Scouting notes 26/09 — things are getting interesting

Spencer Rattler was incredible vs Mississippi State

Ohio State’s Tyleik Williams stands out

Michael Hall Jr and J.T. Tuimoloau get a lot of the attention on Ohio State’s defensive line but keep Williams in mind moving forward. Against Notre Dame I thought he was Ohio State’s best player on defense.

While the rest of the line was rotated in and out, Williams was given the majority of the snaps and seemed to be a mainstay on the field. At 6-2 and 290lbs (he looks bigger) he was mobile, active, showed a great swim move and was just a consistent disruptive threat. At one point he even dropped into coverage and almost had an interception.

He also comes with plenty of power in his frame and hands. At one point he shrugged off likely top-15 pick Joe Alt to make a TFL vs the run. On another play he worked around the edge and was clearly held by Alt (it was uncalled).

Williams was pretty much the focal point of a strong Ohio State defensive performance. He’s a junior so he’s eligible for the 2024 draft. For me he has legit second day potential and he’s a name few talk about who warrants more attention.

The Seahawks should draft a QB in 2024

It’s coming. There are just too many attractive options in this class. It doesn’t have to be a first rounder either, adding to my increasing belief it’ll happen.

The fact is the Seahawks are relying on rolling money into 2024 to have any cap space next year. If they don’t spend another penny this year they’ll have $10m to use in 2024. That’s virtually nothing. The truth is they’re going to have to make a saving somewhere.

The only big lever they have to save money is Geno Smith’s contract — so one of two things will happen, in my opinion. Smith will either play his way out of the deal or they’ll retain him and be forced to add a cheaper backup.

I know people keep saying they’re developing Drew Lock in the background but Lock is on a $4m contract and he’s a free agent next year. He also turns 27 in November. If Smith remains the uncontested starter in 2024, Lock might want to go somewhere else with at least a little hope to start. Replacing Lock with someone on a rookie contract would also make financial sense.

A case in point — Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s average salary on his rookie deal is $3.6m. His cap-hit only tops Lock’s $4m in the final year of his contract. Smith-Njigba was a top-20 pick. If the Seahawks were to draft a quarterback on day two, the cost would be significantly cheaper even still.

I think it’s likely therefore that if Smith keeps his job and is seen as the starter for at least the 2024 season, Lock will likely move on due to the financial ramifications and the state of his own career. This might only change if he finds a lukewarm free agent market and resigns himself to the kind of dirt-cheap deal Smith used to sign before he had a career renaissance.

I also think it’s important for this team to start planning ahead. I suspect John Schneider will have that thought too, especially with the options in this class.

Geno Smith might physically be a different player to Kirk Cousins but he’s essentially Seattle’s version. As we saw in Detroit, he can be a very accomplished starter on his day. Yet as we’ve also seen for most of week one and the first half against Carolina, he also can play quite poorly.

In 2022, Smith and Cousins shared identical PFF grades. This year, Smith’s grade is a 75.5 after three weeks — good for 12th among QB’s. Cousins is eighth with a 77.6 despite playing on an 0-3 team.

This isn’t a negative thing for the Seahawks. They have an experienced, capable starter. I don’t think Smith is ever going to lead this team to a Super Bowl though, just as Cousins likely won’t in Minnesota. If they use Smith as a bridge to what’s next, this can work perfectly. Draft and develop a QB without the pressure to start him immediately. Make Geno your Alex Smith. Neglecting the position and hoping he can take you to the promise land, as the Vikings have done with Cousins, could be an error.

Spencer Rattler could be the man

This is a long run-up to get into my QB scouting notes for this week — but the words above are motivated by another captivating weekend of quarterback play.

Let’s start with Spencer Rattler. He was flawless against Mississippi State. He didn’t have an incompletion until the fourth quarter. He was sensational in a shoot-out win for South Carolina and is truly an exciting prospect.

When he burst onto the scene at Oklahoma and was prematurely being talked about as a potential top-five pick, people were comparing him to Patrick Mahomes. They have very similar body types. They both have easy arm strength. They’re both creative and shifty. They even kind of look alike.

The problem was, Rattler played like the obnoxious High Schooler he’d shown to be in a Netflix series covering his High School career. I think it went to his head and I don’t blame him. I can’t say I’d be any different if Netflix were following me around as a teenager.

His play at Oklahoma was arrogant. He’d throw carelessly into double or triple coverage, trusting his physical talent to make plays that weren’t there. He carried himself with a cocky demeanour and played as if he could do no wrong. He wasn’t reading a defense, taking what was available or doing anything on a detailed level. He was just going out there and throwing it recklessly around the park. The attention, from the documentary and the online draft chatter, seemed to make him think he didn’t need to work at it.

We know what happened next. He was unceremoniously benched for Caleb Williams. He transferred to South Carolina. He was humbled.

That wake-up call is the best thing that ever happened to him. He is now playing like a first round pick. All of the physical talent remains but now he’s measured, playing within structure and he’s excelling. He carries himself so differently. His body language has completely changed. He’s not throwing recklessly any more — there’s a purpose with his decision making and because he’s so incredibly gifted, the maturity mixed with the talent is making him one of the best quarterback prospects in college football.

Based on the way he’s playing currently, I’d have no issue endorsing him as a first round talent. He isn’t getting enough attention because I think people have just given up on him. That is a mistake. He is playing brilliant football.

I get the sense Schneider — a self-confessed Mahomes fan from the 2017 draft — will like what he sees. I think the Seahawks will also like the journey Rattler has been on, not to mention the grit and determination he’s shown to rebuild a career that virtually felt over not that long ago.

Yes, they’ll need to check that the ‘new’ Rattler is here to stay. However, I can’t think of a better prospect for the Seahawks. He could provide value if he lasts into day two. He can learn from Geno Smith, with the pair having some shared experiences. He has the talent and upside to be great, not just good.

He might be the ideal selection, provided he carries on playing the way he is. It’s truly exciting to watch what he’s doing at South Carolina.

A quick word for team-mate Xavier Legette too — he looks every bit a top-45 pick at receiver. Size, speed, X-factor talent and a multi-faceted threat — Legette is legit.

