Updated mock draft… post-combine

I’ve updated the mock draft in reaction to the combine and you can see the latest projection by clicking here.

I’ll stress again that these are not intended to be accurate predictions. My intention is always to look at many possibilities mixed in with some opinions on players and directions I think a team would like to go.

The top-15 continues to be particularly difficult to project with limitless connotations. By this time last year we were pretty certain about the top three picks (Bradford, Suh and McCoy) and many had assumed Washington would draft the top offensive tackle on their board (which they did). When you’re sold on a few picks early on it helps set up a mock draft and we don’t that luxury this year.

For example – this week I really struggled to place Nick Fairley. There were a handful of spots in the top ten where he would be a logical and realistic fit, but then I can also see why those teams would go in a different direction. Putting him at #14 to St. Louis seems unlikely at this stage, yet is it improbable or even impossible? I’m not sure.

There are some things I remain confident about. I still think Mike Shanahan will invest his future in Jake Locker. Wherever Jimmy Smith ends up going, I think he’ll present real value and he could be the cornerback from this class to have the best career. Unlike many others, I actually think Ryan Mallett improved his stock over the weekend enough to secure a first round spot – Jacksonville at #16 seems like a really good fit. I’m also absolutely positive that like Colt McCoy last year, we will not see Christian Ponder going in the first round. They aren’t similar players, but they are going through similar levels of unwarranted hype.

So what about the Seahawks? Regulars will know I like to mix it up for Seattle and go through different possibilities. We’ve just about covered every angle by now (or at least every position) and I don’t want this to become a token gesture ‘let’s see who it is this week’. Part of the problem is we’re still trying to work out the new regime. Tim Ruskell had such a defined draft policy it wasn’t difficult to project outcomes. We’re not at the stage yet with Pete Carroll and John Schneider that we can call someone a ‘Seahawks type pick’.

Will they ever draft a quarterback in round one? Do they value the LEO enough to take the fourth or fifth best pass rusher in this class at #25? Is the interior line considered worthy of that first round investment?

I’ve gone with Brooks Reed this week – a rising defensive end from Arizona who would fit at the LEO. He’s not had an explosive career with the Wildcats (15 sacks in two fulls seasons) and his 2009 season was hampered through injury. He posted impressive numbers at the combine, running a 4.68 forty yard dash with a 1.62 ten yard split. As a comparison, Clay Matthews (drafted 26th overall in 2009) ran a 4.62 forty with a 1.58 split. He’s also about 8-10lbs lighter than Reed and didn’t enter the pro’s with much pass rush production due to his role at USC.

Reed also has Clay Matthews hair, but we’ll not count that as a positive part of the evaluation.

It raises similar questions to last week when I suggested Jabal Sheard could be an option at #25. There will be LEO ‘fits’ later on so do you look to boost the interior defensive line instead? There were options in this mock (Phil Taylor, Muhammed Wilkerson, Corey Liuget etc).

Take a look at the tape below courtesy of the invaluable Aaron Aloysius, have a gaze at the mock and let me know what you think.


  1. FWBrodie

    Maybe this is the difference between a top 10 to 15 pick pass-rusher and a #25er, but I don’t see the explosion or “lean” in his pass rushing that I normally associate with a first-round edge rusher. I think Reed’s combination of power and speed is nice and would probably be an upgrade to Clemons’ lack of strength on the outside, but a first round pick worth of an upgrade? Probably not.

    (All based on above game tape)
    Speed to gain an extra step on a tackle: check.
    Power to turn the corner on a tackle: check.
    Power to hold his ground against a blocker: if he stays low, probably.
    Pass rush move repertoire: weak club, okay spin but not using it well, decent speed rush, inside rip looked very good, bull rush was decent.
    Awareness of contain/outside leverage: unable to tell because I don’t know what their scheme was exactly, but he did lose contain to the QB pretty badly once.
    Closing speed on QB: pretty good.

