January 6th 2013, I made my first foray into writing for Field Gulls when I published the inaugural Seattle Sea-Mock as a fanpost (feel free to go back and revisit it here). It’s important to note that, at that time, all of those players were projecting to be available where I chose them. Four months later, it’s safe to say that most of my picks (and some of my “almost-chosens”) have had massive up-swings in their draft-stock. Kinda crazy actually.
Not only has the draft-stock of most of my picks changed for the better, so has the profile and quality of the Seahawks’ roster. With the additions of Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Antoine Winfield, and Tony McDaniel, the Seahawks have had an exceedingly impressive offseason. But there is still work to be done.
Today marks the opening of the 2013 NFL Draft in New York City. The Seahawks currently sit with no pick on day one (first round), but have 10 picks between day two and three (#56, 87, 123, 138, 158, 194, 220, 231, 241, 242). It’s a nice place to be. It could allow them to move up in a round if they choose, but moving up has yet to be shown as a John Schneider tact.
In fact, with the consensus depth of this draft, and the Hawks lack of dire need at any single position, it really makes sense for them to stand pat at #56…seeing if anyone on their board falls to that slot…or trade back and acquire an 11th pick somewhere in the middle rounds. If the Hawks were to trade back, I sincerely hope they don’t move down past Atlanta at #60. Something about San Francisco making three picks before Seattle makes their first would make me really nervous. This point may become moot as the Niners are heavily rumored to be looking to consolidate some of their picks and move up.
(One editorial note: as I did back in January, as I’m making my draft-board, I reference other draft sites to help calibrate my placement, but I’m almost always projecting my players a round (if not two rounds) ahead of the national writers. Translation: when I’m watching a player I’ll put a round-grade on him (let’s say a 5th), then I’ll go look at where he is sitting nationally; when the national rank is the 7th for MY 5th round projected player…my eyes light up. I love a two-round discrepancy. Two rounds gives me one round to beat the league to the punch AND one round for “perception error”. In other words, if media perception is that the guy is a 7th-rounder, but on the down-low there is that ONE team who seems him as a 6th, by personally ranking him in the 5th, I’m going to be the one that gets that player.)
But maybe I’ve said too much…giving away my methods…let’s get to the board.
It’s really tough to predict a player or players that may “fall” on draft day. My mock will not be reliant on fallers. I’d love to see a Kawann Short available at 56. He’s one of the few that is reportedly falling out of the 1st round, but perhaps only as far as #50 overall. It would be really nice to find a DT at 56, but in my study, I don’t see enough value in the guys that likely will still be on the board in the 2nd.
There are some mixed-opinions on where my two favorite WR (Markus Wheaton and Quinton Patton) will come off the board. Patton currently has the higher profile; Wheaton has fallen somewhat…either way I struggle to see Seattle going WR at #56 after acquiring Percy Harvin with their first pick.
In terms of offensive weapons, I would see a higher probability of the Hawks looking at a TE this early, and the best target, for me, would be Cincinnati’s Travis Kelce. I would not be mad at Kelce here. I don’t think there is a comparable player (a complete; big/fast/blocking/receiving TE) available later in the draft. He actually had more YAC than Tavon Austin and was the only TE in the country with two catches of over 70 yards this year. In terms of value, Kelce in the 2nd feels a greater value than Eifert in the 1st. So Kelce would be a totally understandable, and great, pick at 56. But that’s not where I would go.
At 56, I’m thinking really hard about taking an OT. Terron Armstead is probably gone. Justin Pugh is probably gone. Kyle Long may be gone. But there is still a lot of value on the board. I think Seattle will be looking at a group that includes: David Quessenberry, Brennan Williams, and Jordan Mills. Of that group Brennan Williams is my favorite, and I’ve seriously wavered back and forth with taking him in the 2nd or in the 3rd. Ultimately, I’m going to take a calculated risk (much like waiting till the 3rd for Russell Wilson), pass on Brennan here, and count on him being available at #87. Even if Williams doesn’t last till 87, I think there is more depth on the O-line in the 3rd than there is depth at D-line.
Instead of OT, TE, WR, or DT…in an offseason where they added Avril, Bennett, and McDaniel…with the 56th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select Defensive End from East Central University in Oklahoma…Armonty Bryant. It’s just one of the most Seahawky things to do.
