Monday notes: Arthur Brown, Hunter turns pro & more

Kansas State’s Arthur Brown still looks like a future Seahawk

Last week I wrote a piece about Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown and why he’s worth keeping an eye on for the 2013 draft. He seems almost ideal for Pete Carroll. There’s the history of recruitment at USC, the schematic desire to get the linebackers in space to make plays. Brown is almost the definition of what I think Carroll wants from the MIKE and the WILL.

That’s not to say he’ll definitely be taken by the Seahawks with an early pick. Leroy Hill started the Buffalo game but was swiftly replaced by Malcolm Smith who took most of the snaps at the WILL. If Smith wins the job permanently before the end of the season, he may win it for the long haul. Even so, the Seahawks are a good enough team these days to take the best player available in the first round of a draft. And who’s going to argue with Carroll and John Schneider, whoever they determine to be BPA?

The video above shows Brown’s 2012 tape against West Virginia. I think it shows off why he’s a good fit in Seattle. He’s rangy with excellent speed and the Seahawks want guys who can cover at the second level, react to the play call and gravitate to the football. He’s an opportunist and that’s really what this defense is about – capitalising on pressure to create turnovers. Of course, the Seahawks won’t really benefit from an opportunistic group of defensive backs and linebackers unless the front four can create more pressure. And that comes back to the teams absolute #1 need – an upgrade at the three technique. Did I mention I Randy Starks yet?

Have a look at the tape above and let me know what you think.

Turning pro… or not?

A few players made their intentions known today ahead of the January 15th deadline. Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter tweeted, “declared”. Using my excellent detective skills, I’ve determined that means he’ll be turning pro. That’s a significant move and could be a precursor to Tyler Bray and Cordarrelle Patterson also entering the draft. An argument can be made for all three returning and benefiting from another year with the Vols. However, with a new coaching staff taking over and a new blue print set to be installed, it won’t be a big shock if all three head for the NFL.

Bray has plenty of arm talent but is hugely erratic, inaccurate and has poor mechanics. There are also several character issues to address. Patterson is close to Hunter and that could have a big impact on his decision. ESPN’s Chris Low is reporting that he’s expected to declare. In my next mock draft on Wednesday, I’m going to put Patterson in the top-15.

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr will return for another year with the Bruins in 2013. He’s a fullback-turned-pass rusher and had a terrific season with 13.5 sacks. Barr made the right call here – UCLA stands to make further strides next year and should contend for the Rose Bowl. If he can tally another 10-15 sack season he could easily be a high pick in the 2014 draft. Barr could use the extra time on the field, helping a winning team.

Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix also made the same decision to stay in college. Had he declared, he could’ve been a top-15 pick. Nix and Stephen Tuitt are the unsung heroes of the Irish defense, lost among a wave of publicity for Manti Te’o. Both will be high picks in 2014.

5th seed crucial for the Seahawks?

It seems improbable that the same San Francisco team that beat New England last night will now lose two games against the Seahawks and the Cardinals. The victory all but secured a second successive NFC West title for the 49ers. Good for them.

However, nobody should feel next weeks game is any less important for the Seahawks.

As things stand, Seattle owns the #5 seed. If the season ended today, the Seahawks would be travelling to face the Washington Redskins in the wildcard playoffs. The victor would probably play the Atlanta Falcons on the road in the second round. Assuming the NFC West crown is now out of reach, there’s no point wasting time dreaming of home playoff games and first round byes. The Seahawks are almost certainly going on the road if they make the post-season. And facing the NFC East champions and the Atlanta Falcons is not a death sentence.

If the Seahawks were to finish in the #6 slot instead, you’re looking at trips to San Francisco and Green Bay. That’ll be much more difficult to overcome.

I’m not trying to argue here that a combination of Dallas/Washington/New York and then Atlanta would be easy. Nothing is easy in the post-season. But one scenario appears more favourable than the other. It’s crucial that the Seahawks finish strongly even if the 49ers are destined to be the NFC West Champions again. Nobody will want to face an 11-5 wildcard in the playoffs. The next two weeks are a great opportunity for this team to prove they truly are Super Bowl contenders, even if they have to do it the hard way. They have to go for these next two games. Win both and they’re guaranteed the #5 seed.

