Tuesday draft notes

Seattle's new look for 2012

New duds

Before we get onto the usual draft talk, today was a big day for Seahawks fans with the introduction of the team’s new uniforms. We might not know who the team are going to draft later this month, but we do know what they’ll look like when they eventually take the field in September. Opinion is mixed, but I think it’ll be a look that grows particularly when fans get to see the new uni’s live rather than in studio-based photographs. I’m also interested to see how Seattle will use the possible combinations of navy, grey and white. I’d recommend watching the video below to get a taste for the enthusiasm within the team for the new look and to also get a feel for what they look like in person.

Hawthorne moves on to New Orleans

David Hawthorne today agreed a 5-year contract with the New Orleans Saints. I think it was apparent Seattle wanted to move on at the position using the draft. Even when the market dried up and reports suggested both parties were talking, Seattle’s interest in keeping Hawthorne appeared lukewarm. Many will now speculate on the increased likelihood that the Seahawks will draft Luke Kuechly, perceiving this as a ‘blow’ with a new hole that must be filled. I strongly disagree with that line of thinking.

I’d guess it was always the team’s intention to move on unless Hawthorne’s market was so limited he could be re-signed on a modest one-year deal, making him expendable. The team appears to be going in a different direction at linebacker, I suspect emphasising speed and coverage ability. Win the war in the trenches at the LOS and have the kind of physical, rangy coverage that will allow such an aggressive approach up front. Hawthorne was always more of a hitter and he became a fans favorite for those talents. But as this team is shaped over time, we’re starting to see new wrinkles emerge.

I expect the Seahawks will draft a linebacker in the first three rounds and I think that player will have ‘coverage’ firmly at the top of his list of positives. For those reasons, I imagine they’d love Zach Brown to fall into round two. A lot of people don’t like that idea, but the guy can flat out cover. He’s not a great pass rusher who delivers fierce hits, but he can go toe-to-toe with a receiver or tight end even on a deep route. Brown plays sideline-to-sideline, he can shift laterally and he covers a ton of ground. He truly is a rare athlete at the linebacker position, and that’s something a lot of teams are looking for these days. Don’t be surprised if he goes earlier than most people expect.

In my mind that’s the kind of prospect the Seahawks will be eyeing, rather than the Luke Kuechly’s of round one. A lot of people ask about Kuechly and he continues to be a hot projection in many mock drafts. Here’s why I don’t buy it. I think the Seahawks intend to be dominant at the LOS, which is why they’ve emphasised size up front and re-signed both Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane as priorities. I expect the team will use it’s first pick on a further compliment to the pass rush and run support, giving Seattle the opportunity to consistently win battle’s up front. Pete Carroll talks a lot about controlling possession, turnovers, and I think he’ll see pressure up front and a suffocating defensive line as a means to create that. It also means having players in the secondary and at linebacker who will allow such an aggressive approach.

Kuechly is pretty good in coverage – a little stiff which isn’t a big surprise (or a big deal at linebacker), but overall he’s sound in that area. However, he’ll always be at his best when the play is developing in front of him. I’ve not scouted a linebacker before with his instinct to track the ball carrier – he gravitates to the ball with such ease and was a great ‘safety net’ in the second level for Boston College after the almost inevitable initial penetration. As good as he is, I’m not sure the Seahawks want that kind of linebacker. As I mentioned above, I think they’ll look for an athlete who’s primary talent will be coverage ability. Using Kuechly in that way is probably a waste of what he’s good at – you don’t want him tracking a TE or WR most of the time because he’s so good at read/react and playing the ball carrier.

Neither do I think the Seahawks will plan to spend the #12 pick on a player who will predominantly make second-level tackles and not improve the pass rush. If they are looking for a linebacker with plus coverage, do you really need to spend a first round pick? Especially with greater priorities such as the aforementioned pass-rush compliment? Whatever your views on the 2012 group of pass rushers, the options are much weaker beyond the team’s first pick. There could actually be some healthy alternatives to Kuechly beyond round one that fit the criteria suggested above.

Sure, there’s an element of guesswork involved here – but that’s just how I view the Seahawks approach to this. Hawthorne moving on does guarantee linebacker will be a target position in the draft, but that was always likely to be the case. Not much changed today and I wouldn’t presume this paves the way for Luke Kuechly at #12.

Seattle looking for late-round gems?

A lot of teams use their allocation of pre-draft visits on the top prospects. Whether it’s designed to cause a smokescreen or just take a look at the premium players, every year you’ll hear a lot about a high-profile quarterbacks schedule. Since John Schneider and Pete Carroll moved to Seattle, they’ve done things slightly differently.

Although there have been meetings with higher profile players (most notably last year with Ryan Mallett, a player not included on the team’s board), the Seahawks tend to use these visits to look at priority UDFA’s and mid to late round gems. I get the impression that tape wins out a lot with Schneider when it comes to the evaluation process, and that combine meetings and subsequent visits are designed to learn more about the person or give the hard sell for those frantic moments after the draft. It’s paid off for Seattle – last year they claimed Doug Baldwin, Ricardo Lockette, Josh Portis and Jeron Johnson as free agents. They’ve also found value in the later rounds of each draft, with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and KJ Wright becoming key starters.

