A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 20, as the Seahawks kicked off the OTA portion of their offseason program:
Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ second-year quarterback made it difficult to not watch him, and coach Pete Carroll summed up the situation when asked how much farther along Wilson is this year compared to last year – when he had just been selected in the third round of the NFL Draft and still was competing for the starting job with the since-departed duo of Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson.
“There’s no way of even calculating that,” Carroll said after a crisp, spirited practice on yet another gorgeous day along the shores of Lake Washington. “His awareness and his sense for the finest details, we jumped offside today and he’s working on hard counts on the first play of team (drills).
“He didn’t know what a hard count was last year at this time.”
That might be stretching it just a tad, but saying that Wilson had a very impressive outing in the first of the team’s 10 OTA practices is not.
In that first team segment Carroll mentioned, Wilson completed passes to wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate and also scrambled twice, before throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. Wilson remained almost as sharp, and aware, for the rest of the session.
“It’s really hard to equate what it is, because he’s applied himself so much that he’s taken an extraordinary amount of information and he’s processing it,” Carroll said. “He threw a couple of balls today – things that we’ve talked about over the offseason we’d like to take a shot at – and he did it today just to see what would happen. With full awareness of why he was doing it.”
Before the OTA session was over, Wilson had completed passes to 10 receivers – running back Robert Turbin; Baldwin and McCoy; Tate, running back Derrick Coleman, rookie tight end Luke Willson, Percy Harvin, tight end Zach Miller, wide receiver Bryan Walters and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
The pass to Kearse was vintage Wilson – and that’s saying something, as well, that a second-year QB already has established trademark nuances to his game. It came on the final play, as Wilson avoided pressure and got off a pass that caught Kearse as much as Kearse caught the pass.
“Russell is the kind of players that will affect other guys,” Carroll said. “He affects everybody around him and hopefully that will help everybody play better.”
Offensive line. Right tackle Breno Giacomini participated fully, after being limited in Phase 2 of the offseason program following elbow surgery. His returned allowed the No. 1 offense to field the same line that closed last season – Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger, right guard J.R. Sweezy and Giacomini.
Comprising the second unit, from left tackle to right: Mike Person, who had been working for Giacomini with the No. 1 line; Rishaw Johnson, Lemuel Jeanpierre, John Moffitt and Michael Bowie. In the third unit: Alvin Bailey, Johnson, Jared Smith, Ryan Seymour and Jordon Roussos.
Cliff Avril. And that’s what the defensive end who was signed in free agency was doing – watching, because he’s dealing with plantar fascia that he got a month ago.
But with Bruce Irvin facing a four-game suspension to start the regular season and Chris Clemons still recovering from surgery to repair the ligament and meniscus damage in his left knee from the wild-card playoff win over the Redskins in January, Avril is slated to be the starter at the Leo end spot in the Sept. 8 opener against the Panthers in Carolina.
“I like the fact that Cliff is here because he gave us a cushion for Clem,” Carroll said. “That now changes for the first month of the season.”
Today, Irvin continued to work at Leo end in the No. 1 nickel line, with Mike Morgan taking over with the second unit and Ty Powell going with the third unit. In the base defense, Michael Bennett was the Leo end with the No. 1 line.
Tight end Darren Fells was re-signed this morning, while snapper Adam Steiner was released to clear a spot on the 90-man roster.
Fells, a basketball player in college who also played professionally in Belgium, Ireland and Argentina, was released two weeks ago. But he attended the May 10-12 rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Steiner had been claimed off waivers last week.
Also, running back Christine Michael, who was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft last month, signed his rookie contract.
The players also have OTA sessions Tuesday and Thursday this week. Next week, they’ll go Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
YOU DON’T SAY, PLAYER EDITION
“We really don’t care. Coach said we’ve got a lot of hype, but he also said let’s make it natural. Everybody around here expects us to win, but we expect ourselves to win, too. We don’t come out here saying we hope to lose. With a good team comes a lot of talk, but we put all that behind us. We’re out here having fun, we’re competing and that’s how it’s going to be.” – Harvin, when asked how the players were handling the heightened expectations that have come from being regarded among the “favorites” in the league this offseason by the national media
YOU DON’T SAY, COACH EDITION
“It was a very, very good first day for us.” – Carroll
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.
Good morning, Seahawks fans, and welcome to day three of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Yesterday, the Seahawks took Texas A&M running back Christine Michael with the 62nd overall pick in round two and added Penn State defensive lineman Jordan Hill with the 87th overall pick in round three.
Heading into today, the Seahawks hold 10 draft picks – No. 123 (4th round), No. 138 (5th round), No. 158 (5th round), No. 165 (5th round), No. 194 (6th round), No. 199 (6th round), No. 220 (7th round), No. 231 (7th round), No. 241 (7th round) and No. 242 (7th round).
