Friday, 30 April 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

By Rob Staton
Universally the Seahawks have received praise for the way they drafted in 2010. But what about the rest? Who made the smart moves to get their franchise moving? Who didn't do enough to arrest a slide? Who's headed in the wrong direction? Here's my take:

You can view each team's draft by clicking their name.

The Good

Oakland Raiders
This was a masterful performance from Oakland who finally snubbed their desire to just draft pure athletes and went with smart moves across the board. Rolando McClain was a wise choice at #8 as a tone setter on defense. Lamarr Houston is a great interior pick up who offered supreme value in round two. It's hard to pick faults with any of their picks and they didn't reach for any of the prototypical Al Davis athletes.

Best pick: Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
With the top two offensive tackles off the board, the Raiders didn't draft the flashy running back (Spiller) or reach for the athletic combine star (Campbell). They just went ahead and drafted a guy who will be their defensive leader for years to come.

Worst pick: N/A
Putting a name here would be a token gesture and just unfair. They made the typical Raider picks later on, but they didn't reach for any of them.

I think the Raiders put themselves back on the road to recovery with this draft. They suddenly have a defense worth talking about and the trade to get Jason Campbell was a master stroke. It wouldn't surprise me if they pushed San Diego this year.

The Bad

Cleveland Browns
I have no issues with the Browns taking Joe Haden at #7, it's a solid choice. After that though, it's a confusing collection of picks. T.J. Ward was a reach at #38. I'm a big fan of Montario Hardesty, but his injury history worries me for a round two selection. They wasted a pick on Colt McCoy in round three and spent their other third rounder on a backup lineman. I just wasn't that impressed with any of these moves.

Best pick: Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
I don't think Haden will ever be a shutdown corner, but he's a very talented football player who fills a big need for Cleveland. A solid choice at an important position.

Worst pick: Colt McCoy (QB, Texas)
It didn't surprise me that McCoy fell into the mid/late third round. What did surprise me is that he didn't slip even further. He has two strings to his bow - short five yard pass and a QB draw. I bet Pittsburgh and Baltimore are quaking in their boots. I have never met McCoy, but he comes across a little petulant (see this video). Future franchise QB? No.

There's not a great deal of direction here, just a collection of supposed filled needs without much consideration to value. If they truly believe McCoy is the future then they're going nowhere fast.

The Ugly

Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have a ton of needs on both sides of the ball and I'm not sure any were truly filled in this draft. They have a playmaking safety now, but what about up front at nose tackle? What about finding that big presence at inside linebacker? They filled neither spot. On offense, they aren't going to scare anyone with just Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster. They reached on both round two picks and put all their faith in Matt Cassel again.

Best pick: Jon Asamoah (OG, Illinois)
Asamoah could start as a rookie and is the typical good-value interior lineman you can find in most drafts.

Worst pick: Dexter McCluster (WR, Ole Miss)
Ole Miss wanted Percy Harvin, but McCluster made too many mistakes in a multi-purpose role so he went back to running back. Does he have more success in that role in the NFL? I'm not convinced. He's too small to be a pure running back. There were better options available at #36.

In two drafts, I still don't really understand the direction Scott Pioli is taking this team. The AFC West will be a tougher division this year and KC are a good tip to be picking in the top five again in 2011.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Madden '11 rookie ratings

By Rob Staton
If you're a Madden NFL fan then it's worth checking out this link. The producers of the video game have made their own judgements on ratings, but you can have your say and influence their final decision. The Seahawks draft picks in rounds 1-2 have been rated very highly. Russell Okung managed a fine 82 overall grade, which was the highest amongst offensive tackles (Trent Williams managed 79). Earl Thomas got an 81 score, which is also amongst the best awarded (Suh & Berry were highest with 85). Golden Tate was given a 77, which is a superb score for someone drafted at #60. As a comparison, Ben Tate (#58) got a 69, Montario Hardesty (#59) got a 70 as did Dexter McCluster (#36).

Locker focusing on Huskies, not draft

By Rob Staton
Be prepared for the inescapable this year. As much as Tim Tebow's NFL future was an on-going saga throughout last year, Jake Locker is likely to receive the same amount of attention (at least in Seattle). In fairness to the Huskies quarterback, he's been strictly matter of fact with regard to his mind-set - he wants to win with Washington and let the NFL situation play out as it will. Stewart Mandel reviews the situation in this article, which samples Locker's potential as a future #1 pick and looks at his decision not to declare for this year's draft.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wednesday links: 2011 in focus

Todd McShay and Kevin Wiedl from Scouts Inc take a look at some of the names to watch out for during the 2011 college season. They speak very highly of Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford). I need to be convinced, he relied a lot on Toby Gerhart last year.

McShay also posts a list of his top defensive prospects. Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa) is rightly at the top. Clayborn has a great combination of size and speed and could dominate for the Hawkeye's next year.

Rob Rang posts a full first round mock draft using only senior prospects. He has Jake Locker going first overall to Buffalo. The Seahawks are taking Greg Romeus (DE, Pittsburgh) in the top ten picks.

Matt McGuire also posts a 2011 projection. He has Robert Quinn (DE, UNC) going first overall to St. Louis. The Seahawks select A.J. Green (WR, Georgia) again in the top ten. McGuire: "Seattle needs to get younger and more talented at receiver."

Walter Cherepinsky has Green going first overall, so Seattle are pinned to take Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas). Cherepinsky: "The dream scenario for the Seahawks would be for hometown hero Jake Locker to stay in the Pacific Northwest."

Pete Prisco posts his top 32 prospects for 2011. It's interesting to note that Prisco's #1 prospect last year and tip to go first overall was Jevan Snead. The Ole Miss quarterback was an UDFA in this year's draft. It goes to show how inaccurate a lot of premature 2011 talk could be.

Tony Pauline also lists his top prospects to keep an eye on. Unlike a lot of 2011 previews, Pauline says Robert Quinn is #1 at the moment: "Quinn comes from the Julius Peppers mold and is a sensational defender who constantly makes plays behind the line of scrimmage."

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

2011 Mock Draft

By Rob Staton
Let's make this clear right away - this isn't a serious attempt to try and predict what will happen in 12 months time. Events during the 2010 college season will almost certainly make most of this redundant by the time we begin to seriously try and guess what will happen in the 2011 draft. In what could be a strong year for quarterbacks, there's about 4-5 prospects who could legitimately make big moves up a draft board by the end of the year. What I've written below is merely for the purpose of being able to look back a year from now and see how just how things changed or if any of this actually came true. I decided the draft order randomly. Without further ado, here's my premature 2011 mock draft:

#1 Buffalo: Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas)
If the Bills are picking first overall, they'll almost certainly draft the top ranked quarterback. Mallett has a cannon arm and retains a lot of his weapons in Arkansas. With an extra year's seasoning, he could be #1 material in 12 months time.

