Sunday draft notes on James, Manziel & Easley

Ja'Wuan James appears destined to be a first round pick

When you get this close, you learn one or two nuggets about the way the league is viewing the draft. We get a good idea who’s going to go in the top five. We know who’s likely to fall.

And we get the occasional surprise consensus first round pick.

In 2012 about a week or two before the draft it emerged that Chandler Jones was a round one lock. The media had him tagged not unfairly as a second or third round pick, but the NFL felt differently. There was talk he could be the first pass rusher off the board — but either way he wasn’t going to get out of the first round.

A handful of pass rushers went before Jones in the end but he was drafted by New England with the 21st overall pick.

This year’s version is Tennessee tackle Ja’Wuan James. Most people expected him to be a second round pick — so it was interesting to see Mark Dominik refer to him as a first round lock a few days ago. Now Adam Beasley from the Miami Herald is reporting the Dolphins have five first round grades on five offensive tackles — including James.

The other four players are, predictably — Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin.

This quote from Beasley’s piece is also interesting:

In their eyes, there’s a drop-off to the next level, which includes Virginia’s Morgan Moses.

The Dolphins will not spend a first-round pick on Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio, whose injury red flags have the team concerned.

It certainly sounds like Zack Martin is going to leave the board early — it’s hard to see him getting past St. Louis at #13 and he could go earlier than that. If he’s gone by the middle of the first round, James could easily be taken by Baltimore at #17, Miami at #19 or Arizona at #20.

It shouldn’t be a major shock that he’s getting a high grade from teams. He’s fundamentally sound. He’s got 35 inch arms and as a pass protector he’s certainly competent. In terms of footwork, balance and body control he’s excellent. James isn’t a great athlete or even particularly strong (only 22 reps on the bench, doesn’t drive people off the ball in the run game) but he’s a plug-in-and-play tackle. He started 49 games in college and managed a high level of consistency.

A reader recommended I watch the Tennessee @ Missouri game because he had some struggles against one of the better pass rush teams in the SEC. You can see the game below for yourself:

I think James generally does pretty well. It’s not his best tape — But I thought he handled Michael Sam for the most part. He had an issue against former JUCO star Marcus Golden — who looks a really good prospect for the 2015 draft. Golden’s burst off the edge gave him fits and there were a couple of occasions where he got into his pads and drove him back into the quarterback. It was a very impressive display from Golden who needs to be watched next season.

If the Miami Herald report is accurate (and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t) and teams see a drop off between the first five tackles and the rest, we could see a situation where the likes of Morgan Moses and Joel Bitonio are available in the late first. I’ve soured somewhat on Moses with the more tape I’ve watched — but if you’re in desperate need of a left tackle (eg Carolina) he’s probably your best bet.

If the Seahawks want to go tackle early, Bitonio might be the best or even only hope. Right tackle could end up being a difficult spot to fill in round one. And if they don’t take Bitonio, Tom Cable could be tasked with finding at least two linemen who can contribute in the mid/late rounds — because the second round options aren’t great either. We might see an early run on OT’s because if you miss out early, you probably miss out altogether. The Seahawks have faith in Cable to find later round gems — but there aren’t many teams with that level of trust in their offensive line staff.

Clowney or Manziel at #1 for Houston?

You can make a strong case for taking Johnny Manziel. The Texans have a good defense. They have solid receiving options, a good running back and a franchise left tackle.

The one thing Houston really lacks is a dynamic playmaker at quarterback — and Manziel can be that man.

It’d also be fun to see the Jaws, Cosell and Hoge trio react to the quarterback they wouldn’t touch in the first three rounds go with the top pick.

If you’re willing to embrace Manziel for what he is, he can succeed. You’d need to set up an offense similar to Seattle’s. Make the run your focus, use a lot of play action, sprinkle some read option into the playbook and challenge your receivers to win 1v1 battles. Emphasise the importance of explosive plays, try to limit the mistakes while appreciating you need to accept Manziel’s going to scramble a lot and get out of the pocket frequently.

He is the ultimate competitor. And despite all of the off-field drama at Texas A&M Manziel’s performance on the field was never affected. People like Jaws/Cosell/Hoge just want big quarterbacks who stand tall and throw bullets in an orthodox system. The game has developed beyond that being the only way to succeed.