I’m not sure if there’s any validity to this next suggestion, but I wonder if the Seahawks almost put an uneven amount of time into those late rounds at this stage in the process? Everyone knows about the top-guys by now, but there’s always bargain’s to be found in the mid to late rounds. Maybe one of the ways Seattle has tapped into that talent pool is by dedicating itself to the quest of finding starters in unconventional areas of the draft?

Tony Pauline revealed today that Seattle is meeting with Boise State safety George Iloka and Boston College cornerback Donnie Fletcher. Iloka is 6-3 and 216lbs, while Fletcher comes in at 6-1 and 195lbs – no surprises there given Seattle’s penchant for size in the secondary. Jeremy Lane (CB, Northwestern State) will also visit, he’s another 6-1 cornerback while Ron Brooks (yep, 6-1) is also expected to meet with the Seahawks. Other prospects that have been speculated to be visiting the team include Adrien Robinson (TE, Cincinnati), Derek Carrier (TE, Beloit College), Danny Trevathan (LB, Kentucky) and Matt Conrath (DE, Virginia). The one big name that has been speculated about a visit to Seattle is LSU’s defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

Below I’ve included game tape for Donnie Fletcher and Ron Brooks, and a highlights package for George Iloka:


  1. Ian

    I would rather “reach” for Hightower. He might not have the elite coverage, but he could help dominate at the line, rush the passer and is just a bit more LB friendly than Upshaw. I see Hightower being recognized as an elite LB in a couple years.

  2. Brian

    I agree on Kuechly, I don’t see them targeting LBs too high. I think you can get good value in the 3rd, and a few borderline elite guys in the 2nd.

    2 reasons I don’t like Z. Brown – crappy tape, and pretty consistent reports of him not having a high “football IQ”.

  3. LadyT

    Ron Brooks seems like hes right up PC/JS’s alley. Looked good in press coverage, seemed tough, long and lankey and blitzed well also.

  4. Steve in Spain

    I was reading up on Matt Conrath (DE, Virginia) the other day. He sounds like he could be another potential 7th-rounder/UDFA to put in development behind Red Bryant. He’s a guy who’s been playing DT but at 6’7″ (!) hasn’t been getting good leverage and projects to play 5-tech in a 3-4. Makes sense they’d want to work him out since his tape isn’t enough to show his potential for that position. Also, he’ll need to show he can bulk up.

  5. AlaskaHawk

    Don’t they need two linebackers to fill our spots? Since that pick will probably be in the second round, we would be looking at Brown or Kendricks, perhaps David or Lewis. Sounds like Hightower would be too physical for the role you envision.

    Regarding Brockers, he is visiting a lot of teams so I’m not going to get excited about him.

    I wish they would include a few more RBs and WR in their draft looks.

  6. Darin

    Where do I sign up to get Brooks in a Hawks uniform. That kid has Schneider and Carroll written all over his style of play.

  7. LadyT

    Upshaw would play 1 LB spot for 2 downs probably. So just need 1 LB and maybe a late round WLB.

    Interesting would be like a 5 man front most of the time.

  8. SHawn

    With Heater going to N’awlins, I am having a hard time convincing myself that we shouldn’t “reach” on Hightower at 12. LB is not a 1st rd priority, but there are some really good pass rushers available in the mid rds. There arent as many starting caliber MIKES. Hightower is one of them. I think he is the best LB prospect in the draft and could be a perennial Pro-Bowl caliber player. His coverage ability is actually decent, its just that he is such a good run support/ big hitter that it gets hidden as his 3rd best trait.

    I am happy to see Iloka getting some love. Jeron Johnson backs up ET, and Iloka backs up Kam. Not to mention he could show on some 3 S formations, including the Bandit. Just not sure we will get a shot at him if we are committed to DE/LB – RB – LB in the first 3 rds.

  9. Rob

    Alaska – I think one of the two ‘holes’ will be filled with a pass rusher.

    Twitter already being dominated by Kuechly to Seattle in light of today’s news. Really feel like Hawthorne signing in NO almost certainly has no impact on what Seattle would do in R1.

  10. Charlie

    They could also be looking at Malcolm smith as their cover backer and getting MLB and pass rush with first picks. Wouldn’t be the first time they went with a late round pick as a starter without us seeing anything from the player on the field (kam chancellor)

  11. James

    Welcome to Seattle, Luke Kuechly. The other MLB options are unsound: KJ Wright needs to stay at Sam, Kendricks and Hightower aren’t good enough in coverage, especially across the middle on 3rd down. The pass rusher will come in round two.

  12. Attyla the Hawk

    I agree that it doesn’t have an impact on taking Kuechly. At this point, I expect we were either going to take him or we weren’t considering him at all. I suspect it’s the latter, given the depth at the position and the relative availability we should expect in day 2 or even 3.

