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NFL Draft 2015: Senior Bowl roster taking shape and looking good

The announced roster of Senior Bowl players with focus on those of most interest to Seahawks and 12s.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Another batch of the names of players that have accepted invitations to the upcoming Senior Bowl were announced on Monday, bringing the total number up to over 60 players, and I have to say…Phil Savage and company are absolutely CRUSHING it this year. Keep in mind that the Senior Bowl has modified it’s standards for participation to include some Juniors (through redshirt or academic standing), but none of those have been announced yet. I did read that Marcus Mariota was invited, but it sounds like he will be declining. And you will see why in a moment.

We’ll take a look at the list so far and I’ll highlight some of my favorites to be future Seahawks:


Even without underclassmen considered, this is one hell of a year for edge rushers. This is the real reason that Mariota is probably not going to play:

Corey Crawford – Clemson, Bud Dupree – Kentucky, Trey Flowers – Arkansas, Geneo Grissom – Oklahoma, Hau’oli Kikaha – Washington, Owamagbe Odighizuwa – UCLA, Nate Orchard – Utah, Preston Smith – Mississippi State.

I mean, right off the bat, they got the #1 and #2 sackers in the country in Kikaha and Orchard. Those two are your pretty prototypical LEO-built players. Here’s some of the local fave, Kikaha:


We should note, the Senior Bowl also will feature players like Lorenzo Mauldin – Louisville, Zach Hodges – Harvard, and Lynden Trail – Norfolk State; that could play DE, but are listed as OLB’s by whoever decides those things. Those three are just as much edge rushers as the literal DE. And Mauldin and Hodges also have that LEO size. Dupree, Flowers, Grissom, ODG, and Smith are bigger (260+) and look more the part of a traditional 4-3 DE.

There is honestly not a bad name in that group. I’ve written before on pretty much every one of them in prior stories. I’m on the record with my top 4 rushers (including the Juniors) as: Dupree, Mauldin, Kikaha, Orchard (I’m also very high on the recently declared Junior Eli Harold). Those guys should all end up picked in the first two rounds. But don’t sleep on Preston Smith.

Smith is currently sitting at #125 overall per NFLdraftscout, but I think as recently as 3 days ago, he was more like #91. I think we’ll see him pop back up closer to the 70 range come draft week. With a listed frame of 6’5"/270, an ability to play some inside 3-tech pass rusher, and a season line of 9.0 sacks, 14.5 TFL, 2 INT, 2 FF, 3 PBU, 2 blocked kicks, and 15 QB hurries…Smith has really made huge improvements his senior year.

ODG is a really impressively built human and his SPARQ should reflect it, but I see his tape as the most-raw and inconsistent of this group. I like Corey Crawford, but in more of a day-3-option kind of way. Grissom I’d like to see more tape on. Actually, I would like to see him at OLB, where Oklahoma was trying him out a bit this year. He could be an interesting guy with a KJ Wright kind of comp.

I’m tentatively budgeting for a DE pick in the first two rounds. With Dupree, Mauldin, Kikaha, Orchard, Harold, Smith all on my list, plus the guys like Beasley, Ray, Gregory that are projected IN FRONT of my personal list; the chances the Hawks can get a stud DE in the 1st are like 99%. And probably about 55% they could get him at the end of the 2nd.


Kevin Johnson – Wake Forest, Ifo Ekpre-Olumu – Oregon, Quinten Rollins – Miami (Ohio), Steven Nelson – Oregon State, Eric Rowe – Utah, Ladarius Gunter – Miami, D’Joun Smith – FAU, Senquez Golson – Ole Miss, Quandre Diggs – Texas, Imoan Claiborne – Northwestern State

As a Seahawk fan, I am immediately drawn to the CB that are 6’0" or taller. That narrows my list down to Johnson, Rollins, Rowe, Gunter…and all four of those have been featured in prior editions of "Jared’s Gems". We talked Rollins in the Mock Draft, Gunter and Johnson were featured in the preseason Gems, and Rowe we first previewed in early September.

Of these four, Gunter is the tallest at 6’2"/198, Rollins is the thickest at 6’0"/203, Johnson the smallest at 6’0"/185, and Rowe is right in the middle at 6’1"/201. Johnson probably has the most experience at CB notching somewhere over 40 starts, Rollins came over from basketball and has only played one year of college CB, Rowe has split time between S and CB, Gunter has approximately 29 career starts (all at CB).

