As a seriously displaced Seattle Seahawks fan, I’m always extremely jealous of fellow 12thman who have season tickets and are consistent visitors to Seahawks practices and player events. When I found out earlier today that a certain 7th round Seahawks 2012 draftee was heading to my Air Force base in Colorado Springs, I jumped. It’s not often we get to see Seahawks players. Heck, most of the time, we get a USO bus full of cheerleaders (not complaining about that at all by the way) and an occasional Denver Broncos vet or two. Gross..But that’s about it.
As I headed over to greet Mr. Scruggs, I wondered if it would even be appropriate to ask for an interview. After all, he and a few other NFL players along with former Kansas City Chief CB Eric Warfield were only here to sign some autographs, take a tour of the base, and head back to their youth football camp (Players are here in Colorado Springs with profootballcamp.com). But to my surprise, Mr Scruggs was gracious enough to grant me, a nobody Seahawks blogger, a very nice 10 minute interview.
Graduated from Louisville 2011
Selected as the 25th pick in the 7th round, 232nd overall, in the 2012 NFL Draft
What’s the best part of being a being drafted into the NFL? “I think it’s just living the dream, you know what I mean? I’m happy every day I wake up. I mean, I wake up and play football every day. Just being out there being able to live out that dream, I think that will be the best part.. You know there are some bad things though, I did have to buy some pizza (for the team) but when it’s all said and done, I’m playing football for a living so I can’t complain about that.”
Did you have any idea the Seahawk’s were interested prior to the NFL Draft? “Well me an John Schneider had begun to talk 3 weeks prior. He just called me one day out of nowhere and was like “hey this is John Schneider from the Seattle Seahawks”. I was like… I mean a Seahawks scout wasn’t even at my pro day, I never saw them at my practices. But slowly (leading up to draft) the momentum started to pick up, John asked what type of car I was going to get (when drafted) and suggested I get something that handled the rain like Seattle. You know, little hints like that. There were a couple different points in the draft we thought we’d be picked up by the Seahawks but due to my turf toe I kept sliding, sliding, sliding. But I’m glad and I’m happy I finally did get picked you know? I just wanted someone to draft me. Give me a shot, that’s all I wanted.”
Prior to the draft, were you familiar with the Seahawks? “Never watched their games, obviously when Pete Carroll got there it was a big deal, but no. I knew of Matt Hasselbeck, and Shaun Alexender who is from Northern Kentucky and I’m from Cincinnati but I hadn’t watched them because they don’t play much on the east coast and I didn’t have NFL Sunday Ticket and the whole nine. So all I had was what popped up on Sports Center. ”
On the Seahawk’s locker room environment: “The Locker room is great man! There’s always a fear for a rookie coming into a locker room because essentially you’re there to take someone’s job. But they have taken me with open arms especially at the D-Line position. Guys like Red, Mebane you know, those guys have taken me under their wing. They aren’t treating you like your someone who will take their job because they just got paid, both of them, so they aren’t worried about it. They want you to have the best career you can have. Everyone in the locker room is cool.. You know Mike Rob (Robinson) is a real good influence on the team.”
Speaking of Mike Robinson, what are the chances we see you on one of his reports? [big laugh] “I told him, I dream of the day I can make it on the “Real Rob Report”
Goals for the season: “My goal is just to make the team. I really want to really be able to contribute this year, or as soon as possible.”
How easy has Pete Carroll‘s focus on “Always Compete” been for you to adjust to, or is it similar to what you were already used to? ” I would say it’s about the same..At the University of Louisville my coaches were always about competing and being the best so coming into Pete’s style of coaching is the same exact way. Like you said, it’s always compete, compete, compete and do your best for the team. Everything we do, and everything we harp on has the underlying theme of competition and it makes it fun. It makes you enjoy coming to practice.
How do you see yourself fitting into the D line rotation? ” My main role thus far is just to pass rush. That’s my niche, that’s what got me into college, that’s what got me drafted. Also giving Red, Mebane, and AB (A. Branch) some rest on 3rd down and really getting after the quarterback. That’s why the Seahawks got me. Coaches tell me all of the time to just get there, and that’s what I do. At the strong end opposite of Chris Clemons, it’s just me and JJ ( Jason Jones) so that’s my job. That’s where I think I’ll make my mark in this league.”
