by Nolan Kuzmick, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst
Pick 32: Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech
Pick Analysis: Two defensive ends departed this off-season (Chris Clemons and Red Bryant) leaving a gap on the depth chart that needs to be addressed. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett will be the starters, but on 3rd down Bennett slides inside to get pressure up the middle and having Attaochu to compete for the spot across from Avril would be ideal. The draft class for DEs is very front loaded this year with talent available in the first few rounds, but with the Seahawks having their 3rd round choice missing it would be smart to address this need with their 1st or 2nd round pick. Attaochu is considered a prospect that would benefit from switching to OLB, but he has the size, at 252 lbs, and strength to stay down in a 3pt stance. He has shown more than speed around the edge, bull rushing blockers and taking them to the ground, blowing RBs who try to block him out of the way and making the tackle with just a swiping arm as he flies into the backfield and leaves his feet. His speed and athleticism give you the feel that he can stand up and work well as OLB as well. He was the first man down the field and made the opening tackle on the Kickoff at the Senior Bowl.
Player Analysis: Elite edge rusher that has an explosive burst at the snap. Plays low as he dips under outside and uses his speed to beat blockers to the corner. Gets his inside leg past the lineman and plants his outside leg at the corner to turn sharply to the QB. Shows combative hands and displays a solid rip move. Once he has defeated his blocker he lunges at the QB wrapping up the sack. Very disruptive of the pocket, hurrying the play when he doesn’t get there in time for the sack. Uses his arms to keep separation against blockers and stuff them at the line against the run and works well down the line. Drops into coverage with the speed and athleticism to play man. Fits best at DE where he can improve his handwork and add strength to defend the run. If moved to linebacker he will need to fine tune as he isn’t experienced there, but he is completely capable of being coached into a starter at either position and will contribute on special teams immediately.
Pick 64: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
Pick Analysis: Penciled in at the starting Guard positions for the upcoming season are James Carpenter and JR Sweezy. Carpenter is entering the final year of his rookie contract after Seattle decided not to exercise his fifth-year option. Carpenter has been on and off the field, consistently injuring himself and missing time, not a player you can depend on to start an entire season. Sweezy was converted from DL by the Hawks and has been working hard to improve. He does a nice job run blocking, but still has work to do in pass protection, blitz pick-up and recognition. Paul McQuistan departed in free agency, a player that contributed at both Guard and Tackle for the Hawks, mainly at LG while Carpenter sat. Adding an OG that can become a long-term answer at the position would be a good move. Whether the team lets Carpenter walk after next season or not, the depth is necessary especially with the health concern of Carpenter. There are a handful of top tier OGs in the 2014 NFL Draft and they will go between the late 1st round and the 3rd round. After the top OGs are drafted, there is some good depth players to pick-up late, but for a team that needs a player that could make an immediate impact and could be the long-term answer a pick in the first 2 rounds would be wise.
Player Analysis: Shows functional strength in his game, has power through his legs that hold firm in the turf, solid core strength maintain proper body position and an excellent upper body punch. Jams defenders as they approach the line with a strong pop to the breast plate, he gathers his base quickly and gets his hands on the rusher when they come back at him. Locks up with his man and keeps contact with his hands, moving his feet laterally to stick with the rush. Very effective blocking to open running lanes, gets his hands on the side of the defender, works his hips around to the side and down blocks the line driving his legs. His tape against LSU in 2013 was textbook guard play. He doesn’t give up on blocks, often burying defenders towards the end of the play. At times rushers can use speed to get beside him, at that point he works them down the way they are heading and works them to the ground or out of the play. Has experience chop blocking regularly and pulling to protect the pocket or seal the edge for runners. Has all the tools to be a top level OG in the NFL.
Pick 132: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Pick Analysis: Linebacker injuries hit the Seahawks in the 2nd half of last season, with Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright getting banged up and missing time. Behind Wagner, there is not a true MLB on that roster that has starting capabilities. When Wright went down, Malcolm Smith filled in and although he won Super Bowl MVP, I see a lot of struggles in his film and I wouldn’t be comfortable handing him a starting role. On top of the lack of solid depth, both Smith and Wright will be free agents after this season and with the other big name signings one or both of them could find a better offer elsewhere. The Seahawks could plan on resigning Wright and stick with Wagner, Wright and Bruce Irvin as their big three, but even in that scenario drafting a versatile LB that can work at MLB and ROLB would give the team more depth at the position that gets involved in the most contact. Targeting LB in the 4th round is a good idea, because the top few LBs that would fit this role will be gone by the 32nd overall pick (CJ Mosley, Ryan Shazier) and at 64 there aren’t any better options than Borland. After the 4th round, other options to fit this role would be Brock Coyle (5th-6th round) or Tariq Edwards (7th round- FA). Borland has the most upside of the bunch and would be a steal at the 132nd pick.