With the college regular season now over we have a good chunk of statistics to look at. A lack of numbers isn’t really informative, but high numbers do suggest; if tested this player wins.

























72 tackles is a huge number of tackles for a corner (Rollins), and his limited tape confirms he is very sound and strong bringing down runners. Worth noting that Johnson was 10th in the country in passes defended in 2012 (18 PD) and 21st in 2013 (15 PD). His numbers this year suggest he’s a known entity and he’s been avoided. Rollins ranks 12th nationally in passes defended and Rowe is top 30.

When I watch tape on Corners, I’m looking for a few things: 1) press coverage – what is their familiarity and competency pressing, 2) deep ball – can they take away the deep ball? Underneath throws are less concerning than being beat deep. 3) tackling – tackling is a simple and pure indicator of discipline, grit, and desire. Especially when you’re looking at CB, where you’re finding the smallest guys on defense.

Ladarius Gunter:

When I watch him, Gunter really doesn’t have any outstanding traits. He just has that height everyone is looking for now. Not particularly high on my list.

Kevin Johnson:

Very slight of build, but he tackles surprisingly well for his size. Good FBIQ. Kind of Jeremy Lane with more savvy.

Quinten Rollins:

The athleticism from Quinten is very impressive. His vertical should test well and he looks very strong. Just a question of experience.

Eric Rowe:

Very well-rounded player.

I’m most interested in Johnson and Rowe for their combination of experience, production, and tape. And if the Senior Bowl decides to add another CB, I hope they look at BYU’s Robertson Daniel. He’s a player that looks somewhere between Tharold Simon and Byron Maxwell in terms of rawness, but with upside. Bit of a fiery competitor look to him too.

Of the 6’0" Senior CB’s listed, only Rollins currently is projected gone in the first couple rounds. Johnson, Rowe, Gunter start coming off slowly from late 3rd round till early 5th round. PCJS have never drafted a corner earlier than 4th round. I could see them go 3rd round this year. The league is quickly developing a taste for the Seahawk type CB’s, therefore the price is higher. I would disagree with Draftscout, though, and rank Rowe before Johnson (former in 3rd, latter in 4th), I’d add in Cam Thomas, and swap Gunter for Rob Daniel (both Thomas and Daniel in the 5th).


A very solid group of:

Michael Bennett – Ohio State, Carl Davis – Iowa, Kaleb Eulls – Mississippi State, Grady Jarrett – Clemson, Joey Mbu – Houston, Danny Shelton – Washington, Louis Trinca-Pasat – Iowa, Gabe Wright – Auburn.

I love Shelton, but not his price. I think Bennett and Wright are both very capable 3-techs, but probably redundant with Jordan Hill playing better. Carl Davis could play a role similar to Kevin Williams is when at NT, but will cost a trade-back from our 1st or a trade-up from our 2nd. Jarrett is an undersized, but effective, player for a 1T/3T hybrid. Mbu is probably the sleepiest of this group. I like the bit that I’ve seen of him, and want to see more. His 4th round projection would be easy to afford with Seattle’s impending comp picks.

Players not on this list (yet) that could/should be: ASU’s Marcus Hardison (6’4"/300 with 10 sacks this year), UNI’s Xavier Williams (an oddly shaped, but hugely productive small-school player), Oklahoma’s Chuka Ndulue (gonna rise…just watch), and ECU’s Terry "Swamp Monster" Williams (all 353lbs of him).


I’m very happy with the list of OT’s the Senior Bowl have announced thus far:

TJ Clemmings – Pitt, Jake Fisher – Oregon, Rob Havenstein – Wisconsin, Ali Marpet – Hobart, Ty Sambrailo – Colorado State, Daryl Williams – Oklahoma.

As I wrote a few weeks ago…the currently top-ranked OT group of names like La’el Collins, Brandon Scherff, Cedric Ogbuehi, Cameron Erving are pretty much the wrong guys. The guys I like (Clemmings, Fisher, Sambrailo) are the ones that got the invites. Clearly more names will be added. They have to.  Six OT…three per team...simply can’t be it.