Improvisation is crucial these days. You need to be able to manage chaos. The defensive players entering the league are the best athletes in college football. If you can’t extend plays, throw on the run and be creative — you’re going to struggle. And before anyone quotes Manning or Brady — we’re talking about two established Hall of Fame veterans who get the ball out quicker than anyone in history. How many rookies enter the league with that level of ability, composure or command of their offense? Zero.

Manziel would go into Houston and instantly elevate that franchise. With the supporting cast they already have in place he’ll be a production machine — stacking up yards on the ground and through the air just like Cam Newton as a rookie.

Here’s Manziel’s appearance on Jon Gruden’s QB camp:

And here’s Manziel’s classic performance against Duke, where he put the team on his back and dragged them to victory:

Dominique Easley remains a wildcard

If there was one document I’d love to read going into this draft, it’s a medical report on Dominique Easley’s knees.

How is the most recent ACL injury healing? What condition is his other knee in? What are the chances he will re-injure either knee and how long could you realistically expect to get out of him?

When you watch the tape he just explodes off the screen. He constantly impacts the quarterback by pushing the interior line into the pocket, he shoots gaps better than even Sheldon Richardson and he has that sparky attitude you want to see from a three technique. He plays amped, he plays with an edge.

He’s a fantastic player. A really terrific interior pass rusher who wouldn’t have ANY chance of making it to the late first round with a clean bill of health.

Tank Carradine — who’d also suffered an ACL injury albeit later in the season than Easley — was the 40th pick in 2013 and essentially red shirted by San Francisco. I’m not sure you’d need to redshirt Easley given the extended recovery time he’s had. I also think he’s a better player than Carradine. So how early could he be drafted?

Everything comes down to the medical check.

If it’s positive, he isn’t lasting until #64 and you’ll get one shot at drafting a fantastic player with some risk. If it’s negative, you probably don’t even consider him with the last pick in round two.

He’s impossible to project without seeing the report. And yet it’s hard not to root for good news — because if he can recover and stay healthy, you’re talking about a major impact pass rusher available in an unlikely range.

It’s a big ‘if’ though.


  1. Sam Jaffe

    If Easley’s medical report is the one you would most like to have access to, mine would be Kouandjio’s. He’s obviously hurting in some way, which makes all of his athletic testing meaningless (I seriously can’t believe that any SEC offensive tackle runs in the 5.6 range when healthy without being beat on every single play). But let’s assume he’s still slow compared to other tackles (maybe 5.3 when healthy). That means you probably don’t want him as your starting left tackle. But Seattle isn’t in the market for a starting left tackle. They want a perpetually dominant right tackle who can swing over to the left in case of an injury situation. Kouandjio’s run blocking tape is spectacular and he’s a competent pass protector. If something on the medical report shows that the knee is degrading, then nobody will spend a first rounder on him. But if Seattle’s medical staff (which is probably the best in the league) thinks he’ll heal, I think he’s definitely a candidate at 32. He’s a very different player than Bitionio, but he solves the problem in a similar way and he might be a better fit for Seattle’s run game than Bitonio. If he does have serious knee concerns, then he (along with Brandon Thomas and Matt Patchan) will be a definite target in the middle rounds.

    • Rob Staton

      The report from the combine was arthritis in his knee. That’s enough to put me off completely if true. And given it was the NFL’s own media reporting it (Ian Rapoport) — I see no reason not to believe it.

      • Rock

        “Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) deficiency is a well-recognized risk factor for the development of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Studies have shown that a torn ACL leads to OA in more than half of affected knees five to 15 years after injury.” – Arthritis Foundation

        ‘Dr. James Andrews told me he’s sending a memo to all 32 teams refuting an NFL Network combine report about Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio’s knee.” – Jason LaCanfora

        I am inclined to believe Dr. Andrews. OA can be resolved through follow on surgery to remove particles or smooth up the cartilage. It is not uncommon after ACL surgery and usually will clear up with appropriate knee exercises. Kouandjio could be a value find since some seem to be afraid of his knee.

        • CC

          My challenge is given how injured prone Carp has been, Cyrus could be another one of these Bama OL who have been used up.

          I’d rather take Sentreal Henderson over Cyrus – both have red flags, but at least Henderson’s problem is being lazy rather than hurt. Cable worked Henderson out so if Seattle drafts him, we’ll know Cable thinks he can kick his @$$ into gear.