On the expectations of greatness placed on the Seahawk’s defense. ” Through the roof, through the roof man. There’s not a group of guys I trust more to get it done more than us.. People like Kam (Chancellor). I mean, he’s on special teams working harder than anyone out there and he’s a starter. Earl Thomas runs down everyone on every play no matter how far they are. Sherman, guys like that, I mean I couldn’t have walked into a better situation as far as learning and couldn’t be with a better group of guys to live up to those expectations.”
On fellow unproven rookie Bobby Wagner starting at the middle linebacker position: “The linebackers are the QBs of the defense but when you have someone like Wags (Bobby Wagner) in the middle it takes other people around him helping him out. we still have Leroy Hill, KJ Wright, we still have the safeties to make the checks to help him out if needed. It’s imperative for the linebackers to know it (their job) but being he is a rookie, everyone else know’s what’s going on and they can help him out. When you have pro bowlers playing behind you and big dollar guys playing in front of you, all you have to do is come out and do your job, and Wags does a great job of studying the playbook and really being on top of it. He takes pride in that. I think he’ll be just fine.”
On team goals for the Season: “It’s nothing official, but I think the feeling (in locker room) is at least the NFC Championship game or beyond.”
On the QB Battle brewing in Seattle (Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, Russell Wilson): “I haven’t watched it much, but um.. 3 way tie. That’s not a politically correct answer, it’s just how I feel and everyone else in the organization feels. I don’t have a bias towards any one person at this point. Right now everyone is neck and neck but I’ll think it will play out in camp and pre season.”
On if his family will come out to Seattle: “My Mother and my brothers will eventually come out to visit, but not too many flights though…I’m paying for it..” [big laughs]
And with that, his NFL player tour was forced to move on and my time with Greg was over.
What I wish I could convey was the down to earth, genuine and affable nature this young man displayed. He didn’t have to take the time to talk with me, but because he did, I’ll take the time to watch him closer than any other 7th round draft pick in Seahawks history.
Good luck Mr. Scruggs.
I remember attending a conference a few years ago and listening to a speaker talk to those of us in attendance about the inherent dangers involved when making business decisions without properly investigating both the decisions we make and the ramifications of those decisions. He told us that when we act too quickly we mess up the order that one expects to find in good decisions. “When we engage too quickly or when we speak without first understanding the matter in question, it is like the guy at the shooting range who, failing to take his time, winds up with: Ready, shoot, aim.” Not much about that conference stuck with me but ready, shoot, aim did. Reaction prior to investigation can (and does) lead to some interesting–sometimes difficult–problems. Nowhere was that more evident than over the past three days of the 2012 NFL draft.
The NFL draft is a great event. By the time the draft occurs near the end of April, football has been hibernating too long. For NFL fans of every loyalty the draft is a much-needed spring thaw. It signifies that while the beginning of the season is still a number of months off, the next season is indeed getting closer. Already we are in better shape than last year. With no lockout, new uniforms, and some key off-season acquisitions already signed, anticipation for the start of the 2012 season is already pretty high.
Current NFL drafts look little like drafts of yesteryear. With access to the 24/7 NFL Network, Twitter, sports talk radio, and the recent proliferation of some solid NFL/Seahawks blogs, our appetite for all things NFL has never been quite so rapacious. As the 2011 NFL season wrapped up a number of us turned our attention to the draft. We are now moving into year number three of the “Pete and John” regime and while the organization has made some huge strides in the right direction; rebuilding the team they found (one bloated with age, a mentality of tenure, and some questionable contracts with sub-par ROI) their job has not been simple. Our “better day” has been predicated on use of the draft, and this draft was no exception. But as incredibly exciting as the NFL draft is for teams and fans alike, it is worth remembering that drafting college players into your professional organization is far from a perfect science. Every NFL team has a list of picks those in charge at the time would no doubt love to do again, and the NFL is nothing if not a truth detector. Athletes that impress in college sometimes fail to make the move to the NFL while in other cases players who were told no by way of a draft that never called their name have gone on to brilliant careers. It has always been that way and until the NFL draft hands out crystal balls along with draft selection orders, picks will continue to experience varying degrees of success. While every team wants to maximize the overall success of their draft picks, and while fans are more than interested observers in the process, it seems to me that today we judge too quickly the value and worth of a pick; all before that player has ever played a single down in the NFL.
