Saturday draft notes: 2nd January

Trey Sermon had a field day against Clemson’s limited defense

Ohio State dominate in the trenches

A lot of the talk following Ohio State’s thumping of Clemson will be about Justin Fields’ heroic performance or Trey Surmon’s running.

Yet the big highlight from the game was the play of both their lines.

Surmon had the freedom of the Superdome. He also flashed power, agility and he finished his runs. It was a terrific performance. Yet the O-line dominated up front, bullying Clemson from start to finish.

It’s not that surprising. Long gone are the days of Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell. Clemson’s D-line looked small. They had no answer.

Guard Wyatt Davis and center Josh Myers were superb. Davis could easily go in the top-20 and Myers is a possible first rounder too. They pushed Clemson’s overmatched D-line all over the field, creating massive running lanes and keeping an injured Fields relatively clean.

Ohio State recorded 639 total yards including 254 running. When that happens, it’s nearly always because the line dominated and you have the talent to capitalise.

For all the modern day intricacies of football — being able to kick the other teams arse up front still carries a lot of weight.

On the other side of the ball, it was another fantastic performance by Ohio State’s D-line — led by the brilliant defensive tackle pairing of Haskell Garrett and Tommy Togiai.

They play with real intensity up front, can create pressure and absorb blockers. With so much talent at linebacker, Ohio State’s second-level defenders are often free to roam and play clean.

The play of both lines will give the Buckeyes a shot against Alabama.

Sermon makes another statement

The great play of the lines shouldn’t take anything away from Sermon. He’s exploded onto the scene as one of college footballs top skill players.

He was a useful part of their rotation earlier in the season, churning out five or six YPC on around 10-12 carries at the start of the year. A 112-yard performance from just 10 carries against Michigan State seemed to earn him a greater role in the Big-10 Championship game, where he ran for 331 yards against Northwestern.

Here he simply carried on where he left off. Yes — the running lanes were often huge. Sometimes he was six or seven yards downfield before even being confronted by a tacker. Yet he bulldozed his way beyond tackles and has rare, gliding agility for a player who is listed at 6-1 and 215lbs but looks bigger.

He ended the game with 31 carries for 193 yards, adding another 61 as a receiver.

The Seahawks shouldn’t be sheepish about adding at running back every year. The key is to find cheap, serviceable talent at the position and depth. For all the hand-wringing about drafting a runner early, it’s a great way to get cheap club control for four years and a player who can contribute quickly.

Once you start to view draft picks as a mere opportunity to acquire cheap talent for four or five years, rather than a constant search for a decade-long acquisition, the drafting of a running back early simply means a way to get bang for your buck.

The Seahawks have carried four runners all year. Clearly their preferred style comes with a big physical demand. They also struggle when their leading runners are out, as we’ve seen in 2019 and 2020.

With respect to the likes of Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas, they seem to be good guys who can chip in on special teams (and in the case of Homer, pass protect well). They are limited though. When Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were out earlier this year, they preferred to start Alex Collins and Bo Scarborough off the street than trust Dallas to lead the way.

The Seahawks would be better off filling their depth with players who can actually carry the load if needs be. I suspect they will find a way to retain Carson. Yet as he reaches free agency and with Hyde also out of contract — it would make sense to add a talented runner at some point.

Sermon could be a player to monitor. He had a 35 inch vertical at SPARQ (explosive) and ran a 4.27 short shuttle. There will be questions as to why he never truly delivered at Oklahoma but he’s shown enough this season to warrant a serious look during the draft process. With their lack of picks, the Seahawks will need to look for a rough diamond.

Fields’ performance should make the Dolphins take notice

Trevor Lawrence will go first overall, regardless of what happened on Friday night. The next two quarterbacks — Zach Wilson and Justin Fields — could easily come off the board at #2 and #3.

The Dolphins, who appear set to gain the #3 pick thanks to the Laremy Tunsil trade, should consider adding whoever is left.

Tua Tagovailoa is limited. He always was. At Alabama, he never flashed great physical qualities. He had the luxury of playing behind a hulking O-line, handing off to Najee Harris and throwing to DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle.

I’m not for a second arguing that he was ‘bad’. He just wasn’t special.

