Thursday, 30 April 2009

Aaron Curry's war-room tag

Above is Aaron Curry's tag used in the Seahawks war room. Some of the information is obvious - the '254' number is a reference to his weight in lbs. The '4.51' refers to the time he runs in a 40 yard dash and the '6016' likely refers to his height. The '26' is the score Curry scored on his wonderlic test. However, some of it is less obvious. What do the letters 'B' and 'C' stand for? What about the numbers '9' and '5'? If you've got any ideas, let me know in the comments section below or email

Thursday links - looking to 2010

Todd McShay posts his early 2010 mock draft. At this stage last year, McShay correctly guessed eleven first round prospects which isn't too bad so early in the process. He thinks Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma) will be the #1 pick. He also suggests Seattle could look to draft a quarter back - taking Colt McCoy 6th overall with the pick they recently acquired from Denver. I have doubts about McCoy's ability to put himself this high in next year's draft.

Pete Prisco looks to next year and gives an early prediction for the 2010 draft. In my opinion, he's got the first pick right and it's pretty sound judgement throughout. I just don't think Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow are worthy of being drafted in the top picks and Sam Bradford, although having the talent, plays in a quirky offense. Jevon Snead (Ole Miss) is the one to watch.

Chad Reuter breaks down the top Senior prospects for 2010, separating them into categories of draft position. It's not rich with quality, so he also lists his favoured underclassmen. As with the 2009 draft, the overall quality of next year's event will be dictated by which guys leave school early.

Tony Pauline publishes his 'watch-list' for 2010. The top 10 is dominated by defense, including plenty of defensive line talent. At this early stage he has Greg Hardy down as being rated the highest, with Seattle born Taylor Mays at #2. Sam Bradford is the only quarter back listed in the top twenty-five.

Peter Schrager has a look at how the 2010 NFL draft could shake out. He has the Seahawks taking Eric Berry (S, Tennessee) and Greg Hardy (DE, Ole Miss). It's still early days, but I think next year's draft could be a great one for defense. I'm not buying Tebow and McCoy in the top five picks.

Andrew Perloff offers a 2010 mock. Seattle takes Joe Haden (CB, Florida) with the Broncos first rounder and Greg Hardy (DE, Ole Miss) with their own selection. Perloff thinks St Louis will trade up to the No1 pick next year (will this ever happen without a rookie salary cap?).

Walter Cherepinsky has a go at predicting the 2010 NFL draft. He also has the Seahawks taking Eric Berry and also running back Jonathan Dwyer from Georgia Tech. With this being a draft blog we'll keep dipping into the 2010 stuff even if it's too soon to get a realistic read on how it's going to pan out.

Behind the scenes with Aaron Curry

The NFL Network published this great footage today, following Aaron Curry before and after being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. We see the pre-draft excitement, the reaction when Jim Mora gives Aaron the call - even the wait in the airport after his plane to Seattle is delayed. Curry proudly dons his lime green draft cap throughout - and after meeting Tim Ruskell had the chance to travel to Qwest Field to see his new home. It's well worth checking out.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Walter Cherepinsky's final thoughts

Walter Cherepinsky once again had superb draft coverage on his website this year, kudos to him not only for the material but for helping blogs like this get attention on his draft database. Today he's published some final thoughts on the 2009 event titled, "1o things I learned during the NFL draft."

It's worth checking out, a good combination of insight and amusement. I particularly enjoyed his review of ESPN's live draft coverage, "ESPN doesn't understand its draft audience. The people who tune into Day 2 of the draft are hardcore football fans. They're not casual fans who are interested in Bill Cosby, Mel Kiper's hair or Trent Dilfer's corny jokes."


Madden 2010 rookie class

Any fans of Madden NFL? The guys at EA Sports have 'Madden-ised' the rookie class of 2009 through the first round. For those not familiar with the popular game, players are given a statistical grading marked out of 100. The latest edition, Madden '10, comes out on August 14th. Aaron Curry receives the highest rookie grade getting a solid 85. His transformation into digital form is one of the better likenesses too. The video clip below runs through the first round. Peria Jerry (DT, Atlanta) for some reason looks more like Beanie Wells. Alex Mack is pulling some nice shapes in his Cleveland jersey, in the midst of a robotic dance. Michael Oher's also a bit of a sharp dancer too.

Week 1 - Aaron Curry vs St Louis Rams

This week we'll have a look at who Aaron Curry will be coming up against in his introduction to the NFL. In week one, the Seahawks entertain divison rivals St Louis looking to begin the 2009 season with a positive result. It'll also provide an early opportunity for Seattle's latest first round pick to be formally introduced to the 12th man.

The Seahawks will be looking to continue an eight game win streak against the Rams, stretching back to January 2005. Half of Seattle's wins last year came against St Louis including a 37-13 win at Qwest Field in week three.

It'll be an early opportunity for two 2009 top five picks to meet head-to-head. Jason Smith (OT, 2nd overall) has been drafted to protect Marc Bulger and help the Rams create a dominant running game. Curry is excellent in run defense and his ability to get to Steven Jackson could be crucial. New head coach Steve Spagnuolo will be looking to re-create his previous team's superb run offense. The Giants' ground game eased the pressure on Eli Manning in 2008, who was able to keep things ticking over and owning such a talented back as Jackson, Spagnuolo could be thinking similarly in his new job.

Here's what NFL Draft Scout's Dave Te-Thomas says about Curry and and how he might be effective in week one against the Rams:

Against the run
Curry is much more effective stepping up and clogging the rush lanes than generating pursuit vs. outside runs. He is stout at the point of attack and can take on and shed blockers in front of him. Thanks to his good upper body strength and hand jolt, he consistently is able to stack and control when taking on linemen.