    “I’m not sure if there’s any validity to this next suggestion, but I wonder if the Seahawks almost put an uneven amount of time into those late rounds at this stage in the process? Everyone knows about the top-guys by now, but there’s always bargain’s to be found in the mid to late rounds. Maybe one of the ways Seattle has tapped into that talent pool is by dedicating itself to the quest of finding starters in unconventional areas of the draft?”

    I thought that way since their first draft as well. I do recall them rather famously holing themselves up with their scouts for weeks at a time in a sort of scouting workshop exercise. I do think we look deep into the draft, but I suspect it’s more focused than that. Having a closer involvement between what Carroll wants and what is out there helps to cull unwanted prospects from the herd in advance. I think it’s evident, that we have a better predictive model for success than some other front offices. It would seem to follow that is due in large part to a cleaner pairing of scouting and coaching.

    I do think we spend more time looking at day 3 prospects than most teams. There are plenty of GMs and organizations whose day 3 picks are almost exclusively name players from bigger schools. This isn’t a dig on Ruskell, because he’s not alone in that. We just seem better focused on the attributes we want and maybe we just waste less time by not delving deep into prospects that don’t fit that.

    Economy of effort by alignment of vision seems to be more appropriate.

  13. Rob

    Charlie – Great shout on Malcolm Smith.

    James – What about the other linebackers that will be available in rounds 2-4? And what about the very possible suggestion that Seattle simply won’t value the MLB position strongly enough to warrant the #12 pick? Plus, the pass rushing options in round two will be considerably weaker than the LB and RB options – two other likely target areas.

  14. David

    Rob-Isn’t Lavonte David characterized as a great pass defender?

  15. Rob

    David – he has a lot of mobility and pure speed, enough to become a good coverage LB.

  16. pqlqi

    Along with LadyT and Charlie, and some of Rob’s thoughts…

    I could see Upshaw in the 1st, and best versatile MLB/OLB like Bobby Wagner in the second.

    On rushing downs, Upshaw would be at SAM, likely at or near the line, and we would have a 5-2 front with KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner playing at the second level being good in coverage and against the run. A front 5 of Upshaw, Bryant, Mebane, Branch/Jones, and Clemons could provide a quickly collapsing pocket, and there isn’t a TE in the NFL who has the combined blocking/route ability to chip Clemons or Upshaw and still get out into a good clean route before that pass rush would arrive – it would basically be like covering a RB check down.

    On passing downs, Bryant goes out for Malcolm Smith or the nickel corner, Jones replaces Mebane or Branch, and Upshaw moves to DE. The LB corps is now Wright, Wagner, and Smith (substitute cover/speed LB or nickel corner if there are 3+WRs). The secondary essentially stays the same.

    In addition, the Upshaw pick can replace Clemons as the pass rush focused Leo with Upshaw as the run focused Elephant.

  17. Richard

    Rob, it seems they are really limiting themselves with 6 picks and very few tradeable players. It would be nice to see JS move Deon Butler or one of the other “spare” ballcatchers for a fourth or fifth atleast. Free agency can’t fill all the holes. What I would love to see is another high second, but we probably don’t have anything trading down the 1st that might get and extra 2nd.

  18. Ely


    If the Hawks were to take a linebacker with their first pick, hypothetical of course because we all know they are garenteed to take Upshaw :), but if they take a linebacker do you like Hightower or Kuechly? Do you believe they are very far apart?

  19. Rob

    Richard – I think they’ll review every opportunity to get extra picks, but then I guess it’s also about value and who you’re passing on. I think we’ll almost certainly see moves at some point.

    Ely – I think they are different players… I actually prefer Hightower at OLB while Kuechly is more of a MLB. If pushed, I’d have to weight up the potentially greater edge pressure you’d get from Hightower and his high level of intensity vs the smarts and field IQ/instinct of Kuechly. Tough one to answer… and I like both players. I just can’t see LB in round one without a major move down the board first.

  20. James

    Rob, you make a compelling case that the Seahawks will go for a Leo or Elephant in round one, upgrading the pass rush and line play with an outstanding new player. And if Upshaw is that player, I will be thrilled, because he is one of my favorite players in the draft. I believe it is about 49% likely you are right; however I believe it is 51% likely that the Seahawks will go with Kuechly in round one for these reasons: I believe that Pete will highly value the special leadership that Kuechly would provide at the heart of the defense; the main concern for the defense is making a stop on third down, and Kuechly would add unique capabilities in that regard; and in my view, Kuechly is a superior Mike LB talent to what the Seahawks would find in round two or three (Kendricks, Wagner, etc) and Upshaw is not as far ahead of who the Seahawks could land for Elephant or Leo in round two (Curry, Branch, McClellin, Lewis, etc). In other words, a draft of Kuechly and Branch is better, by a small margin, than a draft of Upshaw and Kendricks. …thanks for the great discussion, it will be fun to see which way John & Pete go.

