Still trying to work out Whitney Mercilus

Every year there seems to be at least one player you struggle to work out. Increasingly I’ve found that player to be a pass rusher. In 2010, I occasionally mocked Jason Pierre-Paul to Seattle at #14. At the same time, it seemed impossible to judge what kind of player he would become. He had the elite measurables and a ceiling higher than virtually any other player in the draft. Yet the tape was inconsistent, he was an inexperienced JUCO transfer and the question marks were almost as substantial as the potential. He turned out pretty well in the end.

Last year, Robert Quinn was another athletic defensive end who flashed an effective speed rush, consistently troubling college offensive lineman. Many ranked him as a top-ten talent, yet he missed his final year at UNC through suspension and looked like a bit of a one-trick pony. He had five sacks as a rookie and grew into a role at St. Louis, but can he develop into a productive pass rusher? The jury’s still out.

This year’s unknown quantity comes in the form of Whitney Mercilus, who came from nowhere in 2011 to lead the NCAA with 16 sacks. You put on the tape, sit down and try to work out how good this guy is going to be. But you can’t. At least I can’t. This is the third time since he declared for the draft that I’ve sat down and considered what kind of pro he’ll become. Is he a one-year wonder? Or is his emphatic junior year a sign of things to come?

Perhaps the bigger question is whether teams will have the same view. Can they work him out any better?

Opinions are mixed on Mercilus, but a couple of high profile scouts are not convinced. Russ Lande ranked him at #53 on his big board while Kevin Wiedl from Scouts Inc. recently wrote:

“Mercilus is reaping the rewards of a good showing at the combine. He showed better athleticism than expected (4.68 in the 40, 4.53 short shuttle, 7.17 three-cone drill), and confirmed the quick first step that allows him to get upfield and pressure the quarterback. Mercilus also forced an FBS-best nine fumbles in 2011, so he has shown a knack for making splash plays.

“However, on tape Mercilus lacks elite power and strength as a pass-rusher, and I also have questions about his ability to anchor against the run when caught in a phone booth with blockers. And while he shows a good motor, Mercilus doesn’t play with much urgency or aggressiveness. His stats and upfield quickness won’t mean much if he is viewed as a one-trick pony who does only one thing well. Mercilus was in the first-round mix at one point, but after taking a longer look I wouldn’t draft him until somewhere in the middle of the second round.”

I’m a little more intrigued by Mercilus, but also understand the concerns. In my last mock draft I had him going #7 overall to Jacksonville as a wildcard pick. The Jags need another pass rusher, but GM Gene Smith likes to avoid drama. Mercilus has a flawless character and charming personality, with the kind of polar-opposite work ethic to previous Jacksonville pick/bust Derrick Harvey. Smith also thinks outside of the box (see: Tyson Alualu) and could be looking to emulate the success of last year’s #7 selection – Aldon Smith. Let’s not forget, most people were very surprised when the 49ers took Smith that early. We recently looked into the possibility of Mercilus emulating Smith as a pass-rush specialist.

Of course, that line of thinking is redundant if the new owner in Jacksonville, Shahid Khan, is trying his best to sell tickets. In that case the Jaguars may go for the flashy pick, possibly on offense, to bring in the crowds. Rumours circulate about the future of the team’s GM despite his recent new contract and the simple fact is, nobody knows exactly who’s making the calls in Jacksonville right now. It’s worth noting, however, that under Smith the team has traditionally taken players they’ve shown a lot of pre-draft interest in. Mercilu had a private workout with the Jaguars and several staff members attended the Illinois pro-day.

Here’s what I like about the guy – as a pass rusher he has some talent. Although not a physical freak of nature, he’s a plus athlete with good first-step quickness. There are times (see the tape below) where he engages, uses good hand placement and pad level, before disengaging to beat his man. Although he can improve his upper body power without negating his speed, he also showed a surprising punch. He has long arms – an en vogue trait for pass rushers these days – and his production last year is unmatched. Mercilus has the high motor to match the athleticism and his nine forced fumbles last year show he has a knack for forcing turnovers not just sacks. He’s the kind of guy that will excite some coaches due to the athletic potential and the production, and you’ll find ways to make him effective in certain calls. Even in limited snaps, he could be the one pass rusher from this class that goes beyond expectations as a rookie.

