Thoughts on the possible addition of a nickel hybrid

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson made several TFL’s at nickel

The Seahawks will set out to fill as many needs as possible. Some are more important than others. They need to bolster the defensive line. They could do with adding another nickel defender having lost the impressive Justin Coleman. Doug Baldwin’s possible retirement increases the need at receiver.

And of course there’s quarterback. It has to be a consideration early if the right player is available and Russell Wilson’s contract remains unresolved by the draft.

There are also lesser needs where some extra competition or forward planning is needed — such as tight end and outside cornerback.

Identifying players in different ranges who can fill these needs is the key. They might spend their first pick on their biggest need (arguably the D-line) but they could also use the extreme strength of the defensive line class to their advantage.

For example — if they want to add a base end to replace Dion Jordan (someone in the 270-285lbs range) there are several strong options. We know the Seahawks like their defensive linemen to have length, quickness and agility. Several of the bigger base ends and five-technique types in this class excelled in the short shuttle. So while they’ve shown interest in two earlier round prospects (Rashan Gary and L.J. Collier) there are plenty of others who could be available in the rounds 3-4 range.

The recent additions of Nate Orchard and Cassius Marsh, coupled with a strong first year for Jacob Martin, could lessen the need for an EDGE. It’s not a particularly deep EDGE class. Not compared to DE and DT. It’s possible someone like Brian Burns lasts longer than many of the media are suggesting and he could be a target. Failing that, they might wait on the position or ignore it all together if they can get a pass rushing base end.

If they wait on the defensive line it opens things up with the first pick. They recently met with N’Keal Harry and are meeting with Parris Campbell. There are other receivers who could be appealing in the #20-50 range. The Seahawks might be inclined to strongly consider taking a receiver first. The depth is weaker than it is at defensive line. Again, this is about adding as many impact players as possible and filling several needs. The draft is a puzzle and you need to work out the right range to target specific positions.

While receiver is a possible early round option, quarterback and nickel could be too. We’ll see what happens with Russell Wilson and not go over old ground there. The one quarterback we’ve latched onto is Will Grier as a fit for their offense. Grier won’t be sitting in the middle rounds. If they want to take him, they’ll have to consider doing it early.

Then there’s the nickel position. It’s similar to the receivers. There are a cluster who could go in round two. If you wait until rounds 3-4 you might miss out. So again, it’s something to consider. If you want a playmaking defensive back with versatility you might need to go in that direction with the first pick.

The Seahawks have visited with a number of defensive backs. While a lot of people think the Seahawks are trying to replace Earl Thomas, I think they’re trying to replace Justin Coleman.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Juan Thornhill both did a lot of work lined up at nickel. Eric Galko linked the Seahawks to Byron Murphy in a mock draft. Lance Zierlein describes Darnell Savage as, ‘a day-two hybrid defender offering early starting potential as a two-high zone or slot cover talent‘.

All have experience working as a nickel, ‘big nickel’ or hybrid defender.

You might argue — ‘but the Seahawks don’t utilize a big nickel’.

You’d be surprised.

During the 2018 season, Delano Hill played 32.29% of the defensive snaps. He only started two games in relief of Tedric Thompson. Justin Coleman played 67.81% of the snaps. This tells us a couple of things. Firstly, the Seahawks played nickel in base for most of 2018. Secondly, they used Hill as a big nickel in various situations (or at least used three-safety formations).

The Patriots nullified the Rams in the Super Bowl by lining up safeties at the LOS to combat the sweeps and misdirection. The NFL is a copycat league and teams will try to mimic a lot of what the Rams do on offense. Having the personnel to handle this — and specifically the Rams — will be important. It’s even better if you can find a hybrid defender, capable of switching to various positions and roles. One week you might need to match-up against a tight end. The next you might have the responsibility of playing read/react against the Rams. Another week you might have to fill in at safety.

The great thing about the 2019 safety class is many of the players have experienced playing multiple roles and most have the necessary speed for this to translate to the next level.

I’ve said before that I think the Seahawks like their existing safeties more than the fans and media. Pete Carroll in particular seems to really like the potential of Delano Hill. He had a strong end to the regular season. Bradley McDougald has become one of the most important players on the team. Tedric Thompson provides some depth. They traded for Shalom Luani. Competition is required — but forcing Hill to the bench isn’t a gigantic problem that needs fixing.

The Seahawks have to fill the holes left by Justin Coleman and the two departures on the D-line (Shemar Stephen, Dion Jordan). If they can replace Coleman with a hybrid defender and not a one-dimensional player — even better. It’ll only help the defense.

