Thursday, April 30, 2009

How the Linebackers WILL Be Used

by: Michael Steffes

Shortly after announcing the Leroy Hill deal, Jim Mora made an appearance on KIRO 710. Here is that interview.

One of the more interesting things that came out of the interview was Mora going into a little detail about how he plans to use the linebackers. Here is what he had to say:

Leroy will play the "Will," which is the weak inside linebacker position. Aaron will play "Sam," which is the strong outside linebacker position. The we structure our defense is that they are both typically off the line of scrimmage, playing behind defensive linemen and using their athletic ability to run. There is not a whole lot of differences in what they do. Some small subtle differences, but you'll see three fast, physical, athletic, linebackers working together, and it will be exciting to see.
While we still won't see this "West Coast Defense" in action for quite some time, this does shed some light on how they will be used, especially if we take into account the traditional roles in the Tampa 2.

First, in a traditional Tampa 2, the Sam linebacker's primary responsibility on running plays is to take on the leader blocker -- in other words, to fill the hole. This allows the Will and "Mike" (middle linebacker), in this case Hill and Tatupu, to flow to the ball and make tackles. Hill is easily the best run defending linebacker on the team, at least until Curry unseats him. Lofa is fantastic at what he does, but in the run game he has a tendency to get caught up in blocks more than Hill does.

The second reason this works is that having Curry play the Sam generally puts him on the same side of the field as the tight end. This is what Hill was doing last year. Obviously, at times the Sam linebacker has to jam and then cover the tight end, or cover the short zone (known as "the flat") to guard against screen passes and dump-offs. This is said to be the area in which Curry greatly excels much more than Hill. His ability to cover from the linebacker position should be a huge asset. He is better than either Hill or Peterson in this aspect of the game. The Sam is the linebacker that is usually removed in favor of a defensive back, so Curry's undeniable athletic ability make keep him on the field more often than most Sam linebackers.

In essence, the team is trying to free up Hill to do a little more roaming and chasing to the ball than he did previously, while providing Curry the opportunity to make plays in space. Hopefully this will also translate into more opportunities for Hill to rush the passer. The difficulty here for Curry is that he will have to do a good job recognizing and diagnosing plays. I heard some people criticize that particular aspect of his game, so this will be something I am sure the team will work on extensively with him. The good news is that Curry will have one of the best in the business at diagnosing what is about to happen right next to him in Lofa Tatupu.

As for how they end up being used to rush the passer, that could change from week to week depending on the opponent. But for the base defense -- or at least how Mora seems to be explaining it -- the abilities of the linebackers will seemingly be used to their fullest. END Read More!

Hill's Deal: 6 Years, $38 mil

by: Michael Steffes

Leroy signed a long term deal similar to what had been on the table throughout the offseason.

In the end the deal will be for 6 years, $38 million, with $15.5 million guaranteed. John Clayton reports there is a provision in the deal that allows Hill to keep his guaranteed money, regardless of whether or not he is suspended for his off the field arrest early in the year.

This seems to be a good deal for both parties. Hill gets more money that the Hawks were offering after originally placing the tag on him, plus he gets to keep his guaranteed money despite his incident. However, the Hawks gave him less in guaranteed money that it would have cost to franchise him for two years. This makes the commitment overall to Leroy somewhat low, especially for a player who was franchised tagged. It also will keep the salary cap figure fairly low. We can assume that will especially be the case in the contract's first year. Most importantly, they get Hill in camp in time to keep him as a highly productive asset to the defense.

Hill remains a Seahawk, and the team succeeds in retaining part of the young nucleus of this defense. It is a good day to be a fan. END Read More!

Leroy Hill Has Signed

by: Michael Steffes

According to Kevin Calabro on ESPN 710, Leroy Hill has agreed to terms on a multi year deal. Details will follow.

Jim Mora will be joining Calabro in about 15 minutes.

The team is confirming this on their website.

[UPDATE: According to, Hill's contract is a 6 year, $38 million deal with $15.5 million guaranteed. -Ed.]

END Read More!

Gregg Knapp in the Spotlight

by: Michael Steffes

The Seahawks head into the 2009 with a new head coach and new coordinators on both sides of the ball. For Seahawk fans, we are keeping tabs on all three. Gus Bradley is a relative unknown, but Gregg Knapp has had a long and distinguished career as an offensive coordinator.

While Knapp disappeared into the black hole for the last few years, literally, he has found his way out. With this he gets to switch from a former #1 pick who hasn't put it all together in Jamarcus Russell to a three-time Pro Bowl QB in Hasselbeck. He also gets a general manager who, for the most part, makes fairly solid personnel decisions, and he gets an owner who won't call down and tell him what plays to call. Many expect Knapp to rise above what we have seen from him in the last two years.

Don Banks has taken a look at ten coordinators that the spotlight will be shining on this season, and because of his previous successes and failures Gregg Knapp makes the list. Here is what Banks says:

6. Greg Knapp, Seahawks offensive coordinator -- Having been paroled from Oakland, Knapp has been reunited with new Seattle head coach Jim Mora for a third time. He served as a coordinator on the same staff with him in San Francisco, and under him as OC in Atlanta. His charge is to return Seattle to the ranks of a top-tier offense, after a near-Biblical plague of injuries wiped out the Seahawks receivers and quarterbacks in 2008. Having a healthy Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback and free-agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh on hand represents a big step toward reaching that goal.
It is an interesting read. Knapp isn't the only NFC West OC on the list. The Niners' Jimmy Raye is also one who people will be watching. There are also a couple former NFC West coaches on there as well.

Taking over an offense from Mike Holmgren is not an easy act to follow. Knapp will take a different approach to things, but sometimes a little change is good. While nobody in the business does offense as well as Holmgren, Knapp seems prepared to get this offense on track through a balanced attack. And now he has some new weapons to do it with. END Read More!

While We're All Waiting...

by: Mike Parker

While we're all pacing up and down hallways waiting for word on a possible Leroy Hill contract announcement, here's something to smile about. has posted a four-minute video of the past week in the life of Aaron Curry. It chronicles last Saturday morning before the draft at his hotel in New York as well as the good fortune the ensuing day brought him. It shows him flying to Seattle, talking to a fan at SeaTac Airport, and having face-to-face encounters with both Tim Ruskell and Coach Mora.

The video follows with brief bits from that day's press conference, then ends with a scene of Curry walking out onto the field at an empty Qwest Field. He looks around at the deserted stands, smiling.

"I've got goosebumps right now," Curry says.
And after this week, a lot of fans would be quick to agree.

Check out the vid - it's definitely worth your time.

END Read More!

John Clayton Talks Leroy Hill

by: Michael Steffes

John Clayton, speaking on KIRO 710, talked about the Leroy Hill situation. He said he has been in close contact with Hill's agent over the last week, and had some interesting nuggets to share.

He said that Hill and Co. expected that teams such as Tampa Bay and New Orleans would step up and show interest. In the end, they didn't.

The secondary thought was that teams who run a 3-4 might see him as a good fit, and that didn't turn out to be the case, either.

Clayton said what most of it comes down to is that teams (other than the Seahawks) don't really value linebackers as highly as they used to. Very few decision makers see linebacker as a position that can push a team over the top.

In the end, he said the Hawks could probably do better than the 6 yr/$36 million deal. However, the Hawks probably wouldn't risk insulting Hill by playing hardball for less money. The other option is to shorten the deal so that Hill could be a free agent again in a couple of years. The downside is that it would be harder for the Hawks to manage a short term deal under the cap, because they can't pro-rate the signing bonus over the full 6 years.

Either way, it seems like this is going to happen, and in time for the weekend to boot. I think that it is fair to say that this worked out unbelievably well for the team. Ruskell doubled down and got his face card. I for one was not very optimistic that this would work out so well. I wasn't even sure this was the plan. With Hill coming back, last weekend appears to be a banner time in Ruskell's Seahawks career. If the Hawks make it back to the playoffs on the strength of Hill and Curry on the defensive side of the ball and Hasselbeck staying healthy, that would certainly go a long way to proving Ruskell's worth to a somewhat fickle fan base.

We'll have to wait eight months to find that out, but for now, cheers to Tim Ruskell! It has been a hell of an offseason. END Read More!

Hill and Hawks: Close to Deal

by: Michael Steffes

Jim Mora was on KJR this morning. I was unable to listen to it due to a doctor's appointment, but Eric Williams was listening and has a summary here.

The BIG NEWS is that Jim Mora thinks the team will a deal in place with Leroy Hill by the end of the day. This is an important development because, over this weekend's mini camp the team will be installing a much different defense and cannot afford to have Leroy miss it. That was one of the reasons they risked removing the tag.