He’s a thinker on the field, often using three or four plays against a lineman to set up a sack. He’ll test out a tackle deliberately making the same move three times to the outside and then on the fourth play, fake it and dip inside with an effective swim. As a pass rusher it’s important to be more than just a pure speed guy, so it works in his favour in a big way that he can play with his head as well as his feet/hands.

Here’s what I don’t like – run defense. It’s far from great and severely limits his stock as a three-down player and any team that drafts him will need to be prepared for this. Against an effective run team like Wisconsin he was ineffective, struggling to hold position or set an edge. Wisconsin used the run to set up the pass via play action and bootlegs, and it limited what Mercilus could do. Admittedly, he probably didn’t face another team quite like that in terms of run offense in college. At the same time, he may well come up against that kind of physical run game every week in the NFL. He looked better against Ohio State, doing a better job reading plays including one particular QB draw. But he doesn’t quite have the same nose for the ball on rushing downs.

In the game against UCLA I was concerned that while he abused one particular tackle on a few occasions he was also blocked out by a tight end. He struggled a bit against a guy he should dominate. How many of the sacks Mercilus recorded last season are based on physical domination, and how many are down to his own smarts and effective scheming? Will these two aspects have the same impact for the player in the NFL? Although he lined up in different roles for Illinois – including inside for some snaps – he’ll have a more limited role at the next level. He’s best suited as a 4-3 guy for me and doesn’t look adept to switch to the OLB role in a 3-4, at least permanently.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Mercilus did end up going as high as #7 to Jacksonville. It equally wouldn’t surprise me if he lasted into the top half of round two. In the NFL, he could be the next big impact pass rusher, or he could be the next Everette Brown. I’ve come to the conclusion that Whitney Mercilus will be this year’s ‘tough to fathom’ prospect.


  1. Lenny253


    How will the signing of Leroy Hill affect the draft in your IYO. Hill did play all 16 games last year and lookd pretty good. It seems now all we need is a LB and a Pass Rusher which both could be accoomplished by signing Upshaw. If KJ is moved to the Mike, Upshaw could play the Sam, and Hill at the Will. I understand he only signed a 1 year deal but I think we could grab a potential Hill replacement later in this draft or a high pick next year. Not to mention we signed a couple of LB scrubs for depth. Whats the chances of us picking up some offensive Weapons for Flynn in Rds 2 and 3. What caliber of offensive weapons are there in rounds 2-4.

    • Rob

      Hey Lenny,

      I’m not sure too much has changed. You’ve laid out a pretty compelling case for how things could shape up with the pick at #12 and how Hill fits. Essentially, Seattle has given itself a lot of options at linebacker. They’re hunting for value at this time of the year and making sure they don’t have to panic in the draft, or panic to start rookies. As for weapons for Flynn… well Flynn will have to win the starters job first. Expect a running back in the first three rounds. There’s excellent depth at WR this year and in R1-3 for runners. It’s a weak tight end class.

  2. Madmark

    When i look 4-3 in seattle i see it as DE, 2 DT, and leo who does nothing but rush QB. This guy would fit leo but not the DE side.

  3. Madmark

    10 linebackers on roster now HeHe

  4. Madmark

    i usually listen to Charley Casserly his 2 rounds mock draft has Coby Fleener at pick 50 and i assure you he won’t be there cause i’d snatch him at 43.

  5. Bobby Cink

    Khan is a tough owner to figure out at this because he is so new. Between his membership in Beta Theta Pi fraternity and his GMs preference in players without character concerns, I would expect that to be the kind of player picked. But then again, I’m not sure how “classy” he would prefer his football players to be.

  6. Lenny253


    As far as Flynn winning the Job, he will. Nobody wants to see Tavaris tapping the ball 4x before making a decision.

