Tuesday draft notes

Penn State's Jordan Hill could be a mid-round sleeper

Scott Pioli ranks the underclassmen

Either Daniel Jeremiah knows Scott Pioli, or we’ve just had validation that Sharrif Floyd could be a top ten pick. Jeremiah tweeted last week that an NFL executive had guaranteed Floyd would be drafted early. Yesterday Peter King interviewed Pioli and managed to get his top ten underclassmen. There were a few surprises. Here’s the list in order:

1. Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
2. Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
3. Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
4. Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
5. Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
6. Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
7. Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia)
8. Keenan Allen (WR, California)
9. Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)
10. Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)

No Damontre Moore or Sheldon Richardson. It’s an interesting list, but perhaps focused towards the 3-4 defense Pioli was scouting for before he got fired. Floyd would make a fine five technique while Johnathan Hankins is a classic space eater who takes up blocks but offers very little pass rush. Bjoern Werner and Jarvis Jones are capable of rushing the edge in the 3-4, in fact Werner could play end or outside linebacker. Sheldon Richardson looks like an ideal fit for 4-3 and you have to believe it’s the main reason he isn’t part of the list. But maybe we have to start considering Floyd — with his massive upside — as the #1 defensive tackle in this class?

For the offense it’s a surprise to see Eddie Lacy that high but there’s every reason to believe he will be an effective running back at the next level. All being well he should be the first runner off the board. Pioli took Jonathan Baldwin in round one so it’s not too surprising to see he ranks Keenan Allen highly. Personally I think, like Baldwin, he’s only worth a second or third round grade. Gavin Escobar ranked as the top tight end above Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert is a big headline, but even more striking is that he’s in the top ten at all. He’s a thoroughly modern tight end — big, fast, gets downfield. He offers no blocking qualities but he’ll be a pass catching force. There’s every chance he could work his way into the first or early second round.

We’ve talked a lot about how unpredictable this draft is going to be and Pioli’s list is another great example of that. Last week Desmond Trufant was an expected third round pick. Tony Pauline quoted league sources that he’d be a first round lock. Now several other members of the media are falling over themselves trying to claim they knew all along. It was a surprise, there was a tone of surprise in Pauline’s Tweet. It was just the latest chapter in a story that’s going to keep us guessing right up to April 25th. This will be the hardest draft in years to call.

Whatever your view of the players listed or Pioli as a talent evaluator, it’s a great insight into how teams might be looking at this draft class. And it might indicate while the likes of Dee Milliner and Sharrif Floyd are unlikely options for the Seahawks at #25, maybe it isn’t completely impossible after all that a player like Sheldon Richardson or Zach Ertz comes into range?

Who is Courtney Gardner?

Apparently he’s one of the biggest draft sleepers in the 2013 class.

Again I refer to Tony Pauline — the quintessential draft insider — had this to say about Gardner today on his blog:

“The name making the rounds in the scouting community as one of the biggest sleepers at the receiver position is Courtney Gardner of Sierra College.  The 6-foot, 3-inch/220lb pass catcher was expected to play for Oklahoma in 2013 but opted for the NFL draft after academic “difficulties”.  We hear scouts have been raving about the physical skills Gardner brings to the field.  Besides his large frame the big pass catcher also has the speed (10.7 sec in the 100 meters) to match.  Even college coaches in the area are awed by his ability on the field but focusing at the task at hand seems to be an issue.”

I managed to find the video below for some highlight footage. The quality is awful, but it gives you an idea of his on-field talent. His stock will be pretty limited given he never even left the JUCO ranks, but he might be one to keep an eye on. Meanwhile Pauline also had some pretty interesting information on Ziggy Ansah: “We are now hearing Ansah is a definite mid-first round choice and should be selected anywhere between picks 14-to-18.”

I don’t like Wednesday’s

Wednesday is mock draft day on Seahawks Draft Blog — and I want to keep pumping out different scenarios. I wouldn’t ever try to fool anyone into thinking my mocks are any great insight into what will actually happen. I just want to create debate, present options and see how this thing shakes out. If I did the same prediction every week, I’d be trying to tell you I knew what was going to happen. And nobody knows that. So we’ll keep coming up with different ideas.

The problem is, the draft this year is pretty confusing. It just looks so wide open. My suspicion is that the Seahawks are going to have an unexpected player fall into their direction. Maybe more than one. And if that happens, they still might pick a guy like Khaseem Greene anyway and get another D grade from Mel Kiper. It could be one of those drafts. Again.

There’s a clear need to add a pass rusher or two — will the first round of the draft fill that need? We could see 7-8 defensive lineman leave the board before the #25 pick. Maybe more. So unless they trade up or turn to free agency, the Seahawks could be picking through the remains of a defensive line carcass. So what is the second or third options? A receiver? Tight end? Linebacker?

Every now and again little pieces of information come out — such as the sudden league-wide interest in Sharrif Floyd or Desmond Trufant. You peel back the layers and learn more. But even then, you’re really only scratching the surface.

Whatever happens the Seahawks are going to get a good player at #25. This is a better draft class than maybe most people expected going into the new college season. The hard part is working out what the Seahawks — a team that appears to take pride in thinking outside of the box — is going to do next.

We’ll have another go tomorrow.

