Tag Archives: Jared Smith

2013 Seattle Seahawks Draft Analysis

Few exercises are more futile than assessing a grade immediately following a NFL draft. Considering that the only way to measure a draft class is to see how it performs on the field, and not a single drafted player has taken the field immediately following a draft, there’s truly no way that an accurate grade can be given.

So don’t expect me to use this space trying to provide yet another unintelligent, ignorant grade for the Seattle Seahawks 2013 draft class. The players were drafted, the Seahawks’ front office had its reasons for drafting those players and only time will tell if they were wise or foolish.

But analyzing draft classes is fun, and who says you have to assign a letter grade to provide insightful commentary?

Heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, it’s hard to make the case there existed a team with fewer holes than the Seahawks. Already this offseason they’ve added arguably the most dynamic receiver in the NFL by trading for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, and shored up their defensive line with free agents Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Avril and Bennett combined for 69 tackles, 18.5 sacks and five forced fumbles a season ago, and should more than compensate for the potentially slow return of Chris Clemons, who went down in Seattle’s playoff victory at the Washington Redskins with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The Seahawks also bolstered their already intimidating secondary with veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield and dumped high-priced backup Matt Flynn off to Oakland in exchange for a pair of draft picks.

With so many impact additions added to a team that was labeled by many as the one nobody wanted to face in the 2013 playoffs, the draft for the Seahawks was all about one thing: Depth. Depth, or a lack of it, ended up being Seattle’s downfall in its 30-28 playoff loss at the Atlanta Falcons last season, as the Seahawks failed miserably in getting to Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan without Clemons. For all rookie Bruce Irvin accomplished throughout the regular season with his eight sacks, he simply wasn’t ready to take on the larger role thrust upon him with Clemons out.

Looking at who Seattle drafted, you may not find someone who will start in 2013. But the talent will certainly push the players in front of them.

—————————–

Round 2 (62nd overall)
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
5’10” 220 lbs.
Arm length – 31 ½
Hand length – 9 3/8
40 yard dash – 4.43 (Combine)
20 yard dash – 2.51 (Combine)
225 lb. bench reps – 27 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 43 (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.02 (Combine)
3-cone drill – 6.69 (Combine)

Originally slated to pick No. 56, the Seahawks orchestrated a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, falling back to No. 62. Thanks to the trade, the Seahawks also acquired Baltimore’s fifth (No. 165) and sixth (No. 199) round selections. With Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin returning to a rushing attack that ranked No. 3 in the NFL in yards per game a season ago, this appeared to be a bit of a head scratcher. But remember; for Seattle, this is all about building depth. And with the departure of Leon Washington, the Seahawks were in need of a third-string running back. One of the worst things that could happen to the Seahawks this next season is Lynch, who just turned 27 a few days ago, suffering a major injury. In that scenario, Turbin would be thrust into the starting role with seemingly nobody to back him up. And while Turbin performed admirably as a rookie a season ago with 80 carries and a 4.4 yard-per-carry average, you’d like him to have some help.

Michael played all four years at Texas A&M, carrying the ball a total of 529 times for 2,791 yards (5.28 yards per carry) with 34 touchdowns. His production slipped noticeably in 2012 though as he tallied only 88 carries for 417 yards (4.74 yards per carry), but his 12 touchdowns were the highest of his collegiate career. Medical questions resulting from a cracked right tibia in 2010 and a torn ACL in 2011, each injury ending his season prematurely, as well as character questions resulting from an apparent feud with first-year coach Kevin Sumlin last year, also contributed to many teams sliding him down their boards.

Never afraid to take a risk though, the Seahawks went with the guy who NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called the most gifted running back in the entire class. And with Michael in the fold, the Seahawks now have three bruising running backs, meaning that regardless of which one is on the field, the style of play will stay the same.

Round 3 (87th overall)
Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State
6’1” 303 lbs.
Arm length – 33 ½
Hand length – 10 1/4
40 yard dash – 5.02 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.83 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 28 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 30 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.51 (Combine)
3-cone drill – 7.49 (Combine)

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said earlier in the offseason that you can never have too many pass rushers. The Seahawks have already proven that by adding Avril and Bennett during free agency, but Hill brings that potential from the inside. Projected as a three-tech defensive tackle, Hill is known for his high motor and relentless determination in getting to the quarterback. In his junior and senior seasons, he combined for 123 tackles, 16.5 tackles for losses and eight sacks.

