Quick notes on some players catching my eye…

These are players I’ve recently added to my horizontal board that I wanted to spend a bit of time discussing today…

Calijah Kancey (DT, Pittsburgh)
There are ‘wow’ plays on tape for Kancey, who is an undersized yet dynamic interior rusher. His quickness complements his good use of hands to create pressure through the A or B gap. He can stun blockers with his ability to swipe and slide across the line to wrong-foot guards. He has a fantastic swim move. There are occasions where you can see blockers wary of his quickness and he plays off that. He uses choppy feet to let the guard make his move, then once he’s committed he’ll throw a little head fake, drop a shoulder or just swim by. It’s always exciting to watch a player like this with great skill and athleticism at defensive tackle. The only problem is size. He’s 6-0 and 280lbs. I suspect, given those measurables, he will probably have shorter arms too. It’s a shame because he can reportedly run a 4.69 and jump a 31.5 inch vertical. So he’s fast and explosive. Will it translate at that size though? Aaron Donald, another former Pitt defensive tackle, ran a 4.68 at 285lbs at his combine, then jumped a 32 inch vertical. He also had 32.5 inch arms. So his size shouldn’t be written off — but the chances are he won’t be Donald. After all, Donald had a ridiculous 66 TFL’s and 28.5 sacks in college. Kancey has 28.5/11.5. Even so, the expectation shouldn’t be Donald. It’s whether he can still make an impact. I think he can — but he’s difficult to project in terms of a round grade. At the moment I’m thinking day two simply because the quickness and hand-skill isn’t seen that often.

JL Skinner (S, Boise State)
This was a really fun watch and I immediately plonked a round two grade on Skinner after two games. He’s the kind of safety you fall in love with right away. He’s 6-4, 220lbs and he’s an enforcer. He’s violent. He’s destructive. He has a highlight reel full of massive hits. His closing burst is so good and when he gets you in his sights — bang. He’ll dump you on your arse. Everyone loves to throw around comparisons to Kam Chancellor but this is the first player I’ve legitimately seen who might warrant the tag. He’s not as big as Kam and won’t ever be Kam because nobody will be. Yet it’s a fair comparison for what you see on tape — a big, punishing strong safety who’ll knock your block off. You want him eyeing those crossing routes, creating a fear factor. He’s tremendous in run support. I think he’s faster than Kam and might be more of a chess piece. He accelerates well and he’s no slouch when he gets moving. He’s also well regarded as a strong communicator on the field and he’s all business off the field. I’ve enjoyed listening to his interviews. He is laser focused and no-nonsense. Sign me up for some of this.

Ji’Ayir Brown (S, Penn State)
Another safety I thoroughly enjoyed watching. I wanted to watch him as soon as Jim Nagy tweeted he was the definitive alpha on Penn State’s roster. That’s always something that catches your eye. On tape he’s a quality, playmaking safety. He didn’t disappoint. Brown is constantly around the ball. I’ve seen people claiming he has a lot of opportunistic interceptions (tipped passes etc). So what? He has nine picks in one-and-a-half seasons. He’s doing something right. He’s stocky and reminds me a bit of Quandre Diggs in terms of his frame. Could be a cheaper option (given Diggs is due $18m next year and there’s an easy out in his contract)? There are some differences to Diggs, though. For example — against Michigan he set the edge on a red-zone running play and bulldozed an offensive tackle backwards, stunning the blocker and then wrapping up the ball-carrier as he tried to run to that side. It was more Kam Chancellor-level stuff. He anticipates and reads the field well from deep. He reportedly is capable of a 3.99 short shuttle and a 4.45 forty. Jim Nagy said in his tweet that he also has big 10-inch hands. Watching Brown and Skinner, I couldn’t help but think about the pair of them on the field at the same time. A new tandem. Big, fast, violent, explosive. Brown might not suit everyone because his body type is not typical for his position. I have to say, after watching him, I wouldn’t overthink that.

Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU)
I’ve talked about Johnston before but I wanted to add him to this piece too. He’s a tough one to work out because at times I watch him and think, ‘this guy is the next DeAndre Hopkins mixed with some Larry Fitzgerald’ (which sounds ridiculous but also kind of fits). Then in other games he goes missing or his technique is a little off and then I start to worry about Kevin White vibes. Yet there’s no doubting Johnson has special qualities and a unique frame. His body type is Richard Sherman-esque. He’s long and quite gangly but also incredibly quick and explosive. He makes sudden, subtle moves to avoid tackles. He has a go-to spin move after running a comeback route to break away from the first defender. Johnston makes clutch plays downfield and he’s an electric runner when he gets going. When his legs are churning it’s a terrifying sight — he runs like the T1000. He looks like an outstanding, special athlete and he supposedly will run in the 4.4’s and jump a 42 inch vertical. I’d like to see him make more of his size/speed frankly. He has long arms — use them to high point better. Box-out opponents. Become unstoppable. Even so — he is a freakish athlete and I suspect the league will be lining up to draft him. He will be a first round pick.

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  1. Nick

    Oh I love JL Skinner! Would love to have an enforcer again on D. In your estimation, does he have a little bit of Isaiah Simmons qualities to his game? Eg positional flexibility.

    • Rob Staton

      Possibly — but I prefer him at strong safety hammering people

  2. Rob Staton

    Can I also say — I am SO pleased the Seahawks didn’t make any trades today

    Once again, great discipline and commitment to the draft cause

    They had an A+ draft in 2022, let’s go and do it again next year

    • Robbie

      1000% I’m so happy there was no trades. I was worried they’d use a day 1 or 2 pick on a rental player for no reason. This is the smart move to make. Now it’s all about positioning and where we end up. 4 picks in the first two rounds is going to amazing as long as they stick to BPA and don’t get to cute and reach for a player.

  3. Blitzy the Clown

    Rob what grade do you have on Ji’Ayir Brown? Also R2?

    • Rob Staton

      Day two so R2/3

  4. Ashish

    Great to see Safeties available in upcoming draft. I will really like to see we draft SS and FS in next draft to move on from current high $$ paying one. I’m sure they will think about Adams based on his availability and Neal /draft options.
    I’m also excited to hear from Rob about good center available, please draft a good center we have draft capital this time. WR, LB and off course QB is other needs, throw in DL top solid 6 picks this team will build for next 5 years.
    Exciting time to follow SDB.

  5. cha

    Thanks for the look at Kancey. I like him a lot.

    He feels like one of those players that somebody could fall in love with and take in the late 2nd or 3rd and that wouldn’t be a massive shock.

    But also his size could help him slide a little.

    All of the sudden your pick is up in the 5th and you run the card to the podium.

    If the Seahawks keep pursuing the 3-4, I could see him being a passing downs type inside specialist early on. Maybe 30-35% of snaps his rookie year. Then see if you can transition him up to 50-60%.

  6. Tien

    Thanks for all this amazing content, Rob! I love the NFL and watch all the games available on tv but have never been a fan of college football and so miss out on watching all the potential NFL stars. But with your blog, I’m still informed by draft time and can still enjoy watching most of the draft, basically until they get to the 6th & 7th rounds…all thanks to you!

    I would not complain if the Hawks end up replacing Adams and Diggs with these two safety prospects that you highlighted here.

    • Jabroni-DC

      It would make a lot of dollars & cents to jettison & replace those two safeties. Especially if we need that money to retain the services of G.S.

  7. Jabroni-DC

    Great stuff Rob. Love the college scouting & glimpses of potential Hawks. Fan-sanity at its’ best.

  8. Easthawk

    Thank you Rob for all the time and energy you put in, I am not an avid CFB watcher and get my pre-draft knowledge from your blog (and YT) almost exclusively. So you’re saying there’s a Kam-lite or Kam-esque alpha safety coming up?! Sign me up please!! We already had Kam the enforcer already,but officer Skinner sounds deathbacker-ish too lol.

  9. HOUSE

    I really liked the piece Rob. Skinner and Brown would be a heck of a reset at the S position. If we’re able to keep Ryan Neal, what are you thoughts of these guys in a 3-safety set. I see a lot of highlights of Skinner with big hits up near the LOS.

    Do you think they’re both Day 2 guys?

