Sunday, 25 April 2010

Thoughts on Day 3: Mea Culpa, John Schneider

By Kip Earlywine
I had a pretty exciting list of names staring me in the face when I hit play on my DVR Saturday. Everson Griffen, Bruce Campbell, Mardy Gilyard, Geno Atkins, Reshad Jones among many others. As it turns out, the only name I wanted that was drafted by Seattle was Anthony McCoy in the 6th round (and Jeff Byers in UDFA). I'm kind of used to not getting the players I have my heart set on though. During the entire Tim Ruskell era, the only player selected that I badly wanted was Brandon Mebane. It would be unfair to criticize a draft simply for not picking the players I wanted. I have to look at the value and the logic behind each move. The Seahawks did well.

I don't know if I would have passed on Atkins to take Thurmond in the 4th, although in fairness, the Seahawks had just acquired Vickerson in a trade which eased the need for a DT. Atkins was a high risk high reward pick on the defensive line, and Thurmond is a similar case in the secondary. He's had a ton of injuries, but before he had them, he was considered a 2nd round prospect.

To read the rest of Kip's detailed analsysis, click 'read more'.

I don't like the EJ Wilson pick, but it wasn't horrible and it gave the Seahawks some much needed depth at LDE. Wilson is solid and dependable, but I seriously doubt he will ever be more than depth though. You could argue that for a late 4th, depth at a key position is solid value, but in a deep draft where 2nd round prospects were coming off the board in this area, I would have rather addressed depth for LDE at a later time. I think a draft pick has to be weighed against the opportunity cost. Jason Fox, Ed Wang, Ricky Sapp, Dominique Franks, Perrish Cox, Reshad Jones and Riley Cooper were among the best players available.

Seattle badly needed a strong safety. Reshad Jones was still available, but the team went with Kam Chancellor instead. Chancellor is the exact same size as Taylor Mays, but instead of running a 4.3 forty, he's more like a 4.6-4.7 guy. I have mixed feelings about this pick. Chancellor was productive in college and he fits a need, but I think his speed will give us Kelly Herndon syndrome more than we'd like. I guess I like this pick, but I hope it doesn't prevent us from adding more SS talent next year.

Anthony McCoy was at least arguably the biggest steal of the 6th round, and he fit an area of minor need for Seattle. It was I think a month ago that Rob had McCoy going to Seattle at #60. So obviously, I'm pretty thrilled to get him this late. McCoy is a well rounded TE who, if he cleans up his act, has overall talent not far behind John Carlson's.

Dexter Davis is a long shot to make the team thanks to the insane number of stand-up ends the Seahawks have acquired. That said, he has an exceptional combination of athleticism and college production for a late 7th round pick. The only reason he lasted this long is because of his being 6'1". Nick Reed+ is not an unfair comparison, and like Reed, if Davis has a great preseason, he could make the team. I like his chances.

Jameson Konz is a pure athlete without a position. Its very likely he'll be stashed on the practice squad for a couple years, and never be heard from again.

If I had to grade the 3rd day for the picks alone, I'd probably go with a "B-." "Decent." It was two stunning trades, though, that highlighted the action and significantly raised my appraisal. Without even losing a pick, only draft position, the Seahawks acquired Lendale White, Kevin Vickerson and Leon Washington. If there was ever a draft were moving down a few spots in the late rounds was extra meaningless, its this one. Seattle upgraded the running game in a huge way and added much needed depth at tackle almost for free.

The big acquisition is Leon Washington. Washington is a smallish but thickly built RB with tons of speed and cut making ability. The catch is that he's recovering from an extremely nasty fractured leg bone injury. Broken bones heal, but lets consider this a minor injury related "red flag." Washington turns 28 just before the season starts. In a way, you might think of Washington as being a 28 year old Jahvid Best (similar size, speed, play-making ability, and has injury red flags), and I would have happily traded up in the 2nd for Best if possible. I love this move, and by the end of next season, I think the results of the Leon Washington trade will be a popular storyline in the media. Jets observers tell me that Washington was pretty much the entirety of the offense before he went down in week 7.

