What we learned about the front seven defenders

This promised to be one of the most intriguing days at the combine. In the end, it proved to be a little underwhelming.

I’ve detailed the reasons below but here’s the CliffNotes version — this isn’t a particularly fast group of front seven defensive prospects and the number of explosive testers is down from the previous two years.

Why are explosive physical traits important?

Pat Kirwan — a confidant of Pete Carroll — tells us why in this piece:

Every time a ball is snapped to start a play there is a critical element of explosiveness that takes place. When two players collide in an attempt to physically dominate each other, the athlete with the edge in explosiveness has the best chance to win the confrontation. It could be a blocker vs. a tackler, a tackler vs. a ball carrier, or many other examples of winning at the point of contact.

Explosiveness is defined in the dictionary as a violent release of energy, a sudden outburst. Football is a series of explosions. How do you measure it in athletes trying to play NFL football?

Take the vertical jump, standing broad jump and the bench press test results and add them together. If the combined score is over 70 there is a reason to consider the candidate at some point in the draft process for his explosiveness.

Kirwan’s formula is flawed because it diminishes the impact of the broad jump. A superb 9-7 only achieves a 1.2 point advantage over a below par 8-5. That’s why we developed our own formula (TEF) to essentially do what Kirwan intended — measure explosive traits equally and emphasise their combined importance.

For the last two years we’ve used TEF to measure offensive and defensive linemen and compare the results.

Explosive offensive linemen at the combine:

2016 — 6
2017 — 3

Explosive defensive linemen at the combine:

2016 — 26
2017 — 30

In total, that’s 56-9 in favour of the defense.

So what did we learn this year? It’s not what you might expect.

At the 2018 combine there were seven truly explosive offensive linemen:

Braden Smith — 3.52
Kolton Miller — 3.31
Wyatt Teller — 3.22
Scott Quessenberry — 3.22
Connor Williams — 3.18
Quenton Nelson — 3.07
Will Hernandez — 3.04

In comparison there are officially fourteen explosive testers in the defensive line class:

Taven Bryan — 3.58
Ade Aruna — 3.57
Kylie Fitts — 3.47
Bradley Chubb — 3.46
Harrison Phillips — 3.46
Marcus Davenport — 3.41
Harold Landry — 3.39
Marquis Haynes — 3.36
James Looney — 3.33
Foley Fatukasi — 3.31
John Franklin — 3.17
Trevon Young — 3.17
Da’Shawn Hand — 3.14
Dorance Armstrong — 3.01

Herclues Mata’afa — 2.98
B.J. Hill — 2.97
Olu Rotimi — 2.96
Deadrin Senat — 2.93
Da’Ron Payne — 2.89
Andrew Brown — 2.87
Reginald McKenzie — 2.83
JoJo Wicker — 2.81
Justin Jones — 2.72
Zay Henderson — 2.61
Derrick Nnadi — 2.50
Taylor Stallworth — 2.24

Quite a high number of the D-line class didn’t do the bench press, meaning we’re unable to give them a complete score. However, we can calculate a projection based on the historical average of reps for the position (24).

Josh Sweat — 3.68
Tyquan Lewis — 3.48
Sam Hubbard — 3.26
Rasheem Green — 3.24
Arden Key — 3.16
Chad Thomas — 3.06
Trenton Thompson — 3.02
Nathan Shepherd — 3.00

Breeland Speaks — 2.99
Tim Settle — 2.35
John Atkins — 2.22

All of these scores need to come with an asterisk. However, you get a general feel for how they might’ve performed.

Even if you include those who didn’t compete in the bench press, the total of explosive defensive linemen is down on the last two years:

2016: 26
2017: 30
2018: 22

Here are the 20 most explosive defensive linemen from 2016-18 (2018 prospects in bold):

Myles Garrett — 4.21
Haason Reddick — 3.93
Solomon Thomas — 3.83
Jordan Willis — 3.70
Ife Odenigbo — 3.61
Taven Bryan — 3.58
Ade Aruna — 3.57
Derek Rivers — 3.57
Carl Lawson — 3.54
Dean Lowry — 3.54
Sheldon Rankins — 3.52
Kylie Fitts — 3.47
Robert Nkemdiche — 3.47
Bradley Chubb — 3.46
Harrison Phillips — 3.46
Noah Spence — 3.46
Yannick Ngakoue — 3.44
Marcus Davenport — 3.41
Harold Landry — 3.39
Marquis Haynes — 3.36

Here are some other big-name NFL defensive linemen and their pre-draft TEF scores:

Mario Williams — 3.97
J.J. Watt — 3.82
Khalil Mack — 3.81
Aaron Donald — 3.53
Jadeveon Clowney — 3.50

10-yard splits are important

So it’s not the most explosive defensive line class. What about the 10-yard splits? These are especially important for pass rushers.

A 10-yard split in the 1.5’s is considered ‘elite’. Cliff Avril ran a 1.50 at his combine while Bruce Irvin managed a 1.55. For an interior rusher or inside/out rusher, anything in the 1.6’s is a solid time.

EDGE rushers with a 1.5 10-yard split

Harold Landry — 1.59
Josh Sweat — 1.55

Ade Aruna ran a 1.60, Kylie Fitts a 1.61, Trevon Young a 1.62 and Anthony Winbush a 1.62. Bradley Chubb and Marcus Davenport both ran 1.63’s. The NFL Network frustratingly didn’t show 10-yard split times for the linebackers, despite a number of EDGE rushers competing in that group. Considering Lorenzo Carter ran a 4.46 it’s highly possible he ran a 1.5 split. Hopefully the 10-yard numbers will be released for the whole group and we can add some names to the list.