    I like Reed, but not at that price. I’d be disappointed with that pick, especially with a guy like Taylor on the board that could potentially change the look of the entire defense (even if it’s only on first and second down). I agree it’s impossible to look at him and not think he could be Clay Matthews though. Reed’s short shuttle was a tenth slower than Matthews, but that could be attributed to the extra ten pounds and it was still pretty fast at 4.28. Matthews beat Reed by 5 inches on the vertical though.

    • Rob

      Some excellent points their, FWBrodie. I think one thing that I like most about Reed and Jabal Sheard is their willingness to at least attempt to mix up their repertoire. They’re both fast guys and they have a certain degree of strength in their play. They’ll dodge in side, they’ll throw out a spin move and they’ll keep a lineman guessing. One of the big concerns I have with Robert Quinn and Justin Houston – two much more hyped prospects – is their total reliance on edge speed. In college they could rush the edge and cause havoc, but in the NFL it’ll be too basic. It doesn’t mean they will fail, but it does mean they’ll have to adapt and add to that aspect of their game.

      In that video Reed is coming up against a well coached line at Iowa and he still has a relative amount of success, but it’s also restricted to plays that he impacted (positive or negative) so it’s not a full review. I have Arizona @ Stanford tape saved and I’m going to watch it this weekend.

      If nothing else I think these last two mocks have shown that there probably won’t be an ‘obvious’ choice at #25 even as we move into April. It may be a case of – OK – there are 5-6 guys with a similar grade here… can we move down and get the guy at the top? Do we not take that risk? Do we move up a bit and get a better player? I don’t project mocks so I’m really going with the idea that they might take the guy they want even if it’s a small reach. Personally I would need to be absolutely sold on Reed, Sheard, Kerrigan whoever to take them at #25 because they will be judged on pressure and sacks. Phil Taylor, Corey Liuget – these guys may be considered ‘safer’ options. But it’s good to look at different options.

      • FWBrodie

        Like I mentioned, I also appreciate Reed’s strength and ability to take two other paths to the quarterback as opposed to Chris Clemons’ one (outside). Like YOU mentioned though, there are a few guys with this ability that could be available later. Also, from what we’ve learned about the Leo position in Carroll’s scheme how often will this player ever be asked to do anything but beat his man off the snap to the outside anyway? We really don’t know. I think Carroll has made clear that he expects more production out of his defensive line as a whole than what it gave him last season. Which spots he sees as the most prominent weaknesses are somewhat of a mystery after only one season with him in Seattle, at least for me. If I had to guess though, it would probably be inside. He has stated that he expects the elephant end to be one of the best athletes on the defense. Is that Clemons? Eh.

    • Kip

      I share FWBrodie’s sentiments pretty much exactly. Reed is fast off the ball, somewhat slippery and tenacious, but that’s kind of it. He had a very good game in that video but the only player he truly dominated was a disinterested RB blocker.

      I think the point of the LEO position is to manufacture pass rush production from lesser means. WCO does this with QBs, ZBS does this with small lineman. It exploits an inefficiency in the NFL system to find cheaper talent who can still perform at a good level within a special system.

      I think its great that we are getting Reed on Seahawk fans radar’s. But I can’t really get behind that pick at #25, even if he has a good career. He’s certainly a guy to keep an eye on in round 2 though.

      • Alex

        I agree here which is why I’m not in favor of getting a leo.
        ZBS, LEO are all unique schemes that can get effective production through more common means (smaller lineman or OLB/DE tweener hybrids). I’m definitely in favor of that because it lessens our needs to areas where we need actual solid, players.

        Considering that there isn’t anything to mask our glaring need for a new QB, a second CB, interior OL, and DT depth, I’m not in favor of leo (I do understand that you’re merely exploring every option with this mock).

        Interior OL can be taken in the mid rounds of 4th or 5th, but the quality of QB, CB, and DT greatly diminishes after the 1st round and even further at CB and DT after the 2nd round. IMO, you have to take one of those three and this draft is deep enough at all 3 positions for one to be at 25. IMO, Locker and Mallet have to be in consideration at QB. If Jimmy Smith falls, he has to be in consideration. If Phil Taylor or Corey Liuget, they also have to be in consideration. I’m sure one of those 5 will be there at 25.