So why was Washington available so cheaply? First, the Jets and Washington's agent had been fighting over contract details for sometime, and I think the Jets had reached the point of giving up on getting a long term deal. Washington is currently on a 1 year tender and scheduled to be a 2011 FA. They knew they would lose him, so they figured they might as well get something while they could. Second, the team had just drafted Joe McKnight, and with LT, Shonn Greene, and Joe McKnight on the roster, there was a bit of a logjam that made Washington expendable. This scenario reminds me a lot of the situation that allowed the Cliff Lee deal to fall in place for the Mariners a few months ago. Cliff Lee was a soon to be FA and the Phillies were hot after Halladay and Lee didn't factor into their future. Jack Z had the good sense and good timing to make a phone call, and the rest is history. Similarly, this was a great trade for the Seahawks.

Prior to this, the Seahawks acquired former USC star RB Lendale White and "veteran" DT Kevin Vickerson for, as one disgruntled Tennessee columnist put it- "A sack of socks." The only thing Seattle gave up was 7 spots in the 4th round and 9 spots in the 6th round, and in the deepest draft in years combined with Schneider's patient approach, this probably cost the Seahawks exactly nothing.

First, lets talk about Vickerson. Vickerson is a 27 year old 3 tech DT with good length (6'5") and a decent amount of experience (only 2 starts, but played in 24 games). Vickerson was a RFA by the way- with a 2nd round tender on him. In terms of pure talent, Vickerson isn't really any worse than the DTs available in the late rounds, and is more NFL ready than any of them. For just a throw in player, Vickerson was a pretty solid get that helps Seattle's depth at 3 tech DT... and maybe, maybe, allows Seattle to think about moving Mebane back to the 1 where he belongs.

Lendale White is probably the most famous name added to Seattle in day 3. He was a star at USC and a former 2nd round pick who's had a decently productive pro career, and is still only 25. White has a poor career YPC of only 3.7, and he's not going to be a pro-bowler for us by any means, and there's also the issue of his weight, which can be all over the place. However, I love this move for a few reasons.

Firstly, White can carry the load if need be and is durable. Neither Washington or Forsett is a carry the load type back and both of them should probably have limited carries as they stand to have an above average risk for injury due to size or history. The team could not justifiably rid themselves of Julius Jones until they found a legit 300 carry alternative. Worst case scenario, White can do exactly that, which makes Jones expendable.

Secondly, while White is certainly not a productive back in terms of yards per carry, he's an excellent short yardage back. Before being benched in favor of superstar Chris Johnson, White had a very valuable 2008 season, scoring 15 TDs and racking up an impressive +144 rushing DYAR. He also had a 54% rushing success rate, good for 4th best in the NFL. Similar to the overlooked and forgotten TJ Duckett in 2008, White has a ton of hidden value and will help this team immensely even if it doesn't look like it with a quick glance. Seattle did not have a true short yardage back on the roster, so that also makes White a great fit. If Seattle is smart and uses White/Washington/Forsett as a true trio with a 40/30/30 split to the carries, this is going to be at least an NFL average running game, and could easily be above average, even with mediocre blocking.

I didn't talk about it much here at this blog, but I was a huge critic of Schneider for the Tapp and Charlie Whitehurst trades. The latter in particular really got under my skin, because it was an utter failure at negotiation, and when you are the youngest GM in the league in your first gig, that's a pretty worrisome indication of things to come.

After seeing the draft though, I think I owe John Schneider an apology or at least rethink my initial impression of him. Not only was his handling of the draft itself amazing, but the deals he made for White and Washington were simply brilliant, a case of finding a buy low player who fits and fleecing the other team due to odd or uncommon circumstances. Those deals proved to me that Schneider isn't a total moron with trades, and with trades obviously being such a crucial tool for this administration so far, that is a very welcome sign.

