Rumor casts spotlight on Justin Hunter

The future is so bright (for the Seahawks), you're gonna need shades

We know that Seattle will consider pass rush early in this draft, but it’s also likely that they will consider receiver somewhere during the early rounds, as they did for a backup running back in 2012.  Other greater, more pressing needs pushed running back to round four, but what if Seattle “loves” a receiver option enough to take him at #25?  I don’t consider it especially likely, but it is an option we must be mindful of, especially if the top pass rushers are all gone in the top 24 picks, which is unfortunately a real possibility.

Walterfootball broke a bit of an interesting story yesterday after talking with NFL scouts: spoke with some scouts, including one from a receiver-needy team picking in the back half of the top 32. All believe that Hunter is likely to go in the first round. They said the Combine really helped Hunter with positive reports from his medical check and an excellent 40-yard dash time of 4.44 seconds…

Scouts told that they love the upside of Hunter. He has the size to work in the short to intermediate part of the field and speed to get vertical. They like his run-after-the-catch ability as well as his combination of size and speed. Hunter hasn’t received a lot of first-round buzz, but one team in the mid 20s said it would be ecstatic if he was on the board for its pick.

Hunter’s upside was another reason that scouts felt he was likely to go in the first round. They said in this draft class, players with big upside are very appealing in the late first round rather than those who are deemed safe.

At first glance, this seems like a dead giveaway that the scout in question was an employee of the Seahawks.  The Seahawks pick 25th afterall, and it doesn’t get any more “mid twenties” than 25.  Consider though, every team in the mid twenties range (23-27) could consider a first round receiver as a realistic option.

The Vikings are having issues with star Percy Harvin, and it seems decently likely that Harvin’s days in Minnesota are numbered, even if he remains a Viking in 2013.  The Vikings passing offense came apart completely after Harvin’s injury last year, so depth is an issue as well.  The Colts had a pleasant surprise from T.Y. Hilton in 2012, but they still heavily depend on Reggie Wayne who is 35 years old next season.  Hilton is just 5’9″ so pairing him with a big vertical receiver makes sense, especially for a vertically inclined quarterback like Andrew Luck.  The Packers will likely lose Greg Jennings in free agency and many people are mocking them a receiver at #26.  The Texans don’t have a ton of needs and are believed to be looking for a weapon to compliment Andre Johnson.  You look up enough mock drafts, you’ll see at least one for each those five teams in the 23 to 27 range that has them taking a receiver.  Surprisingly, the “mid-twenties” comment isn’t anything close to the giveaway it sounds like.

But what if that scout actually does work for the Seahawks?  At the very least, we have to consider it a 20% chance.  That’s enough to pay attention to, especially since I would have thought there was close to zero chance the Seahawks would consider Hunter that early before today.  Of course, it’s lying season, and maybe this is a tactic to help get a guy overdrafted.  Just the same, I want to explore the idea of Justin Hunter at #25 and see if it makes sense for Seattle to be “ecstatic” to see him there.

Justin Hunter is among the tallest receivers in this draft, standing just a shade under 6’4″ tall.  Rounding to the nearest inch, there isn’t a receiver in this draft that stands 6’4″ or above that runs a faster forty time than Hunter’s 4.44 time.  Eastern Kentucky’s Tyrone Goard (4.50) and Florida State’s Rodney Smith (4.51) come the closest.  Rutgers’ Mark Harrison clocked a 4.46 at 6’3″, Arkansas’ Chris Gragg had a 4.50 at the same height, and Virginia Tech’s Corey Fuller had a 4.43.  Da’Rick Rogers had a 4.52.  At 6’2″, Terrence Williams had a 4.52, and Cordarrelle Patterson clocked a 4.42.

In short, you won’t find a receiver in this draft with a better combination of height and speed than Justin Hunter.  His arms (33.25″) are tied for the 3rd longest at the combine among receivers.  His 39.5″ vertical was tied for the best among receivers.  His 11’4″ broad jump was in a class by itself.  He also has big 9.38″ hands, which was roughly 80th percentile in this receiver class.  Everything about Hunter’s measurables screams deep ball receiver.  Seattle has a quarterback who by his own admission has a sexy deep ball and likes to use it.  Seattle released Mike Williams last summer, and scrambled to replace his role on the team with other tall receivers with speed:  Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards.  They also brought in Evan Moore who was a jump ball threat in the red zone.  Only Edwards provided any real contribution, and none of them are currently a part of the team.

Seattle does have 6’4″ Sidney Rice, but their actions last year suggest that they want a tall receiver with speed and jump ball ability to act as insurance for Rice.  So yes, Seattle’s interest in Justin Hunter- purely as a physical prospect- makes complete sense.

So, is Justin Hunter actually any good?  Decide for yourself:

My take:

Hunter is fast, but isn’t a wizard at changing directions and won’t likely be much of a Golden Tate type playmaker with the ball in his hands.  I actually feel sorry for Hunter’s knees the way he throws his weight around on them, and I’m not surprised at all that Hunter had an ACL in 2011 based on the way his knees buckle from his running style.  On the other hand, consider that every video above was just one year after an ACL.  His 4.44 forty time was just 17 months after the injury, short of the 24 month full recovery time.  For a guy still recovering from an ACL, Hunter can certainly move.

Hunter does seem like a Pete Carroll type player.  He has good hands, but poor catching technique, often catching the ball too close to his body.  He can’t hold on to a contested pass to save his life either.  Swat away and it’s 2nd and 10.  Hunter also struggles to diagnose where the deep ball is going.  Sometimes he’ll hesitate and then realize he screwed up only to miss what should have been an easy deep reception.  Thankfully, all of these areas are coachable.  Pete likes fixer-upper projects:  guys with rare physical talent that need to be coached out of mistakes and sloppy technique.  You can’t coach a 4.44 forty yard dash at 6’4.”  Bruce Irvin, last year’s first round pick, was the epitome of that same philosophy.

For that matter, the term “ecstatic” itself sounds like an adjective that came from our war room; this regime certainly hasn’t lacked for energy or enthusiasm.  And if there is one team that views a player as a steal to the complete disagreement of Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, well, isn’t that the stereotypical first round pick for John Schneider?  Schneider’s “reachiness” in round one is more perception than truth, but regardless, he isn’t afraid of getting a ribbing from the media on draft day.  Not in the slightest.

I have reservations about Hunter’s health going forward: every cut he makes I am amazed how his wobbly little knees somehow hold up.  He already has an ACL on his health record, and every future ACL he tears will make the situation worse.  I also question the idea of reaching for a receiver in a draft that is loaded with value options.  That makes little sense to me.

That said, Justin Hunter gives Seattle something they certainly don’t have already (as depth).  Their actions last season suggest that this type of acquisition is a need, and still is one.  After Hunter leaves the board, you won’t find a truly comparable physical talent.  I could see this pick happening.  Especially if Seattle is more active in free agency with regards to defense than we anticipate.


  1. Michael

    I haven’t watched much of anything on this year’s QB class (thank goodness for RW3) so this is the first good look I have had at Tyler Bray… Sure would feel bad for anyone who takes him in the first 2 rounds. There were some ridiculously inaccurate passes in that handfull of plays.

    As far as Hunter goes, health is the only huge concern for me. Sure he will provide insurance for Sidney Rice, but who will come in for him when that sub-200 lbs body gives out on him?

    • Rob Staton

      His frame scares me. Hunter looks like the type who struggles to gain weight. I think he’s added less than 10lbs since High School. Naturally skinny, scrawny legs. He’s always seems to fall awkwardly. He’s not sturdy like AJ Green.

      • Lou Thompson

        Agreed. Fit’s the tall receiver PC/JS want but that’s it. Too risky and we have a Sidney Rice that had an anomoly injury free season.

        I’ll take DaRick Rogers from Tennessee (Tech) before Hunter.

        • Belgaron

          ‘Hawks like receivers that can punish DBs on running plays with solid blocks. Despite their size, Golden and Baldwin are both good at this. Miller and Real Rob are both extraordinary blockers as well. I think they’d like to continue that theme with their receivers as well.

          I’m a big fan of Rogers size and athleticism. He finished high in all the agility times as well, which turned some heads.

  2. Nolan

    I not a big fan of hill my favorite receivers in this class are Darrick Rodgers, mark Harrison (that’s the Rutgers guy right?) swopes and steadmen baily I want one of those four. I think pass rush is the greatest need and I think someone will be available at 25 that can do that.

    • Robert

      I totally agree with your WR prspects. My fantasy draft has us resolving our pass rushing woes and still coming away with Mark Harrison and Swopes. I think Swopes might be like a Steve Largent that runs 4.34. With those 2 guys or a combination of those you mentioned, we will be well positioned to keep our D together when cap challenges rear their ugly head in 2014 and beyond.

