Thoughts from London & CFB week 7 notes

Greetings from London. A lot of the talk from the Oakland press events here is that they haven’t had the best preparation. In fact there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm and organisation. ‘Shambles’ was a word that has been used. On the contrary, the Seahawks appeared to have a particularly competent strategy and plan for this trip. We’ll see if this translates into the game. Hopefully it will.

The weather is appalling in London today. Heavy rain. Yesterday was the complete opposite — sunny and unseasonably warm. It’s set up to be a day to run the ball.

I’ll be at the game so the ‘instant reaction’ post might not be quite so instant this week. However, I will be attending the press conference after and will see if I can get some player interviews. I might also consider doing a live Google Hangout too.

So how did the top draft prospects get on yesterday in CFB?

— Georgia’s D’Andre Walker remains an underrated prospect. He started the LSU game perfectly with a big sack on the first drive, showing great speed to stunt inside. The guard was holding on, desperately trying not to get flagged. Walker’s quickness and explosive athleticism could get him into round one. LSU’s brilliant Devin White, a future top-10 pick, had 13 tackles in the Tigers win (including sharing a TFL).

— Dre’Mont Jones’ big season continues. He had another sack against Minnesota and now has 5.5 for the season. He only had one sack in 2017 despite decent playing time. Jones is quick and probably the most agile interior rusher eligible for 2019. The question will be — can he play early downs and avoid getting washed out against the run (which still happens occasionally).

— We highlighted Florida’s Jachai Polite last week and he had another sack on Saturday in a victory against Vanderbilt. Polite has seven sacks in his last five games and has been unstoppable at times. He’s another player who isn’t getting as much attention as he deserves. Teams are keying in on him, identifying him as the best player on Florida’s defense. He will go early next year if he stays healthy.

— There are a number of good interior defensive linemen eligible for next years draft. Auburn’s Derrick Brown could go in the top-20. In a disappointing defeat to Tennessee, Brown recorded two TFL’s. It’s also worth noting how quarterback Jarrett Stidham has not taken the next step this season. None of the touted quarterbacks have. For me, Colorado’s Steven Montez remains the best prospect (although the Buffs lost for the first time this weekend against USC). Many people expect Justin Herbert at Oregon to stay in school. It’s hard to imagine a top-10 QB from this class as things stand.

— Boston College’s Zach Allen has been fun to watch this season. He’s a lot quicker than he looks and he’s been incredibly productive. In a victory against Louisville, Allen had three TFL’s and a sack. Very few defensive linemen have played as well as Allen in 2018. If he tests well at the combine he could go very early.

— Isaiah Buggs’ great year just keeps on rolling. He had another 1.5 sacks against Missouri to take his total to 7.5 for the season so far. Buggs is a great run defender but he’s developing into a terrific pass rusher too. Like Allen, if he tests well at the combine he could become a big riser. Team mate Raekwon Davis, another first round talent, had to apologise after the Mizzou game for punching an opponent three times.

— Ed Oliver collected his first two sacks of the season in a win against East Carolina. Oliver is extremely athletic, quick and talented. But he’s about 275lbs. And as we’ve said so many times — that is going to bother some teams. Can he play early downs? Can he even play defensive tackle at the next level? Can he control the LOS and play the run? Can he kick outside? There’s a lot to like about Oliver but there are lots of question marks too.

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  1. SoCal12

    Hope you enjoy yourself at the game, Rob! All signs seem to point at this being a fun one. For us Seahawks at least.

    I’m hearing a lot lately about a potential Ed Oliver slide due to size issues. Don’t know what to make of it all quite yet. Smokescreens? Or perhaps the age old tape vs measurables debate is being applied. In the off chance that he slides into Seahawks pick territory do we run to the podium to grab him? Oliver’s certainly a topic that’s piqued my interest quite a bit lately.

