The two players I’d hate to leave this draft without

Last year we knew that Seattle needed a quarterback.  Insider whispers as well as vague comments from our coach and GM implied this quarterback search would not be early.  I still remember John Schneider saying there was one great quarterback “that nobody was talking about.”  Intrigued, I began a writeup series studying the late round quarterbacks to see what was out there, and if possible, find out if this mythical quarterback really existed.

None of my non-internet friends are Seahawks fans.  I have a friend who is a Packers fan, and I have a friend who is a Broncos fan, and neither spend much time following the NFL Draft.  If I ever want to talk Seahawks without typing, it means talking my family members ears off, mostly my brother.  Which I’m sure they appreciate, for the first 30 seconds or so.  Maybe.

One day, I mentioned to my father that I was looking into late round quarterbacks, and mentioned to him the existence of “the one” whom our GM cryptically spoke of.  Instantly, he mentioned Russell Wilson.  “Insisted” might be a better word.  “You have to see him.  I think he’s the real deal.”

I had faintly heard of the name, only to remember how Rob had dismissed it.  I trust Rob’s judgement, and combated my dad’s enthusiasm.  My dad is about as great a football savant as any dad is.  He ain’t Bill Belichick.   Although to his credit, he did predict Giants over Patriots before that same season.  So he might have ESP.  Can’t rule that out.

I am not ashamed to admit, I had never watched Russell Wilson before that point.  I don’t follow college football so much as follow the prospects, and Wilson had never been on any prospect watch lists.  In retrospect, I think that blank slate played to my advantage, because I broke down his tape without preconception.  It took less than one drive before my enthusiasm for Wilson exceeded his.

I mentioned Wilson a few times here and there on the blog.  I promised to write a special article on him but never got around to it.  However, on the draft board section of the message boards, I was singing Wilson’s praises, and at one time was even caught with my pants down when Brandon Adams (of 17power) posted a Russell Wilson love letter I sent him in the fieldgulls comments.  I defended Wilson there, I told everyone who would listen at that he was the guy.  I told them that his height wouldn’t hurt him because of the release point, the line he was playing behind, the skill he showed with throwing lanes, his spontaneous genius and his incredible feel for the game.  I even went so far as to say that he was “the Tom Brady you could see coming” at Mockingthedraft.

But I was more cautious with sharing that sentiment here, outside of ranking him #3 on my quarterback rankings ahead of Ryan Tannehill, and espousing my love for the pick right after it happened.  I really wish I had gushed more, and sooner.  It is my greatest regret of the 2012 draft season.

When the 2012 draft finally came, it was a pretty interesting experience.  Watching day one of the draft among a hundred or so Seahawks fans and a couple of radio talk show personalities, I told everyone within earshot of me that they’d love the Bruce Irvin pick, even if I wasn’t sure of the value at the time.  I never thought he’d be a first rounder, but Irvin was one of just two players I badly wanted to see Seattle walk out of the draft with.  When I wrote my draft reaction that night on this blog, I mentioned that the other player I felt we had to have was Russell Wilson.  I even joked that it would be something if Seattle took Wilson with their next pick in the second round.

I didn’t really expect Wilson to be picked at #75.  I thought they might try for him in the 4th.  Funny enough, my brother had to work that next day and I ended up watching day two with my dad, the very same person that tuned me into Wilson in the first place.  I truly believed that Wilson was the next great quarterback, but even worse, he was there for the taking.  That third round was agonizing.  Would somebody take him before the Seahawks?  When that Marine spoke the word “Russell” we were already on our feet screaming and high fiving.  It was an unbelievable, almost spiritual experience.  I guess it was a nice father-son moment too, something I will always remember.

We weren’t the only ones celebrating.  John Schneider and Pete Carroll, who were on camera during the draft, seemed quite enthused after the pick themselves.  Pete Carroll held a press conference, during which he compared Russell Wilson to Fran Tarkenton, even saying that he had spoken with Tarkenton’s former coach about him.  But it was John Schneider who said something most awesome, during a radio interview I believe.  He mentioned that there were two players it would have hurt to walk out of the draft without:  Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson.  The same two players that were my favorite out of that entire draft.  It was pretty cool hearing that.

That experience taught me that sometimes a player can be great even if he doesn’t have the measurables, even if he’s not “cool to like.”  Sometimes you just see greatness, and while there are many productive players who do not see their games translate to the next level, it seems like the truly special ones usually find a way.

If there is something I learned from last year, it’s that I’ll never hide my feelings about a prospect again.  I don’t care if it makes me look silly or out of touch.  I will tell you what I’m seeing, and I’ll tell you who this year’s Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson are.  The guys it would hurt to walk out of the draft without.  You might think I’m way off the mark, but I don’t care.

Here it goes.

Seattle needs to increase their pass rush in the interior, and they need to boost their pass rush depth on the outside as well.  There is a nice “pocket” in the draft for pass rushing end types in the middle rounds, guys like Corey Lemonier, Armonty Bryant, Cornelius Washington, and a few others.  That depth as a pocket pushing defensive tackle is less evident, which is why I think Seattle will probably be forced to grab a defensive tackle fairly early, and highlighted the early round options a few days ago.   Truth be told, this isn’t a great year to find a pass rush defensive tackle.

Then I went back and re-watched a favorite of mine.  A hybrid defensive lineman in a 4-3 front, he played strong side end, LEO, and the 3-tech.  A star for a major program during a quietly great season, he is generally considered too small to play defensive tackle and is too slow to play end at the NFL level, by the same people who thought Russell Wilson was too short to be an NFL quarterback.  And yet this undersized wonder was by far the most unblockable 3-tech I’ve seen in his draft, hands down.  Playing most of his snaps at strong side end, he was no less disruptive there.

Though because of his 6’1″ height and lack of weight, coupled with below average foot speed, many have projected him as a 3-4 outside linebacker.  And I’m sure he’d be great in such a role.  A common comparison for John Simon is Mike Vrabel, who funny enough, is Simon’s assistant head coach at Ohio State.

But as a 4-3 prospect, Simon is seemingly ignored.  Like Wilson, Simon is a diamond in plain sight, a player who’s fantastic ability in a 4-3 defense is overlooked because conventional thinking says he can’t succeed in the same capacity at the next level.

Simon weighed in at 257 at the combine.  It seems likely that Simon dropped weight for the combine to appeal to 3-4 teams looking for an outside linebacker.  According to an interview he had this time last year, he played the 2011 season at 270 pounds.  That’s just ten pounds lighter than JJ Watt, and it’s actually two pounds heavier than Justin Tuck.  The game film of Simon shows that he’s a better run defender than you’d think against drive blocks, even beating a drive block double team at the 3-tech spot to force a tackle for loss.  He actually looks very much in his element as a 3-tech, but he’s no slouch as a strong side defensive end either.  While it’s true that Simon lacks footspeed and highly mobile quarterbacks can run around him from a defensive end spot, the same is true for JJ Watt.  And I’d say he’s done okay for himself.

Simon may not always be a maestro against the run, but it’s clear he at least has surprising strength to anchor and has a nose for the football.  He won’t even come close to Bruce Irvin’s forty time or Red Bryant’s size, but I could see him being an undersized yet still highly effective Jason Jones type player- one who rotates between the 3-tech and the 5-tech.  He might need to add weight, but he’d only need to add six pounds on his playing weight to hit 276- the weight that Jones played at during last season.

I think Simon can pull it off, and if he does, I think he’ll be a complete player for the Seahawks.  His upper body strength and ability to both push the pocket and shed blocks is incredible.  And remarkably consistent.  This is a guy who gets pressure or quarterback movement on most of his pass rushing snaps.  More than anyone in this draft, John Simon is a badass in the phone booth.  You will not contain him for long without a double team.

Simon is more than a special talent.  He’s also a special person and leader.  Ohio State coaches have said he’s one of the best leaders they’ve ever seen come through the program.  Simon injured his shoulder in week two, but downplayed the injury to coaches and still went on to post 9 sacks in 11 games, including four sacks in his final college game, after which his shoulder gave out, forcing him to sit out the season finale.  When coaches asked about his health earlier in the season, he replied “I’ll be ready. My shoulder is far away from my heart.”  All this for a team on probation with no chance for a national title or bowl game.

Listen to Urban Meyer gush about Simon.

“He makes all of us look in the mirror and ask ourselves ‘are we doing enough for our team’?”  Meyer also joked about naming his son after John Simon, and has called Simon “Tebowish” as a leader, both on the field and off it during workouts.  Usually when a coach gushes about one of his players this much, it’s worth paying attention to.  Just ask Bret Bielema.

Whereas Wilson is the first person at the building to break down film, Simon is well known to be the first person at the building to begin his workout routines, often dragging some less enthusiastic teammates with him.  Simon is the ultimate competitor, the kind of leader a young up and coming defense needs.

Simon did not boost his draft stock at the 2013 combine.  My other “must have” played did.

Last year I scouted four Texas A&M games for my Ryan Tannehill scouting report.  Sometimes when you scout for a specific player other players will jump off the screen and grab your attention.  In every game I watched, his go to receiver was a physically ordinary looking white possession receiver, Ryan Swope.  Players of certain races at certain positions have long had to battle mindless stereotypes, but Swope actually seemed to further them.  With skinny arms and legs and the face of a high school intern, Swope hardly seemed the type destined for NFL stardom at first glance.

And yet game after game, Swope was making plays.  He finished that season with 1207 receiving yards- the most in Texas A&M school history.  He also had 11 touchdowns.  Sneaky fast and six foot tall, Swope was a frequent deep threat, but he was also extremely quick out of his breaks as a slot receiver and knew how to find soft zones, sit in them, and present his quarterback a target.   In other words, he was a total passer’s pet.  Between Swope’s strong 2010 and 2011 seasons, he helped make Ryan Tannehill a top ten draft pick.

During the 2012 season I discovered future and present megastar Johnny Manziel midway through his upset of Alabama.  Once again, the favorite target of choice was Ryan Swope.  I thought that was pretty neat, and thought to myself that Swope was probably going to be a 4th round steal for some team.