Gardner-Johnson, Thornhill and Murphy have all shown an ability to take the ball away. That’s something else the Seahawks need to replace. There’s an assumption they’ll be able to fill the nickel vacancy with ease, given the way they plucked Coleman away from the Patriots. Yet Coleman made big plays — three interceptions and three touchdowns — during his time in Seattle. Finding someone who can make up for that and maybe add more takeaways would be a plus.

Thornhill had six interceptions in 2018 while both Murphy and Gardner-Johnson had four.

Being a strong run defender is also very important at nickel.

Murphy stands out in that regard, as we noted in our review of him a couple of weeks ago. He hits like a hammer when given the chance, is sudden and quick to the ball-carrier and he can tackle.

Thornhill tested superbly at the combine and I think this best shows up on tape when he’s reading the play, running to the ball carrier and tackling. There are examples where he runs across the line, works through traffic and makes a tackle behind the LOS.

Murphy had four TFL’s in 2018 while Thornhill had 4.5.

But if you really want a player who excels in this area Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is your man.

I watched four of his games yesterday and the one thing I didn’t notice when watching him during the season is the way he sheds or avoids blocks to break to the ball carrier and tackle. He does it time and time again. Any throws to the flat, any screens or stretch runs — he’s very good at either avoiding blocks with agility/speed or simply bench-pressing the blocker and winning with power. College receivers couldn’t contain him.

This shows up in the stat sheet — he had 9.5 TFL’s in 2018.

I’d probably describe the trio this way — Murphy is more sudden and talented, Thornhill the fastest and most explosive and Gardner-Johnson the more complete. Strictly viewing all three as potential hybrid nickel defenders, Murphy is the best player. Thornhill has the most upside. Gardner-Johnson is the most likely to adjust to the league quickly given the way he handles the dirty work at the nickel (taking on blocks, defending the run, making plays behind the LOS). It’s probably not surprising given he made the full-time switch to nickel at Florida.

All three players are strong candidates to be a hybrid defender and all three could go in the top-50.

If they opt to pepper their D-line and pass rush with additions from the middle rounds onwards, adding a playmaking defensive back feels like a possibility. It doesn’t mean it will happen. However this year, unlike last, it feels like there are a few options for the Seahawks.

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  1. GerryG

    Totally on board with this plan, and agree that nickel is super important. Furthermore we have nobody to play it, and can’t count on scoring another Coleman for a 7th.

    If the depth is there to draft DL in rd 3, then settle the nickel and we will have a good assortment of LBs and DBs to match up against different teams week in and week out.

    • Volume12

      Would it really be a surprise if a Kalan Reed wins that job?

      • Rik

        Akeem King did a good job filling in at the nickel last season. We may have several good options in house.

        • GerryG

          King was great covering a TE against KC, and contributed here and there, but I’m not trusting him to man one of the most important positions in today’s NFL. If he wins the job, great.

          • GoHawksDani

            Agreed Gerry and also with V12. There are options in house, but I’m not sold totally on either of those. And these guys could play multiple positions.
            They could probably play nickel, big nickel, FS, a couple of them maybe even outside CB (after a couple of years). So even if they wouldn’t win the job, which I doubt, they could mean depth at multiple positions

          • CaptainJack

            “a tight end” was non other than travis kelce…

  2. Volume12

    I was just thinking about this.

    If Kyler Murray has a successful career at the next level, that’ll be 3 years in a row that 3 QBs coming outta the BIG12 and from an Air raid type offense have taken the league by storm.

    • Rik

      Not only is there a Big 12 connection, all three players were (are?) very good baseball players, just like Russ.

      The air raid offense rewards creativity and an ability to see the field and make quick decisions. Seems to be beneficial for QB development.

    • Dale Roberts

      Nice observation. I’m just glad the Rams or Patriots didn’t get MaHomes.

  3. charlietheunicorn

    We have said in the past, Seattle values extreme upside and talent with the first pick of every draft. Doesn’t this just scream WR Marquis Brown to you guys as it does me? ELITE speed and play making ability. Think of him as a smaller version of Percy Harvin in the offense.

    (I know, they need DL, but this sky could be a bigger game changer than any other guy they could possibly pick-up in the early portion of the draft. Immediate impact player.)

    • Dale Roberts

      I don’t think you can come in at 166 lbs and expect to inhabit the slot in the NFL and they already have a smaller, fast guy for the long ball with Tyler Lockett. The don’t have a big, contested catch, goal line receiver and if Baldwin leaves they won’t have a slot receiver either. Paris Campbell ran a 4.31 at 205 lbs, Andy Isabella ran a 4.31 at 188 lbs, and Mercole Hardman ran a 4.33 at 187 lbs. For me Paris Campbell is the guy to replace Baldwin.