    • Rob Staton

      I think the concerns are legit and have noted them from the early summer. He’s a terrific talent. But if you’re taking a guy in the top-10 he can’t be off the field on early downs. Can you seriously play a 275lbs defensive tackle in the NFL? How is he not going to get blown off the LOS? How is he not going to be a liability vs the run? He’s not like Malik McDowell who was able to anchor and control the LOS despite not being +300lbs. McDowell was an ill-fit at nose guard but he was asked to do it and did it fairly well. But he also had the athleticism and length to kick outside so you knew what his role was at the next level (Inside/out, some three tech). With Oliver he’s squatty. He doesn’t look like a DE to me. And he doesn’t anchor — he’s all about quickness and shooting gaps. So it’s hard to imagine what his role is.

      I like him but he might be a specialist interior rusher who plays a restricted number of snaps. That’s at least a point of discussion for teams.

      • Ukhawk

        Is oliver better suited to a 3-4 DE?

        • Rob Staton


      • Bigten

        Reminds of the situation with jabril peppers. He was a freak in college, but didn’t have a position. Lacked the ideal measurables and was a tweaner. I could similarly see Oliver getting the sane predator treatment and ultimately falling out of the top 5 or even 10.

  2. Trevor

    It is way to early in the process my favourite Hawks prospect so far is the edge rusher Jachai Polie from the Gators.

    I think this will be another year the Hawks really focus on a players attitude. Polite plays seems to play incredibly hard and is a high motor guy for sure. He does not have ideal length so the 33” arm test will be important but I think he will have an elite 10yd split in the 1.5s

    If we could and a young elite speed rusher in the Clifff Avril mode opposite Clark it could be a fantastic young group with Green.

    Rob with one of my all time draft favourites Haason Reddick falling out of favour with the Cards how do you think he would fit in the Hawks scheme? Wonder if the Cards would swap Pocic for Reddick if they really do have him in the trade block?

    • Rob Staton

      I really think a speed rusher will be target #1. That or an interior rusher. They’ve got the bigger base ends (Clark, Green). They haven’t got that quick-twitch EDGE that they like. Polite really fits the bill. The 10-yard splits will be key at the combine this year, we need to focus on those.

      Interior rush equally could be an area they look at.

      I think Reddick would be a great fit and regulars will know how much I rated him. I even suggested a swap with Pocic last week. However, I’m not sure the Cardinals would do that deal. They just drafted a center in round three. They paid Justin Pugh big money at right guard. Iupati is coming to the end but he’s still on the roster. And Pocic really hasn’t shown much so far. It’d have to be a scenario where Steve Keim loved Pocic pre-draft which we’ll never know. So I think it’s unlikely. I think they will want picks anyway and what’s it going to take to get Reddick? Would love to do it. If they could do it for a R3 or R4 I’d consider it.

    • Pepper

      No. Trust me. You do not want to trade that kid. It’s hard finding good OL. Pocic will be needed

  3. Pepperpig

    Seems to be a lot of Seahawk fans here for the game.
    They brought the rain with them.
    Here’s to the running game.

  4. sdcoug

    Rob, speaking of QBs, any thoughts/impressions of Duke QB Daniel Jones?

    • Rob Staton

      Not seen Duke but will keep an eye out for him

  5. Madmark

    I know its a little crazy but since I started reading this site I’ve been watching players that I thought stands out in my eye. Damien Harris RB Alabama was I guy I thought would come out of school as a junior last year but that didn’t happen. I still like him but I’m now Watching a young freshman that caught my eye yesterday. For the lonest time we have been watching OL talent and yesterday I saw a LT to watch. Penei Sewel for the Oregon Ducks looks like a very talented LT who by the time he comes into the draft Duanne Brown might be done with his career. They list Sewel at 6-6 at 360 pounds but he’s actually 325. I’ll be watching this guy for the future.

  6. Trevor

    With Vannett’s back flaring up the Dissly injury is even more unfortunate. I think if the Hawks plan to be a running team Tae will be a round 3-5 option again his year.

