October 2016 Sea-Mock

By Jared Stanger

I’ve traditionally done an October Seahawks mock draft for the last few years, but usually I wait until the half-way point of the NFL season. I’m writing one a couple weeks early this year cause I was just getting that itch.

Since the last mock I did, I believe Seattle traded a 7th round pick to the Raiders for LB/S Dewey McDonald, and then they were docked a 5th round pick for the training camp fight. This is after trading away their 4th rounder to New England as part of the 2016 draft. But they are still due a 7th round conditional pick for sending Kevin Norwood to Carolina, and currently project to receive two compensation picks for the loss of Bruce Irvin and JR Sweezy.

At one point, based purely on the contracts they signed, Seattle was looking at 4th round comps for both Bruce/Sweez, but with JR dealing with injury for Tampa, the league can, and likely will, reduce that down to a 5th or 6th. I’ll call it a 5th for now. Overthecap also points out that Seattle could still regain a 6th round comp if Webb or Sowell is cut before week 10 of the season.

So, currently, the Seattle 2017 draft looks like: 1, 2, 3, 4c, 5c, 6, 7t. And Seattle is currently slated to draft approximately 26th overall (this will update after Monday Night Football wraps up this week’s games).

1st Round

I know everyone wants Seattle to address that OL, and specifically OT, but I don’t think it’s going to happen early in this draft. The three top OT on pretty much every draft board are all underclassmen, and one of them (Mike McGlinchey) has already said he’s staying in school for his Senior year. That leaves potential first rounders at Cam Robinson (likely gone before Seattle picks), and Roderick Johnson (who I really think is not good, at all).

My favorite 2017 draft-eligible OT is Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk (also a Junior). Follow the tweet hyper-link for a thread of gifs on Ramczyk vs Michigan State:

Ramczyk is listed 6’6″/314 by UW…which is a GREAT size for a Tackle. Reports are he’s pretty well SPARQ’d up, too. If he declares this year, his combine testing, and the shallow depth of OT in the class, might put him out of Seattle’s reach. Pretty likely, actually.

If Ramczyk stays in school, and we get some of the 2018 underclassmen to declare early, 2018 will end up a great time to try and get a quality LT even late in the 1st round.

So, if the 1st round isn’t OT; what might it be? As I theorized recently (niche drafting), Seattle should look to play to the strengths of this draft class. This year, the three strongest positions are RB, DE, and CB. I don’t think a 1st round RB is good value. I don’t think Seattle values CB that early. So…get yourself an edge guy, and get yourself ahead of the curve for 2018 unrestricted free agent Cassius Marsh.

Current Draftscout projections have Dawaune Smoot (#29) and Charles Harris (#30) available late in the 1st. These are two guys that I’ve been targeting since, at least, May. Smoot is listed 6’3″/255 and Harris is at 6’3″/260. I haven’t watched much of Harris’ 2016 tape as, for most of the year, he’s been projected to come off the board before Seattle picks.

I have watched a couple games from Smoot and, after starting off the year really slowly, Dawaune has started coming alive in the last 2-3 weeks. His overall production still isn’t spectacular (30 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 5 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles), but over the last 3 games Smoot has averaged 6 tackles and 2 TFL per game.

Here are some gifs from his game vs Nebraska three weeks ago (follow link):

Charles Harris has also had a slow-ish start: 24 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 4 QB hurries, 1 FF. Interesting thing about Harris is that he’s sitting at 260 lbs, has been used some as an inside rusher; so if he could get to 270-275, you might have someone closer to Mike Bennett.

If Seattle can pull either of these guys in the 1st round, I think you HAVE to do it. There is currently a dropoff of almost a full round to the next tier of edge guys.

For purposes of this mock, and for higher plausability, I’m giving Seattle:

1st- DE Dawaune Smoot, Illinois

2nd Round

My 2nd round thought might surprise people. After drafting three RB in 2016 many, or even most, might think this is too early for another RB, but…..

Christine Michael is an impending UFA…Rawls is dealing with his second time breaking a leg bone…Prosise has seen two regular season touches so far in his inaugural PHMHDPOTY campaign…Collins has looked out of shape…and Brooks was cut and phantom-rostered for weeks before re-appearing on the PS. Spiller is also an UFA, and after Sunday’s drop, may not even last the year (depending on Prosise).