      • Madmark

        I been looking at a late round slot receiver who I think can be had at 159 or a later 6th round pick.
        John Ursua WR Hawaii
        was not invited to combine but he had a good pro day 5′ 10″ 179ibs. 40-4.58, BJ- 120″, VJ-37″, Reps- 17,
        20yd shuttle- 4.08, 3cone- 6.77, He much faster than that 40 time he has there was talk that he had tightness in one of his legs but still did the pro day to show himself. He played in a run and shoot offense was he lead the nation with 16 TD receptions, was 5th with 1,343yds and was 6th with 89 receptions.

    • GoHawksDani

      Imagine Hollywood would have been drafted a couple years earlier by the Rams. He runs a slant, a perfect spiral lands in his hands, he turns upfield to sprint and have a TD, and then BOOOMMMM, nothing just black everywhere. This is the first time he met Kam Chancellor and it will be his last…
      Yeah, it’s an imaginary scenario, and Kam doesn’t even play anymore, but there are hard hitting safeties across the league. I doubt at 166 he’d survive a bang.

  4. cha

    Assuming the Hawks still use the “compare available prospects against guys already on the roster” method the Hawks talked about in the early days of PC/JS, how much of an upgrade do the 3 nickel prospects rate against Akeem King?

    The Hawks seem to like him a lot and gave him a little more than a typical tendering deal to stay around another year. He has a good chunk of versatility to him, but I’m not sure how he fits in a more permanent nickel spot.

  5. Coleslaw

    If we could get Murphy after trading down I will do jumping Jacks. That would be legit! I’ve kind of been on the receiver wagon, but there are options there later in the draft, so these guys or a TE might be more logical for the puzzle of the draft. Those are the 2 needs that have the biggest cliff, and both should be in range after a trade down. If 2 or 3 of these guys are available and Irv Smith jr. is there, while the receiver run is still going, you’ve got a pretty ideal set up. It’s just going to be a long wait after that first pick. NCB might just be the pick.

    Officially praying for Byron Murphy, that’s a blue chip player IMO, he could really revive our defense. That dude will be a pain in the side of every offensive coordinator in the NFL I guarentee it.

  6. Nick

    Great perspective. CGJ is a really exciting player. Man, that Florida D program is solid.

  7. All I see is 12s

    Brock Huard and Jake Heaps are both reporting that contract talks have intensified on the Russell Wilson front. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if we could end all this hand wringing and conjecture?!

    • Coleslaw

      Fingers crossed!! That would be ideal.

    • Rob Staton

      I want to be positive about Jake Heaps’ tweet. But it’s Jake Heaps, friend of Russell Wilson. Putting stuff out in the media.

      AKA — Russell and his camp are using the media to negotiate again.

      Same old tactics, same old.

      • GerryG

        And it’s Jake Heaps, less than a year into his career in media trying to make a name for himself

        • Rob Staton

          Exactly. And no offense to Jake Heaps — but anyone close to the Wilson camp and their ultra aggressive media campaign… I’m wary of it.

          Florio is quoting a league source saying the Seahawks think Wilson wants to play elsewhere.

          Again, the whole thing playing out through the media — from both sides seemingly.

          • Rob Staton

            Meanwhile only 24 hours earlier…

          • Trevor

            Heaps is basically a puppet / microphone for the Wilson camp to get their message out the the media.

            • Rob Staton


              • hawkdawg

                So why would the Hawks’s camp want it known that Schneider and Wilson’s agent have been meeting for a few hours each day the last couple of days? To hedge against claims that Wilson didn’t even try?

                • Rob Staton

                  The Jake Heaps tweet about talks didn’t come from the Hawks camp.

  8. Pickering

    Thanks for another well-reasoned article looking at the possible and positive.

    This site has grown even better through the years for many reasons. Rob and most posters are not afraid to offer criticism of the ‘Hawks and the front office, but haven’t resorted to the ‘perfect (on paper) is the enemy of the really good’ passive aggressive methods used by corporate sites like SBNation.

    Of course there as many ways to be a fan as there are fans, but my preference is to ‘always (at least most of the time) look on the bright side’ of whichever sports team I’m following. There are more than enough other issues in the world to get fussed over.

    • GauxGaux


  9. All I see is 12s

    Also just wanted to say, I am really looking forward to these preseason games where we get to see Paxton lynch play quarterback. I always thought he was a higher upside guy and Denver was a real mess for him while he was there( elway himself conceded that the other day on 710). If he doesn’t have the passion Seattle will weed him out pretty quick, but I think his skill set might be all right for our program.

    • Hawktalker#1

      IMO 20/20 hindsight has shown Lynch to have been an over hyped QB prospect that was not able to adjust to the NFL. I’m not a fan and just hope he will work for a BU QB since Seattle seems to have some hope for him.