    • Rob Staton

      I do yes

  10. KD

    Not be be too obnoxious about it, but Ivan Pace Jr. just keeps lighting it up, and he’s leading the NCAA in TFLs. Easily my draft crush so far, and I’d love to see him replace Cody Barton

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve watched one game of his. The problem is the way he’s used. They put him right up at the LOS almost like a spy and he just runs and chases. He’s sprightly and got some quickness but he lacks great size and at the next level he’s not going to be able to play that role, he’s going to have to do a lot more. I will watch further games before concluding a view on him.

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        I am not sure I have ever heard the word “sprightly” applied to football. I dig it.

  11. Rob Staton

    I like Austin Blythe

    And I don’t care what anyone says

    • clbradley17

      I agree, was hoping he would have been one of our FA targets last year when Waldron first came to the Seahawks. Thanks again for writing about every day on new draft options and players you’re scouting for the ’23 draft. Would be great if your job that has you do NFL games from the UK would send you to Mobile/Senior Bowl and/or the draft next year to report on those events for them.

      My 1st attempt at the PFN draft simulator, traded down 2-3 times and sure several will go higher.


      Will Levis
      QB Kentucky

      Bijan Robinson
      RB Texas
      trade icon

      John Michael Schmitz
      OC Minnesota

      Mazi Smith
      DT Michigan
      trade icon

      Bralen Trice
      EDGE Washington
      trade icon

      Andrew Vorhees
      OG USC
      trade icon

      Tony Grimes
      CB North Carolina

      Kenny Logan Jr.
      S Kansas

      Rakim Jarrett
      WR Maryland

      Doug Nester
      OG West Virginia

      Ji’Ayir Brown
      S Penn State
      trade icon

      Myles Murphy
      DT North Carolina
      trade icon
      2024 BAL 7th

      • Rob Staton

        I really, really, really want to do the Senior Bowl this year

        I’m not sure if I can make it happen but we’ll see

        • Robbie

          Well you got a place to crash man if you want to come to the combine! I plan on going again this year!

          • Rob Staton

            Thanks man!

      • Peter

        Let’s say Levis, Stroud, Young, and even Hooker recieve first round grades and what feels currently like a lack of truly special top ten talent I just don’t see how Levis lasts to 10.

        Houston (probably)
        Washington (?)

        Then total wild cards:

        Raiders….it’s probably time to get real about what Carr is or isn’t.
        Jets…fair or not that is a loaded team in a lot of ways with a qb problem.
        Indy…you know they are going to get weird if possible.

        Then total unknowns based on resources and a decided lack of knowledge on my part as to what they do:

        The Bucs….does Brady magic up a good final half?
        Green bay….looking entirely unremarkable, facing a .500 -or worse- season with Rodgers looking cooked and nothing in the cupboards.

        • Roy Batty

          Draft simators are fun, but they aren’t realistic. I love playing with them, but I take them with a grain of salt.

    • TomLPDX

      No complaints from me! Is he going to make it back into the lineup for this weekend?

    • Mick

      It might not be because of his game, but I think part of why our Oline plays so good is due to him.

    • Peter

      I’m about 20% off of that statement. But I think he gets resigned and guard is a bigger priority which I did not see before the season.

    • Ross

      I’m with you about Blythe. Great team guy. Happy to have him.

      I also think PCJS deserve recognition about the Nwosu pickup. He wasn’t on many FA lists (that I saw, at least), and he’s making plays every single game. Great addition and he’s only 25 years old.

      Regarding Diggs – how is it that he’s fallen off so much, so quickly? He’s been really great and, imo, earned the contract he signed. Now, he’s vastly underperforming. I wonder if it’s more to do with scheme/coaching changes or laziness since he got his contract?

  12. clbradley17

    Seahawks All Access: Week 8 vs. Giants


    Seahawks 13 second Halloween-themed hard hits video:


    • Rob Staton

      I really enjoyed the all-access this week

      • bmseattle

        A couple of things stood out.
        The main one being… Geno is a true leader and has the respect of the team. Very cool to see.
        Great reaction of the guys around Shelby after his big tackle on Jones.
        Also… I keep loving Walker more and more. His attitude and personality really shine.

