MOCK MY DRAFT
I hesitate to publish a mock draft because in less than two weeks it will likely look laughable when compared to what transpires. Nevertheless, I did want to share my thoughts as the Draft approaches. My mock draft will likely look very different than most regarding our beloved Seahawks. I approach this whole draft process a bit different than most people that put together mock drafts. Most writers do a combination of watching clips of the best players, reading scouting reports, reading other mock drafts, and trying to project the needs of all 32 teams.
I do watch clips and read scouting reports, but I don't spend a ton of time projecting other teams besides the Seahawks. I have some opinions on other teams in the NFCW, and I do have opinions on almost every team, but I don't go in-depth and study other NFL teams.
My approach is different. I do talk to other writers/fans that watch a lot more tape than myself. I also watch clips and track combine/pro day numbers. What I do, that is probably different, is I look deeply at the salary cap two to three years into the future. I try to study club control, age progression, and salary cap constraints. I try to project what the free agent market is paying players at different positions and skill levels and try to match them up with what current Seahawks may cost in the future.
Another thing I do is try to listen to every interview done by Pete Carroll and John Schneider over the past 3-4 years, and many of these interviews I listen to 2-3x. In these interviews I am always looking for clues as to the Seahawks thought process on their current roster, the draft, and free agency.
I also keep close track of the type of players the Seahawks are bringing in for workouts and interviews- and look for common threads over the last 3-4 years. I believe that the players that they bring in and do not sign still provide signals and clues as to what they may be looking for.
(All measurements are courtesy of the PFW Draft Book or nfldraftscout.com)
Lastly, one of my pet peeves is that many mock drafts project players that I believe are LONG GONE a round prior to the pick, or at least 10 picks prior to the pick. I try to avoid that here. One last thing, with Danny Kelly out of town, there are no embedded clips of these players, but you can hunt clips of these players down on YouTube.
I think the Seahawks will try to draft two times in the 4th round. The Seahawks have drafted twice in the 4th round in all three of their previous drafts. Their early pick in the 4th round is usually a "hit" and the second one has not fared quite as well.
What is the best way to pick up another 4th round draft pick? Glad you asked. Sliding down from your 2nd round pick. The 56th pick is worth 340 points per "The Chart". This means that sliding down toward the very bottom of the 2nd round would net you another 4th round pick in the bottom of the 4th round. If you were willing to slide further, to the top of the 3rd round, you would net a pick in the upper part of the 4th round. I can see either of these two scenarios playing out on draft day for the Seahawks.
With that in mind, my pick for the Seahawks- whether it is in bottom of the 2nd round or top of the 3rd round is:
DL WILLIAM GHOLSTON, Michigan State (6-6 1/4, 281, 4.96 forty, 34 arms, 10 3/8 hands)
Gholston is very likely NOT the best player available when Seattle picks, and I have zero inside information that the Seahawks like Gholston. There are many reasons to not like Gholston. He is not an explosive edge rusher and does not project to be a 4-3 DE in the NFL. He plays high and is not an elite athlete. Some reports say he has some maturity issues. Being the cousin of Vernon Gholston also likely does not help his cause. He is widely considered a 3rd or 4th round pick by most pundits.
Here is why I can't shake the Ghost of Gholston, even though I am alone on an island. The Seahawks have shown a fascination with 3-4-Defensive-Ends-With-Length for their Base 3tech position. The Seahawks signed Alan Branch, a 3-4 DE in Arizona who is 6-6. Additionally, the Seahawks inquired about these three DL in the 2013 free agency period:
Tony McDaniel: 6-7, 305, signed by the Seahawks, had experience in Miami in a 3-4 system before they switched to 4-3 system.
Vaughn Martin: 6-4, 297, signed with Miami, does not have incredible length, but did play in a 3-4 system at San Diego.
Ropati Pitoitua: 6-8, 315, signed by Tennessee but played in two 3-4 systems with the Jets and the Chiefs.
From listening to recent interviews, Schneider was complimentary of the Desmond Bryant signing by Cleveland. Bryant left a 4-3 system in Oakland, but is joining a 3-4 system as a DE in Cleveland. When Bryant left Harvard in 2009, undrafted, he was 6-6, weighed 288, and was listed as a DE. I had also heard Seattle had interest in Glen Dorsey, who does not have great length, but does have experience as a 3-4 DE.
Lastly, one of the reasons Alan Branch had no home in Arizona was because Arizona had decided that their DL would be Darnell Dockett, Dan Williams, and Calais Campbell. When Campbell left Miami, in 2008, he was listed at 6-8, 290, as a DE. Campbell is now listed at 300 pounds.
Most project Gholston to be a 3-4 DE in the NFL, and he could put on 15-20 pounds over the next year or so and weigh in closer to 300 pounds. He has a large frame. I think he will be one of the better 3-4 DEs available around the bottom of the 2nd round or top of the 3rd round. In 2012, Gholston had 59 tackles, 13 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF and 10 batted passes.