Strength and explosion
Curry likes to line up close to the line of scrimmage, where he can use his explosion and burst to avoid blocks and cause havoc in the backfield. He has no problems when he has to face up, as he makes it tough for bigger blockers to handle him when he uses his athleticism to slip past linemen, but he needs to display better hand usage and strength to shed and keep blockers off his body, especially when pinched back inside. He will sometimes throw a shoulder, but he is most effective executing his punishing arm swipes to split double teams.

Pass rush and blitz
Curry shows good explosion as a blitzer, but because of some lateral mobility stiffness he needs a clear lane to make plays in the backfield. He is better coming off the edge when he keeps his hands active, as he is susceptible to side blocks. He is consistent in getting good hand placement in order to shed, and he has that sudden burst needed to get upfield shooting the gaps when he plays at a low pad level. He closes with desire and even though he does not always take very good angles, he has the chase speed to compensate and make plays in the backfield.

The Seahawks have previously been able to smother St Louis at Qwest Field by playing great defense. In 2008's 37-13 victory, Julian Peterson got a sack and a forced fumble in the game. In a 2007 33-6 hammering Seattle's defense recorded seven sacks with linebackers Peterson and Leroy Hill both getting one apiece. Curry will be hoping to similarly prove effective on debut. Fellow rookie Jason Smith will be looking to create plenty of running lanes for Jackson, whilst keeping Bulger free from trouble. What can we expect to see from Smith and which areas can be exploited? College Talent Scout's Kyle Rota offers his report:

Rota on Jason Smith
Smith is definitely a project. Looking at the positive, he is a very smart young man and it shows with his understanding of the playbook. However, his technique is terrible. I saw him make a couple really poor cut blocks, and he doesn’t have a punch. Too often he gets in front of the DE without punching or even latching on. Instinctively, I liked the awareness but he seemed to struggle catching LBs on the 2nd level. Surprisingly strong run-blocking, pass protection not as strong. He has very good quickness and excellent fluidity.

Smith is raw coming into the NFL, but with massive upside. His attitude, potential and sheer physical quality leads me to believe he'll be a great left tackle one day and the reason he went higher than Eugene Monroe and Andre Smith. However, as Rota suggests there may be a learning curve and playing in front of a noisy 12th man in Seattle could prove to be a baptism of fire for Smith. If, as Rota suggests, he currently has trouble picking up linebackers in the second level, Curry could shut down Steven Jackson with his heat-seaking-missile instincts.

Of course Curry's ability to make plays will be harnessed by the return of Patrick Kerney and the other members of Seattle's new defensive line. Much is expected from Cory Redding and Brandon Mebane, whilst Darryl Tapp and Lawrence Jackson will be hoping for a good start to the year. The battle between Curry and his teammates against the rejuvenated St Louis offensive line (which also includes expensive free agent Jason Brown) could be the determining factor. Curry's unique compliment of size and speed, coming up against the powerful Jackson and athletic Smith will be a matchup worthy of opening the season.

Seattle will also be keen to avoid a repeat of last year's home opener. They were expected to brush aside San Francisco in week two but conceded thirty three points in a 33-30 OT defeat. The Seahawks will likely be favourites on home turf but the ability of Curry and the Seattle defense to become the blue collar, dominating unit that Tim Ruskell and Jim Mora have set out to build could be the determining factor.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Aaron Curry's post-pick interview

I've not seen this interview anywhere else so I wanted to put it out there. Immediately after being taken fourth overall by Seattle, Aaron Curry talked to the media. There were a few interesting things mentioned. Firstly, it was well reported that the Seahawks had arranged a private work out with the Wake Forest linebacker. However, the team cancelled this meeting after Curry's pro-day, clearly satisfied with what they saw. In fact, Curry had never been to Seattle until his recent unveiling as the team's latest first round pick.

When asked where he wants to play, he was very forthright - SAM linebacker, replacing the hole left by Julian Peterson. He was also complimentary to the teams uniforms, if a little indifferent to the ghastly lime green cap used by the NFL this year for Seattle's picks.

A very premature look at the 2010 draft

The 2009 NFL draft is barely complete so it seems extremely premature and pretty preposterous to already be contemplating what will happen next year. However, with two first round picks and a lot of talk about the 2010 class being superior to this years, there's no harm in having a quick look. A word of caution though, things will change dramatically over the course of the college football season. Whatever anyone is suggesting today, there's a chance won't be relevant by the end of the year.

Todd McShay posted his first 2009 mock draft a few days after the '08 draft. He had Fili Moala (DT, USC) going first overall - he ended up going in the 2nd round to Indianapolis. Twenty one of his first round projections either didn't declare or didn't fall in the first 32 picks. Seattle were placed with Duke Robinson, who joined the Panthers on Sunday in the late fifth round. Jason Smith, Aaron Curry and Mark Sanchez were all absent. My report that follows will no doubt be equally as inaccurate.

I've seen a lot of people suggesting that the 2010 quarter back class is deep and generally better than the 2009 group. It's too early to accurately predict whether this proves to be true, but an early thought is that I would agree with the depth and maybe not with the quality. Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma) almost declared for this year's event having won the Heisman Trophy for 2008. At the last minute he decided to stay at school and is an early projection to potentially go first overall next year. Others who might also warrant consideration - Colt McCoy (QB, Texas), Tim Tebow (Florida) and Jevon Snead (QB, Ole Miss).

I find the above list distinctly unimpressive. Bradford is very accurate and has the potential to be a franchise quarter back. However, his presence in a quirky offense that calls plays based on reads from the sidelines may lead to some needed work upon arrival in the NFL. Playing behind a great line with an excellent arsenal at Oklahoma also made life easy for Bradford, who often had the time and talent to consistently make plays. Can he maintain accuracy with a defense in his face?