#2 Tampa Bay: Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin)
If the Buccs are picking this high, we might see big changes within the organisation. If this is the start of another rebuild, they might invest in the top offensive lineman.

#3 Kansas City: Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
If the Chiefs are picking this high, they could cut Matt Cassel (his contract has an easy get out after 2010). Finding a long term answer at quarterback is a must for Kansas City.

#4 St. Louis: Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU)
Taking a top defensive lineman could be an alternative, but Peterson really impressed me when watching LSU last year. If he can develop into more of a playmaker, he could easily be a high pick next year.

#5 Cleveland: Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa)
This guy is fun to watch. Whether Cleveland sticks with a 3-4 or move to a 4-3, he fits either scheme. Off the field issues could push him down the board, but talent is worthy of a top pick.

#6 Detroit: Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska)
We'll soon find out just how good Nebraska's existing defensive talent really is now that Ndamukong Suh is in the NFL. Amukamara had five picks last year and looked very good, but how much was down to pressure up front with Suh and Crick?

#7 Seattle: Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh)
Baldwin is big (6'5", 225lbs), he gets downfield, he has strong hands and he can make spectacular catches. For me, this is the #1 receiver prospect to keep an eye on in 2010. He fits what Seattle is looking for in a #1 receiver.

#8 Denver: Allen Bailey (DE, Miami)
The Broncos have moved prime veterans on and drafted potential replacements. It might take a while to come together. Bailey would play as a 3-4 five technique which will probably be a big need area for Denver next year.

#9 Jacksonville: Jerrod Johnson (QB, Texas A&M)
If the Jaguars don't improve upon last year, they're another team who might make big changes. Quarterback would probably be a target area and Johnson has the potential to put himself in a strong position if he continues his development.

#10 Pittsburgh: Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama)
The Steelers could have a bad year. Roethlisberger's suspension and a tough division could lead to a top ten pick. Ingram is a Pittsburgh type of football player, but he might lose some snaps to talented sophomore Trent Richardson next year.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Holes that still need to be filled for Seahawks

By Rob Staton
The Seahawks filled a lot of needs in the 2010 draft. They have a long term replacement for soon-to-be-retired future HOFer Walter Jones. Earl Thomas provides an exciting and talented playmaker to the secondary. Seattle drafted or traded for weapons on offense and further added competition to their defense. However, let's review the lasting needs as we look towards the future with a premature eye to the 2011 draft:

The 2010 season will have an impact on Seattle's quarterback situation. Matt Hasselbeck is in a contract year, he'll be 35 and has endured a string of injuries in recent seasons. Will we see any Charlie Whitehurst in 2010? Even after his addition from San Diego, the Seahawks can't be sure he will develop into 'the guy'. Until you can rubber stamp a name on this situation long term, it remains a need.

Top 2011 prospects: Jake Locker (Washington), Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M), Terrell Pryor (Ohio State)

Defensive line
The Seahawks have added a lot of names to increase competition during camp and pre-season. However, you wonder whether this is an area that will be addressed going forward. Aside from Brandon Mebane, there isn't a guy that jumps off the page. Don't rule out Seattle finding production from those currently on the roster, but realistically both defensive tackle and end could be an area targeted in future drafts and free agency.

Top 2011 prospects: Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Allen Bailey (Miami), Robert Quinn (UNC)

Wide receiver
The Seahawks want big, fast guys at receiver. That's why they targeted Brandon Marshall. Deion Branch and T.J. Houshmandzadeh might end up being focal points on Seattle's 2010 offense, but they aren't long term pieces to this puzzle. Rest assured Pete Carroll knows this team needs touchdown scoring, potent receivers of the #1 variety and this will be a position that receives attention until a solution is found.

Top 2011 prospects: A.J. Green (Georgia), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Julio Jones (Alabama), Jonathan Baldwin (Pittsburgh)

Interior offensive line
Seattle will build their line around left tackle Russell Okung going forward. Ben Hamilton is a stop gap at left guard whilst we cannot be sure Chris Spencer and even Max Unger will fit into long term planning (they weren't drafted by this regime). Alex Gibbs has a very specific ideology for his lineman, so you can't rule out this becoming a target area.

Top 2011 prospects: Rodney Hudson (Florida State)

Marcus Trufant, Earl Thomas and Josh Wilson provide a nice trio in the secondary. However, you can never have too many good cornerbacks. It seems obvious to me that Pete Carroll, a former defensive backs specialist, wants his secondary to be a highlight for his team. If the New York Jets with their secondary can spend another first round pick on a cornerback this year, then this will remain a possibility for the Seahawks too.

Top 2011 prospects: Patrick Peterson (LSU), Curtis Brown (Texas)

New Banner - Welcome to Seattle

By Rob Staton
What do you think of the new banner? I'll take this opportunity to welcome all the recent additions to the Seahawks roster - we're looking forward to camp already and seeing you guys in Seattle. We'll be taking a closer look at the newest Seahawks over the next few days. Even though the 2010 draft has been completed, stay tuned to the blog because we'll soon be looking ahead to next year and preparing for a new college football season.

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.

Positive reviews continue for Seahawks

By Rob Staton
Although only so much can be drawn from being crowned 'April Champions', the Seahawks are universally being considered as the team who had the best 2010 draft. Mel Kiper gave Seattle top marks and an 'A' grade. Here's more of the same:

Clark Judge says the 2010 NFL Draft will be remembered fondly for one reason: "When Carroll returned to the NFL he insisted on being his own personnel director, and now we know why. Carroll knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it. Welcome back, Pete. Welcome back, Seattle."

Rob Rang projected the Seahawks would draft Jimmy Clausen sixth overall after 'over spending' on Charlie Whitehurst (can we put that to bed now?). Seattle didn't take Clausen as he predicted, but Rang gave the Seahawks a good review anyway: "In terms of immediate impact, as well as long-term potential, there wasn't a better draft in 2010 than Seattle's."

Steve Wyche says Seattle had the most impressive three days at the draft: "The Seahawks' improvement in 2010 will likely hinge on the play of veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck or recently acquired Charlie Whitehurst, but these other moves show that Carroll is serious about having an immediate impact upon his return to the NFL"

Todd McShay and Scouts Inc have calculated a way to rank how the teams drafted based on value. The Seahawks easily came out on top: "Moves to bolster the offensive backfield with veterans only makes this draft better."

Bucky Brooks awards the Seahawks an A+ grade: "Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider knocked it out of the park in their first draft."

Don Banks is often critical of the Seahawks, but not today: "How can you not like what Pete Carroll and John Schneider have accomplished so far in their Seahawks makeover? Seahawks fever. I might have just caught it."

