Combine preview

By Jared Stanger

The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine starts a week from Wednesday in Indianapolis with weigh-ins for OL, RB, and ST. They will also be the first groups to conduct field testing on Friday. The successive order on the field goes:

Friday- OL, RB, ST
Saturday- QB, WR, TE
Sunday- DL, LB
Monday- CB, S

Offensive Line

In the offensive line groups, I don’t know that we will see much athleticism from the Centers. I think, in a general sense, the guards could have the best athletes out of all three spots. The interesting thing is gonna be the weird moment when Quenton Nelson doesn’t test very well. Better testers could include Braden Smith, Isaiah Wynn and Austin Corbett. I’ll be curious what Will Hernandez and Wyatt Teller post in the bench.

For the tackles, the one I feel safe in saying he should win the combine is Brian O’Neill. He could be Lane Johnson-esque. He has decent tape. A couple others that could test well that don’t have great tape: Rick Leonard and Greg Senat.

Guys that have good tape you hope simply hit passable benchmarks: Mike McGlinchey, Connor Williams, Tyrell Crosby, Martinas Rankin, Chukwuma Okorafor. Anything under 5.20s in the forty with a 9′ broad jump and/or a 30″ vert are very solid.

Running Back

There are three names I’m most curious to see test at RB: Saquon Barkley, Ronald Jones, and Kalen Ballage. Ballage needs a good combine, Barkley doesn’t, and I’m dreading what a good combine will do for Jones.

The guy that I think will disappoint is Derrius Guice. I’ve read the reports that he’s running 4.49s in training, but I’ve watched some of his practice 40 reps and it doesn’t look 4.4. In general, I feel like LSU athletes are disappointing combine athletes.

And then the group that just needs to hit general benchmarks because their tape is good: Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Lavon Coleman. A forty in the 4.55-4.57s range from that group is fine.

Quarterback

Don’t worry about QB athleticism. Worry about their FBI. Period.

Wide Receiver

WR has a pretty wide spectrum of athlete type, so you can find a wide spectrum of results. You don’t mind a 4.55 from a 6’3″ outside WR, you don’t mind a bad vertical from a slot guy. You can use a WR to his best traits: agility, jumpballs, speed.

Known entity overall athletes include Braxton Berrios and Christian Kirk. I happen to know Dante Pettis is not recognized enough for his athleticism. I suspect DJ Moore and Cedrick Wilson are very high scorers. And then a guy like Robert Foster from Alabama HAS to be some kind of freak…what other reason would there be for a guy with 35 total receptions in 4 years be doing at the combine.

The speed I like best from this group is from Keke Coutee, and then DJ Chark could have a very fast time for his size.

Marcell Ateman was recently reported to be hitting upwards of 40″ in his vertical.

But I think the biggest combine winner at WR will be Courtland Sutton. He’s already high on most boards, but I feel like he’s not acknowledged enough for this athleticism.

Tightend

I don’t think this a tremendously athletic TE group. I think the two to keep an eye on are Ian Thomas and Jordan Akins. Akins might be the big winner.

Jaylen Samuels is listed as a TE for the combine, but his future position may be something else. But relative to these other, true TE he should test well.

The guys with solid tape that we just need to see hit benchmarks are Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, and Dallas Goedert. The latter may not do a full test battery until his pro day.

The big name at TE that I just don’t get is Hayden Hurst. He is overaged and looks to be someone that gets massively overdrafted.

Defensive Line

Josh Sweat is perhaps the best athlete in this combined DE/DT group (maybe one of the top 5 of any position). Other pretty well-known athletes: Vita Vea, Kentavius Street, Taven Bryan.

Out of the big boys, the next names after Vea that I’m interested in seeing are Tim Settle, Kahlil McKenzie, and Nathan Shepherd.

Off the edge, I think Duke Ejiofor could make a lot of money if he has the day that he’s hitting in training. My guess is that Rasheem Green surprises people and Arden Key disappoints people (another LSU guy lacking athleticism).

Linebacker

The big buzz is on Tremaine Edmunds and Leighton Vander Esch. I don’t think either look as athletic on tape as the reports from scouts (which may actually be from agents) are saying.

The two that I’m more interested in seeing are Shaquem Griffin and Lorenzo Carter. Griffin’s speed, even at his smaller size, pops off the screen. And Carter has put up big test numbers in the past.

Malik Jefferson is another that has put up big numbers in the past. He should win the combine from this group.

There is a whole collection of college DE that are testing at LB that I’m going into the Sunday field day with an open mind about: Uchenna Nwosu, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Kemoko Turay, Jeff Holland, Trevon Young, Marquis Haynes.

Cornerback

The buzz at CB seems to be Donte Jackson running in the 4.2’s. I just don’t get that excited about 175lb corners. In terms of just the combine, I think the Alabama trio (quartet if you think Minkah is a CB) are interesting names to watch test. Isaiah Oliver should test well, too.

After years of studying Seattle draft; I’m pretty particular about CB’s now. And the guy that I think fits Seattle best, and who could make the most money at the combine, is Isaac Yiadom. Right height/weight/length. Plus this:

Safety

Safety is always funny. It’s a hard position to study from TV tape, so you sometimes procrastinate doing it. So it becomes the last position you can get a true feel for in terms of the class as a whole. In the last few weeks I’ve really started to come around on this class of Safeties.

Minkah and Derwin at the top should have impressive Mondays. I tend to think Minkah has the better day of the two.

Jessie Bates is making a late rush towards the top of the draft. I think he’ll have a solid workout. My eyes have less problem with Deshon Elliott’s athleticism from his game tape than most others. These two (plus Jeremy Reaves who wasn’t invited to the combine) are the three to track.

And lastly there are a trio of DB’s testing with the Safeties that could represent similar prospects to Seattle as Mike Tyson was in 2017: safety that could play CB. That list is Siran Neal, Josh Kalu, Kameron Kelly. In fact, all have more experience at CB than Tyson did. Actually, add Jessie Bates to this group.

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My game is Earl

By Jared Stanger

This offseason is poised to continue to be a massive transition for the Seattle Seahawks. We’ve already seen huge turnover on the coaching staff (which may not be done), and the player roster is coming. Tons of free agents, some cap cuts, some potential trades.

Perhaps the biggest potential trade coming could be looking to find draft picks for the biggest trade chip on the team: Earl Thomas. Earl has, through either an emotional outburst or calculated career positioning, expressed interest in playing for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s of an age where his body, and those of similar age group and contract status, has started breaking down.

Seattle as recently as 2017 floated the idea of trading a pro bowl player, and the hindsight of that non-trade is that the player got hurt and no longer carries near the same trade value. Seattle also has a recent example of extending a veteran secondary player with a very team-unfriendly contract, and then losing that player to injury.

The logic of my mind says let’s not risk either of those again. Let’s go full rebuild, and trade Earl while he still holds pretty high value, and then reapply those draftpicks to getting younger again.

Now, I’m not the type to suggest crazy moves without a chain of command type plan. So, this becomes a profile of the 2018 draft player that I would use to replace Earl. This is Jeremy Reaves.

First, the physical comparison. Earl came out of Texas at 5’10″/208lbs (played his rSoph year at 197lbs) with a 4.49s combine forty and a 4.37s pro day. Jeremy was measured at the Senior Bowl as 5’11″/204lbs. I will optimistically suggest Reaves could hit the 4.49s forty mark at his pro day. I say “pro day” because Reaves was weirdly not invited to Indy for the combine. More on that later.

On tape; there is no one else in this class whose game brings Earl to mind more than Reaves.

Reaves is a very solid hitter for his size. He’s also a very tactical hitter, and has a knack for putting helmet or shoulder on the football. Three examples:

Considered a PBU rather than a FF:

In Pete Carroll’s “all about the ball” mindset, Reaves has to be one of the players on his list with 3 INT, 8 PBU, and 3 FF for 2017.

Reaves is one of the best Safety tacklers I’ve watched this year. Both film and boxscore concur (104 tackles for the season).

I think the two things that differentiate a replacement level safety and a legit single-high stud are related: 1) ability to come from deep and make plays in the run-game.

2) ability to get from CF to either sideline in pass coverage.

There isn’t a ton of coverage assignments on the South Alabama tape I watched on Reaves from this year (although he did play CB in previous years). But I really appreciated this play from the Senior Bowl on a very good, very big TE:

The quick recap on Reaves film: very good tackler, very good hitter, very good speed, very good FBI. I wouldn’t put an elite/A+ stamp on any one trait, but it’s A/A- across the board.

The one elite trait I’ve found about Reaves is not something I can show with tape. It’s more intangible. But I feel very strongly that Reaves has it in the same way that I recently saw while scouting Kevin Byard when he came out of college.