I just don't see a potential top five pick in McCoy, whilst Tebow needs a mechanical overhaul. They project as late first round-border line second round picks. Jevon Snead is the most intriguing prospect to me and could be someone to keep an eye on in 2010. But here's my point, why are any of these guys better than Stafford or Sanchez - who both went in the top five? I'm sceptical, even at this early stage I'm not seeing the hype that 2010 would be a great year to get a quarter back. There's depth, but is there top end talent?

What I do see in the 2010 draft is the potential for some elite defensive talent to hit the market. Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida) has drawn comparisons to Mario Williams due to his size and speed. He had 9.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2008. Sergio Kindle (DE/OLB, Texas) is a possible 3-4 outside rush with ideal size. He gained 10.5 sacks as a junior.

Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) almost declared for the 2009 draft. He could have been a top 10 pick this year, especially with a lack of quality depth at his position. He had 6.5 sacks in 2008 and with a solid 2009 season - could be taken very highly next year. Another defensive tackle worth keeping an eye on is Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska). He had 76 tackles, 16.5 TFL and 7.5 sacks last year and even returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Terrance Cody (DT, Alabama) and Lawrence Marsh (DT, Florida) could make this quite a class for defensive tackles.

One of the biggest names set to declare in 2010 is Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida). Outspoken, dominant and well known for slamming Andre Smith (OT, Cincinnati Bengals) to the floor. He plays with a swagger and scored two TD's in 2008 leading Florida's defense to a BCS championship. He would have almost certainly been a first round pick this year.

But perhaps the greatest attention in this article should be focused towards the safety class. The potential is there for two safeties to go very high in round one next year. The guy that excites me is Eric Berry (S, Tennessee). A pure ball hawk, playmaking safety. As a sophomore in 2008 he had seven interceptions (two returned for TD's) and three sacks. Lightning quick with potential to create big plays into scoring plays, Berry is someone to monitor.

The other big name safety is Taylor Mays (S, USC). He's popular amongst Seahawks fans as a Seattle native who plays for the Trojans. He found opportunities to make big plays restricted at SoCal - teams just won't throw deep against them. But he has unnatural size and speed and could develop into some player. Earl Thomas (S, Texas) is another highly rated safety prospect with first round abilities.

It could be a class that lacks the big name offensive skill players or the offensive line depth we saw in 2009. It's never too early for some mock drafts, so why not try these by Walter Cherepinsky, Sideline Scouting, Draft King, NE Patriots Draft, Sports Fantasy Guide.

So that's a premature look at the 2010 draft, which is only 362 days away...

Monday, 27 April 2009

Seahawks introduce Aaron Curry

The Seattle Seahawks introduced Aaron Curry to the media today and talked about their delight at landing the Wake Forest linebacker. Curry, a favourite amongst Detroit Lions fans to go first overall, was taken by Seattle with the fourth pick and will wear the No59 jersey. He was rated by many as the number one prospect in the draft and joins the team after an emotional weekend in New York City.

"He's everything we thought he'd be as a man, as a son, as a fiance. This is a top notch human being and I think we're all lucky to have a guy like this in our organisation and joining our community." - Jim Mora, Seahawks Head Coach

You can relive the moment Seattle selected Aaron Curry here

"See you in Seattle!"

Eric Williams quotes Curry as he talks about choosing the No59 jersey, "It was just the fact that I’ve worn it since my freshman year in college. Initially when I was given 59, me and my mom had a big battle on whether I should continue to where it or not, and she won that battle."

The reviews are coming in and most are favourable for the Seahawks. Walter Cherepinsky gives Tim Ruskell an 'A' grade for picking Curry, "Unlike the Chiefs, the Seahawks understand how to acquire talent in the NFL Draft. Seattle is getting the best defensive player in the 2009 NFL Draft."

Rob Rang awards the Seahawks an 'A'. "The headlining pick is outside linebacker Aaron Curry, who fills a huge area of need following the trade of Julian Peterson and the draft-weekend decision to take the franchise tag off linebacker Leroy Hill. The addition of the versatile Max Unger and speedy receiver/returner Deon Butler filled Seattle's three biggest needs seamlessly. Don't be surprised if at least one of the club's 7th round picks makes this club."

Todd McShay reviews how the NFC West teams fared in the draft. He has special praise for the Seahawks, saying they got the best player in the draft.

Draft review and what happens next

If we've learnt one thing from the 2009 draft it's that Tim Ruskell is both predictable and unpredictable, if that's physically possible. Predictable in the sense that what he wants in his top draft picks is clear - character, football ability, safety and to fit with what the Seahawks want from their organisation. Aaron Curry is the very definition of a Ruskell guy and it seems strange that anyone, including myself, thought that Seattle's GM and his front office could possibly go in any other direction. As he marched onto the stage at Radio City music hall holding back tears, this was a Seahawk.

We talked about Crabtree, we talked about Sanchez. When push came to shove, the Seahawks went with the guy who will be part of their franchise for the long haul. He'll be reliable and a role model for the team's young fans. You won't hear about any issues off the field and rest assured he'll be there on a Sunday, roared on by the 12th man. That is what Tim Ruskell wants from his first round picks.

Yet we also come back to the unexpected. Having spoken of their excitement prior to the draft at the depth available at pick #37, the Seahawks traded the pick for a valuable first rounder in 2010. We'll talk more about what might happen to that pick later, but the consensus upon review was widespread approval if also a little surprise. At the very least the Seahawks get an upgrade and will pick no lower than 32nd overall. Many are suggesting it could be a lot higher, but a word of caution - and you can quote me on this - don't write off the Broncos too soon. When Dallas traded their first round pick so Cleveland could get Brady Quinn in 2006, they never expected a 10-6 season from the Browns would follow. Philadelphia would have hoped for more than the 28th overall pick this year when they gave Carolina their first rounder in 2007.

