Pat Kirwan has tackled the task of ranking and rating the league’s defensive linemen in this piece at CBSSports.com.
A former scout, coach and front-office exec in the NFL, Kirwan begins by offering, “It’s not enough to refer to defensive linemen as simply defensive linemen. In fact, it’s not enough to call tackles just tackles and ends just ends. There is a lot more to the job description.”
He also includes four of the Seahawks’ D-linemen in his report. Here’s where they rank and what Kirwan has to say about them (the numbers for each are a combination grade for drawing double teams, hustle and pursuit and sacks/hurries/knockdowns):
On the rise
No. 8 Bruce Irvin (30.5) – “Irvin is a 4-3 RDE coming off a rookie season as a situational pass rusher. If he stays in that role, he will find himself back on this list next year, which isn’t a bad thing.”
No. 9 Red Bryant (6) – “Bryant will never have big numbers but he is a critical piece in Seattle’s defense. He two-gaps a lot in a 4-3 front and anchors the run defense. To appreciate all the dirty work he does up front, look at what happens to the Seattle D when Bryant isn’t on the field.”
4-3 right ends
4. Chris Clemons (42.5) – “Clemons is coming off an ACL injury and may not be ready to go, which means Cliff Avril gets the call. Clemons is a perfect fit in the Seattle defense and if healthy will have a 40-plus season.”
4-3 left ends
5. Michael Bennett (44) – “I can’t believe the Bucs let him go. Now he fortifies an already good Seattle defensive line. Bennett may not have the production he had last year and could struggle to match his numbers from 2012.”
If there’s a nit to be picked here, it’s: Where’s Brandon Mebane? The Seahawks’ nose tackle has produced 56 sacks in each of the past two seasons and was an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season. And he usually leaves the field on passing downs, while almost always drawing and handling double-team blocks when on the field.
Kirwan has the Patriots’ Vince Wilfork, Bills’ Marcell Dareus, Bengals’ Domata Peko, Rams’ Michael Brockers and Cowboys’ Jason Hatcher as his Top 5. Good players. But are all of them better than Mebane?
One word answer: Underrated. Two word answer: Still underrated.
Last year’s first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin, the 6-foot-3, 248-pound defensive end out of West Virginia, could be slated for a breakout year, writes NFL.com columnist Adam Schein.
Draft analysts questioned the pick of the unrefined pass rusher a year ago, but head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider saw the upside in his tremendous athletic ability and physical makeup.
“I just need a great group of people around me and need to get around a great group of pros who are going to show me how to be a pro on and off the field and I think I’ll be all right,” Irvin said the day he was drafted with the 15th overall pick in 2012.
Despite seeing limited snaps as a situational pass rusher a season ago, Irvin led all rookies with 8.0 sacks, recorded 19 quarterback hits and forced a fumble. In 2013 he’ll be joined at the line of scrimmage by newcomers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, who combined for 18.5 sacks last season and could help create more space for Irvin to get after the quarterback.
On Irvin, Schein writes: “This cat is a freak athlete. Irvin had eight sacks in his rookie year — and he was still raw. With a full NFL season under his belt, this Seattle pass rusher will become one of the elite sack artists and disruptive forces in the game.”
Also appearing on Schein’s list of breakout candidates for 2013 are Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker, New York Giants running back David Wilson, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown, and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 26:
1983: Curt Warner is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft to provide the legs for new coach Chuck Knox’s “Ground Chuck” offense. The Seahawks trade their first-, second- and third-round picks to the Oilers to move into the third spot so they could select the Penn State running back. Warner rushed for 1,449 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie and finished his seven-season stay in Seattle with 6,705 rushing yards, 55 rushing TDs and three Pro Bowl berths.
2003: Marcus Trufant is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, thanks to an assist from former Seahawks tight end and then-Vikings coach Mike Tice. When the Vikings let their time elapse before making a selection at No. 9, the Seahawks jumped in and grabbed the former Washington State cornerback with the 11th pick overall. Trufant, who is now an unrestricted free agent, started 125 games over the next 10 seasons; was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2007; and named to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.
2008: Lawrence Jackson is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, which also delivered tight end John Carlson (second round) and defensive lineman Red Bryant (fourth round). Jackson, a defensive end from USC, started 24 games in two seasons before being traded to the Lions.
2012: Pass-rushing defensive end Bruce Irvin is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, with the 15th pick overall. Irvin led all NFL rookies with eight sacks last season.
Good morning, Seahawks fans, and welcome to day two of the 2013 NFL Draft. After not selecting in yesterday’s first round, the Seahawks hold two picks today (Round 2, No. 56 overall and Round 3, No. 87 overall). The action revs back up at 3:30 p.m. PT.