    • Tecmo Bowl

      Another UDub TE Drew Sample looks like a great fit. What coach Pete asks of his TE’s is very similar to what coach Pete asks. Run blocker first- does a great job sealing the edge- solid route runner with reliable hands.

    • Volume12

      ‘Bama’s Irv Smith. BC’s Tommy Sweeney. Mizzou’s Albert Okwuegbunam.

      Iowa’s Noah Fant would be great. Best TE in the country. Always invest in TE’s from Iowa.

  7. Coleslaw

    Jon Gruden has lost his mind.. After trading Mack he wants to trade Amari Cooper and Karl Joseph… Is Carr even safe? Lol.

    We should kick the tires on both of those trades imo. 3rd rounder and 2019 3rd for Amari Cooper? I’d do it.

  8. Volume12

    Wouldn’t surprise me one big if Seattle had their eye on Zach Allen.

    They’ve scouted BC 4 times already.

  9. Volume12

    My god! The 2 season streak is over.

  10. Tecmo Bowl

    Beautiful opening drive!

    Go Hawks!

  11. Pran

    1st and 28… not a single downfield shot. 3 and out.

    • Rob Staton

      I would never take a deep shot on 1st and 28

      • Pran

        1 out of 3 plays at least which gives a better chance of conversion than check downs

  12. Kenny Sloth

    Solid no-call ref.

    Sounds like they’re booing OAK

  13. Volume12

    Jacob Martin is developing into a pretty solid EDGE rusher.

  14. Trevor

    A horrific OL coached by Tom Cable imagine that.

    • Volume12

      Yeah he made Seattle look like they don’t have a need for pass rushing help.

    • SoCal12

      It’s kinda funny and sad to watch Raiders fans going through the same bargaining process we went through with Cable. I’m seeing a lot of “Well our O-lines young/injured. We’re sure to get much better next year!”, and I’m just here like, “Oh honey, you have NO idea…”

  15. Trevor

    The Hawks may not have the LOB anymore but they are destroying teams WRs (Cooks, Kupp, Cooper,Roberts) and all clean hits with no flags.

  16. Kenny Sloth

    Jerseys from every team in that stadium

    There goes my shutout :,(

  17. Volume12

    DJ Fluker has been a great get. IMO it’s up there with the Avril/Bennett additions in terms of impact, but can we talk about how good the Mingo one was as well?

    • Trevor

      Agree completely Vol on both counts. Mingo has brought a level of speed to the Front 7 that was missing last year. Great pickup! He Coleman and McDougald have been incredible additions on defense.

  18. SoCal12

    Man that game must have been a fun one to be at. Jealous of Rob and all the other UK fans.

    Love our fan turn out in London. Felt like a home game away from home!

  19. Pepper

    Glad we won. But sorry it wasn’t a competitive game, Rob. Seems to be the trend for games over there

  20. UKAlex6674

    That was AWESOME! So, so proud of the team. They beat the Raiders up. The atmosphere was superb. And as tired as I am after the last 48 hours in London, I will sleep easy tonight after this. Also, the 12’s were fantastic. Not just noise wise, but everyone was so friendly and courteous. One last time before my voice gives out……GO HAWKS!

  21. vrtkolman

    Clark needs to be extended sooner than later, he may end leading the NFL in sacks this year. Him, Fluker, Sweezy, and Coleman need to be priorities right?

    • Trevor

      +1 get those 4 deals done ASAP.

  22. Bayahawk

    Flew over from my home in Oakland. Bundled a trip to visit my sis (who lives in London) with joining friends from Seattle at the game. Managed to get a seat on the 50 yard line in what turned out to be a Seahawks section and watched the team destroy the Raiders and our fans destroy their fans. When the Hawks exited the tunnel, the crowd exploded with cheers. When the Raiders came out, boos showered down.

    The fan to my right was from Austria, the fans to my left from Kazakhstan. Wonderfully international crowd and a great night. Thanks to the people of London for being great hosts!

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