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Tag:Seattle Seahawks
Posted on: May 16, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 5:12 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- Safety

Over the last two weeks I have been highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

Here are the links for the other positions:
The 2011 safety class was as poor as I've seen it in 12 years of professional scouting. Much of this has to do with the fact that the 2010 safety crop was as good as I've ever seen it -- and was highly fortified by underclassmen, leaving the cupboard very bare this year. As expected, UCLA's Rahim Moore was the first safety selected, but even he wasn't drafted until No. 45 overall -- and some view him as a possible cornerback in the NFL.

Just like there were at every position, however, there was talent to be found in 2011.
Players are listed in alphabetical order.

Quality Fits:

Chris Conte, Chicago Bears: Conte played cornerback for the first three years of his career at Cal, so when he made the switch to free safety as a senior, he flew a bit under the radar for most. However, while Moore earned most of the attention in the Pac-10, Conte was the more reliable tackler and coverage defender despite his limited experience. The Bears have experimented with undersized safeties for years under Lovie Smith, but in the 6-2, 197 pound Conte, they get a rangy centerfielder with a legitimate combination of size and speed. The learning curve will be steep considering his lack of experience at the position, but Conte will prove a starting caliber free safety early in his NFL career.

Shiloh Keo, Houston Texans: I have my reservations about how well Keo will be able to cover NFL speed, but the primary issue in the Houston secondary the past few seasons hasn't been speed -- it has been a lack of instincts and reliable open-field tackling. In these areas, Keo ranks among the elite safeties in the entire 2011 draft. Keo's initial impact will almost certainly be felt on special teams - where he could prove to be a demon. A playmaking punt returner in college, watch for Keo to make the adjustment to special teams coverage, rather than returning. One might argue that in the fifth round, the Texans should have been looking for a future starter (which I don't know that Keo will ever become), but at pick No. 144, there were few players more guaranteed to make a more immediate impact on special teams, so I see the pick as having good value.

Mark LeGree, Seattle Seahawks: LeGree, a free safety at Appalachian State, could be asked to play a hybrid safety in Pete Carroll's scheme as the Seahawks used the No. 14 overall pick last year on another free safety -- Earl Thomas -- and loved his playmaking skills as a rookie. LeGree, who intercepted 22 passes and was a three-time All-American at Appalachian State, has similar ball skills as Thomas and good speed. He could play the deep middle and free up Thomas to attack the line of scrimmage as the Steelers do with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. Like Keo, LeGree simply offered too much value in the fifth round (No. 156 overall) to fall further.

Questionable Fit:

Chris Prosinski, Jacksonville Jaguars: It is perhaps a little unfair to characterize Prosinski as a questionable fit considering how badly the Jaguars needed help at safety and the former Wyoming standout's unique athleticism. A three-year starter for the Cowboys, it was a bit of a surprise when Prosinski wasn't invited to the Combine considering his high level of play and the relative weakness of the position. He answered all questions about his athleticism at his Pro Day when he registered a 4.39 40, 39 1/2-inch vertical, 4.28 short shuttle, and 11-foot-2-inch broad jump. That said, I do have some concerns about his ability to transition to the NFL. Jaguars' general manager Gene Smith might be the NFL's most aggressive draft-day talent evaluator. This pick might turn out well like some of his past selections, but in my conversations with other teams' scouts, this was viewed as a legitimate reach.





Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- The Offensive Line

Over the next two weeks I will be highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

After several strong years in a row for offensive tackles, the 2011 crop was lacking in elite talent -- at least when it comes to blindside protectors. The strength of the 2011 class lay on the opposite side, as many of the top blockers -- while left tackles in college -- will be asked to switch to the strongside in the NFL. This is likely to be the case with virtually all of this year's top tackles, including the first one selected (Tyron Smith) and the most celebrated offensive tackle of the class (four-year starter Gabe Carimi, the reigning Outland Trophy winner).

With Mike Pouncey and Danny Watkins each top 23 picks, some have mislabeled the 2011 crop of interior linemen as a very good one. In reality, the depth inside was worse than outside this year.

There are, however, plenty of intriguing schematic fits for this year's class.

This is the last of the Finding the Fit breakdowns for offensive prospects. Earlier, I broken down the quarterbacks , running backswide receivers and tight end fits.