  7. Michael (CLT)

    Does anyone else think moving KJ to MIKE is a huge risk. Similar to moving Chancellor to OLB?

  8. Rob

    Wright moving from SLB to the MIKE would be a much smoother transition than moving a pro-bowl safety to linebacker. I wouldn’t constitute it as a ‘huge’ risk.

  9. Brandon Adams

    With the NFL becoming a purer passing league, one-trick pass-rushing ponies like Aldon and Mercilus are going to see their stock increase. Even Pete Carroll seems less interested in fully-rounded players and more interested in guys that can do a few things well.

  10. Bryan

    Michael (CLT) – Why would you move KJ to MLB? I doubt that will happen. As of right now, the LB core would be MLB Ruud, SLB KJ Wright WLB Hill. If you moved KJ to MLB, where would you put Ruud?

    The 2012 MLB will likely be either Ruud or a rookie, depending on who falls to us in the draft. I cannot see a scenario where they move KJ Wright to MLB. I could see Malcolm Smith as a MLB before KJ.

  11. Michael (CLT)


    I don’t disagree. I would suggest drafting Upshaw would change those scenarios drastically.

  12. Rob

    A heads up for those wondering – the next pick in the community mock has been postponed til Sunday.

  13. Bryan

    Michael (CLT) – I would think Upshaw be mostly a DE on passing downs and play possibly SLB on early downs. I think one of the points that has been made is that the Upshaw pick (if made) really would allow his versatility to come into play and that we would really have a more flexible base defense.

    I think our defense in 2012 depends much more on who we draft as a second SS than it does on Upshaw. The option to play frequent nickel coverage with an effective pass rush (Upshaw and Clemmons) and the ability to still stop the run would be huge for the team’s success.

  14. Michael (CLT)

    Where does Red play then?

  15. Doug

    Red plays in Seattle,,,yuk yuk

  16. Christon

    Mercilus is a lot like Melvin Ingram to me…He may flash a few really good plays a game in pass rush situations. But the rest of the time he looks like he is getting beat bad and is totally ineffective. I see him a more of 2nd to 3rd rounder type talent but not someone the Hawks should consider with the 12th pick. I would much rather have a safter pick with Kuechly, DeCastro, or even Dont’a Hightower at 12 than Mercilus.

    Hey Rob, – why haven’t we really talked about Dont’a Hightower as a possibility at 12 for the Hawks? I know you did a little in the rumor with Mark Barron last week but you haven’t really broken down his tape or discussed him as a possibility. I think he might be in play for the Hawks at 12 because 1) he can pressure the QB abount as good as anyone in this draft when comming off the edge and they did use him occasionally as a DE 2) He’s big for his position (LB) 6’3″ish, 265 which Pete likes, 3) He can play the Mike position or Will – He’s better in space then Upshaw. Why wouldn’t the Hawks consider him at 12 or try to move down a little before taking him?

  17. Leonard

    Ideally Red is not on the field during passing downs. If he is on the field it would likely be at DT so we could upgrade the pass rush at DE with Upshaw, Ingram, Perry, McClellin or whoever it is they draft. It might even be Dexter Davis or Konz.

    Rob, I share your frustration with Mercilus. After looking at his stats I really wanted to like him. I love guys that force fumbles. Watching him in games though it seems like all he does is make big plays. Oddly that is not a good thing. Two or three times a game he makes a play and it looks like he is a pro playing against highschoolers. Between those plays it’s like he is just going through the motions. Sometimes you really have to look hard to find him. Maybe it is some kind of weird strategy to make the blocker over confident just so he can beat him like a drum once a quater. The upside is huge. But it seems just as likely he will have to be traded to the Raiders for a 7th rounder in two years. Where do you draft a guy like that?

  18. A. Simmons

    From his stats and description, he sounds like what we want: a situational pass rusher for 3rd down. A guy that comes in when Red is out that can get to the QB.

