Saturday notes on Ahkello Witherspoon & Budda Baker

Colorado is a fun team to watch with a handful of intriguing defenders on their roster. Yesterday we discussed safety Tedric Thompson. Today it’s time to focus a bit more on his team mate.

Ahkello Witherspoon is a great example of why length is important at cornerback. There are times when he concedes position on a route (it’s going to happen) but his ability to recover and make a play on the ball is really consistent. So often he’ll get a hand in there to break it up.

He’s shown the awareness to squeeze the sideline and narrow the target zone for a QB. There’s evidence he can develop into a good red-line defender and with his size and length, any throw to a tight sideline is defendable.

His statement performance came against Washington and John Ross (see the video below). I’m not sure I’ve seen a corner defend Ross better than Witherspoon in 2016. He didn’t get beat over the top and was able to stay with him downfield. One of the things Ross is really good at is creating initial separation with an explosive release. Witherspoon, again, was able to recover and get a paw to the ball.

The one area of his game that needs work is tackling. This is a similar complaint within this cornerback class. There’s a lot of really good cover corners but there isn’t a fierce, jarring hitter. There’s no Brandon Browner type, at least not based on what I’ve seen so far. Witherspoon’s tackle form is generally poor and it’s not even like he’s overly aggressive and just whiffs. You’re going to need to spend time working on this area of his game.

The good news is he has the length and cover skills to make a worthwhile project. He’s one of a number of CB’s capable of rising quickly with a strong combine.

Assessing the potential fit of Budda Baker in Seattle

We’ve talked a lot recently about the possibility of Obi Melifonwu in Seattle. At 6-4, 219lbs and with expectations of a supreme combine performance, Melifonwu is seen as a chess-piece defender. He can be challenged to cover big tight ends and wide receivers. Melifonwu could eventually work his way from safety to corner (aka the Deshawn Shead transition).

In the ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ stakes this kind of pick makes sense — especially with Melifonwu impressing scouts at the Senior Bowl and earning rave reviews from his Head Coach at Connecticut. Even the critics have to concede, this is the type of early pick we’ve seen Seattle make in the past.

Budda Baker has a very different physical profile but might also be on Seattle’s radar. It’s difficult to gauge how interested they’d be.

On the one hand he lacks the size and therefore some of the versatility that Melifonwu offers. If you’re considering Melifonwu because he can cover big targets, potentially play some outside corner, play single high, play strong safety (etc etc) that’s quite a lot of options. Baker might be limited to free safety and slot corner. If he isn’t successful defending the slot, you’ve essentially got a backup safety.

On the other hand he appears to be highly athletic with a great passion and love for the game. He’s a high intensity local player with an explosive element. Some of what makes Earl Thomas great exists in Budda Baker. You can imagine him playing for the Seahawks (or the Falcons and Dan Quinn).

If he ended up being Seattle’s first round pick, it’d make a lot of people happy. There’d be an excitement and buzz around that selection. It’d be intriguing to see how the Seahawks intended to use him — and it’d be intriguing to see another defender just flying to the ball and making plays on this defense.

If I made a list of 15-20 players I most enjoyed watching in 2016, Baker would definitely be on there.

It’s just working out if he’s likely to be on the radar. It could go either way.

His role would probably need to be similar to Tyrann Mathieu’s in Arizona. Sam Monson analysed how Arizona used Mathieu a year ago, noting the following:

The Cardinals list Mathieu as a safety, because in base defense, that’s what he plays most of the time. In their base 3-4 defense, Mathieu lines up as a safety 77.6 percent of the time—but the Cardinals only play base defense on 33 percent of their defensive snaps.

In almost all other sub-packages, Mathieu plays cornerback, primarily, though he has played in pretty much every position in the back seven at one point this season.

Overall, he has been on the field for 720 defensive snaps this season. Of those 720 snaps, 66.7 percent of them have been at cornerback (mostly slot), with just 24.4 percent at strong safety, and 8.9 percent at free safety.

Mathieu is a special player. At LSU he was phenomenal — the ultimate playmaker. And if not for a highly publicised battle with marijuana, he likely would’ve been a very high draft pick.

There really isn’t anyone like the Honey Badger.

That doesn’t mean Baker cannot do Mathieu’s role — but he’s as unique as they come.

The Seahawks would need to feel comfortable with him playing a high percentage of snaps in the slot. At least he did it in college. Baker was listed by Washington as a free safety (and he refers to himself as such) but he spent a lot of time with the Huskies operating in the slot. And he had success. You see the speed, read-and-react and the ability to close and finish. He’s a really effective blitzer too from this position and made a number of plays in the backfield in 2016.

The issue is, he’s around 5-10 and about 180lbs. Teams can scheme against that, either by putting a TE in the slot or moving their key target inside and forcing Baker to stay put or move outside. There’s a mismatch to be found here and you might always need to have that in mind. There could be entire games where you almost have to accept he won’t be a factor.

That’s the benefit of Melifonwu at 6-4 and 219lbs. If he runs as quickly as expected at the combine and shines in the agility tests — in what scenario are you fearful of a physical mismatch? How often do you have to take him off the field? He’s only three pounds lighter than Deion Jones in Atlanta. He can probably line up at linebacker, safety or in the slot. If he has to travel outside, he can probably do that too.

Also if we’re going to consider Baker as an option, we probably need to do the same for Texas A&M’s Justin Evans. He’s a similar size, hits like a hammer and is expected to have an exceptional combine too (possibly one of the best at any position). If we’re looking at undersized, athletic safety’s, Evans and Baker really have an equal résumé.

Pete Carroll’s lukewarm review of Jeremy Lane’s performance in 2016 suggests a need for competition here. That could be in the form of one of these highly athletic safety converts, it could be an explosive cornerback (even someone lacking ideal length, such as Adoree’ Jackson) or it could be someone like Howard Wilson who we discussed yesterday.

Baker has an ‘IT’ factor to his game and is the type of player you can imagine the Seahawks really admiring. Whether they’re prepared to take him with their first pick, however, is going to be a challenging question over the next couple of months.


  1. Cameron

    Great post Rob.

    We should really throw Jabril Peppers into the mix on this conversation. He’s sort of, in my mind, a hybrid somewhere in between Budda Baker and Obi Melifonwu. If he’s athletic enough to play slot he’s certainly a consideration.

    Projecting Obi at corner, either in the slot or outside is, in my opinion, a bit of a stretch. He would be an unprecedentedly large man for either position. Men that large aren’t supposed to be fluid enough to hold down those positions. If he is, well I guess you sprint to the podium.

    • Rob Staton

      Melifonwu would be used to line up vs bigger targets acting in the slot (as we saw Mike Evans do to a high degree of success vs Seattle). In some cases they could just use him as essentially a cover or run-and-chase LB. It’s quite a flexible role based on the offensive formation. You wouldn’t want him covering Edelman per se but you don’t necessarily have to take him off the field.

      As for outside — Deshawn Shead is one pound heavier than Melifonwu and two inches shorter.

      • Volume12

        He also has the frame to add more weight if needed. Very linear build. Not top or bottom heavy.

      • Cameron

        Shead is 6’2 212 lbs, so lighter than Obi actually.

        Obi is 219 and you think he can play OCB? Well I guess if any team would try it, it would be Seattle. The idea of Obi is just kind of strange they way he’s being justified as a potential 1st rounder. He’ll play a little here, a little there. I don’t know. I’m trying to think of a player Pete and John have drafted that fit that sort of description. Pete seems to like to give players defined roles. Kam Chancellor was considered a tweener coming out of UVA. Some teams saw him as a LB. Pete drafted him as a SS.

        I like Obi. His tape is alright. His projected physical and athletic measurables sound intriguing, but for me he’s a SS. If Seattle drafts him it might be quite telling in terms of long term plans with Kam Chancellor.

        • Rob Staton

          Shead was 220lbs at one point.

          Brandon Browner was 6-4 and 221lbs.

          Neither on the same scale of athlete as OM.

          • Cameron

            Shead’s no slouch athletically. If Obi can best him sign me up

            • Rob Staton

              Shead is a fantastic athlete. OM might take it to another level at the combine.

          • Cameron

            If we get Obi we win getting off the bus again that’s for darn sure.

        • Volume12

          They’ve moved guys around plenty after drafting them.

          They brought Brandon Browner back for a specific role, but he obviously didn’t have it anymore.

        • CharlieTheUnicorn

          I do not see Obi as an outside CB…. not his role. If a TE flexes out wide, then perhaps. Can anyone cover Edleman….. no is the simple answer. The prevalence of short slant, hooks and curl routes… and the ability of defenders to do anything to change the routes are so limited in the modern NFL…. unstoppable.

          • Sea Mode

            That’s why instead of trying to cover the small, shifty receivers, you try to press them and disrupt the timing routes. Avril said before the SB that the key to stopping (slowing down) Brady is disrupting the timing. Pass rush can help with that and big, physical CBs can help with that.

