The Seahawks drafted nine times this year, then went h.a.m. in the undrafted ranks (I guess that brochure helped?) while adding nine additional players. I haven't had the chance to dig in to all these players with an in-depth look at tape yet -- that will happen in the next couple weeks -- but wanted to give my gut reaction on each of the Hawks' picks and maybe a few of their UDFA grabs.
2.45 WR Paul Richardson 6'1, 183 Colorado
I actually loved this pick from the start -- it confused me initially because I had believed that the Hawks wanted a bigger-bodied physical presence at receiver (they got that later, of course) -- but Richardson had been on my radar over the past few months as a potential target.
The first thought I have about Richardson is that when he's used in conjunction with Percy Harvin, teams will have a pretty interesting choice to make in terms of where to focus over-the-top coverage. In addition, with Percy's horizontally-stressing jet-sweep, he's a guy that can stress a defense vertically, and the combination of the two together could be deadly. It's a topic that Ananth T.K. and I broached on Twitter back in February, and the thought of Harvin running a fly-sweep combined with Richardson running a post makes for some very intriguing play-action options. The Seahawks know this.
Speed is the main thing that Richardson brings -- rare speed, 4.28 electronically timed speed -- and Richardson not only has long-speed, he's shifty in short areas, has excellent body control, and has very little issue getting off the line of scrimmage. He actually looks a little like Doug Baldwin getting off the line, using quicks and zero wasted steps to get out and up to speed (it's no wonder Doug liked him before the Draft). Further aiding his release, a good many defensive backs must give him a big cushion when he's at the line for fear of his deep speed.
While it was, at first, quite puzzling that the Hawks picked a player of his ilk, when you think about their desire to throw deep on play action and pick up huge chunks of yards rather than dinking and dumping underneath, it really makes too much sense.
2.64 OT Justin Britt 6'6, 325 Missouri
I think I had the same thought that everyone else had about this pick originally: "Wasn't he supposed to be a mid-round guy?"
Of course, there's no way anyone on the outside looking in can know whether Britt really was "going to go a few picks later," as Tom Cable put it, so for sanity's sake and a glass-half-full attitude, I'll just go ahead and believe it. John Schneider and Cable mentioned a 'cliff' after Britt in terms of the talent drop off at the offensive tackle position, and with the Seahawks lacking a third rounder, the end of the 2nd was where they had to go. Schneider more or less conceded this morning that they felt forced to reach for Britt because tackle was a big position of need. After he came off the board, Morgan Moses and Billy Turner quickly followed, and Michael Schofield went off later in the 3rd.
Past the idea of value, while he wasn't necessarily on my list nor on my radar too much, I do think the Britt pick makes tons of sense in retrospect.
He was a 45-0 State Champion wrestler in high school and as Cable put it, that mean's "he's suffered." He's persevered. He's strained. Cable (and some of Seattle's defensive coaches as well) tend to really value the wrestling background not only because it implies toughness, but wrestlers tend to understand, better than most, the principles of leverage and balance. John Schneider described him as a "good angles player, a technician," noting that he's got "really good balance" and "really good hips."
You can't really look at Britt as a power-piece, road-grader type in the mold of a Morgan Moses (who was on the board at the time) or a Tiny Richardson (who went undrafted), but rather I think of him more in the Zack Martin mold (a poor man's Martin) just in that he's consistent, fundamental, and tough. He'll get pushed back into the pocket some (though it will be interesting to see him back on the right side), but I expect that Seattle will look to start with his athleticism, get him into Chris Carlisle's weight room, and improve his core strength and power over the next year. He is coming off of an ACL tear still -- and we know that for big men like Britt, it often takes up to two years to fully regain confidence. Lance Zierlein, a guy I trust highly in offensive line evals, said that Britt "lacks power you would expect for a man his size, but he moves well and is a fighter," adding, "he will be an NFL starter."
So, the pick isn't sexy and I still am not necessarily ecstatic about it, but the intangibles he apparently brings with this fundamental technique - toughness, nastiness, perseverance - I think those are the things the Seahawks value, particularly in the NFC West, where defensive lines dominate.
