Seattle Seahawks

Carrolling Away in the Emerald City

Carrolling Away in the Emerald City

I’m worried about Pete Carroll.

OK, I’m not really worried about him as much as I’m concerned for him. On Sunday, as his Seahawks were trudging through one of the most anemic offensive performances we’ve seen, a rare scene kept playing out on the sidelines:

Carroll, normally exultant and gratified at just being the head coach, and getting to be a part of things, was so distressed through parts of the game, that it looks as if he’s reached a level of frustration normally reserved for a tight, 4th-quarter NFC Championship game.

He was screaming. He was throwing headsets. He was mowing his own players over on the sidelines.

Part of Carroll’s success – and a big part of his charm – is his ability to compartmentalize aspects of the game that other coaches struggle with. He’s the antithesis of the Belicheckian cloud that hovers over the NFL, threatening to kill off any semblance of joy that may seep out. Carroll knows it’s a game; he allows his players to have fun; he dances, and sings, and looks as if (gasp) he actually enjoys what he is doing.

It made him a star at USC; players flocked to the campus to be involved with the party he was throwing.

It allowed him to integrate himself in Seattle, taking youngsters and veterans alike and showing them the part of the game they enjoyed when they were kids. The part of the game that came organically to them. When the game was just that…a game. He still coached, sure. He got after guys when he saw fit. But he never let the pressures override his ability to crack a smile. He could laugh off any defeat, be it a preseason game or the Super Bowl.

But just two games in, it seems as if the Carroll we’ve come to know and love - just like the rest of Seattle offense - is absent.

Seattle has scored 15 points. Their once fluid attack – give it to Marshawn Lynch a bunch of times, with a sprinkling of passes for good measure – has gone by the wayside. And there are a lot of things to blame for it.

The offensive line (and stop me if you’ve read this before) is giving Russell Wilson no time.

Wilson, because of the ankle injury in the season opener, has been stripped of his ability to improvise (a weapon that would be handy with his line). The running game has been virtually non-existent.

The most frustrating part for Carroll has to be that he finally has a group of skill players to boast about. With Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham, he’s flush with talent that he hasn’t had since Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Co. were running all over the Pac-10.

But right now, Seattle can’t do a thing about it; they’re handcuffed by a lack of ability to run anything resembling an NFL-caliber offense.

Now, it must be noted the Seahawks’ first opponents – Miami and Los Angeles – fielded two of the better defensive lines in the NFL, so struggles were inevitable, but, despite some improvements from my vantage point, things still are not grading out.

From Pro Football Focus:

“The Seahawks’ offensive line couldn’t block the Rams’ defensive line; Mark Glowinski (45.5 grade) and J’Marcus Webb (32.6 grade) had trouble giving injured quarterback Russell Wilson a clean pocket. Glowinski allowed 5 pressures, 3 from the outside, and Webb surrendered 3. Bradley Sowell, who replaced Webb, allowed 5 pressures, 4 from the outside.”

For Carroll and his staff, there’s no end in sight. Offensive lines in the NFL don’t mature overnight; there are not incremental jumps in performance from week-to-week. For the most part, aside from some cohesion that is built, guys are who they are.

Seattle has neglected to address their line the past few offseasons, and it’s coming back to haunt them.

Oh, and on Monday, Carroll’s week took another hit, as Seattle was dinged again (as they were in 2014) for excessive contact in offseason OTAs. It’s small, but it adds to the growing uncertainty surrounding this team.

Two games do not a season make, and Seattle has the talent at every other position to make a Super Bowl run. But until the O-line figures it out, and until Wilson’s ankle heals, I’m afraid the Pete Carroll we’ve become accustomed to – the jovial man living each day to the fullest – is going to be gone.

And if he’s not careful, the goodwill he’s built, and the charm he’s instilled in people, will be lost. What’s left will be a sullen, ashen man, slogging his way through his 18-hour work day.

You know… a normal NFL coach.

Want to make the NFL Gods laugh? Tell them your plans (Seattle Seahawks Edition)

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Want to make the NFL Gods laugh? Tell them your plans (Seattle Seahawks Edition)

BY JULIAN ROGERS 

The time to stop planning and start acting is now. Get ready to start laughing.

