I always like to take a look at the mock drafts a couple days after the Senior Bowl to see how draft analysts are re-evaluating players after last week.
Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, now has Seattle selecting Texas defensive end Alex Okafor at No. 25. Rang: “The risky (and ridiculed) selection of undersized pass rusher Bruce Irvin paid off as the former West Virginia standout led all rookies with 8.5 sacks in 2012. His speed off the edge could be complemented with a more refined pass rusher like Okafor, whose greater length, strength and hand technique could make him a suitable complement as the team adjusts for life without top pass-rusher Chris Clemons, who’s recovering with a torn ACL.”
Rang’s colleague, Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com, likes Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams at No. 25 for Seattle. Brugler: “The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn't be surprising to see them add some depth, especially with Alan Branch slated to hit free agency in the winter. Williams lined up at nose tackle for the Tide, but has the ability to be productive in either and even or odd front.”
Bucky Brooks at NFL.com has Seattle selecting LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery at No. 25.
Daniel Jeremiah at NFL.com gives Seattle Ohio State defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins at No. 25.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was selected as the NFL executive of the year in this year’s Sporting News poll by a 9-8 margin over Denver’s John Elway. Seahawks general manager John Schneider came in third with three votes.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper finally admits the error of his ways regarding his harsh criticisms of Seattle’s 2012 draft class. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this. Kier gave Seattle a C-minus after the draft. But after a season of watching Russell Wilson, Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner, among others, perform, Kiper is giving Seattle an A. Kiper: “Give John Schneider and Pete Carroll all the credit in the world. I had major questions on value and even need with some of their picks, and in most cases, the Seahawks proved me wrong. At the time I wrote, "Let's be clear: I think the Seahawks drafted guys they really wanted, and with a plan in mind for how to use them." Did they ever. Russell Wilson might be the defining pick of the draft, already a star and a guy Seattle got at No. 75 overall. I really liked Wilson as a prospect, and said on the set I thought he'd be "a great test case" for short quarterbacks. My question of the pick also had to do with the fact that Seattle had acquired Matt Flynn. If Wilson had been 6-foot-2, I think he would have been a top-5 pick -- said it then, say it now. Is that evaluation still reasonable? Has Wilson proven that short QBs can't all be lumped together? Ultimately, evaluators will still have questions about whether short QBs can succeed because they simply have so few of them to evaluate. The sample size for guys at Wilson's size who've succeeded as he has is so small that not only is Wilson almost unique, I don't see a QB like him coming along for years. But there's no way around the fact that he was a great pick, perhaps the best of the draft when you consider where he was taken.
“I also had questions about the value of Bobby Wagner at No. 47 overall, but he was a home run, an impact starter and a guy who will be a fixture for years to come. Robert Turbin, Jeremy Lane and Greg Scruggs also look like great picks. The one pick I really questioned then and still feel the same way about is Bruce Irvin at No. 15 overall. There's no question Irvin can rush the passer, but that's really all he can do, and I still don't see him as a good value at that spot because he's so one-dimensional. I wrote then, "I wouldn't be surprised if Irvin gets 10 sacks in 2012, but that's really his game. He's not a three-down player yet." He still isn't, and is a total liability against the run, as we saw against Atlanta in the playoffs. He finished with 8.0 sacks, but has plenty of development left if he wants to become more than a situational player. I think you want more of a complete player at that point in the draft. Still, this was an exceptional draft, a very good one in terms of immediate value and likely a defining one for the franchise based on Wilson alone.”
Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes that Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson will have some extra motivation after not rightfully receiving the Pro Bowl MVP award.
I talked with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton about the potential of moving Matt Flynn and Seattle’s top free agent needs in this audio link.
Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reports that former Seahawks quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, now working as the offensive coordinator for the University of Virginia, will join Chip Kelly’s staff at Philadelphia as the Eagles’ quarterback coach.
Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post writes that playing tough defense is still the key to winning in the NFL, and that elite teams have balance.