Thursday, 27 May 2010

Wes Bunting on Terrelle Pryor

By Rob Staton
Some of the better off season material is coming from the NFP's Wes Bunting. He's started to look through potential 2011 prospects and he's worth following if you have a twitter account(@wesbunting). His latest article takes a look at Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. A junior for the upcoming season, he could choose to declare if he enjoys a productive 2010. However, he has a lot to do this year to put himself in position to take advantage of skipping his senior year. Here's a section from Bunting:

"I came away a little more impressed with Pryor as a “thrower” than I initially thought I would. The guy has a strong enough arm to make all the throws at the next level, but what really stood out to me was his touch down the field on the move. He consistently was able to buy time for himself outside the pocket, and with the flick of a wrist was able to drop bucket throws into receivers’ outstretched arms. Plus, he’s a powerful strider when asked to create for himself as a runner and uses his stiff arm literally as well as any running back in college football. He never looks to be moving fast but consistently is able to outrun angles, break tackles and pick up necessary yards to move the chains." - Wes Bunting, NFP

It's not all positive though, if you check out the full article.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Annual rookie photo shoot

By Rob Staton
A lot of the high profile rookies drafted in 2010 were in L.A. this past weekend for a photo shoot event. The Seahawks presence was surprisingly light considering they owned three high picks and two first rounders - neither Russell Okung nor Earl Thomas were present. Golden Tate was there however and judging by his twitter updated (@showtimetate) he enjoyed his time in L.A. Don't forget you can also follow Seahawks Draft Blog on twitter by following @robstaton.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Wednesday links

Jason La Canfora speculates when the top rookies will begin to sign their contracts. The Seahawks have the task of signing up to high first round picks - Russell Okung and Earl Thomas. La Canfora also says a lack of a new CBA shouldn't cause any issues.

Wes Bunting looks at the top underclassmen quarterbacks not named Jake Locker. Bunting offers a particularly accurate insight into what Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas) needs to do in order to put himself in contention to be a top 2011 pick.

Draft Ace offers an early 2011 mock draft. There's three quarterbacks taken in the top five picks, not an unlikely scenario in what could be a deep draft at the position. The Seahawks pick a generous 21st overall and select Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus.

Steve Doerschuk speaks to Jameson Konz, Seattle's final 2010 draft pick in the seventh round. The former Kent State H-back has great size (6'3", 234lbs) and will be competing for work at tight end and receiver. He could land on the practise squad if he doesn't make the final roster.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Seattle's contenders for rookie of the year?

By Rob Staton
There tends to be obvious candidates for offensive and defensive rookie of the year each season. Last year's offensive winner was Percy Harvin and it was no real surprise. Drafted in the first round, Harvin was expected to be involved quickly for a contender in the NFC. The former Florida playmaker scored eight total touchdowns including a 101 yard return score and registered 790 receiving yards.

The top two defensive candidates were not as obvious. Many expected Aaron Curry to win it, but instead another linebacker - Brian Cushing - took the award. There was obviously some controversy regarding that decision but after a recent re-vote, the former USC Trojan still came out on top ahead of Buffalo's Jairus Byrd. Cushing recorded 133 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and a safety. Byrd, a 5'10", 200lbs free safety, came second in the poll after a nine interception rookie season.

Looking ahead to this year, have any of the Seahawks' rookie class got a legitimate shot at winning the 2010 awards?

Since the first winner in 1967 (Detroit running back Mel Farr), the offensive rookie of the year has always been won by a quarterback, running back or receiver. However well Russell Okung plays in 2010, it seems unlikely he'll be a candidate to win the award. The obvious big names will be touted as we approach training camp: C.J. Spiller (RB, Buffalo), Dez Bryant (WR, Dallas), Sam Bradford (QB, St. Louis), Ryan Mathews (RB, San Diego), Demaryius Thomas (WR, Denver) and Jahvid Best (RB, Detroit).

Some may even take a punt on second round fliers such as Ben Tate (RB, Houston), Dexter McCluster (RB/WR, Kansas City), Jimmy Clausen (QB, Carolina) and Montario Hardesty (RB, Cleveland). It seems only fair then to add Golden Tate to that list.