Defensive linemen with a 1.6 10-yard split

Taven Bryan (291lbs) — 1.68
Rasheem Green (275lbs) — 1.66
Da’Ron Payne (311lbs) — 1.67
Jalyn Holmes (283lbs) — 1.67
Kentavius Street (280lbs) — 1.67
Breeland Speaks (283lbs) — 1.67

For a point of comparison, a year ago Malik McDowell was praised for running a 1.69 at 295lbs. So the likes of Bryan and Payne really helped themselves here.

Agility drills

The three cone and the short shuttle are very important for defensive linemen and edge rushers.

Bruce Irvin (4.03) and Frank Clark (4.05) both ran incredible short shuttles. Cassius Marsh’s 4.25 and Obum Gwacham’s 4.28 were also really good.

Quinton Jefferson, Jordan Hill, Jaye Howard and Malik McDowell all tested superbly in the short shuttle too (4.37, 4.51, 4.47 and 4.53 respectively).

Anything under 7.00 is considered a strong test in the three cone. Here is the list of defensive linemen that ran a sub-7.00 three cone:

Sam Hubbard — 6.84
Harold Landry — 6.88
Kylie Fitts — 6.88
Trevon Young — 6.99

Hubbard’s time is the sixth fastest in the last 10 years of the combine.

A year ago five defensive linemen ran a sub-7.00 — Jordan Willis, Pita Taumoepenu, Derek Rivers, Solomon Thomas and Derek Barnett. Three players managed it in 2016 — James Cowser, Joey Bosa and Shilique Calhoun.

Here are the top-15 times this year:

Sam Hubbard — 6.84
Harold Landry — 6.88
Kylie Fitts — 6.88
Trevon Young — 6.99
Dorance Armstrong — 7.12
Taven Bryan — 7.12
Marquis Haynes — 7.14
Arden Key — 7.16
Marcus Davenport — 7.20
Ola Adeniyi — 7.21
Hercules Mata’afa — 7.24
Rasheem Green — 7.24
Harrison Phillips — 7.28
B.J. Hill — 7.28
James Looney — 7.32

Here’s the top-15 in the short shuttle:

Harold Landry — 4.19
Kylie Fitts — 4.19
Dorance Armstrong — 4.23
Arden Key — 4.25
Josh Sweat — 4.28
Ola Adeniyi — 4.28
Sam Hubbard — 4.32
James Looney — 4.37
Hercules Mata’afa — 4.37
Rasheem Green — 4.39
Trevon Young — 4.40
Bradley Chubb — 4.41
Marcus Davenport — 4.41
Marquis Haynes — 4.45
Taven Bryan — 4.48

Landry and Fitts’ times are only the 12th fastest in the last 10 years. There’s nothing particularly outstanding about these numbers for the EDGE rushers.

Anything in the 4.3-4.5 range for bigger defensive linemen or inside/out rushers is pretty good. Here are the names that standout:

Rasheem Green — 4.39
Bradley Chubb — 4.41
Taven Bryan — 4.48
Andrew Brown — 4.48
Harrison Phillips — 4.50
B.J. Hill — 4.53
Nathan Shepherd — 4.53
Foley Fatukasi — 4.53

Again, it’s not an extensive list. The first three names will likely be first round picks. Shepherd looked very good today but the Seahawks have never drafted a defensive lineman with sub-33 inch arms.

Speed is important

After the 42-7 defeat to the Rams, Pete Carroll mentioned LA just looked faster than Seattle. It was a frank admission from Carroll, considering his Seahawks outfit has regularly been both tougher and faster than most opponents over the years.

The Seahawks need some speed — particularly at linebacker to play next to Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

There wasn’t much of it on show today.

Jerome Baker ran a 4.53 which is fine but not eye catching at 229lbs. Tremaine Edmunds ran a solid 4.55 but will be long gone before the Seahawks pick. Malik Jefferson’s 4.53 was solid but not spectacular.

The two names that stood out were obvious. Lorenzo Carter has always been an explosive athlete but now we know he’s extremely quick too. Shaquem Griffin stole the show, however, with a 4.38 that had Pete Carroll practically jumping out of his seat:

Griffin is an intriguing option for many reasons. There isn’t a grittier player in the draft. He has an incredible personality that just makes you feel good about yourself any time you watch one of his interviews. He plays with passion and tenacity and a clear love for the game.

Running a 4.38 at 227lbs is incredible. Now teams will have to have a think about where he plays at the next level. Is he an off-the ball linebacker? Do you let him run and cover in space? Do you try him at safety?

It’s important not to overreact to his great run. If you head onto social media you’ll already see people projecting him in round one or two. That isn’t very likely. However, it’s entirely possible he’ll be drafted in the middle rounds like his twin brother. And if the Seahawks want to add someone who can play some snaps at linebacker, add some legit speed to the defense and contribute in a big way on special teams — Griffin could be the man.

Linebacker explosive & agility testing

Some quick notes here:

— Lorenzo Carter followed up his 4.50 forty with a 36-inch vertical and a 10-10 broad jump. He’s an exciting player.

— Jeff Holland didn’t run particularly well but a 9-8 broad jump hints at some explosive traits. In comparison, Tremaine Edmunds jumped a 9-9.

— Malik Jefferson unsurprisingly tested well in the jumps with a 36 inch vertical and a 10-10 broad but it was interesting to see Micah Kiser also manage a 35.5 inch vertical and a 10-1 broad.