4.108 DT/DE Cassius Marsh 6'4, 252 UCLA
I didn't really watch much of Marsh pre-draft because I didn't think his speed was good enough for the LEO spot. That said, I believe the Seahawks see him more as a Michael Bennett type defensive end/defensive tackle and not as much of a Chris Clemons/Cliff Avril speed rusher (though he can rush the passer from the weakside). Based on what you see on tape, that role should suit him, because he played all over for the Bruins -- inside, outside, and even in a two-point stance.
You see a guy that plays physical and fiery, can stack, keeps his eyes in the backfield, and times the snap well. His temperament alone makes me optimistic of this pick. One of my main priorities for the Draft was to get tougher in the trenches, and I think that's the element that Marsh brings. For now, that's all I can really say on the guy. Toughness, tenacity, ... he's a jerk on the field. I like that. The Seahawks need a little more of that, after losing emotional battlefield leader Red Bryant.
4.123 WR Kevin Norwood 6'2, 200 Alabama
Norwood is one of the guys that I really liked based on the thought that Seattle still wanted a physical box-out type of guy at receiver. He's a player that the Seahawks' front office guys and Pete Carroll seemed most excited about nabbing, and they view him as Russell Wilson's future best friend.
"He is such a football stud, everything he's had to overcome," said Schneider. "He was such a reliable guy for them. Third down. Big, big games. You could watch him two or three years ago playing against the Honey Badger, and the guy just had his hands full. I think that really stood out to me, and I think that represented on our board. He was by himself up there. We had taken Paul already and didn't necessarily anticipate another receiver being there because there was a big clump of them, and we felt like they were going to just come ripping off, and they did, and he stayed there, and maybe because he's such a solid guy, there's nothing overly flashy about him, except that he's incredibly tough and reliable and smart and savvy. I think that's probably why he lasted as long as he did."
As Schneider points out, there are concerns about him -- a lack of production on an elite team and he's going to be 25 at the start of the season, older than Jermaine Kearse -- but his skillset does match pretty well with what the Seahawks want to do on offense.
He's sneaky fast up the sideline, has superb body control and timing to go up and high-point the football in traffic, and he's very hard working at coming back to the football when the play in the pocket breaks down. This aspect is probably one of the biggest reasons the Seahawks liked him, actually, given the nature of their offense.
4.132 OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis 6'0, 232 Boston College
This is an exciting pick, and I think it says a lot about how much the Hawks like KPL in that they chose him before Florida State's Telvin Smith (Schneider listed him as one of his 'must-haves' for this year's draft, along with Eric Pinkins).
Pierre-Lewis is rocked up and very sturdily built, and his athleticism is apparent in how sudden he moves. He can change direction and explode forward or laterally, and he flies around on the field; he's what I'd call field fast. He's really a perfect fit as a weakside linebacker in Seattle's system and provides leverage and insurance in upcoming Malcolm Smith negotiations. Assuming Smith leaves after this season (Seattle still needs to worry about keeping K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner), KPL is the logical successor. He'll probably be a beast on special teams to start though.
5.172 DT Jimmy Staten 6'5, 304 Middle Tenn St.
Staten blew up his pro day, apparently, and this was reason enough for Seattle to believe he was going to get snatched up in the sixth round or so. Either way, I hadn't heard about him prior to the Draft so obviously I hadn't watched any tape. What we've heard is that he's extremely strong in his upper body and I think the Seahawks really liked his length.
Past Tony McDaniel, Seattle's interior defensive line is on the shorter side: Brandon Mebane at 6'1, Jordan Hill at 6'1, Jesse Williams is listed at 6'3 but he's a bowling ball, and Greg Scruggs is 6'3, but may play more at end. D'Anthony Smith is 6'2, and DeWayne Cherrington is 6'3. Losing Red Bryant and his length may have contributed to this pick, because there weren't a ton of 6'5 defensive tackles at over 300 pounds this year - DaQuan Jones and DeAndre Coleman are two I can think of, and neither were especially dynamic movers -- and I think that uncommon length and size is an element that Pete Carroll and Dan Quinn like to have available to them.
