— Last week in my three-round mock draft I had Boye Mafe at #17 to the Chargers. I am convinced he will be a top-20 pick. His combination of size, smooth and subtle quickness, power and repertoire is everything you look for at the position. Based on what he showed at the Senior Bowl, he might have the highest upside of any defensive end in the draft.
I’ve read a handful of mocks and top-100 lists recently and it’s incredible to see him being graded in the middle rounds, or at the back-end of those lists.
He needs some technical refinement but he’s what teams want at the position. He makes the difficult aspects of his craft look easy. The way he glides beyond tackles and just slips by with balance, agility and suddenness. It appears effortless. Yet he’s just as good in combat, using his hands and engaging/disengaging, using speed to power or even driving backwards with a one-arm bull rush. He rips away attempted blocks and already has a variety of ways to win.
Reportedly he’s capable of a 41-inch vertical and a 10-6 broad jump. He’s been timed at a 4.56 in the forty. Even if that ends up being a 4.66 at the combine — he has the size where that would be a superb time.
How does this equate to anything other than round one?
Mafe’s personality and attitude are also major positives. Teams are going to love what he offers. After the combine, he’ll be talked about as a top, top prospect.
If he somehow lasts to #41 he would be an ideal complement to Darrell Taylor. I just can’t see it, along with the likes of Abraham Lucas who are equally underrated. Again, how is he being graded as low as he is? He’s a wonderful athlete who has run a 4.30 short shuttle. He has good reps on tape against Kayvon Thibodeaux. He has excellent size and length and looked the part more so than any other tackle in Mobile. Is Lucas flawless? No. But how could you watch the Bernhard Raimann’s out there, think round one, and then place Lucas far lower?
When you see the quarterbacks in this class marked in the top-40 or some of these really overrated players being propelled into the first round range. It’s staggering.
This was always going to be a year with a lot of different opinions, such is the nature of this particular draft. Reading mocks is increasingly an exercise in bewilderment though. I could be completely wrong on Mafe and Lucas. We’ll see. But when you generally combine outstanding physical tools with high-quality reps on tape — then you perform well at the Senior Bowl, you don’t tend to last very long.
— It was interesting to see Jim Nagy note on Twitter that some league sources expect Cole Strange to go in round two. He was one of the players I highlighted in gold on my horizontal board:
He had some bad reps at the Senior Bowl but he often bounced straight back on the next 1v1. He kept improving as the week went on and he fought and battled. He remained upright, locked his back and anchored well. When he gets his hands inside in the right positions, he was immovable. He has the ideal length and frame and it’s worth remembering that he only switched to center for reps in Mobile.
If he tests well in the broad, vertical and bench at the combine — there’s every chance he could do a Quinn Meinerz. I’m not sure the Seahawks would take him in round two but if he lasted into day three — he would be a strong center project with the upside to be a much needed long-term starter.
— I can’t believe nobody’s talking about Arkansas cornerback Montaric Brown. I re-watched the Ole Miss game yesterday and he did a tremendous job sticking on deep routes and breaking up passes with ideal coverage. His mirror is good, he has excellent quickness and size. There are issues biting on double-moves and he needs to lean on his physical traits more than guessing and trying to jump opportunities. Yet overall, he has legit starter potential.
To see so many other cornerbacks get attention and Brown basically be the forgotten man of this class is quite strange. Remember, he had five picks in 2021 — second most in college football. He is a tremendous talent. If he lasts for whatever reason, I hope the Seahawks are ready to pounce.
— The defense hasn’t been aggressive enough for a long time. The more and more I watch of Channing Tindall, the more I think they need players like this. He flies across the field to make tackles. He attacks the LOS, is quite capable of dumping a lineman on his back to get to a ball-carrier. You can’t run stretch plays with him playing in space. As a blitzer he is frightening for opponents — knifing through gaps with incredible speed.
He carries himself with a high degree of confidence without seeming arrogant. I want to see a more attacking, violent unit in 2021 that can rush the passer properly and play with a greater intensity. For me, Tindall is exactly what they need at linebacker.
The most aggressive defenders I’ve seen so far on tape are Tindall, Perrion Winfrey, Lewis Cine and Cam Taylor-Britt. Travis Jones also played with a high degree of power and toughness at the Senior Bowl.
