Monday draft thoughts

Just one of the elite quarterback's Seattle's beaten this year

Just a thought. What if the passing game simply needs time?

Russell Wilson spent most of training camp splitting reps and competing for the starting job. It’s not the ideal situation to create chemistry with your receivers or get a complete feel for the offense. I don’t have an issue with the competition and think the right man won the gig, but the lack of a complete off-season is probably having some impact in Wilson’s first season.

There’s no reason why he won’t gradually start to build that rapport, in fact I think we’ve already started to see evidence of it. Look how well he’s started to find Doug Baldwin on third down as a good example here. He’s working out the strengths and weaknesses of each receiver and he’s making more plays as a consequence. Who’s to say that with further game time and an off-season where he’s the unquestioned starter, that relationship couldn’t develop even further?

Most people gave the additions of Sidney Rice and Zach Miller a thumbs up. Golden Tate has shown flashes, aside from Thursday’s horror show. Baldwin is making a promising start to his career even if injuries have hampered his second year so far. It’s unlikely Rice and Miller will survive on their current contracts for 2013, but it’s not impossible for both to remain on the roster. It’s a group that could use at least one solid addition in free agency or the draft, probably two. But it’s not a hopeless group without potential.

The running game is working extremely well and Marshawn Lynch is undoubtedly one of the top five running backs in the league. The run blocking is also performing well so far, certainly it’s been superior to the pass protection (which in fairness, has improved a lot in the last three games). The Seahawks really only have one major flaw right now – and that’s the passing game.

It’s very easy to sit here and say the front office must go big to improve the skill positions. It’s much harder to be patient and trust the investment made in several key players. The Seahawks haven’t ignored the passing game – quite the opposite in fact. The entire offense has seen a big injection of cash and draft stock, it’s just a shame that the results haven’t matched the outlay so far. Maybe it’ll just take time?

The flashes of quality that we have seen (the Patriots game, for example) are cause for such optimism. The big test will be to see whether gradual improvement continues. It’s hard to be too critical when the team faces a defense like San Francisco’s on the road on a short week. Even then mere execution was the issue, not a lack of talent. There are several winnable home games in the second half of the schedule and that’s where we’ll learn how good this offense can be with the current personnel.

It may be that the offense does keep improving and that would put Seattle in an ideal drafting scenario. They don’t want to be handcuffed to need in a way they perhaps have been since 2010. If the top three players available in round one next April are defensive players, I’m sure they’d like to keep improving a unit which is earning elite status. I imagine the front office would welcome the opportunity to draft a ‘luxury’ pick like another linebacker, a defensive tackle or even another corner because the offense has stepped up in a big way this year. If we don’t see big improvements as the season continues, we’ll probably end up concentrating on receivers, offensive lineman and maybe even quarterbacks.

The point of this piece is really to remind us all that it’s October. A lot can change between now and April and while most assume – myself included – that drafting a receiver or tight end will be the priority. It’s hard to move away from that, but things can change quickly.

Three defensive prospects the Seahawks might show interest in:

Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia) – athletic linebacker and former safety. Incredible range to make plays and owns untapped potential as a pass rusher. Plays inside for the Bulldogs but could move to the WILL in Seattle.

Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State) – ‘heart of the defense’ type of player who loves the game of football. During recruiting at USC, Pete Carroll once referred to this guy as the best linebacker he’d scouted in seven years.

Jonathan Banks (CB, Mississippi State) – Tall, physical corner very much in the mould of Seattle’s current tandem. He’s also a playmaker who forces turnovers.

Getting to grips with Dion Jordan

There aren’t many 6-7 pass rushers with the athletic talent of Dion Jordan. I’ve never seen a guy like this before. Usually at that height the movement skills aren’t there, they stick to the defensive line and they carry a lot more weight than 240lbs. Jordan’s size is more traditional for a pass-catching tight end – the position he was expected to play coming out of high school. Yet here he is, seven games into his senior season and with five sacks already.

