Friday round-up: Pete Carroll’s Top 5 most significant wins

On the Seahawks #12Tour, Doug Baldwin and Red Bryant surprise David Libby of the United States Army at his home in honoring his service and sacrifice as a Wounded Warrior.

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Friday, July 12, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com ranks the Top 5 most significant wins under head coach Pete Carroll. O’Neil’s No. 1 ranked win under Carroll may not be one that your mind would immediately gravitate toward, as he picks the Seahawks’ 22-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on November 13, 2011 – Carroll’s second season with the club.

On that game, O’Neil writes:  “The significance is apparent only in retrospect. Seattle was 10-16 under Carroll entering this game, including the playoffs. Lynch had rushed for 100 yards in only two of those games and the Seahawks had a total of 19 rushing touchdowns. The Seahawks are 17-9 in all games since, Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in 16 games and the Seahawks have 29 rushing touchdowns. Seattle may not have taken off until Wilson was put under center, but the sign of the turnaround can be traced to the midway point of Carroll’s second season.”

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times continues his countdown to training camp blog, answering the question – who will win the Seahawks backup quarterback job?

Speaking of backup quarterbacks, NFL.com Around the League writer Marc Sessler ranks the NFL’s backup quarterbacks, and Seahawks backup Brady Quinn comes in at No. 18.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune joined Sports Radio 950 KJR AM’s Ian Furness to talk about the Seahawks defense and which players need to step up come training camp at the end of July:

Former NFL quarterback and Tacoma, Wash. native Jon Kitna joined 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” to talk about quarterback Russell Wilson’s development, as well as Wilson’s No. 12 ranking in ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s ranking of the League’s 32 quarterbacks:

ESPN’s John Clayton discusses 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin’s potential move from defensive end to outside linebacker on 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Wyman, Mike and Moore.” Clayton notes the move shows confidence that defensive end Chris Clemons could be available earlier in the season.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth throws it back to strong safety Jeron Johnson’s time as a middle linebacker at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Along with team partner Alaska Airlines, Wilson led a pledge for 605 urban youth to stay in school and accomplish their goals. We also have photos from the event here.

And in some news around the rest of the League, no players were selected in yesterday’s 2013 supplemental draft.


Tuesday in Hawkville: Michael Brooks showing he’s a fast learner

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 11, as the Seahawks kicked off a mandatory three-day minicamp that will conclude their offseason program:

FOCUS ON: MICHAEL BROOKS

After the rookie defensive tackle was claimed off waivers on May 29 and practiced with the Seahawks for the first time a few days later, Brooks admitted, “I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system.”

The 6-foot-3, 299-pound Brooks apparently is a fast learner. In today’s practice, he tipped a pass incomplete and then penetrated to get a “sack” – on back-to-back plays. It was that talent and versatility that first attracted the Seahawks, who tried to sign Brooks after the NFL Draft in April. He opted for the Lions, but the Seahawks got another chance to acquire Brooks after he was waived.

“We saw some things we liked about him on tape and Michael certainly has come in here and tried to learn the system quickly,” first-year defensive line coach Travis Jones said after practice – which was held under sunny skies but also in a brisk breeze along the shores of Lake Washington.

And, like most of the linemen, Brooks is learning more than one position. He’s playing the three-technique tackle spot as well as the five-technique end position.

“Everybody’s got different positions to learn,” Jones said. “You’ve got to try to find a way to get on this team, and the best way to do that is to learn a couple of different positions.”

And it doesn’t hurt when you’re making multiple plays from those multiple positions.

PLAYER WATCH: CHRIS CLEMONS

Bruce Irvin, Chris ClemonsThe team’s sack leader the past three seasons was on hand for the start of the mandatory minicamp, but Clemons is continuing his rehab from surgery after tearing a ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the wild-card playoff victory over the Redskins in January.

“It’s good to get Clem back in, even though he can’t work,” Carroll said.

Clemons, who was acquired in a 2010 trade with the Eagles, has posted 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks in his first three seasons with the Seahawks.

“The doctors say he’s in great shape,” Carroll said. “He’s ahead (of schedule). He’s worked diligently to get there. Is he going to make it back by the first game? I don’t know. He has a chance. And if it can happen, he’ll make it happen.

“But like I said the whole time, we will not rush that. We’re going to take our time on that and make sure he’s right. The doctors are greatly confident. He is also.”

Even if he’s not practicing, Clemons provides a plus.

“Clem, he’s a great leader on this team. He’s tough as nails and really stands for something in this locker room,” Carroll said. “So to have him around is important.”

POSITION WATCH: TIGHT END

With starter Zach Miller sitting out to rest a sore left foot, it allowed second-year tight end Sean McGrath and rookie Luke Willson to work with the No. 1 offense – snaps that will prove invaluable as they continue to develop in the offense.

“It does give the other guys a chance to step up and get some good focus work,” Carroll said. “It’s really good for Luke and Sean McGrath is getting extra turns. So it’s a good deal.”

While Willson was selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, McGrath spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad after being signed as a rookie free agent last year.

“Sean is stronger. He’s quicker,” said Carroll, pointing out that McGrath has added almost 10 pounds. “He just looks great. He always could catch the football really well. Now he knows what he’s doing and he’s become just a regular part of it. He’s in the rotation right now.”

ANOTHER TOP 100 PLAYER

A sixth Seahawk will be included among the players ranked 21-30 in the NFL Network’s continuing countdown of the Top 100 Players for 2013. The latest group will be unveiled starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

As usual, we can’t tell you who it is. But All-Pro center Max Unger (No. 95), receiver/returner/running Percy Harvin (No. 90), All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51) and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 50) are the Seahawks previously included. That leaves a very-prominent name still out there – All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch.

A WISH COME TRUE, AND THEN SOME

Kevin LeeThe club hosted Make-A-Wish recipient Kevin Lee today. Needless to say, it was an over-the-top experience for the 12-year old from Farmington Hills, Mich., who has had four open-heart surgeries.

We can’t share more details at this time because the event was videotaped by a crew from ESPN and will be included in the network’s Eighth Annual My Wish series that is scheduled to air the week of Aug. 18.

UP NEXT

The players will practice again on Wednesday afternoon and then wrap up the three-day minicamp with a morning practice on Thursday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“You saw him. He was killing it today in practice. He’s just a very, very talented football player – very fast; very, very quick. He’s a very smart football player. He has the mind of quarterback. He thinks all the time. He’s thinking about what’s going on. What the coverage looks like and how he’s matched up with certain guys. So that helps.” – quarterback Russell Wilson on third-year slot receiver Doug Baldwin, who was played through injuries most of last season after leading the team in receptions as a rookie free agent in 2011


Monday in Hawkville: Russell Wilson picks up far beyond where he left off

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:

FOCUS ON

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.”


UNIT WATCH

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.

PLAYER WATCH

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.

ROSTER MOVES

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.

UP NEXT

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


Laying it on the D-line

Seahawks D-Line

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.


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Saturday cyber surfing: 2013 NFL Draft 2nd & 3rd round roundup

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.


Weighing in on the NFC West

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:

Quarterback

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.”

Running back

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.”

Wide receivers

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.”

Tight ends

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.”

Offensive line

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).”

Defensive line

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.”

Linebackers

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.”

Safeties

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.”

Cornerbacks

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.”

Head coach

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.”


Finally, some overdue love for John Schneider

John Schneider

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?”


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The NFL World according to Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman

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.”


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A pre-Combine peek at the latest mock drafts

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.”


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Chris Clemons, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman: Just call them All-Joes

All-Joes Team

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).”


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