Said Carroll: "We'd like to play him inside, at the 3-technique stuff, and give us some good big-man play there. We think he can play some at the 5-technique as a swing position for him, but we'd like for him to really solidify a spot inside. We're looking for a big body guy, so that's why we're happy to get him." John Schneider added that he has a "good first step, good hands," and "still has a good upside on him."
We'll see what Staten can do during camp. It will be interesting.
6.199 OT Garrett Scott 6'5, 295 Marshall
Scott is one of the most athletic tackles in this year's draft -- the most athletic if you're using our SPARQ metric -- and I kind of see him in the same vein as the J.R. Sweezy pick and the Fat Rabbit Jared Smith pick: Raw clay.
Unlike Sweezy/Smith, Scott has obviously already played on the offensive side of the football, but what he has are the physical tools that Tom Cable will look to mold for his zone-blocking system. Like Sweezy, watching Scott get out of his stance and work downfield is seriously impressive -- he covers a lot of ground very quickly for a big man -- and he's very light on his feet without sacrificing a lot of strength.
I believe the Seahawks will work him in at both guard and tackle, but he's got the athleticism and length at 6'5 with 35" arms to one day potentially develop as a backup at the left tackle position. That's exactly what Pete Carroll indicated after the Draft, saying, "we like the shot of him playing left tackle, because he's done it and it's a difficult spot to find. He looked very comfortable there. Really has the kind of quickness and light on his feet ability that gives us the thought that he could do that. But, we always need our guys to be flexible, and he does help us there."
For now, he's a swing candidate like Alvin Bailey was last year -- work him in where there are depth issues, get him accustomed to several spots, and hopefully develop him in the system as a left tackle in case Russell Okung gets hurt or eventually leaves.
6.208 S/CB Eric Pinkins 6'3,220 San Diego St.
Pinkins was on my radar prior to the Draft because he absolutely blew up his pro day -- 4.44 40 at 6'3, 220 pounds, a 39.5" vert, a 7.05 3-cone -- and is a LOB-prototype as a guy that can move while still packing some punch as a hitter.
Interestingly enough, the Hawks plan to use him at corner, with Pete Carroll noting, "The fact that he has such great arm length and he's almost 6'3" gives us a chance to see if we can find him a spot at corner, first. He's been a real physical guy. John reminded me that he's been a really good tackler. We thought that was one of the things that jumped out on the film. So, we know he can play football. Now, we'd like to see whether we can package this thing to see if he can play outside. He played a lot on the slots, but covered a lot of man-to-man stuff on slot receivers."
So, Pinkins becomes the next DeShawn Shead for Seattle, a hybrid corner/safety -- he can play safety -- and as Pete Carroll said, "He's a hard hitter and a tackler, he would fall right into Kam's kind of a role, and probably that kind of style if he's playing safety. He gives us great flexibility, we think he's a really cool pick because of that."
Whether it's in Kam's role or in a Brandon Browner type of enforcer cornerback role, it will be interesting to see how he develops with a few years of seasoning (or less).
Pinkins, like Sherman, has a receiver background, which is something the Seahawks really like, and it should help in his ability to think like a receiver, recognize patterns/routes, and look for the ball at the right time. He's a project, but it's intriguing for sure. Just another insanely freakish athlete for Pete Carroll's defense. With his size/speed, it'd be really nice if he can carve out a role on the roster as the ninth or tenth defensive back.
7.227 FB Kiero Small 5'8, 250 Arkansas
Just when you thought the fullback position was dying, the Seahawks used a draft pick the second year in a row to pick one up. Small becomes Seattle's third fullback behind Derek Coleman and Spencer Ware (officially, anyway).
Last year, the Hawks grabbed Ware in the sixth round and initially said they would "groom" him to play fullback, but I kind of get the impression that that attempt didn't really take (or it hadn't early on, anyway -- things may be further along now, obviously). I personally believe Ware will develop into an excellent backup running back for Marshawn Lynch and/or Christine Michael and will compete with Robert Turbin for a job this year, and Seattle may now be looking for a more prototypical and experienced fullback to replace Michael Robinson.
