Sunday, 16 August 2009

Gone Fishing!

I'm flying out to Florida tomorrow for a two week vacation. I'm taking my computer with me so there's a chance I'll do some blogging when I have time, but take this as a prior warning if the updates slow down a bit.

Great to see the 'Hawks start the pre-season with a win last night and even better to see some of the rookies create an early impression. Let's hope it continues in the next game against Denver.

I'll also take this opportunity to thank those of you who continue to visit the blog and join in the debates. It's greatly appreciated and I love getting emails, comments and feedback from all of you.

So... anyone know the weather forecast for Orlando?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Anyone for some mocks?

Thought I'd put out some premature mock drafts doing the rounds. Obviously at this incredibly early stage the draft orders are opinion based projections, but it's interesting to see if only to see how other fans are rating the Seahawks heading into 2009. Let me know what you think to this collection of mocks in the comments section, or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

Walter Cherepinsky thinks the Seahawks will win the NFC West and earn a pick 21st overall. He's not so high on the Broncos however, meaning the Seahawks also own a pick in the top five. He predicts Seattle will take Eric Berry (S, Tennessee) and Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech).

Matt McGuire thinks Denver will end up with the second worst record in the NFL next year, gifting the Seahawks the second overall pick. They take Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma) and add Brandon La Fell (WR, LSU) 16th overall as the offense gets an injection of youth.

Draft Tek has given itself a trendy make over during the off season and continues to use sophisticated software to project its mock draft. The Seahawks are picking 8th and 13th overall, grabbing Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) and Ciron Black (OT, LSU).

Bronco Madness is worth checking out considering Seattle owns one of Denver's first round picks in 2010. They have that pick at #15 where the Seahawks select Jevon Snead (QB, Ole Miss). They add Trevard Lindley (CB, Kentucky) three picks later.

NE Patriots Draft aren't particularly high on Seattle or Denver's prospects for 2009. The consequence? To two top ten picks next year for the Seahawks in their mock. Seattle use the early picks to add a pair of lineman - Bryan Bulaga (OT, Iowa) and Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida).

NFL Draft Experts have the Seahawks picking at #6 and #15. They take Eric Berry (S, Tennessee) with the pick from Denver and Demarco Murray (RB, Oklahoma) in the mid teens. Both prospects are underclassmen, so won't necessarily declare for the 2010 draft.

DK Sports have the Seahawks making a post season run this year, earning the 25th overall pick. Paired with the 11th overall pick from Denver, they take Eric Berry (a popular pick for the Seahawks so far) and C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson). Spiller is one of my 'ten for 2010' to keep an eye on this year.

Draft Zoo projects the Seahawks to be picking at #11 and #24. I've saved the best till last, because personally I think this mock offers the best overall judgement considering the early stage in proceedings. I like the look of the top ten picks in particular, although so much can change between now and next April. Seattle take Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma) and C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson).

Monday, 10 August 2009

Stay away from the spread?

Matt McGuire at Walterfootball.com posted a blog entry today with a simple message - avoid spread quarterbacks. His example, the NFL career of Vince Young. Last night's underwhelming performance in the Hall of Fame game just a year after threats of retirement further emphasised the struggles Young has faced in Tennessee. All this after a bright start and appearing on the cover of Madden 08.

The two highest ranked senior quarterback prospects this year are Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy. The pair both compete in a spread offense, with eerily similar question marks to that which Young faced upon entering the league. When discussing Tebow with me recently, College Talent Scout's Kyle Rota actively compared the Gators' star to Young.

"Like Tebow, he played out of a spread-option system in college. Like Tebow, he went to a major program, got playing time early and won a national championship as a starter.Like Tebow, his college stats were impeccable but his throwing motion gave scouts cause for concern. Like Tebow, this quarterback was renown for his leadership, size, and mobility. Tim Tebow shares an eerie resemblance to Vince Young." - Kyle Rota

Matt McGuire warns prospective buyers that a spread option signal caller wouldn't be a wise investment for a team looking at QB's next year:

"When zone-read quarterbacks who rely on their legs in college get to the NFL, they have a very hard time adjusting to an NFL playbook. The vast majority of the time, an elite work ethic can't overcome this adversity. The timing a quarterback needs when dropping back (awareness, footwork, vision, etc.) isn't developed at some schools in college. They don't make true coverage reads or go through multiple progressions. Usually, if the first option is not open, the quarterback ducks his head and runs in a gimmick scheme." - Matt McGuire

So what words of advice does McGuire offer to anyone contemplating taking a spread QB in the future?

"Don't buy into the Colt McCoy/Tim Tebow/Dan LeFevour hype going into the 2010 NFL Draft. They rely on their mobility, run spread option offenses, lack footwork proficiency, are heavily hyped by the media, and have inflated statistics in the passing game."

