Upshaw, Richardson & Tannehill work out

What is it about Alabama pro-day's and shirtless forty-yard runs?

Pro-days are largely insignificant events that have minimal impact on the actual draft process. At the end of March, most team’s will feel pretty comfortable with their draft grades and really – how much can you learn from a work out like this? But as modest as these things are, today was about as noteworthy as it gets this time of year. Courtney Upshaw, Trent Richardson and Ryan Tannehill all worked out for scouts after injury-hit off-seasons.

So here’s what we learnt. Richardson ran a 4.59 according to’s Tony Pauline. Or he ran a 4.43 according to ESPN’s Merrill Hodge. Or a 4.49 according to’s Booky Brooks. Or a 4.58 according to Rotoworld’s Josh Norris. Basically, we have zero idea exactly how fast 227lbs Trent Richardson can run in a straight line in his underwear. I’m glad we cleared that up.

Courtney Upshaw also ran a forty after passing at the combine, but again – it’s a complete mystery what time he actually achieved. Brooks says anywhere between 4.73 and 4.76, Pauline is quoting a 4.78 while Norris is saying it was a 4.81.

Pauline explains why there’s such a discrepancy: “Unlike the combine, there is no real timing mechanism to clock players in the 40 during pro-day. Basically a group of scouts sit at the finish line with stopwatches in hand, timing each participant as they cross the line. Most teams use the times recorded by their scout on the scene. When the 40 is complete most of the scouts gather together and share the times they’ve recorded for the prospects who ran. A happy medium between the fastest and slowest 40 time is found, hence the “official” pro day 40 time. Still, teams will use the time clocked by their scouts at the workout.”

Courtney Upshaw on his performance today: “I wanted to run well. I heard a lot of negative stuff from my performance at Indy and I wanted to do better. I was focused on the 40-yard dash and wanted to be in the 4.7 range. I heard a lot of times and I’m happy with it.”

Upshaw on adding weight ahead of his pro-day: “I feel 250, but I wanted to weight in about 265, 268, but I tipped the scales at 279, so that’s the only disappointment for the day. I weighed in at 273 in Indy, so I wanted to get down to 268, 265. Honestly, I gained weight, but I also gained flexibility. My hips feel better. I’m able to do things that I couldn’t do when I was in Indy or throughout the season with my hips and stuff.”

For a post-work out Courtney Upshaw video interview, click here.

Trent Richardson on his forty time and health after minor knee surgery: “I’m 100 percent. I’m going to get better and better as the days go by. My 40-time, it was pretty good. I slipped a little bit at the start. I did pretty good overall.”

Mark Barron, safety, also worked out for the first time as he recovers from a hernia. He ran unofficial times of 4.54 and 4.73. Barron: “I think it went pretty good. From all the feedback I got, people said I looked good. I’m OK with the performance I had today. I’m probably at about 80 or 90 percent.”

Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell were both at the Texas A&M pro-day to see, among others, quarterback Ryan Tannehill. ESPN’s Todd McShay clocked Tannehill at a 4.61 in the forty, a faster time than Andrew Luck. But perhaps the headline news came after the work-out, when it was reported Carroll, John Schneider and others joined the Aggies quarterback and Dolphins representatives for dinner. Before we start casting Carroll and Schneider as Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, it seems this wasn’t so much a gatecrashing rather than a pre-arranged get-together. So don’t expect to see the pair at your wedding, uninvited.

Predictably, Carroll, Schneider and Bevell’s presence in Texas has kicked up a hornet’s nest regarding the team’s interest in Tannehill. It’s worth noting that Schneider made a personal visit to Ryan Mallett’s pro-day last year (a player not even included on the team’s draft board) and the Seahawks gave Jimmy Clausen a thorough work-out after his pro-day (another player Seattle had no interest in). So while we can only second-guess the team’s intentions, I suspect there was an element of convenience involved (Carroll is conducting a ‘Win Forever’ workshop in Dallas) and taking an opportunity to watch several prospects work-out (including Tannehill and Jeff Fuller – who’s stock is falling nicely into bargain territory). No need to read too much into this.

If you’d like to see a lovely picture of Pete and John at the Texas A&M pro-day, click here.

In other news, Peter Konz will work-out for the first time on April 4th alongside fellow Wisconsin lineman Kevi Zeitler. Konz is the best center prospect since California’s Alex Mack was drafted by Cleveland in 2009.

Sigmund Bloom has an interesting mock draft including a trade that sees the New York Jets move into the top-10. It’s a very realistic proposition and I would anticipate Jacksonville trying to move down the board if the top-six fall as expected.

Todd McShay also updated his mock and added a second round, giving the Seahawks Quinton Coples and Mychal Kendricks – the two players we projected to Seattle last week.

It’s been a busy week of mock drafts on this blog too. Having taken part in a collaboration earlier this week and then publishing my own projection yesterday, today myself and Kip represented Field Gulls in the SB Nation mock. At least we’re consistent. This is a ‘hat-trick’ of picks that will please some and torture others. But we must be doing something right, 82% of Mocking the Draft’s readers have given our pick an A or B grade. I particularly enjoyed this comment from a reader named ‘dt3’ who said, “Surprising pick… thought for sure they were going to go with Taylor Mays.”

If anyone missed the NFL Network’s supposed leak of Seattle’s new logo, take a look here. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has since relayed information suggesting the Seahawks will get a gray alternate jersey. A bit of digging online and you’ll find enough info to get you through to next Tuesday’s big reveal. If you want to believe the internet – expect a mostly navy home look, a white away uniform and a gray alternate. There’s going to be feathers of some kind on the pants and jersey, but allegedly not in the Oregon style. The numbers will be gray on the home uniform and the helmet blue (and look something like this). According to the internet.

Let’s look at some tape. Below I’ve added videos of Ronnell Lewis (LB, Oklahoma) vs Florida State, Michael Brockers (DT, LSU) vs Ole Miss and Jake Bequette (DE, Arkansas) vs South Carolina. Thanks to Aaron Aloysius and JMPasq.


  1. myjackrebel

    I’m curious as to your reaction regarding Upshaw’s 40-time. Does this help/hurt at all? His weight + 40 time makes me wonder how well he will hold up in space.

  2. Doug

    Upshaw is the smokescreen, Tannahil is the real target…

  3. MJ

    Let’s hope not Doug.

  4. Barry

    @ Doug – Would make sense, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about it. lol

  5. MJ

    Trent Richardson looked ridiculously good. Would be amazing if he fell to 12. Just run the ball 40 times a game.

  6. Bill Bobaggins


    Wondering what your thoughts are on PC and JS being in Texas vs. Alabama. I could understand the smokescreen theory if there wasn’t another huge pro day going on at the same time. It seems odd to me that they’d miss out on looking at Upshaw (and some of the others at Alabama) just to create a smokescreen in Texas.

    I’m assuming that they’ve done their due diligence on all of the players that they’re interested in, but do you think that this shows that they aren’t interested in Upshaw after all?

    I hope not, I watched the Alabama pro day today and Upshaw looked like the incredible hulk.

  7. SHawn

    Seems more like they want Tannehill to be the smokescreen, and the real target is Upshaw.

  8. Seatown80

    I can’t help but feel bothered by the fact that Upshaw’s weight fluctuated to 279 despite him stating that his goal was to be in the 265-268 range. He had more than enough time to be prepared for the most important interview of his life. Maybe he is such an amazing player that he can play 4-3 WILL on run downs and rush the passer as a traditional DE on passing downs? This workout brought more questions than answers IMHO.

    On a positive note, if the Hawks truly have zeroed in on Upshaw this may have taken away a couple of possible destinations in the top 10.

  9. Steve

    That really was a lovely picture of PC/JS. Thanks for including it.

  10. Ed

    All this Tannehill talk at #4, #8, #12. Let’s just hope he goes to one of those before he gets to us. Would love to trade down, but if not, would be happy with coples/upshaw in 1st and hendricks/brown in 2nd.