In Clemmings, Havenstein, and Williams we have three players that have been playing RT this year. Fisher slid over to LT this year after a couple years at RT…Sambrailo has played a little bit of RT his Freshman year, but otherwise three years of LT…and Ali Marpet I literally had never heard of until Monday.

Personally, I’m in the market for a RT. I hypothesized recently on Twitter that I’m not sure Britt is long for the starting gig, and I’d like to see another body or two added to competition. I like Clemmings more than I’d care to admit considering the direction his stock is heading (aka: climbing out of Seahawk range):

I think Sambrailo is more and more impressive each time I watch him:

And Jake Fisher feels far more talented than his overall rank of #70 suggests (also makes Fisher, perhaps, the best value of the three):


All three of these guys have played RT, two of three are currently playing LT, and Clemmings has the physical gifts to make the jump over to LT, in my opinion.  Draft one of these and use them as hedge for Britt, or as a future replacement for Okung, and you’ve spent really wisely with one of your first two picks. I’d even trade up from our 2nd round pick to get one.

The odds of this happening would be significantly improved if Notre Dame’s redshirt Sophomore LT Ronnie Stanley decides to declare in the next month. If he declares, pencil him in as a top 15 pick, and then the three we’re targeting can each drop down a slot and get closer to Seahawk range.


We have a little bit of everything in the WR group. Tall guys, short guys, quick guys, strong guys:

Dres Anderson – Utah, Jamison Crowder – Duke, Devante Davis – UNLV, Phillip Dorsett – Miami, Justin Hardy – ECU, Josh Harper – Fresno State, Dezmin Lewis – Central Arkansas, Tony Lippett – MSU, Donatella Luckett – Harding, Vince Mayle – WSU, Ty Montgomery – Stanford.

I’m more interested in the tall guys that can be found in a mid-round, but I also am keeping my eyes on some of the smaller guys that could be had late and end up as a return specialist.

The bigs of this group go: 6’3"/219lb Mayle, 6’3"/215lb Davis, 6’4"/210lb Lewis, and 6’3"/190lb Lippett. I’ve written on Lippett and Mayle a few times each. I still like both, but only Lippett is maintaining the value of where I like him. The buzz on Mayle is growing, which is basically pricing him out of my interest range. I’m trying not to look at WR until 3rd or 4th round. Preferably 4th. Quite frankly, Mayle belongs in that range…in the same vicinity as the BIG college targets that had inconsistent hands: Moncrief, Bryant, etc.

Lippett is still projecting 4th round, but in an intriguing twist, he is also now being considered as a CB after closing out the season playing both ways. I like him in the 4th as a WR, but I’d almost drop the "love" word on him as a CB in the 4th. Something to watch.

Lewis is interesting. He comes from the same school that brought the Seahawks their former UDFA TE Chase Dixon. The tape is really hard to come by for Central Arkansas so I’ve basically only ever seen him make two catches. But the Senior Bowl staff have clearly seen more. And liked it.

I’d currently only be able to give Lewis a high of 5th round grade based entirely on his size. There are others (Isaac Blakeney, Darren Waller, Cam Worthy, Jordan Taylor) that I’ve seen more of and would take in the 4th.

Looking more into some smaller WR, that could possibly also return kicks/punts, the two I’ve become the most fond of aren’t yet announced for the Senior Bowl. I’m talking about Nebraska’s Kenny Bell and William & Mary’s Tre McBride.

Both of these guys run about 6’1", with McBride a thicker build at 205lbs to Bell’s 185. Kenny averaged 23.88ypr on 8 kicks this year, Tre averaged 20.7ypr on 25 kicks. Both were less effective on punts. But with Bell ranked #158 overall and McBride at #308, the value is there to get their versatility.

Both Bell and McBride read as very intelligent, driven players, as well.


Laken Tomlinson – Duke, Robert Myers – Tennessee State.

If the Seahawks are going to look to the draft to replace the free agent James Carpenter, I imagine they look at an OT they can move inside to OG. There aren’t a ton of true OG’s that I would draft. There’s AJ Cann from SC, Josue Matias from FSU, but that’s about it at this point. Whereas, I’d be interested most in a Tyrus Thompson type guy costing maybe a 5th, and then sliding inside.


These three offensive position groups are pretty thin in the Senior ranks. The Senior Bowl, literally, only has EIGHT accepted invites from these three positions COMBINED.