In secondary news, Mora has declared Kenny Lucas the starter at right cornerback. Wilson, who isn't thrilled about this I promise you, will work in the nickel. This should substantially upgrade the secondary. Both Lucas and Wilson will have something to prove, and with guys as competitive as those two that works in the Hawks favor.


Also, Mora states that Max Unger will be beginning his Seahawk career at Left Guard. He will play behind Mansifield Wrotto at left guard during the mini camp. Mora said he wants to let a young guy settle in one position before putting multiple responsibilities on him. He admitted there are some worries about Wahle, Sims, and Spencer's ability to stay healthy.

UPDATE 2: Ian Furness of KJR got a hold of Hill himself, who said he couldn't confirm anything but he thinks a deal is close and he has been told to be ready to hop on a plane and get to mini camp. Yeeeeeeeeee-haw!

Here is a link to the audio file for your perusing. END Read More!

Mini Camp / Extremely Early Roster Analysis

by: Michael Steffes

With the Hawks about to take the field for the first time this weekend with the ammo they plan to take into the season this year, it seems as if maybe we can start talking about how the roster will take shape. It is extremely early, and there is still much to be discovered about injuries, ineffectiveness, and maybe financial considerations like clearing room if Leroy signs. Still though, why not make some predictions? This morning I will do the offense, and later in the day the defense.



Number Kept Last Year: 3
Average Kept: 3

Locks: Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace
Camp Battle: Mike Teel v Jeff Rowe
Favorite: Mike Teel


Number Kept Last Year: 6
Average Number Kept: 5

Locks: Jones, Duckett, Griffith, Schmitt
Camp Battle: Forsett, Devin Moore, and Tyler Roehl
Favorite: Forsett


Number Kept Last Season: 8
Average Number Kept 6.5

Locks: Houshmanzadeh, Burleson, Branch, Butler
Camp Battle: 3 spots for Taylor, Bumpus, Kent, Payne, Obamanu, McMullen, and Mike Hass

Favorites: Your guess is as good as mine, and the new coaches may feel a lot differently about these guys. Yes -- another year of training camp WR battle stories! I am going with Taylor, Kent and Bumpus due to special teams value.


Number Kept Last Year: 3
Average Number Kept: 3

Locks: Carlson, Owens
Training Camp Battle: Morrah versus Newton

Favorite: Morrah. The Hawks looking at and then drafting a TE tells me that Newton is on this way out. Morrah could be a demon on special teams with his size and speed.


Number Kept Last Year: 8
Average Number kept: 8.5

Locks: Jones, Locklear, Willis, Spencer, Wahle, Unger
Training Camp Battle: Sims, Wrotto, Williams, Vallos

Favorites: Wrotto, Vallos, Sims. It is possible that team will choose to keep 9 linemen, especially with the injury concerns about Jones and Wahle.

The purpose of this exercise is mostly just to stir conversation. As always, we are interested in who you think will make the roster, and what the interesting training camp battles you see shaping up. So chime in, and I will take a look at the defense this afternoon!

Read More!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Post-Draft Power Rankings

by: Chris Sullivan

I think a lot of us Hawk fans are cautiously optimistic about going into the 2009 season. Feeling high from a (seemingly) wonderful draft and comfortable with most of the moves made thusfar in free agency, it feels like the Hawks are going to usurp the Cardinals and regain their position atop the NFC West. 

But then, we're homers. Of course we think that.

We're not alone, however. The fine folks over at WalterFootball have put together their post-draft power rankings. I won't spoil where the Seahawks land, but following the season we are coming off of, it's a bit of a nice surprise and falls near where I would put us too. And I'm a homer! Here's what Walter says about the Hawks:
The Seahawks remind me of the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs. That team was horrible because it had so many injuries. They finished with a terrible record, so they were able to obtain Tim Duncan in the NBA Draft, pairing him with David Robinson. The Seahawks also had massive injuries, and thanks to Scott Pioli's ineptness, they acquired the top defensive player in the 2009 NFL Draft. Seattle is a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Oh, and they're probably going to be drafting in the top 10 next year as well, thanks to Josh McDaniels' foolish tactics.
Read More!

Kerney Back Under the Knife?

by: Michael Steffes

It would appear that Patrick Kerney may have undergone surgery yesterday to remove bone chips from his elbow.

Aaron Wienberg at is the only guy who has this story. Great work, Aaron! It doesn't appear to be up anywhere else, but if I recall we put the Leroy Hill story up first and, despite what many who chimed in thought, it was on point.

As for Kerney, this is a relatively minor procedure, but together they keep adding up. His hyperbolic chamber is working overtime these days. If this continues, he may have to upgrade to the Bacta Tank that Luke Skywalker was submerged in while he was at the Hoth base [Nerd. -Ed.]. Either way, he is expected to ready for training camp. Hopefully he has a solid year, because there is a good chance it will be his last with the Seahawks. His contract is getting pricey, as are his medical bills. Those two things usually point in only one direction, but another Pro Bowl year would certainly make the team think long and hard about whether they can afford to move on without him, especially if next year is uncapped.

Update: Eric Williams corroborates NSS's report. Nice scoop, Aaron! END Read More!

Hass and Housh: BFFs?

by: Michael Steffes

Here was something that popped up during draft weekend that I was saving for a later date. If you were here over the weekend -- and there were over 20k visits -- you probably noticed we weren't short for material. Well, this morning it seems we are.

From Pro Football Weekly, in their "The Way We Hear It" section, they drop a nugget about the Seahawks' first mini camp that is worth noting:

Sources on the scene said there was a noticeable difference in free-agent addition T.J. Houshmandzadeh from the first day to the second day of the Seahawks’ first minicamp under new head coach Jim Mora. “On the first day, T.J. was just kind of out there,” one observer told PFW. “The next day it looked like he and (QB Matt) Hasselbeck started clicking instantly.”
The chemistry that develops between Hass and Housh is going to be a big storyline in the offseason, and this is a good start. Bobby Engram was the go-to guy on third downs in recent years, and one of the few guys whom Matt could chuck it to with his eyes closed. That doesn't develop overnight.

Last year, because Hass missed so much time, one thing he also missed out on was developing chemistry with John Carlson, who emerged as the go-to guy on third downs last year. Housh has been that guy for Carson Palmer for several years. It is seemingly important to have these options.

Another guy you can maybe even add to this discussion is Nate. I see that many fans continue to talk down Nate, but I remember him making an unbelievable sideline catch in the Redskins Wild Card game that allowed the winning drive to continue. He followed that in the first half of the Buffalo game by regrouping after dropping a ball to make a difficult TD catch. In my opinion, Nate has not only become the vocal leader of the WR group, but he has greatly improved over his time here. Sometimes it is hard to shake a first impression.

The moral of the story is that Hass will essentially be developing chemistry all over again across the board, all while everyone involved learns a news system. As we head through the summer, this will be something that I think will become a hot topic. It makes for good hype. For some reason the WR situation always seems to find its way to the forefront.

The chemistry will come, the important thing is that everyone gets and stays healthy to make this happen. END Read More!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seahawks Contract and Salary Cap Update

by: Michael Steffes

Just because I am sure that I am not the only one out there interested in this stuff, I thought I would provide a little write up on the Seahawks' cap situation. Some recent info has come to light that allows us to make a fair assessment of the situation.

Mike Sando reports that Ken Lucas agreed to a one year, $2.3 million dollar deal. I am guessing that Justin Griffith signed for one year at the veteran minimum which is $810,000, although Sando mentions that the contract is for less than $700,000. My belief is that a player with the service time of Griffith gets the 810,000 minimum, but as an effort to keep veterans employed the league has a cap rule that allows the contract to only count $425,000 against the cap as long as the player doesn't get more than $50K in bonuses. Hope you can follow that.

The other piece of news is that the rookie pool figures have been released. The Seahawks is $5,192,801. We can call it $5.2K. The way the rookie pool works is that the team can not have cap charges associated with their rookie class that exceed this number in 2009. The way the agents and top 10 players get the big money is usually in the form of a signing bonus that amortizes over the life of the contract. Thus only 1/5 of the bonus counts this year. This is usually followed by large roster bonuses in year two and three.

So if we look at the Seahawks' cap situation, which was reported on April 22 by Mike Florio, we can get an accurate read on what the team has left. On the 22nd, the Hawks had $7.41 million left. When the team removed the franchise tag from Leroy Hill, the team gained $8.3 million. That would place them at $15.74 million.

Taking that figure and subtracting the Lucas and Griffith deals along with what the rookies will get, the Hawks only have approximately $7.82 in space remaining. The team always leaves around $5 million dollars for use throughout the season to sign players as injury replacements, or to make trades, or to extend players' contracts before they hit free agency. With only $7.82M remaining, they have almost no wiggle room to work a deal with Leroy Hill.