Jordan Hill could be one to watch

The three technique position is difficult to judge. If you look over the last few years, so many players have been drafted in round one and it hasn’t worked out for whatever reason. And then you have Geno Atkins — the best three technique in the league — going in round four of the draft. Henry Melton was also a fourth round pick. Darnell Dockett went in round three. So there’s no exact science to finding that elusive interior pass rusher.

The Seahawks can’t be too cute given their extreme need at the position. The roster has developed quicker than anyone expected and finding a pass rush this off-season could be the difference between being winners or merely contenders in 2013.

Having said that, you can’t force the issue. And picking 25th overall makes it difficult to say, “we’ll solve this problem in round one of the draft’. They might have to look seriously at free agency and get the cheque book out. Or they might have to search for that next mid-round steal. If they can find a franchise quarterback in round three, why not a good, pass-rushing defensive tackle?

Out of all the players I’ve looked at so far, Penn State’s Jordan Hill is one of the players to keep an eye on in those mid-to-late rounds.

So what does he do well?

He’s 6-0 and 295lbs and plays with good leverage. If he gets a sniff of a gap he often takes advantage, using his speed to get into the backfield. In a 1v1 match-up he holds his own in the run game, holding his position with surprising power at the point of attack even against top offensive line opposition such as Wisconsin.

Hill’s a fighter — a relentless bundle of energy who defined his teams attitude last season. He chases outside of the tackle box, doesn’t give up on plays and often executes via the second effort. In the Senior Bowl he struggled a bit to generate pressure against a double team, but it was testament that the lineman even in that environment were consistently locking onto him and trying to shut him down. Although he didn’t challenge the quarterback against the double team, he more than held his own and managed to hold position. The Seahawks don’t have enough players on that defensive line right now that warrant a double team.

He doesn’t flash a great bull rush and he could do a better job finishing — his closing burst is average and when he gets into the backfield sometimes, he pressures rather than finishes. His hand use is adequate but not exactly aggressive, while sometimes he takes too long to shed blocks. On the other hand he’s shown an effective lunge to avoid contact, a nice swim move and he’s agile enough to beat a man with a quick first step and break free.

There’s very little injury concern here and he’s an exemplary character off the field. At a time when Penn State needed warriors, Hill stepped up to the mark.

I don’t expect him to be the next great pass rushing three technique. It’s one of the most difficult positions to grade. Take away the sheer importance of the quarterback position and projecting three techniques might be the hardest thing to do in the draft. There really does seem to be a ‘born to do it’ type aspect to it. Even a guy like Gerald McCoy — who looked like the most perfect three technique you’ll find — hasn’t played up to the extreme quality he showed at Oklahoma. You kind of need to be made a little differently. Be edgy.

Hill might be restricted to a nickel role at the next level, working on passing downs and using his agility to create pressure. Even so, I’d still consider taking a shot on the guy. He’s a baller and the type that might just surprise you at the next level. If he can try and get a little stronger in the upper body and work on his closing speed, there’s no reason why he can’t find a home in the NFL and feature on early downs.

Note – He wears #47 in the Penn State videos below and #97 in the Senior Bowl tape


  1. kevin mullen

    Would you agree that the fact the ‘Hawks are somewhat left field that it makes mocking drafts better for the fact of: scheme, coaching, front office, team needs, salary cap, and draft position? The way they evaluate talent has obviously created some main stream “draft guru(s)” look real bad and downright stupid. (By the way, Gruden’s was the only draft day “analyst” that got it right on Russell Wilson.)

    Also, anyone notice the catch at Pro Bowl from Russ to Vincent Jackson? Holy $%*T. That’s the height/talent we need only for to COMPLETE our offense. I could see that every Sunday for the next TEN years. What’s worse: he technically could have been on our team…

  2. Zach

    Hill looks like a player. I especially like his run defense and how he seems to get better as the game moves on.

  3. Colin

    There is one big thing I think we are forgetting about the Seahawks and the offseason: It will end however they want it to end.

    They value draft picks, but they’ve shown they’ll make a deal if the time is right. For all we know, they could be a sleeping giant, just waiting for FA to come, see how it shakes out, and strike when the iron is hot.

    If there is someone in this draft they HAVE to obtain, they’ll get it done. If they must have Sheldon or Sharriff or Kawaan Short, they’ll get them. I have no doubt they are going to get a high profile 3 technique.

  4. PatrickH

    Sharrif Floyd’s versatility as 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT probably is appealing to a lot of teams. It’s also interesting that Alec Ogletree is on Pioli’s top-ten list. I thought he is best suited as a 4-3 OLB, but perhaps his talent transcends 4-3, 3-4 schemes?

    BTW, according to the following article, the Seahawks seem to be very interested in B.J. Stewart, a TE who went to Cumberland University: http://www.wilsonpost.com/sports/49-general-sports/9704-bj-stewart-makes-splash-at-raycom-all-star-classic
    (apparently 23 other teams are also interested).

    • SunPathPaul

      That’s some deep research there. “Seahawks have been following him the longest.” they say…
      If he ends up as a late round pick or UDFA, I hope the time and effort to find him pans out…
      Looks like some potential there… Thx for the heads up, it makes draft day that much better. Actually knowing the players makes it funner!! Cheers

  5. AlaskaHawk

    Glad to see Escobar rated so highly. If we get a DT in free agency it would open the door to picking a top tight end or wide receiver. Or we could double up on defense in the first.

    Rob- once I knew you would change the draft weekly and look at all possibilities I was with you all the way. No need to settle on a draft day prediction until the week before drafting! Thanks for all you are doing on this blog!