The Seattle Seahawks are busy acting out their offseason plans. Here’s what we know about how the offense is shaping up for 2018.

Offensive line

It’s crazy, but it just might work. I mean the crazy part — literally. Everyone’s heard the bromide, “The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.” Everyone except the Seahawks, perhaps.

Tuning up the engine that is supposed to be the driving force of the new, 2018 Seahawks offense — the offensive line — is the top priority if a viable running game and a more-often-than-not upright quarterback are desired results. As the 12s, and Russell Wilson’s joints and a long list of broken running backs are painfully aware, the blue birds’ O-line has ranked at the bottom of the league for the past several seasons. With the need so acute and the draft and free agency now concluded, the fix should be in.

And how are the Seahawks going to fix the offensive line? Continuity. It’s the same guys. Plus D.J. Fluker. And a fifth-round draft pick that almost certainly won’t crack the starting lineup unless an injury occurs. For now, you can pull out your late 2017 season game program: The 2018 line will start Duane Brown (left tackle), Ethan Pocic (left guard), Justin Britt (center), Fluker (right guard) and Germain Ifedi ( right tackle).

Remember when I said it just might work? It might. Despite the return of the underperforming squad last year, continuity is the No. 1 quality of high-performing offensive lines. More time together can only be a plus. Further, the turnstile that was the right tackle position last year will not just be handed to Ifedi, who had his well-documented ups and downs. Quality competition will come from last year’s projected left tackle starter (a nominal distinction, admittedly), George Fant, who will focus on the right side. In reality, he could win it. Fant could also be a pretty solid option as the top swing tackle.

Plus, Jamarco Jones, the Seahawks’ lone offensive line draft pick, could get the opportunity to develop behind the veterans and pay future dividends. Either that or he’ll be moved into the interior of the line to see if he can stick there, as is the Seahawks’ wont when it becomes clear a tackle cannot stop edge rushers (see Britt, Justin, et al). So there’s your top seven offensive line rotation, with the possible addition of backup center Joey Hunt also making it into the game-day roster discussion.

And one more thing: New offensive line coach Mike Solari replaces Tom Cable, so new schemes and an influx of unknown chemistry could drive this unit from the bottom of the league to a solid mediocre or better group in 2018.

Running back

How different would the Seahawks’ rock-toting hopes be with a mediocre or better offensive line? We’ll likely find out this year, which will contrast sharply from the past few seasons. Also new: A first-round draft pick to feature in Rashaad Penny, (San Diego State, No. 27 overall).

Forget the arguments and laments that the blue birds had more pressing top needs from the draft or the argument that other running backs should have been selected in this slot. Penny is their guy. What matters now is can he do what all of the other Seahawks’ former featured running backs could not: Stay healthy, know assignments, protect Wilson and make the opposing defense respect the run?

Penny will compete with the occasionally scintillating / occasionally injured Chris Carson, the occasionally scintillating / occasionally injured C.J. Prosise, the occasionally scintillating undersized J.D. McKissic and the reliable, do-everything Mike Davis.

On paper, this is a good group, with youth on its side. Coincidentally, the Seahawks still draw up their running back depth charts on paper because it’s easier to tear up and discard after the first quarter of each and every game. But plans must be made, so this is the plan.

Receivers (tight and wide)

Forget tight end. The Seahawks have. Their top two guys from last year, Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson, are playing elsewhere. They take 14 touchdowns in 2017 with them. Wilson’s four scores last year was his best showing ever. Likewise, Graham’s 10 scores was his best season as a Seahawk by far. It’s starting over time at tight end in Seattle.

If signing Ed Dickson to fill those shoes excites you, then it’s nice to meet you, Ed Dickson’s mother. Former third option, Nick Vannett, is the lone veteran holdover. With an 80% catch rate and an average of more than 10 yards per reception, Vannett may be the lead candidate as a move tight end that catches Wilson’s passes, as opposed to the in-line, blocking talents of Dickson.

If you’re still under-rating Doug Baldwin as Wilson’s top receiver, you haven’t been paying attention. The do-everything Baldwin is the last remaining safety valve for Wilson and very worthy one who will be emphasized even more in the Seahawks’ 2018 offensive plans, if they know what’s good for them.