It still amazes me how much he’s in coverage for a guy that big. I doubt it’s something he’ll do that much in the NFL, but it will reassure scouts that want to use him as a 3-4 OLB. The big issue I had coming into the year was really that the most interesting thing about Jordan was the height and athleticism. It’s great being that big and being able to run fast, but you’ve got to show you can rush the passer against some of the weaker opponents on Oregon’s powder puff early schedule. The sack at 0:22 in the video below is what we need to see and Jordan has really polished up his technique as a senior. He’s starting to use his athleticism in a positive way – he’s less of a gimmick these days and looks like he belongs out there.

His all-round pressure against Arizona State last week was impressive and in an era where Chandler Jones gets talked into the first round (with a decent start to his NFL career), there’s no doubt in my mind that Jordan will end up being a top-15 pick. He has limitless potential and in the right scheme (imagine him across from DeMarcus Ware in Dallas) he could be a star for the future. Jordan and Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore are developing into the two premier pass rushers in the 2013 eligible draft class.


  1. Stuart

    Do you think there is any chance that Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State) will still be available at our pick in R-2? You just never hear Leroy Hill’s name called during the games. Imagine how great this D would be if we had an LB like this to replace Hill. Do you think there is a big gap between LB Ogletree and LB Brown?

    • Rob Staton

      They are different players (insane athlete vs all-round linebacker) but both could be in round two for different reasons. Ogletree due to off-field concerns, Brown due to a lack of elite physical skills.

      • Kenny Sloth

        Brown really doesn’t impress with intangibles, which is why I don’t really seem him excelling at the next level. I’d much prefer Tree

        • Recon_Hawk

          Plenty of championship teams are filled with solid, all-around players who lack pro-bowl physical abilities, as long they are consistent and reliable, and that’s what Brown is. Besides being a physical freak, Browns everything you look for in a linebacker; Instinctive, physical, athletic. Compared to Ogletree, he’d lose in a foot race, but he hardly lacks in intangibles (unless you’re talking specifically about incredible speed and size)

          He’d be an upgrade to Hill day 1, imo, and fit right into a team who’s already top 5 without harming them with a learning curve that Ogletree would bring. It’s much to early to declare Brown (or Ogletree) a must-draft player, but he’s on my list right now of guys I wouldn’t mind seen drafted by the Hawks.

          However, I’m still trying to decide if a round 2 linebacker is necessary. This front office has shown they are capable of drafting productive and valuable players in the mid-rounds and Hill isn’t too the point where he’s a complete liability. I could easy see a 3rd/4th round LB drafted with the idea of replacing Hill mid-year 1 or to start year 2.

    • Darnell

      Next man up at WILL could very well be Mike Morgan, given his size, speed and preseason performance. Though ya, depth is always key.

      • Ryan

        Korey Toomer anyone?

  2. Michael

    Ok, just had a thought and wanted to get some opinions on just how crazy it is…

    This blog has addressed the possibility of trading for Dwayne Bowe, I could be wrong, but I believe it has also addressed the possibility of the Seahawks trading away Matt Flynn (ie. if a starter on a playoff contender went down for the year). Even as I type it I know it is extremely unlikely, but exactly how far out there is it to think that KC might have an interest in making that swap? (with draft pick considerations likely included to some degree)

    Hypothetically, if Bowe for Flynn straight up were offered today, would you do it? I am of the opinion that regardless of the “growing pains” this passing attack is facing, RW will remain the starter all year. So I think I would definitely trade my slightly overpriced backup QB for a possible offensive difference maker.


    • Rob Staton

      I’d make that trade in a heart beat. A starting, second tier league WR for a backup QB? No brainer really. As for Jordan comparing to Peppers and JPP… he’s not in the prototype class of Peppers. Easy to say it now but Pierre-Paul looked great in college, very consistent despite a lack of experience. I think Jordan is much more of a project but with the same level of upside.

      • Michael

        Did KC show any interest in Flynn at all this off-season? I don’t remember hearing anything, but you never know…

        • Rob Staton

          Only two teams showed interest: Seattle, Miami. And the Dolphins interest was lukewarm.