  6. Seth

    Rob how much do you think the Seahawks would have to give Sparks for him to be interested? I only ask because after reading a Field Gulls article about free agent WR they listed the top five and the last one caught my eye which was Brain Hartline. Is there a way the get both? I think we can offer a reasonable contract to both of them and that would really open us up to getting the BPA for our scheme, or am I wishful and over thinking it?

    • Zach


      • SunPathPaul

        We grabbed 1 WR the other day, Williams… That could be one good play… use FA to totally free up the draft picks versatility. Not letting the need force the decision process. We shall see. Pumped 4 it!

        • Colin

          I wouldn’t hold your breath on Williams. He was in AZ’s camp and they let him go, so I kinda doubt we’re getting a real game changer, but I guess with how awful their QB’s were it’s not fair to judge.

          • SunPathPaul

            True. They have Fizt and a #1 draft pick, so hopefully they just weren’t the right place for Williams.

            I just hope as a #88, that he is enchanted and the lucky magic pays off!

            I also think Russell Wilson, when given the time and chance, can bloom together with talented guys.

            Maybe he is a talented guy that needed the right situation. Regardless, I still want a TE and WR drafted to fill out our corp and make it special…not just solid…

    • Rob Staton

      I suspect a deal slightly better than the Alan Branch contract. I’d guess it won’t be big bucks especially with a rich class of DT’s in the draft.

      • Seth

        So how much do you think Hartline will get on the open market? Do you think that we can get a WR in free agency that can help open more doors to us in the draft like Hartline or Austin Collie or even a Donnie Avery?

        • Rob Staton

          I’m not sure there’ll be a huge market for Hartline. I think he’ll stay in Miami on a modest contract. For me they need more than anything a bigger receiver who isn’t completely immobile. Dwayne Bowe is the closest to that, but he’ll probably be too expensive.

  7. James

    Rob, see what happens after you posted the tape of Sharrif Floyd? Now everyone sees what we saw. We hoped he would be there at 25, now there is no chance….this is all your fault!

    What is your view about how the Packers use Matthews at Leo/9 tech? It seems to me that they let him roam about, attack from a 2 pt stance, let him slide behind the line and shoot him through gaps? This is how I believe we should use Bruce Irvin. It is a waste to have him making a frontal assault on 330lb OTs. He is not Von Miller and can’t slip past them, but he could slip through gaps in a split second, if they would use him like Matthews.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Agree with you on letting Irvin roam. The difference is that Mathews is also useful as a linebacker.

    • Rob Staton

      I think whatever they do they just need to accept what Bruce is best at – rushing the passer. Let him pin his ears back and go for it. Don’t weigh him down with too many other responsibilities. I agree that the Matthews model could work for him in certain looks.

      • Attyla the Hawk


        I’d really like to see the burst of quickness and speed we saw in college. It seemed missing all season long.

  8. Belgaron

    Courtney Gardner has some highlights that are like “HELLO!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqOCNp6OUHU

    • SunPathPaul

      So that was Gardner in the video? OK… Another possible Seahawk Solution…

      • Belgaron

        That guy has them so afraid of his deep speed, then he has that look-like-he’s-running-hard-while-stopping-on-a-dime move that gives him time and separation to catch ball then make them miss tackles and pick up some nice yardage. His deep and end zone catches all look pro caliber. It will be interesting to see how high his stock climbs as a deep sleeper.

  9. James

    By the way, as an Alabama alum, I thought I would pass this on… Travis Jones, the new Seahawks DL coach, coached for Nick Saban at LSU and the Miami Dolphins, and Saban has often referred to Travis as one of his best asst coaches, and was very high on him a a teacher of the pass rush.

    • James

      …and yes, Dan Quinn, Seahawks DC, also coached for a couple of years under Nick Saban with the Miami Dolphins. That is where he me Travis Jones.

      • Cade

        Nice info!

      • SunPathPaul

        Thanks for the inside info James… I feel like we will have a BETTER Defense this year… Even if it ranks lower, we will win more! I see this giving up leads thing GONE! Esp w RW now thriving, I see a future where we get the lead and our D feasts on our opponents’ caucasus’!!

        • Cade

          I can see Wilson and our offense scoring early and often enough to force teams to become one dimensional. We didnt have that this last season for most the year. Just by virtue of that we should be better.

          Its cool that we can be both explosive and do ball control while effeciently converting 3rd downs.

          I have a gut feeling that Quinn and James will take our DL and the new additions and create something dynamic yet consistent. Our young LB’s will be more experienced at run D and coverage. We will have a slot CB who is better, and a wealth of experience in our secondary despite age(minus browner). I also think that Guy will play more coverage Safety downs and Kam will play more early or mid to short yardage downs.

          In summary. Our offense makes us better on D. The personnel should make us better and I think the coaching change is actually an upgrade for what we needed.

          Nothing against Bradley. I actually see a lot of his strengths of a coach be better lent towards a HC job anyways. He wasn’t bad though.

          • SunPathPaul

            Good one Cade. I see our D at least being as good as last year, and that is before FA and draft additions. I still see our benefit is in adding power to the offense. Our defense is NOT going to fall off the earth, yet if our offense is given a few gifts to multiply RW, then we are OFF!! Off to the SB!