  11. Rob

    Bill – This is a classic time for smokescreen’s, due dilligence and lot of other things. It could be that they stayed away from Alabama on purpose, or it could be that they just feel like they have a really great grasp of what Richardson/Upshaw bring to the table compared to Tannehill – who doesn’t have that many starts to his name. Part of the draft process is also preparing for what you’ll face in the league, not just what you’re going to draft. So it pays to study up.

    Seatown80 – Upshaw is currently working with an athletics group designed to help prospects this time of year. He’s probably doing more work than he did at Alabama and I suspect the weight gain will be muscle. I wouldn’t be too concerned given as soon as he makes a pro-franchise they’ll decide what weight he’s best at.

  12. Rob

    myjackrebel – I think his forty time was expected and the weight gain is no biggie. He should be able to lose that – if that’s what the teams want – in a pro-fitness scheme.

  13. Michael (CLT)

    Upshaw scares the crap out of me. Goal = 268. Reality = 279. Uh, that is lack of discipline. At least have the balls to keep quiet about it.

    We can probably trade down and get this guy now.

  14. Seatown80

    I really doubt we can trade down and still get Upshaw. It’s not like he ran the 40 and looked like Andre Smith (who happened to still go 6th overall).

    His tape is not going to change and he is definitely a baller. If I was Upshaw’s adviser(s) I would have told him to keep quiet about his weight goal.

  15. Michael (CLT)

    If Upshaw plays for Fresno State, he is a fifth round draft choice. Frustration.

  16. MJ

    Upshaw weight gain…I am not terribly sure if y’all are aware of API. It’s a training spot here in AZ, that I actually participated in after my frshman year of college (baseball). They monitor everything (eating, sleeping, recovery, etc). I can guarantee that his weight gain was all perfectly good weight. They bod pod (body composition) you almost daily and tailor all meals to evrything about your body type and desired goals. You don’t train at a place like that and “not care” or “be lazy.”

  17. MJ

    10 yard split is all I care about for a pass rusher in regards to speed. If he is having to consistently run 40 yards in a straight line to catch a WR or RB, then we don’t need to worry about anything but the #1 overall pick next year.

  18. Rob

    That’s a major overreaction, Michael. Major overreaction. And I’m not sure how it would be showing ‘balls’ to keep quiet about this. There’s a picture of the guy – minus shirt – at the top of this blog post. Does that look like a guy who’s been sat eating nacho’s for a month? Or does it look like a guy who’s been hitting the weights too much, probably thinking the work he was doing would get his weight down, when the opposite is true? It amazes me how worked up we get about pro-days and the combine. It’s all about the tape.

  19. Michael (CLT)

    Unlike Flynn, this pick will have a definite affect on the FO morale. I hope I am wrong about Upshaw.

    Then again, if I am right, I will have to endure a Curry’esque three years on this blog defending his “learning” curve.

  20. Rob

    Curry never had a defense on this blog. I was never a fan of that pick and if memory serves me correctly, Kip was even less of a fan of it. And they are very different players in fairness. But whether we like or dislike a prospect, let’s not be too desperate to find reasons or issues as to why they will or won’t fail in these workouts. There’s too much of that in the NFL draft coverage – positive or negative. It’s one of the reasons we’ve steered clear of the pro-day stuff until this significant day with injured guys performing for the first time. It should always be about the tape. People wanted to see Upshaw perform, to run. He’s done that now.

  21. Michael (CLT)

    Fair enough. Your love for Upshaw is a little over the top. I see him as a good player. A player in the Carpenter mold. Lunch pail type guy. Not a guy at 12.

    Gillmore, Flenner, DeCastro, Kuechly all have top status in positions where they are considered dynamic, not limited. Upshaw is undoubtedly limited. I suspect he will be lavished for “pushing the pocket”. His short stature, short arms, average upper body strength have all been brushed aside in your analysis. It is all the tape.

    Yes, the tape. For Upshaw, there will always be the tape. I have seen the tape. I have also seen the blowout scores when he was flashing, the coverage sacks, and the epic run of horrific SEC QB’s he made his living off of. Quick, name one nfl draftable player beyond Tyler Wilson that Upshaw faced? Ah… none. Add to that that he is constantly being cut and struggles to stay on his feet in the garbage, and that he is the beneficiary of one-on-one against the TE more often than not… and I feel sick.

  22. Seatown80

    I agree that QB play in the SEC is not great but most of their conference contains great team speed, running games and defense.

    You can say that the guy has short arms and is not fast, but he has excellent tape (both rushing the passer, stopping the run, setting the edge) and production.
    The Hawks need someone to complement Clemons and get to the QB. I think Upshaw, Ingram and Coples all have the potential to add that element to this squad.

  23. MJ

    Who cares what QB he played? How about the fact he faced the best O line talent in the country. Might that be a better gauge.

    Who did DeCastro shut down of any skill level? Does a it not matter that he was lined up next to another first round O lineman with a once a generation QB? Or the fact he plays in one of the worst defensive conference known for terrible D line play?

    Not trying to convince anyone to like a certain player, just be reasonable. Draft a bunch of MLBs and OGs all day in round 1 and see how great of a team you field.

  24. Michael

    I would agree that Upshaw has a nose for playing but measures out poorly. I just get frustrated with the whole hes not suited for a number 12 pick. I dont give a rip if a guy is a 21 or 7the if he is there and is a plug and play type guy we need to look at what he brings to the team. Attitude, reliability, play backer for 2two downs then put his hand down on passing situations for the next 5year or more years. I see no one arguing these point on upshaw.

  25. Darnell

    My opinion in Upshaw – watch the two biggest college football games of this past season.

  26. Carl Ebbighausen

    I was just wondering, if PC/JS actually find a trade partner to move down and gain extra picks, how long do you think Upshaw can last?

  27. Doug

    Upshaw will last into the deep 20’s after that proday… Maybe even available as out 2ond pick…He is a slow tweener with no coverage skills…

  28. Colin

    I don’t care if his coverage skills are bad. San Fran didn’t seem to be bothered just bringing Aldon Smith on the field for pass rushing- why should we? Let’s leave the covering to the secondary.

  29. Jake

    Darnell – watch #30 and #41 in those two games. Then tell me which player you would rather have.

    Keep in mind, one guy is plug and play SLB and 3rd down pass rusher, with potential to be a LEO if Clemons breaks down. The other guy is an out of place strong-side DE who will only play in sub packages.

  30. Justin

    I’ll answer that question Jake, I’d rather have hightower, he was voted captain from his teammates, he can cover, and posses pass rushing ability, I have always been a fan of hightower and would love to move back and draft him while picking up extra picks.

  31. Jake

    Justin shoots… he scores!

  32. FWBrodie

    Michael (CLT): does sacking Cam Newton three times in one game count as facing a draft-able QB? Holy dramatic overreaction Batman. His production only came in blowouts? Some of the best games of his career were against #1 Auburn, twice against LSU including the national championship that he one MVP of, and his bowl game the year before that he also was named MVP of (although that did happen to be a blowout). He plays in the best conference in college football and produced 16.5 sacks, 32.5 TFL, and 6 forced fumbles over the past two seasons. How much more production do you want?

  33. Jake

    8.25 sacks a season does not = elite. Suggs, Merriman, Ware, Peppers = elite. They did a lot more than Upshaw did. #12 is WAY to high to draft this guy. Don’t get me wrong, I really like him – but I feel we can get elite talent at #12 or acquire more picks and equal talent later in the draft.

  34. Biz

    I’d also love Janoris Jenkins in the 2nd/3rd if that at all becomes an option, & Vontaze Burfict late Those guys are value waiting to happen, and yes I do understand the risks but with one or both don’t care. I think we have enough of a foundation to handle it. Really like the idea of Jenkins despite our stable @ secondary

  35. FWBrodie

    Ironically, Demarcus Ware averaged 8.5 sacks at Troy, Peppers averaged 10 sacks and was taken 2nd overall, Suggs has averaged 9 sacks in the NFL, Merriman averaged 6.75 sacks at Maryland and was drafted 12th overall.

  36. Rob

    Michael – There is no ‘love’ for Upshaw. This blog isn’t based around things like that. We study the tape, we look for information. We will never base opinions on ‘love’. Let’s get that straight. I disagree completely with your review of the player. You’re also allowed to disagree, of course. But let’s not go over the top here.

