This first portion is by Michael Rally, a 49ers fan that represented the Hawks in RapidMock. He did a great job and wanted to share his experience and let us know why he made each selection.
Adventures in Being an Amateur GM...
Ever wonder why GMs always say that we cannot believe this guy fell to us , we were shocked to get this guy, etc I learned in this mock draft #RapidMock that this is GM speak for, this draft didn't go the way you planned it. In the NFL draft you have to be ready to adapt to changing conditions because almost anything can happen especially this year. This is what I learned...
Draft Picks in RapidMock
1st Round -Corey Liuget DT - Illinois
2nd Round -Marvin Austin DT North Carolina
5th Round - Owen Marecic FB Stanford
5th Round - Julian Vandervelde OG Iowa
6th Round - Greg Salas WR Hawaii
7th Round - Nathan Enderle QB Idaho
7th Round - Chris Conte SS California
Seattle is a team that was at the top of its game about 5 yrs ago making it to Superbowl XL in 2006. Age has taken its toll and this is a team in desperate need of a rebuild. Biggest needs are QB, WR, DT, DE, RT, OG, CB, SS. Basically, just about everything is needed to rebuild this team, though it has a good vet QB, the best in the NFC West In my opinion.
Seattle doesn't have enough picks so solve all of the teams needs having given away its 3rd round in the Whitehurst deal and the fact that winning the NFC West at 7-9 was a bit of a curse for the 2011 draft. I decided, therefore to make max use of the picks that I had and focus the effort on two areas where I felt the 2011 draft was deepest, the Offensive Linemen RT, G/C and 4-3 Defensive Linemen. Trading up was not in my plans.
I decided forgo the QB of the future for many reasons. First in part because of the Charlie Whitehurst deal, which has yet to play itself out. Secondly the Seahawks will want to sign Matt Hasselbeck to a short term deal and a 1st Round QB + Whitehurst + Hasselbeck would be putting too way too much money into the position. Dropping Hasselbeck would be giving away the NFC west, something the Seahawks should never do! But most importantly I decided to do this because the 2012 draft class is expected to be very deep at the QB position. This is a draft class that expected to feature top QB names such as Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Nick Foles and many many others. This is a fact rarely mentioned in 2011 draft discussions. In 2012 the Whitehurst deal ends, freeing up money for the pick and many teams will have projects in place from the 2011 draft. Perfect timing for the QB of the future.
The Seahawks have a 1st (25), a 2nd(57), a 4th (99), 2 x 5th (156,157), a 6th (173) and 2 x 7th (293,241). My strategy was to take the best available OT,OG, DT, or DE that is available at 1st round #25. If the 1st Round was a DT. 2nd would be a Guard/Tackle/Center or vice-versa. I would then use the remaining picks to pick up best available SS, OG, CB, WR, that I thought fit Seattle's system to build depth. The draft board was set but it was pretty clear that the first pick was going to be one of the following. Mike Pouncey, Corey Liuget, Stephen Paia, Gabe Carimi, or Marvin Austin. I also thought it important to pick up a late 6th or 7th round developmental QB project to set the stage for the 2012 QB signing to provide competition and a second bite of the apple for a future QB.
I doubted a trade back opportunity would develop as the only thing anybody would trade up for was a QB and any team wanting to get one would probably wait until later in the first round to do so at 29 or 31.
The 1st Pick
The first round went pretty much as planned with a bigger run than expected on the OTs, and Pouncey removed off the board a little early at 15. When 25 came up, I picked Corey Liuget because I felt he brought a true 3 tech guy, was versatile, and an explosive pass rusher for the Seahawks. This is exactly what this team needs a versilve foundation player. Seattle DL is a patchwork at best, I mean they signed Kentwan Balmer for heavens sake. Easy pick, I figured the next pick would be C/G.
