Here's a quick look at three WRs that I scouted today that could be potential Seahawks targets, beginning with the most likely, and ending with the least likely.
I was particularly impressed with Virginia Tech WR Corey Fuller's size/speed combo, Texas A&M WR Ryan Swopes's route-running, hands and quickness, and Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton's size and route-running.
As a quick summary, Hamilton may be the first off the board of these three, but as far as Seattle fits, I think Fuller is probably the most prototypical of the three, while Swopes is the most "ready" of the three to step in and contribute right away.
Swope doesn't solve any of the speed or explosiveness needs for Seattle, but does provide a highly reliable 3rd-down target with toughness and underrated athleticism that remind me of guys like Stokely, Decker and even Jordy Nelson to a degree.
Remember, the Schneider/Carroll drafts have often featured unconventional picks that filled less-obvious or talked-about needs, and I think a guy like Swope could be seen as an upgrade to a guy like Jermaine Kearse or a Ben Obomanu as a special teams contributor who gives Russell Wilson another 3rd down target and depth fill in case of injury, with potential future starter upside.
Anyway, here's a look:
0602 196lbs 4.43
Woodlawn High School
Positives: Long, athletic-looking frame with room to add bulk. Smooth long-strider with flexibility and quickness to shift and redirect with suddenness. Has displayed rapid improvement and natural instincts as a football player after beginning his college career as a track athlete at Kansas, and only switching to football as a walk-on at Virginia Tech in 2010. Has pull-away speed to challenge any secondary, and can be deadly down the seam where he'll create mismatches with linebackers and safeties.
Is thinner than he could be, but displays aggression and willingness to be physical after the catch. Flashes soft hands and solid coordination to secure the ball off his frame. Flashes flexible hips to sink and cut without telegraphing, and is still developing as a route runner. A willing blocker in the run game, who sustains to the whistle despite still being a bit raw technically in this area. Displays physicality and quick hands to shed press at the line, and gets up to speed from "go" rapidly.
Negatives: Is unpolished as a route-runner often rounding off when he clearly has the flexibility and agility to be much sharper. Struggles to locate the ball early when tracking over the shoulder at times, and doesn't always appear to properly adjust his throttle on balls that aren't thrown in stride. Possesses the athleticism to win the jump ball, but doesn't always time it right, and is still learning to control his body in the air. Uses the chest-plate to catch the stick throw when facing the QB, and will juggle as a result. Needs to be more consistent about coming back to the football.
Compares to: Domenik Hixon, WR, New York Giants - Like Hixon, Fuller possesses impressive straight-line speed for his size, and can pose major matchup problems down the field, which is where his immediate impact will probably be felt the most. However, his upside is greater than Hixon's in that he possesses flexibility and agility to run a more complete route tree, and has more potential to make guys miss after the catch. A project who will probably go somewhere between the 4th and 6th rounds, with Vincent Jackson-like upside if he can put it all together.
Seattle Fit: Simple. Size and speed. Fuller has plenty of both, and would be an instant field-stretching upgrade for a Seahawks unit that is more "possession" oriented than it is explosive. Fuller is still raw and inexperienced, but has shown an ability to learn quickly, and has some big-time upside.
0600 206 4.53
Westlake High School
Positives: Sturdy frame with long arms and good muscular definition. Exhibits strong initial burst off the snap. Flexible hips to sink, burst and separate across the field. Displays strong awareness and anticipation of zone windows, and exhibits suddenness to flip, sit and locate the ball. Plucks the ball routinely, then looks it in and secures it before turning upfield.
Fearless over the middle, and looks to extend plays after the catch. Possesses quick, agile feet and has a knack for shaking coverage with jukes and stabs. Shows strong awareness of mismatches with linebackers and safeties, and possesses the 2nd level acceleration to beat either one. Tracks the ball well vertically, and adjusts his body nicely to throws off his frame. Effective 2nd-level cut-blocker when asked to support the run or quick WR screens. Consistently gives good effort to the whistle. Does not shy away from contact after the catch and flashes some power on contact to drag a defender.
Negatives: Struggles to break down and redirect rapidly, particularly when asked to plant and burst out of a pivot on underneath routes. Could be more physical against press, as he doesn't always utilize his solid frame to create space like he could. Isn't a real "burner", and relies more on quickness and fakes to create separation vertically. Will sit down and wait for the throw at times rather than drive back to the ball. Doesn't possess a huge "catch radius" and isn't a guy you can necessarily just throw it up to and rely on to go get it.
Compares to: Brandon Stokley, WR, Denver Broncos - I look at Swope as a bigger, more athletic version of the veteran Stokely, but similar in terms of route-running efficiency, smarts, and craftiness in creating vertical separation. Although there are more athletic, explosive receivers in this year's group, few are more refined and ready to contribute than Swope, who probably falls somewhere between rounds 2 and 4, but is capable of putting up first-round numbers in the right offense. Has been designated by many as a pure "slot" target at the next level, but I see some tools that suggest he could be effective on the outside as well.
Seattle Fit: Swope is reliable. Plain and simple, the guy knows how to get open. Yes, Doug Baldwin is a good 3rd down receiver and is more explosive after the catch than Swope, but Swope is arguably craftier at creating space, and has the size and toughness to hold up over the middle, for the long term. Depth, depth and more depth. Guys who can consistently get open and make a ton of catches, particularly over the middle, are really valuable, and in my opinion, you can't have too many of them.
0603 199 4.54
Texas Hight School
Positives: Ideal length and athleticism to play on the outside at the next level. Gets up to speed rapidly off the snap. Possesses long, smooth strides and exhibits impressive suddenness and sink to shake defenders on hitch and comeback routes. Shows good hip flexibility when asked to sink and break in or out on routes, and displays decent burst out of cuts to separate.
Is surprisingly shifty in space despite his long strides, and will make a guy miss in the open field. Accelerates quickly from a stop, and can beat defenders with his first step despite lacking elite straight-line speed. Flashes strong, quick hands to pop his opponent and create space versus press.
Negatives: Drops far too many easy passes, due to getting his eyes upfield before securing the catch. Relies heavily on his chest plate when catching the football, and rarely secures it with his hands first. Is not a burner, and lacks a 2nd gear to pull away down the sideline. Does not make best use of his length, too often waiting for the ball to drop into his chest, rather than extending and attacking it in the air. Lacks physicality after the catch and won't extend many plays beyond initial contact. Relies more on his feet than his hands versus press, which won't work for him consistently at the next level. Won't shake defenders when asked to break down and redirect in small spaces.
Compares to: Todd Pinkston, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (retired) - Hamilton possesses tools and exhibits big-play flashes that suggest he could be something special. However, as was the case with Pinkston, fundamental inconsistencies have neutralized some of his "plus" tools, and he'll need to be committed to improving if he's to realize his potential. Looks like a 4th rounder at this point.
Seattle Fit: Hmmm. I'm sitting here trying to figure out if there is a Seattle fit with Hamilton. On paper there is. He's 6'3 with some speed and big-play potential. But I'm underwhelmed with his fundamentals. He drops a lot of passes, and I just haven't seen Schneider and Carroll going after these guys. If he's there in the 5th or 6th, I could see them taking a chance. He put up some impressive numbers at Arkansas, but he's simply too inconsistent and doesn't play with physicality to warrant a 3rd round pick, where many project him to go.
You can find more of Derek's analysis at his Seahawks-centric draft, free agency, & pro player personnel site called "ScoutTheSeahawks." Head over and bookmark it - he maintains a really great free agent tracker in addition to his Draft focus that is much more in-depth than most places because of his background doing deep scouting of NFL Draft prospects.