Updated mock draft: 7th March

We’re 50 days away from the 2012 NFL draft and just over a week away from the start of free agency. The complexion of the draft could shift dramatically when the market opens, with teams adjusting priorities and making deals. Where will Peyton Manning land? What about Mario Williams? We could be looking at a very different first round projection by April.

There are a few minor tweaks to this weeks mock, but no substantial changes. I’ll continue to project Cleveland trading up for Robert Griffin III rather than Washington. Although many people make the Redskins favorites at this stage, the Browns will have to physically reject the chance to draft Griffin III not to make this happen. Whatever Washington is willing to pay, Cleveland can better it with their two first round picks this year.

Some reports have suggested the Browns aren’t willing to part with the #22 overall pick. We’re in a period now where teams are jostling for leverage in negotiations, things will eventually pick up after the posturing is complete and a deal will be made. Cleveland appointed Brad Childress – a coordinator from the Andy Reid coaching tree – for a reason. The Redskins would have to be creative to beat the Browns to RGIII and I suspect they’ll be less inclined to do so knowing they can still draft Ryan Tannehill at #6 without giving up as much as three first round picks. Given time I expect Cleveland will do what it takes to get the deal done and it’s very much in their hands.

The prospect I’m most intrigued with at the moment is Alabama’s Trent Richardson. He won’t participate in Alabama’s pro-day after minor knee surgery, having already missed the combine. A player with such undoubted quality doesn’t need work-outs to prove anything, but teams will want to see him healthy and running prior to the draft. Richardson is good enough to be a top-five pick and could be drafted as a luxury by teams with a star running back already in the stable. For example, there’s nothing to stop Tampa Bay, Jacksonville or Miami deciding the guy is just too good to pass. If he’s an option for the Seahawks having just re-signed Marshawn Lynch to a four-year extension, he’s an option to partner Maurice Jones-Drew or Reggie Bush.

At the moment I have Richardson going to Kansas City, a team who could build their offense around a double-headed monster alongside Jamaal Charles. But if he did make it to #12, the Seahawks would have a choice to make. The concept of a Lynch-Richardson partnership is beyond exciting, yet Seattle really wants to improve their pass rush first and foremost. With a lot of the second tier defensive ends promoting their stock into round one, the Seahawks would be taking a big risk by not adding to their front seven in round one. At the same time, the depth at running back in rounds 2-3 is very good with the likes of Doug Martin, Lamar Miller, David Wilson and Chris Polk likely to be available.

Passing on a player like Richardson would be tough to handle, even though Seattle has one of the more productive running backs in the NFL. But if other teams picking in the top-ten are willing to look elsewhere, so could the Seahawks.

I can already hear the groans from some as Courtney Upshaw is once again placed with the Seahawks in this mock. I have to stick to my guns with this and call the board as I see it. There’s still a chance Upshaw could go higher than a lot of people expect, even in the top ten. A prospect like Melvin Ingram has momentum on his side after an impressive display at the combine, but over the next few weeks teams will go back to the tape. Below I’ve included two games from each prospect – Ingram against two tough opponents from 2011 in Nebraska and Clemson, Upshaw against Cam Newton and Auburn (National Champions) from 2010 and also this year’s BCS Championship game against LSU. Ingram takes the athletic edge, but on tape I firmly believe Upshaw wins out. Judge for yourself:

Melvin Ingram vs Nebraska & Clemson

Courtney Upshaw vs Auburn & LSU

Either way, it seems likely both players – and Quinton Coples – will be off the board when Jacksonville, Miami, Buffalo and Seattle have made their picks.

Updated first round mock draft

#1 Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)
Indianapolis confirmed the inevitable this week. Peyton Manning will be cut, Andrew Luck will be the team’s new quarterback.
TRADE #2 Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)
The Browns have the ammunition to make this happen. Eventually, they’ll come to a deal with St. Louis.
#3 Matt Kalil (OT, USC)
Minnesota won’t waste any time calling Kalil’s name. He has elite potential.
TRADE #4 Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State)
I wouldn’t take Blackmon this early, but the Rams need a playmaker more than anything else.
#5 Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU)
Linebacker and cornerback are the two biggest needs on this team, but they must be tempted by Trent Richardson too.
#6 Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M)
If the Redskins don’t trade up, it’s hard to see them drifting into another year without some long term thinking at quarterback.
#7 Melvin Ingram (DE, South Carolina)
The Jaguars need to improve their pass rush and will have the pick of Ingram, Upshaw and Coples.
#8 Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa)
If the Dolphins sign Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, their priority would have to be protecting that investment.
#9 Dontari Poe (DT, Memphis)
Players who weigh 345lbs and move as well as Poe don’t last long on draft day. Carolina will transition to more 3-4 looks.
#10 Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina)
Moving to a 4-3 defense makes Coples a solid fit here. The Bills desperately need to improve their pass rush.
#11 Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama)
Richardson is too talented to keep falling and if he drops out of the top ten, he probably won’t get past Kansas City and Seattle.
#12 Courtney Upshaw (DE, Alabama)
The Seahawks’ draft priority is to improve their pass rush. Upshaw will have a big impact on Seattle’s defense.
#13 Jonathan Martin (OT, Stanford)
Whoever is playing quarterback for Arizona next year, the Cardinals simply must draft an offensive tackle.
#14 Cordy Glenn (OT, Georgia)
Dallas could attack the corner market in free agency, allowing them to target Glenn or David DeCastro at this spot.
#15 Flecther Cox (DT, Mississippi State)
Andy Reid hasn’t drafted linebackers early in the past and he might find it difficult to pass on a physical freak like Cox.
#16 Andre Branch (DE, Clemson)
New York needs to improve it’s pass rush. Branch has a ton of potential and can transition to the 3-4.
#17 David DeCastro (OG, Stanford)
Cincinnati will want to make sure one of their first round picks is a corner, but DeCastro is hard to pass here.
#18 Whitney Mercilus (DE, Illinois)
With the top offensive lineman leaving the board before the #18 pick, San Diego may fill another big need here.
#19 Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)
Floyd’s combine performance was good enough to confirm his likely position within the first round.
#20 Nick Perry (DE, USC)
Tennessee are another team that has to look at the edge rushers. The tape doesn’t always match Perry’s excellent combine performance.
#21 Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Alabama)
Tall, physical cornerback who specialises in run support but his coverage skills need work.
TRADE #22 Michael Brockers (DT, LSU)
St. Louis has some edge rush talent but they don’t have a space clogger in the middle. Brockers could be BPA at this stage.
#23 Stephon Gilmore (CB, South Carolina)
A smart performance at the combine will promote Gilmore’s stock into the bottom half of round one.
#24 Mike Adams (OT, Ohio State)
There are some legitimate concerns about Adams’ play, but Pittsburgh may take a chance.
#25 Luke Kuechly (LB, Boston College)
Yes he performed well at the combine – but he’s still a middle linebacker, a position with a restricted value.
#26 Stephen Hill (WR, Georgia Tech)
He’s a tremendous athlete who makes spectacular plays. It’s more than combine hype that puts Hill in round one contention.
#27 Peter Konz (C, Wisconsin)
Nick Mangold, Alex Mack and Peter Konz. That’s how good Konz is leaving college.
#28 Vinny Curry (DE, Marshall)
The Packers are running out of options to improve their pass rush and could consider Curry in this situation.
#29 Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor)
Wright could drop a bit after running slow times. San Francisco won’t care – they’ll find ways to max-out his talent in different ways.
#30 Dont’a Hightower (LB, Alabama)
The very definition of a defensive prospect who fits in Baltimore. A tough football player, simple as that.
#31 Mark Barron (S, Alabama)
The injury isn’t helping matters and although he has legitimate top-20 potential, he may fall a bit.
#32 Josh Robinson (CB, UCF)
A late riser after a great combine. New York are in a position to look for value.