I expect the Seahawks will look to get Tate involved early. Wide receiver is a difficult position to learn early in a career especially for a team that is starting out a new playbook and is rebuilding an under performing unit. What Tate has in his favor though, is the ability to be used in a number of ways similar to last year's winner Harvin. Of course, the Vikings playmaker was taken over a round earlier than Tate in last year's draft and has a rare combination of skills that make him a unique talent. However, it appears likely the Seahawks will use Tate as running back, kick returner and receiver in year one - just like Minnesota used Harvin in his rookie campaign.

If some of the other more likely candidates fail to explode onto the scene (Mathews, Bryant and Spiller appear the most likely contenders at this point), there's no reason why Tate can't put himself into the equation. However, a rebuilding Seahawks may also temper their expectations and therefore usage of Tate. Minnesota could afford to test Harvin early with an assortment of talent on both sides of the ball. Seattle has preached competition though so if Tate can enjoy a good training camp, who knows how his role will progress as a rookie?

The last seven defensive rookies of the year have been linebackers. Rolando McClain (Oakland) and Sean Wetherspoon (Atlanta) will be well aware of that heading into 2010. There's also some other big names who will be hoping to end that streak - namely Ndamukong Suh (DT, Detroit), Gerald McCoy (DT, Tampa Bay) and Eric Berry (S, Kansas City).

However, if Jairus Byrd's second place finish in 2009 proves anything it's that Berry and Seattle's own Earl Thomas can put themselves in contention. Byrd didn't play on a great defense in Buffalo - they lacked a consistent pass rush and lost their best cornerback to injury early in the year. However, Byrd still collected nine picks. He was only denied by a monster season from Cushing that he'll struggle to match too many times during his career, especially now he's under a bigger spotlight amid wild controversy.

Like Byrd, neither Berry nor Thomas will be playing behind an elite defensive line (at least, we don't necessarily expect that, but stranger things have happened). It shouldn't affect their ability to make plays - both are talented ball hawks with great anticipation. They'll also be thrust into starting from week one and be expected to hit the ground running.

Both are big enough names that they'll be followed closely by fans and pundits alike. Attention will be diverted to their performances if the stats column begins to light up. Thomas had eight interceptions for Texas last year in just thirteen games and has proven he has the instinct to play at a high level early in his career. It could help that he'll play in a division that contains a rookie quarterback (Sam Bradford) and two quarterbacks whose starting positions are less than secure (Alex Smith and Matt Leinart). Seattle also faces interception machine Jay Cutler in week six, Jason Campbell and his new gig during week eight and host a Carolina team in week thirteen with currently no definitive answer at quarterback.

Needless to say there will be opportunities there for Thomas. However, he's coming up against a stellar class of defensive talent and will need to do more than normal to put himself firmly in contention. Eighteen defensive prospects went in round one this year. Almost all of them will fancy their chances of winning rookie of the year.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Division in focus: ACC is 2011 relevant

By Rob Staton
As we begin to turn our attentions to the new college season, there's one division in particular I'm looking forward to watching. The ACC hasn't been ultra competitive in recent years and that won't necessarily change in 2010, but there are a number of big name prospects who we're likely to hear about when serious 2011 draft talk begins.

The team to beat in my opinion is Virginia Tech. The main reason being, I'm a big fan of running back Ryan Williams. As a redshirt sophomore going into 2010, you expect another productive season will almost certainly see him declare for next year's draft. Last year he registered 21 touchdowns and 1655 yards in his first year. He has decent size (5'10", 210lbs) and speed for the position and could easily be the first running back drafted in 2011. He's also a potential Heisman candidate, but much of that will be dependant on Tyrod Taylor's continued development as a passer and the Hokies ability to handle a relatively tough schedule - including a week one trip to Boise State.

Another team relying on their quarterback to reach their full potential is North Carolina. They have a big name defense that should perform to a high level in 2010, but they'll be restricted by limited offensive production. Nevertheless, there's the potential for a number of this roster to be called in the first two rounds next year. My favorite prospect is linebacker Bruce Carter, who really stood out when I watched him last year. If he can add a bit more bulk and not lose any of his speed, he's a first round pick and should go higher than Sean Wetherspoon (Atlanta, 19th overall). Robert Quinn is another being tipped to go early in 2011. He notched 11 sacks last year and is an aggressive, full blooded defensive end.