Player Analysis: Explosive out of his stance, attacks the line. Dodges blockers with a side step, shove/stiff arm and swim move. Finds the lane to the backfield or ball carrier and bursts through, diving at the ball carrier. Fills the hole on short yardage and has lots of power through his hips to stop the runner for no gain on 3rd/4th and short or the goal line. Makes the read fast and is relentless to make the play, has made the tackle on his 2nd attempt numerous times. Goes for the strip on his tackles and has a knack for causing the turnover. Uses smart pursuit angles and chases down the ball, works really well across the field to runs on the opposite side. Doesn’t have the ideal size teams look for, sometimes when blockers are able to engage he has trouble releasing. Contacts blockers shoulder pads before they get to him with a strong punch, keeping them away. Fits well as the ILB, but looks like he can play OLB in a 4-3 as well. Showed solid ability on special teams at the Senior Bowl and tight man coverage, leaving his feet to dive in front of the route and knock the ball out. If Borland were a few inches taller he would be a 1st round pick. Borland is viewed as a smaller LB that might struggle due to his height, arm length, and he doesn’t have the best speed. Although he doesn’t have long arms to contact blockers and stay separated, Borland has a squirm to his flow and avoids blockers all together. When blockers reach to him, he has a strong swat to get their hands off of him and continue his pursue. He often beats blockers to the point not due to his speed, a 4.78 40, but due to his instinct. Sure a player with a 4.5 second 40 can run faster than Borland, but he can arrive at the ball faster because he makes his read quicker and leaves his stance towards the play faster. He is one of the best blitzing MLBers that constantly works with agility, and desire. Although some have seen his speed exposed when he works across the field, he leaves his feet to dive and reach above his head to wrap up the legs of the ball carrier, showing more effort and extension to get there and making up for his speed. Borland is accustomed to playing with his size and style and uses it to his advantage to get around blockers, not over pursue the play and work as a highly productive LB.
Pick 146: Antone Exum, CB/S, Virginia Tech
Pick Analysis: The secondary is going through some remodeling after last season. Walter Thurmond, Chris Maragos and Brandon Browner all left in free agency and Tharold Simon who has injured his entire rookie season will join the active roster. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor have both had their contracts extended locking up the starting safety spots, but Chris Maragos was the 2nd team FS behind Thomas and was used heavily on special teams. The team will need to add a body that can fill in at FS if necessary and can work into the special teams role that Maragos held. Simon is a big-bodied corner that should get some solid reps in this season and has a bright future, but the team will need additional depth at the corner position. Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell, the two starting CBs, will be Free Agents after this season. The team is attempting to resign Sherman this off-season like they did with Thomas, but until he is locked up the future isn’t looking as secure as you’d like. In the 5th round there are a few options for CBs, but only one option for a high level guy that has experience at both CB and safety, Antone Exum. The only FS worth considering by the Seahawks in the 1st two rounds would be Calvin Pryor at 32, but he will likely be drafted by that time. After this 5th round there is not a lot of talent at the position especially for a versatile DB that can play CB as well. Another option in this area of the draft if just looking for a CB that doesn’t have S experience would be Chris Davis who would fill the nickel corner spot well and is well-known as a dangerous punt return man to fill in for Golden Tate who left in free agency.
Player Analysis: Leading tackler at safety, converted to corner in 2012 and out the majority of his senior season with an ACL/ankle. This defensive back is big, strong and physical from the line throughout the route. He is versatile with speed, capable of playing any spot in the secondary and will fit in well on special teams. Explosive out of his cuts. Can play tight man, lays the wood like a safety (needs to wrap up) and has a knack for breaking up passes, getting his hand on the ball at the last second. Ran man on Sammy Watkins and performed well. Fast close on the ball and reaches his arm in front of receivers to knock the ball down. Looked healthy at the combine, and he provides a lot of value to the team that takes a chance on his leg recovery.