  1. Colin

    Upshaw’s game in the BCS title ’bout is what sold me on him. Relentless rusher, assignment savvy, athletic enough to run down backs and a marvelous tackler. Head and shoulders above the other linebackers in this draft.

  2. Kip Earlywine

    Upshaw may not be explosive or have long arms, but I love how he fights with blockers and doesn’t give up. He sacked Newton 3 times in the first half and all three were plays that required a ton of persistence. His 3rd sack (around 1:31 in the video) was so tenacious it literally made me laugh out loud seeing it.

    I don’t know if I view Upshaw as an elite talent, but he’s an unconventional talent that works his ass off and Pete will find a way to get production out of him. It might only be 5-10 sacks a season type production, but if its an additional pass rush source away from the LEO spot even a few sacks are very valuable.

  3. woofu

    OK, I get it that Upshaw is where you are at. If in fact he is that great then at least one other team may “fall in love” with him. Who next if we get scooped?

  4. Chris Sp

    Anyway to try next weeks projection as if we sign mario williams in free agency?

  5. Phil

    Upshaw is a warrior who gives 100%, no doubt. But, I don’t recall seeing any variation in his pass rushing technique. He’s a 100% bull rusher — no spin move, no pure speed move around the edge, no swim. But, maybe these techniques can be taught ..

    The question I have is whether we would get more production from someone who is more athletic and might be available later in the draft. I’m intrigued with Mychal Kendricks who seems to be faster and more versatile. He has pass coverage skills and can play inside and outside. He also seems to give 100% and Pete Carroll is probably better acquainted with his game.

    Sorry to sound like a broken record, but my real hope is that we pay Mario his big $$, move down in the draft to pick Kendricks and Martin in the second round, and then sit back and listen to the 12th man roar as the Seahawk defense chases Alex Smith (or whoever is his successor) around the field.

  6. Doug

    Boring and predictable… Now another week to discuss the same stuff…
    Since the world does revolve around me, I can only assume you make this pick just to annoy me. If this wasn’t the best site on the internet with the most imformed and knowlegable host, I would find it funny…. well, actually I guess I do…

    UPSHAW for president!

  7. Rob

    Doug… just for you… I’ll mix it up next week. I promise.

  8. hawksfan


    Do you think there is any chance that the Chiefs try to move up to #2 to grab RG3? I don’t know why, but this scenario keeps sticking in my head. I am sure they would have to give up a ton to make this happen! I also think that Peyton Manning is going to the Cardinals and will be bring Reggie Wayne with him. If this happens, I guess we will see just how good our defense is!

  9. Lenny253

    As much as I would love to improve the O in the draft I think a Upshaw, Brown combo in RD 1 & 2 would be Ideal. We could save our cap money to improve the O through FA. Personally I would Go QB WR in FA. Even after signing Lynch we have plenty of money left.

    Any thoughts?

  10. Rob

    Hawksfan – I think it’s unlikely, mainly because I think whoever has interest… it’ll always be Cleveland’s to lose. And I do think Cleveland will make the trade. KC would have to offer so much to usurp Cleveland and Washington. KC could be an option for Manning, though.

    Lenny253 – I think that’s a fair shout.

  11. AlaskaHawk

    Placing Dontari Poe higher proves you can change based on the Combine. I’m hoping you will get over your man crush on Upshaw and try a few others out there. Nick Perry, Branch, Mercilus or Cox come to mind.

    If you love relentlessness – you must love Cox. He can play end and you would have a 300 pound book mark to Red Bryant or Clemons.

    Doug – have you told the sun that??? ha ha.

  12. Peteliever

    I agree that Cleveland is in the driver’s seat this year. I’d like to see the Hawks take the wheel in 2013 by trading this year’s 1st round pick to a team with multiple holes and a recently acquired QBOTF, for its 1st round pick in next years draft. Think Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Carolina, or even Jax.

    The only way we have a shot at Barkley next year is to offer multiple 1st round picks. It will probably take more to move up to number 1, but in an increasingly pass-happy league, an aggressive package of picks is the only way we’ll be able to draft an elite QB.

    There is plenty of comparable talent in round 2 this year at DE and LB. If we can’t get Manning, let’s go all in on Barkley next year.

  13. Smeghead

    I agree we’ve gotta go all in for Barkley next year more than likely… I’m still holding out a shred (only a small shred) that Portis could be a diamond in the rough…

  14. Doug


    ya, the sun was a little bitter on finding out, but he got over it quickly.