Byard is another important comp for Reaves. Both come from small schools (Middle Tennessee and South Alabama). Both were not invited to the combine. Byard was a 3rd round pick, and that is where I expect Reaves eventually gets drafted (even though he is generally mocked MUCH later). In 2017 Byard led the NFL in INT and became a pro bowler for the first time. These are things that I see in Jeremy Reaves future.

Earl Thomas is a Hall of Fame player. You can’t replicate that. But if you can find a pro bowler, and in the third round no less, it at least lessens the dropoff as much as you’re probably going to in a generation.

So, if you ever feel concerned that I’m thinking of trading a HOF…just know that I’m also thinking about the next era of LOB, too. And it can be a bright future. I’m just trying to be a better mock drafter. My name is Jare.

The Replacements

By Jared Stanger

We are on the precipice of one of the most transitional offseasons in Seattle Seahawks history. The uncertainty of who is still going to be here coming week 1 of the 2018 season is massive.

The way John Schneider structured many of the vet contracts, including many of the 1-year guys signed just prior to 2017, have left a huge chunk of the roster about to hit free agency. Add to that the players that are coming off injuries this year, and may not hold as much value ON the team as being cap-cut OFF the team. Add to that viable, healthy players that may hold better value in trade than they do remaining on the team. It becomes a huge potential turnover.

So this article is going to be an attempt to locate players in the 2018 draft that would best replace pretty much every potential roster loss that could pop up here in a few weeks/months. There is no judgment about draft position or logistics of getting these guys drafted…it is simply, “okay, here is the 1A option if we lose X player.” Pretty much the only rule, for me, is that I’m not considering players that look locked in to a top-15 draft position.

God, where do we start?

TE Jimmy Graham – TE Mike Gesicki

With shared backgrounds as basketball players, and shared skills for running/high-pointing and shared flaws as blockers; if you want the guy this draft that can do similar things to Graham, I think you target Gesicki.

TE Luke Willson – TE Durham Smythe

I don’t know that this is a very close match. Smythe is a better blocker, and Willson is a better athlete. But from a roster standpoint, I think Seattle needs one fewer TE athlete and one more TE blocker. Ideally, this happens in concert with signing an athlete TE.

WR Tanner McEvoy – WR Marcell Ateman

2017 was a huge step back in performance for McEvoy, and as a player that you haven’t invested a ton in (2016 UDFA); I don’t think you sweat moving on from him very much. This draft has potentially a nice collection of WR that could represent a similar profile to Tanner. Contenders include Marcell Ateman, Allen Lazard, Jaleel Scott, Auden Tate, Simmie Cobbs, Equanimeous St Brown, Jake Wieneke.

I’m currently tending toward Ateman or Tate.

WR Paul Richardson – WR Cedrick Wilson

Part of me wants to say DJ Chark because he just had a nice Senior Bowl game, and is one of the top 5 deep threats in the country this year, but I just get a better sense of Cedrick Wilson’s overall game. Cedrick is showing more on screens, slants, crossers, while still being a decent deep threat; while DJ is far too one-trick as a go-route runner.

WR JD McKissic – WR DJ Moore

I’m calling McKissic a WR right here because, although they moved him to RB this year, with 46 rushes and 46 pass targets; McKissic was equal parts RB and WR. And the guy I’d replace him with is definitely more a WR. DJ Moore at 5’11″/215lbs is built very much like a RB, but with 80 receptions to 5 rushes, he has more experience at WR.

Moore’s game has many shades of Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin; so if you were to lose Doug or Tyler Lockett for some reason this year; Moore would also be my pick for their spot.

RB Eddie Lacy – RB Royce Freeman

This isn’t a like-for-like swap. This is replacing a guy that had to cut weight to get to 5’11″/238lbs, with a guy that makes 6’0″/238lbs look carved from stone. Freeman isn’t the broken tackles, hammer that Lacy was at one point. That role might have been better-filled by a Kareem Hunt last year. But Freeman is a tough-running, bell-cow, three-down type back.

RB Thomas Rawls – RB Ronald Jones

Again, not as much of a hammer going forward, but RoJo has enough broken tackle power, plus in his case it is augmented with truly elite speed. If you find that slow guys aren’t able to gain enough speed to hit holes with power, get guys that are fast enough to hit holes before they close.

RB CJ Prosise – RB Malik Williams

In this case, we’re gaining MORE of a hammer than what we’re losing. Prosise is notoriously fragile. Williams broke his arm in a game October 5th last year, but was back playing again with a few snaps on October 28th (then had a bye week, then played pretty significant snaps November 11th). I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of someone returning from a broken bone in 23 days. Regardless, Williams is 6’3″/221lbs and I think a sleeper in the making.

CB Jeremy Lane – CB Isaac Yiadom

This isn’t a great draft for CB’s. So if you’re thinking of getting multiple to replace Lane, Shead, and Sherman; you may need to reconsider. Yiadom rolled into the Senior Bowl measuring 6’1″/187lbs with 32 1/4″ arms. Mike Mayock (a fellow Boston College alum) kept saying on the broadcast that Isaac has 4.4 speed. For comparison, Lane came out of school at 6’0″/190lbs with a 4.48s official forty.

OG Luke Joeckel – OL Connor Williams

There are, potentially, a ton of moving parts on the OL. Joeckel is UFA, Britt may be a trade piece, Ifedi may be moved off of RT, etc. The options at LG could include Rees Odhiambo, Ethan Pocic, free agent, draftpick LG, draftpick LT moved to LG.

Will Hernandez might be a guy that Solari will really be drawn to at LG. Wyatt Teller might be a slightly lesser talent with better athleticism. Both are pretty nasty. And then there is a slight possibility that a guy like Connor Williams is still available and could play LG for a year or two before returning to LT.

I’m gonna go with the guy more similar to Joeckel, the current LT Connor Williams.

OT Germain Ifedi – OT Tyrell Crosby

The report is that new OL coach Mike Solari prefers athletic OT, in which case we may see justice with Ifedi moved back to RG or benched. The more athletic OT in this draft is Brian O’Neill, but the better OT in this draft (with athleticism that may surprise at the combine) is Tyrell Crosby.

Tyrell hasn’t played RT in 2-3 years, but he has done it and pretty well. I posted some of his freshman tape going against Joey Bosa. Plus, Tyrell would give you that Ryan Ramczyk option of filling in at LT if Duane Brown misses time.

OLB Dewey McDonald – Shaquem Griffin

I actually like Shaquem better, in theory, as a strong safety, but he wouldn’t be my first pick there. Shaquem at 223lbs is not far off from the likes of Mike Morgan or Malcolm Smith when they came out of USC, in terms of size. It’s possible he plays OLB. He would definitely be a special teams stud (and probably future captain there).

OLB Terence Garvin/Michael Wilhoite – LB Darius Leonard

Seattle has quite a few LB spots that might need plugging. They pulled a bunch from free agency last year, and may find some more gems that way in UFA this year. Leonard led all players in tackles at the Senior Bowl yesterday and is emerging with some more buzz recently. I think he could hedge you at SLB1 and ILB2.

DT Sheldon Richardson – DT Sheldon Richardson

2 things: 1) Sheldon’s market and price may not be what we had heard it would be when we first acquired him. But I get the sense both sides could be interested in at least a 1-year deal. 2) I really don’t like the draft class at DT. If I had to do it; I’d take a flyer on a guy like Kentavious Street or Drew Bailey.

DL Malik McDowell – DL Dion Jordan

This should really be a pretty high priority.

DE Cliff Avril – DE Dorance Armstrong

Full disclosure: I don’t like replacing Cliff this year. Not from the draft. But I think he needs to be in this story because he’s one of the players most likely to not return. Dorance Armstrong is not as big as Cliff, nor did he have a good year in 2017. He was the best defender on a bad Kansas team, and I think teams could gameplan around him with doubles and counter-playcalling. His production fell from 10 sacks, 20 TFL in 2016 to 1.5 sacks, 9 TFL this year. Pretty brutal. He was forced to become more of a run and chase LB. But the passrush upside once looked like this:

DE Michael Bennett – DE Duke Ejiofor

I think this one is one of the closest comps. Bennett is 6’4″/274lbs, Ejiofor is listed 6’4″/275lbs. Bennett plays DE and can rush at DT on 3rd down. Ejiofor has done the same at Wake Forest. I even noticed Bennett used a two-hand swipe in the pro bowl from the left side that I’m about to show you from Duke coming from RDE.

And, since Bennett plays a couple different spots, Duke gets a second video of him at DT.

SS Kam Chancellor – SS Deshon Elliott

I’ve read some question Deshon’s athleticism. I hope that is because they’re thinking of him as a Free Safety. Even then, I sort of don’t see it. But either way, whatever athleticism he has will play up more at Strong Safety. He has plenty of size at 6’2″/210lbs and really strong tackling to play up in he box. There are some guys in this draft that probably hit harder than Elliott, but I’m going with a higher floor player.