Small is a wrecking ball at 5'8, 250 pounds, and boasts that he broke 26 facemasks in his lead-blocking duties at Arkansas. He brings the hammer when clearing a lane, and once again, this shows Seattle is committed to their identity as a beat-the-hell-out-of-you running team. He can also run the ball in an emergency situation, and could obviously be a short-yardage type as well.
In Small, Derek Coleman gets his main competition, and unlike the past few players Seattle has tried there, Small's not a positional switch. He's a natural. As John Schneider put it, "He has great eyes. They ran the ball a lot. He just digs people out." Experience, vision. "He's seriously tough."
PFA SS Dion Bailey 6'0, 201 USC
Bailey played both safety and linebacker for the Trojans over the years, and brings an element of playmaker to the defense -- always around the football, making tackles in the backfield, breaking up passes, and picking off quarterbacks. He was the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2011 as a SAM linebacker after Pete Carroll recruited him there, and he started 13 games at that spot in 2012. In 2013, he lost weight so he could move to the safety position, and he ended up registering 61 tackles, 6 passes defensed, and 5 picks with 6.5 tackles for loss, grabbing a half-sack and a forced fumble at that spot.
What stands out? After picking off four passes in 2012 at the SAM spot then five at safety in 2013, he definitely shows that he can be a ball-hawking type.
He played over the slot a lot this season - often in man, which isn't easy - so he brings some experience in that area, which could help him land a spot on the roster. His speed scores were pretty bad prior to the draft though and this is probably a big reason he went unselected, and he probably needs some refinement or focus in a specific role if he's going to develop into a roster player.
That said, his versatility and experience at multiple spots is certainly a plus for him, and he could even have the potential to bulk up to 220 or so and play a hybrid safety/linebacker role, kind of what the Seahawks had wanted Winston Guy to be, but with better coverage and ball skills. Bailey is a good blitzer as well.
PFA LB Brock Coyle 6'1, 235 Montana
Highly productive, highly instinctual, high-energy linebacker in the mold of Heath Farwell. Has a real shot at the roster if he can beat Farwell out for that special teams leader type of role (Seattle also brought in Mike Taylor for this reason this offseason), and Coyle's fast enough to act as a backup MIKE in Seattle's system.
He was definitely a draftable prospect, became one of the premiere UDFAs still out there when it was over, and got called by ten teams (per Gil Brandt), choosing Seattle because of his potential for that Farwell spot I would guess. He racked up 125 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles last year: playmaker.
PFA TE Chase Dixon 6'4, 238 Central Arkansas
Dixon is a height-weight-speed prospect that played both receiver and tight end for Central Arkansas. He was a VMAC visitor prior to the Draft and as Jared Stanger pointed out at the time, is a 'touchdown maker'. This always gets the Seahawks' attention:
This Chase Dixon appears to be a redzone monster. 2012-2013 combined: 30 catches...10 were TD's. 33%!!! Puts ASJ's 22% TD rate to shame.— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) April 24, 2014
Dixon will compete with Cooper Helfet and Travis Beckum as a 'move' tight end, and while he faces long odds for the roster, he's a guy that Seattle could look to put on the practice squad as a developmental type. John Schneider noted this morning that the Seahawks had a sixth round grade on Dixon, brought him in for a private workout, and they were "really excited" about him.
PFA OT Garry Gilliam 6'6, 306 Penn State
John Schneider said that he had sixth round grades on both Garrett Scott and Garry Gilliam, and taken together, they represent two of the top three in our pSPARQ score at offensive tackle this year (with Taylor Lewan, who was drafted top-10). Coincidence? Doubtful.
What Seattle gets with Gilliam is exactly what they get in Scott -- length, and athleticism. Gilliam converted from tight end to tackle prior to 2013 so he's still very raw at the position. He's a probable practice squad candidate, but has the potential to surprise like Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie did last season.