Marvin Austin (DT, UNC), Quan Sturdivant (LB, UNC) and Deunta Williams (S, UNC) are the three other 'big names' on the Tar Heels defense. Austin never really impressed me that much last year, but he has another season to prove he's worthy of a place in the first two rounds. Sturdivant has 249 career tackles in three years and projects as an 4-3 inside linebacker. Williams has the ball-hawk reputation teams are looking for at safety these days and picked off six passes last year. He could be a first round pick - like fellow ACC safety DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson). The Tigers will also be hoping for more from defensive end Da'Quan Bowers.

It doesn't stop there. Anthony Constanza (OT, Boston College) is regarded by some as the top offensive tackle legible for 2011. Miami are becoming relevant again and boast a potential high first rounder in five-technique Allen Bailey. Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling is the top rated senior at his position, although he has to prove he's worthy of first round consideration.

But perhaps the most interesting story will be Florida State. It'll be year one of the post-Bowden era and a big one too for quarterback Christian Ponder. He's a prospect I've seen ranked as a potential top five pick, whilst others put him in the third round bracket. Ponder has the potential to position himself firmly in the first round discussions and he improved significantly last year before injury cut short his season. It'll help playing behind one of the better college offensive lines, led by my favorite 2011 prospect - Rodney Hudson. Owning prototype size, smarts and athleticism for the zone blocking scheme, Hudson has to be on Seattle's radar this year. Talked about as a potential first round pick in 2010, Hudson returns for his senior year as one of the top rated prospects despite playing mainly as a guard. We'll have more on Hudson as the year develops, but the Seahawks would be wise to keep a watchful eye on his progress.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Post your draft grades

By Rob Staton is conducting a fans ballot to grade how all 32 teams drafted this year. The Seahawks, who earned rave reviews across the board, are sure to score highly. If you want to have your say, click here. Feel free to leave your grades for Seattle, the NFC West or anyone else in the comments section here too.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mel Kiper's 2011 big board

By Rob Staton
It just goes to show how popular the NFL draft has become - there's been so much attention already to 2011. Mel Kiper has this week published his first 'big board' for next year's event. You have to be an ESPN insider to see the full analysis, but here's the list:

#1 Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
#2 Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)
#3 Robert Quinn (DE, UNC)
#4 A.J. Green (WR, Georgia)
#5 Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa)
#6 Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas)
#7 Marcel Dareus (DT, Alabama)
#8 Anthony Costanzo (OT, Boston College)
#9 Cameron Heyward (DE, Ohio State)
#10 Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU)
#11 Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama)
#12 Aaron Williams (CB, Texas)
#13 Marvin Austin (DT, UNC)
#14 Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh)
#15 Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech)
#16 Allen Bailey (DE, Miami)
#17 Julio Jones (WR, Alabama)
#18 Bruce Carter (LB, UNC)
#19 Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)
#20 Akeem Ayers (LB, UCLA)
#21 Ras-I Dowling (CB, Virginia)
#22 Jurrell Casey (DT, USC)
#23 Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska)
#24 Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin)
#25 Rahim Moore (S, UCLA)

My initial thoughts are that Andrew Luck is too high - he has a lot to prove in only his second year starting to warrant being this high on anyone's big board. Apart from that, it's hard to pick too many faults. A lot of the names here are worth watching next year. I would add Rodney Hudson (OG, Florida State) to any top-25 list because if he performs as expected, he could be a late first round pick.

Scouting Russell Okung: Part I

By Kip Earlywine
To keep this scouting report from being unreadable, I decided to break it down into 3 parts: 2009 performance, 2008 performance, and overall evaluation. Today I'm going to report on my observations from two 2009 games, the opener against Georgia, and the final game of Russell Okung's college career, a loss in the Cotton Bowl to Ole Miss.

(edit- still working on the gif problem.)

September 5th, 2009. Georgia at Oklahoma State

Areas of strength:

Okung has great tools and he knows how to use them to their full advantage. Particularly his long, long arms (36"). When he correctly delivers an inside punch and gets proper arm position, its game over for pass rushers. His lateral steps are fast and allow him to contain edge rushers or push them outside on runs. Okung used this agility to his advantage to expertly angle block defensive ends out of the running lanes.