    Carl – Upshaw won’t get past Dallas and New York at #14 and #16.

    Jake – If Upshaw gets 8-10 sacks, essentially doubling the production from our second most productive pass rusher last year, combined with Clemons and a greater impact from Jones inside, that’s a substantially better pass rush.

  37. peter

    I don’t get the lack of “love” for a player that can play three spots, Subbing clemmons, Bryant, LB…plus his college production as noted above was in line with Suggs, and Ware, in the toughest division in College, that to me is the definition of elite talent….

  38. Doug


    Let’s battle some more for Upshaw!

    Even Fillet Mingon (sp?) for dinner every night would get old after two months…

    “What’s for dinner hunni?” ……..Fillet ! …….. again? …….. **sigh**

  39. Rob

    Topics discussed in the last week:

    Upshaw vs Ingram

    Kuechly vs Kendricks

    Dont’a Hightower tape

    Greg Childs discussion

    Coby Fleener

    Collaborative mock with three other blogs

    This week’s mock

    Michael Egnew

    Russell Wilson tape

    Upshaw/Richardson/Tannehill work out info

    Jonathan Massaquoi piece

    So out of that bunch, we’ve compared Upshaw to another possible target, mocked him to the Seahawks (which is very possible) and discussed his pro-day. Amid a cluster of other prospects being discussed. Let’s stick to talking draft.

  40. peter


    Short of fabricating trade’s what would you like to see?

    I know on other sites people have mentioned Floyd, but an I am not trying to be facetious here, after Calvin Johnson who was the last first round WR picked that literally was a game changer?

    Should the mock focus on ineterior Dlinemen? I thinkthe Sehawks are way set on that front, and the guys we already have should be even better when we get some pass rush.

    Should the mock have Perry? A guy who has limited production and looks to be the second coming of Lawrence Jackson.

    Melvin Ingram? Maybe, but he’s eve smaller then Upshaw and tends to get swallowed up? Coples?….

    I could see the seahawks trading down which I know Rob won’t predict and still taking Upshaw, or perhaps Vinny Curry, or Hightower…Maybe they go crazy and Take Fleener in the first, Osweiler in the second, Shea McClellin in the third, and some small school MLB in the fourth, which would still see them address their needs of pass rush and lb as well as get some offense, who knows, but for the sake of argument if the seahawks stay at 12 and the board more or less falls the way Rob predicts, who would you like to see them take?

  41. peter


    a total aside.. as someone who writes about the real football in england, are you more excited to see the soccer at the olympics or the euro?

    You don’t need to respond at all, I’m just envious of your proximity to the action this summer….

    Ha! I just read your comment above about sticking to talking about the draft! woops…

  42. woofu

    Pro days insignificant?

    Rangs take.

  43. Doug

    Color it as you want, it still always returns to Upshaw. The collabrative draft? who called that pick? You did! Guess who? Upshaw! Never saw that coming!

    All I am sayng is that there are a large number of ways the draft could fall, but in here, it doesn’t ever change. I think just to pacify a few of us who aren’t in love with Upshaw, you may have changed it once or twice…

    But it’s your blog! Pick who you want. I am nothing but one other poster who thinks we might not go that way, and who thinks the guy isn’t “all-that”. It’s not that I don’t like the guy, and I wouldn’t even have a problem if they do pick him.

    But, it is VERY possible that they might take someone else, or they might HAVE to take somebody else because he might get chosen in front of our pick.

    Sure you have posted lots of different topics, but only one of them touched on the possibility of someone other than Upshaw, as in Ingram, who I now envision as a T-Rex with microscopic arms. You compared a very possible pick against a probably 3rd rounder, and then a few other late round flyers. That’s all good, I love all of that. Just because I’m not one of your pick supporters, doesn’t mean I don’t like the site, as a matter of fact, I check in numerous times a day to see what everyone is thinking.

    The thing is that every year, there is always something that happens differently then expected. There are a very large set of circumstances that could happen to alter what is commonly perceived as the logical order whch would make our choice different. In all reality, we could end up picking any of the following players:
    1) Blackmon
    2) DeCastro
    3) Richardson
    4) Floyd
    5) Poe
    6) Perry
    7) Martin
    8) Ingram
    9) Tannahil
    10) Cox
    11) Coples

    And so on…
    That’s all I’m sayin, it’s possible. I know you don’t think it will fall any other way, and I don’t say this with any disrespect to your choice, but it’s possible. But jeez it gets sticky in here if you disagree with the host…
    I believe that is sticking to the draft.

  44. Wes

    I think it is telling that PC and JS went to Tannehill’s workout and not Upshaw’s. They may be trying to scare a team into trading up with them if Tannehill drops to 12, but I would think Upshaw’s big workout would be a high priority if they are as high on him as we have been led to believe. Maybe they are trying to stay covert about Upshaw, but I dont see why they need to be worried. Sounds like Upshaw is taking a tumble down most draft boards

  45. Hawkfin

    I tend to agree with Michael’s views about Upshaw……
    I think he might be a solid player and maybe worthy of say a 16th-18th pick. I will spend some additional time re-looking at him though, since so many people on here seem to like him.

    But, from all the game tapes I’ve seen, I just don’t get that oh my gosh factor with Upshaw. To me, he doesn’t really stand out. I think Hightower stands out more for that team.

    I feel like he’s also in between positions. He plays on the line a lot like that of a DE, but it’s easy to see that won’t be where he plays in the NFL. If you want a DE, then you should look at Wittney Mercules or Coples. (I like Wittney better myself, plus Coples might be gone anyway)

    So then you plug Upshaw in at LB and maybe how Rob say’s to use him, however he does not play LB really. He plays on the line most of the time. So his coverage skills to me seems like it would be a huge liability. I don’t see how you can take a guy at #12 and not have coverage set of skills. And is he even a middle LB? We need a middle LB if anything, and Hightower would be better suited for that role.
    I don’t even see us blitzing LB’s that often anyway.

    Then I question if he really even is a pressure type guy? I think he’s more of run stopper guy and possibly an outside LB. Is he fast enough to be a blitz guy in the NFL?
    I don’t see speed at all.
    Then you factor in his no combine appearance. He’s not some stud that should not have done the combine. Then you look at the weight issues, which is probably more of a reason he didn’t do the combine in the first place. YET, he gained weight when he said he wanted to lose weight. It could be muscle? It could be fat just as easy.
    Either way he seems heavy. Plus, there is no bench results to even see his power?

    Then you see plays on film where he’s jogging around (or lack of speed) and it looks like he’s lazy sometimes. Combine that with the weight issue, then there is good reason to not only worry about speed (Which is why you want him for the blitz) but also worry about him as a player and a LB in general.

    Then you look at his interviews – He seems like Curry to me. A little slow.
    I DO see some Curry things about this guy as Michael put it.

    I think he’s a pretty good risk to take at #12. I would not be all that happy with this pick there. I would risk him at the very least, and trade down first.

  46. David

    Doug/People who are against Upshaw- I think what ruins you’re idea that Rob needs to be more open is the emotional posts that are being presented. Instead of bringing in more debate and giving logical reasons why someone else, it’s almost like a temper tantrum and then without reason you latch on to failures and make poor comparisons.

    Hawkfin- Upshaw is a 180 from Curry. I mean that comparison should not even be considered. Curry never played defensive end and never rushed the passer and never played in the SEC. I mean, you don’t have to like that pick and can like different options but seriously that is an irrelevant comparison. I also think its crazy to believe he has a weight issue, when he has been training at an elite facility for athletes and put on 10 lbs of muscle. I’m sure if teams want to see him Bench press they would ask him. Upshaw should not do things just to make draftniks more comfortable when their team drafts him. Teams know what they are looking for and what they want and its fun to get information about 3 cone drills and all that stuff but the only thing that is important is can that person play football and can he at the NFL level. I’m sure if they draft him they will know exactly where to use him, if they don’t we have a bigger problem than Upshaw can’t play LBer.

    I am not at all on board with Upshaw as the only pick but com’on guys your arguments aren’t rational and informed so its difficult to take you guys seriously. At least Rob has logic to his argument.