We’ll get started with all of that beginning at 9 a.m. PT, but in the meantime here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after day one and two of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times has a look at the Seahawks’ unconventional approach to draft day.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune details the Seahawks’ selection of Michael in round two.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps day two of the Seahawks’ draft.
Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com rehashes the Seahawks’ selections of Michael and Hill in the draft’s second and third rounds.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando has his story on the Seahawks’ moves from day two of the draft at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has his list of the 10 best remaining players in the 2013 draft.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com’s Around the League has his take on winners and losers from day two of the draft.
NFL.com has an updated look at every pick made so far in the 2013 draft.
Once again, we’ll be streaming live coverage of rounds 4-7 with Seahawks Insider Tony Ventrella here at Seahawks.com, which is where you can also find Clare Farnsworth’s recap of what transpired on day two of the draft for Seattle.
You can stay connected and up to date with all of the Seahawks’ draft picks by tuning in to our Draft Central page.
And like yesterday’s cyber surfing post, we leave you with several reactions from Seahawks players and coaches as they watched the day’s picks pour in.
Congrats to the young fellow, let's go to work.—
Kameron (@Kam_Chancellor) April 27, 2013
That's a nice smart pick. I'm sure he was the best available player in the 2nd round.—
Winston Guy Jr. (@WinstonGuyJr27) April 27, 2013
Christine Michael (@Cmike33) April 15, 2013
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.”
In a word, “No.” In two words, “No way.” If you need three words, how about: “Are you kidding?”
We figured we’d answer the question in the teaser for Jason La Canfora’s feature at CBSSports.com – Is there a better NFL personnel guy right now than Seattle’s John Schneider? – before actually getting into what he had to say about the Seahawks’ general manager.
La Canfora points out the obvious, which is too often overlooked when it comes to Schneider. Maybe it’s because Schneider looks too young to be running a NFL franchise. Maybe it’s that old stigma of doing all that he’s doing in Seattle, a remote outpost on the NFL landscape. Maybe the XXXL-sized shadow cast by coach Pete Carroll.
Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see Schneider getting his due – some overdue due.
Writes La Canfora: “John Schneider might be the most aggressive general manager in the NFL, and, in my estimation, no one has done a better job evaluating talent and manipulating the draft, trades and free agency since he took over the Seahawks in 2010. …
“So, here in early April, I challenge anyone to find a team that made better calculated moves than Seattle and Schneider. I am a huge Percy Harvin guy, and felt he could be an absolute difference-maker, particularly if a team with a dynamic quarterback like Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick landed him. Turns out Harvin can now line up alongside Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Yes, the price in terms of draft picks was high – but Schneider also did well to recoup picks and clear up budget space by spinning backup quarterback Matt Flynn to Oakland – and there was no way the Seahawks were going to get a talent anything close to what Harvin provides picking where they were in this draft.
“I love the move, and while I understand Harvin has warts, I don’t see him clashing with Pete Carroll or being a persistent problem child in Seattle. He’s making what he’s worth; he’s content and has been migraine free for quite some time. His versatility and game-breaking skills at several receiver spots, running back and on special teams cannot be overstated.
“Seattle also had a need at pass rusher and landed Cliff Avril – and another player just hitting his prime and perhaps the best rusher on the market – and at a bargain-basement rate. They added Michael Bennett for good measure on a prove-it deal, wisely allowing the market to set before wading in. All the while, I continue to hear edge rusher Chris Clemons is making great progress recovering from knee surgery. When you consider this team was looking Super Bowl-worthy already, plus all of Wilson’s upside, a big tip of the cap to Schneider.”
All we can add to this is, “Yeah” and “It’s about time someone noticed the job Schneider is doing, and has done.”
Like last year. Schneider and staff got Lynch and run-stuffing/kick-blocking defensive end Red Bryant re-signed before they could become hot commodities in free agency. And can Schneider ever get enough credit for seeing things in Wilson that others couldn’t, or refused to because he’s “too short to play in this league?”
The answer to that last question, of course, is the same as those offered to the first question: “No.” “No way.” “Are you kidding?”
Richard Sherman appeared on the NFL Network’s NFL AM this morning, and the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback had a lot to say on several topics.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
On the San Francisco 49ers trading for wide receiver Anquan Boldin:
“That was a great move. I was really surprised they got him for a sixth-round pick. I thought the way he played in the postseason and the way he played all season he was worth a lot more than that. But that was a great move by San Francisco and they got a great player who still has a lot of football left.”
On the areas the Seahawks need to address this offseason:
“We have a pretty solid team as we stand; we have a lot of playmakers. Obviously with (Chris) Clemons going down last year with a knee injury, they’re going to probably try to secure that and get some depth there. We let Jason Jones go into free agency so I think the defensive line is where we’re going to pick up some pieces. We have great depth at linebacker and at defensive back. I’ve heard rumors of us picking up a defensive back or two, and obviously I’m always happy for more competition. My teammates are too; whatever makes us better. We just picked up a great weapon on offense but I’m sure Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) are going to do whatever they think is best for the team. They’ve done a great job so far.”