Now granted, that's the easiest block in the book- the DE runs himself out of the play by charging upfield and Okung simply acts as a chaperon. Still, in full speed (these gifs are about 3/4 speed), I couldn't help but notice how explosive Okung's lateral footwork looked on plays like this.

Okung has strong hips which allow him to win with second effort in drive blocking. His excellent lateral agility allows him to angle block effectively, and allows him to get both inside and (the hard one) outside DEs on off tackle rush attempts.

Okung left the game with injury in the 2nd quarter, but showed good toughness. He only missed two plays, and actually played better the rest of the game after the injury.

Okung is not that great at reaching LBs, but when he does, he's solid at sticking to his 2nd level blocks.

Okung is solid as a rock in pass pro. His footwork moving straight back is textbook. As mentioned earlier, his arms make his job very easy here and on top of that, Okung is explosive laterally which makes him very hard to beat against edge rushers. If Okung is beaten either outside or with an inside move, its always due to a mental error and not for lack of physical ability.

Other than Geno Atkins, Georgia's pass rush wasn't too challenging, but credit Okung, he allowed no sacks, only 1 pressure and had only 1 penalty, a false start from forgetting the snap count.

Areas of weakness:

Okung played most of this game in a two point stance, which both hurt his drive blocking substantially and often served to telegraph "run" when he did enter a 3 point stance. And that leads me to perhaps Okung's biggest shortcoming, he's a stonewall machine when he drive blocks, at least in this game. Repeatedly, OSU turned to Okung in short yardage situations, and repeatedly he failed to drive his man. Through the benefits of some shady ball placement, OSU lucked out, but unless things change, Okung does not look like the kind of guy you want to be running over on 4th and 2. Okung does have good second effort, but its not like its there every play and his initial "thump" on drive blocking was non-existent here.

Another weakness for Okung is that while he has impressive lateral agility, his inline running ability is poor. He's just too slow to be a good pull blocker or second level blocker. Not only that, but he takes bad angles and lacks instincts. The team only had Okung pull block a couple times, and each of them resulted in a line of scrimmage stuff, precisely because Okung failed to pull effectively. Okung had a handful of LB blocks that were successful, but I would guess 70% of them ended in failure. I'm more forgiving in the LB blocking area- because blocking LBs is tough to do and even the best at it still fail to accomplish it every time. LB's are simply faster than offensive linemen are and can only be reached in certain circumstances. Maybe I'm biased in Okung's favor here because when I played, I sucked at this too. Still, there were plenty of times that Okung missed make-able 2nd level blocks or looked confused as to who he was supposed to go for. Here is one such example.

Okung attempted only one cut block, and it was about as ugly as a (just barely) successful cut block can be. Not enough sample size yet, but considering how rare the team had Okung cut-block, I'd say its an area for Gibbs to work on.

Okung's run blocking leverage was pretty bad, and probably had a lot to do with all the stonewalls in the run game. The constant use of a 2 point stance probably didn't help him much here.

Okung has terrible hand placement, and repeatedly got the superstar treatment with holds. He could have been called for holding 5 times in this game, but was never flagged. Any time an offensive linemen places his hands on a defenders shoulders or back, he's eligible to be flagged. Okung did this constantly, and even got away with one play were he grabbed a defender's back shoulder. Okung won't continue to get the superstar treatment in the pros. We saw what happened with Marcus Trufant when officials stopped giving him the treatment. Obviously, this needs to be fixed. Thankfully, its easy to, and I have full confidence that Gibbs can break this habit in no time. Okung is just as effective if not more so when he has his hands inside where they belong. He just needs a tenacious coach to slap his hands down like a catholic school nun when he uses them improperly in practices.