        • Roy Batty

          Geno walks out of the huddle, scans the D, steps back from the line and calls out reads, gets back under center…and there’s STILL 7 seconds on the clock.

          Amazing what a QB can do when they give themselves the actual time to process things.

      • Zane

        The energy of this squad is undeniably electric. Haven’t felt that way since 2014.

    • HawkfaninMT

      Is it just me, or did Diggs seem like an outcast anytime he was shown? DBs rallying together, huddles to break before the game and prior to taking the field… he just seemed to be around but not engaged at all (with the exception of a hug to KW9 after his score).

      I know he was never Sherman in terms of vocal leadership, but seemed a bit despondent to me

      • bmseattle

        I noticed the same thing.
        he doesn’t seem engaged or excited very often.
        Something has been “off” with him all season, it seems.

  13. Rob Staton

    I’ve just read Dane Brugler’s updated top 50 and I’m lost for words

    I have no idea what he’s watching

    I also acknowledge I don’t get everything right but still. I can’t believe that top 50.

    There are about 43 things I take issue with but #1 might be that he hasn’t got the offensive tackle listed at all who shut down his #1 overall player just 10 days ago

    • cha

      Is that the guy who had no idea who Boye Mafe was 3 days before the Senior Bowl and then came out all high and mighty declaring him a top prospect after Mafe tore the game up?

      Or was it the guy who took over for Mayock on NFLN?

      • Rob Staton

        That was Daniel Jeremiah

        Only watched tape of Boye Mafe AFTER the Senior Bowl, despite being part of their on-air team for the entire event

  14. Blitzy the Clown

    Brian Baldinger

    .@Seahawks #KennethWalker111 is a beast scoring 5 rushing TD’s in last 4 games. This offense is difficult to defend and so fun to watch #BaldysBreakdowns

    11:16 AM · Nov 2, 2022 from NFL Films


  15. clbradley17


    Once again 2 Seahawks in the top 5 best rookie performances of the week. Between the awesome draft in April, the RW trade and signing Nwosu and others, JS has to be GM of the year this time. Also, can we get an inside OL that does what Ravens C TL does here manhandling and pancaking his guy 15 yards down the field next draft or FA?

  16. Donovan

    Guess who is ranked as Top 10 QB and best in NFC West?


    • icb12

      Geno has been nothing short of fantastic. Deserves the accolades for sure.

      But lets be real, “best QB in the NFC West” can simply be read as: “brightest peanut in the turd”

      • Peter

        Pretty great actually!!!

        The geno story rules. Garropolo gonna garroplo. Murray, turns out isn’t moving the needle. And the rams are a mess.

      • TomLPDX

        Wow. Totally disagree with this assessment. Geno has been rock solid so far and hope he is able to stay the course.

        • icb12

          Disagree with which part? That Geno has been fantastic? or that the QB situation in the NFC west overall is a turd?

          Stafford has reverted back to Mr Turnover and looks frankly awful. He just needs to give all his game checks to Cooper Kupp for bailing his ass out repeatedly.
          Jimmy GQ can’t throw a ball more than 9 yards down the field. SF should probably just go straight wildcat and let CMC do it all.
          COD Kyler has tiny tiny moments of pure electricity and then spends the rest of his time on the field moping around with his head down looking like a puppy that got spanked for chewing up the xbox controller.

          Therefore, I maintain that overall, collectively, as a whole, the QBs in the NFC West manifest themselves as a turd shaped organism. Geno would be the shiny peanut exposed on the peak.

  17. Julian L

    Is Calijah Kancey on a similar level to ‘Seahawks fan’ Milton Williams, taken in the 3rd round in 2021 by the Philadelphia Eagles? I think he’s well regarded in Philly, but suffers for reps as he’s playing on probably the best Defensive line in football. Williams also had very similar testing to Aaron Donald, actually slightly better in most measures, except with shorter arms. I’d suggest picking such a player in the 3rd round, would greatly benefit the Dline in Seattle?

  18. cha

    …aaaand the Seahawks staff forgot to unmute Pete for his livestream press conference today.

    Maybe work on that instead of all these cutesy memes they post 10x a day?