In the meantime, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks and around the League for Friday, April 26.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks trading their first-round draft pick to acquire wide receiver Percy Harvin was the right move.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the Seahawks’ quiet first day and offers up some second-round targets for Seattle.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the moves made around the active NFC West on the draft’s first day.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando was hard at work while the rest of us in the Seahawks media room were spectating yesterday’s first round (kidding, kind of), and he shares his thoughts on the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals first-round selections.
Grantland.com’s Bill Barnwell tries to make sense of the draft’s first day, noting surprises, trade winners and losers, and what to watch for on day two.
Former University of Washington Husky standout cornerback Desmond Trufant – the younger brother of longtime Seahawk Marcus Trufant – went to the Atlanta Falcons, who traded up with the Rams to grab him at No. 22.
A 49-year-old NFL Draft streak was snapped yesterday when a running back was not taken in the first round for the first time since 1963.
NFL.com has a round-by-round look at the 2013 NFL Draft order after last night’s picks and draft-day trades.
NFL.com Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal breaks down what he believes to be the draft’s top 20 remaining players.
Stay plugged in to our draft central for all the latest news surrounding your Seahawks and the rest of today’s draft.
We leave you with the reactions from several Seahawks players via Twitter as they followed last night’s first round:
…. And with the Seahawks First pick in the NFL draft they select @Percy_Harvin
I'm excited about all the new competition that's coming to the NFC WEST!!!—
Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) April 26, 2013
Still say we had the best first round pick of the draft……—
Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) April 26, 2013
With their first pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select wide receiver Percy Harvin out of the University of Florida.
OK, not really. But as I’m sure you know by now, the Seahawks are without a first-round pick in this year’s draft after trading the No. 25 overall selection to the Minnesota Vikings last month to acquire the triple-threat runner, returner, receiver Harvin.
Head coach Pete Carroll caught up with the fourth-year receiver in the Seahawks’ “War Room” shortly before the start of tonight’s draft.
“The Seahawks are getting ready for kind of a quiet evening, except we’ve got Percy in the house,” Carroll said. “Percy is really our number one pick this year.”
Harvin already was a first-round draft pick once before, when he was selected by the Vikings with the No. 22 overall choice in the 2009 draft. Tonight, Harvin is fortunate enough to have that honor bestowed upon him once again.
“It’s a blessing for me,” Harvin tells Carroll. “I’m glad to be here and I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of the situation.”
You can watch live coverage of tonight’s first round here on Seahawks.com, as host Tony Ventrella will be joined by several players, coaches, scouts, media members and Sea Gals throughout the broadcast.
NFL.com Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal recently ranked what he considers to be the five NFL teams that are the best when it comes to finding talent in the NFL Draft.
Rosenthal stresses that his list is in no particular order, but the Seahawks, under the direction of general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, are conveniently Rosenthal’s first mention.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, NFC West rival San Fracisco 49ers, New England Patriots, and New York Giants round out Rosenthal’s top five.
On the Seahawks, Rosenthal writes:
“GM John Schneider and Pete Carroll have only been together three years, but their track record is outstanding. They see players differently than other teams. Last year’s three-pack of Bruce Irvin,
Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson were all controversial picks that didn’t fit the traditional mold. They were all outstanding.
2011 was a shakier draft, but they found an All-Pro cornerback in Richard Sherman in the fifth round. That’s also the round they found Kam Chancellor in their first draft in 2010. That crop included Earl Thomas and Russell Okung. The spine of the Seahawks were built in three drafts.”
Twenty-two of Schneider and Carroll’s 28 total picks from the last three years remain on the Seahawks’ current roster. Four of their picks have been named to the Pro Bowl (Okung, Thomas, Chancellor, Wilson). Three have been named first-team All-Pro (Okung, Thomas, Sherman). And 10 of their 28 picks were listed as starters on the Seahawks’ depth chart heading into last year’s divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Below is a pick-by-pick rundown of the Seahawks’ drafts guided by Schneider and Carroll.
|1||6||Russell Okung||6-5||310||T||Oklahoma State|
|2||60||Golden Tate||5-10||202||WR||Notre Dame|
|4||127||E.J. Wilson||6-3||289||DE||North Carolina|
|5||133||Kam Chancellor||6-3||232||S||Virginia Tech|
|7||236||Dexter Davis||6-1||244||DE||Arizona St.|
|7||245||Jameson Konz||6-3||234||WR||Kent. St.|
|4||99||K.J. Wright||6-4||246||LB||Mississippi St.|
|5||156||Mark LeGree||6-0||211||S||Appalachian St.|
|1||15||Bruce Irvin||6-3||248||DE||West Virginia|
|2||47||Bobby Wagner||6-0||241||LB||Utah State|
|4||106||Robert Turbin||5-10||222||RB||Utah State|
|6||172||Jeremy Lane||6-0||190||CB||NW Louisiana|
|7||225||JR Sweezy||6-5||298||G||North Carolina St.|
Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger at ESPN.com, has turned Matt Williamson’s positional rankings for the division’s four teams into a series of informational and entertaining “conversations” with the website’s resident scout.
