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NFL Draft scouting for 2014: Jared's Gems, Week 5

The weekly look at college football players worth the Seahawks draft attention.

Putting the Jared in Jared's Gems
Putting the Jared in Jared's Gems
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a late-day edition of the Gems…thanks to me being lazy, knowing I would have my entire offday today to write it. I was also, subconsciously, stalling in hopes the delay would allow some more inspiring tape(s) to pop up on for me to use. Kinda slim pickings this week.

If you follow me on twitter you may have tweevesdropped on my conversation recently about Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis. In fact, I wish someone would remind me who/when/where I had that conversation (with) so I could embed the tweet and give credit to the follower that pointed out that Abbrederis was a favorite target of Russell Wilson in 2011.

Leap forward to week 5 of the 2013 college season and Abbrederis is coming off a huge performance against a highly ranked Ohio State program, and even more specifically…Jared pretty much lit up the highly touted OSU CB Bradley Roby to the tune of 10 catches/207 yards/1 TD. Not all of that was against Roby, but you get the idea. Abbrederis is listed at 6’2”/190, which is a great size for a WR, and he comes with estimated 4.52 speed. I’ll be more curious to see what kind of times he puts up in agility tests, as he has some of the sharpest cuts in/out of his breaks that I’ve seen this year. His routes are pristine (See 1:13). I’d venture to say he’s Doug Baldwin-esque with more height. Here is the fresh tape vs Ohio State:

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For the season, Jared is 5th in the country in receiving yards (572), and ranks highly in YPC (17.33), receptions/gm (6.6), and he’s doing it with really mediocre QB play from Joel Stave. Abb’s been fairly consistent with these kinds of numbers since he’s been at Wisconsin: 49/837/17.08ypc/5TD in 2012, 55/933/16.96ypc/8TD in 2011 (with Russell). Also worth noting in 2011, Abbrederis was very impressive on ST; 15.75 ypr on punts (4th in the country…ahead of Honey Badger), 24.61 ypr on kickoffs. I’d really like to know how Abb fares in yards after contact, cause on paper he really seems like a solid “hedge” for Golden Tate during Tate’s contract negotiations. At the very least, he’s comparable to Jermaine Kearse, and projecting in the 3rd round (with a bullet). Considering Kearse was an UDFA, tough to see the Hawks actually pull the trigger on Abbrederis in the 3rd.

One of my favorite Seahawks since this preseason has been Michael Bennett. Dude is motor personified and tons of heart. Noting some of the other Seahawk transactions (and attempted transactions) of recent, I think the team likes the Bennett “type”. So I’ve been keeping my eye out in every college tape for a Michael Bennett type. Turns out, as I discovered this week, I should have just been looking for Michael Bennett.

Let me explain. I was sitting at my computer watching tape on Ohio State’s LB Ryan Shazier…not really a guy I see Seattle needing or considering, but a fun guy to watch. The game was the same OSU/Wisc game from above. As I am prone to instinctively do, I sometimes unfocus from the highlighted player and just watch the game in general. #63 of OSU catches my eye at the 4:10 mark:

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I abandon watching Shazier, rewind the tape, and focus on #63 from the beginning. He is way too undersized to anchor against double teams. This is a 3-tech only. Ooh…rip move at 2:00 is NICE. Does it again at 5:12. This is the same Wisconsin OLine that shutdown Will Sutton a couple weeks ago. Who is this kid? I go to the OSU roster page and what to my surprise…this, ladies and gentlemen, is Michael Bennett. Yep. Same name. But let’s look at a true comparison, pro vs am:

MB72: 6’4”/274/4.86 forty

Junior Year (12 games): 43 tackles, 6 TFL, 1 sack, 4 PBU, 1 FF

MB63: 6’3”/285/4.92 (*estimate)

Junior Year (pace): 30 tackles, 9 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 6 FF

The pro version is clearly more of a DE that plays inside, whereas the college is a DT that sometimes moves outside. There is noticeable speed and snap anticipation differences (favoring 72). But…we’re also comparing a finished product to an uncut gem. We have to keep in context what the older Bennett WAS when he came out of A&M in 2009: an UDFA. The younger Bennett is a Junior and, up to this point, I’ve never heard his name mentioned in national draft media. It’s highly unlikely he enters the draft this year. But I do like his game…and it’ll be an easy name to remember in 2015.

Let’s get back to some offensive linemen. I talked a lot about OL last week, and clearly after what Houston did to us (especially in the 1st half) this is not a unit that is by any means set. Even when we get Okung/Unger/Breno back healthy, I still think this needs to be a stronger, deeper position group.

