Seahawks.NET Q&A: Draft Expert Rob Rang!

Seahawks.NET Q&A: Draft Expert Rob Rang!

The 2006 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and draft analysts are kicking it into high gear. Multitasking is nothing new to NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang, a longtime friend of Seahawks.NET. Recently, we asked our Premium Subscribers to submit their draft questions to Rob, and he's provided his answers in this Seahawks.NET exclusive!

Ivotuk: Assuming the Seahawks go DB in the first round, and not knowing who is going to be available, who are (or should be) the top 3 DBs on their wish list? 

Darryl Tapp of Virginia Tech runs drills during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Rob Rang: Wish list is an interesting phrase, as the Seahawks would be thrilled to see Michael Huff, Jimmy Williams, or Jason Allen fall to them. Barring a dramatic slide, however, this will not happen. More realistically, look for the team to choose between Kelly Jennings (Miami CB), Tye Hill (Clemson CB), and Darnell Bing (USC FS).

I’m going to expand on your question a little, as I don’t think a defensive back of value is guaranteed to be on the board with the 31st pick. In such a case the Seahawks will absolutely look to trade down, but may not find anyone willing to make a move. In this scenario, here are the three players who I feel may still be on the board that Seattle would consider:

Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State
Davin Joseph, OG, Oklahoma
Daryl Tapp, DE, Virginia Tech

Cavalry19D: Some recent mock drafts have Wimbley and Lawson falling late into the 1st Round and more then a few mocks even into the 2nd round. Why have they been falling (since you mentioned these two players in your last seahawks.net chat)? Are the Hawks looking at any other DEs at 31? 

Rob Rang: I can’t speak for the validity of other mocks, obviously. Every NFL source I speak to expects both Wimbley and Lawson to be off the board by the early 20s. Of the two, Lawson could fall because he is considered a bit of a ‘tweener by some. He is a terrific athlete capable of physically playing linebacker, but some question his instincts for the position. He struggled, at times, to keep his weight in the 240s while at NC State, going so far as to work with a nutritionist. That said, he’s just too rare of an athlete to slide too far.

The three defensive ends I could see Seattle considering with the 31st pick are Mathias Kiwanuka (Boston College), Tamba Hali (Penn State), and Daryl Tapp (Virginia Tech). Kiwanuka struggled when pitted against top competition. Hali is hard worker, but lacks athleticism and upside. Tapp has the biggest size questions, but is the most consistent of the bunch and is relentless. In this scenario, as outlined mentioned above, Tapp is the likeliest pick for Seattle, though he would be considered a reach.

Jazzhawk: Who are some late round sleepers to keep an eye on: 

1) for the Seahawks specifically?

Rob Rang: Here are five:

Jeff King, TE, Virginia Tech
Jason Hatcher, DE, Grambling
David Pittman, CB, Northwestern State (La)
Larry Dibbles, DT, Texas
John Eubanks, CB, Southern Mississippi

2) for all teams in general? 

Rob Rang: Here are ten (besides the five for Seattle):

Erik Meyer, QB, Eastern Washington
Demetris Summers, RB, South Carolina
Jai Lewis, TE, George Mason
Ed Nelson, TE, Connecticut
Martin Nance, WR, Miami (Ohio)
Miles Austin, WR, Monmouth
Delanie Walker, WR, Central Missouri State
Brian Iwuh, OLB/SS, Colorado
Brandon Guillory, DE, Louisiana-Monroe
Tony McDaniel, DT, Tennessee

Cavalry19D: What quality prospects at CB and DE might be available at the end of the 2nd round that the Hawks have shown interest in? 

Rob Rang: I spoke of Daryl Tapp earlier. If he is available at #63, the Seahawks would not hesitate to select him. He will be seen as a value in the 40s however, and thus, might not make it that far. Two defensive backs I could see Seattle jumping at, regardless of who they select in the first round, would be Cedric Griffin, a cornerback at Texas who projects best to free safety, and Tim Jennings, a cornerback from Georgia. Griffin is considered by most to be a solid value at any point in the second round. Jennings, some would consider a bit of a reach, but I personally am quite high on.

Mystermatt: Do you have any small-school players on your radar who could be effective? 

Rob Rang: Absolutely. These are the best of the small-school players, as I see them. I expect to see each of them drafted, with Gocong, Manning, and Pittman good bets to go on the first day.

Chris Gocong, DE/OLB, Cal-Poly
Danieal Manning, CB/S, Abilene Christian
David Pittman, CB, Northwestern State (La)
Paul McQuistan, OT, Weber State
Antoine Bethea, FS, Howard
Jason Hatcher, DE, Grambling
Brent Hawkins, DE, Illinois State
Willie Colon, OG, Hofstra
Erik Meyer, QB, Eastern Washington
Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Alabama State
Delanie Walker, WR, Central Missouri State

NETStaff: In your view, how does indifferent academic performance in college, or a low Wonderlic score, affect the ability of players to digest complex playbooks at the NFL level? Are those two factors generally connected?  