    I’m really not sold on Poe, because with his size and abilities flashed at the combine, he should have owned college ball, but he didn’t. We knew who Suh was didn’t we?

    Same with Blackmon, average combine, but he owned college ball. he would be clutch. Last post somebody replied that good RB’s were a dime a dozen. Just like Adrian Peterson… Guys like that are available through the fourth round eh?

    Seems like TR did pretty good at college level too eh?

    Seriously tho, Upshaw is tenacious at the very least, and I like how he will follow plays and make the tackle downfield. He isn’t elite, but he is solid for sure. But is there really any “elite” players left at #12? I think Richardson would be the only one left at that point in time, and I seriously doubt the Hawks let that guy get away to take an Upshaw. You don’t get shots at guys like that too often…

  15. Misfit74

    Courtney Upshaw – DL – Player
    “Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw will not participate in the team’s Pro Day Wednesday.
    Pauline does not offer a reason for Upshaw sitting out, but he joins Trent Richardson and Mark Barron who are nursing injuries. Upshaw’s name has slowly fallen down mock drafts since he failed to participate at the Combine, losing out on an opportunity to possibly answer questions about his explosiveness. He will work out on March 29th.”

    So lame. Is Upshaw a (defensive) Diva? What is up?

  16. Billy Showbiz

    I’m a big fan of Upshaw for the same reason as everyone. He is tough, he holds his ground against the run and gets to the QB not due to his speed but due to his awareness. He takes good angles when pursuing the ball and doesn’t quit. I’d love to see him as a Seahawk. I’m no scout but Upshaw looks far superior to Ingram to me, maybe that is because Ingram lines up as a tiny DT most of the time.

    I have heard you say on many occasions though Rob that the point of your mocks is to look at different ways that things could fall rather than latching onto one line of thinking. Not much has changed in your mocks recently.

    There are a few areas where I think you may be wrong. The Rams do need a stud WR but there are questions around Blackmon and there are some really good options in FA. They also need to look at a backup plan for Steven Jackson who will be 30 going into the season and has been showing some signs of wear. Why not go with Richardson who doesn’t really have any question marks?

    Last year you mocked Locker to the Redskins in just about every single mock draft always saying that Shanahan wants “his guy”. They passed because they didn’t feel comfortable with reaching for any of those guys. This year its been Tannehill to the Skins in just about every mock. I think they would be much more likely to grab Richardson if he’s available too. Sure Shannahan has had success with no name RBs but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he passes on great RB talent either. Richardson is a great RB talent and he could go that route considering the scrubs they have in their backfield.

    Am I wrong in thinking that Tannehill is not far removed from Cousins and Osweiler who will be available in the 2nd round or later? If the Skins take Tannehill I think that they will trade back to do it.

  17. O

    Rob, always appreciate your work. My 3rd draft on this blog and it is still the best I know 🙂

    I have a more general question about the layout of the blog.
    Have you considered reducing the size of the articles on the blog’s main page? I mean instead of having the full article every time on display, you could only publish the first 10-15 lines and then the reader has to click on a link to access the full article on another page. I’m pretty sure it used to be like this before here.
    I say this because the main page can get pretty long and it becomes a bit unpractical to browse through the articles sometimes, especially on a smartphone, if you want to read something other than the latest article.

    I really don’t mean to complain, I love the content and will come back anyway, but just asking what you think about that?

    See you guys later!

  18. Colin

    Rob, the film of Ingram you posted above is incredibly mediocre in my eyes. There are people here not at all enamored with Upshaw, but man Ingram just doesn’t show much of anything to me. It’s frightening that he is considered a high 1st round talent.

  19. D

    I don’t see where the complaints about Upshaws being a one tick pony comes from. I look at these videos and I see a player that reads plays really fast (that or he is a film junkie), puts himself in the right spots, rarely over pursues and takes pretty good angles. He seems able to sort through traffic well. When blocked he never stop trying to get loose. Seems to extend and shed well most of the time. Plays with a lot of fire.

    I don’t know if Bama tells its DE to wrong arm a pulling G, that’s the one thing I can see that he messes up sometimes but half the time he stops the G cold anyways.

    Stiff, yeah I can see that but he will hardly be drafted as a coverage LB.

  20. D

    22 of Nebraska is pretty much a bad arse. Ingram not so much in that game.

  21. Ben

    Does Upshaw=Tapp 2.0? The more I hear about the guy, the less he seems like a fit for the LEO of the future.

  22. Misfit74

    D, I think he’s often referenced as a ‘one-trick pony’ because his arsenal is ‘Bull-Rush’ and doesn’t have the array of explosive speed-rush in his arsenal. His main calling card is a bull-rush and a power-rush based game. That’s not to say he can’t develop his technique and add more tricks. Even Jason Pierre-Paul had to do that before he exploded in year two. However, I think some (including myself) have some doubts as to whether he will have to rely on that power-based game almost entirely because he doesn’t have the hips, change-of-direction, speed, and explosive agility that other premiere pass-rushers also have. He’s not a Robert Mathis, Demarcus Ware ‘lean around the edge’ speed/power combo player, at least at this stage. And, the Alabama defense and his surrounding talent help hide some of the holes in his game and make him look, at times, better than he really is.

  23. Rob

    I don’t think he’d ever play the LEO, Ben. I think the Seahawks are looking to add to what the LEO brings rather than find the future of the position. Relying on one guy for a pass rush hasn’t worked the last two years.

  24. Jonathan

    Given Steven Jackson’s mileage, I think it’s more likely that the Rams take Richardson at 4 rather than reaching for Blackmon, who by all accounts is not the elite level talent that Richardson is. Should that be the case, Jacksonville looks hard at Blackmon at 7, and the Chiefs go with ??? Not sure this scenario makes much difference for Seattle though.

  25. Jonathan

    Rams can always look to draft a WR at 22, and even if Blackmon is gone at that point there is a lot of other WR talent that wouldn’t be a huge reach at that point.