There is no shortage of quality options at wide receiver in this draft.  I had Swope on my list to review, but he was pushed to the back of my list because like many I foolishly assumed he was an average athlete.  Then I heard about the rumors that Swope was doing shockingly well in his pre-combine workouts.  I decided to go bump him up the priority list and see if the athleticism would be there on tape.  I had never really looked closely at Swope before, I just knew he was a difference maker on game days.

I was surprised by what I saw.  Swope wasn’t just making catches, he was making yards after the catch too.  With quick feet and faster change of direction skills than you’d think, he can at times remind you of Golden Tate.  He doesn’t just have to run around defenders either.  And at 6’0″, 205 pounds, you had better wrap up when you tackle him. This coupled with his multitude of deep scores, it was plainly evident that his athleticism and elusiveness was far better than I had assumed.  But even I was stunned when he posted a 4.34 40-time and a 37″ vertical.  That is damn impressive for anybody, but even moreso for a six foot receiver at 205 pounds.

But of course, Swope is more than a playmaker.  He’s a great route runner and improvisor- one who flourished with Manziel and Tannehill, both of which are mobile, creative quarterbacks.  I wonder who else has a mobile, creative quarterback in need of a receiver who knows how to get open on improvised plays?

He’s also tough, intense, smart, and fiercely competitive.  And despite measuring slightly small hands, he’s about as trustworthy catching the ball as they come.  Just watch that video above and notice how Swope is constantly trying to soak in the moment, even firing up the crowd before a game.  See how he celebrates every big play.  And if you watch the game compilations, you’ll even see him put a few defenders on their ass if their not looking for him.  Many evaluators glance over that stuff, but Pete won’t.  You can plainly see how much Swope enjoys competing, and winning.

The common refrain is that every white wide receiver is invariably compared to another white wide receiver, usually a better one.  You hear “Wes Welker comparison” and assume it’s lazy.  But just this one time, I think it’s justified.  In fact, I’d compare him to someone else, someone better.  Steve Largent.  Same competitiveness.  Same quickness.  Same intelligence.  Same reliability.  Same impressive production.  Same chip on the shoulder.  Same love of the game.  And like Largent, he might just kick your ass if you don’t watch yourself.  And like Largent, he might be a 4th round pick.  I’d take him much sooner than that, obviously.

I think Ryan Swope is destined to be pretty good, but he’s also the exact kind of receiver Russell Wilson needs.


  1. Rob Staton

    This is a terrific read and I’m on board with both players. I’ve been a big fan of Simon’s for two seasons, and everything Kip says it’s spot on. I’d happily take him in round two and I’ve toyed with putting him at #25. What a waste to see him acting as a pure linebacker at the Senior Bowl.

    Swope is an interesting case. Tape is great from 2011, although his 2012 season was a little strange (some huge games, some where he has one catch for nine yards). Really instinctive, smart receiver. And then he runs a 4.3 and you get more excited. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t look like he should even be a football player, but he’s special.

    Dismissing Wilson was a major lesson for me too. I saw 5-10 and said ‘no’. Never looked beyond that. Lesson learned.

    • Byrd Flew

      I really agree about Simon. My buddy here in NYC is a huge Buckeyes fan and I ended up watching a lot of their games this year. He really stood out as a guy with a high motor and was always involved with plays, either by directly making them, or influencing the track of the ball carrier, or stuffing the lead blocker, etc.

      Rob and Kip: Do you think this is a guy that would fall to us in the 2nd round? Where is he currently graded to go (not that it really means anything come draft day)?

      • Rob Staton

        I grade him a little higher than some others. I think Pittsburgh will consider him in round two… undersized pass rusher. They like those guys. I think he’s at worst a round two pick, but could see him lasting until R3. I wouldn’t risk it. If he’s there in round two, I take him. Had him alongside Dion Jordan on my pre-season top-50 watchlist for 2012.

        • Nick

          Reminds me of Justin Smith albeit a smaller version. Man strength.

          • Kip Earlywine

            A scary thought- what if SF drafted Simon at #31 or #34? Smith is getting up there in age.

    • Dan

      I guess the obvious question with Simon is the same question that’s been tagged on Datone Jones: Is he worth an early pick if he’s just going to be a rotational guy?
      But you can’t deny that both these guys give it there all. I’m a hawk blogger who doesn’t believe in drafting a WR in the first 2 rounds so Swope is certainly intriguing to me. Thanks for your prospective Kip. You won’t get any ridicule from me.

      • Kip Earlywine

        I think Simon’s downside is a rotational player. He doesn’t look like a rotational guy playing in the Big 10, which has produced the 2nd most NFL players of the conferences in the last several years (behind SEC).

        Even as a 3rd down DT, I’d draft him. Seattle spent a 15 overall on a 3rd down specialist last year. If you think he’s going to be special, you take him, and figure things out later.

      • Jacob Stevens

        If a rotational lineman is drafted, that’s just a temporal thing, not necessarily persistant. Bruce Irvin may not have been ready to take more snaps than he had, and yet may be ready to start in 2014. Simon & Datone Jones may also follow suit.

    • Darin

      Rob, I watch a ton of A&M games, and the thing with Swope is that he shows up in big spots. The issues with him having a few games where he wasn’t putting up monster numbers, was the emergence of Mike Evans as another big target for Johnny Manziel.

      Swope was good and lead the team in TDs, but Evans, was the big 6’4″ target that lead the team in yards and catches. Swopes drop off in production wasn’t all him, a new offense, and new QB and the emergence of Mike Evans, all made his numbers dip down, other them him once again leading the team in TD receptions.

  2. Byrd Flew

    Re: Swopes

    Do you think this is a guy the Hawks would pick. I agree about everything you wrote: he plays hard, makes catches in traffic, good YAC, etc., but I find it hard that the Hawks would draft this person to play a role that Tate plays in an above average way.

    We know that PC/JS grade prospects in relation to their performance / attributes relative to our current roster. Knowing that, do you see Swopes as someone that “out-grades” Tate? If not, do you see packages with both Swopes and Tate on the field at the same time? Where does Baldwin fit into this analysis?

    For lack of a better analogy, I worry that Swopes is like the addition a luxury crossover SUV into the Hawks “Garage”. We already have one of them in Tate. Do we really need another? For me, and my admittedly lack of complete understanding of the Hawks Offensive concepts, I want to see a Sports car that does 0-60 MPH sub 4 seconds.

    • Rob Staton

      This is a very legitimate point. He might be too similar to Tate and Baldwin. I think it depends how early they would have to consider him. I think they’d like a bigger receiver or joker tight end more than a shorter guy.

      • Byrd Flew

        However, to argue with myself, if PC/JS think that Swopes is as good as Tate and that Tate has reached the the top of his potential, or is at least near, Swopes may represent a lot of value. Tate comes of off his contract next year (right? maybe two years – too lazy to look it up) and it is questionable that we would be able to retain him as we look to also lock up our other high impact players (ET, Sherman, etc.) If we are able to get Swopes, we can lower costs and the salary cap while also retaining the same level of talent at the position. That’s not a bad thing.

        • AlaskaHawk

          Swopes would be a great 4 th receiver for the Hawks. He has the speed we need, good route runner and great hands. Also had major contributions on a team that should have been BCS champion.

          A couple reasons why we need him. Our starters will most likely be playing through at least one injury, this year it was Baldwin and last year it was Rice. If we don’t renew our receiver field then in a couple years we wont have any. We have at least a dozen practice squad receivers with issues- with so little luck training late round guys (except Baldwin) we really need to step up and draft a guy with potential.

          The negative being we will have to take him in the first or move up in the second to top ten to get him.

          • Dan

            I’m not so sure he’ll be taken in the second round. If he does it would mean a lot of receivers were taken in the first 40 picks. This WR class has some great depth

            • AlaskaHawk

              Even with great depth Swopes will probably be the 5-8 wide receiver off the board. He is arguably as good as any other well rounded top receiver, including Austin or Patterson and they were given first round grades.
              Our late second round puts us in the 8-10 spot. That’s why we would need to move up in the second round. I am guessing he will get chosen in high second round. There are other receivers who will fall to us in the second but they won’t be as good or as ready to play.

              • xo 1

                Yeah. With the combine measurables, it is hard to see what the knock on Swopes is. Even if he doesn’t look like a stud, he measures out. And his performance is off the charts, obviously.

                Kip, really enjoyed this article. You are on fire since you’ve come back. Between Rob and you and the entire team at Fieldgulls, we are one lucky blogsphere.

                • Leonard

                  I’ve been a fan of Swope’s since watching Tannehill last year. The only thing that has made me think twice about him is when he measured only 8 1/8 ” hands. It hasn’t been a problem with college balls though. I’d still love to have him in the second round.

      • Nick

        The joker being the Cadillac escalade. We already got the Ford truck F150 in Zach Miller.

    • Nick

      Great analogy.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I think Seattle is looking to upgrade the slot but also have depth for Rice. I think Swope does both. He would compliment Tate, not replace him.

      Tate is a rising star. He isn’t going anywhere.

    • Barry

      Give his size this would make sense if the WR starting chart went- needs to be 6’3 plus WR then a couple of smaller fast guys. It doesn’t. Due to size we automatically assume that is how the line up needs to look. We like to talk about JS picks from his GB days, if you go back and look at the WRs he picked tall or big wasn’t the average. In fact average height was(5’11-6’1) with good measurables the exception being Jordy Nelson, and coming out of collage he was a much more similar player to Swoop then say Rice.

      I see Rice if anyone as the guy going to be replaced. Contract vs production vs lack of big consistent plays.

  3. Greg Downs

    Great read, Kip. I’ve written on espn that swope is a largentesque looking wr. Both could quickly cut at full speed like their ankles were made of steel. Steal of the draft if he goes in the 4th. I don’t think we go slot receiver, though. The sleeper WR for 4th/5th rds that is a PC/JS wr is EASILY going to be Marcus Davis. 6’3, 233 lbs, 10.25 in hands, good speed at 4.56, serious hops at 39.5”, perfect red zone threat and a guy that RW will lay the ball up there for MD to grab. Marcus Davis SCREAMS Hawks wr, SCREAMS. We tried Big Mike, drafted Durham to no avail but Davis is the guy with those big paws, hops and speed. Don’t be surprised. He’s that sleeper in a deep wr class.

    • JW

      good point. Meh…get’em both.

