Continuing on from yesterday’s preview of the defensive players at the 2014 NFL Combine, we’ll now look at players on offense.
The first group getting measured today at the combine will be OL and TE. And this is helpful because those are a couple spots the Seahawks could use depth, free agent replacements, and/or even starters.
I covered a lot on the TE group in the last couple weeks, so I’ll be brief here. The Seahawks have only drafted two TE since PCJS got here: Luke Willson in the 5th round last year and Anthony McCoy in the 6th round in 2010. Willson measured at his pro day 6’5"/251 with a 4.51 forty and awesome jump scores, while McCoy measured 6’5"/259 and didn’t test very well at all. We could make guesses that Schneider prefers to draft TE late based on this tiny sample size, and I’d be okay in the 4th-5th round range, but TE will be one spot this year I wouldn’t be shocked to be shocked by drafting early.
In terms of the players actually at the combine this year, I like the value of Marcel Jensen, Arthur Lynch, Crockett Gilmore, and Jake Murphy the most. Jensen is the one I’m most interested in seeing tested/timed. He has some interesting athleticism upside.
Lynch doesn’t appear to be a guy that will test well, but he seems like a high IQ, high intangible, high effort player that is going to kill in interviews. Murphy might surprise in the forty. And I think Gilmore will excel in field drills and catching the ball.
A couple guys that may go from sleeper to keeper will be two TE/WR hybrids: Utah’s Anthony Denham and Florida’s Trey Burton. Both are listed in various draft outlets as WR’s, but in Indianapolis they will be testing with the TE group. Burton is preliminarily listed at an undersized 6’2" and Denham at 6’4", with both weighing under 230lbs. My sources tell me Denham has added bulk (and he was already rocked up). He’s the more interesting of the two thanks to his (expected) height. Never got used much at Utah, but it sure looks like there is skill there. Kind of a bigger Anquan Boldin.
On the OL…there aren’t many common traits the Seahawks have drafted for. Sweezy is light, Carp is heavy, Okung was early, Bowie was late. The only thing I can generally assume about Seattle OL draftpicks is that they’ll look for good length, like they do at most other positions. I don’t know that they look at 40 times (Okung-5.18, Carp-5.22, Moffitt-5.51, Sweezy-4.84, Seymour-5.09, Smith-5.06, Bowie-5.28), although there has recently been a spike on looking for speed from late-round OL picks. But assuming Hawks will address OL earlier this year, I’d think most guys under 5.20 are up for discussion.
Having said that, I’ve been saying for months, off the record, that I think North Dakota State OT Billy Turner is going to light up the 40-yard dash. I’m throwing out a guess of under 4.8. And he should test well at most other timed and agility drills. Turner could very well end up somewhere between the Lane Johnson and the Terron Armstead of this class. And he might fit in line with some of the athletic OL the Hawks have gone for in the last couple drafts.
After Turner, there really aren’t any OL I think will do anything in the combine that changes my mind about them. I feel pretty comfortable relying on game tape for this group.
Moving on to running back…this will be a group many won’t think of as somewhere the Hawks will pick from, but I’m not so sure. With Pete Carroll’s love, and insistence, on being a run-first team, and with Marshawn putting another hard year on his treads, I will never again go into a draft unprepared for Seattle to take a RB at pretty much any point. Fortunately, RB has been a position that is one of the most-defined by our coach and GM.
Christine Michael: 5’10"/220/4.43
Spencer Ware: 5’10"/228/4.62* (*coming off a hamstring injury)
Robert Turbin: 5’10"/222/4.42
Marshawn Lynch: 5’11"/215/4.46 (not drafted here, but good reference point)
Of the RB at the combine, these are the ones that look like a Seahawk RB just stepping off the bus: Antonio Andrews (5’10"/225 at Sr Bowl), David Fluellen (5’11"/226 at Sr Bowl), Lorenzo Taliaferro (6’0"/231 at Sr Bowl…possible fullback conversion), George Atkinson, Alfred Blue, Isaiah Crowell, Tyler Gaffney, Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde, Storm Johnson, Charles Sims, Jerome Smith, Terrance West, Andre Williams. That’s a lot of names, right? And it doesn’t include a few more that aren’t at the combine.
That’s enough names to figure one of them will fall to Seattle in the 6th round or so. I, personally, like Fluellen even though there is ZERO buzz on him. We have to consider possibility of the Hawks going back to the LSU well at RB for either Hill or Blue (preferably Blue, since he’ll be the one that drops to the 6th). And who wouldn’t like a guy named "Storm" playing in Seattle.
And FINALLY…wide receiver. This is a once-in-a-decade WR class. And it may not be an "AJ Green and Julio Jones in the top 10 picks" type class, but it could be a 1996, "Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Marvin Harrison, Eric Moulds, Amani Toomer, Muhsin Muhammad, Bobby Engram, Terrell Owens-picked-in-the-3rd-round" type class. And that last factoid is really my goal for Seattle this year; find a 3rd-round Terrell Owens kind of talent. I think they can.
Since Davis Hsu and I talked about many of the top-level WR that will also be at the combine yesterday in our podcast, I’m going to point out a few we didn’t cover. Again, my instincts are to look for guys pushing 6’2"/200lbs. At WR, I’ll want a guy with explosivity, and in this case that means vertical. 36" verticals are not a "must" but it’s got to be pretty damn close.
(Just for reference: Percy-37", Sidney-39")
In addition, probably want a WR that can run low 4.5’s or better.
(Just for reference: Percy-4.39, Sidney-4.51)
With those goals in mind; 3rd round availability, 6’2"/200lbs, 36"vert, and a 4.50 forty; I will be most interested in seeing the combine performances of Indiana’s Cody Latimer, Nebraska’s Quincy Enunwa, and Pittsburgh’s Devin Street. And from the (p)research I’ve done on those three…I think we’re gonna like what we see.