This was to be just the start of the 'unexpected' Ruskell however. Perhaps sensing a top heavy draft with little depth in the later rounds, the Seahawks made further deals to trade up twice and grab a much needed interior lineman in Max Unger, and a much needed speed receiver in Deon Butler. The center class was one of the highlights of the 2009 draft and I'd go as far as to say the Seahawks got a 'steal' in that move to get Unger - who could start as a rookie. Butler has been compared to Bobby Engram but I think he's a different type of receiver. He's quick, watch him get open because it's a thing of beauty. He's going to be very difficult to cover, but I don't think he's as sure handed as the reliable Engram. When I've watched Butler, I'm reminded a little bit of Engram, but also a little bit of DeSean Jackson.

The trades showed further proof of Ruskell's desire to move around the draft and get guys he wants. He previously showed such aggression to get Lofa Tatupu and John Carlson - two moves that worked out well for Seattle. In an off season set up to win now, their three early picks will certainly have the opportunity to produce. They found some good value later in the draft too. Mike Teel has the arm and mentality to at least warrant some training, whilst the potential of all three 7th round picks is also cause for optimism.

There's no strict blue print for success in the NFL. That's probably why it's such a copy-cat league. Essentially you need to be healthy, balanced, organised and perhaps more than anything - lucky. I can't predict whether the Seahawks can bounce back from a 4-12 season and once again compete in the NFC, but they will need veterans like Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones and Patrick Kerney to feature with greater regularity.

In fact it's that dependence, especially offensively, on ageing veterans which leads me to believe the off season re-build may not be entirely complete. This brings me back to the two first round picks Seattle owns in 2010. The value in round one is two fold - you have your pick of the crop of young talent, but you also have the ammunition to tempt quality veterans from other teams. This is pure speculation of course but if the Seahawks felt they needed further additions, possibly on offense, they could spend a first rounder to land a big name before training camp. Braylon Edwards remains available in Cleveland and could be bought for a first round pick. At this stage I would say it's very unlikely, especially after Seattle drafted Butler. But the option is there especially in a 'win now' mentality. If the right player was available at the right price, who knows?

Certainly the $8m saved by removing Leroy Hill's franchise tag could be put to use one way or another. With the addition of Curry possibly making Hill expendable, Ruskell may wish to invest that money elsewhere. Some have suggested corner back Ken Lucas may return, but who knows what the plan may be?

I believe Hill's future will be decided quickly. I have to think there are teams out there, possibly Atlanta, who could use his talents. I also feel strongly the Seahawks are a much better team with Hill than without. However, I just can't see him in Seahawk blue next year. The timing of the move, the ability to get compensation and recover the 2010 third rounder spent on Deon Butler - maybe even the way this was handled could complicate any negotiations. We'll have to see, but the Seahawks and Ruskell have shown a ruthless streak with this one that compares favourably with the cutting of Shaun Alexander last year.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Leroy Hill's release made with a plan?

When the Seahawks un-tagged Leroy Hill late last night, there may have been a longer term thinking involved and I have a few theories.

There's no doubt the Seahawks are weaker without Leroy Hill on defense. They've also spent a considerable amount of money and effort rebuilding a linebacker group that wasn't considered a problem area this off season. However, if they thought a long term deal was unlikely with Hill or if his recent problems with the law had put them off making a substantial investment - the franchise tag could have been used as insurance. If they weren't able to draft Curry, they review the situation with Hill. If they get Curry - they get a replacement on the field and can release Hill and gain a compensatory pick in 2010 (possible third rounder).

Is it purely coincidental that the Seahawks traded their 2010 pick in the trade to get Deon Butler? If they felt confident of getting that pick back by releasing Hill as soon as possible, they might have felt confident trading up today.

It was revealed the team tried to sign Hill to a 6-year $36m deal before offering the franchise tag. If negotiations had sufficiently soured since then, changing the Seahawks opinions on Hill, the act of un-tagging one of Seattle's best defensive talents may have been more calculated than first thought. He may still re-sign with the team, but the likelihood is Hill's career is over in Seattle.

Calm after the storm

After months of debate, review and discussion the 2009 NFL Draft is in the bag. The Seahawks made some dramatic moves over the two day event. Aaron Curry was selected with the fourth overall pick, before Tim Ruskell negotiated two separate trades in order to grab Max Unger and Deon Butler. Another trade with Denver saw the Seahawks grab an extra first round pick in 2010.

Here's Seattle's draft results in full:

Round 1 - #4 Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)
Round 2 - # 49 Max Unger (OL, Oregon)
Round 3 - # 91 Deon Butler (WR, Penn State)
Round 6 - #178 Mike Teel (QB, Rutgers)
Round 7 - # 245 Courtney Greene (SS, Rutgers)
Round 7 - # 247 Nick Reed (DE, Oregon)
Round 7 - # 248 Cameron Morrah (TE, California)

Picks acquired in 2010: Denver's 1st round selection
Picks traded in 2010: 3rd round selection to Philadelphia

The right hand side bar is now dedicated to Seattle's new recruits. Click on each prospects' photo for a full profile courtesy of You can also see highlights from the first four picks further down the page. Time to play Mel Kiper - how would you grade the Seahawks' 2009 NFL Draft? What are your thoughts on each pick? Did Tim Ruskell fill all necessary holes or are there areas of the team that didn't get enough attention? Have your say in the comments section below or email

Meet the seventh rounders

The Seahawks have selected Courtney Greene with their first compensatory pick in the 7th round (245th overall). Greene is a strong safety from Rutgers, Seattle's second pick from the school having taken QB Mike Teel earlier. He had seven career interceptions, six forced fumbles and 386 total tackles. He's 6'2" and 215lbs. "Greene was a first-team All-Big East pick in 2008 after twice earning second-team All-Big East notice and also Freshman All-American honors. He's been exceptionally durable, starting 51 straight games during his career. A tackling machine, Greene eclipsed 100 stops twice in his first three years as a starter at both the free and strong safety spots. His production dropped a bit this season (87 tackles, one for loss, two INTs), but his blend of size and speed could be enough to make him a top-75 pick."