          • Rob Staton

            Henderson’s also an absolute train wreck and a freaking nightmare. I’d draft neither player.

          • Hawks420

            Seantrel Henderson has had some problems with smoking weed (me too) and a weight problem, yes. If not he’d be long gone by are 3rd pick (late in round 4) and he did lose 20lbs, down to his high school paying weight, cut his dreads and had a great combine. If we did take him, in let say round 5, Cable would get a 6-7 330lbs beast, round 3 talent, and one of the fastest linemen in the draft.

            I know Robs not high on him and he’s probably right…. but I’d take the chance on the 5th round bust. With the slim chance he gets his crap together and becomes the biggest fastest OT in the NFL.

            • Rob Staton

              This is a guy who once ran a red light on an expired license, crashing into a car carrying a young family with two children needing to be transported to hospital. I think I can live without his company if I’m the Seahawks.

              • Arias

                Holy lawsuits. That does sound horrendous … sounds like the definition of trouble.

                OTOH, it does put him in a position where he’s got to stay on the straight and narrow to earn his contract in order to stay solvent from that lawsuit for one, and probably to stay out of jail too. Still nothing more than a late round flyer at most but only if they did their homework first.

            • Michael (CLT)

              Seantrel will go undrafted.

        • Rob Staton

          When Dr. James Andrews is the GM of a football team and not a hired hand, I’ll take his word on matters like this over the teams.

          • Rock

            Wow! Dr. Andrews isn’t qualified to be a GM. He is however the nations recognized expert on orthopedic surgery for athletes. I am sure every GM and agent has him on their speed dial. To call him a ‘hired hand’ is disrespectful.

            • Rob Staton

              Save me the disrespect card. He has a vested interest here as he’s employed (hired) as the team doctor for Alabama. Seeing him pass comment on this is no shock at all. He didn’t do the surgery on Kouandjio’s knee — but this all happened on his watch. So is anyone surprised he’s come out with a positive defense? He’s not speaking as an independent authority on ACL’s, he’s speaking as perhaps the most significant member of Alabama’s medical staff when all this was said to have happened. If teams are failing CK on an arthritic knee, it’s not exactly a glowing review of the setup is it?

              There’s no agenda with the teams and they failed the guy according to Rapoport’s report. If he’s absolutely fine the Redskins (another team that has hired Andrews) will draft him at #34 seeing as he’s otherwise a top-15 pick. Let’s see if that happens.

              • Rock

                This just keeps getting better. First, you argued that Dr. Andrews was incompetent. Now you feel his opinion is corrupted because he works for Alabama and the Redskins. Some how working as an NFL GM would make him morally pure, I guess. Most professionals take an ethics exam. I am sure the medical profession is one of them given the popularity of malpractice lawsuits.

                • Rob Staton

                  You’re being a little naive Rock. If there’s a problem with Kouandjio’s knees and teams are taking him off the board, it doesn’t look good for the Alabama medical staff. And I wouldn’t expect a person who is employed to be part of the Alabama medical staff to take that lightly. A team doctor working for the NFL has no vested interest what so ever.

                  Like I said, we’ll see what happens on draft day. Let’s see if this would-be nailed on top-15 pick falls past the Redskins at #34.

                • Arias

                  There is something to be said though for the fact Dr Andrews did do the surgery and is invested in Kouandjio’s healthy outcome be a clean bill of health. Future business and his rep depend on it.

                  Team doctors would be more impartial to determining if the player is healthy. They have just as much interest in finding a healthy player for the team to draft as they do failing a player for a physical because he isn’t. They have a strong interest with either outcome to to assist their employer in making the best decision possible based on the facts.

                  • Arias

                    Oop. Just noticed Rob said he didn’t do the surgery. That’s weird because I read he did. I’ll take your word on it though. But I’m sort of hoping that one of the teams before the Seahawks does think he’s worth the risk and drafts him so Bitonio doesn’t go instead.

        • Thorson

          A few things here, I guess.

          First, ACL deficiency implies the ACL is untreated. Therefore the knee is unstable, resulting in recurring injuries which often lead to meniscal tears and ultimately arthritis. Hence the 50% figure you quote above, which likely came out of findings in the 70s and before when these injuries were treated without surgery. Obviously, that’s not the case today, especially in elite athletes, where all of these injuries are treated surgically. I would not expect arthritis to develop in patients who have had their ACL reconstructed at that frequency.