  21. Rob

    James – to offer a counter, I do think the Seahawks are quite well stocked up on leadership, at least enough to feel like they don’t need to target that specifically. Red Bryant is considered the heartbeat of the defense and in a league where the MLB wears a mic’d up helmet, there’s a bit of an unfair equaliser about the position these days (which is a shame). I’d also argue that based on the tape I’ve seen, Kuechly isn’t great on third down, especially in short yardage situations. He’s not a big guy and he can be pushed backwards, there were some cases in the red zone where it got quite ugly even. In terms of range, vision, instinct and ability to gravitate to the ball, Kuechly is excellent. But if we’re talking third down, I don’t think there’s a tremendous benefit there. And I do think based on the role that Seattle may well identify for the pass rusher, Branch isn’t a great fit. Curry is superior there, but is he going to be around at #43? Will Branch? Or McClellin? Not confident on that to be honest. I would argue an Upshaw or Ingram / Zach Brown draft would be a better option.

  22. Brandon Adams

    Eloquent case yourself, James.

    One thing seems increasingly clear: no matter who the Seahawks pick at #12, he’ll be overdrafted. It’s just that kind of draft. Seattle needs to be (and probably already is) less concerned with value and more with impact, at least in the first round.

  23. Rob

    I honestly believe it’s a better draft than that, Brandon. Initially I wasn’t high on this class, but actually there’s a fair amount of talent on the board.

  24. LadyT

    Kuechly is a Ruskell pick for sure. Just oozes Ruskell IMO. I personally would take Hightower over Kuechly any day of the week and twice on Sundays, but thats because i value good defense and not bend but dont(haha) break.

  25. Hawkfin

    I think the odd’s are 75% chance it’s Kuechly Or Hightower now. (Probably Kuechly)
    And another 20% chance they trade down for one of them.
    I’ll give 5% chance to another guy. (Probably Coples)

    I don’t see how this helps Upshaw’s case at all, unless they think Upshaw can play a true LB or in coverage. We need LB’s bad now. And they’ve invested everything into the line in free agency already.
    This usually means they go elsewhere in the draft. Or at least I would.

    I don’t see how they don’t draft a LB in the first round now though. We probably need 3 of them. The depth behind our LB’s was a weakness already, and now you’ve lost one and I think the other is never coming back.

    I’m disappointed we didn’t get Hawthorne back. I think he was a lot of our backbone in the middle. He was a good LB and we had a 2 year offer on the table, which I guess they pulled back. 🙁

    I think it did limit us some, but I think we were choosing between 4 LB’s anyway with our pick. (Luke, Hightower, Ingram, and Upshaw)

    So maybe they did not fill they had to sign him. Or they want better coverage like the article talks about.

    Coverage LB – This to me fits Luke easily. I know Rob questions this about Luke, but from everything I’ve heard, read, and seen he does in fact cover well. There’s not a lot of tape on LB’s coverage out there. I had a hard time finding it, as they like to show tackles and blitz’s, etc. But, Luke to me does well in this. He also adds some speed they’ve said they wanted. He adds tackles (Something they lost in Hawthorne) and his value “perceived value” is on target with pick 12.

    I will be shocked if Luke or a LB is not the pick. I do see points about filling them later and plugging them in. It’s possible for sure.
    But, if I remember right when we got Chance we had ALSO drafted Earl in the 1st round first.
    I think they go back to that theory and draft 2 LB’s. One early and one mid round like in the 4th-5th. Maybe even a 3rd real late.

    I’m personally not against a pick of Luke or Hightower. They were 2 and 3 on my list with Whitney #1, other then Blackman/Richardson dropping.
    I did have Hightower rated in front of Luke though, only because I wanted that Ray Lewis force in the middle. That big pop.

    I can’t see us picking Upshaw now. Upshaw would have made more sense if they signed Hawthorne and let Bryant go.

  26. Rob

    Those percentage numbers are way out, Hawkfin. And there is a role for an Upshaw/Ingram type without maintaining Hawthorne or letting Bryant go. You’ll have to trust me on that one.

  27. SHawn

    For me, HIghtower is a better player than Kuechly, period. But Hightower is still not a top 15 player. I just want him.

    I like the trade scenario where we give 12, 43, and 106 to Cleveland, and get 22, 32, 67, 100, and 139. This of course would mean one of the top talents has fallen to 12 and Cleveland wants them badly (Richardson, Blackmon).

  28. SHawn

    sorry, not 32, I meant 37

  29. NMD

    Hawkfin – I disagree that losing Hawthorne lessens the chance at drafting Upshaw. I actually think this increases the chances at Upshaw because now there is a good chance at KJ Wright moving to MLB leaving the SLB spot for Upshaw to play on base downs. If Hawthorne re-signed he would have had to move to WLB to get Upshaw in the base lineup.