          • Colin

            I personally don’t expect to see the offense become a huge scoring barrage, but I do think what we saw over the second half of the season could be expected for a whole season next year. They won’t be holding back.

            Expecting the D to be better because of the offense is so cliche. It’s not true either. Having a good offense puts you in position to be more aggressive, but it will not make you better.

            Upgrade the pass rush, add a weapon or two, depth/ starting LB…. let’s go.

            • SunPathPaul

              Colin, you say, “I personally don’t expect to see the offense become a huge scoring barrage.”

              But we scored 50-burgers in two games back to back…so I DO expect that we can put up 30 every time… So my point is, can you imagine our defense giving up that? I can’t…

              So it’s not the cliché that the offense makes the D better, but by the offense putting the team way ahead, SHIFTS the D’s focus and aggressiveness to a degree, that’s all…

            • Cade

              More rest your defense gets the better they will be. If you can control the ball for most the game the other team cannot get on the field. Their D gets tired, your D stays fresh.

              Having a good offense that also does a good amount of ball control makes a big impact.

              Yeah I really dont think they want to be a team that tries to put up 40+ pts per game every game. That would be modeling the offense as a quick strike fast pace offense. Thats not our style. We are more likely going to be the team that puts up 30ish pts per game and controls the clock.

              • SunPathPaul

                I agree Cade! I do value their ball control/pound it at you methodology, but I would augment it in one very specific way. This is due to the effect of the power of Russell Wilson. Because we have him now, why not start each game in a hurry up attack mode!

                Please understand, my intention here is to diversify our team. If we always come out and use the defenses’ riled up state against them by doing play-action, swinging the pocket out by moving RW, and we just go for the juggler, get a lead of 2 possessions, 10 or 14, then slow it down to what we do now… Keeping their defense on the field, running Lynch and controlling the clock.

                With a lead, our Defense plays like a different D. They usually seem more dominant, and with new FA / draft picks on D, we could be better…

                I like PC’s methodology, but adding just this one wrinkle would make for a sweet season.
                Attack first, get up, then slowly drain the life-force out of them!!!

                Does anyone get this like I do? Agree / think I’m crazy??

                This is why we need a bad ass WR and TE this year! Miller is hurt, so lets address that too!
                If we arm up RW and our offense, I just don’t see other teams keeping up with us!


    • Rob Staton

      Thanks for the info.

    • dave crockett

      If there is one thing that has consistently impressed me about the Saban regime at ‘Bama, particularly on defense, it is the way they teach technique.

      For all the hoopla about their beastly size and physicality, if you notice, few if any Alabama *defensive* guys are straight up “beasts” in the NFL. Really, none are athletically dominant pros but none are busts either. Pretty much to a man, they come to the NFL with the savvy of a 5 yr. veteran. One area where that savvy consistently shows up, specifically with the front seven players, is hand placement. Hand placement/hand use might be the single most underrated defensive skill. Saban’s players all have it down to a friggin’ science.

      All that is to say: if someone teaches Bruce Irvin how to use his hands it literally makes me shudder to think how good he might become.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        That’s one of the big takeaways I had looking at Jesse Williams. The difference between his JUCO tape and his first year at ‘Bama is really remarkable.

        Technically, he’s nearly perfect. The leaps he made in just a few months there are really amazing to see. To be able to move from 5 technique, to the 3 and then add weight and play the 1 in such an abbreviated manner is really remarkable. It’s testament to the student and teacher that he could transition so quickly.

      • James

        Exactly! The Alabama front 7 live in the QBs face and set up a picket line 2 yards deep in the backfield. They do this through exceptional technique rather than relying on talent alone. I hope that Dan Quinn and Travis Jones can teach these skills to our Seahawks guys, which I’m sure is why Pete chose them.

  10. Zach

    I can see Buffalo or NYJ trading down this year. They both need a QB and no team after them will pick a QB that they might want. We could switch spots with one of them and also give them Flynn which they need and could be their future QB plus give them like 2 second rounders. Why wouldn’t they? They still get the QB they wanted at #8/9 at our #25 plus they get Flynn and 2 second rounders. That would be huge for them. Then we could pick up Richardson.

    • SunPathPaul

      Not a fan of giving up two 2nd rounders…

      I know it seems we must sell the boat to rock the ocean, but I believe PC/JS can work magic beyond selling out in round 1 for a DT… Just MO…

      Since Geno Atkins was a 4th rounder, I envision a draft where our knowledge pays off big time! They will strike accordingly, but I don’t envision a trade up of that nature…

      • Zach

        All I know is we can’t depend on the average rookie DT to fix our problems, and if Melton and Starks don’t work out we need to do something.

        • Belgaron

          You can trust the talent evaluation team that the front office has built. They have found solid starters and even pro bowlers throughout the draft. The only problem is, they can only take what’s there. For example, last year in the 7th round they saw a high ceiling offensive guard masquerading as a defensive lineman. If Sweezy can pick up the intricacies of picking up pass rush stunts and schemes, he could go to the Pro Bowl next year. He’s already the fastest offensive lineman on the team and a terrific run blocker. But the point is, they took the talent that was there. And they are confident enough in the prototypes they want for different roles on their team that they will sometimes even draft out of position.

          Hopefully, if they don’t see the defensive linemen they need available at the points they will be selecting or able to trade to in the draft, they will be more aggressive in free agency. Expectations will be sky high this year and they need to make sure to mitigate any glaring holes like the pass rush with more than one option to compete it out in camp.