Opposite of Baldwin will be new longtime veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall, with the uber-fast Tyler Lockett in the slot. Marshall is the key to the offense taking a step forward or backward, being the de-facto replacement for the up-and-coming Paul Richardson, who came and went (to Washington) just when he got his professional stride in gear. Marshall and Richardson are different types of players, so expect the offense to shift: Baldwin, Baldwin, Baldwin and some crumbs for the other guys.

The fourth, fifth and sixth receiver slots will be filled by a handful of players who bring a variety of body types and skill sets, but will not be relied upon for much in 2018. Anything from this group will be a plus for the plan.

Quarterback

It’s Russell Wilson. Not just at quarterback. At “offense.” He’s the show. The Seahawks may talk about wanting to spread the heavy load around, but when the rubber meets the road, it will all fall on Wilson’s shoulders to carry the offense (like last year) to what looks like another nine-win-ish season.

Austin Davis and Alex McGough are humans not named Colin Kaepernick. One or both of the former will be on the final 2018 roster, for reasons unclear. At least, that’s the plan. Kidding aside, I’m pro-Austin Davis. Another year in the Seahawks’ system could really help him solidify himself as a strong No. 2 option, behind Wilson.

Go ahead, laugh if you want. That’s the plan.

Top 5 pass-blocking center in the NFL? Yeah, the Seahawks got him

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Top 5 pass-blocking center in the NFL? Yeah, the Seahawks got him

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is a runner. His ability to escape the pocket, throw under pressure, and put some nifty moves on defensive lineman is what makes him such a dangerous player. 

Yes, the Seahawks have had some issues with their offensive lineman, but there is one big body up front that put up effeicient statistics last season: center Justin Britt. 

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, Britt had a rocky start trying to find what position fit best for him on the offensive line. But last season proved that he found his place at center putting up a 98.7 pass-block efficiency rating, according to Pro Football Focus (Austin Gayle).

"After recording a 98.3 pass-blocking efficiency in his first year at the position (2016), Britt improved his mark by 0.4 points to rank tied for fourth among qualifying centers in pass-blocking efficiency in 2017. He allowed just 11 total pressures (nine hurries, one hit, one sack) in his 651 snaps in pass protection."

Britt will remain under contract with the Seahawks through 2018 and most likely extending through 2020 if he continues to be a force up front.

Three Seattle Seahawks players you should be talking about

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Three Seattle Seahawks players you should be talking about

BY TIM KEARNY 

Shaquill Griffin

Griffin is now Seattle’s top cornerback. He is going to have to take over Richard Sherman’s old spot and replace one of the best cornerbacks in Seahawk history. I think he has the skills to be a very effective player for Seattle and could replicate Sherman’s productivity. He is a long defensive back with better speed than Sherman, he is developing his ball skills and continuing to improve on a good rookie year.

Griffin is 6’ tall and almost 200 pounds, the perfect size for a Pete Carroll defense. And Griffin is looking to add to last year’s interception total, where he got just a single pick. His 15 passes defended show a player who is around the ball a lot and the picks will come in time. One thing he can improve on is understanding what his teammates are doing around him. When he knows how his teammates will react and trusts them more he will be able to react with more speed and make more plays.

Ed Dickson

Dickson is taking over the top tight end gig from Jimmy Graham. Graham was the most productive tight end Seattle has ever had. Dickson has large shoes to fill just like Griffin and a lot is expected of him. No one is looking to him for the touchdown numbers Graham could put up, but he is expected to be a steady run blocker and not drop catchable balls.

Dickson spent time with both the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers before being signed this year by the Hawks. Last year he had his second-best year as a pro in terms of receiving, and he has shown his run blocking skills for years with these two-hard-nosed run-first mentality teams.

George Fant

Fant is a bit of a wild card here. Seattle was really high on him when they first got him and transitioned him to an offensive lineman from a tight end. He has ridiculous athleticism for a man his size and that is why people see such potential in him right now. Fant is coming off an ACL injury which has set him back pretty far but he should be back for camp or at least the regular season.