Will Howard is also underrated

I spoke last week about the Kansas State quarterback and how impressive he was. I’m pleased to say that he followed it up with another strong showing — playing through an injury — against UCF.

Don’t get me wrong, he had some misses in the game. His deep-ball throwing needs work and he was ‘off’ on a couple of throws he should’ve made for big gains. He also had an interception where he more or less threw blind expecting his receiver to be there for an easy completion. He didn’t notice the DB had gained position and it was a pick that looked ugly, even if the scheme/system played a part.

Even so, I just can’t get over how many NFL-level throws he makes. Unlike when you watch these extreme spread systems (eg, Washington, Ohio State) — Kansas State’s offense looks translatable. You see pressure for a start. You see a quarterback having to think quickly in the pocket. You see big-time throws into tight windows over the middle. It just looks different with Howard.

Look at the first throw he makes in the video below (37 seconds in):

Howard has a blitzing player right in his face as he throws the ball. Despite this, he delivers a perfect strike over the middle — thrown with anticipation, timing and accuracy. That is a NFL throw.

Fast forward to 3:48. He fakes the hand-off, moves well in the pocket and again throws over the middle with perfect timing in between a group of four defenders. These are tight-window throws where he’s facing a muddy pocket. You just don’t see many college QB’s playing in this environment.

Howard’s also a very good athlete — capable of breaking off big runs and extending plays when needed. He has everything you look for physically.

Again, I’m not saying his tape is perfect or doesn’t have flawed moments. Yet there’s not enough people talking about him. For me he’s very much a day-two pick at least, with the potential to go higher than people expect.

It’s also worth noting from this game that Kansas State guard Cooper Beebe continues to perform to a high standard and running back D.J. Giddens, if you haven’t seen him play, is a box-office attraction. Speed, power, electric cuts, running through contact. Giddens plays like the running backs in the old NCAA game and it’s exciting to watch. He’s eligible for the 2024 draft.

Quick-hitting notes

— It feels like former five-star recruit Xavier Thomas has been at Clemson forever. However, he’s starting to deliver on his talent. He doesn’t have orthodox size for an edge rusher but he’s excelling this year. Against Florida State he was a force — at one point beating two blocks to force a sack. He’s always had incredible physical talent and he’s now finally delivering.

— I’m a huge fan of Texas A&M’s defensive tackle McKinley Jackson. A heart-and-soul defender, he had another impressive outing against Auburn. He’s toughness personified — physical, mean, plays with a distinct edge and he leads his defense. He can be stout against the run, create pressure with quickness or power and you just need players like this up front. He could and should be on Seattle’s radar next year and I’m giving him a second round mark at this point. Likewise for Texas’ impressive Byron Murphy — a different player in that he’s a dynamic, twitchy athlete but equally impactful.

— Florida State linebacker Tatum Bethune hits like a truck. I want to see more. Meanwhile the playmaking qualities of Texas linebacker Jaylen Ford have me intrigued. Every time I watch him play he seems to make a big play or a turnover. The most impressive linebacker in college football over the last two seasons, though, is Jeremiah Trotter at Clemson. He’s a stud and for me a no-brainer R1 pick.

— I’m giving Washington receiver Rome Odunze a first round mark too. He has everything — elite ball-tracking, body control, pure speed and first-class character and maturity. He had a special punt return against Califorina at the weekend and showed a lot of toughness on his second score. He can do it all and for me he’s a potential top-20 pick.

— I think Michael Penix Jr needs to calm down a bit. We all know he has an amazing arm but he just seems to be forcing things a little. We’ve seen overthrows deep, making his receivers work hard to complete catches, occasional recklessness and he had a horrible interception against Cal. He already had one against Tulsa and he should’ve had one against Michigan State too. It speaks to a concern about Penix. His arm talent is astonishing but he needs to prove that at the next level, where he won’t have the advantages he has at Washington, he can play the percentages and not just be a walking cannon-arm. Not every play has to be a 50-yard TD or a highlight reel throw to the sideline. He’s never sacked, he’s playing with top-tier college receivers and his offensive scheme is prolific. Teams are going to love his arm but I fear he’s becoming a bit gung-ho at times — like a wrestler going to his finishing move 45 seconds into a bout. Let the arm be the finisher, not the whole fight.

— Washington State quarterback Cam Ward is playing so well. He’s creative, mobile, has shown he can throw with anticipation and he has poise on the move. He loves a back-shoulder throw (a bit more variety at times would be nice) but he’s flying under the radar as a possible mid-round pick with plus ability to come in and be developed. Meanwhile receiver Josh Kelly had two of the best one-handed catches you’ll ever see at the weekend against Oregon State. His entire performance was excellent. I’m intrigued to see more.

— It’s worth stressing again just how much depth is available at quarterback. Again, I think USC’s Caleb Williams is the only sure-fire top-five pick I’ve seen so far. However, Riley Leonard, Spencer Rattler, Michael Penix Jr, Shedeur Sanders and Drake Maye could easily find a home in round one. Will Howard and Tyler Van Dyke are really impressing to start the year while Quinn Ewers is much improved from last season. Jordan Travis, Cam Ward and Bo Nix will have supporters for day two. I’m not as high on JJ McCarthy but plenty of others are. This is why I think 2024 will be the year the Seahawks do finally invest in the position. It’s such a rich class.

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  1. UkAlex6674

    Great post.

    Do you think Seattle could double dip at QB in the draft?

    • Rob Staton

      Doubt it but who knows

  2. Joseph

    Hey rob, considering it’s a long shot for Caleb Williams and with the uncertainty of who gets drafted after him, who would consider to be a John Schneider type QB? Or is it too early to tell?

    • Rob Staton

      Well the guy I spent most time talking about here would be an ideal candidate

      • Blitzy the Clown

        I think the Seahawks will also like the journey Rattler has been on, not to mention the grit and determination he’s shown to rebuild a career

        Add this to what you see on the field and it’s almost too perfect

        • Trevor

          Agree completely. He seems like the absolute perfect fit. Elite talent, overcome some adversity and what appears to be solid leadership skills. I can see him going to the Senior Bowl and then being the Hawks pick at some point in the 20-28 range.

          Would love to see Geno or Lock start in 2025 while Ratttler learns the system then he step in 2026.