          • SunPathPaul

            Heck, Warren Sapp filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Maybe we can get him as a 3-tech w a NASTY attitude! As Rob said a 3-tech NEEDS to have an attitude!

            Just playing…but I feel PC/JS will work magic yet again!! They will make our D-line better!

            • Belgaron

              It’s hard not to appreciate the difference Justin Smith makes for SF, if ‘Hawks can find a guy with that kind of impact on the pocket, it will really open up the lanes for our LEOs to get sacks.

  11. Nate Dogg

    I like Hill, but I think he’s a 1 tech. I know his size says otherwise, but Penn St lined him up primarily at 1 tech, and he probably had as many or more snaps at the 0 as he did in the 3 in those videos. It was more balanced at the senior bowl, but he was still the 1 with Sylvester Williams at the 3 more often then not (also interesting that Sly would frequently slide in to the 1 when Kawann Short would come in and play 3 tech).

    That doesn’t mean he can’t be a 3 tech, or that it’s not his position in the NFL. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, since Short lined up at 1 for Purdue more than 3 also (also at a lower rate than Hill seemed to). What concerns me though is that it seems like he struggles when forced to rush to the outside instead of to the inside. He doesn’t do a great job shooting the B gap, or stunting out and around.

    • James

      I am thinking that Datone Jones of UCLA fits the profile of the pass rushing DT John and Pete are looking for. If he can get up to 290 lbs by the combine, and show he can carry that weight without losing his speed, he could be the pick.

      • Nate Dogg

        Yeah, I was just watching tape on him. He primarily plays DE in a 34, but it seems to be more of a one gap, Wade Phillips attacking style, 34. I think it’s pretty similar to what a prototypical 3 tech is asked to do.

  12. Trudy Beekman

    Rob, this is hands down the sharpest draft site when it comes to the Seahawks, and one of the 3 best sites for talent evaluation that I have come across. Whether or not that translates into what other teams will do on draft day is irrelevant. I also appreciate that you answer almost every single person’s post, no matter how inane their perspective. Moving on…

    Hill is an unfortunate player. He plays like he doesn’t see the lineman in front of him, and where this would combine with his other skills to make him a consensus top 5 if he were 6’3 305, he’s not. If he truly is only 6’0 that will be a huge downgrade in a lot of GM’s eyes, but as we know with the Seahawks they draft for scheme and according to what a player does well … not his limitations. Hill always keeps his eyes down field. He is relentless in the interior, against the run and sideline to sideline.

    I hadn’t seen his Iowa tape until just now, but he is such a sure tackler. Good stack and shed. Never gives up on the play, even when he’s being blown up by a double team. I didn’t see a single instance where he got pancaked. I honestly would have no problem, and would almost expect Seattle to take him at 25, or trade into the second round and take him around 32.

    I wanted to get more perspective on Hawk needs during the upcoming draft, so I took a look at the stats from ’95 49er defense that everyone has been quoting Pete as referencing when talking about his idyllic defense. I compared it to the 2012 Hawks to see if there were any glaring differences that could point to where we might be picking next. As expected, top 5 in tackles came from most to least from:


    Hawks 2012 is more or less identical with:

    But in terms of sacks, ’95 9ers v ’12 Hawks looks like:

    RDE, RDT, LDT, DE, DE (both DE being non-starters)
    RDE, DE, RDT, DT, MLB (RDE=Clem, DE=Bruce, RDT=Mebane, DT=JJones, MLB=KJ)

    As if it hadn’t already been identified, it is the interior pressure that is missing from the equation. More specifically, however, is that many sacks were generated from the 1-tech (LDT) position, especially if you look at the ’96 9ers where 1-Tech Bryant Young had 11.5 sacks. Now I’m not sure which type of 4-3 (under or over) that the ’95/96 9ers played in base, or if Young came in for different defensive sets, but it is interesting that Branch seems the most expendable on our DL and that pressure has historically been generated from the 1-tech in PC run D’s. So here’s what I’m thinking…. (and it’s a stretch)

    I re-watched some DL tape and I no longer think that Sylvester Williams is a 1st round talent. He looked great against NC State, but didn’t do much in the other 2 games I saw. However, I think that Seattle may not be looking EXCLUSIVELY for a 3-tech on the DL to generate penetration. It makes sense to me that they could play 2 similar players at either position and ask each of them to swap out 1/2-gap responsibilities if they had similar skillsets … this would also be confusing to a defense. In this draft class, I see 3 players projected to go 1st round that I feel could be either 1 or 3-techs: Lotulelei is going to go top 5 and should last no later than the 3rd pick overall. Kawann Short is a monster and as more tape on him as viewed (he did go to Purdue, afterall) he will go before the Hawks pick at 25. The third option I see is Sylvester Williams. He doesn’t look like a 3-tech to me, but he has flashed ability as a 1-gap penetrator, especially in that NC State tape. He doesn’t look like a 1-tech, but he is definitely consistent at holding at the point of attack, at least in 1-on-1’s.

    My point in this post is to both praise Jordan Hill as a potential round 2 prospect at 3-tech, and to point out that maybe we also need a versatile base 1-tech that can penetrate if the Seahawks want to truly embody PC’s vision of the perfect defense. I haven’t watched too much tape on DE/OLB yet, but Mingo/Jones won’t last to 25 and Dion Jordan is not a 1st round talent IMO, so I can’t see us going LEO round 1. I like Hopkins (haven’t watched much WR tape either), but I don’t see any other WR that I like either in round 1. Have watched no TE or WILL tape.

