Three Step Drop welcomes Nathan Ernst of Hawkblogger on to talk about the NFL Draft, Undrafted Rookie Free Agents and everything else Seahawks related.
The Seattle Seahawks drafted LSU center Ethan Pocic with the 58th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Coming as a surprise to many Seahawks fans and draft analysts because the Seahawks current center Justin Britt, was coming off a year where he was nominated a pro bowl center. The LSU standout can contribute at several positions along the Seattle line, being touted as a five position lineman, as well as the most polished offensive lineman the Seahawks have drafted in years.
The Seahawks Should Start Ethan Pocic
Ethan Pocic was an ALL-SEC lineman as a center and earned honors as a second and third team All-American lineman at the other positions he played along the LSU line. During his 2014 season, he led all LSU lineman with 132.5 knockdown blocks. Pocic is a physical blocker who has no qualms about laying a nasty block to protect his quarterback.
When watching film on fellow LSU standout and 2017 4th overall pick Leonard Fournette it’s impossible not to notice Pocic. He’s often leading the way on running back screens and more than a few power runs. He brings strong technique and solid feet and hands. His grit and determination can bring a new facet to a young offensive line that seems so sought after by the coaching staff.
– Coleman Crawford, Three Step Drop
“If you would have told me that the Seahawks were going to draft Pocic I would have said you were crazy, not because I don’t like him more because I didn’t think the Seahawks would! I already had my eye on this guy since December of last year. So it’s nice to see that we picked him, with that said I think Pocic will be a tremendous addition because from what I saw he can bring things to this team both mentally and physically that we have been lacking. Ethan is a player that checks all boxes, and when it comes to Seattle he’s their type of guy, versatile and hard working.”
-Pedro Periera ‘PTNFLFAN.Blogspot.pt’
George Fant, left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, had never played offensive line in college football. He hadn’t played offensive line since middle school. So when the Seahawks signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent tight end after the 2016 NFL Draft no one expected much. However, the Seahawks were so impressed with him that when starter Bradley Sowell went down they went with the rookie over veteran J’Marcus Webb. While Fant struggled throughout his 2016 season, he showed that he has the capability to be a good left tackle with some coaching and time to develop.
A Promising Seahawks Rookie
Fant played one year of tight end at Western Kentucky where he racked up two tackles and a reception for seven yards. These stats may not blow you away, but Fant’s athleticism and intelligence were enough to convince Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider that he deserved a coveted spot on the 53 man roster. Fant’s ability to quickly learn the skills to be a serviceable, if low level, starting left tackle is incredible and shows a high level of not only football intelligence but also work ethic and dedication.
Going into week seven of the 2016 season there was no expectation for Fant to start, or even play in a serious game considering his lack of experience. He was active for the sixth game of the season but most presumed he was the fourth tackle on the depth chart behind Sowell, Gilliam, Webb and Ohdiambo. However with Sowell suffering a knee injury, Coach Carroll sent Fant in and he kept the job from that week forward, showing progression every week and demonstrating new skills every time he got one the field. He didn’t have the best rookie season, but it with the proper coaching and dedication George Fant can be the Seahawks franchise left tackle.
The Seahawks Draft Special with Matt Brown April 17 2017
Three Step Drop welcomes Matthew Brown from Inside the Pylon and Sky Sports NFL on to the second episode to talk about the Seahawks draft targets. Along with conversations about Dion Jordan, Richard Sherman, and Marshawn Lynch.
1:35 – Garry Gilliam
5:55 – Free Agents
11:25 – Draft
11:40 – Holes in the Seahawks roster
15:46 – Players Seahawks have met with
25:34 – Matts Ideal first 3 rounds
35:44 – A Flyer in the first 3 rounds
43:01 – Fan Questions
54:00 – Richard Sherman
58:18 – Marshawn Lynch
Since Pete Carroll first took the head coaching job with the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 there has been an issue with the offensive line. In that time frame, Carroll and general manager John Schneider have come together to draft three offensive linemen in the first round. Those three being Russell Okung (2010), James Carpenter (2011), and Germain Ifedi (2016). Okung is now the highest paid left tackle in the league, while Carpenter is a below average left guard for the New York Jets. The last name on that list, Germain Ifedi, started at right guard for the Seahawks in 2016 and is projected to push out to right tackle in 2017.
Moving back to his natural position
Ifedi was one of the worst guards in the NFL last season. He was responsible for numerous sacks taken by Russell Wilson and was constantly allowing rushers into the backfield. I took a dive into the film to find out if it was due to lack of strength, poor technique or just being a bad football player. What I found is that Ifedi has all the natural talent and strength to be a great player, but utilizes terrible technique time after time.
If Germain Ifedi can successfully adjust his technique and harness his skill set he could be a franchise player for the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable are looking to move Ifedi to right tackle following the signing of Oday Aboushi, who is slotted to start at right guard. After a season of disappointment along the offensive line, Seattle signed Joeckel and Aboushi to help bring a veteran presence to an extremely young group. Going into 2017 Ifedi will compete with Garry Gilliam, who played at right tackle in 2016, for the starting tackle spot with the possibility of Gilliam also competing at left tackle.