Not even halfway through round number one of the 2012 draft (the ‘Hawks traded down a few spots from the 12th overall pick to land the 15th) we were treated to a dizzying display of reactionary negativity. It was aimed at a 24-year-old LB/DE from West Virginia; Bruce Irvin. Irvin was not supposed to go to the Seahawks. A young man with a less than perfect past, he was thought to be too situational, too one-dimensional to be worth the 15th overall pick. The Seahawks thought otherwise. Reaction was mixed but the negative side of the mix was quite loud. Twitter almost imploded as a number of fans–having had to first pick their phones up off the floor–wasted little time (and even fewer of the allowable 140 characters) panning Irvin. Reactions ranged from: “Who the hell is Bruce Irvin…” to “Oh, god, what are Pete and John smoking?” Some were favorable but those were the exception, especially in the minutes immediately following the pick. The national sports media was apoplectic. Because the ‘Hawks had again walked away from what many thought they should do, and instead did what they felt was in the best interest of the team, blowhard talking heads like Mel Kiper Jr. were left shaking their heads. On the other hand, some Seattle fans might have found it worth looking a little deeper.
Some did. Within an hour of the team selecting Irvin, several very good articles were linked; ready for anyone who cared to know more about Irvin a chance to learn. Frustratingly, some were more content to argue that this was a wasted pick; some even argued that it was one of the worst picks in team history. The truth of course is that it will be a while before we know with any certainty whether picking Bruce Irvin so early in the draft was a good move or whether it will provide fodder for another top ten draft busts program on ESPN. It will be months before Irvin and his fellow draftees will take the field in a meaningful game, and even then there is a danger in judging rookies too harshly (or for that matter, leniently) during their first season.
But the judgment of the past few days has not been so much about the players selected as it has been about those making those selections. To listen to some Seahawk fans you’d be led to believe that draft selection starts by lining the VMAC with a number of dart boards and then spending hours each day hurling darts at the boards just hoping that with enough throws they might field a competent and productive team. Seahawk fans are some of the most passionate and long-suffering fans that exist. I count myself as one of them and will forever consider myself as such. But despite my access to a great deal of information about players hitting the draft, I don’t have access to anything close to what the organization has. I have access to just enough information to form an incomplete opinion; and like most, my opinions are based a great deal more on personal preferences than they are the hard data used to make millions of dollar worth of investments in players who have yet to play a single down of professional football.
It can be tough to watch a draft unfold that leaves one wondering if the Seahawks might be leaving better players on the board than the ones they select. But that is nothing unique to being a Seahawks fan. All draft picks are risky. History shows that for every Peyton Manning there are a lot more picks closer to Ryan Leaf. Aaron Curry was taken as the fourth pick a few years ago while David Hawthorne was an UDFA who led the Seahawks with 115 tackles last year. Curry is now in Oakland still trying to revive a career that is slowly dying while Hawthorne signed a nice contract and will start in New Orleans. Few–if any–saw that coming, but that is how it panned out. Those who pick the ones who play have a tough job. Coaches and General Managers wager their careers and their legacies on their picks. It’s no different in Seattle and there is no doubt that Pete Carroll and John Schneider will be judged on the strength (or lack thereof) of their drafts.
But as a fan of both them and the team they are charged with making better, I think I would do well to remember that before they are judged they should be given a fair chance to field their team. Knee-jerk and visceral reactions to draft picks is a good gig and not a hard one to get. All one has to do is have an opinion and when it comes to sports fans opinions are typically part of the deal. Passionate and smart as Seattle fans are, we are not always patient. It is not hard to understand why and all of us have the same hopes; a team capable of winning a Super Bowl. While championships are the goal the journey there does not have to be a miserable one. We should enjoy the ride. Part of that enjoyment is trying to understand what this organization is about and what they are looking for in a player. Understanding that means that with my limited access to information the organization has to evaluate the value of a player, I need to give each player a chance.