      • Del tre

        I’m actually fine with this so long as we draft a CB #2. After watching Ahkello and Douglas, i think that they are both ideal for Seattle at CB 2, both have great length and size. Ahkello does a good job of not letting people over the top on him so that might make Seattle a bit more likely to choose him. Douglas is intriguing because the high number of targets should translate to a high number of interceptions, i also like the way he plays the ball in underneat coverage, he jumps corner routes as well as crossing routes and does a great job. Given Seattles struggles in the secondary lately i could totally see a drafting 2 or 3 playerd in the secondary,

        • Del tre

          I think they may try Obi as that chess piece match up breaker for guys like Evans and Dez Bryant, but also tight ends. Which leads me to believing the Hawks may be lining up to trade back and draft a DT early snagging Obi with pick 2 and going for Ahkello or Douglas (or both) in round 3. I have liked the metrics you’ve put up for the linebackers Rob but with a guy like Obi on the board, it becomes a question of why bother? If Obi doesn’t work out at outside CB then we csn put him at deathbacker on the left side and thid class still has the depth for us to get a CB #2. I’m just interested in what you think of possibly drafting a DT with the first pick (in a scenario like the one you laid out with the browns) and getting Obi in round 2 or flip it choosing Obi first and a DT second? I’d say there is precedent with the early drafting of Jarran Reed. You’re convincing me more and more that Obi is the right pick, he gives us so much more flexibility and depth than any other pick could, it reopens the possibility of sliding Shead inside and having a bigger unit more capable of run defending in nickel. If everything plays out right this offseason this defense has a chance to get back to 2013

          • Sea Mode

            I think the Jarran Reed pick was a combination of a desperate need at DT (huge hole with Mebane leaving) and the fact that a R1 talent fell into R2. Believe it or not, Chicago was actually the one that called to offer the trade for our R4 pick.

            As far as DT goes this year, don’t forget that they also traded up for Quinton Jefferson to fill the 3-tech role. With the injury, it’s as if he were a “draft pick” coming in at DT this year anyway.

            I know I have high hopes for Jefferson, but I’m pretty sure the Seahawks do to because they moved up to get him. He is not all that far off physically/athletically from the guy we considered the ideal pick at the spot: Sheldon Rankins. He is less explosive in the jumps, but may be a bit faster:

            QJeff: 6037, 291, 33.3 arm, 4.93 40yd, 1.69 10yd, 4.37 SS, 7.95 3C, 24 bp, 29 vj, N/A bj
            Rank: 6011, 299, 33.3 arm, 5.03 40yd, 1.73 10yd, 4.59 SS, 7.44 3C, 28 bp, 34.5 vj, 9’10” bj

            Check out his tape. I think you will like the potential. He’s too quick for those OL and has a couple nice pass rush moves in his arsenal that can be built upon:

            Couple all that with the fact that they have been able to get DTs in FA and the fact that the great interior rushers tend to go very early (no shot at Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas), and I think we will be better off playing to the strength of this draft and reloading at LB and DB in the early rounds.

            (But hey, they could find a guy they love and not want to pass him up. Totally possible as well.)

          • Rob Staton

            I’m not expecting the Seahawks to draft a DT early for three reasons:

            1. It’s not a good year to draft a DT

            2. The vastly superior quality of players available at other need positions

            3. The value depth at DT likely to be available in FA

      • All I see is 12s

        Hey Rob, the original question was about peppers. It seems like he could be the answer as well. I agree with Cameron and that it seems like you could have him for the same role as OBi. What are your thoughts on peppers ?

        • Rob Staton

          Peppers reportedly smaller than listed. If he’s 5-9 or 5-10 and 195lbs… that’s obviously a much smaller prospect. I think you consider him if you consider Budda/Evans… but appreciate the limitations too.

    • Volume12

      Obi lined up at corner quite a few times in the one vs one drills at the SR bowl.

      Thing I love about him? His tape is underrated for me. I’m just now breaking down the Virginia and Cincy games.

      Put on the Houston one. 1st play of the game he aggressively and properly fills the run lane coming down hill. Blows up a play in the backfield at the goal line. Makes a play moving laterally through trash and can’t be cut block. Does a fantastic job of keeping himself clean of mess around his feet. Moves through trash perhaps better than any safety in this class. Another play? Waits, reads the guard’s key, and attacks.

      Against S. Florida, 1st play of the game he again comez downhill through the alley. Misses the tackle, but notice when he does how evey play from there on out is nice and controlled. Another play does an amazing job of scraping and then flowing to the sideline. Lastly, watch him play up at the LOS holding the POA, hiding his hands and setting the edge.

      • Volume12

        I think sometimes for a lot of fans, they expect game tape to be a highlight reel, every other play to be splashy, or are only watching the outcome or finality (is that a word?) of said plays.

        • Rob Staton

          Increasingly this is the case — such is the access these days. You can’t go a day on Twitter without someone taking a 30 second video clip and making a snap judgement (or hot take). Draft Breakdown, Twitter and Youtube have changed the game. It’s very easy to find bad plays and focus on them, highlight them. It’s not as easy to look at the bigger picture sometimes.

          I mean, if I see one more mock draft with Leonard Fournette dropping to #12…

          I read one big board yesterday that had him at about #28. To quote the anonymous NFC Scouting Director on Fournette’s profile: “I can’t wait to see how the draft guys pick at Fournette and tell everyone what he doesn’t do right. He was healthy last year and that is what you are going to get. Big, fast and dominant.

          • Volume12

            28!? WTF!?

            I just don’t get it. If you showed a clip of a RB with fluid hips? Automatic 1st round pick. Come on.

          • Volume12

            I think the 30 second clips you mention and that I post frequently (though I don’t create any), are to highlight a couple things, not to make a final eval.

            1. What he does well or where he wins

            2. His strengths

            • peter

              But that’s you. You can parse through it. A lot of people don’t have the patience to watch even the condensed DBD clips of games. Watch the game develop, look at how a player with few stats gets doubled or tripled, how they read and react when it’s not their play.

              • Volume12

                That’s totally fair Peter. And yeah I’m fortunate enough with my job and lifestyle that I can. But, its important to keep a frame of mind.

          • WALL UP

            That’s why I appreciate Pete’s perspective of things. He views the positive aspects of a player more so than the things that are wrong. Those things such as tackling, hand placement are things that he can couch up the player to reach his full potential.

            Weatherspoon will be a recipient of such coaching, if they’re able to get their hands on him. I have him @ the 105 comp pick, if Rasul isn’t available @ 90. He’ll be gone by their 185 comp pick.

          • AussieAl

            If by some miracle Fournette dropped to 26, that’s as far as he would go. The Hawks would not hesitate.

        • Cameron

          Obi’s tape is fine. He’s not a splash play artist. He doesn’t hit as hard as perhaps you’d expect for a 220 lb safety, but his athleticism is very apparent.

          I like his coverage potential as a pure SS.

          • Volume12

            This is what I mean. He is splashy. Just because he’s not head hunting?

      • C-Dog

        I am in 100% on Obi. I could see them playing him at corner, safety, and linebacker. If they took him, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if they tried him at corner. Brandon Browner, when he was more in his prime, was a bad man opposite of Richard Sherman, and let’s remember how he helped out that run defense, flat out flattening guys. If they get a guy with BB’s size and Shead’s athleticism playing some outsider cornerback, you think Pete Carroll wouldn’t be excited to see what they could have in him there? Lordly, I’d be trying him there some.

  2. Volume12

    Is it just me, maybe the gloves, or do Ahkello Witherspoon’s hands appear to be freakishly large in that still shot of his highlight reel up above?

    • Rob Staton

      He appears to be doing this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • Cameron

        Every time I see that symbol I think of Jermaine Kearse. I’m not sure why.

      • Volume12

        Ha! Now that you mention it, it looks exactly like that.

    • Volume12

      His positioning and technique is on another level compared to a lot of these corners.

      Oregon got themselves one hell of a DC in Jim Leavitt man.

      • C-Dog

        I agree with that. I think we are going to see a very different brand of football coming out of Eugene in a few years.

        • Kenny Sloth

          Yeah don’t get comfortable UW

          • Dlep

            Ha well I doubt Coach Petersen has ever gotten comfortable with success. Oregon will be better but UW isn’t going anywhere either.

            • Kenny Sloth

              Debatable 😉

              Same old UW, up-and-down every decade

              • Volume12

                Pettis, Coleman, Gaskin, Browning all return on offense.

                Victor, Bieria, Vea, Gaines, Rapp, and I’m missing a DB on defense.

                P!us they had a great recruiting class.

                • Kenny Sloth

                  Oregon’s wasn’t too shabby neither 😉

  3. Volume12

    Rob, any word from Tony Pauline on who Seattle likes or would be willing to draft somewhere?

    We know his word is basically golden when it comes to Seattle. Ifedi & Odhiambo last year. Terry Poole the year before. Am I missing anyone else?

    • Volume12

      Although Ifedi was on the radar way before then.

    • Rob Staton

      He hasn’t said anything yet, although I’m going to ask him to do an interview/podcast after the combine.

      • Volume12

        Anxiously awaiting that one.

  4. Ed

    Love the idea of S/CB/LB in 1st round and maybe multiple. But as I look at WR, the Hawks look to be in great need there too.

    Baldwin (stud)
    Lockett (hurt)
    Kearse (not very good)
    McAvoy (uhh)
    Richardson (balled late, but in final year, so will he be worth resigning)

    Think they get one somewhat early, or go with what they have?

    • Cameron

      Lockett will be fully recovered before camp.

      I like our WR corps. I would add Jimmy Graham and C.J. Prosise into the mix in terms of targets. Plenty of guys to go to with the football.