Don't forget to check out my own analysis of the Seahawks 2010 draft.

2010 Draft in review: Seahawks make a splash

By Rob Staton
The 2010 NFL Draft is in the books, so let's have a look at Seattle's moves over the last three days and I'll give my opinion on each pick. Mel Kiper gave the Seahawks top marks for their efforts, ranking them #1 and awarding the coveted 'A' grade. Kiper: "Pete Carroll and the new Seahawks regime came out of the gates with a bang. Impact players early, value later, and some trades thrown in. And they were patient!" Here's my take:

Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma) - #6 overall
Regular visitors to the blog will know my opinion on Okung wasn't as high as others. When I scouted him during the season, there was one game where you could visibly see Okung bouncing around on the sideline firing up his teammates. That same fire and passion never carried over into the actual game. Okung needs to get nasty. There are also some technical flaws that he needs to work on - he grabs rather than punches, he has footwork issues and he needs to maintain concentration levels. He needs to do a much better job in the running game. However, he has possibly the best coach in Alex Gibbs to aid his development. Okung doesn't own the same upside that we saw from the top 2009 tackles and he's a notch below Trent Williams and Anthony Davis in terms of raw potential. However, this is a position where steady and unspectacular is acceptable. If Okung can become a solid pro who perhaps never reaches the elite level, this investment might be justified.

Earl Thomas (S, Texas) - #14 overall
This pick excites me. For starters, he's the kind of prospect Tim Ruskell probably wouldn't consider as a redshirt sophomore and I never felt you could be that selective. It's good to see this franchise is moving into a more open direction. Secondly, I think Thomas is going to be a fantastic addition to this team. He's a ball hawk with great instincts and adds a playmaking dimension to Seattle's defense that is badly needed. When I watched Thomas and Eric Berry, I preferred Thomas. The reason? People say tackling is an issue for the former Longhorn because of his size. However - he is a willing tackler. Yes - he'll lose out in some cases in a physical miss-match, but he'll get his hands on a guy at least and if he gets overpowered, it's not for the want of trying. Berry missed or whiffed on far too many tackles for my liking. Kansas City will pay a kings ransom to Berry. Seattle gets a better all round prospect for me at a lesser cost.

Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame) - #60 overall
Nobody can argue against Tate's numbers in 2009: 1496 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns. He also added two further rushing scores and this was off the back of a 1080 yard/10 TD second year performance the previous year. His most recent campaign earned him the Biletnikoff Award. When watching tape, it's clear that the numbers maybe don't tell the whole story. Tate isn't big (5'10", 195lbs) and he's built more like a scat back. In switching to receiver from running back, you can see he's not a polished route runner and he body catches a lot. A lot of his completions came in Jimmy Clausen's simplified throwing attack of screens, slants and dump offs. I can never envisage Tate being a true #1 receiver. However, that's not how Seattle intend to use him. He can be a poor-man's Percy Harvin - working screen's, slants and the occasional deep ball. He can take snaps from the backfield and return kicks. When he gets the ball in space, he's a real threat and nobody can argue against his competitive streak. He's a much needed playmaker at a good price.

Round Four - Walter Thurmond (CB, Oregon) and E.J. Wilson (DE, UNC)
I'll come onto the trades later. The Seahawks rolled the dice a little with Walter Thurmond, but felt comfortable doing so with only a fourth rounder at stake. This is a guy who's had serious injury issues and missed the vast majority of the 2009 season. Whether he'll ever be able to stay healthy and play at his best remains to be seen. However, the talent on offer warranted some to discuss Thurmond in the second round bracket. This could be a steal long term or it could been a chance that never pays off. Either way, it was worth the risk considering the price. E.J. Wilson's name was being talked about a lot leading up to the draft and it's no surprise he crept into round four. He'll back up Lawrence Jackson as a bigger body at defensive end (Wilson is listed around 280lbs). His stats aren't amazing (10 sacks in three years starting) but he has a shot to stick around and develop into a decent role player on the depth chart.

Round Five - Kam Chancellor (S, Virginia Tech)
I have quite a bit of VT tape saved (in preparation for next year because they have a QB and a RB I think could go quite high). I'm going to go back and have a good look at Chancellor. Some teams have considered converting him to linebacker due to his size (230lbs, 6'4") and certainly there are aspects of his game (lack of real speed) which would lead you to think that's a real possibility. However, the Seahawks need some size at the safety position. Chancellor brings that - and his willing physicality could pay immediate dividends on special teams. He could have a situational role to play even as a rookie if Seattle want to stack the box - they'll feel more comfortable doing so knowing Earl Thomas is keeping an eye on things. He had two interceptions in each of his last two years for the Hokies (6 overall in his career).

Round Six - Anthony McCoy (TE, USC)
This is an excellent choice. It's also another pick Tim Ruskell would never make. McCoy has had his problems in SoCal. It was reported after the combine that he'd failed a drugs test for Marijuana. He struggled to make academic eligibility and missed USC's bowl game against Boston College due to this. However, you're talking about a guy that, based purely on tape, could've been a high second round pick. He can block, he can get downfield, he has good hands. He's one of the best all-round tight ends in the 2010 class and due to off the field red flags, he was available for a bargain price. The challenge for McCoy is to get focused and try to make on-the-field production his priority. Pete Carroll and his coaching staff will have to keep a close eye on him. If they can do that - the Seahawks might come away with an absolute steal. It wouldn't surprise me if in 3-4 years time McCoy was an established NFL tight end.

Round Seven - Dexter Davis (DE, Arizona State) and Jameson Konz (WR, Kent State)
My knowledge of these two prospects is limited, but Kip did a nice piece on Davis yesterday. He'll be brought into camp to compete with recently acquired Chris Clemons and the other off-season additions to play 'elephant' for Seattle. Konz is big (6'4", 240lbs) and athletic - just what Seattle is looking for from it's receivers. He's a long shot to make the team, but considering his fit for what the Seahawks want at the position, he's well worth a seventh round flier.

The trades - Lendale White, Kevin Vickerson, and Leon Washington
The package of names listed above essentially cost Seattle a 5th round pick. The reputation and 'big name' status of the two running backs makes that an eye-brow raiser to begin with, but even if none of these deals work out it has to be said - the cost was worth the gamble. Pete Carroll knows Lendale White. This is a guy who scored 22 touchdowns in 2007-08. Even in a support role, with Seattle's running game in severe need of a boost it's worth taking a look. Leon Washington is a home run hitter who is an under rated running back and all round playmaker. Will he ever be the same after a serious injury recently? We'll soon find out. Maybe he won't be, or maybe the Seahawks just paid a late round pick for a guy who averaged 5.9 yards per carry in 2008. Kevin Vickerson will add to Seattle's rotation in the interior defensive line. If only one of these trades works out, the price was a bargain.