The reaction by some to the Seahawks picking Bruce Irvin was a little sad. The day following his pick there were still those who, despite having access to a number of articles that detailed his past and his journey to becoming a first round draft pick, were still taking to mass media with stories about his past that were not only inaccurate, but closer to pure fantasy. Bruce Irvin has made some serious mistakes, but knowing what those were is the responsibility of anyone who feels inclined to comment on who he is, both as a person and as a player. Judging him for what he’s done is one thing but too much of what I read the other night had little to do with those things and more to do with judging what people thought he had done. That judgment led to people judging the organization, some of which was inaccurate to the point of disappointing.
I am impressed with what the Seahawks did in this draft and trust those who made those decisions. It does not mean that I’ll feel the same way in a year or two. As things stand, I trust in what the team is doing and the direction we’re heading. What a great time to be a fan.
Ready, Aim, Shoot!
Over the last few years, I’ve struggled mightily with the perpetual flow of mock drafts and expert team needs assessments. For some, they are a lifeline to alleged “inside ” information of their favorite team’s plans. For others they are just a filler in an otherwise slow NFL off-season news cycle. Either way, you can’t shake a stick without hitting one from December through April every year.
Here’s what I don’t get, and maybe someone out there can help me..Why do we keep going back for more year after year? Are they ever that accurate? Are we addicts?Do “experts” pick Seattle Seahawks or any other NFL franchise’s draft choices correctly at all?
I decided to take a look at 10 mock drafts from some elite NFL insiders and various fan websites and compare them to the actual draft. I wanted to see if they even came close to accurately predicting the action in the 1st round. Here’s what I found:
Don Banks: 7/32 (.22)
Mel Kiper: 7/32 (.22)
Pat Kirwan: 7/32 (.22)
Mike Mayock: 6/32 (.19)
Nfldraftseason.com: 6/32 (.19)
Michael Lombardi: 5/32 (.16)
Todd McShay: 4/32 (.13)
Rob Rang: 3/32 (.09)
Pete Prisco: 3/32 (.09)
DraftCountdown.com: 3/32 (.09)
FUN FACT: Every mock correctly guessed 3 picks: #1 Andrew Luck #2 RGIII, and #8 Ryan Tannehill.. Yay!
So there you have it.. Not even close. I want to point out that this was not in any way, an attack on the experts, but more a look at how close to the vest NFL teams hold their cards leading up to the draft. I also want to point out that knowing how far off these folks are from reality, the fact I keep reading them is clear…. I’m an addict, and a glutton for punishment and agony.
Note to self: While these Mock drafts can be a great conversation piece, it’s obvious they shouldn’t ever be taken too seriously.
So tell us what you think. Do you enjoy the yearly crop of NFL Mock Drafts? Comment below and let us know.
Well, the NFL draft has come and gone, and once again the Seahawks’ picked players the “experts” thought were the clearly out of line with their projections. I happen to take that as a very good thing. If we haven’t learned already, Pete Carroll and John Schneider trust their eye, and are seemingly brilliant when it comes to finding players that “fit” their schemes.
Here’s a quick video round up of the Seahawks picks, and a list of the undrafted free agent signings. Comment below and tell us how you think the front office performed this year, and who excites you the most!
