I’m starting to look through the rookie class and here are some of the notes I made on three of Seattle’s day-three picks.
Ugo Amadi (S, Oregon)
It was a really pleasant surprise watching Amadi. His testing numbers were only OK. He ran a 4.51 at 5-9 and 199lbs plus a 4.19 short shuttle and a strangely poor 7.21 three cone. He only jumped a 32.5 inch vertical. That’s probably why he lasted as long as he did because on tape you don’t see any of this. He’s incredibly sudden and quick. You see genuine dynamism when he blitzes and he covers ground very quickly. He has an excellent feel for sitting in coverage then reading/reacting.
I came away believing he could play free safety. Initially you look at his make-up, projection and some of the tape and you assume nickel. There’s no doubt he has the capability to move closer to the LOS and play as a big nickel type. His tackling appeared fine overall with some room for improvement. He has some versatility.
Yet I came away really intrigued by his free safety potential. Look — he isn’t Earl Thomas. He’s not that rangy, cover-every-blade type of defensive back. You see his quickness on tape though and combined with his awareness and ability to cover ground quickly — it’ll be intriguing to see how he handles a more orthodox safety role.
Amadi is a bundle of energy on the field. He celebrates every hit, tackle or big play. He’ll energise his team mates if he plays with the same confidence you see at Oregon. He was voted a permanent team captain. Importantly he’s been able to make big plays — including 25 career PBU’s and nine interceptions with four touchdowns. The Seahawks need playmakers at the back end. Whether he’ll earn a starting role in 2019 remains to be seen but don’t be shocked if Amadi inserts himself as a long term feature in the secondary. I liked him a lot more than I expected and he has a lot of potential.
Travis Homer (RB, Miami)
He’s smaller than they usually draft at 5-10 and 201lbs but there’s absolutely no doubt Homer is a Seahawks style running back. He finishes, he runs people over and never volunteers to dip out of bounds. He brings physicality to the position but also has an excellent ability to cut-back against the grain to exploit holes and provide misdirection. He has a very fluid weaving style to find a crease and run into daylight. He’s tough to bring down and runs with a purpose.
His physical profile backs this up. He jumped a 39.5 inch vertical. Explosive traits are a lot more important than pure speed at the running back position. Although he ran a very decent 4.48 at the combine he doesn’t have a second gear when he breaks free and is often tackled from behind by a chasing defender.
As a pass protector he’s very good. Not Damien Harris level but not far off. That’ll help him compete for the third down back role. As a catcher there isn’t much to see on tape. Homer was mainly used on dump-offs and passes into the flat. His hands seem fine and he can chip away in the passing game even if he’s not an X-factor.
Strangely enough his running style is very similar to Doug Baldwin. Watch his body when he accelerates — they just have very similar body language as runners.
Pete Carroll said Homer was the top special teams player on their board and he’ll have a big role there and for that reason he has a legit shot to make the roster. He needs to improve his ball security though. He fumbled four times — once every 42 carries — at Miami. Even so I’m surprised he lasted into round six.
John Ursua (WR, Hawaii)
The thing I really like about Ursua is NO wasted movement. He gets into his routes quickly and gets on with the job. It’s why I never rated Andy Isabella (the now Cardinals receiver). Watching Isabella at times was akin to watching a break-dancing competition. Ursua is the complete opposite. The Hawaii offense asked him to line up in the slot and get into a route quickly then settle into a soft zone in the defense. He was very good at sensing the right place to be and he made it count with 1343 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2018 alone.
I really like the way he reads a secondary to find ways to get open. On multiple occasions he would read the two deep safeties and if they split to the outside in coverage he’d get beyond the linebacker and settle. If the safeties stayed home he’d break off to the sideline knowing it’d be very difficult for a bigger defender to stick. Hawaii did a very good job too of putting him in favourable coverage situations and he often gained decent mismatches against the LB or safety.
I like how he was able to keep on the move and uncover in the red zone. You can see why the Seahawks like him for a scrambling quarterback. Ursua isn’t a dynamic athlete but he’s savvy. He’s not Doug Baldwin physically. He only runs a 4.58 and his three-cone of 6.78 is about two tenths slower than Baldwin’s. I’d forget about any comparison to Baldwin. He’s a pure slot who gets open with no-nonsense routes and awareness. He is limited to the slot though with his size and the only real plays he made by the sideline were outs and wheel routes.
Ursua competes for the ball and he’s a reliable target. He’s competing with a very crowded receiver room and will need to make every opportunity count. His intelligence and ability to get open without relying on quickness and athleticism makes him an interesting test case for whether that translate to the next level.
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