The second compensatory pick (247th overall) went on Nick Reed - a defensive end from Oregon. The Seahawks have taken two Ducks in the draft, adding Reed to Max Unger. Reed had 13 sacks in 2008 and 25 in the last two seasons. He's 6'2" and 248lbs. "The heart and soul of the Ducks' defense, Reed epitomized as a player with a constant motor who refused to be outworked by the opposition and exhibited a great passion for the game. Not only did he perform at a high level on the gridiron, he also excelled in academics."

The final pick made by Seattle in the 2009 NFL Draft went on California tight end Cameron Morrah. He was one of Mel Kiper's highest rated remaining prospects. He had ten career touchdowns, eight of which came in 2008. He's 6'4" and 250lbs. "Morrah is going to have to find the right system to play in, as he lacks the experience, size or strength you look for in a traditional tight end. While his eight touchdown catches in 2008 are impressive, there were more lapses in concentration than production from him last season. He has just one year as a starter under his belt, but felt that after just 27 receptions he was ready for prime time. This is the type of player you draft later on the second day, based on potential and hope he eventually develops. He is just not ready for the big show yet."

Seahawks draft QB Mike Teel

The Seattle Seahawks selected Rutgers quarter back Mike Teel with the 178th overall pick. Teel's production at the end of his career was phenomenal leading his team to seven straight wins. Would he have been available in the 7th round? Seattle passed on running backs Cedric Peerman and Rashad Jennings, both top of Mel Kiper's 'best available' list, so clearly they feel confident with their stable of RB's.

I drafted Teel for the Seahawks when I took part in a seven round mock draft as acting GM. He's 6'3" and 225 lbs with a decent arm. As a senior he scored 25 touchdowns and passed for 3418 yards.

Seahawks take Deon Butler

The Seahawks have traded back into round three to select Penn State receiver Deon Butler. They gave up 5th and 7th round selections this year and a 2010 third rounder. Butler lacks height (5'10") but he's fast (4.38) and had decent production for Penn State (22 TD's, 2771 yards). The Seahawks may have been hoping to wait and move into the fourth round to take a receiver, but a run in the third saw Derrick Williams, Brandon Tate, Mike Williams, Ramses Barden and Patrick Turner leave the board possibly prompting the trade.

I take two things from this pick - one, that the Seahawks felt they had to add a receiver at some stage in this draft. The injury situation was a serious achilles heel for Seattle in 2008 and they didn't want a similar problem this year. Secondly - the team are comfortable with their group of offensive tackles. Jamon Meredith (OT, South Carolina) remains available and the team are lacking ammunition (6th round, 3x7th rounders) to add significant bodies later. This is a statement of confidence not only in Walter Jones, but also that Sean Locklear really is the left tackle for the future.

Aaron Curry's official facebook page

I've been asked to promote Aaron Curry's official facebook page. It's the perfect way to welcome Aaron to Seattle and leave your messages of support for the newest Seahawk. The 2008 Butkus award winner talks about meeting the 12th man and reveals he'll be heading to Seattle today ready for mini-camp next week.

Welcome to the North West, Mr. Curry!

Thoughts ahead of day two

The big news from Seattle is that Leroy Hill has been stripped of the franchise tag, essentially making him a free agent. Reports suggest the team will attempt to re-sign the linebacker, but I think the writing is on the wall here. I have mixed feelings on this. One of the justifications often made for signing Aaron Curry was that he filled the hole left by Julian Peterson. Today, that hole remains. Stay tuned for developments.

As things stand the Seahawks will not pick again until the first pick in round five (137th overall). Some big names remain on the board. A possible run on tight ends never occurred in round two - although his may be how the third begins with Denver having taken Richard Quinn (TE, North Carolina) with the final pick on Saturday. Jared Cook, Shawn Nelson, James Casey and Cornelius Ingram are still on the board.

Nobody took a gamble on Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech). He has the physical tools to be great but lacks consistency. I wouldn't be surprised if St Louis took him with the second pick in round three. Jamon Meredith (OT, South Carolina) is going to provide someone with great value sooner or later. Other lineman I'd expect to go soon - Troy Kropog, Gerald Cadogan, Jonathan Luigs and Antoine Caldwell. Amongst the others falling, D.J. Moore (CB, Vanderbilt) and Jarron Gilbert (DE, San Jose State).

Barring any further trades, what will the Seahawks do with the 5th round pick? I think they'll look for someone who can make some kind of contribution in 2009. That could mean adding a running back, James Davis (RB, Clemson) and Javon Ringer (RB, Michigan State) might be possibilities. There are some good safeties left on the board, would they consider Derek Pegues (FS, Miss State) if available? Perhaps they will take another linebacker, Corey Smith from Cincinnati would be a good scheme fit. Trying to predict a fifth round pick at this stage is like trying to guess the lottery numbers, but let me know who you're hoping they take.

Here's my thoughts on Seattle's day one trade. I like the move to essentially get a 2010 first rounder for a 3rd and 4th pick in this year's draft. However, I hear two things I don't like. Firstly, I'm not buying that next year's draft is much better than this one. That remains to be seen and I'm not convinced Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy are better than Stafford and Sanchez. Secondly, don't count on Denver gifting Seattle a top 10 pick by performing poorly in 2009. They play in a weak division, Kyle Orton is a solid quarter back with some potent weapons at Mile High and Knowshon Moreno is my shout for rookie of the year.

Pete Prisco gives his day one grades. The Seahawks get a B+ for taking Aaron Curry and a B- for trading up to grab Max Unger in the second round.