We’re seeing that in the NFL too. He’s done fairly well as a starter. Yet it’s not unfair to suggest he has a physical ceiling. Is he ever going to elevate Miami to a level they increasingly appear capable? If you’re the Miami Dolphins, you at least have to be asking that question — even if you retain some faith in a player you drafted in the top-five just a year ago.

Here’s the thing though. This is presumably the last chance Miami will have to draft in the top-five for a long time. If they grade Wilson or Fields highly, don’t they owe it to themselves to consider drafting either?

It’s not really any different to the Cardinals drafting Kyler Murray a year after selecting Josh Rosen. Taking multiple shots to find a franchise quarterback should be praised, not criticised.

Tua has shown more than Rosen did as a rookie. He’s also been hauled off the field for Ryan Fitzpatrick on more than one occasion.

An open competition between Fields and Tua next year wouldn’t be a negative. Both players would likely retain some value too — so you can trade the guy who loses out.

Three new names stand out

This week I’ve been running through the list of players who declared who I haven’t been able to watch so far and three players really stand out.

I was so impressed with USC safety Talanoa Hufanga. There will be concerns about his pure speed (he only ran a 4.74 at SPARQ). Yet the way he reads the field, reacts decisively and tackles/hits with a belting tenacity is top notch.

He’s incredibly physical and delivers some exciting hits. He can rush and blitz as well as anyone I’ve seen in college football over the last few years to create extra pressure. Hufanga plays with real fluidity and directness — he’s just a joy to watch. Testing will determine how early he goes (and if he runs poorly he’ll likely be limited to the middle rounds). I suspect whoever takes him won’t regret it. He has a big-time pro future.

I spent more time studying North Carolina running back Javonte Williams. He’s a lot more suited to the Seahawks than I initially thought.

He broke so many tackles in 2020, finished runs and provided an X-factor throughout. He plays with the physicality Seattle likes and he fits their size preferences at 5-10 and 220lbs.

He set records at UNC this year with 22 total touchdowns.

Williams worked as part of a one-two punch with Michael Carter to deliver 249 yards per game (10th best in the country). Their 35 combined touchdowns was second only to the backs at run-heavy Army and was level with Alabama.

I’ve seen him projected anywhere from round two to round four. Williams needs to be on our radar going into the combine. If he tests well in the vertical and broad jump — he could be someone they seriously consider.

The third player I watched closely was LA Tech’s Milton Williams. He’s about 6-4 and 280lbs but he plays with fantastic quickness and athleticism. He’s so quick off the snap, compliments his natural speed with decent hand technique and he’s a playmaker on the D-line.

He’s a very exciting player with inside/out capabilities and reports suggest he could be one of the star performers at the combine.

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  1. cha

    Jay Glazer
    The entire Saints RB room won’t be available tomorrow bc of close contact to Alvin Kamara. Latavius Murry, Burton, Washington, RB coach all out tomorrow
    . They are moving Ty Montgomery to RB and calling up practice squad RB
    8:36 AM · Jan 2, 2021·

    • Big Mike

      Go Panthers!

  2. Big Mike

    I’m not a draftnick by any stretch buy I did see Javonte Williams play a couple of times this year and came away very impressed. Hoping if the market for Carson is too rich they’ll have a guy like this on their radar as early as necessary.

  3. Henry Taylor

    I’m glad you’ve come around on Williams, he’s a really fun player to watch and an ideal fit for this team. Even if they retain Carson, they cant go into next year relying on him and Penny to stay healthy.

    Just look at this run from 10:40

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not so much that I needed to come around on him. I just hadn’t watched him, didn’t really know his style.

  4. Elmer

    How did Florida’s QB ever get to be a Heisman finalist? He looked terrible in the blowout bowl loss to Oklahoma. There have to be many better NFL QB prospects out there.

    • Hughz

      I didn’t watch the game but I heard his main receivers were out for the game.

    • Alex H

      I watched him in the Bama game and for some reason wasn’t impressed despite the raw numbers.

  5. Rob Staton

    Seahawks twitter account is #1 seed at patting itself on the back:

    • cha

      Normally I’d scoff, but It’s been a crappy year all around. I’m ok with a quick victory lap.

      • Big Mike

        The lack of Covid issues is very commendable

        NO JINX!