As evidenced by his measurables, he’s undersized. His hand usage – although at times among the best of any interior defensive lineman in the draft – can be inconsistent, he’s not particularly quick and he’s been known to wear down. Nevertheless, in an area where the Seahawks were less than stellar last season (getting to the quarterback from the inside of the defensive line), Hill would seem to be an obvious upgrade.

Round 4 (123rd overall)
Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State
6’1” 229 lbs.
Arm length – 32 3/4
Hand length – 9 3/4
40 yard dash – 4.45 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.57 (Combine)
225 lb. bench reps – 20 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 35 ½ (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.26 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 6.89 (Combine)

Another position where the Seahawks aren’t particularly wanting for talent with Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, Harper – who won second-team All-Big 12 honors last year – would already be the team’s biggest receiver. Harper used that size well as a senior with the Wildcats, catching 58 passes for 857 yards and three touchdowns despite playing in a run-heavy offense. Harper also showed a knack for high-pointing balls, as four of his five touchdown receptions his junior year came on fade routes. He lacks elite explosiveness, but showed enough speed and strength that he could potentially become an effective starter.

Round 5 (137th overall)
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
6’4” 323 lbs.
Arm length – 32
Hand length – 9 3/8
40 yard dash – 4.92 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.90 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 30 (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.83 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.81 (Pro Day)

The Seahawks secured this pick via a trade with the Detroit Lions, giving the Lions one of their their late fifth rounders (165th overall) as well as the sixth round pick they acquired from Baltimore during the second round.

What Hill brings to the Seahawks defensive line with his ability to get into the backfield, Williams brings with his ability to stop the run. Williams is considerably bigger than Hill, and his superior strength has also been noted as he bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times at the combine. He’s capable of benching as much as 600 lbs.

In addition to his size and strength helping him to stand out, Williams also possesses quickness and versatility. In two seasons with Alabama, he started both as a five-tech defensive end as well as a zero-tech nose guard. As a zero tech his senior year, he earned second-team All-SEC honors.

The addition of Williams would appear to be one of the larger steals of the draft as Mayock said his talent was good enough for a second-round grade. Dane Brugler and Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com actually had him going No. 31 to the San Francisco 49ers. But a surgically-repaired knee following the national championship three months ago was enough to cause him to slide.

Round 5 (138th overall)
Tharold Simon, CB, LSU
6-2, 202 lbs.
Arm length – 32 3/4
Hand length – 8 3/4
40 yard dash – 4.47 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.57 (Combine)
225 lb. bench reps – 9 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 34 (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.31 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.01 (Pro Day)

I don’t know how many players could hope to hear their name called despite being arrested the day of the first round, but Simon proved it is indeed possible. Simon was arrested Thursday night for public intimidation, resisting arrest and unnecessary noise.

According to reports, Simon blocked a street in his hometown of Eunice, La. When asked to move it, Simon allegedly responded, “I own Eunice. I’m going to buy these projects and you are going to be mine,” before spinning his wheels, backing up and turning his radio up full blast. When arrested, he allegedly told the officer the mayor was on his side and the officer would be fired.

Oh yeah, and during the 2011 season he was suspended one game for synthetic marijuana use.

Sounds like the perfect addition to a secondary that already includes a loud mouth and a thug.

To be fair, Simon’s agent disputed the report, saying he corroborated Simon’s version of the events – which was that the officer acted with a “shameful” abuse of power – with 20 of 30 witnesses on hand.

In terms of actual football ability though, securing Simon in the fifth round would appear to be another coup for the Seahawks. Simon fits the mold of big, physical cornerbacks the Seahawks have become accustomed to with Carroll, and led LSU’s defense last season with four interceptions. According to Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com, Simon is a “violent striker” who plays with an “aggressive mentality” and has “natural ballskills with good highpointing skills and catching radius.”

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Seattle drafting Simon though is what it potentially could mean for Brandon Browner. Browner is entering the final year of a three-year contract and with money needing to be free for players like Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman, this very well could be his final year with the Seahawks.