      OK, I’ll just say it: I think we should draft Margus Hunt with our 1st round pick. He is a super freak athelete that completely destroys blockers with physical superiority and zero technique. He is rediculously huge, long, fast and strong. He can easily add weight and show dramatic improvement by learning some techniques. He has great character, is a hard worker and very smart. He could immediately be a big improvement over Jason Jones, which was working in conjunction with Bruce Irvin until Jones was hurt. And Hunt can be very disruptive edge rushing as well. Huge upside! Then we trade up in the 2nd and get Swopes or Brandon Williams! Then Harrison in a mid round pick and a late gamble on Armonty Bryant…

      • Snoop Dogg

        I would love it if your fantasy draft came true! The only problem is the age of Margus Hunt ;/

      • Kip Earlywine

        I have to know how much Hunt wants it. He needs to have Russell Wilson type determination to pan out, IMO. He has a lot to overcome, and the NFL experience is a notoriously difficult one. It’s a really tough place to learn and grow. If we drafted Hunt, I’d be afraid that we just drafted Jordan Kent the DE. At least Irvin had production in college and showed an intense burning fire for the game. I have to know that Hunt will have that same determination and intensity before I draft him in the 7th round, much less the 1st.

  3. Nolan

    * hunter not hill is who I’m not a fan of

  4. Jake

    This guy is going to explode in the NFL. His best attribute is speed and he’s skinny, but look at what else he does. He seamlessly slides into the slot and runs razor sharp routes. He cuts at full speed and the seperation is apparent and immediate. He needs to strengthen his hands and work on playing the deep ball better, but, WOW is he explosive as a deep threat. On comeback routes he’s unstoppable because he stops on a dime at full (4.4) speed… scary. I would be on board if Seattle tabs him at #25 (or wherever they land after trading around).

    His talent is top-10, he’s skinny and that is my ONLY concern… Honestly he looks a lot like Randy Moss in pads. Before anyone blows up… I’m not comparing him to Randy, just his build. Maybe he fills out as he matures, but some NFL conditioning is only going to help. Either way, what he does already at 190 or whatever he weighs – is what Seattle needs to fully develop the offense. His speed, height, jumping ability, and quickness in and out of breaks would give Wilson an amazing complement to go with that “sexy deep ball”

    • NMD

      I agree with you Jake, looks like we’re in the minority on this one. He’s not completely there yet with his hands but my only real concern is re-injury to that knee. The only reason I wouldn’t take him is all the talent at WR, but there’s still only 8 WRs I feel completely confident in being upper echelon players in the league. Justin Hunter is a guy I could see us look back on and say how was he not one of the top picks in his draft class.

  5. Rob Staton

    When I think about a first round receiver, I try and ask: “If the game is on the line, can I trust this guy to make the key play?”

    Unfortunately, I cannot answer ‘yes’ to that question when it comes to Hunter. And that’s why I pass. Being tall and fast is great, but it only gets you so far.

    • Nolan

      I’m with kip on this one as well there are so many good recovers in this draft that getting one in round 1 seems like a waste when there will be similar talent available in the 2nd and 3rd round, plus receiver isn’t a huge need it would be a luxury pick. If all the d linen and lbs we like are gone maybe but I doubt that happens.

      • xo 1

        That’s the point for me – there are so many receivers who will be available outside the first round that I would love to have, I would be disappointed to see the Hawks spend the draft capital on a wide out. That’s particularly true given that Hunter is not my favorite. If draft board value isn’t there at 25, I would prefer to see Seattle trade down and pick up a Hopkins, Wheaton, Swope, Bailey – just to name a couple of receivers I expect to be available in the second round or later. I’d sooner see Seattle draft either Ertz or Eifert in the first, even though I anticipate there being good value on TEs in the later rounds.

        • AlaskaHawk

          I would feel better about our chances of getting the receiver we want if we moved up in the second round. At our spot in second there may be 8 receivers already taken. I would rather choose who we want instead of who’s left. Even though this is a deep draft they aren’t all equal in abilities. We already have a bunch of practice squad receivers – we need starters!

          • Rob Staton

            Such is the depth this year, I suspect there will still be 4-5 attractive options at WR by that point. And the value will filter into R3-4 too.

            • AlaskaHawk

              We have been trying to draft these later round players and they haven’t panned out. The only person we picked in the first three rounds of the last three drafts is Tate, and he has done well. We have tried out at least a dozen later round wide receivers and free agents who were values. Any one of them could have made the team but they probably won’t.

              Yes there will be attractive options left at the end of round 2, it’s the difference between taking who’s left vs taking who you want. You want height, speed, seperation and ability to catch the ball? You better identify your guys and proactively go after them. Because that guy won’t be around after the second round, he may not even be around by the time of our pick in the second. My hope is that one guy that has those charactaristics will still be left on the board when we pick in the second.

              • Rob Staton

                Mark Harrison has height, speed and can get separation, he could be around in round three or even four. I’m also not totally convinced they’ll feel they have to go for size. Swope, Bailey, Wheaton, Woods — not known for their size but an argument could be made for all being superior to Hunter. I also don’t think a preference for height means you have to be proactive and empty your wallet to get a guy who’s tall for the sake of it. Swope in particular just screams ‘Hawks’ to me. And even if he is 6-0, I think he’s the type of player this team would love to pair with Wilson.

                • peter

                  My guess is that the height attributes stem from ease. Meaning that if you are USC or the Hawks and more specifically Pete Carrol, you can look at height, relative to wing span, and ideally though not necessarily separation as attributes that not necessarily create a great WR but rather increase the QB’s chance of success, through jump balls, and corner posts.

                  As noted by Tate and Robert woods recruitment, and the drafting and playing of Baldwin, and Tate/Rice being very different players yet recieving similar targets, I’m not as convinced that height is the premium. If that was the case just look no further then Eastern Washington’s pro day, with three WR’s at 6’3″ or taller, all running around 4.57.

                • AlaskaHawk

                  Rob- I agree with what your saying about Swope, Bailey, Wheaton or Woods all being good choices. Mostly I want someone who can separate and has good hands. If we really want to take care of our receiver position for many years to come then we could double up and pick whoever is left of the four named in the second round, and then WR or TE that falls to us in the fourth.

                  I don’t think height is as much a premium as leaping and ability to catch above the head. Also of course a willingness to fight for the ball.

                • Robert

                  “With the game on the line…,” …and Russell Wilson scrambling as time runs out, I’d like to have Harrison in the back of the endzone ready for a jump ball and Swopes improvising and sprinting into seems…And RW could also heave it towards the crossbar of the uprights where are new power forward is hovering…

                • JW

                  great points here

              • peter


                Do you like any receiver this year? In my opinion, projecting receiver has got to be the worst….There are so many variables, such as scheme, player groupings on a team, the QB play. Think of Keenan Allen, did he suffer from poor QB play? Did he make the choice to play with said QB?

                Or any player for that matter. WIll they learn to run routes? Will they work to make things happen when plays break down? Are they a gamer who steps up when no one is looking (Hopkins?)

                • AlaskaHawk

                  Rob just mentioned Swopes, Wheaton, Woods and Bailey- they are all good choices. I’m not sure why anyone would be afraid they are going to fail other than by injury. Any one of them could start on our team tomorrow. I don’t think learning routes is that big a deal.

                  I’m not saying we need to pick WR in the first round, but it is also unrealistic to think any of those receivers will be available after the second.

                  As for first round failures, it happens at all positions. Even defensive and offensive line. Statistically speaking your best chance of succeeding is to be good enough to get chosen in the first few rounds.

    • Lou Thompson

      Agreed, Rob. I’m still on record believing with the depth of this class that we can find a real nice playmaker in rounds 2 or 3 and come back in round 5 with the Curry pick and grab a guy like Marcus Davis. MD is going to be the doctor for those Fran Tarkenton scrambles where RWill lays the ball out there for a receiver like MD to make a play on with his big hands and leaping ability. Touchdown Seahawks.

      Bank it.

  6. Ben2

    In the analysis in the article it (paraphrasing here)says Humter isn’t really a good jump ball receiver/fight for it. To me that doesn’t seem like the type of receiver “always compete ” would want or one that fits Russell’s style. I’m glad receiver is deep this year because receiver IS a priority: (1) if you want to sign ET, Okung, Sherman, etc your gonna have to cut big $$ guys like Rice and we’ll need a replacement ready (2) recievers often take a year to develop so if you need a replacement you gotta start now! (3) depth at WR is thin and I wouldn’t call Rice ‘durable.’ I hope we do get a reciever in rd. 1 or 2 or maybe employ the Schneider scatter – shot method and draft 3 upside guys in the late rounds, let en fight it out in camp, and hopefully the winner is that late rd “diamond in the rough” we all love from the FO

    • Robert

      I totally agree with the urgency to draft are future WR’s now so they will be ready when are current WR corps is looking for big $$$, which will be better spent on Okung and keeping our D together! My favorites are Swopes and Davis…preserving our 1st round pick for help with our pass rush…Super Freak Margus Hunt???

    • Kip Earlywine

      Are you referring to my article or someone else’s? I think Hunter is an excellent jump ball receiver, but he does need to work on having stronger hands and catching the ball in more secure areas.

  7. Ross

    I liked Hunter a lot more before and I’m luke warm on him now. I need a playmaker receiver – one who can battle for the ball and win, ala Tate. I love Hopkins and would take him #25 overall. Hunter, not so much.
    Great blog, Rob.