  26. AlaskaHawk

    I said after the combine that Upshaw would have to show something at pro day. Now it is reported he will sit out pro day.I have a hard time believing that a man we are told is a competitor and the meanest man that Saban ever coached – will just sit out these things.

    I really wonder what’s wrong with him? Is he hurt? Or is some agent telling him to sit it out? I want to believe in Upshaw but he is making the uncertainty himself. Something smells fishy…..

  27. Rob

    Yes he’s carrying an injury.


  28. FWBrodie

    Misfit, power is Courtney Upshaw’s most prominent asset, no doubt about it, but he isn’t bullrushing tackles every play, not by a long shot. He uses his hands extremely well slapping tackles arms away and pulling them off balance. He’s also displayed a wicked spin move, I think against Mississippi St, that froze two blockers dead in their tracks. He also uses a swim and club effectively. His closing speed on a quarterback is elite, which is really an important quality because it assures that when he does penetrate the pocket he’s going to be cashing it in. That’s not a one trick pony, and I haven’t even mentioned his nose for the RB or ability to set the edge against the run.

    Good edge play on defense, whether it be DE or OLB, is all about leverage. Speeding around the corner for a sack is nice, but when that happens where do you think the offensive play caller is going to aim his next draw, screen, or run? Right at the guy who is playing with total disregard for his gap. The beauty in Upshaw’s game is that when he’s rushing the passer he’s still controlling a blocker which allows him to continue to occupy his running lane. That keeps the quarterback in the pocket and gives him the option to switch back to pursue. It allows him to jump the snap in pass rush mode without having to completely sell out run defense. He’s maintains leverage.

    Melvin Ingram’s video against Clemson is an example of what a lack of strength on the outside looks like. Ingram is fantastic in space when he has room to wind up and use his shake moves, and is clearly a mismatch against interior lineman, but man does he look blockable on the outside. When he engages a tackle he has a very hard time getting off the block because he doesn’t have the power in his legs and hands to win that battle.

  29. FWBrodie

    5:27 of the Upshaw vs. Mississippi St. video above. Watch him explode a trap run. BOOM.

  30. Michael (CLT)


  31. Regan

    Just watched the LSU game again. Love me some Upshaw! Kid is a real football player and a perfect fit for our scheme. Tough and smart with a high motor. How would we utilize him? 3rd down end, 1 and 2nd down backer? Or maybe swap out with Clemons on early downs and rotate to Red’s spot on 3rd?

  32. Misfit74

    Good info, FWBrodie, though some points I can reconcile, not all of them. I think his closing speed has to be good since he has relatively short arms. Will it be good enough at the NFL level? And, to me, if you’re ‘controlling a blocker’ your getting blocked. Pass-rushers shouldn’t be blockable! I think the edge play is important and he should be a good asset in that regard, I agree. But, if that’s all you can do coupled with an ineffective pass-rush at the NFL level then I don’t think you’re worth a #12 pick when guys like that can be found later. No Combine, no Pro Day and my desire to draft him (if I ever had one) is waning even further. I think his closing speed is questionable, but you’re probably right about it. He should have the strength to get guys (QBs) to the ground, which is good. However, his agility and change-of-direction abilities and general explosiveness have been questioned throughout the process by a lot of people. It’s fair to wonder. That said: if our FO drafts him then I trust their judgement better than my own and hopefully he’ll be a beast. Obviously, I’m still skeptical. 😉

    -I think Richardson to KC is unlikely. They have a mint invested in Charles and need more of a complimentary runner – not a dominant runner like Richardson.

    -Couples to the Bills looks like a perfect fit.

    -I really don’t see Tannehill going at #6. He might even make it to round 2.

    -STL can afford to go any direction at 4. I think they likely go OT or WR, myself. A WR like Blackmon or Floyd can be gotten in 1 and a RB like Martin could very well be there at the top of round 2 to address both ‘needs’ mentioned above by other posters. They have much bigger needs than Richardson in round 1.

  33. MLT

    I know it isn’t draft related sorry fellas but holy manning rumors for every team almost that is qb hungry or just looking to upgrade over what they got. What intrigues me the most is where he ends up which I still don’t think is seattle despite rumors. But this trade u talk about as being a small possibility of us getting someones starter now. Only 2 names come to mind from all the rumors, sanchez and tebow? I know its rumors but are those 2 strong possibilitys? Not saying I like them but if I had the choice it would have to be sanchez I still can’t get into tebow being great, but he does fit in a way of what they want?

  34. Jon

    I feel that Sanchez is a much better QB than the media says. He has been eaten alive, but some of that is work ethic. The thing about work ethic for Sanchez and the Seahawks trading for him in this specific situation is the fact that PC knows best. He worked with him for years at USC. I would take Sanchez any day before Tebow! Also I can’t see Manning working for Elway. That would just be awkward.

    On the topic of Edge rush and front seven, I could see many new players starting for this D next year.

  35. MLT

    I too think sanchez still has a lot of potential and can be a top 10 qb in this league year in year out and with pc in his ear it could be a really good thing for him. I see what your saying about manning and elway in a small way. But the broncos have no identity on offense @ all and manning would in my guess have absolute control of the offense and they would run what he wants. @ this point who knows what’s going to happen but man what an exciting time we are in right now!

  36. Chavac

    If the goal is to improve the pass rush, then why would they take Upshaw over Perry? Perry is way ahead of Upshaw in terms of pass rush, and actually has upside. He also has the athleticism to play right end on passing downs, kick over to LEO, or rush off the edge at OLB.

  37. shams

    @Billy Showbiz, “Last year you mocked Locker to the Redskins in just about every single mock draft always saying that Shanahan wants “his guy”. They passed because they didn’t feel comfortable with reaching for any of those guys.”

    Not true, Shanny had it bad for Locker, but never had a chance— Titans took him two spots above. It’s possible Mike Shanahan still hasn’t gotten over this.