I'll cover the Seahawks draft choices pick by pick over the next several days, and when its all done, I'll give a final grade. I thought Seattle had at least arguably the best first two days getting Okung/Thomas/Tate, and when factoring in those two brilliant trades, I think they had at least arguably the best day 3 as well.

Great job.

21 comments:

nightwulf said...

I'm pretty much in lock step with your analysis there, Kip. I think EJ Wilson was the worst pick of our draft, followed by Chancellor...But Chancellor was such a low pick that I really think he's pretty much a "one year flyer" unless he shows us a reason to keep him. And really, if those were by far the two worst picks in the draft, you can't help but call it a really good draft, at the very least. I'm thinking that the possibility is even there to call it just plain outstanding:)

fadasan said...

kip

come on. so you watched a little bit of "tape." now is this scout tape or taped games where you see what the tv lets you see?

are you really nitpicking the seahawks' draft? you really know ej wilson's game? come on dog. no way have you done an in-depth scouting of ej wilson so why are you pretending? you really have watched enough of kam chancellor and rashad jones and know enough about the respective systems in which they played in and about carroll's system to know which would be a better pick? or to even form a REAL opinion?

i understand maybe, when it comes to early round choices where you actually may really have seen the players you're talking about, but you're arguing BPA with Pete Carroll and John Schneider. arguing about who they think is the best fit for the team that THEY are building?

the only way for people like us to evaluate a draft, really, is when these new players finally take to the field and then only after a couple of years. you know that. we all do.

you write some good stuff that i really like reading, but this armchair gm draft grading is the worst kind of blog writing. its already a b.s. endeavour even when former scouts/gms do it let alone fans.

fadasan said...

for the record they gave up a 5th rounder for washington.

Kip Earlywine said...

They traded down from the 5th to the 7th for Washington. If you add up all the points of the two trades, its about a 5th round value, but they still kept 6 day 3 picks, and I don't think trading down really hurt them at all since the draft was so deep.

Fadasan, if you've read the blog enough, I've said repeatedly that I don't scout with game tape and have never pretended to. You are welcome to take my opinions with a grain of salt. As far as EJ Wilson, I don't know much about him, I'm just passing on what I've read about him. If you have an expert opinion or source, I would absolutely be interested in hearing it.

Kip Earlywine said...

Getting to some of the other things you said:

-I think you are absolutely right that a draft can't be accurately graded until long after the fact. Whatever the correlation between "draft day winners" and actual draft winners is, I'm guessing its not 100%. : )

-On the other hand, I've spent hundreds of hours working here at SDB the last 4.5 months, largely in an effort to forecast the selections our team would make over a 3 day period. Studying Alex Gibbs scheme, Alex Gibbs physical preferences, studying Bates scheme, researching Carroll's history at USC, Green Bay's history when Schneider was learning their system, etc. Not to mention, about 50 prospects I thought might make sense for Seattle's new systems. As such, I don't think its terribly inappropriate to form an educated forecast of how those picks will probably be used and how likely they are to pan out.

-Of course, you are entitled to your own opinions and I would never dream to ask otherwise.

-Finally, I'm not a true expert and I never claimed to be. Rob kind of fills the reporter role here, and Kyle is very respectable in his scouting. I kind of see myself as the color commentator type. I'm just a fan with a lot of passion and a little free time that loves the draft.

Rat said...

Oh, you mean to tell me theres an ego over at the draft blog? And Kearly and English aren't just E-scouts?

Newsflash, pals, this fascad is over boys. I've sat back long enough watching you two throw salt on my life. My way of living. My source of income. Rob, remember who showed you your first blog, and who was the one who taught you what the term 'raw project' meant.

Im tired of being overlooked and ridiculed when I or others voice an opinion just cause of the 'name brand' so to speak. Your elitist attitude pushed it over the top for me, Rob.