      • Rob Staton

        I think it’s very harsh to write him off as an overhyped QB prospect. He was very good, very talented and completely elevated Memphis.

        He didn’t fail in Denver due to a lack of talent. He failed because I don’t think he took it seriously. Now he’s on his second and likely last chance so we’ll see how he does.

        • Hawktalker#1

          Wasn’t meant to be harsh, just my opinion from what I’ve seen to date. I wish him the best, especially since he’s now with the Hawks, but until I see him perform well I’ll have this opinion of him. I’m not sure exactly why he has failed thus far, just that he has. I’d honestly be thrilled to see him succeed, epically since I have low expectations.

          Go Hawks

        • Hawkdawg

          He didn’t take it seriously? That would be a headshaker. Of course, neither did Ryan Leaf or Johnny Manziel or Vince Young or….

    • Dale Roberts

      Since Elway how many QBs did Denver go through until the got Manning and how many since? I don’t know if they can’t choose them or can’t develop them but you’re right, it will be interesting.

      • Kemoarps

        John Elway is the greatest QB Denver has ever had and he plans to keep it that way!

      • AlaskaHawk

        I traveled through Denver the summer after Elways first season. Half the fans wanted to Lynch him because he was throwing bullets to receivers, even when they were 20 feet away. The receivers dropped a lot of balls because everything he threw was as hard as he could throw it. The coach had to step in and say that if the receivers couldn’t catch the ball , he would find new receivers.

        It was many years, really his last few years, before Elway could be considered a great quarterback.

    • Awsi Dooger

      The bowl game against Auburn was instructive toward Paxton Lynch, IMO. He finally was facing some feisty defensive backs who took away the cheap underneath stuff. Lynch was totally unprepared and never was able to adjust. It was about as pathetic a bowl performance as I have ever seen for a quarterback eventually taken in the first round. I was astonished he ended up in the first round after that game. It was 3 yards per attempt, or thereabouts.

      After the game Lynch made remarks that forecast his pro career. He conceded that he underestimated Auburn and that the entire Memphis team had done the same. Somehow they brainstormed that a home victory over a horrendous Mississippi defense that was last in the SEC and 113th in the nation in yards allowed per play was somehow relevant to a bowl game against Auburn.

      • Rob Staton

        Memphis were practically a one-man team. They were playing an SEC opponent in a Bowl game.

        It’s no surprise he struggled.

        Him saying he underestimated Auburn wasn’t indicative of his pro-career. Like many young guys he didn’t handle the fame and fortune of being a first round pick. Now he has a second chance.

        • ZB

          I personally liked Pax as a legit QB prospect but in Denver it wasn’t happening. In Seattle though….

  10. AndrewP

    I like these three prospects and think each will have successful NFL careers.

    That being said, I still think history will repeat itself and the first pick will be a player that…

    1) Has freakish physical characteristics
    2) Has a history of production

    Further, if you look at the positions the Hawks have targeted with the pick, I see two trends:
    1) Lines
    2) A TD maker on O

    Who does that mean the pick will be? No clue. But… history doth generally repeat itself.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not sure the player needs freakish physical characteristics. They just have to be very athletic, have traits or excel in a particular area. For example, you’d never say James Carpenter was a freakish athlete. He was a big, physical, mauling run blocker and their biggest need in 2011 was to improve the run. It was a good fit. But Carpenter was the guy due to size and style. I also think Paul Richardson was more very sudden and dynamic and matched the type of player they wanted rather than being a physical freak.

      • AndrewP

        … I feel like you just repeated what I said…

        Freakish physical characteristics… could be size, speed, explosion…

        Not sure where the differences lay

        • Rob Staton

          The difference I pointed out is there wasn’t anything freakish about James Carpenter he was just big and a very good run blocker. Paul Richardson wasn’t a freak he was sudden and did what they were looking for at receiver.

          • AndrewP

            Fair… I guess I could’ve better clarified what I meant by physical characteristics, b/c size and ability to do amazing things (run, explode, bend) truly we’re all included.

            • Rob Staton

              I’ve started to use the word ‘traits’ to be describe it. Because they clearly do like drafting freak athletes early but they also like the players who ‘fit’ certain profiles and preferences but perhaps aren’t Frank Clark as an athlete.

        • john_s

          I wouldn’t say that Rashaad Penny is a physical freak either. He’s smooth and had the onfield production though

          • AndrewP

            Look at his combine #s again

            • John_s

              I don’t need to. I know what the #s are. Again he’s not a physical freak.

              • AndrewP

                K, John. Apparently Chris Johnson is the only type who counts to you in this regard. Not gonna argue. G’nite.