FS Earl Thomas – FS Jeremy Reaves

Reaves has a strong physical resemblance to Earl (5’11″/204lbs to 5’10″/210lbs), and hopefully he can hit a 4.4s forty. Earl’s a 4.3 guy, but that’s really tough to find ever, and especially without a top-15 pick.

FB __ – FB Nick Bawden

Seattle never really replaced Tre Madden as their rostered fullback, so they may keep that spot unoccupied. If they don’t; I’ll take the guy that lead-blocked for the leading rusher in the country. He’s a brute, but he also shares a trait with former FB Michael Robinson: he used to play QB.

PK Blair Walsh – Daniel Day-Lewis character from “My Left Foot”

I mean…it couldn’t be worse, right??

But seriously…I’ve got Trevor Moore as the nice value pick at PK. His accuracy over 40 yards was one of the better marks in the country.

P Jon Ryan – P Michael Dickson

I think the back end of the 2018 draft class is pretty thin, so taking a punter or a kicker makes a certain amount of sense. Dickson was 3rd in the country last year in average punt yardage.

QB Austin Davis – QB Kyle Lauletta

My hunch is that with Davis’ experience working with Brian Schottenheimer, the team will bring Davis back. But if they decide to go younger, I was EXTREMELY impressed with Lauletta in the Senior Bowl. I even went back to some of his 2017 tape while the Senior Bowl was still going on.

I know there may be 2-3 more guys I didn’t cover specifically, either because they were more a bench player or their spot could be covered by someone else on this list.

Bookmark this page, because my hunch is it may be a really cool revisit after the draft.

New Year Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

Welcome to 2018. It’s a new year, it’s potentially a new look Seattle Seahawks, so it’s time for a new mock draft.

In 2017, I had generally stuck to constructing mock drafts that I would make. This mock draft is more representative of what I think Seattle will do.

Let’s start with where they stand today (before comp picks are added across the league):

#1.18, #4.114, #5.132, #5.138, #5.158, #7.200, #7.219

I’m guessing a bit on the 7th round picks because there was movement on about 4 unique picks, and it’s not entirely clear which picks were moved (and/or re-moved) in which deals. But I believe after adding 7’s for Kearse, Brock, Marsh, and losing 7’s for Coleman and Battle; there should be two 7’s remaining. I’m using the Jets and Vikings 7’s in this mock.

Seattle has secured the #18 overall pick. I think they NEED to trade enough so that they end up with three picks in the top 80 overall (I’d prefer four, but tough to do). This may include trading veteran players. Trading #18 can get you to about #33 + #63 + #129, which is two picks in the 2nd plus first pick in the 5th (all from Cleveland, now run by John Dorsey, a friend of the family). Then, I need to trade a vet that will net you at least a 3rd. That type of trade would (hopefully) also clear some cap space.

As I look at the cap situation (which is not my forte), the best vet players to trade without further hurting future cap, but also potentially netting a 3rd round pick, are in order:

Tyler Lockett
KJ Wright
Earl Thomas
Germain Ifedi

Earl should draw more than a 3rd. Ifedi might not get a 3rd, but he would be my first choice if he could. Lock and KJ are right about that 3rd round range. After his Dallas outburst, I would do a deal for Earl. But this is the “what would Seattle do” mock, so there is no way Pete parts with Earl. I’m gonna do the deal for Lock. I will send him to San Francisco for the #71 overall (might also consider Carolina).

After two trades, the board now looks more like:

#2.33, #2.63, #3.71, #4.114, #5.129, #5.132, #5.138, #5.158, #7.200, #7.219

I think there’s some wiggle room there to move a couple 5th’s, or a 5th and the 4th, to move up once towards the #90-100 range. That would be a day-of decision. For now, I won’t make that trade up. Let’s get to it.

#33 – Alabama RB Damien Harris

I have a pretty short list of the RB’s I think Seattle is highest on, and of that list, that would be available AND correct value at #33, I think Harris is the guy.

A power back at 5’11″/221lbs, but with speed that will surprise people at the combine, Harris is what I estimate to be Seattle’s ideal type of RB. Nick Chubb and Royce Freeman are in that same vein if they want to try to wait for a bit more value. But Harris is the one I think they like. He doesn’t have as much tread-wear as Freeman, and he doesn’t have the injury history that Chubb has.

And he’s just flat out good.

#63 – Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor

I really think this pick comes down to two players: Ejiofor and Texas S Deshon Elliott. And both could be gone before here. I feel less confident that Elliott will be available. If replacing Kam is a higher priority, Elliott might be the pick at #33 and then you try to get Chubb or Freeman at #63.

I’m also going DE here because I think it’s a pretty big need. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril both sound to be on the verge of retiring and/or being cut. That’s a lot of passrush needing to be replaced. If Seattle stays in the 1st round, my guess is that their primary target would be a DE (one of the Clemson guys…maybe a Junior we haven’t heard declare yet).

My personal opinion is that Ejiofor isn’t far off from some of the 1st-round projected DE. He gives you comparable size (6’4″/275lbs), comparable production (6.5 sacks, 16.5 TFL, 9 hurries), with a bit of upside still left on the bone, but at a 2nd round price. He also has experience rushing inside as a 3T (very much a Bennett type).

This is one of my favorite olimpico sacks from all of 2018:

#71 – Maryland WR DJ Moore

With the pick acquired by trading Lockett, I’m acquiring a WR that more resembles a thicker combination of Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, while also giving you some return ability.

DJ Moore is 5’11″/215lbs, finished 2017 with 80 catches for 1033 yards and 8 TD’s, was #20 in the country in punt returns at 10.20ypr, had some snaps as a true RB (5×61 yards, 1 TD), and was one of the best tackle-breaking WR I’ve seen since Golden. He was the clear #1 weapon on a team without many weapons, and he still got his touches. These are all things that I think Seattle values.

#114- Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby

In researching this mock I checked around at where most of my guys were tracking in terms of value. Winning the draft is generally not about nailing your first round pick. It’s about identifying great 2nd and 3rd round picks (Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson) that allow you some leeway in the 1st.

I’ve had Tyrell as a 2nd rounder for some time, but it turns out many others are valuing him a couple rounds later. Draftscout has him as their #137 overall, another site had him like at #180. Maybe those are outdated and his stock has risen. Maybe that’s closer to market rate. In this mock, I’m going to take it as market rate and get someone I really value at a steep discount.

I recently went back to rewatch tape of Tyrell as a Right Tackle. I wanted to see if he had any kind of issue going right side vs left side like some OL do. I watched tape of him in both his 2014 playoff game and in the National Championship game vs eventual #3 overall pick Joey Bosa. Even as a freshman, I thought Tyrell held up extremely well vs the competition. I make this pick with plans to do what New Orleans did with Ryan Ramczyk: starter at RT with ability to step in as LT if injury pops up. Ifedi goes to the bench.

Another option at #114 could be Virginia Tech LG Wyatt Teller. If Joeckel walks, or you can’t afford him, you could try to leave Ifedi at RT and draft Teller or Crosby to play LG.

#129 – USC DE Rasheem Green

I think I’d like to get a Safety here, but I really don’t think any available fit the value. So I’m double-dipping on the Michael Bennett type DE/DT hybrids. Green is identical to Ejiofor at 6’4″/275lbs, but in my studying played far more DT for USC than DE. I think that was misuse. I never truly saw him develop as an interior player. But Green was a highly touted recruit that posted a very good production year: 12.5 TFL, 10.0 sacks, 5 hurries, 4 PBU. And I have a good sense that Seattle is interested.

#132 – Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman

Some picks you make because you have a dropoff at the position expected shortly after, some picks you make because they are right in the sweet spot of a position group’s value range. This is the latter. I look at the big board and see a nice swathe of value on WR in this range. You could pull the trigger here, or you could wait for #138 if you sense a run on a shallower position group that needs to be at #132 instead.

With Lockett “traded”, PRich a free agent (potentially replaced by David Moore), and McEvoy a huge disappointment in year two; I’m also double-dipping at WR because I think the draft warrants it. WR targets at this range could include: Cedrick Wilson, Auden Tate, Marcell Ateman, Jaleel Scott.

Honestly, I like that whole group. Cedrick probably the least impressive on 50/50 balls, but could closer approximate a taller PRich. The other three are bigger, slower guys, but that all show very well in the air. I think Ateman is the most well-rounded of the three, with Tate being probably the best pure receiver. Kind of a coin flip. Until Tate actually declares, I think I’ll go with Ateman. But in future mocks…may reverse that.

