The Tim Ruskell Draft MO and How I Would Draft

This will be boring for some, so I'm burying it under the fold, but it's a nuts and bolts piece about my mock drafts.

Do these Mock Drafts represent who I want Seattle to draft?

Only in so far in that I can't fully take myself out of the equation. I hate a writer who claims objectivity. Obviously, I'm inseparable from something I write. It's my intention to represent the opinions of the Seahawks front office, but the picks carry my biases. That means players may appear on a mock draft even if do not personally support Seattle drafting them. It also means I have a blind spot for some players.

There's a twist here. When I write a mock draft I always argue for why a team might select them. It's sort like Colin Cole. The matter isn't black and white or even shades of gray. It's something akin to colors. Cole isn't objectively bad. He may not be particularly talented, and may not warrant his salary, but in the right scheme, used to his strengths, he could be valuable. I just don't think Cole is valuable in his expected role with Seattle. It's the same basic story with a draft prospect. So, for someone like Jeremiah Johnson, I'm accounting for a Greg Knapp system that needs lot of depth at running back. Then I'm opining that Seattle could think of Johnson as an undervalued change of pace back with good potential. Then I just figure out if he fits the Tim Ruskell MO.

What is the Tim Ruskell MO?

It's a set of standards and criteria that Tim Ruskell uses to evaluate talent. It's famous, notorious in some circles, and often misrepresented. Now, this is simply my best guess, but I think it's sound. Here it is in brief.

Tape trumps measurables

Often misconstrued as production rules, Ruskell isn't opposed to selecting a player for that player's potential, only opposed to believing combine measurables are the best indication of that player's potential.

Classic Example: Chris Spencer. Spencer didn't wow with his bench or 40, and he wasn't an abnormally productive center at Mississippi, but scouts raved about his athleticism. It was a long time and many injuries ago, but Spencer was an extremely talented and preternaturally powerful center prospect with reams of potential.

Players from high-functioning units can have hidden value

Key players in dominant units that don't scout out well individually can have hidden value like awareness or leadership.

Classic Example: Lofa Tatupu. Tatupu was the middle linebacker of USC's third ranked scoring defense and top ranked rushing defense.

Production matters

You won't find too many Seahawks picks that didn't produce at a high level at some point in their college career.

Classic Example: Brandon Mebane. Mebane recorded 14.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for a loss over four seasons with the Cal Bears. Sedrick Ellis recorded 17.5 and 28.5 against mostly the same competition. Mebane did it in ten fewer games and with weaker surrounding talent.

Players from failing teams can have hidden value

There is a misconception that Ruskell drafts winners. In reality, two of his most successful picks were from teams that tanked the season before they were drafted.

Classic Example: LeRoy Hill. Hill had 145 tackles, 27 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks and 3 interceptions in 2003. In 2004, his senior season, Hill's numbers were down pretty much across the board. He finished with 106 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks and 0 interceptions. Still very impressive. Clemson dropped from 9-4 to 6-5. That, somewhat idiotically, hurt Hill's draft stock.

Also, John Carlson.

Level of competition matters

Ruskell has drafted one player from a non-BCS school: A long snapper.

Line talent can be developed

Examples: Mansfield Wrotto, Baraka Atkins, Rob Sims, Ray Willis, Chris Spencer

Character is part of risk assessment

Drafts deep at a specific position can produce undervalued players at that position

Examples: Jordan Kent, Courtney Taylor, Justin Forsett

There are lesser ones. Ruskell has avoided players with injury histories. And there are some misnomers too. Ruskell doesn't demand saints, but he does tend to draft players that are mature and coachable. He doesn't draft players because they have a good story. Something I read a few times from people trumpeting Oher. Ruskell is risk averse, but he doesn't demand instant starters. He has been drafting for a team considered a contender and was thus selecting players that could contribute immediately. I don't think that's a rule though.

On a side note, teams not drafting for need is hogwash. I don't know where the phrase "best available talent" originated, but teams rarely draft a player that doesn't have a chance of playing in the very near future. No team will admit to drafting for need, but Cincinnati isn't selecting Matthew Stafford; Minnesota is not drafting Beanie Wells. All teams draft for need, they just don't draft exclusively for need, or let need dictate who they draft in what round.

Anyway, the above dictates how I populate my mock drafts. Finally...

Who would I draft?

My draft, assuming plausible value picks and equitable trades, but no trades out of the fourth pick. All picks are based on NFL Draft Scout's rankings, which might be batshit.

  1. WR Michael Crabtree
  2. SS Patrick Chung
  3. And
  4. Pick for QB Brian Brohm and Green Bay's 6th round pick
  5. OG Tyronne Green
  6. RB Ian Johnson and TE Bear Pascoe
  7. WR Brian Hartline, CB Brice McCain, RB Devin Moore, P/K Thomas Morstead
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