      • Ben

        dear god, that would be terrifying.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I really like Marcus Davis and have mentioned him before (maybe not on this blog). I think he’ll be a 5th or 6th round steal for some team. Seattle might draft two WRs this year- extremely deep class.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        I can definitely see that.

        There are a lot of great physical tool/developmental guys here. Lots of diamonds in the rough at DL, CB and WR. One could throw in OL too because it’s just sick how many potential day one starters there are this year.

  4. bjammin

    Great read Kip. What an awesome 1-2 punch with Rob and you. Nice to hear both of your perspectives and can tell you both respect each other’s views a lot. Was pretty cool last year to hear your enthusiasm for Irvin and Wilson after the draft. From your write-up these both seem like legitimate Schneider/Pete picks. Whether or not they actually pick these guys given so many options, it sure makes sense as a good possibility. Excited to go back and look at these two more. Cheers

  5. Hawksince77

    About Wilson last year:

    “If there is something I learned from last year, it’s that I’ll never hide my feelings about a prospect again. I don’t care if it makes me look silly or out of touch.”

    It’s funny how many people are saying now how they always knew how great Russell Wilson would be, yet didn’t say a damn word last year when everyone writing asserted that Flynn was destined to start.

    Rob wrote an article right after the draft suggesting that Wilson should start – not necessarily because he was the best player, but in order for Seattle to know if they needed to draft a QB this year or not.

    Nobody, and I mean NOBODY publically supported Russell Wilson before and after the draft (with the exception of Rob), and I received zero, and I mean ZERO public support when I did. I was crucified on Field Gulls and ultimately banned for making a case for Wilson’s excellence, when all the opposition had to offer was two weak arguments: Seattle signed Matt Flynn as a FA, and Wilson is too short to play in the NFL. Had any of you closet admirers of Wilson spoken up in my support, we would have had a far more balanced and meaningful discussion. Kip Earlywine and David Hsu would have been a big help any time during the debate.

    Hey, you brought it up.

    • AlaskaHawk

      When you a QB for 20+ million with 10 million guaranteed there is some expectation that he will start. Kudos to Wilson for beating him out. But since Flynn never started his value has apparently fallen to zero – or a 7th round draft choice. Not good money management.

    • Kyle

      Dude, that’s just the internet. If you’re going to get hurt feelings because no one had your back, you won’t have time to do anything else. I’ve enjoyed your perspective in the comments on these sites, so keep at it, but you can’t take these things personally. At least Kip admitted his perspective, unlike the sheep at .net, who tend to completely transform their opinions overnight, and never acknowledge their mistakes.

      • Hawksince77

        I appreciate that, Kyle. I don’t have an issue with disagreement, those who genuinely felt Wilson wouldn’t succeed, or felt that Flynn would start. I get that. What bothers me is that there were people (I named two of them) who were prominent writers about the Seahawks who basically agreed with me and didn’t say anything. Groupthink took over, and I was mercilessly attacked because I sounded insane, in that literarily everyone else willing to post (and I mean, EVERYONE) agreed that Flynn would start and that Wilson would sit this year, perhaps two.

        Take a different case. Rob here was certain Courtney Upshaw would be drafted by Seattle in the first round. I disagreed, and yet worked really hard to understand his perspective. I treated him with respect, always, and simply sought to understand his point of view. In the end, I simply couldn’t see it, no matter how hard I tried. Did I insult Rob or denigrate his opinion? Absolutely not. In the end we had to agree to disagree (although one of my last posts before the draft I laid out a scenario where Upshaw might fit).

        Anyone can be right or wrong about these things. That’s not the point. The point is how such differing opinions are treated. Had a credible writer such as Kip or David Hsu spoken up with their own hard-earned opinion, group-think would have been broken, and the ensuing discussion far healthier.

        As it was, my opinion and my arguments had no authority, and any credibility I had quickly eroded until the attacks became incessant (and acceptable to an alarming degree).

        Things could have been different. Kip could have helped make them different, and he didn’t.

        • Phil

          I remember your support of Wilson and applaud you for it. The differing points of view are what makes this blog interesting to me. How boring it would be if we all agreed.

          Take this year’s lightning rod — Tavon Austin. I think he’s the most exciting player in this year’s draft and I’d love to see him in Seahawk Dove Grey (or is it Blue). Others don’t agree. I’ve weighed their arguments (e.g.g., the Seahawks will have to manufacture plays for him; he’s too slow — yes, someone said that before the combine; he won’t be able to take a hit; he’s a diva — later retracted) and they haven’t swayed me. But, that’s OK. I don’t have to be right and I’ll try to be respectful in my disagreement and maybe even find a little humor when Roger Goodell says, “And with the 25th pick of the 2013 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks pick Trevor Austin.” Tavon’s little-known, and greatly under-appreciated, brother.

          • Hawksince77

            That’s a great example, and I agree with the point of the blog. It’s so funny when people think I attacked people who disagreed. Quite the opposite! I longed for reasonable disagreement, with people bringing forth facts and perspectives I hadn’t considered. It was the mindless insulting attacks that set me off.

            In the case of Austin, I am of two minds: on the one hand, I think he adds an element to the Seattle offense that doesn’t currently exist. His speed and elusiveness is unique. He couldn’t be more different than Lynch as a ball-carrier. With Austin on the field, the playbook gets expanded, and the defensed that much more threatened.

            On the other hand, if Austin’s value was limited to getting him the ball behind the line of scrimmage (handing off to him, bubble screens, reverses) I don’t think he would be worth a first round pick. The ability for him to run WR routes and catch the ball, then, is critical to me. And when I consider that part of his game, I wonder if an uber-short WR with a limited catch radius would be a welcome addition of Wilson. It seems to me that Wilson would benefit from the tall outside guys (Hunter a perfect example) or prototypical sized TEs in the middle (6’6″ pass catchers). It just seems that Austin’s small stature makes him a more difficult target for Wilson to hit, given his propensity to throw the ball high and outside.

            But I agree that respectful discussion is most beneficial. The personal shit just drags a blog down…

            • Phil

              Great response. I’ve been critical of the Seahawks’ screen game this year and I’ve concluded that IMHO, it’s the area where RW’s lack of height makes it difficult for him to get the ball over the heads of the defenders and into the arms of the RB/Slot without throwing up a lob. So, plays would have to be manufactured to overcome that reality. But, to me, regardless of whether the screen is to Austin (5-8) or Lynch (5-11) or Turbin (5-10) or Tate (5-10) the issue is the same. I don’t think that a 2 or 3 inch height difference will matter.

              On WR routes, I think he will be next to impossible to jam and, with his quickness, he’ll have no difficulty getting separation. Others may disagree.

              • AlaskaHawk

                As far as screens and running game goes, it has to be taken in the context of our line play. Our offensive line was troublesome the first half and then improved the second half. Especially galling was the Miami game.

                Now I know that some people will disagree and say our line is great. My take is that Marshawn Lynch has carried this line with. He usually gets a few yards after the tackle and so he has made the line look better than they are. Likewise Wilson’s scrambling ability has made our pass protection look better than it is. I watch the other teams Qb set up for lunch as he waits for receivers to get open. Meanwhile Wilson is scrambling around like a squirrel looking for a stray peanut.

                So anyway, with the lack of much of a passing game to set it up, and troubles blocking, it isn’t suprising that the screen isn’t very successful.

                I like Tavon Austin but would be more in favor of a 6 foot plus well rounded receiver.

              • AlaskaHawk

                and one other thought. There are at least 5 positions that need filling and any of them could be deemed critical first round worthy. As fans we all have our thoughts and favorites. I have a few favorites for each position. The hard part is knowing we won’t get the top picks in any of those positions.

                So to some degree as Hawksince77 said many messages ago, we fans do not have the same influence as Rob and Kip and get challenged for our opinion.

                Of course they get challenged too, so we should be accepting that opinions will differ, though some people seem to make a science out of being the south end or a north bound horse.

                One other thought about last years draft. There is a world of difference in expectations between picking in round 1 vs 3. Wilson was a good deal if we picked him in round 1 – we would have been questioned about value but could have said we wanted a QB competition. At round 3 he was a steal.

          • Dan

            In spirit of this discussion, I still don’t want Tavon. If we grab any big name catcher it should be a tight end. From the investments we’ve made on RBs to the offensive line we’ve built, we are a hard nosed, hit you in your face running team. Tavon would either replace Tate in the spit or be a slot reciever. Either way we’d have a lot more plays with 3 wr sets. Our offense isn’t built around having a dominant passing attack. A big bodied TE is a much easier (and much smarter, considering our personel) transition into this pass happy league. We’d be able to stay to our roots and still have home run hitting potential on early downs.

            • Dan

              This FO has been credited with being ahead of the curb with their physical defensive scheme. And while WRs are in high demand today, big TEs could be tomorrows next big thing. This quick firing offense with dink and dunk plays won’t last long. Football’s a physical sport and a guy who’s 6’3″+ that can block (to a certain extent) and catch the football is a what I’d call a “physical specimen.”

            • Phil

              Dan – I think our offense is still evolving from what it was at the beginning of last season. I’ve seen us move from a run on 1st and 2nd down, maybe throw on 3rd down, ball-possession type of offense to one that may still prefer to play that kind of offense, but has lots of other options in the playbook. And, I’m all for making it as difficult for opposing defenses as we can make it. I love the read-option and I’m excited that at season-end, PC said there are still options we haven’t seen. I think adding Tavon would add a whole other set of concerns for opposing defenses.

              Regarding the TE, I would have agreed with you before the playoffs. But, after seeing how Zach Miller played, I don’t think we need any more TEs, I just think we need to target them more often. Earlier in the season, back in the game vs. Chicago, I was really disappointed to see Miller wide open in the end zone, but he was RW’s 3rd or 4th read on the play and he just couldn’t get the ball to him in the time he had to set and throw. If he’d been a 1st or 2nd read, an easy TD. We’ve got a Pro Bowl TE, we just have to use him more often.

              • bjammin

                What if Miller gets hurt?

                • xo 1

                  In addition to injury concerns, the Seahawks need to build toward having a lower cost alternative to Miller. High priced free agents such as Miller and Rice (and Flynn) are luxuries Seattle won’t be able to afford starting next year. This year’s draft needs to set the groundwork for that transition. Given the exciting depth at TE and WR, the Hawks might be able to do that with mid-round picks but they need to try to address it. The success or failure will go a long ways to defining whether Seattle will be able to compete each year or if the team will be cyclical. I’m optimistic JS is several years in front of this, but a draft that focuses on this year’s issues only could really hamstring the team downstream. By contrast, another stellar draft could set the Hawks up nicely for a BPA scenario going forward.

              • Dan

                Ya I agree that we have yet to see the playbook open up. But adding Tavon wouldn’t just add a dimension to this offense it would change it all together. The percentage of plays we use 2 TE sets is ridiculous compared to other teams. I’m basically saying if we want to upgrade our receiving corps we should look for an upgrade over Mccoy. We could use the same personel from last year but have 4 capable ball catchers on first down.

                In some ways, I agree with you. I don’t want to see us run on 1st and 2nd down every time. But i still want the opposing defense to account for that. With 2 TE sets we’d have the ability to both run and pass. And with a speed TE, we’d create mismatches all over the field (which is something Wilson was doing a great job of recognizing in the second half of the season).

                I guess I just see adding another quick bubble screen guy as a statement that the FO is moving away from 2 TE sets, and I, for one, don’t like that idea.

                • Robert

                  I totally agree. We’d have to change our offensive philosophy to create opportunities for Austin. And we would give up a lot of blocking having him on the field. He is not an experienced route runner. So he cannot just step in and be an effective slot receiver. PC was excited about pairing Zach Miller and John Carlson in 2 x TE sets like the Patriots. So I think it is a PC/JS priority to find a joker TE. With that set, Defenses are doomed: Formidable blocking for our Beast game and at any moment it’s just a chip block and one or both of our TE’s are in running in space!

        • Kip Earlywine

          I don’t surf Fieldgulls comments almost ever anymore, especially since the site had a revamp. Kind of weird that you are blaming me for not defending you on comments from another site that I don’t read, lol.

    • bjammin

      Kip also wrote an article immediately after the draft gushing about how much he had wanted the Hawks to pick RW and Irvin and how special he was. He was as enthusiastic as anybody. I think Kip meant he wished he would have been more vocal before the draft about what he was privately hoping. Brock Huard and Gruden before the draft and Kip just after were some of the most enthusiastic endorsements of Wilson I heard/read. Even Schneider in interviews now has admitted he didn’t see RW coming on as fast as he did. The Hawks were planning for Flynn to start and RW to develop/compete. He changed all that after he showed up and dominated. You can’t really fault people for having the same perspective as the guy who drafted RW. If you were clever enough to figure this out earlier that should be a feather in your cap. I wasn’t part of the discussion at FG, but often in these forums it’s less about someone having a specific opinion they express and more of the emotional/personal way it is expressed. But for all I know it was an unjust witch hunt because you believed RW would start.

      Hey, you brought it up.

      • Hawksince77

        Yeah, it was an interesting dynamic, for sure. I recall Kips post-draft article, and you are right: he gushed.

        It was shortly after that things got more controversial, and Wilson supporters disappeared. And you are also right about the tone: I was put on the defensive on several occasions, and could have definitely responded more constructively. But what really made it difficult was any attempt to hold a rational discussion. As I said, the arguments against Wilson were basic and few: the arguments for detailed and meaningful. It had as much to do with PCs philosophy as Wilson’s ability, and the coach’s stated intent to start the best player. This always trumped the FA signing of Flynn, but people couldn’t accept that. The other argument had to do with Wilson being a 3rd rookie, and the dearth of historical precedent. The inability to look past that prejudice was remarkable and telling.

        Really a fascinating experience, one unlikely to reoccur any time soon, given the uniqueness of Wilson and the state of the NFL last year. Not unlike the year Warren Moon came out in the late 70s. No black athletes had ever excelled at the QB position in the NFL, and received wisdom being that they never would, so he had to go to Canada for six years until Doug Williams won a Super Bowl in the mid-80s.

        • bjammin

          The Russell Wilson experience for Hawks fans has been unbelievable. Our version of Rocky (kind of). Honestly you, and anyone else, who had RW on their radar early (before the draft) should be pretty excited because like you said, for us draft fans, it isn’t likely to happen again like that. Amazing player. After the draft, the more I delved into RW the more excited I got. I dared to hope he would find a way to make this crazy story come true and start, even if it was at some point early in the season. Utimate underdog. I was happy when we signed Flynn and thought he could be good but wasn’t invested in him personally. Once they made the leap to sign RW I thought he fit more of the point guard qb than Flynn. He still had everything to prove. You were right and he did. That’s pretty cool.

          Sucks it got so bad they booted you. This is my favorite Hawks site anyway and here we are so cool. I don’t think it’s quite fair to come down so personal on Kip (or David Hsu) like that because of what they didn’t say. Misplaced frustration. Sometimes people just stay out of certain conversations because it’s getting too personal and they don’t want to get involved. The other reason is even if they loved RW and like me hoped he would win the job but thought it was likely he might back up Flynn to start. Schneider has said that was how they were looking at it. RW changed everything. From an outsider perspective who has nothing whatsoever against you, I’d let it go in terms of Kip and Hsu.

          But from me, I give you huge props for being on Russell early. Be proud of that. Amazing call to feel so strongly he would prove everything exactly like he did. Great call.

          • bjammin

            Maybe Russell supporters did not disappear at all but were in a wait and see mode letting it play out because that’s exactly how Pete was treating it at the time.

            • Hawksince77

              Could be. That would have been the prudent attitude to take.

              • AlaskaHawk

                I think there is still room to discuss how starting FLynn and having a midseason change, after RW got some practice in, would have been a smart move. This would have been similar to San Francisco’s move – and that worked out alright for them.

                The issue we have now is that our 20 million dollar backup QB is worthless on the market because we didn’t play him at all last year. It would have been prudent to start him 4-8 games and then make the switch. And the way our first four games played out, it probably wouldn’t have hurt the team – maybe even helped it.

                So I’m not saying we should do that, I’m just saying that our decision from last year, which started to pay off later in the season, also effectively caused us to throw away a bunch of money of a backup QB. It is hard to see why we paid Flynn so much if no other team was interested in him last year and no one is interested in him this year. And without any attempt on our part to increase his value by giving him playing time – we are stuck.

                • Hawksince77

                  That’s a good argument, and one made last year. Two things: one, I don’t think PC cares as much as JS about such things — enhancing trade value by starting a player, for instance. What PC wants to do is win championships, and starting RW in week one gave him the best chance to do that last year. By mid-season RW had grown into a form that likely took so many games, no matter when he started. He hit the post-season in perfect stride, and they came very close.

                  Second point: we have to see how things play out. Yes, it turns into waste if Seattle gets nothing for Flynn this year, and cuts him. That’s the worst case. If, on the other hand, Seattle trades him for a 3rd round pick, most of us would feel that most of the cost had been recovered.

                  So let’s wait and see. Rob doesn’t think Flynn is worth anything, and he may be right. Even if that’s the case, I am sure PC doesn’t regret his decision to start RW. In my opinion, signing Flynn made several things possible for the Seahawks last year, specifically allowing them to take a chance on waiting until the 3rd round for Wilson. Without Flynn, they probably feel compelled to use their second round pick on Wilson, and miss out on drafting their starting MLB.

                  • AlaskaHawk

                    Good point on how Flynn affected our drafting. We might even have taken RW first round if we didn’t have a QB lined up already.

                    I am jealous of how much KC gave for Smith.

          • Hawksince77

            Fair enough. And you may be right about Kip and Hsu. Even if they liked Wilson, they may have felt like most others that Flynn would be named the starter. That being the case, they were wise to remain on the sidelines of all that.

            And to be honest, the only thing I am excited about is the fact that Seattle has an awesome QB with a young talented team ready to go the distance for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t matter that I was right about Wilson: I’d feel exactly the same way if Flynn had started the season. The issue has to do with how people are treated, not whether they were right or wrong.

            Thanks for the words, though, I appreciate it. Like I said, the really great great thing is that the Seahawks have such an exciting team, one bound to get better here in the next few months.

            Go Hawks!!!!

            • bjammin

              Russell Wilson sighting.

            • Kip Earlywine

              I wanted Wilson to be the starter, but I saw positives in having Flynn start. Mainly that he’d boost his trade stock massively with a good season.

      • Kip Earlywine

        As far as Wilson, you can read my draft grade on Wilson (I gave the pick an A+ and if you read my explanation, it wouldn’t sound like something you’d expect to be written in April):

        or this love letter I drew up for him THE SAME NIGHT he was picked. Called it my favorite draft pick ever:

        • HopScotch

          Got to admit, Kip, I’m pretty glad that your analysis on Wagner was wrong.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Honestly, that’s a big reason why I don’t visit fieldgulls much anymore. Danny Kelly is a class act and Kenneth Arthur is more brilliant than I think people realize, but for the most part it’s hive-mentality central, and I hate that more than words can possibly express. That’s why I’m so adamant in stressing to people that I don’t just want them to take my word for things. I don’t want a cult here.

      I had no idea about the debates you had. I would have gladly had your back. I got in arguments over there regarding Wilson too. Same lame-brain lack of imagination from several loud or prominent users. Sucks that you got banned, but you probably should have just stepped away. I know that these days they don’t take banning as lightly as they used to. Still, sorry to hear that.

      • Kip Earlywine

        And by that I mean it’s a very “4-chan” type place. A really strong conformity culture remains and like 4-chan you see some pretty childish arguments and not enough respect or humility. Lots of nerdy 4-chan type statements/humor, etc.

        And I’m quite the nerd myself, if the FF7 pic the other day didn’t clue anyone in. I just really loathe the internet culture, and it’s way too thick in the comments there for my taste- even if the users really are a smart and informed bunch.

        • Spencer Vail

          I could not agree more. Danny Kelly, Kenneth Arthur, and Davis Hsu are some excellent bloggers that do there homework and have great opinions I think (I still think John Morgan was better than Kelly though) But the comments section is insane. If you don’t agree with the mass they go crazy on you. Pretty good analysis over there not so much on the community though.

