We're now about a month out from the NFL Draft and I realized that while I've been furiously studying prospects behind the scenes, I haven't yet written a whole lot on the subject here at Field Gulls. So, here's the beginning of a series I'll call Kelly's Heroes, and it's a quick rundown of players that I personally like for the Seahawks. I'll separate prospects into early round types, mid round types, late-round types, and free agent types.
Let's get going. First up? Receivers. Now, as Scott Kacsmir pointed out this morning, the Seahawks haven't drafted a receiver that broke the 1,000-yard mark (with that team) since 2004, which is the fourth longest mark after the Jags, Raiders, and Washington, so Seattle hasn't exactly been killing it in that area. Obviously there are variables at play, but this year's Draft presents a good opportunity to pick up some talent.
The Seahawks don't pick until #63 so even with a trade up, we're already probably out of the top-50. Gone are Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, Breshad Perriman probably, and Sammie Coates, most likely. The only "top-50" type of player with first-round talent that could be alive at #63 is Dorial Green-Beckham.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri 6'5, 217
Green-Beckham has a ton of red flags, can struggle to get off the jam, doesn't run a full route-tree, and is anything but a complete prospect, but the off-field stuff is the main reason he stands a chance for being there at #63. Why would it be intriguing? He's a dynamic athlete that has excellent movement skills on the field -- he runs around like he's 6'1 or 6'2 but stands three inches taller and sports nearly an 80-inch wingspan. He only caught 87 passes in his college career but 17 of those were for touchdowns. For a team with crappy redzone production over the past few years, this could be intoxicating. He's one of those players that could be a much better pro than he was a college player, so long as he can keep things together off the field. That's a big question though.
DGB is a pretty polarizing player, but the optimist in me would love the value you could potentially get if he falls in the Draft. He's very young, I like his physical potential, but he's a pretty scary proposition.
WR Nelson Agholor, USC 6'1, 190
Agholor is a quarterback's best friend, constantly working back to the football when plays break down and trying to get open downfield on the fly. Good improviser. Good "player," if that makes sense. He has quick, twitchy feet, and is a really good punt returner. He is a hands catcher as far as I can tell and tracks the ball well near the sideline and down the field. He's a very Seahawky type of receiver, it feels like, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Seattle show interest in him. There are some that say that he's only a slot receiver at the next level, but I think he can play outside in the NFL.
WR Tre McBride, William and Mary 6'0, 210
McBride is another really SPARQ'd up receiver with great movement skills and smooth athleticism. When you turn on the tape for McBride, he's running a lot of Seahawks-styled routes -- wheel routes, go routes up the sideline, and deep outs toward the sideline -- and winning at the catch point over cornerbacks with good positioning. So, not only is he super athletic and really well-sized at 210 pounds, but he runs Seattle-offense style routes with ease and excels in the air. He has a great feel for the sideline and keeping himself inbounds, which is huge. He's really a great prospect for the Seahawks offense, and if he's there at 63, I would consider it. I'm always leery about taking small-schoolers too early in the Draft but he's one guy that warrants that risk.
WR Phillip Dorsett, Miami 5'10, 195
Speed merchant that really looks and feels like John Brown (the Cardinals' third round pick from last year). He could become a kick returner early in his career and a guy that can run in the 4.2s and track the ball well over his head would be interesting in a Seahawks offense that has defenses primarily worried about Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham. My guess is that Dorsett, the rookie, would get a lot of single coverage as safeties are more concerned with Seattle's run game and Jimmy Graham over the middle, and while it's a sort of rare thing in the NFL, he's the type of guy that can really out-run opposing corners if he gets a step on them in play-action.
Dorsett is somewhat raw in that he averaged over 25 yards per catch in college (i.e., he's a post- and go-route guy), but as a returner and homerun threat, if he's there at 63, I'm okay taking him.
WR Chris Conley, Georgia 6'1, 213
Turned heads because he's SPARQ'd up out of his mind, and when you turn the tape on he makes some pretty impressive catches. I'm pretty leery of Conley because there's just not a ton of tape out there on him -- he played in Georgia's run-first offense -- but his athleticism is certainly intriguing. I like him if he's still there at the end of the third but if we're talking about #63? I'm not totally sold.
WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford 6'0, 211
Wrote up Montgomery the other day here; really, really good kick and punt returner that has major issues as a receiver. You'd have to draft Montgomery as a pure return man and be okay with that for the short term. Perhaps you can get him onto a jugs machine and help improve his catch rate, but just forgetting about that, I think he provides some pretty good value in the mid rounds (early fourth to fifth rounds) as a stud return man (and if he could play receiver, that's just a bonus). We saw what Cordarrelle Patterson has done in the return game in Minnesota -- and I think Montgomery can do the same type of thing. If there's a re-draft of the 2013 Draft, I wonder where Cordarrelle would go.. and in my mind they're pretty similar athletes and players.