          Second, unfortunately arthritis doesn’t resolve with clean-up operations or therapy. Once you have it, it typically gets worse over time. Having said that, the severity of arthritis and the degree of disability can vary widely. It’s conceivable that given the short duration of a typical NFL career, a player with arthritis that is fairly mild could play successfully for a time. If I’m a GM, I’m not sure I’d take that risk unless the player was a transcendent athlete. In the case of Kouandijo, if he fell to the 5 or 6th round and you were convinced his arthritis was not terribly severe (assuming that’s what he has) he may be worth a flyer.

          Last, Dr Andrews is a well respected sports medicine figure. He is also employed by the University of Alabama. Of course he has a vested interest in getting his players placed. The more Alabama players that make it to the NFL, the easier it is to recruit prospects to their program. The better the team, the more money it generates for the university. Not to be cynical, but if he didn’t have an axe to grind, I doubt he would share what should be privileged health information about a patient to the press. Regardless of his opinion, teams will review Kouandijo’s medical information for themselves. It’s not that hard to determine whether or not a player has arthritis by looking at his x-rays and/or surgical photos. So, it will be interesting to see where he is drafted.

          • Miles

            Wow. Nice post.

            It would be very enticing to draft Kouandjio if he fell that far. If he, in fact, does have arthritis then we may be talking about only a 4 or 5 year career, tops. That’s kind of the same thing many were saying about Jesse Williams after he was drafted last year.

  2. Cameron

    I thought Cosell liked Manziel. He’s convinced the Rams will take him with the #2 pick (Saw link to podcast where he said so on twitter, can’t find link) Your thoughts Rob?

    • Rob Staton

      I haven’t seen that podcast but I’ve heard Cosell criticise Manziel in previous podcasts.

      • Cameron

        It’s on a podcast done by fantasy guru. I don’t subscribe so I can’t hear for sure. Of course Cosell can dislike a prospect and still see why other teams might like him.

    • Mark

      Welcome to the media. It’s not about honest opinion, it’s about ratings. He will criticize one second and mock him high the next. Whatever will get more viewers, listeners or readers.

    • CC

      Wow – that would be a game changer wouldn’t it? At some point the Rams are going to have to figure out the QB spot. They won’t have the opportunity likely next year to grab one of the top QBs unless they play worse than we all expect, so might be worth it to take it now.

  3. williambryan

    The reason I hesitate to think the texans will take manziel is coaching staff. Last season when Keenum came in he really sparked the team with his improvisation but ultimately just wasn’t consistent, or good, enough. I suspect manziel will be an upgrade though the system is different. And will Obrien, who has worked with pocket guys for the most part be receptive to change?

  4. bigDhawk

    Easley certaily is intriguing. Given all the pre-draft subterfuge that occurs we will probably won’t know his medical status until after he is picked or at best immediately before the draft. If the ‘Hawks take him it will be cool to have another potential all-pro defender named Easley.

  5. Jon

    There are only a few players that I would take before Easley that have a legit shot at making the #32 pick if he is healthy. Actually legit shot may be to strong of a word. If Easley check on medical then I would be so happy with that pick.

    • Michael (CLT)

      Two ACLs. Mam. Such a great player… Re-injury is so probable. Fourth round tops.

  6. Stuart

    If Easley checks out, you cannot pass on him, assuming he is still there.

    I have been wishing and saying this for some time here that I hope the Hawks trade next years #1 or #2 to get an extra pick in R-2 or R-3.

    If the Hawks see an elite talent still on the board, make the move.

    On another note, the St. Louis Rams really need to draft a replacement for Bradford. Their fans will argue he is on the verge of being elite. The problem is he will never be healthy for an entire season-including the playoffs. He was hurt in college too.

    How much better would the Rams be if they had drafted RGIII? All the extra draft picks were great, but many of those extra picks have been wasted.

    • Rob Staton

      I think the Rams would’ve been a lot more of a threat with RGIII. Especially if they could’ve turned Bradford into a decent draft pick — which was possible at the start of 2012.

      • CC

        I agree on some level, but 2 years removed and Bradford has been injured for both years. Next year they likely won’t have the #2 pick.

