2. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
3. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
4. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
5. John Simon, DE/DT, Ohio St.
5. Luke Marquandt, T, Azusa Pacific
6. Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida St.
7. Jayson Dimanche, LB, Southern Illinois
7. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa
7. Cooper Taylor, SS, Richmond
7. BJ Daniels, QB, Southern Florida
I don't know who will be available at the #56 pick, but you can bet there will be more than a few "1st round" type names still on the board by this point. It's anyone's guess who those players might be. I can't guarantee that Zach Ertz lasts this long, but I think he's a stronger candidate than some realize. His stock has slowly drifted south after the combine raised some warning flags, and this is a very competitive TE group at the top of the draft so it's anyone's guess which order they leave the board. Ironically enough, it's now that his stock is dropping that he's making "over-rated" lists left and right. The over-rated crowd showed up late to the party.
Back in January, Zach Ertz was one of my favorite players in the draft. He's a fantastic blocker by H-back standards, he runs terrific routes and has sure hands. The only downside with Ertz is that his untapped upside is fairly minimal. That might cause Seattle to shy away from him, and it will probably hurt his draft stock in general during a draft where untapped upside is being emphasized more with prospects than at any time previously.
Zach Ertz probably wouldn't top my draft board here, but you wouldn't get him any later than this I don't think. Seattle needs a tight end and they won't see a better value than this.
Alternate choices: Ryan Swope, John Simon, Kawann Short, Sylvester Williams, Christine Michael, Corey Lemonier, Brandon Williams, Matt Elam, Robert Alford, Jonathan Banks, DeAndre Hopkins, Menelik Watson, Luke Marquandt
Ryan Swope is my 2nd favorite player in the entire draft, just a hair behind John Simon. The reason I didn't take Simon here is because I feel that Simon has real question marks about his NFL future, as bright as I think that future will be. I have no such question marks about Swope. I think he's mindblowingly underrated. Not just a great player, but one with high upside and even a high floor. What really solidified my view on Swope are his elite intangibles and fire for the game. Whatever Swope's ceiling in the NFL may be, he's going to reach it.
I initially had us taking Swope at #56, but I feel it's worth the gamble waiting a round as it's very hard to pass on a good get like Zach Ertz at #56.
Alternate choices: John Simon, Christine Michael, Brandon Williams, Robert Alford, Brennan Williams, Stedman Bailey, Robert Woods, Luke Marquandt
This was a brutally tough call to make. In the end I went with Michael because I feel that Michael is much more likely to leave the board before Simon would. His upside might be the greatest of this entire list of players.
Michael is an athletic marvel. He is freakishly explosive on tape, and that was backed up by his combine numbers. Despite being one of the heaviest backs in this draft, he ranked #1 among RBs for 3-cone, 20 yard shuttle, and vertical jump, the last of which set an all time RB record. While he "only" ran a 4.54 official time at the combine, on tape he is running away from defenders in the SEC for massive gains. His field speed looks like it's low 4.4s, on par with Cordarelle Patterson. He also shows great balance and awesome power.
He fought with coaches during his time there. He's had some serious leg injuries the last few years. He has ball security issues. He's not much of a receiver and I couldn't tell you about his blocking. He's a pure north/south guy as a runner. That said, his profile is a near perfect match for former Seahawks 3rd round pick Ahman Green, who had identical size, similar speed, and ball security issues. But even Green didn't have Michael's monstrous athleticism. There are a lot of hurdles to clear, but Michael has megastar upside. If not for those hurdles, there is no chance he'd last into the 4th round.
Alternate choices: John Simon, Matt Scott, Tyler Wilson, Armonty Bryant, Joe Kruger, Lavar Edwards, Luke Marquandt, Brennan Williams, Tharold Simon, Stefan Charles
Depending on which source you reference, John Simon has a great chance of reaching the early 5th. If I had to, I'd take him in round 2 or 3. Seattle would have taken their franchise savior at #12 last year if they had to. Knowing where to take him allowed them add both Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner to the roster.
Simon has some of the best hand use I've ever seen. To say he plays with a high motor is an understatement. He may not control gaps with the kind of expertise that Sharrif Floyd does, but he anchors better than I would have expected and isn't a black hole in the running game. Simon is a stunningly good interior pass rusher that is deadly from the outside as well. Rarely have I seen a defensive player take over a game like Simon has when he's at his best.
Simon leaves Ohio St. to rave reviews from one of the college game's elite coaches. His work ethic, intangibles and leadership are the best in this draft, hands down. The only reason he won't be an early pick: he's undersized. If he was a quarterback, I'd compare him to Russell Wilson.