Duane Brown and Justin Britt seem to be the two players who have their positions locked up on the Seahawks offensive line. I think Ethan Pocic and Germain Ifedi should fill in the guard spots and Fant takes over the right tackle spot. Those should be the starting five linemen this year unless the rookie, Jamarco Jones, really impresses this offseason. I could see Fant playing guard with Ifedi at tackle if Ifedi has shown improvement from last season.

 

Will Signing Brandon Marshall Help The Seattle Seahawks?

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Will Signing Brandon Marshall Help The Seattle Seahawks?

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The Seattle Seahawks have signed Brandon Marshall to a one-year deal worth up to $2 million if he hits certain performance goals. This is just the latest move Seattle has made but it certainly involves one of the biggest names they have been linked to.

Marshall is a 6’ 5” 230-pound guy in his 13th year in the NFL. He has almost 1,000 career catches and has scored more than 80 touchdowns. Marshall is also on his sixth team since being drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2006. He has bounced around the league some and it looks like teams get sour on him or he just likes moving.

Marshall brings size and experience to a relatively smaller and inexperienced group of wideouts. He has made a career out of high pointing the ball over defenders, making contested catches and being hard to tackle with the ball in his hands. He looks like a good addition to the Seahawks at the moment, and he looked good in a practice video released by the team on Instagram.

I have always believed building a group of receivers is like picking a basketball team, small ball is good but it is nice to have some big guys. Marshall will be looking to take over the number three wideout job in camp and he will be the receiver who is a blocker and a contested catch guy. He does a great job of attacking the football when it is in the air.

This is a low risk investment for the Seahawks and Marshall has said how excited he is to be around the organization and the talent in Seattle. We also need to keep in mind he led the league in receiving touchdowns only three years ago. This deal is great for both sides, Seattle has low risk-high reward and Marshall gets to compete on a team that usually makes the playoffs.

How does Doug Baldwin stay underrated?

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How does Doug Baldwin stay underrated?

BY TIM KEARNY 

Doug Baldwin made it onto NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2018” list again this year. Baldwin was ranked 99th. This is a list voted on by the players so it is surprising Baldwin was given so little love, because Baldwin routinely roasts anyone trying to cover him. So, the question I have is, how does he stay so underrated? Do people write him off for some reason? Is it because of his height or speed? Is it because of his stats? I don’t know.

Baldwin has used being underrated as motivation to up his game. Ever since he was undrafted out of college he has played with the cliched chip on his shoulder. I remember when Cris Carter called him a pedestrian receiver and Baldwin threw it back at him after he won a Super Bowl. Baldwin does not forget and he continues to improve. Pro Football Focus just tweeted that since 2015 he has had arguably the best hands in the game. Baldwin has a drop rate of 2.76% on catchable balls, which is almost half a percent better than Larry Fitzgerald who is known for his incredible hands. This past season Baldwin dropped a single catchable pass on 117 targets.

Baldwin also scores touchdowns at a high rate. Before 2015 he had never scored more than 5 touchdowns in a season, but since then he’s gone three straight years of at least seven touchdowns. Russell Wilson knows how to get the ball to his favorite receiver, that’s for sure.

This connection can make people underrate Baldwin. There are many people who write off the Seahawks’ passing attack because they believe it is bad. Over the last three years Seattle has ranked 20th, 10th and 14th in season passing yards and the 20th place came when the Seahawks had the 4th best offense in the NFL, and Baldwin led the league in receiving touchdowns. So, to say they have been bad at throwing the ball or downgrading the players in the offense is stupid.

Doug Baldwin also has great feet, his routes are precise and he moves so well after the catch that he is a threat to score whenever he has the ball. This season is going to be filled with a lot of Russ to Doug plays that bring the crowd to their feet. Go to YouTube and check out some of his route running ability, he leaves defenders looking helpless. He has a jab step that he uses that reminds me of an Allen Iverson crossover, just deadly.

In conclusion, Baldwin is one of the best receivers in the NFL and he is always too low on people’s lists. That needs to change.

Punters are people too…very, very skilled people. 

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Punters are people too…very, very skilled people. 

Punters are people too… very, very skilled people. 