  7. Ray bones

    I see that Jermichael Finley is scheduled to get X-rays on Monday. If he’s cleared and the hawks sign him, does that alter the draft strategy? If Moncrief or latimer are there at 32 I say grab one. But if they are gone and the hawks have plugged the big red zone receiver spot with Finley then it opens up a whole bunch of options. Easley?? Yup I’d do it. Bitonio or James? Yup but I would also think that all other positions are on the board. It wouldn’t surprise me to see anything else at this point.

    • Arias

      I don’t know that it would alter the draft strategy. But it would put Anthony McCoy on notice that he wasn’t a guarantee to make the team.

    • Mark

      Finley won’t be signed until after July 1, probably by any team, for salary cap reasons. I don’t think wanting to sign him or not will affect the draft this year.

  8. MJ

    Huge fan of Easley, but I think R1 is a big reach. This has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with health. 2 ACLs on a big man is a cause for major concern. He may be uber talented, but it does us no good if he can’t stay on the field. This is a deep class, and as much as I’d like to get Easley, I’m not willing to pass on a slightly less talented player who has no health issues. At 64, you have to give it major consideration, but at 32, we can’t afford to mess around on this gamble, even if the payoff is power ball like.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I agree with you on him not being a round 1 pick unless you are prepared to write him off entirely. Two injuries of ACL is a major concern no matter how well he heals up. He is even more likely to blow out his ACL a couple more times in the pros and have to retire early. Unfortunate but it is a physical game. I would be willing to take a risk on him from the 4th round on.

  9. Thorson

    As an orthopedic surgeon, I can perhaps add some insight into Easley’s knee. Typically, when fixing an ACL, we use a graft to replace the torn ligament. Sometimes we use a patient’s own tissue. Often, however, when dealing with an elite athlete, we use cadaver graft. That way we don’t compromise any function a patient might lose by taking a tendon from them. Also, recovery is quicker with banked, cadaver tissue since we don’t have to damage a patient’s leg harvesting the graft. So, assuming the tunnels we use to pass the graft were placed correctly, the hardware we use to fix the graft is easy to remove and probably most important that there is no underlying arthritis or significant damage to the meniscal cartilages, then there isn’t that much difference between recovery after ACL#1 or #2 (or #3 for that matter.) Again, the wild card is the status of the meniscal and joint cartilage. With each subsequent injury, there is more risk to these underlying structures.

    This is a somewhat simplified look at things, but if his meniscal cartilages are ok and if he doesn’t have a great deal of arthritis, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose him if available.

    • Rob Staton

      Thorson — really appreciate your take on this subject. I may well refer to this in a blog post later in the week.

    • CC

      Great stuff!!!

      This is an example of why this blog is so good! Lots of smart people. Thanks!

    • Jon

      very nice, thank you. And this is why people that skip reading posts are often unwilling to change opinion. The assumption is that a guy cant heal properly, and if we don’t listen to people who know better we will in turn not be able to improve our understanding.

    • Cysco

      Nice post Thorson, Thanks for the insight.

      As fans most of us “non doctors” just fear the unknown when it comes to injuries. Anyone who can shed some light and help educate the rest of us is greatly appreciated.

    • James

      Thanks to the doc for restoring some sense. The fact is, we haven’t a clue about the health of these guys. We have a top 5 talent – Easley; and a top 15 talent – Kouandjio, at positions of need for the Seahawks, and could hit a home run if they return to health, or completely stirke out and waste a R1 pick if they never fully recover. Scary thought, any way you look at it, but man could you imagine?

    • Javi

      You know something about knee recovery of Jesse Williams?

      If he has recovered well and as it comes to this season?


    • Robert

      Thank you for sharing, Dr. Thorson!

  10. NEIL J

    Speaking of knee problems going in didn’t Frank Gore have three knee surgeries prior to his pro career? I remember thinking he would never last and look at what he has done.

    • Rob Staton

      Let’s hope Easley’s similar to Gore.

      • Jon

        Let’s hope Easley is on the Seahawks and not the 49ers if he is similar to Gore!

  11. Stuart

    Neil J, thank you for putting that out about Gore. The more cases we hear about, the better we can understand the potential with Easley moving forward.

    It sucks have players getting injured all the time, Harvin, Rice….and not being able to really count on them other than week to week during the regular season.

    It’s hard not to agree with MJ!

    Also a shout out to Thorson! A new weekly contributor (AKA Kip-guest commentator) to SDB, what does Thorson think. 🙂

  12. Hawksince77


    Speaking of QBs (I have been meaning to ask this for awhile) do you think Keith Price has a future in the NFL?