#138 – Notre Dame TE Durham Smythe

This is a need position, but not in a great year for it. So I think you take a flyer on a guy with good fundamentals, that may surprise once he’s out of the disaster that is the Notre Dame passing game. If you can get a Zach Miller out of a 5th round pick, I think that’s solid. If you can get a Luke Willson, well you’re at least par for the course.

#158 – Ohio State QB JT Barrett

I think Barrett is very underrated. I think his floor will be a great backup, but his upside is somewhere in the Tyrod Taylor-Dak Prescott vein.

#200 – Tulane CB Parry Nickerson

I like this draft, in general, for a Justin Coleman type CB. I think you can find that body-type and skillset throughout the draft. I think I’d prefer to target this job in the 6th round, but Seattle has no 6th. I think the two best options are Nickerson and VT’s Greg Stroman. Both are identical 6’0″/180lbs.

Nickerson gives a bit more ball-skills with 6 INT and better tackling ability. Stroman perhaps the better cover guy, and gives you the additional benefit of a punt returner (11.34ypr, 2 TD). Another coin flip. I go Nickerson on my sense that he’s a tougher personality.

#219 – North Carolina LB Cayson Collins

Last pick of the draft, we go for some athletic LB depth that could contribute early-on for special teams, and potentially play some WILL down the road.

Final tally:

#33 – RB Damien Harris
#63 – DE Duke Ejiofor
#71 – WR DJ Moore
#114 – OT Tyrell Crosby
#128 – DE Rasheem Green
#132 – WR Marcell Ateman
#138 – TE Durham Smythe
#158 – QB JT Barrett
#200 – CB Parry Nickerson
#219 – LB Cayson Collins

After skewing 6 defense (including 4 of first 5, and 6 of first 8), 5 offense in 2017; I have Seattle flipping that to 6 offense, 4 defense in 2018. It fits more in-line with what this class is providing. We don’t have them drafting a DT or a S, but they drafted two of each in 2017. It might be unlikely for them to draft two WR (after drafting two in 2017), but as I described; I have PRich an UFA with a high price tag, McEvoy cut for lack of performance, and Tyler Lockett victim of trade to add picks.

Seahawks Draft: Pick Six

By Jared Stanger

There are a ton of indications that this offseason will be a massive transition for the Seahawks. There are an unfortunately high number of pending unrestricted free agents. There are some serious injury question marks. There is a terrible salary cap situation. And there is a pretty brutal draft situation with no current draft picks on day two of the draft.

I’m not a doctor, so I can’t even come close to predicting how the injury situation plays out. I’m terrible with salary cap, so I’m not going to be the guy that can predict who is re-upped and/or who is brought in from outside free agency. I’m simply going to attack the roster problems through the draft, and plug the holes caused by FA/injury with new, young draft talent.

Specifically, this is my attempt to suggest the single best player at a variety of potential position problems spots, that can be filled in the draft from roughly #25-#60 overall. The idea behind that 35-pick range is: Seattle starting at #18 overall (where they sit if the season ended today), and trading back 1-2 times to augment rounds 1-3 of the draft with a little bit better balance.

In my mind, I want Seattle to draft four times in the first three rounds. They currently only draft once in that range. It will take some serious maneuvering to get to four. Three is not implausible. Assuming they can complete the appropriate trades; these are the players I would look to target.

Offensive Line: Tyrell Crosby

I’ve been beating the drum for Tyrell all year. I’ve seen his draft value anywhere from a bubble-1st to a 4th round pick. I’ve got him in the 2nd, top 60. His college experience is mostly at Left Tackle, with some early-career play at Right Tackle. I could see him give you a value similar to what New Orleans got from Ryan Ramczyk this year: primarily a RT, with spot starting at LT. I’m also curious if he could transition inside to Left Guard.

In essence, Tyrell would replace UFA Luke Joeckel on the roster, and either Joeckel or Germain Ifedi in the lineup (Brown-Crosby-Britt-Pocic-Ifedi or Brown-Pocic-Britt-Ifedi-Crosby).

Running Back: Damien Harris

Another guy that I’ve been coveting all year; Harris is, to me, the best combination of size/speed/hands/vision/toughness available late-1st to early-2nd round. You probably don’t get close to Saquon Barkley at all, you may see Derrius Guice around that #18 pick but I’m not sure his value is significantly more than Harris at #30 plus more picks.

Harris replaces Eddie Lacy on the roster, and in theory Chris Carson replaces Thomas Rawls, yielding a 2018 RB room of Carson, Harris, Mike Davis, JD McKissic. Prosper.

Safety: Deshon Elliott

Safety is one of a few spots in this next draft that could be of high need for Seattle, but aren’t high quality fields in terms of available talent in the class. Kam Chancellor is potentially never returning from his injury. Earl Thomas made comments this week that suggest he may leave after his contract expires in 2018 and Seattle may be better off trading him while he still has a year left. McDougald is a free agent, but could/should be retained if possible.

After a quality 2017 safety class, with good depth, I think 2018 is kinda brutal. You’ve got two studs at the very top in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James (in that order), and then a huge dropoff to a group that includes Ronnie Harrison, Marcus Allen, Armani Watts, Justin Reid. I think that group is mostly 3rd rounders, and the long-term evaluation may not even give you that value.

I think Deshon Elliott is THEE value play. Mostly a free safety on tape, but at 6’2″/210lbs, I think Elliott can also play strong with his physicality and tackling ability. Elliott a disrupter that effects all aspects of the game: 63 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 9 PBU, 3 FF, and 6 INT (t-4th in the country). His athleticism may not match Fitzpatrick/James, but he will test very well, I think.

Defensive End: Duke Ejiofor

I think DE and pressuring the QB is a huge problem currently, and going forward. Avril has probably played his last snap as a Seahawk. McDowell may NEVER play a snap as a Seahawk. Bennett might be done as a pro bowl level talent. Clark is kinda on his own right now.

Unfortunately, defensive end is similar to safety this year: basically no depth. But DE is more like: Bradley Chubb and then drop-off. The mix of guys in the 2nd tier goes: Arden Key, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Harold Landry, Sam Hubbard, Rasheem Green, Jalyn Holmes, Dorance Armstrong.

Arden Key has the kind of redflags that could cause him to drop, and his 2016 status is the kind of thing Seattle has historically latched onto while disregarding 2017 tape (Ifedi, McDowell). I wouldn’t be shocked that Seattle likes either of the Clemson guys (I prefer Bryant). I have a feeling Seattle likes Green a lot, but I really don’t like his tape. The guy that I think is simply the best player on tape, with a solid combination of size/athleticism/production, at the right value, is Duke Ejiofor.

At 6’3″/275 lbs; Ejiofor is almost the identical size to Michael Bennett when he came out of college. Duke also has been used in a similar way by Wake Forest; giving him a mix of reps at DE and some DT. I like a lot of what Duke put on tape, but more importantly I think there is still some untapped upside still to come.

Draftscout has Ejiofor as their #82 overall player currently. I think he’s a 2nd-rounder all day. If you can get him #60-64 range, after trading back your 1st round pick once or twice, then you’ve accomplished adding a much-needed DE, while still getting a hell of a player at RB or OT with your first pick. If you can identify the Russell Wilson player available at #75, it allows you to get Bobby Wagner at #47 (I always think in terms of drafting backwards).

Tightend: Dallas Goedert

A third position that was stronger in 2017 than it will be in 2018. But there are a few high-end names of intrigue, and then the depth is okay, but it’s just more along the lines of a Zach Miller than the big-time TE athletes we saw last year.

With Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson both pending UFA, tightend will be a need, but will it be a priority? This wouldn’t be my favorite strategy due to the value I think a TE brings combined with what I think are bigger needs.

2018 TE feels a little like 2018 CB to me, in that I would like to target a more niche type at each position that isn’t carrying huge buzz/pricetag. Which is to say: an inline, blocking TE, and a nickel-slot CB. If you scout well and target correctly, both can be had 5th-6th rounds.

If Seattle DID go TE early, Mark Andrews is probably gone, Mike Gesicki has some appeal as a former basketball player that wins jumpballs, but I likely go Dallas Goedert. None of these three in the top tier are great blockers, but I like Goedert’s hands, combined with his RAC.

Wide Receiver: DJ Moore

Of all of the players on this list, I think Moore at WR is the least likely to happen. Much like TE, there are bigger needs at other positions, but unlike TE I think the WR depth is actually pretty good. Which means some really good WR will just come rolling off the board while we sit and wish we still had our native 2nd and 3rd round picks. 2018 WR may be a little similar to 2017 CB in that they push it down because of depth. They should still take one by the 4th round, though.

I’ve got a pretty refined wish list for WR this year…with practicality/value in mind, I think it’s: Anthony Miller, DJ Moore, Cedrick Wilson, Jaleel Scott, Marcell Ateman. For purposes of this piece, I think the two that qualify and need to be drafted before #60 are Anthony Miller and DJ Moore.

