Thoughts on the Seahawks first round options part II

Discuss your thoughts about anything draft related. Mocks, College and Pro. Knock yourselves out!!! RATING: PG-13
  • Manti Te'o

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    I tend to view linebackers on a spectrum. On one side of the spectrum you have your "wild" types, guys like Bill Romanowski or Aaron Curry. On the other side you have your "cerebral" types, guys like Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. I generally define a wild linebacker as one who shoots first and asks questions later- a risk taker. I define a cerebral linebacker as a guy that is mentally on top of everything and almost never makes a mistake, but might suffer a lack of big plays as a result. Some of the NFL's best linebackers are in the middle of this spectrum, guys like Patrick Willis, Lofa Tatupu, and Ray Lewis could basically do it all and knew how to strike the perfect balance between headiness and aggressiveness.

    I'm finding Manti Te'o to be the furthest LB in this draft class to the cerebral side of the spectrum. In fact, he might be more cerebral than any LB in last year's group too. Te'o possesses terrific presence of mind and diagnoses a play or a read quicker than just about any LB I've ever watched in college. I also really like how he can effortless change directions without losing speed, while preemptively adjusting his pursuit angles about as well as I've seen a LB do. He's a good tackler, but more in a Marcus Trufant way, not in a Kam Chancellor way. He's not a hitter, he wraps up.

    Te'o is probably not as fast as Bobby Wagner, but he looks better in zone coverage than Wagner did, and while Wagner is better in man coverage Te'o is no slouch. I could very easily see Te'o as a 150 tackle rookie next season at middle linebacker, but I would be surprised if he had more than a couple sacks or interceptions. Te'o is a damage control linebacker, in the same mold as Wagner or Kuechly, although he will probably run a slower 40 than either. Similar to Wagner, Te'o struggles to avoid blocks sometimes and his recovery time was very disappointing to me given how good the rest of his game is. If Te'o had been in last year's draft I would have graded him between Kuechly and Wagner as a MLB prospect.

    I'd be perfectly content with drafting Te'o and moving Wagner to WLB. Wagner's skillset is probably best at WLB and Te'o would be a more complete middle linebacker than Wagner is. A Wright/Te'o/Wagner LB corps wouldn't put up great stats, but it would be one of the best 4-3 LB groups in the league in terms of how they help the defense. If you believe the rumors WRT Kam Chancellor last spring, then it's not a stretch to think Seattle could move a player if a situation arises in the draft that demands it. I'd be very surprised if Te'o reached our pick in the late 1st, but if he did somehow then I think he's certainly a player worth considering.

    Dee Milliner

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    One of these days I'll break down a Nick Saban defensive player and not love him. I'll let you know when that day comes. Saban and Carroll might be the two most similar coaches in football. Both have had epic success in college, both emphasize defense, both preach competition like few others can and both do an excellent job coaching up their players.

    Milliner might be a top 10 pick, but I should stress that this guy isn't a superstar. He's not even close to being Patrick Peterson and he might have less of a wow factor than Morris Claiborne. He doesn't make a ton of plays that make you shout in disbelief.

    What he does do is play outstanding well rounded defense. He's adept in man coverage and is easily the best corner in the draft at tracking the football while maintaining good coverage. He's got good wheels and at times flashes some pretty impressive burst and short area quickness. He's extremely intelligent, diagnosing plays faster than even most NFL corners can and when coupling that mental agility with his considerable quickness, can be a terrific asset against screen plays and outside runs. He's very good at keeping the play in front of him and never once over-pursued or missed a tackle in my sample.

    He's a good tackler and could probably play linebacker if he wanted to if he added weight. Milliner is a big corner at 6'1" 199 lbs, and honestly I am a little surprised his listed weight wasn't higher. I'm not saying Milliner ever should or would play linebacker, just saying that his ability against the run is that good.

    Milliner tracks the ball well and has soft hands. He certainly has the capability of being a 6+ interception a year kind of player, he just won't be as flashy as some others. His overall game reminds me a little of Antonio Cromartie with even more quickness and intelligence.

    There really isn't a weakness in Milliner's game. He'd be a fantastic player to have. I doubt he slides any further than Dre Kirkpatrick did last year (#17 overall) as Milliner is vastly superior. But just in case he somehow reaches our pick, he'd need to be considered. I think Browner could make an excellent contributor at SS, big nickle safety, and even linebacker. Chancellor could make a good linebacker as well. If Seattle is willing to get a little creative and move some people around, Milliner would be a home run pick if available. If the team is/was willing to get creative for Mark Barron or hypothetically Dion Jordan, then getting creative to justify a Milliner pick could make sense as well.