        • HopScotch

          I get that both of you guys had rough experiences at Fieldgulls with your opinions of Wilson, but just remember how heated that preseason was. The majority of the commentators there (me included) had no idea what was happening with the three-man QB race. A vocal group felt that Flynn gave the team the best chance to win, and that the prolonged competition was only being detrimental in developing chemistry to a team that was primed to make the next step. And for the first four weeks of the regular season, it certainly looked like the team’s opportunity was being wasted. Wilson, in particular, did not fare well in his first game against the Rams and had he not made those three picks, the Hawks would have won and Seattle possibly would have had a home playoff game (I still believe that had Clemons not been injured in Washington, the Hawks would have beaten Atlanta).

          Add on that Wilson being slowly reigned into the offensive system gave off the illusion that the team was wasting its opportunity to open its championship window. The fans were angry, and as a result the Wilson supporters were especially targeted. As Sando has been keen to remind us, Wilson’s ability as a quarterback did not really take off until after week five ( and it took two comeback drives in Chicago to cement Wilson’s place as a full time starter of the ‘Hawks for a majority of fans.

          It was a rough season for fans as they transitioned to the thought of Wilson being the Seahawks’ franchise QB. I am sorry that you guys had a rough time on that site. For what it’s worth, I appreciated both of your opinions.

    • Jacob Stevens

      Russell Wilson was 100% not on my radar. I was still puzzling why Lamar Miller was still on the board, even though we’d already picked Turbin. Then I saw we picked a QB, and I assumed it was a development flyer. I grimaced because I thought that was early for a development flyer. But I’d read the Footballoutsiders article on him, so I went back to that and began to be intrigued.

      • ptp

        I had the same reaction. I was excited about him but I wasn’t certain, so I just played wait-and-see, but everything I saw I liked.

  6. Cysco

    And this is why I love this blog. My enjoyment of football has increased a ton since I started visiting SDB regularly a year or so ago. Thanks a ton Rob & Kip!

    The “gut feeling” I got from the combine this year is that the Hawks will be trading out of round one. There wan’t any player that would be realistically within striking distance of #25 that seemed like a good fit.

    Simon looks awesome! All to often when watching DL tape you just see a big guy slamming into another big guy in hopes of breaking through the line. Simon seems to be looking for the cracks between linemen that he can squeeze through. It’s uncanny how often he spins off his blocker through a hole in the line.

    If the Hawks can drop back into the early/mid 2nd and pick up an extra 3rd or 4th I’d be thrilled. That would give them the opportunity to grab John Simon & Khaseem Greene in the second.

    • Byrd Flew

      I would be soooo on board with that.

      • xo 1

        Even just swapping places in the third round with a team like the Chiefs would work for me. Trade pick 25 for the Chief’s second and swap third round picks. Obviously even better if we can straight out get an additional third round pick but I’m wondering if the depth of the top tier is going to devalue the trade up scenario. Except for the odd team really locked onto a particular player (say Barkley if he slips), it may be hard to persuade teams to give up much to move up the board. (How bad does the Browns’ decision to give up their second round pick for Josh Gordon look now?)

        • Cysco

          Totally agree. Getting any kind of value in round 3 or 4 would be awesome. I’d love an extra 4th or a swap of picks in the 3rd.

          Things are shaping up for massive value in rounds 2&3. The players that Seattle is probably interested in at #25 are probably the types of players that would be there in the early/mid 2nd. If you can move back into round two, grab the guy you’d probably have taken in round one anyway and get some additional draft value in a mid round you, why wouldn’t you do it? Unless it’s a Bruce Irvin situation where your not 100% sure he’ll be there so you “reach” to make sure you get your guy.

          I remember hearing that PCJS were talking about doing exactly this strategy last year with Irvin but couldn’t get a deal that provide enough risk/reward to move back so ultimately decided not to risk missing out on their guy.

        • Eric

          What about…

          Trading Flynn and our 1st rd pick to JAX for their 2nd pick this year and next year?

          It’s WIN for us because JAX has the first pick in the second rd, so we’d be droppnig by only 8 slots. Plus we unload Flynn for a 2nd rd pick (albeit next year).

          It’s WIN for JAX because they get their QB, and still have 2 picks in the 1st rd this year.

          • Rob Staton

            I think we’ll see that teams just don’t have any interest in Flynn. Didn’t last year, won’t this year either.

            • Hawksince77

              Jacksonville, Raiders, Jets, Cards, — somebody’s gone make an offer. And Seattle has 2 million reasons to consider it.

            • xo 1

              I fear this is true. KC paying such a dear price for Alex Smith tells us a lot about how they felt. John Dorsey was in Green Bay while Flynn was there. If he thought Flynn was viable, I don’t think he’d have paid the ransom for Smith. Either that or he is in over his head.

  7. Attyla the Hawk

    To be honest, I don’t recall many instances where we even tried lobbing a jump ball pass. The only one that comes to mind was that spectacular corner route against the niners, and that was completed to Baldwin who is even shorter.

    Swope gets open. And he attacks/fights for the ball. You can see his attention to the little things. If that ball is going to him, either he’s getting it or nobody is.

    I’ve said for some time, that Seattle appreciates the game of inches. Natural size is one way to be on the plus side of that. But it’s not the only way. And Swope has the natural ability to maximize space despite being 6′. Swope plays bigger than his listed height.

    I see him as an outside guy. I can see him as a #1 guy. He most definitely isn’t just a guy who sits down in the hole in a zone. He attacks DBs and can stretch the field. He incredible reliability is a byproduct of his gifts: Speed, agility, strength, great hands, balance and ball skills.

    I see him as Rice’s successor. This is a guy who should play on the outside. People see a short white guy and assume he’s Kevin Walter or Wes Welker. But he possesses the speed, route discipline, hands and a natural ability to create separation that will translate to the outside.

    He won’t get open by using his body to shield DBs (although he shows on tape that he can do that too). He is exactly the kind of guy that will flourish with a strong armed, accurate passer. Because he can create a good crease of separation, and if the ball is delivered on time — he can shake a CB loose and run it to the end zone.

    He’s not competing with Tate/Baldwin for me. He’s competing with Rice.

    Awesome work up Kip. I hope this article sticks around a while because I suspect we’ll be referencing this in about 7 weeks.

    • Byrd Flew

      I have only had the opportunity to watch a few minutes of tape, but not once did I see Swopes lined up at X or Z. His measurables are certainly nice, but I think you are focusing too much on his combine numbers and not his tape.

      I would love for him to be Hawk, but placing him on the edge would be a waste of his best talents. He has a great skill set to out manuever slot CBs and WLBs, not elite CBs.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it depends on how you define a jump ball. They threw an awful lot of ‘go and get it’ passes in 1v1 coverage. That’s what Wilson appeared to be challenged to do. EG – Tate TD vs Jets, Baldwin down the middle vs Niners, Baldwin down middle vs Pats, Rice long bomb vs Lions that he dropped (just a few examples). They were consistently challenging the receivers in those situations and having big targets with good hands are crucial in those situations. You need a guy who can go up and get the ball.

      • Phil

        Rob – I agree that it looks like RW has been told that on the long ball, with one-on-one coverage, to underthrow the ball and let his receivers make a play. So, having big targets with big hands who can go up and get the ball are crucial, as you say, in those situations.

        But I’ve also heard you say that the Seahawks need receivers who can get separation from defenders. And, IMHO, this is where size may actually be a liability and the smaller, quicker guys (like Austin and Swope) can play an important role. I do agree, also, that maybe we already have enough “small” receivers and not enough “big” ones. But with the depth of this year’s draft, maybe there’s room for both.

      • Kip Earlywine

        Yup, beat me to it.

        Whole reason they signed Evan Moore was for his jump ball skills, IMO.

    • mjkleko

      Would have to disagree, the passing game is predicated on getting the defense to play the run and attempting to find receivers isolated 1 on 1. Tate, Baldwin & Rice routinely face 1 on 1 “go and get it” situations that utilize athletic ability to come down with the ball. However, they do not routinely throw fades or short yardage jump balls in the endzone, mainly because the running game has been very efficient within 15 yards or they try and do some spread looks to create space underneath in the passing game in the red zone.

      I’d have a tough time seeing Swopes be a #1 outside receiver, he may have some quicks and top notch receiving skills/mind, yet would need to make some significant strides to become a Steve Largent/Greg Jennings type #1. Furthermore, a lot of people make the mistake of labeling Tate as a slot guy, but he most assuredly does not man the slot regularly. Bevell uses Tate predominantly opposite Rice, so I think Swopes would most likely be competing with Tate or Rice.

      Also, Kevin Walter is 6’3”.

  8. other ben

    Immediately after the 2012 draft, the Wilson pick was my least favorite. Successful QBs who are sub-6′ OR who were picked after the 1st are very rare. I wanted to either get one of the top 2-3 QBs from a class or punt for next year. I wasn’t entirely confident in Flynn being a future Pro Bowl-er but I didn’t think Wilson would ever do much more than Charlie. Credit to you, Kip, for seeing through this.

  9. Ron

    Great write-up Kip: Can Simon fill the Raheem Brock Role? If we are able to trade into the top of the 3rd – do you think he’d be there? I’d like to come away with either of these 2 players @Leo: Tank Carradine – Rd1, or Cornelius Washington Rd 2. Like the Swope pick, wouldn’t argue with Wheaton either. As badly as we need to solve the 3T, having a hard time deciding the pick, and if we can move back in the draft and land either Kawaan Short or Datone Jones, and pick up an additional early 4th Rnd pick, that would be my preference. If we get a young DT in FA, do you think they wait till 3rd Rnd or later to get additional DT depth?

    • Kip Earlywine

      We already have Irvin for that role but yeah, I think he could manage as a pass rush end. I see him more as a Jason Jones type in a 4-3 though.

  10. Sam Jaffe

    Great read, Kip. My concern about Swope is I’m not clear what is the reason for Texas A&M’s spectacular offensive output. Is it Manziel making everyone else look good? Is it the tackles making Manziel look good? What if Swope, even though we now know that he really is fast, is just an average player that Manziel makes look great? I’m not convinced that that’s not the case.

    I also agree with your view of Simon, but I can’t see him being more than a substitute player on passing downs, so I would hate to see Seattle spend a 1st or 2nd on him. I think those picks are definitely going for a WLB and a 3T DT.