Bigger names, ranked ahead of Gholston, that may fit this profile, are guys like Johnathan Hankins, John Jenkins, Margus Hunt, and Kawann Short. Besides Hunt, most of these guys do not have incredible length. Other names that could come after Gholston could be Joe Kruger (6-6 1/4, 269, 34 3/8 arms) and Devin Taylor (6-7, 266, 36 arms). Still, I think Gholston has the best frame to hit 300 pounds and be an athletic 3T, in the mold of a 3-4 DE, in the Seahawks hybrid system. Most importantly, he will likely be there when the Seahawks pick.
I have made it no secret that I think the Seahawks will draft an Offensive Tackle early in the Draft. With the signing of Antoine Winfield and the winds of a possible extension of Kam Chancellor this summer, I think either Paul McQuistan or Mike Robinson will be a cap casualty before the 2013 season opener. Mike Robinson provides incredible leadership and McQuistan provides incredible flexibility on the Offensive Line. That being said, they are both free agents after 2013 and they are both sniffing 30 years of age. Players nearing the 29-31 year old age mark tend to not fare well in the PCJS system. Washington, Trufant, Hill, Omiyale, and Obomanu were all sniffing that age-mark and are now no longer Seahawks.
Additionally, the only four Offensive Tackles currently on the roster are Okung, Giacomini, McQuistan and Mike Person. Mike Person is no lock to make the roster. Omiyale remains unsigned. McQuistan is set to earn $3.375M in cap without a guaranteed spot in the starting lineup. Barring injury, I believe the Seahawks ideal OL in 2013 is Okung, Carpenter, Unger, Sweezy and Giacomini. I think the Seahawks like Rishaw Johnson, John Moffitt and Lemuel Jeanpierre as depth. Giacomini and Mcquistan are free agents in 2013. The Seahawks need to add to their Tackle depth.
With Harvin's salary escalating, from $4.9M in 2013 to $13.4M in 2014, I believe the Seahawks must find some "starters" on offense on rookie contracts in 2014. Following my "rule of 18"- the salary cap makes it very difficult to pay more than 18 players more than $2M per year. That means on offense you can really only "pay" 8-9 players. Right now the Seahawks are saving at the QB position and the RG position, but as the defense becomes more expensive, I think they need to find some savings at Fullback and Right Tackle over the next four years.
The cleanest way to keep the 2014 Offensive Cap near $70M (I believe the Offensive Cap in 2014 should be around $70M, the Defensive Cap around $58M, and Specialists around $3M for a total of $131M) is to play a Right Tackle, Right Guard and Fullback on rookie contracts. Russell Wilson will still be cheap in 2014, but will likely get an extension in 2015. This type of flexibility could allow you to re-up Tate if you so desired as the 3rd WR.
The Seahawks were willing to spend a 1st round Draft pick in 2011 on a Right Tackle in James Carpenter. That move at Right Tackle did not work out and they moved him to Guard, which the Seahawks knew was a distinct possibility since the day they drafted him. I had heard their ideal scenario was to land Nate Solder in the 1st round, (he went to the Patriots) and James Carpenter in the 2nd round. Solder was their ideal Right Tackle and Carpenter their ideal power Guard. Nate Solder is 6-8. Breno Giacomini is 6-8. Breno is also an former basketball player.
I studied up hard on Kyle Long, Terron Armstead, Brennan Williams and Jordan Hill. I have looked into Dallas Thomas, David Bakhtiari, and David Quessenberry. None of these players quite "rang the bell" with me, and I tried to fit them in. Menelik Watson and DJ Fluker will both be long gone by the time the Seahawks pick at 56, let alone the 3rd round. You may laugh, but my pick for the Seahawks at the bottom of Round 3 is:
OT LUKE MARQUARDT, Azuza Pacific (6-8 1/2, 315, 34 1/2 arms)
If you think Gholston is a reach, this is likely another incredible reach by the "Draft Experts". That being said, the Seahawks don't pick the "best player available", they pick the best "fit". Marquardt is a former basketball player with unusual size and is a good athlete. He is a raw football player who played inferior competition, and has some injury issues with his right foot.
If the doctors check out his foot, it sounds like he broke his navicular bone, I can see him being the Seahawks pick. The Seahawks love length, and from reports, football is important to Marquardt. He also has ties to the Seattle area. You can get Marquardt in the 3rd round, most mock drafts have him projected much later. Marquardt could develop under Tom Cable during his rookie year and possibly be ready to start in 2014 at Right Tackle.
I will pick up the pace, because this article is getting really long.
Most people think the Seahawks will take a WLB early. For some reason, I think the Seahawks are minimalizing the WLB position in 2013. The Seahawks signed Avril and have mentioned that they will play him, at times, at strongside linebacker. Dan Quinn said that Avril would play as a linebacker "on the line of scrimmage" on a recent interview on Softy. That means that KJ Wright will be playing some weakside linebacker at times.
I think we also forget that Leroy Hill would sometimes play SAM in the last few years, and sometimes KJ lined up on the weakside. Leroy has played both outside linebacker spots since he was a rookie in 2005. I don't think WLB is ideal for KJ, but he can do it and has done it. Malcolm Smith can play WLB as well. Spending $3M on a nickel corner in Winfield also lends itself to the idea that the WLB may be on the field less than 40% of the snaps. The weakside linebacker is a part time player as it stands today, and the NFL is passing more than ever before.