The question that could be asked is, do the Hawks really want to do a long term deal with Hill? The money would suggest they don't. They could always rework contracts or release a player or two who are taking up cap space. Olindo Mare would be a possibility for release, as he counts nearly $2 million against the cap and the team already has his replacement on the roster. Either way though, the Hawks don't appear ready to break the bank to bring back Leroy. It will be interesting to see how the negotiations progress.

This does, however, show pretty effectively why the team had to remove the tag to make moves like signing Lucas and Griffith. The were, and now still are, working with very little cap flexibility. And in the long run the may lose a talented young linebacker, although judging by these numbers that may have been the plan all along. If Hill does sign somewhere else, the Hawks are likely to get a compensatory draft pick for him, one that could perhaps be used on a linebacker in next year's draft.

Mini Seahawks Cap Breakdown

Pre-Draft Cap # $7.41
Franchise Tag $8.30
Available Amount $15.74

subtract Ken Lucas $2.30
subtract Justin Griffith $0.42
Rookie Pool $5.20
Total Subtraction $7.92

Total remaining $7.82

END Read More!

Cards make some cuts

by: Chris Sullivan

The Arizona Cardinals announced three significant roster cuts today, freeing up Edgerrin James after months of him pleading to be released and somewhat unexpectedly cutting Roderick Hood and Travis LaBoy. LaBoy is especially surprising, as they just paid an arm and a leg for the guy, as Sando explained:

Instead, LaBoy hit the market and cashed in with the Cardinals, pocketing $5.75 million in signing bonus and $750,000 in first-year salary. LaBoy also collected a $1.5 million roster bonus this offseason, bringing his 13-month haul to $8 million.
The real question is what in the world were they thinking when they paid him that much? LaBoy has never played a full season. His best year was undoubtedly his contract year in 2007 where he had only 13 tackles but 6 sacks and 3 pass defenses. He played in 11 games and had 0 starts for the Titans.

It is great to see Edge get his freedom, and I wish him success elsewhere. He showed what he can do in the tailend of last year, and hopefully is rewarded for it in what little bit of free agency he gets. It's always rough to be put into free agency this late into the offseason as most teams have already filled their needs. If anybody didn't get the RB they wanted -- or if they were waiting specifically for Edge -- this would be their time to swoop in.

And before you ask, no, we won't be signing Rod Hood.
Read More!

Tuesday Reading

by: Mike Parker

Now that we're all overloaded with post-draft breakdowns and discussion, here are a couple of other bits of news and speculation from well-known voices on all things Seahawks:

-Danny O'Neil talks about Aaron Curry's introduction at yesterday's Renton press conference here. O'Neil said Curry's reputation as a stand-up guy and a potential locker room leader were in top form, and at least one person in the background couldn't stop yelling "Nice suit!" A good start, I think.

-Mike Sando weighs in on the Leroy Hill situation, recalling his own words he wrote when Hill voluntarily skipped the team's recent optional mini-camps:

I'm not sure what Hill is accomplishing by staying away. Imagine if the Seahawks drafted Aaron Curry in the first round and then withdrew the franchise tag.
And indeed, the words are prophetic. Hill now faces a tough situation, as teams are securing their lineups and halting any pursuit of more free agents. If he's not happy in Seattle, he soon might himself stuck here, which won't be a good scenario for anyone involved. Hill isn't likely to turn into a primadonna, but some would've said the same about Jay Cutler not even six months ago...

-And finally, in a bit of sad-but-no-less-expected news, former Hawks punter Ryan "Fudge" Plackemeier was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals today. The really sad part is Fudge was acquired off waivers from the Redskins Feb. 13, and didn't even play in a single game for Cincinnati. Will the Raiders be next to sign him?

END Read More!

Where Might Leroy Land?

by: Michael Steffes

If he doesn't re-sign with the Seahawks of course.

With the Seahawks rescinding the franchise tag after the draft, it would seem that Leroy Hills suitors might be limited. The chances of Hill getting the same kind of deal he would have in early March are probably lessened. Still though, as the salary cap continues to rise and rise, there are more and more teams that have lots of room available. This, however, needs to be paired with scheme fit and an clear starting spot.

Lets take a look at what teams might fit this profile...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-

Tampa is the big wild card in this sweepstakes in my opinion. They have plenty of room under the cap and could use a starting caliber linebacker. The Bucs didn't draft a linebacker, despite releasing Cato June and Derrick Brooks in the offseason. Barrett Rudd is the clear starter in the middle, but outside linebacker candidates include names like Geno Hayes, Quincy Black, Matt McCoy, and Adam Heyward. There is also talk that SS, Jermaine Phillips, who came and visited Seattle as a free agent will be playing linebacker this year. Hill would seemingly be better than converting a safety. Tampa is switching their scheme up a bit this year, but will remain in a 4-3 with similar principles to the Seahawks scheme. Hill would clearly fit.

Atlanta Falcons-

The Falcons will almost certainly take a look at Hill after moving on from Keith Brooking and Michael Boley in the offseason. On top of this, there are several reasons this would make sense. They play a 4-3, and Hill would fit what they do on defense. They also have about 25 mil in cap space. They were a playoff team who has made several additions that show they believe they are a few pieces from being a Super Bowl contender. Hill would qualify as another "final piece" type of move and would be easy to justify.


Washington Redskins-

The Skins could use a linebacker. Especially one that could provide some pass rush. They should know plenty about Hill's skills. Not only is Zorn the coach, but I am sure they remember Leroy sacking Todd Collins by steam rolling Mike Sellers right through him in the Wild Card game two years ago. The Skins appear ready to start Alfred Fincher and Rocky McIntosh at their OLB positions. They drafted LBs in rounds 3 and 4, and have almost no space under the cap. That said, when they need to sign someone, Dan Snyder almost always finds away to create the needed cap space.

Jacksonville Jaguars-

The Jags are doing as much as they can to distance themselves from last year. They are still running a 4-3 and would appreciate the physicality that Leroy brings. They have about 17 million under the cap, and Hill would be comfortable there, coming from Clemson. The moved on from long time LB star Mike Peterson recently leaving their linebackers as a group that could be improved on. The current starters are Clint Ingram, Daryl Smith, and Justin Durant.

Philadelphia Eagles-

The Eagles are defintely in a win now mode. They have been adding pieces like Jason Peters and Ellis Hobbs, which show that they are trying to make a run at the title. Leroy Hill could be seen in the same light. The Eagles are about 30 mil under the cap and play a 4-3. Current starters Chris Gocong and Akeem Jordan aren't bad, but Hill is premier young star in the making. In that division, you can never have too much defense. Plus, can you imagine what Jim Johnson could do with Hill as a blitzer.

I choose to focus on the 4-3 teams that might be good spots for Hill. It is possible that 3-4 teams could see Hill as someone who could play in that scheme as either a rush linebacker or a run stopping middle backer. If this is the case, teams like Kansas City, Miami, or even the hated 49ers, all have some cap flexibility. Whether or not they value Hill more than their current guys, even after a factoring in his in-experience in the 3-4, is something that would be hard for me to speculate on.

Hopefully, the Seahawks and Hill can come to an agreement. He is the most comfortable here, and would be the third amigo in a great group. It would be a shame to see Hill reach his Pro Bowl potential somewhere else. Especially since most of these teams reside in the NFC.

Read More!

Re-evaluating the 2008 Draft

By Chris Sullivan

Not to be a negative nelly here, but I remember around this time last year we were all pretty excited about the draft. I think we had right to be, mind you, but I thought it might be worth looking back at last year's the draft class and giving it a year-one rating. This is, of course, not in any way meant to be a long-term rating. While Lo Jack was a disappointment, for example, I think in the medium- and long-term that he will likely end up being one of the team's best draft picks in years.

1st Round - Lawrence Jackson
Grade: C

Like I said, I think LoJack will have a much better sophomore campaign than he did in his rookie year. Defensive end and wide receiver appear to me to have the least likely amount of immediate success. Jackson's stats were not that much worse than Chris Long's, really (especially considering the respective number of snaps the two players got), but his presence was not even close. LoJack needs to make some big improvements this year, and I believe he will. Still, as an acceptable starter who did not do a whole lot to change games in either a positive or a negative way, I consider him average, or a "C."

2nd Round - John Carlson
Grade: A

A nearly unqualified success, Carlson came in and did nothing but produce. Without a doubt, he was the biggest and best surprise of an otherwise awful season. Look for Carlson's numbers to decline a bit this year with some better and healthier wide recievers in the mix, but don't expect him to go away. Carlson is sufficient as a blocker and excellent as a receiving tight end; he gets open on most plays and his hands are like glue.