Pick 172: Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
Pick Analysis: Wide Receiver is a position that receives a lot of attention when talking about the Seahawks needs. There was a level of controversy last year on this topic, the WR group felt like they were solid and told the media so, and the general public desired big WRs that can create separation and make big plays. Percy Harvin was injured for the majority of last season after his hip surgery and Sidney Rice missed the bulk of the season with knee problems. Doug Baldwin had an impressive season, but he will be a free agent after this season. Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette proved to be solid 4 and 5 WRs that can come in on packages and produce on the field in big time situations. Harvin was a huge piece of the offense when he was active and looks to be heavily involved moving forward. Rice was signed to a new 1 year deal and although he has been a disappointment after his big contract, has a lot of potential when healthy. The Seahawks also brought in Chris Matthews from the CFL as a big bodied WR that can work the outside and go up and get it in the red zone. WR is a position of need, but maybe not as big of a need as the perceived notion. With Harvin healthy along with Baldwin and Kearse you have a solid three that performed exceptionally in the Super Bowl. When you add Rice and Matthews as two big bodied guys that have potential you aren’t in a bad situation. A young big WR is still worth drafting and this is a draft class where that is not hard to come by. After taking care of some of the other needs, the Seahawks still have good options to fill this need in the 5th round. If the team decides to address this need in the 1st two rounds they could look to players such as Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt or Cody Latimer of Indiana whom both are tall, fast, physical prospects that can play the outside, block well for Harvin screens and spread the field. If the team wants to wait until the 5th round it’s hard to pass on Cody Hoffman, who is one of the bigger WRs in the draft. He compares well to Kelvin Benjamin, although he doesn’t have the bulk at about 20 pounds less and one inch shorter. He has better hands, contorts his body better in the air to adjust and go up and get the ball, and runs better after the catch all while being drafted a few rounds later than Benjamin. They both run their 40 in approximately 4.6 seconds and due to the 40 time along with other combine/pro day events Hoffman has found himself in the later rounds with a lot of upside. He looked really well at the Senior Bowl practices and wasn’t much of a step down from Jordan Matthews.
Player Analysis: Physical big receiver that goes up to catch the ball, will make the play in traffic and push for yards after contact. Has a full tool set with soft hands, proves reliable on third downs and can be your possession guy. Also has the ability to get vertical and make the big play. Smooth in and out of his cuts with his routes, boxes out defenders with his body and plays physical throughout his route. Maintains the catch with defenders attempting to strip the ball, has a firm grip and strong hands. Has shown his athleticism making tough catches that he adjusts to up in the air, has shown timing and ability for back shoulder catches.
Pick 208: Morgan Breslin, DE, USC
Pick Analysis: The Seahawks tried to bring in Jared Allen this off-season to fill a spot at DE, but he chose Chicago from what I’ve heard in a large part due to playing time. The Hawks are looking to maintain their rotational defensive front, keeping players fresh and having guys come in and out when their skill set best suits their defensive assignment according to down and distance. Breslin plays like a shorter Jared Allen, with a nose for the ball and a motor. He will need to bulk up to continue to be as effective against the run and to work off of NFL OTs, but he is one of the most underrated pass rushing prospects because he is seen as a guy that is in between DE and OLB because of his size and due to his injury history. If the Hawks still feel like they need to add some depth to their pass-rushing stable by the 6th round, Breslin would be a solid candidate to come in and work his tail off to earn a spot on the roster.
Player Analysis: Very active in both the pass and rush defense. Gets pressure on the QB, works down the line well. Has good strong hands, works past blockers keeping them distanced from his body. Uses a handful of very effective moves and stunts, including swim, rip, spin, bull rush, and combines these moves with his other handwork to make a very diverse playing style. Plays best at DE, but is a little small for the position. Although his size doesn’t limit him, he would be drafted higher if he was bigger. Had hip surgery as a senior, but performed well at his pro day and when healthy he has 1st round potential. Has solid upper body strength and a motor, flying around. If he works behind the pocket, continues to pursue the play and makes sacks or tackles from behind. Works off blocks naturally and flows down the line. Spins or rips right into the action, always around the ball. Big hitter, that wraps up and makes the sure tackle.
FB Chad Abram- Very talented FB to compete for the role and extremely busy on special teams.
OLB Tariq Edwards- A big long LB that looks like he could play SS, special teams and OLB. Shows well in his coverage, natural game flow, gets pressure on the QB, long strides.
OT Parker Graham- Played both OT and OG, has the size to play OT successfully, similar talent to OTs being drafted in the mid rounds.
CB Keon Lyn- Big physical CB that has ball skills and confidence. Despite a leg injury has a solid track history and fits well in Seattle.
DT Calvin Barnett- Big mean DT that can get pressure up the middle, rotating in as a 3rd down DT. Has a mean side, that he will need to control and use to his advantage.
OG Conor Boffeli- Mauling OG that knows how to open holes in the run game. A draftable player that can provide good depth to fill in.
WR Austin Franklin- Highly active WR that has worked out of the backfield, gets a lot of bubble screens and as a return man on special teams. Could compete for PR duties and be a Baldwin type guy that has good speed and runs routes well, working himself to become a successful FA acquisition.
Other FAs to consider depending on availability: OG Blake Treadwell, FS Ty Zimmerman, OT Kevin Graf,OT Evan Finkenberg, CB Travis Carrie, DT Roy Philon, WR Tracy Moore, WR Bennie Fowler