The 2nd Pick
This is where things did not go as planned. To my shock, the run on offensive linemen continued. I watched anything resembling a 1st or 2nd and even some 3rd round OL players get swept off the board. I was down to 1 OL guy and maybe 2-3 other players including WRs & CBs that I felt were even worthy of a 2nd pick. I was going to be stuck with a 1st rounder and 2 x 3rd rounders. That stunk! However, what was weird was that 2 players that I thought were solid first rounders fell out of the first altogether, Stephen Paea & Marvin Austin. What is going on, too many teams going to a 3-4??? Also, Arizona picked Ryan Mallett an immobile Rookie QB. That's 2 young inexperienced QBs in the NFC West. That settled it. I couldn't take a chance on getting nothing I liked at 57. Besides, it would be fun to see Marvin Austin and Corey Liuget bury Mallett. I had to do it before the Raiders another 4-3 team got to him, something I never planned on, I traded up making an even trade and grabbed Marvin Austin. The OL would have to wait! besides Tom Cable can get Gallery. Gotta do it.
The rest of the picks Danny Kelly pretty much sums up exactly why I picked the guys I did. Read that here.
The one point I would make that Danny missed is that Owen Marecic can be a heck of a contributor on special teams as well. He is an ex LB, that elevated his worth in my mind. Oh, and yea, I also absolutely LOVE the Vandevelde & Salas picks. These are two really underrated guys in my book. Love both of them.
What I learned from this is on draft day if you are a GM you have to be ready to change your plans. I doubt the real NFL draft fallsvout this way on thursday. I don't think the OL players will be swept off like this, and actually I hope not. Because in truth, I am actually a 49er fan, who represented the their division rival in the RapidMock and the thought of Corey Liuget and Marvin Austin coming up the middle after either Alex Smith or a rookie QB scares the crap out of me.
Danny here, below follows how I grade this mock. I'd like to add that doing a mock draft is harder than it seems so I was very impressed with Michael's work, it takes time to research and plan a draft strategy so props to him...
Big thanks to Michael Rally for representing the Seahawks in the mock draft named Rapid Mock. Tre from over at Niner's Nation asked me to grade the haul and overall I thought Rally did a good job picking for the Hawks. I would have liked to see a CB on there as well as possibly a DE or another G/C, but considering the amount of picks the Hawks have, not too shabby at all.
SEA 1 25 Corey Liuget - DT - Illinois
SEA 2 47 Marvin Austin - DT - North Carolina (from CLE via STL)
SEA 5 156 Owen Marecic - FB - Stanford
SEA 5 157 Julian Vandervelde - G - Iowa (from BAL)
SEA 6 173 Greg Salas - WR - Hawaii (from DET)
SEA 7 209 Nathan Enderle - QB - Idaho (from CLE)
SEA 7 242 Chris Conte - SS - California
DT Corey Liuget - Grade: A
I like this pick a lot. The Seahawks need impact players on the defensive line and had a lot of troubles when key starters there went down in 2010. Liuget can come in and compete for the starting job at the 3-tech position and could provide depth at the 5-tech defensive end spot as well. This versatility will serve him well - he could be a penetrating pass rushing DT or move to the end and provide a spark if Red Bryant fails to recover from his knee injuries or goes down again, and he should see plenty of playing time in year one. With Brandon Mebane's status with the team up in the air, this gives the Hawks a lot of breathing room, further reenforcing the strength of the pick. Liuget is arguably one of the best pass rushers at his position in the draft, and could be a boon for the Hawks' defense as he fits the profile as Carroll's "premiere interior pass rusher" at the 3-tech position.
DT Marvin Austin (traded 4th round pick in exchange for 5th rounder and a move up 10 spots in the 2nd) - Grade: B +
Another good pick in my mind. Marvin Austin is arguably a top-10 talent but has fallen in stock due to the fact he missed the entire 2010 season after being dismissed from North Carolina's program. Austin is another versatile player that could come in and play at pretty much any position on the line, from 1-tech to 3-tech or provide depth at the 5-tech defensive end position. In tandem with Corey Liuget, Austin may have most value at the 1-tech position. Pete Carroll describes the 1-tech spot as "a player who likes to mix it up. We want a big guy in there who likes to get down and dirty. He is going to get doubled a lot on the run and pass and is going to get down blocked a lot. He has to be a tough player." This pretty much sums up Austin, and as Doug Farrar noted:
Austin bounds off the snap pretty quickly for a guy his size (6-foot-2, 309 pounds) and immediately looks to slip off single blocks or split double-teams. Uses a good rip move to help win the leverage battle and is practiced enough with his hand moves to wrestle a blocker to the ground without getting busted for holding. Has an interestingly effective spin move out of the one-tech spot; Austin seems to always be looking to disrupt.