  8. Geoff

    His legs/knees remind me of RGIII (who’s shorter and heavier) with his legs all flapping about. When he’s running you just get the feeling he’s going to get hit awkwardly and something bad’s going to happen. Which did eventually happen to RGIII several times. You kinda feel that way with Sidney Rice too though.

    Hunter doesn’t look very elusive though. I’m not seeing the YAC angle. Does seem very comparable to Sidney Rice.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s little surprise that Rice is perennially carrying some sort of injury. I fear Hunter will face the same fate.

      • shamus mcgee

        agree with all of that guys re:durability concerns… i like the reliability of Hopkins much better…

        • Lou Thompson

          Hopkins will have to be with pick #25 unless we move up in round 2. Hopkins has incredible hands and runs routes well.

        • Madmark

          I love Hopkins myself. He’s a gamer with 10.5 inch hands that allow him to snatch the ball outta the air. To me he’s the Nu 1 receiver in this draft.

  9. Christon

    Yeah, not a fan of Justin Hunter he reminds him of….Baylor’s Terrance Williams. The thing that annoys me the most is that both Williams and Hunter fall to the ground or get to the sideline after they make the catch. There are yards that DeAndre Hopkins, Tavon Austin, Steadman Bailey, and Cordarrelle Patterson wouldn’t just leave there on the field if they could get it. Once those guys have the ball in their hands they strive to do something with it while it appears to me that Hunter and Williams are often just satisfied that they caught it. Hunter and Williams look soft in my opinion and that’s the exact opposite of the competition theme this team has.

  10. Jake

    Where you all find limitations, I find potential. My #1 choice WR is this guy. He’s ready for some NFL coaching/training. So is Patterson for that matter. Tennessee was terrible last year, Bray was as innacurate as you can get. These two guys are ready for the leap.

    Patterson is a top-15 lock (who compares with Brandon Marshall) – a very good all around WR in my opinion. Probably the safer player, and will probably contribute more in the short term.

    Hunter might be available at 25 though (more linear, like Sidney RIce – but with more speed). I honestly think he’s an upgrade on Rice (in 2-3 years).

    He needs some coaching and he will probably be little more than an outside speedburner (ala D. Heyward-Bey. in Oakland) for a couple of years with ability to excel on deep comeback routes while he works on things. He’d be very useful in power sets right away- if a safety cheats, he’s a home run threat with Russ throwing the deep ball. He’s a really intriguing prospect though, he offers something we just don’t have. I might prefer to trade a mid-rounder for D. Heyward-Bey, but maybe Hunter has a higher upside – it’s all a crapshoot after all…

    Back to Hunter: With those insane hops and his quickness in and out of cuts (at 6’4!), I have to think our coaching staff can teach him how to high-point the fade and better play the deep jump ball. If he ever figures it all out, he would be unstoppable – it’s worth a 25th pick to me to find out if he can. Similar thinking brought us Bruce Irvin last year, so I have to think he’s on the table at least.

    • Rob Staton

      Again, Patterson is not necessarily a top-15 ‘lock’. A top-15 lock is Julio Jones or A.J. Green. Patterson has a chance to go in the top-15. But nobody will be surprised if he ends up going at #23 to Minnesota or even a little later than that. He has plenty of issues to go with the playmaking brilliance he brings to the table. If he’s ‘safer’ than Houston, that to me spells danger. Patterson is one of the bigger ‘boom or bust’ prospects in this class.

      Bruce Irvin was a production machine and one of the best pass rushers in college football during his two years at WVU. What’s more, you could rely on him in the money downs to make a play. Hunter has speed, height and reach on his side, but nobody can argue he’s consistently shown up at vital times or put up fantastic production. And the concerns about his frame (as we’ve seen with Rice) are legit. He looks primed for injury and has already suffered one big one.

      The potential is there for all to see. I don’t think anybody would deny it with 4.4 speed, the height etc. But as noted elsewhere… it’s the NFC Championship and you need a receiver to make a play. Can you trust Hunter to get it done? I don’t think you can. And any receiver drafted in the first round has to tick that particular box.

      I would be excited if we drafted Hunter, but that’s more because I trust JS and PC. And if they took him, undoubtedly they would feel he could be special. I won’t shed any tears if they pass, at the same time.

      • Kenny Sloth

        If Patterson falls to 25, do we pull the trigger?

        • Nate

          Yeah that’s what I would like opinions on. The latest live mock hat tip has Patterson falling. If Patterson and Hunter are both available, who would you pick Rob, regardless of if it’s 1st or 2nd round? I still want to wait and see how Keenan Allen does at Pro Day next month though.

          • Rob Staton

            Patterson has big play ability of the highest order. If I had to choose, I go for CP. He’s raw as hell and can barely run an adequate route, let alone run an adequate route and make a tough grab. But put the ball in his hands and he can do anything. He’s a threat to score any time he has the ball. Hunter is not unfortunately, in fact he has very little YAC threat.

        • JW

          ” it’s the NFC Championship and you need a receiver to make a play. Can you trust Hunter to get it done? I don’t think you can. And any receiver drafted in the first round has to tick that particular box.”

          hmmm….If that’s the metric, I don’t feel that there’s any first round WRs in this draft, or any draft. I don’t want to trust a rookie WR to make a game winning catch in the NFC championship game. I don’t draw up that scenario on purpose.

          Hunter has speed, height, hops, and long arms. Catch radius. And he’s a freakish athlete that Carroll likes- along with everything else you listed, he has a 26′ long jump. I probably wouldn’t take him at 25, but I sure would like him in the second round, and I’d not be afraid to move up to get him.

          I like Wheaton a little better, but Hunter is right there with him in my book.

          • Rob Staton

            I’m not referring to Hunter as a rookie in that situation, rather just the quality of the player overall. Hunter wasn’t a college rookie last year but you couldn’t trust the guy on any given play. I’m not sure he will ever be a clutch receiver.

            But if you asked me even as rookies whether I trusted DeAndre Hopkins or Ryan Swope to make a crucial play to win a game, I’d back them and back them strongly.

            • JW

              Then it goes back to the coaching angle, and Hunter has a ton of raw material for Carroll to work with, as you note.
              I have reservations with the term ‘clutch’ in scouting and athletics, especially team sports. But yes, I think Swopes and Hopkins have better hands. They clearly don’t have some of the other elements Hunter brings to the table, however.

              On the topic of future injury concerns, the concussion history of Swopes (4?) concerns me more than Hunter’s knees. Hunter clearly has a great power to weight ratio to be able to jump like he does. He might always be a thin frame, but he’s clearly not weak in the legs.

              • peter

                The way I see it, you draft Hunter for speed and Height. Two things as they say you can’t teach. And that’s about it as for what he brings over say DeAndre Hopkins. Past that there are faster guys, with better hands, though smaller, that can stretch the field. Though I highly doubt the front office does this, I would love to see Hopkins as a Seahawks. When the DB’s are running similar 40’s as the WR’s, the only thing that I look at in this instance is straight up production. And an improvement in production from year to year which Hopkins has.

                Justin Hunter is just a guy, to me.

              • Rob Staton

                I don’t throw around the term ‘clutch’ all that often. I know what reputation it has. And I don’t believe in a ‘clutch’ gene per se. If I used the word reliable instead, then the point would remain the same. Swope has great speed (like Hunter) and the same ability to get open. In fact, Swope’s improvisation skills for me make him the best WR in this class at getting open. Hopkins hasn’t got the speed, but he has such crisp routes, consistent hands and he makes the tough grabs under pressure. He competes. I like both receivers more than Hunter for those reasons.

                I may be wrong, but I don’t think Swope has ever missed a game due to the reported concussions. In fact it wasn’t even something I was aware of until Mayock mentioned it this week.

                • JW

                  fair enough on the clutch. We’re on the same page. I agree that Swope is very reliable. I like Swope a lot. And Hopkins. And Hunter 🙂

                  I read an interesting breakdown of Hunter/Patterson ‘drops’ and completion rates…I *think* on fieldgulls but not sure…it concluded with putting a lot of it on Bray. At any rate, there are a lot of really good WRs in this class, and I think PC/JS will come away with a good one.

                  I do think Swope is the best WR in the class as they sit now. But I also think he’s closer to his ceiling than some others. I like Hunter as a project better than Swope as a starter right now, if that makes sense.

                  That, and his concussion history knock him a bit below some others.

                  • Madmark

                    I saw a hit on Sydney Rice last year in the end zone and thought ouch he’s got a concussion but a few minutes later he got up. I’m not to concerned about Swope concussion history thinking maybe he was unlucky. Going across the middle is a dangerous place but I think RW is smart enough not to lead his receiver into harms way.

            • Robert

              I completely agree and think this is an important question to ask when evaluating WR prospects…probably THEE most important question. Hopkins tape is amazing. He usually creates good separation with great routes where he sells the fake then explodes into open space. Other times in traffic, he uses his body to nullify defenders and high points the ball with his gigantic hands. Speed is overrated…Hopkins is probably the best WR in this class, but GM’s will drool over inferior WR prospects with better 40 times. I am sure our guys know Hopkins plays “bigger” than many prospects who are taller…

          • Michael

            I would gladly put my playoff life in the hands of a few recent rookie WR’s… A.J. Green, Fitz, Megatron were all go-to-guys in their rookie year. I think we can all agree that there isn’t a single receiver in this draft of comparable quality, but to say that you would, “never trust a rookie to make a game winning catch” is a little puzzling.