  47. MJ

    Amen David…

  48. Hawkfin

    David, I don’t agree with you. Sorry.
    If you don’t like my thoughts and views, that’s you’re business. I’m going by what I see on tape, interviews, and any other sources that are out there for me.

    And I never came out and said I compare him to Curry , or that is the player he’ll be. If so, then I wouldn’t even want to draft him. Yet, I said he makes for a better #16-20 pick, instead of at 12.

    I said (Or meant) that I can see “SOME” similarities to Curry as far as traits and some things I saw on tape. Also, Michael or somebody brought that comparison up on an earlier post and this is why I even brought it up in the first place. But, since I also saw some similar things I didn’t like with Currey that I see in Upshaw at times, this is why I use it as an example.
    Interview wise, personality, and some things I see on tape sometimes reminds me of Curry. That doesn’t mean he’ll be a Curry though.

    Sorry if you don’t agree with that viewpoint. I guess everybody in the first round to you, can’t be the next Curry huh? There are no bust players, right?
    Get real. Half the guy’s will probably bust and I never even said he would be a bust.
    Just pointed out things I saw on tape that remind me of him.

    It’s hard to take you seriously actually, since Curry was a even higher rated player and picked #4 overall. It could be said, he did even more at LB then Upshaw.

    Also, how is anybody’s view points technically informed if they are not a scout for the pro team?
    Rob is SO much more informed over everybody else? Come on
    He’s looking at the same tape we all are. He’s got his views, you’ve got you’re own, and I do as well.

    Nobody gets it right all the time. Not even the pro scouts and organizations do. Otherwise, Curry would have never been a #4 pick, would he?

    Also, I used the weight thing and no combine as a tool to the fact that I don’t see speed on tape or some amazing blitz ability. It all goes hand in hand.

    My point: There is not enough evidence out there to me to support a #12 pick.
    He’s not my favorite choice.

  49. woofu

    There is good reason and much support in the evaluation of Upshaw that creates the doubt. Lombardi et al on NFLN argue if he is only a 43 DE or only a 34 OLB in a non coverage 34 OLB team (whatever the hell that is). To be specific Lombardi stated that a team that picks him will have a specific scenario where his skills play out, that is what Rob is being firm about (how Pete will use him).

    I have no doubt Pete can come up with an alternative use for Upshaw and if that is the pick you can expect most people will find it unconventional and not be able to support the pick.

    I tend to hold what people do as the main indicator of the next step they will take. Not only have they stated they like length and speed they have gone out of the way to get it.
    Upshaw to me has neither length or speed. He would have to be an exception to be considered and that is just what he did with Bryant so there is that precedent.

    Another comment made was Up plays better “outside in” than “inside out” which needs more definition to me.

    As an OT Rob, is Plum Duff really just Spotted Dick?

  50. Doug

    David, I guess you just didn’t understand the point of my post. I’m merely suggesting that things might not shake out how he sees it, and am basically asking for some other thoughts about other draftee’s that might/could be the pick.
    But I’m sure Rob appreciates you telling us what he is actually thinking tho…

  51. MJ

    I just can’t believe how many people want DeCastro or Kuechly at 12. Do y’all realize, if neither of those guys turns into the top 2 or 3 players in the NFL at their respective position, then that’s a wasted pick? I argued the same thing about Curry years ago. Even if he ended up being a good LBer, that’s still not good enough to justify the resources spent on a non-premium position. If you don’t play a premium position, and you are picked in the top 12, you better be guaranteed to be Elite. Can anyone guarantee either guy will be elite?

    If Upshaw/Ingram/Coples turn into just “good” pass rushers, then that to me is monumentally more instrumental to our team in the win-loss column. Good teams generate sacks. Look at the history of Super Bowl winners, and the common theme among all of them is good QB play and the ability to rush the passer.

    I am sorry, but we are flirting with an Elite defense. We need a complement to Chris Clemons. That dude may not rack up 12 sacks, but the mere threat of another pass rusher will result in more sacks overall, even if it isn’t reflective of that one individual in the stat column. I get the intrigue of adding another Walt/Hutch combo, but the bottom line is DeCastro is not Hutch, and even if he is, how many Super Bowls did the best LT/LG combo off all time produce? Goose egg. Spend premium picks on premium positions. Once we have a set roster, then spend luxury picks on MLBs and interior O line in round 1.

  52. peter

    Doug the stated desire of the FO this off season was “speed in the front 7, pass rush, and touchdown makers,”

    There has already been discussion as to Andre Branch, Sean Spence, Osweiler, Richardson, Zach Brown, Devon Still, Mychael kendriks, Doug Martin, Coples, Dwight Jones at one point, a possible two week scenario that had us taking RGIII, that’s all I can remember without looking it up for picks in the first two rounds….

    Plus numerous thread discussions weighing the pro/cons, of guys like Cox, poe, fleener, blackmons talents, perry, etc…plus Kip’s return series of players to think about, plus an ever evolving list of players in the third and fourth rounds, plus numerous pages deveoted to the merits of late round QB’s…

    Right now it seems that the way things are going Ingram/Coples/Upshaw will be on the board or at least two of three when we pick, since Coples/Upshaw have both been mocked to us, should there simply be another name thrown out there just for conjecture? A defensive minded coach has to know that pass rush is an absolutely necessary cog to push us into the top five category, maybe it’s not Upshaw, but then who is it?

  53. peter

    I could see us taking someone like Floyd if he ws going to literally be our A.Johnson, C.johnson,Fitzgerald….A real deal game changer, or taking richardson if he was still on the board, but a guard isn’t going to make our D elite, and no one knows what the QB situation is going to be, so the second coming of Hutch could very well be polishing a turd of an offense, if both Tax continues his mediocrity and Flynn can’t beat him out….how does that help us? Marshawn gets ‘better,’ running lanes…seems he did pretty well with the Oline setups last year…Does Blackmon coming from a spread like offense add two wins next year, or more on his own?

    This is why I advocate for a guy like Upshaw, San Francisco’s offense is a herky jerky one man show of Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore’s ever reliable 1000 ish yards a season and his 6.125 TD’s a year….but last year they brought out an amazing defense and that carried them right along, until they met the team with the better D-line….Who then went on and beat the superior offense for the second time in as many tries for the superbowl…You can still in the pass happy NFL win with good-to great offense as long as your defense is something else…

  54. Hawkfin

    So who do you suggest we take that is elite and if not LB/Oline?
    And what if Coples is gone.

    I think Kuechly could be elite…

    Decastro is probably the best guard, but I agree he’s not worth the #12 pick.
    Upshaw I don’t see being elite or any better prospect then Kuechly, with more risks.

    We are in a tough spot. It would be sweet if Blackmon dropped, but that isn’t happening. It’s a perfect year for a trade down and gather some premium picks.

    My vote though: Wittney Mercules/DE
    Coples makes a ton of sense if there, although I actually like Wittney better.

    My ranks:
    1. Blackmon
    2. Richardson (Hard to pass on him)
    3/4. Coples – If you’re sold on him. I’m not so sure. I like Wittney more. He’s pretty solid player though. I don’t think he’ll be a burner in the NFL. (6-8 sack guy maybe)
    ——Prefer trade down
    3/4. Wittney Mercules – Speed rusher and perfect fit. (I actually have him #3)
    5. Donta Hightower (This would be passing on the rush for now – Solid MLB)
    6. Luke Kuechley (Passing on rush guy – Solid LB, and a team leader for tackles)
    7. Ingram – (wildcard – Might give us LB and a pass rush. Suspect vs run though)
    8. Upshaw – (Not a big fan of his – I don’t consider him with speed or pass rush)
    9. Decastro – (Best guard – Safe pick)
    10. WR of choice – Maybe Floyd?

  55. Ben2

    MJ – I agree. We need more pass rush. In a pass happy league you need to get to the other quarterback. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN KUELCHY or DeCASTRO!!! With good scouting and coaching (PC is a good defensive coach and Cable is a good O-Line coach) we can find good production at these positions in the later rounds. 1st round rusher gives best odds for PRODUCTIVE non-bust pass rusher.

