Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rob Rang Talks Seahawk Draft

by: William P. Tomisser

Hey gang, I'm back. I had a couple of gigs over the weekend, and when my band plays it pretty much shoots the weekend for anything else. I was listening to the KJR podcasts last night to catch up on my favorite interviews.

NFL draft analyst Rob Rang (NFL Draft Scout) talked to John Clayton over the weekend and they got down to specifics on what the Seahawks were likely to do with their first pick in the draft.

You can listen to the broadcast here.

Rob discounted what Ruskell said about offensive linemen recently and said that Seattle really has to take a hard look at that position since this draft has four offensive tackles that could go in the top ten. With Bradford going back to school, that puts the offensive tackles at the very top of the talent pool.

To Continue . . .

When asked to break it down, Rang said that Detroit had a good chance at looking at an offensive tackle, since Bradford was out of the draft and there wasn't another quarterback worthy of the first pick.

Rang continued on to say that the Rams, picking second, would probably go for another of the offensive tackles and then the Chiefs would most likely go for a defensive pick. Coming to the Seahawks, he said there's a 50% chance they would go for an offensive tackle, citing Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith as the most likely candidates who would be left after Detroit and St. Louis picked.

Rob likened Oher to being almost as good as Walter Jones was coming out of college and Andre Smith to be the superior run blocker available. He also said that Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith were very close talent-wise to Michael Oher and Andre Smith and that Seattle would like the character of either tackle.

He did mention that Oher might have a questionable character flag on Ruskell's board. It is certain that one of the four left tackles will be available for the Seahawks no matter what happens. He said that Jason Smith's stock is rising and I've seen other places who think that he might be the Seahawks' pick recently. Jason Smith is the kind of sleeper who just might be on Ruskell's radar.

He went on to say that there was a 25% chance as he saw it that Crabtree would be the pick (and he thinks he will be available) and a 25% chance that we would select cornerback Malcolm Jenkins if we pass on the offensive tackles and Crabtree.

He did say that Crabtree could drop out of the top ten if he wasn't able to run at least in the 4.4s or 4.3s for the 40 at the combine. He said if Crabtree runs a 4.5 or 4.6 as his speed has been documented to be, he will likely slip out of the top 10 because he won't be seen as having the speed to get necessary separation on downfield routes. A top 10 pick as a receiver needs to have elite speed and that is what might kill Crabtree's chances at a top 5 or top 10 pick.

Fitzgerald has that kind of speed, and to compare Crabtree as a like receiver he needs to have all the tools Fitzgerald has to be able to make the same impact. In fact, talking about impact again yesterday, Rang talked to Softy on KJR and had some additional observations about Crabtree. He was asked if there was any reason Seattle might shy away from Crabtree in the first round.

He said that, in general, wide receivers don't make an immediate impact in the NFL as the biggest reason. He said it again when he observed that rookie wide receivers don't typically help a team that struggled like the Seahawks did in 2008 reach the playoffs the following season.

He went on to emphasize again that he believed that there was going to be four offensive tackles taken in the top ten picks, which he says never happens. That's an indication of how good the offensive tackles are in this draft and he said that's where the value lies in this year's draft.

He said that not only do you need a receiver like Fitzgerald but you also need to be able to stop a receiver like Fitzgerald and once again mentioned Malcolm Jenkins as an elite talent and someone the Seahawks could be interested in.

Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith, and Malcolm Jenkins are three players whom we haven't talked about too much here at SA, but I think they are all players who fit Ruskell's character template and all are kind of sleepers as the 4th pick. That kind of makes them a possible Ruskell pick when you look at the fact that he usually does something none of us saw coming.

I always like listening to Rob Rang talk draft stuff because he's always well-versed on the Seahawks' needs and of course he's one of our home town boys. Give a listen if you want, or make a comment, or splurge and do both if you're really ready to live it up.


Bill T