I now know that We all aren't welcome here if we don't share the same views. Sad, but it is life. And I wont even touch on how you flip flopped on Okung. See you over at .net

DUWORKSON said...

To all the writers I wanna just thank you for all the hard work. This website is one of my favorite site to visit. I will see you guys next year. Go Hawks!!!

D said...

Geez, take it easy Francis...

Maybe I need to get aroud more but the attitude here is pretty soft and easygoing judging from my internet experience so far.

ANYWAY, very good reading post draft gent. Keep it up.

D

fadasan said...

did i miss something?

not to get nit-picky (ha!) but here is the trade values for both trades and it comes out to a 4th round value for both trades.

White / Vickerson trade:
trade value exchanged was 17.6pts = pick 185 (25th pick in 6th rd)

Washington trade:
trade value exchanged was 35 pts = pick 142 (14th pick in 5th rd)

Together they are 52.6 pts. = pick 121 (25th pick of the 4th round)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Kip's commentary, but Rat's correct about Rob. Sorry, the truth hurts.

Rob Staton said...

Rat - everyone is welcome on this blog. I don't think I've even had so much as a crossed word on here since it all began in 2008.

My opinion on Okung is the same today as it was when I watched him. That doesn't mean I can't be supportive of the guy now he's a Seahawk.

Annonymous - I'm sorry I've moved you to feel that way. I am not an expert and would never claim to be. If that warrants the term 'E-Scout' then I'm an E-scout. All I do is record tape from the TV, stash it and watch it over a few times to form an opinion. I'm not anything more than that and would never claim to be. I'm right some of the time and wrong on others. I just intend to set out and make this blog the best it can be and hope that people enjoy it. But at the same time, I never force this blog on anybody. If people don't want to visit, they don't have to.

Bruce M. said...

I'm pretty sure I understand what the people who run this blog are, and what they aren't. I enjoy their contributions with that in mind.

People with whom I may disagree are not for that reason alone "elitist". And people are also entitled to state their opinions strongly, or change or modify them after reflection.

The reasons for the bile in this thread are a mystery to me, but they must be something hidden from plain view.

This is a fine blog. Glad it exists.

CLanterman said...

Great stuff Rob and Kip. No clue what the complainers are talking about, but SDB is a well run blog with good analysis.

Hawktastic said...

I just want to add my 2 cents as well. I feel like the writers on this blog have been very up front with their experience and background in scouting. The harshness of some comments here is uncalled for. Don't read it if you don't find it informative.

In the meanwhile, I knew a great deal more going into this draft than I have before, and half of that has been this blog. Thanks guys!

fadasan said...

as the poster of the original, slightly negative comment i didn't mean to incite anything. really, i read the blog and like it a lot. good job guys!!! seriously. nice blog.

i was just saying that i didn't like this post and was letting the creators know why so that the site improves. (they can decide wether my post has merit or not).

to clarify my position, i think coming up with one's wishlist and opinions on players and how they apply to the seahawks is great and we all do it. rob, kip and kyle take it much further and more power to them. their site is called "seahawks draft BLOG" afterall!

i do think there is a big difference, however, between saying i like this guy that i have watched "tape" on (real tape or tv tape) and this is what i think, saw, etc.. and pretending to have real, original thoughts on a player when you have NOT watched any tape on that player to SCOUT that player. (and seeing a guy's name a couple times in a game you watched once does not count). i have a feeling that kip's comments on EJ Wilson and Kam Chancellor vs. Rashad Jones fall into this latter category and are opinions formed by reading other people's opinions on them but passing them off as original opinions. this is not good journalism (blogging included) and both suggests that the writer has a level of expertise that he doesn't and "borrows" opinions that are not cited from people who may have really scouted that player.