    Hawkfin – I don’t understand your argument that you like Upshaw better at 16-20 as opposed to at 12 and then you go on to say that 1/2 of the 1st round players are busts. These 2 statements/beliefs seem to be at odds – meaning, who gives a crap if a player is drafted at 12 or 16? If your 16th pick has a 50% chance and your 12th pick has a 50% chance you just pick the guy you like best. I understand the idea of draft value but if you think a guy is will help your team at a premier position and he won’t be a bust (of course nobody THINKS their picks will be busts or they wouldn’t make them!) you pick him, period. I remember in 2009 all of the draft magazines had Brian Cushing’s “value” as that of a mid-rounder, Clay Mathews as a late 1st rounder, and Curry as a top 5 pick. That’s about where they went in reality – Curry @ 4, Cushing @ 15, and Mathews @ 26. So if the Hawks had drafted Mathews at 4 we wouldn’t have gotten “value?” Nonsense. People can then talk about trading back….but if there are no trade partners you pick your guy.

  56. Hawkfin

    When I said half of the first round picks are sometimes busts, that was a general comment and not geared at this draft. You’re taking it out of context. That was in relation to a different topic, not that the picks around Upshaw are busts.

    Who have I said will be busts? In my ranks I just showed you who I like, and I have all those guy’s AHEAD of Upshaw – Yet this makes Upshaw fall into the 20 range for me.

    I agree with everything you said, about if you like the player you take him… But, I don’t like Upshaw. I like Wittney. And yes, currently Wittney is rated in the 20’s like where I have Upshaw. But, I’m not scared to take the guy that fits and who I like.
    So Witteny is the guy that I move up my board higher.

    I think 10-16 are all pretty similar caliber players with personal likes.

    Understand where I’m coming from now? Not sure how to make it any clearer.

    I like Upshaw for a late pick. He’s not good enough to me to be picked at 12. I don’t feel he will give us that pass rush that everybody agrees we need.

  57. woofu

    I think Kuechly may be better at the next level as OLB. You just can’t tell unless they are mixing it up in camp. I would agree though you could not draft him at 12 with the intent of moving him. The first half or most of the 1st round anyway should be a player that will play heavily on day one at his scouted position (except Qb).

    I have this nagging thought about Kam at 250#’s as a LEO and taking Barron at 12 or later. Comment?

  58. MJ

    What happens if Ingram or Upshaw only get 5-8 sacks next year, but the entire team increases it’s output by 15? Sometimes it’s not necessarily finding a guy who will singlehandedly get 15 sacks, but his presence allows for other players to increase their output.

    I don’t care who gets the sacks. All that matters is that opposing QBs are under heat all the time. All I care about is obtaining a player who affects the W-L column, not the stat sheet. If Ingram and Uoshaw’s versatility creates havoc for opposing offenses, I don’t care if their stat sheet looks pretty. Red signed a big contract with dog crap numbers, but his presence allows for others to thrive. It’s the beauty of football (and why I hate basketball).

  59. MJ

    Woofu…interestingly enough, Barron was seen in HS as a kid that would have to move to WIL bc of his size. If he slipped to round 2, it would be fun to speculate if he could make that transition. I think he’s 6’2″ 220 LB, with the frame to add more weight. Won’t happen, but would be fun to see.

  60. peter


    Thanks for the response…I appreciate that…I like your list, I like Upshaw, but I can see the benefit of perhaps moving down, 4-6 spots and still being able to pick him up, all the while garnering at a minimum a fourth round pic this year.

    I feel like I’ve seen so much tape of the guy that now I’m sold on Hightower perhaps even more then Upshaw, though I do like the scheme versatility he brings which is my main like of Upshaw….

    Ither news, I’m fricking horrible at linking things, but oer at old Gil Brandt thinks Osweiler may have pushed himself into the first round, and Pete Carol, Jon Schneider, and Darrel Bevell were all in attendance at his pro-day…no word if he will visit the Seahawks, but….perhaps it’s time to fire up the old “Is Brock Osweiler worth it at the 43rd pick,” argument….

  61. Hawkfin

    8 sacks out of a LB? Good luck.
    Our DE’s can not even muster that hardly. If they get 5-8 in college, then they will get 1-3 in the pro’s. Why do you think a LB will become this huge threat on the pass rush?

    I rarely see our LB’s blitzing. They are in coverage most of the time and playing a zone or stopping the run. This = Luke

    I want pressure on 1st and 2nd downs, when they pass, and when we are not blitzing a LB. We can muster pressure if we Blitz. That’s not the problem.

    And both Ingram and Upshaw are not DE’s. They will be LB’s in the Pro’s.
    And both, you have to question there coverage skills. I think Ingram makes a bit more sense though, because he has some coverage and more speed.

    You create pressure from you’re front line 85% of the time I would say. The front 4 are you’re main force. You need a guy at DE that can do this all the time – Motor like Dwight Freeny all the time. They make you’re other front line guy’s better.
    This = Wittney Mercules or Coples

    But, since we only have 1 LB on the roster maybe it will be more important to get a LB. If so, it should be Luke or Hightower. Can’t solve everything with 1 pick.

  62. Ben2

    Got it Hawkfin, you like Mercilus if the FO is gonna draft a pass rusher 1st rd no matter what. And if we don’t get a pass rusher in the 1st round to get a TD maker like Floyd I can live with that…there are other options that will present themselves in later rounds to upgrade the pass rush. Kip has a good article on one of em’ – Massaquoi, etc.

  63. Hawkfin

    Thanks Peter – I’ve looked at a lot of the tape for Hightower too… I do really like him also.
    I think of Ray Lewis with that guy possibly. 🙂
    Him and Chance would be scary.

    I originally had him higher. But, the Knee injury worried me a bit. And still, we will not solve the pressure problems on Qb’s that we have.

    I moved him below Wittney… You should check more tapes on this guy.
    I’m really sold on him.

    I’m going to re-look at Upshaw. I just didn’t see it. I kept seeing Hightower who plays the natural LB spot.

  64. Doug

    Good on ya Hawkfin, you are correct in my opinion, neither Upshaw or Ingram are DE’s or LB’s. I have been in the Coples corner early on when everyone in here decided Ushaw was the guy. And, I agree that Mercilus is a better pick if Coples is gone. Let’s get a real DE and quit trying to turn a tweener into the real deal, mainly because I think every QB we face will lick his chops when he sees these guys on the field. They will option into a pass or a run depending on how they line up.

    Let’s get a real DE to play opposite Clemons, put a mixture of Jones/Red/Mebane around the middle and have some real LB’s that can actually play some coverage.

    And before yall start telling me how wrong I am, please don’t. It’s just my opinion, and it means nothing compared to what is really going to happen…

  65. MJ

    Ingram, Upshaw, Coples, or Mercilus would all be playing a hybrid role on the defense. You are looking at this too black and white as if they are playing a strict position. They would almost be playing a defensive playmaker type role. Von Miller was used similarly with Denver. Von Miller got 13 sacks as a LBer in Denver.

    I get that you don’t like Upshaw, but my argument is based on improving the pass rush over drafting a Guard or MLB. I don’t care who it is, I just want to see it improved as a team. I don’t care if one guy gets 40 sacks (yes ridiculous) or 5 guys get 8. The whole point is getting more QB pressure. Once again, I don’t give a flying shh who it is, but it needs to improve and we need to capitkaize on draf position to get the guy we want. Who cares if he is 15th or 18th on your “big board.” if you like a guy, he fits what you are trying to do, don’t get cute and take him (within reason, not saying take the 120th best player at 12).

    And trying to take sacks in college and project it to sacks in the NFL is kinda like playing the lottery.

  66. Rob

    Peter – I’m actually not a ‘soccer’ writer, but a broadcaster. I’ve got tickets to the Olympic soccer but really, the Euro’s are the be-all and end-all for English sports fans this year. Even so, looking forward to both and can’t wait for the Olympics to come to this country. Should be a great occassion.

    woofu – That’s Rang’s view. I disagree. And I have no idea about the Plum Duff. But I’m partial to a spotted dick.

