Pauline’s post-combine board is good news for Seattle

Falling out of the first? Zach Brown could provide real value to Seattle

Tony Pauline is well sourced, so when he makes reference to his contacts and writes a piece on Draft it’s worth considering. In the last few days he posted a top-33 big board based on information he received during and after the combine. I’d recommend making Tony’s site a regular stop as we build up to the draft and you can see the list by clicking here. For ease of use I’ve also posted it in full below: 

1. Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford
2. Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor
3. Dontari Poe – NT – Memphis
4. Melvin Ingram – OLB – South Carolina
5. Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama
6. Matt Kalil – OT – USC
7. Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma State
8. Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU
9. Fletcher Cox – DT – Mississippi State
10. Quinton Coples – DE – North Carolina
11. David DeCastro – OG – Stanford
12. Dre’ Kirkpatrick – CB – Alabama
13. Michael Brockers – DT – LSU
14. Jonathan Martin – OT – Stanford
15. Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame
16. Cordy Glenn – OL – Georgia
17. Devon Still – DT – Penn State
18. Whitney Mercilus – DE – Illinois
19. Coby Fleener – TE – Stanford
20. Nick Perry – DE – USC
21. Luke Kuechly – LB – Boston College
22. Kevin Zeitler – OG – Wisconsin
23. Ryan Tannehill – QB – Texas A&M
24. Doug Martin – RB – Boise State
25. Jerel Worthy – DT – Michigan State
26. Bobby Wagner – LB – Utah State
27. Stephon Gilmore – CB – South Carolina
28. Kendall Wright – WR – Baylor
29. Dwayne Allen – TE – Clemson
30. Donta Hightower – LB – Alabama
31. Kendall Reyes – DT – UConn
32. Stephen Hill – WR – Georgia Tech
33. Riley Reiff – OG – Iowa 

For starters it’s easy to see the influence of the combine on the board. Dontari Poe had a superb work-out in Indianapolis, running a sub 5.00 despite weighing 345lbs and benching 45 reps – more than anyone else during the week. Players like Poe are rare and it’s no surprise that despite a lack of production at Memphis he appears so high on a board like this after his display last week. Teams hoping to transition to a 3-4 will look for a nose tackle to build around so expect Carolina to have their sights firmly on the big lineman come April 26th. The combination of below average production and different positional priorities will stop him going quite as high as #3, but he should secure a slot in the same region as B.J. Raji in 2009. Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore are two others who helped their stock at the combine and also make the list. 

There are also some noticeable absentees, such as the Alabama pair of Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron and the North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown. It’s no surprise that Upshaw has dipped given his negative publicity since the combine. Russ Lande from the Sporting News described his performance as such, “He struggled during the linebacker drills, where he was required to move his feet and show that he could handle playing off the ball in pass coverage. He was upright and stiff in drops, could not flip his hips to change direction quickly and lacked the explosiveness and burst that NFL teams wanted to see. In our view, his performance clearly showed that he is a power player who lacks the explosiveness and speed to be a threat as an edge pass rusher.”  

The list is distinctly combine-influenced and Upshaw isn’t the only to suffer. Kendall Wright is ranked at #28, Ryan Tannehill (who didn’t perform) is at #23 and Riley Reiff plummets from potential top-10 choice to #33 after he was found to have short arms. These are the lucky few who clung to the top-33, while Upshaw, Barron, Brown and other fell like a stone. This may well represent the consensus feeling at the moment among scouts, but rest assured things can change again by the time April rolls around. 

From what I’ve picked up while writing this blog, the combine largely makes up approximately 10-20% of a final judgement on a prospect. Tape study will always win the day. Rather than let a sloppy performance in Indianapolis leave a permanent scar, teams will return to the video room and revise their impression based on what they learnt at the combine. In some cases the negatives will show up on tape when perhaps they weren’t so noticeable at first. In other cases, watching back tape will reassure scouts and GM’s that their grade’s were satisfactory and need no adjustment. After all, performing in pads and a helmet will always be preferable than shorts and a t-shirt. 

I suspect the Seahawks front office is one that puts a lot of trust in game tape, maybe more than the majority of teams. Having studied a lot of James Carpenter’s tape at Alabama last year – enough to rave about him during the 2011 season– it wasn’t a total shock that someone made him a first round pick. He didn’t have an incredible senior bowl or combine, but the talent flashed up on tape and John Schneider, Pete Carroll and Tom Cable noticed it. In fact, nearly all of Seattle’s draft picks so far have come from a similar ilk. They’ve avoided pure work-out warriors and late risers early in the draft and gone for solid football players who have produced in college and played on successful teams. Later in the draft they’ve taken chances on athletic small-school prospects with raw potential or talented players who have dropped due to injury or off-field concerns. Essentially, the Seahawks are trying to eliminate risk but also take advantage of potential bargains later on. 

I’d be sceptical about Seattle’s draft board changing too much post-combine, which means their board may look quite different to the one above. I imagine they’ll have a pretty focused view of what they want long before the end of February and while the combine will have it’s role, it won’t dictate too much. Upshaw and Brown might have dropped in the media and seemingly also among scouts if Pauline’s report is to be believed, but I doubt they’ll have dropped too far – if at all – on Seattle’s grading scale. I know a lot of people disagree with me on this, but I firmly believe Upshaw is among the best prospects in this draft class. From what I understand, the Seahawks may share that opinion. Brown has raw, untapped potential and would make a logical fit at the WILL and while #12 might be considered a stretch, a high second round pick could present real value and bring the extra speed Seattle craves along the front seven. 

