Thursday, 25 March 2010

Pat Kirwan: Gerald McCoy falling?

By Rob Staton
One of the more established writer's I'm following closely is's Pat Kirwan. It's well advertised that Kirwan is close to Pete Carroll. This doesn't mean Kirwan will necessarily publish Seattle's draft plans, but it does mean he is more qualified than most to suggest what could happen. In his latest mock draft published this week - he had the Seahawks taking C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson) and Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech) in round one. I've been mocking the same double pick for the last fortnight.

But it's not just Kirwan's ties to Carroll that makes for an interesting read - he's also incredibly close to a lot of sources in and around the league. His most recent article discusses some of the moves that could happen in the upcoming draft.

"Is Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy going to drop in the draft? According to one personnel director, who said 'Watch and see McCoy fall out of the top three and maybe all the way down to No. 6 in Seattle.'" - Pat Kirwan

I assume the link here is that Russell Okung goes second overall to Detroit and Ndamukong Suh ends up in Tampa Bay, dropping McCoy down to #6. However - that point isn't stated. I remain completely unconvinced that Detroit will go in any other direction than Suh or McCoy. It will be mind blowing to me if that happens, because I think the Lions firmly believe in Jeff Backus (who gets a raw deal for not being an expensive, high draft pick). Despite recent moves in free agency, defense is still Detroit's major problem. They ranked dead last in the league last year. I expect Ndamukong Suh to be wearing a Lions cap on April 22nd.

Would the Buccs pass on McCoy? They have a big need at defensive tackle, so I think it's unlikely. But here's one scenario to throw out there for discussion - let's say the Redskins are high on Jimmy Clausen after all. Does a team move up to #3 to get ahead of Washington? That for me is the most likely scenario to see McCoy fall - with Tampa Bay moving down the board. If they don't rank McCoy as highly as Kirwan's source is alluding to, the Oklahoma prospect could find a home in Seattle. It's still a huge stretch to see that happen though, in my opinion.


Ben said...

Daniel Jeremiah (Move the Sticks) said a couple of days ago on Twitter that you couldn't trust anything a GM said after April 1st. Too many smokescreens and jockeying. I'm taking everything being said now publicly with a big grain of salt.

I don't think McCoy will fall to us but I would be really excited if we took him (unless we were high on Clausen and he was available).

Michael (NC) said...

I wish I liked Morgan more. I've watched enough tape to know he will be of similar skill to that of Jackson.

Not enough Kyle Calloway's in the NFL to make Morgan worth a 14.

I would rather take talent with some passion concerns than Morgan's maxed out skillset.

Oh well.

Kip Earlywine said...

Sorry that I can't remember the source, but there is a website that covers the Bucs very closely, and they essentially said that Eric Berry is option 1B at #3, meaning he's very close on their radar to Suh or McCoy. I doubt they'd pass on a DT to take him- but it does indicate that they might be very willing to trade down.

Kip Earlywine said...

Not picking on you Michael, because I've heard at least 4 different Hawks fans make the same Jackson comp, but I've never seen it.

Lawrence Jackson was an athletic freak who played on a loaded USC line, (he lined up next Sedrick Ellis). In college, he produced a lot of sacks, but did it with a very limited pass rush repertoire. Basically he just bullrushed his way to production. And because he was part of an epic DL facing Pac-10 competition, it worked. But he basically had next to no pass rush moves and his hand use was undeveloped.

By contrast, Morgan played on a very ordinary defensive line in a tougher conference, flashed a huge arsenal of pass rush moves, and showed significantly better hand use than Jackson did. Despite having fewer advantages, he even posted better stats his last season. If you want to compare Morgan to a Seahawk, compare him to Patrick Kerney (before he got old). A decent RDE or a great LDE.

The two guys have a few things in common. Both are natural LDE's. Both have good pursuit and coverage ability (although I'd probably say Jackson is slightly better in those areas). And both are good against the run. But as pass rushers, they are very different, and Morgan is far more potent.

Kip Earlywine said...

Blah, in that last paragraph was confusing, but it was comparing the few similarities between Morgan and Jackson, to be fair in the discussion.

Michael (NC) said...


I very much appreciate your work, and respect your insights.