    Doug – It’s not sticky at all. Every comment is respected and posted, I’ve only had to ban one person in my entire time on this blog. I encourage disagreement. But I’d rather that disagreement be based on analysing the player in question rather than analysing me or what we’re writing about. Your issue is largely down to the mock drafts, which are a tiny part of what me and Kip do. I haven’t actually written a lot of Upshaw articles. I just want to keep the discussion about prospects and not about the blog.

    Wes – On the whole Upshaw’s grade will be perfectly consistent with what it was at the end of the season. Some teams have always loved the guy, others don’t think he fits into their scheme or aren’t interested. That’s the same for a lot of prospects. I think we’ll see in less than a month why I’ve consistently stated he’s a top-16 lock.

  67. Jarhead

    Gee whiz, maybe some of this people judging Mercilus and Coples as decent options at 12 are using the same eyes that see Cant Wynn and say ‘THAT’S a winner!’ Hahaha

    Seriously, Coples is all the measurable and ZERO production. Watch the film- every play, even in the senior bowl where he supposedly ‘dominated’, he is playing straight up. His pad level is sky high. He will achieve no leverage nor seperatiob from NFL Tackles playing that way. And he doesn’t possess the intestinal fortitude to fight off double teams all day as a space occupying D Tackle.

    Mercilus is no measurable and ALL one season of production. He had three mediocre seasons of spot duty and inconsistency, and then one brilliant season rushing the passer. He does not fit our scheme ad will be suspect in run defense. He can not play OLB and will be a one trick pony in pass rushing. Unfortunately he lacks the strength, agility and mastery of a repitoire of pass rushing moves to pressure the QB.

    Richardson is of course the optimum selection, but I wager as much on Andrew Luck being there at 12 as Rich being there. He is too strong, too good, and had too much production at the top level in college for any of those teams to pass him up. Look, not everyone is going to like who we select. I think coples is lazy, DeCastro does not fit a true impact need, and Ingram (everyone draft guru’s darling) is too small and too weak and will get exposed and washed out in the nfl. I don’t see that being the case with Upshaw. High motor, the tape is there, and he is TOUGH. The intangibles are there. Keuchly is soft and making all his plays with his back to the line of scrimmage. He makes tackles but doesn’t blow plays up.

    There will be several disappointed fans on draft day assuredly. Just as there was when it was announced that Cant Wynn stole a cool 10 mil from our team’s coffers. But as I have said before- we will see it play out on the field. Carp sucks, yeah but Moffitt and ET look pretty good. Chancellor is a beast and so is the rest of our secondary. The bottom line is- ignore all other draft casting than this blog. Because ESPN and the NFL network have NO DESIRE to talk about Seattle nor do they have any insight as to our needs or any workings. It’s all right here gents. Agree to disagree. But we’ll find out what’s what on the 26th, and then we’ll see if our hunches were right or wrong come opening day.
    Cant Wynn sucks- just saying

  68. Jarhead

    Oy, spell and grammar check has failed me miserably…

  69. Michael (CLT)

    Rob, how can I search for previous posts? I would like to provide my analysis of every sack Upshaw garnered in 2011. I’m bummed I cannot find the original copy.

    Much thanks.

  70. Rob

    Archives in the menu bar, and there’s a search tool there. Just type in the name of a prospect.

  71. woofu

    “(I’m of the opinion that unless you find a pass-rusher you can play at the same time as Red and Clemons, we shouldn’t spend a high pick there)”.


    agree or not?

  72. Soggyblogger

    Good reading, and interesting analysis. What I see here on this board is people watching tape and trying to do a scout’s job in evaluating talent. A fun part of being a fan today. However, I see very little attempt to analyze our FO based upon their past performance, and predict what they will do. There seems agreement that they have decided on improving the pass rush, and will do that via a hybrid DE/OLB along the lines of Ingram, and less likely to do it with a prototypical DE. My understanding is we mostly play the 3-4 under and that uses the Hybrid type. We would need to switch to a standard 4-3 to need the standard DE with our current personnel. So most analysts have us taking Ingram or Upshaw. There is also some consensus that a Von Miller type is what we are looking for. The problem is, few of the players projected around the 12 spot have the equivalent athleticism of a Von Miller. My analysis shows only one player with the potential to have that kind of athleticism and perform at the level and similar type impact that Von Miller has had, and that player is Bruce Irvin who has other issues which have dropped his stock to about the 3rd or 4th round if not out of football altogether. It’s likely he will get drafted and get a shot unless he can’t keep his nose clean long enough to get the chance.

    We have seen the FO is not afraid to “reach” for the player they really want. We know they have participated in misdirection in the draft process. We know they ALWAYS are looking for QB’s, but will pass on them if who they want is not there. Take all of that into consideration and predicting the unpredictable is about all anyone can do. Yet, this forum seems stuck in a video loop with the same players being available and being mocked over and over. It’s happening to me, too, and so this is not criticism, but comment.

    I am imagining the FO has far fewer players they project as draft worthy then most here do. For instance, my guess is they would not take Blackmon if he was still available at 12. They could easily not be buying into his hype, just as I would guess they don’t buy into most of the top 40 players’ hype. From observing their performances of who they have taken, and who has still been available that they passed on, I think they have a fairly short list of those they would take in the first round or two.

    Priorities for the first round pick includes not taking someone who is at all questionable as to whether that player will succeed at the pro level. No busts. Reading all the comments, I am guessing they might exclude Upshaw, Kuechley, Mercilus, Coples, Tannehill, Ingram, as being questionable as to whether they will make the transition at all. At an elite level, that is. So I ask myself who is the closest thing to a sure thing? Who will come in and play at a high level? There might only be one or two on that list who will fall to the 12 position or isn’t a reach and someone they might get much lower. We know they tried to trade down last year and failed to come up with someone willing to give them what they wanted. The only players I really like who have any chance at all of falling to us is Trent Richardson. And I think he is not likely to fall, AND I think Doug Martin is nearly as sure a thing as Trent Richardson. So, If I am drafting for the Seahawks, I would be hoping TR falls to us at the 12 position, but if he doesn’t trading down to about the 24 or later and adding a second round pick as well. Then taking Doug Martin in the first, and addressing the pass rush situation with two second round picks or one 2nd round pick and a third round pick of Bruce Irvin.

    The DE’s in this draft are not sure things. It’s too dangerous to use a 12th pick on ANY of them. And I am not obsessed with RB’s, but if Lynch is unavailable, we have nothing at this point. Our offense will become way too predictable and pass happy. With TR or Martin we wouldn’t miss a beat. PC seems to be a run first coach. We have not signed up a reliable backup for Lynch. Maybe they see someone who can be had in much later rounds, and I hope so, but if not, the above would be my plan.

  73. Hawkfin

    I think we can use a rotation to keep the DE’s fresh, plus you protect yourself from injuries. (What if one of those guy’s get hurt?)
    Plus Clemons is up there in age, and will need to be replaced soon. And, he’s not even a sack artist. Maybe he could even move inside for us?
    Either way, a Wittney or Coples would be valuable and help with pressure more then a LB would.

    I admit, a LB might be more valuable if we don’t resign anybody as it stands right now.
    I mean there is a huge hole there right now. Whoever we draft, will have to come right in and play.
    But, if we choose to go that route then we should not be thinking pass rush so much. And instead, find the best all around LB.

    That’s Luke then Or Hightower to plug the middle.

    Why waist time with tweeners like Ingram and Upshaw that have no coverage skills and played like a DE. They have not done LB. Why risk that at 12 if you’re looking for a true LB. The other two are very good anyway and in my view better.

    Jarhead: You basically don’t like anybody other then Upshaw. You act like all these guy’s are bust picks. When in fact, it might be Upshaw.
    I think you’re way off on you’re evaluation with Whittney. He never even got the chance to start until this last year. And then he did what he did, plus he does do run support well. He could come right in and start at DE in my view. But yes, he probably would be in rotation for this year. But, it would make the pass rush deadly and fresh.

    I think you’re off on Coples as well. He had pretty good numbers for a DE overall. He supports the run very well. I do see a few things I didn’t like, but I have a whole lot more issues with Upshaw.

    But basically, you’re saying the top 2 DE’s in the draft are no good. And a DE that needs to be a LB is the best. You’re off target son.
    IF we go LB it should be Hightower or Luke. I admit we do need LB help.