One thing that works in both players favor might be that they fitin Seattle. Upshaw won’t attract every team given his size and skill set, but the Seahawks have had a lot of success with niche players and I suspect they’ll see more of the same in the Alabama pass rusher. In the draft report being handed to teams prior to the combine, Nick Saban was quoted as saying Upshaw was the meanest player he’s ever coached and someone that, “would never back down in a fight.” That’s the type of player this team wants, to go along with the Red Bryant’s, the Richard Sherman’s, the Kam Chancellor’s and the Earl Thomas’. Brown supposedly isn’t receiving glowing endorsements from his coaches at UNC according to Pauline, but the Seahawks will be acutely aware of the potential value on offer and linebacker will become a vital need if Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne both depart in free agency. 

The fans may react to the idea of Upshaw at #12 followed by a day-two selection of Brown in a negative manner. No quarterback? Not selecting players promoted by the media leading into the draft? It begs the question – haven’t we been here before? In Seattle’s previous two drafts similar questions have been asked, yet subsequently answered  by success. The front office deserves an element of trust given the good work so far, fitting what could’ve otherwise been years of rebuilding into 24 months. And while the likely extension of the quarterback dilemma will cause some consternation, a little patience may be rewarded in the long term. 

A double pick of Upshaw and Brown wouldn’t be everyone’s preference, but it would pay dividends especially if other hot-choices such as Quinton Coples (ranked #10 on Pauline’s board) or Doug Martin (ranked #24) end up out of reach. Upshaw/Brown wouldn’t earn the top grade’s from Mel Kiper, Pete Prisco and whoever else marks a card as the event unfolds. However – this team has been doubted in the past and so far the rebuild has gone better than most expected. It’s only a few weeks ago that both were considered to be likely high picks and some teams will maintain that view. Not being swayed too much by the combine is a nice habit to have and the Seahawks could use it to their advantage in April. 

If Pauline’s board is an accurate assesment of how the league feels about this draft class – it’ll provide the Seahawks a great opportunity to make it three successful drafts out of three for Schneider and Carroll.


  1. Misfit74

    Cool you addressed this, as our discussion the other day pointed to Pauline’s board and that site a few times. Things are getting very exciting every day we move closer to the draft.

  2. Jmpasq

    I thought I was the only 1 with Cox in the Top 10

  3. Vin

    In this instance, should the Hawks trade back a few spots? If a majority of the league sees Upshaw as now a late 1st early second pick, maybe the Hawks can gain another 3rd or 4th and still get Upshaw…..? Im still liking Upshaw and would like a Upshaw/Kendricks pairing…..=)

  4. Rob

    Hey Vin,

    I think if you like a guy enough, you take him. Seattle likes the guy and even if a lot of other teams have cooled their interest – the Seahawks won’t be alone on Upshaw. New York at #16 – Rex Ryan – will love this guy.

  5. Philip

    Hello Rob – if both Coples and Upshaw were to be available for us at #12, who do you think PC/JS would pick? Also, assuming Upshaw’s stock does not improve drastically after his pro day, would you envision us trading down (to obtain an extra pick and select say a Nick Perry / etc.)? Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

  6. Jmpasq

    Ingram at 4 I have to go look at more of him because I just dont see it. That game against Hardwick clinched it for him. He struggles against tackles with length which basically all NFL tackles have. Unless he is lining up over Guards he struggles.

  7. Rob

    Philip – From what I’m led to believe, it’d be Upshaw. There are some concerns about Coples’ run defense. Both players are liked and would play similar roles on the team. Coples intrigues me a lot due to potential and fit as a specialist. Upshaw intrigues me as a pure football player. As for moving down, I’m not convinced. I think they’ll just take their guy at #12.

    Jmpasq – I totally agree.

  8. Hawksince77


    Perhaps you have addressed this before, but do you have inside knowldege of Seattle’s assessment of Upshaw? It’s the only explanation I can think of that keeps you so high on the guy.

    As far as Brown goes, he sounds like a fast athlete as opposed to a football player how is fast (ala Curry). From scouting reports I have read, he doesn’t show very well on the field so I don’t understand an interest in drafting him highly at all.

  9. Colin

    Ever since Aaron Curry was supposed to be just great great greater, I could care less what the media thinks. Most pundits gave Seattle a “D” for their draft last year right afterwards, and it was closer to an A by seasons end.

    Combine is nothing more than a time for the media to get together and churn out ideas.

  10. Jim

    “They’ve avoided pure work-out warriors and late risers early in the draft and gone for solid football players who have produced in college and played on successful teams”.

    Sounds like one of (or maybe 2):

    Kirk Cousins (if there in Rd-3?),
    Chandler Harnish (if there in Rd-6?)
    Alvin Davis (if there in Rd-7?).
    Darron Thomas UDFA?

  11. Rob

    Hawksince77 – It’s a combination of information from a proven source and my own assesment.

    Colin – Absolutely correct.

  12. Rob

    Jim – Very possible on the first three.

  13. MLT

    Ingram may turn out to be a good player idk? But it sure seems like he is rising the way curry did after the combine. That’s good for us though because either a team drafts him before us or if he is still there and upshaw isn’t or coples maybe another team would give up a lot to get there hands on him @ 12? I look @ that list and don’t see a lot of good players there, if we can pick up an xtra 2nd or even more and still get a 1st round guy there is going to be a lot of talent left in the 2nd! How would a trade down if the guy isn’t there that they want and go for say perry or mclellin late 1st. Get LB top 2nd there will be a slew of talented LB to choose from and then taking kind of a luxury pick with that other 2nd? Say osweiller, Polk, dwight jones?