Rob Rang: Indifference in academics or a low Wonderlic score don’t necessarily affect the ability of players to digest the playbooks, but they certainly raise a red flag as to a player’s willingness or mental capacity. There are too many examples of players with poor grades or Wonderlic scores who have gone on to great accomplishments on the gridiron to become overly concerned with academics. Certainly Dan Marino and Steve McNair, to mention two examples, proved capable of complicated offenses despite relatively low scores on the Wonderlic.

NETStaff: There’s been a great deal of talk about Jason Allen’s hip, and the speculation is all over the board. Some insist that he’s passed all the physicals he needs to pass, and other say it’s a degenerative condition that could have him falling out of the first round. What is the latest you’ve heard? 

Rob Rang: I know of three teams who have ranked Allen’s hip as a potential degenerative condition. I do not know if the teams eliminated Allen from their draft board entirely, but I was told that the former Tennessee defensive back was not in consideration for their first round pick. That said, after releasing this information, I was contacted by representatives of several other teams who medically cleared Allen’s hip. Even with the initial news of the hip condition Allen remained the 25th player on our board and our top free safety. I certainly expect him to be drafted in the first round, quite possibly by Dallas with the 18th pick.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Wide receiver Chris Davis #5 of the Florida State Seminoles has a pass knocked away by defensive back Kelly Jennings #22 of the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium September 5, 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida. FSU beat Miami 10-7. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

NETStaff: Some Seahawks fans are worried that San Francisco’s trade with Denver for an additional first-round pick will reduce Seattle’s options, since both teams could very well take a cornerback in the first round. Could you talk a bit about the difference in scouting styles between San Francisco ’s Scot McCloughan and Seattle ’s Tim Ruskell, and how that might manifest itself at that position in the first round? 

Rob Rang: There is reason to be concerned that the 49ers will take a defensive back with the 22 nd pick. Denver likely wouldn’t have taken a defensive back since they drafted cornerbacks with their first three selections last year.

As you mentioned, however, the type of prospect generally preferred by San Francisco’s Scot McCloughan and Ruskell vary greatly. McCloughan operates under the Ron Wolf philosophy, which says that players have to have a certain size and speed to be successful at the NFL level . Ruskell uses a scouting style popularized by Rich McKay and is willing to look past a lack of height or timed speed to the collegiate production and consistency of a player. One is projecting upside, the other is banking on established production. Each philosophy has resulted in Super Bowl titles.

A player like Kelly Jennings or Tye Hill, two undersized cornerbacks Seattle is thought to be high on, would likely not be selected by the 49ers. San Francisco will more likely be focusing on athletes with a greater combination of size, speed, and upside. Antonio Cromartie, Johnathan Joseph, and Ashton Youboty would be better fits for the 49ers, if they chose to select a cornerback with the 22nd pick.

NETStaff: Who are some of the later-round pass rushers Seattle might be looking at?  

Rob Rang: Here are a few I believe Seattle will consider, based on their athletic upside and character:

Rob Ninkovich, DE, Purdue
Stanley McClover, DE/OLB, Auburn
Jason Hatcher, DE, Grambling
Parys Haralson, DE /OLB, Tennessee

NETStaff: If you ran a team, and you could select one player in this draft, regardless of position, who would it be? 

Rob Rang: Reggie Bush. He remains the top player on our board and has the uncanny blend of speed, vision, and acceleration that I haven’t seen from a player since Barry Sanders retired. In most other drafts, I would mention the second player on our board, defensive end Mario Williams as he would be the first overall pick in most years. But not in 2006; this is the year of Reggie Bush.

NETStaff: At this time, who do you have the Seahawks picking at #31? 

Rob Rang: Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami.

NETStaff: What do you think the chances are that Seattle will trade up or down?

Rob Rang: With only two picks on the first day, it is highly unlikely Seattle moves up in round one. There is a significant chance that they’ll move down if none of the players mentioned earlier are available. The Seahawks would like to acquire a third round pick to replace the one they gave up for Burleson.

There is a chance Seattle would look to move up from their second round (#63) choice if a deal presented itself, much like they did last year with Lofa Tatupu.


Rob Rang, one of the foremost Draft Experts in the country, is the Senior Draft Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, one of the premier draft sites in the country. Prior to that, Rob was the Owner and Editor of www.westcoastdraft.com for many years. First recognized by SportsTALK.com (now a component of ESPN Insiders), Rob's work has been featured in quality print, radio, internet, and television networks across the country. USA Today, ESPN, The Sporting News, and CBS Sportsline have all featured elements of Rob's work in the past. NFL front office executives, scouts, and collegiate scouting directors agree that Rob's work is some of the best available, as well. Gil Brandt, recognized for his 29 years as the vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys and now the head draft analyst for NFL.com, frequently uses Rob's information as a supplement to his own for the NFL's base website. His work features not only the detailed player profiles for which he has become so well known, but also historically accurate mock drafts, position breakdown lists considered even more reliable than the scouting services NFL teams typically use, and breaking information such as underclassmen declarations and the Combine results before anyone else. Based in Gig Harbor, Washington, Rob has quickly become a fixture at the elite scouting events held all over the country each year - including the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and numerous Pro Day workouts. You can contact Rob at rrang@nfldraftscout.com.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to convey our gratitude to Rob for taking time out of what is a very busy schedule to answer the questions of the Seahawks.NET community.

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