In the 2018 NFL Draft the Seattle Seahawks did the unimaginable: They traded up to draft a punter.

Seattle used a seventh-round pick to trade up seven spots in the fifth round, all so they could take Texas punter Michael Dickson with the 149th pick.

Put it this way – Only 169 punters have been selected in the NFL Draft since 1959. That’s an average of fewer than three per draft. But Dickson is such a talent that the Seahawks couldn’t pass him up. Not only did they draft him, they traded away valuable picks to do it. That's saying something. 

So how talented is Dickson? He won the Ray Guy award in 2017 as the nation's best punter, and in the final game of his collegiate career Dickson punted 11 times, with 10 of them being downed inside the opponent’s 15 and seven inside the 10.

Oh, it gets better.  Not only does Dickson possess great coffin corner skills, it appears he may have a cannon for a foot.

He was turning heads last weekend at Seahawks rookie mini-camp with his booming punts. Some of his punts have been reported to travel 80-yards in the air. Now that is impressive.  

Check out the clips below to see his skills in action.

Who is catching passes from Russell Wilson in 2018?

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Who is catching passes from Russell Wilson in 2018?

BY TIM KEARNY

The Seattle Seahawks have lost three of their main contributors in the passing game this offseason. Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson are gone after successful stints with the team. Richardson finally had a breakout year, Graham scored a bunch of touchdowns and Willson has been quietly consistent his entire Seattle career. These guys will be missed by more than just the fans, the QB will miss them on the field too. So, who will Russ be throwing to this year?

WR

Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Marcus Johnson, Jaron Brown, Amara Darboh, Tanner McEvoy, David Moore and Cyril Grayson Jr.

Doug Baldwin- Has some of the best hands the NFL has seen in years. This guy can also beat you cold with his route running ability. Baldwin has morphed from undrafted free agent into one of the best all-round receivers in the league.

Tyler Lockett- This guy has speed, and he looks so smooth when he’s running away from people. Lockett has also shown reliable hands throughout his time as a Seahawk. The production isn’t necessarily what you would want from your number two receiver, but he has unique traits and room to grow.

Jaron Brown- He has nine touchdowns in five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Brown also has prototypical size for a receiver at 6’2” and 205 lbs., couple that with his above average speed and he could be a good weapon for Russell Wilson this year.

Amara Darboh- Darboh had a slow rookie year, filed with special teams’ snaps and learning. He has about the same size as Brown, 6’2” and 219lbs, and is fast too. So, they could be the matchup to watch in training camp.

The rest of these guys are really unproven will be battling the undrafted free agents for a roster spot.

TE

Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, Will Dissly and Tyrone Swoopes

Ed Dickson- Dickson is known more for his blocking than receiving ability but he is reliable in either department. I think this is a good pickup for Seattle. He brings a more traditional skill set to the team and will probably be the lead man in any running situations.

Nick Vannett- Drafted out of Ohio State he was known more for his receiving than blocking ability. Vannett has not quite broken through and made an impact on either front in his time in Seattle. This is a make or break year for Vannett who is now thrust into a battle for a possible starting spot this year.

Will DIssly- He was called the best blocking tight end in the draft this year. The Seahawks had said they were re-dedicating themselves to the run game this year and the Dissly pick proves they were serious. Many analysts thought he would go later in the draft but his blocking skills made him the Seahawks pick. He also has functional athleticism to help in the passing game.

yrone Swoopes- Swoopes is a converted quarterback out of college and is still just a bundle of athleticism and potential at this point of his career.

RB

Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, CJ Prosise, JD McKissic and Chris Carson

Rashaad Penny- I have been telling the Seahawks to draft Penny since the draft process started. He has tremendous big play ability and he averaged more yards after first contact than just about anyone else in the country. His kick return touchdown totals and total yards gained in his touches at San Diego State show his playmaking skills. He is a big get for Seattle and can be a help in the screen game this year.

Mike Davis- He wasn’t used as a receiver very much last year but he has some wiggle when given the ball in space. Davis is not a great route runner or receiver but given easier routes, he can contribute greatly to the aerial attack.