However, did you watch any of Morgan's Miami tape? He was a non-factor. Of the tapes I watched, the Miami and Clemson games stick out. GT defense was malled in both, and Morgan was a non-factor. The number of times he was washed out during run plays is disturbing.

In all honesty, he reminds me of Tapp; just taller.

If Seattle takes him, they will effectively be playing a 3-4 by default, because Morgan projects as a LDE (Non-Quick, all-hands, power guy) like Jackson.

Morgan is not quick off the line. He is not quick twitched. He is a guy with good handwork. In fact, his hands are what distinguish him from Jackson; that alone.

I am not alone on this:

» A general manager said, "The more tape of (Georgia Tech defensive end) Derrick Morgan I watch, the more questions I have about him as an elite pass rusher."

Source: Pat Kirwan

Kyle Rota said...

I caught that Miami game, and it was by far the worst game I saw from Morgan (scouted 6 in depth). However, it's important to remember that GT was playing their 3rd game in 12 days (tired), the offense couldn't stay on the field (6/16 passing, 14/29 running for Nesbit... Thomas literally caught every pass that GT offense completed), and the GT secondary is generally abysmal. It gave me a lot of concerns when I scouted Morgan (it was my second GT game), but then I spent 4 games trying to look for the same problems and couldn't. It was a bad game, but considering the circumstances and the much improved play in 5 other games, I'm not inclined to pay a whole lot of attention to it.

Morgan, for a LDE, still has above average athleticism, great anticipation for the snap (important), a great motor, very good strength, and very good hands use. Is he a freak athlete? Nope. But nobody would confuse Aaron Kampman, Patrick Kerney, or Jared Allen for elite athletes either, but all made multiple trips to Honolulu. Speed, especially at LDE, is only a single part of the equation.

Michael (NC) said...


Great feedback. Much thanks!

Where do you play Jackson if Morgan plays LDE?

Anonymous said...

Michael brings up a great point. Perhaps Brandon Graham or JPP would be a better fit for us.
As much as we need a better pass rush don't we need Charles Brown at Left tackle or Taylor Mays at Strong Safety with that #14.......Hmmmmm.......

c-hawker said...

RDE; A young Grant Winstrom?

Michael (NC) said...

I would look for an Elephant type with a decent 40 and an outstanding 10 yard split: Jason Worilds. Maybe a Ricky Sapp. Or, perhaps, try and make Curry into something he is not.

Bryant seems to have just as much quickness as Morgan, and would be an interesting big man at the 3 to run a heavy 4-3 under.

Carroll's 4-3 under needs speed on the outside, not necessarily quickness.

Then again, I am a banker.

Michael (NC) said...

Just for fun, I went to go look at ten yard splits on

Morgan has a good 10 yard split. His 3-cone is good as well. I don't know why I don't see the explosion. Perhaps it is told in his 20 yard split, which begins to show his lack of a second gear. Yet his broad jump and vertical jump show explosive traits. Perhaps what I see in tape is wrong.

That said, just for fun, go check out Curry's numbers. They are spectacular. 1.5 10 yard split. That is crazy elite. Too bad he doesn't know how to use his hands.

Kip Earlywine said...

As much as I like Brandon Graham, he'd be a puzzling pick for me. He's extremely similar to Tapp, and the team just sold off Tapp for peanuts- most likely because Carroll didn't think he'd fit the USC prototype for a RDE.

Savage said...

McCoy falling to #6 would be about the best the Hawks could hope for. I don't see if happening though. If he does get past Tampa, Washington and Kansas City are going to be getting plenty of calls from teams trying to trade up. He is one of the few elite talents in this draft and teams will pay the price to move up for him.

The more I look at the scenarios presented, I just have a feeling that Eric Berry is going to be the pick at #6. At that point in the draft, his talent level is much greater than the other players remaining. Yes it is too high of a contract for a safety, but the other prospect don't warrant it to me.

Hopefully they can find a team wanting Berry and trade down and pick up another 2nd rounder.

Kip Earlywine said...

Also, it doesn't bother me if Kirwan questions Morgan's potential as an "elite" pass rusher. Even I don't think he's likely to be a top 5 DE. What I do think is that as a LDE, he could be very good, maybe 6-10 sacks per season in his prime, but not truly elite like say Mario Williams.

Anonymous said...