On if he expects the Seahawks the highest paid cornerback in the league when he becomes an unrestricted free agent:
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m the one to comment on that. All I can do is play to the best of my abilities. We have a lot of great players on our team who are obviously going to want the same thing. We have Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner – we have a lot of great players who are also going to need to make their money and to get compensated for everything they’ve done. Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) will do a great job making sure we all stay in Seattle, and whatever that means – if that means me being the highest paid corner – then that’s what it means. If not, then it is what it is.”
On what would interest him the most about the free agency process:
“You see other teams all of the time; you play against them. But you never see organizations for what they are internally. You hear about them through other players and you see them through osmosis; how they treat other players and how they deal with other players. The Seahawks have one of the best organizations and one of the best teams in the way they treat the team and the way they develop our chemistry and treat us like more of a college family atmosphere. That’s why a lot of players who are currently here enjoy playing for Pete (Carroll) and those guys because it’s such a great environment. It’s almost like you’re not in the NFL; we haven’t been exposed to that side of it as much as other players have. I’m appreciative for that and I’m kind of not looking forward to seeing that part of the game.”
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.”
What do Chris Clemons, Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman have in common?
Well, they’re all members of the Seahawks, as well as the leading sacker (Clemons), tackler (Wagner) and interceptor (Sherman) for a defense that ranked No. 4 in the NFL during the 2012 season. But they’re also All-Joes, as selected by USA Today. Nate Davis tabbed the trio of defenders for the publication’s 21st annual All-Joe team.
The team was first selected in 1992 by Larry Weisman as a tribute to Joe Phillips, a 14-year defensive lineman who did “yeoman’s work” for the Chiefs that season. USA Today has honored the unsung Joes ever since and compiles them in a 53-man roster that has at least one representative from every NFL team, and only players who have never been named to the Pro Bowl are eligible.
And that makes Sherman a good place to start with the trio of Seahawks who were selected. He was voted All-Pro after leading the league with 24 passes defensed and tying for second in the NFL with eight interceptions, but not selected to the NFC Pro Bowl squad.
Davis on Sherman: “It’s rare when the All-Joe team lands a first-team All-Pro; Sherman’s (successful) battle to overturn a drug suspension probably kept him away from Hawaii but not this roster. His combination of size (6-3, 195 pounds) and in-your-face attitude (just ask Tom Brady) make him one of the league’s toughest competitors. And he more than backed up the swagger with a league-high 24 pass break-ups to go along with eight interceptions and three forced fumbles.”
Davis on Clemons: “High-effort player has at least 11 sacks in each of his three seasons in Seattle and doesn’t come off the field. Hopefully he’s back on it soon after tearing up a knee in postseason.”
Davis on Wagner: “One of the many members of Seattle’s impressive 2012 draft class, he nearly took the tackle crown (140) and defensive rookie honors from (Luke) Kuechly (of the Panthers).”
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.
Now that we’ve moved past that Super exercise which involved only two NFL teams, it’s time to start focusing on the drill that engulfs every team in the league – April’s NFL Draft.
Front-office execs and scouts around the league – including the Seahawks – are huddling this week in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine, which will be held Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis. So the mock drafts already are circulating in cyberspace.
The boys at NFLDraftScout.com – Rob Rang and Dane Brugler – have weighed in with their initial mocks at CBSSports.com. Rang listened to coach Pete Carroll when he talked during his season-ender media session about improving the Seahawks’ pass rush, so he has the team selecting Texas defensive end Alex Okafor with the 25th pick in the first round. Brugler, aware that Alan Branch is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, gives the Seahawks Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams at that spot.
Rang on Okafor: “The risky (and ridiculed) selection of undersized pass rusher Bruce Irvin paid off for as the former West Virginia standout led all rookies with eight sacks in 2012. His speed off the edge could be complemented with a more refined pass rusher like Okafor, whose greater length, strength and hand technique could make him a suitable complement as the team adjusts for life with top pass-rusher Chris Clemons recovering with a torn ACL.”
Brugler on Williams: “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.”
Don Banks at SI.com also has the Seahawks doing their first-round shopping in the Crimson Tide aisle, but on the other side of the ball with tackle D.J. Fluker: “The Seahawks could easily take the best available receiver in this slot (Baylor’s Terrance Williams, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins or USC’s Robert Woods), and fill a need. But Fluker might earn too high a grade to pass on. Seattle’s offensive line was superb in 2012, but Breno Giacomini is hardly irreplaceable at right tackle. Fluker is seen as a natural right tackle in the NFL and his massive 6-4, 355-pound size and impressive wingspan could solidify the position for the foreseeable future.”
At NFL.com, a trio of mock drafts veers back to the D-line for the Seahawks, with Bucky Brooks going for LSU end Sam Montgomery, Daniel Jeremiah tabbing Ohio State tackle Johnathan Hawkins and Charles Davis opting for BYU end Ezekiel Ansah.