      • Volume12

        I hope Lockett is man. He’s my favorite player. That was devastating to not only watch, but to the offense as well. He was just starting to shake off the rust of that early season injury and rounding into form from his rookie year.

        • Cameron

          It’s interesting, given the gruesome nature of Lockett’s injury, that his recovery time would be quicker than Thomas Rawls high ankle injury the season before.

          • Comfect

            Didn’t Rawls break his ankle? I think his biggest issue was trusting his cuts again on it, whereas Lockett’s injury isn’t to a joint.

        • Sea Mode

          GS: Do you think you will be ready by Week 1 of next season?

          TL: Oh yeah, for sure I will. I can’t wait, either. That’s why I’m doing everything they tell me to do.

          From an interview 2 days ago:

    • Volume12

      Do they go TE or WR somewhere is my dilemma.

      • Ed

        Rob had mentioned way early about the 2 top TE. I’m not sure, you probably know more than I do. Outside of Davis and Williams, where can you find a better player in 3rd or 4th, TE or WR?

      • Ed

        But then again, what if Davis is there and Obi/Jones/Reddick/Cunningham are all gone. With the depth at S and CB, would a big stud WR at 26 be the pick and go S/CB/LB with the next 3 picks?

      • RealRhino2

        Think I’ve figured this out. 2nd round. Maybe. In my draft we do 😉 I’ll go with what Pete has said and trust them to deal with the OL largely outside of the early rounds of the draft.

        I think Juju Smith-Schuster might be just the big WR Pete has allegedly wanted all along, and I think he’ll run slow enough to last until the mid 2nd round. Whether he gets to us? I wish he won a *bit* more contested catches, but he stands out for his strength and physical build.

        1. DB/DE
        2. Juju!
        3. OLB
        4. DB
        5. RB/G
        6. TE, etc.

        Really just want a guy opposite of Baldwin who could serve as a better quick outlet and 1 v. 1 option when ADB and/or JG gets double coverage. Kearse isn’t it, and Preach is still more of a speed guy you want running vertical, and his slight frame makes it harder for him to body guys through the middle. Juju is Anquan Boldin for me. Should run the same and go around the same range, I think.

        • Rob Staton

          The idea of the Seahawks taking someone because they fell to them due to ‘running slow’ doesn’t compute.

          • RealRhino2

            Maybe you’re focusing on what he can’t do instead of what he can do?

            • Matt B

              I keep reading about him falling on boards, think Pauline might’ve said that. He could be there in round 3, not sure Russ really needs a big receiver like we seem to think he does. He generally goes for open and doesnt thro any jump balls.

            • Rob Staton

              They don’t draft slow WRs

    • C-Dog

      WR is one of the main reasons I see them dropping back some to get more picks. Much like the running backs on the team, I really like this unit when all is healthy, but is the reliable with that gruesome injury to Lockett and P-Rich’s track record? That down year from Kearse doesn’t make me feel better.

      It wouldn’t shock me that if they get DB and LB taken care of quickly, they don’t target WR as early as the end of day 2.

    • Rob Staton

      I think there’s a chance they add a WR but wouldn’t expect it to be an early pick. Might even be a situation where they look for value in FA.

      • Steve Nelsen

        The FA market for WR is one I am watching. Pete still doesn’t have that “big WR” on this roster unless you count Graham. The team has gone big for a veteran WR free agent in the past. Would they consider adding a guy like Brandon Marshall to replace Kearse? Are there some lower profile 6-4+ guys who might be a value signing?

        • dave crockett

          I think they’ll likely look to continue developing McEvoy to play that role. That won’t preclude looking for bargains, but given prices it’s just as likely to be UDFA as pro player FA.

    • Hawkfaninmt

      I know he didn’t have a great senior bowl…

      But if Cooper Kupp can be had in the 4th he will be a steal

      • icb12

        His senior bowl performance was fine.
        He dominated practices..
        And the game itself he had 2 catches on 2 targets (one being highlight reel), and a 30 yard kick return.

        Can’t ask for much more.

        • Matt B

          I don’t think there’s any way he lasts past the 2nd round unless his combine is incredibly poor. The Sr. Bowl practices really helped his and Xay Jones stock. I’m curious where Xay will go, he made some incredible catches

  5. Mitch

    Thoughts on Jabrill Peppers Rob? He’s extremely versatile and super athletic, could fill roles as backup safety, nickel corner, played LB at Michigan and was actually recruited as a CB?

    • Cameron

      Still think he ends up going top 15. He’s a supreme athlete.

    • Rob Staton

      I like Peppers — but there’s a feeling he will be shorter and smaller than listed. I think he could be a possibility if Baker/Evans are but the limitations are probably the same too.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Peppers and Budda Baker are mid second rounders due to their smaller size. They may rise to first or slip to third.

  6. ImUrHuckleBerri

    I really think Seattle needs to take a look at taking 2 or 3 DBs in this draft I am just not sure out of this extremely talented class I would want them to take. But i think first and foremost I want them to take DBs that get their hands on the ball whether it be a PBU or INTs. One reason I am hoping we get Akhello Witherspoon later in the draft. He was second in CFB with 22 PBUs. Best way to force interceptions is usually tipped passes and if he is able to do this consistently perhaps he could help Seattle with a safety like Earl roaming the backend to make the most out of those tips.

    Something else I have always wondered why Seattle’s best NCBs have had length. I almost feel like you would be better suited for someone who is 5’10” 5’11” but much more explosion and have the speed to make up the underneath routes that most slot guys will more than likely run (like in the Patriots offense).

    Also Rob I was wondering if you have looked into another DB from Colorado Safety Tedric Thompson. Second in the Nation in Interceptions and 4th in PBUs. Granted it is just a highlight tape on Youtube but he high points and plays the football extremely well and also isn’t afraid to hit and really seems to have good explosion when he reacts to a play. Where do you think Witherspoon and Thompson will go in the draft?

    • Bayahawk

      Rob covered Tedric just yesterday:

      • ImUrHuckleBerri

        Awesome thanks for that haven’t been on here in few days.

    • Cameron

      “Also Rob I was wondering if you have looked into another DB from Colorado Safety Tedric Thompson.”

      Hit the ‘back’ button on your web browser. Then scroll down a little ways. :p

  7. Coleslaw

    1. Obi Melifonwu CB/S
    2. Taco Charlton DL
    3. Rasul Douglas CB
    3. Elijah Hood RB

    Obi offers more versatility than Baker, great job making that clear, Rob. I don’t like how he can be schemed against so easily. Taco falls and it’s an easy choice. Same with Douglas. Hood is a beast and would fit really good with our smaller backs.

    • Rob Staton

      Taco will go top-20.

  8. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Obi Melifonwu CB/S

    I’m lazy, so I’ll ask on this blog….. does anyone have this guys back story. Any thing of unusual interest or adversity which might show his character or “want to” that would lead the Seahawks to really like or hate this guy?

    • Volume12

      He’s Nigerian. His parents are from there and moved to London. When Obi was 3 they moved to Massachusetts. Had the best GPA of anyone on the team. Highly intelligent. He’s a film rat man. Had this to say:

      “Where the No. 1 is lined up, where the running back is lined up, how many tight ends are in the game, recognizing formations, see what the tendency of the offenses are,” Melifonwu said. “It’s all about getting a jump so I can play faster. This is our third year in this defense. A lot of guys know what they have to do. They are playing a lot faster than they did before.

      “As a safety, you’re the protector of the defense. You’re the protector of the team. You’ve got to have savvy back there. You’ve got to be smart. You’ve got to trust yourself.”

      HC Bob Diaco, former DC of ND for 6 years said he’s better than any safety he’s ever had, including Harrison Smith. And the best safety in America.

      Not that I would place a ton of stock in this kind of thing, but UCONN has 7 DBs on active rosters. Only 9 other schools have placed more. Guys like Byron Jones, Darius Butler, Robert McClain, Andrew Adams, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Dwayne Gratz, and Tyvon Branch. They got a corner this year who will end up playing for someone as well.

      • Del tre

        Everything i hear about Obi makes me hope the Hawks pick him but everytime i turn on Baker’s tape i teeter, Buddah is a football freak with great instinct. As long as the Hawks walk away from the draft with one of those guys an a CB#2 I’ll be happy. That being said i have a frrling the Hawks are leaning towards Obi as a tight end/Bryant/Evans/big receiver in the slot stopper and a big rangey body perfect for zone coverage. I also think they look at Obi as the eventual successor of Kam (possibly an upgrade in almost everything but tackling)

  9. Ed

    1st Davis (WR)
    2nd King (CB)
    3rd Bowser/Anzalone (LB)
    3rd Foreman (RB)
    4th Witherspoon (CB)
    5th Harvey-Clemons (S)

    I think that’s my new dream draft. Gives the Hawks playmakers at WR, CB, RB and LB. And a possible replacement for Kam.

    • Coleslaw

      No 4th or 5th rounders though

      • HawkTalker #1

        We have a 5th comp and with some favorable help from Denver and/or the comp committee, it could upgrade to a 4th or 3rd. Fingers crossed. How sweet would that be?

        • Coleslaw

          It should be a third already. If it wasn’t for Okung’s AWFUL negotiating skills (why did he bet on himself on a 1 year deal?!?!)

        • Coleslaw

          I mean how can you lose a premier LT and get a 5th round comp… That just doesn’t sit well with me.