  14. Chris from Bolivia

    I was not interested in seeing Brown in the first, but he would be an interesting and possibly a great addition to the team in the second. Personally, I think Hill will be resigned, and he will be cheap. Also, didn’t we all rave about Hawthorne’s speed/explosiveness when he first started playing? Other teams have been talking about wanting to get him on their team, some saying he is the best ILB available in FA. How much do you think the injury this year affected him? Teamates were making fun of him being slow this year. No matter what, I think we are looking for a fast, blitzing OLB, and a solid run-stopper who is a do-it-all, with a heady MLB. Therefore, Wright-Hill-Hawthorne. Weakest link? Maybe Wright! He needs to be the blitzer, if we loose Hill we loose a guy who cover’s TE’s and is almost impossible to run through. Hawthorne is replaceable, but leadership like that athleticism and headiness is hard to come by. It’s a challenging dilema, so maybe get a guy in Hill’s mold to learn who can also rush the QB?
    Thus, I would much more prefer to resign both, and bring in a guy like Brown to look to take over Hill’s job in the future. Maybe even a guy like Burfict (because of size and tenacity), because he may be in the 3rd now, but he can play like a first rounder, off-field issues aside. Some people are just idiots with their mouths, and the 1rst rounders are often the ones who are smart enough to say the “right stuff”.
    How about Janoris Jenkins in the 3rd? People seem to hate his track record, but he may possibly be a shutdown corner in the NFL. Players as good as him rarely go that low, and some scouts say he just needs another chance. Having several kids is largely bad luck, in my opinion. Most of these guys have many gf’s and little restraint, but use protection. A guy with Tebow’s determination to stay clean until marriage are hard to come by, and by the way I admire him greatly for it. (He’s a football player, using his gifts to the fullest, even if they are less than more talented yet lazier players. Think “Rudy”).
    I know I’m throwing out some strange names, and so far they are all defense.
    If we are talking about tape, I think Upshaw and Jenkins get my vote. Haven’t even started talking about Kellen Moore yet! That’s TAPE! The draft is so funny, and so full of bad picks. What you want are football players who love the game and take pride in it, and I think we would all agree that is what JS/PC want.

  15. Mike in OC

    While I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed in getting Upshaw at 12, I think there is enough “2nd tier” (media’s take, not necessarily Pete’s or John’s) talent to warrant a trade back to pick up draft picks, and they may even still get Upshaw.

    Also, I’m very high on Chandler Harnish and think he can provide at least a solid backup, or maybe even a starter down the line. I hope the Seahawks can pick him up.

    Thanks for the website Rob and the excellent work by you and Kip. I check in every day!

  16. kevin mullen

    Zach Brown in the 2nd? Sign me up!

  17. Ox Canard

    Courtnery (Low Upside) Upshaw: a player without a position…a niche player … in round one?

    Maybe Pete will send him in just to give the offensive left tackle a fright. Yah, that’s the ticket.

  18. Rob

    A note for future reference…

    When you are banned by this community – and I’ve only felt obliged to ban one person since 2008 – you’ll be found out when you reappear posting the same things using the same IP address.

  19. Derek

    Do you think if we get Upshaw at 12 and then either Martin or Polk with our second, would we take Irvin in the 3rd if he is there? I think he would find his most success in the NFL in that of the LEO type role.

  20. JoeV

    I dont really care for Brown. The amount a missed tackles i saw in his highlight videos is conserning to me. Listening to him talk at the combine makes me think of Aaron Curry. Not to be insulting, but he missing somthing upstairs. I’d rather shoot for Kendricks or best RB available.

    If we lose Byrant i would like upshaw as he provides solid run defense and more of a pass rush. Else, say we sign Red and draft Upshaw, hes not taking Clemons spot and he’s not taking Red’s spot. He’s not a LB, so all you have is a third down player. Then even next year, say clemons leaves in FA. Is Upshaw capable of replacing Clemons 10+ sacks. I would say no. Who knows though. Whoever we draft i just want him to be a defensive mainstay and be an impact player.

  21. Rob

    Mayock’s new rankings have Coples #1 among defensive ends and Upshaw #2. Melvin Ingram is listed at OLB. All three will leave the board before the #16 pick.

  22. Michael (CLT)

    Upshaw will not move much on boards that had him high. That he did not compete goes against the JS/PC mantra, but that seems vague these days.

    I found this paragrah to be especially poignant:

    “In fact, nearly all of Seattle’s draft picks so far have come from a similar ilk. They’ve avoided pure work-out warriors and late risers early in the draft and gone for solid football players who have produced in college and played on successful teams. Later in the draft they’ve taken chances on athletic small-school prospects with raw potential or talented players who have dropped due to injury or off-field concerns. Essentially, the Seahawks are trying to eliminate risk but also take advantage of potential bargains later on.”

    I, like many people (including Nick Saban), do not think Carpenter will improve. I would suggest the biggest stars in the past two drafts for Seattle are, in fact, the risks in the later rounds.

    Perhaps drafting in the early rounds with the same flourish as the later would create utopia.

    To say Okung, Carpenter, Tate, and Moffit are great, safe picks… even good picks, is a tad bit premature.

    In the end, if they feel Upshaw will help them win ten games this year, they should damn well do it.

    If this FO does not win this year, the pucker factor next year will be fierce.

  23. Colin

    What excites me Michael, is I think this team can win in 2011. I don’t think they will win alot, but they can win 10 games.

  24. erik


    Any thoughts on JS comments regarding Tannehill in peter kings MMQB.

  25. Derek

    I think Carpenter will greatly improve, I just won’t expect much this year coming off of his injury. The fact is, Carpenter came to Alabama as a JUCO transfer and immediately started for a Nick Saban offense and was dominating. He only played in the SEC for two seasons I believe, and then came into the NFL with no real off-season and was rushed to start. Same with Moffit, I think he will be a solid 3rd round guard.

    I agree with you on the Tate pick Michael, he has shown some impact but nothing on a consistent basis like Baldwin. I think we were all wishing Tate would be what Baldwin is, with a little bit more play making ability.

    I am not sure the FO is even close to being on the hot seat. I think they have a guaranteed at least two more years here, regardless of what happens. If they find a solid quarterback either this year via FA, or next year via the draft, it will only prolong their stay here.