The ultimate Russell Wilson video

After another record breaking performance by Russell Wilson yesterday, I think it’s only fair to remind ourselves what people were saying about the decision to draft him in April. Finally, Wilson is getting some rookie of the year love from the mainstream media, and it’s about time. He’s out-performing Andrew Luck (he really is) and Robert Griffin’s case is being weakened by injury.

Nobody’s perfect when it comes to projecting the draft… but here’s a gentle reminder that none of us should jump to conclusions too quickly – especially when it comes to teams we don’t cover exclusively. Check out the video below. There’s some irony that the supposed ‘worst pick’ of the third round in the 2012 NFL Draft could actually be one of the greatest third round picks in the history of the league.

Quote from B******r R*****t’s Matt Miller: “The Seahawks continue to fumble in the 2012 draft“.

Seahawks picks when the comment was made: Bruce Irvin (leads all rookies for sacks), Bobby Wagner (legit candidate for DROY), Russell Wilson (legit candidate for OROY).

*Disclaimer – this will be the only time in the 2012 NFL season I’ll be linking to anything from the B******r R****t website.


  1. MJ

    Haha, B******r R****t is like taking a first date to the Waffle House…just terrible in ever way imaginable.

    Good stuff per usual. This will be a very fun draft to watch. What are your thoughts on Justin Hunter? I am intrigued by him.

    • Rob Staton

      I share your intrigue. Frame similar to A.J. Green, but of course he isn’t A.J. Crisp route runner, gets into his breaks well. He started slowly coming back from a bad ACL injury, and then had some very mediocre games. Some basic errors (drops), some games where he was anonymous. At the same time, you get the feeling his best football will come at the next level. Could be a late first rounder. I think he’s worth more of a R2 grade.

      • MJ

        Here’s an interesting idea…Barron seems like he was considered to some extent last year. Why not Matt Elam in ’13? We play a lot of nickel. ET and Elam would be crazy.

    • Michael

      I love the super accurate Seneca Wallace comp, haha. That guy has got to be one of the most enlightened football minds of this generation. I wonder if he ever watched a single game that Russell Wilson played?

    • Meat

      B*R* is complete garbage. I felt like sending that guy an email and asking he repost that video on B*R* so everyone can see what a Jerk-off he truly is. 🙂 It is funny a few years ago I stumbled upon the site and read the first article and thought what is this crap?! I didn’t know at the time that I stumbled upon the worst sports site in the WORLD@!

  2. Colin

    Rob, where do you place Arthur Brown in the draft? I’m not sure he’s a 1st rounder- but you know more than I do. I see him as a steal if available in the 2nd. If the Seahawks were REALLY committed to getting a WLB- they’d do what they have to in order to get Alec Ogletree. I don’t know if the cards will fall in such a manner for that to happen, due to prioritizing of needs and who is available.

    Also, how much of the Manti Te’o love is due to those D tackles in the middle? Is he really as all-worldy as some people make him out to be?

    • Rob Staton

      I really like Brown. I don’t think he’ll get the respect he deserves – he’s not had a ton of hype in college. Really he offers pretty much every quality you’d want in a linebacker for this scheme. I wouldn’t say he’s a conventional first round pick for most teams, but for Seattle? I’d say top-25 grade for sure. Maybe higher than that. Athleticism, instinct, ability to read and make plays. He’s a nice alternative if Ogletree leaves the board.

      On Te’o – I think he’s a very solid linebacker. A bit like Lofa really. I suspect he’ll make plays early in his career – he won’t be a tackling machine like Kuechly, but he’ll make plays. A leader type who will set the tone for the defense. He’s big enough to play the run. Classic MIKE for the 4-3. I’d say he’s worth a top-25 grade too but probably goes much higher due to the insane hype of Notre Dame being unbeaten. And sure – it helps having Nix and Tuitt up front.

  3. Elijah

    That BR video is spot on, and what I absolutely love about the Seahawks draft approach. Their last two drafts were just torn apart by the “experts” everywhere and then a season later when doing a retrospective, we always have one of the best drafts. At what point do you figure the media will just start trusting what PC/JS are doing in draft

    • Elijah

      I’m sure that’s also a great motivating point in the locker room too. When all the rookies come in Pete Carroll can say “The media thinks you guys are the worst draft class this year. Prove them wrong”.