            • JW

              not sure you got the quoted comment but those aren’t my words.
              But yes, I steer away from rookies in high pressure high leverage situations, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. If I’m in the NFC championship game, presumably I have a good team. The play I draw up won’t be rookie wide receiver as the first option very often…in all but the most exceedingly rare circumstances.

              re: bad luck and injuries, we can say that about any player and injuries, until at some point we can say it’s a track record and injury history. 4 concussions qualifies as an injury history in my book. 1 ACL, spindly legs or not, seems more ‘luck’ related than 4 concussions.

    • Jacob Stevens

      I think the Tennessee coaching angle is valid for Hunter, Patterson & Rodgers. Derek Dooley & his staff did a horrible job of correcting issues or getting the most out of their players. Somehow he recruited some incredible athletes, but the coaches there set these kids back. It’s a peripheral and minor issue, but I think it factors.

  11. Kenny Sloth

    I would wait until the second round on this guy. Injury waiting to happen.

    • Kenny Sloth

      Smoke and mirrors, it seems.

  12. Kenny Sloth

    Rob, if you were Seattle’s front office, would you take Gragg in the third? The fourth?

    • Rob Staton

      I’d tentatively say between the 4th-6th round. Speed is great and he has potential. But he never really put it together on the field.

      • Kenny Sloth

        I’m just drooling over his potential. He looks like a Hernandez, albeit with harder hands.

      • Eric

        Can’t ague with that. But did anyone on the Ar-can’t-sas Razorbacks put it together on the field? I’m not sure I blame that on Gragg (or Davis, Wilson, Hamilton…)

        • Sam Jaffe

          That’s an interesting point Eric. Arkansas is loaded with as much athletic talent as LSU and Alabama, based on the combine results. But they sucked as a football team. A good front office would try to isolate that suckiness and then upgrade the other athletes in drafting preference. That impacts Tyler Wilson, Chris Gragg, Knile Davis, Cobi Hamilton, etc. The same goes for Auburn and Illinois. I think that there will be at least one pro-bowler drafted from each of those teams this year.

        • Rob Staton

          Sure but it was the same in 2011 as well to be fair. He’s a physical specimen with potential, but there’s not tape I can point to and say “that’s why he needs to be drafted in X round.”

          • Eric

            For those reasons he’s strictly a Day 3 pick. But a good Day 3 pick nonetheless.

  13. Kenny Sloth

    Any 2011 tape?

    • Rob Staton

      On Hunter? He suffered the ACL very early in the season.

  14. Kenny Sloth

    If Markus Wheaton falls to us late in the second, I’m screaming for him. He’s a WEAPON. We don’t have anyone with his speed on this roster. Except Earl. He only registered a 4.45 or so, but plays much faster on the field. RIDICULOUSLY sudden in his cuts and is a hands catcher. He fights on every play despite occasionally being outmatched physically. He’s a special player. And I hate Oregon State.

  15. andy

    did you really say…….”golden tate like big play ability? are we talking about the same golden tate?

    • Rob Staton

      I wasn’t the one who made the Golden Tate remark… but which Golden Tate were you watching last season? I remember a guy who made significant big plays against Chicago, Minnesota, New York, St. Louis, Buffalo… I’m sure there are others. The record books will say Tate won us a game against the Packers.

      • JW

        exactly.Tate looks like a very promising player and had a very productive season last year. As did Rice, btw. I like Baldwin, too.
        I get the need for a TE, but I have always scratched my head at the need to draft a high round WR. You get a good, smart QB and a good offense, and that can make mid round talent WRs look very, very good.

        I would like the Hawks to come out of the draft with two pass catchers- but wouldn’t be the least concerned if none of them came before round 5 in this draft.

      • Sam Jaffe

        He made kind of a big play against Green Bay last year. Oh, right…

    • Dregur

      You mean the guy that, several time last year, caused missed tackles en route to TD’s? Then yes.

      • Michael

        How about that play in Chicago where he made 3 or 4 guys miss for what should have been the game winning TD?

        • JW

          It’s my opinion that Tate is blossoming into the player PC/JS saw he could be. A big part of that is the QB play, but a lot of it is the learning curve that is a challenge for every WR coming into the league.

  16. Snoop Dogg

    I think hopkins, cordarrelle, Hunter, Swope, DaRick, mark Harrison, Marcus Davis, and Rodney all have the potential to be number 1 receivers. This draft is loaded!

    • Lou Thompson

      Good call, snoop. I don’t know why I don’t trust Coradelle or Hunter and hope we don’t draft them.

      Of your list I’d like 2 of these guys. Hopkins, Swope, DaRick Rogers,Marcus Davis. Harrison in round 5 fighting for the selection with Marcus Davis would work well, too.

      You give those weapons to RWill and add some Pass Rush and we’ll expect to win every Sunday even if we know it won’t happen.

  17. Morgan

    It seems to be that Hunter lacks, as Matt Waldman describes it, an ‘integrated skillset.’ Hunter can run, cut, jump, and even sometimes catch, but he rarely does them all together. All that speed and leaping ability must be paired with situational awareness, timing, and hand-eye coordination. I think that’s why Hunter looks so amazing on highlight reels but maddening when watching a whole game.

  18. Lenny253

    @ Rob

    Hunter looks pretty good but there are plent of WR’s to choose from this draft, which IMO is a need but not a bigger need than DT and DE, and WLB That offense was on fire the second half of the season into the playoffs, no need to spend a 1st or even a 2nd rd pick on a WR. I would love for the Hawks to double up on D Lineman in rds 1 and 2. If Bruce Irvin ends up eventually replacing Clemons, now . we are still one short situational pass rushing DE. Also what will help Irvin become a great DE is a great 3 tech.

    • Rob Staton

      I agree Lenny. I think they will go after defense as a priority and rightly so. Hey, they’ve already spelled that out. But I think the value at #56 for a receiver will be good and will be a consideration.

      • AlaskaHawk

        We are just two injuries away from having our passing game totally shut down. We need more starters so we can rotate wide receivers and tight ends. My dream is to have a big 280 pound blocking tight end that can also run routes and catch the ball.

  19. jlkresse7

    i wouldn’t take hunter at 25 in my opinion, too fraile and doesn’t seem to put it all together very well. My top wide receivers i think the hawks should target are hopkins, swope, harrison, bailey, wheaton, and woods. would to see us grab two of these guys

    • Rob Staton

      It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Seattle drafted Swope and Harrison. Swope in R2 and Harrison in the 4/5 range.

      • Eric

        I’d be ecstatic if SEA comes out of the draft with those 2 WRs.

      • Morgan

        Does Swope’s concussion history worry you? I have a feeling he’s going to miss a lot of time in the NFL.

        • Eric

          Eh, maybe a little. But it didn’t seem to slow him down or keep him off the field for very long.

          Plus, he’s not frail at 6′ 205lbs (by comparison, he’s 10lbs heavier than Hunter despite being 4″ shorter).

          • JW

            The concussions do concern me, absolutely.

            Sure, Swopes is built thicker. But that history of concussions at the start of a career concerns the heck out of me.

        • Rob Staton

          Without medical info I can’t really say either way. He hasn’t missed time so far though, as far as I’m aware.

          • JW

            It’s impossible to predict. But we do have a known history and a medical belief that concussions are easier and easier to get and have a cumulative effect, combined with a style of play and role (over the middle slot receiver). Combine that with tighter and tighter rules on diagnosis and getting back on the field (probably rightly so).
            Those things depress his draft value in my book.

            • Michael

              Have we seen anyone recently who’s career has been completely derailed by concussions? I tend to think of concussions as a minor issue in the short term, as I can’t think of anyone missing entire seasons, or even anything close to it for a concussion. I am trying to think of someone and the only guy I can think of does not play football. (Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins)

              • JW

                Jahvid Best

                • williambryan

                  Sydney Crosby

                  • JW

                    it really depends on what you mean by “recently”, but the list of NFL players whose careers have been derailed or cut short by concussions is pretty long.
                    Note: I’m not saying that’s what will happen to Swope. I don’t even call it a red flag. Maybe a yellow one.

      • Lou Thompson

        Again, we’re in that same ball park, Rob. I’d like Swope but don’t think he’ll be there at #56 but would like a Swope/ Marcus Davis combo. Maybe a DaRick Rogers and Marcus Davis for the outside guys to fight it out with Rice with Tate and Baldwin manning the slot position.

        It would give us youth and an opportunity to either re-structure Rice’s 2014 deal or cut him altogether. Money has to be allocated for our secondary and NOW. Rice’s future is very cloudy is you look at his 2014 cap hit.

        • Eric

          I don’t mean to be contrary Lou, but IMO Rogers’ off field issues negate any upside he has. And although I like Davis as a mid-late rd prospect, I prefer Chris Gragg for a big bodied physical WR.