The Seahawks never fought their board, stayed patient and maximised value throughout the draft. Any lingering concern that the Seahawks gave up too much in the Charlie Whitehurst trade was banished with the depth of talent still available at #60. Seattle filled some serious holes and added a number of starters to their day one roster for 2010. Going forward it'll take some time for the Seahawks to get to where they want to be long term. Not every question has been answered in this draft - but then that was never going to be possible even with two first round picks. This is a fine start to Seattle's new era.

Dexter Davis is a sleeper

By Kip Earlywine

The next few days, I'll take a closer look at some of Seattle's draft picks. Kam Chancellor, Walter Thurmond and Anthony McCoy are the "big names" from day 3, but who's the sleeper? My vote goes for Dexter Davis. His production in college was on par with Daniel Te'o Nesheim, and while Davis is limited by only being 6'1" and is extremely unlikely to be an NFL superstar, I think he could stick for a relatively long time as a situational pass rusher.

I may not know much about Davis, but I bet Pete Carroll could write the book on him. Davis was a thorn in Carroll's side for 4 years at Arizona State University.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Jeff Byers got a plane ticket!

So did 14 other guys.
  • James Brindley, free safety, Utah State.
  • Marcus Brown, cornerback, Arkansas State.
  • Kyle Burkhart, tackle, Southern Mississippi.
  • Jeff Byers, center/guard, USC.
  • Reggie Carter, outside linebacker, UCLA.
  • Patrick Devenny, tight end, Colorado.
  • Kevin Dixon, inside linebacker, Troy.
  • Demarcus Granger, defensive tackle, Oklahoma.
  • Quintin Hancock, receiver, Tennessee.
  • Will Harris, free safety, USC.
  • Adrian Martinez, center, Colorado State.
  • Joe Pawelek, inside linebacker, Baylor.
  • Jacob Phillips, tackle, Belhaven, Miss.
  • Josh Pinkard, cornerback, USC.
  • Rob Rose, defensive end, Ohio State.
Demarcus Granger might be a guy to keep an eye on too. He's a 1 tech for a 4-3 defense. A loooong time ago, he was thought to have 1st round talent, but that has been derailed by tons of injuries, character issues, and perhaps even laziness. A big time long shot, but huge upside for a UDFA if he pans out.

Pete Carroll on Seattle's draft

Pete Carroll has been speaking to ESPN about Seattle's 2010 NFL Draft, including the thought process behind the two first round picks and the decision to trade for Lendale White and Leon Washington.

Chris Sullivan at Seahawk Addicts posts a transcript from the Russell Okung & Earl Thomas press conference today.

Jon Dove offers his day three grades for each pick.

Rob Rang says Seattle took a risk 'worth taking' on Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond: "Thurmond had been viewed as a second round pick by most scouts until he tore three ligaments in his knee returning the opening kickoff against Cal in the fourth game of the year. His recovery has been going smoothly enough that he worked out for scouts prior to the draft; though he was unable to perform at the Combine." has a page dedicated to Seattle's 2010 draft. Lots of information on offer and in some cases, highlights and analysis.

Walter Cherepinsky and Matt McGuire offer their draft grades. McGuire gives Seattle an 'A'.

Quick, someone buy these men a plane ticket!

By Kip Earlywine
Sergio Render, Jeff Byers, Tony Washington, Jevan Snead (ouch), Donovan Warren (!!) and Stefon Johnson. You weren't good enough to be Mr. Irrelevant, but by God, you are probably good enough to be a Seattle Seahawk.

So, to recap...

By Kip Earlywine
Note: this isn't the offseason in total- this is just the list of players that arrived here either in the draft itself or in exchange for a 2010 draft pick.

Here is what the 2010 draft has brought us in total:

Russell Okung
Earl Thomas
Charlie Whitehurst (-next year's 3rd)
Golden Tate
Lendale White (Titans)
Kevin Vickerson (Titans)
Walter Thurmond III
E.J. Wilson
Leon Washington (Jets)
Kam Chancellor
Anthony McCoy
Dexter Davis
Jameson Konz
Robert Henderson (Lions)

...Wow. Not that I expect all 14 of these players to stick, but if theoretically they did, that would mean Seattle remade over 1/4 of their entire roster in just one draft!

I'm exhausted. So I'm going to take a bit of a break. I might have a post up tomorrow on my reaction to the draft. He's a preview- John Schneider and Pete Carroll just killed this one. Great job guys!

Seahawks busy on dramatic day three

By Rob Staton
Anyone who thought day three of the 2010 NFL Draft would be a quieter affair was sadly mistaken. After two days of drama as round one-through-three unfolded, there was still plenty that happened today to keep interest levels high. Some of the big names went early - nobody expected Mardy Gilyard and Everson Griffen to be around here and they left the board quickly (landing in St. Louis and Minnesota respectively). Bruce Campbell was drafted by the newly thoughtful Raiders, just three rounds lower than everyone expected. In the end, it actually looks like very good value for Oakland on a raw prospect with upside.

But what about the Seahawks? Nobody was more active than Pete Carroll and the front office in Seattle. First, a move down seven spots in the early fourth round which allowed the team to acquire Lendale White and Kevin Vickerson from the Titans. White set the USC record for rushing touchdowns while playing for new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll (notching 52 scores). He's just turned 25 and comes off a season where his carrier dramatically dropped from 303 in 2008 to just 61 in 2009. Before last year, he recorded 1110 yards and seven touchdowns. The year before, he scored fifteen touchdowns.

When they eventually made a pick in the fourth round (111th overall) the Seahawks selected Walter Thurmond (CB, Oregon). He's 5'11" and 189 pounds. Here's Mike Mayock's thoughts on the pick:

"Seattle continues to impress me. In the fourth round, they get one of my favorite corners, Walter Thurmond. He has a history of injuries, but when he's healthy, I gave him a second-round grade. Thurmond will instandly compete at corner, nickel and on special teams." - Mike Mayock, NFL Network

Seattle was back on the clock late in the fourth and added UNC defensive end E.J. Wilson. He's listed at 6'4" and 286lbs. Here's Mayock's thoughts:

"He's a three-year starter at DE for Butch Davis. He's 6-2 1/2, 286, with a 670 pound squat. That's an impressive number, a North Carolina defensive end record. In Seattle, he'll be a base DE that's stout against the run. He needs to develop as a pass rusher." - Mike Mayock, NFL Network

Things became even more interesting at the top of the fifth. With two picks in the round, Seattle found some great value with big strong safety Kam Chancellor. Might as well bring in Mayock again:

"Chancellor is identically sized free safety as Taylor Mays. They're both 6-3, 231. Interesting that Pete Carroll has taken a Mays clone in the fifth round. Chancellor has better movement skills than people realize. He's tough and well-coached out of Virginia Tech. He's an interesting compliment to Earl Thomas, who the Seahawks picked in the first round." - Mike Mayock, NFL Network

But an offense screaming for some playmaking ability was afforded some, when Seattle traded their second fifth round pick (#139) to the Jets for running back Leon Washington. I have to admit - I'm a big fan of Washington's. I had the chance to watch him live against Kansas City recently and he just stood out by a mile. His value has diminished mainly due to a bad leg break last season. He may never be the same. Then again - it's not cost much to find out. If he doesn't work out, the price was worth the risk. The upside is - Seattle just found a dynamic runner/receiver/returner to add to their offense.