    I have no idea what the PC/JS will do this draft, but I look forward to arguing about it until draft day. As a parting shot, here’s something sick … what if Seattle had drafted Fletcher Cox instead of trading back with the Eagles?

    • Trudy Beekman

      If that didn’t make sense, Sylvester Williams #25 overall at 1-tech to start next to Mebane. Williams as primarily a 2-gapper, but sometimes 1-gapping and leaving Mebane to 2-gap would make sense to me. If Hankins, J Williams, or Jenkins in that order at 1-tech were available I think they are viable options, as every one of them has flashed penetrating ability.

      • Nate Dogg

        The Mebane to 3 tech thing didn’t work. He’s a top notch 1 tech, I’d be upset if they moved him.

        • Belgaron

          I’ve been a huge Mebane fan over the years but he seemed to lose a half a step and be less stout from about game 7 on that really showed up in their ability to stop the run. I’m hoping he gets in better shape and shows up ready to compete with the new talent they’ll bring in at DT.

    • Zach

      Good post. I too like Jordan as a second round prospect and Short as a first. I am already assuming from the tape I’ve watched that Richardson, Lotulelei, Floyd, and Short will be gone by #25 and I too am not sold on Sylvester being worthy of a our first pick. This brings me to think that JS/PC are going to bring in either Melton or Starks. The problem is Melton will most certainly be signed by the Bears to a nice long contract considering he is their number one priority and Melton wants to stay. Starks on the other hand should be available since Miami is deep at DT and have other pressing concerns. I believe Starks will be in a Seahawks uniform on something like a 3 year 20m dollar deal with incentives if he does well. That way we won’t be hamstrung on picking a DT in first round or two.

    • Belgaron

      Great analysis, lots or great info and thoughts here. KJ actually plays Mike which is an outside linebacker on the TE side, Wagner is the MLB. Right now Rang is projecting a run on DT prospects in the teens but there is still a lot of time left for QBs and other players to jump up on team boards and push some of these guys lower, maybe even past 25. The combine itself will adjust a lot of players’ stock. There is a possibility that ‘Hawks could swap a 3rd for a 2nd in exchange for Flynn, this could give them 2 picks in that 25-40 range where they would really have an opportunity to grab the guys they like, or the could go nuts and use those two to jump up for Star or Richardson. They’d have a lot of flexibility if they found some teams interested in the other side of those trades. I know their preference is to sit back and take the high ceiling talent that falls to them, but people forget 2010 when in the 1st they took talent that was right there on everyone’s board and didn’t pull any shockers. They definitely have top drawer talent evaluation going on to nail so many great picks.

      • Nate Dogg

        You’ve got your terminology a little mixed up. KJ plays the ‘S’AM, which is the outside linebacker on the ‘S’trongside (the side with the TE). ‘M’ike is just another term for ‘M’LB, and ‘W’ill is the ‘W’eakside linebacker.

        • Belgaron

          Doh, you’re right, thanks for the correction. Sam it is.

    • Rob Staton

      Fantastic thoughts there, appreciate the time you took to share them with us. Regarding Cox, it’s my understanding they were always likely to draft an edge rusher in the draft. With hindsight, could Cox have been the answer at the three? Personally I always believed he fit best at the five. I’ve not seen much of his Philly tape to offer much of an opinion. But my feeling on him last year was he would fit best at end, perhaps even in the 4-3. He always looked better on tape rushing off the edge.

  13. Darnell

    I wouldn’t be suprised if at some point a big safety is drafted to convert to WILL in the Hawks scheme.

    Someone who fits their profile for an OLB as JS has outlined.

    Devonte Holloman (South Carolina) and Cooper Taylor (Richmond) come to mind.

    • Belgaron

      I agree, that would definitely be something they’d consider. They were also really high on Mark Barron last year, not to push Chancellor to WILL but to strengthen their Nickel/Dime packages which they use a lot and could use even more if they build 2-3 TD leads this year early in games. So I wouldn’t be shocked if they took a guy like Kenny Vaccaro. He’d probably play more snaps than Irvin did this year and they’d be covered if ET had the flu for a game.

      • Colin

        Kenny Vaccaro doesn’t last until 25.

        • Belgaron

          I suspect you’re right, some mocks having him going later. Still tons of time for stock to climb/fall.

    • Phil

      Here’s a wild idea — how about moving Kam to WILL?

  14. Zach

    Side note…Chicago has 7 players making 7-12m a year. We have 2.

    • Jericho

      That is insane.

      • Jericho

        Actually, it’s not insane. It’s misleading.

        The Bears have 9 players making 5 million or more per year. The Seahawks have…wait for it…10 players making 5 million or more per year. Trivial facts like “Team x has x players making $x a year. We have x making that much” are meaningless.

        Cumulative potential cap hits and cumulative guaranteed cap hits are what we should be looking at.