    • Dale Roberts

      On the contrary I think Pete has made it clear that he likes to find players who have an extraordinary characteristic and put them in a position to do that voodoo they do so well. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be great, well rounded athletes. Although he wasn’t a draft choice, Chris Clemons is a good example because he wasn’t a great player until Pete identified him as a perfect LEO.

    • TCHawk

      I agree this was the Seahawks’ pattern, but I remember JS shared they’ve had a slight refinement to their selection criteria. He mentioned after the 2018 draft that they became more interested (returned to?) in their competitive makeup, love for football, and grit. After swinging and missing in several mediocre draft classes, they paid additional attention to those psychological traits.

      All the guys with the physical traits we are discussing will probably be ultimately prioritized by the psych traits. The Hawks evals can factor this in, whereas we don’t have access to that. It’s fun to speculate pre-draft, but ultimately as a fan I am more satisfied with trusting their process.

      • John_s

        Yeah, Schneider mentioned “smart, tough, reliable” anytime he would talk. They kept some players (Malik McDowell) on the board that didn’t necessarily possess all those traits.

        • John_s

          *in the past, they kept players on the board…

  11. Ashish

    @Rob, can you please do an article on players Hawks can take end of draft without going into how many trades. Something like end of draft Hawks will take 1) DL 2) DB -big nickel 3) TE 4) WR 5) fullback 6) DE.
    Thanks in advance

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve done a handful of seven-round mocks and will do more. We’ve also discussed some of the players they might take later such as Alec Ingold, Derrek Thomas and some of the other cornerbacks.

      • Trevor

        After you mentioned INgold and Thomas I checked them both out and I think you nailed those guys as later round targets

  12. GauxGaux

    Rob… thanks for feeding us and keeping us plump before the draft!
    Quick Question: I’ve heard people talking about Savage, thoughts?

    • Rob Staton

      I like Darnell Savage. Very active, very physical. Ran extremely well. Another strong option. I haven’t studied his tackling/run defense as much so didn’t write about him in this piece.


        From what I’ve seen (I wouldn’t call it “studying”) he is a thumper. It’s surprising given his lack of size, but he closes so quickly, takes great angles, and seems to lead with his chest with his chin up. I was impressed. He wasn’t usually in the box, but comes downhill in a hurry if he sees something.

  13. RH

    Thanks, Rob. Another insightful piece. Would Marvell Tell III from USC be a candidate for this role too? In what range do you see him going in the draft? Keep up the great work!

    • Rob Staton

      Yes absolutely. I think he goes R3

      • Trevor

        Rob I agree Tell looks like the type of D Pete would love. Do you think he is better suited as the big nickel you discuss here or an outside CB convert like Tre FLowers? He can likely do either but which do you think would be the best fit?

        • Rob Staton

          I think they could look at him in both areas. I’ve always been intrigued by him as a corner prospect because of the size and quickness/agility. But I think his skillset at nickel is fascinating too because of his agility testing and length.

  14. diehard82

    Rob, great article again. I’ve been studying the same group of prospects to compete for the nickel spot. The one thing that keeps nagging at me though is that all of them have sub 32 inch arms, some are sub 31 inches. Does that seahawky trait not matter for this position group, and if not, why not? It crossed my mind that perhaps one of the reasons they are bringing most of that group in is to measure their arms in house, just to be sure, maybe do a little stretching.

    • Rob Staton

      It doesn’t matter at nickel. Coleman had sub-32 inch arms.

  15. GoHawksDani

    The more I’m thinking about picking Will Grier with the first pick, the more I feel like that would be a bad move. I wouldn’t hate that pick, thanks to you, I’d understand the logic behind it, but I’d hardly disagree with it.
    What happens if you don’t pick him?
    You can pick a potential year 1 starter and impact player for WR or DB
    a, If Russ extends, nothing major
    b, if Russ not extends he can either play on the tag, or ask for a trade
    If he plays on the tag, you can get a new QB next year or the year after that
    If he ask for a trade ASAP, the team will likely suck for 2019, but you can get picks for him and after 1 year sucking and something like 4-12, you can get a new QB
    What could happen if you pick him?
    Miss out on tier 1 WRs and DBs. Miss out on trier 2 DL
    a, Russ extends, Grier can be backup, best case scenario you can trade him for a 2nd/3rd in a couple of years
    b, Russ not extends, you can trade him for something
    If Grier is a bust you’re in a worse place than with previous scenario
    If Grier is mediocre, you’re still need to find a franchise QB
    If Grier is good, you’re hit the lottery

    In order for the Grier pick to be a good pick, there is just too many ifs… Russ has to leave, and Grier has to be good.
    I get it, it’s a pick that might help push RW a bit in the negotiations (but I’m not sure it would work), and a preventive pick to escape 2-14 and 4-12 seasons (hopefully).