  38. matt

    rob.like everyone i love your work.the contradiction of your position(re:upshaw)however is,if a neophyte like me can (just now) see exactly what you’ve been pounding the table about in regards to to how good he is,then how will he ever get to 12.he won’t! seattle will have to trade up for him.
    now i dont know who they could trade up with,wouldnt advocate it anyway,but i find your 6,7,8 picks illogical.who in their right mind would pick ingram over upshaw,id even suggest who would pick coples first.
    so if upshaw is gone and lets suggest were now looking at ingram,branch,fletcher,cox,(maybe,maybe not) and my favorite hightower.id try and trade down 5 spots,draft hightower or branch,but heres the deal.watch hightowers speed,he can get to quarterbacks(kuchely cant) and he can stay with the tightend.And he’s a leader.Most importantly he perfectly fills the number one need.middle linbacker who also adds great speed in the front seven,resign hill(or whomever),kj on the other side have hightower blitz and cam moves up to cover the middle,very scheme versitile..there were 3 main guys to the possible the greatest defensive team in the history of college football.upshaw,hightower and kirpatrick.thats the play,if you could get an extra 3rd,idk, then gravy.

  39. Nate Dogg

    The more I watch Upshaw the less I like him, and vice versa for Ingram. I’m not in love with Ingram by any stretch, but I’m really not seeing the top 15, top 10 lock you seem to have Upshaw as.

    His game against Auburn was very unimpressive, with only his third sack and a pressure at 4:06 standing out. Against LSU a lot of his production came when he was purposely left unblocked by their option offense and on bad pitches from Jefferson. He struggles even with single blocks as a pass rusher, getting surprisingly little push on too many plays.

    He displays good instincts and patience against those option offenses, but how does that translate? And he fights hard every play, there is no questioning his effort. He definitely fits the toughness/effort/compete mantra that Schneider and Carroll have, but is that enough? He doesn’t solve the need to get faster that Carroll has expressed, if Upshaw is a linebacker he’s actually a step backwards. Does he fit the scheme? He’s not a Leo, he’s no where near the level of pass rusher that position requires. Does he replace Red? If he does I think you get a marginal return in pass rushing over a significant decrease in run support (not that Upshaw is poor against the run, but it’s something Red is special at). So then you’re back to looking at a situational player, a guy who will take Brock’s role. Do you spend a first round pick on that?

    Maybe you’re right and JS/PC do love him and see something in him I don’t. It wouldn’t be the first time they made me look silly. But if he does turn out to be a Seahawk it’ll be a pick I’ll be very skeptical of, I’ll need to see to believe.

  40. Ed

    indy luck
    wash rgiii
    cle flynn (don’t see holmgren paying that much for rgiii)

    if manning goes to mia all else is set
    if manning goes to ny, mia takes tannehill and jets gets rid of sanchez
    if manning goes to hou, mia takes tannehill and hou gets rid of schaub

    let’s hope he goes to ny, sanchez would be high on the list
    if he goes to hou, schaub would probably choose ariz over us (no kolb when he gets cut please)

  41. Josh

    I was absolutely unimpressed watching Ingram, despite watching all the way through both videos. He gave up early on plays, despite being fast enough to pursue, was often out of position and didn’t seem to have the strength that Upshaw shows.

    However… It does look like he gets double teamed a lot, which may explain why he was being taken out of the frame. A DE that forces a team to double team him on the line every time IS doing a good job. I didn’t see Upshaw get a double at all, but I don’t know enough about his supporting cast to know if he’s getting assistance from one of his D tackles (ie; his tackle is always forcing doubles).

    I guess my question is, are we judging Ingram as a high end talent because he’s forcing O lines to play to prevent him? If so, what does it say that Upshaw DIDN’T draw the double?

  42. Kip Earlywine

    Nate Dogg,

    Did you really just say that Upshaw was “very unimpressive” in a game where he had 3 sacks and two forced fumbles? Against Cam Newton and the eventual champs no less? I’m sympathetic to your argument- I don’t really view Upshaw as an elite talent either- but I wouldn’t start my argument off with that. Upshaw was a beast in that game and none of his big plays came cheap.

    As far as fit, we can only speculate, but I think if Seattle drafted Upshaw they’d probably use him all over the place. Seattle’s DL kind of resembles a 3-4 front which would allow Seattle to use Upshaw in 3-4 looks pretty easily (Alabama mixed 4-3 and 3-4 looks too). Same goes for Ingram, who in a different way is kind of a 3-4 OLB/DT/DE hybrid. Whether Seattle drafts Upshaw or Ingram they will have to find ways to use both creatively as neither one is a prototypical 4-3 DE.

    The reason I rate Upshaw WAY higher than Ingram is that I think Ingram has a scary high chance of being the next Vernon Gholston (great athlete with no hand skills and questionable motor), whereas I can at least see Upshaw being an unspectacular 5-10 sack guy if used creatively. Ingram has very short height and very short arms, and he doesn’t flash any hand fighting skills, so it should come as no shock then that its “game over” the moment any left tackle gets his long arms into Ingram’s chest. In the NFL, that’s pretty much going to be every left tackle he ever faces. Ingram is a good athlete, but not as good as many other DEs we’ve seen in previous years.

    Upshaw also has short arms, (about an inch longer than Ingram’s), but Upshaw makes up for it with terrific hand use. He is frequently stalled but seems to always break free within a couple seconds. Upshaw isn’t as fast as Ingram but he can on occasion beat a tackle around the edge. I think Upshaw needs to go to a team that can move him around and can keep the quarterback holding the ball for 3-5 seconds consistently. Pete Carroll can do the former and Seattle’s elite young secondary can do the latter. I don’t think Upshaw is a stud by any means, but I do think he’s a perfect fit for the Seahawks and Pete will probably get more production out of a player like Upshaw than his raw talent deserves. And in this horrible DE draft class, we could certainly do much worse.

  43. JWK

    Rob/Kip I really like this blog thanks for the hard work. I like Upshaw quite a bit,but Im not to impressed with Coples or Ingram. Ive noticed Andre Branch riseing up your board i wonder if Seattle would be intrested in him, his film looks impresive to my untrained eye. He would seem to add a lot of speed and a little versatility,playing for Red on passing downs, could give Clem a breather, and maybe could play will? I like the thought of him in the first and Kendricks in the second that would add a bunch of speed a little versatility, and both guys seem to have a knack for getting to the QB. Thanks again

  44. Jim Kelly

    I like Upshaw. I just hope that Tannehill is gone when the Hawks pick.