I’m taking DJ Moore for multiple reasons, not the least of which are his resemblances to Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. He LOOKS like a guy John Schneider would covet.

So there are my pick-six picks. If Seattle can manage their draft picks and draftboard correctly, I think it is plausible to come away with two of these six. If they can get three, that’s an incredible job.

December 2017 SeaMock

By Jared Stanger

The Seahawks have just decisively beat the NFL-best-record Philadelphia Eagles putting themselves back into a playoff spot, and the tentative #23 overall draft position. There is no change in my belief that this is a full-on trade-back year.

I sketched out a few trade possibilities, and really the only one I like is the Cleveland Browns who own like 20% of the total picks in the entire draft. I think the specific Cleveland trade I’d try for is #39 and #65. That puts Seattle at upper-third of the 2nd round and first pick of the 3rd round, after having a drop from #23 to #119 without the trade.

(Literally, as I’m writing this mock draft news has broken that John Dorsey has been named the new Cleveland Browns’ GM. The same John Dorsey that John Schneider knows from back in his Green Bay scouting days.)

Due to the number of trades John Schneider has made, including trading one pick to New England only to have New England trade the same pick back, there is conflicting information about the rest of Seattle’s draft slate. My best approximation (after the 1st trade back) is: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 5th, 7th, 7th, 7th. Which is pretty solid. So I’ll leave it there.

Let’s start with an obvious call.

#39- RB Damien Harris

It will be interesting to see how this RB class shakes out. Some people see Harris the way I do and would value him higher than even this spot. Others have other RB they value more, that would allow Damien to fall to here. I tend to think most people, generally, think RB’s will be drafted higher and in greater numbers than what the league actually ends up drafting. If you can ID the eventual top two RB, the rest will be available from the 2nd round down.

Harris will surprise at the combine. And that may be when he rises out of this range. But for now:

If Harris is gone, I pivot to Royce Freeman. Not quite as fast as Harris, but special in his own right. Super durable, good hands, and great intangibles. You hope for Le’veon Bell upside from Royce.

I think the early 3rd round pick is the toughest to call. My hunch is that, because this overall class is not a great defensive class, Seattle will force a defensive player about this range. They could go DE to hedge for the injured Cliff Avril, or they could go SS to hedge for the injured Kam Chancellor.

I’ve seen projections of Texas’ Deshon Elliott available this late…he’d be a very cool player, though in my opinion likely doesn’t last this long in the actual draft. I genuinely don’t think this DE class is a good group and would suggest, if they can afford it, instead you go after Ziggy Ansah or Demarcus Lawrence in free agency.

Instead of defense, I’m just going to stick with my guy.

#65- OL Tyrell Crosby

There’s a fairly strong possibility that Seattle re-ups Luke Joeckel to be their LG for another 2-3 years, and it’s almost impossible that they give up on Germain Ifedi after only two poor years, so there wouldn’t theoretically be a place for Tyrell. But, in my mind, I pass on Joeckel due to his two recent knee surgeries and the fact that we now need to pay Duane Brown (and possibly a FA DE).

Tyrell has put together a fantastic Senior season, recently winning the Morris Trophy for best Pac-12 offensive lineman as chosen by opposing defensive lineman. His primary college position has been left tackle, but he has played some right tackle as well. I don’t know that I’ve seen him play left guard, but at one point Joeckel probably hadn’t either. I just have a feeling Tyrell’s run-blocking talent would translate really well at LG.

It would also be pretty interesting to see which TE are available in the early 3rd. Dallas Goedert from South Dakota State looks to be an impressive talent, but will his small school affiliation end up hurting him? Ian Thomas from Indiana I only recently took a look at after he was named to the Senior Bowl, and he has some intriguing skillsets. He may shoot up the board after the combine.

We now find ourselves in the 4th round, and I think the Seahawks will actually take a WR here (after drafting a DE in the 3rd). But in the narrative of my mock it’s just too hard to justify going three consecutive offensive players, and I already used my “get an offensive lineman out of jail free” card last round.

Instead, I’m trying to find that undervalued pass rusher. Might be a guy with a redflag, might be a small-schooler, might be an undersized guy. My particular guy is the latter.

There are actually quite a few passrushers this year that run around 6’1″-6’2″/240-255lbs: Anthony Winbush from Ball State, Ola Adeniyi from Toledo, Trent Harris from Miami, Jacob Martin from Temple, etc. After seeing 6’1″/260lb Dwight Freeney look so good as a Seahawk, I kind of have it in my head that there could be a way to find value looking for a guy of similar stature.

#119- DE/OLB Cece Jefferson

Jefferson is listed this year at 6’1″/242lbs after previously playing at around 261lbs. Only a Junior, and there isn’t really a buzz on him after only posting 4.5 sacks. But after Florida fired Jim McElwain, maybe a fair amount of their underclassmen declare early.

I’ve only watched one tape of Cece from 2017, but it was a pretty big game: 9 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 0.5 sack. He looks particularly strong vs the run.

The passrush isn’t yet as refined, but he flashes. And certainly shows traits that I’m intrigued by.

As I said, I don’t love this DE class, but here in the 4th round/day 3 you can take a little more risk.

I’m really counting on what I think is a deep WR class to allow for someone to drop because we’re now entering the 5th round where Seattle should start with three picks.

I’ve had a very strong sense about two things in this WR class: Seattle really likes Memphis’ Anthony Miller, but more than that Seattle is looking for a WR that is 6’3″+, and should enjoy the volume of that group available this year.

Last week I made this list of the college explosive receiving play leaderboard:

With only a few exceptions; I kinda think that’s the list Seattle should be thinking about. You could argue adding a trio of Juniors that are all pushing 6’5″: Equanimeous St Brown, Auden Tate, and James Gardner. And then the Seniors: Jaylen Smith and DJ Chark.

If we filter those names down to a more specific set of traits and skills; I choose to focus on Cedrick Wilson, Marcell Ateman, James Gardner, Jaleel Scott, and Auden Tate. I think that’s a GREAT list. I had a list last of year of my 5 preferred/expected Seahawk CB interests (which included Shaquill Griffin)…I was pretty happy with that group, and I’m pretty happy with this group of WR.

Picking one of those WR in the 5th means you’ve, to a degree, put your fate in the hands of the league, and allowed others to dictate who is left, rather than being more aggressive. It’s not my favorite strategy, but if you spot a position of depth, this is how you find value.

Some specifics to this group:

Scott is the best leaper. Tate might have the best hands. Wilson looks the fastest. Gardner is the biggest mystery. And Ateman is the best blocker.

I honestly vacillate all over the place as to which guy to give my actual pick to.

#135- WR Marcell Ateman

In the end I’m taking the guy that has the best all-around game. Hands, high-pointing, RAC, redzone, blocking, explosivity. Ateman is above average at all of them.

#143- QB JT Barrett

Early on in the 2017 college season, Seattle was conspicuously present at a lot of games featuring a lot of the high-end QB prospects. While that did seem to slow down after about a month, I’m still wondering if they make a move for a new backup to Russell in the next two drafts.

I’ve had Seattle taking Barrett in previous mocks, and I’m keeping him in this one. I don’t see a lot of draft media very high on him, but I sort of enjoy that they don’t. I think it will allow him to fall to a nice value spot.

With Barrett you get: top 5 TD’s, top 8 passer rating, top 20 completion %, plus 732 yards and 10 TD’s rushing (45 combined TD’s).

#159- TE Durham Smythe

It’s been a little strange watching the Seahawks scout the college TE’s this year. Mostly because it’s been more like how they HAVEN’T scouted the college TE’s. I have no feel for what they’re looking for or how high up they’d go.

Smythe is 6’5″/257lbs, comes from a school with great tradition of producing good pro TE, but who is himself a guy with zero to no buzz. He has only 13 catches and 1 TD on the year. But a lot of that is because Notre Dame found themselves this year running the ball about 62% of their offensive plays. On top of not throwing the ball much; when they did throw, Notre Dame only completed 51% of passes. Smythe had about 8% of their total completions.

BUT…….Durham averaged 18.00ypc on his 13 catches. So there is a suggested element of explosivity there. There is also a pretty solid blocking skillset in the tape.

The idea here is that Seattle may not be able to replace Jimmy Graham this year via draft (try to re-sign), but maybe they can replace Luke Willson and save a little bit of cap room. This is also about the place Luke Willson was drafted 5 years ago.

#200- CB Parry Nickerson

Much like the 2018 DE class, I don’t really care for the 2018 CB class. Too many very good corners came out last year. But, with Quill in place, with Sherm coming back, with Shead coming back, with Coleman deserving to stay; really the biggest change I would make at CB is cutting Lane and replacing him with someone younger and cheaper.