    But this guy doesn’t look near good enough in the video. He engages blockers and stays with them. That’s not his job. His job is to get by them as quickly as possible and get to the QB or at least disrupt the blocking scheme making his blocker work very hard to deal with him to tire the blocker out. He’s not doing that. Where’s his spin move and his swim move. I know it’s hard to find a Dwight Freeney. But you watch Freeney play and his speed off line is insane and his moves leave most tackles looking dumbly into space. You gotta double Freeney. This guy doesn’t look like he requires double teams at all. I think we’re looking for someone with scary game speed as well as moves.

    I think run defense is not necessarily a factor. I think they feel that we have plenty of quality run defenders. The guy we’re going after is a pure pass rusher with scary speed and an arsenal of pass rush moves. Not sure it is Mercilus.

  19. SHawn

    Ruud isnt a starter. He is veteran depth at its most horrible. KJ could and has (last year’s opener against SF) played well in the middle. If we draft Upshaw, he moves there permanantly. If not then we hopefully draft Hightower and he stays where he was most of last year. Either way, LB is the hot spot for our # 12 pick.

    Might not be for sure though, I could see it being DeCastro or Reiff, or Floyd if he falls to us. Ideally looking for a trade down like most other fans. Any of these 5 guys will be a great pick at 16-19 and a potential steal at 21-23.

  20. Rob

    Michael – Red doesn’t play obvious passing downs. The suggestion was SLB on early downs, pure DE on third.

    Christon – I’ve published a lot of tape on Hightower. #12 is too high for the guy in my view and I very much doubt he’ll be the pick unless Seattle makes a substantial move down the board. Projecting that is tough and if we were to go through every prospect who’s an option via trade down, it’d take a while and might ultimately be a waste of time. If such a move occurs and we do draft Hightower, we’ll do a big review post-draft.

    SHawn – It will be a major upset IMO if the team goes OL or WR in round one.

  21. Bryan

    Michael (CLT) – Sorry my post wasn’t more clear, but I see Red coming off the field on 3rd down when we need a pass rush. As Rob stated, I see Upshaw as SLB on 1st and 2nd down and Red’s DE spot on 3rd.

  22. Hawkfin

    Thanks for the breakdown and more views as well as clips on Whitney for everybody to see. I appreciate that!

    I’ve made my say on him plenty here, but I don’t agree with the norm.
    Talk about looking for the negative things? Lets look at all the positives like people say we should be doing with Upshaw?

    Freeny as matured as he’s been in the Pro’s. He didn’t always show everything he has today in my view.

    I think this guy is the real deal. You don’t tend to make a whole lot of plays at DE, when you have a massive LT right in front of you’re face. You guy’s are failing to realize he’s playing hands down, man up 1 on 1 or with help from the TE. To where a guy like Upshaw is playing in space. He’s free to roam and is in a up stance ready to fly. What Whitney does is the MORE traditional look in the NFL and a true DE, and for the most part he beats his man and provides decent run support and power. And yes, they do double him often. Yet, he makes plays each game. Big plays. Those plays are game changers and you’re lucky to see those. He’s a play maker at DE that we need. He’s got the speed at the edge and enough power to hold his own and clog things up.

    You guy’s also have to realize, he’s got the frame to add 10-20 pounds in the Pro’s easily. All guy’s get bigger and as they age and better work out techniques with top trainers. He’s going to gain more power, even though I still see enough power on the tape now.

    I do see him struggle to get off blocks at times, that’s a good point. It’s probably the biggest problem that I see with him. But, he’s moving the tackle where he wants to go and he can clog the hole. He could learn some new techniques I’m sure, and use his shove off more. But I have seen him use it when he wants too and stuff the run.
    These tackles are also doing a fantastic job with staying on there blocks to the whistle, and grabbing him every chance they can. It seems to me they really focused and made a point to do that. I think they game planned against him.
    Wouldn’t you game plan for a guy that lead the nation in sacks and forces turnovers every game?

    But, I saw plenty of times where he shoved them off and put them on there butts too.
    I’m also sure he’ll learn some new techniques, moves, power, etc.