And the draft class is just TOO flush with potential bell-cow backs. Draftscout has Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey gone in the 1st…Royce Freeman, Samaje Perine, Nick Chubb in the 2nd. This does not even account for a potential rise from the likes of D’onta Foreman, Jamaal Williams, Jarvion Franklin, Corey Clement, Brandon Radcliff, Alvin Kamara, etc.

Right now, after coming back from the major knee injury, and not really having a great production year, I’m seeing a slide in the ranking of Nick Chubb, and I would take advantage of such a thing. Draftscout has Nick at #64 today.

2nd- RB Nick Chubb, Georgia

3rd Round

I’m not going to spend too much exposition on this one. I think this is an AWESOME draft for CB’s. For Seahawks’ purposes and “types”, this draft might be deepest for their own board at CB. That might be an argument to push this pick back a round. But with Seattle’s current draftpick allotment…no 4th round pick until the comp pick group (assuming they actually get a 4th for Bruce)…I just don’t want to risk missing on my 1A at Corner.

I think the CB that best fits the profile of a Seattle CB this draft is Brandon Facyson. I mean, this guy is SUCH a Seahawk. 6’2″/195lbs, 19 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 7 PBU, 1 FF in 2016. Draftscout has him at #109 (mid-4th round), but I’d run to the podium for him in the 3rd.

The other player I really like at this spot is Temple OLB/DE Haason Reddick. I’ve been on Reddick since the beginning of the year, and his stock will only continue to skyrocket as his production continues to get people to watch him. Reddick currently leads FBS in TFL with 14.0 in 7 games played. Draftscout has him at #107 overall, but I think his production and combine testing could elevate him into the 2nd round.

3rd- CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech

4th Round Comp

Seattle really needs to add like 3 more picks to this draft. I’m not mocking enough trades to get them there, but I will mock one here. 2017 will be the first year comp picks may be traded, and I’ll project Seattle swapping 4c for a 5th and a 7th.

Ever since Seattle drafted Nick Vannett last year, I’ve had this growing suspicion Luke Willson might leave in free agency. Luke getting hurt this week probably furthers that thought. And this is a good class of TE. It adds up.

Some of the TE that could come off in this range include: Blake Jarwin, Pharoah Brown, Cam Serigne, Josiah Price. But the guy I’m targeting is Cole Hikutini.

There are a lot of TE in this class that are more the Z tight end…the glorified wide receiver. After drafting a true Y, in-line TE last year in Vannett, Seattle could be in the market for a Z now. Those guys include pretty SPARQ’d up names like Darrell Daniels, Gerald Everett, Jonnu Smith. Everett would the one from that group I would target.

Hikutini is a pretty standard 6’5″/248lb TE that has shown me flashes as both a receiver and a blocker. I don’t have any gifs of him yet, but please enjoy some of his JUCO highlights:

http://www.hudl.com/video/3/2993248/5721be254df6124b70060796

5A- TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville

5th Round Comp

I kind of have this pick earmarked as a special teams player. I don’t know if that means replacing UFA (Mike Morgan or Kelcie McCray), or one of the many RFA (Neiko Thorpe, Brock Coyle, Dewey McDonald, Deshawn Shead, Jordan Tripp). And I really won’t have a great sense of which players will test high enough to be what I think qualifies for what Seattle likes on ST.

I’m going with Colorado DE/OLB Jimmie Gilbert Jr. Listed at 6’5″/230, he’s built similarly to Mike Morgan who came out of USC at 6’3″/226 and now weighs 235 lbs. Most of Gilbert’s tape is at pass-rushing linebacker, but he shows some adeptness to drop in coverage. I think Gilbert gives the flexibility of DE, OLB, and special teams that would check off a lot of boxes for me at this point.

Draftscout has Gilbert ranked as an UDFA at #533 overall. So I’m going aggressive taking him in the 5th. Unless I’m right about him, in which case this is appropriate value.

5c- OLB Jimmie Gilbert Jr, Colorado

6th Round

It’s somewhat tempting to take UW’s Joe Mathis here but I don’t know how much ST he can play. There are a handful of WR that are undervalued in this range, too. But I’m sticking to my theme. It’s a double-dip at CB, and this is another long, 6’2″/203lb DB who I am projecting as a corner/safety hybrid with special teams duties.