My feeling is that there might be a similar draft value as Lane was in 2012; in 2018. Lane was a 6’0″/190lb 6th round pick out of a small school in Louisiana. Parry Nickerson here is a 6’0″/180lb 7th round pick out of a small school in Louisiana.

After a slow start to his 2017 season (primarily due to facing two triple-option teams that never throw within Tulane’s first four games), Nickerson has finished the season with 55  tackles, 2 TFL, 8 PBU, and 6 INT (*4th in the BCS).

Nickerson has some exceptionally quick feet, and shows really good vertical on tape. I thought Parry acquitted himself VERY well when 1v1 with one of 2017’s best WR: Anthony Miller.

Again:

#222- OLB Cayson Collins

This pick is basically just a personal pet project fave. An intuition pick. Seattle needs to get younger, cheaper, and healthier at the SAM spot with Wilhoite/Garvin/Forrest/McDonald all either free agents or hurt.

I like what I’ve seen from Collins. Good instincts, good tackler, good intangibles. If I remember correctly, he’s played well on special teams when asked to.

#223- PK Trevor Moore

Walsh is still a problem. We kinda thought he would be when he was signed, and he only teased us briefly with looking fixed in preseason before going broken again in some pretty inopportune times.

This is THEE value pick at PK this year. Your Daniel Carlson’s will cost way too much. Moore will almost certainly go undrafted in reality, but I’m spending a draftpick to lock him up.

Final Tally:

#39- RB Damien Harris
#65- OL Tyrell Crosby
#119- DE Cece Jefferson
#135- WR Marcell Ateman
#143- QB JT Barrett
#159- TE Durham Smythe
#200- CB Parry Nickerson
#222- OLB Cayson Collins
#223- PK Trevor Moore

 

 

Guess who’s (running) back?

 

By Jared Stanger

Remember in the preseason when the Seahawk running back room looked like the deepest position on the team? Maybe not deepEST, but one of the best groups. And then Alex Collins and Mike Davis didn’t make the team. And then Chris Carson got hurt. And then CJ Prosise stepped on a lego, but like really hard, and every week. And then Eddie Lacy was generally not good. And then Thomas Rawls was really hard to figure out. And then they refused to call up Mike Davis to replace any of the above. And then they traded for Duane Brown and suddenly running back was the WORST position group on the team. ‘Member that?

Well fuck all that shit. There are some running backs coming in this year’s draft and man do a bunch of them look really, really good. Real horses. And Seattle is in a position (in terms of “needs”) to be able to spend a high pick on one of them. So this will be an early approximation of the order I would draft the running backs in this class.

#1- Saquon Barkley

5’11″/230 lbs of true football player and off-the-charts intangibles.

152×864 yards, 9 TD’s rushing
39×504 yards, 3 TD’s receiving
2×2, 36 yards, 1 TD passing
13×393 yards, 2 TD returning
1368 yards from scrimmage and 15 combined TD’s.

Some think, due to sliding QB’s, that Saquon may go #1 overall to a team like San Francisco. I think that’s aggressive, but I would think top 5 is a fair estimation.

#2- Damien Harris

5’11″/221 lbs and the sneakiest athlete in the group.

Harris is my personal favorite. I love his blend of power and explosivity, with great vision, and good make-up.

Some people like a RB without a ton of tread worn off the wheels. I don’t generally care. Le’veon Bell came out of Michigan State with 382 carries, over 29 carries per game, in 2012 alone. He’s done fine in the league. Regardless, Harris is the other end of the spectrum with only 10 carries per game so far, and 90 carries total in 2017.

The timeshare Harris has with Bo Scarbrough, however, has perhaps helped Harris stay fresher and more explosive, averaging 8.11ypc this year (10th in the country). Also, 10 TD’s on the ground (20th in the country, but in about 30 fewer carries than everyone above him). Not a ton of receptions, but that’s more the Alabama defense. His hands look fine.

#3- Nick Chubb

5’10″/225 lbs and once the most athletic RB in this group.

After a devastating injury in 2015 some of that athleticism may be gone, and once teams get their hands on his medicals, this may be too high for where he actually goes, but in a vacuum I think Chubb is RB3.

In Nick’s defense, in his career, he’s only actually missed 7 games (all from the major knee injury). This isn’t a guy (like a Prosise) that seems to pull a hammy or a groin or some soft tissue thing every other week. Given Seattle’s recent history, I think this is relevant, and will come up again later.

In 2015, pre-injury, Chubb was averaging over 8.00ypc. In his first year back from injury that number dropped to 5.04ypc, and the tape agreed that he wasn’t fully back. This year, Chubb is back up to 6.19ypc and the tape is showing better movement and obvious improvement in top-end speed/burst.

#4- Royce Freeman

6’0″/238 lbs and probably the most durable RB in the class.

I think I counted Royce playing in 49 of Oregon’s 50 games in the last 4 years. A low of 900 yards rushing, a high of 1800. A low of 5.4ypc, a high of 6.4ypc. The picture of consistency. 54 career rushing TD’s and counting.

Never used frequently as a pass-catcher, but never un-used. When I was at UW-Oregon last week they used him a couple times spread out as a WR.

I will tell you that each of the these first four RB, in addition to their very solid size, all scored over 115 SPARQ coming out of high school.

#5- Ronald Jones

6’0″/200lbs and probably ends up picked later than this.

What a consolation prize. I REALLY like the first four backs. If I’m Seattle I’m making one of them happen by the end of the 2nd round. For other teams, or if there is a run on RB’s earlier than expected, Jones is the fallback plan.

A good mix of all traits, but just a slight degradation in the power and stoutness you can get from the first four.

It could also turn out to be a blessing-in-disguise that my #5 might be drafted after the League’s #6. So that puts your fallback plan at a better value.

#6- Derrius Guice

5’11″/218 lbs but not a guy I trust.

Guice is, again, right in that 5’10”-5’11” and 215-230 lb wheelhouse. Seattle has almost always gone for RB’s over 210 lbs. After posting 1300 yards, 15 TD, and a 7.58ypc average last year, Guice has dropped down to 5.47ypc and only 6 TD through eight games in 2017.

Now, here are my problems with Guice: a SPARQ of 83.37 out of high school, and college tape that seems really spastic and undisciplined. I watch Guice tape and wonder, “what are you seeing, bud?” My hunch, and fear, is that he won’t be a great playbook reader, and he will frustrate pro coaches. I have a feeling he’s Christine Michael but running too upright.

If the league likes Guice more than I do; good. Let him be overdrafted and take one of the others later.

#7- Bryce Love

5’10″/196 lbs and THEE most explosive player in the country.

Love could go earlier than this and it wouldn’t be a shock. He’s doing things this year I can’t remember ever seeing. I mean, his streak of games with a 50-yard play is in double-digits. He hit 1456 yards in 8 games. He’s currently on pace for 2184 yards, and that’s AFTER missing a game. Until his last game, Love was averaging a first down per carry. After his worst game, it’s still 5th in the country at 9.64ypc.

Athletically, he’s a 129 SPARQ with, at max, 4.45s speed.

The downside? I don’t need to risk drafting a McCaffrey.

#8- Josh Adams

6’2″/225 lbs but kind of the biggest wildcard.

He’s built like, and plays for the same school, as CJ Prosise…which terrifies me. I also don’t really love that he’s been wearing a knee brace all year, and I think he left last week’s game earlier with an injury.

Then there’s a very fair question about how good Adams is versus how good the Notre Dame OL is (the latter led by probable 1st round picks: LG Quenton Nelson and LT Mike McGlinchey). Watching Adams’ tape shows me that he’s really getting some monster running lanes to just blast off through.

So that’s a big part of how/why Adams is 6th in the country in YPC at 8.69. I’d really be curious what his yards before contact look like.

#9- Rashaad Penny

5’11″/220 lbs but tough to get a feel for.

I’ve had trouble putting my thoughts on Penny together…who does he comp to? What do I like about him? What are his downsides? Maybe in other years I like him more. This year, I guess I just have too many others I prefer.

But it’s tough to ignore 1600 yards, 15 TD’s in 10 games with the right size frame.

#10- Sony Michel

5’11″/215 lbs but just not that special.

Michel splits time with Chubb in the Georgia backfield, but actually leads him YPC (7.89), with the same number of TD’s on 50 fewer carries. I think his tape is very solid, but something in his intangibles just lacks the special ‘it’ factor. I’ve likened him before to Isaiah Crowell.

I think Michel would be better in the NFL in a role similar to the one he’s playing at Georgia: RB2. That’s just the vibe I get.