  26. Rob

    Colin – I’d argue they should’ve won 10-games this year! We lost nearly every tight game we played and threw away some W’s (Washington, Arizona). Ten or even eleven wins were there for the taking. An upgrade at QB and a better pass rush and this team will be very competitive.

    erik – The quote was very similar to the one uttered at the combine, in fact it may be the same quote. I wouldn’t read into it because it seems very likely the Seahawks won’t be drafting a quarterback in round one this year. Next year we’ll see this team go ‘all-in’ at the position I suspect.

  27. JJ

    Hey Rob just a side QB question, curious of your opinion. Alot of seahawk fans have come to the realization of no 1st rnd QB taking for the Hawks this year, yet they continually push that in the 2nd and 3rd rnds is were we shld draft a Osweiler/ Cousins type. My question to you is, isnt that still a high enough draft of a Qb that would prevent you from drafting and going all in on a guy in nxt yrs QB class?Wouldnt you be responsible for giving that 2nd or 3rnd Qb atleast 2-3yrs to show and prove?

    And if that is the case realistically mayb then the Hawks look to draft a Qb in the 4th 5th 6th rnds then, no?

  28. Michael (CLT)

    Ah. The elephant in the room:

    “An upgrade at QB and a better pass rush and this team will be very competitive.”

    I do not have access to information you have, Rob/Kip. I but can say that Cassell will not be an upgrade.

  29. Rob

    JJ – You’ve called it exactly right. And this is the dilemma really… the fans expect Seattle to address the position now and for the long term. If that doesn’t mean in round one, they’ll take a R2/3 pick. The Seahawks fans in general just want someone to believe in, they want to see an investment made. But if you draft an Osweiler in round two and then in 12 months time before he even sees the field you then spend two R1’s moving up to get a different guy… isn’t it a wasted pick that could go on an impact player elsewhere?

    R4-6 is a smart guess for the range Seattle will look to draft a QB. In that range, you’re not losing anything if you only come away with a backup. I think originally they would’ve hope Kirk Cousins would be available in that range, but he’s rising fast. The Seahawks will eventually make the move everyone is hoping for, it’s just not going to happen in the 2012 draft.

  30. JJ

    Perhaps an Article on the blog regarding that very subject is due then.
    Prepare the ppl!! lol but seriously that could very well be the reality.

  31. JJ

    Rob while im at it here’s another hypothetical, this years draft positioning replays itself exactly, except say instead of the rams picking 2nd they pick 6th.(just effectively placing them outside the top five not having to trade with a divisional opponent same with Cards and Niners) Do the Hawks at 12th pick go all in and trade the farm then, to get in the top 5 to draft their guy at Qb?

  32. Ben2

    If Upshaw is as mean as people say he is I’m in….I want a defense with a fierce identity. I remember some games years ago in the Holmgren era when, with our “small quick” defense, we’d play a team like the Steelers (this is the Steelers D of a few years ago,mind you) and I’d always feel like our team would get pushed around and basically punched in the face and there was nothing we could do to stop it. I WANT MY TEAM TO PUNCH THE OPPONENTS IN THEIR PROVERBIAL TEETH AND DARE ‘EM TO GET UP FOR MORE!

  33. Darnell

    That Ravens game was such a ‘punch the bully in the face’ game, it was great.

  34. MLT

    Now I’m sure I’m going to get a hard time for this 1 but I for 1 wouldn’t be that upset with the return of tarvaris as our starter. He is only going to improve, if anything even if his skills don’t he will be more on the same page with our whole offense with the offseason and camp to come. I am more then prepared for a 5th or 6th round qb to compete with portis and ride with TJ. Actually I should say ride lynch. Its real obvious we are trying to be a top 5 defense and we aren’t that far @ all, and let lynch grind teams down and wear them out. TJ or not teams will hate playing us I would suspect most already see us on the schedule and now know they better bring it or they going to get punched right in the mouth and not know what happened till after. Is it just me or can any1 else not wait till the 49ers game? Both but this year they come to us 1st and we can set the tone for the division right there and show them that we have the superior defense!

  35. MLT

    Hey darnell I totally agree! Besides the giants game to me that was our most impressive win last year. Eagles was impressive also but they were a mess last year so it wasn’t as to me.

  36. shams

    It can be frustrating trying to navigate this site. Rob, can you link to your previous Courtney Upshaw scouting reports? Thanks.

    Just watched highlights of him in the Florida game, where he looked pretty fearsome. I see what you mean about lining him up all over the place.

  37. dave crockett

    I’m starting to feel like there is a blind spot re: Ingram. I get that you’re not a fan. And you may yet prove to be right about him. However, even before the combine he seemed to be moving fairly steadily up many draft boards. At the Senior Bowl I can recall reading what was on this site about Ingram compared to other sites and it was like you weren’t talking about the same player others were.

    At the same time, Upshaw has been up and down on a lot of boards but has never wavered on yours.

    I get it. Differences of opinion on prospects are to be expected (and respected). I’m not asking you to distrust your tape evaluation.

    But here’s my question to you:

    What specific things are your colleagues seeing in Ingram, even if they are wrong? What is a quality analyst like Pauline seeing that is so seductive? (I realize you did an early writeup on Ingram, but I felt like that was mostly focused on what he *can’t* do.)

  38. Colin

    One topic that refuses to die is trading down and drafting a DT to play 3 tech or 5 tech. I cannot stress how bad an idea I think that is, and I’ll explain why. The arguments for Fletcher Cox or Devon Still or even Poe just don’t sit well with me.

    Red Bryant. Kentwaan Balmer. BJ Raji. Glenn Dorsy. Gerald McCoy. Jimmy Kennedy.

    Almost all these guys were 1st round DT’s (minus Red). What impact have they had on their defenses, respectively? Almost nothing. Raji is a good nose guard, but NG’s don’t define defenses. Dorsy and McCoy have done nothing special. Kentwan Balmer and Jimmy Kennedy were nice rotational pieces, yet neither lived up to their billing. Red Bryant was supposed to be the huge run stuffing DT we so badly needed, yet if Pete Carroll isn’t hired here, there is almost a 99.9% chance Red is no longer on this team.