ROUND 1 DE BRUCE IRVIN 15TH PICK FROM EAGLES
ROUND 2 ILB BOBBY WAGNER 47TH PICK FROM JETS
ROUND 3 QB RUSSELL WILSON 75TH PICK
ROUND 4 RB ROBERT TURBIN 106TH PICK
ROUND 4 DT JAYE HOWARD 114TH PICK FROM EAGLES
ROUND 5 ILB KOREY TOOMER 154TH PICK FROM JETS
ROUND 6 CB JEREMY LANE 172ND PICK FROM COLTS–EAGLES
ROUND 6 DB WINSTON GUY 181ST PICK
ROUND 7 DE JR SWEEZY 225TH PICK FROM RAIDERS (very few videos available)
ROUND 7 DE GREG SCRUGGS 232ND PICK FROM BRONCOS–JETS
WR Phil Bates
G Rishaw Johnson
WR Jermaine Kearse
TE Sean McGrath
T Jon Opperud
WR Lavasier Tuinei
CB London Durham
DB DeShawn Shead
DE Monte Taylor
K Carson Wiggs
When I was growing up, we called pairs of socks we got for Christmas “Ooh, Socks!” It was said with an exacted amount of faux enthusiasm, like Ashton Kutcher apologizing for cheating on his old wife with a younger woman. Did we like the socks? Not really. But they were one of those practical presents that are necessary for the coming year.
And so, they were “Ooh, Socks!”
Cheap-assed present givers anyway.
Tavaris Jackson is the “Ooh, Socks!” of the Seahawks fan base. They love him until he’s out of ear shot or not helping win the last five of seven games on behalf of the Nation of the 12th Man.
And so we now know that Tavaris Jackson isn’t the Seattle Seahawks Quarterback of the Future. That has been made very clear by the Twitterazzi and local media folks in their reaction to today’s insanely close 19-17 loss against the San Francisco 49ers.
Also made clear by Twitter is just how egregiously idiotic 49ers fans are, but that’s a post for another time.
No, today, what we really learned is that people who watch football games for some odd reason seem to get Alzheimers throughout the season.
Some are calling for the head of TJax, perhaps one of the most even-keeled, courageous and pain-handling quarterbacks I’ve ever seen who holds onto the ball for way too long.
Of course, that flaw, which resulted in him being stripped by Niners back-up linebacker Larry Grant in a play that shut down the Hawks’ last-second hopes of a winning field goal, is something we’ve known all season. We saw Chicago Bears linebacker Julius Peppers cause a safety last week for that reason. We saw many of the sacks in the stats column happen for the same reason this year.
Is there a way to correct that flaw? Unlikely. Jackson has been in the NFL too long to teach him new tricks, and clearly the coaching staff isn’t interested in him practicing throwing live hand grenades (I want an intellectual property rights fee if they ever decide to use that idea).
So it should be shocking to absolutely friggin’ everyone in the universe that all of the sudden fans and the media are screaming “oh my Hamburger Helper I can’t believe it! There’s no way he’s our quarterback next year! He’s never going to do anything!”
As if they were praising him as the Messiah (my apologies, Mr. Tebow) the entire season.
These are the same bandwagon-loving fans and media elites who were screaming for Checkdown Charlie Whitehurst to replace him. We had an extremely disgusting taste of that this season, too, and then those cart-riding reactionaries screamed for Jackson to be back. When he started to win, and make some decent plays downfield (and the team was winning), they fell in love with him, as if to say they now believed he was worthy for the NFL Hall of Fame.
Nobody in my house thought either of those extreme positions. Mainly because my wife doesn’t watch football and my kid is too young to understand what’s going on. He thinks everything on the TV is called “football,” and that’s all he knows about the game. Or television, actually.
What “we” thought in this humble abode was that Tavaris Jackson was the most likely to be able to manage an offense he was familiar with and that this was still a rebuilding process for the NFL’s youngest team of starters during a lock-out-shorteneded offseason and training camp.
For the most part, that’s exactly what this season has shown. Was I disappointed in today’s loss? Of course. But I am not screaming for blood. Tavaris Jackson did exactly what he has done each week he has played for this team. He showed poise and conviction, as well as the patience of a 147-year turtle in the Galapagos Islands who holds onto the ball too.effing.long.
In the end we got what we needed this season (and, oh by the way bandwagon fans, you know there’s another game this season, right?), our young players gained crucial experience and we saw significant progress in Year 2 of the Epoch of Carroll & Schneider.
We saw the blueprint in a far clearer fashion than we did with Hasselbeck at the helm. We were familiar with him, his skill set and many of the veterans, now on their umpteenth offensive scheme in however many years (a crafty way for me to admit I can’t remember, you suckers). We were a bit lost last year in terms of where Carroll wanted to go with “his” team. Marshawn Lynch was lost in the backfield all year, too.