— Matthew Thomas might be a name to monitor. He’s 6-2 and 232lbs and will be worth a look post-combine. He ran a 4.57 and jumped a 41.5 inch vertical plus a 10-11 broad. Perhaps more importantly, however, he ran a 4.28 short shuttle. We’ve discussed in the past the importance of the short shuttle at linebacker. Oren Burks, Micah Kiser, Christian Sam and Fred Warner could be options for the same reason.

— Leighton Vander Esch ran a 6.88 three-cone and a 4.15 short shuttle. Both are really good for his size. His short shuttle time is the same as Vic Beasley’s. He’s going to go a lot earlier than many people realise. T.J. Watt ran a 6.79 and a 4.13 last year.

— Dorian O’Daniel made some plays for Clemson and a 4.07 short shuttle is the sixth best by a linebacker in the last five years (although you would’ve hoped for a better forty time — 4.61).

What does it all mean?

Here are some takeaways and predictions:

— Taven Bryan solidified his position in round one with an explosive workout coupled with some solid numbers in the speed/agility testing.

— Sam Hubbard, despite not running a forty yard dash, showed he has some quickness and explosion and probably boosted his stock.

— Da’Ron Payne didn’t have the most explosive performance but he performed well in drills and tested quickly across the board. He likely secured a place in the first round.

— The testing numbers won’t highlight it but Tim Settle, Nathan Shepherd, Justin Jones, B.J. Hill, Derrick Nnadi and Andrew Brown all flashed during drills. Settle showed great mobility for his size, Shepherd just had an all-round solid outing and Brown attacked the club/rip drill like a man possessed.

— Josh Sweat is an incredible athlete with unique length and size. He has an injury record to be wary of but he could be an option for a team like Seattle looking for a project in the middle rounds. He ran a 1.5 10-yard dash and has 34 5/8 inch arms and a wingspan of 84 1/8 inches. That’s special.

— The NFL needs to review why there’s been so many hamstring injuries at the combine this year. It started with Ronald Jones II on Friday and Vita Vea, Roquan Smith and several others hurt themselves running the forty yard dash. Is it preparation? Are they asking too much of the players in the build-up to the workout? They need to look into this.

— The best way to describe this front seven class for the Seahawks is this — there are appealing options from the middle rounds onwards. Today has reinforced, however, that the better value in the early rounds will probably come in repairing the running game. The interior O-line (Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn, Billy Price) and running back (Kerryon Johnson, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones II) options are better than the defensive options. And the reverse is true from the mid-point onwards. If they acquire extra picks in the top-75 they might consider adding someone like Lorenzo Carter but this draft is set up for Seattle to address their much-maligned running attack.

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  1. Volume12

    These LBs are fast man.

    I’m a big fan of Florida St’s Matt Thomas. Tape is OK, but he’s got good size, length (he’s just long in general), and a lot of potential. Had one of the better lowkey days. I mentioned on the other post, but he gave me some tiny KJ Wright vibes.

    • peter

      Maybe it’s because the community has become very good at finding players but it seems like this year there hasn’t really been any “eye popping,” performances.

      I was slow to come around on say, chark but I could tell he as fast. Maybe not that fast but still.

      there’s some new names to look at but if you start to whittle down the arm length, or too explosion tests it doesn’t really feel like there’s thar many additional players to consider.

      • Volume12

        Like, eye popping #’s from guys you weren’t expecting or hadn’t heard of?

        • peter

          Yep. It used to be years back there was the Jaime Collins or chri s conleys but this year there are very few players that when I go down the list of measurable I think…. “Hey now, who’s this player….”

          there are few big lbs that were big jumpers I had never heard of that I’m interested in. But again I hate to reference chark again but no I e yet really kicked down the doors and those that did you kind of new they would….sweat, etc.

          • Patrick Toler

            Queen was pretty surprising for me. Thought he might hit the high 4.4s, but now way did I think he could get to 4.38.

            • Patrick Toler


              • Patrick Toler

                Damn fingers. *Queem

            • peter

              Yeah. For me I already new he’s test well if that makes sense. 4.3 or 4.4 he was always going time fast.

  2. DC

    Rob what’s your draft floor for Tim Settle?

    • white-salmon-hawk

      He seems to be carrying a little extra bad/sloppy weight. I wonder how much better his combine numbers would improve if he showed up in the 310-315 lb range. His vertical (23.5″) and broad numbers (8’0″) really jump out at you. College production speaks for itself though.

      • peter

        Agreed. Love that size but it might not be doing him any favors. the tape looks great but I think he may be more realistically about an early 3rd round pick.

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        I wanted to compare Tim Settle to Cortez Kennedy because of Body style.

        These are the only numbers Cortez had at the Combine back when.

        40 Yard Dash: 4.95 seconds
        40 Yard (MPH): 16.53 (MPH)
        20 Yard Dash: 2.86 seconds
        10 Yard Dash: 1.75 seconds
        Bench Press: 23 reps (225 lb)

        That’s apparently what he did, it was a different age of numbers and inquiry.

        Someone post Tim Settles equivalents to Cortez please.


        • John_s

          I think Settle was a 5.37 40 with a 1.9 10yd split

          • Thy Hawk is Howling

            Cheers John!

  3. peter

    I wonder what the NFL is going to do about the testing moving forward? Seemed like between the injuries and people opting out of certain tests it’s a very incomp!ete look at the players across the board.

