Seahawks' 2011 NFL Draft Board, Version 1.0: A Closer Look at O-Line, Secondary
As part of the supplemental series associated with the Seahawks Draft Board version 1.0, its time to move away from the defensive line and focus on two areas of need for Seattle, both positions likely among the primary priorities for upgrade in the draft.
The offensive line and secondary are both enduring major personnel and coaching turnovers going into the 2011 season. Additionally, both positions happen to be areas where the personnel from the old regime didn’t necessarily fit the prototype for the Carroll and Schneider regime, part of the reason both units endured flux and struggled with continuity in 2010.
The Seahawks have publicly said they don’t feel locked in to drafting a particular position in the first round, as they did last season with the left tackle position. The offensive line has question marks at every position except for that left tackle spot, with Max Unger a projected starter somewhere on the interior line.
The Seahawks secondary, while a major area of need, has potential for growth within the program. However, corner Kelly Jennings doesn't fit, and safeties Jordan Babineaux and Lawyer Milloy are unsure to return to Seattle in 2011, opening three or more spots within the defensive backfield rotation going into 2011. The Seahawks need to address the position in the draft.
If the Seahawks do indeed draft a quarterback in round one, both units of focus will have lost out on a potential starter, even star. Who are some later round prospects to watch for Seattle?
Note: Please click for Seahawks Draft Board, Version 1.0: a summary of Seattle’s 2011 picks, a position-by-position needs’ analysis and the first version of the draft board.
Davon House, CB, New Mexico St, 6'1", 200, Big Board No. 23
House is a player I believe can eventually make a tremendous impact for the Seattle secondary. Over 6’1”, 200 pounds and ran a 4.5 at the combine—sub 4.4 at his pro day. On the surface, nearly the prototypical Carroll and Schneider corner.
Running downfield with the ability to maintain contact with receivers? Check.
A ball hawk with great hand eye coordination, a knack for tipped passes and big play ability after the turnover? Check.
Willing to play the run in the box, hard worker in the weight room and durable player? Check.
The possibility to mature into a strong No. 2/1B, solid hitting corner within three years; especially with coaching and experience in an aggressive Cover/Tampa 2 scheme, the perfect system to refine Houses' raw aggression into at least average technique? Check.
But House does have his drawbacks: He is overly aggressive in coverage and will bite on double moves or play action taking a misstep, getting beat or drawing a flag for contact. He doesn’t have ideal hips, which causes inconsistency in his back pedal, and he struggles in off coverage; he may struggle with shiftier receivers. He runs smooth, but plays high and often fails to disengage with blockers.
The X factor on House; He is willing to attack the line of scrimmage like a safety in short yardage run support and usually keeps the ball carrier within arms length when defending in the open field. Yet, he's not a great open field tackler.
As the Seahawks are focused on finding more aggressive, man-press capable corners that are physical against the run, House is potentially one of the best fits at corner for the Seahawks in this draft.
The 2011 downside is that he is still very raw coming from a small program, and his lack of polish may drop his immediate value. House has the potential to develop into a full field corner that may even see time at safety in sub package situations. The only question is, how long will his transition to the NFL take?
House is a player to watch on draft day, especially depending on how quickly corners are drafted—part of the equation is whether or not Seattle takes a corner at No. 25 and what happens between then and No. 57.
If the Seahawks consider a defensive back at 57, House has the speed, scheme familiarity, aggressiveness and potential to fit in Carroll's aggressive scheme. The Seahawks will just have to decide if they are willing to endure a year, possibly two, of growing pains.
Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah St. 6'1", 197 Pounds, Draft Board No. 49
Marsh is a bit of a project, as he spent only two seasons as a corner after converting from running back. He is a team first player with athleticism, attitude and potential that have him rising up draft boards.
He has very long arms to disrupt receivers on the line of scrimmage, often using those arms to make up for lost steps during sloppy transitions. Marsh disallowed Boise St. receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis to gain consistent separation, a performance that flashes his potential as a press and run corner.
His route recognition needs to grow, and his one on one cover skills are very raw, sometimes late to the ball. He is high during his backpedal and often wastes motion through transitions. He is not currently suited as a sub package, inside defender as he takes poor angles on run support and doesn’t possesses good form tackling in the open field. He needs NFL coaching to make up for his lack of experience.
He may struggle initially in the NFL, but he could pay dividends for the ‘Hawks if they are willing to invest a year of development in a mid round corner, more of a possibility than taking a higher risk corner in the same situation, still developing?
The Seahawks may have to maneuver in the draft to get him because he may not last until their pick early in the fourth round. If the Seahawks address the line of scrimmage and quarterback with their first two picks, the value of a corner will go up for Seattle in the fourth. If he is there, the Seahawks will take a hard look at his potential, especially as a spot offensive player.
I think Marsh is one the sleepers in this year’s draft. If he can develop the skills, but more importantly the instincts of a defender, to go with his size and athleticism, he projects as a solid, man-press corner in the NFL.
Jah Reid, OT, UCF. 6'7", 327 Pounds, Draft Board No. 50
Reid is a very hard working prospect and durable three year starter. He’s also dropped about 50 pounds during his time at UCF, a great sign of his work ethic.
Reid uses athleticism, size, arm length and experience as his main tools, possessing sound feet that get into solid position off the ball.
However, his natural stature lends to playing high, often struggling with the bull rush and smaller defenders.
His technique needs adjustment for his height, often fails to land a strong initial punch to defenders. He lacks a mean streak, often playing defensively and shielding rather than attacking.
As an athletic, strong blocker, he does not finish as desired. Coaching to learn how to use his size as an advantage, often getting beat by lack of recognition on stunts and blitzes, will bring another dimension to Reid's game. Again, I see the influence of Tom Cable being a major positive if he is drafted by Seattle.