  15. dave crockett

    Wasn’t sure where else to post this, but a potential mid-to-late round candidate to develop at LEO:
    Collins Ukwu from Kentucky – http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1689525/collins-ukwu

  16. Dan

    I always seem to be coming back to Leon Washington as the only major hole on offense. He’s paid far too much for his services. The way the game has changed, a dynamic PR/KR is less valuable. Of all the needs, I’d rank them DT, LB, TE, WR, CB(nickle), and RB. IMO if we grab a WR in the first 2 rounds it should be a Patterson. He can replace Leon on special teams and be the big deep threat we need. But if we end up drafting him and cutting Leon, we would need a new change of pace back. So why not Kerwynn Williams?? He’d be a major upgrade at the chance of pace position and should be there in the mid-late rounds… But he’s also a great KR/PR.
    So in conclusion, I hope the FO drafts one of these two players. They’d be adding a dynamic weapon on offense and filling a hole left by an aging/expensive player. But priority #1 has to be interior pass rush. So depending on how FA pans out, I’d say we grab Williams later in the draft so we can sure up the defense with the early rounds.

    • Dan


      Can we all agree now that the WILL linebacker is a major need?

      • Colin

        Idk about ‘need’ but it’s always been a priority to upgrade. Now more than ever.

      • Rob Staton

        I know B******r R****t is taking over the internet, but do we really have to contribute to the epidemic?

        I urge everyone not to click that link. Google Leroy Hill instead.

        • SunPathPaul

          Leon Washington could be replaced, but I doubt Patterson makes it to 25. Tavon Austin could easily be a dynamic PR/KR, and change of pace RB like he was in college… oh yeah, and he is also a super fast WR!

          This is why I see such value in this guy. He is a WR/RB/KR/PR all in one. This One guy had over 2,100 yards of total offense just last year! If the go for him, I’d be happy… If they don’t, I see NE taking him to replace Welker…

      • Steeeve

        I wouldn’t call it a major need. I think Malcolm Smith can be average, and if you had to pick the least important position on the defense that would probably be it. We can get by with a mid round rookie and/or cheap free agent signing.

  17. Phil

    Rob – still waiting for your assessment of Chris Jones from Bowling Green, or did I miss it? 12.5 sacks from an interior lineman is impressive, but all I’ve seen is his highlight tape. http://vikingsterritory.com/2013/opinion/draft-target-chris-jones says he’s a potential first-rounder, calling him this year’s Bruce Irvin. He certainly looks quick and athletic and he seems to have all the moves …

    • Rob Staton

      Not had the time to get into the tape yet. Eventually I will. Today’s mock draft day.

    • Trudy Beekman

      I had hoped no other teams had noticed Chris Jones, especially as a potential 1st Rounder. There is only one game of tape and one highlight reel, and both are beastly, however I think he falls out of the 1st based on his measureables and lack of true positional fit. Jones plays primarily 3-tech at BGSU, with some 5 mixed in, but IDK what his bet fit would be in the NFL. He is a true tweener. Looking back on the 2012 draft, I would compare him to a smoother Mike Martin with a bigger repertoire of moves, but not near as fast or strong. Martin was a 6’1″ 300lber that got great penetration as a NT, but lacked the prototypical size for the position.

      I see similar problems with Chris Jones. He is a finesse player and has a beautiful spin move, but I would like to see how he reacts when locked up with a bigger player or a double team. Nothing I have seen so far shows that he has the strength to hold up at the point of attack ( I don’t think there were any run plays in the Miami (Ohio) game), but wow that kid can get into the backfield. And that tweener, doesn’t-fit-anywhere-else quality is what puts him on the radar for the Hawks.

      He’s also probably going to fall in the draft. Depending on how his other tape looks, I would say he could go middle of Round 2 (beastly tape against weak competition). However, if he gets labeled as a guy that can out-finesse weak competition but lacks the size, speed, and strength to translate that into the NFL or hold up at the point of attack or defend the run, he could fall into the 4th. That’s about where you find DT’s who have some impressive qualities, but some major concerns. Based on his tape so far and where I guesstimate his measureables to be, I think he is a late 2, early 3rd round guy. Still a lot of questions to be answered.

      • Trudy Beekman

        Another 2012 comparison would be to Kendall Reyes IMO.

        • Phil

          Trudy – I mentioned this on another post, but I wonder if he could play the LEO if he dropped about 20#. Not sure about his speed — but he looks quick and explosive to me. I watched an interview of him and he loves the weight room. He wants to be a strength and conditioning coach when he’s through with football.

          There are obvious shortcomings with watching a “highlights” tape. For example, it’s hard to know what’s he like when he’s up against a double-team? How stout is he at the point of attack? Etc. But, with 12.5 sacks playing DT, he’s impressive.

          • Trudy Beekman

            Way too big for a LEO. Dropping 20# would have him somewhere between 3-4 DE and traditional 4-3 DE, whereas the LEO needs to be 3-4 OLB size … around 250. He has all the pass rush qualities to be a 3-tech in spades, but I haven’t seen any tape of him against he run or even bull-rushing and I just get the sense that it will be below average. That’s going to get him kind of a ‘situational’ label for many teams, but again, the Seahawks are not afraid of that. I definitely like him now as a round 3 guy, and that could move dependent on some run tape, tape against better competition, or tape where he can flash a bullrush and really dominate the LOS.

            Right now I like Jordan Hill for my money a bit more. He is probably a better comparison to Mike Martin (whereas I see Jones as more of a Kendall Reyes in terms of play-style) with how aggressive he plays, but he might be someone who climbs too high up boards to be a legitimate sleeper.

  18. MJ

    Rob…where would you think a guy like Courtney Gardner would get drafted?