    Of course, you'd rather not draft a 1st round CB if you could- given Seattle's results in the later rounds. That said, getting another Richard Sherman in the 5th isn't exactly an easy, annual occurrence. I believe the goal of this year's first round pick should simply be to get a great player that you know will produce for you. Seattle's roster is so good right now that almost any pick could be argued as a luxury selection. If Seattle drafts Milliner, they'll have protection for Sherman's impending suspension and they'd have a long term answer for Brandon Browner's thirty year old 2014 free agency. Corner would be the last position (other than QB) that I'd address in round 1, but if Milliner is there, he's so good that I think he'd need to be on the table as an option.

    Sylvester Williams

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    Like many other recent North Carolina prospects, Williams boasts high first round tools but lacks fire in the belly.

    On the plus side, Williams has good snap recognition and no other member of his D-line had more first reactions to the snap than Williams did in my sample. He's very large and powerful for a 3 tech, and at times can shed a block very well. He diagnoses screens very quickly generally shows signs of being an intelligent player.

    On the minus side, he gets stonewalled by single blocks alarmingly often and is not as dominant as his attributes would suggest.

    A move to the 1-tech might be in his future. His upside might be highest there- I could envision him becoming another Vince Wilfork in a best case scenario. He certainly has the power and size for it.

    If Williams is drafted as a 3-tech then I'd compare him to Alan Branch, a guy that had top 10 hype but who slid into the early 2nd round. Branch struggled early on for Arizona before figuring things out in recent years and becoming a solid, under-rated player that is essentially a 3-tech / 1-tech hybrid. I could see Williams struggling for a few years before good coaching sinks in and he becomes an above average NFL tackle. I do not think he'd provide an immediate upgrade on the D-line over guys like Branch and Jones. He wouldn't be an awful pick, but there are probably 30 players I'd pick ahead of Williams right now, including two other defensive tackles (Ansah, Sutton).
    Last edited by kearly on Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • "Ray Willis"

    LOL what a beast of a LB that would be. It's the middle of the night, Kearly, go to bed!

    Otherwise, great write-up like always
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  • I like what Malcolm Smith & WT3 bring to the table. While I love the writeup, not sure we really need a LBer or CB. I would prefer a playmaker on offense.
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  • Personally, I'm pretty high on Sylvester Williams. He may just be my desired target; Sheldon Richardson probably doesn't reach the Hawks pick and though I like Kawaan Short, I prefer Williams.

    I really think that DT is going to be where the value is when the Hawks are picking in the first. Possibly WR dependent upon the grades guys like Robert Woods, Terrance Williams, Markus Wheaton, Da'Rick Rodgers, Justin Hunter and Deandre Hopkins receive.

    Ideally, to me anyways, it goes:

    1. DT
    2. WR (can never let a lack of help stunt RWs progression)
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  • Is Te'o and Lofa Tatupu a fair comparison? I think Te'o is a big bigger but otherwise they seem to have about the same skill set and a lot of the same intangibles.
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  • I like it and nice write up. Milliner can jam at the line better than any player since Revis and you said it perfectly about him looking bigger than 200 lbs. Te'o would be a nice pick but I think he and Milliner will be gone by the time we pick. I gotta go watch some film on Sylvester.

    I would love a write up on WR prospects in the 1st.
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  • If you want a LB, might as well not waste a first rounder when you can just take Kiko Alonzo in the 4th. He's every bit as good as Te'o just had had off the field issues.
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  • kobebryant wrote:Personally, I'm pretty high on Sylvester Williams. He may just be my desired target; Sheldon Richardson probably doesn't reach the Hawks pick and though I like Kawaan Short, I prefer Williams.

    I really think that DT is going to be where the value is when the Hawks are picking in the first. Possibly WR dependent upon the grades guys like Robert Woods, Terrance Williams, Markus Wheaton, Da'Rick Rodgers, Justin Hunter and Deandre Hopkins receive.

    Ideally, to me anyways, it goes:

    1. DT
    2. WR (can never let a lack of help stunt RWs progression)


    I love me some Da'Rick Rodgers.
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  • JSeahawks wrote:Is Te'o and Lofa Tatupu a fair comparison? I think Te'o is a big bigger but otherwise they seem to have about the same skill set and a lot of the same intangibles.