Now look where we’re at. Skittles literally fall from out of the sky at Century Link Field when Beast Mode breaks into the endzone.
No, Tavaris Jackson isn’t the Seahawks Quarterback of the Future. He’s likely our starter next year considering we’ll probably end the season 8-8 and be nowhere close to picking up an immediate starting QB in the 2012 draft. Jackson still provides this team with enough time to potentially draft a solid rookie who he can help mentor for a year.
TJax is the Christmas “Ooh, Socks!” of the Seattle Seahawks. He’ll keep your feet warm until you’re ready to open up the good stuff.
In today’s NFL there are teams who have had consistent success for so long they never appear to need the dreaded rebuild. For others, it seems like the franchise is stuck in a continual cycle of rebuild-fail-fire coach-hire new coach-rebuild-rinse-repeat. So what’s the formula to success in the NFL? In part one of this three-part series we will discuss the NFL Draft and see what a good draft strategy can achieve.
So let’s start with the best teams in each division from 2006 through the 2010 season, and jump into their draft numbers. (Special thanks to The San Diego Union Tribune’s Kevin Ace & Matt Perry, for the great Draft number breakdowns)
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals (37-43 record): 23/34 Draft picks still with team (67%).
Pro-bowler success rate: 3% (1). Starter success rate: 24% (8). 1 Superbowl Appearance
NFC North: Green Bay Packers (48-32 record): 31/47 Draft picks still with team (66%). Pro-bowler success rate: 4%(2). Starter success rate: 23% (11). 1 Superbowl Victory
NFC East: NY Giants (48-32 record): 26/38 Draft picks still with team (68%). Pro-bowler success rate: 3% (1). Starter success rate: 29% (11). 1 Superbowl Victory
NFC South: N.O Saints (49-31): 21/31 Draft picks still with team (68%). Pro-bowler success rate: 9% (3). Starter success rate: 32% (10). 1 Superbowl Victory
AFC West: San Diego Chargers (55-25 record): 17/34 Draft picks still with team (50%). Pro-bowler success rate: 6% (2). Starter success rate: 18%(6). No Superbowl Appearances
AFC East: NE Patriots (63-17 record): 23/50 Draft picks still with team (46%). Pro-bowler success rate: 8% (4). Starter success rate: 22% (11). 1 Superbowl appearance
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers (51-29): 24/43 Draft picks still with team (56%). Pro-bowler success rate: 5% (2). Starter success rate: 21% (9). 2 Superbowl Appearances, 1 Victory.
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts (61-19 record): 28/41 Draft picks still with team (68%). Pro-bowler success rate: 5% (2). Starter success rate: 18% (11). 2 Superbowl Appearances, 1 victory
After looking at the numbers here is a composite sketch of what teams have done to be successful.
Average over 60% draft picks still with team.
Have a Pro-bowler success rate at or greater than 5%
Draft Starters at or greater than 24%
Seattle Seahawks: 35-25 record (2006-2010) To be fair, the Seahawks are in the middle of a major rebuild. Pete Carroll has made wholesale changes to this roster and has begun to weed out the majority of Tim Ruskell and Mike Holmgren’s draft choices. Hopefully we can achieve some continuity and draft success in the years to come.
19/37 (51%) draft picks still with team.
Pro-bowler success rate: .0%
Starter success rate: 18% (6)
0 Superbowl Appearances
It is striking to see the similarities in the successful teams. It’s also very easy to see where the Seahawks must improve. Stats do not lie, but they may not always tell you the whole truth. Raw numbers do not take into account the impact a star QB has on the team, the team bias to defense or offense, injuries, or divisional opponents. However, one shocking thing I discovered was that the only team on this list of divisional draft success stories that did not make it to the Superbowl (San Diego), still managed a 55-25 record. It is becoming clear that the teams with the best scouting departments, and best organized draft board seem to be going to, and winning Superbowl titles.
So is it all in how you draft or is there more? In part two we will look at free agency and how big of a role it plays in a team’s success.