The Seahawks are thin on the defensive line. Michael Bennett is gone, Cliff Avril might be going. Sheldon Richardson is in Minnesota and there’s no news about Malik McDowell’s future.
They were able to re-sign Dion Jordan as a restricted free agent (as expected) but no other moves have been made. Simply put, they need to bolster their rotation and add pass rushers.
The options early in the draft aren’t options for long hair 2018 great. That’s not a problem. The Seahawks probably need to focus on their running game anyway. Thankfully there are possible targets later on.
Crucially the options are better at defensive tackle than EDGE. It’s likely one of the reasons, alongside money and culture change,.
Senior Bowl review
This week I went back and watched some of the Senior Bowl practises (OL vs DL). NC State’s B.J. Hill and Justin Jones just flat out dominated in the 1v1’s. Both players consistently drove offensive linemen 4-5 yards into the backfield. Power, leverage, great hand placement.
They looked like Alabama linemen in Mobile. They were just bigger and more physical than any one else. They stood out. I’m not sure how easy it’d be to acquire both (especially with multiple needs and limited picks) but Seattle’s interior D-line hair rotation would be a force. Naz Jones, Jarran Reed, B.J. Hill and Justin Jones would be a quartet of nasty, physical linemen.
If there’s any way at all to get these two, it’d be a huge boost for Seattle’s D-line rotation. Hill in particular just looks like a force. It won’t be a surprise if he goes in the second or third round range.
On a separate note — while re-watching the day-three Senior Bowl practise — Will Hernandez struggled a bit. He was beaten on a B-gap rush thanks to suspect footwork (heavy feet) and then struggled to handle Kemoko Turay rushing from the inside. Turay jolted him backwards and then tried a neat pull-push move. All Hernandez could do was grab his jersey. It would’ve been a holding penalty in a game. It was a bit of a surprise to see Hernandez toil against a smaller speed rusher working inside.
Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis had a great Senior Bowl and that showed up in the practise re-watch. He dominated Jamil Demby on one snap working at defensive end. He was equally comfortable rushing the left or right side and had a great rep against Brian O’Neil too, just dominated him.
Both Lewis and team mate Jalyn Holmes had to share reps in a heavy D-line rotation for the Buckeye’s. Don’t sleep on either player. Lewis is an exceptional athlete:
Andrew Brown at Virginia stood out on the Senior Bowl re-watch too. It won’t be a shock if he goes in round two or three and B.J. Hill isn’t far behind. There was one snap where Brown jumped offside and tripped up. He suddenly flipped back up to the turf and got back into position. It was an impressive show of athleticism at 296lbs.
He’s really quick off the snap:
He also plays like his hair is on fair. There are some general technique things to work on. Sometimes Brown gets a little high and loses leverage. It’s coachable.
If Hill and Jones are just nasty and rich in attitude, Brown has a none-stop motor and plus athleticism/quickness.
What range are they going to go in?
NFL.com’s draft tracker (put together by Lance Zierlein) currently lists the players in the following range:
B.J. Hill — R4-5
Tyquan Lewis — R5-6
Justin Jones — R6
Andrew Brown — R6-7
I’m pretty sure all four will go earlier than projected. Much earlier in some cases (Hill, Brown). If they were all available on day three it’d be a fantastic opportunity to really bolster the D-line depth and it might be one of the reasons why they haven’t really added anyone in free agency.
Do they actually fit the Seahawks?
Yes., the Seahawks like length and agility. They haven’t drafted a D-liner with sub-33 inch arms. They’ve often drafted players that performed well in the short shuttle, such as Quinton Jefferson (4.37), Jordan Hill (4.51), Jaye Howard (4.47) and Malik McDowell (4.53).
How did the four players above measure and test?
B.J. Hill — 33 inch arms, 4.53 short shuttle
Tyquan Lewis — 34 inch arms, DNP
Justin Jones — 33.5 inch arms, 4.74 short shuttle
Andrew Brown — 34.5 inch arms, 4.48 short shuttle
Hill and Brown in particular stand out here. They’re also the two most likely to go earlier than expected (possibly rounds 2-3).
Jones didn’t actually perform that well in the short shuttle. However, the attitude and way he plays might still appeal to the Seahawks. Naz Jones ran a 4.63 short shuttle so they’re not tied to the 4.4 or 4.5 range.
Lewis didn’t do the short shuttle or many of the combine drills due to illness. He did do the vertical (35.5 inches) and broad (10-2) and tested very well in both jumps. At the Nike SPARQ combine he ran a 4.41 short shuttle.