Rasul Douglas is almost the exact same size Kelcie McCray was when he came out of Arkansas State in 2012. On the year, Douglas has posted 2 INT, 4 PBU, 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 28 total tackles. That’s a pretty big number of tackles for a corner and it leads me to believe he’d be really good playing in the box safety, if needed.

Douglas is ranked #767 overall.

6th- DB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia

7th Round A

With Tony McDaniel only signed on a 1-year deal, Rubin and Reed projecting as starters next year; Seattle can look for some depth at DT in the late rounds. I like Treyvon Hester as a 3rd down 3tech. At 6’3″/300lbs, Treyvon has posted 23 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks, and 3 hurries in six games this year.

This is one of the better big-man pass rushers I’ve seen this year that doesn’t come with the SEC tax.

Hester is Draftscout’s #256 overall. Which is technically the Mr. Irrelevant slot.

7a- DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

7th Round B

I stumbled upon tape of this RT from William and Mary one night. He’s listed 6’8″/305 and looks like an athletic project, but that’s often what Seattle likes in the 7th. At this point, his run-blocking is ahead of his pass-pro. He likely ends up having to go through the practice squad.

Ugokwe has to test exceptionally well for this to be a realistic pick. He certainly isn’t ready on tape. Ugokwe is Draftscout’s #717 overall.

7b- OT Jerry Ugokwe, William and Mary

 

Recap

1st- DE Dawaune Smoot, Illinois

2nd- RB Nick Chubb, Georgia

3rd- CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech

5A- TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville

5c- OLB Jimmie Gilbert Jr, Colorado

6th- DB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia

7a- DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

7b- OT Jerry Ugokwe, William and Mary

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Stanger Things: CB

stranger-things

By Jared Stanger

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last week looking deeper into this really good cornerback class. The high end is pretty special, with names: Marlon Humphrey, Teez Tabor, Cordrea Tankersley, Sidney Jones already well-known. Draftscout has all four of those players ranked in their current top-45 prospects. Those guys are all listed 6’0″ and 181 lbs and up. I think Quincy Wilson will soon be joining them. But those aren’t the names I’m going to talk about.

The next tier of names come from the slightly smaller of stature. The 5’10”-5’11” guys like Adoree Jackson, Cameron Sutton, Tre’davious White, and Jourdan Lewis ranked in the 2nd- 3rd round range. But those aren’t the names I’m going to talk about.

No, I’m only going to talk about the guys that fall after pick number 96 overall, and in the 4th round down. Names like Brandon Facyson and Kevin King that you’ve heard from me before, but I’ve also dug up a plethora of new names That I think deserve further examination.

Brandon Facyson – 6’2″/197, ranked #109

Facyson burst onto the scene of a notoriously quality Virginia Tech secondary in 2013 when he posted 5 INT, and 8 PBU as a freshman. After dealing with injury off-and-on the last couple years, Facyson currently sits at 16 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 5 PBU, and 1 FF in 2016.

Kevin King – 6’3″/192, ranked #169

Playing at UW, I’ve been aware of King for a while, but it was when I saw him last spring at the UW “combine” when I really started to get a sense that he has all of the qualities Seattle looks for in a corner.

Obviously, the size is great, but he also brings pretty elite athleticism with 4.4 speed, almost 40″ vertical, and pretty ridiculous agility testing. Most of the CB in this story I will highlight their cover technique…I think King has great cover skills, too…but I think an important distinguishing characteristic for him, is his tackling ability.

I’ve often wondered why King isn’t used outside more often, but the answer might be simply that Coach Petersen likes having him closer to the box because he’s so useful in the run game. King currently has 18 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, and 4 PBU.

Des Lawrence – 6’1″/185, ranked #230 overall

I’m still forming my opinion on Des. I was hoping his matchup vs Isaiah Ford would be enlightening, but due to the hurricane the weather limited the passing game. 18 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 5 PBU.

Ahkello Witherspoon – 6’3″/195, ranked #235

Colorado is starting to get some buzz on their other CB Chidobe Awuzie, but I’m keeping my eye on Witherspoon. Speaking of keeping eyes on things…watch how ‘Kello reads Darren Carrington’s eyes, then turns to locate the ball, and gets the pick.

