Each year PFF produces a useful ‘best at everything’ team for offensive and defensive college football players.
It can provide some insight into the players the Seahawks might consider in the draft.
They’ve also posted some info in a separate piece that is also of interest.
Here’s a collection that stand out…
Best RB through contact: A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Dillon led the nation with 79 missed tackles forced and gained a whopping 1,104 yards after contact. He was dominant when tasked to run the ball, even though the defense knew the Boston College offense ran through him as he toted the rock 317 times this year.
The Seahawks love physical, explosive running backs who break tackles and set a tone. Dillon’s 1104 yards after contact in 2019 is impressive. It’s also worth noting his physical profile. He’s bigger than the type of runner they usually target (they prefer players in the 5-11, 220lbs range and Dillon is listed at 6-0 and 250lbs). However, they really like explosive testing numbers at the position. Dillon jumped a 39 inch vertical at SPARQ and managed a very impressive 135.39 overall score. He also has quick feet — running a 4.18 short shuttle and a 4.54 forty. These are really good numbers and he might be someone to keep an eye on for day three.
Best post route runner: Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Hauling in all seven of his post-route targets, Aiyuk was the country’s best when breaking toward the goalpost from an outside receiver alignment. He ripped off 357 yards on those seven catches, gained 176 yards after the catch and broke 120 yards after contact, all of which lead the nation by a comfortable margin.
I mocked Aiyuk to the Seahawks recently. Jim Nagy also told us on the podcast that he’s receiving higher grades than N’Keal Harry — a late first round pick a year ago. Seattle loves to get the ball downfield and Aiyuk’s impressive ability to run the post will be attractive along with his speed, playmaking ability and special teams value.
Best run-blocking TE: Harrison Bryant, FAU
Bryant finishes as arguably the most well-rounded tight end at the FBS level, as he also led in receiving grade and overall grade. FAU running backs averaged more than 2.0 yards before contact when rushing around the tight end spot this season.
The Seahawks will undoubtedly add a tight end in the off-season. They might prefer a compliment to Will Dissly and therefore target more of a pass-catching type such as Hunter Bryant. However, we also know they really value blocking. I’m going to spend a bit more time studying Harrison Bryant based on this review, especially his description as the most well-rounded tight end in the FBS.
Best pass-blocking OG: Ben Brederson, Michigan
The nation’s best pass-protecting guard put forth some dominant outings and kept a clean sheet against some top-notch defensive lines. Bredeson spent 451 snaps in pass protection and allowed just seven hurries with no QB hit or sack allowed. He didn’t allow a single pressure against Iowa, Notre Dame or Michigan State and allowed just two pressures against Ohio State.
Best pass-blocking C: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
If you ever wondered why the Michigan offense got rolling late, look no further than the interior of that offensive line, which sports two guys on our list for best pass protectors at their respective position. Ruiz spent 447 snaps in pass protection and allowed just seven total pressures, including eight games without a pressure allowed. He hasn’t allowed a single pressure since Week 7 against Illinois.
I’ve grouped these two together because they really were the bedrock of Michigan’s improved form over the second half of the season. Ruiz in particular jumped off the screen. He’s a terrific prospect and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was taken in the top-25 picks. The Seahawks place a strong value on size, physicality and run-blocking and both are big dudes — Brederson is listed at 6-5 and 325lbs while Ruiz is 6-4 and 319lbs. It’ll be interesting to see how they test. Ruiz was sensational against Alabama this week.
Best run-blocking C: Matt Hennessy, Temple
Finishing as the nation’s highest-graded center, Hennessy used his strength in the run game to bolster his overall grade. He was by far the highest-graded center in the run game and finished as the only center with an elite grade above 85.0 when blocking for the run.
The Seahawks have a call to make with Justin Britt considering his contract and now significant knee injury. They could be in the market for a center. Hennessy is light (6-4, 295lbs) but good run-blocking will get you on Seattle’s radar. He also gave up only 14 pressures in three years as a starter.
Edge Terrell Lewis, Alabama
After multiple injury-shortened seasons, Lewis put together an 85.8 pass-rushing grade this year with 48 pressures.
The medical checks are big for Lewis and it could mean he sticks on the board longer than he otherwise would. We also know the Seahawks are placing a big focus on availability. They’re unlikely to take any big injury risks with their high picks. The Ziggy Ansah experiment isn’t a ringing endorsement to take a chance on health either. If it’s good news on the medical front for Lewis, 48 pressures is a decent tally for the season given he’s spelled as a rusher.
DI Leki Fotu, Utah
The 335-pound Fotu has the chance to be a real playmaker at the position after earning an 83.8 run-defense grade this past season.
Any player with a really positive run-defense grade needs to be monitored. Seattle’s run-defense was poor again in 2019. Fotu is considered a highly athletic and powerful lineman. However, Tony Pauline has also reported teams are scared of his inconsistent play and willingness to turn it on and off ‘when he wants’.
OT Lucas Niang, TCU
While he’s got a ways to go from a technical standpoint, it’s encouraging that he earned pass-blocking grades of 84.8 and 86.3, respectively, in the past two seasons.
I quite liked what I saw from Niang before injury ended his season prematurely. That could work in the favour of teams hoping a tackle prospect lasts a bit longer in the class. The Seahawks will probably draft a tackle at some point this year it’s just a question of how early based on what else happens in free agency. Niang’s SPARQ testing was not good. Hopefully he can recover from injury to perform at the combine and put in a better showing.
IOL Logan Stenberg Kentucky
Stenberg can step in at guard where he allowed all of one pressure in 2019.
Another massive guard (just how Seattle likes them). Stenberg is 6-6 and 322lbs and did a terrific job creating lanes for Benny Snell a year ago. We know the Seahawks like explosive linemen so again, it’ll be interesting to see how he tests.
Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s stats piece if you missed it. It’s worth noting that Jadeveon Clowney’s production came despite being double teamed at the third highest rate in 2019. There’s also our podcast interview with Jim Nagy here.
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