Are there character concerns? Yes. Bryant was arrested in the middle of last year for selling weed. Is he a “reach” at 56? Yes. Possibly a 5-round reach. I’ve seen mocks with him lasting till between the 4th and the 7th (but I’ve also read he’s being targeted in the 3rd by some teams…including San Francisco). Did he spend the last couple of years at a really small school playing against lesser competition? Yes. But, whereas I watch some small-school players against weaker competition and they look better than their opponents, I turn on Bryant playing against weaker competition and he looks like he’s playing against little kids. He DOMINATES.
Plus, there are aspects of Bryant’s game that aren’t dependent on level of competition; like his snap anticipation. He is one of the best players I’ve seen this year at firing off the snap:
And the stats back it up. In the 8 games he played in 2012, Bryant totaled 54 tackles, 17.5 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 2 pass break-ups, 2 blocked kicks, and 4 forced fumbles. Take those numbers, insert into the defensive production matrix, adjust up to a 13-game season (88 tackles, 28 TFL, 17 sacks, etc) and Bryant becomes the most productive DE in the draft.
Bryant’s score of 109pts dwarfs even the number of a guy like Jadeveon Clowney (82pts). Bryant’s rate of 2.19 TFL/gm would rank 1st in all of the FBS (ahead of Jarvis Jones, Will Sutton, and Clowney - the next three highest rates). Bryant’s rate of 6.75 tackles/gm as a DE ranks 2nd (behind only Jamie Collins…who is really more of a LB) in the FBS. The next highest tackling DE’s are Tank Carradine and Damontre Moore.
Translation: Armonty plays the run just as well as he rushes the passer. This is an important acknowledgement because I’m going to project Bryant will initially become the Jason Jones/Michael Bennett style 3rd-down 3-tech DT, but in time his role may change to 3-down DE. Bennett is on a 1-year deal. I don’t know that he’ll get a second. Clem and Avril are also both only signed short-term. Here’s how Bryant measures up against the lanky 3-techs:
Much like Matt Flynn was sort of a “reverse hedge bet” for Russell Wilson, I think Bennett is the reverse hedge for Bryant. Armonty also stacks up nicely to guys like Jason Pierre-Paul (6’5”/270/4.71) and Aldon Smith (6’4”/263/4.74). I’d say Armonty needs to add 5-10lbs of muscle (mostly in his upper body) and get those bench reps up a few, but part of the reason they are low is because guys with long arms always have lower bench totals. Armonty has almost 36” arms (which has helped him yield 9 career blocked kicks and 6 swatted passes in three years at ECU). He has the length I think PC/JS are looking for, and that I was looking for in guys like Malliciah Goodman and Devin Taylor…except Bryant has much better production.
If you’ve been tracking the Hawks scouting tendencies this offseason, they are NOT looking for more LEOs. They are looking for this bigger, traditional-style DE (see also: Mike Catapano-6’4”/271, Rufus Johnson-6’5”/272). I’m guessing the Hawks would have also looked at Ziggy Ansah (6’5”/271/4.56) if he weren’t projecting as a top-10 pick. (Sidenote: I really don’t understand how people look at Ansah, who has only been playing football a couple years and has 4.5 career sacks, and see so much “upside”, while they overlook a small-schooler who is actually demonstrating higher skills right now.) Another thought (besides Armonty playing rush 3-tech) is that the Hawks will soon be going away from using Red Bryant at the 5-tech and incorporating a more traditional 4-3 personnel grouping. With his ability to stuff the run, Armonty would be a great trade-out for Red…they could just swap jerseys. ;)
As for the character concerns on Armonty…I’m just not that worried about low grades and selling a little smoke. I think it’s important to note that Bryant (to my knowledge) didn’t get caught USING weed, only selling it. I think it’s an important distinction. When you’re going to East Central University in po-dunk Oklahoma, chances are you’re not getting some of the same under-the-table fringe benefits an SEC player might be getting, and you might need a little extra cash. It almost shows an entrepreneurial spirit. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Plus it’s now basically legal if he’s drafted to Seattle or Denver. #Jokes.
#56- ECU DE Armonty Bryant (great steak knockoff)
Let’s get back to the OT conversation. The Hawks have had very few publicized interviews/visits with offensive linemen. One could interpret that as gamesmanship… keeping that which they covet the most farthest away from themselves. Too deep? The lone OL the Hawks HAVE been connected with (in terms of official interviews/visits), is David Quessenberry (Michelangelo test and straw).