          • Volume12

            Its a 5th for Sweezy I beleive.

  10. no frickin clue


    Thoughts on Cooper Kupp?

    • C-Dog

      I’m a big Cooper Kupp fan.

    • Rob Staton

      Not really sure. He looked very good vs Oregon and Washington State. Didn’t see him flash much at the Senior Bowl but those in attendance loved him. Combine will be interesting. Not expecting the Seahawks to target him early unless he has an insane workout.

      • Sea Mode

        Exactly. Seems like pretty much everyone is saying it depends on the combine. If he can run 4.4, then he has everything else to go end of R1- early R2.

      • Hawkfaninmt

        What do you think is “early?”

        I’m thinking if they end up with a 4th he would be nice value

        • Rob Staton

          Don’t think he lasts until R4

  11. HawkTalker #1

    With the depth of this class at DB , and Seattle’s need to address the secondary, I really hope the phrase “early and often” becomes reality in our draft. I think the overall health and future of our D and the reputation of the LOB will hinge on it. I think the other needs can be filled with some other/developmental draft picks, UDFA, trades (could be rare or non-existent) and FA.

  12. KD

    I’m having 3000 NFL Mock Draft withdrawal symptoms.

    • Rob Staton

      Podcast will be back this week

  13. Coleslaw

    What’s y’alls thoughts on the depth at linebacker? Who should I watch for in the mid to late rounds? I only know of the top end talent right now

    • Sea Mode

      I think there is a pretty big drop off after the top 4 (Foster, Reddick, Davis, Cunningham), but maybe the combine and some further tape study will reveal some more. Obi Melifonwu is also a wildcard for some SAM, as Rob stated. I’m looking specifically for guys who can (or have potential to) cover the pass.

      Volume12 posted about this guy yesterday. A lot to like:
      K-St LB Elijah Lee- 6’3, 228 lbs. 110 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3 PBU, 1.5 QB sacks

      Hawk1128 threw out this name yesterday, might be more ILB though:
      Matt Milano out of Boston College

      I personally think this prospect could end up as good or better than Cunningham in the long run:
      Colorado LB Jimmie Gilbert, 6042, 223, 9.38, 34.13, 80.63
      Needs to bulk up a bit, but has the tools and scouts say they love his personality. Just a really likeable guy.

      Other names (I won’t taint your opinion with my view of them before you get a chance to check them out for yourself) I think they go in R3. All of them have to transition from DE in college:
      Tyus Bower
      Carroll Phillips
      DeVonte’ Fields

      Super sleeper: this guy got an invite to the combine after playing in the Dream Bowl
      DE/OLB Asia Bolling, C. CONNECTICUT ST
      172 CAREER TACKLES/33.00 CAREER TFL, 6’3 240.
      Hard to project if he could play in coverage since he was always lined up at DE.

  14. Naks

    I’m good with budda if he’s honey badger 2.0. His production speaks for itself. Also it wasn’t that long ago that I feel he was the best player on his Bellevue team as a junior. Better than Myles jack. Also, I think he could do a little returning. He did some returns his freshman year if I remember correctly and was a pretty damn good rb in high school. Obi could be more potential and higher ceiling, but budda seems like the real deal now

    • Ukhawk


      • AlaskaHawk

        Agreed but that tape of Witherspoon makes me think he would do well in same role.

  15. Hawkanee

    Great sleeper in the late rounds is CB Jeremy Cutrer from Middle Tennessee. He’s 6’2 170, long arms, good tough tackler. Looked physical against Alabama. This dude is the definition of GRIT. He’s ultra-competitive and only has one D1 offseason under his belt. ROB read this article:
    And watch him play in his second D1 football game (five weeks after arriving on campus) against ALABAMA:
    This guy fits the Seahawks perfectly, I haven’t seen a better fit in this draft class yet.

  16. Andrew

    Everyone likes to compare Budda Baker to Matthieu, but I think he may be closer to MIcah Hyde. After Victor got hurt UW appeared to adjust their defense so that Baker could help cover the short middle of the field and blitz more. Maybe they did it all season but I didn’t notice it until Azeem went down.

    Sidney Jones is a good tackler. He might not blow people up, but he tackles well for a CB.

    • Rob Staton

      The piece only compares Mathieu’s role in Arizona. Mathieu is a unique player.

  17. Cyrus

    Sea mock + free agency
    Rnd 1 Obi Melifonwu DB/LB UCON
    Rnd 2 Kevin King CB WASHINGTON
    Rnd 3 Roderick Johnson OT FLORIDA
    Rnd 3 Orion Stewart FS BAYLOR
    Rnd 6 Isaac Asiata OG UTAH
    Rnd 7 Dante Pettis WR WASHINGTON
    Rnd 7 Lavon Coleman RB WASHINGTON

    Free agent signings

    OT Menelik Watson
    DT Dontari Poe

    I think if the Seahawks are able to get these players and have a healthy 2017 season there is nothing that could stop us.


    • Volume12

      I really like it. However, Pettis and Coleman didn’t declare.

    • Sea Mode

      Nice. Any way to work a LB in there as per Carroll’s admitted needs?

      • Cyrus

        Obi can play lb in base defense and db in nickel

  18. Sea Mode

    V12, could you consider doing a tape study piece on Obi so people can see the things he can do that aren’t often as easily noticed? Basically expand on those plays you mentioned earlier in the thread and embed video. 🙂

    Anyway, if you have time. I think it would be worth it because if you put a gun to my head right now, it would be between him and Jarrad Davis for Seahawks in R1, barring any unforeseen huge falls like Bolles. And when he blows up the combine his buzz will only grow I think. We’re going to be discussing him for a while.

    • Volume12

      Sure. I’d love too. I’ll get around to it. Always wanna do a guest piece when Rob takes a break. Maybe after the draft or something? Gives us all prospects to chew on for the summer?

  19. Volume12

    Sorry to switch gears here, but did anyone catch that the new FX series ‘Legion?’ Its X-men universe stuff. That was straight 🔥! The best X-men story they’ve ever done.

    • Volume12

      A lot of Pink Floyd is tied in there. Its trippy ish. Not quite ‘Dark side of the moon,’ but really well done. Layers upon layers.

      • Cysco

        apparently the show’s producer has said to expect the show to get REALLY crazy. You’ve got to hand it to the marvel creative oversight team. those guys know how to make quality entertainment.

    • Kenny Sloth

      I could not get into that first episode. And i devour most Marvel cinematic stuff

      Institutions like that setting put me off though

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        It is over played out in modern culture. Just like the 3 movie franchises (yes I love Star Wars). Tell a great story in 1 episode, lets not drag it out over 3. The superhero movies in general are not very entertaining, but if you must know Deadpool was actually pretty good and faithful to the comic. I also enjoyed the first Iron Man, that was outstanding. The follow-up movies were not as great. And can we STOP with the Fast and the Furious movies already…… WAY PLAYED OUT!

  20. Goldfishwrestler

    The talent on defense in this draft is immense, both early, and deep. If the Hawks stay at 26, and go BPA, it’s likely on particular, the secondary class. Enjoying the breakdowns here. And like it has been shown here. You can get the play making ball hawk, or a guy like King/Witherspoon. Whomever is adept at being the other guy, and excelling at it. They may not get the picks, but what they do, is keep you from getting the ball. That’s the name of the game. Like King a bit more, because of his physical nature, runs a similar technique to what we do on defense already, runs people out of position well (especially to the sidelines), and is a force in tackling.Big fan of Moreau too, whom can play some safety in a pinch also. DE is not out of the question for me either. Been breaking down tape, not just highlights. And I self admit a man crush on Demarcus Walker, tape absolutely matches production. Teams were scheming him, like teams schemed for Tez, and yet put up monster numbers. And that’s without, being the most technically sound player. Just yikes, what a frigging athlete. With some training on technique, to go with the athleticism, and instincts, look out.

    • HawkTalker #1

      Amazing how many mocks show him going so late. I’d be very interested in picking him up if we didn’t miss one of the quality shortlist LBs. probably not a popular opinion, but given the depth of this draft, I would be open to a trade pics that included trading a number to pick for 2018 just to beef up our picks in this draft. In my opinion it would be invaluable to pick up Demarcus Walker. I just wonder if the front office feels pretty settled on the D line and wants to focus elsewhere. Without leveraging a 2018 pick, or missing out on one of our true need picks in this draft, not sure if we have a way to add him.

  21. C-Dog

    Not so expansive hot take and mock draft.

    Seattle spends a little FA money on the OL, adding couple veteran O-liners with no big names attached to them, Marshall Newhouse to compete at RT and Mike Adams to compete at LT. The Seahawks make a semi-big FA splash in signing DT Nick Fairley to a 3 year deal that gets the fan base a little more fired up, and gives the former first rounder a chance for a ring. Then the make a surprise move and bring in another big name FA player, singing former Arizona Cardinal WR Michael Floyd to a one year prove it deal to try to be that Mike Williams Red Zone Threat.

    With the 26th in the 2017 NFL Draft, Seattle misses out on Obi Melifonwu who the Houston Fricking Not Oilers Texans take at pick 25. Pete Carroll is visibly shaken, John Schneider Gets on the phone with Cleveland and they deal out of 26 to 33 and pick up Clevelands 4th rounder. With the 33rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks take Zach Cunningham, linebacker, Vanderbilt.