      • Nolan

        I think your right that we need to pass catchers rob I just hope one Darrick Rodgers….don’t know why I like him so much but I do…. If he didn’t have the character concerns he would be a 1st rounder. I think Seattle would be a perfect place for him to come play, because we have good a locker room with strong leaders Russell Wilson and micheal Robinson to help keep him in line. Also he would be in a position were nothing would be handed to him or given to him because none of the Baldwin, Tate, rice trio are going to want to cede him catches. I think we’re character concerns are an issue when there is a lack of leadership ( I know he is only going into his second year but I think Wilson is an out of this world leader could you imagine someone pulling TO antics on Wilson? ) and if opportunities are just given to guys ( you aren’t going to be able to be a knucklehead and beat out our existing starters for playing time). I think we are in a perfect position to take a gamble on a troubled talent… Also with the draft having so much talent at WR we can double up and that will lesson the blow if Rogers busts

        • Rob Staton

          I wouldn’t draft Rogers personally. His issues go beyond the usual ‘attitude’ concerns.

          If Seattle were to consider him, I feel it’d have to be in a round where they’d feel comfortable cutting him at any point. That’s the type of player we’re talking about here. And while the team does have some good leaders, the last thing I want is a diva receiver with major baggage having any kind of negative impact on Wilson’s development.

          • Kip Earlywine

            Yup. Rogers really does have talent, and that talent fits us well. But chemistry really matters to this team. Seattle didn’t blink when Titus Young hit the market. I don’t expect them to jump on the Rogers bandwagon even in the latest rounds.

      • Robert

        That would be my best case scenario. I like Hopkins alot, but I just don’t think we can deviate from our pass rush priority in the 1st round. Swope and Harrison both have tremendous upside and the special abilities PC/JS covet to create matchup nightmares for the opposing D.

  20. peter


    You’ve sort of fallen off the Wheaton train in favor of Swope. To me it’s six of the same, half dozen of the other, and would be happy with either. Do you see Swope lasting to 56 as a more likely outcome, or is there something significantly better about Swope?

    To me I’m looking at the same player. Strength, speed, height ( I know there is a difference but that is made up in arm length) etc……Am I wrong?

    • Rob Staton

      I think Swope has a knack of getting open that you only see with the truly great slot receivers. And I think he’s a slot receiver+. He’s got the speed to make big plays, but mostly he’ll be a demon over the middle. Wheaton is a Mike Wallace type. I really like both. I just have a sneaky suspicion JS will love Swope.

      • Lou Thompson

        Swope has some Steve Largent in his game. Crazy to compare him to a Hall of Famer but his route running and ability to get open are sweet. He knows how to improvise and find the holes in a zone or run from a slot CB.

        RWill could find Swope all day long getting loose in the op’s secondary. It would be a connection for the Hawk ages.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        His physical gifts are really very underrated.

        His 10 yard split was virtually identical to Tavon Austin. A guy who is routinely touted by ‘Receiverniks’ who pretty much think we should take a WR in the first round of every single draft from here to the end of time.

        His straight line speed is equally outstanding. This is a good class of WRs especially in the speed department. Swope is in the top 4 in both quickness and straight line speed in the entire class. His numbers are better than Wheaton/Fuller/Patterson/Hunter by a considerable margin.

        Now I’m not a numbers guy. I like to see guys pop off tape. Swope’s productions is just eye popping. In fact, what’s truly remarkable, is that it looks like he is open on every single pass play A&M attempts. And the conventional group think looks at his role in the slot and probably his race as well and compares him as Wes Welker.

        Swope has speed. Quickness. Explosiveness. We talk about Hunter’s eye popping vertical at 39.5″. Swope is also in the top 5 of all WRs at 37″.

        Even looking at the Hunter tape. I’m struck by just how awkward he is when he tries to put a move on guys. Even more — I’m amazed at how he pretty much as zero ability to get through a tackle. Guys 8 inches shorter than him drop him like a little brother. There is zero chance he ever gets away from a defender unless he has 5+ yards of space to work with.

        Swope by contrast fights through contact very well. And even better, when he fights through contact and gets clear, his quickness and speed is evident on tape. He gets from zero to full speed in about 10 yards. He’s tough to bring down and he can take arm tackles to the house.

        I honestly think that Swope is a mold breaker talent. We see his productivity and we think Wes Welker because he’s wildly productive in a limited slot receiver role. It’s an easy cultural inferrence to make.

        But Swope has physical measurables that are the equal to the very best in this class. He isn’t JUST a slot guy. He makes catches in the 10-20 yard zone. We talk of Dee Milliner as being this elite CB comparable to any in the last 5 years. And yet Swope from a physical standpoint outperforms him in most respects. Yes, Dee has great skill. I don’t see how we can say Swope doesn’t either.

        He is better than the rigid mold he’s being cast with. This is a guy who IMO, can play on the outside. Some team is going to see past the lazy group think and take this guy.

        • JW

          great post.

          here’s one thing about swope regarding catch radius, though…

          sure Swope’s vertical is good. But if you are going to compare catch radius to hunter, you start by giving up 4 inches to begin with, then 2.5 inches on the vertical, then 2 more on the arms, then another inch on the hands. That’s roughly 9 inches. Then think about the broad jump, etc. You’re basically talking about another foot of space.

          The thing about Hunter in terms of measuring the catch radius is it’s the starting height combined with the jumping ability, it’s really rare and tough to cover.

          How that translates into the game, I agree, Swope gets open more and gets through guys more. Hunter is not a physical player. But he might not have to be. Rice isn’t what I’d call a physical player and Carroll liked him enough to plunk down cash.

          • Attyla the Hawk

            That much is true. In terms of length etc., he wouldn’t have that kind of radius.

            I think that’s more theoretical though. Swope shows on tape that his radius is more of a functional radius. He excels at catching the ball with his hands and shows an advanced ability to go get balls away from his body, even when tightly covered.

            Hunter has more length, but I don’t see him using it to it’s fullest advantage. He body catches a lot of balls and he seems to struggle when he tries to extend for balls. You see a lot of passes that are tough catches that he doesn’t come up with. Catches that guys like Swope and Hopkins (whose length and explosion are very similar to Swopes’) make with more regularity.

            Realistically, I would put Hunter’s effective radius at about equal to Swope and Hopkins. Hunter is smooth in space and does quite well with accurate pass locations. As they all do. But I don’t see Hunter making a lot of plays when the coverage is tight or the receptions are difficult. I see a distinct difference in this quality between him and guys like Swope and Hopkins. The latter has that ‘make a QB look good’ quality that I don’t see in Hunter yet.

            I’d say that gives Hunter a decided advantage in upside. He’s been productive despite a fairly inaccurate passer in Bray. He doesn’t use his tools to the fullest, which means if he does acquire that level of skill — he’d be more dynamic of a player.

            I have a hard time justifying Hunter to Seattle based on two criteria that are specific to us. First and foremost, we put guys on the field that make the QB look good. We’ve tried guys with measurables and carried them on the roster. But they simply aren’t allowed on the field if they don’t possess that. Braylon Edwards is a prime example of this. He made the team on the strength of his ability to fight for deep balls and to make the tough grabs for Russell in the preseason. Then he fails to do so in the very first regular season game and his snaps drop to almost nothing. Taken by guys like Tate and Baldwin who both are very good at fighting for balls and making sure that they are the only ones to catch it.

            Second, this is a run heavy team. It’s a fundamental tenet of our core identity. I honestly cannot fathom any WR being kept on this squad that cannot be an asset as a blocker in the run game. Even Doug Baldwin is expected to block. I don’t see any WR that has played with any regularity for us that cannot block. Hunter does not excel at this by any measure. I’d go so far as to say, that inability to block is a complete deal breaker for us specifically.

            I would respectfully disagree on Rice. He does quite well in the blocking aspect and while he similarly came into the league as a lanky wide receiver, he’s developed physically into an asset in the run game. He did however come into the league with an ability to fight for contested balls. Indicating the potential toughness to develop into a more complete wide out.

            I look at Hunter, and I don’t see the same fight as I see in a similar lightly built WR like Markus Wheaton. He is a guy that doesn’t appear to avoid the physical aspects of being a complete WO.

            The takeaways I come away with from Hunter is that he’s smooth and lanky, but his game is soft. Given a clean ball with good separation, he looks very reliable. Put him in distress and he looks unimpressive. He doesn’t fight for balls, doesn’t stretch out and get tough catches, ridiculously easy to bring down and not exactly willing to embrace blocking assignments.

            That’s just my impression though.

            • JW

              I just don’t see that difference in ‘functional’ catch radius as big enough to compensate for the length and jump difference. Swope has good hands, but they’re not ‘spectacular’. And Hunter is behind him in this regard, but not at a drastic amount.

              Regarding his physicality, he’s young and recovering from an injury. Also, you mention Rice growing into his physical nature. Hunter will probably never be considered a physical WR, but I’m completely fine with that if he develops in other ways.

              I think you guys are really high on Swope. I also think he’s right there with the cream of the class, but I don’t think he’s clearly the best. Tavon, Patterson, Hopkins, Swope, Hunter, Allen, Woods, Wheaton…my opinion of them is that the differences are marginal, you could put them in almost any draft order and I wouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps raise an eyebrow, but nothing more.