    We can find flaws with any player. There is enough good things in my view here and he fits everything we are looking for with stats to prove it also.
    I think he’ll be one of the best in the Pro’s, and the closest thing you’re going to find to a pressure DE and solve pass rush problems.

    Now, I would LOVE to add a Upshaw or Hightower on the inside or moving around the line to go with this. But, they need to be able to cover then.
    But this is you’re speed on the outside edge like a Freeny, and I think it’s a rare thing to find. I think Whitney has it. He also looks a lot thicker down low and in the legs then I first thought.
    The difference between Ingram and Whitney – Ingram is playing like Upshaw out in space. He gets tore up on the blocks and run support. Whitney is playing a Pro DE and holds his own against the big men at LT. The size/frame are not that close either.

    I’ve said this before, but one last time- Would you question the pick if he duplicated his stats his SR. year?
    I don’t think so – And the Pro’s wouldn’t either. He’d be a top 5 pick.

    Whitney will easily go in the first round and somewhere between 10-20. He’s worth the pick at 12 or a trade down first.
    Putting him in the 2nd is a joke. It will not happen.

    I think Hawks need to look for 2 things, but are different and can’t be solved with 1 pick: For some reason, I think people here think Upshaw can fix both.

    -Speed Edge rusher/True DE/Sack Artist and pressure guy = Whitney/DE

    -Huge massive hitter/Nasty guy/Shut down the run and clog the lanes/Some blitzing or pressure capabilities/Coverage guy in a LB role = Hightower/LB
    (Or maybe Upshaw/LB)

  23. AlaskaHawk

    Rob – I’m on board with Upshaw as a DE that provides pass rush. He looks like a tackling machine on tape.

    I also have to agree with the others though – there are greater needs. It wouldn’t be an upset to pick a LB or WR, so much as recognizing that we have a lot worse problems in other areas then the defensive line.

  24. Misfit74

    This mock from / Dan Shonka interestingly has Mercilus going to Seattle at #12. Ingram and Upshaw both outside the first 19 picks. Branch is a first-rounder. I don’t think it’s inconceivable that Branch and Mercilus could switch places, either. The upside as pass-rushers is greater with those two even if they are more raw or unproven.

    I think our current front office aren’t afraid to take chances – swing and miss, if you will, while trying to hit the home run. I think the only reason they passed on a similar player in Jason Pierre-Paul last year is because of what Earl Thomas could do and how important that type of player is to the scheme Carroll and Co. want to run. I think this FO wants impact players that can grown and develop along with the peak of the roster. Polished guys with lower ceilings like Upshaw and Ingram maybe not be the types of players this regime will settle for. Ruskell would, but things have changed.

  25. Misfit74

    Eh, forgot link:

  26. Rob

    If Seattle doesn’t take Upshaw or Ingram it won’t be because they aren’t the type of guys this front office want to take.

  27. Joe The Jarhead

    An assumption that flynn is automatically going to win the starting job is purely because he is new. Everyone wants to see who they haven’t seen yet. Rob has the right idea in waiting for Carroll to announce who the qb is. Flynn has proven nothing. As for number 12 I no longer see anyreal value for pass rusher at that pick. Coples nor Ingram will be effective rusher at the next level and I feel that Upshaw could be had later, as his stock has absolutely nose dived. Of course a lack of trading partners may force our hand. Of course the funny part willbe seeing all the pundits reaction when we choose Upshaw. With Kuechly still on the board??? How DARE we!! Haha

  28. brazilianhawk

    Upshaw stock has nose dived according to whom? Draftnicks?

    Smart front offices don’t put much stock on combine/pro days. If we don’t take him at 12th, he won’t last until 15th.

  29. Rob

    Upshaw’s stock has dipped among the people who championed him as a top-10 pick at the Senior Bowl and then changed their minds at the combine. The kind of people who don’t follow college football until late Jan, and are then media ‘experts’.