Witherspoon: 8 tackles, 1 INT, 8 PBU.

David Rivers III – 6’1″/185, ranked #709

Just a guy that I stumbled upon while messing around on youtube, but there is something to this guy that made me keep digging. This week I found a copy of Youngstown State playing West Virginia, and in it Rivers has snaps vs the talented Shelton Gibson and Kevin White’s younger brother Ka’raun White. I really like his technique and continue to wonder if Bo Pelini teaches the step-kick.

Rasul Douglas – 6’1″/208, ranked #767

I first spotted Rasul while watching Tyler Orlosky (WVU’s center) vs BYU. Suddenly, there’s this play while WVU’s on defense that bore striking resemblance to a pretty famous Seattle CB play.

I think Rasul has a bit of work to do in his technique, but he’s showing enough in instincts, athleticism, toughness, and intelligence to merit close watch the rest of the year. Douglas so far: 25 tackles (a pretty big number for a CB), 1.0 TFL, 2 INT, 4 PBU.

Tyree Robinson – 6’4″/205, ranked the #8 FS for 2018

Robinson is a Junior and he’s played a bit of both CB and FS, but this week vs UW I primarily noted him at CB. And he was pretty solid against very good WR.

I like his technique, and seeing that big CB frame along the right redline totally brought to mind Deshawn Shead. I’d really like to see him play at 210-212 pounds. 32 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 3 PBU.

I mean, this is a very cool list of players with upside that are all currently fitting the Seahawks’ usual size and draft value requirements. And I haven’t even studied all of the names I plan to cover. I certainly don’t know who I’d favor Seattle drafting. But, then again, I kind of think Seattle will draft two CB in 2017.

The Seahawks and niche drafting

By Jared Stanger

Over the last 4-5 years that I’ve been studying the Seahawks and their draft practices, I’ve sort of had this subconscious sense that they tend to draft towards the positional strengths, or niches, of each draft season. Today I thought I would try to lay that out as a more fully-formed presentation. We will go year by year since the Pete Carroll and John Schneider regime have been in town, and we’ll look at how the draft classes look in hindsight nationally, and how Seattle played along with those classes. The theory is that Seattle will draft from each year’s position(s) of greatest talent/depth in the top 2 rounds.

2010

37 Pro Bowlers – 1 OC, 3 CB’s, 4 DE’s, 3 DT’s, 1 OG, 3 LB’s, 3 OT’s, 0 QB, 3 RB’s, 6 Safety, 4 TE’s, 6 WR’s.

So hindsight tells us 2010 had greatest volume of high-end talent at Safety and Wide Receiver. Seattle’s 1st and 2nd round picks that year: OT, FS, WR. Seattle actually double-dipped at Safety that year, drafting both Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.This may also be a thing.

And, though 2010 didn’t produce the top number of pro bowl talent at Tackle, the three named-Pro Bowlers (Trent Williams, Russell Okung, Zane Beadles) were also joined by the likes of Anthony Davis, Bryan Bulaga, Jared Veldheer, and J’Marcus Webb.

2011

26 Pro Bowlers – 2 OC’s, 2 CB’s, 8 DE’s, 2 DT’s, 0 LB’s, 0 OG, 1 OT, 3 QB’s, 2 RB’s, 0 Safety, 3 TE’s, 3 WR’s.

This is the lone outlier year where Seattle seemed to not follow strategy, and instead drafted hard for NEED. They didn’t make a 2nd round pick, so the only player that fell within 1st-2nd was James Carpenter. Had Seattle followed strategy, the pick at #25 should have been DE Muhammad Wilkerson.

2012

20 Pro Bowlers – 0 OC, 1 CB, 1 DE, 2 DT’s, 1 OG, 3 LB’s, 1 OT, 4 QB’s, 2 RB’s, 2 Safeties, 0 TE, 2 WR’s.

Obviously, this was the best QB year of the last decade, probably, and Seattle considered taking Russell Wilson in the 2nd round, but instead played long-game, took their LB (from the second-strongest position group), and then came around and got QB in the 3rd.