    My point is, with the majority of these guys, their value was locked into their position rather than their play. And for every Warren Sapp or Ndamukong Suh that comes around, you go through hundreds of lesser prospects. THAT is why I don’t understand the desire of more inside players when we already have three guys who are more than capable of holding their own. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  39. Ryan

    “The Seahawks will eventually make the move [at QB] everyone is hoping for…”

    I’ll believe that only when I see it.

  40. Belgaron

    Check out Pat Kirwan’s new mock, it’s the first post-combine board that I think gets closer to getting it right. While he does incorrectly have Kuechly to Seattle at 12 instead of Richardson, he gets a lot of things right. This would include Redskins instead of Browns moving to 2, Blackman at 4, and Poe at 9. He has Upshaw and Brown going 14/15 which is also interesting.

  41. shams

    @Belgaron: Pat Kirwan has Seattle passing on both Upshaw and Trent Richardson to draft Kuechly– incorrect indeed, as you say. I would open a vein if that were to happen. (Preferably one of Kirwan’s, but one of my own failing that.)

    Remember when Kirwan was going to be our GM, before John Schneider got hired? Really glad we ended up in *this* parallel universe.

    All that aside, it’s not a bad draft. 🙂 Thanks for the link.

  42. Christon


    I believe you are right on track with Upshaw – as of right now, it is the most logical direction that the Seahawks will take with their first pick. However, free agency will tip their hand on what direction Pete and John really plan to go. Do you believe that if they go after a big FA DE would that tell us that they aren’t that impressed with this year’s DE class? I really like Upshaw too but I’m not convinced that he is the pure pass rusher that the Hawks are looking for. He seems much better against the run then putting pressure on the passer at double digit sacks per year because of his lack of top end speed and smallish 6’1ish” frame they doesn’t seem to fit their size profile of bigger stronger faster. Coples on the other hand does have that size they look for. While we are on DE’s – another question (maybe for Tony Pauline): how does Riley Reiffy fall so far because of his short arms but Melvin Ingram does just the opposite? Was his workout really that impressive? Obviously, Ingram doesn’t fit Pete and John’s size profile either and I don’t think Upshaw or Ingram could play anything other than a dedicated blitzer as a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 end because they both can’t drop into pass coverage to cover a TE very effectively.

    If they go after a FA QB than we can probably assume that they aren’t very excited with this year’s QB class and we probably won’t get anything more than a late round project. I think it’s time for the Hawks to win now and so if they don’t see someone on the board to compete for the starting gig this year, than shouldn’t they consider addressing the position in Free Agency? If they don’t go after a QB in free agency could it tell us that they will go after a QB (maybe Ryan Tannehill???) if they view him as a viable option to compete against T-Jax this year next and take pass rushers with the 2nd and 3rd round picks? I know your aren’t a big fan of Tannehill’s but someone with that much potential may not be around later in the draft and probably won’t be available to the hawks next year after they make a bid for the playoffs, right?

    One more question – do you still believe that the Hawks will consider taking a RB in the first four rounds now with Marshawn signing a four year deal instead of being franchized?

  43. Jake

    Combine overreaction time!

    I love this first post-combine projection… hilarious! It definetely identifies the different analysts’ criteria. I think it’s pretty telling that Poe and Ingram climbed to the top-5 and magically are now better prospects than Richardson in Pauline’s ranking. WTF is he smoking?

    That said, if we stay at #12, I really like Ingram for the Hawks, he fits what we do very well. Schematically, he’s a role player – starter minutes/snaps, but in different roles. He fills the Brock role, the 3-tech role on passing downs, the backup LEO role, and the blitzing LB role. I guess Upshaw could do the same thing, I just don’t think he is as athletic or as good, which is why I prefer Ingram.

  44. David

    Rob i read your thread here and i got to a part that i was curious about if put into a scenario

    you said the seahawks tend to go after players in the later rounds that have dropped due to off the field issues and what not

    do you see the Hawks taking a chance on Vontaze if hes there in the later rounds?

  45. Rob

    JJ – If they needed to make that move then I think they would, yes. I’m not sure they’ll necessarily need to trade the farm for their guy in 12 months.

    Shams – if you use the archives page in the menu bar and search ‘Courtney Upshaw’ you should find previous scouting reports. I’m working on a new page that will list articles about each prospect.

    dave crockett – I can only trust what I see. I’ve never been overly impressed with Ingram and I have with Upshaw. With respect, the media also thought Aaron Curry was a can’t miss prospect and many people had Jimmy Clausen as a top-ten pick – we didn’t. I could go through several examples where either I or the ‘media’ got it completely wrong. It’s not a blind spot, it’s just sticking to your guns. A lot of people like the athleticism and his versatility – I think he’ll struggle badly when engaged and if you get into his pads he can’t counter. I like his spin move but don’t want him to rely on it. I just don’t see enough quality when he inevitably is touched – he doesn’t use leverage, he doesn’t jab to disengage and he’s not ‘that’ explosive to keep dodging pro-tackles. Put him in space and let him find gaps he’ll have some success, but I think there are better options and his run defense isn’t good IMO. I’ve moved him up the mock draft to represent hype – so I’m not blind – I’ve talked about him as a possible option because he has his supporters in Seattle’s FO. However, I will always stick to my guns and accept mistakes will happen.

    Belgaron – Can’t see this team drafting Kuelchy.

    Christon – I know they’re impressed with the DE’s in this class so I wouldn’t read too much into it. There’s no harm in testing free agency though, but I don’t expect a big splash. I fully expect the Seahawks to draft a quarterback early in 2013 one way or another – I’m led to believe they won’t go QB in R1 this year.

    David – Maybe in rounds 6-7.

