FanPost

Tilting the Field: Seahawks draft two playmakers

USA TODAY Sports

I saw that Seattle Seahawks were listed as a draft loser over at NinersNation.com, and I made a long disordered response. Just thought I'd share it here as a quick fanpost (which are shared by many here).

Question:

With that said, do you really feel they made the best choices yesterday with their picks?

Response:

Michael moves like Harvin in the open field, but weighs 220 and put up 27 reps on the bench press = power.

He is probably the 2nd most athletically gifted offensive “small player” in the draft behind Tavon Austin. He rated first among RBs in 40 yard dash, 20 yard short shuttle, 3 cone, and his 43" vert was the best among all draft prospects since 2009. Think movement skills better than Lamichael James (best 40 for Michael is 0.03 s slower than best for James, 10 yard split is 0.01 s faster for Michael, 20 yard shuttle for Michael is 0.10s faster, 3 cone drill is 0.19 faster for Michael, vert jump is 43" for Michael vs 37" for James) with Frank Gore size (Michael is 5’10, 220 vs Gore at 5’10" 210 when he entered the league) and strength (Michael put up 225 27 times, 4th among RBs). Now measurables aren’t everything, but neither is pure production (production is a product of talent, opportunity and environment).

Watch tape on Michael, and you see a RB whose elite measurables show up on tape, consistently.

I don’t know if there were better choices on the board before we traded down, but Michael is every bit of a 1st round talent at RB, with his closest recent draft comparison being Doug Martin. We have Lynch for 3 more years, but Lynch was hampered by a neck problem for the 2nd half of the season. So Michael, with Turbin, acts as insurance for the most important identity player on our team. He can spend the next 2 years learning all aspects of our offense, working on blocking and WR skills, and then when Lynch’s contract is up, we will replace Lynch with the best 4 years of Michael’s career.

In summary, getting a 1st round talent PLUS 5th and 6th round picks for the 56th pick in the draft is the absolute definition of value.

I don’t know enough about Hill, or the other DT’s on the board to say about questionable, but he is a potential huge upgrade at the only major hole on our defense, a base 3tech that can get pass pressure (WIL might also be a hole, but the position can be filled by any of many fungible players, and likely we have 3 players on our team right now who could fill that role more than adequately). Hill will primarily be asked to 1 gap (his strength) and get into the backfield on run downs. Not sure if he will play pass downs as much, or be a more rotational player with Bennett and some other depth players.

It is likely that Hill’s measurables at the combine and pro day were significantly affected by a knee sprain in early November, as he played through knee injury for the last two months of the season and in the senior Bowl, and had a knee arthroscopy 8 weeks before the combine. He commented that his knee was still not 100% at the combine. Almost certainly he will be ready for full activity by training camp. But, if necessary, I could see the team happy to put him on IR for a season (low salary PLUS free roster spot) to let his knee and physique get back to 100%.

If you watch the game film against Wisconsin, 3 weeks after his knee injury, you see an elite player #47, who unlike most DL, gets stronger as the game wears on – he absolutely abused one of the best OLs in college football during the 4th quarter and OT, on a wonky knee.

Were there better 3techs on the board in the late 3rd round? I don’t know. I don’t think the pick was a reach, I think Hill fell to that position because half of his senior year tape was a tough ass man playing through injury, and now everyone thinks he can’t anchor because his knee was never 100%. But watch him playing against Alabama in 2011 (#47 lining up at 1T or 3T with Devon Still) and you see a player who is constantly double teamed and usually anchors against it pretty damn well.

The thing with Seahawks picks (last year, this year) is they seem to be out of the blue, but when you actually ask “why?”, when you look at where the draftee fits in the scheme, and what they showed they could do in college, and mitigating factors that might have made the player less successful or productive, the picks make a shitload more sense.

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