Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Tapp traded, draft significantly altered

By Kip Earlywine
Darryl Tapp was traded this afternoon for Chris Clemons and a 4th round pick. The Eagles had two 4th rounders, last I've heard, we're getting the latter of the two (#124. If this is wrong and we get the 1st, that's #118). For my thoughts on this, click "read more."

Tapp did not produce many sacks the last two years, but in a sense, sacks are kind of like the RBI stat of the NFL, because sacks usually tend to be a team statistic. Ichiro does not hit many RBI's, but that doesn't change the fact that he's one of the best leadoff hitters of his generation. That's because Ichiro bats leadoff and the #7, #8 and #9 hitters have to get on base to give him RBI opportunities, which they rarely do.

In the NFL, sacks are the end result of a process. A DE probably won't get many sacks if a QB can unload the ball to an open receiver in 2 seconds with consistency. This is why you hear about "coverage sacks" on NFL broadcasts. A DE also could struggle to get sacks if the interior DTs and LBs fail to generate interior pressure, meaning a QB can simply step up in the pocket to avoid a good pass rush attempt from the outside. The last two years, the Seahawks have had a horrible secondary and in 2009, a horrible interior pass rush. Its not surprising then that Tapp's sack totals dropped in those seasons.

Tapp did not gain many sacks, but last year he was near the top of the league in QB hits- which is about the closest metric I can give you for what a "near-sack" looks like. With a good secondary and good interior pressure, some of those 13 QB hits turn into sacks and forced fumbles. And suddenly, you're looking at a guy with 5-10 sacks and 2-3 FF. In a tough year that even saw Brandon Mebane decline somewhat, Tapp was still very disruptive and aggressive after every snap. He's also 25, and DE's tend to mature and hit their stride right around that age.

I think it was in one of my earliest posts here that I complimented Carroll for noticing Tapp on film. But it looks like I may have praised Carroll too soon. According to Eagles fans, Clemons is not that great and probably the lesser half of this trade. Tapp is worth more than a 4th rounder and a backup. I hate to say it, but most likely, the Seahawks got hosed on this one. I personally wouldn't have traded Tapp for anything less than an early 2nd.

I can't tell you much about Clemons. He's 28. He once had an ACL injury. He had 8 sacks in 2007. He once destroyed Tavaris Jackson. And he had a nice fumble recovery TD late last year against Dallas. Clemons is probably a big downgrade longterm and a modest downgrade short-term, but if there is something merciful about this trade, at least we didn't lose DE depth. A 4th round pick could be decently valuable if given to Gibbs to use on a lineman or running back.

What this trade means, as far as the draft is concerned- we now have an extra mid-round pick, and we now have a substantial need at defensive end. Does this make us more likely to draft Derrick Morgan? Probably. But when I researched Morgan, I noticed he seems to perform much better at LDE than RDE, and if we gave him Tapp's job, that would probably mean he'd play most snaps on the right side. I'm not a fan of that arrangement.

One player this could put on our radar is Brandon Graham, who is Tapp+. I'm a huge fan of Graham, but he won't last til #40 and taking him at #14 is a big reach. However, if the Seahawks end up finding a way to take Brandon Graham, it wouldn't shock me. Graham is a natural RDE and arguably the best pass rushing DE in the draft.

Edit: Now that I think about it, this move may also signal an interest in Everson Griffen. Griffen played mostly at RDE and of course is a USC player. I'm not a big fan of Griffen- but- this Tapp trade does remind me a little of the JP trade last year because it came out of the blue and ultimately opened up a spot for a player our GM badly wanted. Trading Tapp really doesn't make any sense by itself, which means its probably to open the door for someone in the draft.


Dan Alexander said...

Don't get me wrong...I love Tapp...one of my fav players and it's sad to see him go. He is far better than his stats suggest.

HOWEVER...we get a decently good player + a 4th in this year's draft? IIIII think this may be worth it...but time will tell obviously

Kip Earlywine said...

Hey Dan.

I'd probably feel different if Tapp was 28 or 29. But honestly, I think he's been an above average DE for us with his best years still to come. It would not shock me at all if he puts up a 10 sack season with Philly at some point. A 25 year old DE with good existing ability and near pro-bowl potential should be worth a lot, even to a rebuilding franchise, IMO.

Ironically enough, I used to hate Tapp a long time ago and thought he was over-rated. But once I moved up to the NW three years ago and could actually watch the games, it changed my opinion very quickly. He's much, much, much more disruptive than his sack totals indicate.