But in a day packed with eye brow raising moves, the next is maybe my favorite. The Seahawks took Anthony McCoy (TE, USC) in the sixth round. I have said on this blog many time - I'm a fan. He has off the field issues, that is why he fell. For me, he has the talent to match a late first or early second round grade. He is an absolute steal here. Now - if he doesn't improve his work ethic or if he doesn't want this badly enough, it won't work out. However, this is again such a low cost to find out. These are the kinds of picks Tim Ruskell would never make. It's not just Ruskell, because clearly a lot of teams dropped McCoy from their boards. However, I love this pick and he's one to keep an eye on going forward.

With their final two picks the Seahawks selected Dexter Davis (DE, Arizona State) and Jameson Konz (WR, Kent State) in round seven.

Whether the overall quality and depth of this draft will lead to on-field pro-production remains to be seen, but the 2010 draft will go down as a highly eventful one to say the least. Not least for the Seattle Seahawks, under the stewardship of Pete Carroll and John Schneider for the first time. Let me know your thoughts on Seattle's 2010 draft in the comments section.

2010 Draft: Day Three

We'll update the picks as they come in today, let me know your thoughts.

-Seahawks trade back in round four for a package that includes Lendale White.

-Walter Thurmond, corner back from Oregon, taken in round four.

-Seahawks take E.J. Wilson a defensive end from UNC.

-Another big trade, a 5th rounder for Leon washington.

I've been working on an English soccer game today so apologies for lack of analysis. Will have a big review up later on all of today's action. Posting via iPhone hasn't been easy. Love the trades.

Seattle's best and most likely options the rest of the way

By Kip Earlywine

Post hidden for secrecy! (looking for the key under the doormat? click read more)

Its not a secret at all. The two players Seattle will look at the most intently will be Geno Atkins and Mardy Gilyard. We know this because the source told us they would be looked at in round 2, and if not for such an improbable amount of top talent reaching the 60th pick, they would have been considered. Seattle is catching a ton of breaks, and to be honest, I'm pretty shocked Gilyard is still available. Atkins surprises me less, but he's a fantastic value this late as well.

(WR) Mardy Gilyard:
(click name for link). Gilyard becomes a luxury pick of sorts with Tate already taken, but as they say: "you can never have too many wide-receivers" and Gilyard fits Bates scheme even better than Tate does. Gilyard reminds me so much of Deion Branch, and Branch is a strong scheme fit for Bates.

(DT) Geno Atkins:
Atkins is a 3 tech DT that shows promise and is one of the most athletic 3's in the entire draft. Seattle still badly needs a DT.

However, I wouldn't consider either of these guys a shoe in at #104. Just like at #60, there are still superior prospects available, and if that doesn't blow your mind, it should.

Among them are two guys that were on my unpublished pre-draft blacklist: Everson Griffen and Bruce Campbell. However, there's a funny thing about blacklists: they have an expiration date. For as much as I would have hated taking them in the 1st round, the 2nd round is a different animal, and by the 4th round, suddenly those aspects I didn't like seem pretty appealing.

(DE) Everson Griffen:
Its such an obvious comparison that I hate making it, but seriously, Griffen is Lawrence Jackson 2.0, although Griffin possesses perhaps even more athleticism and pass rush potential. Jackson may have been a reach in the 1st round, but Griffen is a massive steal in the 4th. And really, Griffen is probably a better prospect too. Griffen's pass rush moves need refinement, but at least he shows some faint signs, whereas Jackson was all bull-rush from day 1 (he's since started working in a mini-edge rush with some very minor results). Griffen played a lot of RDE at USC, and that is exactly what Seattle needs. And obviously, Griffen fits Carroll's criteria of having big, super-athletic defensive ends. Do I think he'll be a 10 sack guy? Heck no. But he could very easily become a 5-8 sack guy with a well rounded game who never misses time. And that's a massive bargain with a 4th rounder.

(T) Bruce Campbell: Even in my critique, I couldn't hide my fondness for Bruce Campbell. I did not actually scout Campbell, so I'm sure the persistent chants of "ugly tape" from Mayock to McShay probably ring true, but as it happened, I never saw that ugliness they talked about. It wasn't just highlight packages either, but random samplings from games. Everything I saw impressed me more than it alarmed me. What bothered me about Campbell wasn't his performance on the field, but rather his lack of time on it. He missed just a ton of time from injuries. Campbell has only started 17 games and played in 21, which is a Mark Sanchez-esque number.

Campbell isn't just a combine hero. He has legitimately elite pass pro talent and potential, and his run blocking is solid and trending towards good. He's too risky for any team needing a left tackle starter right away, but for a team willing to sit him for a year or two, he's a potential all-pro tackle waiting to happen. I know we've talked about how Tony Washington could make such an appealing long term project for Seattle in the 4th round, but Bruce Campbell is like Tony Washington on steroids. If Seattle passes on Bruce Campbell, especially with Alex Gibbs' coaching skills on tap, they better have a damn good reason for it. My only complaint about Campbell was the risk factor. But with Seattle already having brought Okung on board to address the tackle issue, and with Campbell having the low risk factor of a 4th round pick and contract, I say: why the hell not? Talk about an insane risk/reward scenario.

Other guys I'm hoping/anticipating the will Seahawks consider (TE, QB, LB, FB and special teams are not being listed, but may possibly be considered):

In the secondary:

(SS) Reshad Jones:
Jones is a do-everything safety who was one of the very few bright spots (along with Geno Atkins) on a dreadful Georgia defense. Before the draft, I would have happily taken Jones at #60. He's very complete for a strong safety. In fact, if given the choice, I'd probably take Jones over Taylor Mays. This selection would allow Seattle to play Earl Thomas where he belongs, at FS, and gives the team the depth it needs for the position.