    I think they are different enough that I wouldn't reach for that as a comparison. Tatupu was a hitter and he played aggressive. Te'o is pretty much the exact opposite in that regard. Te'o is also bigger and probably smarter. Coverage skills and ethnicity are probably the only areas where I could conceive a comparison.

    SEC FAN wrote:I like it and nice write up. Milliner can jam at the line better than any player since Revis and you said it perfectly about him looking bigger than 200 lbs. Te'o would be a nice pick but I think he and Milliner will be gone by the time we pick. I gotta go watch some film on Sylvester.

    I would love a write up on WR prospects in the 1st.


    Thanks. So far I see a lot of WRs that are worth drafting in rounds 1-2, but DeAndre Hopkins really stands out among the bunch. His size, build, movement, intangibles, polish, hands, and blocking... he's the complete package and could probably merit a spot on the pro-bowl right now. He and Julio Jones are two of the most NFL ready WRs I've seen in the last several years. If he reaches our pick through the incompetence of other GMs, then his selection should be a no-brainer.
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  • I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I don't understand the obsession with DT some people have. Seattle's run defense and pass rush both rank in the top 10 in the NFL, and their overall defense currently sits at #2 in DVOA. Further, Brandon Mebane is probably having the best season of any of our D-lineman, and both Jones and Branch are having good seasons. Further- Greg Scruggs has looked very promising when he's played and Jaye Howard might have a very bright future as a 3rd down specialist. Mebane/Jones/Branch/Scruggs have accumulated 8.5 sacks in 13 games which is pretty solid considering that only a handful of teams in the league have had better sack production from the interior this year.

    If anything, I'd consider our DE group to be the area where further investment on the D-line makes sense. Clemons is well over 30 now and in a subtle decline. Irvin would likely suffer if removed from a specialist role. We have basically nothing behind those guys either and have been extremely fortunate to avoid injury.

    Now, if the second coming of Warren Sapp miraculously reached our late 1st round pick, then you take him obviously. But from what I'm seeing, some of the best DTs in this draft currently carry round 2 or round 3 grades. After closely watching most of the 1st round names at DT I am not at all convinced that they would be immediate upgrades worthy of that level of investment. Thankfully this front office is far too smart to draft a player just because of the position he plays. Whoever they take in round one will be a player they feel can reach a pro-bowl level in their system very quickly. And if they do take a DT, my guess is they might consider Sutton in round 2 or 3. He's a Pete Carroll kind of player (tenacious, physically dominant, athletic, likable), and he comes from the Pac-12 to boot.
    Last edited by kearly on Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • kearly wrote:Now, if the second coming of Warren Sapp miraculously reached our late 1st round pick, then you take him obviously. But from what I'm seeing, some of the best DTs in this draft currently carry round 2 or round 3 grades. After closely watching most of the 1st round names at DT I am not at all convinced that they would be immediate upgrades worthy of that level of investment. Thankfully this front office is far too smart to draft a player just because of the position he plays. Whoever they take in round one will be a player they feel can reach a pro-bowl level in their system very quickly. And if they do take a DT, my guess is they might consider Sutton in round 2 or 3. He's a Pete Carroll kind of player (tenacious, physical, likable), and he comes from the Pac-12 to boot.


    Thats what I'm seeing too. Sheldon Richardson or Sylvester Williams don't strike me as 1st round grade. I did see a fair amount of Sheldon Richardson this season and he just doesn't strike me as an impact player. He's more 2nd or 3rd round grade. I'm not going to pretend I have a real gauge on Sylvester Williams because I just watched some youtube video but I will start with what I did like. He seems to keep his pad level low, is more of a bull rusher but not dominant, he has pretty good lateral speed like Sheldon Richardson, and he seems to be able to sniff out delayed halfback screen passes (play recognition). Again I don't see him as a dominant guy though that brought consistent pressure. He is solid against the run.

    I think if you take a guy at defensive tackle/end in the late first you almost have to look at a guy that does one thing really well. He has to be a huge run stopping type defensive tackle (nose tackle), or a pass rushing machine off the edge.

    Someone will reach for these guys but I think we can do better than that. In fact I would take a quality middle linebacker, receiver, or guard/tackle over what I've been seeing at the supposed 1st round defensive tackles.
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  • SEC FAN wrote:I think if you take a guy at defensive tackle/end in the late first you almost have to look at a guy that does one thing really well. He has to be a huge run stopping type defensive tackle (nose tackle), or a pass rushing machine off the edge.


