I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna Really Really Really Wanna Ziggy Ansah

You have no idea how long I’ve been holding onto that Spice Girls reference …

So, here’s the good news: the Seahawks had a need and they helped fill that need with Ezekiel Ansah. Even before the Frank Clark trade, pass rush was a major concern for this team. Maybe the BIGGEST concern. With Clark’s contract situation being untenable, our options were to max out our cap space and do nothing to supplement around him, or get rid of him and hopefully improve our pass rush on the cheap. We chose the second route, and now here we are.

In the run-up to May 7th (after which the league was allowed to sign free agents without any risk to losing next year’s comp picks), the Seahawks brought in Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard, a couple of veterans who’ve bounced around the league for 6 and 4 years respectively, and to date haven’t really made much of an impact outside of special teams. Marsh’s season high is 5.5 sacks; and Orchard (who you might remember got cut on Hard Knocks with last year’s Browns team) has a season high of only 3 sacks. L.J. Collier was our first player selected in this year’s draft, which makes him a total unknown. We paired those guys with holdovers Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green – a couple of promising players from last year’s rookie class, but who also have a lot to prove – and veterans Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson – who are more depth options and not really even guaranteed to have roster spots this year.

Obviously, that wasn’t going to do. There are a number of free agent options still available, and the Seahawks brought in probably the best (or at least the one with the highest upside). Ziggy Ansah is a tremendous talent! He’s a beast! At his best, he’s even BETTER than Frank Clark!

Now, the bad news: every time we talk about Ansah, we have to throw in the phrase, “When He’s Healthy.”

Ziggy Ansah When He’s Healthy is one of the best defensive ends in all of football. But, it’s not even a matter of him missing games (which he has, 14 in the last three seasons), so much as him being a shell of his usual dominant self when he’s playing through injuries. How else do you explain 2.0 sacks in 2016 when he appeared in 13 games? That followed a Pro Bowl 2015 season when he had 14.5.

He’s coming off of a shoulder injury at the moment that really slaughtered his Franchise Tag year in 2018. And, what’s worse, if reports are to be believed, this injury could keep him out through Training Camp and even a month into the regular season!

I really had no idea this was a thing before I read about it this morning. Heading into yesterday, Ansah was a no-brainer to me. OF COURSE you sign the injury risk who – if things break right – could be a stud for this defense in 2019! And, on paper, I like the contract: $5.5 million guaranteed, with $8 million more in incentives; really the ideal deal for all parties involved. If he reaches his incentives, then GREAT, the Seahawks still got a Pro Bowl-calibre player for a song; if he hardly plays, then we’re only out $5.5 million and relatively little harm done.

But, if we’re talking about a guy who might not give you more than 12 games – and that’s assuming he returns hitting the ground running, and doesn’t suffer any setbacks during even a brutal 3/4 of a season – then I’m much less hopeful. Don’t get me wrong, I would still do this deal, because even if we just have him for the back-half of the season, he’s still someone this team needs (and could be a monster for a playoff run). But, I’m more convinced than ever that the Seahawks need to add maybe another 1-2 more pass rushers on top of him.

Or else, Martin and Green better take HUGE steps forward in their progress in Year 2.

All in all, a happy day, but not the happiest of days. I really hope those reports are exaggerated, and Ansah’s injury isn’t as bad as some fear.

The Seahawks Made Even More Trades & Drafted Even More Guys On Day 3 Of The NFL Draft 2019

Check out my post on Day 1, and my post on Day 2.

Just like I did yesterday, here’s a recap of all the wheeling and dealing from Day 3:

  • Trade from 114 to 120 with the Vikings, acquired 204 (sixth round)
  • Draft Gary Jennings, wide receiver from West Virginia, at 120
  • Draft Phil Haynes, guard from Wake Forest, at 124
  • Draft Ugo Amadi, defensive back from Oregon, at 132
  • Draft Ben Burr-Kirven, linebacker from Washington, at 142
  • Draft Travis Homer, running back from Miami, at 204
  • Draft Demarcus Christmas, defensive tackle from Florida State, at 209
  • Trade 2020 sixth round pick to Jaguars, acquired 236 (seventh round)
  • Draft John Ursua, wide receiver from Hawaii, at 236

So, for shits n’ giggs, here’s the entire Seahawks 2019 NFL Draft, in one bullet-pointed list:

  • First Round: L.J. Collier, DE
  • Second Round: Marquise Blair, S
  • Second Round: D.K. Metcalf, WR
  • Third Round: Cody Barton, LB
  • Fourth Round: Gary Jennings, WR
  • Fourth Round: Phil Haynes, G
  • Fourth Round: Ugo Amadi, DB
  • Fifth Round: Ben Burr-Kirven, LB
  • Sixth Round: Travis Homer, RB
  • Sixth Round: Demarcus Christmas, DT
  • Seventh Round: John Ursua, WR

I’m not gonna bother with the undrafted free agents, because the bottom of the roster is always so fluid, it would take more work than I’m willing to commit to keep track.