Players are listed alphabetically.
Good Fits:

James Carpenter, Seattle Seahawks: Many were surprised to see Carpenter make the first round, though I was not . Carpenter had been steadily rising up draft boards following a quietly impressive week at the Senior Bowl in which he demonstrated the athleticism, versatility and toughness to "plug and play" at any of the four exterior positions. Some pegged quarterback as the Seahawks' greatest need, but considering the fact that the Seahawks received zero or negative yardage on a staggering 26% of their runs last season, upgrading their offensive line was clearly a focus. Carpenter isn't flashy, but he's the physical road-grading right tackle the Seahawks have been missing for years.

Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts:
The knock on Castonzo was he wasn't as physical as some teams would prefer. Though he's made massive gains in the weight and strength department in his four seasons at Boston College (after starting as a 260 pound RT), he is still not the intimidator in the running game that most OL coaches are looking for. Castonzo does, however, possess good lateral agility, long arms and the dedication to play well immediately. For a team needing immediate help up front to keep Peyton Manning upright, Castonzo was the ideal fit. Castonzo, in fact, was the best fit for the Colts among any of the eight offensive linemen drafted in the first round.

Marcus Gilbert, Pittsburgh Steelers: As I mentioned previously, I had forecasted the Steelers taking an underrated and athletic left tackle from the SEC in Carpenter in the first round. With Carpenter off the board, the Steelers built their defensive line instead with Ohio State's Cameron Heyward at No. 31 overall, but found a similar blocker in Florida's Gilbert at No. 63. At 6-6, 330 pounds, Gilbert is bigger than Carpenter (and more ideal for Pittsburgh's preference for extra large blockers) and yet plays with a similar brand of physicality and toughness. He's capable of competing immediately for playing time at either left or right tackle.

Rodney Hudson, Kansas City Chiefs: A two-time winner of the Jacobs' Blocking Trophy as the best offensive lineman in the ACC, Hudson's consistency and athleticism are unquestioned. At only 6-2, 299 pounds (he played closer to 280 at Florida State), Hudson lacks the girth most teams prefer and will almost surely be asked to switch from his customary left guard position to center by the Chiefs. Kansas City operates out of a zone-blocking scheme, however, that places a premium on athleticism over mass in its offensive linemen. Furthermore, head coach Todd Haley prefers smaller, quicker offensive linemen, as well. I'm not as high on Kansas City's draft as some appear to be. Hudson is a significant exception, however. I believe he'll prove a Pro Bowler one day.

Andrew Jackson, Atlanta Falcons: Just as Hudson was an ideal match for the Chiefs due to his quick feet, "The President" is an intriguing fit for the power-based Atlanta attack. Jackson isn't a nimble athlete, but his size (6-5, 299), strength and tenacity could make him a pleasant late round (7th round, No. 210 overall) surprise for a Falcons team potentially in need of reinforcements up front with guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock scheduled for free agency. Jackson would have gone a few rounds higher had he not lost most of his senior season to a nagging ankle injury.

Questionable Fit:

Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys:
There is no denying Smith's athletic upside. If there is a tackle in this class who could wind up being a perennial Pro Bowler a few years from now, Smith is the favorite. That said, due to his athleticism, Smith's best position in the NFL will ultimately be on the left side -- a position he never played while at USC. Jerry Jones would like to believe his Cowboys were only a player or two away from legitimate Super Bowl contention... and perhaps he's right. Smith, however, is likelier to struggle as a rookie than star, making him an questionable choice for a team largely built to win now.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Trade scenarios for bottom of 1st round

There has been a great deal of speculation that there will be a handful of quarterbacks selected in the first round. After the Jacksonville Jaguars (who own the No. 16 pick), however, there is only one team -- the Seattle Seahawks (No. 25) with an obvious need for a young passer.

So, unless we see several teams reach for quarterbacks in the first half of a draft loaded with talented offensive and defensive linemen, there is going to be a fair amount of trading into the second half by QB-needy teams if these predictions are to come true. One of the fascinating elements of this year's QB class is how widely disputed the ranking of the players is among NFL teams. I've spoken to clubs that see Washington's Jake Locker as the No. 3 quarterback of the class and TCU's Andy Dalton as seventh best option. Others have the two flipped, with every combination of Florida State's Christian Ponder, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick ranking 3rd-7th, as well. Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, of course, are each expected to be top ten picks.