4th Round - Red Bryant
Grade: D

Again, this is for last year only. I'm a big fan of Red Bryant -- in fact, he was actually my favorite pick of the 2008 draft. Still, he was injured and played very little, and when he did play his impact was minimal. I think the Seahawks are looking at him predominantly as a project to learn behind Mebane and to use in a rotational role when he's ready. I don't necessarily feel that he will be ready this year, but we'll learn a lot more when training camp opens in July.

5th Round - Owen Schmitt
Grade: B

Schmitt didn't see a lot of playing time last year, but he made the most of his opportunities when he did. Beyond that, he proved himself enough in practice and game situations to let the coaches feel secure with him so they would not have to break the bank by re-signing "The Weave." Schmitt is our presumptive starter in 2009. He's a good pickup who should provide very good value in 2009 as a key blocker in running situations.

6th Round - Tyler Schmitt
Grade: F

Schmitt didn't even play, as he had a back injury that he failed to disclose to the team. Sorry Tyler, I've still got high hopes for you to be the solution we've been looking for at long snapper, but in hindsight this pick should have been used to get more depth in positions like WR or the offensive line.

7th Round - Brandon Coutu
Grade: F

Coutu is Ruskell's guy, but he wasn't the Seahawks' guy last year. He lost the starting job to a better kicker and was not activated for a single game. I understand the logic of drafting a kicker in the 7th and liking him, but Coutu will again have to earn the job this year (presumably), and if he fails to do so this will be a perfectly wasted pick. Much more importantly though, Coutu's spot on the roster was very costly last year throughout our massive injury situation.

7th Round - Justin Forsett
Grade: C+

While I believe Forsett was good value in the 7th, again it was a bit of a luxury pick this late in the draft. A single wide reciever in the 7th could likely have prevented us from losing our 5th in the 2009 draft for Keary Colbert. Let that simmer. Forsett came on and returned kicks, but he didn't do a particularly good job and never provided the spark we wanted from him. Overall, for upside potential, I'll settle on a C+. He sure got us excited in the preseason, huh?

In looking back, all I see is a GM who saw a good team in need of a few pieces. In reality, this was a team who would need a lot more depth along the offensive line (0 players drafted), the WR corps (0 players drafted) and the secondary (0 players drafted). I believe that Ruskell had a much better draft in 2009 with a much more realistic view of what our needs and wants are. Read More!

Where They Fit: Part 2

by: Michael Steffes

This won't be nearly as exciting as doing the actual draft picks, but I will go through the undrafted free agents and give a couple of sentences of analysis on where they might fit, and if they really have a shot to make the team.

Here we go:

Michael Bennett, DE

Bennett has a long road in front of him. Maybe being Martellus' brother will help. The d-line rotation is actually pretty set. There are five guys almost guaranteed to make the team, a couple guys who were here last year, and then 7th round pick Nick Reed. If Bennett does well, the most he can hope for is a practice squad spot.

Tony Fien, LB

Fein is a local guy coming home. He actually has a good chance to make the team if he performs well for Bruce Dehaven. The Seahawks are short on linebackers, again. Plus, over the last few years there have been numerous undrafted free agent linebackers to make the team. Lance Laury and David Hawthorne are two of them.

Dave Phillstien, OLB

Phillstien has a good shot, too. There is probably a spot on the roster for an undrafted linebacker, possibly even two. They have to show the team that they have some value beyond being a back up, though. Special teams is how they will catch on.

Devin Moore, RB

Moore is a speedster. He is also undersized. He does, however, have a good shot to catch on. He would be a huge asset returning kicks with his speed. Plus he has good hands out of the backfield and would be a threat to take it to the house every time he touched it. He could become a poor man's Leon Washington.

Andre Ramsey, OT

Ramsey probably has a good shot to make the practice squad. This could mean an eventual spot on the roster with the way the line went down last year. Guys like Walt, Lock, and Wills will be the big names, with Kyle Williams possibly making the team. Max Unger could be the emergency tackle. Ramsey could take Williams' spot on the practice squad.

Tyler Roehl, RB

If you watch tape on this guy, he is pretty impressive. He runs with anger and good balance. He is quick, too. However, I'm not sure he will be much more than a pair of legs to take reps in camp, as he is small and doesn't seem to have extraordinary speed. If Moore falters, he might have a chance to make the team as a special teamer. He could very easily be the team's practice squad running back.

Sean Griffin, LS

Here we go again! Tyler Schmitt is supposed to be healthy, but you never know when a back injury could flare up. The team has been trying to find a long snapper for the better part of a decade now, or so it seems. Griffin at least has played against NFL-type guys at Michigan. Great snapping is what will get him a job, and a Tyler Schmitt injury.

Tez Doolittle, DT

Doolittle could be a sleeper. He seems to be the perfect 3-tech tackle. He does have a crowded rotation in front of him, including guys on the practice squad that the team likes. I suspect he may stick around though, even if it is on the practice squad. It would take some injuries for him to make the big club, but at DT that is always a possibility.

END Read More!

Hawk Add Defensive Tackle Named "Tez"

by: Michael Steffes

Unfortunately, his last name is Doolittle and not Kennedy, Jr. As many of you know, my all-time favorite Seahawk is easily Cortez Kennedy. But for 2009, at least through training camp, maybe I can adopt Tez Doolittle.

Doolittle is a 5 year defensive tackle from Auburn. To quote NFL Draft Scout,

After receiving an extra year of eligibility due to injury, Doolittle made the most of it by becoming one of the most productive players at his position in the league. Undersized, but could make someone a nice 'sleeper' choice.
Now Doolittle has signed on to join the Hawks as an undrafted free agent. How does Doolittle describe his attitude in coming into Seattle this weekend in an attempt to make the team?
“I’m going to be like a blind dog in a meathouse,”
Hey, maybe he will be mini-Tez with that attitude. I don't know about you, but I prefer defensive tackles that like to eat raw meat.

In all seriousness, Doolittle was known as leader on the Auburn defense. He registered 28 tackles, 8 of which were for loss, while playing next to third round pick Sen'Derrick Marks. END Read More!

Bill T's Ten Cents' Worth

by: William P. Tomisser

I wanted to add my thanks to Chris and Michael for the great job they did over the draft weekend. I felt like putting in my two cents' worth, but they were covering the draft very well so I waited until things died down a bit and added eight cents to come up with a full ten cents' worth. I've listened to several interviews now with both Arron Curry and Max Unger and I wanted to give an opinion of the two guys from the draft who are most likely to help us the most this season.

Aaron Curry

Aaron Curry comes off as a supremely confident player without sounding the least bit arrogant. He obviously plays the game with great passion. In all the interviews, there was nothing negative said about him in any interview by anyone from any perspective. Ruskell said he took the team on his back as a senior and raised the level of play of everyone around him. He went on to say that was what they look for in a player and ultimately made up their minds for them. Ruskell said Curry was the top player on their board. To continue reading, click

Curry said in interviews that he expected to go to Cleveland because there was so much talk about how an outside linebacker wasn't expected to go so high in the draft, historically speaking. He said that he wasn't disappointed that one of the first three teams didn't take him and he was prepared to go to whichever team selected him and give them his best possible effort. He also said in response to it being said that he didn't have good pass rushing skills that he wasn't asked to rush the passer at Wake Forest very much, but that he was very good at it when asked to do so.

Curry at 260 lbs is said to move more like a defensive back than a linebacker. He is considered to be a freakishly gifted athlete. He played in a pro-style defense that is much like what Seattle will be running in 2009, so although he has a lot to learn, the curve won't be as steep as it could have been. He's considered by some highly respected scouts and analysts to be the best linebacker prospect to come out in the last ten years because he can do everything required of a linebacker so well, including rushing the passer and being disruptive in the opponent's backfield. Mora and Ruskell both said that the biggest thing they loved about Curry was that he can do everything well, confirming that part of the reports. They will be able to use him in a number of different ways and situations, Ruskell said.

Curry said his influences were Lawrence Taylor because of his relentlessness, Ray Lewis because of his leadership, and Derrick Brooks because of the fast, athletic way he plays the game. He talks about his game being relentless and fast and said that he doesn't quit until the play is over. Every single time. If we lost Hill and got Derrick Brooks in as a stopgap linebacker for a year, how cool would it be for Curry to learn from one of the three guys he modeled his play after?

Mora was asked who Curry reminds him of. Mora answered "no one," and that Curry is unique. He said that Curry would be the linebacker others would be compared to in the future. That's pretty high praise from your head coach coming in as a rookie before you even attend your first camp. Observers who saw Curry for the first time said that if you wanted to build a mold of the perfect NFL linebacker as far as passing the eye test, Curry would be that mold. He's definitely a beast with pipes that look like thighs from what I saw -- a big guy who moves like a cat. Ruskell said he personally timed him in the 4.3s, but that was unofficial. He was in the 4.5s at the combine in which he posted the top time for a linebacker.