Pool Ninja said...

Obviously Philly didn't want to sign Tapp to an offer sheet, meaning they'd give up their 2nd. So they called and got Seattle to take less than the tender. Why not choose to trade LoJack instead? Didn't both play the same position and shared reps? Thinkin Carroll still like the LoJack Project and thinks he'd be better off... Not a fan of this deal.

Anonymous said...

I kind of agree Kip. I'm not sure what we'll get in the 4th round (or for that 4th), but I have a hard time seeing it be a more valuable player than Tapp will be over the next few seasons.

Clemons is a tiny, tiny defensive end. He's nothing more than a spot pass rusher.

All of a sudden, Lawrence Jackson is the only real every down defensive end on the roster. Reed isn't. Kerney's running on fumes and bits of his shoulders fall off every snap he plays. Clemons is smaller than some of our linebackers. Redding isn't signed.

Jeesh! Derrick Morgan maybe?


Pool Ninja said...

Hey Kip -

In regards to Rob's trade theory earlier with SD and Seattle swapping 14th for the 28th, their 3rd, and Whitehurst, do you see any DL, especially DE, worth taking at the top of 2nd? What position is most likely taken with the 2nd possibly now available? (originally I thought it would be good enough for B.Marsh, but reports out there say Denver is standing firm with a 1st rounder for Marshall.)

Kip Earlywine said...

Brandon Graham, if by some miracle he reaches #40. I expect him to go around pick ~#20. This draft is decently deep for LDE's but there aren't very many RDE edge rusher types. At #40, the best DE will probably be Wootton, and he's suited for the left side.

Ben said...

I don't like this move, but I'm still willing to give the FO the benefit of the doubt. We're making a lot of holes in the roster, but I've got faith we can fill them ... somehow.

Have you read the meltdown thread over at FG, though? Over 1300 comments lasttime I checked with half of them declaring the PC era a failure and the other half making wild accusations about anyone trying torationalize thetrade. Anything short of calling Tapp a 2010 Pro Bowler looks like grounds for a banning.

akki said...

If Carroll is instituting the defense he had at SF and USC, then we have to break away from the idea of a classic RDE and think elephant instead. Here are some elephants under Carroll:
Clay Matthews - 6'3" 240
Brian Cushing - 6'4" 245
Dallas Sartz - 6'5" 240
Willie McGinest - 6'5" 270
Chris Slade - 6'5" 247
Chris Doleman - 6'5" 260
Rickey Jackson - 6'2" 240

Some non-Carroll elephants:
KGB - 6'4" 240
Charles Haley - 6'5" 255

Tapp at 6'1" 270 only matches McGinest in weight, and McGinest was far more of a physical freak, with the mobility typical of someone smaller. Clemons at 6'2" 240 and Reed at 6'2" 245 fit the mold better, as tiny as they seem. And Aaron Curry might be the best fit. An elephant also has to drop into coverage a lot, and while Tapp is not bad at it for a DE, he certainly isn't LB quality at it.

So do we really have depth problems at DE? A traditional DE would only fit at the LDE position, so Jackson and Kerney (still on team for now) seem like enough. And at the elephant RDE/OLB position you might have Curry and Clemons, and if you want to keep Curry in another role and draft a guy, Derrick Morgan, Everson Griffen, Carlos Dunlap seem to project as too large for the position. Brandon Graham, Jerry Hughes, JPP, Ricky Sapp, these might be more along the lines of our RDE draft targets.

ChavaC said...

Seneca for a 7th...
Tapp for a basically a fifth and a nobody...
Awesome start Pete. I half expect to wake up tomorrow morning to see Curry traded for a 5th. He better nail this draft...

Anonymous said...

Wow, you think Tapp is worth a high 2. rounder. That's overvaluing own players. For me Tapp hasn't shown anything that makes him that valuable, how can he be that good and Seahawks's pass rush that bad?

Brandon Mebane is a beast and if Tapp was anything near that, the pass rush would have been much better last year. Did anyone forget how bad the Seahawks have been for the last couple of years?

Chris (In Boise) said...

Great post akki, I completely agree with you in feeling that people are looking at this the wrong way. I do believe that Carroll is a little bit better than just looking at the numbers of the last couple years and saying Tapp wasn't the greatest fit, he watched film and thought to himself, this guy has talent but isn't what I need in the elephant position.
There are more and more positions to fill by the day but this is what we need, I don't care if they cut everybody but our LB's, Carlson, Unger, Forsett, and Mebane. This cleaning house is what a team needs after so many losses over the last couple years.