    • Alex

      I have to say, they PC and JS are doing as well as one can expect with the building through the draft philosophy. The entire defense is basically built through the draft. DBs- Sherman (5th round), Browner (CFL), Chancellor (5th round), Thomas (1st round). LBs- Wagner (2nd round), Wright (4th round), Hill (3rd round by previous regime). DL- Bryant (4th round by previous regime). Mebane (3rd round by previous regime). Branch and Clemons were both undervalued players traded over or signed here at a friendly contract.

      I think it’s time to start investing more draft capital into the DL and the offensive receiving positions.

  4. CFR

    Sherman hearing Friday, could be out for San Francisco game. Has anyone else let the last two games make us forget that we’re probably gonna be without him for the playoffs (and probably also a regular season game or two)? I completely forgot about this whole thing and this, combined with the Patriots loss last night, leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m really worried and we can’t get Thurmond back soon enough. BB should be a big boost come playoff time.

    • Phil

      If Sherman loses his appeal, then both he and Browner are one more bad decision away from a one-year suspension. To me, this puts the Seahawks in a really nasty position in the next draft. Can the Seahawks depend on them to show better judgement, or do we have to think about drafting CBs as insurance if they don’t? This is one position where I thought we were set — that we could pretty much play the next few years with the players we had without having to draft anyone….

      • Rob Staton

        I suppose the other way of looking at it is… what if they avoid the suspension? Then you’re over drafting at a position with what seems like a lot of good young depth. You can never have enough good young corners, but unless a guy like Dee Milliner is available in round one, I don’t expect it to be a position the Seahawks attack early in the draft.

        • Phil

          What if they avoid the suspension? Then you would have “bought” insurance that you didn’t need — happens all the time. I trust that PC and JS are in a better position to judge how likely it is that Browner and Sherman will be repeat offenders than either you or me. I’m just ticked off that the situation came up in the first place. Thurmond and Lane have played well so I agree it isn’t a position of emphasis, but it’s now more important than it was before the allegations of substance abuse came up. And, the team doesn’t need the distractions ..

      • Meat

        They love to draft corners and probably will again, but later rounds. Don’t you think? They may have to since Thurmond has been injury prone and Tru will probably be gone next year that does not leave much depth. I am curious what DB’s may be available after round 3 this year.

  5. kevin mullen

    Wow, someone send him some game tape of RW and Seahawks. Maybe have Russell personally hand it to him.

    Any bold claims as potential bust(s) for this year draft, Rob?

    • Rob Staton

      Yes… everyone eligible for the 2013 is a disaster. I’m going to do a video warning teams not to use their picks this year. Just don’t use them to be safe. I’ll send it to B******r R****t, where it’ll probably get loads of hits, help the people who created that site make even more money (the whole point of that place, screw journalism) and then they’ll invite me to be some phoney authority on football with a silly title like ‘senior editor’ or ‘managing editor’ (aka… run of the mill blogger or professional slideshow creator).

      Have I gone too far….?

      • kevin mullen

        No, please ramble more!!

        You think Cleveland kicking themselves for not looking at Wilson or Cousins?

        • Rob Staton

          I think they’re kicking themselves for not just picking Julio Jones… and then doing what Washington did to make sure they got RGIII. Imagine that offense…

          • kevin mullen

            RG3 to Julio Jones? In Cleveland? I’d hate to be a Browns fan today, they really botched their drafts in my view. I know they have some decent pieces but to trade up one spot to land Richardson, and then to reach for Weeden? Minnesota wasn’t going to trade out of that spot, they would picked Khalil at #3 regardless, leaving Browns with Richardson at #4 and no draft capital wasted.

      • Meat

        You have not gone far enough. 🙂
        I am disgusted with B.R. Like yourself Rob, I refuse to type the entire name.