The only reason I don't rate this pick as an A+ is because the cost to get Austin in the trade up combined with the fact a DT was picked at the first round spot as well. Overall though, a big pickup and the Hawks' defensive line would be immediately formidable. Combined with Red Bryant, Colin Cole, and possibly Brandon Mebane, the depth at the line is no longer an issue.
FB Owen Marecic - Grade: B
The Hawks have no true fullback on their roster and Marecic is a very good start. He'd come in and presumably start on day way clearing lanes for Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. He's a good blocking FB and should help in pass protection as well. I personally like fullbacks and think they should be used more frequently, so this is a good pick in my mind. Only reason I don't rate this as an A is that the Seahawks basically went all of 2010 without a real FB so I don't know how much they'd be willing to use a 5th rounder on one. I see an UDFA H-Back/Fullback/Tight End hybrid coming in and playing at that spot more likely or Jameson Konz may pan out in that position.
G Julian Vandervelde - Grade A
Love this pick. His size concerns will lead him to fall, but he'll be a great value in round 5. He plays with a mean streak and will be a great addition to the Seahawks shaky line. An academic All-American, he'll bring intelligence to the position and will fit well with the Zone Blocking Scheme Tom Cable will be implementing.
WR Greg Salas - Grade B+
A great possession receiver that could be very effective in the slot. With Brandon Stokely unlikely to return, Golden Tate a big question mark, and Deon Butler's health up in the air, Salas could come in and start on day one. He's got solid hands, is good at finding the soft spot in the zone, doesn't mind going up for it in traffic. By all accounts he's a fierce competitor that possesses good size and excellent body control and is a good downfield blocker. Needs polish on his routes but overall a very good value in round 6. I've heard him compared to Hines Ward.
QB Nathan Enderle - Grade C+
A good flyer at this point on the Idaho signal caller. I only give this a C+ because of the high need on the roster for a QB and the fact that he's slow, which runs contrary to the Hawks' stated desires for a QB. However, overall I don't mind this strategy. The Hawks will likely look to Charlie Whitehurst to carry the load and possibly try and pick up a FA QB after the lockout is lifted. Enderle could develop nicely backing up Whitehurst or a FA and could provide the Hawks with some value as trade fodder down the line. If they're really lucky he could become starter material.
S Chris Conte - A
Good late round pick, considering he has been mocked in some situations going much earlier. A converted CB, he switched to safety in his senior year and thrived there. I like this because he is a hard hitter and has good size but can also excel in pass coverage due to his experience at corner. A lot of the great safeties are former corners and their coverage skills make them great contributors. Conte is a good pick because the Hawks lack depth at safety with the probable departure of Lawyer Milloy. He could also provide depth at corner in a pinch.
Overall Grade: B+
I liked Rally's picks - while the first two picks were spent on defensive tackles, I actually like this strategy. It likely won't happen, but the Hawks' defensive line would be scary good with Liuget and Austin in the trenches. This would pay huge dividends for every other position on the defense. Pressure on the QB created by the duo immediately makes the corners, near the worst in the league in 2010, that much better. Owen Marecic will be a boon to improvement of the rush game, something the Hawks have stated is their top priority in 2011, as will Vandervelde. Salas is a potential starting slot receiver in year one depending on the development of Seattle's other young receivers. Enderle is a good flier with some potential and could prove to be good depth or even trade material down the line. Conte is a good solid pickup and was 1st team All Pac-10 his senior year. Good value in the 7th round.