    26: R1P26

    58: R2P26

    90: R3P26

    105: R3P41

    106: R4P1

    184: R5P39

    211: R6P26

    229: R7P8

    The irony with this draft is that Seattle dropped back to 33 specifically for Rasul Douglas but found Zach Cunningham still sitting there, and with much debate between the players and needs, Carroll asserts his VP of the Team authority and says “I want Cunningham on this defense.” CHam, as he will affectionately be called by the Nation of 12, much like Odi would have been, will be drafted to cover TEs and sometimes evwn those bigger WRs in the base defense. Seattle will stay in their base more often to keep his athleticism, instincts and intelligence on the field, summits mixing and matching CHam and KJ between SAM and WILL depending on the matchups. Carroll describes him as “a fascinating kid. Very mature. Ridiculously athletic.. can cover, run, and hit. Has a high football IQ, right up there with Sherm. Super fired up about this kid. He’ll be able to play all three spots, but we are going to try him at SAM.” The last bit of the quotes sets off plenty of sports radio fodder for the next few months.

    The real shocker is when at 58, Douglas is still there, and they grab him. Pete Carroll and John Schnieder will laugh it over in the press conference that they were almost going to take Douglas over CHam at 33, things got a little testy in the war room for a bit, but they liked the depth enough at cornerback, felt they could get still a good one at 58, and went the way they did. When asked about what they liked in Douglas, Carroll immediately shot in, “I’m real fired up about this kid now. He brings a real physical tough presence at corner, he’s big like we like them to be playing outside, and the kid just has a real competitive knack for making things happen on the ball, one way or another, he just wants to take it away. So we are excited about that.”

    R3 they take OT project David Sharpe who they think might “be able to help them at RT, but might look at him at LT, as well. Raw kid, but physically has a lot of tools we like at the tackle spot. Fired up about this kid.” They also take pass rushing LB Carroll Phillips who’s “a real tough kid. Comes from a tough background. Reminds us a little bit of Bruce. A lot about Bruce, actually.. We like him at SAM and as a pass rushing defensive end in the NASCAR. We were lucky to be able to get him.”

    Pick 1 in R4, they grab that single high safety from Colorado. “Thompson, is a special player, now. In other drafts, this kid might have gone as high as round 1. We love this kids ability. He’s going to follow Earl around like a puppy, soaking up everything he knows.. very fired up about this kid.”

    R5, they take Thompson’s buddy Witherspoon who they “see a little bit of Richard in him. Got that same long body, and look. Great coverage kid, doesn’t make it easy on the outside receivers.. Gotta teach him how to tackle a little more like Sherm, though. We like this kid. Real fired up about what we have at cornerback, now.”

    R6 the take Big Stevie out of USC who “is a powerful grown man. Love this guy. Watched him play all season long, and nobody could run on him, just eats up blockers and makes life miserable inside. Got some motor on him for a big fella.. little sneaky like that. We had a third round grade on the kid. He will help out Jarran at the nose spot, for sure.”

    R7 they take Elijah Hood who “has a the tools we like at the running back spot. Big, physical kid, fairly athletic. Reminds us a bit of Turbo when he was here. We’re excited to see what he offers there.. think he can push some of these other guys we got. Might even see what he can offer at FB, if we want to get more athletic there like we had with Reece.. we’ll see.”

    UDFA’s include QB Chad Kelly, WR Jehu Chesson, OT Levon Myers, LB Ben Boulware, and DE Deatrich Wise Jr, and SS Xavier Woods; All players Seattle had draftable grades on.

    Depth Chart for 2017

    QB Wilson, Boykin, Kelly

    RB, Rawls, Prosise, Colins, Pope, Hood

    FB: Cottom, Johnson, Hood

    WR: Baldwin, Kearse, Lockett, P-Rich, Floyd, Lawler, Williams, Chesson

    LT; Fant, Adams, Sharpe, Myers.

    LG: Glowinski, Odhiambo

    C: Britt, Hunt

    RG: Ifedi, Meyers

    RT: Newhouse, Sharpe, Gilliam

    RE; Avril, Clark, Marsh

    DT: Fairley, Reed, Rubin, Tu’lkolovatu, G Smith

    LE; Bennett, Jefferson, Wise Jr

    WILL; Wright, KLP, Palacio

    MLB: Wagner, Coyle, Boulware

    SAM: Cunningham, Phillips

    CB: Sherman, Douglas, Shead, Lane, Witherspoon, Elliot, Cox

    FS: Thomas, Thompson, Terrell

    SS: Chancellor, McDonald, Woods

    • Cameron

      Nice looking mock. I wonder if Douglas and Witherspoon might be a bit redundant. I can get excited for this but I might look for a slot db/safety with the W-spoon pick.

      Shead will be back eventually. Then you’d have Shead, W-spoon, and Douglas competing for 1 starting spot.

      • C-Dog

        It’s a very fair point, Cameron.

        My take on this scenario is that Douglas they feel is pretty much a day one starter opposite the Sherm. They aren’t expecting Shead back any earlier than October, if that. So they want to double dip on the outside to really load up. Shead and Sherman are both older player (Shead’s already 28), so they see the prudent logic in developing Witherspoon as a “next man up” eventual starter if they have to, hoping to land a little mid round magic there that they were hoping to get out of Tharold Simon.

        In terms of slot, they are looking to let Elliot battle it out with Lane, but consider Thompson as an option there to get some playing time in, they also have Terrell who could be flexibly there, and they wouldn’t be opposed to using a bigger corner inside sometimes like they did for a time with Byron Maxwell. They just want to make sure that they got enough quality depth on the outside.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m not convinced any rookie CB will be a day one starter unless they absolutely have to be in Seattle.

          Their technique seems to require time to master.

          • C-Dog

            Very true. Sherm picked it up pretty fast though starting 10 games when thrust into action. Sounds like that Shead injury to linger well into the regular season. Kinda has me thinking that if they go corner early, they might be looking to tramp up his learning curve if they feel he can pick things up quick enough.

            • C-Dog

              *ramp* up the learning curve.

          • RWIII

            Agree: You don’t learn the Seahawk sheme/techniques overnight.

    • Sea Mode

      Love how you can make up the PC quotes and they sound exactly like something he will say. Petespeak at its finest!

      I could totally get on board with this draft, although I must admit Cunningham is last on my list right now of early LBs. I’m really hoping for Jarrad Davis, given that Reddick is unlikely to fall. Maybe the combine will change my mind, IDK.

      • C-Dog

        Thanks! Yeah, I like to do Coach Carroll talk through the mundane routines of fire. Helps fire me up!

        I can see the appeal for Jarrad Davis in providing that extra pepper in the physicality sauce. Personally, I’m really curious as to what they are looking at for LB. On paper, it seems obvious they’re looking to replace Bruce Irvin, which doesn’t shock that they had a sit down meeting with Carroll Phillips during the Senior Bowl week. But Carroll’s language suggests that the want someone or bodies that can spell and push Bobby and KJ. Does this mean a player they take with their first pick? That’s the big question in my mind because Odi Melifonwu really feels like the type of player that they grab really early, especially if he puts up a freak combine workout.

    • Kenny Sloth

      If Boulware goes undrafted I’d lose my shit.

      He’s a Very nice LB

      • C-Dog

        I like him, too. I will be interested to see what he combine numbers are like.

      • mishima

        If he doesn’t end up in the AFC Central, I’ll lose my shit.

        • C-Dog

          He might make a good Baltimore Raven.

  22. AlaskaHawk

    Forgive me if this has already been asked but do you think Budda Baker could slip to the bottom of the second round because of his small size?

    • Cameron

      I’ve seen BB mocked anywhere from late 1st round to early 3rd. I think a lot will depend if teams see him as a true FS or more of a slot player.

      I could easily see him going anywhere in the 2nd.

      • Goldfishwrestler

        Very true. Tape doesn’t lie. High football IQ, heady player, with fantastic leadership skills. A lot will depend on how he posts at the combine.

      • Ishmael

        Find it hard to see him going past Atlanta. He’d be such a perfect fit for them.

    • C-Dog

      I think it’s possible with he depth of this class.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think Budda will drop that far.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Considering the deep class of secondary I’m thinking he could slip to somewhere in the second, maybe mid-second round. Teams could get who they want in first round and then be looking at Buddha as a slot defender in the second round. Still not within Seahawks range unless they moved up or he slipped farther and they got lucky.

  23. Totem_Hawk

    Off topic a little but i really like LT Julie’n Davenport…love at first kick slide. 6’7 310, 36′ arms, very good athlete. Impossible to beat him to the edge. Just needs to get stronger to handle bull rush and inside moves better. Team captain, leader. Would have to take in round 3 tho.

    • Goldfishwrestler

      Chad Wheeler is another guy, that has a fantastic kick slide. Also has great knee bend, to keep his butt low. He needs to add a bit more strength. Plays edgy, good athlete. Gets to the second level easy, but sometimes looks lost on whom he is going to hit next. Occasionally gets beat to the inside. A lot to work with. He had some injuries in the past, and had to take care of a mental health issue. Those things drop him to round 3, if he does well with interview process, to clear up the mental health issues, he has starting level LT abilities.

      • Totem_Hawk

        Ya, issue is always that LT is a position that is always overdrafted. Definitely a couple of players to watch.