              • Robert

                Tavon and Patterson are in their own special club. It’s the same club Golden Tate was in when we drafted him in 2010. It’s the club of Great Playmaking Potential But Haven’t Mastered The Route Tree Yet…Finally, he’s put togethher a productive season. So don’t look now, because after next year, we have to, “PAYTHEMAN!”

      • peter

        The difference as you put it makes it a bit more apparent. Thanks for that.

        • Snoop Dogg

          Hey Rob,

          I honestly think that I would be happier taking Ryan Swope at #25 than if the Seahawks took Justin Hunter there. Do you share this sentiment?

          • Rob Staton

            I’m not sure I would want to take either at #25 given the need for pass rushers.

      • Robert

        On any given play, Swope is much more of a threat to score than Austin, Patterson or anyone else in the draft. And that is simply a function of the complete package that Swope is: great route runner, great hands, great speed, moves, separation, springs, game IQ, passion etc. He will make big plays, stretch the field AND be the great, reliable possession receiver that moves the chains. He won’t take 3 years to blossom; he’s ready to contribute NOW. And it is prudent to find special, multi-faceted weapons for RW and protect us from having to resign expensive free agent WR’s when we need the Cap room to keep our core Defense together…

  21. Miles

    The number-one receiver I want out of this draft is Ryan Swope. I think he’s the most NFL-ready receiver in this draft. He can step in right away and be a Wes Welker-like receiver (I don’t mean to compare him to a white guy, but he is like Wes Welker). With Swope on the field in a five-receiver set including Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller and Doug Baldwin… when would we ever fail to convert on third down? I think Swope is a smart, fast receiver that makes us a better team right away. I would love the Hawks to take him in the second round; I wouldn’t even be upset if we took him in the first. I know I have a first round grade on the guy although many teams don’t (do they?).

    Justin Hunter certainly has the measurables and the speed to be the Hawks’ first round pick. I would not be surprised if we drafted him because he will bring a consistent big body to send deep. But like Rob said, it should take a season or two before he develops into that guy.

    A lot of people have been talking about Mark Harrison. I think drafting him in the 4th or 5th would be a reach. We may be able to nab him with one of our 7th-rounders.

    • Lou Thompson

      4 receiver sets on occasion, sure. I think we saw what happens when you go empty backfield in the SB. Too risky to throw against an overstacked blitz.

      By the time a receiver gets off the line to turn around RWill is throwing the ball away or Fran Tarkentonin’ in the backfield. I like the big receiver on the outside for a fade route or the quick flanker slant with a blocking back next to RWill. Just my thoughts.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Co-signed on Swope. I’m pretty sure I would celebrate if his name was called at #25. He’s going to be special especially with Wilson throwing to him.

  22. Eric

    Sorry guys, I just cannot grade Hunter a R1 pick based on his field play. I watch his highlight reel and see him make some decent plays, even a couple pretty good ones. But I don’t see any “OMG I can’t believe he did that” catches/routes/moves.

    Maybe that doesn’t concern some of you very much. You’re just too enamored with his measurables. Ok, I can understand that, given how impressive they are.

    But consider, if you will, Morgan’s comment above: if you watch Hunter play an entire game, and not just his highlights, you’ll see PLENTY of plays where he disappoints, either failing to make a catch he should, or, having made a catch, he “gives up” on the play and goes down or out of bounds. I see precious little to be excited about in terms of YAC. And I agree with the assessment that he lacks an integrated skill set.

    I know he had a great Combine. But NFL games aren’t played in 40-yd spurts, or broad jumps, or underwear. He’s an intriguing prospect for sure, but not intriguing enough for me to make him my first pick.

    • JW

      Agreed. But there are a couple or responses to that-

      1. if there’s a lot of “OMG” plays, he’s not around #25.
      2. He played on a mending ACL,
      3. Tyler Bray,
      4. He’s in a cluster of roughly equal WRs, after you account for everything (injuries, size, speed, production, etc).

      Despite his flaws and obstacles, he was pretty productive. Combine that with his physical talent and it doesn’t seem like much of a reach for a late 1st round pick.

      If this dude was 215 lbs, he’d probably be a Cord Patterson. If he was as sure handed as Swope, he’d be a top 10 pick. Conversely, if Swope was 6’4″, Swope probably is a top 10 pick. But here they are, and I think you can make a case for either of them to go #25 or thereabouts.

      • Eric

        That’s waaay to many “ifs” for the first round.

        • JW


          In this draft most late first rounders will have lots of ‘if’s’ when you look hard at them. Guys without them are pretty rare.

          • Eric

            Just using your two WRs

            Hunter’s ifs:
            If no ACL
            If a better QB
            If he was 20lbs heavier
            If he was sure handed

            Swope’s ifs:
            If he were taller

            • JW

              Well, taller is pretty highly valued by this front office, so it’s a big if.

              I’ve stated previously Swopes is better now. But I also think we can add more ifs to Swope. His brain injury history being 1. I don’t know why some are so willing to write that off while fixating on Hunter’s injured knee and what ‘looks’ like a guy who can get hurt.

              My only point is you’re not going to get a guy at 25 without a lot of ifs.

              • Rob Staton

                From what I can find out Swope suffered four suspected concussions in his time at A&M but never missed a game.

                • JW

                  ‘suspected’ concussion might be a framing issue. He also was removed early from at least 1 game.
                  Missing time isn’t as concerning to me as the fact that there are 4 instances of brain injury. Going forward, you have to consider it as a factor for a guy you want going over the middle in the NFL, in my opinion.

                  I put Swope’s brain injury and Hunter’s knee injury as roughly equal. It’s a concern.

                  • Rob Staton

                    I do not have any expertise when it comes to concussions, but I wonder if the way the NFL is treating them will help Swope. I suspect the helmets used in the NFL are superior to those Swope was using during his college career, plus the rule changes are designed to protect players more and more. If there were really serious issues here, A&M wouldn’t keep putting him on the field.

                    Not trying to justify anything here, but we’re talking about a guy with an issue nobody realised until Mayock pointed it out this week, in part because he never missed any games. And we’re putting it on a pedestal with a season-ending ACL, concerns about a players slender frame and whether he could suffer serious injuries again in the future.

                • Attyla the Hawk

                  It’s definitely a concern.

                  One thing about Swope — he gets completely drilled. A LOT.

                  Remember that Browner hit on Welker? Yeah Swope makes a lot of players’ hit reels too. He doesn’t have Wilson’s ability to slither his way out of a square hit.

                  I’ve mentioned it elsewhere. Swope could benefit from not being featured in the slot with that kind of regularity. Part of being always open and such a reliable bail out receiving option in the middle who is willing to go get the ball and not protect his body, is that he often times puts his body in peril in the area where safeties roam. He takes a lot of Kam Chancellor style shots.

                  He either exhibits a very real ability to recover from these hits quickly, or the A&M medical team doesn’t protect their players very well. He doesn’t seem to be immediately susceptible to recurrent injury — and it’s not for lack of being physically tested. Those 4 concussions — those were very vicious hits. They make you cringe when you see them.

              • Eric

                JW I agree with you. Any player on the board in the bottom third of R1 will have ifs. I didn’t mean to come across as argumentative, so apologies if I offended.

                The question is, how well those “ifs” fit the Hawks’ situation, and if PC can live with them.

                With Hunter “ifs”, clearly “if he had a better QB” is one that doesn’t concern much. Bray wasn’t very good at all; if he’d been better, no doubt Hunter’s production goes up. And with RW at QB, that “if” fits my situation and I can live with it.

                I can probably also live with the “if he was 20lbs heavier”, mostly because it’s reasonable to assume he can add some muscle. My personal opinion, and that’s all it is: his ceiling is probably right around 200lbs (I base my opinion on the fact that he’s had ample time with a major college program to do just that, but didn’t or couldn’t). However, I’m not a strength and conditioning coach, let alone an NFL caliber one, so who knows? Maybe he gets in the weight room and puts on those 20lbs. So, yeah, I can live with that “if”.

                As a brief aside, I think Swope’s “if he was taller” is also one I cal live with. While Swope can’t do anything at all about his height (whereas Hunter COULD put on more weight), I’d argue that Swope’s shorter stature has impacted his game to far lesser extent than Hunter’s slight build.

                But then we get into some “ifs” that put him out of my R1. “If he hadn’t injured his ACL” is tough to overlook. Sure, other NFL players have come back from similar injury to excel (even dominate) at their position. And sure, there are other prospects in this draft class with the same red flag (i.e., Carradine and Lattimore). But neither of them grade in R1 for that very reason. I understand that both Carradine and Lattimore are coming off their injuries now, whereas Hunter has a full season post injury. But WR is no position to start an NFL career with suspect knees (not sure there is a position where that doesn’t cause serious concerns). Plus, Hunter’s frame and spindly legs seem make him particularly susceptible to knee problems (and, lo and behold, he has).

                And finally, “if he had better hands” – I probably should’ve started with this one because I don’t see the point in going past it. If he doesn’t have R1 hands, why take him that high? Ok, maybe he can improve with proper coaching. But to me, that’s just too big of a maybe to pull the trigger on him at 25.

                Incidentally, I didn’t address the “if” regarding Swope mainly because, as Rob points out, it has had minimal impact on his ability to play.