  6. Volume12

    Those 2 Ohio St DEs, Johnathon Cooper & Tyreke Smith, are legit. A couple teams are gonna end up w/ round 1 quality like pass rushers if this were a normal year.

  7. Hoggs41

    I am a massive Javonte Williams fan. If Carson doesnt resign I could for sure him being a serious target. Just not sure how early they could take him. Our second rounder seems a bit rich but if Carson leaves that hole becomes bigger.

  8. Paul Cook

    Absolutely in that OSU dominated the line of scrimmage on both side of the ball against Clemson. Lawrence rarely had the luxury of even setting his feet and surveying the filed. He was almost always hurried. And OSU didn’t even have Chase anymore.

    On the other side of the ball, holes and gaps galore to run through for the OSU backfield. I have to mention something about Sermon. My partner is an Oklahoma football fan, and I’ve seen just about every game and play in recent years. I thought Sermon was a good runner, but I never remember him doing what he has recently done for OSU. I almost wondered when I first saw him playing for the Buckeyes if it was the same guy. True, he got huge holes to run through, but he was also a beast at breaking tackles.

    I also have to mention another thing. I couldn’t help but think that Clemson playing almost twice as many games as OSU didn’t give them an edge in the freshness and injury department. It sure looked that way at times, though OSU was clearly the better team.

    Just a few thoughts…

  9. Paul Cook

    PS> I meant OSU having an edge in that way…

  10. Seahawcrates

    Sign me up for the draft one legit running back per year plan. Homer and Dallas have no push. The offense isn’t the same when they are forced to be the main weapons. Having a stable of backs on cheAp rotating 2nd-3rd round contracts also means you are never over the barrel when it comes time to pay for that 2nd contract.

  11. Matt

    Totally agree about the Dolphins and a QB. I could easily see a team like New Orleans trading a late R1 for Tua – I think he’s a good fit there and could have success with Payton. Seems like a win-win for both sides because New Orleans will have to make a move to get a QB very soon and this could easily be the most cost effective way of doing so.

    I’d also like to see Pittsburgh acquire Sam Darnold. I think he can still be successful and he has a very Roethlisberger style to his game. I think the Jets put him in the worst situation since David Carr with the Texans.

  12. charlietheunicorn

    “Cleveland Browns close facility for 3rd time in 4 days after another positive COVID-19 test”

    They have not gotten control of this issue in-house. How can they perform at their best if they constantly are missing parts and are unable to have productive practices. This isn’t a 1 off or a single week, they have had issues for weeks or months.

    I guess I should value the behind the scenes culture of the Seahawks even more…. underrated part of the Championship process. Honestly, the Browns feel like the Mariners to me …. such as futility.

  13. cha

    Carlos Hyde out tomorrow with illness. Also

    The Seahawks also placed two players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, tackle Brandon Shell and safety Damarious Randall.

    The Seahawks are elevating three players from the practice squad, running back Alex Collins and receiver Penny Hart as COVID-19 replacements, and guard Alex Boone as a standard practice squad elevation.

    • charlietheunicorn

      Shell was in close proximity, but has not tested positive according to an article I read. “Someone he worked with” what ever that means.

      Alex Boone made the roster, that didn’t take long. I had read that Iupati is most likely going to be out again. This is one of the reasons I keep thinking they need to address the LG position with a solid draft solution. A guy playing 10 or so games a year isn’t going to cut it.

      • Big Mike

        Agree about IRupati. Guessing this is his last year, maybe in the NFL.

        • Elmer

          Iupati was an All American in college, drafted in Round 1 by SF, has had a good NFL career. Maybe his body is too beat to crap to go past this year. He will be missed.

  14. Mick

    If someone gives me Mahomes, or perhaps Josh Allen and a lot of extras, I’d let Russ go. Otherwise I would not even discuss matters, not for Rodgers, not for Watson, not for Lamar, not for Murray, not for any of the rookies. The problem is, we don’t know if PC thinks the same and we don’t know if Russ wants to stay.

    • BobbyK

      If I’m KC, Buffalo, Houston, or Jacksonville… there’s no way I’d trade my QB situation with the Seahawks.

      KC – Mahomes is better. I’d rather have him and he’s younger.

