Friday, 17 April 2009

Friday links *UPDATED*

ESPN is reporting sources that say the Philadelphia Eagles will trade for Jason Peters (OT, Bills). The deal includes Buffalo receiving the 28th overall pick. It's something we discussed in last week's podcast, with a humble 'unnamed individual' predicting this could happen. It's an interesting move by both teams and perhaps increases the chances of Buffalo taking an offensive tackle with the 11th overall pick (as suggested in my latest mock).

Elizabeth Geli reports on some more potentially stock-destroying news for USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing. Geli alleges Matthews started a facebook group called 'White Nation', with subsequent offensive material. Cushing, along with teammates David Buehler, Dan Deckas and Dallas Sartz are said to have joined the group on the social networking site. If Geli's report is found to be true, what was allegedly intended as a 'joke' could turn out to be one of the stupidest mistakes ever made by a potential NFL draftee.

Frank Cooney takes a look at the quarter backs available in the 2009 NFL Draft. I think Seattle will probably take a quarter back at some stage. There's a huge drop off after the top three (Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman) and we might not see another QB leave the board until the 5th or 6th round. This might be one of the reasons why Seattle are reported to be high on Sanchez. Tim Ruskell admits the team are 'in the zone' with regard to looking for a future replacement for Hasselbeck but there's no Chad Henne or Brian Brohm in round two this year.

Mike Mayock and Charley Casserly discuss some of the risks involved in the NFL draft. Casserley offers some good insight into the thought process of NFL GM's. He was the man credited with selecting Mario Williams for the Houston Texans in 2006. He has some specific concerns about Brian Orakpo, suggesting he's inconsistent.

Mayock also offers some thoughts on prospects who's stock is rising and falling. As is the popular opinion right now, he thinks there's a chance Mark Sanchez goes fourth overall - propelling the stock of Josh Freeman possibly into the top 15 picks. Percy Harvin is slated for a drop due to off the field concerns, as is Illinois corner back Vontae Davis.

Football Diner have published my latest two round mock draft. Feel free to check it out, if you want to agree/disagree click the comments section below and have your say. Alternatively, why not email me your own mock draft ?


Mike said...

I think I have come around and would be on board with a Sanchez pick. The hawks hopefully won't be selecting in the top 5 for a long time, and to use a rare top of the draft selection on an elite talent at the most important position in football seems like a great use of the pick.

Hass is clearly almost done, and may be done this year if his back issues flare up again. If thats the case, we basically have no one with potential behind him. Seneca has proven he is nothing but a back up, and there is absolutely nothing behind him.

Some want us to take a flier on a later round guy, but it doesn't appear there are any QB talents worth a mid-round pick. Maybe the guy from CWU, Reilly, but how many QBs outside of Hass and Brady have made it in the NFL as late round guys?

Almost all of the recently drafted starting QBs in the league are first rounders. Brees, Rivers, Cutler, both Mannings, Ryan, Flacco, Roethlisburger etc. Without a good QB, the hawks won't be a contending team, so why not take a risk on Sanchez? He looks like he has all the physical tools, has the psyche to be a leader, and by all accounts his only weakness is inexperience which is perfect if Hass plays for a few more years.

jjhsix said...

Funny that you write that Mike because I'm becoming more and more disheartened by the possibility of them selecting Sanchez. I don't think its fair to suggest Hasselbeck is "clearly almost done" because of one injured plagued season. If we can get 2-3 more years out of Hasselbeck (ie. he plays until he is 36 or 37) than our needs could be much better served drafting a position of need.

You mention that Seneca is nothing more than a backup, but at least we know what we have with him. How can you guarantee Sanchez is nothing more than a backup? I don't have the exact figures but I would be surprised if the number of QBs drafted in round 1 that become productive starters is greater than 50%. Left tackle is a much safer position to draft since they can move inside to guard or right tackle (like Robert Gallery in Oakland) so its not a completely wasted pick.

I still advocate them taking Crabtree, with the understanding that WR is another difficult position to evaluate. However, Crabtree will help the team much quicker than a QB who sits on the bench for 2 seasons and won't command as high a cap hit as a 1st round QB.

Rob Staton said...

Very solid argument there Mike. I agree on the 'late round flier' opinion. All of the guys going in the 5th-6th-7th range are huge projects for me and none are realistic options to replace Hasselbeck. Mike Reilly gets mentioned a lot, but I think he's a 7th round pick at best. You can't expect guys at that stage to come in and be potential franchise quarter backs. Finding a Tom Brady there is like finding the holy grail.