With size similar to Stacy Andrews, Reid seems to fit the bill for the direction the Seahawks are aiming at right tackle; a year to develop behind a fighting-for-his-job veteran would be a favorable situation for Reid. And there is always the opportunity to compete if you earn that chance.
Reid is currently projected as a mid-late round pick, but he has reportedly begun to move into day two consideration on some teams boards.
Much like Marsh, Reid could be available in the early fourth and a great developmental prospect, especially if the Seahawks are yet to address the offensive line. Reid's flaws are fixable, a possible bookend of the future.
Jerrard Tarrant, FS, Georgia Tech, 6'0", 204 Pounds, Big Board No. 53
Tarrant is an athletic, versatile prospect who has the skills to play at the next level. However, work ethic and mental toughness come into major question when looking at his profile.
He's a versatile safety that has experience playing outside and covering the deep half of the field, a play maker in zone coverage; he has the ability to take away primary reads over the middle to tight ends and inside receivers. Unfortunately, looking into the backfield and taking too many chances will require improvement in discipline at the next level.
One of his greatest strengths is straight line explosion speed, especially when willingly coming up in run support and on blitzes; his physicality and athleticism are a great fit for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's versatile secondary blitz package.
But, technique and recognition needs improvement in run support, as he is not a sound tackler and doesn't consistently take the proper angle to the ball. Tarrant needs to get stronger on top to be an NFL safety.
On the field, Tarrant does the dirty work, consistently backs up the pile to prevent forward progress in the running game, looks for the strip when coming in support and he is a play maker as a punt returner.
Off the field, his stock takes a hit. Rape charges were dropped in 2008, and there are questions as to whether he is willing to put in the time off the field and after practice to refine his technique and learn discipline within the scheme.
Seattle is the kind of program that should potentially motivate Tarrant. With the potential turnover at safety and need for special teams players, he could thrive if he's willing to buy in to the program. The Seahawks had a strong locker room in 2010, but many of those players could be gone.
However, Earl Thomas is a tireless worker that is always learning about the game and would need to step up to work with Tarrant. They could make a very explosive, playmaking 1-2 duo at the free safety spot.
The Seahawks must investigate fully before they proceed, but Tarrant is a definite playmaker that Seattle should consider in their stretch of three choices in 17 picks, late fifth round into the sixth. If Seattle can untap Tarrant's potential, he will be worth the risk.
Cortez Allen, CB, Citadel, 6'1", 197 Pounds, Draft Board No. 66
He could be a potential late round gem for teams looking for fast, physical, smart cover corners. The small school prospect had a very strong showing at the combine, proving he has the athleticism to blend with prototypical size for a Carroll and Schneider corner.
He had the second fastest time of all 330 players at the combine in the 60 yard shuttle. His tendency to play tall didn’t prove to be a major issue during combine drills.
Allen prides himself as a physical corner in coverage, a hard worker on and off the field, claims a knack for understanding schemes and praises his character.
One knock on Allen for Carroll’s scheme: He isn’t a physical, run support corner who wraps up, but rather aims for the legs.
If the Seahawks address the front lines and quarterback positions early in the draft, Allen is a player I expect the Seahawks to target in the mid to later rounds due to his off the field presence and his willingness to contribute on special teams. He is not a project and can contribute right away.
His skill-set will grow under the direction of an NFL program. If he can continue to mature as a football player, his natural football ability and work ethic could make him a major contributor down the road for the Seahawks. Allen is a potential riser on draft day.
Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock, 6'4", 316 Pounds, Big Board No. 69
Fusco is a small school prospect with the right blend of skills to mature into an NFL lineman. He is not projected as a starter out of college, as he lacks ideal athleticism and range.
However, there is a lot to like about Fusco. He won two major awards on the DII level for his excellence as a center in 2010, capping off a career as a four year starter that plays with an attitude and relentless motor.
He has a very quick snap, first step combination for a center, a plus when considering his NFL potential. He's focused on "being in the NFL 10-plus years, I just want a job."
He is effective anchoring pass protection and manages to adequately run block onto the second level despite average agility. His arms measure just below 34 inches, signaling he, at times, is able to make up for poor pad level and lack of agility with good body and hand technique.
He will struggle with quicker defensive tackles on the next level, but Fusco is an ideal project at center, a guy who is a sure thing to elevate the depth on the interior line and possibly turn into a spot starter if he can adjust to the speed and strength of the NFL.
Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, Utah, 6'4", 305 Pounds, Big Board No. 73
The former Shelton, Washington resident was a 2010 Third-Team All American, a Second Team Walter Camp and First Team Mountain West Conference selection.
Schlauderaff was very productive on the college level on and off the field; he started 49 games at left guard and was a four-time all MWC Academic Team selection.
On the surface, he seems like an early round pick.
Despite the accolades, he is not receiving much attention heading into the draft. He is not very athletic, but is rarely caught out of position and plays with an attitude through the whistle. His technique and intelligence keep him consistent.
To be a starter, however, he needs to add bulk to his frame. He is consistent in his willingness to pull and get "a hat on a hat", but he lacks the explosive first step to be effective at the next level.
I think he is an ideal depth guard for Seattle, a player that is a tremendous addition to the program. His preparation and hard work is exemplified by the fact that he played in every college game he was eligible for, working his way into the starting lineup his fourth game as a freshman.
The film doesn't lie, and Schlauderaff proved he is a good enough football player to be a consensus, multiple award winner. He may be physically average, but his attitude and work ethic make him NFL material.
Maybe not the Seattle area native most fans are hoping for, but Schlauderaff fits as both a potential hometown football hero and late round pick.