January 2nd, 2010. Cotton Bowl:
Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State

Before I begin discussing Okung's 2nd game, let me say that he looked vastly improved compared to his first game against Georgia. For one thing, he stuck to a consistent 3 point stance this time, and wow, and yes I actually said "wow," for such a big man he gets extremely low in that stance and stays low when he fires off. The result was dramatically improved leverage and improved drive blocking overall. He still had a few stonewalls, but when the game was on the line, he did his job this time. Sadly, his RBs didn't reward his effort and Zac Robinson continued to be horrible (Robinson looked really bad in both games, especially the 2nd one). Okung was pumped for this game and showed a higher level of intensity not displayed before. Okung was perhaps too jacked and that led to several ugly mental errors, but overall, I was highly impressed. Also, Jevan Snead was amazingly bad. Its not hard to see how he went undrafted after watching this game.

Areas of strength:

Leverage and drive blocking, as mentioned above.

Okung's knee bend, which was already good, was even better than before. At times Okung was coming close to a 90 degree bend.

On third and goal from inside the 2, OSU moved Okung to RT and ran over him. The play failed to score, but Okung did his job. Okung was uncharacteristically firey and yelled at his teammates to get the job done on 4th down.

Okung stayed at left tackle this time, and had his best drive block of the night, pancaking his man (by using extremely good leverage) and briefly collapsing the defensive line. The hole closed extremely quickly though, and the RB arrived just a hair too late. It was another short yardage failure by OSU, but this time, Okung deserves absolutely no blame for it.

Okung's hand use is improved. He does a much better job of getting his hands inside. He still likes to grab, but if you grab inside with long arms to lock the defender in place, and you won't get called for it usually because it looks honest in real time.

Okung displayed more good angle blocking, including a nice block in which he pinched a defensive end inside.

That's not easy to do and requires ridiculous quickness. 4-3 defensive ends have a few crucial responsibilities, and one of the biggest is outside contain. That's why its so easy to give them the outside and sweep them up-field as I showed in a previous .gif. However, being agile enough to jump outside a DE's shoulder and turn them inside is really hard to do, because a DE is almost always trying specifically to prevent that and has a lot of advantages (positioning, quickness) that usually prevent it from happening. Typically on a running play like this, a tackle will directly engage and try to drive the DE back after failing to turn the corner, but in this case, Okung is lightning quick laterally and successfully turns #40 inside. There were a couple of other nice blocks too, and the result was a nice outside rush for 8 yards on 1st and 15.

Areas of weakness:

Okung played a great game, making fewer mistakes overall. However, he actually made more "impact" mistakes in this game than in the Georgia game.

Okung blows an easy blocking assignment on a screen. Once again, Okung shows he's not very instinctive when he has to find someone to block on the fly, and in this case, it was a very easy block to make that he just doesn't see. If he makes this block, its probably a 20-30 yard play. Instead, it goes for a loss.

Okung did not allow a sack, but made 3 mistakes in pass pro. One resulted in a hurry pass for an incompletion, one resulted in a near sack and tipped pass that should have been intercepted, and the third one resulted in Zac Robinson taking a monster hit, forcing a rushed throw (incompletion).

Robinson is clearly in pain after getting up from the hit. The very next play, a visibly shaken Robinson throws an ugly interception. This play was weird and its appears that Okung may have run the wrong play here.

Overall, from what I've seen so far, Okung is a decent run blocker and great pass blocker. He simply isn't beaten in pass pro- but he is fully capable of beating himself as you can see above. Its noteworthy that Greg Hardy played in this game but basically registered no stats. Through two games, I've been impressed with Okung in pass pro, with mental errors being the only thing holding him back. Other than a handful of mental mistakes, Okung was remarkably consistent and dependable as a blindside protector.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Getting to know a little bit more about Russell Okung

By Kip Earlywine
I've started watching the tape, and so far I'm on pace to have my amateur scouting report done by this weekend. However, I figured it was important to get some basic info out there about Russell Okung before I begin.

For those who haven't read it, there was a pretty interesting piece written in the TNT regarding Okung around the draft. Okung was raised by his mother, a single parent. This isn't that unusual, but what is tragic is that it sounds like he had a great, hard working dad, who wasn't around because he was murdered at the gas station he owned when Okung was only 2. Okung talks about how he had to become the "man of the house." I'd be lying if I said it wasn't touching, and you have to believe it must have been an incredible moment for Okung to be drafted and become a future millionaire.