CJ Prosise- Will he stay on the field or will he get injured again, that’s the big question with Prosise. We have seen his ability and now we are just waiting to see if he can sustain that for multiple games in a row. Prosise has excellent speed and vision in the open field, he can make people miss and has good hands because he was a collegiate wide receiver for years.

JD McKissic- He was not a big factor in the running game, but he had 34 catches on 44 targets last year with only two drops. McKissic is a good backup who can be a change of pace back but he is not a game breaker.

Chris Carson- Carson is the biggest unknown in the group. He had several good games last year but was injured for most of the time. He had almost 300 yards in four games through the air and on the ground before the ankle injury. Carson caught seven of his eight targets during those games, proving himself a sold if not spectacular receiver.

(This list does not include undrafted free agents)

Seahawks NFL Draft Round 3 Update - Get to Know Rasheem Green

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Seahawks NFL Draft Round 3 Update - Get to Know Rasheem Green

The 2018 NFL Draft continued on Friday evening with the second and third rounds.  Entering the day, the Seattle Seahawks did not have a second-rounder with Seattle only holding the 76th selection (third round) on Friday.

However, that changed about 45 minutes after the second round selections started.  The Seahawks traded their 76th pick to the Stealers for the 79th pick (round 3) and pick 220 (round 7).

Just minutes after trading away the 76th selection, the Seahawks went with DE Rasheem Green out of USC with the 79th overall pick.

At 6 feet 4 and 275 pounds Green ran a 4.73-second 40-yard dash. He was a defensive tackle for USC last season, but also often played outside opposing guards. 

Green earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors after leading the Trojans with 12.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He looks to be a key piece after the Seahawks traded three-time pro bowler Michael Bennett to Philadelphia last month.

Why the Seattle Seahawks traded back in the draft

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Why the Seattle Seahawks traded back in the draft

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The Seattle Seahawks trading their first-round pick to move back is nothing new for fans. We see this year after year because we understand that the NFL Draft is a big gamble. A scout can only do so much to predict if a college prospect will succeed in the NFL, and that leads to some of the best players in the NFL being drafted after the top picks in the first-round. Last year’s Pro Bowl game featured 86 players and only 34 of them were first-round picks.

I know that is not a perfect example, but it illustrates my point that the draft is a crapshoot. The smartest decision is to get more picks so you have a higher chance of getting a player that can contribute and excel for years. This year Seattle has more holes than usual and they need a couple guys that can come in and play significant snaps immediately. I believe the Seahawks need players at every position except for quarterback this year. Linebacker is the Seahawks second most stable position so I would avoid drafting a linebacker early as well.

Best case scenario is the Seahawks trade back in the first-round and then make another trade back into the second-round. They would accumulate at least four to five picks in this year and next year’s draft, that increases their chances of finding a starter or impact player.

What they got from the trade-

After making a trade with the Green Bay Packers the Hawks have a third-round and a sixth-round pick to play with, along with their original picks. The Seahawks believed Rashaad Penny was the right fit for them at pick 27, and they even said they were going to pick him at 18 until their trade was finalized. So, they got the trade they were looking for and the player they wanted. I wanted them to trade back but when Derwin James was almost available at our pick I wanted him on the team. He was the only player at that point that I would have taken over a trade.

Now, Seattle has Penny and will fit him into the offense. He has big play ability and has shown consistency throughout his career at San Diego State University. I wrote about him in an earlier article about which prospects I wanted Seattle to pick in this draft. I think he is an instant upgrade to our running back group and he could be the missing piece in the offense.

Snap Draft Judgements-

I liked the Seahawks moves, I thought they got what they could for a trade and selected someone they felt strongly about.

Lamar Jackson will be the best quarterback coming out of this draft class.

Derwin James will win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Sony Michel will score 10 touchdowns this year with the New England Patriots.

Josh Allen will not pan out but will flash enough potential that he starts for three years.

I liked the New Orleans Saints’ trade the most out of all the trades, except for the one for Lamar Jackson, they got one of the best pass rushers in the draft to add to an improving defense.

I was tooting Frank Ragnow’s horn throughout the draft process and was very happy he was the first center picked.

I am very surprised both Harold Landry and Josh Jackson are still on the board for the second-round.