Simon slimmed down to appeal to 3-4 teams looking for a big outside linebacker. He's got a reputation for being a workout demon and I'm sure he could get back to his 2012 playing weight of 270 in no time. That size would only be six pounds less than Jason Jones last year. I don't know where Simon's weight will "max out", but it's worth noting that 6'1" DTs are not a rarity in the NFL, among them Brandon Mebane.
Simon would face speed issues against mobile QBs from the end spot, but as a DT/DE hybrid I'd be less worried about that flaw.
The more I watch Simon, the more I could see him working as a 3-4 backer. I think that's where he ends up. I wouldn't rule him out as a 4-3 D-lineman though. Far from it.
Alternate choices: Armonty Bryant, Joe Kruger, Lavar Edwards, Maliciah Goodman, Luke Marquandt, Brennan Williams, Zaviar Gooden, Stefan Charles
Marquandt has Nate Solder measurables, nastiness, and dominance on tape. The difference being that Marquandt did it playing for a tiny school against low competition. That adds an element of risk, but I think it's pretty clear that Marquandt's tools are at an elite level. You might question how he handles the jump to the NFL, but I don't think he was made to look great by lack of competition.
Alternate choices: Zaviar Gooden, Jayson Dimanche, Cornelius Washington, Courtney Gardner, BJ Daniels, Ryan Aplin, Earl Wolff, Micah Hyde, Demetrius McCray
I'm just fine with bringing the Hausch back. It doesn't seem that Seattle feels that way. They clearly are playing the field at kicker right now.
Dustin Hopkins is my favorite kicker prospect, as his accuracy the past few seasons really stands out. He finished with 448 total points scored over his career, which happens to be the Division I record.
Hopkins is almost certain to be the first kicker drafted, so if Seattle wants him they will probably have to take him by the 6th round, possibly sooner.
Alternate choices: Jayson Dimanche, Courtney Gardner, BJ Daniels, Ryan Aplin, Micah Hyde, Demetrius McCray, Cooper Taylor, Chris Gragg
I'm not sure how Dimanche would translate to a 4-3 LB role. On tape he looks like a stellar 3-4 OLB in the mold of Jarvis Jones. At just 231 pounds, he's far too light to feature in a 3-4 and might be limited to a 4-3 WILL spot in the NFL. While Dimanche is not as fast as Zaviar Gooden, he figures to be available later and has elite closing speed. Dimanche is also 10 times the "football player" that Gooden is.
Of course, Seattle has drafted players who didn't look like naturals in the past and turned them into quality players. Still, it's hard not to get excited about landing Dimanche in the late rounds.
Alternate choices: Courtney Gardner, Cooper Taylor, BJ Daniels, Ryan Aplin, Micah Hyde, Demetrius McCray, Abry Jones
Hyde is a forgotten man in a loaded cornerback class. His speed is on par with Richard Sherman's, which isn't bad in isolation. Unfortunately, the 2013 class had an unusually high number of corners running sub 4.5 times this year. With the craze being all about "untapped upside", that could lead to a huge swell of fast corners being drafted in the earlier rounds while slower corners with great tape are passed over.
Alternate choices: Courtney Gardner, Cooper Taylor, BJ Daniels, Ryan Aplin, Demetrius McCray, Abry Jones
Not sure if Taylor would last this long, but if he does it's a no brainer. He has some of the most freakish athleticism in the draft and is a perfect fit to compete for the "big nickle safety" role currently manned by Jeron Johnson and Winston Guy. Kam Chancellor is looking like a probable departure in 2014, so having another prospect in the pipeline at strong safety would be a good proactive move.
Alternate choices: Courtney Gardner, BJ Daniels, Ryan Aplin, Seth Doege, Abry Jones
I think Daniels has overtaken Matt Scott as my favorite value QB. It probably helps that Daniels is going to be undrafted while Matt Scott will probably go in the 3rd round.
Daniels has the mobility, toughness, and moves of a running back while displaying impressive touch and accuracy. He's also shown that he can check through reads and scramble to buy time on his throws. Like Scott, his decision making has issues now and then, but he's a natural point guard type and a very nice fit for our style of offense. I can't promise that he'll be a future franchise QB that nets us multiple draft picks, but I do think he's the funnest QB to watch in the entire draft.
Alternate choices: Courtney Gardner, Ryan Aplin, Seth Doege, Abry Jones