    It’s quite obvious he is a physical freak of nature. Honestly, he looks very similar to Cordarrelle Patterson (build & movement wise). Obviously level of competition is way different, but they look similarly explosive and share the same body type.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve no idea MJ… not seen any tape apart from those highlights. Even if he blows up the combine, he’s going to have to convince teams he’s a fast learner. Interview will be key.

      • MJ

        He’s very intriguing and looks like a very Seahawky pick. Curious to see how he interviews.

        Is he going to be at the combine? If so, wouldn’t shock me if he went sub 4.4. Kid can fly.

        • SunPathPaul

          This looks like a possible case, like others, where JS might go interview him multiple times like he did R.Wilson… If JS keeps going around checking out these ‘sleepers’, we might end up with some amazing hidden gems found this way!

  19. jon

    Players that can be traded/released/restructured this year to creat more cap.
    Leon 6.5 m over the next 2 years (I would use him in some kind of trade package/get something
    Flynn about 10 m over the next 2 years (Trade for whatever possible)
    obomanu 2.5m (release)
    Miller 11 m restructured for 6-7 m gives 4-5 m cap this year

    If our FO can accomplish this, they will be able to spend almost 25 million in the next 2 years that they otherwise could not spend

    • SunPathPaul

      Good ideas Jon. I kinda see Leon’s time declining…hard to say when he just went to the pro bowl, but all of this trade Flynn talk could be enhanced quite a bit if we added Leon to that trade.

      What if we traded Flynn and Leon Washington to a team like the Jags, but only asked for them to swap 2nd and 3rd round picks with us. They keep all their picks that they need for rebuilding, and we get earlier choices in R2 and R3! We would be able to shore up our team fast with 3 picks in the first say 72 picks…

      Then in R1 would go do whatever, because our R2 pick would be first on day 2!!
      The Jags (or whomever) get a QB in a rough QB year, and a pro bowl KR/RB… and we cleanse our cap space.

      Any takers?

      • jon

        That is what I was thinking with the packaging talk,
        And yes Leon is the difficult one for me because he is still good, but over 6.5 in the next two years is a lot of cap that could be used on a much more important position.

        • SunPathPaul

          …and if we pulled off a trade for swapping picks move, then if the best DT/DE in R1 aren’t there, we could take someone like Tavon Austin that IMO easily replace Leon Washington. I like Leon, but this guy is fresh, had over 2,100 yards just last season. Then we could draft whomever VERY early on, on day 2! Would be cool if they swapped their 2nd,3rd,and 4th picks… Then we move up and get hopefully better bang for the buck!

    • Recon_Hawk

      Miller won’t and shouldn’t be asked restructure. His yearly salary is high, but he’s earning so far his average yearly contract of around 7 m. He’s highly paid next year, true, but he was also only paid 4 m his first year here.

      I agree with the rest, with maybe Leon staying another year. I think Tate can replace him on PR, but not sure on KR. He’s also a leader I’d hate losing.

  20. Dobbs

    Definitely like Jordan Hill better than Margus Hunt, especially since he’s doing well against a better quality opponent.

  21. Hay stacker

    I agree; Leon is a fine returner and probably has 3+ years left but at the spot were in trading him out with a Flynn packaging plus whatever picks ( hopefully getting lower 2nd & 3rd round picks would be more than reasonable. Even if we didn’t spend a high pick you can’t tell me the FO doesn’t have their eye on someone later in the drafts. Halfway try the season PC & JS knew they had to trade away Flynn because RW is the bomb and don’t want to eat his salary. They more then likely already have a basic trade package with Leon because he’s the easiest to trade due to his versatility. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Leon go. He’s a great player

    • SunPathPaul

      Good words Hay Stacker… I can imagine another team might find that really useful…Flynn, Leon, AND they get to keep their draft picks, albeit with different positioning…

      Could we trade Obamanutoo, Rob?? Anyone?

      • jon

        I don’t think he has any real value in a trade

        • jon

          obomanu that is

      • Rob Staton

        I’m not sure you’d get any takers for Obomanu via trade. He’d get interest if he was cut.

      • Hay stacker

        If we could package Flynn, Leon, and OBO. (With any combo of those three) who would seem the likely suitor? The jags jump out to me as an obvious suitor due to Bradley knowing our players and their needs at WR, QB, and KR/RB. plus exchanging their lower picks for ours. But what about the raiders? They’re in a rebuilding phase and will want to keep picks but what about exchanging 2 and 3rd’s?
        The only other team would maybe be Carolina or possibly Tamba? Thoughts anyone?

  22. Hay stacker

    Rob, what do you think about bringing in Sergio kindle? I really liked him out of college and thought Baltimore got a great player but never lived up to the hype. Think he’d work well given Pete’s mantra of always compete?

    • SunPathPaul

      Sergio fell down 2 flights of stairs in an Austin, TX home and cracked his skull a few years back…Dude…

      Who knows? Timelines and conclusions are difficult to portray! If the Ravens took him, maybe he has some potential in there… Looks like a long shot possibly though…

      This site is amazing in showing how many PLAYERS / VARIABLES these GM’s and teams have to hunt through. Man it is crazy how many ways a team could go! Trades, FAgency, Sleepers!!


    • Rob Staton

      Too injury prone unfortunately.

  23. Michael

    Hill looks fast. I don’t know how much of that is just becuase I am using Red Bryant and Alan Branch as the bar, but I like the way Hill moves.

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