                • Eric

                  Sorry, meant Swope’s concussion history in that last paragraph.

                  • JW

                    no apologies needed! THis is a good place for discussion and ‘tone’ is hard to read, but you gave absolutely no offense.

                    I agree with almost all of your points- I have Hunter as an early round 2 pick, but if the Hawks or anyone grabbed him past #20, I would not call it a major reach. It’s all about how coaches view some of these issues.

                    The main point I’d take issue with is Swope’s concussion history. I has impacted his ability to play in the games in which it’s happened- he has missed playing time. And, there is a substantial body of medical knowledge indicating that concussions are both easier to acquire over time, and a more solid body of knowledge indicates that they are cumulative. Knees and brains both are not good places to get hurt for prospective NFL receivers, and both need to be accounted for.

                    -btw, my bringing up the ACL in the first place was not to discount it, but to point out that he was still in the recovery window last season, and that must be taken into account. Even with that, he still produced, and produced well.

                    To me, more of Hunter’s shortcomings are coachable or ‘potentially’ fixed. Swope’s are not. And that’s why they call guys like Hunter coach killers 🙂

                    If the Hawks went with Hunter I’d be really ok with it. His skillset is valuable and unique while his shortcomings are either relatively common (not many ‘physical’ WRs in the NFL), or potentially fixable.

                  • JW

                    meant to add that I actually would rather not see Hunter gain much more weight. It’s often bad news for knees for guys to bulk up their thin frame. You want flexibility, core strength and balance more than sheer weight at WR. It’s nice to have the 220 lb wr who has all of those things, but it’s not a requirement. Hunter is clearly no Adonis. But that’s ok. He has other elite skills for the position.

  23. Ray graham

    Just don’t see the need to go wr in round one. The offense got progressively better a’s the season wore on. RW found a chemistry with miller, Tate got better and his yac ability is great. A healthy Baldwin will really help and maybe rice just needed to get hisshoulders fixed. This team is not gonna have trouble scoring as long as we continue to run the ball at a very high level . The d line however is an area of need thou and the right player or players could make this unit the very BEST IN THE NFL. Defense still wins championships and I think we are an interior pass rush away from the super bowl!!

    • Robert

      I totally agree. Though I would love to get Swope or Hopkins by trading up in the 2nd…And take gambles with Marcus Davis WR and Armonty Bryant DE later…
      Is there a prospect who can currently destroy blockers better than Margus Hunt?

  24. Jacob Stevens

    I’m still pretty bullish on Hunter. Although previously I was mostly enamored with him because I thought he was incredibly valuable relative to his draft stock. So on the one hand I’m glad to see a couple of glimpses of recognition as first round talent, but on the other hand I’m more balanced on his warts, now, as a result.

    I think he brings game-changing dynamics to the position, in ways that Seattle likes. They don’t overlook negatives but they seem preoccupied with finding standout ability that they can use in a game.

    His frame is really skinny, though. Weighed in at 196 in the combine, but probably kept the weight down to run a good time. He was skinny in college, too, though, but then 196 is more viable in college.

    He seems to have Shaun Alexander syndrome, appearing effortless and inviting criticism. He didn’t seem to use all 39 inches of that vertical, on the field. But I like the body control, and I like him for Seattle. I just worry about defensive line.

  25. Madmark

    I’m not a Justin Hunter fan and with the depth of this WR class i think there will be talent to be had at every round throughout this draft. The concern i have is the TE class is quite thin in my opinion.
    Its possible in round 2 DeAndre Hopkins could fall to us and I wouldn’t hesitate to grab him but i believe he would be gone here. If he’s not there I have to reach for Travis Kelce TE at 6’5″ 260lbs we get that tall possesion receiver who can block. This guy has a Marshawyn Lynch attitude that Tom Cable would love. His strencth is blocking and this team does like to run. His last year in college was was being worked into the passing game and showed he can catch the ball. The route running is in some need of some coaching but then there always something that needs a little work here and there.
    This guy is a 2-fer blocking and receiving TE with an attitude I just got to have him.
    In 3rd round I love Ryan Swope. He looks like slot guy but he’s built like Ben Obamanu and at 6′ and 200lbs who runs 4.43 40yd das. He could step in at any of the positions of WR. He would push for playing time and if Rice, Tate, or Baldwin got injuried we have Swope to fill in right away.
    A few others that could fall in the later rounds that I like is Mark Harrison, Marcus Davis and Chris Harper who looked very good in the senior bowl and has quietly been flying under the radar. I could see any of these guys falling in the 5th round and later and it would be hard to pass them up.
    Last year I said I be looking real hard at the depth of the receiving corp and with this draft I’d be a fool not to take advantage of the depth of this class and add a few weapons for RW.

  26. Robert

    Justin Hunter is too frail to be a great NFL prospect with consistent production. I think Mark Harrison is our guy. Physically,he has nearly the same measureables as Hunter, but he has a much more durable physique.

    • JW

      what is a ‘durable’ physique?

      • Robert

        1. Highly resistant to wear, lasting (opposite of too frail).

        But that’s just one of my concerns with this prospect. I believe Swope and Hopkins are much higher on our board. And I wouldn’t be surprised if PC/JS use both our 1st and 2nd round picks to improve our pass rush

        • JW

          Clear on durable and frail. Less clear on what a durable physique is or what a too frail physique is. AJ Green is 7 pounds heavier than Hunter, same height. Durable Physique? Why? Randy Moss is 10 lbs heavier than Hunter. Durable physique? Why? Chris Carter is 1″ shorter than Hunter, same weight. Durable physique? Why?
          Can I get a durable physique by eating cheeseburgers for a week or not? Why?

          I think you see my point.

          • Robert

            Marshawn Lynch can run through other men in pads who are running into his body in an attempt to tackle him. When they finally do bring him down, Marshawn gets up and is ready for the next play to begin. Marshawn is an extreme example of durable physique. I will go out on a limb here and speculate that the concensus explanation for Marshawn’s durability is a thick skeleton overlaid with thick tendons and large muscle mass.

    • Madmark

      Mark Harrison just looks more buff on game tape than hunter.

      • JW

        I agree with that. He does look buff. So did David Boston…Randy Moss didn’t.

        But I’m really interested in this assumed correlation between ‘buff’/thickness/heavy/big and durability wrt injury. Some day I’d like to run a ht/wt injury correlation with WRs. I know there is an accepted standard with running backs, but I suspect there’s some differences with WRs.

        In my opinion there are a lot of assumptions going on. Is a guy who is 6’2 215 really more durable than a guy who is 6’4 200? Really? I want to see the evidence. There’s a lot of randomness to injuries. Chance, which is related to opportunities (catches, hits). Then genetics, and physics. Do these things bear out in the data?

        I can name a number of ‘frail’ looking WRs who had long careers, and a number of ‘buff’ wr’s who got hur. But these are just cases. I’d really like to see a systematic study. Does the ‘frail’/ ‘sturdy’ framework lead us to anything meaningful or is it just an eye test that is either meaningless or even misleading?

        • Madmark

          Mark Harrison is 6’3″ and 225lbs.

          • JW


            and that’s a “durable physique” why, exactly?

            What I’m asking about is the underlying assumption. There is a major one happening in these discussions every time I see it and I’ve never seen any systematic data to back it up. Just…assumptions.

        • Rob Staton

          Mark Harrison was listed at 6-3 and 231lbs at the combine and ran a 4.46.

          Justin Hunter was listed at 6-4 and 196lbs at the combine and ran a 4.44.

          • JW

            right. Harrison is much bigger and almost as fast. There’s no question about that. It’s an empirical fact.

            What I’m curious about is the assumed correlation of ht/wt and durability or injury proneness. I’ve not seen that presented in an empirical way. It would make a great study for someone with the time and expertise.

            • JW

              and of course, the biggest difference between Hunter and Harrison is production. Speaking of measurables that don’t translate…what the heck happened with this guy?

            • Rob Staton

              I think people are using an eye test with Hunter and I don’t think that is necessarily unfair. I’ll admit I’ve winced watching him in 2012. I can’t really explain it how I want to, but he’s so lean and tall and when he’s tackled the legs and torso seem to get into funky positions. Anyone watching the 2012 tape without seeing the injury in 2011 probably won’t be surprised he picked up an ACL. I see similar things with Rice and he’s almost always nursing some kind of injury.

              Now when I watch Harrison, I don’t see those same concerns. Whether it’s because he’s thicker in the build I don’t know. It’s not just him to be fair. But Hunter’s frame on tape worried me. And it won’t surprise me if he continues to pick up injuries. But that’s just one reason why I wouldn’t personally take him at #25, among other issues discussed already.

              As for production and what happened to Harrison… the same thing that happened to Brandon Coleman unfortunately — Gary Nova. He makes Tyler Bray look like Tom Brady.

              • JW

                I hear you. And I don’t disagree. I think you understand what I’m addressing, though…my eyes see the same thing but I want data. I came into this sport via statistical analysis in another sport- baseball. So I like to quantify as much as possible and triangulate it with what my eyes see. We’ll see if Crazy Legs Hunter can stay healthy or not, but in the end he’s 1 in a pool of players.

                Good to know on Harrison. Nova is a no go.