Okung was only a 3 star recruit coming out of high school. He was recruited by big schools, including Oklahoma and LSU, but he wasn't considered a superstar recruit like say, Anthony Davis was. He ended up choosing Oklahoma State. At the time, he only weighed 250 lbs.

Whatever scouting Okung reveals later on, its worth noting that he was highly decorated in College, earning 1st team all-american honors in both 2008 and 2009. Last year, Okung was listed at #1 on the preseason offensive tackle power ranking at All eyes were fixed on Okung since the beginning of last year, and Okung responded with a performance that was good enough in the minds of NFL front offices to make him a worthy top 10 pick.

As it turns out, Okung went bowling with Pete Carroll several weeks before the draft. Carroll ended up winning. At the time, Okung was not strongly linked to Seattle and according to our draft source, Okung was only 5th on Seattle's big board at #6, and wasn't expected to reach the pick anyway. I think its pretty cool that Carroll has so much fun connecting with people, even guys he probably didn't expect would ever be playing for him. As it turns out, he had a chance to connect with a guy that would later become his first draft pick in his return to the NFL.

Okung has been compared most often to D'Brickishaw Ferguson, probably because like Ferguson, Okung has ridiculously long and powerful arms. Ferguson is a solid compliment- he's one of the better young left tackles in the game. Its notable that Matt McGuire at walterfootball, who's evaluations I respect, compared Okung to Joe Thomas, the best young left tackle in football.

Matt Hasselbeck talks 'Hawks

What would've happened if....

By Rob Staton
What if Tim Ruskell and Jim Mora were still making the key decisions in Seattle? What if the Eagles had drafted Earl Thomas at #13 instead of Brandon Graham? If Russell Okung had been taken by the Kansas City Chiefs, what would've happened with the 6th overall pick? Here's some suggestions:

What if... Tim Ruskell was still in Seattle?
We all know the Ruskell methodology. He liked to draft seniors in round one from big schools who score high marks for character and production. I think it's likely the Seahawks would've drafted Okung at #6 in a Ruskell regime because he fits every criteria. Seattle probably wouldn't have taken Earl Thomas or Golden Tate - both are underclassmen.

It's hard not to imagine Ruskell falling for someone like Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy. He'd previously said that Seattle were 'in the zone' for a new quarterback. Assuming Charlie Whitehurst wouldn't have moved from San Diego - I think it's fair to assume the Seahawks would've targeted one of the above. Tebow at #14 or after a small trade down? I think a Ruskell regime would've been all over that. A lack of senior pass rushers just increases that likelihood.

Projection: #6 Okung, #14 Tebow, #40 Mays

What if... Earl Thomas was off the board?
A lot of pre-draft talk suggested Philadelphia would make a substantial trade up from #24 to take Earl Thomas. Instead, the Eagles moved up to draft Brandon Graham and settled for Nate Allen (S, USF) in round two. The Seahawks front office have admitted they had a deal in place to move down the board if Thomas hadn't been available.

It's safe to assume Graham could've been a target had he remained on the board and the Seahawks may have felt they could move down a bit and still secure a pass rusher - perhaps even Derrick Morgan. The secondary could've been a general area for target with the likes of Kyle Wilson and Kareem Jackson maybe in contention. If I had to project a likely target though, I think Jared Odrick and Dan Williams would've been very high on Seattle's list.

Projection: Trade down from #14 with Odrick or Williams selected

What if... Kansas City drafted Russell Okung?
In every single one of my mock drafts I had the Chiefs going defense. I never felt they were likely to draft for the offensive line, but a lot of other people thought differently. Had Eric Berry made it to Seattle at #6, I think he would've been the choice regardless of who else was available. This would've forced the Seahawks to look elsewhere at #14.

Seattle's front office clearly felt they needed to get an offensive tackle at some point. At #14, they could've drafted Bryan Bulaga - most likely precluded by a small trade down. They may have avoided the position altogether in round one, knowing as we do now that Charles Brown was available late in the second round.

Projection: #6 Berry, #14 Trade/Williams/Odrick, #60 Brown

My thoughts on Okung, Thomas, etc.

By Kip Earlywine
... are on the way. In the meantime, John Morgan at Fieldgulls has been posting his observations on Okung, Thomas, and Tate from time to time. They are definitely worth a read if you are looking for information on our newest Seahawks.