He’s a 6’5”/302 LT with 5.06 speed and (supposed) versatility to play multiple positions on the line. The other two (Jordan Mills and Brennan Williams) have played exclusively at RT. I like all three of these guys, but I find myself preferring the two RT that could sit for a year behind Breno, but eventually take over for him. My favorite of the two, the one I think could contribute soonest, the one I hope is still on the board, and my pick for the Hawks at #87, is UNC tackle Brennan Williams.
Williams, via www.draftnasty.com
Williams is 6’6”/311 with 34” arms and a 40-time of 5.32. That time looks slow (you’d like to see somewhere at or below a 5.15), but I don’t see “slow” in Williams’ game film (for reference, DJ Fluker ran a 5.28). Some draft writers think Brennan lacks athleticism… I don’t see that either. In fact, Williams is a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do. For those that don’t know; Tae Kwon Do is basically the martial art of kicking people in their face until concussion. I’m exaggerating, but the point is; Williams is lighter on his feet than he’s been given credit for.
Honestly, when I watch Brennan, I would have guessed he has studied Judo. He really seems to have a great idea of when/where to use a pass-rusher’s momentum against him, and gets a lot of guys thrown to the ground. More than anything, I love how nasty this dude plays (Follow this link to his highlight reel.)
The other thing I like about Brennan is that he’s a bit of a character. I recently asked him what the name of his WWE character would be (he’s a big wrestling fan), and he answered, “Bushido Brown…the black samurai”). He’s also pretty close friends with UNC’s Jonathan Cooper (imagine having Williams recruiting Cooper to come to Seattle after his rookie contract runs out!). If Brennan is off the board before 87, I think there are a few other talented Tackles that could be found there and/or the 4th.
If the Hawks don’t go OT in the 3rd, my guess would be they go with a DB; either safety or corner. I have this nagging intuition the Hawks are gonna look at a safety early (even though I, personally, really would prefer to wait till much later. The Hawks have had such great success with late-round DB’s, I’m hoping they maintain that pattern.)
Duke Williams is a name we know Seattle has been associated with (was also recruited to USC years ago…not sure if that was under PC’s regime)…he would be available here and is a pretty talented player. I would expect DJ Swearinger (a personal favorite) and Phillip Thomas to be gone, but TJ McDonald and Josh Evans should remain. I’m not especially fond of either of the latter two though.
At CB, I think San Diego State’s Leon McFadden still makes a lot of sense in the 3rd. He is probably the player in this draft that reminds me most of Antoine Winfield. Leon is a professional. He plays more like a pocket linebacker with impressive tackling and cover skills. Love his click n' close, love his leadership, unsure of his ability to play inside (he was always playing outside when I watched his SDSU tape).
We also have to acknowledge the possibility of Honey Badger here. I don’t think he lasts till the 4th. I’m not a fan of Mathieu, but the Hawks DID have him in to VMAC for a visit, and that’s generally not a smokescreen (pun intended). However, I think there’s a similar player in this draft the Hawks SHOULD consider because he’ll come at half the price (more on this tomorrow).
#87- UNC OT Brennan Williams (two princes and a lead brick)
If Duke Williams is still on the board this late, he would be my first choice in the 4th, but that is doubtful. They could address OT if they haven’t already and take the Nate Solder clone: Reid Fragel (Canary grass rock). More likely, I think the 4th is a great spot to pick up an offensive weapon at WR or TE. I’m leaning more toward the TE, but it’s also possible (if the Hawks make a tradeback in the 2nd) that Seattle could get both.
WR Chris Harper is a name that many pundits feel is much underrated, and that could be available here. I’m not as high on him as others though. I would prefer a reach on FSU’s Rodney Smith (Beatup king and emo grandpa) to fill the big WR need. At 6’4”/225 with a 4.43 forty and big hands and long arms, Smith is like a thicker, yet quicker, version of Sidney Rice. Smith really caught my attention at the combine when I watched him run the gauntlet; hand-catching every pass away from his body with his friggen ov-gloves. Runs a pretty nice route for a big man too. If the Hawks don’t reach for him here, they may still revisit Rodney in a round that follows.