WR Mario Alford, W. Virginia 5'8, 180
This guy plays like he's got NOS in his pants. If he gets a little bit of an opening, he's the fasted guy on the field, and in that sense his tape reminds me a little bit of Paul Richardson's, in that after the catch, he can run away from people. Alford ran a 4.27 at the Combine, and his play speed is legit. He's a good return man too; he catches with his hands, and has a lot of that potential I talked about in Dorsett's section to be a pretty interesting piece in the Seahawks' offense early on. He's tiny though.
WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska 6'1, 200
Bell is a stud athlete, super fast and can jump out of the building. He reminds me a little bit of Doug Baldwin in that he appears to have really good flexibility and body control when he goes up in the air and he can grab low passes or contort his body to get high ones.
He's a good returner. I think he had some drops at Nebraska but those aren't overly concerning to me because he was a big time playmaker there and a big part of their offense. He's very confident and has swagger.
He's sinewy as an athlete, but he's tough on the field and super competitive. He may have climbed some draft boards by jumping out of the building and running really fast at the Combine, but he's an interesting mid-round pick to me. I would not be sad to see him end up in Seattle.
Darren Waller, Georgia Tech 6'6, 238
Another one of those guys with not much tape to go off of, but has the measurables that you love. Big, thick body type and he looks like a small forward. His speed numbers were really good so you have that hope that he could mature into a Demaryius Thomas type of outside guy, but that's obviously a big projection because he was in such a run-heavy offense in Georgia Tech. Some teams may see him as a move tight end.
Either way, wouldn't surprise me remotely to see the Seahawks look at this guy. Has almost an 80" wingspan and jumped 37" at 6'6. That's a huge-ass catch radius.
WR Devante Davis, UNLV 6'3, 218
Really like Davis' tape. Apart from a concentration drop here and there, he's good at using his body to box out, is really physical, very aware of the sideline. Really productive in school -- 186 catches and 22 touchdowns. Big, strong, fast, .. probably available mid to late.
WR Gavin Lutman, Pittsburgh St 6'3, 215
Probably wouldn't have heard of this dude if it weren't for Zach Whitman's SPARQ profiling. Really athletic small-schooler that catches everything. Long, great catch radius, and scored a lot of touchdowns in his career. Is a late-round prospect that could end up getting drafted a little earlier than you think. I don't think he's necessarily a twitchy athlete, but he seems really fundamental and could be a really solid producer at the pro level in the right system. He'll probably get compared to Jordy Nelson because he checks boxes in the "white receiver with height, length, and speed" departments.
WR DeAndre Carter, Sacramento State 5'8, 195
Carter is another guy whose name came out from Zach Whitman's SPARQ profiling. I like Carter's tape, at least the one game I've been able to find. He's very athletic -- ran a 4.4 with a 38.5" vert and 10.5' broad jump, and has the quicks you like to see for a guy with good girth at 5'8, 195. He's short, obviously, but his functional athleticism shows up on tape. He has the production to back up his athletic measurables too, and finished the year as the FCS national leader in receptions (99), yards (1,321), and touchdowns (17).
Carter has the habit of turning around and backpedaling on deep throws or corner lobs, but that may be more on account of getting underthrown by his quarterback. Nonetheless, for an undrafted type, he's intriguing.
WR Kyle Prater, Northwestern 6'5, 231
Prater started his college career as a five-star recruit to USC (for Pete Carroll, of course) but never really caught on there -- he redshirted his first year then was injured his second, and he transferred to Northwestern. Prior to transferring though, this YouTube video came out showing some of his exploits in spring practice 1-on-1s and it kind of gives you an idea of why he was such a highly sought after recruit.
Now, in that video he's kind of gangly and slow looking, but based on recent tape of him from Northwestern, I think he's caught up with his size in terms of functional movement and coordination, and looks a little more athletic now (he's still not fast, though). He ran a 4.71 40 at his pro day with above average agility numbers (7.12, 4.29) for his size, so he has some movement skills (though not great, obviously). What he does have though are 33" arms, and 80.25" wingspan, and 10 1/4 hands. May be a move tight end prospect.
WR Cameron Meredith, Illinois St 6'3, 207
Meredith, again, is a guy whose name stuck out from Zach Whitman's SPARQ profiling, and when you put on the tape, it's very impressive.
Tons of production, great hands technique, smooth athleticism. Lots to like.