  4. Ishmael

    Just on the hamstrings, as a general rule sports science in the NFL is considered to be roughly 20 years behind best practice. You get that combined with players and agents being absolutely desperate for a good performance, and you’re going to get guys overtraining and overloading. They’re also often bulking up past their natural playing weights to try and put on a show. Add that to sloppy technique, most of these guys are getting taught how to run properly for the first time, and it’s a bad mix. Not sure there’s an easy answer, given the NFL aren’t about to back off wanting to test these guys.

    Ideally there’d be some way to get a list of recommended/approved training centres out there. I’d like to see teams telling guys to come to the combine at their playing weight as well. And even ignoring all that, it could easily be something to do with the turf.

    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      Hey Ishmael hope all is well in New York for ya!

      Will you elaborate on what you think is 20 years behind in the NFL on sports science, and why you think so?

      I’m sincerely curious and I can tell you’re an intelligent and clever laddie!

      Go Hawks

  5. Hawktalker#1


    In regards to our running back search, I had an interesting thought about our interest in RoJo.
    There has been discussion that other teams will likely also see his special abilities ( elusiveness ) and speed, which could make him someone that goes earlier in the draft than the picks we have.

    It might be a blessing in disguise for him to have a slight injury in the combine. That could push him down just far enough where if PCJS really wanted to pick him up, he might now be available.

    Thoughts from our community brain trust?

    • peter

      Unfortunately for him he now has only one chance to show off at the proday. Iu still think he goes in the first.

      for me after the testing I think it’s still barkeley, jones, johnson……and then chubb in the first half of the second round. Kerryon Johnson on other sites seems to be getting lots of love and I think he had a really nice combine. I think Seattle would be interested but I don’t think it’s a running back for the first pick.

      Seattle has shown that the lines take a priority except with the earl pick. with the d line in flux and the oline still not good I think the signs are pointing to that being the first pick after a trade down.

      I’ll wrap this up here…..I think the runningbacks with very few exceptions just confirmed whatever most people’s bias’ were. chubb really helped himself by proving he’s healthy but other than that for me there’s no change.

      • Hawktalker#1

        There seems to be more focused than ever right now on the running game. If that translates into taking more dramatic steps in upgrading the running back position, I think there is a chance that running back could still end up being there first pick. Wherever that might be.

        This will be one of my first interesting answers I get out of their draft selections.

        • peter

          I don’t disagree but until basically earl gets traded (if he does). I can’t see Seattle staying at 18 and I think the total value is just a bit better for hernandez/ragnow/wynn before a running back….Just by a bit.

          • Hawktalker#1

            You are preaching to the choir on that point. I’ve made several posts already with my opinion that there is no way that the Seahawks will stay at number 18. And honestly I don’t think that will change no matter how many other picks they might receive from trades.

  6. Rob Staton

    I’m going to start the Live Google Hangout at 16:30 PST.

    If anyone has a question reply to this comment.

    • Volume12

      What is 16:30? Just giving ya sh** 😉

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        Rob are you in the military? Don’t tell me the rest of the World uses a 24 hour clock instead of AM/PM. Because I did not know that if it’s true.

        Just a guess but doesn’t Canada use AM/PM?

        I need to go for a vacation! (That’s Holliday in UK Talk) you’re welcome Robbie! Smiley Face

    • Forrest

      Who do you think the most likely (early round) OL & RB combo is for Seattle?
      Where would you project Shaquem Griffin in Seattle’s defensive system?

    • peter

      Were there any later round players that did themselves a favor today in your eyes? and the opposite of that, were there any early round players that may have slid a round or more?

      2. There’s a lot of excitement for Shaquem griffin amongst this community, realistically where do you think he goes draft range wise and is he even a fit for Seattle as a Lb or is he a project player for a new position SS/hybrid “deathbacker”?

      And not to dominate the questions, but…..

      Were you more impressed with the big linemen, the speedy edge guys, or the linebackers? and of them were there any players that you saw that made you think “yes, this guy is a fit for seattle?”

    • Hawktalker#1

      Chances of drafting Shaq?

      Chances of RB with pick #1, could RoJo still be available given injury?

      • Hawktalker#1

        Your preference @ RB Chubb vs RoJo?.

        • Rob Staton

          Finished the video before seeing this Hawktalker#1 but I think there’s a fair chance they draft Shaq albeit for a specific role. I rate Ronald Jones II higher than Chubb and think he’s a much more dynamic talent — but also like Chubb and can see why the Seahawks might prefer him. But I think they’re both very appealing.

    • Kenny Sloth

      How would you play Shaquem Griffin, schematically, if your GM drafted him?

      • Kenny Sloth

        Answered for Forrest

    • Kenny Sloth

      Im watching Kylie Fitts and he is quite explosive. Gets washed a little in such a creative defense, but is good with his hands and can really get upfield. Not the best strength

      • Kenny Sloth

        Oh yeah he could work re; vs. BYU

        • Kenny Sloth

          They tried to move the pocket on a 2pt conversion and he set a new edge freezing the QB mid rollout.

          We all know what happens when choke up a rollout

          • Kenny Sloth

            Oh my god. He has the worst spin move ever looool

            • Kenny Sloth

              Before the Senior Bowl he said he expected to shine in the 3 cone.

              Kind of a dopey drawl tbh

    • Trevor

      What are your thoughts on Josh Sweat as a LEO prospect and what range do you think he will be drafted?

      • Rob Staton

        Hi Trevor — finished the video now but talked about Sweat so managed to get an answer to this, have a listen.

        • Trevor

          Thanks Rob. Love the Hangout but missed this evening my daughter had Dance class. I will listen in.

