Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:30 pm
2010 record: 7-9, first place NFC West
2011 draft rundown
Eight total picks -- 25th overall (1st round), 57 (2nd), 99 (4th), 156 (5th), 157 (5th), 173 (6th), 209 (7th), 242 (7th)
Offensive Line -- With 10 different starting offensive line combinations last year, coach Pete Carroll said improving the talent up front remains a priority this offseason. The only player guaranteed to return to his starting role of a year ago is left tackle Russell Okung, who flashed the ability to be a standout player during his ten games last season. Former starting guard Max Unger could slide over to center , if the Seahawks elect to allow free agent Chris Spencer leave. Right tackle Sean Locklear is also a free agent who may play elsewhere in 2011.
Quarterback -- Former Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck is 35 and expected to test the free agent waters. Both he and the team have expressed interest in his finishing his career in Seattle, though it is unknown if the team is willing to spend big dollars on an aging quarterback when the club is clearly rebuilding. The Seahawks paid dearly for backup Charlie Whitehurst in an off-season trade last year, but the veteran showed little during his limited opportunities. Regardless of how the Seahawks feel about Whitehurst, adding a young quarterback to groom for the future is a priority.
Defensive Line -- The Seahawks' defensive line played surprisingly well early last season, but the unit's lack of ideal depth was exposed when injuries to starting defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackles Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane occurred. Mebane is a free agent and was surprisingly only given a third round tender by the club.
Cornerback -- The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdowns through the air last season, tied for third-worst in the league, and allowed an average of 250 passing yards during last year's regular season, 25th overall. Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant turns 31 this year, he struggled with injuries for a second straight season in 2010 and is due to make $5.8 million in base salary this season. Seattle's other starting corner from last season, Kelly Jennings, is a free agent this year.
-- With holes throughout their roster and a stated goal from head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider to improve along both lines, the Seahawks have plenty of options at No. 25, which could lead them to trade down. The team is likely to strongly consider any of the top offensive or defensive linemen available, with defensive tackles Corey Liuget and Phil Taylor especially attractive considering the precarious status of Brandon Mebane. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is also an intriguing option considering that the 6-2, 210 pound Colorado star is a perfect schematic fit for Carroll's press coverage scheme. Depth along the offensive line is good enough in the 2011 draft that the Seahawks may be able to get away with waiting until the middle rounds before addressing this concern -- though the OL might just be the team's biggest need. Quarterback is also a critical need and the team may feel free pressured to nab one of the top West Coast Offense quarterbacks like TCU's Andy Dalton or Florida State's Christian Ponder with their first round pick. Neither is likely to be available when the Seahawks draft in the second round.
Five names on the Falcons' board
CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
OT Nate Solder, Colorado
DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
DT Phil Taylor, Baylor
QB Andy Dalton, TCU
Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:40 pm
The Seattle Seahawks will be flying in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett to their team headquarters, according to a source.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 8:47 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 9:10 pm
Today, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was the benefit of the NFL lockout. The Associated Press reported that retired receiver Isaac Bruce stepped in to catch passes from Ponder due to a lack of senior Seminoles' receivers and the prohibition of current NFL wideouts from working out in the view of team scouts and coaches.
Ponder, who performed very well according to all reports, had an advantage few young passers get throwing to a potential Hall-of-Fame receiver in Bruce, who played 16 years and ranks seventh all-time in receptions (1,024), third in receiving yards (15,208), and ninth in receiving touchdowns (91).
But the lockout prevented former Seminoles, or other receivers out of football, from getting a second chance to impress scouts. It is not clear who would have participated if given the chance, but many times players trying to get back into the NFL by performing at a campus pro day (with the school's permission).
Running back Ryan Torain, for example, participated in Arizona State's pro day last spring to show scouts he was over the injuries that caused Denver to release him the previous fall (he was out the entire 2009 season). The Redskins took a chance on Torain this year, and he ran for 742 yards and four touchdowns in ten games--before injuries again limited him. But the team has already said he will get the first look as the starter in 2011, so the second chance the ASU alum received in the spring proved quite valuable.
Wednesday night, highly-rated quarterback Blaine Gabbert's former pass-catch partner at Missouri, and current St. Louis Ram, Danario Alexander tweeted that he "just got word that I can't go support my guys at there pro day... #lockoutsucks" What Alexander's tweet lacked in spelling correctness it made up for in exemplifying current players -- and certainly prospects -- frustration with the current labor situation.
--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: March 5, 2011 12:21 pm
Since the Combine ended Tuesday, I've been polling league sources on their rankings of the quarterbacks. I spoken or texted with seven sources (ranging from area scouts to front office executives) as of Saturday morning and have some interesting results.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Akili Smith, Andy Dalton, Arkansas, Auburn, Blaine Gabbert, Blaine Gabbert, Cade McNown, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Florida State, Jake Locker, Jay Cutler, Missouri, Missouri, Nevada, Pro Day, Ryan Mallett, Scouting Combine, Tarvaris Jackson, TCU, Tim Couch, Vince Young, Washington
Posted on: February 28, 2011 7:24 pm
We all know the value of quarterbacks raises as the draft gets closer. We also all know that significantly altering a player's grade based on Combine performance is a quick way to get a scouting staff fired.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 2:52 pm
Cam Newton entered the second throwing session of the Combine with all of the hype, but it was Florida State's Christian Ponder who stole the show.
Ponder showed surprising zip and very good accuracy throughout the throwing session, especially in the short to intermediate levels. His deep outs and post-corner routes were especially impressive.
Newton has all of the physical tools scouts are looking for, but showed that he is still in the early developmental stages in dropping back, transferring his weight and throwing passes accurately. This led to some of his throws -- especially timing routes like deep outs -- to sail on him.