PFA OG Bronson Irwin 6'4, 316 Oklahoma
Irwin played right tackle and right guard for Oklahoma, so he's another position versatile prospect. Based on scouting reports (I haven't watched him yet), he projects as a guard because of his 'heavy feet,' but here's what Tony Pauline said about him:
Powerful, mauls opponents, and gets movement run blocking. Stays square, works his hands throughout the play, and anchors in pass protection. Fires into blocks and explosive at the point of attack.
PFA DE Jackson Jeffcoat 6'3, 247 Texas
Jeffcoat is another SPARQ SuperStar and was projected to go in the mid-rounds somewhere. He had very good production at Texas in 2013 with 13 sacks and 22 TFL -- he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year -- and has an NFL pedigree, but I think his 'tweener status (he played a sort of weird, standup middle rush linebacker in Texas' scheme at times), along with some limitations in his pass rush repertoire, led him to falling out of the Draft.
He's very interesting though as a LEO candidate because of his length (very long arms) and speed/power combo (4.63 40, 36" vert). He'll be one guy to watch in camp, particularly because it's not the deepest position for Seattle.
PFA CB Jimmy Legree 5'11, 192 S.Carolina
Legree played both safety and cornerback for South Carolina, and competed closely with current Seahawk Akeem Auguste in 2012. I don't know a lot about him but here's what Pauline says about him:
"Nice-sized cornerback with an aggressive style. Fast up the field defending running plays or screen passes, displays good open field tackling skills, and fights hard. Times his pass defenses well, shows a feel in coverage, and has a closing burst to the action. Effective facing the action and works well with safeties."
PFA QB Keith Price 6'1, 204 Washington
You all know about Keith Price. It's worth noting that Russell Wilson has worked closely with Price the past two offseasons.
PFA DT Andru Pulu 6'1, 322 Eastern Washington
This is an interesting one. Pulu started at UW but was kicked off the team and incarcerated after assaulting a Husky soccer player at a party. He transferred to FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington and apparently captured the Seahawks' attention as a powerful nose-tackle type.
He kind of reminds me of Sealver Siliga (the guy the Seahawks traded John Moffitt for last year - he didn't stick with the team) physically, and I'm guessing the Hawks see him in a similar role as a developmental run-plugger up the middle. Schneider said they had a sixth round grade on Pulu.
These players all reportedly (per the Twitters) 'signed' with the Seahawks or were officially invited to Seattle's Rookie Mini-Camp. I believe when players tweet out that they've 'signed' with a team and it's not subsequently reported by the team, it means they've received offers from the team to tryout during the three-day mini-camp.
FA RB Dillon Baxter 5'11, 200 Baker - USC transfer to Baker.
FA DT Demonte McAllister 6'2, 295 FSU - Apparently was heavily recruited by Pete Carroll back in the day.
FA FS Camren Hudson 5'10, 200 Troy - SPARQ freak, identified by Zach as an Earl Thomas doppleganger.
FA QB Zach Zulli 6'1, 202 Shippensburg - Camp arm. Productive, exiting player though.
FA OG John Martinez 6'2, 315 USC - Benched 225 42 times at his pro day. That's a lot. Can (and did) play every position on the OL.
FA DE Adham Talaat 6'6, 270 Gallaudet - Hearing-challenged, highly productive defensive end.
FA OT AJ Harmon 6'5, 345 Georgia - Huge person.
FA DE Tavita Woodard 6'3, 250 Hawaii - Another SPARQ freak. Compares physically to Marcus Smith.
FA RB Ryan Montague 5'9, 210 Louisiana College - Not much out there on Montague. Feuded heavily with the Capulets (sorry).
FA RB/FB Demetrius Bronson 5'10, 212 Eastern Washington - UW transfer to EWU, Bronson blew up the Regional Combine in Detroit when he ran a 4.52 40 with a 6.82 3-cone.
FA K Andrew Furney, K WSU
TE TE Rashaun Allen, Southern 6'5, 250
OL Eric Shultz Utah State 6'3, 315
CB Trey Wolfe, Ft Valley St 6'0, 190
SS Michael Dobson E. Carolina 6'0, 191
LB Jake Edmiston CO Mesa 6'1, 226
DT Shakeil Lucas LA Tech 6'2, 284