    • kenny

      In the past few weeks he has gone on about how good Russell Wilson is and the only qualm he has in the Seahawks is their inability to win on the road. He was extremely high on Matt Flynn as well, so him questioning the pick was more based on Wilson’s height and the fact that Flynn was the clear cut starter with T-jack being a good backup. I do frequent B/R for the basic opinions on occasion, just like fieldgulls and here and a few other spots. Miller is a decent evaluator of talent but he is a bit too stuck onto traditional systems and has way too much love for the Patriots, but he is not as bad.

      P.S I am not usually one to defend Matt Miller, but this time i can at least see where he was coming from.

      • Rob Staton

        I think his biggest mistake was to assume Matt Flynn as the starter, which he never was. Pete Carroll made that clear from day one. And nobody should’ve been surprised that they drafted a quarterback in the middle rounds to add to that competition. But there’s making a bad assumption without truly knowing the situation and there’s calling a pick one of the worst in the entire draft. And there’s doing all of that and putting it on video. Everybody gets things wrong… but that’s pretty emphatic.

      • kevin mullen

        It’s one thing to say that picking Wilson in the 3rd round was a reach or not a need, since basically we could have used it, oh I don’t know, DLine? But to call it one of the WORST picks in the 3rd round is arrogant, lazy, and obviously didn’t study his tape. I know Kiper didn’t like the pick either but he didn’t call it “worst pick ever”. Kiper had him in the third, and he went in the third.

        I too was thinking Flynn was starting and we picked up Wilson as a backup/developmental QB. No one knew this was gonna happen…

      • Michael

        Seahawksdraftblog is good, Fieldgulls is mostly good, B/R is terrible at everything they have ever done and it’s not just football, they suck at baseball too.

      • Maki

        B/R guys are mostly unbearable. I recall on the announcement that the league was making the All-22 available, Miller’s first comment was, “Oh great. Now all of the armchair analysts are gonna think they know something about football.” Homeboy needs to get a grip, watch a bit more tape to support his seemingly untethered opinions and check his apparently sizable ego at the door.

        In unrelated news . . . Go Hawks!

        • Meat

          The only thing worse than the BR writer “opinions” are the bias comments by readers.

        • Rob Staton

          The ironic thing is, Miller and his ilk are the prototypical armchair analyst. If I ever start referring to my ‘top 300’ board like it’s a sacred cow, you have permission to demand I shut down this blog.

  6. Norm M

    That’s too funny. I just posted a few days ago about the 2012 draft experts grading of the Seahawks draft class. I wonder how many will think twice this year before writing off any of Pete Carrolls picks. If nothing else he has proven that picking players that fit your scheme is more important then college stats.

    With that being said, I really think Seattle needs to pick up a receiving threat this year. I’m having trouble figuring out what kind of player Pete likes at that position. Early on it seemed the bigger taller receivers were his style, now we have a couple of quick “smaller” guys. In my mind we could use a pure speed guy to take advantage of Wilson’s deep ball and play action. I like your write up on Wheaton, who else is a 1st or 2nd round talent that fits that mold? I have to admit, I’m a huge Seattle fan but don’t follow college until draft time. This site is what gets me through the winter after the play offs. Thanks for the work and incite.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      I think it’s easy to see really. We liked BMW when he was catching everything and fighting for the ball. When he stopped doing that he was gone.

      Braylon Edwards made this team on the strength of a good preseason where he was frequently fighting and winning deep balls. Then week one happened. And he rode pine. And when he came back in, he didn’t have that same fight. Gone.

      TO came in and didn’t fight or catch the ball. Gone.

      I don’t think it’s a mystery really if you just stop to consider that there is no physical template. If you fight for the ball like it’s the most important thing on the field, you are going to get snaps.

      The only reason that size is cited as a premium for Pete, is because bigger receivers just naturally tend to be better at fighting off defenders for the ball. But that isn’t a given. Golden Tate could be the most tenacious receiver on the entire roster. I think there is a definite correlation to be made there.

      Pete wants receivers that will make his QB look good. Look for receivers that exhibit those traits.

  7. Stuart

    I have not done research to support this but I think it’s safe to say that over the past three NFL drafts, no team has more to show for it than our Hawks. PC/JS might just be the best in the business based on their track record. If the Seahawks can advancce just 1 game in the playoff’s, the national media will be singing a different toon this off-season. In fact I bet that we become the “sheike” pick going into next season.