We don’t really care about QB, so we move right past that.


Cameron Artis-Payne – Auburn, David Cobb – Minnesota, David Johnson – Northern Iowa, Jeremy Langford – Michigan State.

It’s a pretty meh group. Ameer Abdullah, who has not been announced, is the only Senior RB that ranks above the four that HAVE been announced. What this means is: seven of the top eight RB in this presumed class are Juniors.

Of the announced Seniors, I like CAP the most, but I wouldn’t even go that way until day 3 of the draft. The good news is: all four of these backs check in at 5’10"+ and 206lbs+. For the Seahawks, historically, 5’10"/210 is kind of the baseline point for RB.


Currently, only EJ Bibbs and Nick Boyle have been announced. I like Bibbs enough. He’s built more like Dwayne Allen than most of the TE that get drafted early, or that the Seahawks have typically rostered (Tony Moeaki being an exception). I need to see Bibbs’ blocking a bit more before endorsing him completely.

The lack of TE at the Senior Bowl, and in this class overall, is pretty telling. I think, as the Seahawks, you have to try to get another year our of Zach Miller, with Moeaki, Willson, Helfet competing for the other two spots. Don’t draft a TE until 6th or 7th with best-case scenario he goes through a year on the practice squad. Names they should consider: Sam Arneson from Wisconsin, Blake Bell of Oklahoma, and Zach Swanson of UVA.


Both the Senior Bowl and the draft are very light on safeties.

Adrian Amos – Penn State, Kurtis Drummond – MSU, Anthony Harris – UVA, Cody Prewitt – Ole Miss, Damarious Randall – ASU, Derron Smith – Fresno State, Jaquiski Tartt – Samford.

Tartt may end up being the highest drafted of that group, and he’s coming from the smallest school. Prewitt is a very solid player. Harris has potential. Smith reminds me a little of Earl with the way he can cover ground and ball-hawk. He’s currently very underrated playing for a terrible Fresno State team.

Safety isn’t really a need for Seattle though, with Kam/Earl locked up, and Bailey/Shead/Pinkins on various levels of rosterdom. I certainly wouldn’t expect anything at Safety before the 6th round. Bailey, Shead, and upcoming free agent Jeron Johnson were all acquired through UDFA.

And finally…I’ve saved the position group I’ve looked at the least this year, because this is the one where I found a new player I previously hadn’t known.


Jordan Hicks – Texas, Zach Hodges – Harvard, Mike Hull – Penn State, Lorenzo Mauldin – Louisville, Martrell Spaight – Arkansas, Lynden Trail – Norfolk State, Stephone Anthony – Clemson, Denzel Perryman – Miami, Hayes Pullard – USC, Ramik Wilson – Georgia.

For some reason, I just feel confident in Seattle’s ability to find linebackers in the draft. Especially outside backers. KJ, Malcolm, Mikey, KPL, Brock…all of them coming from the 4th round and back. It’s a position we can find late in the draft, and a position that I can scout late in the season.

A couple weeks ago, I started scouting linebackers for basically the first time all year. I did the same thing I’ve done the last three years. I look at college tackle leaders. Then I look at the size specs on the players listed in the top 30, or so. Then I look for tape of the guys that have the size I’m looking for.

Some of the names I knew (Eric Kendricks, Paul Dawson), but most I did not.  Of the names I did not know, that I could find tape on, there were two that caught my eye. One was the national leader in total tackles (who has not been announced as a Senior Bowl player): David Mayo – Texas State. Mayo is listed at 6’2"/240, has 154 tackles on the year (plus 2 PBU, 3 FF, 4.5 TFL), and plays on the same defense as Brian Orakpo’s brother (Mayo is wearing #3):

The second LB I found two weeks ago is 6’2"/231, ranks 15th in the country with 123 tackles, and I found out the next day is on the Senior Bowl list. Martrell Spaight now plays for Arkansas, and this is his tape from his JUCO days:

I find that tape really compelling. I’ve since tracked down a little bit of tape of him at Arkansas, but it’s unedited and not great for embedding. Suffice to say, Spaight is in a similar position to a player from the 2012 Senior Bowl: great numbers but minimal tape to study before the game. In 2012, the LB I was interested in studying ended up with seven tackles and an interception and was the North's Most Outstanding Player. That was Bobby Wagner.