All in all, pretty good haul. Let’s talk about the Day 3 Dandies.

It’s hard to tell where Jennings fits. With Doug Baldwin all but retired at this point, we know that Tyler Lockett has the build and ability to play anywhere on the field. He can be our slot guy, he can be our deep threat on the outside, he can really do it all. Metcalf is our burner and our big body for deep passes and red zone targets. Jennings has good size (6’1, 214, 33″ arms) and speed (4.42 40). It seems like he’s another guy like Lockett who could play either slot or outside. Since he doesn’t appear to be as unique as someone like Metcalf, he’s probably going to have to separate himself with crisp route running and good hands. Regardless, he’s another receiver to throw on the pile, and as usual the Seahawks are playing the numbers game in trying to replace Baldwin’s hefty production.

Dude, I’m not gonna lie to you, I REALLY like the Haynes pick. While I like the guards the Seahawks have now, the starters are old and injury prone, and the backups – while good – are also injury prone. Haynes is a rock, who played a ton in college. He’s also super athletic, and super BIG (6’3, 322, 33.5″ arms); he’s everything we want and need at a guard spot, and it looks like he could backup either right or left. The best part of this pick is that he probably shouldn’t have to play, so if we do see him as a rookie, either we’re dealing with a TON of injuries ahead of him, or he’s earned the look with his quality play. Figure he fights for a starting spot in 2020 when Iupati moves on.

Amadi was a safety at Oregon, but also has a lot of experience playing corner as well. With all the safeties we have on roster, I can’t imagine he’ll get any play there, but with Justin Coleman moving on, there’s a clear opening at nickel corner. At 5’9, he’s not the typical outside corner you’d expect in a Seahawks defense. But, he is what we’ve seen at nickel. With only Akeem King ahead of him on the nickel corner depth chart, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amadi starting before too long. Failing that, he’s another special teamer to throw onto the pile.

I was happy to see BBK get picked by the Seahawks. As a rookie, it’s hard to see him as anything more than a special teamer. But, if he develops, we could be looking at K.J. Wright’s replacement when his knees finally give out. He obviously isn’t the physical freak that Wright is, but BBK has the sideline-to-sideline speed and tenacity you love to see out of a coverage linebacker. Considering we have Bobby, Wright, and Kendricks all starting, along with Barton getting selected in the third round, you have to wonder what this means for the future of Shaquem Griffin. I think his days are numbered. I also think Quem should bulk up and try out for the LEO end spot. He’s gonna need a big spike in his productivity in training camp and pre-season to keep his spot on the team, that’s for sure.

Travis Homer looks like a true Seahawks running back. Dude is fast, decisive, and breaking tackles like a mofo! He looks like more than your typical 3rd Down Back, but it also looks like he has those abilities in him. He’ll need to catch the ball and block well to carve out a regular role on this team; but as it stands now it seems like a lock for Homer to take C.J. Prosise’s spot, which is fine by me.

I wanted the Seahawks to wait until later in the draft to pick up a run-stuffing D-Tackle, and by jove they did it! Christmas is 6’3, 294, so he’s not HUGE huge, but he’s big enough. Considering what we were able to get out of Poona Ford as an undrafted rookie, I would expect similar things out of Christmas. It’d be nice to have both of them, with Jarran Reed, on the inside holding it down. Christmas doesn’t need to be a pass rusher in the slightest for me to enjoy this pick, just as long as he clogs up those rushing lanes.

The shock of the final day of the draft was seeing the Seahawks trade into the 7th round. They did this by giving away a 2020 6th rounder, which smacks of the Seahawks not having any respect for their 6th round picks (see: the Brett Hundley disaster), but you can also see why it needed to be done. With Baldwin as good as gone, there’s a need to throw extra resources into the wide receiver position. At the same time, the Seahawks already used two picks on WR, so the odds of attracting a high-end undrafted free agent like John Ursua was going to be next-to-impossible. He said that a bunch of teams were looking to sign him, and I bet the odds of the Seahawks being the winner in that sweepstakes was pretty remote. They felt the same way, obviously, so they did what they had to do. Ursua is the definition of a slot receiver. His making the team will depend on how soon he can get in a groove with Wilson, so we’ll see.

All in all, the Seahawks checked off all the boxes they needed to, except maybe backup quarterback, but that’s obviously something that can wait. I’m pretty happy with how they went about it. It sounds like the Seahawks REALLY dominated the rest of the league when it came to getting excellent value in their trade-backs, while not giving up the farm on their trade-ups. Heading into this draft with 4 selections, and coming away with 11 new players, plus an extra 2nd rounder in 2020 (plus being smart with free agency and looking to bank 4 extra comp picks), I’m telling you this is A.P. general managing at its finest. We won’t know for a while if these players pan out, but as far as execution goes, I give this draft an A+.