        • Attyla the Hawk

          Also, last year was kind of a washout year for KC. Charles went down very early along with Berry and their season was kind of blown up. They also finished the season stronger especially in passing.

          At the time, Flynn wasn’t seen as much of an upgrade. Plus, they had traded for Cassel who was essentially the same kind of prospect as Flynn (heralded unproven backup). From fans I know down there, the sense is that the next QB will be home grown.

  3. Michael

    as far as physical freaks go, how does Jordan compare to others we’ve seen at DE? From a purely physical specimem standpoint does he measure up to Julius Peppers or Jason Pierre-Paul?

  4. Michael

    * I assume he would need to/be able to add some weight at the next level…

  5. Kip Earlywine

    I think Rice stays, Miller goes. Rice is only owed $7 mil next season- that’s very reasonable if he stays healthy. Miller is playing well, but even he must know that no team in the NFL would pony up $11 mil for him in 2013. Hopefully he takes the wise course of action and accepts a paycut. Seattle’s offense hasn’t been great this year, but when Wilson has been on his game he’s not been married to the TE position by any means.

    I would love for Seattle to draft Dion Jordan- as a press corner. He has the speed to play DB, and he’d be an ideal nickle corner for covering tight ends. Chip Kelly’s coaching staff is pretty smart, and they are starting to give Jordan looks at corner now. IMO, Jordan’s potential as a Megatron-esque corner exceeds his potential as a pure edge rushing pass rusher. If Seattle could make it work with Browner, I bet they could make it work with Jordan.

    • Rob Staton

      Kip – Rice’s salary is $8.5m next year and his cap hit is $9.7m:

    • Michael

      I was gonna make this same comment, but mine was going to be dripping with sarcasm to poke a little fun at PC/JS and their love of oversized DB’s… you don’t sound like your joking, but you never can quite tell without the benefit of vocal infleciton. So I have to ask… are you serious? I sure would love to see a 6’7″ corner lining up against Wes Welker in the slot; that would be hilarious.

      I could see him covering a TE effectively, but couldn’t you just come up with some looks where he does that while still lining up at DE? Why go with a full on conversion? Do you think a 6’7″ guy would have the hips to truly play corner in the NFL?

      • Christon

        If this guy was guarding Aaron Hernandez a few weeks back when Hernandez scored on that fade route over Jeron Johnson – Hernandez would not have scored. Hell, just the effect Dion Jordan could have as a Red Zone TE cover corner would make him worth a second round pick because it would really limit what routes teams could run on us.

  6. Rich


    I know I’m a bit off topic here but I enjoy guessing at Schneider’s next move or wondering what I would do if I was building this team. I still believe another player or two on the oline wouldn’t hurt but am dead set against seeing the Hawks spend any draft picks between round 1 and 3 on the oline next year. What I’m wondering is how you and Kip rate Guard Any Levitre who’s playing out his contract with the Bills this year (OSU grad so presumably from the west coast), and I’m also wondering if it might be possible to pick up Kyle Long in the later rounds next year (OT-Ducks)? I know we’d be loaded at guard at that point but figure that would be a good problem to have and free up other picks for offensive skill positions.

    • Rob Staton

      I really liked Levitre in college and would consider that for sure – not sure what his situation is with Buffalo. I’ll have to keep an eye on Kyle Long, not a guy I’ve spent much time looking at.

  7. Rich

    From what I’ve read Howie’s son does not lack his father’s (or brother’s athleticism), just experience. He was a baseball player of all things. The last I read about Levitre is that he had not signed an extension with Buffalo. Of course they’ll probably just franchise him but I’ll leave him on the wish list for now.

  8. Christon

    I like when Dion Jordan lines up at corner! He does move very well and the Seahawks could use a BIG corner/DE hybrid like him. lol.

  9. Al

    While my eye is untrained, what impresses me the most about Dion Jordan is his awareness. Then again, he looks like an absolute monster on the field. Sheesh.

  10. Michael

    While we’re on the topic of freakishly large and athletic DE’s… what are the odds Michael Johnson gets away from the Bengals this off-season? He has 6 sacks on the season which already matches his previous season high.

