Tag:Seattle Seahawks
Posted on: August 2, 2010 9:23 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 11:59 am

Okung, not Suh/Spiller, most critical holdout

Despite lots of talk heading into the start of training camps about potential rookie holdouts, 29 of the league's 32 first round picks have signed contracts with their NFL teams in this, the first week of August.

The three remaining -- No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh, No. 6 overall pick Russell Okung and No. 9 overall pick C.J. Spiller -- were the three most celebrated senior players at their respective positions in all of college football last season. Obviously, the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, respectively, want their first round picks in camp as soon as possible. Each are expected to be immediate impact starters for their clubs.

Suh and Spiller are the two more celebrated players and no doubt will generate more of the media attention. The Lions and Suh's agents -- Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker -- are thought to be relatively close to a deal which could put NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated 2010 prospect in Detroit by the end of the week.

Spiller, represented by agent Gary Wichard, however, could be in for a longer holdout. The reigning ACC Player of the Year seemed resigned to that possibility by indicating in a chat with fans at The Sporting News that he was going to "... let my agent handle all of that. We're not going to rush. We're going to make sure we cross our T's and dot our I's, however long the process takes. I just have to be patient. I can't get antsy about the situation. I've talked to a lot of veteran guys. My teammates aren't concerned about me holding out. They know that I want to be there, but at the end of the day it's a business. You have to do what's best for your family. It was good to get that support from veteran guys already — before negotiations have heated up."

It is Okung, however, whose holdout could prove to be the story.

Like Spiller, Okung's contract talks have appeared to hit a significant snag. ProFootballTalk.com reported yesterday that a deal between the Seahawks and Okung's agent Peter Schaeffer is "not even close." Seattle Times beat writer Danny O'Neil noted that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll labeled his projected starting left tackle's absence as a "concern for him every day."

Suh and Spiller are readier to make an immediate impact. Suh is such a dominant player that I expect him to standout at defensive tackle as a rookie -- a truly rare feat. Spiller, due to his electricity and the relative "ease" of rookie running backs enjoying success in the NFL, projects as one of the league's surest highlight reel additions from the 2010 draft.

Okung, however, is being asked to play the position some believe is second only to quarterback in terms of difficulty adjusting from the NCAA to NFL. With the notable exceptions of Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady and Jake Long, few rookie left tackles have been able to come into the NFL and play well immediately.

I personally attended and scouted some of Okung's first practices as a member of the Seattle Seahawks during June OTAs. While Okung's length and strength were obvious, it was also clear that the former All-American still had a ways to go before understanding the intricacies of Alex Gibbs' vaunted zone-blocking scheme.

Okung is in charge of protecting the blindside of a soon-to-be 35-year old Matt Hasselbeck. If that wasn't enough pressure, he's being asked to replace Walter Jones -- the best player in team history.

The Seahawks certainly won't admit it publicly, but they know they need to get Okung in the fold. With Okung out, the Seahawks have former fourth-round pick Ray Willis, a natural right tackle, starting on the left side. When Willis was given Monday's practice off to rest, veteran guard Mansfield Wrotto, another former fourth round pick, was given the nod. Neither Willis nor Wrotto have demonstrated to this point the ability to consistently hold a starting position in the league. Both, due to marginal agility, are potential liabilities in Gibbs' system -- at any position -- much less the critical left tackle spot.

In a new offense with new coaches, the Seahawks could struggle to protect Matt Hasselbeck even with Okung starting. They're in a potentially dire situation without him.

It doesn't get any simpler for the Seahawks than this -- the more games Matt Hasselbeck starts for the Seahawks this season, the greater chance Pete Carroll has of improving on Seattle's 5-11 record last year. Until Okung signs, however, neither Hasselbeck remaining healthy nor the Seahawks improving in the win column seems likely.
Posted on: August 1, 2010 11:36 pm

WR Mike Williams turning heads in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Bucs surprised many with the decision to fortify the defensive tackle and wide receiver positions in April with multiple picks in the first four rounds. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the third overall pick of the draft, of course, received most of the attention. His linemate, Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Brian Price, received plenty, as well.

Of the wideouts, second round pick Arrelious Benn, not surprisingly garnered more media hype than fourth round pick Mike Williams. It is Williams, who, according to Tampa head coach Raheem Morris, is the rookie creating the most buzz among the Bucs' staff.

In fact, according to this article from the Bucs' official website , Williams is currently the team's starting X receiver.

Morris, of course, was quick to point out that the depth chart could change before Tampa opens the regular season September 12 hosting the Cleveland Browns, but he gushed about his rookie wideout to reporters following practice Sunday.
"He's been working at the X position with the ones. He's been out there a lot of the time. You also see Sammie Stroughter out there at the X position. Mike Williams had a dynamic offseason. He's come in and done everything we've asked. He's been one of the guys that's caught the ball. He's stood out. He's been standing out since he's been here."
Morris further explained Williams' impressive start.