The Seahawks Made Some Trades & Drafted L.J. Collier In The First Round 2019

Coming into last week, the Seahawks only had 4 draft picks this year: a first, a third, a fourth, and a fifth. After dealing Frank Clark, then moving down from 21 to 30, then moving down from 30 to 37, all of a sudden long-ass Thursday night, the Seahawks now have a total of 9 picks in the 2019 draft, including #29 which we used to pick up a defensive end out of TCU, L.J. Collier.

Before we get into the guy, let’s set the stage:

  • #29 – L.J. Collier (DE)
  • #37 – Second Round (from NYG, trade down from 30)
  • #92 – Third Round (from KC, trade for Frank Clark)
  • #114 – Fourth Round (from GB, trade down from 21)
  • #118 – Fourth Round (from GB, trade down from 21)
  • #124 – Fourth Round
  • #132 – Fourth Round (from NYG, trade down from 30)
  • #142 – Fifth Round (from NYG, trade down from 30)
  • #159 – Fifth Round

Getting back to the actual guy, L.J. Collier is a 6’2, 283 pound defensive end who EVERYONE is comparing to Michael Bennett, which obviously is a shitload to live up to, but also RIGHT ON! That essentially means he’s a guy who can slide inside on pass rushing downs to allow extra speed rushers on the outside. It also means he’s equally as good at stopping the run as he is getting after the quarterback, which as we all know is a Seahawks Must.

I like the pick, because obviously I have to. What else am I going to say? The Seahawks traded away Frank Clark. As far as defensive ends go, we have Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin, and a bunch of nobodies. Also Known As: A Bunch Of Nobodies. There’s potential, but there are no proven guys. So, re-stocking through the draft was Priority #1. It’s probably Priority #1, #2, and #3.

There are complaints, of course. The Seahawks could’ve stayed at 21 and maybe gotten someone better. Hell, I thought the Seahawks were going to follow my plan to the letter! I said I thought we’d trade down from 21 to 24 or 25; instead we went from 21 ALL THE WAY to 30. As it turns out, right after we did that, the Eagles went from 25 to 22 in a swap with the Ravens, to climb up and draft Andre Dillard out of Wazzu. I don’t know if that deal was on the table or not, but if it was, the Seahawks could’ve done that and still landed Montez Sweat (who ended up going to the Redskins at 26). He was a guy many had as a Top 10 talent, who fell because of medical concerns (heart condition). Time will tell if that bit us in the ass.

What I won’t complain about is not taking a wide receiver in the first round. For a minute, the Seahawks had both #29 and #30, which was a SUPER FUN 20 minutes of draft time. I had the TV on mute, I had the 710 ESPN stream on one screen, and I had Mina Kimes going crazy on a different ESPN stream and I could NOT be more entertained! The thought of the Seahawks picking back-to-back was pretty exciting, but of course you knew we were going to spend every waking moment of those 20 minutes trying to trade down again (which we accomplished, naturally). A few minutes later, at pick 32, the Patriots took N’Keal Harry out of ASU.

First of all, are we sold that a receiver out of ASU is worthy of a first round draft slot? The kid has size and ability, but can he put it all together at the NFL level? I know that because the Patriots took him, that means he gets the NFL’s Stamp Of Approval, but when was the last time the Patriots drafted a wide receiver who actually panned out in a big way?

If you know anything about the Seahawks, you know we don’t throw the ball a ton. So, why would it make sense to blow your wad on a receiver with your top draft pick? We have SO MANY MORE needs on the defensive side of the ball! And, by all accounts, the drop-off from Collier to the next-best defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid was pretty severe. The drop off from Harry to the next-best receivers doesn’t feel all that bad.

If the Seahawks turn around at 37 and take a receiver, I won’t complain, but I’d prefer we stayed on the defensive side of the ball. What’s the point in making Russell Wilson the highest paid player if we’re going to spend all this capital on offensive weapons? Wilson is supposed to make the guys we already have BETTER! Hold out until the 3rd round, Seahawks! You’ll be glad you did!

Because it probably means you took a safety in the second round, which is absolutely what I’m clamoring for.

Tonight’s gonna be fun. Right off the bat, we’ll have another new Seahawk to obsess over. People on Twitter are talking about the large gap between #37 and #92, which I get. With 4 fourth round picks, you’d think we’d be able to package something together to either move 92 up, or move 37 down a few spots and get into the 50’s or 60’s as well.

Of course, I have a ticket to see Endgame tonight at 7pm, so my draft evening will be interrupted. That’s the price you pay for having one of the funnest weekends in recent memory fall into your lap!