    • Trevor

      Did any lb standout to you as a day #3 developmental player / special teamer?

    • Rob Staton

      The Google Hangout is now over and it’s posted at the top of the piece so check it out!

    • Trevor

      What are your thoughts on Nathan Sheppard? His arm length is just slightly under 33″ do you think that take him off the list or would they consider wing span?

      • Rob Staton

        Like him a lot. Looked great today. I’m not sure about the arm length being an issue but it’s true they’ve never taken a DL with sub-33 inch arms.

        • Trevor

          Thanks I feel the same and really hope they give him a look. Great backstory and he has an incredible motor in the tape I watched.

  7. Pickering

    Rob said there aren’t many fast and/or explosive front 7 defenders, so does that make the trade for Sheldon Richardson look better, and resigning him a higher priority?

    • Michigan 12th

      Along with that, is that why Pete said he didn’t think there was good value in the second round this year?

      • Kenny Sloth

        “Naaah we dont even want your 2nd round pick that bad”

      • peter

        three possible reasons:

        Brain fart.

        ANnd/or they didn’t realize the team would age out in one season.

        Or we all on this blog think everyone is not quite a top 20 pick but no one is dropping past pick 50 and maybe Seattle realizes everyone isn’t a “mid second early third” (Which might be my most commonly speculated range for any pick.)

  8. peter

    Has anyone seen any info in the 10yard splits for lbs ? Or is the NFL just blowing it?

    Just curious because there are three barely if ever mentioned lbs that had some pretty nice testing for their size:

    Genard avery and fred Warner both with good (6.9) three cones. With a very being 248 and then one of my favorite late round players obo okornkwo at 253 with 33 inch plus arms looking slow on the forty only to jump 38 inches and have a nice broad jump. I always feel when I’m watching him he’s miscast as a Lb and should be more of a situational pass rusher.

  9. CharlieTheUnicorn

    B.J. Hill — 2.97

    This guy…. need need to keep an eye on him. Had a very nice Senior Bowl and combine.

    • Clayton Russell

      All of the NC State guys are pretty solid. Mayock, said he was impressed with their front. Interesting to see all of the pro day results too.

  10. Kenny Sloth

    &@!%*€ Sounders losin to an expansion team

    • Greg Haugsven

      They dominated that game to. Just couldnt put the ball in the damn net.

  11. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Get Hyped for Griffin


    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      Cheers for the link Charlie!

      What an amazing person!

      I’m going to cry if the Hawk’s don’t draft him and he gets to play with his bro in the NFL.

      Either way I’m so proud of this Awesome Kid!

      Go Griffin Bro’s!

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        Raiders, Saints and Seahawks are linked to him.

  12. Trevor

    Two guys I really want to see some tape of after combine.

    Ade Aruna (Edge /Tulane)
    Dylan Cantrell (WR Tex Tech)

    • HawksBill

      I have been brought up Aruna’s name a couple of times on the blog since I saw him in the NFLPA bowl. Not a lot of film, but this one is pretty good:


      • HawksBill

        Damn, I should proof read a little better before I hit ‘submit’

  13. Trevor

    Great article for anyone interested on Nathan Shepparda back story. Sure sounds like a Seahawk kind of player to me. He and Shaqueem Griffin would bring a ton of grit to the Hawks D.


  14. cha

    Vaughn mcclure
    Source tells me the Falcons are one of multiple teams discussing a Michael Bennett trade with the Seahawks. Nothing imminent but will be interesting to see how it all unfolds

    • Greg Haugsven

      It would be nice to see him in the AFC but I guess you get what you get.

    • C-Dog

      Makes a lot of sense for Atlanta.

      I think there will be a market for Bennett. He’s a rare talent. I don’t buy the narrative he’s slowing down.

    • white-salmon-hawk

      Wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucs were one of the other teams in on trade talk. They are rumored to have missed out on the Quinn trade. Tons of cap space for them too.

      • Clayton Russell

        There is also an article on one of the Bucs websites stating it makes sense because he already played for them once and liked Tampa. I think it was from an actual interview .

    • Volume12

      Would be a great get for Atlanta.

      Listening to Stone Cold Steve Austin aka Dan Quinn yesterday, you kinda got the sense he wanted to trade some picks. Something along the lines of ‘We don’t want too many projects with we’re at right now.’

      • Volume12

        And he’s right. That’s a loaded, youthful defense. They’re missing a vet like Bennett.

        • DC

          Atlanta or Jacksonville. He would be a great add and either team could keep him fresh. They are both modeled after the Hawks. Might as well bring in a champ to help reach the promised land.

  15. C-Dog

    Your closing paragraph really nails it, Rob.

    Good looking draft to address fixing the run game early, and find value for a younger defense in the mid rounds.

  16. Greg Haugsven

    Griifin is a very interesting one. I think the deathbacker role is for sure built for him. He really isnt a SAM LB he is probably more suited to play the WILL. He could play strong safety. You could have lots of options for him. I just wonder where they could draft him. Maybe with there 4th round pick? You may have to change the defense a little with him in there. We may never have a chance to draft him though if someone uses there third rounder.

    • Volume12

      I think he was a 4th rounder. Had a great day and teams are gonna love his character and the fact he’s all effort all the time.

      He’s worth a late 2nd let alone a 3rd IMO.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        I think he was considered more a 6th/7th rounder, but with the showing and how he has interviewed….. he blew the doors off the combine…. he worked himself into a 3rd round pick imo.

