For today's News Tribune I was asked to list my three top weapons at each skill position on offense -- not that any of of these players is likely to be available to the Seahawks when they first pick on Friday at 63rd overall at the bottom of the second round.
- Marcus Mariota, Oregon
- Jameis Winston, Florida State
- Garrett Grayson, Colorado State/Heritage HS, Vancouver
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- Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
- Todd Gurley, Georgia
- Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
- Amari Cooper, Alabama
- Kevin White, West Virginia
- DeVante Parker, Louisville
- Maxx Williams, Minnesota
- Clive Walford, Miami
- Nick O’Leary, Florida State
At the league's scouting combine in Indianapolis in February, the Seahawks were in the market for one of the top tight ends, or at least appeared to be. Then they acquired Jimmy Graham from New Orleans in March. That makes that position, considered weak in this draft, far less of a priority for Seattle than offensive and defensive lines, wide receiver and cornerback.
Here's one first impression of O'Leary, based solely on first impression, at least.
I was walking over to interview the Florida State tight end inside Lucas Oil Stadium when I heard him tell a group of reporters: "I feel I can do it all. A lot of people said my route running wasn't great, but there were a lot of people when I was a Florida State that couldn't cover me."
Hearing that I U-turned away and found someone else to talk to.
Contrast that to, say, Tacoma's Xavier Cooper. You can guess which one I'd rather cover on a daily basis.
--For today's paper I also went more into the big wide receivers Seattle needs, and why it needs them.
The 6-foot-6 Graham has been a tight end is name only for most of the last few years while split out wide or in the slot on the majority of his snaps for New Orleans. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said Graham will play tighter on the line more often in Seattle’s offense that is far more run-based than the Saints’.
Plus, Graham’s arrival still leaves the Seahawks with this as the top self of their wide-receiver cupboard:
*Previously undrafted Doug Baldwin
*Undrafted Jermaine Kearse
*And Paul Richardson. He’s a still-unproven, 175-pound guy whose rookie season ended last January with a second tear of the same knee ligament he shredded a few years ago while he was at the University of Colorado.
The Seahawks have had Michigan’s Devin Funchess — 6-5, 230 pounds — in for a pre-draft visit at team headquarters in Renton. His hands and route running are question marks, but if he’s available at 63, Seattle might not be able to afford passing on that size, given what the Hawks have had outside to throw to the past two seasons.
How important is size for this team at wide receiver? The play-behind-the-play that cost the Seahawks their second consecutive NFL title on Feb. 1 was wide receiver Kearse not being big or strong enough to fight through more rugged New England defensive back Brandon Browner’s jam at the goal line in the final 30 seconds of Super Bowl 49. Kearse was supposed to clear out that area on second and goal from the 1 for even slighter Ricardo Lockette to get off the line free on a slant behind him. Russell Wilson assumed the clear out and threw the pass toward Lockette at the goal line, never thinking Kearse would get stonewalled by Browner or that the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler would have a clear path to the ball instead of Lockette.
Lockette wasn’t stout enough and got knocked back by Butler’s charge through him. The resulting interception will haunt Seattle for, oh, about as long as Puget Sound has water.
Breshad Perriman of Central Florida is the son of former Detroit Lions wide receiver Brett Perriman. He’s way bigger than dad at 6-2 and 214 pounds. The younger Perriman is still raw, yet Peter King of Sports Illustrated has the supposed middle-round pick going 19th overall to Cleveland. So Perriman may or may not be as a middle-round option for Seattle because of that stature.
Many, including PLU on here, believe Tyler Lockett will be available in rounds two and three, and Seattle that should take Kansas State’s record-breaking catcher. But he’s 5-10 and 181 pounds. Do the Seahawks really want to spend their top draft choice on that for the second consecutive draft, with the jury still way out on the recovering Richardson (second round, 2014) and those pressing needs on the offensive line?