(SS) Larry Asante: A very experienced and highly dependable safety from Nebraska who would be a threat to start immediately alongside Thomas. I probably wouldn't take Asante in the 4th round the way this draft is going, but he could make a ton of sense in round 5.

(SS) Barry Church: Has great size, but painfully lacks speed. Might be drafted very late and given some looks as a coverage LB.

(CB) Akwasi Owusu-Ansah: Owusu-Ansah is a toolsy (6'1", 4.3 forty) CB prospect with the added bonus of some solid return ability. So far Schneider has avoided an Al-Davis type pick, but I'd say Owusu-Ansah could potentially be on the radar at some point.

(CB) Donovan Warren: Warren reminds me a lot of Malcolm Jenkins. He has no business being a 4th or 5th round pick, and yet he will be.

(CB) Perish Cox: I don't know much about him, but he's yet another CB who fits the 6' profile and should be available.

On the defensive line:

(DT) Arthur Jones: Other than Atkins, Jones strikes me as the other best remaining DT option. He's had some injuries, and with so much good talent being pushed back, Jones might find himself still waiting well into the 5th round. If Seattle is out of options, Jones could be a worthwhile gamble.

(DE) Corey Wootton: Wootton is a bit like Atkins in that he's a buy low player who was once considered an exceptional talent. If the FO buys into Atkins because of past success, its possible they might strongly consider Wootton as well.

(DE) Greg Hardy: This time last year, Hardy was a hot tip to be the first DE taken in the draft. Hardy responded by gaining weight, half-assing it through the last 365 days, and taking his diva/drama queen status to new heights. I haven't seen many prospects so emphatically destroy their draft stock like Hardy has. Its almost like he's doing it on purpose. Seattle was hot and heavy for Brandon Marshall and also had internal discussions over Marshawn Lynch, so obviously character comes in pretty low on the priorities totem pole. With the left tackle debacle fixed, Seattle's biggest remaining need by far is DE, and I could potentially see Seattle and Hardy being a likely pairing at some point in the draft. Hardy possesses first round talent, and there's nothing wrong with taking a gamble on a pick with a mid-late rounder.

On the offensive line:

(G) Mitch Petrus: One of the few remaining guards that fits the Gibbs profile to a tee while also having more than 7th round talent. Petrus played RG for a good run blocking line at Arkansas and certainly did his part, making many a pancake block.

(G) Sergio Render: Once a very highly touted guard that played for a zone offensive line, Render has been under the radar all offseason long, and that has led to an unsurprising draft day slide. Render has a build and a reliance on strength that reminds me a bit of Rob Sims. Sims was just traded away for peanuts for not fitting Gibbs preferences. Like Sims, Render is 6'3" so he meets the height requirements. It perhaps helps Render's chances of consideration that he's recently lost a bit of weight. He's now down in the 310 range from about 320 before.

(G/C) Jeff Byers: Byers is a talented interior lineman with zone experience and Pete Carroll ties.

(T) Tony Washington: I'd rather gamble on Bruce Campbell, but Tony Washington would also make for a rock solid developmental pick. He has the tools of a first rounder and meets the Gibbs criteria.

(T) Ed Wang: This pick seems a bit less likely now since the appeal of Wang is that he could start sooner than the other mid rounders, but if the team wants depth at tackle, its hard to go wrong here.

(T) Jason Fox: Similar to Wang, Fox is less likely now that the team is set at tackles and looking for developmental depth.

(T) Selvish Capers: Some think that Capers could be a great RT. I see more of a left tackle skillset, but regardless, Capers is a project with a lot of talent. He fits what the Seahawks and Alex Gibbs will be looking for.

Wide receivers:

(WR) Mike Williams: Williams might be the only player left I still wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. This is a guy who cheated on his tests, quit on his team (seriously, walked off the team), gained 10-15 lbs in the offseason and then bombed the combine. He's fools gold for whoever takes him. That said, he fits the Bates profile quite well and might be considered in the late rounds.

(WR) Riley Cooper: A big, athletic WR who finally started to produce up to his potential late last season.

(WR) Dezmon Briscoe: A polished looking and productive WR with above average size. Could be a late round steal and as such, might interest the Seahawks. A rich man's Freddie Barnes.

Running backs:

(RB) Anthony Dixon:
A bruising inside rusher with a deceptively good top gear. Dixon is probably the best remaining RB option for the Seahawks at this point.

(RB) Joe McKnight: McKnight has all the tools you look for in a Gibbs back. I really like McKnight, but I don't think Carroll feels the same way. McKnight couldn't stay on the field because of injuries, and he fumbled more than he should have when he was on it. Hardly the model of consistency. I would happily select McKnight in the 4th round, but I doubt Carroll even gives him a phone call in the unlikely event McKnight goes undrafted. Stuff like that tends to get on a coach's nerves.

(RB) Jonathan Dwyer: Dwyer is probably the best value of the remaining RBs, but something about him just doesn't seem right in a Gibbs system. It wouldn't shock me at all though if Seattle takes him.

(RB) Deji Karim: Karim is built like a cannon ball and runs like it too. He's 210 lbs. while also being a mere 5'9". He also runs a 4.3 forty. I don't think this guy would have much trouble slipping through creases at the line, to say the least. Karim could make a ton of sense for Seattle in the 6th round.

(RB) Charles Scott: Scott is fairly similar to Anthony Dixon, and may be considered at some point. He's kind of like a mini Jerome Bettis.

(RB) Lagarrette Blount: Blount doesn't impress me much and seems like a better fit in a man scheme, but he could be a desperation option for the Seahawks in the 7th round.

Friday, 23 April 2010

(Not so) Quick thoughts on rounds 2 and 3

By Kip Earlywine
Wow. This is a deep, deep draft. The looming threat of a 2011 rookie salary cap enticed a lot of talented underclassmen to declare early and man... does it show. The 2nd round this year saw several legit 1st round talents, including a potential top 10 pick QB. Even at #60, a pick we assumed would be table scraps, the Seahawks options were headlined by Golden Tate, Damian Williams, Brandon Lafell, Bruce Campbell (!), Everson Griffen (!!), and Charles Brown (!!!)... all of whom had been mocked in the 1st round at some point by most experts. Going into the 2nd round today, Seattle was hoping to target Gilyard and Atkins, but with such a buffet line of 1st round talent staring them in the face, it was like having a 3rd first round pick... at #60.

Not to begrudge Deion Butler, but if I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell Tim Ruskell NOT to pull the trigger on the trade that brought Butler here. I could explain in great detail why that pick was probably unwise at the time, but I've got a lot to cover tonight so instead I'll just say that losing the 3rd this year caused a lot of problems.