        I think he has the same limitations as RW (in GM eyes)….. here is what I mean, if RW was 6’3″, not 5’10”, then he would have been a 1st round pick… but slid to the 3rd round. Grffin has only 1 hand, so that will scare teams. I think 3rd is a good place to target him…..

        The hybrid SS/LB/CB could be in the cards for him.

        I think it was said on NFL.com that he is a good football player and brings energy to the team he is on. He is infectious. This is a very important ingredient.

  17. Jeremy

    Rob, you’re missing a D in defender in the headline. I’ve been super busy the last couple days. So excited to dig in to the (I think 4) articles here. Thanks again!

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks — good spot on the headline!

  18. Pugs

    ESPN reporting the Seahawks are in discussions with the Falcons about Bennett.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      Make too much sense for both teams. They need pass rushers and the coaching staff understands him.
      Not sure what they give Seattle, but most likely a 5th or the like… or maybe a trade of a 5th + MB for a 3rd.

      • Greg Haugsven

        Not sure I would want to do it unless we could get a third. Giving them a fifth as well sounds fair.

        • Hawk Eye

          I think the MB talk out there is similar to Sherman last year.
          They will not cut him and they will trade him, if they get the right offer.
          But to think they will get rid of him cheap just to get rid of him is not accurate, he was by far and away their best pass rusher last year, on a very sore foot.

  19. Volume12

    Would Seattle make a run at potential FA DE Vinny Curry?

    • C-Dog

      I can see that.

      • Greg Haugsven

        I say no because that is the opposite of getting younger and cheaper on defense

  20. drewdawg11

    I can’t stand the waiting. I need to find out what they are trading, what they are keeping, what they will have goin f into the draft. If anything, the weak testing of the defenders today seems to maybe put a higher sense of urgency to get one that you like, but earlier. If they are serious about upgrading OLB, perhaps they wait a while for a running back.

    • Hawktalker#1

      I hope they’re even more serious about upgrading the running game.

  21. Coleslaw

    If we trade Bennett we should definitely target Quem with the pick. Gotta be a 3rd. We can compensate with all the 5th and 7ths we have.

    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      Yeah Coleslaw that would be great, we just have to get the Griffen Bro’s together and make sure it happens with a 3rd!

      I’m thinking that there are some unwritten rules in the NFL. The reason I think that is because remember in the 2013 Conference championships against the 49ers and Bowman got the fumble in the End zone while tearing up his new but the call was Seattle retained possession some how. Well the very next play after all that Marshan Fumbled the ball and the 9ers got the ball back. I was thinking it was only fair and proper that happened. I believe there was an unspoken agreement at that point and Pete and team decided to be just and give them the ball out of respect.

      So my point is that Teams will respect the Griffin Bro’s and make sure Seattle drafts Shaq with a fair draft pick. That’s the world I want to live in!

      Go Hawks!

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        *Knee not new* He did get a “New” knee after the Surgery however.

        Damn I’m on a roll.

        You’re welcome you Lucky People;

    • DC

      The Seahawks drafting Shaquem Griffin is as ordained and obvious as Marshawn Lynch punching it in from the 1 in Super Bowl XLIX. Needs to happen.

    • McZ

      I know it’s hard, but I didn’t make the rules…

      Shaqeem will stay a late round pick. I just cannot see a lot of organizations putting a one-handed ie risky guy that high on their boards. I can’t even tell, if the Hawks will be one of them.

      IMO, he showed, that he is an awesome competitor. He deserves to be considered. But, hawk-wise, how would he react not being paid as much money as his brother?

  22. Thy Hawk is Howling

    Cheers Rob for everything!

    This Q+A with Google hangout is great and I Love hearing your voice.

    What county is your accent, for I know how they’re all subtly different. So where did you grow up?

    Your Blog and everyone on here you’re just the Best!

    I so Love and appreciate this site!

    Go Seahawks Draft Blog!

    • Rob Staton

      I’m from Yorkshire in England

  23. Thy Hawk is Howling

    Rob you mentioned Shaquim as being tenacious.

    So when we draft him oh and it will happen, his nickname could be

    Tenacious G(riffen) !

  24. drewdawg11

    What’s the record for responding to your own post? Sorry! I just broke your streak.

    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      Ha ha your funny Drewdawg. The truth is the only post I responded to of my own was when I corrected myself on “Knee” not new.

      You have to look at the position of the post it it’s slightly inword towards the reply icon then it’s a response or reply to one’s post. Now if it’s all the way to the left flush with the page then it’s a new post like the rest of mine. People weren’t posting for a tid bit and I’m in a happy and excited mood about Shaquim and my Team.

      You’re more then welcome to flip me shite if that brings you joy. I’m a big boy, I can take it!


  25. Old but Slow

    Why are we not getting the 10 yard splits? The networks are so in love with the 40 that it seems to overshadow everything else.

    Also, has anyone explained how one of the top rated WR prospects (Ridley), who apparently performed well in the drills and had a good 40 was so poor in all of his other testing?

  26. DC

    I really believe that Michael Bennett is worth Atlanta’s #90 or Jacksonville’s #93. He’s still producing at a pro bowl level at less than 100%. Get his snap counts down again, keep him fresh and he’s going to help someone get to the big game.

    • Jeremy

      From what I could see, the Dolphins gave up #107 for Quinn, who’s 5 or 6 years younger than Bennett. But his last 2 years were pretty injury riddled

    • drewdawg11

      I think if you have to keep making excuses for a player’s performance, he’s not what he once was. Snap counts? Injury? So what you’re saying is if everything was 100% perfect… he could be really good. Well, the older you get, the less likely it is that you’ll have 100% perfect health/conditions. He’s a defensive lineman. He’s not going to age well. Also, it’s not like he’s been a dominant force from snap to snap the last few years. He gets a lot of sacks from stunts, (TE loops). He’s really living off of his reputation. I sincerely hope that someone is foolish enough to hand over a third for him.

      • Greg Haugsven

        I agree with a late third. He also has low cap hits as well where Quinn are higher.

      • DC

        You hand over pick #90 & he blows his knee out in week 2? You are a fool.
        You hand over pick #90 & he helps you win the conference/SB? You are a genius.
        You wait it out and let him get released? He’s going to NE and you’re going into a straight jacket.


      • Hawk Eye

        he was by far the top pass rusher for Seattle, DESPITE being injured, and went to his 3rd straight pro bowl. How is he washed up?
        he is not that old, plenty of other guys get sacks into their late 30’s, and he dd not play a lot his first 5 years in the league.
        and Bennett is good against the run also.

        Quinn has been less productive then Bennett the last few years and is paid twice as much, some of you guys need to watch the games

  27. Millhouse-serbia

    Rob you didn’t mention Darius Leonard and we spoke a lot about him before combine . Did he do anything exept 40 yard and bench?

    • Rob Staton

      He didn’t. Was a bit disappointing and hard to discuss him as a consequence.

  28. Del tre

    Watching Shaquill Griffin highlights, surprised on how many 1v1 tackles he had against Gurley, hopefully his brother will follow suit and they can terrorize the Rams run game for years to come. Really hoping the Hawks play no games, take Shaq in the 3rd, hes worth it, you don’t have to take him off the field on third down in coverage, makes the team have a 3 down defense again.

  29. Saxon

    From a recent Bucky Brooks column: “, I believe craftsmen should be valued over explosive athletes despite the spectacle feel to the draft. Evaluators should look long and hard at the tape to see if the wide receivers win with skill over pure speed and explosiveness in routes. Moreover, scouts should pay close attention to how well they separate from defenders, particularly against press coverage. Artistry is required to win against some of the physical tactics employed by NFL defenders, which gives skilled receivers a nod over athletes in my mind.” Antonio Brown, is the textbook example of this. Had a fairly average combine but is a first ballot HOF due to his “artistry”.

    I think this philosophy applies to other positions as well. Seattle has gotten in trouble reaching for “unicorn” athletes rather than prioritizing craftsmen, as Brooks calls them. Baseline athleticism is necessary but I hope the front office starts valuing fundamentals, technique, instincts, and game experience more highly.

    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      Excellent post Saxon, I agree with that philosophy in player evaluation.

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        Just to be clear I wasn’t implying that’s what I think the Seahawks do. What I should have said is Hard work (craftsmenship), which is dedication, and passion is very important over just physical attributes.

    • cha

      “Seattle has gotten in trouble reaching for “unicorn” athletes rather than prioritizing craftsmen”

      Like who? Christine Michael? I’ll give you that one but I don’t grant your general premise that the Hawks have gotten hypnotized by pure skill over technique.

    • Rob Staton

      No, the Seahawks haven’t valued baseline athleticism too much. Jarran Reed, Ethan Pocic, Tyler Lockett and several others. Not amazing athletes. Just ‘good football players’. Reed’s technique was superb handling the run, Pocic handled players up front.

      It’s a laboured point. Yesterday you completely missed the point on TEF, now you’re back for another go it seems.

      • UKAlex6674

        or just voicing an opinion?

        • Rob Staton

          He didn’t just voice an opinion though Alex, he asserted something that simply isn’t true. It’s a misconception that the Seahawks have gone after freaky athletes only. They’ve taken a lot of the type of players Saxon is claiming they should be targeting (eg Pocic, Reed).

    • Sea Mode

      I don’t agree completely. Thing is, you can find “craftsmen” types in UDFA ala Baldwin, overlooked guys who are gonna work tirelessly at perfecting their craft. But the elite size/athleticism you have to take in the draft, and usually early.

      Also, for every Antonio Brown, there are half a million average Joes whose craftsmanship never reaches a level where it makes up for their just average athleticism.

      My preference would be to find the best athletes available (though maybe not the top ones) who also fit the ‘Seahawky’ personality type (overcome adversity, competitors to the bone, fast/smart/tough/reliable) and then coach up their craft.

      One last thought, you can also get guys in FA who are decent athletes and in general are already advanced in their craft at the pro level, whereas with rookies–even well-trained ones–you’re likely going to have to wait a bit anyways and coach them up, so might as well grab the best material possible to start from.

    • Ed

      That’s how they have chosen many of their failed shots at OL, so spot on.

      • Rob Staton

        No this is not accurate.

        They didn’t snub “good blockers” who were bad athletes. They look at a barren field of options and did what they had to — drafted players with at least the potential to be great.

        • Saxon

          Nah, Rob, understood your argument yesterday, just found it interesting that Brooks crystalized my point in his most recent column.

          When I have time I’ll do a more comprehensive treatment of this subject with Hawk draft moves vs the league. And, yes, I do think they overvalue measurables vs production as Carroll has admitted. But I’ll reference that later.

          Love you, Rob!!

          • Rob Staton

            I look forward to your piece. Email it to me and I’d be happy to publish it as a guest post if you would like. Always happy to discuss different positions.