Here is a look at the teams currently slated in the bottom half of the first round whose picks could be for sale.

Philadelphia (No. 23) -- Many throughout the league believe that the Eagles will be very tempted by Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. While Smith is certainly a first round talent, his myriad of off-field concerns could push him out of the first. The Eagles could feel that they could land him five or ten spots lower and might be willing to trade as teams needing a QB jump ahead of Seattle.

Seattle (No. 25) -- Because Seattle has a clear need for a young quarterback, there is a belief among some that they'll reach for a quarterback at No. 25 if they have to. General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have noted on numerous occasions, however, their intent to beef up the offensive and defensive lines. It certainly could be smoke-screening on the part of the Seahawks, but with no third round (due to last year's trade for Charlie Whitehurst), the Seahawks will almost surely be entertaining offers to move down.

New England (No. 17, No. 28, No. 33) -- I list all three of the Patriots' picks within the top 33 selections because history tells us it is unlikely that Bill Belichick is going to keep all of them. Whether he packages some combination of the picks to move up for a pass rusher or moves down in an effort to be in the same position of power for next year remains to be seen. As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons that teams may look to trade into the late portion of the first round this year would be the longer contracts potentially available to players drafted in the first round. That will appeal to QB-needy teams like the Titans and Bengals, among others.

Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Seahawks would like to trade down; won't go far

The Seattle Seahawks held a pre-draft press conference yesterday with general manager John Schneider fielding questions from the local media.

Among the topics he addressed was the report from Peter King of Sports Illustrated that "Seattle wants to trade down so bad from 25 that John Schneider can taste it."

Rather than dismiss it - as many general managers would do at this point in the cloak and dagger pre-draft season, Schneider expanded upon it, explaing that, "Personally, I’d like to move back. I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff.”

Presumably, the Seahawks would like to move down to recoup the third round pick they gave up last year for the rights to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

And therein lies the irony of the situation.

It is the fact that Whitehurst is the only quarterback currently on the Seattle roster that makes it unlikely that Seattle will look to trade down too far on draft day, if they are able to land a deal in the first place. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, teams are expecting the contract rules to remain the same for this draft as they have been in the past. Now, this could change when a new CBA is signed, but teams generally go by the rules that have been in place, rather than projecting the new rules that could occur.

That means that the maximum number of years in a contract for a first round pick drafted between No. 16 and No. 32 is a five year deal. Players drafted No. 33 or later, however, can only receive a four-year contract.

Should Seattle be attempting to trade down with the hopes of landing a quarterback -- as some believe to be the case -- they won't want to trade out of the first round. The value of the extra year of the rookie deal is simply too valuable -- especially when dealing with a quarterback likely to spend at least the first year of the deal on the sideline.

It is the same reason why some of the teams in the top of the second round who may want to take a quarterback -- the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Titans, 49ers, Jaguars, etc. -- may ultimately have to trade up into the late first round to take the player who might have been available to them if they'd stayed put. In this wacky year, teams aren't just competing against each other for the rights to players, they want the longer, potentially cheaper contract for grooming their quarterbacks of the future.


Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
   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)
 
Top needs
   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.
 
First-round focus
   25th overall
   -- 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: April 8, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Locker "excellent" at SEA, MINN private workouts

Washington quarterback Jake Locker is one of the more polarizing players of the 2011 draft.

As such, he has a busy travel schedule over the next few weeks as teams try to determine if they are willing to use a first round pick on the embattled Husky passer.

If Locker's recent private workouts for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks are any indication, his stock could be moving up at precisely the right time.

According to representatives of both teams, Locker has performed very well, building off of the momentum he'd gained from a surprisingly impressive performance at the Combine and even better workout at his March 30 Pro Day.

A source with the Vikings characterized Locker's workout as "very impressive" and claimed that the UW passer "might be in the mix" for the Vikings in the first round. Minnesota owns the No. 12 pick of the draft.

Should Locker get past Minnesota, Miami and Jacksonville -- two other teams some in the league feel may be considering him strongly -- Locker's best bet to get drafted in the first round might be with his "hometown" Seahawks.