  45. peter


    I like the Upshaw pick, but I was wondering what you think of late round pass ruch help. Shea McClellin, Jonthan Mossquia(?), et al. After lookign through other mocks everyone says soemthing to the effect of “The seahwks need to improve their pass ruch….” then they go on to suggest DT’s in round two or Luke Kuechly in round one. Even Cousins who I kind of like i round three. Part of me wants Upshaw, Bruce Irvin, McClellin, and maybe even another OLB/DE hybrid, it just seems to me that with our current defense and its rise, even we can double or even triple down with ways to get to the QB the defense would be something remarkable.

    Anyways, could you perahps throw out some names to look for in later rounds for pass rush?


  46. Ross

    Rob – with all these reports coming out that the Seahawks are going to make a run at Manning, do you think they are just trying to drive up the price for AZ? I think that’s a legitimate possibility, but all these rumors make my head spin.

  47. Tarry

    Man I’m torn. Upshaw looks like he’s slow off the edge, but I’ll say he’s a powerful powerful man… will that power and bull rush transition to the NFL? Ingram in those two games didn’t look explosive (although I have seen games where he did) and he didn’t wrap up tackles well. I have bounced back and forth between these 2 guys the last 2 weeks or so. Coples will get some consideration and I think Nick Perry is a dark horse for us at 12.

  48. Phil

    Ed – I think your scenario is going to be right on;

    “indy luck
    wash rgiii
    cle flynn (don’t see holmgren paying that much for rgiii)

    if manning goes to mia all else is set”

    But, what’s the next step? Would Moore be traded by the Dolphins and, if so, would the Seahawks be willing to make a move for him? I guess it would depend on what the price is. I’m sure that PC is very familiar with Moore since he went to High School in the LA area and then went on to play at UCLA and then Oregon State. I don’t think he’s the QB of the future, but he would provide some competition for TJack until Barkley enters the picture.

  49. Ed

    I feel bad for Moore. He played really well at the end of the year. He actually played well in carolina too (before he got hurt). Moore Tjack and a 3rd/4th rd qb sounds good. I am leaning to him going to Hou though

  50. Rob

    Peter – I’ve kept away from late round options because I think it’s incredibly likely the need is addressed in round one or two as a priority and then left. However, I will do a piece looking at later round gems. Massaquoi and Irvin are two I like. The depth tails off beyond the top of round two in a big way.

    Ross – I think the Seahawks have an ‘anywhere but Arizona’ mentality to Peyton Manning. They know Arizona makes a lot of sense – the weather, the lack of offensive direction, the coach friendship, the dome, the ability to compete quickly, the top receiever. They will also re-build their offensive line this off season. In order to make Arizona less tantalising, they have to ensure the money being offered elsewhere is much higher than what the Cards are offering. Miami, Washington and Seattle have the big bucks. By aggressively being involved in the negotiations – even with no real interest to sign Manning – they can dictate the price. As soon as they can get a team like Miami to match the dough, that pushes Arizona down the pecking order. The Dolphins have the weather, familiarity with the area and AFC aspect, so they too make a lot of sense. I could be wrong, but Seattle’s interest in my opinion is all about making sure Manning is not a Cardinal. The Seahawks are not – IMO – about to conduct a major U-turn on their philosophy for a 36-year-old QB who’s had four neck surgeries.

  51. andy

    I too like what i have seen from Andre Branch and see you have him at #16 this week. Could you guys discuss the alternates to Upshaw that fill the pass rush need that are also worthy of going #12….. ( Branch, Perry, Mercilus, Cox)

  52. peter

    Thanks Rob,

    I agree that the talent, need, etc. predicate that it should be addressed in the first, maybe even the second, but It seems to me the Pete Carrol is sort of doing this modified College recruiting thing wherein they bring a ton of players (a ton being relative to the nature of profootball vs. college) at one or so position…example the DBs, last year to see what sticks.

    I would love to see the situation resolved in the first and the second and other areas worked on, as that it seems a good team always needs to be improving at all positions, but Pete being a defense coach and our pass rush, and LB situation seems to be in so much flux that I could see a bunch of picks going that way with UDFAs being used for TE fliers, RB’s, and what not. I don’t necessarily want to see that, I’m just speculating.

  53. Rob

    Andy – to be perfectly honest, I think the alternatives are Ingram and Coples. At least one is likely to last until #12. Or Trent Richardson.

  54. peter

    Aplogies by the way for the horrible spelling above!

    Upshaw, Martin, Irvin, Massaquoi, Matt Moore with a fifth and next years 6th, and who knows after that. Maybe the most talented long snapper that anyone has ever seen!

  55. Jman

    The problem with “waiting for Barkley” next year is that he will be too expensive to acquire from the team that has the #1 pick, just like no team was seriously trying to get Andrew Luck this year.
    Too many things have to happen. Either we completely tank the season (same “Suck for Luck” sentiment as this past season) or we have to find a way to trade down this year’s top pick to a team that will be in bottom 3 next year(good luck predicting that one), hope the Hawks don’t do much better than in 2011 (so they hold another pick that is in the bottom half) plus the team with the worst record cannot be desperately needing a franchise QB ! Otherwise, we are back to square one. Giving up too much to acquire 1 person.
    You might as well buy a lottery ticket if you need all those events to line up in order to draft Barkley.

  56. Rob

    Jman – It’s a bit of an assumption to think Barkley will definitely be the #1 pick next year. For starters, he doesn’t have anything like the hype Luck had. He’s a four-year starter, which comes with certain pitfalls. He will struggle to match his performance in 2011 and that could lead to over-analysis. He’s not the same physical specimen as Luck, Griffin III, Newton, Gabbert… even Sam Bradford. Now that’s not to say he won’t be the #1 pick, but a lot can happen. He could very easily go in the top ten and be accessible, or later than that. Other players will compete, including Tyler Wilson and Logan Thomas among others. Another highly rated USC prospect dropped after being expected to go #1 (Leinart). It could happen to Barkley too, as much as I like the guy.