  46. Phil

    Lots of folks seem to be ignoring what IMHO is the most interesting piece of data in Rob’s wite up: the coaches at UNC DO NOT give glowing endorsements to Zach Brown (or to Coples). This should be a huge red flag. Why do they feel this way? When I have looked at tape for both Brown and Coples, I have seen players that look like they are sometimes going through the motions. I never have seen this for Upshaw, or for Mychal Kendriks. I can’t believe that PC or Schneider would draft anyone if there are doubts about their level of commitment, but maybe that’s not what the UNC coaches’ lack of endorsement is based upon. So, the front office has some phone calls to make to the UNC coaches if either Coples or Brown is high on the Seahawks’ board.

  47. Rob

    It’s a legitimate concern, Phil. However, Pete Carroll believes he can reach out to and motivate any player. I had a lot of reservations as to whether Seattle would show interest in Coples but I’m led to believe they do for those reasons – the coaches believe they can max-out talent enough to roll the dice on a Coples. I can kind of see that, given the way this team has got any kind of production out of Mike Williams. The fact he’s even in the league is incredible.

  48. Phil

    My point is that there are other very talented players that will be available who don’t come with question marks about their commitment. So, unless Coples/Brown have truly exceptional skills, why “roll the dice”?

    Williams is not really relevant here — the investment that Carroll made in him was minimal compared to the investment that the Seahawks would be making in a first round pick.

  49. Rob

    Bringing Williams into the discussion wasn’t to emphasise the risk factor, just the evidence that this is a coaching staff capable of dragging production out of a player that was universally regarded as ‘finished’. Whether things like that have created a misplaced confidence, it’s hard to tell. But that’s how they feel – that players like Coples will work in Seattle because the Head Coach believes he can get into any player and make them succesful.

    Yes – spending the #12 pick is more risky than a random free agent signing. However, they also know what they want from this draft. I suspect Coples would be #3 on a list of defensive ends and if he’s last man standing so to speak, he’d be the pick. I think he’ll go at #10 personally, but we’ll see. They have legitimate concerns about his run defense which kind of defeat even the character issues. However, they’d be willing to take the chance. And let’s not forget here that while there’s a risk with Copels… there’s also an almost unmatched upside. If Carroll is successful in motivating QC, we could be looking at one of the best defensive lineman in the league. His physical potential is limitless. There’s something to be said for that too.

  50. John

    1. The Seahawks have “gone for solid football players who have produced in college and played on successful teams,” but later have “taken chances on athletic small-school prospects with raw potential…”

    Like many, I think these are poignant sentences. What seems relevant right now is that two quarterbacks so many seems interested in for the Seahawks (Tannehill and Osweiler) do not fit the first mold (not having played on successful teams), but rather the second. Osweiler would be an interesting fit for the second ‘type,’ but he is not likely to last until the 3rd round or beyond when the Seahawks have a tendency of looking at that sort of player.

    2. “The Seahawks will eventually make the move everyone is hoping for, it’s just not going to happen in the 2012 draft.”

    I understand this has been discussed before, but I completely fail to understand why they would make the move in 2013 but not 2012. They cannot expect to have a better draft pick in 2013, ergo they would be paying more to move up. Moreover, the obvious prospect (Barkley) will cost the #1 pick, while Griffin this year only costs the #2 pick. Finally, by the time a player drafted in 2013 develops into a successful starting quarterback, the picks from the beginning of the regime in 2010 will be up for contracts and the team will be diminished. Yes, new rookies will be available to supplement losses, but the opportunity to select them will be limited by whatever cost they pay to get Barkley in 2013. Oh, and if they continue to fail in 2012, how can we know they’ll be around to try again in 2013 with a real quarterback?

  51. John

    Supplement to above post: My point in #1 was that while Tannehill and Osweiler do not fit the description there are at least four players who do. Brandon Weeden (third or beyond), Austin Davis or Chandler Harnish (Fifth or beyond), and Kellen Moore (sixth or seventh).

  52. Tom T.

    Rob, sorry if you’ve already addressed this question, but under the small possibility that both Richardson and Upshaw are sitting there at pick 12, does your information lead you to believe which guy would be the pick?

  53. Rob

    John – Some excellent points there. With regards to the quarterback situation, it is physically impossible to trade for the #2 overall pick for RGIII or the #1 pick for Andrew Luck. The Colts are zoned in on Luck being the future, while St. Louis will not trade Griffin III to Seattle. The kind of deal it would take to get Griffin would be counter productive and would have to represent the assumption from STL’s behalf that Griffin could become a franchise QB for a division rival they have to face twice annually. It’s a complete non-starter unfortunately.

    As for next year, well a lot can happen. We assume Barkley will be the #1 pick but not many four year starters at QB keep building momentum. I think it’ll be nearly impossible for Barkley to maintain his stock. He’s expected to win out, which I don’t think he will, and while USC may go to the Rose Bowl it won’t be simple. They’re a defeat or two to a tough Oregon team or Washington from ending up in a mediocre bowl game rather than a BCS bowl. If you look at the quarterbacks being drafted #1 overall recently they’re all around 6-4, at least plus athletes with an arm. Sam Bradford is the exception, but he was also a prolific QB who did more than anyone to promote his stock during the off-season prior to the 2010 draft. Barkley will measure a scratch over 6-2, he probably won’t run the forty and he relies on a level of technical excellence that some times will be suspicious of. He also comes from a team where big name QB’s have gone into the league and not delivered. It wouldn’t surprise me if Barkley is a 15-25 type prospect in 12 months rather than #1 overall, even if I think personally he should be the top choice even now.

    I expect Logan Thomas to boost his stock significantly in 2012, and Tyler Wilson will be around there too and could win the SEC for Arkansas. Barkley is challenging with those three for a start and others will join the party (they always do – see Gabbert, Newton, Griffin III). So it might not be such a big thing to trade up for or simply draft Barkley. And even if they have to move up, if they’re not dealing with a division rival it will at least make a deal possible. This year, it’s impossible.