    I’d be cool with that, if we wouldn’t have other needs (passrush, DT depth, nCB, potentially safety competition, potential starter TE, #2 or #3 WR, maybe RB depth), and with currently 4 picks (and in order to pick Grier, you might only have the option to trade back in front of #32 which could give us 6-7 picks total) it’s a bit rich safety net, negotiation “oil” for me.

    • Rob Staton

      No, pushing a problem into next year and aiming to go 4-12 isn’t a plan.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Part of the selection process for QB was to find someone that could be available in the 3 or 4th round. There should be a variety of QBs still on the board. I have no idea where Grier will go as he has gained popularity since Robs initial thoughts on him.

      I don’t see any reason to change from a mid round QB pick. The Seahawks won’t pick a QB in the first round as they will be busy trading back. I’m predicting they pick DE and WR first. It’s possible they even get a few more players before they draft a QB. So somewhere between 3 and 5th pick.

    • cha

      This team isn’t going 4-12 with PC coaching it. It just isn’t.

  16. GoHawksDani

    As for the first pick, currently this is what I’m thinking:

    We might not have the option to pick a clear starter, baller EDGE. I feel we can just skip this position.
    Our 5T/DE depth is good, and I trust Green will step up (or Naz). I want a dude for this position, but I feel the gamble on the player is not that much different in round 2 and round 3-4.
    We could use DT depth, but I don’t need a 8+ sack dude there. I want a double block eater, huge dude, who can play the run and help to create gaps for Reed. This guy can be potentially picked in a later round.
    As for WR, it would be really cool to get a playmaker. BUT, we already have Lockett, Baldwin will be with the team hopefully for this season, and maybe Moore can step up. I want a WR, but maybe this is not the year to pick on in the 1st/2nd round. I’d try to pick one in round 3/4.
    I also feel there are potentially 6-8-9 TE prospects that could easily be selected by the Hawks if they’d fall, or be there at the right time. We’d all love to have Hock or Wesco, but I think they’ll wait to pick a TE until round 4 or 5
    As for RB depth, I feel they’ll select a dude in round 6/7 or get an UDFA
    They might pick OL, but only with a later pick. They might not even touch them at all, or only as UDFA.

    BUT…the position where talent, opportunity and need meets is the DB class.
    There are question marks with our backend. I feel only McDougald has a solid position.
    Griffin didn’t step up to the next level last year. Flowers was only a rookie. Played great for a rookie S->CB convert but can he be a legit CB? Without the asterisk of him being a rookie and a convert player? If either of them injured who can play? I have no idea (OK, there are a couple of guys on the roster, but they are mediocre at best)
    Who can play nickle CB? King? Really? I’m not buying it. He’s more of a big nickel than a regular one. He can cover TEs, and bigger, less agile WRs, but I doubt he could cover Lockett. Kalan Reed? Matty F wrote an article about him on fieldgulls and it was interesting. But he needs to prove himself first to be a legit contender. Who could play big nickel? Hill? Then who would play FS/SS next to McDougald?Are we really set with Hill or T2 next to McDougald? What happens if McDougald injured? We’re fine rolling with Hill and T2?
    So based on that, I think the most important role for us to be picked with the nr 1 pick is an athletic football player for the defense who can play multiple position/roles.
    OPTION 1, SS/LB/Big nickel – A guy who can go sideline to sideline near the los to play the run. Cover TEs, blitz some, but also be decent at coverage and play deeper and be a solid tackler. Create FFs, sacks, bring the boom. A mix of Kam and McDougald.
    OPTION 2 FS/deep safety/nickel – A poor man’s ETIII who can drop deep and play the deep zone, but also play press coverage, and cover slot WRs and play the run a bit. Generate some ints, some FFs, be a baller, be close to the ball. A mix of ETIII and Coleman
    OPTION 3 nickel/big nickel – A bigger bodied nickel with great agility and tackling skills. On running plays/sets he could be closer to the los and play the run, on passing plays he could cover the slot

    I would play the first as SS next to McDougald, but on heavier sets I’d bring in Hill also
    I’d make the second compete for two spots. If King/Reed is good at nickel he could be an FS next to McDougald, if Hill is good he could compete for the nickel spot.
    I feel option 3 could be the most utilized like playing 5 DB sets 80-85% of the time sometimes lining up as big nickel and sometimes as regular. My only concern would be that it would force one of our LBs out of the game and if Kendricks will be a free man it would be a shame.
    But maybe we could play more 3-3-5: Clark, Reed, Green maybe – KJ, Bobby, Kendricks or Martin – Griffin, Flowers, McDougald, Hill, rookie

    Yeah, the 3 guys wouldn’t generate much pressure vs a complete OL as almost all of them would get a double team, but if they could handle that we could send the SAM and the rookie on exotic blitzes which would be fun 😀

    I like Savage, CGJ, Thornhill, Hooker, Murphy. I’d like any of them as our first pick (obviously some of them other than the rest, but it depends on how PCJS and the coaches see our gameplan and how the board falls)

  17. Sea Mode

    Rob, what game or two would you recommend to get a decent idea of what CGJ has to offer?