Two of Lewis’ team mates are worth monitoring too. Sam Hubbard ran a 4.32 short shuttle and had the best three-cone among defensive linemen (6.84). He has 33 inch arms and is a pure 4-3 defensive end with some Patrick Kerney level upside. Jalyn Holmes is 6-5 and 283lbs with 34 inch arms. He didn’t do the short shuttle but ran a superb 1.67 10-yard split for his size.
Ohio State and NC State have some great options to fill out a defensive line in this draft class. They might need to fill out their day two board to have a shot at B.J. Hill or Andrew Brown (plus possibly Jalyn Holmes) but the likes of Lewis and Jones might be there on day three.
There are options here for the Seahawks.
What about EDGE/speed rushers?
It might be difficult to find them in this draft. There are only a handful.
We know the Seahawks like 1.5 10-yard splits from the EDGE. They’ve taken freaky, long, high-ceiling athletes to play D-line. Bruce Irvin, Frank Clark and Malik McDowell were all physical freaks. They’re not going to settle on an average athlete here. They’re going to look for someone with special traits.
Only two pure EDGE rushers ran a 1.5 10-yard split at the combine — Harold Landry (1.59) and Josh Sweat (1.55). That was a bit disappointing. Two SAM/LEO prospects also ran in the 1.5’s (Leon Jacobs and Lorenzo Carter).
The likes of Landry, Hubbard and USC’s Rasheem Green might go a bit too early for Seattle. It’s also questionable whether they’re truly special enough in the way Irvin, Clark and McDowell stood out.
Josh Sweat on the other hand could be exactly the type of player they’re looking for.
It’s not a surprise they’re keeping an eye on him. There aren’t many human beings on the planet with this type of physical profile:
Arm length: 34.5 inches
Short shuttle: 4.28
That’s a freakish looking combination of size, length, speed, explosion and agility. If they’re looking for high-upside with rare traits, Sweat’s your guy.
, the Seahawks interviewed Sweat after his workout.
On tape he can be a little frustrating at times. He’s not necessarily the high-intensity player you see with B.J. Hill, Justin Jones and Andrew Brown. He has an injury history too including a severe knee injury in high school and a meniscus tear in 2016.
The feeling is Sweat will go in round two based on upside and the lack of alternatives in this class. If the Seahawks were going to consider taking him, they’d likely need to acquire multiple picks in that range. Quite aside from their other needs (running game) it’d be quite the gamble to take a chance on Sweat staying healthy.
An alternative could be Rutgers’ Kemoko Turay. He also has some of the size (6-5, 253lbs) and length (33.5 inch arms) they like. He didn’t do any of the agility testing at the combine after injuring a hamstring running the forty. He managed a 1.62 10-yard split. Turay really impressed at the Senior Bowl and looked twitchy and capable of playing some SAM/LEO as well as EDGE.
Reviewing the options
In the near future I’m going to put together a ‘targets list’ that we can update as the process goes along. This will include any VMAC visitors, players they’ve met with or players that fit certain physical ideals.
On the D-line I’ll be including B.J. Hill, Andrew Brown, Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, Justin Jones, Josh Sweat and Kemoko Turay.
It might be frustrating for fans at the moment watching the Rams flirt with Ndamukong Suh while other teams make bold moves in free agency. I would stress the need to be patient. This isn’t a loaded draft class rich in legit first round prospects. It might be the perfect draft for the Seahawks though if they want to fix the running game and re-make the defense.
The only position they might struggle to add is at cornerback. There are some options that fit their profile but not many. Re-signing Byron Maxwell could be pretty important.
Quick note on the USC pro-day
Ronald Jones II didn’t do a full workout today. According to Tony Pauline he’s only at 70% health after recently hurting his hamstring. The belief is he will conduct a workout some time in early April.
We’ve been saying it for a few months now — but keep an eye on RoJo for the Seahawks. He’s a special talent, the kind Seattle has added in the past. He’s an extremely physical, tough, aggressive running back with explosive traits and incredible speed/suddenness. He’s a playmaker in the mould of Jamaal Charles and he could easily end up being Seattle’s first pick in this draft. For more on Jones II check out these articles and.
Defensive end Rasheem Green did the bench press today, managing 23 reps. It means his TEF score is now confirmed as a 3.20.
Sam Darnold received mixed reviews for his throwing performance. None of the quarterback have really separated so far. I think it’ll be between Josh Allen and Darnold to go first overall, then the Giants will have to make a decision on whether to go quarterback or Saquon Barkley. One way or another we’ll probably see three QB’s off the board in the top four plus Barkley.
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