As I’m sure you’ll all agree, the Seahawks have a lot of options in the draft this year. There are a few different possibilities on what to do with our first couple of picks, including trading up or back, taking the best player available or filling a roster hole not covered in free agency. There are a few different positions that have been highlighted for us to target early, including 3-tech, WILL backer, WR, OL, TE and LEO. We can only pick 2 (maybe 3) guys in the first two rounds, though, so who are our options at those positions which aren’t immediately addressed? Here is a (very) short list of mid-round guys who could plug a gap and have good upside.
-- Bennie Logan, LSU, DT (3-Tech):
I watched A LOT of LSU games over the past couple of days because they’re a good benchmark to judge OL/RBs/TEs against. As a result I watched A LOT of Bennie Logan. A big, solid run stuffer in the middle of the defense, Logan can also push the pocket successfully. He isn’t an elite pass rusher but is tenacious, has a good bull rush, uses his long arms and quick burst to beat interior linemen and can shoot the gap well.
When watching Logan, I saw a smart player who can see plays developing and reads O-linemen well. He has other good intangibles too, as he is a natural leader in the locker room and on the field and turns up in big games (Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama)
-- Jelani Jenkins, Florida, WILL LB:
Quite a few people have mentioned Jenkins on Field Gulls, including me, and after re-watching a few Florida games, it’s easy to see why. Jenkins is a great all-round player with excellent closing speed and solid tackling ability, as well as being good in coverage with the speed to cover joker TEs and the athletic ability to contest jump balls.
He has a few speed rushing moves to get after the QB, blitzes effectively and is an instinctive player who reads plays well, consistently getting in the right position to make stops. Jenkins has a few medical red flags due to a number of small injuries which stopped him playing a full season and is a tad undersized, which is why he slides.
(Ed. note: Jenkins was hurt for much of 2012 so here is tape from 2011):
-- Jon Bostic, Florida, WILL LB:
As a result of (re-)scouting Jenkins and Xavier Nixon (see below), I remembered Jon Bostic. Initially I assumed I didn’t have many notes on him because he hadn’t declared, then realized he was a senior and very slightly orgasmed.
Bostic is an excellent run stuffer who blows up zone stretches, power runs and screen plays with ease, closes on the ball aggressively and tackles explosively. He also shows good hand speed and strength to disengage from blockers to get to the ball-carrier and is an ok pass rusher, though this part of his game does need to be refined.
Whilst he is solid in coverage, Bostic will struggle to cover guys with elite speed in man-to-man. One thing I love about this guy is that he is consistently a force in big games and plays up to his opponent.
Projection: Late 3rd – early 4th.
-- Travis Long, Washington State, WILL/LEO:
Travis Long is an extremely versatile player who lines up at the DE position, stood up at the LoS and at the WLB spot. Long has good strength and length, but not top notch speed, and can be outrun without too much difficulty. He gets after the QB well with a solid spin move, though he doesn’t show a great counter if his initial attempt fails. However, he does have incredible tenacity in both run and pass D, playing instinctively and aggressively and always finds a way to get into the backfield.
From the limited tape I’ve seen of Long (it’s tough to get non-top 25 stuff over here!) his smarts and non-stop motor help compensate for a lack of quickness, as he forces runners across the field by cutting off cutback lanes with good positioning. Whilst his ceiling is kinda low due to his lack of speed, Long’s versatility and ability to own the LoS make him an intriguing prospect.
Projection: Late 4th – early 5th.
-- Devin Taylor, South Carolina, LEO DE:
Taylor has amazing potential thanks to his ridiculous size and speed. Whilst his stats aren’t eye-popping, his tape is; a guy who’s 6'8 shouldn’t move this quickly. He blocks passes, blows up screen plays and can set the edge in the run game. Playing opposite Jadeveon Clowney means he didn’t get a lot of sacks, but he consistently beat his man in the pass rush and has excellent speed off the edge.
Taylor has the perfect skillset to be a starting LEO whenever the Hawks need him, and it’s not often you can say that about a guy who will most likely slip through the first two rounds.
-- Xavier Nixon, Florida, OT:
Xavier Nixon was the reason I wrote this article. A lot of people want a replacement for Giacomini to be the first pick this year, but given that Fluker is almost definitely off the board, we have to wait. Waiting’s not so bad when you get such great value from a guy like Nixon.
This kid is a very strong pass and run blocker, with a good frame and solid athleticism. I love the way he drives defenders away from the ball at the point of attack in the run game and shows good feet to extend the pocket in pass pro. He also has experience playing in a run-first, play-action based offense with a mobile QB. Whilst he unquestionably got beat at times, Nixon accounted well for himself against elite competition (Texas A&M, North Carolina, Florida State).
(Nixon run blocking for Mike Gillislee -- key in on LT #73)
-- Joseph Fauria, UCLA, TE:
Everyone agrees that we need a tight end who can be a play-maker downfield, particularly after Zach Miller got injured in the post-season. Well, I say we sit tight til Day 3 and draft this guy. Fauria has excellent size and strength combined with decent straight-line speed and fantastic vertical ability. He is versatile, often lining up flexed to the slot or out wide, but does have limited route-running and blocking ability, though this can be improved with good coaching.
Fauria has very strong hands, makes a lot of catches during contact, is a strong downhill runner and can make the occasional difficult catch to boot. The reason he falls this low is the aforementioned issues with fundamentals combined with the fact that he has almost no elusiveness in the open-field. Very much a complimentary piece until his blocking improves, but will be an awesome edition to those red-zone 3 TE sets.
Projection: currently 7th, post-Combine probably late 5th - early 6th.
-- Marquess Wilson, Washington State, WR:
Seattle needs a true Z-receiver that can stretch the field and blow the top off of a defense, right? Say hello to Marquess Wilson. This guy has excellent top end speed and is an effective, agile route runner who isn’t just a straight line guy. Good hands and body control allow him to make tough catches and hold on after contact, though he is slightly questionable on jump balls if the defender is able to get his hands in.
Character issues and inflated production due to the scheme WSU runs under Mike Leach mean that this guy will slip much farther than he should, but his combine results will give his draft stock a healthy boost.
Projection: currently 7th, post-Combine probably 5th.
Rodney Smith, Florida State, WR:
Smith has huge upside due to his height and speed, but is a very limited route-runner despite his agility and surprising quickness. He has displayed the ability to make significant YAC and shows good open-field awareness before and after the catch. Smith is definitely a work in progress, though, as he struggles to make contested catches and hasn’t showed up against elite competition. Whilst not a Day One starter, Smith could contribute as a deep threat or an underneath YAC receiver and creates mismatches with his athleticism. If properly coached, this guy could be seen as one of the biggest steals of this draft in 3 years time.
Other guys worth a look are:
Jordan Hill, Penn State, DT
Zavier Gooden, Missouri, WLB
Trevardo Williams, Conneticut, WLB/LEO
Lavar Edwards, LSU, LEO
Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech, OT
Brennan Williams, North Carolina, OT
Reid Fragel, Ohio State, OT
Zach Stoneburner, Ohio State, TE
Corey Fuller, Virginia Tech, WR