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Aaron Curry signs 6-year, $60m deal

Aaron Curry today agreed terms with the Seahawks on a 6-year $60m contract, with $34m in guarantees. He reportedly participated in Saturday afternoon training camp, after missing the first week whilst terms were discussed.

The obvious talking point is the size of the contract. The $34m in guarantees dwarfs what Chris Long received from the Rams last year as the second overall pick ($29m) and Darren McFadden as the fourth overall pick ($26m). It beats what Tyson Jackson reportedly got third overall ($31m) and Jason Smith second overall ($33m).

It smashes what quarterback Mark Sanchez ($28m) received in guarantees fifth overall and comes close to what Matt Ryan earned from the Falcons last year ($34.75m). It even beats what last year's number one pick Jake Long received from the Dolphins ($30m).

Nobody has confirmed the size of the contract, but it certainly appears Team Curry won this battle of negotiations. It's a huge investment at the linebacker position for the Seahawks, who if nothing else must surely own the most expensive linebacker corps in the NFL.

What do you think of the contract? Let me know in the comments section below or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

Friday, 7 August 2009

The real McCoy?

One discussion point I find fascinating heading into the 2009 college football season is the quandary regarding Colt McCoy's draft stock. Look most places and you'll see him ranked as a top prospect, the number one ranked senior QB and a probably first round pick. Look elsewhere however and you'll find a very different assessment.

Rob Rang from CBS Sportsline ranks McCoy as his 10th best senior:

"A more polished passer than Tim Tebow (76.7 completion percentage last season) and nearly as mobile, the baby-faced Colt could prove a thoroughbred in the race to be the first senior quarterback selected in 2010."

Gil Brandt has him behind Florida's Tebow, but a close second:

"He has above average running ability. He is a five-year player who has gotten a lot stronger since coming to Texas. McCoy has been well coached by Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis. He will be a top-10 pick as a quarterback in the 2010 draft."

On the other hand, Matt McGuire at Walterfootball.com has a very different opinion:

"Colt McCoy is the next over hyped collegiate quarterback who really doesn't have much of a chance in the NFL. He won't stretch a defense in the NFL and the system makes him look far better than he is at Texas. McCoy is a great college quarterback, but simply isn't an NFL mold. He's a projected fifth-to-seventh-round prospect."

Walter Cherepinsky thinks McCoy will be a first round choice, but only by default:

"Colt McCoy shouldn't be a first-round pick, but something tells me that (Denver Broncos HC) Josh McDaniels is going to envision him as "his guy." After all, McDaniels' flawless offensive system requires quarterbacks to make really short passes and play out of the shotgun."

We'll leave the final word with College Talent Scout's Kyle Rota:

"McCoy looks skinny out there, which isn't good. He has okay height, and can tuck it and run well enough - he'll be a mobile passer, not a running QB at the next level. The offense he plays in has to be a concern, because so many of his passes don't go more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. He looks to be accurate and has decent mechanics, but that is something that is hard to tell from a quick look."

"The big question is his arm strength. I saw some impressive short zip on a couple throws, so my current opinion is that it's not horrendous. However, I've heard from a couple people I respect that we're talking about a terribly weak arm. Right now, I'd call him a fourth round pick, but that could change dramatically. I would say however that I'd be shocked if he made it into the first."

How do you rate McCoy? Is he first round material, or does he have a lot to prove in 2009? Does he belong on my list of ten to watch for 2010?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Chiefs sign Jackson... Curry to follow?

One of the bigger stumbling blocks was removed today in the quest to get Aaron Curry in camp. Tyson Jackson agreed terms with the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed amount, making negotiations between Seattle and Curry a lot easier. Both parties will now have a better idea of the kind of contract that would be agreeable so we should see a deal in place soon.

In other news, Rob Rang is looking ahead to 2010 by breaking down the top rated seniors in each division. Today it's the ACC, with a well known running back topping the list. Could C.J. Spiller be a target for Seattle next year?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The great rookie stalemate of 2009

Of the thirty-two first round picks from April's NFL draft, nine remain unsigned. All but one of those rookies is amongst the top twelve picks, making life difficult for teams who were hoping the draft would add a much needed boost after a difficult 2008. For the Seattle Seahawks, breaking the stalemate may not be easy.

The situation is clear. Agents and teams like to use the pick either side of their rookie (in Seattle's case, Tyson Jackson and Mark Sanchez) to set a precedent. The Kansas City Chiefs have been unable to agree terms with Jackson, the third overall choice, and appear to be waiting to see what contract Curry signs.

The Curry camp are trying to use Mark Sanchez's contract ($28m guaranteed) as a benchmark, a sum the Seahawks are reportedly unwilling to pay because they don't see a quarterbacks salary as comparable to that of a linebacker. It doesn't help either that Baltimore's Terrell Suggs just recently signed a deal to make him the highest paid linebacker in the NFL.

The two other defensive players taken in the top ten (Jackson and B.J. Raji) also remain unsigned, further restricting negotiations between both parties. Having missed the first four days of training camp, the Seahawks will be anxious to get Curry involved as soon as possible.

But how can they solve this problem? For starters, they might have to accept the situation they find themselves in.

It's obvious to everyone that the NFL must do something to cap rookie spending. The top picks each year earn ridiculous amounts considering they've never taken a snap in the pro's, making what should be a solution for struggling franchises an extra burden. But until something is done about this teams picking at the top of the draft are left to pay the big bucks.

Seattle may have a point that a QB's salary is not comparable to that of a linebacker, but they have few options if they want Curry in camp as soon as possible. The $28m Mark Sanchez earned from the Jets is similar to the deal signed by Chris Long (2nd overall 2008, $29m guaranteed). Last year's fourth overall pick, Darren McFadden, agreed a deal with Oakland to get $26m guaranteed.

It could be that the St Louis Rams have helped out the Seahawks by getting Jason Smith signed to a deal worth $33m in guarantees. Simply put, it places a cap on what Seattle has to pay. They can enter negotiations with a ceiling at that amount and Curry can't expect to get much more than the $28m signed by Sanchez.

It's certainly not outrageous for Curry's agent to demand a contract in the same ball park.

Here's the reality - Aaron Curry is going to get a deal similar to that signed by Chris Long... minimum. We don't know what Curry's agent is demanding and whether it's ridiculously high demands on his part or Seattle dragging their heels that is causing the stalemate. However, it would suit all parties concerned to sit down, get a deal for $29-$30m guarantees signed and get Curry on the field.

If they can't agree terms soon, it's hard to see how this stalemate will be broken. The Chiefs are waiting tight, Sanchez's contract isn't going to get any smaller. Let's hope for both parties' sake that the Seahawks front office can get Curry signed up as soon as possible.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Taylor Mays or Eric Berry?



One of the early draft debates I've seen around the web is whether or not USC's Taylor Mays or Tennessee's Eric Berry will be the top safety prospect next year.

Seattle native Mays certainly fits the criteria Tim Ruskell looks for. The Seahawks' GM has drafted from USC in the past and he likes four year starters - Mays decided to stay in SoCal rather than declare this year.

At 6'3" and 230lbs he's quite a specimen at the safety position. It is difficult, however, to gauge whether Mays has the play making qualities to partner the physical attributes.

He often features a long way behind the line of scrimmage for the Trojans and with so few teams willing to throw deep on USC, he has few opportunities to make a big play. He's only registered three interceptions, no sacks and one forced fumble in three years.

Eric Berry enters his junior year at Tennessee with quite a reputation. His 12 interceptions in two years starting have made him a household name amongst college football fans. Three of those picks were returned for TD's.

Often compared to Baltimore's stud safety Ed Reed, Berry was awarded the SEC defensive player of the year for 2008. When asked who was the best SEC player outside of the Florida Gators roster, Tim Tebow recently named Berry.

He's the first Tennessee student to be put forward for the Heisman since Peyton Manning. Walter Cherepinsky has the Vols play maker going 5th overall in his latest 2010 mock draft - to the Seattle Seahawks.

There is of course the chance Berry won't declare for next year's draft. He's an aspiring dentist and is currently serving an internship at a dental office in Georgia. He may wish to complete his studies before entering the NFL, although another year of huge production could tempt him to turn pro as an underclassman.

So the question is - who do you prefer? Mays or Berry?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Suh-perstar?



In all the premature discussions about next year's draft class, one name is mentioned quite a lot (although admittedly not as much as Tim Tebow). Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) recently topped Rob Rang's list of 2009 seniors and you'll also find he's top of our 'ten to watch for 2010' on the right hand side bar. So what's all the fuss about?

"I popped in a Missouri v Nebraska game last night to check out Suh. The guy is amazing. The 76/16/7.5 (tackles/TFL/sacks) line speaks volumes as to his consistency, especially since Nebraska did a lot from the 3-4 (NT for Suh)."

"There was one series in the 1st quarter where Suh threw the C out of the way one play, split a double team to get pressure the next, then blew up a run by blowing into the gap the play after. Absolutely dominant. Oh, he also runs like a LT (seriously, he may be more athletic than Jason Smith) and hustles to chase down screens and the like. I'd have to see more games to be sure, but he probably would've been given a top-10 grade by me this past year."
-Kyle Rota, College Talent Scout