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NFL Draft 2019 – Position Analysis LB

The Seahawks currently have one of, if not the best Linebacker group in the NFL… IF Wright is healthy and Kendricks doesn’t go to prison. We don’t have to talk about Wagner because he is insanely good, but another aspect is that all three contracts expire at the end of next year.

I am sure that Wagner will get a long-term extension, not so much about the other two, which begs the question of what the Seahawks do then. I believe that there are several players in this years draft that could be quite interesting for the Seahawks, both as starters, but also to add some higher quality depth (which they currently don’t have).

Interestingly I feel like the Seahawks have been pretty flexible with LB, at least able to make exceptions in regards to testing, and I have my own set of rules when choosing players anyway. So lets look at the LBs:

1st Round talent

Devin Bush – 5′ 11″ (height) – 234 lbs (weight) – 32” (arms) – 9 5/8” (hands) – Michigan

It is going to be a bit of a push, and a lot would have to go right for the Seahawks to get him, but I believe that Bush is the best WILL in the draft, just as White is the best ILB.

When you look at his measurements he looks small with a lot of weight, but what flashes on tape is speed and coverage abilities along with power. I think he would be a great fit next to Wagner. He flows to the ball, can tackle hard and penetrate into the backfield.

Talking real life, the big question is whether he will still be available for the Seahawks at 21, whether want to trade down with the pick, and whether they even want to go for a LB that high given other needs.

In terms of my own draft, I believe that Burr-Kirvin is better value and therefore more interesting. But, he is also more of an ILB. If Bush is still available at 15 (my draft picks rather than real life), then I would probably pick him. This may happen if teams pass on him due to his size.

4th – 7th round talent

Ben Burr-Kirven – 6′ 0″ – 230 lbs – 31 7/8” – 8 7/8” – Washington

Undersized LB who plays bigger, with intensity and a high motor – literally will not stop all game. Even when the ball goes away from his assignment, he will be on the scene to assist in a flash

I do not think that size is as important in the modern NFL as speed, with offenses playing a lot more vertical and RBs coming out of the backfield on sweeps rather than down the gut. Burr-Kirvin had the best LB 3 cone – something the Seahawks always tend to look at – but tested less well in the vert where the Seahawks also have expectations.

My favourite LB in the draft, which is probably why I would overdraft on him ridiculously. He has been projected to go in the 6-7th round and I would be happy to take him in the 4th, maybe 5th round.

Bobby Okereke – 6′ 1″ – 239 lbs – 34 1/2” – 10 1/8” – Stanford

I feel like Okereke is a choice where you fall in love with the measurables and potential to develop rather than to add for right now. He is a tough tackler with long arms (97th percentile), wingspan (97th percentile) and big hands, who feels like he can add some more mass to his frame. His testing is not really what the Seahawks look for, especially with a dreadful 3 cone, but he compared favourably to other LBs who have made it big in the league. I would be happy to take him in the 4th or 5th round.

UDFA

Drue Tranquill – 6′ 2″ – 234 lbs – 31 1/2” – 9 3/4” – Notre Dame

In terms of character he is a top guy for any team, 2x team captain with a motivational personality. He is a tough competitor with a baseball background as a centerfielder – I am a fan of multi-sport talents.

His measurables are all less than elite, but when you look at his combine performance, everything – besides 60 yard shuttle (59th percentile) and 3 cone (73rd percentile) – was in the 80-88th percentile rage, with his bench press being in the 95th percentile. I think that he is going to be a pretty straight line player at the next level similar to Calitro. If he is around as a UDFA, it would be good to get him in camp because he will amp up the competition.

 

Quick notes

  • Devin White is in my eyes the best ILB in the draft. Doesn’t make sense for the Seahawks because they will extend Wagner and as a backup to groom it is not worth drafting up to where he will go: top 10.
  • Gary Johnson interesting guy with his speed to the ball, but probably more of a 3-4 OLB, therefore not a scheme fit. If they were to take him then Martin could focus on DE instead of doing LEO duties and Johnson could be in the LEO rotation with Griffin
  • Mack Wilson is also interesting. I wouldn’t draft him, but he made some really cool plays flying around to the ball, both with his speed on the ground and literally flying in the air to get interceptions.

 

Summary

Besides Bush and Burr-Kirvin there wasn’t much that blew me away. Okereke is also a great developmental prospect. At the end of the day that is exactly what we need though. Players that we can develop behind our established stars.

In an ideal draft Bush slips to us at 15 and then you have options later on day 3 for high quality backups. Having 2 top options later on lets you look at what the other needs are and then pick according to that.

One thought on “NFL Draft 2019 – Position Analysis LB

  1. Pingback: 2019 NFL Draft: My Edition – Summary | the notepad

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