Hey Rob, I was listen to Clayton this afternoon on the radio. The rumor is with all the draft picks that the Browns have this year Holmgren is going to move up to the second spot to acquire his future QB to groom for two years until Delhomme contract expires in two years. With both QB off the board Rams taking the other one and with our personnel movement. What directions do you thing Pete's heading towards? Lets say that we still have our orginal picks with no buyers?

akki said...

I'm not worrying so far. When Parcells came to Miami, he cut starters Zach Thomas, Trent Green, Marty Booker, and LJ Shelton with zero return, he let both starting guards leave as UFA, and he traded away Jason Taylor and Lorenzo Booker in supposedly below-market deals that were considered steals for Washington and Philadelphia respectively. I don't think they regret any of those moves.

Rob Staton said...

DUWORKSON - It's not completely unrealistic to see Cleveland move up. They need a long term answer at QB and Jimmy Clausen, at least on tape, would appear to have what it takes to play the Holmgren system. They might have to move up to #2 or #3 if Washington were showing interest in Clausen. If the Redskins weren't that way inclined, there's every chance Cleveland could swap picks with Kansas City to get in front of Seattle too. It's a strong possibility.

In the situation that both QB's are off the board, I think the Seahawks would have to look at guys like Derrick Morgan and Anthony Davis at #6. Pat Kirwan, in his latest mock draft, suggested the Seahawks would take C.J. Spiller in this scenario. It's something I've looked at in previous mock drafts. It wouldn't be a bad idea for the Seahawks to try and move down into the teens in this situation - perhaps if a team wanted Eric Berry and were cautious of him going at #7. Moving down is hard in the top ten, but the difference in value fromn #6 to #14 isn't huge. You'd still find depth at DE and OT (JPP, Griffen, Graham, Brown, Bulaga) but you'd also be able to justify a selection like Spiller (or Dez Bryant) a lot more.

Rob Staton said...

Also - I think people should expect roster moves like this. This isn't going to be a quick fix. Maybe Tapp will go on and have a great career in Philly, maybe he won't. But this is a new regime that deserves a chance to stamp it's authority on the roster and make the changes they feel necessary. Nobody is untouchable after two years of 9-23. That's the way it should be and I won't shed a tear at any moves the front office make. They need time to make changes, let's afford them that time.

c-hawker said...

Good call, Rob...

D said...

I don't get it. Look, a good player is a good player and I reckon Tapp was one, and a young one to boot. Sure you can trade a good player to get something better suited in return but I jave a nagging feeling that we didn't this time. Clemmons? Meh... A fourth round pick? How deep can a class possibly be? Usually a fourth round pick just tries on his practice shirt on his way out.

The one thing that makes sense is what Rob is pointing out, that the Hawks are cleaning house. We have been sucking lately and action is needed.

Rob Staton said...

I think Tapp is one of those guys though - he's more valuable the day after he's traded than he is before. When he signed his tender, it barely got reported. Nobody breathed a sigh of relief or toasted the maintenance of Darryl Tapp in Seattle. Maybe that was partly because nobody expected him to depart, or maybe people weren't all that interested.

Suddenly he's traded to Philadelphia and he's the 'one that got away'. I don't know if Darryl Tapp will be a success in Philly. I don't know if Clemons will be anything more than a camp body this summer. We don't know what will happen to that 4th round pick we acquired - it could go on a running back that excels in the Gibbs system - it could go on Mansfield Wrotto mark II.

But I'm loathe to criticise the front office for making moves in an attempt to rebuild this team. Others may disagree, but personally I'm happy to let a 9-23 team make sweeping changes and just let it play out. Not every move will be a marked success - there will be some mistakes. That's inevitable. But the judging will be done when some football has actually been played, not 5 weeks before this new regime has even taken it's first NFL draft.

Swampfox said...

Akki, I appreciated your analysis. The troubling aspect for me is this creates more holes, when we already had so many. And it's unclear what the strategy is in moving young performers out the door.

Trying to make sense of 'why?' is what we're all here for (today/last night at least). Your post helped me, if only until the next move is made.


Jon said...