  30. MJ

    I bet KJ mans the Mike. He’s smart, long, and has a year in the system. To me it’s Ingram or Upshaw, then Brown, Wagner or Spence unless someone of extreme value drops to 43 (thinking Martin, Miller, Fleener).

    Someone mentioned an almost 5-2 look and I am starting to agree with that meaning who ever plays WIL, needs a lot of speed. KJ is so versatile and intelligent that he can really play a bunch of spots. Just doesn’t have the speed for a strict coverage LB.

    Another sleeper idea might be George Iloka who has a good frame and speed. Could almost play a WIL/Rover/SS type role. I would bet that this defense is going to be kinda crazy with it’s look and personnel with a lot of guys designated to very specific/unique roles, which I think is an awesome idea as it’s very hard to find the perfect player for each position in a traditional defense.

  31. Peter

    Rob, any chance the hawks look to move cam chancellor to LB? With his size, speed and coverage skills he seems like a logical fit given what your saying this fo looks for in a LB. They could target his replacement in the 3rd or 4th. Or when Thurmond is healthy move browner to strong saftey. Just an idea that popped in my head while reading this. With his playmaking ability I would think bringing him up closer to the line of scrimmage could increase his opportunities.

  32. Kip Earlywine

    I really like Ron Brooks. He reminds me a lot of a tall Josh Wilson. Both are very athletic. He’s a very good pass rusher just like Wilson was. He looks comfortable in zone and excels in man. I really like his tenacity in press coverage. He fights off blocks extremely well by corner standards. He’s just a “football player” pure and simple. He slipped on a double move and gave up a short TD pass, but otherwise his tape vs. Arkansas wowed me. If he looked like that every game I’d give him a 2nd round grade.

    Just out of curiosity I looked up Walterfootball’s cornerback rankings and Brooks wasn’t even on the list. WF isn’t exactly the smartest place for analysis, but if they completely forget to list a guy that usually means he’s not very well known at the very least.

  33. Darnell

    Call me crazy but I actually think a lot of the day 2 LBers are better in coverage than Kuechly is; Kendricks,Brown,David,Spence – I would trust much more running with TEs and dropping to the deep middle and covering the flats than I would Kuechly.

    I like Kuechly, no doubt he dserves a first round grade. He’ll make some plays in his career due to his instincts, intellegence and studying tendencies (like Lofa did). He seems to be a little like AJ Hawk was in terms of being a stat padder (pile jumper) after the offense has gained 5+ yards, and will get drafted a little higher than his impact will warrant but will still be solid.

    I just don’t like spending a high 1 on an ILB unless it is a Patrick Willis level of prospect.

  34. Jon

    I like Upshaw over Ingram and Coples for the specific role that was talked about. However, is it possible that 2 or 3 of the are there at # 12. If all three where available I trade back 4 or 5 spots and pick up a 3rd round pick. There are just so many players that can improve our team in this draft. of course if your man is there at 12 you take him, but if all three of your man is there moving back is less risk more reward.

  35. NMD

    Kip – Walterfootball keeps a consensus rankings board as well which combines Kiper’s, Scout’s Inc’s, CBS’, and I’m assuming some others rankings and Ron Brooks is the 28th CB on that board. I’ve been following a lot of boards all season and I never saw Brooks in a draftable range on one until just before the NC game. So he’s definitely not highly though of by draftniks but you got to like the way he plays.

  36. James

    NMD (or others) – what is the link to the Walter football consensus rankings? I found prospect rankings, but I believe they are just the Walter ones. Thx.

  37. NMD

    James – http://walterfootball.com/draft2012consensusall.php for the consensus rankings.

    The regular rankings on that site are from Charlie Campbell who, I guess, is the “draft guy” since Walt does so much other stuff on the site now.

  38. Jeremy


    Not sure how this works or if it even applies, but now that the Hawks have lost the Heater, will they be awarded a compensatory pick for next year?

    The new uniforms are beastly, now maybe they’ll be on TV a lot more.

    In unrelated news, what’s your take on Flacco’s quote….

    “I mean, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way. I mean, c’mon? That’s not really too tough of a question.” HAHA

  39. Hawkfaninmt

    Please dont tell anyoone about Danny Trevathan… Really like that guy for Will

  40. A. Simmons

    I think they want someone big, aggressive, and violent playing MLB. Not sure who that is, but they want a guy who is going to hit hard, shed blocks, and generally dominate the middle of the field behind the defensive line. Not someone who might get blown out of his position by a lead blocker. Kuelchy doesn’t seem like the kind of the player they’re looking to man the middle of the field.

    Pete and Ken Norton Jr had Rey Maulauga as their MLB at USC. That implies a guy with football smarts, but also a bigger, very physical, intense guy that blasts people. They did have Lofa earlier as well who had incredible instincts, but was also a physical, big hitter for college. He still put some licks on people in the NFL as well, though his size precluded him from the kind of dominance he might have had. I think size will be yet again a major factor in who they choose at MLB for Ken Norton Jr to mold. Who is one of the bigger guys they can get to play MLB?