    Thanks Doug!!! We are on the same page. You’ve got it right in my view as well.
    I don’t think we have to go DE though, as LB IS pretty important right now for us.
    But, Upshaw is not the LB I want then.

    I think people think Upshaw is this sack artist that can be a MLB and fill the 2 major holes on the Def. I don’t see any of that. I don’t think he fills either problem.

  74. Hawkfin

    Soggyblogger – Good post.
    Some interesting things there.

    I don’t really see our Def using our LB’s in this way though. I think others maybe want us too and think we can fix the pass rush that way. Maybe we can? i dono.
    I don’t see that as what we do on Def though.

    I see our LB’s in coverage all the time and ready to plug the run, while our front 4 does the pressure thing. This means you need good DE’s!
    And first and second downs, when we don’t blitz a LB is really where we struggle vs pass.

    That being said, if we do go this route and go for the hybrid LB/DE pressure guy. Then we should be drafting Ingram.
    Upshaw to me does not fit the bill for that role. He does not have the speed or that great of a pass rush in my view.

    And what do I think the Hawks actually take: I think they draft Luke Keuchly if they keep the pick. I think that they will try and trade down again. Might not happen.
    That’s how I see it. He’s a solid, productive, fills a need, good player, good combine, and safe pick. Seems like a lock actually.

    Coples will probably be in consideration if there. I think he’s gone.

    I think Whittney Mercilus will be a stud DE though. And next year we will be looking for a DE real bad I bet. I just hope he’s considered IF we do trade back.

    I’m on board with you for another RB. I like that kid you said as well. But, I would say in the 2nd round. Unless we go WR instead there.

    I love that first line – “Trying to do a scouts job”. 😀
    That IS fun. This site seems geared around that as well. It’s real cool to me!

  75. Soggyblogger

    Thanks, Hawkfin. I learn a lot from guys like you here. I have taken another look, and the only other player who fits our needs is Zach Brown, who is a true OLB and has experience in the spot. I hate assuming a guy like Upshaw or Ingram can make the switch from DE to OLB. Mercilus is being projected at OLB, but I would hope we could use him as a pure DE, and I do like him. He’s big enough to play DE. And I agree with your idea regarding rotating players through and keeping them fresh and having some depth at the position. PC/JS are not afraid to reach a bit if they are sold on their guy, and so IF they really love someone like Zach Brown then I think they might try to trade down, but if that doesn’t happen then take him with the 12th pick and be done with it. Someone else had an intelligent comment regarding taking Clay Mathews with the fourth overall pick instead of Curry, and I would add, what if they had taken Richard Sherman last year with their first pick? Of course, back then that would have been called an extreme reach and unnecessary at that, but in the end, he was worth it. So it would have worked out fine. So if they were to take Zach Brown in the first at 12, then I would not be too judgmental, since I bow to their much superior judgement.

    In the end, what is critical, is that our team is improved and win more games because of smart drafting skills. The availability of guys like Sherman and Baldwin in later rounds proves that excellent player evaluations can find real talent in later rounds that can come in and improve our team a lot. It would be nice to utilize our early picks to get elite players ready to plug and play.

    If this draft had a great class of DE’s I would be all in for plugging that spot. Alternatively, a great OLB would also fill our needs, and the OLB class looks stronger to me than the DE’s.

  76. Jim

    Jarhead; “”Mercilus is no measurable and ALL one season of production. He had three mediocre seasons of spot duty and inconsistency, and then one brilliant season rushing the passer. He does not fit our scheme and will be suspect in run defense. He can not play OLB and will be a one trick pony in pass rushing. Unfortunately he lacks the strength, agility and mastery of a repitoire of pass rushing moves to pressure the QB.””

    I wouldn’t want to confuse anybody with the facts, however, Mercilus came out after his -junior- season. As shown below, his sophmore year, even though not starting, produced some fairly decent stats. As to being a “one trick pony”, evaluations I’ve seen don’t knock him for his running game defense at all, and surely his pass rushing sucess is well established with his results as shown below.

    IMO: A player from a Big-10 school that produced the numbers that he did is worthy of considration by the Seahawks as a viable pass rusher. His measurables seem to me to be at least equal to if not better than many of the others ranked around his area as pass rushers. He also played very much in a hybrid manner, lining up in multiple positions and showing – by his production, that he is the real deal. The proof is in the pudding!

    Whitney Mercilus*, (Illinois)
    Height: 6-4 | Weight: 254 lbs. | Experience: *Junior
    Hand Size: 9 1/4″ | Arm Length: 33 1/8″ | 40 Yard Dash: 4.68 | Bench 27 Reps
    Vertical: 32.0″ | Broad 118″ | Projected: Round 1
    –2011 Season Stats:
    57 Tackles, 22.5 TFL, 16.0 Sacks, 1 PBU, 6 QBH, 9 Fumbles Forced, Fumble Recovered
    –2010 Season Stats:
    49 Tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7 Sacks, 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 Fumble Forced, Blocked Kick –

    Many have said that they can’t figure Mercilus out, including some on this blog. After watching a lot of tape on Mercilus, I am of the opinion that he plays some “mental games”, setting up his opponents for a few plays and then, bang, he’s on the QB or RB and his statistics get better. Also, 9 forced fumbles is IMO, an amazing statistic regardless of scheme.

    I’m not saying that the Seahawks should draft Mercilus, (unless they really see him as a pass rushing answer) only that he should be considered along with a few other pass rushers in the upcoming draft.

  77. Hawkfin

    I agree, the DE’s don’t look real deep. I think that’s why more then ever I’m so high on Wittney and Coples with the first round pick. Then fill LB later. (Hopefully, we have Hawthorne back though, because there is such a huge hole right now)
    To me, DE’s are hard to fill late anyway. You want a stud there almost, because it’s rare to find a guy with all the makeup to get 8+ sacks a year in the NFL and has a high motor that give constant pressure.

    I’ll take a look at the guy you mentioned at LB. I only went about 5 or 6 LB’s deep so far. This is the last position I still need to hit in depth. But, there appears a lot of them to me. Somebody may even drop into our high 2nd round pick even.

    I love the Mattews point. I feel Whittney is in the same tier as where Matthews was last year. Around 18th, some higher, some lower. But, not really a reach at #12 for us actually.
    You’re other example IS a bit of a reach though. I don’t mind reaching as long as it’s within a close tier.
    Carpenter was a bit of a reach, BUT it was close in tier so I didn’t have that much of a problem with it. My problem with that pick is I had the other guy rated higher. Forgot his name now. I think Chicago took him. He was a first round talent. Carpenter to me was a high 2nd round talent. But, I don’t fault them if that’s who they liked.

    Anyway, Whittney is in NO WAY a LB. He’s a true DE. He plays a true DE off the left and right tackle and plays hands down formation. He’s even played on the inside like a DT, which tells me he is also powerful. It’s easy to see that he and Coples are true DE’s, to where Ingram and Upshaw probably won’t be one.
    They might play on the line at times, but they would need to form into a LB if they want to see the field every down. Coples and Wittney can be every down players eventually at DE. I have no doubt about that. They could even come in as a 5th down line men as well. (Similar to what people want Upshaw/Ingram to do)

    I encourage everybody to just look at ALL the you tube tape on Wittney. Look at the bull rushes, look at the spin moves, Edge speed. Really watch the run plays and how he does in fact support the run. See the sacks pile on and not in just 1 game, but every game. View how he puts pressure on the QB most every play and doesn’t take plays off. It all tells me that he has a high motor. See all the double teams he causes teams to use on him, and even turnover plays that happens because of his pressure he puts on.
    See that he’s only a JR. and his combine looked good. 27 reps on the bench.

    He’s got 1 problem that I see…. Lack of production for multiple years. But, what does that really matter if he did what he did as a JR? I personally think he wasn’t given the chance to play all that much, and they didn’t no what they had in him.
    I see huge growth and potential regardless.

    Sorry to beat a dead horse… I just like him! 🙂

  78. Hawkfin

    Awesome post…

    This is probably what I should have done along time ago. I’m glad somebody else did.

    Thank you.