  57. Colin

    Totally off topic, but after watching film of Cousins and Osweiler and the other lower tier QB’s in this draft, you can really see why Rob is so high on Barkley. The guy is SOOOOO much more polished and poised.

  58. Jman

    Rob – Thanks for the quick response. Love your board and fresh perspective it provides.
    Barkley is presumed #1 right now, and every mock for 2013 are all placing him up top. So, without any additional input (like a 2012 season), it would be logical to assume he will be #1 until things change.
    My point is this. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket by not trying to resolve your issues presently and having to rely on a future scenario that may or may not happen. There are too many things that will have to happen for it to become possible. It’s kinda like not planning for your retirement and then resorting to very high risk investments or gambling later on to try to make up. It can happen, but the odds are slim, just like our chances of landing Barkley.

  59. Kip Earlywine

    I think Barkley will probably go #1. Barring a disaster 2012 season, scouts will not forget how impressive he looked this year the same way that they didn’t forget how Tannehill looked in 2010 or how Sam Bradford looked in 2009.

    But that’s okay. As of now there are as many as 8 returning QBs with at least a chance of being in 1st round consideration next year, 6 of which would fit Seattle at QB (Barkley, Thomas, Manuel, Smith, Wilson, Murray, plus non-fits in Bray and Jones). Plus, it seems like every year at least 1 QB comes out of nowhere to hit 1st round contention. Even if Seattle makes the playoffs next year, there is a very strong chance they will at least be able to trade up for a QB.

  60. AlaskaHawk

    THis fall they said there were lots of college QBs but by the time the draft rolls around there are only 2 first round choices. Next year Barkley will probably be #1 and he will be hyped even harder than Luck.

    I vote we all make a pact to NOT TALK ABOUT BARKLEY as he will not be available at our mid round draft level. Find out who #3-6 is and we will talk about them.

  61. Ryan

    Count me among the many that assumes Barkley will go #1 overall next year (unless that team doesn’t need a QB, in which case he’ll go #2).

  62. Jeff M.


    McShay’s latest mock (Insider) has all of Ingram (JAC), Coples (CAR), Upshaw (BUF), and Richardson (KC) off the board when we pick. He has us going Kuechly, but Poe is still on the board. If the draft fell this way, do you think we would consider going with Poe instead? He could possibly rotate at all 3 spots up front for us. What about as a replacement for Red if he leaves in FA?

  63. Rob

    In that situation Jeff I’m struggling to offer a solution. Only one other name I’ve heard and his stock is down so maybe a trade? Or take the best linebacker or pass rusher remaining? Obviously replacing Bryant would depend on Bryant leaving, and I think he’ll stay as THE priority free agent next week. Poe intrigues me, but Seattle needs a three-tech not another space clogger.

  64. Nate Dogg

    @Kip – I did, I think the three sacks aren’t representative of his actual play. On the first sack the announcer even says “Newton with a lot of time” before he gets sacked. Newton gets caught staring down field and inexplicably doesn’t use his legs before Upshaw sacks him, but he had ~four seconds of time in the pocket. That sack is on Newton, it was just an effort sack for Upshaw.

    The second sack is even less impressive. Upshaw’s sack comes ~six second after the sack, the majority of that time he spent stonewalled at the line of scrimmage against a single blocker. He only gets that sack because Newton rolls to his side and the coverage is, apparently, terrific.

    The third sack is very good, he shucks his blocker at the line and slides off the chip block from the runner back. Very good balance staying up to get that sack. As for the two forced fumbles, I only see the one he got on special teams. That’s a big hit, and good on him for being there, but that doesn’t really do anything for me. It doesn’t tell me anything about what kind of defensive end or linebacker he’ll be, you know? Good on him for making a play, but it doesn’t change my opinion of him (and wouldn’t for any other player).

    It does sound like we think similarly of Upshaw overall though. I’m not sure what an unspectacular ten sack guy looks like though :). What you describe doesn’t sound like a first round pick, or especially a top 15/10 pick. It might be a weak DE class, but there are other players that at least have a clear role (Perry, Cox, Kuechly) that can more directly help with some of Seattle’s more pressing needs.

  65. AlaskaHawk

    I have to agree with Nate that Perry or Cox at DE interest me more. I see Cox as having the same high motor as Upshaw but on a bigger body. He is also a good tackler.

    Perry is the quick edge rusher type, he improved tremendously as the season went along.

    Upshaw doesn’t strike me as being a true edge rusher because of his speed. But he is tough, has a high energy level, and is a great tackler.

    It really depends on what we want.

  66. David

    I really would like Irvin in the mid rounds, hes the speed Carroll wants!

  67. andy

    Yes! Irvin would be a great replacement for Clemons down the road at LEO and could see the field in the present as a situational rusher. Cox is intriguing also, could play 3-tech or 5-tech. We might just need a 5-tech if Big Red gets a better offer to go someplace else……

  68. AlaskaHawk

    I was reading the 30 best free agent list this morning, and there was Red Bryant in the top 5. I found that a little scary. I guess he is worth 4 million a year. How much more?

  69. Smeghead

    4 million a year? I am betting the Hawks are offering a bit better than that already. I thought the word was they offered him a similar deal that Mebane got last year. I hope Red will at least give Seattle the chance to match any offer he gets…

  70. Rugby Lock

    I think Clayton mention in the 7mil range…

  71. Misfit74

    “Scout.com’s Aaron Wilson “keeps hearing” the Seahawks and Cowboys as the primary suitors for free agent DE/OLB Mario Williams.”

  72. Rugby Lock

    If we don’t get PM then I would think that they would be very interested in Super Mario

  73. Rob

    Personally, I don’t think the Seahawks have ever had any intention to go big in FA. We’ll see what happens.

  74. Brian

    I keep hearing about upshaw’s strengths–his tenacity, tough and aggressive attitude, his strength and power, etc. That’s all great, and would fit in with this team very well. But from the gametape on this blog of him, I see him consistently struggling with shedding blocks, and often does not end up really pressuring the qb. In other words, it doesn’t seem his advantages translate into production on the field, at least not at the level of a #12 in the 1st. I really WANT to like him, but the gametape doesn’t show enough of an impact.