  41. Christon

    I could see Iloka as a back-up safety and/or possible cover LB in passing situations if they could get him in the 4th or possibly 6th. I like Ron Brooks too. He looks like a play maker with great instincts.

  42. Richard

    A. Simmons, you’re describing Vontaze Burfict and I still believe that Pete and Ken Norton Jr would love a second chance to guide him to the elite player he is capable of being. Seattle has the consultants and coaches that could do the job and now he has screwed himself up enough that he will probably be there in the 4th round waiting for them. He’ll be worth it at that point and a steal.

  43. PatrickH

    FWIW, the following are Greg Cosell’s comments on Courtney Upshaw and Donta Hightower:

    “Asked about Upshaw. Some similarities to Woodley as 3-4 OLB pass rusher. Naturally strong. Poweful hands. Ability to engage + release.”

    “LB Hightower. Watched lot of games. Not quick twitch or sudden mover. Plus size, but tight hips. At times played strong, others not.”
    “More Hightower: At times did not take on lead blocks with balance or body control. Played DE in some sub-packages. Can he do that in NFL?”

  44. Steve in Spain

    Ron Brooks measured 5’10” at the Combine, not 6’1″. He’s also working out with just about everybody – Bucs, Texans, Vikes, Pats, Cowboys – so don’t be thinking he’s someone that only the Hawks have keyed in on.

  45. peter

    Me and the other Peter with the capitol “p” need to find a way to delineate ourselves!


    What if anything do you make about this Brockers business? I wouldn’t say our Big men upfront our the teams problems, nor would I say they are all-pro’s….because they are not. Brockers seems like an awesome pick if the Hawks were suddenly a BPA team and a team going from rebuilding to refinement? I don’t know maybe Brockers is the pick at 12 and pass rush/LB come from our other picks….

    Or and I know you don’t mock trades, but maybe he’s trade material to a team like Denver, good lord I hope if a trade happens it’s not down that far unless it’s for an extra number 1 next year.

  46. Brincke

    A lot of guys sees Kuechly as the player drafted at 12, mainly because of the glaring hole at MLB. I don’t see it mostly for 2 reasons. 1) why the sudden need to draft purely out of need at 12? why is it so important to fill the hole instantly? I think the front office will eventually fill the hole, but they don’t tend to draft based purely out of need. 2) I think it would be a waste of talent to draft Kuechly, given the role he would have on D. The role would most likely be a lot of coverage, and even though he might be decent at it, it is not his strength. As Rob stated he is more of at Read/react guy. For me it is a little like taking Ray Lewis, and asking Him to cover even though there is other aspect of his game which he does better.. So for me it would be a better idea to find a Mike with coverage as the main strength, so that the abilities of the player is connected to what is being asked of him.
    My own little question could be in line with what has already been asked, what about a Kam Chancelor type of player being the player at MLB – some “draft experts” thought that Kam would move to LB because of his size? Maybe Iloka could be such a prospect? He has size and coverage skills?

  47. Rugby Lock

    I like Kuechly a lot more than the other MLB prospects out there to be honest. He was an awesome player at BC where he played behind, quite frankly, inferior talent. Behind our D-Line he would be even better IMO. It is true that he is not a big hitter but give me a sure tackler everyday of the week and twice on Sunday over a decent tackler who is a big hitter. He tracks the ball carrier and gets through traffic as good as anyone I’ve seen and McShay has said that his innate ability and instincts in coverage is rare ( http://mynorthwest.com/422/654395/Todd-McShay-has-high-praise-for-Kuechly-Coples ). That said I would prefer the Hawks try to trade back several spots as I think Kuechly will be available in the late teens.

  48. Rugby Lock

    Couple of extra points here. Kuechly is a three down LB for sure and will start day one. I am also of the opinion that he will be a multiple Pro-Bowler in his career barring injury of course.

  49. AlaskaHawk

    Walter football has a draft where kuechly is taken in top 10. That would remove temptation.

  50. Rob

    I hope that scenario wouldn’t lead to numerous suggestions Seattle were ‘devestated’ their man went before they chose… which wouldn’t be Seattle’s reaction.

  51. Regan

    Yes to Danny Trevathan. Here is the scouting report from WalterFootball’s sleepers post.


    Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky
    It was disappointing that Trevathan was not at the Senior Bowl, and a hamstring injury limited him at the Combine. The Kentucky playmaker was all over the field in 2011. Trevathan recorded 143 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, four interceptions, five forced fumbles and five passes broken up. He finished sixth in the nation in total tackles even though Kentucky didn’t qualify for a bowl game.

    Trevathan is a tough run defender who is very good against the pass. He plays zone coverage well with enough ball skills to make some interceptions. Trevathan blitzes well and is a hard hitter.

    The knock on Trevathan (6-0, 237) was his size, but he has added bulk to his frame since the end of the season. Trevathan obviously has played well against the best possible competition after leading the SEC in tackles the past two seasons. He is expected to be a third-day pick, but could be a steal for a 4-3 defense looking for an outside linebacker.