        • Volume12

          Davenport is a massive project.

          • EranUngar

            He actually played football and on an OL….sounds like much less of a project than Fant…

            He will probably not be even close to Fant as far as measurables (speed etc.) but if we started Fant, nobody is a massive project anymore…

            • Kenny Sloth

              The difference is Davenport has learned poor techniques whereas Fant was fresh clay.

              And there is way more poor tape of Davenport than there haas ever been of Fant.

              It’s not like we even drafted Fant. He chose to come here on an (admittedly) large UDFA contract so it’s not like we didnt consider him a project.

              I have little faith in Davenport to be a starter next year

  24. Trevor

    I you wanted you could draft LOB 2.0 in this draft.

    Earl – Buddah Baker
    Kam – Obi
    Sherm – Kevin King
    Maxi- Witherspoon.

    A trade back into the early 2nd to pick up and early 3rd round pick seems to make the most sense if Ryan R, Bolles and Reddick are off the board.

    Rd#2 Kevin King- ideal Seahawks corner opposite Sherm

    Rd#2 Buddah Baker – perfect slot guy in today’s NFL and fixes one of this teams biggest weaknesses covering small slot receivers as RBs

    Rd#3 Tyus Bowser- Incredibly athletic 3 down lb with a ton of upside as a pass rusher.

    Rd#3 Kareem Hunt – Great addition to go with Rawls and Prosise.

    Rd#3 Comp Issiac Assiata – Nasty SOB who can compete for a Guard spot an backup the C.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it will be very difficult to trade into the early 2nd round and pick up an early third round pick.

      Seattle moved from #26 to #31 a year ago and got a late third rounder only.

      • Trevor

        I was thinking the Browns. 49ers,Bears or Jets looking to move up to get a QB like Kizer or Mahomes but you are probably right I am not really up to date on the point system / trade value for a move back.

        • Volume12

          Ya gotta wonder what team is going to make an offer for QB Jimmy G.

          • Greg Haugsven

            Dallas strongly considered it last year but didn’t pull the trigger. They are glad they didn’t now.

          • Trevor

            I am guessing the Bears trade their early 2nd rounder for him. Pace the new GM was from E. Illinois and it makes sense in a lot of ways.

  25. Ed

    Think Lacy (RB) could be an option. Needs motivation, but what better place and has shown he can play in the league.

    If a lot of the guys (Cunningham/Reddick/Jones) are going, you think Hawks get a receiving threat in Davis or Njoku?

    • Rob Staton

      No, I have no anticipation of the Seahawks taking a receiving target in R1. PC has laid out his target areas and when he’s talked in the past in this way, he’s stuck to his word. DB, LB, OL is the focus.

  26. BobbyK

    Awesome write-up on Baker, Rob. Got me thinking…

    On one hand, I’d love Baker for the slot. He’ll make plays and help increase the turnover ratio. Aside from Russell Wilson, it seems as if Earl Thomas is the single most important player on this team. Not only can Baker make an impact in the slot, but he can help shore up another Earl Thomas injury. Carroll isn’t going to scheme anything like a guy like Bill Belichik would if he had an injured star, which means a stud back-up (who’d still play 70% of the time – like any good DL would we could pick at #26) is necessary in order to not cripple the defense again if we lose Thomas. On the flip side, the only player more important than Thomas, Russell Wilson, doesn’t have a quality back-up either. So they may not value the depth as much (because they have some starting situations that demand more immediate attention, as this isn’t your 2013 quality depth Seahawks).

    However, great point about teams could/would create mismatches on Baker. I remember being upset when they traded Josh Wilson for a 5th round pick. I thought he was the perfect guy in the slot. I know he wasn’t good for what Carroll wanted outside at CB – but thought he’d be a beast in the slot. If they wanted to get rid of Wilson at all costs because he was too small for a slot CB – then it would seem they wouldn’t want a little guy like Baker there either. For that reason, in my mind, I’m going to think they aren’t as high on Baker as I thought they might be a few weeks ago. And if they did draft Baker, that would make Lane the starter on the outside (unless they got King or something like that, too).

    How confident are we in Lane to start on the outside? Just the other day, the Seahawks guaranteed all of Lane’s 2017 salary at $4 million. Whether we like it or not, Lane is going to be a top three CB for this team next year. They aren’t going to give $4 million to him to sit on the bench, unless Elliott develops by leaps and bounds (possible) AND the likely rookie high-pick CB plays well. Would be great for depth purposes if that were to happen, but doesn’t look likely on paper right now in Feb.

    Can’t help shaking the thought of Cunningham playing more WILL and KJ playing more SAM and the Seahawks staying in their base much more often in ’17. Not too often you see a team with three 3-down LBs. Cunningham is so fast and long, too. I just seeing him flying all over making plays in space.

    • Sea Mode

      How about Tedric Thompson or Marcus Maye instead of Baker in that Slot/Hybrid role? They are both 6-0, 205 instead of 5-10, 180-190.

      • BobbyK

        That’s possible. I was simply referencing Budda Baker (a smaller, yet dynamic guy who could be incredible ET insurance, too).

    • C-Dog

      In terms of Lane, if they did go Budda with a top pick, I think it would almost have to single, they like Budda in the slot and backing up Earl, and that they are comfortable enough with Lane on the outside to pass over an outside player, if the pick after Budda isn’t another DB. I think it’s possible that they are happier with Lane outside than inside. Carroll was about as lukewarm about Lane as he gets in commenting open his play after the season finale, but maybe that lukewarm is more directed towards his slot play.

      I love Budda as much as the next guy, maybe even more, but personally, I have questions if Seattle has interest taking him high.

      As of Cunningham, I think you and I are thinking the same way, BobbyK. I kinda envision he and KJ being a bit interchangeable at WILL and SAM. KJ is on record saying that he loves WILL and hopes the team keeps him there. That’s the one thing that makes me pump the breaks a bit on Cunningham. Is he a suitable enough SAM? If he’s better for the team at WILL, will KJ be cool with giving up the spot that earned him is first pro bowl visit?

      • Sea Mode

        What also makes me hit the brakes on Cunningham is his poor tackling technique and assignment discipline. If you are a LB, the thing you had better do best is tackle. And I prefer a guy who I know will stick to his role and not give up big gains over a guy who will risk missing the tackle to go for the splash play. Both of these might be coachable at the next level, but I’d prefer a guy who is already wired that way, so to speak.

        I also don’t like the fact that he doesn’t offer much in pass rush, especially if he is going to be playing OLB. And, as you mention, I doubt we move KJ from his Pro Bowl position.

        Dang, Reddick would be perfect…

        • Volume12

          Cunningham has some bad habits that’ll be tough to break. He’s an arm tackler, takes really bad angles to the ball, and has a tendency to give up on a play when it goes away from him.

          The Tennessee game is a great example of this. That game sticks in my mind and its tough to get it out of there.

          • Cameron

            Cunningham makes plays that make you sit up in your chair where he simultaneously displays pretty poor technique. He’s an arm tackler, as you say, who likes to get ball carriers by the upper torso and body slam. Backside pursuit leaves me wanting.

            Ultimately C-Ham will be drafted largely based on traits. He’s in my ‘can’t wait for combine results for these players’ top 10. He has a long frame for a backer and wonder if he’s best suited playing outside for a 3-4 team.

            • Cameron

              Watching that Tennessee game now. It’s pretty rough tbh. Has about as many tackles in the first 4 minutes as Bobby Wagner had all last season.

              • nichansen01

                you mean missed tackles? Having 167 tackles in the first 4 minutes would be quite the feat.

              • icb12

                And yet in the Tennessee Game he had 10 tackles with 9 solo,
                A fumble recovery, and a forced fumble, and another forced fumble overturned.

    • Sea Mode

      Yeah, I read about him back when they picked him up. 33in arms is pretty amazing at 6-1, as is an 11′ 1″ broad jump.

      Combine workout video and a bit of backstory here:

      I did not, however, know about that comment from his agent. Interesting. Thanks for posting.

      Desir, Seisay, Elliot, Jean Baptiste… all of them have the profile and could certainly step up and win the job.

      Either way though, IMO it would still be just wrong not to tap into the CB depth this year. Perhaps what that allows us to do is take a different type of DB earlier and wait until later to pick up more competition at CB2. Obi Melifonwu grows on me by the day, and Tedric Thompson could be a very versatile piece in the slot and at safety.

      • nichansen01

        I remember them adding Desir. However, I had forgotten about him until this article was pointed out. Desir sounds interesting, and I like Elliot also. I think they will add a corner within the first three rounds for sure though. Even if Desir can win the outside job, who plays nickel?
        Competition will likely be fierce, and will be between, in my opinion, Elliot, Desir, Lane and a rookie for the outside corner spot, and whoever comes in second in that battle, mans the slot. I would love Baker, as a nickel, especially if Desir or Elliot can lock down the outside position.

      • NathanM

        Demetrius McCray is another recovery project in the same vein as Desir. Started early for the Jags and showed promise but cut loose as part of the overhaul with Bradley. 6’1″ with 33 7/8 arms!

        I know we’ll be adding some guys in the draft but thinking about the learning curve for the Seahawk technique its more likely that our day 1 starter opposite Sherman is one of these guys on the roster already.

    • Rob Staton

      Another name for the competition. Seattle will still tap into this CB class though.