In my estimation, the player that best fits Seattle needs, that should be available at 123, and that has been connected to the Hawks, is San Jose State TE Ryan Otten. Otten gets a little overlooked because of an unfortunate staph infection that occurred during the Senior Bowl and lingered through the combine. His numbers from both of those are fairly useless as a result.
More recent numbers from his pro-day indicate he stands 6’5” and his weight is up to 241lbs (and gaining). With only a limited training time following his illness, Otten still posted a 4.65 forty time (quicker than Eifert, Ertz, Escobar, Kasa, McDonald, Rivera, Sims, Toilolo, and surprisingly Jordan Reed), and 17 reps on the bench (fewer than almost all of the just-mentioned TE’s). Blocking is a bit of a concern with Otten, as he played through college underweight for a TE. Still, there is effort and willingness to block in his film.
More importantly, Otten is a team captain and a really solid receiver. In 2012, as a San Jose State Team Captain, Ryan caught 47 balls for 742 yards (15.79ypc) and 4 TDs. Otten’s 15.79 placed him as the 5th-best TE in the FBS in yards per catch (the other Senior TE’s ahead of him were Ryan Griffin of Tulane and Travis Kelce). Otten also had 52 catches for 739 (14.21ypc) and 5 TD in 2011. His game reminds me a bit of Dennis Pitta (6’5”/245/4.68 in 2010).
#123- SJSU TE Ryan Otten (hopeful sniper rifle plus four)
So, after one batshit crazy pick in the 2nd, two fairly sensible picks in the 3rd and 4th, let’s get crazy again. With the first of their two 5th-round picks, Seattle takes Oklahoma State kicker Quinn Sharp. Truth be told, since the Hawks re-signed Steven Hauschka recently, I really don’t feel great about this pick anymore. But then again, Hauschka signed a minimal contract, suggesting the Hawks aren’t super committed to him. Plus, Sharp seems, to me, to be a better talent than Hausch. He’s certainly more versatile.
Prior to Hauschka’s signing, I had been looking to draft a place-kicker. Dustin Hopkins and Caleb Sturgis seemed to be the two hottest names. Sturgis was 11th in the country in FG% (85.7) and Hopkins was 13th (83.3). But then I looked at the kickoff numbers (more specifically the touchbacks)…this seemed to be a roundabout way to get a sense of how strong their legs were. In touchback percentage; Sturgis was 36th in the country (44.93), Hopkins was 45th (41.35). Not very impressive. Then I looked at the guys that were the best in the country in touchbacks: UCLA’s Jeff Locke (1st-76.40), Temple’s Brandon McManus (2nd-71.43), and OSU’s Quinn Sharp (3rd-69.61). Then I noticed that both Locke and Sharp were listed in the kicking stats as Punters. Hmmm…interesting.
I went back to look how Locke and Sharp fared in the FG% listing. Turns out Locke only handled punts and kickoffs. Sharp, however, was 18th in the country in FG%...only a few percentage points behind Hopkins and Sturgis at 82.4%. Sharp was also perfect on the year in PAT’s (whereas Hopkins and Sturgis each had one miss). But what about that “punter” designation?!
Sharp wasn’t listed on the national punting leaderboard. So I checked his punting stats directly: 44 punts for an average of 46.27 yards/per. Seemed like a high number. High enough to be on the leaderboard. It turns out the cutoff for inclusion on the punting leaderboard is a minimum of 45 punts. Had Sharp punted ONCE more in 2012, he would have qualified, and his average would have ranked 4th in the country. For reference, the highest projecting punters in this draft (Ryan Allen and Jeff Locke) averaged 48.84 and 43.34 yards respectively. Jon Ryan averaged 45.6 this year as a Seahawk.
It appears Sharp is top-10 in the country in both kicking and punting. That is crazy. It’s also an intriguing versatility. I wouldn’t think Schneider would elect to save a roster spot, use Sharp as both kicker and punter, with no in-game injury backup…but it would be possible.
At the very least, it would give the Hawks an exceptional backup at whichever position wasn’t Sharp’s primary duty. But is the two-fer-one specialist worth a 5th round pick? In 2012 alone, we saw a punter drafted in the 3rd round, and multiple kickers drafted in the 5th and 6th rounds. In 2011 first kicker/punter went off the board in the 4th, and in 2010 Zoltan Mesko was first specialist taken in the 5th. With the exception of 2008, the NFL has had a P/K selected by at least the 5th round every year for the last 20 years. Maybe this isn’t such a crazy pick after all.