"He's a big, tall, fast guy that can go out there and make plays," said Morris. "Right now, he's running with the ones. He'll have an opportunity to go out there and prove himself in the preseason. Final depth charts and all that stuff don't come out until we go play Cleveland, but right now he's running with the ones, he's getting some one reps and he's having a ball. And his teammates are having a ball with him.
Williams impressing on the field shouldn't come as a surprise. NFLDraftScout.com rated Williams as a potential first round talent entering the 2009 season. His off-field actions that led to an academic suspension in 2008 and ultimately his abrupt departure from the Orange November 2nd of last year were the reasons why the former Big East star fell to the 101st pick of the draft. Previous to the suspension, Williams was enjoying a fantastic season for Syracuse (49 receptions for 746 yards and six touchdowns), earning recognition as a Biletnikof Award semi-finalist as the nation's top receiver. Only the ten most deserving receivers in the country (at least in the eyes of the Biletnikof committee) are recognized as semi-finalists.

In 31 games for the Orange Williams caught 133 passes for 2,044 yards and 20 touchdowns. He caught touchdowns in a school record nine consecutive games in 2008.

Williams certainly has the physical components to surprise as a rookie. His rare combination of size, speed, body control and sticky hands jumped off on film. I thought Williams was the single-most impressive wideout during receiver drills at the Combine -- which I and a handful of other media members the league and National Football Scouting allowed to attend. I characterized Williams as "routinely [making] the eye-popping reception look easy" in this post-workout report.

With fantasy football enthusiasts all champing at the bit to find the newest sleeper, you can expect a fair amount of talk about Dez Bryant and Golden Tate's fits with the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks, respectively. Don't discount Williams, however. He and quarterback Josh Freeman may be too inexperienced for Williams to truly standout as a rookie, but watch out for the former 'Cuse star to some day be considered one of the true steals of the 2010 draft should be and Freeman develop rapport. 

Posted on: April 29, 2010 10:43 pm

Scout: Walter Jones "like Pujols"

With all due respect to Jonathan Ogden, Anthony Munoz, and Tony Boselli the greatest left tackle of the past twenty years -- and arguably all time -- hadn't retired.

He hadn't retired until today, that is.

Walter Jones entered the NFL as the sixth overall pick of the 1997 draft. He played all 13 of his seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. If he'd played for perhaps any other franchise in the NFL, his retirement would be generating more attention than it is. It certainly would be if he played for one of the prominent east coast or south teams.

Consider that in 13 years Jones was voted to nine Pro Bowls, including a string of eight consecutive years (2001-08). And while some have argued that Pro Bowl berths are essentially popularity contests, consider that Jones was voted to the All-Pro squad six years. Whereas the Pro Bowl may have become a bit of a joke in recent years, All-Pro means he was voted the best of the best. In 2005, The Sporting News voted him as the best player in the league, regardless of position.

Former Seahawks head coach and current Cleveland team president Mike Holmgren once characterized Jones as the best player he'd ever coached. Consider that Holmgren coached Brett Favre. And Joe Montana. And Steve Young. And Jerry Rice. And Reggie White.

In 13 seasons, Jones was flagged for holding nine times.

In 5,703 passing plays, Jones allowed a total of 23 sacks.

Revered offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who some have called the best of all-time characterizes Jones as the best he's ever coached, according to a well-written tribute to Jones on www.seahawks.com


“Walt Jones, he set the bar really, really high,” Mudd said. “The next guy I think of is Anthony Munoz, and he played a long time ago. This is 20 years later, and you’ve got another one who is like that. And I’m not sure Walt isn’t better.

“So the point I’m making is, Walt is maybe the best one that’s ever played that position. Walter was a phenomenal talent, and it started the day he showed up.”

I've spoken to scouts who compared Jones to former All-Pro left tackles like Anthony Munoz and Tony Boselli.

Perhaps the astonishing comment I've received about Jones, however, came years ago from a longtime talent evaluator who, unfortunately, refused to go on record.

"I compare Jones to Albert Pujols. Mudd used the comparison to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. It doesn't matter. The point is the same. Those guys, they aren't just good. They aren't just the best. They're each so much better than everyone else that it is ridiculous to even mention other players in comparison. If you want to bring up the guys from 20-30 years ago, the Jim Parkers and guys like that, fine. But in today's game when the speed rusher really came into existence, no one was better than [Jones]. He was the standard that, as scouts, we were all looking to find again."

On Thursday, the Seahawks announced that they'd be retiring Jones' No. 71. They should. While Steve Largent might have been the face of the Seattle Seahawks throughout his career and is still the team's most popular player, there is no doubting Jones' was -- and remains -- the best player the team ever had.


Posted on: April 27, 2010 1:01 pm

My all undrafted lineup -- defense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the defensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Yesterday I listed the offensive players.

DE: Brandon Lang, Troy (signed by San Diego)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (signed by New York Giants)
DT: Jay Ross, East Carolina (signed by New Orleans)
DE: Mitch Unrein, Wyoming (signed by Tennessee)
OLB: Reggie Carter, UCLA (signed by Seattle)
ILB: Micah Johnson, Kentucky (signed by New York Giants)
OLB: Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota (signed by St. Louis)
CB: Patrick Stoudamire, Jr, Western Illinois (signed by San Francisco)
SS: Barry Church, Toledo (signed by Dallas)
FS: Jon Amaya, Nevada (signed by Miami)
CB: Devin Ros, Arizona (signed by Philadelphia)
Posted on: April 26, 2010 11:50 pm

My all undrafted lineup -- offense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the offensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Tomorrow I'll list the defensive players.