    My favorite player who I would hate to leave the draft without is Ace Sanders. He’s going to be a pro-bowl kick returner. Nothing else–he’s too small and slow to play anywhere else. But he is going to be spectacular at returning kicks for a pro football team.

    • Alex

      It’s not one way between Swope and Manziel. I’ve watched the Alabama tape twice and then the Cotton Bowl. There are a few times when Manziel does his scramble and his “emergency” outlet is always Swope. To his credit, Swope always made the catch and that’s what impresses me, he makes clutch catches. I never felt he was particularly fast and he certainly didn’t seem as fast as he ran at the combine, but the one thing that stood out was that he simply made those important catches.

  11. bjammin

    So what range is Swope likely going?

    • Kip Earlywine

      Very hard to tell. People said before the combine that he could go from round 4 to round 2 with a good combine. Since then though, I’ve heard more skepticism than praise. Really hard to figure, but I think at least one team will love him enough to make him a top 60 selection. While I’m not sure about Simon, I think the Seahawks probably love Swope. I would not even be shocked if Seattle took Swope at #25 depending on who’s there. I wouldn’t be shocked if they got Swope in round 3 either.

      • bjammin

        Cool, thanks Kip.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        If he is one of the guys we can’t leave without then he doesn’t get past 58. Seattle, if anything, has shown they will overdraft for guys they really like. There will be too many in the market teams selecting between 58 and 89 to risk leaving the draft without him.

        If they get him in R3, then he wasn’t a guy they couldn’t leave without. That or they have cranial implants in heads of every GM that allow them to read their minds.

  12. Jake

    Simon is very similar to a prospect a lot of us were excited about last year: Melvin Ingram. Similarly sized, skilled players who kind of don’t have a specific position. I don’t have combine 40/drill times, but on tape they play similarly, with Ingram having a little advantage in quickness and Simon a little advantage in strength. He might be a nice specialist/depth, but he doesn’t answer the “complete 3-tech” riddle that would improve the overall defense enough to justify a 1st round pick. 2nd is a possibility if he lasts that long. I don’t see him as a must have though since Jason Jones could be re-signed for fairly cheap and is better right now.

    Swope is a very intriguing prospect and he matches so well with Wilson’s skill set. He does seem similar to Tate, however I feel like that’s a good thing. Two reasons: 1. You can never have too many good receivers AND 2. We need depth, not a new starter. Rice, Tate, Baldwin are the top-3 this year no matter who is drafted and Swope could fill in as an outside or slot guy in any of those three’s spot allowing Bevell to get more creative with Tate. I tend to agree with your assessment on Swope – he’d be a very nice addition and one player I really think is special.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Melvin Ingram is the exact opposite IMO. Simon’s is slow but his biggest strength is his arm use and ability to shed blocks. Ingram (who has 31″ arms) was really fast but his biggest weakness was that he couldn’t shed a block to save his life.

      Also, I hated Melvin Ingram the prospect and hoped Seattle would not draft him.

      • Jake

        I wasn’t referring to you or Rob. The community here was pretty excited about Ingram though. We got Upshaw in EVERY mock draft here last year, we (the commenters) proposed Ingram or Hightower in response because at least they had some special ability that Upshaw just doesn’t have. Ingram is a good player, he will be successful in the league but in hind-sight we should have identified that Irvin was the one with special ability. Simon is the same as Ingram to me even though they differ in their preferred route to the ball. Both are best suited to DT pass-rush specialists. To say Ingram doesn’t shed blocks is misleading. He has short arms and can be engulfed, so can Simon. But Ingram’s spin move is the best I’ve seen from a d-lineman since Freeney and he gets off blocks just fine if he uses combo moves such as bull rush, spin. Simon and Ingram project to the same position and have the same impact on a game. Ingram is better because he is more of a playmaker though. This is all to say, Simon is not a rare prospect – so I doubt this front office drafts him in the 1st. His ability to pass rush from DT make him a very nice 2nd round option though assuming an even better player (Swope) isn’t available.

  13. Hawksince77


    After watching the Swope tape above, I can see how he might get us excited. My question for you (because I can’t really judge one college WR from another): how does he looked compared to Hopkins?

    Hopkins is looking more and more like a top option for Seattle at 25, based on what I can glean from various sources. But there seem to be a lot of good (if not elite) WR prospects this year.

    What do you think?

    • Rob Staton

      Hopkins more orthodox, traditional outside receiver. Polished routes, ultra competitive. I think Swope is more creative, not as specific with his routes. He improvises. Hopkins has a physical edge, Swope is faster. Both good hands, Hopkins perhaps slightly better.

  14. Colin

    Alex Smith traded to Kansas City for a 2013 second round pick (34th overall) and a future 2014 pick.

    This might help us get rid of Flynn.

    • James

      Good news in that it should increase the value of Matt Flynn. Bad news in that the 49’ers now have two late R1 picks, for all intents and purposes. They will be getting even better. John and Pete must compete for all they are worth, and use this draft as a place to get an edge on SF. We must outdraft them if we are to win the division.

      • Cysco

        That’s just crazy value for Smilth. I’m shocked. (and jealous)

        • Hawksince77


          If the news holds up (a 2nd round pick this year and another pick next) for Smith, how do you think that reflects the market for Flynn? I know you don’t like either QB – but for a team to trade so much for a presumed starter, far more than most people thought, has to make us reconsider.

          Although to be honest, I have thought the market for Flynn would be in the second-round-range, a third at the least, just given the situation this year. Maybe Jacksonville swaps 2nd and 3rd round picks with the Seahawks, that kind of thing.

          What do you think?

          • Hawksince77

            Too clarify – Jacksonville would give their 2nd and 3rd round pick in exchange for Matt Flynn and Seattle’s 2nd and 3rd round pick.

            • Eric


              I posted above a similar scenario, only I have SEA trading Flynn and our #1 pick to JAX for their 2nd pick this year (33 overall) AND their 2nd pick next year.

              Good for SEA because we get a 2nd rd pick next year for Flynn (same as what SF got for Smith – only a year delayed), and we drop only 8 spots with our first pick. If ever there was a 1st round worth dropping out of, this is it.

              • Hawksince77

                I am sure Bradley in Jacksonville witnessed the advantage of signing (or in this case, trading for) a QB prior to the draft, and then adding another in the draft. That would give them Gabbert, Flynn, and a draft pick to compete for the starting position. Doing so greatly increases the odds of having a competent starting QB at the beginning of the season.

                That’s where I see Flynn’s value. Given there are no sure-fire starting QBs in this year’s draft, and given that several teams have serious questions about the players they currently have on staff (Cards, Jags, Jets, Raiders specifically) I can see someone valuing Flynn enough to make an offer.

                I suspect we’ll all know within the next few weeks, one way or another. Smith had to go before Flynn, and with Foles and Vick off the market, Flynn’s the next best option prior to the draft.

    • Phil

      Who is the 49er backup now? The 9ers are one big hit on Kap away from missing the playoffs. See RGIII …

      • Hawksince77

        And Kap runs hard and gets hit. Much more of a injury risk than RW, who tackles easily, slides often, and runs out of bounds if anyone gets within three yards of him.

      • Eric

        I’m sure they’ll draft a QB with 1 of their 11 picks.

        • John

          Well, plus 1 now. So they might even draft one with one of their 5 picks in the first 3 rnds.

          • Ely

            Aren’ t the niners looking at something rediculous like 14 or 15 picks now? I believe they have 3 compensatory picks coming their way as well. Really sucks they were able to pull off that kind of trade in such a deep draft, unless they spend them on more recievers to ride the pine. Unfourtunatley the niners draft pretty well.

      • Ryan

        Scott Tolzien

    • Kip Earlywine

      I was very wrong about Alex Smith’s trade value. Very, very, very wrong. I hope I am similarly wrong about Flynn’s.

      • Hawksince77


        All apologies about calling you out earlier in this post. I had the impression you were reading Field Gulls, but obviously not. We share the same values regarding discussion and sharing, and distaste for some of the internet behavior. I have always enjoyed reading your articles, and can’t recall the last time I out-and-out disagreed (can’t say the same for Rob, though — we find ourselves on the opposite of many issues. 🙂

        Anyway, I think what SF got in the Smith trade reflects the market. The position is the single most important variable in a team’s success, and arguably the most difficult position to play in professional sports. This year seems the worst in recent memory in terms of the draft and FA, available trade options, and the number of teams desperate for a solution.

        Last year was so different. With Luck and RGIII coming out, two day-one starters, and with Manning a once-in-a-life-time FA option, the stars simply didn’t line up for Flynn.

        Vick staying in Phili, question marks at the position in Oakland, the Jets a mess at QB, the Cards as well. And Smith isn’t even very good, whereas Flynn may be much better in the near term. Smith is the safer bet for a GM wishing to keep his job, but Flynn a better option if a team wants to win. I think he’d do pretty well with the Jets, for example. Jacksonville as well. Rob thinks that if he went to Oakland he’d fail, and that may be true. But nobody knows that right now. And the teams in need of talent at the position need to make an effort, and keeping Palmer not a very good one. Or Gabbert. Or Sanchez. Or, god forbid, Tebow.

        Flynn immediately upgrades the QB position at all three teams. They could also draft Geno Smith (lets say Barkley goes to Arizona) and feel good about their chances of fielding a decent offense next year.

        That’s my take on the Flynn market, anyway. I’d love to see Seattle take full advantage of it.

  15. Seth

    I think that we all have players that we want to see in Seattle, some are just dreams like Richardson is right now, some are to make sure they don’t go in the division like I feel Cooper or Warmack are with the Rams, and some are just preferences. I watched all of the combine like most of you and for me there was only one person on offense that I feel in love with. The one person that I have told all my friends that the Seahawks need this guy. That would be Deandre Hopkins. Watching the route tree with him was a thing of beauty. After watching him on Sunday he became the only one I want at 25. The catch he made on the 9 route where Bray over threw him and he still caught with just his middle and ring finger was a sight to see. If we get him I will be dancing more than that GIF of all the guys dancing in front of a green screen.

