I know, the draft still is more than a month away. But let’s face it, you need a break from the constant bickering between NFL owner and players.
So Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with NFLDraftScout.com, and I are here to provide some actual football talk in the video above. As usual, Rang offers some excellent draft analysis on some potential prospects Seattle might consider with the team’s No. 25 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Predicting whom the Seahawks select in the opening round is tough this year because Seattle has several needs to fill, including quarterback, offensive line, cornerback, defensive line and receiver.
Second, with uncertainty on whether or not free agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will return to Seattle, and at least 10 teams potentially looking for a quarterback in the first round of the draft, it’s hard to tell if Seattle feels pressure to take a signal caller early.
Add to that the plethora of talented defense linemen available in this year’s draft, and it’s a crap shoot to determine what player Seattle will select at No. 25 this year
“This year’s draft is very unique, in that it’s extraordinarily talented on the defensive line,” Ran said. “I wouldn’t characterize defensive line as being Seattle’s primary area of concern. But if you have a spectacular player still looking at you, then you have to consider that player.
“Obviously quarterback and offensive line are bigger areas of concern, and so again, if you have a very good football player that happens to be sitting there on the board, you have to consider them.”
Signal callers potentially available in the first round include Washington’s Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet of Arkansas and Florida State’s Christian Ponder.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider attended Mallet’s pro day, and Locker is scheduled for a private workout with Seattle.
Offensive line prospects possibly available in the latter stages of the first round include interior linemen Florida’s Mike Pouncey and Baylor’s Danny Watkins. Offensive tackle prospects that still might be on the board include Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin and Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod.
Defensive linemen who could slip to the second half of the first round include Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson and Corey Liuget of Illinois.
Rang on Jake Locker: “We all know that he has spectacular athletic ability for the quarterback position. He has the intangibles that you’re looking for as that face of a franchise, and a leader in the pocket. At the same time, there are real questions about his accuracy.
“And so considering that Seattle is planning on using that West Coast offense that relies on short-to-intermediate level accuracy, Jake Locker is a player that if Seattle is going to take him, I think they have to have a plan in place. You have to have a starting-caliber quarterback ahead of him so that you can give Jake Locker at least a year or so to season.”
Rang on Ryan Mallet: “Ryan Mallet is one of those guys as a traditional, drop-back type – a Drew Bledsoe kind of guy – if you are throwing the ball deep down the field, I believe he can be successful, just as Joe Flacco has been successful with the Baltimore Ravens. And Joe Flacco is a significantly better athlete than Ryan Mallet is, but a similar, down-the-field throwing offense.
“The problem is, that’s not what Seattle is planning on doing. Seattle is planning on running this West Coast offense, just going by who the new offensive coordinator is (Darrell Bevell) and his experience, that leads me to believe that’s the way they’re planning on going.”
Rang on Christian Ponder: “I do not believe that he will be available at No. 57 (in the second round). But I do believe that No. 25 is a little high for him. And some of the reason for that is just the fact as a senior he struggled through some injuries. He had two arm surgeries within a calendar year. But entering the year, he was every bit as highly rated as Jake Locker was by NFL scouts, the only ones of course who matter.”
Rang on Jimmy Smith: “When you watch him on tape at the University of Colorado, he was a lock –down corner for most of his career. You’d like to see him be a little more consistent from snap-to-snap. It was very obvious he was a player that knew how athletically gifted he was, and was able to take some snaps off. But what I liked most about him is when he played against the top competition, he raised his level of play.”
Rang on Mike Pouncey: “When you watch Mike, he’s a very similar player to (twin brother and Pro Bowl performer for Pittsburgh) Maurkice. He is a well-built player and very physical. What I like most about him is the fact that he can get out and block on the run.”
Rang on Gabe Carimi: “He was the Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s No. 1 blocker for the University of Wisconsin. A guy that was a superstar at left tackle for them. I believe he projects better at the right tackle position. He would bring some physicality, some nastiness to the game. Not necessarily an elite athlete in terms of his pass protection, but is very good, and can come in and be an immediate contributor as a starter for Seattle.”
Rang on Derek Sherrod: “He’s a player I’m personally very high on. I believe he should be the top-ranked, or certainly the second-rated offensive tackle in this year’s class. And the reason I believe that is for one, this is a player that throughout his career at Mississippi State, he went against the elite athletes in college football and locked them down.”
Rang on Adrian Clayborn: “He’s kind of that classic, base end. And while he doesn’t have great burst off the snap, he uses his hands very well, and he locates the football extremely well.”
Rang on Corey Liuget: “He’s a classic 3-technique defensive tackle for the 4-3 defense. He’s a penetrator. He uses his hands well and he’s got a quick burst off the snap. Certainly the two defensive tackles in this year’s class are getting all the attention are Auburn’s Nick Fairley and Alabama’s Marcel Dareus. But this guy is a little closer to these two than a lot of people realize.”
Rang on Phil Taylor: “He is a load in the middle. So he has the ability to be a nose in a 3-4 scheme, and he certainly can play on the nose or at defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. He’s a player that struggled with consistency throughout his career. But it seemed like the light really came on this year as a senior.”
Rang on Muhammad Wilkerson: “If there’s a player in this draft that most closely resembles Red Bryant, it’s probably Muhammad Wilkerson. At 6-5, 310 pounds he has the length, he has the strength and the long arms. The fact that he played for Temple in the MAC is the biggest reason why people are a little slow on him.”