As for Seattle’s first round pick…it was DE Bruce Irvin, and though the DE’s from 2012 haven’t contributed at Pro Bowl level in numbers, the class did yield five 1st-rounders, and names like: Irvin, Chandler Jones, Whitney Mercilus, Vinny Curry, Olivier Vernon, Malik Jackson.

Even though outcome hasn’t been what was expected of the DE class, it was still a class at the time that was believed to be very good.

2012 also marked two more instances of Seattle double-dipping in the deep position groups: 2 DE in Irvin and Scruggs, and 2 LB in Wagner and Toomer.

2013

16 Pro Bowlers – 1 OC, 2 CB’s, 1 DE, 2 DT’s, 1 OG, 1 LB, 0 OT, 0 QB, 3 RB’s, 1 Safety, 2 TE’s, 2 WR’s.

Let us first acknowledge that 2013 was the worst draft we’ve seen in 10 years. Across the board.

This was a year that Seattle traded away their 1st round pick. We now can safely assume to know why: Why bother with this dreck?

So what did Seattle do with their 2nd rounder? RB Christine Michael. AND…Seattle double-dipped at RB, picking Spencer Ware in the 6th round. Fourth instance of double-dipping in four years.

2014

13 Pro Bowlers – 1 CB, 2 DE’s, 1 DT, 2 OG’s, 1 LB, 2 QB’s, 1 RB, 3 WR’s.

Many believe that it takes three years as pro’s to really have a sense of a draft class, so this is the point where the data is probably too thin to rely on. We’re kind of basing the next few years on pre-draft reputation.

Again, no 1st rounder for Seattle. But the earlier 2nd rounder went to WR Paul Richardson. And the double-dip went to Kevin Norwood (5th time).

I’m not sure how to interpret the data for the other 2014 2nd rounder; Justin Britt. He’s now on his 3rd position. If we consider him among the OT (his rookie position), it wasn’t a deep group. If we consider him at OG, he’d be with Zack Martin and Trai Turner. If we consider him at OC, he’d be with Weston Richburg, Travis Swanson, Bryan Stork, Russell Bodine.

If we consider Britt at OT, then we find another double-dip (Garrett Scott in the 6th).

2015

We can really only go on reputation for this year, but it was supposed to be a very good year for DE’s: Dante Fowler, Arik Armstead, Shane Ray, Preston Smith, Danielle Hunter, Vic Beasley, Bud Dupree, Hau’oli Kikaha, Randy Gregory, etc.

A third consecutive year for Seattle to pass on drafting in the 1st round, but they take DE Frank Clark with their 2nd round choice. And they double-dipped with DE Obum Gwacham in the 6th round.

2016

The biggest buzz all of the 2015 college season was how good and crazy-deep the 2016 class of Defensive Tackles would be. It’s entirely too early, and many of the 2016 DT have been hurt, but Seattle did draft Jarran Reed in the 2nd round, and then double-dipped with Quinton Jefferson in the 5th.

As for the 2016 Seattle 1st rounder…I’m, again, not sure how to classify him. Drafted as an OT, installed as the immediate starter at RG, but consistently mentioned as a future RT; what do we consider him for this exercise?

I tend to lean toward calling him a Tackle a) because that is the reported plan for him, b) it would help Seattle’s 2017 draft to move Ifedi to RT, c) it furthers my theory for this article (wink).

If Ifedi is an OT, he joins the ranks of Ronnie Stanley, Jack Conklin, Laremy Tunsil, and Taylor Decker…all of whom have seemed to show well so far as rookies. (I don’t think, however, I can get away with claiming an OT double-dip for Rees Odhiambo. I expect he will primarily play OG as a pro.)

2017

So what does this mean moving forward? If the theory holds, and if my sense of the 2017 draft class is tracking correctly, I would guess the first 2 rounds would go: DE then RB.

RB will probably be the deeper of the two groups, but I think it’s the position less prioritized in drafts league-wide; so you can push it to the 2nd (much like in 2016 when OL was prioritized over the more-fungible DT).

The wildcard this year, however, is that I’m starting to sense the 2017 CB class might be pretty special, too. That would raise a question: which of Seattle’s demonstrated draft patterns (not drafting a CB before the 4th round, or drafting along with positional depth in the top two rounds) would win out in that case?

We’ll find out in April.