Don Banks gives his first day thoughts. "Sanchez is a winner in all of this too, because if you're going to hit it big as an NFL quarterback, would you and your wallet rather do it in New York or Seattle?" Ouch.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay dissect the first day. Mel gives Al Davies an F grade and I think that's being generous. I'd consider plumping for the little used 'Unclassified' grade, for sheer incompetence.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Seahawks take Curry, Unger, 2010 1st rounder

It was a busy day in the Seahawks war room on the first day of the 2009 NFL Draft. Seattle hit the clock in round one and as we expected Aaron Curry, Michael Crabtree and Mark Sanchez were all available. Curry, heavily recommended as the best prospect in the draft, was Tim Ruskell's choice and he made an emotional appearance on stage at Radio City. Clutching a Seahawks jersey emblazoned with the number one, the Wake Forest linebacker fought back tears of joy. "I didn't really know where I was going to end up at" announced Curry shortly after being revealed as the newest Seattle Seahawk. "I expect to go in there and really get into that defense and fly around, have some fun." Watch Seattle select Curry here

In what proved to be an eventful first round with a cluster of trades and shock moves, the Seahawks sat tightly in possession of the 37th overall pick and fifth selection in round two. The New York Jets made a shock trade into the top five to get Mark Sanchez. Two center's left the board early - Alex Mack and Eric Wood both going in round one. Six wide receivers were taken in the first, with running back Chris 'Beanie' Wells falling kindly to the Arizona Cardinals at #31.

Perhaps intending to draft for offense in round two and seeing their diminishing options - the Denver Broncos made Seattle an offer. In exchange for the #37 pick, the Seahawks would receive Denver's first round pick in 2010. The deal was completed, leaving fans in the North West to ponder the potential excitement of owning that bounty next year.

But the team weren't finished there. Just as it was being assumed Seattle were done for the day, they boldly traded away their 3rd and 4th round picks to the Chicago Bears for the 49th overall pick where they selected Max Unger (OG/C, Oregon). Flexible enough to play anywhere on the offensive line, Unger will provide instant depth and starting potential at a need area. Although the move appeared expensive at first, the Seahawks have essentially traded away the 3rd & 4th round pick this year for Denver's first in 2010. Depending on how the Broncos perform in 2009, that could be some deal.

The Seahawks next pick is currently the first selection in round five (#137 overall). What are you thoughts after day one of the 2009 NFL Draft? Are you happy with the decision to draft Curry & Unger? What about the trades made by Tim Ruskell today? Let me know by clicking the comments section below or email

Aaron Curry - the newest Seahawk

2009 NFL Draft


#1 Matt Stafford, QB Georgia
Stafford was the predictable pick, and the right pick. It's been the worst kept secret in the NFL that Stafford goes here. Detroit begins the long rebuild with a new franchise quarter back.

#2 Jason Smith, OT Baylor
I've said for two weeks, this was just as much of a lock as the Stafford pick. He is the perfect pick for St Louis as they wish to mould their offense around a dominant running game. A nasty, get out of my way tackle - perfect for Steven Jackson.

#3 Tyson Jackson, DE LSU
This pick got hot over the last week. Gil Brandt called it, Rob Rang put it in his mock first. Bank that as another top prediction from Mr. Rang. Jackson is a reach but he's a scheme fit in the Chiefs new 3-4 defense. Seattle as expected, will pick from Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez and Michael Crabtree. The time is upon us!

#4 Aaron Curry, LB Wake Forest
Curry is a Ruskell pick to a tee and clearly the Seahawks were not willing to take any risks picking this high. Seattle has one of the most expensive linebacker corps in the NFL and they'll be hoping this pushes the defense over the edge. Welcome to Seattle, Aaron Curry!
Watch Seattle take Aaron Curry with the fourth overall pick

#5 Mark Sanchez, QB USC
I didn't think Sanchez would fall too far and New York made the move to get ahead of Washington and any other admirers to get the man who will now replace Brett Favre as the Jets' starting signal caller.

#6 Andre Smith, OT Alabama
This guy must be breathing a big sigh of relief. He had an awful off season and still goes 6th overall. Either he's very lucky, or he's just too good. The question is, can he play left tackle?

#7 Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR Maryland
Oh dear. It's times like this that you thank you're lucky stars you don't follow the Raiders. Al Davies - again - has fallen in love with someone who runs a nice forty yard dash. The guy didn't even list amongst the top 100 receivers in college football. Troy Williamson anyone? The Raiders are stuck in a black hole.

#8 Eugene Monroe, OT Virginia
Monroe slipped a bit and this wasn't surprising. He was never going to make it out of the top ten though. Jacksonville needed help on the offensive line and Monroe starts from day one. Michael Crabtree remains on the board... Niners anyone?

#9 B.J. Raji, DT Boston College
The Packers are switching to a 3-4 defense. The most important position in a 3-4 defense is nose tackle, so it's no surprise this is the area Raji comes off the board. There are a few teams coming up who would have loved to take this guy.

#10 Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech
He might not be in Seattle, but Crabtree is very much in the NFC West. He'll be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jerry Rice. It's not the greatest situation for Crabtree, who joins a team without a stand out quarter back.

#11 Aaron Maybin, DE Penn State
They chose Maybin over Brian Orakpo, Michael Oher and Brian Cushing. My question is, does he play outside linebacker or defensive end? The Bills have another pick later on having traded Jason Peters. They clearly didn't think Oher was a natural replacement.

#12 Knowshon Moreno, RB Georgia
Hey - I got one right! Has anyone else called this except me? Somebody find out quick! I suggested Moreno to Denver in my last two mocks simply because at this stage he's the best choice. Raji is gone, Maybin is gone, Jackson is gone. Which defensive guy were they going to take? This is great value, Moreno will be an absolute stud.

#13 Brian Orakpo, DE Texas
Orakpo was a big enough name for Daniel Snyder. I have to think they tried to get Sanchez, but the Jets made a deal with their former head coach. Orakpo fills the hole vacated by Jason Taylor. Washington only has four more picks in the draft.

