On today’s episode of PFN’s ‘Draft Insiders’ (click here to watch it), Tony Pauline produced a series of reports that included:
— Deebo Samuel to the Jets is 70/30 likely to happen
— Ikem Ekwonu is Doug Pederson’s preferred choice at #1 overall and Tony made that projection in his mock draft (published tomorrow)
— There’s a distinct possibility the Texans take Derek Stingley Jr at #3
— The Packers really like Treylon Burks and the Chiefs like Kyler Gordon
He also produced some crucial information on the Seahawks and it couldn’t be more dismaying, in my opinion.
Obviously this is just a report. It might not come true. I just want to give some thoughts on what the #1 draft insider has been saying about the Seahawks.
Tony claims the Saints have contacted Seattle about moving up to #9 to acquire a receiver in the top-10. He also says the Eagles are interested in moving up and indeed, in his mock tomorrow, he has Philadelphia trading up to #9 to select Jameson Williams.
He then says the Seahawks will draft Trevor Penning in the mid-first round before trading back into the first frame in a deal with the Packers to select Desmond Ridder.
This was quite a firm report from Pauline. He didn’t qualify it with any doubt or base-covering. It was delivered almost statement-like — presumably because he’s hearing this from numerous sources.
I wouldn’t be a fan of this. At all.
We’ve been talking about Penning and Seattle for a long time. He was the first player I wrote about last year at the start of the new draft cycle. He’s an explosive tester, a great athlete and he has identical size to the two tackles who’ve been starting in LA.
He is, quite clearly, ‘a Seahawk’.
The two gaping holes at tackle on the roster are a massive tell going into the draft. They are going to draft at least one tackle with one of their first three picks.
Personally I would prefer it to be Abraham Lucas — who is a terrific run blocker. People assume he isn’t because he played for Washington State. Yet they’ve not been running the Mike Leach offense for some time now and the Cougs have been running the ball in the 42-45% range the last couple of seasons.
According to PFF, Lucas’ run-blocking grade in 2021 was a 91.0 — his highest mark.
Yet Penning has felt destined for Seattle for some time. So why the concern?
It’s a mix of technical flaws that I’ve talked about and his playing style. At the Senior Bowl he got beat, quite a lot. He’s very upright in his stance and opponents are able to get into his big frame and drive him backwards. He kept giving up the inside counter in 1v1’s so he over-compensated. Opponents realised this, feigned inside and then converted speed-to-power to drive into his chest and push him backwards.
He needs a lot of work and I’m not sure he’ll ever be left tackle material because he needs to be the type of player who comes off the ball and attacks. I wouldn’t ever want to rely on him, based on what we’ve seen so far, to protect a quarterback’s blind side.
Then there’s all the judo-tossing opponents after the whistle which was evident on tape and at the Senior Bowl. It bothers me. I think he’s trying to prove he’s a tough-guy. Some of those moves happened after he got beat, badly. It’s not just the fear of a Breno Giacomini-style flag fest at the next level. Why does he need to do it?
I don’t want players feeling like they have to prove how ‘tough’ they are. Kam Chancellor never had to. Jason Kelce doesn’t do any of this. Be tough by playing sound, fundamental football and burying opponents because you’re 6-7, 325lbs and an explosive athlete. Not by getting beat off the edge, throwing them down and then getting a little cheap-shot in like he did on Tyreke Smith in Mobile.
When I spoke with Jake Heaps yesterday he voiced concerns because Germain Ifedi did similar things in Seattle. He tried too hard to prove his toughness.
It all feels so familiar.
As badly as tackle is a need, I just don’t want to go in this direction. Yet this is exactly the type of move they tend to make.
In 2-3 years time some TV broadcaster is going to post a graphic. On one side of the screen it’ll say ‘Russell Wilson’. On the other side will be the list of players Seattle selected with the picks they got for Wilson.