  52. Richardfg7

    I think it’s easy to see they are working from a plan at LB. One that doesn’t include Hawthorne or Hill. Otherwise they would be signed by now. It was real frustrating watching so many screens and underneath passes go for first-downs at critical times in the game. Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan were both with Carroll at USC . Maybe he sees something in these guys he likes. Both are real fast if they can cover we may have something there.

  53. Steve in Spain

    Teams hardly ever end up drafting the players that make these appointed visits. But the visits can signal interest in a specific position. I think at most that these visits constitute evidence that the Seahawks plan to draft a TE, a LB and a CB this year.

  54. David

    I have a friend that works for Sports Science. He said Kuechly came in and wowed everybody.

  55. andy

    So i see the need for that supreme cover LB/LBers with the 5 man front. Let’s say Upshaw is indeed our pick and Zach Brown is the preferred target at #43…… Oh crap he is picked before that! Who then Rob is plan B or C for the coverage LB at #43 in your mind?

  56. Tarry

    I don’t think Seattle’s draft board has changed at all with Hawthorne leaving. Personally I like Kuechly, but you are right, he’s not the fit for this D.

    Rob – Am I evaluating our LB corps correctly? I don’t see viable options on the current roster for starter at Will or Mike, mostly special teams LBs IMO: Farwell, Baptiste, Bradford, Konz, Morgan, Moten… the exception being Malcolm Smith who is a viable back-up at either Sam or Will, but not a starter. Carroll stated he wanted to keep Wright at Sam with possibly moving him in certain packages to nickle (I think it was nickle he stated), but that he didn’t want to use him at Mike.

    Nick Perry is also picking up steam as a possibility for the hybrid type who is decent when drops into coverage and is a faster edge rusher than say Upshaw or Ingram. The type of player Carroll is looking for to fill that need is thin for this class, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a trade back and ‘settling’ for a Perry or Curry in order to get the picks we need to backfill for the losses we’ve had. Then again, maybe I’m panicing lol

  57. andy

    More options? Let’s say Zach Brown and Lavonte David are the 2 targets at #43 but both are taken right in front of us. Could happen! Could Bruce Irvin grow into a coverage LBer? He has great length and speed. Was not asked to drop back into coverage much in college but maybe can be coached up into that? And obviously would more than fit the bill to bring blitzing pressure when asked to do so! Not to mention if he can’t cover as well as they want him to at LBer he would always be an excellent back up/successor to Clemons at LEO.

  58. Misfit74

    RE: Brandon – “One thing seems increasingly clear: no matter who the Seahawks pick at #12, he’ll be overdrafted.”

    Not if the Seahawks go BPA with Michael Floyd – if he makes it to 12. I think he may be the best WR in this class and would also be good value and impact/elite talent there.

    DeCastro might be an overdraft but if he’s a 10-year rock at OG or even RT I have no problem with it.

    Positional value would be there with WR, but not with OG. I think any of the top pass-rushers will fit under the overdrafted umbrella because I think this is a very weak class in terms of elite DL, DE, and OLB types at the top.

    Richardson wouldn’t be the greatest in terms of positional value but he’d by no means be overdrafted at 12. He’s an elite player.

    Finally, drafting a MLB at 12 would be among the poorest positional value and I think Kuechly and Hightower are both pick 25-44 range players. Major overdrafts at 12.

  59. MJ

    Misfit-in fairness, there are never truly “elite” players at pick 12. If they are considered “elite,” then they either have major character concerns or play a position of significantly less importance (ie OG or MLB or SS).

    If there was a “can’t miss” pass rusher, they would be long off the board by 12, so in essence that is somewhat of a moot point. Premium players at premium positions don’t stay on the board long, hence there even being conversation regarding Floyd, DeCastro, and Kuechly. I don’t see Floyd Or Kuechly remotely close to “elite.” Sure, they timed well at the combine, but based off tape, everyone and their mother was concerned about how fast they actually were. To me, this means their respective play speed isn’t what their 40 time indicates.

  60. andy

    Is Earl Thomas an elite player or will be one? Pick #14 i believe…..

  61. James

    Interesting that Mel Kiper, who had the most accurate mock last year, said in his mock today that the Seahawks will select Coples and Lewis (Oklahoma hybrid LB) in rounds 1 and 2.

  62. MJ

    Andy – I am not saying that you can’t find guys who turn into “Elite” players at 12. We are talking about “elite” “can’t miss” prospects that people think permeate the entire top 20. Regarding Earl Thomas…I think he’s close to “elite.” That said, prior to his draft, there was serious concern regarding size/durability and even talk of making him a corner. So yes, he’s close to “elite” now, but wasn’t necessarily unanimously considered that during draft time.

    That’s the point I am trying to make. We are not going to be looking at a flawless, premium position player at 12, so you take the player who fits your scheme and can make the biggest impact in the W/L column. DEs, QBs, LTs with premium talent/production don’t slip past 11 other teams. Doesn’t mean players can’t develop into “elite/great,” it just means you have to find the guy who fits your team best and hope you put him into position to reach that level of play.