#14 Malcolm Jenkins, CB Ohio State
I like this pick. New Orleans have a great offense, they made the right choice going defense. Will he play corner back or safety? He'll start at corner, but may one day end up at safety. Nice, solid pick. I think the Saints fans will be happy.

#15 Brian Cushing, LB USC
When I spoke to John McClain at the Houston Chronicle he had a feeling they would take a USC linebacker. With Cushing lasting this far, he offers good value. He'll be a solid choice as Houston aim for a defense to match their amazing offense.

#16 Larry English, DE Northern Illinois
I had English going #18 to the Broncos, so I miss out on the chance to make a Denver double. Great pick here, perfect fit as an outside rusher for their 3-4. Some noticable names left - Jeremy Maclin, Michael Oher and Beanie Wells.

#17 Josh Freeman, QB Kansas State
They moved above Denver, that's telling. Raheem Morris knows Freeman from their time at K-State and clearly thinks he is the future of the franchise. Tampa Bay needed a quarter back and this was the last realistic option.

#18 Robert Ayers, DE Tennessee
Ayers was always a likely top 20 pick. The Broncos want someone who can rush the pasher and Moreno and Ayers equals a very nice first round double dip for Denver. Yes, they've lost Jay Cutler. But with two first rounders next year too, the Broncos are rebuilding nicely.

#19 Jeremy Maclin, WR Missouri
Wow - for two reasons. The Browns have traded down for a third time and the Eagles have added a playmaker. Maclin is not only great value here, but the Eagles have some offense now. Maclin and DeSean Jackson? Throw some bombs, Donovan.

#20 Brandon Pettigrew, TE Oklahoma State
I can hear the boo's in Detroit from accross the Atlantic. Calm down guys, you have picks to help your awful defense coming up. Giving Matt Stafford a great tight end who can pass and block is good value. They'll have wanted Michael Oher or a defensive guy - I like this pick.

#21 Alex Mack, OG/C California
I've been saying Mack is a top 20 talent, maybe I should have said top 21 talent? This is a surprise to a lot of people, but this guy is very good. He can play anywhere in the interior and he starts from day one.

#22 Percy Harvin, WR Florida
All those character concerns haven't put off the Vikings. 'Percy World' arrives in Minnesota. Joking aside, put this guy alongside Adrian Peterson. They have a dangerous offense to contend with in that dome.

#23 Michael Oher, OT Ole Miss
Baltimore trade up to halt Michael Oher's slide. They wanted a 'Ravens' guy and clearly feel this tackle fits the bill. He has all the tools to be a great left tackle but he switches off too much. If he corrects that, he's a long term replacement for Jonathan Ogden.

#24 Peria Jerry, DT Ole Miss
The Ole Miss boys go off the board together. This was about the range I expected Jerry to go. Atlanta could have gone linebacker but Clay Matthews is slipping. They needed some beef up front and the Falcons get it here.

#25 Vontae Davis, CB Illinois
The value is there and the only reason he fell this far is because of concerns off the field. On pure talent he could be the best corner back in the draft. The Dolphins needed to improve their secondary.

#26 Clay Matthews JR, LB USC
The Packers are switching to a 3-4 defense and in order to do so, they needed to draft accordingly. Raji is your nose tackle, Matthews is your outside rush. This makes sense. New England trade down for a second time this evening and get a cluster of picks.

#27 Donald Brown, RB Connecticut
I never thought this guy would make it out of round one but I'm surprised he goes before Beanie Wells. The Colts always draft offense and they now have a nice tandem with Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. It's a bit of a luxury pick though.

#28 Eric Wood, C Louisville
It doesn't surprise me one bit that we're not in round two yet and Eric Wood and Alex Mack are long gone. It's a decent addition here but the Bills fans will wonder if it was worth losing Jason Peters for this.

#29 Hakeem Nicks, WR North Carolina
This ends the Braylon Edwards trade talk. The Giants needed a receiver in the post-Burress era. I thought they might wait till later, they have some second round picks. They clearly liked Nicks a lot.

#30 Kenny Britt, WR Rutgers
I'm surprised the Titans took a WR, I thought they would go defense and perhaps take a Sean Smith or a Michael Johnson. I think the fans in Tennessee will like this pick, it makes sense and Britt could have a Dwayne Bowe type rookie campaign.

#31 Chris Beanie Wells, RB Ohio State
The Seahawks will come up against Crabtree and Beanie Wells in the NFC West next year. They wanted a running back and probably danced for joy in the war room when Wells fell into their lap. Concerns about his durability almost pushed him into round two.

#32 Evander Ziggy Hood, DT Missouri
After 'Beanie' Wells and 'Ziggy' Hood come off the board, what odds 'Shady' McCoy is next? Classic Steelers pick, value and no nonsense. Strong guy who will become a staple in the Super Bowl champions superb defense. Like it needed any additions!


#33 Louis Delmas, FS Western Michigan
There was talk of the Lions targeting Delmas, the top rated safety. Great value here and I'm a big fan of Delmas.

#34 Patrick Chung, SS Oregon
The Patriots make their first pick today and fill a hole. They needed a safety and Chung fits the Patriots like a glove.

#35 James Laurinaitis, LB Ohio State
The Rams got two football players with their first two picks. Laurinaitis was never going to blow anyone away at the combine and his fall presents St Louis with a gift.

#36 Brian Robiskie, WR Ohio State
A hometown product for the Browns fans. Would Seattle have taken him? We'll never know, but they're on the clock with offensive line talent on the board (Britton, Beatty, Meredith) and defensive guys with first round grades (Maualuga, Butler, Brown).

#37 Alphonso Smith, CB Wake Forest
WHOA! Seattle gets a first round pick next year to trade out of the second round. A calculated gamble by the Seahawks. The Broncos needed secondary help and clearly felt they needed to make a big move to get Smith. The Seahawks will have two first round picks in 2010 - I'm looking forward to next year's blog already!