  30. Del tre

    Rob, just listened to the google hang out, here is a solid breakdown of Griffin
    The thing about his hand is (and i know you didnt say or imply this just putting it out there), that its always been that way, he’s not going to have to adapt to playing football with no hand.
    Voch says that in the video and i think it pretty aptly sums up the issue. But we all know youre rooting for him like the rest of us, sites been crazy fun the past fee days, great content fun discussion. The google hang outs are great i wish i could catch one!

  31. Dale

    I get a TEF score of 3.36 for Sheldon Richardson’s combine performance. Is that correct? I was unable to locate his numbers for the short shuttle or 3-cone drill. If anyone has these I’d be curious to compare. Thanks.

  32. Millhouse-serbia

    Rob, I live in CET time zone, and since you start with hangouts my day is starting with it. Thank you for everything you are doing.

    I have a question for next one.

    Do you think that Harold Landry would be a good option for us after trading down in 25-30 range? Do you see him as a new Cliff Avril? I know he is 32 7/8″.

  33. McZ

    My take is, that the Hawks either need to fix the OL by drafting an agreed upon football-IQ guy instead of a short-range missile like Ifedi. Or they need a RB as a day 1 starter to make the OL at least look good.

    As good RBs will last well into the 4th, drafting OL seems logical. Trade down to late 1st round, then Will Hernandez will repair what has been damaged by passing on Ramczyk and Robinson last year. Day 2, a committee back like John Kelly would be my preferred choice.

    Could equally go the other way, say, Ronald Jones III and Brian O’Neill.

    I was and continue to be not impressed by either Schultz or Smythe. If it’s them or Dante Pettis, I would take the latter.

    A couple of late rounders to consider:
    – Siran Neal, Jacksonville St, S (was LB and CB, too) -> flexible DB option
    – Ryan Izzo, Florida, TE -> fills the blocking TE need
    – Cole Madison, Wash St, OL -> late round-OL, whose deficiencies seem coachable
    – Braxton Berrios, Miami, WR-> intermediate scheme runner, fixes he “Kearse-gap”
    – Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame, ILB -> add depth

  34. GermanSeahawk

    Must get younger and cheaper:

    Cap Space : 13,4 mio

    Cut Avril (+7,1 mio)
    Cut Lane (+4,75mio)
    Cut Ryan (+2mio)
    Cut Thorpe (1,85mio)
    Cut Tre Madden (0,63mio)
    Cut McEvoy (0,63)
    Trade Thomas (8,5mio)
    Trade Bennett (2mio)
    Trade Sherman (11mio)
    = ~51 mio

    Resign McDougald 3years 15mio. (-5mio)
    Resign Shead 2 years 5 mio (-2,5)
    Resign Coleman 3 years 12 mio ( -4)
    Resign Maxwell 1 year 3 mio (-3)
    Second Round Tender for Jordan ( -2,9)
    Resign Marcus Smith 1 year 2 mio (-2)
    Original Round Tender for Mike Davis (-1,9)
    =51-21 mio=30mio

    All other guys let walk…
    (Compensations Picks2019)
    Sheldon Richardson (3th)
    Graham (3th)
    P.Rich (4th)

    Sign ASJ 2 years 7mio (-3,5mio and lose -4th comp.)
    Sign Justin Ellis 3 years 12 mio ( -4mio ,-5th)
    Sign Norwell 3 years 34 mio (-10mio,-3th)

    =30mio-17,5mio= 12,5mio

    Earl for #19 from Dallas
    Trade back to #33 ans #65 with Browns
    Trade back from #18 to #34 ans #66 with Giants
    Trade RS to New England for #95
    Trade MB and pick #141 to Atlanta for #90

    33 RoJo (RB)
    34 Harold Landry (DE)
    65 Lorenzo Carter (LB)
    66 Shaquem Griffin (SS/lb)
    90 St.Brown (WR)
    95 Jessie Bates (FS)
    120 Isaac Yiadom (CB)
    146 Durham Smythe (TE)
    168 Michael Dickson (P)
    226 Daniel Carlson (k)
    248 Khalid Hill (FB)
    250 J.t.Barrett (QB)

    QB : Wilson,Boykin/Barrett
    O-Line: Brown-Norwell-Britt-Pocic-Ifedi/Fant (Odhiambo,Roos …)
    RB: RoJo, Carson, Davis, CJ Prosise
    FB: Hill
    TE: ASJ, Vannett, Smythe,Swoopes
    WR: Baldwin, Lockett,St.Brown,Darbor,Moore

    DT:Reed,Ellis,Naz Jones,McDowell
    DE: Clark, Jordan, Landry,Smith
    LB: Wright,Wagner,Carter,DJ Alexander
    FS: McDougald,Bates,Thompson


  35. Trevor

    I love Shaqueem Griffin and think he would be an incredible addition to the Hawks but I think the Rd #2 hype is a little over the top. His brother tested every bit as well, played a premium position at CB, had good tape, had great off field character and he got drafted at the end of round #3.

    Shaqueem would be considered a tweener without an disability. That is why there is so much discussion about where he fits and what position he would play. For me he would be an incredible pick with our 4th rounder and I think he will be on the board then.

    • Hawk Eye

      I agree. Great story, great character, but 1 hand will restrict him from doing some things other guys can, like reaching out with their left hand to grab someone when that is the angle they have to take.
      I think 4th or 5th round is probably where he will go, but won’t be surprised if he goes in the 3rd.
      Of course, if you draft him, it might also help make everyone else play harder. Are going to let the guy with one hand outplay you? Because he will outwork you. And he can play.
      whatever happens, the kid is a great story, can never root against him
      unless those evil 49’rs or Rams take him…..

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