I caught part of a twitter thread this week with Derek Stephens talking about John Schneider visiting Notre Dame recently. Derek’s thoughts went to Schneider scouting ND’s two touted D-linemen: Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt I. I’m kinda wondering if he wasn’t watching their O-line. Their LG Chris Watt is currently projecting as a day 3 player, and the LT Zack Martin is getting some mid-2nd round love. I really like Martin, so let’s take a look at him.

Up to this point I haven’t featured Martin as I was waiting for a 2013 game…it has yet to happen, so I’m forced to use his tape from the national championship game last year (which is actually a pretty good opponent to evaluate from):

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It’s worth noting that, for some reason, some draft outlets are projecting that Martin will be forced to move inside to Guard in the pros. It seems odd conjecture and I’m not sure I see cause for that. Right tackle? Maybe. I don’t know that I’d need to make him a guard though. Listed at 6’4”/308, Martin isn’t the biggest LT in the game, but he’s certainly not too small. More importantly, look at Zack in his 3-pt stance (pause at 0:55 mark)…hand on the ground, barely any bend in the knee, back almost flat, his reach looks well above average.

I don’t have much problem with Martin in pass-pro, but I love him as a run-blocker. Watch the play at 1:24 where Martin blocks with the LG in on the Alabama DT (Jesse Williams, actually) and then pulls off in time to get a chip on the LB (CJ Mosley) breaking in on the play, thereby giving Riddick a clear lane running straight up the gut. There is nothing as demoralizing and #ToThePain as winning at running straight at and over an opponent. This is what the Seahawks profess to be all about. This might be what John Schneider was in South Bend looking for. And if he was there for the Oklahoma game, he probably saw the Irish gash OU to the tune of 220 yards rushing (7.59ypc).

Another bit of draft rumoring I caught word of this week was Tony Pauline’s reporting that Stanford redshirt-Junior OL David Yankey is leaning towards turning pro. This would be pretty fantastic news as I am currently massively underwhelmed by the selection of OG’s going into the 2014 draft. There’s Cyril Richardson…a legitimate 1st round candidate; Gabe Jackson…an early 2nd that I wouldn’t personally touch till the 3rd; and then nothing until basically the 5th round. Yankey would certainly spice things up.

Listed at 6’5”/312, Yankey is sort of the Jonathan Cooper of this year to Richardson’s Chance Warmack (Richardson runs about 6’5”/340). One is a mauler, the other is more of an athletic tactician. Both players are talented enough that they have spent past seasons at LT. Smartly though, each has been moved back inside this year to LG. I don’t have a feel for which type of player the Hawks would prefer. They currently have Carpenter at LG, and he more closely resembles Richardson, but at RG we have Sweezy who is very much more of the athletic Yankey body type.

If I had my druthers and both players fell to the Seahawks…I think I go with David Yankey. I see a more versatile and complete player in him. Plus, there’s just something about the Stanford connection on the Hawks, and the way the 2013 Cardinal run the ball. Their short-yardage game is a thing of brutal beauty…of breauty:

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Poor Will Sutton. Guy just keeps running into massive O-Lines. It’s like the weight he’s added this year have completely ruined his balance. He’s just top heavy and has spent large amounts of this season getting blocked to the ground.

Anyways…Yankey…I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in CFB this year who pulls as well or as often as Stanford pulls him. His footwork is really impressive. But I don’t understand the timing/efficacy of when they pull Yankey. It would seem to me, you pull a guard so as to either follow him through the line, or to run through the open space he had been occupying at snap. Stanford regularly accomplishes neither.

To me, it looks like Stanford has to be be missing Stepfan Taylor. Their #1 RB this year doesn’t seem to know how to follow his blockers through the line…note the 2:49 mark where TE and LT seal off one side of the ASU D-line, Yankey and the Center seal the other, but the FB and RB don’t run straight up the opened running lane, and instead try to turn it outside-left. Instead of an easy 2-yard gain (if not a TD if the FB gets the block on the MLB), they take a 2-yard loss. A couple plays later, the FB takes the right line, and makes a block on the LB, but Gaffney hadn’t followed him and tries to make it the hard way over the pile. Just bizarre decision-making. Stanford really ought to give more snaps to Anthony Wilkerson…he’s probably a lesser talent, but he does what he’s supposed to do.

Stanford is still managing to put up 5.32ypc as a team…good enough for 24th in the country. Wisconsin and Baylor (who have clearly more studly RB) are #2 and #3 in the country respectively. These are O-lines to pay attention to going forward.

And film-study of their individual lineman confirms it. Yankey, Richardson, and Wisconsin’s Ryan Groy are my three favorite OG I’ve seen so far this year. And if there’s one thing that can distract me from my man-crush fueled WANT to draft Jordan Matthews, it’s my pragmatic need to first fill Seahawk team NEEDS. Right now…we need OL and we need them healthy.