    Now on defense the guy I like is Quanterus Smith. Sure he didn’t work out at the combine because of an ACL injury but he reminds me of Bobby Wagner. Bobby’s best game tape came against the best team he played all in in college and a that was Auburn. Bobby was everywhere in that game. Smiths’ best tape was against the best team he played in college Alabama. He went off in that game. I can only speak for myself but what Rob, scouts, GM’s, analysts and coaches all say is watch the tape. Hopkins and Smith have great tape which gives me hope that the Seahawks will like them.

  16. David

    Thanks for this, Kip! Now I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t get these guys. Especially Swope–I’m still bummed that Seattle didn’t take Jordy Nelson a few years ago.

  17. MJ

    Kip…excellent, excellent work. You and Rob form a nice duo with your different writing styles and unique takes on prospects.

    Sign me up on Simon. No hesitation to get this guy. Yeah, the Tebow type of leadership can rub people the wrong way, but I think this really stems from the fact that Tebow was a GREAT football player, but a very poor QB. Had Tebow played any other position, I have no doubt he’d be a smashing success…this coming from a really anti-Tebow person.

    I think you nailed it on Simon. This is the typical doesn’t have the measurables, yet produced at an extremely high level in a very tough conference. Simon is not pretty, but he will fight to the death and would fit like a glove on this roster. Quite honestly, he’s a guy who nobody talks about, then gets 10 sacks his rookie year whilst providing great run defense, and subsequently becomes the Russell Wilson of the Defense. Urban Meyer completely sold me on Simon in 90 seconds, and quite honestly (like Bielema), this was about as sincere as someone could be about a player.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Yup. Kind of a Ray Lewis type player, except at a different position.

  18. James

    Kip, I shared your sentiments last year about Russell Wilson, and share the same about John Simon this year. More important, it appears that John & Pete share your conclusions. Last year, knowing that the Seahawks needed a QB and DE, I started watching the video of those two positions. Immediately, Russell Wilson jumped out to me as the ideal QB for the Seahawks, and it was a very long 4 months waiting for the draft, hoping that they saw the same thing. No one DE jumped out at me the same way last year, but John Simon does this year. None of the DEs last year had his natural pass rush skills. If nothing else, perhaps he could teach Bruce Irvin some of these skills. The ideal draft to me would be a 3 tech DT in R1 (Short, Williams, Jones?), Simon in R2, and a WR in R3.

  19. Ross

    I’ve been a Simon fan for a couple years. I watched a Montee Ball game vs OSU here on this blog and he really stood out to me. In fact, i posted a question about him. I think he gets drafted before our 2nd rd pick. Therefore, I’d use our first for him.

    • Swamp_fox

      I agree on 1st Round pick if JS/PC believe in him… otherwise I’d fear the 49ers pick him up with their shiny new #34 pick.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I’d be fine with that. I am starting to wonder if he’d get by SF at #31 or #34. They need another Justin Smith.

  20. Zach

    Ok….I officially have Russel Wilson withdrawals.

  21. Greg Downs

    Simon and Swope are both nice players and I love Swope.

    However, it really doesn’t appear that either fit what PC/JS look for in a player nor fit that positional upgrade that they discussed when evaluating and constructing their draft board, while BOTH Wilson and Irvin did last year. PC/JS have shown a lot of interest in finding a bigger receiver to man the outside and have 2 guys for the slot. Why add a 3rd slot receiver? Is this Rice’s last season? Check his contract, please.

    When RW scrambles to buy time, he has definitely thrown deep balls down the middle for both Tate and Baldwin to go make a play on. What better sleeper than Marcus Davis at 6’3″, 233 with a big mits and a vertical to fill that role? Logan Thomas frequently threw that ball at Va. Tech. Ironically, Thomas also wore #3.

    As far as Simon goes, great motor and I love his spin move, very nice. Again, where does he fit and is he a typical PC/JS player? I don’t see 3 tech, why get a rotational player for Big Red and he doesn’t have the length or quickness for the LEO. I don’t see a fit at all. Did he run at the combine?

    Let’s get into the mind of PC/JS for a second. What type of defensive player fits their scheme and attributes for the LEO and pass rusher? A guy that stands out in round 3 is Corey Lemonier. He has the necessary production, especially as a soph, young, fast and quick at 4.6 and 1.57, they love long athletes and at 6’3.3″, 257lbs with room to fill out and 34.5″ arms, you can check that box, too.

    When you look at both WR, Marcus Davis and LEO, Corey Lemonier, those are the type of players that PC/JS will be looking for in 2013. While I love Swope and like Simon, neither fit those positional upgrades or body type/style of play that fits how they’ve drafted or discussed how they constuct their draft board.

    Great article, though. Keep it up.

    • Eric

      RW proved that size is one of many metrics by which you can estimate a prospect’s impact, and not necessarily the most important. Swopes is another classic example. He plays much bigger than his 6′ because he adjusts so well to the ball. He played in an offensive scheme and with a QB that are as close to the Seahawks as you’re going to find in college. He’s a tremendous fit for us.

      However, if you’re just one of those people who has to have size, let me suggest Arkansas TE Chris Gragg. 6’3″ 245lbs, 33.5 inch arms, ran a 4.5 40, 37.5″ vertical. He’s a bit undersized to run block, but imagine him as the second (or even third) TE in the formation. Not many LBs can cover a guy his size, let alone with his speed. Drafting him could potentially fill two needs – WR and Joker TE.

      • Eric

        Sorry Greg I wasn’t directing that at you specifically. And I don’t disagree with you (and JSPC) regarding size in a WR. In fact, forget the draft. I think we should aggressively pursue Dwayne Bowe in FA (if KC doesn’t franchise him). He may be pricey, but he’s proven himself as an elite, large bodied WR. Plus it would free up JSPC to focus on other needs in this draft.

    • JW

      nice post.

      Davis found himself in hot water with lackluster effort. But I still do like him. I also like Marquess Wilson, despite his baggage. There are a couple of 6′ plus WRs worthy of mid/late round looks. I’d have no problem with them getting Swopes and a taller WR as well, or a Joker TE in addition to swopes. But I think Swopes would be a good purchase for them.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I think Swope definitely fits. He checks the PC/JS boxes like few players in this draft do.

      Simon I’m not sure, but man, do I hope so.

  22. akki

    Only concern with Simon is this. If he’s been as heavy as 270, and also was known to be the first guy in the weight room all the time, and played at a college with top notch facilities, then maybe he’s pretty maxed out and can’t get higher than 270. If so, then is he still a 4-3 3-tech/5-tech rotation prospect?

    • Ben

      he seems to have the strength to drive blockers back, and even when he couldn’t he was using spin and swim techniques to leave them in the dust.

  23. John

    Andy Reid just got Kolb’d. Can’t believe he gave up what he did for Smith.

    • Eric

      Neither can Harbaugh!

    • Kip Earlywine



  24. D

    I took notice of Swope when I saw his 4.34 at the combine and then went to go look at his production. During the Combine they started talking about how impressed the coaches were at the Senior Bowl. Swope outworked every WR there and was one of the best Blockers. I thought about Schneiders history of WR drafting them in the 2nd round and thought that would be a perfect spot for a kid like this.

    • Dawgpack

      If I’m Pete and i want to draft my big bodied receiver, I want Hunter from UTenn. He has a few things you can’t coach, height and speed. I drool over this guy of what he could be (A.J. Green)….. Maybe. And that is the killer right there. I think hd is more likely to be a could’ve been than a top tier receiver. BUT, is it worth to take a 2nd flyer on this guy? Hell yea on potential alone he should be a first rounder. If the hawks interview and like what they hear, I don’t see how he wouldn’t be in consideration. Keep in mind, Tate was drafted in the second and he finally blossomed this year (maybe had to with the emergence of RW?) But i am in the fan club of getting Russell some new toys to play (and grow) with. Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes, I’m on my phone.

  25. nick

    Can I play this game?
    Two guys I would not want to see us leave this draft without.

    These are guys I would like to see picked in the middle to late rounds that I think would have great value for our team because they occupy several needs for us.
    Shamarko Thomas (preferred over tyrran mathieu): as a potential back up to ET and our brand new nickel corner. We may see him go to Jacksonville.
    Denard Robinson: It hit me today. This guy is a wonderful athlete and football player and he potentially checks off all of these boxes. Mobile project QB to back up Russell Wilson. Check. Return guy to eventually replace aging pro bowler Leon Washington. Check. Developmental Explosive Wide Receiver. Check. Gadget Player in RB/WR/QB mold. Check.
    He may not be all of those aforementioned things but chances are he could become 1 or 2. He could be this rosters version of Seneca Wallace on steroids, only now it is appropriate to have a backup qb like Denard Robinson due to the skillset of our starting qb and the design of our offense.

    • Phil

      Interesting ideas re: Denard Robinson, especially if he’s available in the late rounds.

  26. Barry

    Awesome stuff Kip. I hadn’t thought of Simon as a 3-tech, but if he can play at 270, and the guy doesn’t stop… ever. Great stuff on Swoop, the Largent comparison is right on, fierce and competitive. The kid is smart, knows the down and distance, uses angles, and the measurements, wow. Great write up man, I hadnt a clue who the kid was.

    This is why I think we sit on picks, use them to move around in the mids, and take what we want there at a better deal.

  27. Ben

    Looking at Simon’s game tape, I just think that he could be the leader that the defense needs. he is in on EVERY play, he never stops trying to get in on the action. That’s exactly what Pete and John saw in Russell. I would want him to gain some weight obviously, but that’s a small thing compared to the fact that he is almost a carbon copy of Geno Atkins.
    As for Swope, the fact that he was able to have that kind of performance at the combine, I mean, 4.3 speed? on a 6’1” body? that’s absolutely incredible, the best speed/size ratio in the WR position, he also runs good routes, and has sure hands.
    For me it’s trade back out of the first round to the jets, so they can get Flynn, and our first round pick, for their second and third, then take Khaseem Greene with the first second round pick and then Simon with the second, they could then take Swope with the Jet’s third and Jordan Reed with our own, then Matt Scott in the fourth.

    • Ben

      Iupati wouldn’t be playing against simon all the time, simon has the versatility to play every position on the d-line.

    • Phil

      Ben – I like your picks so long as we get a veteran pass rusher in FA.