    As for continuing to fail – I think we’ve seen tangible progress so far. That will continue IMO and it’s a stretch to think there’s a chance this regime won’t see out their contract before their future’s become a doubt.

    I fully expect Seattle to draft a QB in rounds 4-6. Maybe even two. And we’ll see a veteran added during FA and it could even be a surprise name.

  54. Rob

    Tom T – I think it would be Upshaw based on what I’ve heard, but they like both a lot. But the priority is the edge rush. It depends just how highly they rate Upshaw.

  55. Nick

    Hey Rob, will this surprise name be revealed if Peyton does not go to the correct team and it becomes near impossible to get this certain QB? I love all the inside info but it kills me to have to keep wondering who it might be. Of course I understand that it may have to be kept secret for a while, but when it gets to the point that no harm can be done I would be very interested to know who it was.

    I think Upshaw will be available at our pick and would be happy to take him. My other question Rob is have you heard of any teams picking ahead of Seattle having a lot of interest in Upshaw? Perhaps Miami or Buffalo rate him just as highly as Seattle does, so I wonder if the front office is accounting for that?

  56. Rob

    I would imagine so, Nick. I’ve not been given a name yet but I’m sure when we’re well clear of FA and Manning has signed for a team we’ll be given that information. I’ve not had direct assurances on who else likes Upshaw, but Jacksonville and Buffalo have shown a lot of interest. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went in the top ten, but Ingram and Coples have more momentum. It would be a huge coup for Seattle IMO if Upshaw is there at #12.

  57. Marcus


    Seattle’s first round options have solidified around addressing the team’s second biggest need – DE, with Richardson an understandable wild card. I don’t see a drastic shift in thinking between now and April 26. The talent fits a big need and Seattle’s current draft position. It makes sense.

    I’d like to shift the conversation some. Although Kip has posted several articles covering late round QBs of interest and potential FA pick-ups have been explored here, I think Seattle’s plan to peck away at its biggest need – QB – has been under-looked. Could you give us a comprehensive post-combine assessment of how you think the team should/will address the position this year?

    If you believe Draft Insider’s QB rankings, names many have connected with Seattle could be available April 28. Additionally, Manning, Flynn, etc. are bound to indirectly affect QBs available to Seattle in FA. I think this discussion is much more open to debate and interpretation than what the team will do in rounds one and two.

  58. Marcus

    One caveat: By DE, I mean edge rush.

  59. Rob

    Hi Marcus,

    It’s certainly something we’ll get on to and in fairness have touched on in Kip’s series on late round QB’s and we’ve done a lot of tape reviews on Davis, Harnish, Weeden etc. But we’ll delve right into it and kick start that discussion soon.

  60. woofu

    It’s time for Paul Allen to intervene.

    Sell the farm to Indy (they need it) and give Pete and John a new 5 year deal. Then pick the guy you want. Get it over with. We are good enough to pause for next year with an active FA this year.

  61. Jarhead

    Rob you had me worried there for a second, talking about Logan Thomas and Tyler Wilson. Those two represent fool’s gold for me. If this franchise is sitting on it’s hands and waiting for the QB for next year, it had better be Barkley and no exceptions will be tolerated. As for Cousins, even in the 3rd, that just makes me sad. Still. But I know why you speculate that he could be the selection. Honestly, I suspect the same thing and that is why I am so vocal against it. As much good as that does in the schemeof things… There is so much more value to be had there. Cam Johnson or Chandler Jones will likely still be on the board. As will Dwight Bentley. We could get a really great sub or package player who could, oh I don’t know, SEE THE FIELD occasionally. I say use a 4-6 on a throw away project QB and let’s bolster the D and the running game. Get some pass rush, LB’s, and bolster the back 5. Attack the QB sitch next year. Barkley… And no one else…

  62. Marcus


    The scouting/tape review you and Kip have published regarding the various tier two and three QBs has been informative and insightful. With the combine over, teams have affirmed what they saw on tape or have gone back to see what they may have missed. Big boards are firming up. FA will supplement. I think the dots are ready to be connected, and I look forward to reading your analysis.

    QB remains the most important position in the game and will continue to be a hot topic on any Seahawk draft blog until the QBOF is under contract. It’ll also be on the minds of the FO, whether it’s rounds 3-7 and FA this year or a splash in round one next year.

  63. Marcus

    I think they’ll continue to address the situation every year, be it the draft, UDFA or FA. This isn’t a FO that’ll likely put all their eggs into one basket.

  64. Colin

    This front office can’t sit idly by every year and hope a franchise QB will fall into their laps. They will have to go get their man next year. Paul Allen and the fanbase are patient, but even they will not accept going into the 2013 regular season without some action taken.

    I’d bet money Pete is waiting for his boy down in Southern Cal.

  65. shams

    Rob, I can’t believe you could see Barkley falling to 15-25 next year. It seems a flat impossibility. Jake Locker had a terrible senior year and only fell to 8 overall– granted, he has physical tools that Barkley doesn’t, but Barkley has a much better track record as a passer. You know more than I do but I think Barkley would need to amputate a limb to fall out of the top 5.

    Great site by the way, if I haven’t said that this week. You do yeoman’s work.

  66. Doug

    Rob, it surprised me for a quick moment that you thought the Hawks would choose Upshaw over Richardson should they both be availaable at the #12 slot, but then I remembered your total man-crush on the guy.

    Seriously, you really believe they would take a slow tweener over the best RB since Peterson? Really? Even with the Lynch deal, I can’t imagine that they would pass on TR. The possibilities of that 1-2 punch would be WAY to good to pass on. You can get a comprable DE to Upshaw in rd. 2, but a RB like TR is a rare find… Upshaw is sliding into the second round!

    I know that you must know something that you just aren’t letting on, but under no set of circumstances can I see that scenareo happening….

