It's been a few weeks since we caught up with Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog, but I had the chance to ask him a few questions related to the scouting of college players and what he thought of the 2011 NFL Draft. Read on to hear some of his thoughts.
DK: What can you tell us about Georgia RB Caleb King? He recently declared himself eligible for the supplemental draft. Would he be someone worth taking a look at if you're the Seahawks?
RS: King is going to need to go to the UFL in my opinion and try to prove that he's worth a shot in the NFL. I'm not convinced any team will bite in the supplemental draft. You're talking about a run of the mill, between the tackles runner without electrifying speed or elusiveness - the kind you find in any draft. His experience in college football is limited and so is the production. Why would you spend a 2012 draft pick on him now? If you were after a late round running back, you drafted one last April when there was some decent depth at the position. I doubt the Seahawks will show any interest here.
DK: Because we can't talk Seahawks without talking quarterbacks...
You've talked on Seahawks Draft Blog a bit recently about Terrelle Pryor. He seems to have captured the interest of some Seahawks fans, but by most accounts only if he comes cheaply. You stated, and I agree, that the Seahawks are probably as likely as any team to take a flyer on him.
At the risk of repeating what you've already printed, what are some ways you could see the Seahawks using him? In wildcat formations, sort of like the Jets used Brad Smith? A move to wide receiver? An attempt to develop him as a every-down QB? Purely speculative of course, but what are your thoughts as Pryor pertains to the Hawks plans moving forward?
RS: If the Seahawks are interested in Terrelle Pryor, it's because they believe he can become a quarterback. I think you only consider a position change if after making the investment he just doesn't show the necessary development as a passer.
Seattle's existing need at quarterback and the lack of a young 'project' on the roster is the reason I would say the Seahawks are as likely as anyone to show interest. You're talking about an excellent physical specimen with ideal size and an incredible ability to extend plays by avoiding pressure.
However, he's a thrower not a passer right now. There's no touch or technique to his throws and he's a substantial project as a pro-quarterback. He needs a minimum of at least two years working with an excellent quarterback coach and/or offensive coordinator working with the same playbook. He's not even at the level right now where you could work from a watered down playbook with a few easy passes and boot legs and get an adequate level of play.
If he's prepared to work hard and appreciate the improvements he needs to make, you could find yourself a bargain with a round 4-6 pick in the supplemental draft. That may be the main problem though because is he really going to do the ground work? Is he going to buy into a system, a coach, a team? In some ways he's an obvious candidate for Pete Carroll's next Mike Williams, Leon Washington, Marshawn Lynch-type project - someone he can take a chance on at a low price who others have written off. But we're not talking about a skill player here, we're talking about a quarterback - the most important position on the team.
In some ways Carroll is the ideal coach for a guy like Pryor, I'm just not convinced Pryor is the ideal guy for Carroll.
DK: More on quarterbacks...
Previously this offseason, you mentioned Adam Weber of Minnesota as a possible UDFA QB target for the Hawks. Since then, Josh Portis has a rumored link, many fans have mentioned Adam Froman, the list goes on. Do you still see Weber as a target? If so why? What do you think of Portis' chances if he were picked up? Further, any other QBs on your radar that haven't been talked about much?
Weber has an arm and can move around, which is the main reason I touted him for Seattle as a possible camp body. His height is a problem. He did a better job limiting his turnovers last year and only had two picks against USC and Purdue. I think he did a good job against Wisconsin and Illinois, but really you're not pinning much hope in these UDFA quarterbacks because they generally are just clipboard holders and scout team possibilities.
Portis is in the same boat that he's athletic and can get the ball downfield (based on highlights I've watched only). Given the team's lack of any quarterback for the future if any of these players were perceived to be potential starters down the line you suspect at the very least they'd have been snapped up in the late rounds of the draft. I've never scouted Josh Portis so can't comment specifically on his abilities, but if he is given a shot by Seattle all we can do is wish him the best.
DK: Just in general, whose draft did you like the most, for teams in the NFC West? People sort of know how the Hawks did - and naturally the jury is still out on everything, but did you love or hate what the 49ers, Cardinals, or Rams did this year?
I think the Rams had a really strong draft and without doubt they are the team the Seahawks need to worry about the most. Robert Quinn is not faultless by any means, but he's joining the ideal team. That defensive line is growing very nicely and the head coach knows how to coach a Championship winning pass-rush.
They spent their next three picks on targets for Sam Bradford in tight end Lance Kendricks and receivers Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. Josh McDaniels has many faults, but his offensive scheme generates passing yards and we saw how Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd benefitted last year. McDaniels may be the second best thing St. Louis did after drafting Bradford and in Salas he'll have a reliable if unspectacular target.
The one area of concern is the interior offensive line - specifically the two guard slots. I expect that will be a target in free agency. Linebacker also needs attention. I want to be positive about the Seahawks chances in the NFC West - but St. Louis have created a very good defensive line that will generate pressure, they already have a strong running game and they've added a couple of solid receivers for their soon-to-be stud quarterback. That is some platform to build a contender and it wouldn't shock me if they not only won the NFC West this year, but also made a fist of it in the playoffs.
The other two teams I feel less enthusiastic about. I like Aldon Smith in San Fran but I pinned him as a 4-3 defensive end rather than a 3-4 OLB. It concerns me a little bit that he returned very quickly from a serious injury last season and didn't look as sharp as 2009. They've taken a chance on Colin Kaepernick and he comes into a good situation with two good receiving options and a running game - they should see what they have with CK instead of going back down the Alex Smith road. You have to ask though - should they have taken Blaine Gabbert? I would've done so, knowing I had the weapons to help him start early. If Gabbert succeeds, it defines the 49ers draft because they passed. It would've been a great place for Gabbert, but Harbaugh knows quarterbacks I suppose.
Kendall Hunter is a value pick in round four, but the questions marks will remain at quarterback (unless Kaepernick hits the ground running) and in the secondary (they did spend a third rounder on Chris Culliver). Better coaching will significantly help the 49ers.
It's the same question with Arizona really - you've passed on Blaine Gabbert knowing he'd be throwing to Larry Fitzgerald. It doesn't matter how good Patrick Peterson is at cornerback if Gabbert is lighting up the AFC South with Jacksonville. You have an elite receiver and a farce of a quarterback situation. Sure, they need more in the secondary - it was a big need. But Arizona went from repeat NFC West champs, playoff contenders and Super Bowl runners up to irrelevant because they went from Kurt Warner to Max Hall.
Yes they are probably going to sign a veteran and that may provide enough of a stop gap. But what about the year after? Or the year after that? If they trade DRC for Kevin Kolb, they could end up with an expensive investment in Kolb and a mere shuffling of deckchairs in the secondary. I just don't see the point spending top money on Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree if you're going to pinch hit at quarterback. It doesn't mean reaching for a player you don't trust and both Washington and Tennessee agreed with AZ and SF on Gabbert. However, I liked his physical qualities and his accuracy - and he now has that added factor that several teams passed. My sources had Gabbert as the top ranked quarterback on Seattle's board.