now, i know that kip watched tape on the players he posted scouting reports on which is why this site is really good sometimes (as is John Morgan's Field Gulls) but when it comes to grading a draft (kip gives the seahawks a B- for day 3 for example!) and giving very specific reasons that he likes/dislikes players chosen and compares those players to other late round players that should have been chosen it is just too many layers of B.S. so that is why i made a comment about it. no way has kip, let alone kyle or rob for that matter, scouted the majority of the late-round picks. nfl head coaches don't typically know these players either. that is why they employ area scouts who do follow these players for years!

obviously, kip et al, this is your site. it's great a lot of the time. god knows its easy to be a critic and hard to create. pay attention to the reader feedback or don't. just giving my two cents as we all do. i just think posts like this one detract from the really good original content that you guys are creating.

wasn't trying to start nuthin!

Rob Staton said...

Fadasan - some fair points there. I for one categorically will admit I know nothing about Seattle's picks in round seven. In fact, I'll admit I know almost nothing about Jake Locker either. I had no access to Washington games last year and have only seen occassional highlights. I imagine Washington will be on ESPN UK next year though, thankfully.

However - I saw enough of Anthony McCoy to give that pick in round six two thumbs up, an A grade, a round of applause and a heavy dose of interest to see how that pans out. What a steal. If he stays out of trouble and works hard, he can be a top NFL tight end.

Anonymous said...

I read some of your stuff over at .net Rat... you ain't the $hiT.
Rob, Kip, Kyle, keep up the great work. I'll be called one of your "minions by the one with the hyperbolic opinion of himself", but I've been called worse by better. You guy's don't need to harp on who you are, we know ... you've told us. We disagree and banter with you, you explain where you’re coming from and let us do the same. Nuff said.
Keep up the great work, I'll be reading and appreciating.
Go Hawks!
WKH

Kip Earlywine said...

No offense taken Fadasan. I make mistakes all the time, and I need people to point them out.

Kip Earlywine said...

I've spent a lot of time looking at and forming opinions on players, but if you read my POTD series, I've mentioned probably a dozen times now that I don't do real scouting, I just look at what's out there and form an initial impression, and then I share my thoughts. In the case of safeties, I've repeatedly said "take my thoughts with a grain of salt," for example.

That said, over 1000 collegiate players are eligible for the draft and only 255 will be selected. As you might expect, I'm just doing this for fun in my free time, so I can't look at them all, much less with actual coaches tape.

A lot of the players Seattle selected in day 3 were players I knew nothing about. So I read some scouting reports, ascertained the kind of role they had for the Seahawks, factored risk, etc. Its by no means a perfect analysis, its just my opinion.

As far as my day 3 grade, it would probably be an "A+" when factoring the trades. Those trades were amazing. I just thought the day 3 picks themselves, separated from the trades, were above average but not incredible. "B-" is certainly not a put down.

Kip Earlywine said...

One last comment on the "minions" and "cronies" stuff. I have 3 goals writing for this site:

#1: Have fun and learn something, and hopefully entertain others.

#2: I DO NOT want cronies and sycophants. I've been to plenty of sites where its crony-central all worshiping the fearless leader type. I hate that and I don't want that kind of following at all. If anything, I want people to disagree with me and add to the discussion.

#3: Hopefully (this is the toughest one) actually predict what the Seahawks will do on draft day and gain some insight into the moves they actually make. Following the draft is so much more fun when you actually know some things about the names out there.

If anyone thinks I have an ego, I'd like to know why they think that. I'm just having fun, and I always listen to your comments, especially the critical ones. If there is anything I can do to be more humble, please let me know.

Joel said...

I just wanted to say that I'm the guy who posts on Seahawks.net under the name "Rat" and the person causing trouble in this blog using that name is NOT me.

I think English and kearly are two of the best and most articulate posters on .net, and I have a great deal of respect for both of them. I'm also a regular reader of this blog, and think they both do fantastic work on it.

Whoever it is that's posting under that name, I would appreciate it if you would please stop. I'm guessing you're somebody I upset on .net. I'm sorry for whatever I did to you.