                • Rob Staton

                  I hear you too dude. Good debate.

  27. C-Walkin Hawk

    What about Brandon Kaufman out of EWU? I havent heard his name mentioned at all but the guy seems like a baller. 6’5, 215 pounds with incredible numbers – 93 catches for 1,850 yards and 16 tds in 2012. Not sure about his speed at the NFL level and I never really saw him go against an elite cornerback but still, this guy should definitely be considered as a mid rounder.

    • JW

      speed is the issue with him…but I saw him play in person a lot, and he did do pretty well against the better competition he faced at WSU and UW. I would probably wait and see if you can get him UDFA, though.

      The other guy from that corner of the world I really like is Marquess Wilson. Somebody will get a good buy on him.

  28. Dobbs

    I know Darrin Moore isn’t the perfect prospect, but I want to know why he continues to be overlooked in these draft talks. Must be the 11 yards per catch? No… Tavon Austin had that.

    A 6’3 1/2, 226 pound receiver that had 92 catches last season and ran a 4.5 40 on his pro day… and he’s a mid to late round receiver… seems like we’re better off waiting for a mid-round receiver to me.

    • JW

      it feels like there are 10 or so solid mid round guys in this draft. Of course, a number of them will wash out.

  29. SunPathPaul

    Swope feels like a great fit with Russell Wilson’s play…

    The only BIG issue is that the Miami Dolphins need a WR, have Swope’s old QB, they still run a very similar offense that both had at A&M, and they have TWO Round 2 picks before us…

    I strongly believe that Miami would want him, as would other teams, and the chemistry Tannehill and Swope ALL READY POSSESS, makes it a no brainer to take and play him right away!

    Miami is also reportedly very interested in Mike Wallace. They use Wallace as the burner, and Swope everywhere else! They would be knocking on New England’s door next year for the division IMO.

    So the NEW question is, do we think JS and PC would want Swope enough to trade up in R2???

    We could possibly use a Matt Flynn/later round pick to SWAP up before Miami… Worth it?? Possible?

    PS. I would trust Tavon Austin’s build and style to last longer than Justin Hunter’s in the NFL. His legs just look like a track athlete…like RG3- spindly and “just about to snap” looking on every play… Look how RG3 couldn’t even make it through 1 season. That is what make she hesitate with Hunter.

    • JW

      for every case that is brought up about ‘spindly looking legs’, I wager I can present a case of tree trunk looking legs that also failed. What matters is the specific case. In this case Hunter has a common football and sports injury so far, one with a proven track record of recovery.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Miami just re-signed Brian Hartline to a $31 million deal. We’ll see what their priorities end up being.

      • SunPathPaul

        Good point Kip. Between $31 million to Hartline, and them possibly going after Mike Wallace, which I now hope they seriously DO, we wold have a better chance of Swope at our R2 pick!

        Wallace TO MIAMI!!! PLEASE!!! We want Swope! Go HAWKS!!!

  30. Eric

    A bit of topic here, but I just read that Damontre Moore put up 19 reps in the BP during A&M’s pro day today. I really soured on him post Combine, partly because his overall effort was utterly lacking. But what really turned me off was his dismal BP performance. An NFL pass rusher needs upper body strength.

    Don’t get me wrong: 19 reps is still in the lower half of the DL crop, but Ansah and Okafor both managed only 2 more (21). Moreover, it’s barely been 2 weeks since the Combine. I’ve no doubt Moore has spent most of his time in the weight room since then doing everything he can to improve his performance. I’d say improving by more than 50% in just 2 weeks is encouraging.

    • Rob Staton

      He didn’t run the forty yard dash though, which kind of qualifies his 4.95. It’s not like he had anything to lose by running again.

      • Eric

        I didn’t see that part. How disappointing.

        In a way, he’s the opposite of Hunter, who has great measureables but not great game play. Moore’s season was almost one big highlight reel, but his measureables are abysmal.

        • JW

          game play over rules combine measureables, right? It’s easy to say but hard to actually do, isn’t it? 🙂

          • Eric

            And I was just about to agree with your assessment of Marquess Wilson 😉

            • Snoop Dogg

              Im not sure which person I would rather have…. I might want to take Hunter over Damontre just because I don’t know if Damontre’s instincts can compensate for his lack of ability in the NFL.

  31. Hawkfin

    Some great comments in here…. I like Hunter and have him rated as the #4 or 5 best WR. However, I gave him a 2nd round grade myself. (High 2nd round grade)

    To me, if we go WR in the 1st it should be either Patterson, Austin, or Allen(?speed?).
    I REALLY like Patterson!
    If those guy’s are all gone, then we should probably wait on WR.
    I DO like the idea of grabbing two from this draft class though! But, I’d also like a Stud, and not just potential.
    I also agree about Swopes and Harrison. Love those two wides, especially Swopes.

    Woods and Rodgers I don’t like. Also, not crazy about Dobson and Stills.
    Wheaton might be good, but not #1 quality.

    Hopkins and Bailey I also like a lot, and rate them right with J. Hunter. (high 2nd roundish)
    But, Bailey doesn’t have the great size we need. Hopkins is very Interesting, but he did run slow.

    Back to Hunter: I do see possible injury concerns. He is thin. He also has some trouble with drops.
    I also see something there that just doesn’t look right at times. But, other times he looks great.
    I think the measurables and game tape are there to fit after the TOP 3, but I see risks too.
    I wouldn’t be to upset if he was our pick in the first, but I really prefer the top 3 who I think could very well drop to us.

    Swope is the key – If you don’t get him late (2nd round seems early, but I guess right)
    Then I might not be that happy waiting. So if the top 3 are there, I would probably take them especially Patterson.
    If not, I think we should wait and see what’s there in the 2nd round. (While targeting Swope and maybe Harrison a little later)

    I see a pretty big need at WR though. I’m not that comfortable with what we have. I think Wilson made them better then they actually are, and they were easily taken out of plays. Seperation issues, not to mention injury could happen.
    I’d like to see Rice move to #2 (Until he’s let go/old)
    And Tate moved to #3
    Get a STUD to come in as our #1 eventually, while they groom into it. And hopefully in the mean time give us some big plays. (i.e PATTERSON :D)

  32. Misfit74

    Hunter is one of my favorite receivers in this draft class. No question in my top three or four. He’s getting the first-round talent love he deserves. I can see him going no later than Reuben Randle did last year, another prospect I liked quite a bit, by the way.

    I like Da’Rick Rogers as much or more than Hunter on-the-field, but Carroll and Co. would have to decide on his character/off-the-field stuff. If we miss on Hunter or Patterson, Rogers would be a fine fall-back option, even if some seem to hate the guy.

  33. Eric

    Following up on Texas A&M’s pro day…just pulled this off

    Damontre Moore/OLB-DE: As posted earlier Moore was timed between 4.27s-to-4.34s in the short shuttle, 7.07s in the three cone and completed 19 reps on the bench. He then completed position drills to mixed reviews. Overall people we spoke with said Moore did not look all that athletic as he was straight up and down in bag drills and was not very fluid moving about the field. We were alerted to the fact that Moore evidently tweaked his hamstring during the 3-cone, which he was not scheduled to run. Fact is people from Texas A&M were not surprised by Moore’s poor forty time or the fact he’s come across as marginally athletic; that’s the type of prospect he is though everyone points out he’s a tremendous football player. Since the combine one name keeps popping into my mind when comparing Moore’s athletic workouts versus his play on the field; Terrell Suggs.

    Ryan Swope/WR: By all accounts Swope dazzled during pass catching drills. He ran crisp routes and caught everything thrown in his direction. His position work today along with his combine performance has Swope heading into the late part of round two.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve got a piece on the blog tomorrow covering Swope and a few other matters. Stay tuned.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Just the late 2nd, huh? Swope deserves to be a 1st round pick, IMO.

      • Eric

        Early 2nd at the very least. His stock is trending up for sure.

        • Misfit74

          He’s an interesting player. Didn’t doctors and teams have some repeated concussion issues to sort through?

          I can’t wait for the inevitable ‘next Welker’ talk, just as a humorous aside.

          • Kip Earlywine

            He’s a different player than Welker, but those comparisons have already been happening.

            FWIW, I think Swope is just as good as Welker is. Similar speed, quickness, savvy, toughness, clutchness, intangibles. Swope is bigger though and more versatile.

            Not ripping you or anything, but I’ve sensed some snootiness coming from some fieldgulls regulars here in regards to Swope. Watch him with a critical and open mind and you will see he’s a special player, not just some nobody that ran a good 40 time.

            BTW, Welker wasn’t exactly King Shit when he entered the NFL out of Texas Tech. He went undrafted, but overcame that slight with a great work ethic, speed, and intangibles. He wasn’t just great because of Tom Brady either. New England poisoned pilled to get him away from Miami (paying 2nd and 7th round picks).

            As far as the concussions, he didn’t miss a game from them. It did not appear to effect his play. He does take and give a lot of big hits though. Might need to be coached into taking hits better.

  34. Don

    Hunter is just like Sidney Rice as a rookie. Rice was raw, skinney, and grew into his frame. Hunter will do the same. Give Huner a couple of years and he will be as good as Rice.

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