Williamson ranks the Seahawks as the second-best team in the NFC West behind the conference champion 49ers, but the Seahawks come out No. 1 at quarterback, running back, defensive line, cornerback and safety. They are No. 2 at wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and head coach, and No. 3 at tight end.
It’s worth checking out the rankings and the dialogue on each:
Williamson: “If I were starting a team, (Colin) Kaepernick and (Russell) Wilson would rank among my top five picks. The upside for Kaepernick is so great. I don’t expect him to take a step back. I just don’t think he is as far along as Wilson in the fundamentals of quarterback play. Wilson coming into the league was ahead of Kaepernick in terms of being a pocket passer, reading defenses, not relying on his physical gifts so much and just in the mental side of things.”
Williamson: “Seattle has the best back in the division in Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin is a heckuva backup. It’s not a knock on (Frank) Gore. I like LaMichael James and like Kendall Hunter, too. So, the 49ers have three guys to talk about instead of two for Seattle.”
Williamson: “I’ll take (Percy) Harvin every day over (Michael) Crabtree and that is not a knock on Crabtree. Harvin is more dynamic, more versatile. He frightens defenses way more. You can do so much more with him. He has big-play ability and is just a better football player. When I rank the wide receivers in this division, it goes Larry (Fitzgerald), Harvin and Crabtree, but Harvin is closer to Fitz than Crabtree is to Harvin.”
Sando: “The Cardinals were the only NFL team without a touchdown reception from a tight end last season. Bad quarterback play had quite a bit to do with that, of course.”
Williamson: “Breno (Giacomini) has been serviceable. Marshawn Lynch has room to run. I think they have two good players (Max Unger and Russell Okung) and then a bunch of guys. I do think the whole is greater than sum of the parts. There is some truth to that in Seattle, which goes to coaching (by Tom Cable).”
Williamson: “They have a wide skill set, which I like, too. (Bruce) Irvin and (Red) Bryant are totally different players at defensive end. Irvin, (Chris) Clemons, (Cliff) Avril and Bryant give you versatility. For the Rams, (William) Hayes is an important part of that equation. He had seven sacks last year. (Robert) Quinn and (Chris) Long are questionable against the run. Hayes can be a base run defensive end. Plus, he moves inside and can be a quality rusher there.”
Sando: “The Seahawks found one starter in the second round (Bobby Wagner) and another in the fourth (K.J. Wright). They plan to use Cliff Avril at strong-side linebacker in some situations. But with Leroy Hill apparently having run his course in Seattle, the team figures to draft a weak-side linebacker to compete with Malcolm Smith.”
Sando: “Seattle is really the only team in the division appearing set at safety for now. I could still see the Seahawks drafting one for insurance in case they have a hard time re-signing Kam Chancellor. In the meantime, Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the league. At least I’m assuming you’d agree in saying he’s moved past Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, who were long considered the standards.”
Williamson: “Seattle to me has the best set of corners in the league, clearly (in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner). And then (Antoine) Winfield might be the best slot corner in the league. It’s almost unfair.”
Williamson: “(The Rams’ Jeff) Fisher is a heckuva coach, but he is behind two of the top five in the league (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) when it comes to ranking head coaches in the NFC West.”
With the NFL converging on Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine, we figured it’s a good time to take one last look at the pre-Combine mock drafts – the new, and the not-so-new.
How the players perform this week – off the field during interview and physicals, as well as during the on-field workouts – will go a long way in determining which team selects which prospect in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25. Of course, this is just the next big step – and the most visible – in what already has been a laborious examination exercise that began with teams’ college scouts putting these players under the analytical microscope. The assistant coaches have gotten involved the past few weeks during meetings to get them acquainted with the players. This week, the coaches will get an up-close-and-personal look at them.
Then there are the Pro Day workouts at players’ schools and interviews with teams at their facilities during March, followed by more poking, prodding and perusing as the process moves into April.
But here’s a look at whom some of the mock-draft mavens are targeting for the Seahawks with the 25th pick in the first round:
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 19): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
“The camaraderie forged between Pete Carroll’s coaching staff and the scouting staff under general manager John Schneider has resulted in several surprising but ultimately successful draft selections in recent years. The 6-4, 280-pound Jones will be viewed by some as a ‘tweener but he might possess the combination of strength, length, burst and passion to aid as an interior pass rusher in Seattle’s hybrid front.”