Yeah, to be fair you have to give Carroll/Schneider the benefit of the doubt until all the chips have fallen. If they end up with Whitehurst for 3rd/4th round value instead of dumping 1st round salary on a punk like Clausen that will make up for any questionable move they've made thus far.

Holmy moving up to surgically remove any possibility of the Hawks taking Clausen would have me in love with the Walrus all over again.

Nick said...

A punk like Clausen may seem a little harsh. Some of the best QBs in the league have attitude problems but that does not affect their talent. I would much rather take Clausen to groom over Whitehurst because of age, familiarity with Pete, and his NFL readiness.

As for Tapp, I'm sad to see him go. But if Pete has something in mind for either Clemons or the 4th rounder, then all the power to him. Pete won't mess up his second chance in the NFL as a coach I can tell you that much.

Jon said...

Rivers is a successful hot head QB but there are more Jeff George's and Ryan Leaf's out there to point at than jerk success stories.
It says a lot to be the starting BMOC QB at Notre Dame and get blasted in the eye in public on campus like he did, that was one Hell of a shiner. I mean the dude who hit him was out of line, maybe completely insane or drunk but my gut reaction is Clausen must be a real piece of work to get that kind of reaction out of someone.

If he was a better QB I'd be willing to overlook the attitude concerns, like Brandon Marshall. He is probably one of the worst character guys in the league but he's also a top 5 WR in his early prime.

My general point though was that it's a huge roll of the dice and a more long term process to draft Clausen than to give Whitehurst a shot at the expense of a 3rd or 4th round pick. Clausen is "pro ready" compared to other rookies, Whitehurst has been in the league 4 years. If Whitehurst doesn't pan out you'll know in 2-3 years and all it cost you was a 3 or 4 pick. If Clausen sucks it'll take 5 years to really know and you will have sunk a huge chunk of payroll to find out.

Anonymous said...

Good comments ya'all, especially Rob and Akki.

That said we're really going to suck this season.

The Eagles have gotten good at picking the meat off a dead Seahawk.

Rob Staton said...

I truly believe Seattle's success (or failure) in 2010 will depend on their ability to vastly improve on offense. Until they are able to threaten teams offensively, they won't win many games. This isn't a tough division and the Cardinals are in a period of adjustment. San Francisco, likewise, have their own question marks. Improving the offensive line and finding a spark on offense will make Seattle - at the very least - competitive. It's not an impossible task and one of the reasons why the Seahawks have looked at Brandon Marshall, have brought in Alex Gibbs and will no doubt review other options at QB, RB, WR and OL in free agency and the draft.

Karl said...

Hey first time poster here....I started my football blog reading experience over at FG but I find myself landing here more often of recent. Maybe it is the tone difference between the blogs (the FG meltdown thread comment cracked me up) but I find this blog tends to feel more calm and centered which I need right now. My beloved Hawks are rebuilding and it can be nerve wracking. Anyway, I agree with Rob. Let's see how all this plays out.

Brendan said...

Jon - I think that is a good point about Clausen. I mean look this guy got popped in the face as the starting QB at ND. That itself shows that people do not like him. Then you add on top of that that the guy who punched him got out of the bar alive? Bad news. People don't like him - that is a character issue.

You think if Locker got touched at a UW bar the guy gets out alive? Not a chance.

And yes I do believe that this is a legit piece of info.

Kip Earlywine said...

-Welcome Karl. I came from FG too, and I know what you mean. I try my best (and Rob does too) of encouraging debate and being tolerant of dissent and different ideas. In the end, if there is disagreement, just put your case out there and let readers decide for themselves. I do think the FG reaction is over the top- especially the ridiculous doomsaying by BrianL (even though I agree with him about Tapp). One bad move and our FO is suddenly worse than Bavasi, lol.

-If Holmgren is eyeballing Jimmy Clausen, which is becoming more and more apparent, he's going to have to trade up at least to #5 to get him, and to be safe, at least to #3. Detroit (#2) is probably a more amenable trade partner at this point. Of course, this is potentially huge news for the Seahawks as it would mean a DT falling to #6 barring another trade up- or Holmgren surprising us by taking a DT with that pick.

-I made an edit in the post above, but I realized as I woke up this morning that this trade could be the precursor for the team drafting Everson Griffen of USC possibly at #14, who played mostly at RDE. I'm not a fan of Griffen and would hate this to be the case, but its suddenly a much more likely possibility. Reminds me of the JP trade which was the precursor to justifying the Curry pick.