In a draft where it was said to be too bad that Seattle had such a high pick in such a weak draft, I'm not so sure that Seattle didn't get their blue chip elite impact player after all. If there was a player in this draft who would have been worthy of the number four pick in any year's draft class, Curry was it. His character comes shining through. His mom is his inspiration and he admits to being a mama's boy and says he proud of it. I doubt anyone will argue the point with him or call him a sissy. He stayed for his senior year in college because he had made a commitment to his teammates to do so and he honored that commitment. That says something about him as a person right there. There are things that mean more to him than instant gratification and money.

All in all, it looks as if Seattle got themselves another player who has the possibility of being mentioned in the same breath as Kenny Easley, Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, and Walter Jones by the time he's done with his career here. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but he just has that sort of charisma and everyone sees that kind of potential when they interview him. Seattle did what needed to be done Saturday and picked off the most likely to succeed guy in the draft. This guy looks like he'll be worth every penny they pay him. Some people have said that this is Seattle's best draft ever. Only the fact that they got Arron Curry made that speculation possible.

Max Unger

Max Unger is about as excited as I've ever heard any drafted player sound about being drafted by the Seahawks. He didn't expect it to happen, especially after they traded away their second pick to Denver for the Broncos' first pick next year. Having played for the Oregon Ducks, he wanted to stay on the West Coast so ending up back in the Pacific Northwest was a dream come true.

Unger was one of the top three centers in the draft, and generally considered to be the second best behind Alex Mack. He was expected to be drafted in the bottom of the first round along with Mack and Eric Wood. He slipped out of the bottom of the round, and if it hadn't been for the Denver offer Ruskell said they would have taken him with the 37th pick. When he fell to the middle of the second round, Ruskell felt compelled to made a deal to get back into the second round and take him. Although Mack was the highest-rated center, Unger was said to be a better prospect for the Seahawks and the zone blocking system because of his athleticism and footwork.

Unger played all three offensive line positions in college and is therefore a great utility sort of lineman. He played tackle his first two years in college, then moved inside to center. Although he practiced at guard, he said that he never got into the game at the guard position. Knapp said that he wants to give Spencer a chance to play center in the zone blocking system where he feels that he might be able to do better, even though in some respects the zone blocking system places higher demands on the center as far as calling out the alignment calls and blocking assignments.

Most likely according to Knapp, Unger will start out at the right guard spot with a possibility of moving over to the left if no one from the team steps up to man the left guard spot adequately (read into that "if Wahle doesn't recover"). Seattle probably got the best guard/center prospect there was in the draft for the zone blocking system and specifically for their team. This move will most likely end the Vallos experiment as a center except for an emergency situation as the third center.

Like Curry, Unger certainly comes off as a high-character guy and a player who is absolutely thrilled to be a Seahawk. I love it when a player wants to be a Seahawk like Lofa Tatupu did when he signed an extension to become a Seahawk for life. Unger sounds like another candidate to be that kind of a player. After guys like Josh Brown, both Curry and Unger are a breath of fresh air. It certainly seems logical that a player would put in an extra rep or two on the weights or a few extra yards on a wind sprint when he's playing for the team he truly wants to play for.

In interviews, Max was absolutely exuberant about being drafted by Seattle. He said that he was bummed when Seattle didn't draft him at number 37 and totally didn't expect it to happen after they traded away the pick. 12 picks later, Seattle made a move to get back into the second round and took Unger at 49. Unger said that the move to the inside from playing left tackle in his junior year was good for him and he enjoyed playing in the interior of the line. He prefers to play inside now and is comfortable playing either guard or center. He said the Seattle coaches told him that he'll play both center and guard and be a swing guy. When asked what he felt that he needed to work on the most to improve his game and prepare himself for playing in the NFL, he responded by saying that the speed of the game is what he feels that he most needs to get used to and prepare for.

Draft Thoughts

Seattle certainly looks as if they have selected two outstanding players on day one of the draft, both from a standpoint of being good human beings (as Mora went out of his way to comment on) as well as being outstanding players ready to come in and contribute right off the bat. I expect to see both players starting on opening day.

For the whole draft, Seattle came out of the draft with seven players from the seven rounds and an additional first rounder for next year as the icing on the cake. Once again, every player seems to have a great chance of making the team via the active roster or practice squad. Except for Ruskell's first year here when he only had a month to prepare for his first draft and to set up his draft board, every player from every draft made the team or practice squad in his rookie year (or was put on IR like longsnapper T. Schmitt). I think that once again there's a very good chance of every pick being on the team come opening day. This was another amazing draft weekend for Ruskell, and this time he proved that he indeed knew what to do with a high choice. He was masterful from the end of the season until the draft was over in setting up the whole affair and didn't disappoint when the chips were down.

Does anyone else wonder as I have whether not having Holmgren involved in this draft gave Ruskell the room he needed to operate more freely and clear the way for him to wheel and deal as he saw fit? I've always felt that, even though Ruskell was the GM, Holmgren had a pretty sizable footprint in the draft process and probably was in a position where he was necessarily consulted on just about every move made. With Holmgren gone, we may have seen the first draft where Ruskell was totally free to operate as he chose to do from the deception and misdirection handed out daily to the draft itself and the trades and wheeling and dealing that went on. That's pure speculation on my part, but this draft felt different and I think it's a reasonable conclusion that Holmgren may have had the power to force Ruskell to include him in almost all draft plans and decisions, thereby hamstringing Ruskell to some degree. This was by far Seattle's smoothest draft and the front office seemed to be better prepared to respond to opportunities than ever before.

Ruskell On The Hill Situation

Ruskell was interviewed and asked about removing the franchise tag from Hill. He said that the reason the tag was applied in the first place was to hasten negotiations and get a long term deal done. He then went on to say that wasn't happening, and furthermore Hill was missing camps where the new defense was being unveiled. He said that taking Curry gave them the opportunity to remove the tag in an effort to get negotiations moving again and get the two sides talking.

Ruskell said as a consequence there were talks going on right at that moment. He said that the whole organization was behind the move and that they fully understand that Hill's now a free agent and that they may lose him. If so, they have the $8.3 million to spend on other players so there is a trade off involved. They have already resigned cornerback Ken Lucas and signed fullback Justin Griffith with part of that money. He said that taking the tag off has both sides committed to getting a deal done and Hill himself has said to numerous people, including Mora and his agent, that he wants to remain a Seahawk.

Ruskell said that the tag actually was keeping the two sides from talking and stopped Hill and his agent from being proactive in the negotiations so that nothing was getting done whatsoever. Removing it forces the two sides to negotiate and get a deal done. He also said that the Seahawks were in an important time in their transition and that a lot of stuff was getting installed in the defense. Hill's not showing up at camp was hurting both the team and Hill's ability to pick up the defense. He reiterated that this was a new defense and that they needed everyone who was going to have a big role in the defense for the coming year to be on board and be getting the new information.

Ruskell said this was valuable time for any defensive player and they felt the situation could have gone on until the end of training camp with Hill not signing the tender and missing all that critical time learning the new defense. He felt they had to force Hill and his agent's hand and get the issue decided so the Seahawks could move in whatever direction they needed to without delay. He said that they felt that it was too high a price to pay to potentially have one of their three starting linebackers not learning the new defense until the season began as well as tying all the money up they needed to operate in acquiring additional players for the team.

Asked about what fallout and criticism Ruskell felt should be directed at him if Hill were to go to another team, Ruskell responded by saying that he didn't worry about the criticism and that everything he does is for the benefit of the team. He said this gave them options to do other things they felt they needed to do for the team and that they were unable to do before because of the amount of cap space that was being taken up by the tag. I assume signing Lucas and Griffith was one of those. He said the criticism would come and go according to how well the team played and that the ultimate objective was to get the team winning again. Ruskell said several times that they don't want to lose Hill, but that he felt it was necessary to get the situation resolved.

It seems that he was most worried that Hill and his agent would not conclude a long term deal with the Seahawks and that would potentially tie up the $8.3 million until next year when franchising him could be unaffordable and they would lose him anyway. Hill could hold off signing the tender until training camp was almost concluded and not be prepared to play in the new defensive scheme as well as tying up the money Seattle needed to fix other problems. That's a potential double whammy. For example, the team could have been left with Hill not being prepared to play on top of having to rely once again on Jennings and Wilson to man the second corner position because they couldn't afford to sign Lucas. I imagine the howls would start against the GM in that situation just as much as they will if we lose Hill. Ruskell's got the right idea in ignoring the criticism and focusing on improving the team by whatever means possible. Winning is the only way to stop the critics anyway.