    • TomLPDX

      My thoughts exactly. They are so busy coming up with cutesy crap that they forget to do their job. Get with the program! I’m assuming they are probably interns.

      • cha

        They also have now twice forgotten to send notifications through the app or on YT that the press conference is starting.


  19. Blitzy the Clown

    Anyone else thinking about K9 vs the Cardinals run defense?

    • Blitzy the Clown


    • TomLPDX

      Rubbing hands together and cackling with glee! 🙂

  20. DriveByPoster

    TCU are playing in one of the early starts this week, so hopefully I will get a chance to check out Quentin Johnston as an appetiser before moving on to the main course of Tennessee v Georgia. It’s interesting that you should mention Kevin White, as I saw him a few times in his final college year &, despite some good numbers, I was never that impressed with him. Not sure why, but he just didn’t give off the right vibes for me & I didn’t fancy him as a high draft pick in the NFL. So it will be intriguing to see if, for me, it will be a case of deja vu with Johnston?

  21. Volume12

    Big fan of the Bears passing on George Pickens in the draft, not once but twice, and then using a 2nd rounder to trade for the guy that lost his role to Pickens. Never change Chicago

  22. JimQ

    S-John Torchio, Wisconsin, 6-1/211
    Torchio is having a pretty nice season: 8-games, 42-tkls, 2.5-TFL, 1.0-SACK, 5-PBU & 5-INT – so far. MAY be a diamond in the rough potentially available late? Might be an alternative to the S’s Rob likes, if they miss on one or more of them? From what I see on tape, he’s raw in some areas but he should be a consideration.
    Also see: https://www.si.com/college/wisconsin/football/b1g-player-of-the-week-john-torchio

    I also rather like: CB-Steven Gilmore, Marshall, 6-2/169, Nice stats with 9 career INT’s & 29 PD’s, He needs to gain 20-25 Lbs. & he’s from a small school, but a potential developmental *gem* if he can just grow into his body a in Rd-7/UDFA pick=????

    • Rob Staton

      I wrote about Torchio a few weeks ago — a player I like a lot

  23. Blitzy the Clown

    Busy day at Commanders HQ

    Woke up to news the Snyders hired Bank of America to explore selling options and now ESPN reports the franchise is under criminal investigation by the US Attorney for EDVA

    Washington fans deserve better. I miss Paul Allen and our current situation is frustrating, but we’re a world away from that

  24. cha

    Wed Press Conf w PC

    “Dissly STPOW. Jumped into the roles because of roster situations. Great recognition. Sometimes starters gotta jump in and come through.”

    “Can feel a couple guys coming back to us. Chance Penny Hart back. Austin Blythe looks like he can work today. Real positive for us. Championship opp in Arizona.”

    [q] Dissly 5year guy on punt coverage? “Total team guy. Tackle mentality, looking for a hit. Hopefully guys will be ready. Great illustration.”

    [q] Reaction from Dissly when asked to replace Bellore? “No. He didn’t care.”

    [q] Travis Homer impact? “Clear. Clear during the week. Prepares, tough as you can get. Him back a real plus. Bellore a big deal on ST, Homer helped offset that.”
    [q] Bellore back this week? “Yes.”
    [q] Hurtt great gameplan for Giants, how has he hung in there? “Hold us in position to take adv when we make our move. Not surprising. Big part of program, big voice for us. Noticeable. Guys were wondering Where was this thing going? Me too. Keep rolling stay connected. Build something big.”

    [q] DK Metcalf fake on Walker TD run? “WR’s big part in running game, not always the block. From the word go Shane talked about all 11 to run the FB.”

    [q] Balanced offense like Arizona challenge? “Lot of firepower, spread field, use it well. Block phases in both directions. Really taxing. Murray adept at utilizing it. Have to be able to spread out to keep it contained. Throw ball quick on perimeter to take adv of their quickness.”
    [q] Hopkins back makes it different? “Using the heck out of him. Terrific plays. TD catch last week amazing.”

    [q] Irvin impact on young players? “Obvious as can get. Presence, tough guy you can feel and know. Experience knows what’s happening in game. As we elevate young guys to give them experience, he can show them. Uchenna similar presence. Bruce adds to it. Knows what we’re all about. Every way a positive.”

