DK: You've been doing some great scouting of USC QB Matt Barkley this last week and have stated on twitter that you're very high on him. Though you may be repeating a bit, what do you like about Barkley and why do you have him nipping at Andrew Luck's heels as the best QB of the 2012 class (if he declares)?
RS: There's very little between Luck and Barkley. Both have incredible poise in the pocket, they're very accurate quarterbacks and good decision makers. Luck is a grade ahead in terms of athleticism and making plays with his legs, but Barkley is surprisingly shifty and capable of running for first downs. Neither has the kind of physical tools that Cam Newton or Jake Locker had as the top two quarterbacks drafted this year, but they do have ideal mechanics that'll need only minor tweaks. Both will be able to start quickly in their NFL careers and barring injury or circumstance they should become top-10 quarterbacks.
Focusing on Barkley in particular, his progress in two years having been a true-freshman starter is remarkable. He's had to deal with a change of coaching staff in that time and also the loss of some key playmakers to the NFL. To go from high school to his level of play in two seasons learning on the run is incomparable. If he was physically dominant you might understand because Cam Newton was just better than every opponent he faced last year and adjusting to college pace from the JUCO ranks was relatively easy for him. Barkley doesn't have that physical brilliance, so when you see him making 2-3 reads, putting accurate touch on his passes, showing pro-instincts and leading by example you can't help but be impressed.
DK: What is it that has you still doubting Oklahoma's Landry Jones? He seems to have the physical tools - what jumps out at you watching film that concerns you?
RS: It's not that I doubt Landry Jones, I just think he has room for improvement if he's going to become a top-5-10 type talent as opposed to the region I have him in now at around 12-20. Physically he's the full package, but I've seen a lot of inconsistency in his play in terms of decision making and accuracy. He's not as mobile as Luck and Barkley, he's more of a traditional pocket passer although not in the Ryan Mallett-level of slow by any means.
The Oklahoma system generates mass-production so although the stats look good, he's asked to make a lot of easy throws. Sam Bradford managed to shine through the system, but I've always been underwhelmed by Jones. The game that sticks in the mind is Missouri on the road, the week that the Sooners were newly ranked #1 in the BCS. Jones was mediocre and outshone by Blaine Gabbert in a rough defeat that ended any hopes of a National title. Even in the big win over over Florida State, I never felt like I was watching a top-end talent because the system is so effective - high tempo, ball out quickly to the playmakers. Jones' phsyical abilities are there to see, but it's the system that catches your eye, not the quarterback.
If he can become more influential, limit the turnovers and win the key games then there's no reason why he couldn't be a top-ten pick. Going into the 2011 season I think he has to make improvements because physical talent and good stats alone won't necessarily make him an elite prospect.
DK: You've been doing some scouting on WRs over at Seahawks Draft Blog and have looked at guys like UNCs Dwight Jones, Notre Dame's Malcolm Floyd, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, Rutgers Mohamed Sanu, Arizona's Juron Criner, Ok St's Justin Blackmon, Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller, and Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles. If you're the Seahawks front office, taking into consideration the receivers you have at the moment, which guy (or two) are you most interested in and why?
RS: I think it depends on what happens during the season. Right now you'd count out Alshon Jeffery because he's a Mike Williams clone, but what if Williams struggles in 2011? Golden Tate needs to have a bigger impact as a second year receiver, but if he doesn't do you consider a Mohamed Sanu who's just a pure playmaker, either as a runner or receiver?
As things stand today I think the team lacks a legitimate deep threat and Dwight Jones at UNC does a great job getting downfield despite carrying a 6-4, 220lbs frame. I also love the way he adjusts to the ball and he has good hands - he just needs to do it every week. Justin Blackmon also reminds me a lot of Greg Jennings and that'd be a nice compliment to Williams' size and possession qualities. Overall I think it's a really deep class with some top end talent.
DK: Switching back to the current season - are there any offensive UDFA rookies that you are high on? Who would you be looking to sign if you're the Hawks and why?
RS: Keep an eye on Texas offensive lineman Michael Huey. There are some names at receiver I expect will get serious looks from NFL teams, such as Armon Binns, Darvin Adams, Ricardo Lockette, Lester Jean and Dane Sanzenbacher. They will sign a quarterback from the UDFA list and my best guess would be Adam Weber. I also like Darren Evans at running back.
DK: On the defensive side, are there any UDFA players that you got skipped over on Draft Weekend? If you're the Hawks, who do you look to sign and why?
RS: I know they showed interest in linebacker Jeff Tarpinian before the draft. He's a potential special teams contributor having played linebacker at Iowa. There's a lot of big name players that went undrafted such as Kendric Burney, DeAndre McDaniel, Mark Herzlich and Josh Bynes but they don't really fit the profile and scheme of Seattle's defense. Ian Williams may get a look - a defensive tackle from Notre Dame. Marvin Parker and Cedric Thornton are two other DT's to monitor. I thought Florida's Will Hill would get drafted.
Check out more from Rob at Seahawksdraftblog.com. He gives year-round analysis on NFL Draft and Seahawks related topics. Always a good read.