The Seahawks have to address the future at QB. It wouldn't be so bad if Hasselbeck wasn't coming off a year plagued by his bad back, but because he is we go into 2009 with no real clue as to how he'll hold up. They may prefer to go in a different direction, Sanchez might not tick all of Ruskell's boxes in terms of starts etc. But the simple fact is, the quarter back position is so important, when you're 34 your old franchise QB has a bad back, you have to start thinking about the future.

Rob Staton said...

Also... good points from JJhsix (I didn't have a chance to read your post before I wrote the above). As you say, Wallace is there and he has some experience now. He did pretty well at the back end of 2008 in less than helpful circumstances. Should Hasselbeck go down in 2009, Wallace starts not Sanchez. If they have that confidence in Wallace to start, they may not feel handcuffed to draft Sanchez this early and concentrate on other guys like Crabtree, Curry or an offensive lineman.

All the talk is of Sanchez right now, but it's impossible to tell this close to the draft what's truth and what's smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

I think at this stage you go for Mark "D" Sanchez or work a trade if possible. I guess my thought process goes like this.

Lets assume:
Starting caliber QB is an area of need. I haven't heard anybody even mention Wallace in the discussion.

Elite QBs must nearly always be taken from the draft. As opposed to free agency or trade. Unless you want a Cutler crybaby type to lead your team.

There are only 2-3 elites in the average draft class and its too late for any experimental projects.

It takes 2-3 years for a new qb to reach his stride.

Does anybody really think Hasselback is going to be anything but serviceable in 2-3 years? Even if he is still playing well, can he play a whole season?

I am not opposed to trading down and picking up picks (Moreno, Mack, S Smith) Even though I think this mean we will be relying on Wallace for the next few years.

Go Hawks.

akki said...

You know if they draft Sanchez the media hype will be that you can't trust Hasselbeck's back. If they draft an OT, then the hype will be that Walter Jones won't be healthy for next season. Many pundits seem to be making one of these assumptions in justifying their mock picks, but nobody truly has hard information other than the Seahawks front office.

Rob, questions on your opinion of Monroe. We know that you don't think he's a good ZBS fit.
1) Suppose the Seahawks really are concerned about Jones' knee and consider LT a definte need. Jason Smith is gone, and you don't have a credible trade-down in place. Do you take Monroe, or do you skip him to take Oher, who might be a better ZBS fit, even if he's less ready? Or is Locklear better to you than either of those guys?
2) Main concern with Monroe is his lack of inclination to make blocks on the second level. Do you believe that this is not coachable, whereas technique is coachable?
(I'm coming from the angle of how there are other guys I might prefer at #4, but I'm not really down on Monroe)

Sean Smith is generally projected as late 1st, early 2nd. Do you think he'd be projected as highly if he were viewed only as a safety prospect? I like him at safety, but I don't see him matching up against Fitzgerald at corner one day. What was the last good cornerback that was 6'3"? Bobby Taylor? We've seen draft busts Jimmy Williams and Lenny Walls since then, and Brandon Browner is in the CFL. Maybe a tall corner is good, but a very tall corner, not so much. The taller the corner gets, the higher his center of gravity and the more difficulty in changing direction.

Rob Staton said...

Hi akki,

I would reserve against taking Monroe because I wouldn't want to spend $60m on a bad scheme fit. Monroe has just flat out shown unwillingness to block more than one guy. That's not something his coaches will have told him, it's the way he is. I'm not sure that's something I would want to have to force for the investment. His run blocking is also a concern for me, as is his apparent passive attitude. I think Jason Smith has the mental approach to be a great NFL tackle, but I don't see it in Monroe. For any team that will be a concern, but his pass protection is so good that in a man scheme, pass friendly offense the concern is diluted. If you're running a ZBS that wants greater emphasis to the run (aka Seattle) it worries me.

I think the team have set up Locklear and Willis in case Jones go down, but they can also find solid additions without spending $60m on a bad scheme fit, such as William Beatty, Jamon Meredith and Troy Kropog.

You make very valid points about Sean Smith and I think his long term future is billed at safety. He would probably disagree with that, he wants to play corner. I do think in certain situations he can spell at both CB and S as a rookie. The value for Seattle is, they're getting a taller defensive back that they can fit into different passing situations. His struggles at corner back could come for the reasons you mention, but I think his combination of size and speed could lead him to become a very, very good player in the NFL. He needs guidance though, and I think with a head coach like Jim Mora it's a perfect match.

I think he has the production (9 INT's in two years) to match the physical qualities, so I can't imagine his stock would suffer too much even if people view him as a pure safety.

Anonymous said...