    [q] Rookies face a team a second time, benefit? “Talked about that today. Approach to it I won’t share with you. Uniqueness to it. They see us 2x too. The way they adjust makes for different prep. Wanted it to be unique. Start all over again, be fresh with it.”

    [q] Depth at CB after waiving Sidney? “We do have depth. Tre Brown full go this week. Week away from Isaiah coming back. Artie’s primed and ready too. Better than we’ve had.”

    [q] Walker’s way of approaching game you didn’t know he had? “Continuing to validate things we saw since he’s been here. Shown nothing but discipline. Tough, enormous pride in work. When he came wasn’t a really good pass blocker for us. Didn’t fall behind. Now can count on him there. Continues to show us who he is. We know how he sees things. Haven’t really cut him loose yet. Big games coming. Even more than we’ve seen. Passing game too.”

    [q] Mike Jax progressed in pass defense? “Really is. Numbers good, consistency. Started in camp and hasn’t changed a bit. All opps to make tackles, consistent. Physical, top end speed. Big solid looking corner but fast too. Held up with everybody. Tremendous benefit Mike’s played way he has.”
    [q] What caught your eye? “Overall makeup. Hand eye coord, good size and speed, tackling showed up when he got to play. One of better tacklers on the team.”

    [q] Harris bring to team? “Experience, good communicator makes calls come to life. Powerful, get off blocks. Incredible effort to get Daniel Jones short of the sticks. Heralded play around here. Shown it a dozen times already, continue to show it. Expect. Big time.”
    [q] Batting balls down? “Yes, shown that at Denver. Awareness of QB always present when rushing.”

    [q] Forcing fumble philosophy based on position? “Whole defense.”

    [q] Hopkins left side, challenge for Tariq? “Not exclusively on left. Hopkins can do everything. Fits in zones, but also downfield. Nobody makes plays on the ball better than DeAndre. Great challenge for our guys, they’re looking forward to it. Where they place him we’ll show our plan as we get to the weekend.”

    [q] Rotation Gabe and Phil Haynes OK? “I’m fine with it. Good for us. Helps Gabe stay healthy. Managing an injury. Don’t want to take him over threshold. Not comfortable to rotate OL but not getting used to it.”

    [q] Mentalist guy visit why? Motivation or just fun? “Didn’t miss a thing, did some stuff we don’t know how to explain. Message about competing. More there for you than you know.”

    [q] Darrell Taylor practice today? “No”

    [q] OLB skill level needed? “Create flexibility to match up with guys strengths. Long or powerful, nifty take adv of blocks. Immediately seen Bruce effective. Coulda had two sacks. Uchenna opened up doors too. Bank on experience and savvy. Surprised that effective in first game. Can’t wait to see him go again.”

    [q] Uchenna toughness show up? “In consistency. Everything he does. That’s who he is. Hard nosed FB player, instinctive, natural player.”

    [q] Myers another 50+ FG? “Not taking him for granted. Doing great.”

    [q] Close to making a move yesterday? “In convo’s a lot of stuff. Nothing worked out obviously. We were going, just like always. John burning phones up who was out there available just nothing.”
    [q] Guys coming off IR factored in not making a trade? “Yes”

    [q] When did mental aspect of game come to you? “School days.”

  25. Bankhawk

    Nice article Rob! Shows your flexibility-reacting to the situation as it is, not as you wish it was!
    Ybittom like for the year was to show progress and keep it interesting, and the team has paid that off in spades so far!

    • Rob Staton

      Nice article Rob! Shows your flexibility-reacting to the situation as it is, not as you wish it was!

      Which, may I add, is what I’ll always do.

      I know some noise makers online like to paint me as inflexible and only interested in doom and gloom when I say something not flattering to the Seahawks.

      They often forget how positive I’ve been about this team over the years when I’ve felt it was justified, how positive I’ve been about them this year even before the recent upturn in results and how I consistently am prepared to admit when I’ve got something wrong.

      I’ll always say what I truly think, won’t shirk big topics, won’t be positive or negative just for the sake of it, will always review my positions and most of all — I desperately want the Seahawks to succeed.

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