While the first two rounds
of the NFL draft are fairly orderly – the reaches tend to be minor and it’s
not too difficult to match needs with players – the third round is where
things get chaotic. Because of this, I have no partaken into the fad started by
Doug and Scott in their first and second round “Six to Watch” articles.
There are no “top of third” or “bottom of third” choices.
I tried to exclude anyone who I thought would go in the 2nd to keep things on
the realistic side, and firmly believe that any of these players could reach Seattle
with their 86th pick in the draft yet would be strong picks at #70.
1.) Red Bryant,
DT, Texas A & M
If Ruskell looks for players with leadership credentials, Bryant already has
a Seahawks hat. A team captain since his sophomore year, Bryant is a rarity:
A hulking (6’4 318) DT who has no character concerns, keeps himself in
shape, and plays with a constant motor. A comparison I came up with last year
but find apt today is that big defensive tackles are like 7’0 centers.
They almost all play a little lethargic, take plays off, etc. In the NBA, the
seven-footers who aren’t lethargic get chosen #1 overall. In the NFL,
their equivalent somehow falls to the third round.
Bryant is a monster stopping the run (Texas A&M watched their previously
stellar run defense go from great to pathetic when Bryant injured his ACL midway
through his junior year) and can flash impressive quickness for a man his size.
He’s not a slug out there by any stretch, though his quickness was better
pre-ACL injury. He’s anchor Seattle’s interior line and will stop
Seattle’s defense from going down the drain should Brandon Mebane become
injured. Not a bad 2nd round choice, honestly.
2.) Jermichael Finley, TE, Texas
If Seattle is unable to grab a ready-made starter at TE like Martellus Bennett
or John Carlson in the 2nd round, Jermichael Finley should garner significant
interest in the third round. While he still has a developing frame (6’5
243lbs), he has added nearly 40lbs since he arrived at Texas as a 205lb freshman
WR. More importantly, his frame should have at least 20lbs of growth without
a loss of his impressive quickness… And impressive it is too. I earlier
compared Finley to Antonio Gates without the leaping ability, but in retrospect
I have a better comparison: Kellen Winslow, Jr. Without a motorcycle. |
Regardless, Finley has the kind of body control and impressive speed Winslow
has, but unlike Winslow has hands like vicegrips. Just as importantly, while
Finley is too small now to be a great blocker, his technique and desire are
perfect – he just needs to get stronger. While his stock would be much
higher had he played another year, medical expenses for his mother drove him
to declare early – something that I believe will endear him to the character-based
philosophy Seattle employs.
3.) Donnie Avery, WR, Houston
The biggest question about Avery is about his not being very big. He’s
only 5’11" and 192 pounds (that’s a solid build though for
his height), but he's super-quick. More than just a speedster, Avery makes sense
for Seattle because he is one of the better all-around route-runners in this
class. He ran a 4.33 40 time at his pro-day in Houston but more impressively
had a three-cone time of 6.30 – almost 3/10ths of a second better than
the next best time of 6.57 by Louisville’s Harry
Douglas. He’s not the big target this offense could use but does have
the ability to get open, the hands to catch the ball, and the moves to gain
yardage after the reception.
4.) John David Booty, QB, USC
While Josh Johnson is a tempting pick here, knowing how Holmgren gets with athletically
gifted quarterbacks, I need to see Ruskell pick a small-school player before
I believe it will happen. Because of that, Booty becomes the selection. He has
good size (6’3 218), acceptable mobility, and very good accuracy. He has
a tendency to eyeball his primary receiver but given the talent of USC’s
WRs I’d be tempted to just wait for whichever 5-star recruit gets open,
He is available in the third round because his arm strength isn’t impressive
(I do like the arc and spiral he displays throwing long though… it is
a pretty deep ball) but in Seattle’s offense his accuracy is worth much
more than his strength. He’d give Seattle options with Seneca Wallace
while also providing Matt with an heir.
5.) Mike McGlynn, Tackleguard, Pittsburgh
You might wonder what the heck a “Tackleguard” is. It’s a
phrase I’ve coined for Seattle’s type of interior linesmen –
guards who have the foot quickness of college offensive tackles. Rob Sims, Mansfield Wrotto, Pork Chop Womack, Ray Willis, Steve Vallos… they all had significant
experience at tackle over their college career. McGlynn would be the next in
that tradition of Tackleguards chosen by Seattle. He played tackle over his
college career but projects inside at the NFL level for most teams since his
feet aren’t especially quick for the position.
He has good strength, excellent technique, good athleticism, and a veteran’s
grasp of the game. He’s the kind of guy Ruskell has a habit of taking
in the draft, and would be a very solid pick in the third round. As a bonus,
he could provide some emergency depth at center and even contend for long-snapping
duties, having done so in college.
6.) Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
Okay, so I’m not a big Nelson fan. He has a tall frame (6’3 217lbs)
and has moderate speed. Ruskell will like him because he was ultra productive
against a legitimate college conference, and has all those phrases like “leader”
“film-room warrior” “try-hard player” etc. I’m
a doubter because I’m not sure he is athletic enough to create separation
against NFL cornerbacks in man coverage and because while he is tall, he doesn’t
have great strength at all, and he is not a great blocker. Those Joe Jurevicius
comparisons just don’t make sense to me.
Recent WRs who have made major contributions immediately almost without fail
tend to be of a thicker build than Nelson. Doesn’t mean he won’t
eventually be a good player, just that he isn’t the type who I believe
will step in right away.
It is my belief that the
Seahawks will take Red Bryant of Texas A & M. He’s simply too good
a player to not be chosen if he is available at #86, and Ruskell would be hard
pressed to find anything bad about him. I Bryant will be one of those guys,
like Tubbs, who never gets the glory but who the defense needs to stop a running
attack in its tracks. However, with Doug already taking Trevor Laws, I think
the pick will be Jermichael Finley of Texas, who may not make a big impact his
first year but by year two I expect he’ll be one of the best tight ends
in Seattle history.