Firstly, it complicated the Charlie Whitehurst trade. AJ Smith put John Schneider over a barrel due to the Seahawks lacking a 3rd round pick. Schneider also failed to negotiate properly, which didn't help- but if we had that 3rd rounder, the most we would have paid would be the 3rd, and given the way RFA trades usually go, it definitely could have been for even less. But since we didn't own that 3rd, and because Schneider was so eager for Whitehurst, the result was a 20 pick drop in the 2nd round in addition to a future 3rd.

It was reported today that the Seahawks very nearly took Jimmy Clausen at #14. The Hawks had Earl Thomas #1 on their board, and Clausen was #2. When Philly traded up, they assumed it was for Thomas, but when Graham was selected instead, the Seahawks celebrated and nabbed the Texas safety. Jimmy Clausen amazingly reached the 40th pick in the draft, meaning if the Whitehurst trade had never happened, or if the Deion Butler trade had never happened, Jimmy Clausen could be wearing Seahawks blue as we speak. I know many of us (myself included) badly want Jake Locker to get that honor, but potentially missing out on Clausen with such great pick value is a bit of a bummer, especially after seeing his arm strength improve recently.

Seattle could have traded up for Clausen, but with the price tag probably being the #60 and both 4th rounders in such an insanely deep draft, I think the Seahawks did absolutely the right thing staying put. And while I'd take Clausen over any of the options that reached #60, Golden Tate is a terrific pick. It wouldn't shock me at all if in 5 years, Tate has the most NFL receiving yards of this draft class.

Anyway, here's my thoughts on the rest of the 2nd/3rd rounds, bullet point style:
  • Brian Price needed to go to a 4-3 team, specifically one that rotates DL much like Seattle does. In that sense, it was justifiable for Tampa to select Price in the early 2nd even after taking McCoy 3rd overall. Justifiable, but still odd.
  • Al Davis must only be a figurehead nowadays. Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston? Those are not Al Davis picks. It looks like there may finally be a ray of hope in Oakland.
  • The Broncos have run zone for well over a decade, but on a whim from team dictator Josh McDaniels, the team blew up its existing zone line and will convert to man scheme this offseason. So what does he do to build his new man scheme line? He drafts a classic ZBS guard in Zane Beadles, then drafts a pure ZBS center in JD Walton. I love Walton, but Walton has never played a single snap in a man system. Both weigh 305 lbs; puny by man scheme standards. This combined with the Tebow selection makes Denver the front runner (along with Jacksonville) for the most puzzling 2010 draft to this point.
  • The steal of the draft, obviously, is Jimmy Clausen to the Panthers. As stupid as any future 1st for a 2nd rounder trade can be (they traded for Everette Brown last year, a pick that became the 17th overall this year), Carolina has to feel like they got off scot free this time. There are going to be a lot of regretful teams 5 years from now. Among them the Vikings, who somehow believed that Toby Gerhart was worth a 2nd round selection, but Jimmy Clausen was not. Unbelievable.
  • Taylor Mays was apparently led on by Pete Carroll, and he completely expected to be the pick at #14. That's actually pretty understandable- until we were blessed with that FO leak a few weeks back, I thought Mays was as good as a Seahawk at #14. Mays ended up a 49er instead, a calculated move. Mays wasn't just a good value pick for them, but came with the added value of knowing Pete Carroll and Jeremy Bates playbooks at USC. I don't think that's going to be a big deal, but it could be something. He also has a massive chip on his shoulder and has already publicly lashed out against his former coach. I smell a rivalry brewing.
  • What is it with teams swooping in front of the Seahawks this year? At both #14 and #60, two different teams traded up immediately in front of Seattle to take players at positions Seattle was believed to be pursuing. First it was Ryan Mathews and Brandon Graham at #12 and #13, then it was Ben Tate and Montario Hardesty at #58 and #59. Thank goodness none of those teams read this blog, because none of those players were being seriously considered by the Seahawks. I was a little bummed to see Hardesty go though. I was starting to become optimistic he'd reach the 4th.
  • Charles Brown was nearly a 3rd rounder. Wow. I know he had a neck/back issue that came up at the last minute, but seriously? The New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl, and without moving picks, they ended up with Patrick Robinson and Charles Brown. Say it with me: this is the deepest draft in years.
  • I was disappointed to see such a big run on interior linemen today. Jon Asamoah and JD Walton were expected, but Zane Beadles, Mike Johnson and Shawn Lauvao (!) were not. I was really hoping for Lauvao in the 5th or 6th. Seeing him go in the 3rd was pretty surprising. Mitch Petrus is the only guy left that makes perfect sense for Gibbs. Render could be a fuzzy fit, but I don't know if Gibbs will completely sign off on him. Seattle has a tough choice ahead of them, with some incredible value staring them in the face at #104 (Gilyard, Atkins, etc), do they take BPA or do they take a guard before its too late? This may be a deep draft, but its not deep for zone guards, and the well is almost dry.
  • The Titans have to be thrilled with Derrick Morgan at #16, but nearly as big a coup was getting Damian Williams in the mid-3rd round. Too bad they blew the hat trick by wasting their 3rd pick on Rennie Curran.
  • I can't help but wonder about what probably would have happened to Daniel T'eo Nesheim or Donald Butler if not for Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt's impact at UW this year. Both were expected to be future UDFA's last September, and here they are both going in the 3rd round. Butler actually deserves it, and DTN almost does, but still, good for them. And good for you, Sark.
  • The Seahawks potential options at #104 are almost as loaded as the options at #60. The Seahawks could very well be choosing between the same two players they hoped would reach #60.. at #104. Seattle is catching a lot of breaks in this draft, but credit where credit is due, John Schneider does not miss lay-ups. I'll have a post up later about the Seahawks top options the rest of the way.

Seahawks draft Tate in round two

By Rob Staton
The Seattle Seahawks drafted Golden Tate in an unpredictable second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. A number of big names failed to leave the board early on - the most noticeable being Jimmy Clausen who eventually landed in Carolina. Seattle sat tight as it became clear there would be great value by the 60th overall pick and chose the Notre Dame playmaker. Interesting to note Houston and Cleveland both jumping ahead of the Seahawks to draft running backs, but it remains to be seen if either Ben Tate or Montario Hardesty were likely options at #60.

So what about Tate? I think this is about par value for him in terms of a grade. He's a coverted running back who's best quality is getting the ball in his hands in space. He's not a polished route runner or a likely deep threat. Physically he's not big but he's a fighter who will make his presence known. I would suggest his role in Seattle will be similar to Percy Harvin's in Minnesota. Tate will likely return kicks and have the occasional rush attempt. He'll take catches out of the slot and run screens and slants. Whether he develops into more remains to be seen.