As a couple of people have mentioned, Morgan is almost assuredly a LDE… like Jackson and Kerney (who it’s looking like we will keep).

What if, and I know this might be a stretch, but what if we don’t get a DE in the draft?

What is our strongest position? Unequivocally, it has to be LB, right? However, to get all our great LBs on the field we would have to switch to a 3-4… or use the Elephant 3-4 Defense that Carroll has done in the past. Which is essentially a 4-3 with a linebacker type (Brian Cushing played this role in 2006 at USC) standing up but otherwise acting mostly as a Defensive End. Curry anyone? We would have Curry standing up front, Hill on the other side, and Tatupu and Heater roaming the ‘middle.’ Therefore, we don’t need a RDE because we have him covered via LBs and Little Nicky Reed.

Furthermore, this also explains why we would get rid of Tapp but get Chris Clemons instead. Tapp came into the league as an undersized DE that was known for his quickness but has since added weight to help play RDE. However, Chris Clemons is still undersized for a DE but his truer position of OLB in a 3-4 he is perfect for. Clemons is the perfect type to be used as a backup ‘Elephant’ to be used on passing downs (along with Reed) and can even put his hand down if needed.

To make this work we would need an upgrade at DT (which we would need anyway) and an upgrade in the secondary (again, still a need). However, this would utilize our biggest strength to help negate one of our largest weaknesses.

This wouldn't be a fix for good but it would tie us over so we could upgrade other positions this year.



Anonymous said...

Great insight!

Here's my hoped for scenario to turn the 'Hawks around:

A few wise FA pickups, including OL help (Pitts if he's healthy)

Trade Sims for Smiley

Pick up something for some of our older, fading players, like Branch to NE, then

#6- Berry (unless McCoy plummets)
#14- trade to SD for #28 and 40 so they can take their next #1 RB
28th pick then heads to Denver for Brandon Marshall (he's a risk, but for that price, worth it) #40 - Charles Brown
#60- Monterio Hardesty

Subsequent selections to try to plug all other holes. It would be great to somehow recoup the 3rd rounder lost from the 2011 draft, but this team needs young bodies now.

Would love the thoughts of Seahawks draft experts.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I should have added Tate as a possibility at #60 too-- best available RB, to rotate with Forsett.

Anonymous said...

Charles Brown will be long gone at #40...... Gonna need a pick in the 14 to 28 range to get him.

Rob Staton said...

There isn't a scenario where by I'd be comfortable taking Berry at #6 and I don't think it'll happen.

thomas said...

i would like my seahawks draft like this:
6: gerald mccoy
14: trade for marshall or get talor mays
60: joe mcknight
whatdo you think?

Rob Staton said...

Thomas - I think it's incredibly unlikely that McCoy will be there at #6. I like Marshall and McKnight - I can see Mays because of Carroll/scheme but the Seahawks need some offense so I'd probably rather get Marshall in that instance.

Kyle Rota said...

Michael - Sorry for the late response, forgot to check this before bed.

You bring up a good point about LoJack and Morgan. Until Carroll came in, I felt LoJack was a RDE who was misplaced as a LDE. IMO, LoJack is an impressive athlete and if he ever played up to those athletic gifts, he could be a bigger RDE. With Pete Carroll, I think we can safely rule that out. The question is, do you pass up on a very good LDE because you have a guy averaging, what, 3 sacks a season at LDE already? Of course, the flip side is if you draft LoJack's replacement two years into his career? (Kerney doesn't factor into this for me. As Nanomaz said in another comment string, PK has parts of his shoulder falling off every snap, if he is with the team past 2010 I'll be shocked.)

If you're going to draft Morgan, you have to accept that LoJack then becomes a part-time player at some point (don't need to start Morgan, rookie DEs typically struggle, though I think Morgan has an unusually polished skillset for a young player). Depending on how you view Jackson, that may or may not be acceptable. Unlike Ruskell, there is no guarantee that this FO thinks highly of LoJack at all - and a comment here or there seem to indicate otherwise, though by no means is that definitive.

Me, personally, I'm not against giving LoJack another chance. But if I see the opportunity to add a DE that I think will play well, I'd probably take it and try to make it work. I wouldn't go into the draft viewing LDE as a huge need, though. I'd just be willing to take a quality player at LDE if the opportunity arose.