#138- OSU K/P Quinn Sharp (Backup qb that isn’t very dull)
As much as I’d like to spend pick 138 on something else, there honestly isn’t much else I’m fiending over at this slot that can’t be had at 158. My only other interests here would be Rodney Smith, or Utah State RB Kerwynn Williams (Danley Shakespeare twins).
I love Kerwynn! Love that he’s still so close with our other Aggie alumni Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin. Love that Kerwynn is electric catching the ball out of the backfield. Love that he can return some kicks. But…after seeing how consistent the Hawks were at scouting BIG backs (220lbs +) this offseason, I’m just no longer convinced they want a COP back. I don’t think they’re going to look to replace Leon Washington with a RB similar to Wash. I think they are simply going to find another 220lb+ brute that can sit behind Marshawn and Turbo, and look to fill the return duties by a committee of WR/DBs.
This might be my favorite individual draft slot on the Seahawks entire docket. And it’s exciting to me because the Hawks CRUSH the 5th round! Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Korey Toomer (fingers crossed for health and studliness from Toomer in ‘13). I really think they’re gonna do it again this year, too. I’ve got two players I’m considering here…they both have 7th-round (or later) projections nationally…they both play WLB…they both can drop in coverage nicely…they both are ELECTRIC rushing the passer. It’s really tough to choose one over the other.
On the one hand, we’ve got a player I’ve been hyping up for months: Houston’s Phillip Steward (Vodka oj on a plane). The literal single highest-scorer in my defensive production matrix. That kind of distinction comes from 128 tackles, 19 TFL, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 3 INT. The guy hunts the football. What Steward lacks in size (6’1”/237) and speed (4.62) he makes up for in instincts and determination. Marks of 26 bench reps, 34.5” vert, and 10’02” broad are very solid as well.
On the other hand at 5b, we’ve got a player I have been trying so hard to keep under the radar since I found him: Southern Illinois’ Jayson Dimanche. Dimanche I first discovered back in March when he stole the show while testing at Northwestern’s pro day. We’re talking: 6’1”/231/4.53/24 reps/38” vert/11’00” broad.
For context; had Dimanche tested at the combine, his 4.53 forty would have ranked 2nd among all LB behind the insanely fast Zaviar Gooden (4.47). Gooden, who was a player I was one of the first in the country to tout, is a nice comparison for Dimanche. Gooden measured 6’1”/234/4.47/27 reps/34” vert/10’11” broad at the combine. The major differences between the two are decisiveness and pass rush.
Dimanche is a pretty incredible pass-rusher. He could really almost be an undersized DE/Leo. This season Jayson finished with 8 sacks and 15 TFL (compared to Gooden’s 0 sacks and 4 TFL). The highlight reel of Dimanche’s career is pretty sick:
As much as I like that video, what really sold me on Dimanche was the video of him at practice:
I just shake my head at some of that stuff (the hurdle, the speed to power versus lineman, the board exercise). In my research I also discovered that Dimanche was a team captain. I always like those. I also managed to get ahold of Jayson himself, and asked him a couple questions (primarily what the Seahawks interest has been in him)…keep in mind, this was from back in the middle of March, when Dimanche wasn’t getting near the buzz he is now. A couple of his quotes:
“Seattle is actually one of the teams showing a little interest right now.”
And when asked what position the Hawks had been talking to him about, he said specifically: “They said LB on the weak side.”
Due to the fact that we have documented interest from the Hawks on only one of my two OLB picks, for the final choice at #158, I’m selecting the one that the Hawks have known interest in: SIU’s Jayson Dimanche. Plus I just think his speed is more Carroll-ish.
#158- SIU OLB Jayson Dimanche (Magpie kid on Sunday)
#56- ECU DE Armonty Bryant
#87- UNC OT Brennan Williams
#123- SJSU TE Ryan Otten
#138- OSU K/P Quinn Sharp
#158- SIU OLB Jayson Dimanche
This is where we’ll leave things for today. Hope you like how I was thinking so far. I’ll be posting the final five projections from rounds 6 and 7 first thing Friday morning, before the opening pick of day two.