.NET Chat Transcript: NFL Expert Rob Rang!

On Novemer 1, NFL/draft expert Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com spent almost two hours in the Seahawks.NET chat room. A longtime friend of Seahawks.NET, Rob provided great analysis and several interesting team tidbits to our community, as he always does. Here is the transcript of the chat for all to read and enjoy!


ArosNET: Let me start. Rob, when you're right about a prospect, you are right, and it sure happens a lot with you my man. One word: LOFA!
RobRang: Lofa. LOL.
dfarrar777: Loooooooofa!!!
MysterMatt: What do you think of Lofa's tackling?
PlinytheCenter: Can you believe what he's done in just 7 games?
RobRang: I'm just thrilled for him. He's a great guy and is the leader this team has needed for so long.
MysterMatt: When the Lofa Luvfest is over, would you point out areas where he needs to..er..grow?
RobRang: We have to be careful, as he is still a rookie and will have his ups and downs. He is still a bit inconsistent in wrapping up and can be bowled over against bigger, more physical OLs and even RBs, but as I'm sure you've all noticed, his awareness and leadership have dramatically altered the defensive personality of this team.

dfarrar777: Better rookie: Lofa Tatupu or Odell Thurman?
RobRang: Tatupu is the better player, in my opinion, but Thurman has sooo much more upside. He (Thurman) has sooo much more downside due to his off-field struggles in the past, etc. however, as well. Two very good, young middle linebackers.

Gromit: Is there a strong possibility that Leroy Hill enters the starting lineup in place of D.D. Lewis?
RobRang: At some point, probably. Hill has been as good as advertised in terms of rushing the passer. Unfortunately, he's also been a bit inconsistent in his drops and can be beat. He's a rookie. He's played well, but has a ways to go towards becoming the player his athleticism and football IQ could make him.

MysterMatt: Have you had time to watch Leonard Weaver?
dfarrar777: To jump on Matt's Weaver question - where did you have him rated? Why wasn't he drafted?
RobRang: The idea of transitioning a tight end to the fullback position isn't new, but it is a bit rare. We (NFLDraftScout.com) did consider him a potential FB prospect, as we do a highly ranked TE prospect this year (Tulsa TE), but projecting a position change will always cause question marks and drop a prospect.
RobRang: Also Weaver wasn't given much running ability in college, no one seemed to know that he'd be this effective an open-field runner. He's been electric!

DrDiags: What about safety depth now that Ken Hamlin is done for awhile? Are John Howell and Jordan Babineaux it or can we expect the FO to make some pickups?
dfarrar777: With Hamlin on IR, we might hear the name Etric Pruitt, a safety who was drafted by the Falcons in 2004, when Ruskell was the assistant GM. What can you tell us about him? Why did the Falcons deem him expendable and what could he offer Seattle?
RobRang: Clearly the team will be looking for safety depth with Hamlin no longer available. However, I have spoke to members of the club and they seem pretty confident in Marquand Manuel as the starter with Howell, potentially Babineaux, and perhaps even Etric Pruitt for depth.
RobRang: Pruitt is an interesting guy. Personally, I had him as a 2nd-day draft pick and that is where he ended up with Atlanta. He is similar to Hamlin in that he is at his best being physical, especially near the line of scrimmage. But…he tends to cheat towards the line and go for big hits, which sometimes gets him beat deep. He isn't the caliber of athlete (size/speed ratio) that Hamlin is, but is a legit player. I was surprised to see him released from Atlanta and feel that he is a nice fit in Seattle's aggressive, fairly simple scheme.
PithyRadish: Rob have you heard any long term information regarding Hamlin's injury?
RobRang: What I've heard is that there is optimism that he'll get through this and be able to play sometime in the future. Despite all of the public hope, some conjecture by media he was never really considered a likely option for this season. Just too much injury. Headaches are too serious, etc.

Hawkstorian: hey Rob -- I'm curious if there are any way cool websites out there where I can study up on all the top draft prospects come april. Do you have any suggestions?
RobRang: In all seriousness, I feel like I am pretty good at what I do. My projections, mocks, etc. have been as accurate as anyone's for the past five years running. But, if you were to take my opinion/work out of what we are doing at NFLDraftScout.com, they still would be far and away better than anything else. I guarantee you will not find more or better information anywhere. We provide to every NFL team. We provide to ESPN, CBSSportsline, AOL, FOX, Madden/EA Sports, USA Today, Sports Weekly, and NFL.com.
RobRang: And seriously, you all have my email address: rrang@nfldraftscout.com. If you get the site, check it out for more than 20 minutes and can find any other website/draft production even remotely close to ours in amount or quality of information, I'll mail you the refund myself. Period.
NJSeahawksFan: You guys were certainly the most accurate last year.
Gromit: One of the great things about Rob is he is more fair nto west coast schools that are ignored on most national sites.