Everything I have watched and heard of Jamon Meredith makes me believe he is a perfect fit for Seattle and ZBS. He holds so much value because he is a 2nd rounder who has played all 4 spots on the line. It's not speculation whether or not he can play G or T. Many believe that he would be a 1st rounder had he played his whole career at LT. I think his versatility, fit in ZBS, and his value in the 2nd round is too good to pass up. I don't see Monroe becoming elite because he doesn't have that nasty attitude. He's athletic but not necessarily a great fit in ZBS.

Rob Staton said...

I will say this about the group of offensive lineman, it's often described as being very deep and no doubt J-Smith, Monroe, A-Smith and Oher all are very talented. However, when I think all four could be gone by the time Ryan Clady was taken last year (12th overall, Denver) I think it's quite remarkable. With the greatest respect to all four of the above, I wouldn't be surprised if none became elite. I certianly believe in 10 years time that Clady will have had the greater career. Of course, that's easy to say after a tremendous rookie season for Clady and we haven't seen any of the new crop perform at the next level. But I still think it perhaps speaks volumes for this years draft and the way offensive lineman have taken on premium status that Clady was able to escape out of the top ten last season, and we could see four guys go above him in this years equivalent.

I think both William Beatty and Jamon Meredith provide better fits to Seattle's scheme than Oher, Andre Smith and Monroe. I also believe Troy Kropog does later on too. I think Seattle can find good value at offensive tackle this year, add to a position of need and still not spend the fourth overall pick.

akki said...

For what it's worth Nawrocki at PFW has a pretty stable grading system from year to year, and I have a couple of past issues I can use for comparison. Obviously it's just one opinion, and it doesn't take into account scheme fits, but it's something at least.
7.00 Jake Long
6.70 Joe Thomas
6.60 Jason Smith
6.55 Levi Brown
6.55 Eugene Monroe
6.45 Andre Smith
6.40 Ryan Clady
6.40 Michael Oher
6.30 Jeff Otah
6.25 Branden Albert
6.25 Gosder Cherilus
6.17 Joe Staley
6.15 Sam Baker
6.10 Chris Williams
5.90 Eben Britton
5.45 Duane Brown

Clady's proven more valuable than his draft position already.

Another thing about ZBS is that the coaches typically don't use high picks on OT's. All the years that Denver has run it, they've drafted two OT in the first round - George Foster and Clady, and Clady already played in a ZBS in college. In general guys like Gibbs and Cable think they can find diamonds in the rough in later rounds, so we may be looking at the same here with a Meredith or Beatty.

But now we have to leverage the top OTs to get Buffalo to trade up!

Rob Staton said...

How does that grading system work Akki? What are the numbers next to each name?

akki said...

The grading scale goes from 4 to 9, and of course nobody ever gets 9.
8.0+ = regular all-pro
7.5-7.99 = future all-pro
7.0-7.49 = should be pro bowler
6.5-6.99 = solid player, possible pro bowler
6.0-6.49 = should be solid player
5.5-5.99 = could become a solid player
5.1-5.49 = drafted, and could make NFL roster
5.0-5.09 = better than 50-50 chance to make roster or practice squad

They also use a round projection for the same scale where
5.95+ = 1st rounder
5.6-5.94 = 2nd rounder
5.45-5.59 = 3rd rounder
5.35-5.44 = 4th rounder
5.27-5.34 = 5th rounder
based on the value they think a team should be getting in each round. For example, in a weak draft you may get less than 30 guys with 1st round projections.

Mind of no mind said...

Hey Rob, sorry if I've already asked you this before, but if the Seahawks draft Sanchez, what would you think of the possibility of trading Wallace? Like you said, he does give us insurance should Matt's back become a problem again this year, but if they traded him, it would show that the FO has faith that Matt will be healthy for the next couple of seasons.

Also, Wallace is in the last year of his contract, and has said that he'd like to be a starter somewhere, so we'll certainly lose him after next year if we have Sanchez. I think he'd be very open to signing an extension as part of a trade that allows him to compete for a starting job. I think if Sage Rosenfel commanded a mid 4th round pick that Wallace should be worth at least an early to mid 3rd. If we waited until after the draft, maybe we could get a conditional pick in next years draft that would be worth more if he performs.

Rob Staton said...

I don't think the team will trade Wallace. In an off season where a few teams have needed a QB, I'm a bit surprised we haven't heard any interest in Wallace. Teams like Minnesotta have spent picks to get a guy like Sage Rosenfels, but Wallace (who did well in 2008) remains our backup. If they take Sanchez, I think the plan would be to keep him well away from the starting role until 2010 and maybe even 2011. In that case, they need a backup. It wouldn't surprise me if Wallace ended up signing an extension in Seattle if he doesn't get a tempting enough offer to start when he hits free agency.