 

That’s my top 10 RB of 2017. Things can change, underclassmen can stay in school, guys can get hurt…but in theory this group coming out together would make for a VERY strong draft class. With the draft value of RB dropping the last 5 years, or so, it’s very plausible you can find a top 5 RB through the end of the 2nd round. And the top 10 backs should last into day 3. If I’m Seattle, I’m targeting a top 5 RB.

It’s a good draft season to have a bad RB situation for Seattle.

Seamock: October 2017

by Jared Stanger

I’ve done a Seahawks 7-round mock draft in October going back quite a few years. It’s one of my favorites. Toward the end of October I have a pretty good idea of the players I’m targeting, but their common projection puts them undervalued pretty much across the board.

October is when you can theoretically draft Odell Beckham and Aaron Donald in consecutive rounds with just your native draft picks. It’s the pre-helium mock.

Let’s start with the draft picks by round…there should currently be 8 picks:

1st
3rd
4th
5th (Raiders)
5th (Pats)
7th (Jets)
7th (Pats)
7th (Vikes)

There is some uncertainty of which picks will remain in the 5th and 7th rounds after multiple trades, including trading a 7th to New England for Justin Coleman, and then getting the same pick back from New England in the trade for Cassius Marsh. I’ve set this mock with Seattle trading away their native picks in both 5th and 7th, and keeping the picks from the other teams.

Speaking of trades; there was a time a few months ago I was getting the impression Seattle might trade up in the 1st round for the first time in the PCJS regime. After they acquired Sheldon Richardson for their 2nd round pick, I don’t get that impression anymore. Other factors that may be contributing to that: the underwhelming play of the college QB and DE class and injuries to the OT class.

Another thing that I think is pretty important to know about this draft: I don’t think it’s very deep. Those five picks in the 5th-7th rounds are not going to be particular useful, in my opinion. I’d really prefer to concentrate a whole bunch of picks in the 2nd-3rd.

After Sunday’s win against New York, I have Seattle in the playoffs and drafting approximately #23 overall. Although they don’t need another 1st rounder (Buffalo has their own 1st plus the Chiefs’ 1st); Buffalo currently holds two 2nd round picks that hit the draftpick trade chart pretty close to the value of #24 overall.

Trade #23 to Buffalo for #47 and #56

I’ve seen mocks where Texas LT Connor Williams is available at #23, but a) he’s injured and may not declare, b) if he does declare I think he gets drafted earlier than 23. More legitimate OT options at #23 could include Orlando Brown (likely too big and not athletic enough for Pete as a LT), or Martinas Rankin (a totally solid player, but more of a value at #33-#40). Keep in mind, this mock is what I think SHOULD happen, not what I think Seattle is looking to do.

I’m looking to take advantage of the lack of buzz on one of my favorite players to acquire more picks, and still address a position of need. Rees has been not great. Fant has been a more athletic not great. Although my suspicion is that he won’t test athletic enough for Seattle’s specs at LT (might project more as a Seattle LG…which wouldn’t be the worst thing with Joeckel a FA); I think the best value at LT this draft will be Oregon LT Tyrell Crosby.

If Tyrell can run a sub-5.20s forty, I think he can stay at LT for Seattle. If he doesn’t, they’d move him off to another spot. But his tape is LT all-day, for me.

#47- Oregon LT Tyrell Crosby

Now, the second pick in the 2nd becomes a really interesting spot. You could look to address the TE that you (hopefully) need in place of letting Jimmy walk in free agency. You could take a backup QB which is something Seattle has been scouting very intensely. You could draft a DE replacement for the question mark that has become Cliff Avril’s health. I have it in my head to go another direction.

In light of what was supposed to be the team’s deep strength turning into a MASH unit of inefficacy and injury; I’m going bold at RB.

In what was supposed to be the great QB class of the last 5 years, all of the QB’s have underwhelmed, while the nation’s college RB’s have stolen the show. I like the pocket of value at #56 for RB. I could see multiple from the grouping of Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Damien Harris, Ronald Jones, and Josh Adams finding their way to this spot.

Although I’ve recently started seeing my favored RB as one of the guys off earlier than this (often inside the 1st); the practical truth is that RB’s generally fall farther than expected. With guys like Saquon Barkley, Derius Guice, and maybe Bryce Love coming off earlier; there is historical precedent that only 3-4 RB will be gone by this point. I think my guy lasts.

What better than replacing a free agent RB from Alabama with a rookie RB from Alabama? Damien Harris is 5’11″/221lbs (right in the pocket of what Seattle generally targets), he’s only 27th in the country in rushing yards (thanks to a timeshare with Bo Scarbrough), but he’s 7th in rushing YPC and 11th in rushing TD’s, and I happen to know he’s sneakier athletic than people realize.

Here is the tape:

#56- Alabama RB Damien Harris

Those first two picks are guys I REALLY need to have.

Normally in a draft you’d try to strike a balance between offense and defense. After going with defensive players in 4 of their first 5 picks in rounds 2-3 last year; I actually think they could plausibly afford to go offense three straight to open 2018.

In the month of October the Seahawks have been scouting WR’s pretty heavily. Names like Gallup, Chark, Miller, Johnson, Grayson, Ishmael. Most of them run 6’1″ to 6’2″ tall. If any run in the 4.3 to low 4.4s range in their 40 time, they could be a hedge for Paul Richardson in free agency. Personally, I try to find someone that can upgrade Tanner McEvoy as a plus-size redzone target (also hedging Jimmy).

My short list is in the range of a Marcell Ateman (6’4″/220lbs, 19.85ypc, 4 TD), James Gardner (6’4″/216lbs, 21.28ypc, 6 TD), Jaleel Scott (6’6″/216lbs, 14.51ypc, 7 TD). Though this price might be too rich for someone coming from such a small school; I favor Scott.

#88- New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott

Another general thought I have this year is that Seattle drafts a slot corner. Justin Coleman has been a very good addition, but he is a RFA and Jeremy Lane is likely not long for the roster. Seattle has boundary corner depth, but need depth at the slot.

I think Tulane’s Parry Nickerson and Western Michigan’s Darius Phillips are very interesting candidates.

Nickerson is listed 6’0″/180lbs and looks more the part. In games vs two of the big triple-option run teams (Army/Navy) in which both teams combined to throw the ball 17 times; Parry managed an INT in each game. He has 3 INT, 4 PBU, and a pretty stout 36 tackles.

Phillips is borderline too small for Seattle CB standards. He is listed 5’10″/190lbs. I’m not sure Seattle has ever had a CB under 5’11” (Coleman is 5’10 5/8″). But Phillips also brings exceptional return skills. If Seattle holds firm to their size specs, I’d wonder if Phillips could play free safety for them. This could be our version of Tyrann Mathieu.

#120 – Western Michigan DB Darius Phillips

These next few picks are super speculative. Certainly, my tracking tells me this next one is unlikely. But this is my mock.

I think Seattle is scouting QB really hard, and they’re starting at the top. They are either going to overspend to have a really good backup for Russ, or they are planning ahead not to re-up Russ at market prices in 2 years. It will be interesting to see if they make the move this year or next (which is probably hugely dependent on which underclass QB declare this year). I have a feeling they will wait until 2019.

I don’t mind doing it this year for the right guy. For me, the right guy has different qualities than what most evaluators look for. I won’t be fully committed to a QB until I see some of the college postseason draft activities. I know it when I see it.

For now, I’m only like 60% sure on this QB pick.

#147 – Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

I like this draft for the SAM backers. I don’t have a solid sense of how they will shake out round-wise, but it’s a base-D only position that doesn’t see a ton of snaps with the league going 3 WR so much. A 5th rounder is a good spot to target one. McDonald, Wilhoite, and Garvin are all UFA. Maybe resign one, draft one or two.

I’m going with a guy that I spotted early on from a small school, playing mostly DE. But he’s listed at 6’1″/240lbs, which may force him into a SAM/OTTO role in the pros. His production has been very good this year (9.5 sacks and 13.5 TFL, plus 4 forced fumbles).

Here he is bending the edge:

#158 – Ball State OLB Anthony Winbush

With all of Luke Joeckel, Oday Aboushi, and Matt Tobin becoming free agents after this year, Seattle probably needs some OL depth. I don’t think it’s plausible, personally, but I did see on some draft big board that OG’s Will Hernandez and Wyatt Teller were available this late (it won’t happen). But if either did, they would be incredible value here.

I think Hernandez has more buzz, but I think I like Teller better.

#199 – Virginia Tech LG Wyatt Teller

I’ve also seen UCLA LB Kenny Young available as an UDFA. Though his numbers are down a bit from his 2016 campaign when he averaged 7.50 tackles per game and had 5.0 sacks; I think the value would be too high to pass up (especially with multiple LB as free agents).

#209 – UCLA LB Kenny Young

I do not object to drafting a kicker like many people. Had Seattle drafted Harrison Butker this year, they would have him 4 years cheap, rather than 1 year of Blair Walsh. Butker has gone 13×14 since joining KC, with a long of 53 yards.