    I haven’t seen much of him, but what I did he looked fantastic. He has a slight frame, perhaps too slight, but he seemed sharp, elusive, with a decent arm and accuracy.

    Your thoughts?

    • Rob Staton

      I think he deserves a shot. And I think he’ll get a camp. But I fully expect it’ll be as an UDFA.

  13. c

    I’d be more comfortable taking a risk on an injured player (Easley or Kuondijo) if we had more picks. You use Carradine as an example, but I recall that the 49ers had ten or eleven picks that year, several of which were early picks. That allowed them to diversify and manage the risk.

    This year we only have six picks, only two of which are in the first two rounds. Missing on one of our early picks would be a lot more devastating to our draft.

    Of course, if his medicals are completely clear, its not an issue. But if there are any red flags, I’m not sure you can pull the trigger.

  14. James

    Let’s remind ourselves, don’t fall in love with a single player or two, certainly the NFL guys don’t. They identify a half dozen or more who should be available at their slot, rank them, and pick the highest one when their turn comes around. For every James who jumps from R2 or R3 into the top 31, then that moves down another guy who will (unexpectedly?) be there at #32.

  15. Darren

    The thing with bitonio is you have to believe he can work at RT. If he has to move to guard that’s problematic on two fronts. You will still need a RT. Sweezy is not giving up his spot and carp is going into a contract year AND reportedly has gotten into great shape finally. I think they will give him every chance to succeed this year. Plus we have Bailey And Bowie. You could say we’re drafting him as a backup to Okung in round one.

    • AlaskaHawk

      It is likely that Bowie or Bailey can play either guard spot. I don’t know if either is ready to move to tackle. I would feel better about both of them if the Seahawks hadn’t put Carpenter and Benito (?) back in when they got healthy. In other words, they weren’t replaced last season. So why would I think that Bowie or Bailey could replace them this season? We need to draft a right tackle.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I meant Breno Giaccomini

      • Michael (CLT)

        Gotta get James

  16. House

    I am personally down to 4 names in the 1st and they all could be gone at #32.


    Like the column stated, a week or two ago, I had James pegged as our pick at #64. He probablg won’t be there @ #32. As James has shot up the board, a player like Bitonio could be there with the last pick in the 1st.

    • Michael (CLT)

      Latimer/James my only two. Shamir/haggeman worst case

  17. Saxon

    Rob did a worst case draft scenario last week and I’d like to see him build a mock with a *reasonable* best case scenario for Seattle this week. He’s made some good early calls on guys like Bitonio and Lattimer who both appear to be fast risers, but there are always highly projected guys that surprisingly fall. Example: I think Marqise Lee could tumble a bit depending on what teams want from their receiver.

  18. Robert

    Latimer, Shazier, Hageman, Bryant, Moncrief, Easely…
    Easely could leapfrog to the top or plummet to the abyss depending on the health of his knee joints and cartlidge. If we could wiggle up a couple spots, we might be able to come away with 2 great prospects with are 1st two picks!

    • Robert

      or our, as it were…before the spelling Nazi strikes!

  19. Thorson

    Rob, please feel free to use my prior comment if it would be useful for you. I enjoy this website because of the excellent content and the intelligent and measured commentary.

    Javi, sadly I have no special insight into Jesse Wiliams’ knee. I’ve read conflicting reports that it was arthritis and alternatively that it was a torn meniscus like Breno’s. If it was the latter, I see no reason why he can’t be at full strength this year, aside from the fact that his bandy legs must support a gigantic upper body.

  20. EranUngar

    The discussions about the “big drop” after 5 OT are not something I take very seriously. I know that players are being tested measured and evaluated by experts and yet some facts always linger in my mind.

    Close to 40% of first round tackles are a bust medically or proffesionaly.

    We have 2 1st. rounders – Carp and Okung. Between quality of play issues and injuries we played with just one on the field way more snaps then we did with both. Those are top and mid 1st. round players.

    Last year we had Sweezy and Breno playing a major role on the Oline, a 5th and 7th rounder. We saw nice things from Bailey and Bowie, a 7th and an UDFA.

    The first 2 picks of the 2013 draft were OTs. Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel. Should I elaborate on their contributions? Fisher was a train rack at RT and is already after a hernia and shoulder surgeries. Joeckle didn’t do much better till he finished the season in October with a fractured ankle.