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 18): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
“The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add some depth, especially with Alan Branch slated to hit free agency in the winter. Williams lined up at nose tackle for the Tide, but has the ability to be productive in either and even or odd front.”
Josh Norris at NFL.com (Feb. 15): Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State
“I know the Seahawks are already dealing with one defensive end who has a knee injury (Chris Clemons), but Carradine’s raw talent warrants a first-round selection. His timeline to return is not presently clear, but think of Carradine as an investment for the future if he misses time in 2013.”
Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com (Feb. 14): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
“Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick. Austin would be an incredible addition to the Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys like Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percey Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”
WalterFootball.com at YahooSports.com (Feb. 13): Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
“Seattle’s defense is dominant, but one thing the unit is lacking is a consistent interior pass-rushing presence. Perhaps Bennie Logan can fix that. He’s one of the top players available. The Combine is going to dictate this pick for me. Pete “Bazuzu” Carroll is all about building his team on speed, and there’s a good chance Logan will run a 4.8 in Indianapolis.”
Todd McShay at ESPN.com (Feb. 7): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
“Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”
Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner produced like first-round draft choices during their rookie seasons with the Seahawks, even though they were selected in the third and second rounds last April.
This fact was not lost on Don Banks during his annual redraft at SI.com, as he has Wilson going at No. 3 in the first round to the Browns and Wagner at No. 9 to the Panthers. Wilson, of course, tied the NFL rookie record by throwing 26 touchdown passes while leading the Seahawks to an 11-5 record during the regular season and then added three more TD passes as they split two playoff games. Wagner, meanwhile, led the team in tackles during the regular season as well as the postseason.
First-round play from second- and third-round picks, you have to love that.
Here’s what Banks had to say in slotting each player into the top of the first round with do-over picks:
On Wilson going to the Browns, who picked running back Trent Richardson at No. 3: “A no-brainer for the perennially quarterback-needy Browns. At least with (Andrew) Luck and (Robert) Griffin, great expectations came with the draft slot. Not so with Wilson. He sat and watched 74 other players have their names called before he heard his in the third round. Like the other two quarterbacks taken before him, Wilson led his team to the playoffs and left no doubt as to his readiness to become the face of the franchise. The Browns sure didn’t turn a corner by taking a first-round running back, no matter how stout the Richardson pick might look in the future.”
On Wagner going to the Panthers, who picked linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 9 but lost him to the Dolphins at No. 8 in the redraft: “Having just missed out on Kuechly, Carolina could rebound by taking Wagner, who vastly out-performed his second-round draft spot in Seattle. Wagner led the Seahawks in tackles in both the regular season and the playoffs, and he could slide right into the middle linebacker slot that Kuechly manned so capably this season in Charlotte.”
Banks also sticks with Bruce Irvin as the Seahawks’ pick at No. 15, a selection some continue to view skeptically despite the rush-end leading all NFL rookies with eight sacks. Says Banks: “Not a bad draft in Seattle this season. The Seahawks’ top three picks – Irvin, Wagner and Wilson – all go in our Top 15 do-over. That will work most any year for Seattle general manager John Schneider and his personnel department.”
No do-over needed with that assessment.
Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, the draft experts at ESPN and ESPN.com, have posted their second mock drafts with the Seahawks selecting Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (Kiper) and LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (McShay) with the 25th pick in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
Their mock drafts are an Insider feature, so they require registration and a fee. But here’s what each had to say about his selection for the Seahawks:
Kiper on Hankins (6-3, 335): “Another good spot for someone to call and trade up. As for the pick, if Seattle wants a penetrator on the interior of the D-line, Hankins really isn’t that guy. He doesn’t have the burst to split gaps and create havoc behind the line of scrimmage. What he can do is occupy multiple blockers, help other rushers find space and better matchups and make the Seahawks more difficult to run against as he holds up blockers intent on getting a body in front of Seattle’s tandem of great LBs in K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. Hankins is an impact guy when his motor is running and will particularly make a run defense sturdier immediately.”
McShay on Montgomery (6-4, 245): “Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”
McShay also has only five “skill position” players going in the first round, with only one in the Top 10 – West Virginia QB Geno Smith to the Bills at No. 8; Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to the Rams at No. 16; Alabama running back Eddie Lacy to the Bengals at No. 21; Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Texans at No. 27; and Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter to the 49ers at No. 31.
Kiper has six “skill position” players in his first round, including a pair of tight ends – Patterson to the Dolphins at No. 12; Stanford tight end Zach Ertz to the Giants at No. 19; Allen to the Rams at No. 22; Lacy to the Packers at No. 26; LSU wide receiver Quinton Patton to the Texans at No. 27; and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert to the Falcons at No. 30.