  3. Peanut

    So you’re telling me this class seems good-value-deep at interior D-linemen and Quarterbacks? Two positions we need to look at both for the short and long term? Interesting.

    Unrelated: Booted up a madden24 franchise with the current contracts and boy oh boy are Seattle broke.

    • Dave Thompson

      I have also read that there could be several decent interior defensive linemen available next draft, and Rob mentioned Williams is 290lbs, not the 330pound behmoth that I have read some posters claim is needed to control the inside. It’s still early days but so far the Seahawk’s Dline seems to have done a decent job stopping the run.I have read about several hihhly ranked interior D lineman who weigh less that 300 pounds, each sounding intriguing, should the Seahawks give priority to size in that position? I prefer they go after players like Williams or Newton from Illinois that could possibly play multiple positions across the line.And if Mone can return is he good enough to be the interior stopper?

  4. LouCityHawk

    I do wonder if the plan might be for Lock, instead of Geno, to start in 2024, not as heir apparent, but as a placeholder for the QBotF…sort of Diet Alex Smith.

    Geno is such a big personality, and such a good story, he might be an expensive distraction, one who some fans have an affinity for…as opposed to Lock who will have a certain faction of fans calling for his benching every week his QBR drops below 158.3.

    I wish I understood the cap better, but it seems like this move would open up salary flexibility?

    How many other teams may be looking towards drafting a first round QB next year? Off the top: Rams, Saints, Bucs, Bears(?), Vikes, Broncos, Raiders, Jets(?)….

    • DW

      This is my dream scenario as well.
      Geno can walk, Lock the “diet Alex Smith” as you call it. I feel like Lock would be a great guy to do it too. He has been in the system, likely wouldn’t receive too much negative fanfare if he is replaced, and would be relatively cheap I’d imagine. At least more affordable than what Geno is due next year.

      In a year where there are so many interesting QBs and where we have so little money it would seem a near foregone conclusion that Geno goes and a new rookie comes in. With this being the Hawks though, I am fully preparing myself for another year of Geno, him regressing, and us trading for a new Safety to come try to fix issues on the back end. 🙂

      • Peter

        While Rob is right about the cap and levers let’s game this out:

        Geno continues on as expected. Essentially repeating last year. Say he hits the his base line in stats: around 30 tds, 10 ints, 4100 yards. Then the team gets to let’s say 9-10 wins.

        How does the FO say that while we win with this guy and he’s the least of our problems we need to release him to pay for safeties?

        He’s a fan favorite. The local media fawns. And he has truly revitalized his career.

        Not sure I can find any examples of a plus level qb being released to save money.

        Seattle has put themselves in a bind of their own making. They either need Geno to flat line to move off of him or him to level up now to maximizing his escalator laden contract this year. Which I also don’t see happening.

        • Rob Staton

          I am right about the cap and levers, I didn’t assert whether they’d use them, but it’s their only obvious way to save serious money

          As for his performance level, this is why I wrote this before the Rams game

          • LouCityHawk

            Imagine if they actually drafted usable, competent safeties, especially in a year with a deep safety class, so that the position became properly valued…

          • Peter

            This might end up being one of the most prescient pieces you ever wrote.

        • LouCityHawk

          The Public Relations angle is one I get.

          I also understand that it would be seen as doing Geno dirty to release him, but extending Lock and going into the draft with both Geno and Lock on staff seems like a good ‘smokescreen’ to mask QB interest.

          On that same token, they will be missing out on the early FA period if they wait to move on. It also seems like there is zero market, trade or FA wise for Geno.

          As a franchise, they have to understand that they will be moving on from Geno in a year or two (one would hope) and that pulling the trigger early, and having Lock as the transition would be better for the heir apparent, as opposed to having Geno produce a third good-great (not elite) year and further raise burden a 2024 draft pick.

          I’d say it like this: After an 11 win season and failing to advance to the NFC Championship game we need to make some financial moves for the long term health of this team, and some will be painful.

          Of course, there’s always the chance that Geno puts on a show Monday night and the Jets just have to have him, and give up a 1st and 2nd. Drew Lock gets the bye week to get ready for Cincy and sign Nathan Rourke (or Ahlers or whomever) as a backup. Bonus: Rob gets to write an article about his fears that Lock is playing just well enough…;-)

          • Rob Staton

            And there’s also a chance that a goose will walk into my house lay a massive golden egg and say ‘there you go Rob it’ll be worth a fair bit that’ and then waddle off

            • LouCityHawk

              That isn’t a daily occurrence in your home?

              It keeps coming back to: PC stepping down after this season is the right thing to do. A new coach can easily make the case that they need their guy at QB. PC gets fanfare and send off, and team gets rebirth.

              I suppose the fear is: this team is locked into a perpetual mediocrity where PC hangs onto power and shoves good-great QBs down our throats while never presenting the type of top tier D that can win with a good-great QB

            • Elmer

              Probably there’s a better chance that a goose will walk into your house and poop. You don’t want that. Goose poop is not good.

          • Peter

            “As a franchise…..” from the guys that brought you upside down safety contracts when that market was tanking and not being able to work something out with Jarran Reed so they could wander in the hinterlands for a few years only to bring him back and *tada* barring injury is as good or better than when he left.

            I’m more cold about what the team should do in regards to players than other fans. If Geno repeats last year to the number I’m fine walking away from that. While great for last year ( a down one offensively league wide) I think by years end it will look around the 8th-11th pass attack. Not amazing. Not a dog’s dinner.

            The hawks have shown in this era a penchant for keeping the band together when that has not proven to be the prudent move.

            Like I said I just think it’s going to be super hard to square to the lay fan and the entire 710 staff “we gotta let him go, cause we are broke.” Where they get the good will from Wilson turning into the villain, in the advent that their decision doesn’t work above expectations ( a true QBOTF) they might look like the villain. I don’t know a ton about John or Pete besides what they present but I do know neither want to be the villain.

            • Big Mike

              And a large chunk of these salary issues could’ve been taken care of by cutting Adams and Diggs this mist recent offseason.

              • Peter

                Then they could have that ideal of picking their guy and letting him learn. Now we might be releasing Geno, I guess paying Lock a total unknown, and maybe being in that unenviable position of fans clamoring for a rookie.

              • Peter

                Top DE/olb money….good grief.

              • cha

                Adrian Amos is getting $2.65m from the Jets and is returning a 70.9 PFF

                Ryan Neal is getting $1m from Tampa and is at 62.2 PFF

                Seahawks could have picked up $18.34m this offseason and had just under $15m left over to plow into other positions or roll into 2024.

                • LouCityHawk

                  I mean, that would have made a lot of sense….

                • cha

                  Also would have opened up $24m in 2024.

              • LouCityHawk

                And retaining Neal, while addressing Safety through the draft.

            • LouCityHawk

              On the flip side, they weathered the RW storm, and it could have been worse had he not fallen off a cliff last year.

              Geno has less a chance of repeating his success somewhere else. Let that sink in.

              They let Geno go, financial flexibility needed, who signs him, for what, how does he perform?

              • Peter

                Right. I agree with all that.

                But geno isn’t a villain. So fans are going to do what? Root for him to fail? Wait for him to fall off and breathe a sigh of relief.

                Because if he falls off and say Lock isn’t Geno I don’t know…..seems like a hard sell.

                Again not to the folks here. The fans broadly.

                I mean I see comments online where people sat Geno is their favorite Hawk of all time !!!!

      • Romeo A57

        Can anyone with certainty tell me that Lock is better than Justin Fields ot Zach Wilson? Those guys have no business starting an NFL game again. Is it just because he is back on the Seahawks after no other team showed any interest in him, that people believe he is a serviceable Starting QB?

        The Broncos couldn’t wait to get rid of Lock. Lock hasn’t come close in 2 seasons of beating out Geno Smith. I don’t get the optimism with Drew Lock.

        • BK26

          It’s the unknown and hope that goes with it. Raw talent, the other two aren’t even in his ballpark. Overall, he’s also better. I think there is just a mindset of getting YOUR shiny new toy, the cost, making him an all-time great for the franchise.

          Lock is more or less a proven commodity. Going to be 27 and nothing to show. A lot of people watch preseason and think that it translates. He couldn’t beat out Geno so why should he start? They are trying to win so why should they move to him compared to Geno.

          • LouCityHawk

            Would you rather have Geno for $35mil or Lock for $5mil next year? While grooming a QBotF?

            That is the dilemma I posited, not trying to win the most games this year.

            I like both players, and have loyalty to neither. I view the QB position as one of many that the Seahawks have to move on from or upgrade to get to the next level.

            • BK26

              Ugh I get both options. The problem is, the cap is such a sickening mess that it makes a lot of normal decisions a mute point. Without the cap, Geno. But that probably isn’t an option.

              To me, I’d rather have a veteran like Minshew that Lock. Lock isn’t going to win anything and I don’t want to waste growing pains on him compared to someone that a rookie can sit behind (for a season, half a season, whatever).

              My worry is that Lock will just be given the job, no real competition. And another year with the youth movement is wasted. Especially with legitimate options this upcoming draft.

              • Elmer

                You would prefer to have the $30M only if you have a good plan to use the money productively. Otherwise I would prefer the QB depth to pissing the &$ away.

            • Brashmouse

              You assume they can resign Lock for $5M while he knows he is the incumbent #1.

        • geoff u

          It’s the Clipboard Jesus dilemma. If we could only bring Charlie Whitehurst back I’m certain he’ll be an all pro.

          • LouCityHawk

            So, Lock = Whitehurst?

            Assuming you have a QB drafted next year, do you want Geno at $35m or Whitehurst for $5m when the team is resetting and strapped for cash?

            • geoff u

              We don’t know what Lock is, people go overboard claiming he’s this or that. He’s made a few good throws in preseason and a bunch of boneheaded ones, that’s all I know.

              I just want a rookie QB with the potential to be a franchise QB, I don’t care who starts in front of him for a year, and he could always pull a Russell Wilson and start his first year. Obviously there’s an argument to be made for saving 30 million in cap space though.

        • LouCityHawk

          1. He is cheap as a starter
          2. He has shown progress in our system
          3. He has tremendous upside beyond Gields and Wilson already
          4. The whole point of Lock is that he is easier to move on from than Geno, if he turns in a bad performance, all the better for the 2024 rookie QB.

          Lock probably isn’t as good as Geno right now, but that isn’t the point for 2024.

          • Elmer

            You would want to be sure to have reliable depth behind Lock. For injury protection as well as in case Lock falters.

      • Chase

        The problem with drew being the Alex smith is he hasn’t proved himself and doesn’t have the leash geno does. If lock were to struggle people would be clamoring immediately for the rookie, who likely won’t be prepared to start. Kind of defeats the whole point of having the bridge QB. Geno is good enough to be competitive and has the leadership qualities to actually teach the rookie and give them the full year to learn. While it hurts more financially, I’d rather do that then potentially damage the progress of a year 1 qb.

        • Sea Mode

          My thoughts exactly.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      I think this overlooks the mentorship aspect of the Smith-Mahomes arrangement.

      I knew a high school coach who said a 500 season was the ideal season for an athlete learning the game. You learn victory and defeat, hubris and humility. It’s the mental aspects which training can’t be rushed or compromised.

      Geno’s career has been, at best, 500. He’s been on a journey from hype to has-been, and back. He’s a savvy player, and he appears to have embraced the role of leader.

      I guess that’s just a roundabout way of saying I don’t think there’s any nutrition in a diet Alex Smith

      • Peter

        But I can see fans calling for a rookie the day broncos version of Lock shows up at Lumen.

        • BK26

          That is me. I’m that fan hahaha.

          • Peter

            Same btw.

  5. Romeo A57

    I am confused about the personel decision making structure for the Seahawks.

    I always thought that Pete had final say on everything even thoughhe is just the Head Coach. John has to do what Pete says. This would explain the Jamal Adams trade and extension along with the aversion to drafting young Quarterbacks

    Am I reading this wrong? Whom is the final decision maker for the Seahawks?

    • Big Mike

      Carroll made it clear in his initial press conference upon being hired that final decisions were his alone. Final decisions. That’s not to say he doesn’t take input from John and others, but final choice is up to him. There has been no evidence that this structure has changed over the years.