  75. AlaskaHawk

    I don’t think any one player will have an impact. The Giants excelled this year because their entire defensive line is good, and they have backups who can rotate in to keep the line fresh.

    The problem the hawks have is that we have a solid but slow line, and a couple of them are approaching the 30 year mark so they are entering the back side of their career.

    The problem with most people’s analysis is they think we will only get one edge rusher, and then they struggle trying to figure out what position they will be and what player they might have to move.

    Unfortunately one edge rusher will only apply pressure occasionally and from that side. They are easy to block if you know where they are coming from. Or you can run a counter play.

    The reality is that we will have to upgrade at least two positions with speedier people.

  76. Jarhead

    Ingram or Coples at 12 would be a waste. A reach for Nick Perry would be a much more sound investment, IF we are determined to take someone there. I honestly don’t feel that KC will draft Richardson. Ask yourself, with a new DEFENSIVE minded head coach, and last season’s performance, does KC REALLY believe that their run game was their biggest issue for lack of success? Especially when their number one RB went down early in the year? They have much more pressing issues. I like Upshaw, I think he could be a solid contributor. Not a star, but another guy we see consistently making plays each week. This year’s high end pass rush really sucks! If T Rich is there and we pass, shame on us. Our D was solid last year. Do any one of us believe it was the DEFENSE holding us back last year? Think about it, with Lynch and T Rich, that’s maybe 10-15 more snaps per game that T Jack won’t be asked to anything with the football other than handoff. That = good for us! If T Rich is gone, then Upshaw is my first choice. If they are BOTH gone, then yes trade for a 1st next year and really go all in for Barkley. Our sched is BRUTAL next year, and if we don’t add more weapons to generate points and change the TOP battle, we will be drafting very high. I think we can survive a mediocre pass rush more than we can survive an offense that goes 3 and out 3 out of 5 drives. Upshaw and Richardson will add the most talent to the team, and I really feel that guys like Kendricks, Irvin, Robinson, and Spence can add to our D and maybe generate a unique pass rush and create turnovers next year.

  77. AlaskaHawk

    Jarhead – I agree with a lot of what you are saying about our defense being fairly solid. It did get cut up by the running backs a few times (Dallas). It didn’t get as much pressure on the QB as PC wants, but the secondary did hold up pretty well. Overall I would rate our secondary as being our best part.

    My point in my last message was that we will need two new defensive linemen to generate pressure. One will be a waste as they would be too easy to block. From that standpoint, none of the first round players is adequate unless you can bring another good rusher in.

    As far as the offense, lets not forget that the line was injured and in shambles most of the season. Our only bright spots were Marshawn and Baldwin. From that standpoint, we need to get the line fixed, and then we need enough running backs and wide receivers to keep the other team off balance.

    I wouldn’t mind T Rich in the first – if he falls to us, which is doubtful. Another wide receiver could help too.

  78. Misfit74

    BREAKING: Redskins traded for the #2 pick by sending THREE 1st rounders and a 2nd rounder to the Rams.

    CRAZY. INSANE. RGIII best be an All-Pro by season 3 or it’s franchise suicide.

  79. Misfit74

    Also, I think Richardson may well be the Browns’ new pick. They need RB more than anything else (but QB), with Little at WR from last year’s draft and Hillis departing via FA.

  80. Matt J

    Huge bummer for us, as the Rams will be hard pressed to blow that many first round picks over the next few drafts. But at least now I’ll get to see how Rob mocks a draft without Tannehill going to Washington at 6!

  81. Misfit74

    Matt, and RG3 to CLE at 2, as well. Gonna be fun to watch the dominoes fall. Odds on Upshaw being pick #12? 😉

  82. Alex

    I’m late to the show, but after watching the videos. Upshaw is the only player of the 3 DE’s I’m willing to spend a 1st on.

    Coples is the most talented of the bunch, but shows concerning motor/consistency issues. For a 1st rounder, there is too much risk.

    Melvin Ingram is the fastest and his upside could be a Dwight Freeney (both of 260, 6 feet 1), but for all his upside, he looks lost in space (i.e. poor awareness), has bad tackling ability (doesn’t wrap up), is often stonewalled by his offensive lineman, is non-existent in the run, is unable to shed blocks, and for all the talk about his potential in coverage, he plays none. Finally, most concerning of all is that Ingram is consistently outplayed by his freshmen mate- Clowney. I can’t help but wonder if this is more of a tape that shows how much superior Clowney is.

    Upshaw by comparison is almost the polar opposite of Ingram. He has great awareness, plays with a mean streak, has great power (pushes left tackles back), has great motor, is great at wrapping up, takes good angles, is good at shedding blocks, and is decent against the run. Generally speaking, Upshaw has almost no weaknesses if you’re looking for a pure 4-3 weak side defensive end.

    If you want to say there is a weakness, he, like Ingram, never drop back in coverage. As such, you’re hoping too much if you’re playing Upshaw as a LB. Further, he is nowhere as fluid or fast as Coples or Ingram. If he’s trailing his player, he probably won’t catch up. Luckily, this is mostly mitigated by his good angles.

    Overall, he’s not the physical freak a Julius Peppers or Mario Williams is, he’s not going to be a sack artist in the mold of Dwight Freeney (Ingram’s upside), but he should be a solid player who plays with good motor, is strong against both the run and pass, and plays with great awareness. It’ll be nice if we can trade back and draft him, but I would be extremely wary of the Jets at 16. If he does make it past the Jets, I think he can be had in the early 20s.

  83. Misfit74

    “The Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks are out. Each team tried to get Manning to visit. He declined.”


    Seriously? 🙁 🙁 🙁

  84. MeatWad

    Yeah, Manning was never playing for the Hawks. I think it is a shame he did not even meet with the team. I just do not want to see him in ARZ. Bleh. I think it is a shame the Skins are giving up so much draft capital to move up a few slots for RGIII. The news the past week has been a total bummer, and Red not signed yet is just one more notch on the bummer scale.

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