Monday, 21 December 2009

Monday notes

I had a chance to watch Fresno State vs Wyoming this weekend and the main focus of my attention was running back Ryan Mathews. Reports today suggest he'll declare for the 2010 draft. He was productive on Saturday, notching 144 yards from 31 carries - scoring two touchdowns but fumbling once too. His career totals stretched to 3280 rushing yards and 39 scores in the process.

He showed nice hip swerve and an ability to make good cuts to create a lane. But the big concern is his lack of breakaway speed. He's shifty at best, but he isn't going to torch a defense. That would be ok, but he's also not the biggest or most physical guy either. He has durability issues and left the game at one point nursing an injury, but returned later on. It's only one example, but overall I just felt slightly underwhelmed. He may have some value in the fourth or fifth round and his production could warrant consideration slightly earlier - but when a guy isn't the most physical and doesn't have elite speed and playmaking ability, you can only rank him so highly.

Meanwhile, a Seahawks running back has been bigging up the draft prospects of Jahvid Best (RB, California). Justin Forsett is a former Golden Bear and had some nice things to say about Best this week: "He has that 'Wow!' factor with his speed. Somebody's going to get a real good gift come draft time if he decides to come out."

One prospect that has divided opinion recently is Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers). He is expected to announce his decision to declare at a press conference tomorrow. I opened up the debate yesterday and Michael had mixed feelings in the comments section, praising Davis' skills in pass protection and good footwork, but voicing concern about his willingness to block downfield.

Ivotuk was more critical, "He looked absolutely lost when going to the second level. He wouldn't touch anyone on the first level and guys would run right by him. It's like he zeros in on one thing and does only that one thing."

Kevin Wiedl at ESPN was more complimentary: "Davis has rocketed up draft boards this season and he showed against the Knights exactly why he's being talked about at a high first-round pick. He had a strong game against Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Bruce Miller, displaying his entire skill set - natural feet, strength, balance, power and ability to recover. We'd like to see Davis play a little lower as a run blocker, but otherwise he has all the tools to succeed as a left tackle in the NFL. He has rare athleticism for a player his size, plays well in space, shows power in the running game and his hands are extremely strong. He looks like a lock to be a top-15 pick at this point and could surpass Oklahoma State's Russell Okung as the top offensive tackle on the board."

For more on Davis, check out this article I wrote last week.


Savage said...

Rob, have you heard anything about Rodney Hudson possibly declaring? While he isn't a tackle, from watching him and reading his scouting reports, I think he'd step in and immeadiately be the Hawks best lineman.

Watching him play it was almost comical how dominant he was in comparison to the other FSU lineman. On almost every play it seemed he was 3-5 yards up the field in comparison. Even on passing down he was never pushed back and was practically blocking on his own.

I would take him with Denver's pick and not look back.

As for Matthews, I would stay away from him until atleast the 4th round. The Hawks need more speed and he would be redundant behind Forsett and Jones. You could go out and sign a guy like Mike Bell to provide that kind of production.

At the game yesterday it so painfully obvious that even possibly the worst team in the league has no respect for the skill posistions of the Hawks. The Bucs crowded the line and dared the Hawks o beat them. They constatnly jumped routes forcing Hasselbeck into bad throws. At this point I think it would be hard to criticize the Hawks taking a Dez Bryant or CJ Spiller even with their first pick.

Rob Staton said...

Hey Savage hope you're well,

I've been keeping an eye out for information on Rodney Hudson, but nothing has been mentioned yet. I think he's likely be a decision that comes later rather than sooner. The deadline to declare is in January. I've made no secret on this blog of my desire to see Hudson in Seahawks blue - I think potentially he could be a late first round pick and people I've spoken to have suggested that isn't unrealistic.

Without doubt the Seahawks need some playmakers and some speed. There isn't anyone who can score some cheap points, or force a team to game plan and respect that Seahawks offense. The guy I like the most in terms of filling that need is CJ Spiller. He's a threat to score every time he has the ball and could run a 4.2/3 at the combine. You can keep him in on any play call, he can return kicks, he catches, he pass protects well, he's shown an ability to play when hurt and cope with a greater work load. He's the best option if Seattle want to invest early in a big time playmaker.

Anonymous said...