  6. Romeo A57

    Big Mike, thanks that is what I thought. I hope that John does get an opportunity to select a QBoTF in 2024.

    • Peter

      Or “a” qb. Most likely it’s going to take time and a few cracks at it.

      • Blitzy the Clown

        Didn’t the first time.

        Which is probably why we’re here ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • Peter

          Well there is that broncos third.

          Time to start scouting forgotten qbs that the league is overlooking….

  7. geoff u

    Someone a few days ago brought up how little pressure some of these QBs are facing and how that might effect their play in the NFL and not being able to face adversity, so I thought I’d post some raw stats on sack numbers:

    Sanders, sacked an astonishing 22 times already (wtf?)
    Rattler, 16
    Maye, 9
    Ward, 8
    Ewers, 7
    Williams, 5
    Travis, 3
    Nix, 3
    Van Dyke, 2
    Penix Jr, 1
    Leonard, 1

    • BK26

      Helps some guys look better, knowing what they have to deal with. Others maybe the opposite.

  8. BK26

    My take for what it’s worth: if Pete is going to want anyone, not sure how it will be anyone BUT Rattler. I can’t see any underclassman appealing to him compared someone with a few more years and experience. Faced quite a bit of adversity and has come through better for it. Leads the team. DOESN”T FORCE IT AND TURN IT OVER. Alpha leader personality. Very coachable. I have no clue if Pete knows Shane Beamer, but I can see him knowing Frank and liking that coaching style. Where players go and who they play under matters. We are seeing that now with these young guys.

    For John, it’s the talent that he has. His arm, his mobility and pocket presense. The cheapness of getting a young guy in. Finally getting the guy that checks his boxes. His Mahomes. To me, I think Rattler would easily be both of their preferred picks.

    If they pass on him, I think it will be a huge regret. For me, he’s right up there with Caleb Williams. Caleb’s more flashy and big-play, Rattler is more mature and has gone through the ringer. Rattler can go through the trudging and bad games. Caleb hasn’t done it to that level (not that he can’t).

    Finally watched Penix this last weekend (wasn’t too engrossed in the game and was multi-tasking while it was on), and all I thought of was that this looks a lot like when he was in Indiana. Going for the big plays, not going along and letting it unfold. He should have a cakewalk with this offense. I already don’t trust him because of all of the injuries.

    Want to watch Howard and Leonard more still. For Howard, some schools just help guys develop. There is no offense doing it all. KSU coaches their kids up across the board. They learn the sport. They just haven’t had a quarterback that has had the talent to translate to the next level. Where kids play matters almost more than anything else coming into the league. No thanks.

    I just really hope that they don’t look at the depth and just assume that they’ll get someone sooner or later. Pick your guy, do the homework, and then make sure that you get him. I’d be interested to know the depth of other positions to see how a top 100 list looks. The draft is there to get their QBOTF and some interior dline, then fill out lb’s, safeties, additional depth.

    Then the hope for something special is real. A legit window opens, and not just a crack to let the bugs in.

    • Big Mike

      Damn man, you and Rob have me all fired up for Rattler qnow!

      • pdway

        have no scouting reort on his skills – – but, that’s a helluva good name for a QB…..

        • Peter

          Underrated, under discussed traits for QB’s. Does your name seem like that of your position.

  9. 509 Chris

    Great write up Rob thanks for your hard work as always. Sorry if any of this has been discussed already I haven’t really read along for a few days.

    Im very excited to see how much the Hawks really want to get a young qb in. Will they get serious about trading up? If you liked Mahomes why let KC trade up for him? Their pick wasnt that much lower than ours.

    Neal looks really good in Tampa. He had a huge tfl last night on 4th down. Doing the same kind of things we watched him do in Seattle for a literal fraction of what Adams or Diggs, hell even Love costs. This was a huge mistake on this front office. Around the country they say Seattle has one of the best safety rooms, I dont think theve watched us. We’re getting awful play from the back end.

    This team has a problem committing to the run when its working. At the end of the Detroit game when they needed to kill the clock and the run was working they dialed up like 5 passes. It seems with both starting tackles out the only way to get them some time to take deep shots is a heavy dose of these two amazing backs until they start seeing stacked boxes and feast on play action. I can’t decide which back I like more but ZC trucking that guy had the ghost of Beast Mode to it. That will have defenses worrying about how to handle this guy.

    All in all I think I got a little caught up in the preseason hype and have come back to earth. This looks like a .500 team. Lots of good things to build on though and probably trending in the right direction.

  10. Gross MaToast

    My favorite post each week during the season…

    My question regarding drafting a QB…when will the team be sold? With all of the machinations required to post the team for sale, select a buyer and then ratify the new owner, it seems a bit rushed to have a new power structure in place before the ’24 season begins, and although the Commandos were able to get it done in a short timeframe this year, they’re still stuck with the Ron Rivera Revolution for ’23. I don’t see any way Pete isn’t the coach for ’24 unless he steps down during the week of January 8. Even then, the new guy would likely be a Pete acolyte placeholder until ’25. Can you say, “run it back?” That seems the most likely outcome.

    And doesn’t the new guy have to be someone from the Shanahan/McVay lineage not named Shane Norton Jr?

    Anyway, I’d prefer a new QB being selected by not-Pete.

    • 509 Chris

      Are there any McVay disciples succeeding on their own? Watching the rams almost beat Cinci last night and seeing them play well so far this year is a testament to just how good of a coach McVay is. I’m not sure if thats teachable.

  11. Scott

    Rob, have you watched tape of Penix Jr. pre injury at Indiana? Also, have you spent any time watching or listening to his interviews? I’m of the opinion he’s a plug and play guy who has a ceiling of being a top ten qb. I guess we will see in the next few years. Thanks!

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think any QB is plug and play. Some work through issues and survive. But none are plug and play.

      And for Penix, in the system he’s in, it couldn’t be further from what he’s going to face in the NFL. So while I like his arm, I couldn’t disagree more. He has outstanding arm talent but he’s basically going to be learning from scratch at the next level. He’s going to face pressure in the NFL, which he simply doesn’t have right now. He won’t be running an offense like he is. He won’t have receivers overmatching every opponent. His current situation couldn’t be more foreign to the pro’s.