  28. williambryan

    I’m all in on Swope as well. I would have Wheaton #1 and Swope #2 on my WR “big board.” Simon on the other hand… In the tape posted he only beats his blocker to the QB once on a nice spin move (which he goes to a lot) other than that, all his pressures are from stunts. But he does push the pocket well as the 3 tech in the film. From watching this tape I would assume the 5th round would be the highest he could possibly go as a DL.

    • Kip Earlywine

      By my definition, I thought he was pushing the pocket on almost every pass rush snap, not just on stunts.

      I don’t really think that’s a bad thing anyway. Aldon Smith has made a career off of stunts, and many of Irvin’s pressure’s and sacks last year came from stunts. Quinn has talked a lot about making the defense more aggressive in 2013.

      • williambryan

        No I agree, I’m all for more stunts, but I think Irvin would be just as successful, if not much more so, than Simon if we’re just going to run more stunts.

  29. D

    Damn Kip it’s nice to have you back! You put the AHA! in the SeahawksDraftBlog.

    This site is rocking right now, well done guys…

    • D

      Hey D by the way. Why are you using my name, don’t wear it out… ;P

  30. Ed

    Gil Brandt is getting too old. His last mock, had Richardson falling to Steelers at #17, then Floyd (DT) falling all the way to the Hawks at #25 (wouldn’t that be a dream scenario).

    No way this happens.

    I would like to see:

    1st Hopkins (WR)
    2nd Greene/Bostic/Gooden (LB)
    3rd Hill (DT)

  31. Cysco

    OK, so I watched the Illinois game tape from 2011 that Kip posted above. Same reaction as most of you. Impressed.

    I then thought “ok, maybe Kip cherry picked his best game to show us.” So I pulled up the Nebraska game from this season thinking I’d see how he handled himself against some corn-fed monsters. Two plays in I saw this:

    and was like 0.0

    Are you freak’n kidding me? Could you imagine if Bruce Irvin had moves like that?

    • Cysco

      and for good measure, here he is sacking some short QB from Wisconsin.

      What ever happened to that Wilson kid anyway?

      • Ben

        hey, they already know each other! I just look at the moves that this guy has, he’s so fast off the snap, and I remember at the probowl, Wilson tried that quick rollout thing against JJ Watt and Geno Atkins and it worked.

    • Phil

      Cysco – thanks for posting the extra tape. We gotta get Simon. I love the effort he gives. I’ve watched 3 tapes and I haven’t seen one play where he isn’t giving his full effort. I love the way that he gets leverage against the OT, or even a double-team, and then uses a quick spin move to get to the QB. And, he seems to have great instincts that help him to penetrate to the RB behind the pulling guard.

      I know I’m dreaming, but what would our DL be like if we went with a more traditional 4-3, with Clemons and Simon at the ends instead of Red? I feel like a traitor (I like Red), but that move, IMHO, would fix our pass-rush woes, but at what cost???

  32. Jacob Stevens

    Got me jazzed about both players. The only detriment is that it’s still February, and our perceptions about their draft stock may be off or low. There is time for them to become a hotter commodity. But thanks very much for pointing us to them.

  33. Michael Terry

    It’s funny how quickly we get entitled. If we don’t get Swope, I’m going to be really depressed. I want him over any other receiver, period.

  34. Zach

    Alex Smith would’ve been just cut and the Chiefs are giving them the 34th pick??? The Rams got 3 #1’s and a second last year? What the %#~% is going on?

    • Hawksince77

      Well, Seattle gave up a 3rd pick, and moved down from pick 40 to 60 for a 3rd stringer never destined to start an NFL game in Whitehurst.

      That seemed rich at the time, and a massive over-pay looking back on it. Kolb’d, even.

  35. Madmarkus

    I just want to say, I found this website last year and fell in love with it. The articles goes beyond insightful and the people who comment here always make a good case for what they write about, especially when its on the the Seahawks cause I can see all of you here as being great fans.
    I got a negative comment last year and ask Rob whether i should keep posting and he said that he couldn’t see why not. Last year I had Donta Hightower as my 1st pick and now that I look back I now see that he really didn’t fit this defense because of his s speed. I did pick Irving but I had him in the 3rd round, I got the player right was just wrong when he was picked. The only player i got right was Robert Turbin.
    When I read this sight everyday with my cup of coffee in the morning I find myself a little more stressed out because there are so many player that people write about that makes me want them all, which is impossible of course. My scratch pad next to the computer has multiple names scribbled on it so i can go lookup more details to form my own opinions. I can truly say I learn more about the Seahawk defensive and offensive scheme from reading this website than any other source. This the only site where I see a true discussion on a team that most of the media loves to ignore up here in the Northwest. I look at other sites for mock drafts not just to see who they have Seattle picking but more to see where players are being picked and to get names for my scratch pad to look into.
    Example, in January on DRAFTTEK had Travis Kelce at 216 pick, Draftinsider has him as 4th rounder
    but when I looked at video on him I knew he was going to go a lot earlier so I ask Rob about it and he said late 2nd round. I’m of the opinion that Rob is closer to the truth than these other sites. My hope is you don’t every stop writing for this website and that all who make comments on it don’t stop summiting because I need the input and I trust this site above all others. Thanks Rob!
    Now that I said my peace, on to football and my worthless opinion HeHe. I love the fact that Seattle didn’t panic on the QB situation last year. People had been talking Kirk Couisins last year but after watching the Gruden QB camp I dimissed him cause he couldn’t get the football into the corner in the endzone. I’m not ashamed to say but i was routing for Tannehill and completely missed RW. This year i going to take the same approach and not panic over a DT. The DTs I looked at this year and liked appear to be all gone before pick 25 and i was pushing for an experience Randy Starks to step in but it looks like he’ll be franchised. I don’t like big FA contracts and was so happy we stepped away from Mario Williams last year, as you can see throwing 95million dollars didn’t help Buffalo just look at the game we played against them. On the same line I’m so glad we wasn’t even consider by Peyton Manning as an option at 20 million a year, thank you P. I can see a Kawan Short there at 25 and the fact that he trimed down to 308ibs for senior bowl and looked good but i still have questions on his effort throughout a game. Now, with this article coming out I now have John Simon on my scratch pad to look up and another option to look into that might fit my mock draft better because i really didn’t want to see my 1st pick to go for somebody i was so unsure of.
    Last year I was going defense in the draft and said i would be really watching the receiving corp to see who would step up. I had high hopes that Golden would get it together, Sydney and Zach would stay healthy for the year, and Lockett ,Durham, and McCoy would explode onto the scene. Some things happened and evidently some things didn’t. Ryan Swope is someone i saw last year watching Tannehill and everything you wrote about i have to agree but for some reason i forgot about him and I like to thank ya for reminding me of him. He’s one of those guys that always steps it up on game day. The difference between Largent and Swope can do everything Largent did but faster. I now have 2 players to look into before our next mock draft and this will be different than my last few as i going to be looking at lot closer to what I said last year about the reicing corp and the fact that this year is so deep in that department. I sorry if i offended anyone with my rambling but I was just dying to get it out. I really have no one in my family that will talk about football in the off seasons. Thanks All.

    • Zach

      Lol, ” I just want to say “

  36. Brandon

    I’m never going to hear the end of that love letter. I suppose I don’t deserve to.

  37. Zach

    Love Swope. Simon I’m not buying unless it’s a 3rd rounder.

    • Ben

      I’d take him in the second, that effort is not in every player.

  38. Connor Jackson

    This is awesome because one of the players “I’ve been banging the table for” has been Swope since late last year. Glad to see your on board with that too. You also got me juiced about John Simon. After watching the film I agree that he can penetrate and cause havoc in the backfield. Most of all, I just loved hearing what the great coach Urban Meyer had to say about him. I want ultimate competitors on my team. The other guy that is on my list of guys that I don’t want to leave the draft without doesn’t really count because we prolly won’t get a chance at him but its Sheldon Richardson. I have an obsession over this guy and desperately want him. I think he just would take this team to a whole new level but oh well… I can dream right. I’ve been doing that with him since like November. The other guy is Tyrann Mathieu, but what fan doesn’t want him. He’s the Honey Badger, a fierce competitor, and a playmaker.

  39. Jacob Stevens

    So, it looks like Swope’s fast 40 time has caught some of the amateur scouting world’s attention, at least.

    • Jacob Stevens

      His stock may be rising up, could be regarded as roughly equal to Markus Wheaton, Robert Woods and Steadman Bailey by the time the draft comes around.

    • Kip Earlywine

      I thought Swope looked fast before he ran a 4.34. Just not THAT fast.

      The thing is, judging measurables on tape can be a fool’s errand. I thought Bobby Wagner looked okay but not amazing, and then he clocked a 4.45. You go back and watch again, and you can see the signs that his 4.45 was legit.

      I thought Ansah had short arms. They look stubby and he generates no power from them. And yet they measured just over 35″, which is phenomenal.

      Not sure where Swope’s stock is, but I’ve always thought he was a 4th round steal. Now I think he’ll be a good 2nd round pick.

  40. Dregur

    I dunno about Simon, he reminds me a lot of…dare I say it…Nick Reed?

    • Kip Earlywine

      Very different players. Reed played in the 240s, and was a pure pass rusher outside. Simon played at 270 and has upper body strength better than most 300 pounders.

  41. ivotuk

    Love Swope, but I just don’t see where all the love for Simon is coming from. That game is against Illinois, who they had a 10 point lead on and I saw nothing special from John. At 4:15 he has a clean shot at the QB, and whiffs. Shortly after that, a clean shot at the RB, and whiffs. A little later, he gets blown up by his own guy. The only time he gets penetration is when he’s not blocked, the Oline gives up space, or Simon runs a stunt, and even then he doesn’t seal the deal.

    I’m sure he’s a great guy, but all I see from Meyer is him propping up his player the only way he truthfully can, by saying he’s a little “tebowish” and that’s not really a good thing. It reminds me of last year when Nick Saban said “Courtney Upshaw is the meanest SOB I’ve ever met.” Translation: I don’t know what else to say about him because he’s pretty slow and just not that good.”

    Call me Devils’ Advocate, or just plain ignorant, but I don’t see Simon worth anything more than a 6th round pick.

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