Monday, 16 March 2009

Draft thoughts with Rob Rang

I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Rob Rang recently. Rob is a Senior Analyst for NFL Draft Scout and you can find his regularly updated mock drafts and detailed reports at CBS Sportsline. He's also got a proven track record of correctly predicting who Seattle will select when draft day arrives. Clearly, he's the man to talk to when you want to discuss the Seahawks' draft plans.

Rob told me that, as we discussed here over the weekend, the trade to bring Cory Redding to Seattle probably rules out the possibility of B.J. Raji being drafted fourth overall. Redding and Colin Cole have been added to a rotation already involving Branden Mebane, Red Bryant and Craig Terrill. You can only share so many snaps in the rotation, so adding an expensive draft pick into the mix seems unlikely.

It may be a similar story amongst the offensive line.

"The re-signing of Willis probably makes Monroe too much of a luxury pick, at this point." - Rob Rang

What about Michael Crabtree? Up until this weekend he was Seattle's pick in Rob's mock draft. He's since been replaced by Aaron Curry. Rob admitted that a young wide receiver remains a need for the Seahawks, even in the aftermath of the T.J. Houshmandzadeh signing. But is there something that could stop Crabtree being a consideration?

"I have some reservations about Crabtree's character and if I have some reservations, Ruskell likely does too." - Rob Rang

Character can be a deal breaker when it comes to Tim Ruskell. With so much money tied up in the fourth overall pick, it could take on an even greater emphasis this year. This isn't the first time we've heard about possible red flags with Crabtree.

Clare Farnsworth reported on Thursday, "Scouts at the Washington Pro Day this week said that the red flags attached to Crabtree go beyond his recent foot surgery that will prevent him from running before the draft."

So at this still relatively early stage, what are we expecting on April 25th? Probably the unexpected. For weeks we've been assuming Georgia quarter back Matt Stafford would be the number one pick for Detroit. Who knows what will happen between now and then, especially with the uncertain future of Jay Cutler in Denver.

"Conversations with scouts throughout the league make me think that the top 4 players right now are going to be Stafford, Jason Smith, Monroe and Curry. They could go in any order, however. There is real talk that Smith and Monroe could be 2 of the first 3 picks, meaning that either Stafford or Curry could be available to the Seahawks. If either is, he likely will be the pick simply due to the best player available strategy." - Rob Rang

Aaron Curry is ranked top of NFL Draft Scouts 'big board'. If Curry and Stafford did go in the top three, the Seahawks might reconsider the possibility of drafting an offensive playmaker.


Chris (Seattle) said...

Hey Rob...So what are these supposed "character red-flags" about Crabtree specifically? I think the whole foot-injury situation at the Combine was certainly handled poorly, but you can almost guarantee Crabtree had a million people in his ear giving their two-cents on what he should do, and he was probably just a kid overwhelmed with such a big decision at a major point in his life. I don't see that as a character issue, I think he did okay considering all the hype and attention the situation stirred up (it's not like he left to go eat some more a la Andre Smith). It seems like closer we get to the draft, the more "red-flags" everyone seems to come up with for every player (even Curry is being accused of being a poor pass rusher...but I feel someone that athletically gifted, a coach can find a way to get him to the QB), but I feel, and I'll bring up Desean Jackson again here, with the guidance of Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice, I doubt he will come into the NFL with a poor attitude and be a locker room disaster. If Rice can tame and train Desean Jackson (a player who had a lot more character flags than Crabtree), than I think we can feel safe about Crabtree's mentors and overall character.

Michael Steffes said...

Great Work Rob... both of you!

Rob Staton said...

Hi Chris, personally I don't know what the character reservations are. Obviously teams and scouts will be doing their research and we can only guess at what they may have discovered. Having never met Michael Crabtree or spoken directly to scouts and personnel at an NFL team, I can't shed any light on this situation.

It's important to stress at this stage that Rob only had reservations about Crabtree's character. If the team do their research and gain sufficient satisfaction that Crabtree has no significant character issues, he will surely remain at the heart of Seattle's draft focus.

Aaron Weinberg said...

Well he might not be the smartest tool in the box... there's evidence of that at the combine and this interview.

Peaboy said...

Love the blog thanks for all the great analysis.

quick geek complaint: that font\color combo you're using for quotes comes through as silver on white in Google Reader and is really hard to read.

Rob Staton said...

Thanks for the tip Peaboy, I'll see what I can do. Unfortunately, using a color background restricts the options. Thanks also for the positive feedback which is always a pleasure to receive.

Aaron - personally I couldn't find fault with that particular interview. It was shortly after the biggest game of his life to date, and he'd scored the winning TD with 1 second left. I don't think he is the most charismatic and is certainly not the kind of distinguished public speaker you will find with prospects like Knowshon Moreno and Malcolm Jenkins. However, he doesn't come across arrogant. His interviews always seem to about 'doing his job' and 'being the best'. It's not always the most interesting topic, but at the end of the day you want someone who will produce on the field first and foremost - an infectious personality is a bonus.

Rob Staton said...

How's the blue font instead of the silver? Any suggestions?

Peaboy said...

You have to post a new post for the quoted stuff to show up again.

tompage said...

I think Brian Orapko is a real possibility with #4. He projects as a defensive end in the 4-3. He becomes the long term replacement for Kerney. We need more pressure up front and Orakpo is as good as any in the draft at that.

Rob Staton said...

I would be surprised if the team drafted Orakpo with the fourth pick. He projects as more of a 3-4 OLB than a 4-3 DE, and he has almost identical size to Terrell Suggs who has mastered the position.

He's not an elite pass rusher in the sense that he's more of a high motor type than somebody with explosive speed. A lot of his sacks for Texas came through the middle rather than the outside. If I'm taking a defensive end that high, they need to be Gaines Adams quick. I expect Orakpo to go early, possibly as high as 5th overall. But his real value for me is going to come as an OLB.

The team have also invested in Lawrence Jackson and Darryl Tapp. With Cory Redding scheduled to play some DE as well as DT, it becomes a little crowded. No doubt the team would benefit from an elite pass rushing DE. I'm just not sure Orakpo is that option.

Chris (Seattle) said...

Rob, don't know if you've seen Jamie Dukes' latest mock draft, but he seems to think the Hawks will take Andre Smith with the 4th overall pick. I think Tim Ruskell would have to get murdered, and replaced with an evil-twin version for that to take place. I know mock drafts are difficult to actually predict what's going to happen in such an unpredictable event like the draft, but other than slotting in a no name into that spot, I don't think a worse prediction could've been made for our pick. Shocking to say the least.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Chris, thanks for raising that mock to my attention. I'd be very surprised if the Seahawks drafted Smith that early. When you watch the tape, he's great in the running game and does have a lot of talent. I don't think he'll ever be a top left tackle because he struggles against elite speed, but he could be an awesome guard and possibly right tackle.

However, he clearly has some baggage that I'm sure will have put the Seahawks off taking him so early in the first round. Can he keep his weight down? Can he mature? Is he determined enough to be a success in the NFL? Nobody has done more to harm their own stock than Andre Smith over the last few weeks. He could still be a top 10 pick because offensive lineman are premium value these days. Fourth to Seattle will probably be a stretch too far.

Anonymous said...

My only knowledge concerning red flags for Crabtree is info Mayock reported at the combine. He stated that Crabtree was followed around by a bunch of "hangers-on", who really had no business being at an event like the combine.

Aaron Weinberg said...

C'mon man, anyone who says "I dreamed it in my head."