  67. FWBrodie

    I agree with Phil above that Pete Carroll and John Schneider value certain personality traits in players very highly. They seek out leaders, alpha males, competitors, and football guys that live for the game. I think they probably weigh it alongside things like talent and cost, and I agree, Rob, that Pete Carroll believes in his ability to motivate. However, it seems clear having listened to both talk so much about these things and looking back at some of their choices that it is near the top of their list of criteria for any player, and probably emphasized in higher risk evaluations like early draft picks.

  68. FWBrodie

    Doug, describing Upshaw as a “slow tweener” is extremely short-sighted. He consistently affects games in a huge ways. He’s no second tier player.

    If the Seahawks feel adding another pass-rusher to their defense would improve the team more than adding a running back to what is already in place and being paid top dollar for, that makes sense. Last offseason, the Seahawks isolated the running game as something they wanted to improve. This year it has been the front seven on defense. They’ve reiterated that position over and over since last season ended. Personally, I find it easier to believe that bit of information from Rob than the part about Richardson because it falls perfectly in line with what everyone with the team has been saying publicly.

    Richardson seems like a “plan B” type of pick in the mold of what they did in the 2010 draft. They knew they wanted a LT and a S and were prepared to take them in either order if their first plan fell through. I imagine they would like to take a pass-rusher in the first this year and a RB soon there after this year. However, if their top couple pass-rushers are off the board by #12 and they have the opportunity to get the best aggregate at the two positions by taking Richardson, they may be flexible and willing to do that and then take their pass rusher in round two.

    One thing is for sure, the Seahawks’ pass rush is in a lot worse shape than their RB situation today.

  69. andy

    “One thing is for sure, the Seahawks’ pass rush is in a lot worse shape than their RB situation today.” Is it? What would happen if Marshawn is injured/out a few weeks or gasp….out for the season? How would the rushing attack look with the experienced duo of Forsett/Leon taking over? Now if the same happened to Chris Clemons the same scenario would be repeated or we may be pleasantly surprised by an emergence of a Dexter Davis or other young unproven guy….

  70. david

    the nice thing about this draft is there seems to be alot of alternates to what the Hawks want to do

    plan A-1st round if Upshaw,Coples,Ingram are there then we nab one
    plan B-1st round if Upshaw,Coples,Ingram arent there, maybe Richardson Falls
    Plan A-2nd Round Doug Martin,Wilson or maybe Miller
    Plan B-2nd Round theres maybe Curry,Cam Johnson,or Kendricks

  71. FWBrodie

    …and what if they are both completely healthy? What if Chris Clemons was turning 31 years old next season and a free agent to be? What if Dexter Davis does nothing for a third consecutive season? RB depth is a need, but starting pass-rusher is a major need. The Seahawks’ running game is on the up with what’s already in place, I don’t think anyone would argue with that. Where is their pass-rush going? Is there any reason to believe it will be better without addressing this offseason? No. Can you find an impact, every down pass rusher later in the draft? If you are very lucky. Can you find a third down back later in the draft? Yeah, in pretty much any round, without question.

    So yes, it is.

  72. andy

    Hopefully they address both areas of need in rds 1-2 which is the rumored plan around here. David is correct, there seems to be good depth at both need positions so we should be fine regardless as to how it shakes out!

  73. erik

    I just heard Steven A Smith on 1050 ESPN in NYC say that IF Payton Manning goes to the Jets that Sanchez would get shipped to Seattle for a mid-round pick. It sounded to me like he’s repeating what the other analyst there have been saying so take it for what it is.

  74. Doug

    I tease Rob on the Upshaw pick as relentlessely as he puts him into his mocks, I don’t doubt he a big time gamer. I’m merely stating that insane RB’s are a rare breed, and pass rushers can be had in the second round or free agency. RB’s like TR cannot. Also, we have nobody behind Lynch. As it stands, when Lynch is out, so is the run game. With TR in the mix, Lynch would get more rest, and defenses would not be able to forcast a play. It would be the nastiest RB tandom in the league hands down.

    With Payton out for bid now, there will be some serious changes in who gets drafted when. Maybe not serious, but it could affect the picks to be sure.

  75. shams

    @erik, I would barf if we hitched our wagon to Mark Sanchez.

  76. Christian

    Why is everyone so all Matt Barkley and noone else about it, personally I’d be happy with Price 😉

  77. Christian

    Seriously Dude, RB’s are a dime a dozen. It’s been said, and said and said but:
    Plus Zone Blocking is famous for producing 1k rushers 😉

  78. AlaskaHawk

    Running Backs are a dime a dozen is one of the most bogus phrases I have ever heard. Along with it’s a passing game now.

    Well when it comes to 3rd and one, you better be able to pound it through with a run, because if you can’t the defense will be waiting for that pass. It’s okay to pick a great running back in the first round. No really. It is okay. He will handle the ball 20-30 times a game, the most times of any player other than the QB. So you better pick a good one. Otherwise it will be fumble-itis, can’t hit the hole, can’t break a tackle, can’t outrun the safeties. Sure there is the occasional good one in the later rounds, but the statitistics prove that the best backs will be gone in the first two rounds.

  79. Richard

    They supply barf bags @ Century Link don’t they?

  80. Christian

    Every Running Back every single year that comes out is the best RB since Adrian Peterson last year it was Ingram, coupla years ago it was DMC, yawn, I mean really?

  81. Barry

    Hey Rob Just want to say i really enjoy your site. Also I agree with this Hawks administration focusing more on “football players” in the draft. The guys who show up on tape, much like K.J. (who I loved, even though I was scared to death of the first few picks ) last year. A big instinctive LB who is productive. Funny enough that matches the M O of many of the Patriots current and previous Linebackers. That along with how deep a LB draft this seems to be, it seems that it would be very unlikely the Hawks would draft Brown in the second round. He’s a smaller LB, lacks instincts, though his measurable are great if you watch game film hes not even the best LB on his NC squad. As a few guys have mentioned in posted above I cant remember the last LB who blew up the combine as a fast or “measurables” guy and lasted very long in the league.

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