    • Michael

      I’m pretty sure “sheike” is not a word… maybe you were going for “chic”

      • NMD

        Haha i was reading that like what does sheike mean while chic never crossed my mind. I really don’t like having national media on the Seahawk bandwagon but at least it means Seattle is a near great team if they’re ever willing to jump on board.

  8. AlaskaHawk

    Speaking of rookie QBs, kudos to Kirk Cousins as well. A fifth round draft pick filling in for RG III and winning 2 games!

  9. Stuart

    After the game against Buffalo, the need to draft TE Ertz in the first round became more apparent to me. I am happy with Rice and Tate and dont think we need to draft their replacements. We do need depth at WR no question.

    Using two tighend sets with Miller will 1. increase our run blocking 2. Ertz can become RW’s safety blanket. As much as I like Baldwin, he is smaller, injury prone and has not shown consistentcy with cathing the ball. With Ertz at 6′.6″ we wont have to rely on Baldwin. The balls that Balwin dives for that are off his fingere tips. McCoy moves to TE #3 and we can get rid of Evan “whoops” Moore.

    Now for WR we just need a 4th and a 5th. I would assume that the WR’s we do get can push Baldwin to 5th on the depth chart. That would be an excellent situation going into next season.

    Drafting the TE Ertz in R-1 kills two birds with one stone…

    Rob, if we did draft TE Ertz in R-1, who would you like to be our 3rd and 4th receivers from the draft? Am I dreaming or could Markus Wheaton still be available in R-3?

    • Rob Staton

      I can’t see Wheaton lasting until the late third round, he’s too good to fall that far. It’s the kind of range you might be able to get a guy like Steadman Bailey though.

    • kevin mullen

      I’m with you, I like Ertz a lot, think he can be our version of Gronk.

  10. nick

    erzt, patterson, ogletree, richardson, brown. It doesnt matter. I am just excited. We are going to be picking from a position of strength. whomever we get, our coaching staff will have a vision of how to use him. he will contribute and make us that much more dynamic.

  11. Kenny Sloth

    What are your thoughts on Will Sutton from ASU?
    To me he looks like a day 2 steal for the 3-tech.

    • Rob Staton

      Mid rounder. Not ideal size but makes up for it. Biggest concern for me is whether he can stand up vs the run on early downs.

      • Kenny Sloth

        Could he be a Seahawks target?
        He looks like he has the frame to add bulk. He DEFINITELY has the athleticism to be a penetrator at the next level.

  12. A. Simmons

    I’ll be happy with WR and DT in the first three rounds. Need more depth at the WR position, more competition. We flat out need to upgrade our interior defensive line talent. Even improving the talent that rotates with Mebane would help.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Assuming DT and WR are addressed in rounds 1 and 2.

      1. FS. Earl is critical to our success. He goes down and the scheme kind of falls apart
      2. 1 Tech. Mebane is the other. He’s not going to go through his whole career unscathed by injury
      3. CB. Can’t have too many. Need one to plug into the development conveyor belt if possible.
      4. DE. Ultimately, we need a suitable DE that can play the run and provide better push. Bryant does his primary role great. Playing Branch for him when he’s out is just throwing a 1 tech at DE and giving up on the pass. It would be nice to have a player that maybe isn’t quite as good as Bryant against the run, but still good — yet has a better ability to rush the passer. Right now, Clemons’ backup is Irvin. Who is Irvin’s backup if he’s moved to Leo? Need someone here. Personally, I really like Margus Hunt as a prospect that kind of uniquely fills both gaps in the 3rd to 5th round range. That and having Bryant and Hunt on kick defense would be sick. Both are so very good at it.

      5. OL. Like CB, need to keep feeding the dev treadmill.
      6. WR. Not a bad idea to double up on WR talent. Maybe someone to challenge Obomanu.
      7. QB. We have Flynn under contract for awhile. But if he’s pressed to service we have no backup currently. We are now in a safeguard mode regarding the QB position. You can’t let the backup position rot. Even if it means we end up developing 2 Matt Flynn type of prospects over the course of Wilson’s career. We’ve seen what neglect of the QB position does to a franchise. You have to keep plunking down day three picks to keep it stocked.