I don’t want the top name on the list to be Trevor Penning, a player who is so boom or bust. The idea of launching this whole next phase with Penning is troublesome — even after trading down.
It feels like a shot the LA Chargers can make. They have an almost complete roster. They can plug Penning in and roll the dice, knowing the consequences are limited if the bust is bigger than the boom. If he’s only OK or plays erratic or out of control, well they have enough talent elsewhere to live with it.
The Seahawks are in no fit shape to do that. They have to get this pick right and it has to be a consistent, quality performer.
However, the ‘oh no’ rating of this pick will pale into significance if they trade back into round one to take Desmond Ridder.
I can’t express enough how much I would be against this.
Ridder is an extremely likeable person. You can’t help but respect what he achieved at Cincinnati. He’s very athletic and he’s what some people refer to as ‘a winner’.
But let’s just be right here — his tape is bang average at best. In what world can you justify taking a player in round one with such erratic accuracy?
Yes there are flashes of brilliance. He has two throws against Notre Dame that were as good as anything you’ll see — one to the left sideline and a great seam throw on a second-half drive. Yet this all followed a stuttering, stalling first half where he couldn’t make easy completions and needed the defense to bail him out after a rough couple of quarters, gifting short-fields to put points on the board.
Watch the Navy game. He’s absolutely dreadful in it. The misses are cringe-inducing.
And then there’s the Alabama game where he looked overwhelmed and out of ideas. A truly limited player facing a pro-caliber defense.
He doesn’t have an amazing arm and he’s not consistent with his accuracy. He has robotic mechanics that create their own problems and as soon as he feels pressure he squares to the line and it’s game over.
This can’t be the future of the franchise. Surely not?
They resisted Andy Dalton in 2011 but Desmond Ridder is now so irresistible?
I fear they’ll just put themselves in a position of QB purgatory, wasting a couple of years (or more) on Ridder trying to take a leap that never comes.
This needs to be a draft where the Seahawks set the foundations. Forget what might be the biggest needs. You need to add talent in key areas.
I would much rather trade down from #9 and up from #40 and come out with Zion Johnson and Tyler Linderbaum. Two players who are easily projectable as really good long term starters with a shot to be among the best at their positions.
You could then create a proper running game to support your chosen identity.
Then just go and re-sign Duane Brown. You’ve overpaid for others so just do what it takes to get Brown back.
With your other high pick, target a dynamic front-seven defender.
It doesn’t have to be Zion Johnson in round one either. Select Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt if you prefer. Or one of the other pass rushers.
Heck — if you’re going to waste stock trading up for Ridder anyway, why not just give it to Carolina and get up to #6 for one of the top pass rushers? After all, you said at the start of the off-season that improving the pass rush was a big priority.
A few weeks ago it was reported that Ridder had been presenting teams with a plan to show how he would beat out a veteran starter in camp. I really hope they haven’t been sold on this plan, with the idea that he’ll be able to come in and be the answer in 2022 — not just beyond.
But really, would it be a huge surprise?
They’ve done nothing at tackle so they’ll draft a tackle. They’ve done nothing at linebacker so they’ll probably draft a linebacker. They’ve only added Drew Lock and retained Geno Smith. Trying to recreate the 2012 competition at quarterback is something I can imagine them doing.
Because after all, Pete Carroll thought this team was ‘close’ at the end of the 2021 season. He probably still believes that.
The reality is — they aren’t close. They are not close. Wins against Detroit and a slumping, miserable Arizona are not indicative of anything. Especially after chastening losses to the Rams and Bears preceded those wins.
This should be a golden opportunity to build a foundation in a deep draft, not force needs or rush the quarterback situation.
Beginning this rebuild with Trevor Penning and Desmond Ridder would be scary.
Yet the two picks projected by Tony Pauline scream Seahawks, sadly.
I hope he’s wrong. I really do.
On a happier note, Albert Breer’s mock draft had Derek Stingley Jr and Jermaine Johnson available at #9.
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