders to move up from #81.

A scenario where they go one of Fautanu/Fuaga (to play right tackle), or if they’re gone one of Latham/Mims/Guyton (to play right tackle), then find a way to get into the Christian Haynes, Cooper Beebe, Dominick Puni, Zak Zinter range for a guard. If they end up taking Barton with their top pick, they might try to get Roger Rosengarten to play right tackle.

If they can hit on two really talented offensive linemen in this draft, the class will be a success. It would give them a chance, under Scott Huff and Ryan Grubb’s guidance, to create an aggressive, young, athletic O-line.

Further thoughts on Minnesota’s draft plan

In my latest mock, I had the Vikings shocking the NFL. They didn’t trade up from #11 and instead drafted Byron Murphy. Then, they traded up from #23 to #12 to get Michael Penix Jr.

The thought is, what’s better? Spending three first round picks to get J.J. McCarthy? Or spending three first round picks to get Murphy and Penix Jr? It’s a no-brainer for me.

I think they are interested in moving up to #4 but they’re trying to smoke Arizona out. They know the Broncos can’t beat their best offer, because they have two first round picks this year. All Denver can do is offer three firsts, eliminating a serious chance to build around their QB until 2027.

Can you do that for McCarthy? I appreciate people in the media now saying ‘the league likes him better than fans and amateur scouts’. Fine. But is he worth spending three first round picks on? There’s a difference between justifying taking him with your native pick in round one and mortgaging your next two drafts to acquire him.

I suspect Minnesota has offered Arizona #11 and #23 and are holding that position. The Cardinals are trying to get others to offer more and then it’ll be up to Denver to determine whether they want to do something daft. If they do, Minnesota pivoting to Penix Jr could be extremely plausible.

Low and behold, the Vikings had Murphy in for an official-30 visit today.

I’ll say this though — if Minnesota comes out of this draft with Murphy and Penix to add to what they already have, I’d be pretty jealous.