    If he were to test the market I would love for the Seahawks to go after him. He will only be 26 next year and if we have learned anything from the NY Giants it should be the value of a great pass rush.

    What kind of deal do you think he will get, and could he be a target for the Seahawks?

    • Barry

      MJ would have been a first rounder had he always played up to his potential. Its payday time and he’s playing hard. We dont want guys like that.

      • Michael

        I won’t claim to have watched a ton of Bengals games… Is that the consensus on this guy? Is the problem lack of motivation/low motor, or is it possible that he is just now starting to get the teqnique vs. relying on physical superiority?

        If effort is the problem then I could still picture the Seahawks targeting him because that would presumably lower the guy’s price tag, and I don’t think Pete Carroll has ever met a person he didn’t think he could motivate.

        However, if the problem was just how completely raw he was coming out of college and he’s just now starting to get it… we’ll who wouldn’t want a guy with his ability, with most of the legwork of coaching him up already done for you, and just now starting to show results? I guess if that were the case though he would have quite a few teams driving his price right on through the roof…

        If the Hawks could get him on the cheap because he takes plays off, I would be all for giving Carroll a chance to work his magic.

  11. Colin

    Anyone who hasn’t seen progress out of Russell Wilson just isn’t paying attention. He had the 49ers number that night (except for said drops, and he’s moved the ball well (as a whole) the last few weeks.

    Get a win in Detroit, and we’re halfway to 10 wins with 5 home games remaining.

    Boo. Yah!

    • Turp

      God, those drops were brutal. Outside of the pick (bad decision) and some questionable reads to Tate (why throw deep when the safety was playing over the top?), RW looked great. I loved that he threw the ball away this game instead of taking the 20 yard sack. WR still looks like a lock for round 1 or 2 next draft.

      Is Evan Moore ever going to have a positive contribution on this offense outside of decoy? Maybe a position we target in the later rounds this April (big, athletic pass catching TE, minimal blocking skills)?

  12. A. Simmons

    I don’t think we should be too worried. So far Russell is performing on par with other rookie QBs chosen in the high first round.

    Joe Flacco: 14 tds 12 ints
    Ben R: 17 tds 11 ints
    Matt Ryan: 16 tds 11 ints
    Eli Manning: 6 tds 9 ints

    First year starters:
    Matt Hasselbeck: 7 tds 8 ints in 12 games
    Drew Brees: 17 Tds 16 ints

    Seems Russell Wilson is right on track to match other rookies their first years. Main thing hurting Wilson is that the run game isn’t very productive in the red zone, so he’s being relied on to be an elite QB in his first year because the offensive line and Marshawn Lynch can’t get it in the red zone. Don’t know whether that is the play calling or RBs. But we need more Td production from the run game. All the above rookie QBs got a lot more scoring production from the run game than Russell did.

    Russell is looking like a champion. Imagine if the run game were actually adding TDs. We would probably be nearly undefeated.

  13. EFly88

    Hearing a lot of people bring up interesting free agent options. Just want to reiterate that free agency will not be the focus of this regime going forward. Rice and Miller were brought in to jump start an offensive rebuild. Now that their contracts are up I don’t anticipate many more moves like this.

    Hawks will be focused on retaining players they’ve originally drafted. I wouldn’t want bowe, I’d rather save the money to give to Sherman and Earl down the line.

    The focus on resigning makes it imperative to draft a wide receiver as it’s a position that takes time to develop. Hopefully we can restructure with Rice and Miller to buy more time.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Tight end, wide receiver, and a right tackle/guard are my top priorities. Followed by a few more offensive and defensive lineman and see who sticks. Wilson gets a lot of attention but our entire offense (except Lynch) is still a work in progress. Rice is the only proven wide receiver and he may be gone next year. Our offensive line is okay but injury prone or not able to block the elite defenses we will be facing. What happened to Turbin this year? I expected more from him and the running game. I suspect most of our running issues can be traced to poor offensive line blocking.

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