    Life for an offensive lineman in the NFL is getting harder year after year with the superior athletes directed to the DL. The quality of the OL play is becoming more about cohesive smart play as a unit rather then just individual play.

    Sometimes a smart 2nd rounder like Max Unger can do much more for an OL then a Fisher or Joeckel.

    With TC running that show I’m sure he’ll work wonders with the talent he gets. The better the talent the more he can get out of him but his strength is in teaching and training ZBS lineman at any round.

    Don’t be fooled or pressured by the drop after 5 or 10 guys. The 6th guy is still better then the 10th. TC can probably get the 20th to be a contributor in a year; the 6th may be better then Max Unger or worse then Carp. The top 2 can be Fisher and Joeckle.

    So, in PC and JS we trust.

    • MJ

      Awesome stuff and completely agree.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I’m wondering if the top prospects aren’t used up by the college programs. We have been talking about how Alabama puts a lot of wear and tear on their linemen. Maybe they only got a certain amount of repetitions before the body gives out. If that is the case, we should look for talented players without the wear and tear. Maybe someone from a small college.

    • CC

      Thank you for reminding me to stay calm about the O-line

    • Rob Staton

      Or, in fairness, maybe the teams are right and there is a significant drop in talent after the top five? Seattle, like anyone else, can only play the hand they’re dealt. They may have options they like at #32 beyond the top five, or they may not. I don’t think it’s a case of being fooled or pressured. I think it’s just seeing how the draft unfolds and trying to find the best value at a position of need.

  21. hawkfaninMT

    So we have focused on some very reasonable names for extremely valid reasons. Some of those being Bitonio, Coleman, Shazier, Easley, James, Latimer, Monfcrief, XSF, etc…

    With the recent revelations of Latimer being almost guaranteed gone by our pick, and James being a first round lock… What WRs do you see dropping to us, that we had previously dismissed as almost sure to be gone by our pick?

    I am thinking that Lee and Benjamin have had a very quiet scouting season as it were and one of them could slide. Do you agree with the possibility, is there a different WR or 2 that you could see sliding due to others rising? If so, which of those two would you favor to the hawks?

    • EranUngar

      Ohh please, I can show you 15 mocks made by people that get paid to do it that do not have either Latimer or James in the 1st. round. Let’s not get too carried away with those predictions.

      There is no guaranty that those 2 guys will push receivers back. There are other players at other positions who may take a step back.

      However, if we must get a possible ball catcher I suggest we go for a 6’6 310 pounds ex TE that can play on the DL and can join the OL on 3rd and short and red-zone plays as the 6th man, block or roll to be a huge target.

      Wouldn’t that be a new Seahawks move? With a D as good as the 1985 Bears we need our own version of the Fridge…

      The guy is Hageman, ex TE turned monster DT.

      • bigDhawk

        There is almost no chance Hageman drops to us at 32. And let’s not get too carried away with the Hageman to spot-duty TE/OL predictions.

      • Rob Staton

        Can’t see many paid mock drafts in the Huddle Reports top ten last year…

        • EranUngar

          Yes, very true. However, in the 5 year column Mel Kipper is 5th.

          This made the whole page tinted.

          Seriously now, Bitonio and Latimer and James and Hageman and everybody else we like may all be gone. Or some can still be there at 32. Hageman as receiver was a joke.

          You have done such great job that I hope my initial skepticism about draft evaluation does not offend you. I know striving to make the best pick possible is an important task and i respect he people who do it.

          It is that respect and understanding of the efforts involved that made it so unclear for me at first. How come such a huge financial investment and effort bring such inaccurate results.

          The only way my mind can make sense of it is that while this process may be done meticulously by some , the results are more dependent of factors beyond talent evaluation. Maybe it is more about NFL nurture then draft nature.

          I love being here, reading your staff and learning as i go along but the end results of who makes it big and who doesn’t tells me that the factors involved must be way beyond the draft evaluation.

          I hope you takes this the right way and do not see in it any disrespect to your incredible work.

          P.S. – While i’m at it, sorry for my English to. I’m Israeli and it’s not my native language. (And i have a company to manage and not enough time for proof reading etc.)

          • Rob Staton

            You’re English is excellent and it’s a pleasure to know we have people visiting the blog from all over the world.