I think Ruskell is 100% doing the right thing in forcing the deal to get done now if Hill is going to sign a long term deal with Seattle or have him move out so we can get whoever is going to play that linebacker spot into the defense now so they can acclimate to the new scheme. He also freed up the money and proceeded with the moves he wanted to make to further put the Seahawks in a position to succeed. If Hill was going to ultimately sign with the Seahawks before, he will still do so. If he was playing us, then Ruskell just put a quick halt to that plan. I think Ruskell expected a deal to be done by now but Hill and his agent decided to play hard to get and were holding the franchise tag money hostage. They decided not to sign the tender, so Ruskell took it off the table and now they have to do the deal or not. We can't wait and need the decision to be made now. Great move, Tim. We should pay Hill a fair contract, but not top 5 money until he's considered a top 5 linebacker.

Remember the Trufant deal which was holding up our ability to get other important deals done last year too until he finally signed his long term contract which freed up the tag money? The difference was that the negotiations with Trufant were always ongoing and the end was in sight, whereas with Hill there was zero progress and no talking going on. It had become an impasse and one that was starting to hurt the club by tying up the tag money. Say what you want about possibly losing Hill but there are other considerations to make and Ruskell has to balance all of them out. He did what needed to be done for the club to move forward. What would you have done?

I know some of you disagree with Ruskell's move, so feel free to have at it. I just ask that you keep it clean and respectful. I endorse what he did but that's just my opinion. Please feel free to put your two cents in on what ever side you feel is right. You all know I love Ruskell anyway, so I tend to think what he does is the best for the team.

Discuss away, fellow Addicts!


Bill T

Read More!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hawks Ink Wolverine Long Snapper

by: Michael Steffes

This wasn't listed with the original undrafted free agent signings, but it would appear the Hawks have brought in some insurance for Tyler Schmitt.

This report by the Detroit News says that Sean Griffin, the University of Michigan long snapper is heading out to join the Seahawks.

Here is the scouting report breakdown on Griffin, via our friends at Draft Countdown. Hopefully we can get Scott to come back and talk about Seahawks draft sometime this offseason.

END Read More!

Hawks Sign Lucas and Griffith

by: Michael Steffes

Ken Lucas and Justin Griffith are apparently on the verge of inking deals with the Seahawks. Danny O'Neil has the report.

Lucas obviously will be coming in to give the Seahawks a bigger body at the cornerback position to help them match up with inter-divisional rivals like Larry Fitzgerald, and the newly drafted Michael Crabtree. The Hawks needed a corner after failing to draft one this weekend. Accoreding to KIRO 710, it is expected to be a one year deal with the team. Lucas most recently played for the Panthers under current Seahawk DB coach, Tim Lewis.

Justin Griffith will be a veteran presence to help bridge the gap to Owen Schmitt at fullback, another position the Hawks ignored over the weekend. Griffith has played under Gregg Knapp (and Jim Mora) in Atlanta and Oakland. He is recovering from minor knee surgery. Griffith's deal is also for one year.

This was the idea behind the removal of the franchise tag from Leroy Hill. The Seahawks have added a couple vets at positions that desperately needed it. This certainly helps them going forward. Hopefully, Hill will stay as well, although I remain fairly pessimistic of that happening.

END Read More!

McShay Grades the NFC West Draft

by: Mike Parker

The Seahawks and Cardinals got very high marks from ESPN's Todd McShay for their selections in this year's draft, and rightfully so.

The Cardinals received praise for their first-round pick of Chris Wells, which McShay said will add a good complement to Tim Hightower with the expected departure of Edgerrin James.

The Hawks, meanwhile, impressed ESPN's draft guru by not "pulling anything cute" and going straight for the best-available player at No.4 overall, Aaron Curry. McShay also made a point to say he felt Curry was the best player in this year's draft.

There were also some good things mentioned about San Francisco's selection of Crabtree and St. Louis picking up Jason Smith, but one thing stuck out to me the most -

McShay said of all the teams to not make the playoffs last year, the Hawks have the best chance.

I hope the analyst hype isn't too crazy after another few months, as the Hawks always seem to do better with flying under the radar and being silent killers once the season begins. And with the schedule being the way it is this year, striking with deadly force very early on is nothing short of mandatory.

Who was everyone's favorite pick of the draft this year? I haven't had a chance to chime in with Sully and Steffes tearing it up over the weekend, but I have to say I'm pretty damn content with the selections of Curry and Unger. I'm also curious to see what players like Mike Teel and Nick Reed can do.

END Read More!

Seahawks Will Get An Early Read on Denver's Pick

by: Michael Steffes

Just in case you didn't remember, the Seahawks will get an early read on where the pick the acquired from Denver might fall.

Denver will be coming to Qwest field in the 2nd week of the preseason. Aug 22nd.

That might be the first preseason game I have ever traveled to see, at least by plane.

Here is a link to Denver's schedule. I see them having at a minimum 7 losses. But I might be looking through rose colored glasses. END Read More!

Tim Ruskell on ESPN 710

by: Michael Steffes

Tim Ruskell showed his face (voice?) after a long weekend to talk Leroy Hill, Draft, and all things Seahawks. Here is summary for your consumption.

If you are near a radio you might to tune into Kiro 710. Mora is going to be on shortly, as will Aaron Curry.

Here are the highlights......

  • After the St. Louis pick, with KC on the clock, was an anxious time for the Hawks. They thought it was 50/50 between KC taking Jackson or Curry. Ruskell talked with Pioli, and said it was an amusing conversation.
  • Curry was the top guy on the Seahawks board when they picked. There wasn't much talk about trading into the 3 spot to make sure they got him
  • The backup plan, if KC took Aaron Curry, was to stick the board. Ruskell said the Hawks stuck to their board throughout, which is something that he feels good about when a draft is done. They defintely would have listened to trade offers if he was gone.
  • He says the Hawks do pay close attention to mocks, especially from guys they know talk to NFL people. The NFL people wont talk to Ruskell, so they have to rely on the guys who put out some of the better mocks. Rick Gosslin was one that Ruskell singled out.
  • Ruskell was surprised, "taken back a bit", when the Broncos called about the swap of 37 for the 2010 first rounder. The thing they took into account was when they thought that pick might be. And because of that they thought there was value there.
  • It is a little tricky figuring out value when there are two years involved in a swap, but you go with your gut.
  • They are not taking the possible uncapped year into account on draft day because they feel it is too unpredictable what will happen to take that into account
  • The keys to the draft for Ruskell are being prepared, and keeping your wits about you. That is what helps you in those hectic moments when you are making deals or deciding to pick.
  • The Hawks met with Hill's people last night, and will meet with them again. He said the draft would have been no different if he had signed the tender. The goal has always been to get Leroy back.
  • Hill has told all the coaches, and he stays in touch with them regularly, that he wants to be a Seahawk for life. He assumes that he is telling his agent the same thing.
  • Deon Butler brings something that we don't have with our other receivers: Killer Speed. Ruskell said he clocked him at 4.26. And he has never seen his watch go there. There are going to work on his punt return skills starting this weekend.
  • Teel's leadership was what really drew the team to them. He was great when he came for a visit. Knapp thought he was perfect for this team and this system. In talks with Teel's reps, it felt like they had to take him in the sixth or they would risk losing him. Orginally they thought he might be a free agent.

END Read More!

Thank you, Al Davis...

by: Chris Sullivan

Next year when the Seahawks take the field, there is a very good chance that the Seahawks offensive line will have a different look. Max Unger is almost certain to be either the center or one of the guards after the Seahawks traded up to take him in the second round. How did they get so lucky?

Al Davis.

Bear with me here. Ignoring anyone associated with the City of Detroit, there are two mindblowingly dumb GMs in this league (well, more than two, but this will focus on two): Al Davis and Jerry Angelo. Jerry Angelo had his heart set on Michael Mitchell, he was going to draft him at #49 and had apparently even told the kid as much. Who is Michael Mitchell? Well, Kiper had him on his big board as the 71st rated... safety (not player). Everyone considered him no threat to go before the 6th round if ever, but apparently the Grim Reaper and Da Head of Da Bears were playing a bizarre game of "get the mediocre backup." Well, Al Davis won (doesn't he always?).

So what?

So Jerry Angelo, so heartbroken by the loss of Michael "Even I don't know who I am" Mitchell, that he didn't have another second round pick ready to go. He traded his most valuable pick in the draft away for two picks, our third and fourth. The value was quite a bit off and he almost certainly could have asked for more, but the tears in his eyes must have blinded him to value. No problemo. The Seahawks were happy to steal the pick away and draft the man they would have happily taken at #37 if Josh McDaniels wasn't willing to part with so much for a good-but-not-great cornerback. Fantastic. Thanks Al!

