Former NFL GM Bill Devany and former NFL coach/scout/executive Pat Kirwin, (Kirwin is also Pete Carroll's close friend) talked about the Seahawks and their needs in free agency and the NFL Draft in a video below, and one little part of the conversation caught my ear.
Kirwin, in discussing the Seahawks, talks about how Seattle loves scouting the Senior Bowl and loves taking guys that excel at the Senior Bowl, and mentions one player in particular - DT Montori Hughes out of Tennessee-Martin. Hughes is a 6'4, 328 pound small-school nose tackle that was formerly a top recruit for Tennessee. He was dismissed from the team after a few off-field incidences, tranferred to FCS level, and is now being projected somewhere in the middle rounds (5-6). It may be nothing, but perhaps Kirwin has some insight into how much the Seahawks like this guy (he mentions "Pete might take him in the 2nd round").
Now, I'm not saying this is a scoop or anything, more like vague dot connecting, but I tend to pay a little more attention to players that Kirwin talks about with regards to the Seahawks because he and Carroll talk regularly. It's not uncommon for guys to 'speculate' publicly about players they think fit within certain organizations, when in fact they've been given inside 'off the record' information from the team. Just a thought. Regardless, since the Seahawks have some major needs at the defensive tackle position - both 3-tech and nose tackle, he's a guy to consider.
Respected Draft analyst Tony Pauline mentioned Hughes as a guy that impressed at practices during the Senior Bowl, first noting that at Tuesday's practice, he saw a:
"...Terrific performance from Hughes. Quick, explosive and powerful. Tremendous lower body power and got a lot of push up the field, bull rushing opponents off the line and collapsing the pocket. Really a good day for Hughes."
He added to that with more detail, saying:
"After missing Monday's practice with a slight injury, Hughes returned today and was one of the stars on the defensive line. He was both explosive and powerful all practice. Hughes consistently pushed blockers off the line of scrimmage, collapsing the pocket and disrupting the action. He also displayed the ability to beat defenders off the snap with his first step then fire through the gaps up field. There's no doubt Hughes is a player upon whom teams will focus during Wednesday's all important practice to see if he can continue his momentum."
Pauline added, after the next day's practice, "Hughes was unstoppable Wednesday and constantly got penetration behind the line of scrimmage. Scouts feel he'll be a terrific addition on the inside of a four-man line."
To my untrained eye, based on the video above, Hughes, though against a lower-level of competition, anchors extremely well and is able to take on double teams without giving ground. You find him in the backfield fairly often - whether it's by pushing the pocket inwards from the middle or by knifing past an opposing lineman. He's also versatile enough that they move him to 3-tech at times too - check out the job he does at the 2:32 mark above, and then again at the 3:00 minute mark. They even move Hughes out to the 5-tech in a 3-man front, and he looks fairly nimble there as well.
In my mind's eye, this versatility makes him a viable target for Seattle's defensive line just based on their penchant to find guys that can line up at multiple spots. Hughes presents as a potential backup to Brandon Mebane and/or Alan Branch (or whoever is playing 3T for Seattle), plus has an ability to move outside at 5T and spell Red Bryant. Anyway, he's an interesting prospect, though I haven't done extensive scouting at this point. I just wanted to bring him up now as a potential target.
For what it's worth, Kirwin also mentions DE Alex Okafor (Pete likes versatile guys) and DT Jesse Williams out of Alabama.
Watch Hughes in the Senior Bowl: #54 on the South Defense, courtesy of Mocking The Draft: