by Tommy Lawlor – ScoutsNotebook.com
1 – OT Russell Okung – Oklahoma State
1 – FS Earl Thomas – Texas
2 – WR Golden Tate – Notre Dame
4 – CB Walter Thurmond – Oregon
4 – DE E.J. Wilson – UNC
5 – SS Kam Chancellor – Virginia Tech
6 – TE Anthony McCoy – USC
7 – DE Dexter Davis – Arizona State
7 – WR Jameson Konz – Kent State
The Seahawks began the Pete Carroll era by drafting Russell Okung to replace longtime star Walter Jones at LT. Okung had an excellent career at Oklahoma State. He’s not great in any area, but is good across the board (size, experience, talent, athleticism, character). Seattle needed a LT and Okung should start from day one. He may never be an elite pass protector, but he should be okay. Okung is a good athlete and has long arms. The only problem is that he lacks great footwork. He is at his best as a run blocker. Okung is strong, physical, and tough. Assuming Carroll sticks with the balanced offense he used at USC, Okung should be a good fit for the system. The addition of Okung keeps Seattle from having to shuffle blockers around to find a LT. That will make the overall O-line better. Matt Hasselbeck isn’t the most athletic QB any more so it was crucial to upgrade his blocking.
Seattle had another 1st round pick and they went for FS Earl Thomas from Texas. 2 picks and they got 2 stars from the Big 12 South. Thomas is very much the opposite of Okung. He was only a Redshirt Sophomore. He lacks ideal size. He is great in a couple of areas. Thomas can cover like a CB at times. He’s also extremely instinctive and has great hands. He could be an impact player in the pass defense right away. All this sounds awesome, but there is a downside. Earl is an inconsistent tackler. In space he’s fine. He can run to his targets and attack them on the fly. He struggles in the box. Watch the National Title game and you’ll see Mark Ingram abuse Thomas a few times. Earl would go low and get run over or just tossed aside. Earl claims that he played the season in the 195-200 pound range. Uh, yeah. Earl looked more like 185 or so in games. He never showed the physicality to tackle RBs in tight spaces. I’m interested to see what happens the first time he faces Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, or Beanie Wells. Earl might be going for a ride. Or doing his impression of a speed bump. Carroll and the Seahawks feel like Earl’s run D is worth the risk because they value him as a pass defender. The NFL is certainly a passing league these days. Pete does know the value of an impact Safety. He had some good ones at USC. Seattle has needed a good Safety since…Kenny Easley? Okay, that’s exaggerating things quite a bit, but the secondary did need serious help. Thomas should be a playmaker.
In the 2nd round the Seahawks went for Notre Dame star Golden Tate. The receiving corps has been a problem in Seattle for a few years. Remember the halcyon days of Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson? Tate offers big time playmaking ability. He carried the ND offense at times. As a receiver he was 93-1496-15. Tate was also the team’s 2nd leading rusher. And he returned a punt for a TD against Pitt. Tate can get deep and deliver big plays or catch a short pass and use his great RAC skills. He is a threat anytime he’s got the ball in his hands. Tate has an odd build at 5’10, 199. He looks like a RB. That shows in his RAC ability. He runs like a RB. I was very surprised to see him fall all the way to the bottom of the 2nd round. The one thing I didn’t like about Tate was his celebratory nature. I’m not big on players going crazy after TDs, but Tate drove me nuts with his act. You’d think he scored the first TD in the history of football every time he stepped into the endzone. Seattle fans will just be excited to see anyone get in the endzone. That offense needed playmakers. Tate is the kind of player that can offer immediate impact. Notice a them among their draft picks so far?
In the 4th round Seattle finally took a player who’s a bit of a project. CB Walter Thurmond tore his ACL as a Senior at Oregon. No one questions his talent. We just don’t know what kind of shape his knee is in. He may not be able to contribute much in 2010. I do think he can be a starting CB in the future, assuming his knee checks out fine. The good news about his knee is that the injury happened in late September. That was 10 months ago and means he might be able to play this year. All ACL injuries are a little different in how they heal and the guys recover. Carroll knows how good Thurmond is from their time in the Pac-10 together. Thurmond (5’11, 189) picked off 12 passes and broke up 37. Was he worth a 4th round pick? That’s when Arizona took their chance on O’Brien Schofield so that must be the area where teams feel the risk/reward ratio makes sense.
The Seahawks had an additional 4th rounder and may have surprised some people by taking E.J. Wilson, a DE from UNC. I liked Wilson, but didn’t have him going in the 4th. He played LDE for the Tar Heels and always impressed me. He’s more effort than pure talent, but that can work on defense. Wilson has a chance to start as a rookie if he can show he belongs. Seattle is reportedly hoping to mix up the 4-3 and 3-4. Wilson is 6’2, 280. That’s enough size to play DE in either scheme. He might also slide in to DT in some passing situations. Wilson had a good showing in the Texas vs The Nation AS game. He is a good run defender and will pressure the QB mainly through effort. That’s okay for a LDE with his build.
In the 5th round Seattle took Va Tech SS Kam Chancellor. He is big at 6’3, 231. He’s athletic and has good potential. My beef with Kam is that he didn’t always play up to that ability. Think of him as the lesser version of Taylor Mays. He won’t be expected to challenge for a starting role this year. I think they’ll see what he can do and plan on 2011 being the year for him to push for a job. Chancellor should be an excellent STs player. He has the physical ability to be a starting SS. Kam lacks top instincts as a cover guy, but can be a good run defender when he plays up to his size. Even if he never becomes a starter, Kam was good value in the 5th as a STer and role player.
Pete reached back to USC in the 6th round and took TE Anthony McCoy. I had McCoy rated pretty highly, but he slid due to character concerns. Obviously Carroll had inside knowledge on what kind of person McCoy is and felt like he was worthy of a pick at this point. I think Anthony is talented enough to be a starter. He’ll backup John Carlson for now. The biggest thing for McCoy is showing that Carroll was smart to take a chance on him. Anthony was never a super-productive receiver at USC so maybe being a #2 TE is perfect for him. He’s got good hands and excellent RAC skills. He’s got good size and solid blocking ability. McCoy won’t fail due to lack of talent.
Seattle had a pair of picks in the 7th round. They first took Arizona State pass rusher Dexter Davis. He played DE in college, but is only 6’1, 244. I’m interested to see how they use him. He might ideally be a 3-4 OLB. I’m not sure he’s functional size as a starting DE. I do know Davis can get to the QB. He had 31 career sacks and 10 FFs. He’s quick off the edge and uses his size to his advantage. He plays low and makes it tough for blockers to cleanly get their hands on him. I think Davis can be a good situational rusher in the NFL and could become a starter in the right scheme. He was good value in the 7th round.
The final pick was Jameson Konz of Kent State. He is one of the most interesting players in the draft. He didn’t pan out as a LB at Kent State so they moved him to offense. He played as a WR/TE as a Senior and caught 21 passes for 298 yards. Konz got everyone’s attention with a sensational Pro Day. Teams weren’t sure exactly where to project him. Konz is 6’3, 234. That’s tweener size and he’s not a polished player at all. Seattle seems to want to try him at WR. Carroll had a lot of luck with big wideouts at USC (Mike Williams, Dwayne Jarrett). Konz is a better athlete than either of those guys, but isn’t a proven receiver. He will be a big time project for Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff. Taking a flier on a real athletic guy in the 7th round is good drafting in my book. I think Konz will need time on the Practice Squad before he can make a serious run at the roster.