  30. FWBrodie

    You won’t beat Mercilus’ motor, and he really does play with consistent low pad level to maximize the strength he does possess. I kind of see him as an opposite player to Chandler Jones who sometimes plays high and does not get the most out of his ability because of it. One thing I notice immediately watching Mercilus is how much his head and body bounce back upon making first contact with a tackle. He’s just not as powerful as some of his competition a lot of the time, although as a pass rusher he is often able to overcome that with effort, speed, and technique. He may not be the stoutest of anchors, but he’s much more able to hold his ground and turn the corner than Andre Branch. He’s the kind of player who may not ever be dominant, but any team could find ways to use him effectively.

  31. Soggyblogger

    Interesting that Tannehill did not get drafted in the first round in the mock draft. My guess is we would take him at 12 if available. For Hawkfin’s sake, I am so glad you wrote this article, and I think his point about Mercilus being a top five pick if he had two years of such monster production is significant and worth wondering about.

  32. Rob

    I’m led to believe Tannehill isn’t even Seattle’s 3rd ranked quarterback on their board. Nobody should expect to see a quarterback drafted in R1-2… and even the third round is more unlikely than likely at this stage.

  33. Joe The Jarhead

    Did I not say we will draft Upshaw at 12? And we can’t trade because he will be off the board by 16. His draft stock HAS dipped according to media outlets that the average fan has access to. I don’t personally have inside FO info from 32 NFL teams so that is what I have to rely on. He personally is my highest rated player who will likely be available to us. As I have stated numerous times on this blog. An observation stated means just that. An observation, not an indictment

  34. Soggyblogger

    Wow, that’s interesting, Rob. They had me fooled. My impression is that this FO understands the need for hiding their intentions regarding the draft, and that leaves us (and our enemies) guessing. Perhaps the NFL has not reached the stage of Spy Vs. Spy, but every team is looking for an advantage.

    IF the Seahawks thought Tannehill has great potential, what would they do leading up to the draft? Mightn’t they tell the general public and “leak” just the opposite? It might be the smart thing to do.

    I find it interesting that the Seahawks are thought to be interested in trading down to about the position they were drafting in last year, and yet last year they “reached” from that position to draft someone many thought we could get in the second round (I know the arguments against that) and so what is interesting is if they can trade down, will they then “reach” again or take the generally thought of BPA at that point? Since they did not take any of those who were thought of as BPA last year.

    Again, looking back at last year, if we had this years picks last year who might we have taken? The BPA at 12 and then hope for Carpenter with the 43rd pick?

  35. Rob

    If they had the #12 pick last year, I’d be willing to commit a lot of faith into the likelihood they would’ve taken either Nate Solder or Mike Pouncey.

  36. Misfit74

    Mercilus featured on Shutdown Corner:

    I like him and Andre Branch a lot. Also Vinnie Curry.

  37. Misfit74

    Dream mock draft here for me, has us taking M.Floyd in 1 and Mercilus in 2 (what a coup that would be!):

  38. Hawkfin

    Good links and info. Thanks Misfit.

    I don’t think Mercilus will come close to lasting until the 2nd round though. I think he’ll be a draft riser and go somewhat early. That would be a dream mock for me also, but I’m not sold on Floyd as being the best of the wides.
    I would say Hightower and Mercilus would be even more potent if something like that could happen. And then take a WR in the 3rd as they are deep.

    I think we could come close to this mock by doing:
    Mercilus at 12
    And then one of the other top wides in the 2nd. (S. Hill, Ruben Randel, Alshon Jeffery’s, etc.)
    Some of these wides may be better then Floyd anyway.

    Check out Ruben Randel/LSU and tell me what you think?
    Under utilized so the stats are low, but I think he’s amazing.

    Rob – Are you going to do any of the wides like you did the RB’s?
    That would be cool if so.

  39. Rob

    I doubt we’ll dip into the wide outs, although it might be a case of publishing some tape depending on time if people want it. I don’t expect the Seahawks to look at WR’s or CB’s early unless the value is substantial. Running back will be one of the big priorities in this draft.

  40. Hawkfin

    Thanks Rob. I personally would love to see it.