Locker worked out for Seattle yesterday and a source from that franchise characterized his workout as "excellent" noting that Locker performed in a high manner in both the whiteboard and actual throwing session of the workout.

The source also characterized Locker as a "great kid who has a huge upside because on the intangibles."

As it stands now, I don't have Locker being available to either the Vikings or Seahawks. In fact, I currently project him to be picked by the Washington Redskins , currently the owners of the No. 10 overall pick.

There is no denying Locker needs time to play in the NFL. However, served as a professional NFL Draft analyst for 12 years, I cannot think of a quarteback with Locker's degree of upside and intangibles that was not among the Top 32 players selected. 


Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Only Seahawks show up for McElroy's Pro Day

The Seattle Seahawks were the only team represented at Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy's Pro Day workout yesterday.

McElroy had been unable to throw at the Combine or the Tide's initial Pro Day after fracturing a bone in his throwing hand during the Senior Bowl. Though his production was impressive for Alabama , scouts worry that he doesn't have the arm strength to make throws outside of the hashes against NFL speed.

Much of the workout can be seen on the video shown below. The video was shot by Michael Casagrande of The Daily Bama Blog:

McElroy measured 6017 (an eighth of an inch under 6-2) and 220 pounds at the Combine. As one would expect based on his play at Alabama, McElroy demonstrates good accuracy on short to intermediate throws, including when on the move. His accuracy falters on deeper passes and his passes arrive with only moderate zip, overall.

Still, the workout provides evidence that McElroy is healing. He is viewed as a 5th-6th round pick as NFLDraftScout.com's 10th rated quarterback . While he lacks the upside of a Josh Portis (Cal-PA) or Nathan Enderle (Idaho), if nothing else McElroy's intelligence and game-management skills make him an ideal backup.

The video shows two representatives for the Seahawks, southeast scout Derrick Jensen and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith.

Here is the video:





Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Seahawks interest in Ryan Mallett legitimate?

The Seattle Seahawks will be flying in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett to their team headquarters, according to a source.

I typically don't put a great deal of stock into the travels of prospects during this time of year. While it makes for interesting fodder, the reality is, the vast majority of players selected will NOT have been flown in for a visit with their new team prior to the draft.

That the Seahawks are bringing in Mallett, however, is interesting in a couple of different ways.

For one, Seahawks' General Manager John Schneider was at Mallett's Pro Day workout. This is believed to be the only Pro Day workout Schneider has attended so far this year.

Secondly, the Seahawks could be in considerable need of a quarterback. Incumbent starter Matt Hasselbeck is scheduled for free agency. Head coach Pete Carroll said last week at the Owners' Meetings that the Seahawks "made a run" at re-signing Hasselbeck prior to the lockout.

"Financially, we went after it and couldn't get it done," Carroll said. "In my mind, it kind of came right down to the final day of it. We made an effort and they made an effort."

The Seahawks have veteran Charlie Whitehurst waiting in the wings, but in limited duty in his first season with the Seahawks (six games). Whitehurst failed to impress. He did, however, help Seattle beat the St. Louis Rams in the final regular season game of the year, giving the Seahawks the NFC West divisional crown. With Hasselbeck healthy the next week, the Seahawks beat the Saints in the opening round of the playoffs befoe losing on the road at Chicago the next week.

Should the Seahawks be able to re-sign Hasselbeck or feel comfortable enough with Whitehurst as their starter, the team has plenty of quaterback options to consider. The team has previously been linked to several passes including Florida State's Chistian Ponder, TCU's Andy Dalton, Washington's Jake Locker and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.

With the exception of Ponder, however, most of these quarterbacks are viewed as developmental prospects. Should Seattle be unable to re-sign Hasselbeck, find another veteran option to compete with Whitehurst or feel Whitehurst is not the answer, the Seahawks could feel pressure to draft a quarterback who could contribute immediately.

The only two quarterbacks likely to be available at Seattle's No. 25 pick who are considered "pro-ready" are Mallett and Ponder.

Ponder fits Seattle's West Coast Offense better, but at 6-2, 230 pounds and with a history of injuries, he is a gamble.

Mallett is unquestionably the more gifted prospect. But, of course, concerns about his on and off-field decision-making makes him evey bit the gamble, as well.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com