      Buffalo – Youth is on Allen’s side.

      Houston – I’d only choose Watson because he’s younger than Wilson. I’d choose Wilson for 2021 though.

      Jacksonville – No way I’d consider flipping my pick for Wilson. I wouldn’t even trade it for Mahomes. There’s something to be said for a rookie QB under cheap team control for five years.

      Heck, if I’m San Diego I wouldn’t even make a QB trade with the Seahawks straight up. Sure, Wilson may be better than some of these guys now… but in the big picture I’d take some of them.

      Nevertheless, I really hope to witness a ride on the Wilson train to 1-3 more Super Bowl wins in my Seahawks fan lifetime.

      • Peter

        I’d love to see Wilson win a few more. But looking back 30 years the secret sauce isn’t rookies under contract it’s team construction. Theres a decent amount of first year contract Qb’s but there is more veteran QB’s with great teams.

  15. DC

    Sark back as a HC at Texas. Interesting. He was a good recruiter. A bit suspect as a CEO but he did raise Washington from the dead. Hope you can keep it clean brother.

    Folks with an SC background will always be suspect. Hedges, Sark, Petey…

    • Big Mike

      Stay sober Steve. You now have second chance. Give yourself the opportunity to make the most of it.

    • Elmer

      It might have been Sark’s first home game at Uw. He beat Pete Carroll and USC. He had come to UW from PC’s staff at USC. I hope this was a wise move and that Sark can hold it together under the pressures of a HC job. His life is more important than a coaching job. Best of luck.

  16. Big Mike

    Guessing we see a fair amount of Alex Collins tomorrow though I’m with Rob and would like to see Penney get some more work, especially with Hyde having the not covid flu and being out.

    • BobbyK

      I want Penny to get touches tomorrow, but not too many to affect his situational role for the Wild Card (though I hope it’s the 1-seed).

      Ideally, I’d give Carson about 5 carries; Penny about 10 carries; and then not even care who got the rest. Just make sure Carson/Penny are 100% for the playoffs. I think Hyde kind of sucks, but he’s better than anyone else so I’m hoping he can be ready for the playoffs as well (in as limited of a fashion as possible).

      • Rob Staton

        I’d give Penny 20-25 carries.

        He needs the work. And I don’t see much role for him in the playoffs. They need him to get some carries in his legs in case he’s needed.

        • charlietheunicorn

          Knock some rust off that bad boy….. Penny needs to be full go and get him in early and often.
          Give Carson until 1/2 time, then sit him. With Hyde out, Collins can soak up some work in the second half. And in all honesty, Penny looked very explosive and just missed some huge gains last week, so get the timing a little crisper and he could be a real weapon off the bench in the playoffs.

        • AlaskaHawk

          I wouldn’t even play Carson. Let him rest up for the playoffs.

          • Hoggs41

            Im with Rob, Id give him the bulk of the carries tomorrow. I like what Hyde brings, he isnt quite Carson but he does the same things Mike D did a couple years ago.

          • UkAlex6674

            No, Carson needs to play some to keep him ticking over.

            • Rob Staton

              Carson should be rested as much as possible.

              Too injury prone. He doesn’t need to tick over.

  17. John_s

    Jovante Williams is my #1 player for the Seahawks considering where they are drafting . He reminds me of Kareem Hunt in his vision, balance and tackle breaking ability. Williams fits superbly with what Pete wants to do. I would be comfortable with letting Carson walk and have a RB group headed by Penny and Williams.

    An under the radar guy RB who may be a late round pick or free agent is Jah Maine Martin.

    In the offseason, outside of figuring out if they want to extend Jamal Adams, Carson and Quill there are other questions that need to be answered.