    • Rob Staton

      Personally I think we’ll see a big run on wide outs and the options at #32 might not be that great. I think there’s a chance Latimer makes it to #32 but I don’t expect it. Benjamin might fall but I still say 12-22. Moncrief might be there.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Might be more of a run on cornerbacks and safetys then you project. San Francisco needs a cornerback or two, as does several other teams.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m fairly confident we’ll see three corners and a maximum of two safety’s go in round one.

  22. me

    There is a good point there though, for every riser there’s also a faller. Judging by various lists out there I’m pretty sure I’ve seen 40-45 players called ‘first round locks’ at some point. Whether you’re looking at a worst case scenario or a basket of value choices at 32 will be largely a matter of how closely your grades match the 31 teams pucking in front if you.

  23. MJ

    While James is intriguing, the real question is do we want a more finesse (not saying James isn’t tough) pass blocking RT or a road grader? Let’s not forget the identity of this team. We value the run game and have a mobile QB; something tells me they are willing to sacrifice pass pro for a guy who will blow up the running game. Obviously, finding an OT who is great at both would be ideal, though extremely hard to find.

    I can’t wait for us to draft a DB in R1 and have all of us saying “WTF? Where did that come from??”

    • bigDhawk

      Jason Verrett?

      • MJ

        He’s my sleeper guy at 32. I could see PC loving him. This may be a stretch, but he could be a Nickel corner and an emergency type backup to ET. Even though he is small, he is really physical.

        • bigDhawk

          He is the Russell Wilson of DBs this year. He has every measurable you want at the position except stature. And if PC/JS envision more of a slash DB role for him – as opposed to a number 1 or 2 CB – then stature becomes less of a factor.

  24. James

    You want to see an outside the box mock draft….go to the Our Lads mock from April 27. I don’t know what to think….do they know something we don’t, or do they not know much at all? Our Lads has a pretty good scouting reputation, I thought, but check out some of these head-scratchers:

    – going in R1: Deone Bucannon, S, WSU; Stephon Tuitt @ #14 to Chicago; Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford to AZ; Tiny Richarson, OT, Tennessee to Denver (and XSF to Seahawks @ #32).
    – going mid-R2: Hageman and Bitonio.
    – not going in either R1 or R2: Latimer, Benjamin and James!

    ….either Our Lads is right and everyone else is wrong, or they need to re-assess their scouting….but in any event, I would love to see James at #32 and Latimer at #64 for Seattle (or vice versa)!

    • Rob Staton

      “….either Our Lads is right and everyone else is wrong, or they need to re-assess their scouting”

      Errr…. no comment…. 🙂

    • bigDhawk

      That is definately not your cookie-cutter mock. Honestly though, the only rank absurdity I see is Hageman at 54. No way he falls that far. Worst case he won’t get past Denver at 31 much less us at 32. The rest, though way outside the box at times, is at least plausible. They have a lot of safeties going higher than expected, but haven’t we already seen what effect our SB victory had on the safety FA market? It would not be a shock if that same emphasis on safeties carried over to the draft. Robinson as the 3rd OT taken behind Matthews and Lewan makes you go ‘hmmm’, but stranger things have happened. As per most non-Seattle-centered mocks, our picks are less than inspired. Hageman at 32 and Latimer at 64 makes a lot more sense.

      • Colin

        I don’t see Hageman as that great of a prospect. Certainly nowhere near the level of Dominique Easley . I’d take him in round 2 but he seems to be lacking any real dominant moves on the inside besides his bull rush.

        • bigDhawk

          Agreed that Hageman does not compare to a 100% healthy Easley. But that will not be the case on draft day. Besides, there will be more than enough teams that think highly enough of Hageman’s raw potential to ensure he will be long gone by the time we pick at 32, so Easley at 32 will more likely be in play for us. My suggestion above that we could get Hageman at 32 and Latimer at 64 was based on the players available in the ourlads mock, not where I think those two players will actually be available.

  25. Javi

    Would put some of my money if we choose to Hageman at 32 and Latimer at 64.

    Earl Thomas sings 4 year extension, 40M$. GO HAWKS!!

  26. Rory

    I’d just like to say that I love Easley and would take him over a lot of people at 32. I love his attitude, he definitely has an intimidation factor.

    I have him almost as high as Latimer, who I have as either my 3rd of 4th WR

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