The Seahawks have to find that tougher edge. They’ve been too passive in their scheming and players like Bobby Wagner have become too hesitant. They already have younger, more aggressive players (Darrell Taylor) and now they need to keep adding and complement them with veteran toughness.
I don’t care that Calais Campbell is 36 this year. He was on the UK broadcast of the Super Bowl and the guy was practically ready to run on the field and make a tackle, mic in hand. He spoke passionately about his desire to get to a Super Bowl and I spent the entire three or four hours thinking — get this man in the locker room. He was frothing at the mouth, desperate for success.
His PFF grade was 80.8 in 2021 so it’s not like his play is dropping off either. On a one-year deal to add some interior presence, leadership and physicality — I’d be down for that. If he does nothing other than keep your linebackers clean, I’ll take it. Combine him with some of the names listed above and you’ll have a far scarier defense next season.
— Sheil Kapadia has released a very interesting list of prospective free agents. He has 75 names ranked and it helps identify potential targets. I wanted to highlight some of the names that stand out to me.
#6 Chandler Jones (DE)
Kapadia notes his durability (+15 games in five of the last six seasons). People quibbling about his age should remember he’s a year older than Aaron Donald (I’d happily sign him). A salary similar to Shaquil Barrett’s $17m a year is being touted. That’s similar to the $16m I wrote about in my plan on Sunday. To me he just adds class and quality and immediately upgrades your pass rush.
#11 Von Miller (DE)
It’s clear Miller isn’t what he used to be as he approaches his 33rd birthday. Yet he’s already signalled his intention to play on and while he might not take over games like he used to — he guarantees a level of production. Kapadia projects a J.J. Watt style $28m contract over two years. The Cardinals structured that to be $4.9m in 2021 and $15.9m in 2022. Such a deal is the kind of front-loaded contract Seattle needs to make to add talent on the veteran market this off-season. It’s time to be aggressive. Also, what a mentor for Darrell Taylor.
#14 Ryan Jensen (C)
Kapadia calls Jensen a ‘tone-setter’ and ‘arguably the best’ center in the NFL. That alone has me sold. Although it’s worth noting Jensen isn’t listed in the top-10 for pass-blocking or run-blocking win rate per ESPN for 2021 and his PFF grade was good not great at 70.3. Kapadia projects Corey Linsley money. That included $6.6m in year one and a $12.5m average. Why on earth didn’t Seattle top that?
#16 Odell Beckham Jr (WR)
The ACL tear complicates Beckham’s situation. Otherwise, I think he’d just re-sign with the Rams. To be honest he probably will anyway. Provided Sean McVay and Aaron Donald don’t quit — LA may well do what Tampa Bay did a year ago and bring the band back together for another go. Even so, the importance of a quality WR3 has been shown this season. Russell Wilson and OBJ are very close. In a much more aggressive off-season, they might be able to convince him to move to the North West.
#18 Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
I think it’s highly unlikely Clowney comes back to Seattle. Among fans he seems to have become a divisive figure based on the contract saga of 2020. However, he’s still very capable of winning you a game on his own and there aren’t many players like that in the NFL. It doesn’t happen often enough, I get it. That’s why he’s a free agent and not locked up like Aaron Donald or T.J. Watt. However, with no help in 2019, he won you big games in San Francisco and Philadelphia (playoffs). I think he’d be a wonderful partner for Taylor and Carlos Dunlap. He had nine sacks in 2021, he ranked fourth in the NFL for pass rush win rate and his last contract cost just $8m. I’d give him a call.
#19 Haason Reddick (DE/LB)
A former blog favourite with 23.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He has a fantastic athletic profile and while he might be more of rusher from a wide position rather than a pure DE, he would be a terrific addition to a rotation. Kapadia thinks he could get $13.6m a year like Matthew Judon but I get the sense he’s become a shorter-term, rental type player. He’d be a good option if others are unavailable but not my first choice personally.