    1) Extend Duane Brown ~ give him a one or two year extension that will bring the cap hit down in 21
    2) Dunlap ~ decide if they want to extend. Like Brown, a one or two year extension that helps to bring the cap hit down in 21.
    3) Jarran Reed ~ if you can get a pick for Reed you have to consider it. He hasn’t justified his salary and could save 8 against the cap. Yes he has 6.5 sacks but
    4) Diggs ~ decide if you’re going to extend him
    5) David Moore ~ he’s done well as the 3rd option. Do you want to pay him $4-5 mil?
    6) Tyler Lockett ~ this is the third straight year where Lockett has faded at the end of the season. He’s 28, will be 29 before next season and is due for a new contract. Do you want to pay Lockett $12-15 million knowing that you’re going to pay DK $20-25 million. Mike Shawn Dugar made a great point about Lockett on his pod. Lockett doesn’t have great shiftiness that smaller guys like Doug Baldwin has and that doesn’t allow him to get open on those short route. Also, he’s not a YAC guy. Lockett is dependent on deep shots and the broken plays. IMO Lockett is one to not age well. If you can get a 2 or 3 I would do it. I would sign Marvin Jones as a stop gap at $8 mil (if that’s realistic) and draft a guy like Dyami Brown, Rondale Moore or Tutu Atwell who can stretch the field.

    • Elmer


    • Volume12

      81 rec, 881 yds, 8 TDs. That’s hard to find & move away from. Ideal, borderline WR1, WR2 production.

  18. Kevin Mullen

    Another RB with our potential first pick in 2nd round seems a little rich when we can upgrade our OLine (our fave soap box) and DLine.

    With that said, I get the need if Carson isn’t resign. Plus Hyde being one and done also expedites the need. Would feel better if Penny can show something for leverage in Carson talks.

    If the stars align and Aaron Jones were in play for us, would/should we do it?

  19. Gohawks5151

    Thoughts on Breece Hall? Tough kid. A bit of a throwback. Strong, and breaks arm tackles. Needs volume to be effective though maybe.

  20. charlietheunicorn

    I have a sneaking suspicion Seattle will draft a LB earlyish… so kicking a few rocks over looking for guys that might be worth keeping an eye on for 2021 draft.

    Joseph Ossai / Junior / OLB/DE / Texas
    Derek Barnes / Senior / OLB / Purdue

    Another guy I would keep a close eye on, especially if he tests well would be
    Joe Tryon / Sophomore / OLB/DE / Washington
    He seems to have a nose for the ball with TFLs and has some production rushing the passer in sacks. Very young player,. around 20 years old…. so the limit of what he could become is pretty bright. I would assume he would be more a DE type of player, than a LB in the NFL due to his size, but I could be wrong. He could be a natural 3-4 OLB than a true 4-3 DE. I like the upside, which is why I mentioned him.

    • Rob Staton

      Another linebacker!!???!!!

      I would think that is the last position they draft early.

      • charlietheunicorn

        We fooled that SDB Rob guy, lets grab our LB here early ~ JS

      • Elmer

        I would think DL, DB, OL, RB, WR in some priority order. But with the Hawks you never know, could be LB. And we don’t really know about Wright and Wagner for next year. I guess my biggest hope is that they avoid guys with injury histories in the search for value in the draft.
        One prediction I can make with confidence- there will be plenty for us to question, discuss, criticize in the offseason.

    • uptop

      If they were to draft a LB I suspect that it would be SAM, someone with length and can defend the edge well. KJ Wright is not getting any younger. I mentioned this a while ago but I would actually be quite happy with a young, athletic player to defend the edges against the stretch runs of the Rams and Niners, and be able to track down Kyler Murray. I am all for getting a player like that for our defense. When I’ve been looking through the options Ossai comes up but I’ve never been too impressed by him, I think Tryon with his length and athleticism would be really interesting to slot in there.

  21. charlietheunicorn

    Rob (and the gang)

    How hard is it going to be to evaluate guys for the draft when you have a combination of guys who didn’t even play in 2020 (opted out), guys who played perhaps 3-5 games and other players who had the full meal deal (OHST for example)????

    I hazard to guess this will be the hardest draft to predict in a very long time…..

    • Rob Staton

      Harder for some prospects for sure.

      But testing is crucial and will reveal a lot.

      • Hoggs41

        I could be wrong but i feel like this played a part in them being comfortable giving two firsts for Adams.

        • Rob Staton

          At the time, yes.

          But most of CFB played in the end.

          And I think desperation played a big part in the Adams trade.

  22. uptop

    Dazz Newsome looks like a really exciting receiver with some explosiveness and wiggle. Absolutely fantastic touchdown catch.