    I could understand the CB as I think we are looking pretty good there right now, but I think we should be looking at the WR.
    There is a ton of good one’s this year and they all have HUGE size with some decent speed.

    I’m not sold we don’t have a hole there anyway. I mean I like Rice, but he’s got some injury issues. I’m not sold on Williams at all, and even if he bounces back he’s getting long in the tooth. I really question if he can get away from defenders much at all.
    It’s kind of looking like Golden Tate is not working out so well also.

    Baldwin looks good right now, but will keep it up? The others are just so so, with questions.

    It would be nice to get a tall/speed/#1 wide of the future and another weapon for Flynn.

    I do understand it’s hard to rate wides though. I personally had problems with it. Everybody seems like they look good on tape. But, it would be nice to see side by side video’s like the RB’s. Or at least some round 2-4 prospects.

    Anyway, whatever you can do or have time for would be appreciated. 🙂
    Thanks Rob

  41. Misfit74

    I have to agree with the skepticism that Mercilus will be there at our 2nd. He’s a guy who could very well crack the 1st (mid to late).

    This WR class is really good. I’d be thrilled with any one of Floyd, Randle, or Blackmon. I like Randle a ton and he’s be a steal at our 2nd. I think we have our deep threat already in Lockette, so I’d be against Stephen Hill. I agree with Rob in that the value would really have to be there so one of the top few guys might happen but I doubt we do much in the way of later-round guys since we have Durham and Lockette already. I like Brian Quick, though, as a later-round guy but there are a lot of quality WR prospects throughout this draft.

    The exciting thing about this draft is that we pick high enough to land (at least) two quality prospects at positions that are deep. I think WR, DE, LB, and RB in this draft are all deep enough w/out having to reach. And we addressed enough of our needs previously throughout the roster to not really have any glaring needs to force that issue, though we know pass-rusher and LB are still ‘concerns’. I have concerns about having a true #2 WR (FL or SE) and this draft could be a sweet spot for that even if it’s not a glaring need, per se.

  42. James

    Well, the more I read and watch video and think about it, the less clear I am on how the Seahawks might be ranking their draft board. It does seem sure, however, that the Seahawks will land a player at #12 who will really improve the team. I suspect that the two players with the highest grades on their board when their turn comes will be DeCastro and Kuechly. They are high reward, low risk players, but the problem is, they play positions of low value. The Seahawks are in good shape on the OL, assuming everyone is healthy; and the thought is that MLB can be filled in later rounds.

    Rob and Kip’s view that the Seahawks may be expanding their defensive scheme to incorporate the elephant, and that Upshaw and Ingram are high on their board to man this new position, is very intriguing. The scheme change should boost the pass rush, which is the weakest part of the team. It would mean KJ Wright moving to Mike LB. If John and Pete stay on the beaten path and add a new Leo, the choice is likely to be Mercilus or Perry, either of whom would add a jolt of electricity. Then there is Coples, who fits Pete’s bigger-faster-stronger matra, and is an athlete comparable to Julius Peppers and Mario Williams. If Coples plays to his capability, the Seahawks could hit the jackpot with a dominant pro-bowl DE; but Coples is also a huge risk to go bust. His play and body language suggest a player with an attitude of defiance who may not have the make-up for NFL success. I trust Pete will be able to read him and make the right decision.

    As much as I love Upshaw and believe he would bring a lot to the Seahawks, my choice is Kuechly. I just believe he is a special player who can be the franchise qb of the defense. Dave Wyman, who should know, is concerned about how Kuechly will attack the pile since he doesn’t play with a lot of force, but I see Kuechly as a shut-down machine. God bless the NFL draft!

  43. A. Simmons

    I watched more of this guy on film. He is fast. This might be our guy. He’s long and has a frame that could add more muscle. He is so fast that he gets held often. It’s will come down to why it took him so long to flash. If it isn’t because of work ethic and he’s more of a Jason Pierre-Paul raw guy, we’ll probably grab this guy. Faster than Upshaw and Ingram and it shows on the field. Squirrely athletic QBs will not escape this guy. He will run them down like a hound and make the kill.

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