Sunday, April 19, 2009

Talking Draft with New Era Scouting

by: Michael Steffes

Howdy, Addicts! I had a chance this week to ask a few questions of someone who takes a much harder look at the NFL Draft than any of the prestigious writers here. I thought that would be the best way to get some answers in the eternal search for who will go at #4.

The person I speak of -- and spoke with -- is Luke Chandler of New Era Scouting. If you have never checked out New Era Scouting, they run a really great website. They don't focus just on college guys, but scout the pros, high school, and even the Arena league as well. They do really great work there. One of the things that I have always appreciated about it is that they aren't afraid to have their own beliefs. They usually have a different take than the mainstream guys, who often seem to bandwagon off each other (see Mark Sanchez). So please, take some time and check out their site. I have added the link on the right hand sidebar as well.

Luke Paul Chandler recently took over as the site's owner and CEO, if you will. His official title is Director of Content. Before taking over as the Big Chief, Luke was an NCAA scout for the site, as well as the AFC North scout for the site. He was originally a writer who covered the Cleveland Browns. You can find a more extensive bio by clicking on his name. Here is his most current mock from April 4th, in which he projects the Hawks to take Eugene Monroe.

Anyway, now that you know Luke and New Era, here are the answers we got on the Seahawks and the upcoming draft! To see the interview, click

Michale Steffes: One of the big stories of this draft is the quarterback position. There seem to be a lot of differing opinions on the top guys, what do you think of Stafford and Sanchez? Would they be thought of as top 10 picks in other years? And do you think the Seahawks are serious about taking a QB a #4, or are they just trying to drum up trade interest?

Luke Chandler: I think that neither has quite earned their rep as a top ten pick, but that's always going to happen with quarterbacks. Stafford is on the cusp of quarterbacks who could be good. He didn't quite log forty starts or increase his accuracy enough to be put in line with some of the elite quarterbacks. I think that he needs to sit for at least a year, but if he goes first overall that likely won't happen.

With Sanchez, I like his upside, but again I worry about his lack of experience.

From what I've heard, the Seahawks are serious about taking a quarterback. They have more interest in Stafford, but they have done their homework on Sanchez as well.

MS: This seems to be one of the best drafts ever for finding a center. Who are you partial to, and which guys will fit the best in a zone blocking scheme?

LC: For the zone scheme, I'd prefer Max Unger (Oregon). He's not quite the same prospect as Alex Mack or Eric Wood, but for the zone scheme Unger is a better prospect. His lateral movement, footwork, and athleticism are top notch. Mack and Wood are great blockers, but they aren't quite as mobile as Unger.

MS: How would you rate this draft class, overall, compared to other draft classes? Is this a good or a bad year to have a top 5 pick?

LC: This draft class has been very nondescript. If I was a GM in the top ten, I'd be doing everything I could to trade out. The best bet right now to trade out is hoping to find a team who is willing to move up for a need. I look at Buffalo as a possible trade partner for the Seahawks. The Bills now have a huge hole at left tackle, and enough firepower to now make the swap with Seattle.

If a team is wanting to move out of the top ten, they'll likely have to take less than market value, such as the Ravens did last year.

MS: Which of the guys you have scouted seem a little bit underrated, and which ones are maybe a little overvalued?

LC: I like Malcolm Jenkins a great deal, as a cornerback. The talk about his speed is very overrated. No one was questioning him over the past three seasons, but now he's not fast enough? I don't buy it.

Also, I've been strongly behind Michael Oher for some time. On the field, he's the most physically talented offensive tackle in this draft class. The rumors about him just aren't true. He did well in Combine Interviews from what I've heard, and the maturity issues were overblown.

One prospect I can't understand is Aaron Maybin. He is getting hyped as a top ten prospect, but I doubt he's a productive NFL player. He probably can't play at the new height he showed off at Penn State's Pro Day and he only won battles last year based on his speed. His reaction skills are sub-par also. He's basically taken advantage of a heightened market for 3-4 outside linebackers.

MS: Ok, put your GM hat on. If you are Tim Ruskell of the Seahawks picking at #4 and are looking for the guy who will have the best career, regardless of need. Which of the top guys are you crossing your fingers and hoping falls to you at #4?

LC: While he's not quite the value for a fourth overall pick, I'd take running back Knowshon Moreno. He's a highly productive and durable runner. Moreno plays a well-rounded and smart game also. His running style will also work in either a zone or drive blocking scheme. He's not as sexy because he didn't turn out a wild 40-yard-dash time, but he will be a monster all-purpose back in the NFL. To me, that's worth it at four.

Thanks, Luke! Great Stuff. Look forward to talking with you in the future! He says Knowshon -- I guess maybe I am onto something with the running back idea, but maybe I need to switch my pick! Hope you guys enjoyed the interview! ~Mike