      • cha

        As much as I love Penix, I don’t see him making throws like this with pressure in his face like that.

        • Big Mike

          Serious dime

          • cha

            Watch it again but focus on Bradford (75).

            Watch him clear his area of responsibility and then send the nose tackle flying.

            Oh yeah.

        • NovaHawk

          If you go and look at the Cal game Penix had some amazing throws, at 2:47 of this clip you see almost the same throw… only better.

  12. Jamal Lewsi

    What’s your thoughts on Joe Milton?

    • Rob Staton

      Not someone with a NFL future IMO

  13. Henry

    Rob, have your thoughts on Bo Nix changed? He does seem to play in a super safe offense and 90% of his throws are dink and dunk. The interception he threw against Colorado was horrible. Any time he throws the ball down the field it’s to a guy that’s super wide open. I also saw a stat that said he averages like 5.5 yards per depth of throw, which is the second worst in the nation.

    • Rob Staton

      My thoughts haven’t changed. I’m not excited. He has tools (size, athletic, decent arm) but the offense is painfully simple and I just don’t see a NFL difference maker. Maybe someone drafts him, puts him in a certain scheme and it clicks. But I think that’s what you’re banking on. I’d give him a middle round grade for the tools but there are lots of other QB’s I’d take before him

    • Brodie

      Bo Nix feels like this years Will Levis. Not in terms of skill, but that people just don’t seem to like him. Maybe it’s because he’s at Oregon.

      I think I’ve seen a poster throwing shade on him every time QB comes up, even though Rob isn’t mentioning him in any detail in the articles.

      I have to assume it’s a UW vs UO thing, as many seem to be really high on Penix and discount all of the same issues (bad INT’s, easy offense). I think Penix has the better arm, but Nix is a better runner.

      I agree with Rob, that he doesn’t look like a difference maker in the NFL, but there are only about 10 of those guys. The other 22 are the Kirk Cousins, Jimmy G, Tannehill, Geno, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, guys or worse.

      I’m not planting my flag for Nix, but he seems to be having a nice season and it’s a little surprising to me that he gets singled out in every comment section.

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t think that’s a fair comp. Levis’ situation at Kentucky was chalk and cheese compared to Nix at Oregon

        • Brodie

          The comp begins and ends with ‘people just don’t seem to like him’.

          • Rob Staton

            Maybe. I haven’t got that sense on Nix though. Distrust over his time at Auburn combined with a bit of an easy situation at Oregon, yes. But I think people just had a weird agenda with Levis at times that didn’t really make sense. Like they wanted him to fail. And they seem to think he did just because he went 33rd instead of top-10.

  14. GeorgiaSeahawks

    One DT who played great last year is Cincinatti’s Dontay Corleone. He’s a redshirt sophomore, so is eligible for the ’24 draft if he declares. From PFF before the season:

    “This 6-foot-2, 318-pound interior defensive lineman is a force. His 93.5 overall grade ranked first in FBS among all defensive linemen in 2022, as did his 94.4 run-defense grade. And he’s not just a one-dimensional run stuffer, either.

    He also posted a 15.2 % pass-rush win rate in 2022. At the level of competition Cincinnati plays, he is an immovable object in the middle. He can also stack and shed with quick hands and good strength. He could be a big riser throughout the season with sustained success.”

    • Rushless pass

      He’s a freakishly strong guy

    • Brodie

      He was on Feldman’s Freaks list. Pretty great read. I think he was my favorite write-up for DL guys. Haven’t had a chance to watch him play this year though.

  15. Rob Staton

    I just looked at the cap situation again for 2024 and cannot cannot cannot believe Quandre Diggs & Jamal Adams’ combined cap hits for next year are nearly $50m.

    How TF has this happened?

    And they can’t even wriggle out of these deals without taking on major dead money!

    Nobody talks about this

    • Rob Staton

      Quandre Diggs has the lowest PFF grade in the entire league at his position

      • James Cr.

        Looks like it is ONLY 31 million dead money. Don’t worry Rob – I am sure they will extend Diggs to lower his cap hit *facepalm*.

        • Big Mike

          Nobody talks about this

          Actually…………nobody but those of us here on this blog.

          Don’t worry Rob – I am sure they will extend Diggs to lower his cap hit *facepalm*.

          💯 James

      • geoff u

        Oh ffs… punch me in the face already

    • Brodie

      Yep! This was the crap (I mean cap) situation they got themselves into going into this year – and many others.

      When we were talking free agency, the question was – “Where are they going to find more cap?”

      The answers were:
      Good – extend Nwosu or cut Adams
      OK – Extend Fant, restructure Lockett
      Bad – Restructure Adams and Diggs

      There weren’t any other choices. As baffling as that is to me, they really only had a few options to clear up room and they almost all led to more dead money for aging or underperforming vets. They pulled every level except Fant and went the wrong way with JA.

      Now we’re stuck with a safety group that makes ‘outrageously overpaid’ feel like calling a hurricane a gust of wind. Of all of the blunders this team has made, cap management has to be at or near the very top of the list.

      The worst part is there is no path toward a healthy cap next year. The 49ers just re-did a bunch of contracts for Kittle, Armstead and Trent Williams – and have the most cap space in the NFL ($41M) for 2023. They also have one of the most talent-rich teams AND squandered 3 first rounders (and the rookie contracts) on a QB who isn’t on the team.

      As it stands, they’ll have 4 more players and about $40M more in cap space than us on the books at the start of next year. So frustrating.

  16. Rob Staton

    It worries me that JSN seems to be… struggling

    This sounds very much like he’s down and even GS trying to get him going didn’t trigger much of a response

    • Zxvo3

      I don’t get why the Seahawks would even post that. It just makes JSN look like he’s miserable, it’s not like he got hyped up by Geno’s talk

      • Rob Staton

        I’m a bit worried for him — seems like a slow start has knocked the wind out of his sails

        • STTBM

          Geno is often being too careful. I’ve seen him ignore Bobo and JSN when they were open. I don’t get why they won’t use JSN like a real WR, and why Bobo has only a catch or two in three games.