Round 5 (158th overall)
Luke Willson, TE, Rice
6’6” 251 lbs.
Arm length – 32 5/8
Hand length – 9 1/2
40 yard dash – 4.51 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.57 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 23 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 38 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.29 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.08 (Pro Day)

Another intriguing pick, as Willson’s production this past season was severely limited. Willson caught only nine passes for 126 yards as a senior because of a nagging ankle injury, but flashed enough as a sophomore and junior (62 catches for 738 yards and six touchdowns) to warrant the Seahawks taking him. Willson is unusually fast for a tight end and has also been heralded for his athleticism and blocking ability – although there are some conflicting opinions regarding the latter. Prior to the 2012 season, Willson was on the Mackey Award list.

Round 6 (194th overall)
Spencer Ware, RB, LSU
5’10” 228 lbs.
Arm length – 30 1/8
Hand length – 9 5/8
40 yard dash – 4.63

If people were puzzled by the selection of Michael in the second round, they must have fallen out of their chairs with this pick. Ware showed an amazing amount of potential in 2010 with 24 carries and a 7.3 yard-per-carry average, but wasn’t nearly as efficient the next two years, recording a 4.0 yard-per-carry average in 2011 and a 3.9 yard-per-carry average last season. He did have eight touchdowns in 2011, but this past season he only had one while not even carrying the ball 100 times. After being the second leading rusher in 2011, he was the fourth last season.

He was also suspended along with his teammate Simon for synthetic marijuana use in 2011.

This particular pick could be really difficult to understand, but only if you don’t understand the Seahawks personnel situation. Although they would appear to be set with Lynch, Turbin and Michael, the fullback spot could be coming open after this year with Michael Robinson’s contract ending. Robinson is set to make $2.5 million this year and could very well be in the same situation as Browner. Even Carroll noted that Ware will begin his Seattle career at fullback. This has all the makings of the Seahawks simply getting ahead of the curve by preparing someone to replace Robinson.

Ware is a tough, physical, one-cut runner who stands out for his decisiveness and love for contact. Like Lynch, he does a lot of damage after contact. He’s also a capable receiver, catching 18 passes for 230 yards a season ago.

Round 7 (220th overall)
Ryan Seymour, G, Vanderbilt
6’4” 301 lbs.
40 yard dash – 5.09 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.90 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 30 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 29 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.59 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.53 (Pro Day)

Breno Giacomini, meet your competition. Seymour would appear to fit well with the Seahawks’ zone-blocking scheme as he noted in a conference call that he ran zone blocking about 60 percent of the time at Vanderbilt. He also provides tremendous versatility as he played at each offensive line position a season ago. He’s athletic, strong and like Giacomini, has a bit of a mean streak.

Round 7 (231st overall)
Ty Powell, LB, Harding
6’2” 249 lbs.
Arm length – 32 1/2
Hand length – 9 3/4
40 yard dash – 4.60 (Combine)
20 yard dash – 2.63 (Combine)
225 lb. bench reps – 28 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 37 (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.40 (Combine)
3-cone drill – 6.98 (Combine)

I suppose being the first player drafted from your college in 30 years constitutes a nice birthday present. Such is the case for Powell, who turned 25 on Saturday. Powell is a possibility as one of Carroll’s coveted LEOs, showing explosiveness in 2012 with 12 tackles for losses, 8.5 sacks and a school-record four blocked kicks. Rang listed him as one of his potential “Diamonds in the Rough.”

Round 7 (241st overall)
Jared Smith, DT, New Hampshire
6’4” 302 lbs.
Arm length – 33 1/2
Hand length – 10 1/2
40 yard dash – 5.01 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.91 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 28 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 32 ½ (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.39 (Combine)
3-cone drill – 7.20 (Combine)

Because converting J.R. Sweezy was so much fun, Seattle decided to do it again. Like Sweezy a year ago, Smith will make the transition from defensive to offensive lineman. General Manager John Schneider described Smith as tough, reliable and smart, and Smith said he trusts the Seahawks after speaking personally to Sweezy. Like Powell, Smith is the first player drafted from his school in several years. The last time someone from New Hampshire was drafted previous to Smith was in 2007.