Tate won the 2009 Biletnikoff Award for college football's top receiver. Michael Crabtree had won it the previous two years, whilst Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are also former winners. Bobby Engram was the original winner in 1994. I've posted a highlights video of Tate below. You can also find out more about each prospect taken by Seattle on the right hand side bar by clicking each image.

2010 NFL Draft: Day Two


#33 St Louis: Roger Saffold (OT, Indiana)
The Rams have book end tackles now, so protecting Sam Bradford is clearly a priority. They have a good offensive line, a good running back and now a franchise quarterback.

#34 Minnesota: Chris Cook (CB, Virginia)
Clausen sees another destination drift away. There was a lot of talk of Cook going to Minnesota leading up to the draft.

#35 Tampa Bay: Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
The Buccs take a partner for Gerald McCoy. That's an expensive interior defensive line and a bad offense, but I like both their picks.

#36 Kansas City: Dexter McCluster (RB, Ole Miss)
I don't like this choice. Ole Miss wanted a Percy Harvin last year, but shut him down as a wide out after a number of poor performances. He excelled as a pure runner late in the year, but I think he's too small to do that in the NFL.

#37 Philadelphia: Nate Allen (S, USF)
The Eagles clearly preferred the combo of Brandon Graham & Nate Allen over Earl Thomas and Everson Griffen.

#38 Cleveland: T.J. Ward (S, Oregon)
Interesting choice and a bit of a surprise. I'm not surprised Colt McCoy didn't go here, or Clausen for that matter. This is good value for Clausen now, but McCoy isn't worth a pick in round two.

#39 Tampa Bay: Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
The Buccs spend a 5th rounder to move up a few spots. They absolutely had to find a weapon for Josh Freeman, they get a big target.

#40 Miami: Koa Misi (OLB, Utah)
Parcells pick #2, very steady scheme fit. The big names keep dropping. This pick previously belonged to Seattle.

#41 Buffalo: Torrell Troup (DT, UCF)
This guy is a nose tackle and the Bills are switching to a 3-4 scheme. Clausen keeps falling, he's running out of options. I never thought he was a Chan Gailey guy.

#42 New England: Rob Gronkowski (TE, Arizona)
The Pats move up to take Gronkowski who fills a need for New England.

#43 Baltimore: Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas)
Chaos reigns as nobody knows whether New England made the trade in time and a backlog occurs. Baltimore take Sergio Kindle who falls because of injury concerns.

#44 Oakland: Lamarr Houston (DT, Texas)
Two Longhorns go back-to-back. Got to say - very impressed with Oakland's draft so far. Great pick, a potential Seahawks target maybe?

#45 Denver: Zane Beadles (OG, Utah)
Does he play guard? Center? Bit of a surprise this one because Beadles would've possibly been around a bit later. They obviously like him a lot and not J.D. Walton.

#46 New York Giants: Linval Joseph (DT, East Carolina)
I like the value, but surprised it was the Giants who made the move. He's a potential nose tackle. There's still time for this to change, but I anticipated Cody falling out of round two. Will it happen?

#47 Arizona: Daryl Washington (OLB, TCU)
The Cardinals make a big move, paying a third rounder to New England to select Washington.

#48 Carolina: Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
The Panthers take a shot on the guy nobody wanted. This is great value and well worth the risk. If he fails here, the cost is minimal. Definitely worth a go.

#49 San Francisco: Taylor Mays (S, USC)
The run on 'big names' begins. Mays is a Singletary guy and that 49ers team gets another nasty hitter. If only they had a quarterback, they'd be some team.

#50 Kansas City: Javier Arenas (CB, Alabama)
Got to say, I'm not impressed with the way the Chiefs have drafted under Pioli. This is another head scratcher - I like Arenas, but this is very early for a limited corner prospect.

#51 Minnesota: Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford)
The Vikings trade with the Texans to grab Toby Gerhart. That's a nice compliment to Adrian Peterson. Houston, needing a back, preferred to move down.

#52 Pittsburgh: Jason Worilds (OLB, Virginia Tech)
Scheme fit guy, nice edge rush who was in that late second/early third range.

#53 New England: Jermaine Cunningham (OLB, Florida)
The NFL Network has crashed, just as Seattle are preparing their pick at #60. The Pats take an edge rusher and they needed one.

#54 Cincinnati: Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
The risk here is limited, the reward is high.

#55 Dallas: Sean Lee (LB, Penn State)
The Cowboys trade up from #59 to get Philly's pick and take Sean Lee.

#56 Green Bay: Michael Neal (DT, Purdue)
The Packers continue to build around their 3-4 defense. Seattle on the board soon - keep an eye on Geno Atkins and Mardy Gilyard.

#57 Baltimore: Terrance Cody (DT, Alabama)
Cody offers some depth up front for the Ravens. He needed to land on a team like this where his work load can be managed.

#58 Houston: Ben Tate (RB, Auburn)
The Texans trade back up to select Ben Tate. I'm a big fan of Tate, he could have an immediate impact as a rookie. This was an obvious fit.

#59 Cleveland: Montario Hardesty (RB, Tennessee)
Holmgren trades with Philly to get above Seattle and take Hardesty. Both Houston and Cleveland wanted to get above Seattle to take a running back. I like Hardesty, but his injury history worries me. I got this wrong though, I thought he'd go later.

#60 Seattle: Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
I didn't like Tate in round one. Here - it's less of a gamble. He can be a playmaker and he's a fighter. They'll be creative with Tate and use him as a runner, slot guy, and receiver. The Seahawks needed a spark on offense. The value at #60 overall was immense, so we can put to bed any concerns about the Whitehurst trade.
Watch the Seahawks select Golden Tate in round two here

#61 New York Jets: Vladimir Ducasse (OT, UMass)
The Jets were expected to explore the possibility of adding a lineman.

#62 New England: Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida)
A football player. Forget the physical numbers, he'll just go out there and make tackles. I like this pick for New England.

#63 Indianapolis: Pat Angerer (LB, Iowa)
I thought this would be Charles Brown's home. Obviously there's something we don't know about that is dropping him. He's too good to still be here. Everson Griffen is a big shock too.

#64 New Orleans: Charles Brown (OT, USC)
I'm glad to see Brown off the board. They say a medical (neck) issue led to a fall. He found a good home.

Carolina are the epitome of how deep this draft is. They don't own a first round pick, don't make any moves and still get Jimmy Clausen and Brandon LaFell. Cleveland have taken Colt McCoy - although in round three I still think it's a reach. I just don't see McCoy ever starting in the NFL. The Bears made their first selection, taking one of my favorite prospects - Florida safety Major Wright. USC's Damian Williams landed in Tennessee, which is a good fit for both parties. The Broncos also found good value in the continuation of their offensive rebuild, taking J.D. Walton. Everson Griffen remains on the board after an unprecedented slump.