Over the past three seasons, Seattle Seahawks fans have pleaded with the front office to shore up the offensive line. In 2016 that meant drafting offensive tackle Germain Ifedi, out of Texas A+M. In 2017 it means signing Oday Aboushi and Luke Joeckel, both linemen were taken in the 2013 draft, one picked number two overall and one picked with the 141st pick. Last week we looked at Luke Joeckel‘s 2016 performance and how he would fit in with the Seahawks. This week we’re looking at Oday Aboushi in the run game and pass protection and how he will fit on the Seahawks offensive line.
The all important “swing” lineman
In the run game, Aboushi is far from the strongest run blocker in the league. However, when you compare him with Ifedi, you’ll find a competent lineman who can hold his own and throw some great blocks at the same time. Whether it was drive blocking or reach blocking Aboushi was executing with precision on most of his snaps. He showed great skill in sealing off lanes for running backs and getting out in space to make blocks as a pulling guard. On the goal line he was unstoppable, paving the way for two walk in touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.
In pass protection, much like Joeckel, he faced some issues with the bull rush. But overall he’s a solid pass protector giving up no sacks in 2016 and only allowing 6 pressures with 2 quarterback hits. He was good against stunts, a glaring weak spot for the Seahawks in 2016. Another strong selling point on Aboushi is his ability to play anywhere on the line. In college he was an offensive tackle, with the Jets and Texans he was an offensive guard. This gives offensive line coach Tom Cable a wide array of option when assembling the line.
For the past two years, the Seattle Seahawks have had relatively lackluster free agency periods. In 2016 Seattle needed an offensive lineman, so they bought some in J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell. Neither of whom will be returning for 2017, this year the Seahawks faced the same need for lineman and brought in the former number two overall pick, Luke Joeckel. Joeckel has been billed as a major disappointment in Jacksonville, the team that drafted him, to the point where they didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on their 2013 first rounder. On March 9th, 2017 Joeckel signed an $8 million contract with the Seahawks, seven of which is guaranteed. Joeckel and former Packers running back Eddie Lacy consist of the big names signed by Seattle during the 2017 free agency period.
After taking a look at Joeckel in Jacksonville it became clear that the talk of him being a major disappointment needed to be put into perspective. While he may not have lived up to expectations of the number two overall pick, Joeckel is a competent lineman who will bring an instant upgrade to this struggling Seattle line. His addition, along with that of guard Oday Aboushi, will allow Seattle to get their five best players on the line to protect their star quarterback Russell Wilson.
A Chance to Prove his Worth
Even with the relatively large one year contract for Joeckel, it’s a great signing by the Seattle front office to attempt to shore up their line. Due to injury the veteran lineman only played three complete games in 2016, despite that he demonstrated good technique, talent, athleticism and strength through those games. With his large contract, Joeckel is almost guaranteed to start, although that won’t be an issue, he is leaps and bounds ahead of almost all the Seattle lineman except center Justin Britt, who may give him a run for his money.
Coming off a last-second win over the Miami Dolphins, where the Seattle Seahawks floundered in the red zone, Pete Carroll and company were looking to score early against a Rams team that had been shutout the week before by the 49ers. Seattle only made it to the red zone one time in a 9-3 loss to the Rams where the theme of the day was offensive miscues coupled with the defenses inability to get off the field on third down. This week we take a look at what went into those red zones plays.
After trouncing the Detroit Lions in the Wildcard round of the playoffs the Seahawks were set to make a trip to the Georgia Dome and face the red hot Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons opened as three-point favorites over the team they had taken down to the wire in a week six loss. Throughout the season they Seahawks had proved inconsistent on offense. Seattle made a point to march down the field and score on the opening drive but throughout the game again proved inconsistent. This is a preview of the video breakdown coming soon that will look at the entire drive for Seattle.
Looking Forward: Russell Wilson-Jimmy Graham TD in Divisional Round
On this play, the Seahawks come out in an empty to set with three receivers to the right and two to the left. The routes of Paul Richardson and J.D. McKissic are set to open up Doug Baldwin on the right side. With Jermaine Kearse and Jimmy Graham on the left running complementary routes, Kearse’s hitch route is supposed to draw the two zone defenders, leaving Graham in single coverage on an out route. The Falcons show a wide nine front, in their nickel package. Seattle motions Kearse in behind Graham because Robert Alford doesn’t man up with Kearse, Russell Wilson knows the Falcons are in zone coverage.
After the snap, Wilson turns and throws a dart to Graham, even though he’s technically double covered. The ball is placed where only Graham can make the catch. Wilson demonstrates great anticipation and trust with Graham because the ball is out before the pro bowl tight end is out of his break. Graham out muscles Keanu Neal and stretches the ball across the goal line for a touchdown.
On the other side, Richardson runs a hitch route mirroring Kearse on the left while McKissic runs a fade into the endzone. Baldwin runs a quick out and is wide open for a touchdown if Wilson sees him. This route pattern, called the “Sticks” pattern, utilizes quick routes and simple route combinations to open up receivers. Wilson is in the shotgun so once he has the ball he needs to make one read and either throw the ball to Graham or Baldwin. This simple, quick type of play call is perfect for a team who struggled in the red zone all year.