10 Things to Watch at the Combine from a Seahawks perspective

The annual NFL Scouting Combine was created in 1982 to provide every NFL team equal opportunity to get their medical and other off-field questions answered. Since, the Combine has morphed into a made-for-television athletic competition that some have dubbed the "Underwear Olympics." The Seahawks scout and play differently than virtually every other team in the NFL. Here's what you need to know about their preparation for the Combine and what makes the 2016 crop of talent unique.

10. The Seahawks will once again be well represented at the Combine with general manager John Schneider scheduled to speak to the national media on Wednesday at 3:15 (Indianapolis time) and Pete Carroll listed for 3:00 pm on Thursday.

9. Over the years, I've discussed plenty of Combine particulars with members of the Seahawks' scouting and coaching personnel and I've never heard of a case where a player was eliminated from their board based on a poor workout. Players can be eliminated based on interviews and medical tests, however. The Seahawks are willing to overlook some off-field or durability issues, but in a class with as many character and injury red-flags as this one, the mental, character, emotional and medical tests administered will be just as important as any physical tests from a Seahawks perspective.

8. The medical testing which takes place each year in Indianapolis is the most important - and least discussed - element of the annual Combine. There are a disproportionate number of prospects in this year's class which show legitimate NFL ability but have struggled enough with injuries at the collegiate to perhaps slide significantly. Most will focus on highly celebrated prospects like former UCLA (and Bellevue High) standout Myles Jack but don't forget about Auburn tackle Shon Coleman as well as guards Isaac Seumalo (Oregon State) and Rees Odhiambo (Boise State), prospects who could slip due to prior struggles to remain on the field but possess the raw talent to prove the next mid or late round steal for Seattle.

7. Over the past few weeks, I've broken down offensive linemen, defensive linemen and outside linebacker - three positions Seattle is likely to focus on with left tackle Russell Okung, right guard J.R. Sweezy, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin - all pending free agents. Give Schneider and his scouting staff credit, these three positions are arguably the most gifted in the class of 2016.

6. Seattle is known for its surprises on draft day and nowhere is that more obvious than with their selections along the offensive line. Assistant head coach and run game guru Tom Cable holds a lot of sway in grading the big guys for the Seahawks. Among some of the players with the size, agility and nastiness that he's shown a preference for in the past would seem to include Ohio State's Taylor Decker, Michigan State's Jack Conklin, Alabama's Ryan Kelly, Notre Dame's Nick Martin, Kansas State's Cody Whitehair, LSU's Vadal Alexander or Stanford's Josh Garnett.

5. The Seahawks (and most other clubs) have bemoaned the fact that the spread offenses so popular in today's amateur football has slowed the development of offensive linemen, leading to Seattle often attempting to convert defensive linemen into blockers during the current regime. The class of 2016, however, is different than most recent years. It offers an exciting number of relatively ready blockers hailing from pro-style offenses. Each of the players mentioned at No. 7, for example, have experience lining up out of the three-point stance.

4. Don't worry, though, there are plenty of "toolsy" prospects for Carroll, Cable and Co. to get excited about. Take Texas Tech left tackle Le'Raven Clark, for example. While the four-year starter didn't line up in the three-point stance until his first practice at the Senior Bowl, he's light on his feet and possesses vines for arms. Among other projects who could be groomed into eventual starters include San Diego State's Pearce Slater, Colorado's Stephane Nembot and UCLA's Caleb Benenoch.

3. Given the stellar play of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks aren't as needy at wide receiver as in recent years but could be forced to replace Jermaine Kearse, who, of course, is a free agent, as well. Wide receiver isn't as loaded this year as the past two seasons but there are a number of big, rangy split end types who could draw Seattle's attention, including TCU's Josh Doctson, Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson and Tulsa's Keyarris Garrett. Top-rated receiver Laquon Treadwell of Mississippi should be long off the board by No. 26 overall but if he slips due to speed concerns, his strong hands and effort as a downfield blocker would likely be prized by the Seahawks.

2. Few teams could absorb the least productive of an All-Pro running back like Marshawn Lynch and still finish second in the NFL in rushing yardage but this speaks to why Seattle is confident that their heir apparent is already on the roster with youngster Thomas Rawls. While Rawls wowed and Christine Michael earned back some confidence, the Seahawks may be looking for competition at the position. While Fred Jackson's soft hands and leadership were helpful, he ran like the league's oldest running back a year ago. A speedier, younger option like Alabama's Kenyan Drake, San Jose State's Tyler Ervin or California's Daniel Lasco could be Day Three options.

1. With Russell Wilson locked up, quarterback isn't a huge concern for the Seahawks but backup Tarvaris Jackson is a pending free agent, himself, and Seattle may want to find a young passer to groom, as well. Dual-threat passers like Stanford's Kevin Hogan, Oregon's Vernon Adams and TCU's Trevone Boykin would allow Seattle to keep the read-option offense it currently employs. 


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