We'll have more on the QB and WR drills as a feature article.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 2:59 pm
Washington's Jake Locker was the most scrutizined player in Mobile throughout this week's Senior Bowl practices.
The game will be no different -- except in one very key area.
I don't recall a single snap during the week of practice in which Locker ran with the ball. He clearly was attempting to put to bed concerns about his accuracy in the pocket. While he was unsuccessful in doing so, he also took away the element that makes him special.
Most of the mobile quarterbacks in the NFL lack elite accuracy. Their ability to buy time in the pocket or force secondary defenders to come up in run support and thereby leave their coverage responsibilities is precisely the skill that helps some passers succeed despite great accuracy.
Locker may have stuck in the pocket to his own detriment, at times, during the week of practice. In the game, however, his competitive juices could force him to vacate it -- especially if the South's defensive line is successful in rushing the passer -- as is the case in most all-star games, including last Saturday's East-West Shrine game.
This fact sets up the three most mobile passers in the Senior Bowl -- Locker, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and Florida State's Christian Ponder -- to enjoy some success.
Kaepernick and Ponder have each helped themselves this week with strong performances. Sure, they'd like a strong finish to their week, but a ho-hum game will not hurt the impression they've already made on scouts.
Locker, however, has more riding on the game than the others due to his mediocre practices. That fact, as well as his re-discovered mobility could result in a strong, perhaps even MVP, performance.
The Senior Bowl will be televised by the NFL Network. It begins at 4 pm EST.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 7:57 pm
With Washington quarterback Jake Locker enjoying a strong bounce-back performance in this morning's North practice, the pressure was on the South's trio of passers to hold serve at the Senior Bowl.
Though TCU's Andy Dalton, Alabama's Greg McElroy and Florida State's Christian Ponder lack Locker's arm strength and athletic upside, their accuracy and ability to locate secondary target was nonetheless impressive.
Dalton was smooth dropping back from center - a question considering the fact that he took most of his snaps with the Horned Frogs out of the shotgun - and was able to survey the field and make generally accurate passes. He zipped the ball between defenders and showed good touch down the seam. Scouts say Dalton is helping himself this week with solid play, though inconsistent accuracy on the deep ball is a concern. Dalton wasn't asked to throw downfield often in for a TCU offense that relied often on screens and other timing-based short and intermediate routes.
It isn't often that a championship-winning quarterback can be characterized as an underrated NFL prospect, but that is precisely how I feel about McElroy. While much of the Crimson Tide's offense was based on their dual running threat of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, McElroy demonstrated the ability to drive the ball downfield while at Auburn and showed the same ability to surprise defenders with just enough zip to fit passes through closing spaces. Another aspect that is sure to impress scouts about McElroy is his ability to do the little things correctly. McElroy was able to move the South's safeties with his eyes and an effective pump-fake, creating wider throwing avenues to exploit.
McElroy's vision stood in contrast to Florida State's Christian Ponder. Ponder has a tendency to stare down his primary read and doesn't have the howitzer typically necessary to get away with against NFL coverage, especially after having undergone two arm surgeries in the past year. He did, however, show a stronger and more accurate arm on his deep passes than either Dalton or McElroy, surprising more than a few talent evaluators today.
The South's quarterback enjoyed a solid, albeit unspectacular Tuesday afternoon practice despite less than ideal performances from many of their top receivers.
Abilene Christian's Edmond Gates, who left NFL scouts drooling with his deep speed Monday, was sidelined for Tuesday's practice with a pulled hamstring. Hawaii's Greg Salas, normally one of the more sure-handed receivers in the country, struggled with drops Tuesday. Scouts have questions about the 6-1, 206 pound Salas' speed and ability to make plays after the reception. Rather than suddenly forget how to catch, Salas appeared to be trying to make the defender miss before securing the pass.
Miami's Leonard Hankerson and South Alabama's Courtney Smith also struggled with a few drops Tuesday. Unfortunately, their drops were of the uglier variety. Each simply allowed too many passes into his chest, resulting in some bouncing off audibly. A bounce-back performance tomorrow would help the stock of both, though there certainly is a lot to like about the physicality, size (6-1, 205 and 6-4, 220, respectively) and upside of each.
The most impressive receiver for the South team Tuesday afternoon was TCU's Jeremy Kirley. At 5-09, 188 pounds, Kirley lacks the height scouts would prefer, but his quick feet and balance made him a tough draw for any cornerback. Kirley was a featured target of every South quarterback, not just his Horned Frog teammate, Dalton.
With a talented South offensive line doing a nice job in pass protection, it was up to the defensive backs to make plays on the ball.
Texas cornerback Curtis Brown impressed scouts with his athleticism and aggression. At times, he got a little grabby with receivers, but his size (5-11, 180), straight-line speed and fluidity typically kept him in the hip pocket of receivers. He was, however, beaten for two long touchdowns when he gambled on underneath routes and was beaten by double-moves over the top. Perfect throws deep (one by McElroy, the other by Ponder) beat him, but more often than not Brown closed just as the ball arrived, knocking some passes out of the receiver's hands just as they arrived.
USC cornerback Shareece Wright also showed a willingness to gamble on underneath routes. At 5-11, 182 pounds, he possesses almost identical size as Brown, though he isn't quite as agile or explosive to close on the ball. After making a nice break on the ball early in practice, Wright guessed wrong on the next throw, coming up quickly on a double-move and getting beat down the right sideline. Fortunately for Wright, the ball sailed out of bounds.
Perhaps the most consistently impressive player in the secondary was the smallest one. Florida's Ahmad Black may lack the bulk scouts want in a safety, but he has such quick feet that a move to cornerback may be in the future. At 5-09, 183, it may be his best bet at getting selected in the first half of the draft.