Gromit: Rob, why isn't a guy like Jerome Harrison getting more press nationally, and where does he stand come draft day?
RobRang: Harrison isn't going to get the national press he deserves because he plays for WSU and both Washington schools are just flat terrible right now. That said, he reminds me a great deal of last year's Pac 10 guy, JJ Arrington. Explosive in the open field. Not real physical, but tough enough. Not a spectacular prospect, 2nd to 3rd round most likely, but a player...
Gromit: Good stuff. I think Harrison surprises with where he goes.
dfarrar777: Would you project him well as an NFL back? I ask because Arrington has had his problems
RobRang: The biggest problem Arrington has had is he's used to HUGE holes due to Cal's wide open offense and underrated OL. In Arizona, the offense is surprisingly more traditional and their OL might be the worst in the league
RobRang: Harrison is being ranked by NFL people as one of the 5-7 best senior RBs. But there are some junior RBs to keep in mind that could/will push him down some.

MysterMatt: Would you give your take on Jordan Babineaux as a CB?
RobRang: Interesting guy. obviously has seen time at both CB and S so his versatility is the one thing that really stands out and the team loves about him. Funny the team has mentioned him as being similar to Pork Chop Womack (obviously not size-wise) but in how professional they are in jumping from position to position, how versatile and reliable they are, how well they take to coaching, etc.
RobRang: If he were to continue to develop, he could prove to be a 2nd corner at some point in his career, but a limited one at that. Good, solid depth player, but not a standout starter by any means.

NJSeahawksFan: Draft Question: What's the skinny on Northwestern's Brett Basanez? He's looked quite impressive in the few games I've seen this year.
RobRang: Basanez simply doesn't have the great arm teams are looking for. He is pretty accurate, but Northwestern's scheme helps him a lot. He has a chance to get drafted, but it will be late. Similar prospect to former NWU guys like Zak Kustok, etc.

Jazzhawk: How about a little on Texas-El Paso's Thomas Howard?
RobRang: Thomas Howard, UTEP outside linebacker is a really athletic, lanky guy. Makes a ton of plays and is so athletic that he can get around the blocks that could flatten him, as he is isn't terribly physical. Some like to compare him to former collegiate safety turned developing NFL star Karlos Dansby (Arizona), though I don't know that Howard has this type of upside. Top 45 pick, who could work-out his way into the 1st.
Jazzhawk: So, a late-1st rounder maybe? Hint, hint.
RobRang: Potentially, yes, a possible late first-rounder.

Gromit: What's your take on the DE at Penn St. Seems to be tearing things up. Abi?
Gromit: Tamba Hali . . . That's his name.
RobRang: Hali is one of the better defensive ends in the country. He is explosive enough to be considered a legitimate pass rusher, but also has been consistent against the run. I see some Will Smith type consistency and professionalism to his game. Likely ends up in the middle portion of Round One.
Jazzhawk: Follow up to Hali.....is his size, or lack thereof, causing concerns?
HawkRibeye: Is Thomas Howard better suited playing as a Safety or a Linebacker? Thanks.
RobRang: Hali is a legit 6-2 and a half to 6-3, 260-pound player. He'll be fine at DE. Howard is an OLB all the way.

PithyRadish: WSU’s Will Derting has dropped out of sight this year at Wazzu. Is he still considered premium?
RobRang: Tragic story, really. One helluva football player whose body has just broken down on him. Questionable whether he is even drafted at this point as he is just injured so often and had such poor speed/size measureables to begin with. When healthy, he was one of the best collegiate linebackers in the country, but he may never be able to regain what he's lost....

dfarrar777: You said in your June 21 chat that you saw a potential right side offensive line of Womack at G and Locklear at T. Now that Locklear has apparently sealed up a starting job, will Holmgren move a healthy Womack inside, or will Chris Gray get the reps with an alternating tackle situation?
RobRang: Gray will remain at OG. Even though everyone seems to realize that Womack could become a considerably better RG that Gray, it is pretty tough to mess with the chemistry of the league's best offense. They'll keep Gray and Locklear where they are and just have Womack ready in case any of the 4 outside OL positions get nicked up. An incredibly versatile, talented player Womack is... Very valuable to the Hawks...