    • Rob Staton

      LSU, Michigan

  18. millhouse-serbia

    Rob, your thoughts on this last article on PFT about RW?

    Do you think it is true or it’s Schneiders way to make Russ’s team to give discount…

    If its doesnt sound good for potential deal…

    • Trevor

      Can you send a link to the article?

      • Trevor

        Sorry I meant post.

        • Trevor

          I have kind of thought that all along. I think Russ will stay with the Seahawks for the right deal but that he would prefer to play in a big market like NY/ LA to build his brand and keep his wife happy. That seems like what he is angling to get.

          I think if a deal is not done by the 15th that JS will put him on the market but that the offers he gets will be nothing like the 2-3 first round picks people are talking about. The teams that might be interested (NYG, Raiders, Wash) dont make sense this off season. The Giants have the draft capital but have a terrible roster and need to rebuild before making a splash like Wilson. The Raiders don’t have the actual cash and Washington does not have the cap space or draft capital.

          I think he plays this year then next off season is tagged and traded for a 1st round pick and some change.

          • Rob Staton

            I think it’ll play out like this if there’s no deal by April 15th (which let’s be honest, is highly likely).

            1. Someone in the media, probably Schefter, will say no deal and the Seahawks will listen to what’s out there. They won’t ‘put him on the market’ per se but they’ll subtly get the media to put the message out that they’re at the very least willing to take a call.

            2. Some teams will call but none will be willing to be as aggressive as what it would take to make a deal. The Seahawks won’t settle on #6 and #17 for example. It would likely take at least another high pick. Either #37 and some change in 2020, or a third rounder this year and a 2020 first rounder. I don’t think the Giants will bite this year. I think they’ll prefer to build up their roster with three high picks, roll with Eli for another year and then in 2020 make a big offer when they’re in a better position to win.

            3. The Seahawks essentially will be forced to proceed with Wilson for one more year. It’ll be a saga to usurp the Earl situation. Everyone will spend a year speculating about what happens next. And the Seahawks will be forced to seriously consider spending their first pick in the draft on a quarterback.

            That’s how I see it. Personally if there’s no deal by April 15th and the team fears the worst I’d be calling the Chargers and seeing if there’s any possibility what so ever of doing a swap for Philip Rivers with LA throwing in their first rounder next year and something this year (maybe a second or third). Both players are out of contract at the end of the season. Rivers would be incredible in Seattle’s system. I have no idea how interested he would be in the deal. He has about 10 kids now and Seattle is a long way from San Diego (unlike LA). But if he was willing to play for three more years including 2019 — sign him to a contract, move on, remain a contender and have some draft stock (just not as much).

            I may write about that proposal. I just sense people are tired of me discussing Wilson’s future and don’t want to consider life without him. I think it’s an interesting proposal though.

            • Trevor

              I agree completely with you about how this will likely play out.

              The Chargers idea is certainly an interesting one and I agree Rivers would be a great fit. He has the fire you know Pete would love. Not sure how Rivers would do his daily commute to Seattle in his custom Van though 🙂

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s one of two things.

      1. An accurate portrayal of how the Seahawks feel about this ultra-aggressive off-season from the Wilson camp.

      2. Seattle playing out negotiations via the media, matching the tactics of the Wilson camp.

      On the second point — both parties have been trying to operate through the media. Wilson in a much more aggressive and frequent way. But it’s there. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks have decided to just leak out there that they’re wondering how much Wilson wants to stay — probably because after some talks he isn’t compromising and/or his demands are simply too high.

      • millhouse-serbia

        I know there are rumors and reports that guaranteed money is only problem right now, and that 35mil apy is ok for both sides but i dont believe in it. Imo Russ wants 40mil apy, because in 3 years, with 35mil he would have 10mil less than top paid QB.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m not having there’s only a minor stumbling block over guarantees. If that was the case it’d get done.

      • Bmseattle

        It seems to me like each side is trying to win the PR battle for when this deal inevitably doesn’t get done tomorrow.
        Neither party wants it to look like *they* are the problem…it’s the other side that is being unreasonable, or doesn’t want to deal.

  19. Volume12

    Rob, what was that link about a couple weeks ago you posted under my post when I was talking about CGJ being the best fit? It was something from when he was in HS and from 24/7 IIRC?