      • All I see is 12s

        I remember when he was drafted. A lot of people liked him for seattle back then. I remember watching the browns that year. Hard to believe but they were very competitive for the 1st half of that season. I remember their defensive backfield included desir, Hayden, skrine, whitner, and Gilbert. At the time the browns had a solid o line, good young rbs. It seemed like the base was being put in place sans manziel. Sad to see a great football community have a team run so poorly.
        At the time, desir was a great young prospect. The reference to js pc is especially interesting obviously. Probably reinforces the belief that the Hawks will look to lb or athletic freak early.

    • BobbyK

      Good read. Thanks for posting. I’ve been focusing on Elliott as the CB most likely to “come out of nowhere.” I hope he’s more Byron Maxwell than Shead though.

      I’m going to temper expectations at the moment because we’ve been burned by counting on guys who didn’t turn out very good – to be decent. But it’s a nice article in terms of giving us a bit of hope.

      Maybe Obi-it-the-wan? He could be the guy who is a matchup nightmare for opposing offenses, as opposed to Baker whose size could be used against him. I can’t imagine the Atlanta defense with Baker though. He seems perfect for Quinn. I also think Baker is safer than Obi though.

      Only thing that scares me about not having a Baker kind of guy is that we know we’re probably going to have to beat the Patriots to win the Super Bowl… and I don’t see any of our tall CBs matching up against and Edelman or any of our big CBs (including how Obi would be used – potentially).

      • D-OZ

        Baker is a totally different player than Obi. IMO. Are you going to put Obi in the slot. Or have Bubba covering TE,s and the likes of Evans, Jones, and numerous TE’s I could name off. Don’t get me wrong I love Budda. Move up for him in the second. I think he may slide out of the first to the top of the second. #35 to 45. 🙂

      • C-Dog

        I pretty much 100% in on Obi the One to be the name called with Seattle’s first pick.

    • C-Dog

      I’ve been very curious about Desir. Pete said they need to coach up the players that got, and I’m sure they’ll give him a shot, but I still expect them to go DB early and often with this draft.

  27. Sea Mode

    Just saw something Daniel Jeremiah said a couple weeks ago on Brock and Salk:

    Jeremiah said this is a good draft for cornerbacks and mentioned a couple names that could be of interest to Seattle. One was Rasul Douglas (6-2, 203) of West Virginia. Jeremiah said he had a great week at the Senior Bowl and that “if there was ever somebody that looked like a Seahawks corner, this is it.” Jeremiah also mentioned Ohio State’s Gareon Conley (6-0, 195), a junior, as a good fit with Seattle, saying he could come in and play right away.

    Anyone looked at Conley at all?

    • Rob Staton

      Conley looks fine on tape. Waiting to see his physical profile at the combine to determine if Seattle will have any interest. If they take a CB early, it’ll only be a special, freaky athlete.

  28. Volume12

    This is some pretty good tape. Love his motor and relentless style. The push-pull move of his is top notch. Fires off the snap, plays with a good amount of leverage. Disruptive.

    Day 3 guy.

    Michigan DT Ryan Glasgow vs N’Western- 2015:

    • C-Dog

      That’s my guy right there.

  29. Ishmael

    Couple of quick thoughts. Witherspoon is hella disruptive, how many pass breakups did he have? He’s like a spider, those long arms just come sneaking in out of nowhere. He is a heinous tackler though, which has already been mentioned a few times. The real worry isn’t technique, it’s the mentality. If a guy has the mindset, he wants to tackle, loves the physical confrontation, then you can teach him how to do it properly. If you’re not fully committed, then you will never be a good tackler – regardless of how great the coaching you receive is. And I’m not totally sold you can teach that mentality. Suspect his interview, and interviews with his coaches, will be a big part of whether the Hawks take a shot.

    Second thought, how much do takeaways have to do with individual play, and how much do they have to do with coaching? I read somewhere recently that the Seahawks averaged 32 takeaways a season with Quinn as DC, and 21 a year since. Obviously those are small sample sizes, and takeaways are massively variable from season to season, and the Hawks have lost some major depth and playmaking talent, so there are mitigating factors. Is it worth considering that even a ballhawking corner like, say, Douglas, won’t necessarily mean an extra five picks a year if the scheme has him being a bit more defensive?

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      Take-aways…. are dependent upon playing your scheme and the opposition not having figured out your weaknesses. With 5-6 years now, there is plenty of tape on what the Seattle scheme does well and what it does poorly. Offenses are now trying to hit the weaknesses, minimizing interceptions. The number of fumbles caused and recovered are much more “chance”, since an oblong ball can bounce any number of directions during a fumble.

      • Sea Mode

        Interceptions also come when your offense gets you out to an early lead. Then the other team has to take risks to play catch up and you can unleash the pass rush, forcing errant throws from the QB. I suspect our inability to open games strong this year and get out to an early lead affected the turnovers much more than defensive coaching/scheme in itself.

  30. Greg Haugsven

    Too bad Bennett and Avril are cancelling there NFL players trip to Israel. Calais Campbell is also one of the players going. Could have been one hell of a recruiting trip.

    • Trevor

      I was thinking the exact same thing Greg would have been an awesome recruiting trip.

      • RWIII

        Trevor. John Clayton said that their is no way JS would pay Calais Campbell more money than Michael Bennett.

        • Coleslaw

          That fits in with the notion that Campbell would only sign here to win a championship, money wouldn’t break the deal unless it was a laughable offer

        • Trevor

          I would prefer they spend their FA dollars on the OL anyways to be honest. The chances of Campbell becoming a Seahawk have always been almost nil.

  31. Volume12

    C-Dog, I wonder if they’re looking for an earlier round version of Korey Toomer. Someone that’s a mix of KJ and Malcolm Smith.

    Him and DB Ron Parker, JS always says Parker is the one that got away, would’ve been huge for us had they been able to keep them.

    I would hope they tap into this EDGE class as well. Every year, the team they got beat by, they’ll address how that won’t happen going forward.

    2012- lose to Atlanta because Clemons went down. No depth at DE. They add Bennett & Avril
    2013- had basically O needs and it was one of the worst drafts league wide in years
    2014- lose to NE because again, lack of depth at DE and their TE killed us. We go get Frank Clark and Jimmy Graham
    2015- lose to Carolina and RB J-Stew runs wild like Hulkamania. And we have no run game with Rawls
    out. They add DT Jarran Reed and 2 different skill sets at RB
    2016- lose to Atlanta. You need quality DBs and a rotation of pass rushers to beat them.

    LB has been an issue for 2 years now. Teams are attacking the shallow zones between the hashes.

    • C-Dog

      That’s very possible, Volume. Toomer was an athlete that I think they were really high on for a while

      I find myself still trying to wrap my head around what they want at linebacker. I think meeting with Carroll Phillips means they definitely are looking at an edge player. I’m not convinced that linebacker is a higher priority than DB, but Carroll did say getting young talent that could push KJ and Bobby.

      I consider Cunningham because of his athletic traits, but really the guy I find myself going back to more often is Alex Anzalone. I think he could play SAM and the other spots. I just question how he holds up. If they did take a guy like Obi (who I’m saying right now feels most like that first pick), maybe the look for a two headed linebacker monster in Anzalone and Phillips, or Bowser?

      I like what you brought up with Rob earlier, as many as three BDs and probably two linebackers. I just think, based on what came out of Carroll, they want linebackers capable of contributing early, if need be, which could mean a couple selections within the first three rounds even.

      • Volume12

        Its entirely possible. The way I’m projecting it right now in teams of what positions they’ll draft? Are as follows, but in no specific order. IMO they’ll add a 4th rounder.

        TE or WR
        ?? Could be OL, DT, FB, QB. You get the point

        Priority UDFAs:

        OL (they always take a freak at this position here)
        WR or TE
        DT or hybrid D-lineman
        Maybe a K depending on what goes on with Haush

        I will forever mock a few UDFAs because of the amount of guys this team finds there. Its really for me just as exciting. Round 8. 2-3 of them will out perform 2-3 of their draft picks anyways. This is where PC puts those recruiting skills to use.

        • Volume12

          * the question marks are if they add more than one more pick

          • C-Dog

            That’s a really good projection. Yeah, I think UDFA’s are good to mock. I’m going to start doing that more. Four made the team last year, and one became a starter at a critical position, much to the chagrin many 12s. I think I might have gotten blasted a bit up above for mocking Ben Boulware to them as a UDFA, but it’s funny how guys, even higher profile ones, slip through the cracks. Last year, I would have been comfortable mocking Boykin or Elliot to them in R5.

            Another thing I am considering is another big bodied DT, which sound redundant considering they have Reed and Rubin, but Seattle has talked with Carlos Watkins and Big Stevie Tu’ikolovatu recently said in the an interview that the team talked with him during the senior bowl, as well. So, if they are sniffing around these guys, that’s not necessarily showing me they are looking for interior rush, they want more base down depth inside. John Jenkins and Silver Siliga types.

      • Trevor

        I think at guy like Carol Phillips or Tyus Bowser in Rd #3 would be an ideal pick and really add a different element to the current lb group. A guy like Reddick would be ideal but likely long gone by 26 and I am kind of hoping we trade back to get an extra day#2 pick.