Auburn’s Daniel Carlson would be my #1 choice, but he probably gets picked a couple rounds earlier than this. I’m looking for a bit more value.

Trevor Moore has gone 11×12 overall on FG, 27×27 on extra points, he’s 6×7 over 40 yards with a long of 48, and he’s 8th in the country in kickoff distance.

#222 – North Texas K Trevor Moore

The total haul:

#47 – LT Tyrell Crosby
#56 – RB Damien Harris
#88 – WR Jaleel Scott
#120 – DB Darius Phillip
#147 – QB JT Barrett
#158 – OLB/DE Anthony Winbush
#199 – OG Wyatt Teller
#209 – LB Kenny Young
#222 – K Trevor Moore

Mike Davis and the fallacy of competition

By Jared Stanger

Here’s the thing…we’re being lied to. The lie at its core is that catch phrase: “Always Compete”. The way you know it’s a lie are two-fold. 1) There would be a hell of a lot more pressure on coaches like Bevell and Cable to compete to KEEP THEIR FUCKING JOBS. 2) The guys that WIN competitions would actually get to KEEP THEIR FUCKING JOBS.

For now I’m going to talk about the latter. This is the guys like Kasen Williams and Pierre Desir that competed this summer, won the competition, and had their jobs given to other people. Those two are gone now, signed to other teams, and we won’t be getting them back without luck or paying a price that exceeds the value we got for cutting them.

But it might not be too late to save Mike Davis.

Mike Davis won the preseason RB competition. Chris Carson got the headlines because he’s the bright, shiny new toy fresh out of the draft, but Davis played better than the whole group.

Statistically, here are the numbers:

I posted that a couple weeks ago and someone argued it was inverse of when guys got touches and the level of competition they faced. If you actually watched, though, Chris Carson was getting 1st quarter touches A LOT, and Davis was running the end of the 2nd quarter in at least two of the four games. Here’s Davis in the Minnesota game catching a TD pass from Russell Wilson:

Davis showed good route running and sense for finding the soft spot underneath.

This, vs KC, is nice by Davis finding the opening. If Joeckel and/or Britt had picked up a block, this might have gone for 20 yards.

For whatever reason, Russell and the active RB in the Green Bay game seemed to have trouble connecting on these simple checkdown type plays. Russell, I think, showed good chemistry with Davis as his outlet guy.

Offhand, I don’t remember how well the active RB did in terms of chip-blocking vs GB. I think I spotted one play that Prosise missed his assignment, but I didn’t go back and watch for that specifically.

Here are some Mike Davis blocks.

I’d be curious how this one was designed. Are both backs supposed to block this way? I don’t know, but backside is contained.

This is one of the better RB blocks I saw this preseason.

Now let’s actually watch some run plays.

My contention is that Davis ran the zone scheme better than any of the Seattle backs in preseason. Keys to running zone are timing and decision-making. The RB’s footworks/steps should be in line with the OL’s synchronized footwork. And the RB should be decisive; choosing in-rhythm whether to take the frontside lane, or to cut it back.

Here, we’ve got OL blocking well to the playcall of wide zone. Biggest concern is that backside chaser. Davis escapes that ankle tackle and then has freedom to improvise at the 2nd level.

Wide zone the other way. I think a TE should be peeling off that double team to pick up the incoming LB. Not a well-blocked play, but Davis shows ability to adapt. This is something Lacy, specifically, could not do Sunday.

This is the type of play that isn’t splashy, but that shows better understanding of the system, better decision making, and great effort. This play could have gone for loss, then could have gone for only 2 yard gain, but Mike makes it into a 4-yard gain.

This is just tremendous feel by Davis. Defender is getting too deep in outside contain and Mike pulls hard back inside, breaks the foot tackle, gets extra yardage falling forward during tackle.

Moving on to the Vikings game.

This is another minor play, but shows again Mike making 4 yards out of what could/would be 2 for other RB.

This play needs to be run slow-mo or paused. Davis is 2 yards deep in the EZ, but already reading Viking DL coming free from his left, and cutting it back right for positive yardage.

One of the better zone plays this game. Mike has two-way go at handoff: he can follow Madden through frontside, but his eye is drawn to the opening backside between TE and LT. Viking DB breaks for Mike’s running lane, but his overpursuit leaves no one outside contain, so Mike cuts outside…huge gain. Good block by Vannett (who we need to feature more).

Same play from endzone view.

I didn’t go through the Raider game, so we’ll be ending on the KC tape.

 

Glow wiffs on his cutblock backside, so Mike is forced to get skinny. Positive yardage, though.

I think this was Mike’s first touch of the KC game. Fortunately the OLB was reading play action pass all the way and took himself out of the play. Easy read for Davis to bounce it outside and pick up a nice chunk of yardage.

And Mike closes the play initiating contact with the defender with his helmet right under dude’s chin, plus the fall forward over the first down line-to-gain.

There’s just nothing in his tape that tells me that Mike Davis wasn’t consistently one of Seattle’s top four RB throughout the preseason. Stats support it. Tape supports it. Fundamentals support it. And if you want to get a little romantic about it…the W-L record supports it: 4-0 with Mike Davis on the team, 0-1 with him now off the active roster.

If we’re making decisions based on competition; I don’t see how Mike Davis hasn’t won at least a job on the active roster. It’s supposed to be “ALWAYS Compete”; not “compete except when we’ve overdrafted you, or paid you more than you’re worth.”

Fail quickly

By Jared Stanger

I got on my PC late Sunday night, after that pathetic, offensive offensive effort (not a typo), with the intent to watch some college tape. I watched a couple games featuring higher-end college Left Tackles. But I was distracted. Distracted by the insanity of this franchise’s continued effort to do the same thing and expect different results. It. Is. NUTS.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, Seattle next takes on the Niners back home at Century Link. The Niners looked pretty miserable against Carolina Sunday, and may have taken a huge hit if they’ve lost Reuben Foster for any length of time.

The unfortunate part of this is that this level of weaker opponent…where Brian Hoyer will in no way, shape, or form be able to overcome the Seattle defense like Aaron Rodgers did…will hide the Seahawk deficiencies that Green Bay exposed this week.

I want the team to be proactive. I want the team to make actual changes. I want the team to fail quickly.

And in that spirit; these are some of the changes I would like to see PCJS make starting as soon as “tell the truth Monday” tomorrow.

They won’t make the coaching changes at Offensive Coordinator or Offensive Line that I think are long-past due. So, instead, force them to make better fucking use of the resources available to them.

Offensive Line: make the personnel change along the starting OL to be (L-R) Luke Joeckel, Rees Odhiambo, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi, Ethan Pocic. If Cable insists on having a unique backup center with Pocic at RT; Joey Hunt will need to be called up from the practice squad. Release Tobin or Battle…I don’t really care which. Hopefully one that gets you the conditional draftpick compensation back.

Offensive play-calling: fuck Bevell and give Russell more leeway to go up-tempo/no-huddle. It works. Do it. And don’t EVER start a game with a pass play EVER again. As a rule. Just don’t.

Tight End: use Nick Vannett more. He’s a more well-rounded player, able to block better on run plays, and his receiving is still underrated. Jimmy deserves a demotion after some of his lackadaisical play Sunday. (As I’m writing this, it dawns on me…was Jimmy distracted by Hurricane Irma hitting Florida, where he’s from?)

Running back: cut Eddie Lacy and call up Mike Davis. Davis was our best back in preseason. He ran the zone better than all of our backs. He caught well. He played well on special teams.
Lacy doesn’t fit this team. Our OL can’t block in a way that would allow Lacy to be effective, and Lacy’s inability to stop-start quickly and, as far as I can tell, his inability to play zone read prevent Russell from being as effective as Russell is with other runners. Now, if we need to hold off on this move until Rawls is fully healthy; fine. But it should be soon.
Let Chris Carson start, and actually use him more than 6 carries a game.

Defense: on all of the defense, really my only thought going forward is that I’d like to see less Jeremy Lane. I know the ejection today wasn’t earned by him, but he’s had enough personal fouls and bone-headed plays the last year-plus to be demoted sooner than later. It didn’t seem like Justin Coleman was a bad replacement in the slot. Certainly Shaquill Griffin stepped up in a pretty big, and important way at boundary. And hopefully Deshawn Shead is back as soon as possible by rule of PUP.

Oh, and get rid of McKissic. Is Kenny Lawler still on the street? Bring him back. Lawler can sit on inactive just as easily as McKissic did today.

Enough of these Matt Flynn, Cary Williams, J’Marcus Webb bullshit moves that don’t last the length of their contract. See down the road better. Fail quicker. Like, in preseason.