I really like Hudson, but I am really worried about him being undersized. I'd much rather have Mike Iupati because I think we are desperately lacking size and strength on the line.

I miss the days of 3rd and short and it being almost automatic run to the left. Everybody knew it and still couldn't stop it. As much as I like Hudson and Charles Brown, I would much rather have some big bodies that can consistently win on those 3rd down runs.

Personally, I'm hoping we find a trade down partner from our first pick to get into the teens and pick Spiller. Spend the DEN pick on Iupati and our 2nd rounder on a guy like Benn or another Big bodied, fast WR. It's a heavy investment on offense, but we have been lacking in the "threat" Department for a long time. A HR hitter like Spiller, a mauler like Iupati, and a big physical WR like Benn could spark some life into this team. At the very least, maybe excite the fan base about seeing some big plays next season.

What would you think about taking a guy like Kyle Calloway in the middle rounds? He is a monster RT out of Iowa and would help out in the run game.

MAC said...

I've been reading your blog the past few days and have enjoyed the insight...thanks for sharing your knowledge! I really liked Berry at mid season but know you think he's overrated. Does he not have the potential of Reed? Where would you feel comfortable spending a pick on him?

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - Benn is definitely one to keep an eye on. He's flown under the radar this year because of QB issues and a sloppy offense at Illinois. His production was non existent because of this. He's still got first round potential but might slip purely on what's happened this year. If Seattle are serious about adding younger, better playmakers to their team - they need to find bargains like Benn potentially could be.

Mac - personally I think Eric Berry is very over rated. He made a lot of big interception returns in his first two years at Tennessee and it earned him a reputation as that Ed Reed type. I've watched him three times this year and on every occassion he looked a real liability with his tackling. He's also not made anywhere near as many of those 'big plays' in 2009. But the tackling is the issue - he never wraps up. He'll whiff frequently, I remember watching Alabama with a first and ten from their own 1 yard line - Mark Ingram takes the hand off and runs to the right.... Berry just watches him run straight past him without even putting an arm out. Things like that happen regularly. I'm also really concerned about his coverage against bigger wide outs and tight ends where he tend to get out fought for the ball, and he has trouble bringing down running backs (he was flattened by Auburn's Ben Tate).

I think the potential is there if you put him on a good team alongside a better, bigger safety and let him play purely as a ball hawk whilst you work on that tackling. For that reason, the teams picking in the 20's would be best for Berry. However, I'd suggest Seattle should stay away - they have too many bigger needs at key positions and the defense just isn't good enough to accomodate a luxury like Berry.

Savage said...

I agree that Benn is one to keep an eye. He could be a excellent value in the 2nd round if he slips due to poor QB play around him. His physicall attributes are great. He has good YAC ability, good hands, and ball skills in the air. He is also reportedly a good blocker. The one concern I could see is poor route running, but I could see that improving alot moving to a more passing oriented gameplan. The Illini and Juice Williams were so bad, I can't blame the guy.

One thing I'm interested in, and want to know your thoughts Rob, are how Holmgren's hiring in Cleveland could effect the Hawk's draft. Cleveland is armed with 11 or 12 picks and I think it could be possible that Holmgren would move some of those to Seattle for veterans that know his systems.

Would he trade for Hasselbeck? I would see if he'd give up a 3rd rounder to replace the one we traded for Butler. You've also got guys like Burleson, Branch, Grant, Hill, Tatupu, Babineax, etc that could be of some interest. If we could ship away any of those guys for some picks, I would have to take a serious look at it.

I also think you can peg Bradford for Cleveland. Holmgren has stated that he thinks Bradford is a gret QB prospect and could fit the WC offense nicely.

Rob Staton said...

I would be surprised if Holmgren traded for Hasselbeck, particularly something as high as a third rounder. He's looking to build a team and picks that high are gold dust - spending it on such a short term measure as a soon to be 35 year old quarterback would surprise me. He'd probably show some interest if he was a free agent, but he won't cough up picks.

Holmgren would hold all the keys if he did want to trade for a Seahawk and Seattle were interested. The Seahawks would have little bargaining power and for that reason I think it's unlikely. Again, depending on who is cut from the roster Holmgren might show interest, but I think he'll try to keep as many picks as possible.

I agree completely with Bradford. That looks very much a possibility at this stage.