Round 7 (242nd overall)
Michael Bowie, OT, Northeastern State
6’5” 330 lbs.
40 yard dash – 5.28 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 3.05 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 19 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 25 ½ (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.84 (Pro Day)
3-cone-drill – 8.06 (Pro Day)

More competition for Giacomini, but also more potential trouble. Despite being drafted out of a small school, Bowie actually has BCS school experience, starting five games for Oklahoma State in 2011, before a violation of team rules prompted a transfer. In those five games, he showed a lot of promise as a competent NFL pass blocker, not allowing a single sack. Carroll said Bowie can expect to start out with work at right tackle.

The Seahawks also agreed to terms with nine undrafted free agents. The list is as follows.

WR, Matt Austin, Utah State
6’2” 202 lbs.
40 yard dash – 4.49 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.67 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 15 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 33 ½ (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.32 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.22 (Pro Day)

T, Alvin Bailey, Arkansas
6’3” 312 lbs.
Arm length – 34 ¾
Hand length – 9 3/8
40 yard dash – 4.90
20 yard dash – 2.80
225 lb. bench reps – 27

DE, Kenneth Boatright, Southern Illinois
6’3” 254 lbs.
40 yard dash – 4.77 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.79 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 22 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 34 ½ (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.27 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.17 (Pro Day)

LB, Ramon Buchanan, Miami-Fla.
6’2” 215 lbs.
Arm length – 33 3/8
Hand length – 9 1/4
40 yard dash – 4.57 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.62 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 20 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 34 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.24 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.22 (Pro Day)

LB, John Lotulelei, UNLV
6’0” 233 lbs.
Arm length – 32 3/8
Hand length – 10 5/8
40 yard dash – 4.65 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.62 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 25 (Combine)
Vertical jump – 35 ½ (Combine)
20 yard shuttle – 4.30 (Combine)
3-cone drill – 6.91 (Combine)

S, Ray Polk, Colorado
6’1” 219 lbs.
Arm length – 31 3/8
Hand length – 9
40 yard dash – 4.40 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.59 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 19 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 39 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.33 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.10 (Pro Day)

G, Jordan Roussos, Bowling Green
6’4” 307 lbs.
40 yard dash – 5.39 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 3.13 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 14 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 28 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.62 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.84 (Pro Day)

RB, Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma
5’11” 205 lbs.
Arm length – 31 ¾
Hand length – 9 1/4
40 yard dash – 4.53 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.61 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 21 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 36 ½ (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.48 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.37 (Pro Day)

LB, Craig Wilkins, Old Dominion
6’1” 238 lbs.
40 yard dash – 4.54 (Pro Day)
20 yard dash – 2.61 (Pro Day)
225 lb. bench reps – 28 (Pro Day)
Vertical jump – 36 (Pro Day)
20 yard shuttle – 4.67 (Pro Day)
3-cone drill – 7.85 (Pro Day)

As noted at the beginning of this commentary, any intelligent draft grading requires waiting. It’s simply not productive to grade players you haven’t even seen take a NFL field yet. The only thing an analyst can do is look at the skill set of the players drafted, figure out how they fit into the drafting team’s scheme and determine if it appears to be a good fit. The Seahawks appeared to do that. They added much-needed depth on the defensive line, particularly on the inside of the line, with an effective pass rusher and an effective run stopper. They added depth to the running game, compensating for the loss of Washington and preparing for the potential loss of Robinson, and added depth in the secondary for the potential departure of Browner. They also bolstered their receiving corps with a big receiver to compliment Rice on the outside. The only potentially negative out of the draft is that they waited until it was pretty much over to upgrade their linebacking corps and offensive lines. Nevertheless, with no glaring weaknesses in either position group a season ago, the wait doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal.

Obviously, some concern over the medical and character issues of some of the players is warranted. And I have no way to dispute any claim that those concerns would justify those players not being drafted. The only thing I would say is in order to win in the NFL, you need talent. As much of it as you can get. And perhaps the worst kind of general manager or coach is the one who doesn’t make a move because he is afraid, and then watches that player terrorize him because of it.

Advertisements