    Good insight on that point. It seems like the few good DTs you see coming out of the late 1st round (guys like Wilfork, Tubbs, Jordan) were all one-sided talents who dominated in just one area.

    I am really curious to see where Richardson ends up. Most mocks have him going top 10 right now, but like you I see a 2nd or 3rd round level player when I watch him, and his character concerns are a bit Mallett-esque.
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  • Good post, but not sure its fair to Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis to put Lofa in the same sentence as them
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  • Not saying Lofa was as good, just saying that he is a similar profile (similar styles). When Lofa was drafted Marvin Lewis referred to him as "little Ray Lewis."
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  • kearly wrote:If anything, I'd consider our DE group to be the area where further investment on the D-line makes sense. Clemons is well over 30 now and in a subtle decline. Irvin would likely suffer if removed from a specialist role. We have basically nothing behind those guys either and have been extremely fortunate to avoid injury.


    There seems to be a consensus out there that the "Wide 9" experiment in Phillidelphia was a full blown failure. I would think that would help teams looking to add a veteran or rookie pass rush specialist.

    kearly wrote:I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I don't understand the obsession with DT some people have. Seattle's run defense and pass rush both rank in the top 10 in the NFL, and their overall defense currently sits at #2 in DVOA. Further, Brandon Mebane is probably having the best season of any of our D-lineman, and both Jones and Branch are having good seasons. Further- Greg Scruggs has looked very promising when he's played and Jaye Howard might have a very bright future as a 3rd down specialist. Mebane/Jones/Branch/Scruggs have accumulated 8.5 sacks in 13 games which is pretty solid considering that only a handful of teams in the league have had better sack production from the interior this year. ....
    ..... Now, if the second coming of Warren Sapp miraculously reached our late 1st round pick, then you take him obviously. But from what I'm seeing, some of the best DTs in this draft currently carry round 2 or round 3 grades. After closely watching most of the 1st round names at DT I am not at all convinced that they would be immediate upgrades worthy of that level of investment. Thankfully this front office is far too smart to draft a player just because of the position he plays. Whoever they take in round one will be a player they feel can reach a pro-bowl level in their system very quickly. And if they do take a DT, my guess is they might consider Sutton in round 2 or 3. He's a Pete Carroll kind of player (tenacious, physically dominant, athletic, likable), and he comes from the Pac-12 to boot.

    I think we on this board are not clear enough about the type of tackle we wish to discuss. If we were to distinguished between 1 gap and 2 gap tackles, maybe discussions would be clearer.

    Two Gap Tackle: I'm uneasy about having only three 2 gap tackles on the roster consisting of Mebane, Bryant and Branch. I would feel much more confident in seeing a good competition for a fourth 2 gap tackle.

    One Gap: If the staff drafts inside rush specialists (in search of that 3-technique superstar) for the roster (ie. Scruggs & Howard), how are those development projects going to get a meaningful numbers of snaps if the staff also adds a veteran specialist as represented by Jason Jones? Seems like they have manufactured a roster bottleneck.
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  • I think most fans are looking for a dominant 3 Tech. I know we have a decent amount of sacks, but I'm just not seeing the consistent interior pressure that the FO seemed to be looking for.

    Personally, I think we're weaker on the interior OL and would be happy seeing a high pick go there, RT, or OLB, which are the closest things we have to holes.

    I can see a really good CB going to us....think about it....Sherman and Browner on the outside, and the 1st pick going to the Nickle, pushing Thurmond to the 4th CB, where he would stay healthier. That could be sick, with incredible depth.

    I would also like to see a WR. Our depth there could use some talent. We can upgrade everybody from Baldwin on down.
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  • Great stuff, kearly, as always.

    I'm a big fan of Te'o and Milliner. They may seem the cerebral, well-rounded type rather than the explosive big play type, but you never know what kind of big play ability guys can develop at the next level. Just look at Wagner. A lot of people had him profiled as a solid tackler and a guy who'll always be in the right position and his college stats kind of attested to that. 4 year starter with 4 career INT's and 4.5 career sacks. Look at him this season with the Hawks, 2 sacks and 3 INT's already. I think we've got Ken Norton Jr. to thank for that.

    Also, it seems that any DB Pete coaches turns to gold. The Midas Touch. That's why I could see them going for a solid all-around player like Milliner. Either one of these guys would be a good get for a team just trying to stockpile talent no matter what the position.
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  • kearly wrote: Te'o is also bigger and probably smarter.


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