    • Rob Staton

      It was a rivals video on how he was graded heading into college.

  20. Volume12

    Nebraska’s D-line has the potential to be one of the best units in the country next year. Size, size, and more size.

    • Trevor

      Frost will have them back a perennial power within 2 years.

      • Volume12

        Hope so. I have a soft spot for that program. Nebraska was my team growing up, but that was because of QB Tommy Frazier.

        • Trevor

          He was an amazing college QB

          • Volume12

            Due to his blood clots we’ll never know, but I doubt he would’ve ever been anything more than a backup at the next level. He was incredible though. Definition of fun.

  21. Eli

    Hey Rob, when you were watching CGJ film did any other players on Florida’s defense flash to you? I’ve been seeing LB Vosean Joseph’s name come up as a Rd. 3-4 high upside player, and it sounds like he has a pretty good athletic profile to consider. Played MLB at Florida but it sounds like he will probably be a better fit as a WILL in the pros

    • Rob Staton

      I like aspects of Joseph’s game but not really sure why he declared and hasn’t built any momentum. Jabari Zuniga kept standing out.

    • Volume12

      Seattle will only make the move if Saquon Barkley is involved in the deal.

  22. millhouse-serbia

    In non-Russell Wilson Seahawks news, they’re bringing in CB Sean Bunting on a 30 visit, per source.

  23. cha

    And now a rejoinder to yesterday’s tactical leak

    • Rob Staton

      Yep — there’s Mark Rodgers’ response.

      So we kind of know now what the real issue is. Wilson doesn’t just want to be the highest paid now. He wants to remain one of the very highest paid when the cap continues to rise. And quite rightly the Seahawks are not interested in blazing that trail.

      • Sea Mode


        That’s me choking on the blatant agent-speak in that article…

  24. SamL

    How would eveyone feel about a draft that went something like this.

    -trade with Packers or #30 pick #75 and #185

    Round one: S/CB Chauncey Gardner Johnson- Seahawks pick Justin Coleman’s replacement with great tackling to utilize against the Rams crazy offensive.

    Round 3: EDGE Charles Omenihu, TE Jace Sternberger- Seahawks add some competition on the d-line and add a recieving threat for Russell with Baldwin’s career in doubt.

    Round 4: I’d like to put a reciever in this spot, however I have no idea what options would be available at this point in the draft. DT could also be targeted at this spot.

    Round 5: DT Greg Gains- this pick adds depth and competition at the DT position.

    Round 6: This is Where we take our yearly Coner prospect, but once again I’m not knowledgeable enough to guess at who it might be.

    • Volume12

      I would dig that, but I can’t shake JS raving about this D-line class. My guy is telling me they go D-line, than DB. My heart wants it to be the way you have it.

      • Volume12

        * my gut. I have no guy.

  25. Volume12

    All of us Seahawk fans: the LOB is dead and gone

    Seattle: REMIX!!

    • Elmer

      Right, but we’ll be OK. We just don’t want to replace it with the LOP (Legion Of Poof).

  26. Volume12

    Seahawks worked out Monmouth WR/R Vinny Grasso (5’7, 185 lbs.)

    4.53 40
    4.03 SS
    34.5″ vert
    9’8″ broad
    6.88 3 cone

    • Sea Mode

      Thanks for the info.

      That’s the kind of agility I’m looking for in a Slot WR.

    • God of Thunder

      Stocky guy! I’m also 185 lbs but I’m 6’1”. Is he any good?

  27. Sea Mode

    Quick thought on RW deadline:

    Maybe just maybe, RW camp can compromise and take whatever deal the Hawks are offering by tomorrow and still come out looking like the winners.

    Even if Rodgers folds and drops his pretensions of fixed cap % and crazy guarantees, it can still look to the public eye that RW and Rodgers flexed strong in negotiations, set a deadline, and forced the Hawks to give him the highest APY ever.

    I know, not likely to happen. Esp. because RW and his agent could have much bigger “wins” in mind. But it could be a potential win/win/win in a way for everybody. Hawks get their QB and hold firm on their guarantees precedent, RW gets to be the highest paid guy in history and start the off-season training without distractions, and Rodgers looks like he was able to twist the Seahawks’ arm and make his client the highest-paid ever with the deadline they set.

  28. James Glenn

    Imho, JJ Arcega Whiteside is going to be a star in this league. I’d grab him with the first pick. Of course, that would mean missing out on Thornhill and CGJ. Amani Hooker might still be around when we pick again and Jamel Dean from Auburn would definitely still be there. I like Dean’s speed. I dont think Baldwin will be ready for the first game or if he’ll come back at all, which is unfortunate either way. That’s why I think Whiteside should be the first pick.

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