        • C-Dog

          That would be sweet if they could. I think if it’s a slight drop back to still be in range of one of their preferred targets, I would probably be for an early day three pick. Like Volume, said, and I agree, I think they definitely want to get a R4 pick. I would be pretty happy with Phillips or Bowser. Do we think Bowser would be available R3?

    • Trevor

      Great assessment Vol!

      Who so you see out there like Toomer? I still think they go with an LB similar to Bruce with some pass rush upside but you make a very compelling argument.

  32. HawkTalker

    Long time reader, first time poster. Has anyone looked into Josh Harvey-Clemons out of Louisville, saw his bio and seems like an intriguing athlete that seems alot like Kam. Haven’t seen any tape tho.

    • Rob Staton

      Just my opinion, but I think he’s awful.

      • HawkTalker

        Hahaha good to know, I hadn’t looked at anything bit his measurables. Seemed like a bit of a mess off the field from his bio as well.

  33. Volume12

    Prayers go up for Oroville, California. Damn. smh. 😇

  34. Coleslaw

    Took a crack at a first round mock for the first time, enjoy
    Cleveland (1-15) Myles Garrett
    San Francisco (2-14) Leonard Fournette
    Chicago (3-13) Jonathan Allen
    Jacksonville (3-13) Reuben Foster
    Tennessee – from Los Angeles (4-12) Malik Hooker
    New York Jets (5-11) Quincy Wilson
    San Diego (5-11) Solomon Thomas
    Carolina (6-10) Jamal Adams
    Cincinnati (6-9-1) Mike Williams
    Buffalo (7-9) Deshaun Watson
    New Orleans (7-9) Sidney Jones
    Cleveland – from Philadelphia (7-9) Mitch Trubisky
    Arizona (7-8-1) Marshon Lattimore
    Indianapolis (8-8) O.J. Howard
    Philadelphia – from Minnesota (8-8) Garrett Bolles
    Baltimore (8-8) Haason Reddick
    Washington (8-7-1) Zach Cunningham
    Tennessee (9-7) John Ross
    Tampa Bay (9-7) Dalvin Cook
    Denver (9-7) Ryan Ramzczyk
    Detroit* (9-7) Corey Davis
    Miami* (10-6) Marlon Humphrey
    New York Giants* (11-5) Charles Harris
    Oakland* (12-4) David Njoku
    Houston* (9-7) Taco Charlton
    Cleveland – from Seattle* (10-5-1) Jabrill Peppers
    Kansas City* (12-4) Budda Baker
    Dallas* (13-3) Kevin King
    Green Bay* (10-6) Forrest Lamp
    Pittsburgh* (11-5) Takk Mckinley
    Atlanta* (11-5) Obi Melifonwu
    New England* (14-2) T.J. Watt

    Seahawks pick: Cordrea Tankersley

    • Sea Mode


      Solomon Thomas with Bosa would be a scary DL!

      And I could totally see Dallas falling for the athletic wonders of Kevin King after Byron Jones.

      Obi to Atlanta would be a nice pick for them, still thinking they go DL. Maybe DeMarcus Walker, their own version of Michael Bennett.

      I wonder too if Seattle would pass on Peppers’ potential. Let’s see how big he actually is at the combine.

      Thanks for posting!

      • Coleslaw

        Thanks man, I tried to create combos like that where I could. Like Charlton and Clowney with JJ Watt too 😲

    • C-Dog

      It’s a fun mock to consider. Are we assuming that Tyrod Taylor is shipping out of Buffalo? Does Cleveland has big enough need to move up for Peppers?

      I think there’s a lot about Tankersley that fits the Seattle cornerback prototype. Definitely a player to consider, IMO.

      • Misfit74

        I think Tankersley’s arms are too short.

        • C-Dog

          Has he been measure yet?

  35. Sea Mode

    Hmmm, pretty quiet around here… I suppose seconds after I post this comment, Rob will put up a new article… always happens to me! Oh well, I’ll copy it over if it does… 🙂

    What I wanted to say is that I think someone stole BWagz’ genetic code and made a clone! Just look at this guy’s build (esp. Jr. and Sr. year) and tell me it doesn’t make you double take.

    Anthony Walker Jr Senior Highlights 2016 | HD
    (#18 –> #1 in Jr./Sr. year)

    His 2015 tape vs. Stanford is outstanding, minus a couple missed tackles and a PI.

    He played mostly at ILB, as his build would suggest, but has the speed to stick with RB’s (see: McCaffery in game mentioned above) and excels in zone coverage. Weak side would probably be his best fit at the next level because he doesn’t rush the passer much.

    Not saying he’s the guy we will want, but definitely an interesting prospect who can ball.

    • Sea Mode

      And he is said to have (I believe it after watching some tape) a very high football IQ to read keys and react quickly:

      “My dad, being an offensive guy, watching film with him when I was younger and seeing what he was trying to do to the defense was great,” Walker says. “Me being a defensive guy now, it’s kind of easy. I know what kind of coverage we’re in and what can beat us.”

      Watch closely, though, and there’s another layer to Walker’s game. Like any middle linebacker, he functions as a coach on the field, but teammates and coaches say Walker takes the matter a step further. “He’s grown up in the game,” Bates says. “He doesn’t just see the things the average football player sees. He sees it more as a coach does. So he can visit with players in a different light than maybe the average player does.”

      Full story here:

    • Sea Mode

      They nicknamed him “the Franchise” and made a pretty funny video too. It’s embedded about 3/4 through this article:

      • Ed

        Cool nickname. Need more contributors in that department, so if CB/S go 1st rd, need some 3-5 round LB to choose from.

    • D-OZ

      WOW!!! He will give Wag’s some competition. Very nice stats. Looks to be quick and fast. I saw a site the other day that had him mocked to the Hawks in the 2nd or 3rd round, don’t remember which. He breaks down very nicely. You can tell he is a student of the game by how decisive he is. wore #1 his senior year. can play any LB spot. He is on my radar for the Hawks. 7 1/2 sacks, 12 pass BU’s. 2 or 4 int. don’t remember which. I would take him in the 2nd easily.IMO Star-power!!! Looks pretty damn tough too. 3 year starter.

  36. Sea Mode

    I don’t care about the “grades” handed out, because it’s too early to judge after just 1 season, but otherwise I really enjoy reading this series by Bucky Brooks about last year’s draft class. Kind of gives you an idea of how much each player got on the field and if any stood out and made an impact.

    I remember many people asking Rob to post a follow-up article on the guys we were interested in last year. Although it is not Seahawk-focused, it definitely gives a decent idea and helps recall the different names we tossed around last year.

    Part 4 just came out, 4 more to come still:

  37. Sea Mode

    Charley Casserly mock draft 1.0 up. Has some interesting trades going on…

    And the Seahawks at 26 pick:
    Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: Thomas Rawls has proven he can’t be reliable.

    • 503Hawk

      Unfortunately true concerning Rawls, but all of us here know there is no way Hawks take McCaffrey at 26, if at all.

      • BobbyK

        I agree that it’s highly unlikely, but wouldn’t say there’s “no way” it will happen. Things could happen via trade or free agency where we don’t see the same glaring holes that we do now.

    • Misfit74

      I think McCaffrey is too redundant with Prosise, esp for a 1st round pick. If you want another pass catching, satellite back, use a mid, late or UDFA.

      Unless one of the top 2 backs falls, which is near impossible to consider, I just don’t see RB at 26.

      The other skill players I like and wouldn’t mind at 26: OJ Howard, C. Davis, Njoku, and possibly Mike Williams. You never know. Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Allen Robinson all were within that range…

  38. Sea Mode

    Poll of 25 prospects at the Senior Bowl: Which NFL coach would you most like to play for?

    Bill Belichick, Patriots (7)
    Pete Carroll, Seahawks (5)
    Mike Tomlin, Steelers (3)
    Dan Quinn, Falcons (3)
    Jason Garrett, Cowboys (2)
    Sean Payton, Saints (1)
    Andy Reid, Chiefs (1)
    Bill Cowher (1)
    Mike Smith, Bucs defensive coordinator (1)
    Rex Ryan (1)

    • vrtkolman

      Awesome! Great to hear that Carroll is still a widely popular coach in the players’ eyes.

  39. Sea Mode

    Another LB to check out, from Pauline’s notes today:

    “Donavin Newsom of Missouri is one of the more underrated linebackers in the draft.

    He has size deficiencies (6-feet-1, 235 pounds) but plays fast, makes plays in every direction of the field and is constantly around the action. We presently grade him as a sixth-round prospect.”

  40. BobbyK

    Julius Peppers would be a good situational pass rusher. He’s old but he’s still quite effective. I’m pretty sure I’d rather have him on the field in 3rd and long situations as opposed to Marsh and the 10-on-11 football we play when he’s on the field in those situations. Another guy is Sheard. I wanted him two years ago, too. We actually have money this time around. That’d be a quick fixer-upper in terms of instant pass rush. Avril, Bennett, and Clark are awesome – but it’d be nice to have a fourth DL who can get pressure when we rush four, too. Maybe Jefferson can contribute this year, but I’d rather have too many pass rushers than not enough.

  41. Jason

    If players that we have been discussin with 1st pick like Baker, Reddick, Melinfonwu, Bolles, Davis get drafted ahead of the hawks pick who is falling into our laps that we didn’t think we would have a shot at?

  42. New Guy

    PFT: no punishment for Seahawks in Sherman injury report issue.


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