QB: Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (signed with San Francisco)
RB: Keiland Williams, LSU (signed with Washington)
FB: Rashawn Jackson, Virginia (signed with Carolina)
TE: Colin Peek, Alabama (signed with Atlanta)
WR: Blair White, Michigan State (signed with Indianapolis)
WR: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State (signed with San Diego)
OT: Casey Knips, South Dakota State (signed with Arizona)
OG: Ciron Black, LSU (signed with Pittsburgh)
C: Kenny Alfred, Washington State (signed with Tennessee)
OG: Jeff Byers, USC (signed with Seattle)
OT: Levi Horn, Montana (signed with Chicago)
Posted on: April 24, 2010 8:26 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2010 11:26 pm

SEA, SF, DET, OAK among draft "winners"

I've been working on grading the drafts of all 32 teams for the past few hours. Here are the clubs that immediately stood out to me:

Seattle: Tough to argue that they had a spectacular draft. The Seahawks filled their two biggest needs (OT, S) in the first round with Okung and Thomas and proceeded to get one of the better big play receiver/returners in the draft in Golden Tate, address concerns at RB with trades for veterans Leon Washington and LenDale White and might have found two Day Three steals in Walter Thurmond and Anthony McCoy. If there is something to find fault in Seattle's draft it would be that the two defensive ends they selected -- E.J. Wilson and Dexter Davis -- aren't likely going to be enough to replace Patrick Kerney.

San Francisco: I've always been a believer in building through the offensive line so I might be higher on the 49ers' draft than others would be. I believe the 49ers panicked a little bit in trading up for Anthony Davis, but in taking he and guard Mike Iupati, the team is building one of the more talented offensive lines in all of football. Considering the talent they have on defense and their skill position players, Alex Smith doesn't have to win games, he just has to manage them. That strategy won the Baltimore Ravens a Super Bowl not too long ago.

Detroit: Suh was a no-brainer with the second pick, but I like the rest of their draft, as well. Jahvid Best has to stay healthy for this draft to really be a standout one, of course, but I like the no-nonsense manner of this draft. Suh, Best, Spievey and Fox could all be in the starting lineup by midseason.

Oakland: I know, I know. What were the odds that I'd be listing the Raiders as one of the "winners" of the draft, but I have to admit it, I love what they did. The combination of Rolando McClain and LaMarr Houston makes this team instantly better against the run. I like the upside in tackles Veldheer and Campbell and like that there was still some Al Davis element to the draft, as well, in the selection of track star (and underrated football player) Jacoby Ford too. Trading for Jason Campbell was just the icing on the cake. He certainly never proved to be a superstar for the Redskins, but compared to JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski, he might as well be.

Posted on: April 24, 2010 12:03 pm

Injured CB Thurmond, OLB Schofield worth risk

The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals obviously felt strongly enough about the recovery from major knee surgeries to pick Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond and Wisconsin pass rusher O'Brien Schofield, respectively.

Thurmond had been viewed as a second round pick by most scouts until he tore three ligaments in his knee returning the opening kickoff against Cal in the fourth game of the year. His recovery has been going smoothly enough that he worked out for scouts prior to the draft; though he was unable to perform at the Combine.

Thurmond told the Seattle media he expected to be 100% by the start of training camp, though that might be optimistic considering the severity of his injury. 

Schofield was one of the better pass rushers in the Big Ten in 2009 and starred at outside linebacker at the East-West Shrine Game. He was so impressive there, in fact, he was given a late invite to the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in his opening practice with the North team. Schofield will essentially be taking a redshirt year this season for the Cardinals.

While it is always difficult to take players coming off major injuries, in both cases, the athleticism and upside is worth the risk. Thurmond fits in well with the Seahawks expected conversion to more of a press scheme. Similarly, Schofield is a natural pass rusher that could be a star in the 3-4 alignment.
Posted on: April 24, 2010 10:34 am

Carroll trades for RB LenDale White

For all of the talk that Pete Carroll might draft some of his former USC players, the first Trojan he added was a veteran via trade.
The Seattle Seahawks have just traded for running back LenDale White and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson from the Tennessee Titans. In exchange, the Seahawks agreed to flip their picks in the 4th and 6th rounds with the Titans. The Titans are now on the board and selected UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner with the 104th pick. The Titans also get Seattle's 176th pick.

Seattle, on the other hand, gets the 111th and 185th picks.

The trade reunites White with Pete Carroll and gives the Seahawks the big back to pair with Julius Jones and Justin Forsett. Though White was essentially cast aside last year in Tennessee, two years ago he rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 TDs.

Vickerson isn't the big name as White, but could serve a significant role for the team. At 6-5, 305 pounds, he has the size and experience to immediately jump into the rotation along the defensive line.

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