Rob Rang (Slight Return)

The only downside to having NFL/Draft expert Rob Rang in the Seahawks.NET chatroom is that no matter how much time Rob generously takes to answer our questions, there always seems to be those few that get lost due to time constraints. Fortunately, Rob agreed to take an extra round of inquiries for our readers!

.NET: Reports say that the Seahawks’ third-round draft pick, Georgia QB David Greene, has everything it takes mentally to assimilate the Seahawks’ offense over time – where do you rate him as far as ability?

Rang: Greene's greatest attribute, as you implied in your question, is the mental aspect; his intelligence, leadership ability, experience, etc. In terms of pure physical ability, his accuracy is his best attribute, especially with the fade route. He only has an average arm, which means he'll float some passes. He has the athleticism to step up in the pocket and avoid the rush, but isn't a natural scrambler and is very little threat out of the pocket. Personally, I had Greene ranked as a 4th round selection.

.NET: Do you think that the current corps of wide receivers can help keep this offense in the NFL’s top ten?

Rang: Tough to say. Holmgren’s offense while with both Green Bay and Seattle has made stars out of receivers less talented that their current group. Don’t forget how unheard of Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman, and Derrick Mayes were before jumping into this offense. Darrell Jackson, obviously, needs to step up as a true go-to receiver. He doesn’t have to become a superstar overnight, but does need to cut down on the drops. Joe Jurevicius will add reliability and seems to come up with big plays in the clutch. Bobby Engram is among the NFL’s top slot receivers and deserves a chance to start fulltime. In my mind, the receiver to watch out for in this offense is Jerome Pathon, simply because his combination of size, experience, and speed make him a potentially very effective WCO receiver. Of the young receivers, Urban is reliable and DJ Hackett seems to be on the verge of making a jump up the depth chart. He stood out in the minicamps, both in his production and effort.

.NET: Recent reports have us thinking that Marcus Tubbs may be ready to live up to that 2004 first-round pick. Based on what you saw last year and when he played at Texas, what can we expect from him if he reaches his peak?

Rang: At his peak, Tubbs is a potential Pro Bowl caliber defensive tackle. He was terribly inconsistent, at times, while at Texas, but you saw flashes of greatness. There just aren’t many defensive tackles with his size and athleticism. That said, you can’t expect any player to ever reach their peak. You hope for it obviously, but it is the rare player who is able to string together a peak campaign in terms of remaining unscathed all season long and playing with the fire play in and play out. Realistically, expect a dramatic jump in production. He should force double teams in the running game similar to what Rashad Moore forced in 2003. He also should provide more of a pass rush than any defensive tackle Seattle has employed since John Randle.

.NET: What are your thoughts on UDFA running back Jesse Lumsden?

Rang: Intriguing talent worthy of a shot in the NFL. Enjoyed a monstrous career in Canada obviously, and I was on hand to personally scout him at the Shrine Game in San Francisco. Lumsden has a gliding, upright running style that reminds me a bit of former Seattle runner Derrick Fenner. It will be interesting to see if Lumsden is able to catch on to all of the intricacies of the offense, as the schemes he has played with in the past have been fairly rudimentary in comparison.

.NET: Who would you say is the most underrated Seahawks rookie, based on how you think everyone will perform?

Rang: I’ve been pretty outspoken about my feelings on Lofa Tatupu, so I’m going to jump on another linebacker, Cornelius Wortham for this one. Wortham is a versatile linebacker who has seen action at both inside and outside for Alabama. He missed the 2003 season with a dislocated elbow and was moved to middle linebacker for his senior season. He struggled mightily here early in the campaign, but adjusted as the season went, ultimately leading the team in tackles. He isn’t the most instinctive or athletic, but is very physical and plays to the whistle. He made some plays at the Senior Bowl that drew my attention. I had him rated as a 5th round prospect, so Seattle selecting him in the 7th round constitutes as a steal in my mind.

.NET: Who had the NFL’s best draft in 2005? Who had the worst?

Rang: Several teams immediately jump out in terms of who had the best draft, but if I were to pick one, it would have to be Dallas. The team needed a great deal of help if they were to transition to the 3-4 scheme Parcells favors and they made sure they received that help with arguably the elite pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware and the two best 3-4 defensive end prospects in the draft (in my opinion) in both Marcus Spears and later Chris Canty. The team also added one of the underrated defenders with linebacker Kevin Burnett.

As far as the worst draft, there again are several to keep in mind, though Denver’s was the most surprising for many reasons. Many will point to Maurice Clarett as being an odd choice, and he was, considering he would have been available later. However, the selection of three consecutive cornerbacks to start their draft was also odd considering that cornerback wasn’t considered much of a need. This is a team that had some holes, but instead of attempting to fill them, elected to go for what many across the league considered “luxury picks.”

.NET: Which positional battle(s) do you think will be most intriguing during the Seahawks’ training camp and preseason?

Rang: Wide receiver will certainly be interesting. Middle linebacker and the right side of the offensive line, as well. Should Alexander not show up, it will be interesting to see how Morris and Carter, in particular fare. That said, the player who might have the most eyes on him could be Seneca Wallace. He’ll be battling the toughest opponent of any Seahawk, as he is competing against the perceived reliability every available veteran quarterback might provide.

.NET: 6th round pick Tony Jackson was a tight end at Iowa, but the Seahawks drafted him as a fullback. What was the reasoning behind that?

Rang: Seattle felt Jackson was athletic enough and had the size to handle this transition. Early indications from the minicamps, however, have been that this projection was a poor one. Jackson has struggled.

.NET: The standard analytical read on the Seahawks "exchanging" Ken Lucas for Andre Dyson and Kelly Herndon is that the defensive backfield may have less big-play ability, but far better depth, especially in the nickel packages. Would you agree?

Rang: Absolutely. Ken Lucas is the perfect example of what was so tantalizing about Seattle last year, and yet also so disappointing. On the one hand, Lucas is a marvelous athlete with excellent coverage skills. He clearly stepped up his game last season. The concern, of course, is that last season just happened to be his contract year. It could be a coincidence, of course, but far too many Seahawks seemed more concerned with their own statistics or paychecks than the overall good of the team. Dyson and Herndon are not as athletically gifted as Lucas, but should prove to be more reliable, consistent football players.


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