Anonymous said...

Is there any merit to the idea that Tapp would simply not have been a good scheme fit? Tapp seems to have the talent to merit more than a fourth rounder, but if he's less valuable than that to our team then it makes sense to get what we can for him.

I've seen it posted that the RDE position will be replaced by the elephant pass rusher, and that Tapp may not have a clear position any more. My understanding before was that the elephant was something Carroll used in some pass rushing situations, and not simply on every down. This still creates a hole at RDE (that Clemons isn't likely to fill) doesn't it?

CLanterman said...

"Jon - I think that is a good point about Clausen. I mean look this guy got popped in the face as the starting QB at ND. That itself shows that people do not like him. Then you add on top of that that the guy who punched him got out of the bar alive? Bad news. People don't like him - that is a character issue"

Actually, it shows that one idiot didn't like Clausen. And anyone crazy enough to punch a 6'3" 225 lb athlete probably shouldn't be messed with. He also could have just left before anyone knew what the hell happened? The Clausen hate, in my opinion is unjustified.

Anonymous said...

Brendan, I love how much you hate Clausen but won't directly say it. It really doesn't matter what other people think of him as long as he has the respect of his team mates. Look at Ben Roethlisberger (sp?). That guy is on his second rape and no one even blinks an eye. It's pretty well known in Pittsburgh that he's a first class prick but he has two rings so no one really cares.

Really with any football player they will get the benefit of the doubt if they do not pop off in the media, even if they end up with arrests. Especially a QB and a white QB at that.

Clausen could very well be a punk but there is nothing from his team mates to indicate that and he's not the type of guy who is outspoken in the media. He's going to be somewhere between Jay Cutler and Phil Rivers. A guy with an attitude who can play.

Anonymous said...

The civility and intellegence on this board are commendable.

Last year Church Van didn't fit the system so the regime got rid of him. This year Tapp doesn't fit the system, elephant. Simms doesn't fit the system, zone. So we get rid of our best DE and best OG because they don't fit the system.

Let's hope Pete's elephant defense doesn't turn white and Gibbs' zone doesn't fade into the twilight. Otherwise all us fans might be suffering from elephantiasis, (sleeping sickness).

Football talent wins football games more than systems. This is coaching hubris.

Question: What percentage of fourth round picks ever start in the NFL?

Anonymous said...

As for Tapp...I don't know how to feel about this one. If we are trying to go young then we really should not be dropping a 25 year old guy who has been somewhat productive. Even if it means that we only keep him for depth.

On the flip side, he was not productive for Gus Bradley and maybe that is because he's not right for the system. The optimist in me really likes the comparison to the 2008 Dolphins. Our division is weak enough for us to put together a respectable year if this staff is in fact going in the right direction

Time will tell

Anonymous said...

Not a Seahawks fan, but I'm a Tech and Redskins fan so I'm a little familiar with both Tapp and Clemmons. I think you can't say you've lost value on the trade until you see who that 4th round pick is. This is a fairly deep year for interior linemen, you could get a pretty good ZBS guy in that range and come out ahead.

Also I think you all are in position to do some really interesting things with your first three picks. You could completely set your defensive front 7 with pro-bowl caliber players for years if you wanted to. Imagine a combination of something like Derrick Morgan, Brian Price, and Jerry Hughes with 6, 14, and 40. Or maybe something like Morgan, Pierre-Paul, and Lamarr Houston with those same picks.

You're defensive line would be versatile and stacked and you're linebackers are already impressive. You'd still need to rebuild the offensive line and running game but you could be successful at that with later round picks.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous Skins fan - welcome and thanks for visiting. A question - what is the talk regarding Washington and how they intend to use the fourth overall pick?

Kip Earlywine said...

Regarding Tapp being a fit, its hard to imagine he wouldn't be. Tapp is a DE in the Freeney mold (obviously far less talented), which is the prototype for a Tampa 2 RDE. We still run Tampa 2. In fact, he was one of only a couple players on the entire defense that was perfectly suited for this style of defense.

Now, Tapp has the body, athleticism, and quickness to convert to Elephant LB. He could resemble Elvis Dumervil in that regard. But then again, Tapp was unproven in this area, whereas Clemons is experienced as a rush LB/DE hybrid. The team may have been planning to reduce Tapp's role as an elephant anyway, and if that's the case, this deal makes a tiny bit of sense since Clemons would probably be close to on par with Tapp as an elephant type.