Sunday, 8 March 2009

Take five with Kyle Rota

I recently had the chance to catch up with Kyle Rota from College Talent Scout. I put some questions to Kyle in order to find out his thoughts and see how free agency might change things - specifically for the Seahawks.

Q/ The big question in Seattle at the moment is surely 'will the Seahawks still take Michael Crabtree' with Houshmandzadeh now on the roster? Do you think drafting Crabtree is still realistic with the amount of money tied up at wide receiver?

KR/ I still think Crabtree would be a good decision. Is there the immediacy needed before Houshmanzadeh's signing? Nope. But you're still looking at arguably the best player in the draft, at a position where the Seahawks have no long term future. Branch is only slightly more likely to be activated all 16 games than I am, Burleson is a free agent at the end of this season and coming off of a major injury, and Housh is a lot closer to the end of his career than he is the beginning. Crabtree would instantly start for the team opposite Houshmanzadeh, and would provide some long term security at a position where Seattle has none. I don't think it is wise to focus on the money, because WR is a need with or without the cash invested in it.

Click here to read the full article.

Q/ You recently published your scouting report on Eugene Monroe. In Rob Rang's latest mock draft, he sends Monroe to Seattle. Is he a realistic option, and does he present good value fourth overall?

KR/ Monroe is a really high-risk high-reward player. I have very serious concerns about his work ethic. He's lazy on the field and his soft midsection is a sign his off-the-field work habits may not be any better. However, Monroe is the best technician in this class, he's a very good athlete with good strength. He gives up a little athleticism but provides a lot more consistency than Oher, and he has far better hand use than either Smith. I have this sinking feeling in my gut that Monroe will be the next Alex Barron, but if a team is prepared to constantly be motivating him they could get an elite tackle.

Q/ A lot of people mention Brian Orakpo as a potential 'wild card' pick for the Seahawks. Can he play as a 4-3 defensive end, and will he be on Seattle's shortlist?

KR/ I think Orakpo projects well as a 43 DE, but he's not a guy I'm really fond of, personally. He has only "okay" size for the weakside end, and makes a lot of plays due to his motor. Athletically, he hasn't looked like anything special in what I have seen of him.

I'm not a big fan of drafting "medium-talent high-motor" guys early in the first round, if I am going to take a DE that early I want them to be more in the Gaines Adams mold (assuming the Mario Williams/Julius Peppers type is taken in the top-3 picks). Furthermore, I think Seattle needs to try developing the DL they have rather than continually spending high picks at the position. You have 3 DEs with 1st day talent, as well as a great if injury-prone player in Patrick Kerney. At some point, I think Seattle needs to give these a shot. I don't claim to have a mind-meld with Ruskell, but I don't seem him willing to give up on Jackson so early, and both Jackson and Orakpo present themselves as weakside ends in a 43 defense.(I think Orakpo is best suited to the heavier-style (the kind Pitt, NE, Cleveland, NYJ run) 34 defense.

I've had it explained to me that there are really two types of 34s, a "bigger" style and a "smaller" style. Orakpo has enough size and speed to excel in the "bigger" style and while his functional strength is not as good as his weight-room strength, he could deliver a nasty shock to OL who think he's weak.)

Q/ Is Jason Smith the shoe in to go 2nd overall to St Louis that most people predict after his combine performance?

KR/ Yes.

Smith not only answered his biggest question mark (size), but also ran better than anyone else, benched more than the other top OTs, and aced his interviews. Combined with what was a disappointing (not disastrous, however) combine for Crabtree, Smith has cemented his spot as the 2nd best player.

Each OT has a question mark:

J.Smith: Hand use.
Monroe: Laziness.
Oher: Brains
A.Smith: Maturity

Of those, Smith's nastiness and intelligence should allow him to overcome his weakness with less difficulty than any of the other OLs mentioned. You don't want to waste a top-5 pick, and the security Jason Smith provides will make him the best pick for the Rams.

Q/ Where do you see Mark Sanchez going in the draft?

KR/ Thanks for throwing me the easy questions, Rob (not).

Sanchez could go anywhere. I don't think he cemented himself as better than Stafford in the majority opinion, but there are some who view him as better. I've talked to someone with excellent sources, and supposedly Sanchez has every leadership intangible that Carson Palmer had, and then some. He still has major problems with his release point, where he holds the ball, and how long he holds onto the ball, but I think Sanchez is deserving to go in the top-10 and I feel a little better about him than I do Matt Stafford. One thing I will be doing closer to the draft is comparing Sanchez and Stafford side-by-side, that should give me a better idea of who deserves to be the first quarterback off the board. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say Sanchez ends up with San Francisco at #10.


pepperpig said...

As bad as they need a tackle, I think the Rams will take Crabtree.

Rob Staton said...

It's certainly an option pepperpig. They're a franchise in rebuilding mould with a new regime. If they rank Crabtree highly, they might decide to bank the pick as a BPA in the same way they took Chris Long last year.

It's also possible the Rams could look at Aaron Curry. However, at this stage I firmly believe they will select between the top two offensice tackles in this draft - Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe.

pepperpig said...

Well I'll be surprised if he is still there with the 4th pick and pissed if the Seahawks dont take him.

Anonymous said...

I will also be a little ticked if Crabtree is there and they pass on him, with the possible exception of J Smith being there also.

I have heard a somewhat convincing argument for Sanchez however. Basically that QB is the hardest position to find, and since we're drafting abnormally high, with Matt's age and injury issues, now would be the time to get one while he can hold a clipboard and learn without the pressure of being thrown to the wolves. I am wondering though, how long the Hawks would realistically leave that kind of money on the bench. I couldn't see it lasting more then 2 seasons, barring Sanchez being a complete flop.

Rob Staton said...

I'm not sure how possible this is annonymous, but they may be able to backload the contract so that the cap hit is smaller originally but bigger when Sanchez (or another QB) starts. Of course, this might be difficult. Matt Ryan was taken 3rd overall last year and got a $72m contract and $34.75m in guarantees. That is absolutely huge - to backload it would mean a QB earning astronomical sums later on.

So essentially, as you say taking a QB early means they are almost certain to start sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

ya, Sanchez signing an Aaron Rodgers type deal (incentive-heavy, light salary) would seem quite unlikely.

Curious if you think its too soon to draft a QB in the 1st round. I'm leaning against, but I would also hate to see another train of sub-par QBs after seeing Freisz, Stouffer, McGwire, Mirer, etc.

you guys need some polls on here, ha ha. I was surprised how many people voted for Branch and Burleson over on the SA site.

Rob Staton said...

Hi annonymous,

Tim Ruskell has said the team is 'in the zone' with regard to finding a young QB. Let's remember, a few months ago Peter King was reporting that the Seahawks were considering cutting or trading Hasselbeck because of his back problems. Those reports eventually were seen to be untrue, but we won't know if that back problem is completely put to bed until Hasselbeck has played 16 games in 2009.

You look at the draft and it isn't filled with obvious talent at quarter back. I am a big fan of Matt Stafford and I do believe there is something there with Sanchez. I can see a scenario where the team takes advantage of picking this early to get a talented young guy to one day be the 'face of the franchise'. They need to weigh up the pro's of getting someone who can have an instant impact in 2009, and the pro's of drafting a long term option at the most important position in football.