    I agree completely with you’re views on Whittney and i can tell that you’ve done you’re homework on him, like I have. Good job.

    I really hope he’s on our radar!

  79. Hawkfin

    One last note: What if Whittney stayed in School his Sr. year and duplicated his stats.
    Do you guy’s think for a minute he would be there at 12?

    Hell no… he would be a top 3 pick.

  80. Soggyblogger

    I haven’t seen tape on Mercilus, but his stat line looks good, and he sounds hungry. I won’t worry if that’s the direction we go. I will worry now about Ingram a lot, and Upshaw a little. If we go ILB with Kuechly, I won’t worry, but we will still need to address the pass rush. Another guy with some credentials is Jake Bequette out of Arkansas (SEC). Expected to go in the 3rd or 4th, but coming from Arkansas and the SEC I like what I have read so far. 6’4″ 274 lbs, 4.82 in the 40, and 4.07 !!!! in the 20 yard shuttle, and 6.9 in the three cone drill!!!!! 4.82 is not blazing, but 6.9 in the shuttle shows excellent quickness.

    “12/07/11 – 2011 ALL-SEC FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DL – Jake Bequette, Arkansas, has been selected All-SEC Conference First Team for the 2011 college football season as voted upon by the SEC head coaches. Bequette led the Razorback defense with eight sacks and ranked second in the SEC and seventh nationally with 0.89 sacks per game (8.0 in nine games this season). Bequette is second in the SEC and seventh in the country with 0.44 forced fumbles per game. A finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, Bequette also added four quarterback hurries, which is tied for third on the team. For his career, Bequette leads all active SEC players and ranks third on Arkansas’ all-time career sacks list with 21.5 sacks. – Arkansas football

    Just a thought how low in the draft we might still find help at the position…..

  81. Hawkfin

    My next Tier of DE’s are:

    Nick Perry (I have 2nd round grade)
    Shea McClellin – I like him (3rd round grade)
    Jared Crick (3rd-4th round grade)

    Cam Johnson and Chandler Jones next. (5th round grades)

    But, I think it’s a huge drop off in talent after Mercilus and Coples. And probably Perry.

    I’ll take another look at Jake Bequette… He was not on my list. Can’t remember if I didn’t scout him or if he didn’t make my cut. I’m pretty sure I went over all the DE’s though.
    Don’t have my notes handy about Bequette.

  82. Rob

    woofu – Upshaw would play at the same time as Red and Clemons.

  83. FWBrodie

    Hawkfin, I must say that I think you’re analysis of the pass rushers in this class is god awful.

    …and please, please learn how to spell the name of the guy you are talking about every third sentence. Whitney.

    Nobody has ever wanted Upshaw to play “MLB”. Nobody has ever mentioned Ingram and Upshaw as “5th down lineman.” Mercilus (Whitney) Has an excellent motor and a decent combination of speed and power but is an unimpressive technician and lacks the hands and one on one athleticism of some others in this class. You can tell a player has “power” because of what position he lined up at once? That’s a ridiculous statement. Soooo many other things to point out.

  84. Hawkfin

    We’ll just have to see won’t we… Picking an OLB in Upshaw that has never even played OLB is what’s god awful. And to do it at #12 even.

    My apologies on the spelling of my fav guy though. That is a little embarrassing. 🙂
    I didn’t even realize I was doing that.

    You don’t need to agree with my analysis. I gave many other reason’s why WHITNEY has shown power. But, when he lined up at DT I saw great push and power. I’m not sure if it was only once or not? He can lineup in many different formations.

    Anyway, I’m done. Really, you gave me nothing other then my spelling error.

  85. FWBrodie

    Upshaw lined up at 4-3 DE, he lined up at “3-4” Jack OLB (Leo), and he lined up at 4-3 OLB. Most of his time was spent up on the LOS. Upshaw will play near the LOS in the NFL whether it be DE,Leo 3-4 OLB, or even 4-3 OLB. That’s where he’s best utilized. When he lined up with depth and was able to diagnose and crash down to the LOS in college, he looked very good.

    My question to you. If the Seahawks’ ideal pick is Whitney Mercilus, how do you suggest getting him on the field on first down? Is he on the field on 3rd and 2? Can you get him, Red, and Clemons on the field at the same time? I’m guessing the answer is no. So you’re burning a R1 pick on what boils down to a specialist for the Seahawks. Seems a little questionable to me. Another point for you: no, Clemons cannot move inside to DT.

  86. PatrickH

    “Can you get him, Red, and Clemons on the field at the same time?”

    This question not only applies to Whitney Mercilus, but to Upshaw, Ingram, Coples, and Nick Perry as well. In the base defense, when Red Bryant, Clemons, Mebane, and Branch are all on the field, what’s the role of the 5th player? Should he be the extra pass rusher, or dropped into coverage? Who among the ones I listed can do both well? I think Ingram is the most robust option among the ones I listed, but in Rob’s recent mock drafts he never made it to 12 though.

  87. Rob

    FWBrodie: “My question to you. If the Seahawks’ ideal pick is Whitney Mercilus, how do you suggest getting him on the field on first down? Is he on the field on 3rd and 2? Can you get him, Red, and Clemons on the field at the same time? I’m guessing the answer is no. So you’re burning a R1 pick on what boils down to a specialist for the Seahawks.”

    This is the key point here, well made by FWBrodie. Seattle is looking for a three-down player who will be able to play in any look. He’ll need to be able to play with Red and Clemons, he’ll need to short yardage situations, he’ll need to rush the passer. If Seattle was looking for a pure LEO, I’d be more inclined to consider the Mercilus’ and Perry’s of this class. Yet they aren’t looking for a pure LEO, they are looking for someone who can act as an aggressive DE/OLB hybrid who excels vs the run and reading in space. That’s what separates Upshaw and Ingram from the rest of the pack.

  88. PatrickH


    What about Vinny Curry or Andre Branch as option at 12? They both seem to be good DE/OLB hybrid and are more athletic than Upshaw. They are not as strong against the run as Upshaw, but playing behind/next-to Red Bryant perhaps that won’t be a major liability.

    BTW, I realize that on most draft boards Curry and Branch are late 1st/early-2nd round guys, so it’ll likely be considered a reach if either one of them is taken at 12.

  89. Rob

    Curry is the intriguing one I think, although he’s generally considered more of a late first, early second type. I think he could go earlier than that though. But he’s an option if Seattle moves down for sure.

  90. FWBrodie

    I think Branch is going to fall way out of round one.

  91. Hawkfin

    So, who say’s that we are not looking for a pure LEO? And who’s saying we are looking for a Hybrid OLB? Because I have not heard that we are, and I don’t even see us running that kind of player on Def. currently?

    I hear that from this site and some Hawks fans. Maybe I’ve missed the boat on that point?

    But here’s the thing. I consider Upshaw no different then how Whitney played. Where does Upshaw’s coverage skills come into play, that Whitney can’t do either possibly?
    They’ve both pretty much lived on the line in college.
    Whitney is faster from what I’ve seen. He probably could do LB role if asked too.
    Sounds like neither would actually be in coverage that much anyway. So Whitney will be fine on the field as this type of player for awhile, until he beats out or replaces Clemons at DE.

    Why Can’t we have a full Leo anyway? I think I’d prefer that. I don’t see why Whitney couldn’t be used as a 5th down line guy or off the line a bit as the OLB or whatever.

    If you want a true Hybrid “forever” though, then I think Ingram is the guy. I’d rather just get a true LB instead. Probably a MLB that runs the show on Def. and lays the wood. (i.e. Hightower)

  92. Rob

    Only relaying info we’ve received. I understand it’s not a case of replacing Clemons (in 2012 or the future), it’s finding a 3-down compliment. The discussions about coverage are over blown and really the player we draft will only work underneath and track RB’s. That’s why we’ve got big, physical, fast corners and why we’ll almost certainly see more speed at MLB in 2012. It’s about finding someone who reads well in space, plays tough against the run and gets to the QB, in a hybrid role. That’s why Upshaw and Ingram are the two options we lean to here. But I wouldn’t rule out Mercilus because the pass rush is key, I just think there are other players more likely to fit what the team is looking for.

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