  2. Ben

    I like Brooks Reed and would be very pleased with that pick. I would probably still take Taylor over him but that’s besides the point. I had previously underestimated his speed until I saw his combine numbers which I was very impressed with.

    I can see what Brodie means by not seeing the “lean” that you look for in a first round edge rusher. However, his sack in the Senior Bowl against Anthony Castanzo definitely showed a lot more “lean” than I’d seen previously from him so maybe he’s been working at it. You can see it below…
    If I didn’t know better I would have thought that was Clay Matthews.

    • Ben

      He still needs to work on his footwork for his burst off the line in a two-point stance though. You can see him studder-step in the clip above. I wrestled in HS and he would be doing push-ups for telegraphing his shot. I’m not saying they’re the same thing but the studder-step isn’t needed and the wasted motion won’t cut it at the next level.

      • Ben

        I realize that I’m kinda talking to myself here but I had one more thought on the matter… I saw that we interviewed Ricky Elmore, the other Arizona DE, at the combine. Elmore doesn’t seem big enough to play our 5-tech role and doesn’t seem fast enough to play our Leo role. So could it be that we interviewed him to get some insight into Reed without tipping our hand that we’re interested?

        • Rob

          He didn’t run particularly well at the combine and he looked poor in drills. I suspect the meeting was as much about direct interest in him rather than digging on Reed. You never know though – teams do some funny things to get an angle.

          • Ben

            What round do you think Elmore will go in?

      • FWBrodie

        I don’t fault him for the stutter step. As a DE he has multiple responsibilities and the first of those is usually going to be filling the outside hole against the run. That first step didn’t even touch the ground when he made his read and switched to pass rush mode and he still burned a first round tackle virtually untouched to the QB. No issue there.

        • Ben

          “That first step didn’t even touch the ground”

          I’m mostly talking about his left foot. I can’t see any purpose for that step back but I don’t know for sure so if you know better then I’d very much welcome an explanation.

          • FWBrodie

            Upon further review you’re totally right. He missteps with the left foot. I watched it over and over trying to find something he may have seen, but I saw nothing. I watched the clip, then read your comment, then responded without watching it again. My bad. Even though he obviously was new to the two point stance it’s encouraging that he can still get that result even with the misstep.

    • Rob

      Probably 5th-7th round

  3. Cliff

    I keep hearing how high of a ceiling Muhammad Wilkerson has. He did fairly well at the combine but didn’t put up crazy numbers. He gets off blocks well and seems good in the run game but doesnt seem to give a ton of push. What do you think on him?

  4. Ralphy

    Judd Zulgad of the Minnesota Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Vikings have placed a first-round tender on Sidney Rice. Under the old CBA, this means the Vikings would receive an extra first-round draft pick were Rice to sign with another team.

    So I’m wondering how everyone would feel if instead of rolling the dice on someone working out at #25 we just used that pick to sign Sidney Rice.

    • Cliff

      Not a horrible idea but i think he’s too injury prone. they’re other options out there that will be cheaper.

    • FWBrodie

      Sounds like all those tenders are likely to be thrown out. I think Rice would be an incredible compliment to BMW. While BMW is open even if he’s covered because of his size (in theory), Rice is open even when he’s covered because of his ability to go find the ball and pull it out of the air with acrobatic catches. We know the Hawks demonstrated a desire to add a #1 last offseason even with some risk and at a high price. I think they’ll be in on Rice.

  5. Jay

    Rob, What are your thoughts on Marcus Cannon from TCU? Where do you project him to go?

    • Rob

      I’ve always seen him as a R3-4 guard having played tackle at TCU. I’ve seen TCU twice from 2010 so not a huge basis for an opinion, but I thought he was quite limited at tackle.

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