#20 Harold Landry (DE)
Kapadia says that since 2019 Landry has played more snaps than any other edge defender or defensive lineman in the NFL — tallying 26.5 sacks. That combination of production and availability should be attractive. For me he seems like the 2022 Trey Hendrickson. Kapadia reckons $16m a year is a fair estimate and frankly, I’d seriously consider it. Landry is a good age (26) and look at the impact Hendrickson’s had for the Bengals. Go and get him.
#26 Austin Corbett (G)
I wasn’t aware that Corbett was so highly rated but Kapadia thinks he could get $9m a year. He was a big blog favourite when he was at Nevada. I’m not sold on spending big on a guard but I’m also not a fan of Seattle being wishy-washy with a shift to the Rams’ blocking style. If you want to create a line as effective as LA’s — why not have their personnel? LA’s O-line ranked first in the league in pass-pro.
#28 Brian Allen (C)
Kapadia doesn’t give a dollar amount for Allen but his close proximity to Corbett suggests $9m a year might be right (which is also more or less what I was projecting in my article on Sunday). Again, if you want to run LA’s O-line and blocking scheme — steal their players to execute it. Allen is 26 and could be a long term fixture at center.
#29 Bradley Bozeman (C)
I liked Bozeman a lot at Alabama but his arm length and hand size made him an unlikely fit in Seattle. Not to mention he ran an 8.25 three cone and a 5.17 short shuttle. It’s not clear whether he was asked to run these drills while giving another offensive lineman a piggy-back. That said, he’s carved out a decent career and he’s played 48 games in the last three seasons. His PFF grade was 73.3 in 2021. I wouldn’t want to break the bank for him but he’s tough and he’s produced results.
#31 Christian Kirk (WR)
Kirk just has something about him. He’s not productive or consistent enough to warrant star-status but he’s also very capable on a given day of winning you a game. As noted earlier, having three quality receiving options is the name of the game in the modern NFL. Kapadia thinks a deal worth $11-12m a year might be forthcoming. I think that’s a bit rich unless you decide you don’t want to pay D.K. Metcalf, trade him, and then look for a replacement. If Kirk’s market is colder than that, I’d be waiting to strike. It’d be nice for this team to pull off a surprise prove-it deal for the first time in a while.
#32 Akiem Hicks (DT)
He’s missed 20 games in three seasons due to injury and he’s 32. Kapadia suggests a contending team will take a chance on him. I’d love to have him in Seattle but that injury record bothers me. The price would have to be right — yet they’ve needed a player like this for a while.
#38 Trent Brown (T)
I touted Brown to Seattle in my article on Sunday because he’s a highly successful, proven right tackle. Kapadia notes he’s only played 14 games in the last two seasons which I hadn’t noticed. That’s a problem. I kind of feel like it’s worth a gamble though, given what he’s shown when he’s healthy.
#50 Morgan Moses (T)
I had Moses pegged as ‘Plan B’ to Brown but maybe it should be the other way around? He hasn’t missed a game in the past seven seasons. Kapadia is projecting a $7-8m contract which is more than I thought. That said — stop scrimping and saving. Moses has shown he can stay healthy and produce. He’s a good right tackle.
#58 Ben Jones (C)
He isn’t a player I know a lot about or previously thought of. However, Kapadia says Jones has been active for 160 of a possible 161 games since entering the league in 2012. His PFF grade in 2021 was a 77.8 and he had a 78.6 in 2020. I’ll take that level of performance and durability.
#59 B.J. Hill (DT)
Another former blog favourite from a previous draft. He once ran a 4.99 forty and a 4.53 short shuttle at 311lbs. He isn’t an explosive player but he’s quick and he’s starting to make it work. He had 5.5 sacks in 2021 and the Seahawks need some interior pass rush production.
#68 Calais Campbell (DT)
I will never apologise for my Calais Campbell appreciation. The guy is a warrior. He is incredibly passionate about making another Super Bowl and I want his leadership, presence and evergreen performance level in Seattle.
#74 Marcus Maye (S)
If Quandre Diggs moves on, Jamal Adams’ old friend in New York could be available at a bargain price. Injuries hampered him last year on the tag. His stock is lower than it should be. There could be a nice opportunity to be had here — and we know he has chemistry with Adams.
If you enjoy the content then please consider supporting the blog via Patreon (click the tab below)…