          Let the kid play, he’s too good not to get him the damned ball…

  17. Zxvo3

    I’m so fascinated by Penix’s arm but I just don’t think his style of play is realistic in the NFL, except if he played for a team like the Dolphins who just constantly churn out explosive plays. And it’s a coincidence that the Dolphins also have a left armed QB.

    My favorite QB in CFB currently is Rattler, he’s got a great story of grit and perseverance. He’s playing at a 1st round level right now IMO. I think in terms of talent, he’s got it all. When teams meet with him at the combine it’ll determine if we can be confident in his character.

    I need to see more of Will Howard. I think Rob mentioned it before that sometimes he needs to learn how to take a sack instead of just throwing aimlessly into the unknown. But he does make great throws that belong in the NFL. I think he can be a solid, but unspectacular starting QB at the next level.

    Tyler Van Dyke intrigues me. He’s come back alive this season when I was all hyped about him last year. He’s got the arm talent and pocket awareness. Sometimes I think he looks awkward when he runs or is escaping the pocket. I don’t think he’s the best athlete of these QBs by any means.

    I think Cam Ward May end up being the guy Seattle picks. There’s something about him that just makes me believe he can be the ultimate point guard QB. Similar to Jalen Hurts. Hopefully he’s got a better arm. He’s a local guy for the Seahawks too. I could see the Seahawks picking him in the 3rd round of the draft and Seahawks Twitter just whining about how we didn’t take Penix all offseason.

    • Rob Staton

      Seahawks Twitter just whining

      Never! 🙂

      • cha

        Top-rated comment in the Seahawks forum on Reddit today in a thread about the concerning state of the defense:

        “It could be worse. They could have given up 70 to Miami on Sunday.”

        • Big Mike

          Man if that isn’t Seattle fans in a nutshell

        • Rob Staton

          That’s a section of this fan base in a nutshell, right there

        • geoff u

          “well the good news is come Monday, the Giants defense is even worse.”

          • geoff u

            Only the Giants, Bears, and Broncos have given up more points so far…

            • Peter

              One pro and one con:

              Thanks to the teams listed we will most likely not have a bottom five defense.


              Due to a few teams like Miami, niners, we most likely won’t have a top five defense.

        • Group Captain Mandrake

          If they played Miami next week, they might give up quite a few points.

          • geoff u

            Yeah, but 70? C’mon, man! We’d hold them to 63 for sure.

            • Big Mike

              I love an optimist

  18. Happy Hawk

    Another great content laden article! Drafting a QB high would be a big departure from the Hawks historical draft preferences. If Geno leads them to a respectable record and maybe a wild card game. Pete will want to run it back with Geno and drafting a QB would be frivolous like it has been the last 11 years.

    • Rob Staton

      My main aim is to get to the end of the year and this not be a thing any more

      Drafting a QB does not have to be to replace Geno. It’s about the fact they have ‘no’ money to spend next year. Replacing Drew Lock’s $4m deal (and he might want a legit shot to start somewhere else anyway) with a cheaper rookie deal just makes sense. Then you develop that QB behind Geno. Personally, I think Geno has a way to go to justify a $31-41m deal next year but we’ll see what happens.

      The Seahawks equally do not have a ‘historical draft preference’ to… avoid drafting the main position in the sport! They had a legit franchise QB for years. They are not against drafting a QB. Even when they had a legit franchise QB they flirted with drafting QB’s early. Let’s shake this from the conscious once and for all, please, that it’s not a ‘preference’ to take a QB.

      If there’s a talented QB John really likes, he’s taking him. This is a good QB class and the chances are he will like some of them.

      • geoff u

        If they don’t take a QB (and unless we win min. 2 playoff games), I am all in on new owners and coaches. This is getting ridiculous.

        • Peter

          I don’t think we’ll know about qbs until we see it.

          I can totally see Rob’s point that they haven’t needed to. However to the concept of development that remains a question.

          I think folks might disagree with this but part of me thinks when the first time you select a qb and you get Wilson it freezes up the part of you that takes risks. Meaning that was a gm defining pick.

          Are the seahawks adverse to it? Who knows.

          I do know the patriots, steelers, greenbay, giants, and saints all drafted a good deal of qbs after they got there guy. With the patriots drafting 10 qbs! And Green bay doing the very thing many of us advocate which is drafting and sitting. ( patriots 10 picks, steelers 5, greenbay 3, giants 5, saints 3)

          I don’t think John would pass on “his guy,” ever. But his guy and our draft slotting nay never match up.

          • Rob Staton

            My guess is John is very proud of his QB judgement and is eager to only invest in a player he believes can be a quality starter. This in turn has led to some hesitation on drafting a QB but he’s hardly passed on a bevvy of ‘wish we had him’ QB’s over the years

            The fact he was referencing the 2024 QB class in his press conference immediately after the 2023 draft makes me think he’s got an eye on one or more players here. They are going to need two things very soon:

            1. A cheaper backup

            2. Someone who can potentially one day be a long term option

            We are reaching the point where these two things come together in 2024 IMO

            • Peter

              That’s a very salient point, Rob. Amongst the hand wringing ( guilty) there’s been very few players that would have done anything had we drafted them.

              When looking through the names no one particularly popped. Sure names we knew like Hundley but no one I think really could be a serious replacement without a pinch of wishing.

            • Peanut

              I just personally love a QB pick that gives a long-term plan vibe. As much of a good guy Geno is, i would love to have a young QB on the team, that grows and becomes a potential star. Became a fan after Wilson was already the guy, so now i want future planning.

              Again it seems that this upcoming draft has good value on both of the positions we want a stable future at, that being interior d-line and quarterback.

            • geoff u

              Yep, I have gone back and looked at all the QBs we passed on since Russell Wilson and (outside of the 2023 draft) the only one I can see who really made it in the NFL was Jalen Hurts.

              As much as I want to find a franchise QB or take our shots, the only way John was getting one was to trade up, and according to rumors he was willing to for Josh Allen. John is clearly very choosy, and perhaps for good reason, but at some point you do have to make a move for someone.

              Peter mentions the Patriots drafting 10 qbs, and how many of them panned out? None really since they got lucky with Tom Brady. Matt Cassel and Mac Jones, neither of whom I would consider a franchise QB.