END Read More!

How good were our trades?

by: Chris Sullivan

Let's assume for a second some worst case scenarios for 2010. The Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl and the Hawks go 0-16 and wind up with the #1, 33, 65... etc, picks. How good were Ruskell's trades from a trade-value chart perspective?

Trading our #37 pick (530 points) for the #32 pick (590 points) nets us a bare minimum of +60 points. If the Broncos were to pick at the same place they are this year, that would be a net gain of 670 points. The Hawks then traded their #68 (250 points) and #101 (96 points) picks for the #49 pick from the Bears (410 points). That's a net gain of 64 points. Finally, the Hawks traded up for the #91 pick (136), giving up our 5th and 7th pick (40 pts + 13 pts = 53 pts) and our 2010 3rd round pick (remember, we're dead last so that's 265 points). Thats a net loss of 182 points. For the day, in a worst case scenario, the Hawks are down 58 total draft trade value points.

(But wait! The Hawks may also have gained a compensatory pick if Leroy Hill does indeed leave in free agency, in addition to the other one we'll likely get from Leonard Weaver (who will almost certainly be a lot "better" statistically than his replacement, as we will be using the fullback in a different manner) and perhaps a few more along the way. On the whole, we likely break at least even -- if Hill is a bottom of the third round compensation pick, that would be about 116 points, doubly accounting for our lost points.)

In reality, we should look at the Hawks and Broncos as mid-round finishers. If the Broncos wind up at #16 and #17, assuming no ties, the Broncos #1 would be worth 1,000 points and the Hawks third round (#81) would be worth 190 points. Doing the same math as above we are +470 on the Broncos trade, +64 on the Bears trade, and -102 on the final trade of the day. On the whole, in a relatively realistic look at things, the Seahawks would be +432 points of trade value, equivalent to the #47 draft pick (Connor Barwin). Not bad.

END Read More!

Where They Fit

by: Michael Steffes

Now that the take from the weekend appears complete, I thought it would be worth taking a look at how all the new players fit. Here is a couple sentences of analysis on how each player might fit this season, and going forward.

-Aaron Curry, LB, WF

Obviously, Curry is a starter from day one. Whether or not Hill comes back is moot to Curry's status. He will start at one of the outside linebacker positions, and play all three downs. He will immediately become the Seahawks best coverage linebacker. Mora and co say he is an underrated blitzer, but we won't know how much he will assume that role until we see how the defensive scheme takes shape.

-Max Unger, OL, Ore

Unger will certainly compete for a starting spot from day one. It sounds as if the team felt the need to upgrade at center. I think Spencer can be a physically dominating guard. I talked about that last year. If Unger is capable, he will take over at center, pushing Spencer right. This is assuming Wahle is healthy. If he is not, Spencer may play left with Wrotto on the right side. Regardless, Unger and Wrotto are probably the two best FITS for the zone blocking scheme. Whether they are ready to start the preseason will determine.

-Deon Butler, WR, Penn St.

Butler may get some time on the field this season, but it will be mostly as a decoy. They will hope his speed stretches the defense. However, he as large depth chart in front of him. Luckily for him, some of those guys are made of glass. Hopefully, the vets last long enough to get Butler up to speed. It will be interesting to see if the team works on his return skills. He has little experience there, but his speed could be very valuable on special teams.

-Mike Teel, QB, Rutgers

Clearly, the team was done with Charlie Frye. At this point we have no way of knowing what the team thinks of Jeff Rowe, but Teel is likely to fill the third QB role. The team has more invested in him that Rowe. Also, he seems to be a guy Hass will take a liking too. Neither were invited to the combine, both were taken in the 6th. If both Teel and Hass look good this year, the team could address two other needs in next years first.

-Courtney Green, S, Rutgers

Greene is an in the box safety with some coverage skills. He will be competing with the guys who the Seahawks have added via the undrafted route the last few years like CJ Wallace and Jamar Adams. He could be a practice squad candidate for 2009. He seems to have potential, but will need time to adjust and work on his fundamentals.

-Nick Reed, DE, Oregon

This may be a steal for a 7th rounder. Reed was up for all of the awards Brian Orapko was, he just isn't quite as big and intimidating. However, you will never hear anyone question his motor. I got a feeling Mora will taking a liking to this guy, and if the Hawks go into the season with less than the league average at linebacker again, Reed might take that extra spot because of his special teams ability. That may end up being where he makes his name in the NFL.

-Cameron Morrah, TE, Cal

Morrah has a good shot of making this team. For some reason Joe Newton just never impressed. Morrah needs time to develop, but as long as he is willing to play special teams he will get a roster spot. He can stretch the field a bit better than Carlson, but won't be a three down type player for several years. However, right away, with his size, speed, and strength, he can make a big impact on coverage units.

Here are the draft picks, I will write up the signee's in a little bit. Tell us what roles you think each player will fill, and what your gut tells you about what we may see from the rookies this year. END Read More!

Leroy Hill Open to Returning

by: Chris Sullivan

Eric Williams has a nice article this morning discussing Leroy Hill and the talk from Ruskell and Mora on his potential return. Says Mora:

“He’s very motivated to be a Seattle Seahawk. He told me this morning that this is where he wants to finish his career. I think he was a little shook up, and maybe disappointed. But in terms of being upset or mad, no. At least, that’s not the feeling I got in talking to Leroy.”
That said, letting Hill goes has some definite possibilities, despite us all liking him. While I would prefer for him to come back, letting Hill go will almost certainly net us a third or fourth round compensatory pick in the 2010 draft. Additionally, despite him being one of the best weakside linebackers in the league, he is still a weakside linebacker. Having three excellent linebackers is a luxury that a struggling team perhaps can no longer afford. 

If the Hawks do not end up signing Hill to a long-term contract, there are still a couple of linebackers available -- Freddie Keiaho, Derrick Brooks, Marcus Washington -- and D.D. Lewis, Will Herring, David Hawthorne and Lance Laury remain on the Hawks squad, though perhaps only two of those are potentially ready to start.

Read More!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seahawks Brass Speak About Picks

by: Michael Steffes

I am dead tired... I am also hunting around for info on UDFA's, so I will just update this as there is new info from the Seahawks.

So far, Gregg Knapp has spoken. Considering the majority of the picks were on offense, he has some good insight.

Sando summarizes it HERE.

There were lots of questions about Leroy Hill. Here is a good summary. The Hawks, and Leroy, think this will help them get a deal done.

Mora apparently made an unsolicited reference to adding a defensive back in free agency. Ken Lucas, is probably the reason then needed to free up cap space.

END Read More!

Seahawks Sign Six

by: Michael Steffes

Eric Williams provides the info here.

Michael Bennett, DE, Texas A&M (Brother is Martellus Bennett aka Marty B)
Tony Fein, LB, Mississippi
Dave Philistin, OLB, Maryland [Stats]
Devin Moore, RB, Wyoming
Andre Ramsey, OT, Ball State
Tyler Roehl, RB, North Dakota State

END Read More!

Nick Reed a "great pick"

by: Chris Sullivan

Russ Lande over at The Sporting News has a brief write-up covering a bunch of tidbits from the draft. Among them is this little tidbit: 

The Seattle Seahawks made a great pick at No. 247 with Oregon defensive end Nick Reed. We see Reed as a guy who plays with passion and energy on every snap and makes plays rushing the passer and chasing down ball carriers in pursuit.

The knock? Reed is a "'tweener." He has a linebacker's build and an end's athletic ability, but lacks ideal size and strength of an NFL end.

Reed likely will struggle to be more than a backup, but he will contribute when he gets on the field and should be an impact special teams player. ...

So far pretty much everything I've seen about Reed has been positive. It will be interesting to see how the Seahawks plan on using Reed, though it may not be this year that we find that out. He will make the team on Special Teams it he makes it, but could be a developmental guy to fill in as an edge rusher in coming years. 

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How well did the Hawks do?

by: Chris Sullivan

Well, if you base it on Walter Football's draft grades, pretty darn well. Here's how they broke it down:

  • Aaron Curry - A
  • Max Unger - A   
  • Deon Butler - A   
  • Mike Teel - B   
  • Courtney Greene - A   
  • Nick Reed - A    
  • Cameron Morrah - B
They rate just about every team in the NFC West as having an excellent draft, all As and Bs between the four teams. I checked outside the division and they did not routinely give out such high grades. The NFC West is an improving division, and despite the hard choices being made right now, I think the Seahawks made a number of strides in getting back to the top of the West. 
What do you guys think? No need to mention Rashad Jennings in this discussion, we spent about three hours on him earlier. How did the Hawks do for this draft? Good value for each pick?