To this point, I've covered players (all but 1 drafted by other teams) in the POTD series, but none of those involved actual scouting. Really, the POTD series was pretty much a research paper with pictures and video, and a few quick observations of my own. I wanted to wait until we officially knew who would be a Seahawks before I got tape and broke it down. It might take a week or two, but I'll have reports up for Okung, Thomas, and Tate. Eventually, I'll have reports up for every player Seattle drafted. Of course, this is all just some schmo's opinion and I won't be using coach's tape obviously. But I hope its fun to read and sheds a little bit of light on how the prospects Seattle has added might fit into Carroll's new scheme here in Seattle.

Right now, I'm hoping to have my first report out by the weekend.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

What we said: Anthony McCoy (TE)

By Rob Staton
When free agency began, the Seahawks quickly set out to acquire a tight end. Ben Watson was a possibility before he signed for Cleveland. The Seahawks eventually added another former New England Patriot - Chris Baker. With the Seahawks expected to use a lot of two-tight end sets in Jeremy Bates' offense, we speculated that targeting another tight end in the draft was something of a possibility.

One name we touted was Anthony McCoy from USC. A very talented tight end with starting potential in the NFL, he'd flashed big time ability during the 2009 season. At one stage he was being discussed as a potential first or second round pick. However, this was a prospect that came with some baggage. Here's what I wrote at the beginning of March:

"One prospect well known to Pete Carroll is USC's Anthony McCoy. He had a breakout year in 2009, putting in some eye catching performances as an all round blocking/receiving threat. He looks the part at 6'5" and 250lbs and recorded 457 receiving yards at an average of 20 yards per-catch. At times in 2009, McCoy was playing like a late first round pick.

"An ankle injury forced him to miss three games and he was suspended for the Emerald Bowl against Boston College due to academic issues. It wasn't the first time this has happened and it remains a pressing concern as McCoy prepares to enter the pro's. However, the talent is there and he would offer a superb complimentary option to Carlson."
- 3/12/10

It was revealed just before the draft that McCoy had failed a drugs test for Marijuana at the combine. This added to the previous concerns marked against his name and led to a big drop on draft day. It's not so much the drug taking itself that concerns teams, rather the decision to take drugs knowing you'll be tested at the combine - potentially the biggest interview of your life. You have to question a guys decision making skills, dedication and common sense when stuff like that happens.

On March 11th, Aaron Wilson from the NFP wrote about potential interest from Seattle in the USC tight end:

"Among the NFL teams who have displayed strong interest in McCoy on the scouting trail: the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Projected as a second-round draft pick, McCoy is regarded as an all-around tight end in terms of blocking skills and pass-catching ability and route running. He's known for having a strong work ethic."
- Aaron Wilson, NFP

If reports on his work ethic are correct, he may not be a total lost cause. McCoy himself has admitted he made mistakes and needs to move on. "Really, I just made a mistake, and I regret doing it. Right now, I've moved past that. I'm just focused on helping the Seattle Seahawks organization, help them win football games."

When you put on the tape, you see an all round playmaking tight end. He's as good at blocking as he is getting downfield. You'll see in the highlights video I've posted below that he's capable of making the spectacular catch. Against Ohio State during the 2009 season, he even took an end-around and rushed for a handful. That's shows the kind of athleticism we're talking about here at the tight end position.

Michael Lombardi, speaking on the NFL Network, said this about McCoy: "If he wants to be a great player, he will be." Essentially, that is going to be the key. He has the coach in place that's given him the opportunity on two different levels. He's going into a situation with very little pressure or attention. He has a point to prove. If this guy wants it badly enough, he can be a starting NFL tight end and a good one too. He could be a first or second round pick that Seattle stole in round six. However, the very fact he was available that late emphasises how much needs to happen for that to ring true.

Nonetheless, this was the kind of calculated gamble the previous regime in Seattle were not prepared to make. McCoy, due to off the field concerns, would've been struck from the draft board and not considered. The Seahawks are not being that selective going forward. The relative cost for McCoy not working out is peanuts. The reward is much greater. This tight end was worth rolling the dice on and he's one to watch during training camp.