I actually think the Seahawks may draft a third safety before they draft a weakside linebacker. Additionally, there are not a lot of weakside linebackers with speed in this year's draft. Korey Toomer, Bobby Wagner (and Mychal Kendricks) and Malcolm Smith all have 4.4 to 4.5 speed. To be a Seahawk- you typically need to have unusual length or unusual speed. Kam Chancellor, on a recent interview on Ian Furness, says he weighs in at 234 pounds. Kam is as big as many weakside linebackers. The Seahawks could play Kam, and two additional safeties, on the field at the same time, and not be "too small' to stop the run.
There were rumors the Seahawks would consider Mark Barron with their 1st round pick in 2012 and play three safeties. The Seahawks have drafted at least one safety in every PCJS Draft. Drafting another safety could give the Seahawks leverage in their upcoming negotiations with Kam and Earl, and can provide sub-package flexibility and injury protection at the position. The Seahawks brought in a safety from Nevada for a VMAC visit named-
S DUKE WILLIAMS, Nevada (5-11, 203, 4.52 forty)
I think this would be a worthy pick in the 4th round, and the Seahawks could find ways to play Williams in sub-packages similar to what they did with Kam in 2010 and Atari in 2011. He could also start if somehow you lost Kam or Earl to injury or some other happening. I know Derek Stephens likes this player as he has speed, ball skills and a physical nature.
For the second pick in round 4 (since they traded down in this mock) I have a the best Fullback/H-Back in the Draft-
FB KYLE JUSZCZYK, Harvard (6-1 3/8, 248, 4.75 forty)
Juszczyk, posted 52 catches, 706 yards, and 8 touchdowns as a fullback-H-back in 2012. Juszczyk also had a VMAC visit and is known to have the competitiveness and mental mindset that Pete Carroll loves. This will be an unpopular pick if it happens, but would create incredible multi-year savings and likely a talent upgrade at Fullback-H-Back. I thought he would be an option in Round 5, but there are reports that he will go in the 4thRound. Other fullbacks/H-backs that could be considerations later could be Latavius Murray and Willie Carter.
Let's keep cranking-
TE RYAN OTTEN, San Jose State (6-5 3/4, 230, 4.75 forty, 33 3/8 arm, 9 5/8 hand)
Walter Football says the Seahawks have shown interest in Otten. Otten is a "move TE" that is more similar to a big WR. He is not a strong in-line blocker, but was a Team Captain and has good hands. Otten improved his weight to 241 at his Pro Day and ran a 4.69. Otten could be the "move TE" the Seahawks have been looking for, and he could be had in the 5th round.
OT REID FRAGEL, Ohio State (6-7 5/8, 308, 33 arm, 10 5/8 hand)
This is the only pick I am not sure will be there in the 5th round, even though many experts think he will be there in the 5th round. Fragel is a converted TE who does not have long arms for his height (33 arm), but does have an 80 inch wingspan, per Jared Stanger, who brought Fragel to my attention. I think this would be a great pick as a developmental tackle. Again, he has the length and toughness the Seahawks like.
CB JEREMY HARRIS, New Mexico State (6-2 3/8, 181, 4.48 forty, 6.99 3cone, 36.5 vert)
I originally had the Seahawks taking CB Will Davis as a nickel corner in the 4th round, before the Winfield signing. Now, post-Winfield, I am thinking the Seahawks wait in the draft, and take a corner that can play more on the outside in their system. I could also see a hybrid type player- like a Jeremy Lane who could possibly play inside and outside. It is hard to find film on this guy, but Jeremy Harris recently visited the VMAC and has Pre-Draft visits with the Chiefs and Colts. Harris has the length Pete likes and Scott Enyeart mentions that Pete would know him from Southern California circles. Harris likely needs to get a lot stronger with only 5 reps on the bench and weighing only 181. This could be your 6th corner and could be a developmental player in 2013.
WLB PHILLIP STEWARD, Houston (6-0, 237, 4.62 forty, 34.5 vert)
Danny Kelly, Matt Erickson and Jared Stanger, among others, have been following this player for a while. I have no idea why people don't rate this guy higher, but he is considered a late round/UDFA type player. Steward racked up crazy stats in sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions and tackles during his career at Houston.
RB RAYON SIMMONS, Winona State (5-8 7/8, 223, 4.67 forty, 32 vert, 6.83 3cone)
The Seahawks have shown some interest in Simmons, who rushed for 1586 yards and 18 TDs in 2012.
WR ERIC ROGERS, Cal Lutheran (6-3, 206, 4.50 forty, 37 vert, 7.08 3cone)
The Seahawks were one of 11 teams at Rogers Pro Day in March. Small school prospect with incredible production, but is a likely 7th round or UDFA type player.
DE RUFUS JOHNSON, Tarleton State (6-4 1/2, 266, 4.75 forty, 34.5 vert)
The Seahawks brought Rufus Johnson into the VMAC and they like to take fliers in the 7th round on Defensive Linemen.