#38 Rey Maualuga, LB USC
I predicted in my mock that Maualuga would drop to this kind of range. Teams were unsure he was a three down guy. Nice value for the Browns though.

#39 Eben Britton, OT Arizona
The Jaguars raise a few eye brows by taking a book end for their new left tackle Eugene Monroe. They needed offensive line help, but this is a complete make over.

#40 Ron Brace, DT Boston College
The Patriots trade up for Oakland's pick to take a local nose tackle.

#41 Darius Butler, CB Connecticut
New England are taking the guys close to home, pairing a Boston defensive prospect with one from Connecticut. This was a predictable match but it's a surprise Butler lasted this long.

#42 Jairus Byrd, CB Oregon
There was talk this guy could be a first round pick, so technically it's good value. Still a few interesting prospects lingering - William Beatty, Connor Barwin, Michael Johnson and Sean Smith.

#43 Everette Brown, DE Florida State
I'm having this pick. I said Brown would go at #43 I just expected San Francisco to take him. Carolina traded away their first rounder in 2010, meaning their fans will be bored stiff again during all the draft talk next year.

#44 Pat White, QB West Virginia
Is anyone really surprised that the original wild cat team have taken the ultimate wild cast quarter back? They'll find tons of ways to get him involved.

#45 Clint Sintim, LB Virginia
I thought this guy was a better fit in a 3-4 but the Giants love guys who can get to the quarter back.

#46 Connor Barwin, DE Cincinnati
The Texans have a great offense. They are building a great defense. Cusing and Barwin really improve that unit for Houston who for me, are a dark horse in 2010 if Matt Schaub stays healthy.

#47 Michael Mitchell, S Ohio State
I'm beginning to think Al Davies just doesn't get the draft. Is he serious? This guy had a 6th-7th round grading. Does anyone really think he wouldn't be there in the third, or the fourth? Or the fifth? Al, speed isn't everything. I would hate to be a Raiders fan, a franchise that is going absolutely nowhere and fast.

#48 Darcel McBath, FS Texas Tech
I think this is a big reach. I asked Kyle Rota about this kid and he basically said, 'just another guy'. I never imagined he'd go this high.

#49 Max Unger, OG/C Oregon
The Seahawks trade with Chicago! They take Max Unger adding a much needed boost to the interior line. He can play guard, center and even tackle. However, this came at a price. The Seahawks gave up a third and fourth round pick and won't select again until the first pick in round five. I like Unger, but with Beatty, Meredith, Luigs, Caldwell and Kropog all on the board - they could have used the third rounder to boost the offensive line and kept the fourth rounder. Big move.

#50 Mohammed Massaquoi, WR Georgia
I had this guy going in the second round in my most recent mocks. I love the guy, great pick for the Browns. This will re-ignite the Braylon Edwards trade rumors.

#51 Andy Levitre, OG Oregon State
After some confusion over whether Dallas had passed on their pick, they actually completed a trade with Buffalo moving up to get further interior line help after taking Eric Wood earlier. William Beatty remains on the board - I'm surprised.

#52 David Veikune, DE Hawaii
I didn't expect Veikue to go this early. This has been a crazy draft so far. Lot's of trades, lot's of surprises. Some things never change though - like Al Davies and the Raiders goofing things up again.

#53 LeSean McCoy, RB Pittsburgh
Are we giving out 'A' grades yet? Philly were one game from the Super Bowl last year. Since then they add Jason Peters, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. Watch out NFC East, the Eagles are soaring.

#54 Phil Loadholt, OT Oklahoma
I do not rate this guy one bit. There's no love lost between Seattle and Minnesota and I have to admit, a wry smile crossed my face when I heard that Vikings fan boldly declare his team's latest choice.

#55 William Moore, S/OLB Missouri
Everyone knows Moore as a safety. This guy is more of a nickel linebacker and I wouldn't be surprised if the Falcons took him to play as a linebacker.

#56 Fili Moala, DT USC
Yet another trade! Indy get the guy Todd McShay thought would go No1 overall in his first mock draft before the 2008 college football season started.

#57 Paul Kruger, DE Utah
Love this guy's hussle. I'm glad he went in round two, he's worthy of going at this spot.

#58 Sebastien Vollmer, OT Houston
German born offensive lineman. Teams know something about William Beatty because I never envisaged this kind of fall. The Patriots, picking anyone who goes to school in New England, even passed on the Connecticut tackle.

#59 Sherrod Martin, FS Troy
This is an interesting pick. Does he stay at safety or move to corner back? He's athletic and tall, he could replace Ken Lucas.

#60 William Beatty, OT Connecticut
Now that is what I call value. What a fantastic pick this is for the New York Giants. Beatty slips but remains in the second round and I can't help but feel in a couple of years time, they'll see this as a steal.

#61 Sean Smith, CB Utah
Talking of value, I got to love this pick too. Miami taking Smith and Vontae Davis - the attitude might not be perfect but that's a big, nasty, athletic defensive back tandem there. Great pick by Bill Parcells.

#62 Sen'Derrick Marks, DT Auburn
Interesting choice. I had him pegged as a third round pick but he sneaks into the second. The Titans needed a defensive tackle after losing Albert Haynesworth.

#63 Cody Brown, OLB Connecticut
Connecticut are having a productive day! I like this pick, he fits with what the Cardinals are trying to do on offense now. Arizona had a good day, I bet they never expected Beanie Wells to fall to them. Their offense, which still contains Anquan Boldin, just got even better.

#64 Richard Quinn, TE North Carolina
What a way to end the first day! Denver makes another big move and takes Richard Quinn, the best blocking tight end in the draft. I'm a huge fan of Quinn's and love this move. I predicted he could go earlier than expected and this is early, but it makes sense. He's as good as another offensive tackle in the end zone.