clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Unheralded draft prospects part V: Seahawky offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks

Which under-the-radar players entering the 2016 draft fit Seahawks positional prototypes? My survey of offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks brings to light a collection of interesting personas.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The ultimate piece in this five-part series on lesser-known draft prospects covers offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks. Part one covered defensive linemen, part two detailed linebackers, part three discussed defensive backs, and part four examined tight ends and wide receivers.

The Seahawks have already bolstered their offensive line in the draft by selecting Germain Ifedi at #31 overall, and with four picks in two rounds on day two of the draft—slots 56, 90, 94, and 97—look for them to take at least one more bruiser to play tackle, guard, or center. I think they'll choose from a pool that consists of Connon McGovern, Joe Dahl, and Joe Haeg based on their abilities, team fit, and Rob Staton's Trench Explosion Formula (Jason Spriggs should be off the board by pick 40 or so). On day 3 and among the free agent pool they'll look to pick up more help in the offensive trenches, perhaps including one of the players detailed here.

The Seahawks first non-lineman draft pick on offense will probably be a running back; my guess is that they take a versatile back with pass-catching skills at #97 or #124 (round 4 on Saturday), and then take another late on day three or as an undrafted free agent. Seattle places a premium on running backs, and they're a bit thin there on the roster. I cover two nice-looking later options in this piece.

It seems like it's time to recruit and develop a long-term solution at backup QB, so look for the Seahawks to take one late on draft day 3 or from among the free agent pool. I cover two developmental QB possibilities here.

As with the rest of this series, criteria for these prospects include relatively little media coverage, the expectation that they'll last into day three (rounds 4-7) of the draft or go undrafted, and enough of the unquantifiable concept known as "upside."

In these articles I refer to SPARQ, an acronym for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness, the name for a formula developed by Nike to assess overall athleticism in several sporting fields. Zach Whitman over at 3sigmaathlete has effectively reverse-engineered the formula (referring to it as "pSPARQ") for American footballers and has done a great job compiling all the figures and explaining what those mean.

(Note that height is expressed in the following standard format: the first digit is feet, the next two digits are inches, and the fourth digit is fraction of inches in eighths—so 6013 equals 6’1 3/8", 5117 equals 5’11 7/8", and so on. Also note that some of the player highlight vids have explicit lyrics, so mute as needed.)

Offensive linemen

Justin Murray, OT/G, Cincinnati

Murray played both guard and tackle for the Bearcats' high-volume air attack, and mostly saw action at right tackle in 2015. He's a wide, thick, powerful guy with good short-area quickness and nice dancing moves. His strong hands pack a wallop that can knock back defenders and keep them off-balance, though smaller edge rushers seem to give him problems.

Murray tested well in several areas at his pro day and wound up as a 70th percentile SPARQ lineman. He had a private workout with the Seahawks, and seems like a round 7 or priority free agent selection.

Murray's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6045, 300
Arm length: (no data)
40-yard dash: 4.93 seconds (1.7 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.79 seconds
Three-cone: 8.01 seconds
Vertical jump: 29.5"
Broad jump: 9'8"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: 20

Vi Teofilo, OG, Arizona State

Teofilo is a hulking, incredibly strong guard who projects as more of a center due to short arms (30 5/8" per ESPN, not that I totally trust them). Those short arms helped him bench press 225 pounds an absurd 43 times, just one short of what Greek God Justin Zimmer did at his pro day.

Strength isn't Teofilo's only explosive trait, as the 325-pounder leapt a very decent 29.5" on the vertical and a rather impressive 9'8" on the broad.

Teofilo enjoyed a terrific college career and proved very reliable, making 43 career starts and 40 consecutive ones from 2012-15. He's a two-time All-Pac-12 Honorable mention and also played in the 2016 Shrine Game.

Teofilo's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6033, 325
Arm length: 30.6"
40-yard dash: 5.22 seconds (1.77 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.7 seconds
Three-cone: 7.69 seconds
Vertical jump: 29.5"
Broad jump: 9'8"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: 43

Nick Ritcher, OT/G, Richmond

Ritcher fits an interesting athletic profile in that he tested below-average in SPARQ (38th percentile for OL) at his pro day, but had very good explosive test numbers in three important categories: a 29" vertical leap, 9'1" broad jump, and 25 reps on the bench at 225 lbs. Though he was a regular starter the last two seasons primarily at tackle (he missed most of 2013 with an injury), with shorter arms (just under 33") and relatively slow times in speed drills he projects as more of a guard or center.

He's the son of Jim Ritcher, a 16-year NFL vet who spent most of his career as Buffalo's center, and started all four of the Bills' Super Bowls.

Though a fringier prospect, Ritcher is interesting because of his size, athleticism in key areas, and NFL bloodlines. In the limited (and somewhat shaky) film I watched, he does have good lateral quickness and balance.

Ritcher's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6053, 300
Arm length: 32.6"
40-yard dash: 5.38 seconds (1.77 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.79 seconds
Three-cone: 7.93 seconds
Vertical jump: 29"
Broad jump: 9'1"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: 25

Spencer Pulley, C, Vanderbilt

Pulley is a tall (6'4"), imposing center who tested as one of the most athletic at his position in this draft, including very good explosive traits: 28.5" vertical jump, 9'4" broad jump, 28 reps at 225 lbs on the bench press. In the limited film I watched he looked quick and solid, and would be a low-risk pick-up as an undrafted free agent center.