  13. Joe the Jarhead

    First thing, I am so glad things turned out this way. I got the true blue Seahawk Q I always wanted, and NO Matt Flynn! So Rob, speaking of Flynn, what is your perspective on if we will be shopping him to a QB desperate team? Especially with this pitiful QB class, and could we even potentially get a 2nd rounder? With an extra 2nd or 3rd we could really hit BPA heaven and be plucking with the talent pool still very deep

    • Attyla the Hawk

      There’s probably going to be 3-4 UFAs with better pedigree by that time. If someone was going to make a trade, I’d see Washington dangling Cousins out there to recoup some of the picks they lost. They don’t need a young possible QBOTF as a backup. Cousins would probably net those kinds of picks as he’s still very young.

      At any rate, I don’t see Flynn generating anything close to a day two pick. We paid him more than anyone was willing to pay and that was with no draft picks in the mix. He’s not improved on his marketable cost at all since then.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Besides all the rookie QBs that are playing like Cousins and now McElroy for the Jets, Alex Smith could be on the market next summer. He is a quality QB that would be rated over Flynn.

        I still think we should cut him loose so he has a chance of playing somewhere. We can always pick up a late round QB for next to nothing.

    • Rob Staton

      I think there’s almost no chance we’ll get anything like a second rounder for Matt Flynn. He had no market as a free agent, he’s getting close to 30 and he’s been a career backup. His window is closing to be a starter and if anyone’s going to give him a shot now, it’ll be via a very modest price. There are also better options out there IMO. If you want a veteran stop-gap QB type… wouldn’t you call San Fran about Alex Smith before ringing Seattle about Matt Flynn? And in either scenario, you’re not dangling a second or third round pick. I think the best Seattle can hope for is a modest late rounder.

  14. Hawkspur

    Has anyone ventured on to Mocking the Draft or Walterfootball since the draft aftermath? I recall that both of those sites invented a new category for worse-than-diabolical drafting named in honour of Pete Carroll following the 2012 draft. If I could be arsed to check I’d be fascinated to see what their Seahawks draft grades will be like this time around. Although, I probably won’t bother.

    Also, although I understand that it’s probably quite difficult keeping on top of 32 teams, right up til the end of the season Walterfootball were listing corner as a priority for the Hawks as we were starting a 5th rounder and a CFL player. That was fine for the first half of the season, but if he’d paid attention he may have noticed that one of them went to the Pro-bowl and wasn’t the better of the two!

    • AlaskaHawk

      Walter was puzzled by our first draft pick. I still am puzzled, I wouldn’t be surprised if he washes out by the fourth season. I just don’t see the fight in him that is required for that position. I know he has a lot of sacks, but most were more opportunity sacks from other players driving the QB to him. The memory of our first round pick will fade.

      We will be remembered for our 2nd and 3 round picks of Wagner and Wilson. And Walter thought those were good picks. If PC would pick conventionally in the first then he would have gotten a higher grade. If we can develop a few of our mid to late round picks then we will be looking good.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        I am not as bearish on the Irvin pick. Which is a LOOONNG way from where I was in April. His stats will pale as a function of playing out of position. Leo is his full time gig. He’s basically a situational DE opposite the Leo until Clemons is relegated to a different role. That’s not a knock on Irvin, but a function of already elite talent at that position.

        Additionally, in terms of 3rd down impact, Irvin is firmly in the top 10 in the entire NFL when it comes to sacks, hurries and hits (each, not total). So on the down that he’s supposed to matter in, he measures up with the elite names in the NFL.

        He also doesn’t benefit largely from a quality 3 tech. That can’t be discounted. It’s partly why that position is so loudly promoted here. I thought that it was our #1 need last year even above a situational DE. But I can see that Irvin is exactly the right talent for the Leo position.

        Irvin is going to be playing out of position until he inherits the Leo role. In his situational DE role, he has multiple responsibilities and has to honor them. Despite that — he is able to produce elite productivity in a role he’s not ideally suited for in his first season. I expect great things from him when he’s protected by Mebane, and is tasked with one mission alone: Attack the QB.

        I can definitely see how he fits in a post Clemons world. I wouldn’t obsess too much on his meager statistical contribution overall. He’s done very well.

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