Seahawks Draft Frank Clark & Tyler Lockett On Day 2

It never really fails.  The Seahawks reportedly “reaching” for a player they could’ve gotten much later in the draft (whether that’s true or not – the player still being available the next time we picked – is another story).  Last year, you could argue Justin Britt was that guy.  The year before, it was Jordan Hill.  The biggest names on this list are Bruce Irvin in 2012 and James Carpenter in 2011.  Guys at the top of our drafts, who the Seahawks fall in love with while everyone else scratches their heads.  It wouldn’t be an NFL Draft with Pete Carroll and John Schneider if someone wasn’t selected who made everyone say, “Him?

Frank Clark is that player in 2015.  The Seahawks like to take these chances because we’re so often drafting in the lower half of rounds.  It’s hard to get REALLY talented players.  There are diamonds in the rough, guys you can coach up to one day be studs.  But, we’re looking for those players who are already talented, but for whatever reason they fell to us (and some teams believe they’re players worthy of falling even further).

James Carpenter had injury concerns.  He also wasn’t really a natural-born offensive tackle.  People hated on the pick because there were other, more talented linemen available.  Gabe Carimi was picked after Carpenter, and he’s not so hot.  Derek Sherrod was taken after Carpenter and his injuries have been so bad (including a broken leg) that he’s hardly played at all since his rookie year!  I’m not going to go on and on down the list, but I will say this:  James Carpenter wasn’t the biggest mistake everyone makes it out to be.  When he was healthy, he was a dominant force in our run game.  That’s what the Seahawks saw when they drafted him – a unique talent for run blocking no one else left on the draft board had – so they took him.

Bruce Irvin had character concerns.  He was also severely under-sized.  But, the Seahawks tabbed him as the draft’s best pure pass rusher.  Weight can be put on, technique can be refined, but his natural gifts couldn’t be taught.  Irvin’s another guy who doesn’t prove Carroll & Schneider are geniuses, but he also doesn’t prove them to be fools.  Irvin led all rookies in sacks his first year.  He converted to linebacker and this appears to suit him quite well.  He’s going into what may or may not be his contract year with a drive I’m sure will lead him to a nice contract.  I won’t say it’s a make-or-break year, because pass rushers tend to really explode later in their careers.  But, I could see it really being a boon for our defense.

Frank Clark falls right in that wheelhouse.  He’s got unique talent for a defensive end.  Possibly even first round talent.  But, he’s got a sordid past.  This is a tricky area to dance around.  Domestic Violence.  It’s been on the minds of football fans since the Ray Rice video came out.  It’s an issue that’s plaguing this country and various parts of the world.  In many respects, women are treated as second-class citizens.  For everyone who jumps to the conclusion that “he did it” there’s a just-as-vocal contingent asking things like “what did she do to deserve it?” or “is she lying to try to destroy his career?”

Gone Girl is a movie.  A movie based on a book.  It’s fiction.  And yet, it seems to be every man’s worst nightmare, of the crazy bitch who frames her innocent husband, drags his name through the mud in the press, and ultimately comes THIS close to ruining his life forever.  Obviously, there are a lot more ins and outs and whathaveyous to the story of Gone Girl, but it’s appalling how many people out there whose first instincts are to blame or shame the victim.

That having been said, I think it’s okay to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  One bad night, one bad incident, does not make someone an Abuser For Life.  Did he hit that girl?  I have no idea; I wasn’t there.  Probably something happened, and that something wasn’t good.  And, the way he talked about the incident at the Combine was really far from ideal (deflecting blame away from himself, as if he had no part in it).  But, you know, we’re not talking about a polished public speaker.  Words come out wrong when you’re in the heat of the moment, with all the cameras and reporters on you.  But, as far as I know, this is the only incident of domestic violence in his past.  And, by all accounts, he’s been in counseling and appears to be working through his issues.  It at least shows he WANTS to be a better person.

I’ll just say this and step down from my soapbox:  he probably did a bad thing, and it sucks.  But, he’s moved on from it, and now he’s a member of the Seattle Seahawks.  You are all free to form your opinions of him and stick to your guns.  If you hate the pick for what he did, I can’t blame you.  I agree with the person on Twitter who said they’d give him a chance, but he’s already on strike two.  One questionable drunken incident doesn’t make someone an abuser of women.  But two?  Two means you did something, you got away with it, and you didn’t care enough to not do it again.  Plus, he’s in the NFL.  There’s added scrutiny and added responsibility when you’re in the NFL.  You have to live up to a standard if you’re going to make it.  You KNOW the world is just waiting for you to slip up.  It’s like that kid who got busted with a failed drug test at the Combine – you KNEW when the Combine was!  How fucking stupid do you have to be to fail a Combine drug test???  Same thing here.  Everyone is waiting for Frank Clark to hit another woman so they can say, “See, this guy hasn’t changed!  He had you all duped, because he plays football, and because you don’t value the life of a woman the way you do the GAME of football!”

For me, Frank Clark has two strikes.  But, I’m not going to bury him straight away.  He’s got to prove he can keep his nose clean, work hard, follow the leadership of the stars on this team, and one day prove his worth.

Frank Clark could be a special talent.  He fell to us at the end of the second round because of his character.  Ultimately, it’s up to him as to whether or not Pete & John are made to look like geniuses or fools.

***

I feel a little bad about blowing this post out on Clark’s off-the-field past, because the player I’m MOST excited about is Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett!

The Seahawks swapped third round picks – moving from the bottom to near the top – with the Washington Redskins (Scot McCloughan strikes again!) to take Lockett at 69.  It was a bold move – costing us (in addition to our 3) a fourth, fifth, and sixth round pick – but apparently one the Seahawks were eager to make.  Initial reports stated the Houston Texans really wanted this kid, so take that for what it’s worth.

Lockett is 5’10, 183 pounds.  He’s fast.  He can play in the slot or outside.  Most importantly, he returns kicks and punts, and he does so really well!

I was raving about this kid when I saw him play against UCLA in the Alamo Bowl this past January.  In that game, he caught 13 balls for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns.  In that game, he also had 3 kick returns for 44 yards and 2 punt returns for another 41 yards.

This is the real deal.  This is Percy Harvin without the attitude dysfunction.  This is a guy who – from day 1 – will be our kick and punt returners.  On top of that, with Richardson likely out for some time due to injury, I like his chances of getting some offensive packages.  Yes, yes, the bubble screen game we all love so much.  But, who knows?  If he flashes a little Golden Tate, maybe he also grabs some jump balls down the field.

Lockett could top out as one of those hybrid #1 receivers, like a T.Y. Hilton or a DeSean Jackson.  Not the big, Randy Moss types.  But, the stretch-the-field burner types.  If he ends up panning out, that proceeds to slot the rest of our receivers right where they belong (in the 2-3-4 range).  With Lockett potentially stretching the field, Graham as our red zone threat, and Baldwin and Kearse doing their thing, I believe our offense is pretty well set.

It was a huge price to pay, but ultimately one I think will be worth it.  If you look at how the third round shook out, all the good receivers were taken by the time it would’ve gotten to us (including picks by Pittsburgh and Green Bay, because they seemingly want to draft ALL the receivers).

I don’t know who these people are who are killing the Seahawks for drafting Lockett, but you need to screw your heads on straight.  I hate to break it to you, but Dorial Green-Beckham was selected with the 40th pick; it would’ve cost WAY too much for us to trade up there and grab him!

This way, we fill a couple holes in our return game and our offense, while at the same time maybe landed a pass rusher who will complement Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril really well.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  You can’t have enough pass rushers.

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