Pulley's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6040, 301
Arm length: 31.5"
40-yard dash: 5.1 seconds (1.75 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.48 seconds
Three-cone: 7.39 seconds
Vertical jump: 28.5"
Broad jump: 9'4"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: 28

Running backs

Brandon Ross, Maryland

Ross isn't a flashy or bone-jarring power back, but he was a shifty and very productive player during his five-year career at University of Maryland, and showed improvement each season. His best campaign was in 2015, which included monster games against Indiana (250 yards, 3 TD), Rutgers (173 yards, 3 TD), and Richmond (150 yards, 1 TD). He had a few "meh" games as well, but those were more due to a lack of carries, and he finished the year with 150 carries for 958 yards (6.4 avg) and 10 TD. His career stats: 486 carries, 2,543 yards, 19 TD.

He doesn't look terribly explosive in cramped situations on film—which may partly be due to a lousy run-blocking offensive line (#124 power success rate per Football Outsiders)—but he's a hard runner who's elusive and can kick it into a higher gear once he gets a decent crease. He also demonstrates quick cutting ability, shiftiness, and little wasted effort.

Ross brings respectable pass-blocking and skill as a pass-catcher, with good hands and 401 career receiving yards on 40 catches.

Ross's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 5100, 201
Arm length: 31.1" (9" hands)
40-yard dash: 4.4 seconds (1.53 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.27 seconds
Three-cone: 6.75 seconds
Vertical jump: 37.5"
Broad jump: 9'10"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: 10

Darius Jackson, Eastern Michigan

The freakishly athletic Jackson nearly tested off the charts at his pro day, so it's probably time to find some better charts. He ran a 4.35-second 40 (1.52 split), had a 6.82 3-cone, a 41" vertical jump, and a 11'1" broad jump. Among running backs who have tested at the scouting combine since 2006, only a handful have performed better at the vertical jump and broad jump.

In addition to his stellar athleticism, Jackson enjoyed a terrific 2015 season in which he ran for 1,089 yards and 14 TD on 208 carries to go with 21 receptions for 201 yards and 2 TD. He has great size for a Seahawky running back at 6'1" and 220 pounds.

He looks on film as you'd expect—blazing quickness and cuts that overwhelmed inferior competition. As a fairly raw and intriguing prospect with relatively few college reps, Jackson looks like a round 7 or priority free agent signing.

Jackson's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6010, 220
Arm length: (no data)
40-yard dash: 4.35 seconds (1.52 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.29 seconds
Three-cone: 6.87 seconds
Vertical jump: 41"
Broad jump: 11'1"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: 20


Jake Rudock, Michigan

Rudock enjoyed two respectable seasons (2013, 2014) as Iowa's starting QB, after which he transferred to Michigan and made great strides under the gentle tutelage of Jim Harbaugh. He looked quite good in the Michigan games I watched, including the Citrus Bowl matchup against Florida in which Michigan romped 41-7. In that game, Rudock went 20-31 for 278 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT, and picked up 29 yards on 4 runs.

He has an accurate arm (64% completion rate to go with 20 TD and 9 INT in 2015), decent quickness and running ability (192 career rushes for 560 yards, 12 TD), and played in a pro-style offense at Michigan. It's possible that Rudock will be drafted, but I don't think that would happen until round 7. I do like him as an undrafted free agent signing.

Rudock's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6030, 207
Arm length: (no data)
40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds (1.75 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.22 seconds
Three-cone: 7.09 seconds
Vertical jump: 29"
Broad jump: 9'3"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: (didn't perform)

Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech

After flaming out at Florida, Driskel enjoyed a spectacular 2015 campaign at LA Tech in which he passed for 4,033 yards (3rd-best in school history), 27 TD, and 8 INT. Among his better '15 performances was a 26-for-38, 458-yard, 3 TD and 0 INT shredding of Arkansas State in the Uncle Lou's Crawdad Hut Bowl. Driskel's completion rate in 2015 was 62.4% on 281 connections and 450 attempts; his passer rating was 154.0.

Driskel brings a very Seahawky skillset to the QB position, including terrific athleticism and quickness (10'2" broad jump, 4.56-second 40), a powerful build that can take hits, a very strong arm, and the ability to get rid of the ball in a hurry. On the flip side, he did struggle at Florida over four seasons, where he often appeared anxious in the pocket and showed inconsistent accuracy.

If Seattle feels the need to take a promising, athletic QB later on day three of the draft, Driskel could be an option in round 6 or 7, though his draftable window is large—anywhere from round 4 through the free agent pool.

Driskel's pro day summary:

Height, weight: 6040, 234
Arm length: 33.5" (hand size 9.75")
40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds (1.65 10-yard split)
Short shuttle: 4.25 seconds
Three-cone: 7.19 seconds
Vertical jump: 32"
Broad jump: 10'2"
Bench press reps @ 225 lbs: (didn't perform)