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NFL Draft 2015: Offseason Gems 3

An early look at possible 2015 draft prospects on the defensive line.

Carl Davis
Carl Davis

It’s tough to talk about metaphorical gems on the morning after the Seahawks debuted some LEGIT diamonds, but I’ve got a few new draftbreakdown cutups that I’m pretty excited about getting out into the 12th realm.

Partly as coincidence (from the depth of talent available) and partly as a position group that feels like it might end up being a high-ish draft need next year, I keep finding myself drawn to defensive linemen this offseason. Davis Hsu was mentioning again yesterday on twitter that PCJS have really not yet been able to hit on a defensive lineman (especially a DT) in their tenure here.

Bruce has shown some upside in his true-rookie year, but Jordan Hill, Jesse Williams, Greg Scruggs have all basically taken redshirt years; EJ Wilson, Pep Levingston, Jaye Howard, Ty Powell are no longer with the club. To be slightly tongue-in-cheek, the best DL draftpick they’ve had has probably been drafting defensive tackle JR Sweezy and converting him to OG. The theory is, I think, that the Hawks believe that DL players take longer to develop…and they will approach their roster planning, draft, and free agency accordingly. They may never draft DT in the first two rounds, and will instead seek to supplement the DL rotation with strategically signed veteran free agents and/or trade acquisitions (see Avril, Bennett, McDaniel, and new signee Kevin Williams). With that in mind, these players may be irrelevant as I am already picturing most as early round targets.

We’ll start with a guy that I find a bit enigmatic. In the couple of games that I have watched of Arkansas’ Trey Flowers, I have noted multiple instances of jaw-dropping plays showcasing impressive athleticism. But those have been on a once-to-twice per game basis. More often, I’m finding that Flowers will show truly impressive hand strength, but unfortunately bad snap anticipation, and a very rigid outside pass-rush. For 2013, Trey racked up 13.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 PBU, and 3 FF.

Flowers is listed at 6’4"/267, he currently stands at draftscout’s #4 DE going into the year, he would most likely need to work some on the inside at 3-tech in the Dan Quinn scheme, and currently would not likely fit on a Seattle 53-man roster already featuring Michael Bennett and Cassius Marsh.

Tony McDaniel just signed a 2-year deal this offseason to return in 2014, which would take him into his age 30 year. 30 is often a cutdown age for many Seahawk position groups, but DL hasn’t seemed to be one of them (K.Williams will be 34 by start of regular season). So it’s very possible that McDaniel will see the full-term of his new deal. If not, and if he should be available late enough, Iowa’s Carl Davis is a player I like in that jumbo split 5-tech/3-tech role the Seahawks are planning for McDaniel.

Davis is listed at 6’5"/315, he plays a large amount of tilted nose, but if he measures out at the combine with sufficiently long arms, he could possibly slide out to DE like Red before him. If he stays inside, I have no problem with Davis’ ability to put the center on skates and just push him into yesterday like he does here at 0:19.

Davis is currently draftscout’s #2 DT.

I tweeted about Luther Maddy about a month ago when I caught a glimpse of some of the 6.5 sacks that he registered in 2013 (plus 13.5 TFL, 8 QBH, and 2 PBU). I’ve since watched a few full games worth of tape and the bigger snapshot shows more inconsistency than I’d like. Whether because of effort or because of endurance/conditioning, Maddy seems to lack performance on far too many plays in between his bursts of elite inside pass-rush.

Draftscout currently lists Maddy as their 6th best DT for next year, and if that translated to 3rd round, I’d be more comfortable with him as an option.

Finally, we close today with a player that I had never heard of a week ago. Measurements: 6’4"/260. Stats: 11.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FF. Draft status: junior in 2014 season. (These juniors will be the annoyance of me.) If he holds off declaring until after his senior year, he’d still face an uphill battle displacing Bennett and Marsh with two years remaining on their respective deals.

Still…there’s something really compelling about Darius Hamilton’s tape:

I find myself trying to remember what Aaron Donald’s sophomore tape looked like. I’m not making that comp…Donald had 11 sacks even as a sophomore…but there is enough from Hamilton’s snap-fire and really high motor to have me intrigued.