END Read More!

Did the Hawks Trade Hill for a 3rd?

by: Michael Steffes

That is the premise being laid down in this article from John Clayton at ESPN.Com.

There are no guarantees, but Clayton's logic is sound. However, he is leaving out the Houshmanzadeh deal. It is possible that the formula would cancel out these two deals. However, because Hill is a younger player, it is likely they don't. Also, a lot will be determined by the two players performance next year.

Leroy Hill finally becoming a Pro Bowl linebacker would actually benefit the Seahawks.

The Seahawks still have the ability to re-sign Leroy Hill, but as I conveyed in my original thoughts on this last night, I think it is doubtful. If they wanted to re-sign him, they would have maintained control of his rights.

The Seahawks have soured on Hill. Not the player, butthe commodity. He provided the second embarrassing arrest in two years from a young defensive player. However, the aftermath of Hill's incident was handled completely different. Lofa talked about earning back the communities, and his teammates trust. How important it was for all of them to know he could be counted on day in and day out. Hill, followed his arrest with a meeting with team officials, but no public interviews. Clearly the team may have used even there discussion with Hill as a way to keep people guessing with their draft. Maybe Hill wasn't remorseful at all. He defintely didn't feel the need to be at the first camp run by his new defensive minded head coach.

In the end, it was tough to mesh these actions with the character this organization demands. I am sure Ruskell was conflicted. He would much rather Hill wanted to be in Seattle, after all, Hill is one of Ruskell's biggest successes. In the end, though, Hill wants to make as much money as he humanly can. Now he gets the chance.

With out knowledge, I can't say this for fact, but I would guess he asked, begged or even pleaded for the tag to be removed. The salary cap is huge these days. Teams still have money. If he is worth it, he will now get his.

And the Seahawks could get a third. Maybe a later pick. It will probably depend on what Leroy is really worth. Just like a trade.... END Read More!

Expect the Hawks to Sign FA Running Backs

by: Michael Steffes

For those who expected the Hawks to address RB in the draft, as many did, fear not. The Hawks will almost certainly be signing one or two in their take of undrafted free agents.

Right now, they simply do not have enough on the roster for camp. Jeremiah Johnson has to be a strong consideration, and possibly Kory Sheets as well.

The Hawks should be fairly attractive for RB free agents because they have no real established starter and potentially have an open spot on the final roster for another back.

We should see the list of undrafted free agents the Hawks sign by about 6 o'clock. Last year's crop brought us David Hawthorne and Jamar Adams, and the Hawks have traditionally found good players after the draft.

Linebacker, safety, and running back appear to be the positions that will be interested in signing up with the Seahawks. Those will be fairly easy positions to make the roster with a good camp performance.

END Read More!

7th Round, # 248 -- Cameron Morrah, TE

by: Michael Steffes

With the Seahawks final pick in the 2009 draft, the team has selected Cameron Morrah, a Tight End from California.

Morrah is an athletic tight end who many thought would go much higher, some as high as the third round. He has prototypical size and good speed. He also has room to put muscle on his frame.

One of the reasons he may have slipped is that because he has not had the production to match his skill set. He came out early, and clearly would have benefited from staying in school. However, he will not be counted on right away in Seattle anyway.

This is a good pick.

UPDATE: Mel Kiper thinks he would have gone first day if he had stayed in school for his senior year.

END Read More!

With the #247 Overall Pick...

by: Chris Sullivan

The Seahawks select Nick Reed, defensive end from Oregon.  Reed is a two-time first team All-Pac 10, which you really can't argue with here. He was also a first team Academic All-American. He had 13 sacks in 2008 leading the Pac 10, and 51.5 tackles for losses in his career, second in Oregon history. 

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7th Round, # 245 -- Courtney Greene

by: Michael Steffes

With the 245th selection in the 2009 draft, the Seahawks have taken Courtney Greene, a safety from Rutgers.

Here is what we know:

The Seahawks have taken their second straight player from Rutgers. They must love New Jersey.

Greene's strengths:

Looks the part of a NFL safety. Has good strength and is a solid tackler when moving forward. Will deliver a lick and can knock the ballcarrier back. Has good short-area quickness and burst. Displays good speed, including catching up when beated. Has good range and can make plays from the hashes to the sideline.
His weaknesses:
Is stiff in his hips and upper body. Is not a sure tackler. Will whiff on hits he should make. Lacks natural change-of-direction ability. Struggles to hold tight man coverage, especially out of the breaks. Is very streaky and prone to mental lapses. Will get too aggressive at times. Plays high and does not always balance well in the open field.
Overall, he had a better junior year than he did senior year, much like the rest of the Rutgers team. He is smart and tough, and will battle for a roster spot on the team with Jamar Adams, CJ Wallace, and others.

END Read More!

It's Compensation Time!

by: Michael Steffes

Remember Niko Koutovides?

How about Kevin Bentley?

Maybe DJ Hackett or Elis Wymms?

Thank them -- and the new employers who got very little from them -- for our upcoming picks! It will be interesting to see what needs the Hawks address here. Probably, they will be guys the Hawks don't think they could sign as UDFAs, as there are only a few picks behind us.

For reasons like that, guys like Oregon RB Jeremiah Johnson and other close to home products might not get the nod, assuming they are still available.

Regardless, there should be plenty to choose from. END

END Read More!

What Does the NFL Know That We Don't?

by: Chris Sullivan

It's got to be something and it's probably related to Rashad Jennings. Jennings has slid past eighteen other running backs, including a ton of people who were rated much lower on a ton of people's big boards.

Update: Make that 19... 20...

Update2: Jennings is not happy at all. From his Twitter page:

It's funny how the draft works sometime.. Do you the Matt Stafford would have been 1st over all if he played at Liberty? (6 hours ago)
I have do idea! It alright somebody gonna be fired for passin me up (5 hours ago)
There will be 31 teams to feel to feel my frustration. (3 hours ago)
Somebody is going to be pissed they over looked me (3 hours ago)
I had my 1st phone call (1 hour ago)
END Read More!

NFLN Doesn't Discriminate

by: Michael Steffes

The Patriots took long snapper Jake Ingram one spot after where the Seahawks took Tyler Schmitt last year.

It was nice to see the NFLN take a break from their excessive praise of the NE organization to mention that drafting a long snapper was equally as absurd this year as when the Hawks did it last year.

Clearly the Hawks and Pats feel differently, and they have enough wins over the last half decade between them to justify their actions.

The NFLN guys also took a minute to praise the Seahawks' draft, saying that if Deon Butler develops they have had a "heck of a draft." They think very highly of Curry and Unger and expect great things from both. And then at the end, they remembered we also picked up a first in next year's draft.

It has been a good weekend. However, the dividends might not be fully realized until this weekend next year. END Read More!

A Bit More on Mike Teel

by: Chris Sullivan

Who the hell is Mike Teel? Well, for one, it could be argued that he's the guy responsible for Kenny Britt. (The counter argument, and the potentially more convincing one, is that Kenny Britt is responsible for Mike Teel.) Here's how broke down our pick:

Teel has an extremely strong arm. He was plagued by some Rutgers receivers dropping passes last year and he lacks speed, but he has a cannon and is very smart. He helped turn around the Rutgers program and has a shot to develop into something.

Okay, so, strong arm (that's new), receivers dropping passes (okay he'll fit in alright in Seattle), lacks speed (that's Hasselbeckian) and very smart. He's improved his stats every year, but again how much of that is Rutgers getting a great WR in Britt? Hard to say, but ideally he'll have great WRs in the NFL too, making that point a concern but somewhat moot.

Here's his Bio from
A durable three-plus-year starter with NFL size and an adequate arm, Teel really started to turn heads during the team's seven-win run at the end of 2008. His connections with fellow 2009 NFL Draft prospects wide receivers Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt lit up scoreboards through the final two months of the season.
Teel improved statistically each season, partially because his receivers began catching the ball consistently. He set career highs as a senior with 3,418 passing yards and 25 touchdowns.
An NFL team will take a chance on him as a late-round pick or priority free agent because of his strong physical and mental makeup.

The jury will be out for a few years, and I think it's still possible we grab someone from the list of undrafted free agents and maybe even someone with a comp pick in the 7th. Who knows?

The real concern most fans (and myself) are having is in opportunity cost. What did picking Teel cost the Hawks as far as who we could have picked? It's impossible to say, because we don't know who was being looked at. Rashad Jennings was available, but 22 picks later he's still available. Maybe he's not as good as we all (including me) wanted him to be? While I trust the pro scouts above my own scouting, this pick was very unexciting. That doesn't mean it won't be a good one, but it does show yet again that Ruskell and Mora think we can win with the guys we have right now.
END Read More!