  63. Steve in Spain

    Come on MJ, even Andrew Luck has question marks! That doesn’t mean he’s not an elite prospect. Tell me an elite prospect who doesn’t have his detractors. Using terms like “can’t miss” and “flawless” is setting the bar too high.

    And to say that Earl Thomas wasn’t an elite prospect is rewriting history. Several respected draftniks rated ET above, or as a close second to, Eric Berry, before the draft.

  64. MJ

    Steve – you are totally misinterpreting my previous comments. Then again, I could have just explained it poorly (not sarcasm to clarify). I was making a simple comment regarding the idea that “any player will be over drafted at 12,” this year. “Elite” gets thrown around way too loosely. Whatever player we draft at 12, especially a DE or QB o LT (not saying we are looking at LT, just an example of a premium position), will be there because of some sort of question mark that 11 other teams had about the same player. I am simply wanting people to get over the fact that we will not be staring at a “near flawless,” (so I don’t get that misinterpreted again) prospect at 12, so it’s important to go with who fits best and can have the biggest impact on Wins and Losses. That’s all I am trying to say.

    And just because I commented that ET wasn’t a “unanimously elite” prospect doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a really good one, who happened to fit exactly what Carroll was looking for. Let’s not forget that 13 teams passed on him including an Eagles team that had a huge hole and also traded up. Let not use hindsight as a means of saying “you’re wrong,” because that does nothing with the current draft process or any future draft. Last point, I am not saying guys can’t become “elite” players, I am simply stating their prospect status (majority) at the current moment.

  65. Rob

    Peter – I think it’s just due dilligence. Very few people thought Brockers would declare and maybe the team’s just taking a closer look to get to know the guy?

    Brincke – Chancellor was indeed touted as a possible LB but I think he’ll stay at safety. But putting guys like Iloka in is an option on certain looks to get greater size/speed in coverage.

    Andy – I think there are a handful of options… Bobby Wager, Lavonte David, Mychal Kendricks off the top of my head.

    Tarry – that’s a fair assesment, but I think Carroll is more willing to be flexible with Wright. I’m not sure though whether Seattle will be ‘settling’ for anyone in R1. I think whoever they draft they’ll really like. I’m not sold on Perry.

  66. Leonard

    First I want to say that I like Kuechly. He will be a solid MLB for some team for 10 years. At 12 though I want more than solid. If it’s going to be a will or mike then he will have to be good in coverage(check), sure tackler (check), high football IQ (check), be a nasty blitzer(NOPE), be able to knife through traffic to stop the play at or behind the line of scrimmage(NOPE). Kuechly is a good solid player that doesn’t play to his track speed and sometimes looks like he is playing strong safety the way he hangs back and makes so many tackles 5-10 yards down field. Second round, sure take him and teach him how to fight through traffic and get in the back field from time to time. I would still take Hightower, David and Kendricks first though.
    First choice of course is getting a pass rushing, edge setting SAM in round one. And then picking up a speedier linebacker in the next few rounds. To the list of names above add Wagner, Bradham, Spence, Robinson, Carder, Trevethan and my personal favorite Davis From ArkSt. Add Wright and Smith from the Hawks, maybe Davis and Konz too and we can put together a linbacker group with a great mix of speed at the second level and power and quickness up front.

  67. Leonard

    Anyone know more about Iloka? If we bulked him up could he play will? He would certainly be a good coverage linebacker. As far as DB’s go, I think they are looking for someone who can play centerfield like Thomas for insurance in case he gets hurt. His range is what makes the rest of the DB’s able to play to their own strengths. I think they would also like to bring in competition for Thurmond at the nickle back.

  68. Jarhead

    Firstly, just when I tought our previous unifroms were bad. Gross… So much for we old-schoolers pining for the old ways to come back. But at least they added MORE lime green. I can’t wait… Anyhow for stuff that actually matters to football aside from hideous uniforms. Kuechly, in my opinion, will not make a huge impact in the NFL. I feel Courtney Upshaw will have a much more substantial impact on the field. I am personally very pleased that he is slipping in stock to the 20’s because it means he is much more likely to be there at 12. Having Ingram leave the board before 12 would be great because it just eliminates the possibility that he would come here, but having he and Kuechly there and Seattle still drafts Upshaw would just show the pundits- ‘THAT’S our guy’. And of course they would crap all over it until he sees the field. Then they’d change their draft grades just like last year. As for Brown, Rob you have become increasingly comfortable sending Brown to us in the second. That makes me nervous because he is SO soft and has NO football IQ. Yeah he’s fast and athletic but I’d rather see him converted to Safety a la Michael Boulware, because I feel he is TOO soft to play LB. Cause if he can cover a TE well, but gets trucked when he tries to tackle him- he still does not serve a purpose. I hope they find a similarly athetic backer who hits harder

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