  19. Ukhawk

    Love the flag plant on Rattler, Rob!

    Like him and agree he’s defo a fit and has a great skillset

  20. Andy J

    I know your post is about Will Howard… but every time I watch the highlights Ben Sinnott keeps making plays.

    Gotta also say it is a real joy to finally see the Hawk offense running through the TEs.

    • Rob Staton

      I really like Sinnott. Howard, Sinnott, Giddens and Beebe — great talent on offense there

  21. Palatypus

    I was looking at the Senior Bowl watchlist today and noticed that Mississippi State has 20, yes TWENTY, players on it!

  22. DW

    Tavon Austin visiting the Hawks. You know what that means. Time for my millionth re-watch!

    • geoff u

      If only we had some up and coming young receivers we wouldn’t have to bring in an almost retired retread like Tavon.

      • MaxInVan

        Maybe they are looking at a boost in the return game?

        • geoff u

          Was he ever all that good at the return game? Maybe as a rookie. And now at 33 years old? Unlikely.

          • Palatypus

            He was only good against us. He could only catch the ball within a couple yards of the line of scrimmage and then get 20 yards after the catch.

            Basically, how we are trying to use JSN, and Eskridge before him.

    • Brodie

      22 million views for a Tavon Austin highlight reel?!?!

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a highlight video close to that.

      DW is responsible for a million. Who are the other 21 people who’ve watched this thing a million times each?

  23. Romeo A57

    Am I the only person who believes the lack of JSN or Bobo usage is only to justify bringing Eskridge back to the Active Roster when he gets off the Bad Boy list?

    I see Pete still trying to justify Jamal Adams and can’t see him giving up on Eskridge for a least a few more years.

    • Big Mike

      Sadly possible

    • Jordan

      There just aren’t going to many opportunities for a WR3 when your personnel packages, largely 12 and 13, are having to account for protecting two backup Offensive Tackles. No fault of JSN, Geno, or Waldron – they’re making the most of a tough situation at present.

      • Romeo A57

        If this is the case, that there just isn’t very many opportunities for a WR3 in the Seahawks Offense, how can spending a first round pick on a Wide Receiver be justifiable with all of the big holes on the Seahawks Defense?

        • Tatupu51

          The offense right now is without their two starting tackles and need to use extra protection. When Cross and Lucas return, the offense opens up again.

        • Troy D

          Cause they were draftting BPA on their board and also know injuries happen and things change like Tight ends maybe leaving.

    • Brodie

      I always felt like Eskridge was a heavily influenced Waldron pick. He seemed to fit that fly-sweep/slot guy that the rams used. When LA went with Tutu Atwell (same type) with the pick after, it seemed to make sense.

      As much as they might was Eskridge to succeed, there shouldn’t be any chance that they are holding the rookies back as any kind of accommodation for him.

      After the bye week, I think the usage for JSN will pick up.

      The more concerning thing to me is JSN’s complete lack of fire in the video above. Geno trying to get him fired up and is met with the inconsolable body language of a kid who just dropped his ice cream cone in the sand.

      • Palatypus

        Tutu Atwell might have been Waldron’s guy, but Pete probably vetoed that because Eskridge is a good blocker and much bigger.

        Also, L.J. Collier and Dee Eskridge had great Senior Bowls.

      • DC1234

        Lets give the kid some time. He probably isnt 100% with his wrist surgery. Pete said it was a 3-4 week recovery. He played all the games so far.

        You can think maybe he shouldnt be out there until he is fully healed. That way he wont lose confidence. That is on Pete.

        JSN being down shows he cares. He feels bad he is not contributing what he thinks he can do.

        We are just seeing Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison contributing, and think whats wrong with JSN. Give it time. He barely played his last year at OSU.

      • Romeo A57

        It is still very early in JSN’s career but that video indicates immaturity and or softness. Playing football in College or High School he was most often the dominate player on the field and it was easy. The NFL has a lot of athletes near his level and the game is a lot harder. Probably not used to being WR3 because Tyler and DK are so much better than him.

        • DC1234

          He came back from wrist surgery in the second preseason game and not miss a single regular season game. I dont see him as soft.

          Also we are all speculating why he was so down. So a player cant be down/upset during a game??

          He prob was WR3 in OSU with Garrett Wilson and Olave. So i dont think he is not use to being wr3

        • 509 Chris

          A little immaturity isn’t the end of the world. Vernon Davis was sent back to the locker room during a game and a couple years later said the coach was absolutely right and he had some growing up to do. I’d say Davis worked out pretty good as a pro.

          • DC1234

            I think us seahawks fans want rookies to contribute day 1. Last year we were spoiled with most of the draft picks contributing right away. That is rare.

            Also, remember Kenneth Walker did not pop until later in the season when Penny was out.

            Give JSN time before we read into his body language.

  24. Trevor

    Intial 2024 Hawks NFL Mock

    Rd #1 Spencer Rattler (QB South Carolina) seems like the perfect fit for the Hawks and the player. Rob you are on to something here with Rattler.
    Rd #2 Cooper Beebe
    Rd #3 McKinley Jackson (DT Texas A&M) he would be an absolute steal of a pick early in Rd 3 with that Denver pick.
    Rd#3 T’Vondre Sweat (NT Texas) Hawks get thier massive NT who can be an elite run stuffer with surprising athleticsm.

    Really hope QB of the future then interior DL / OL are the first four picks.
    Then on Day 3 look at LB, S TE.

    • Hawkcrazy

      I think the third round pick is the later of Denver’s and New Orleans 3rd round pick which Denver had. So we have to want both Denver and New Orleans to lose. This is not a hard thing for me to do.

  25. Sea Mode

    Was going to bring up Xavier Legette myself. Exciting prospect.

  26. Robert Las Vegas

    Rob I have a question for you do you have any thoughts on Maason Smith the DT out of LSU. They could be question about character but getting suspended for signing autographs in this day in age is kinda is kinda comical. It happened in 2021 the NCAA just got around to it.he has some potential.any quick thoughts

    • Rob Staton

      I think he has a good swim move which suggests an element of athleticism but also find him quite stiff and rigid at times too. He kind of leaves you wanting more.

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