    • uptop

      Just watched some more tape on him, I found my first draft crush of the year. He has great body control, fights through tackles and has a sturdy frame. He has strong hands but does catch a bit with his body. He can get some

      • uptop

        separation himself and varies speeds. I would love to see us target him. He has Seahawks written all over him.

  23. Bankhawk

    Rob, I haven’t even finished reading yet, but you got me all wound up- what would you think of it if the Hawks could find the right price (in draft picks) for Adams, then moved on drafting this Talanoa Hufanga out of USC as a mid-round steal? Just as a hypothetical, you know.
    Not that I don’t love Adams as a Hawk; I do, and would love to see him rewarded for his services with the chance to help hoist a Lombardi about 6 weeks hence.
    But I so much covet a few more draft picks to get a RB, one of these mauling O-liners, and a shot in the arm for the edge on D.
    You’ve fired my imagination, once again! And kudos on another interesting piece!

    • Nathan M

      I was going to ask the same. Would be a cool hypothetical off season to say PC/JS decide Jamal Adams isn’t a fit for this D. What would be a likely trade? Could you see the Dolphins giving up their own R1 this year + …? And what might we do with those picks?

      If you’re up for the exercise, Rob, would love to get your take on that.

      • AlphaDK

        What part of Adams’ play would make PC/JS think that Adams doesn’t fit this defense?

        • Rob Staton

          We’ve been over this too many times already

      • Rob Staton

        I’ve already written a piece on it, check the archives over the last 5-6 weeks

    • Rob Staton

      I’d be more than comfortable with it.

      Especially given Jamal Adams is about a month away from starting contract talks with Seattle by asking for $20m a year.

  24. no frickin clue


    Any thoughts on Patrick Jones II, the edge rusher from Pittsburgh? Maybe a Leo candidate?

    • uptop

      Big fan, but likely out of reach. Jones is probably going late 1 early 2.

    • Rob Staton

      I think Patrick Jones is a first rounder (depending on how he tests of course)

  25. Donovan

    Off season priority: address glaring team holes in FA, thus allowing you to draft best player available at each pick. (PC/JS great at picking BPA when not beholden to a positional need pick.)

    Also, as much as I respect Jamal Adams’ passion and talent, I think you can get 75% of what Pete wants out of the position with someone like Marquise Blair. I’d trade Adams, for hopefully a 1st and spend money elsewhere. My priorities would be Sherman and Clowney.

    • Mac

      I’m not certain marquise Blair will be with us til the end of his rookie deal. They traded for 2 safety’s as to not play him. His only real shot is trying to take that FS spot next year. I don’t think he would start at nickel over ugo.

      I do agree on Adams unless we’re ready to morph our scheme to his skill set

      • Lewis

        Blair was starting at nickel when the season began, over Amadi. Don’t see why that would change if healthy. Regardless, you don’t get rid of young players on rookie contracts for no reason.

  26. Burner

    Rapoport claiming the Lions are eying up a “blockbuster” with Seattle

    They want John Schneider! I wonder what we would get for him?

    • Rob Staton

      We’d get nothing

    • Denver Hawker

      Interesting. Wonder how legitimate this is or if just posturing for his extension contract (only one year left). Also wonder if there have been major disagreements between the two that Pete has overridden.

  27. McZ

    If the Seahawks pick late R2, and Trey Sermon happens to be on the board, it’s a no-brainer. Let’s draft more no-brainers!!!

    That said, I found the bowl game most disturbing. Has anybody ever seen Trevor Lawrence really go deep? Is he still firmly the #1 QB in this class, which has to be one of the most noteworthy QB drafts in recent memory?

    Trevor Lawrence
    Justin Fields
    Trey Lance
    Zach Wilson
    Jamie Newman?
    Mac Jones
    Kyler Trask
    Brock Purdy
    Kellen Mond
    Tanner Morgan
    Peyton Ramsey

    and a couple more.

  28. clbradley17

    Man, what could’ve should’ve been. I know the Steelers are resting a few players, but Nick Chubb for the Browns has 8 rushes for 83 yards 5 min. into the 2nd qtr.. Can you imagine if we had him instead of Penny? No worries for the ground game going into the playoffs, would’ve had him earlier and won a couple other games, especially vs. the Giants and had 1st place NFC and the bye next week.

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