Jazzhawk: Draft Questions, eh? How about, what are your thoughts on the Seahawks draft 'needs' this year?
RobRang: Obviously they have some concerns at S. Obviously there is the potential to be concerned at RB or OG with Alexander/Hutchinson possibly leaving. Obviously DL, especially DE, is still a concern.

rlrigmaiden: How about some Safeties: FSU's Watkins, LSU's Landry, Texas' Huff and Tennessee's Allen. I gotta think that adding some Safety help will be in the cards with Hamlin's uncertain future.
RobRang: Tennessee's Jason Allen is out with injury, so drop him. The four best free safeties I've seen all year long are (not necesarily in order as they are all 1-2 round guys) Greg Blue from Georgia, Roman Harper from Alabama, Pat Watkins from FSU, junior Laron Landry from LSU.
rlrigmaiden: I know that Allen's injured, but unless I've missed something, he wont be back in college next year. He'll get drafted.
RobRang: True, but if he does leave after this year, he won't be considered a top prospect again until he proves it. In my position, I have to assume he's unhealthy until he's not. (Didn't mean to infer that you didn't know...)

dfarrar777: Followup to Spencer - Tobeck's recent ongoing penalty festival is mitigated by his intelligence and ability with line calls, right? They're not moving Spencer up?
RobRang: Spencer has spectacular upside, but the team isn't about to just start transitioning to a rookie center to aid in his development when they think that they are in a possible Super Bowl run phase, that Tobeck is unquestionably the leader of the offensive line, and that 3. Hass/Alexander both trust Tobeck right now...
RobRang: Penalties or not.
dfarrar777: God, what a line that could be next year. Not that it’s not great now…

PithyRadish: I have thought some of Tobeck’s penalty problems might be due to Gray
RobRang: some of them are. Gray and Tobeck are simply over-matched at times. They aren't as big, strong, or athletic as a good number of the DTs they'll be facing. They'll matchup this weekend against a helluva athlete in Darnell Dockett. He might beat them a few times, but they'll beat him a few times too. Spencer/Womack at this point is just asking for miscommunication and needless struggles.

dfarrar777: Quick yes/no question. Walter Jones: best player in the NFL this season so far?
RobRang: Tough to say he's the best player. Steve Smith, LT, Alexander could all make arguments. Hands down the best lineman. Probably has been that for the last several years. Seattle (in general, not the team, not true fans) is so unappreciative of just how good this guy is. Saw an old post on the message board here, asking if Jones is a Hall of Famer. Please. He's the best player in Seattle history and it is not even close. If he retires today, the best. A more dominant player than Largent. Period.
dfarrar777: WOW.
PithyRadish: Yes we love Walt. Its like watching Jim Brown playing with the school kids

dfarrar777: Can't believe it took this long, but here goes: Your comments on the recent Jay Glazer comments that the Seahawks and Alexander’s people are talking turkey – what are the chances in your mind that Shaun remains a Seahawk past this season?
RobRang: Okay, Shaun. Here is the scoop.
RobRang: Give Jay Glazer of Fox credit. Up until the bye week there had been no contract proposals exchanged, no real talk, nothing. At that point the Seahawks and Alexander’s' agents exchanged proposals.
RobRang: The Seahawks’ offer was apparently low. The agents (go figure) was considerably higher. They are setting the grounds for negotiation. Not real earth-shattering news at this point.
RobRang: Do I think Alexander remains in Seattle? Probably. The season is just going so well right now that if it ends with at least a playoff victory (and hopefully much more) public sentiment will force Seattle to pay up.
RobRang: But I'd be shocked if Alexander's recent comments that he's "optimistic something will happen soon" are realistic. From everything I've heard they are a long, long ways away and neither side considers it a monstrous priority right now.
Hawkstorian: a lot has changed from early this year when you said Shaun was absolutely gone from Seattle
RobRang: The biggest thing that has changed, Hawkstorian, is the man running the finances. Ruskell to his credit came in with a completely open mind. He could watch the film and see how Alexander was less than powerful on a crucial 3rd and 2 or failed to pick up a block, etc. But he approached Alexander and his agents and said, show me your reputation as a runner is what I've heard and that your reputation as a blocker and power runner isn't deserved. Alexander to his credit has been considerably better this season than any of his others.
dfarrar777: He could have been Jamal Lewis about it - this team would be in the tank.

PithyRadish: I wonder if you see Mike Holmgren here next season?
PithyRadish: Regardless of finish
RobRang: There is no way of projecting Holmgren being here without knowing how the team finishes.
PithyRadish: Not trying to press here but does that mean if we have a poor finish in your opinion he's gone?
RobRang: I anticipate them winning the division fairly easily. getting a bye and perhaps even hosting through the NFC playoffs. In that scenario, winning any playoff games or not, I think he should remain.
PithyRadish: And I agree. I can see no one better out there right now.

dfarrar777: There’s been a great deal of speculation as to the amount of influence interim DC John Marshall has over the playcalling – to be sure, the calls have been a bit more aggressive in sequence, although the schemes look pretty similar. Is Marshall calling the plays, and is his increased involvement the key to Seattle’s resurgent defense?
RobRang: Certainly I believe Marshall has had an impact, but the bigger one is the development of the defensive line and linebackers. This isn't a difficult scheme Seattle is running on defense. You are either in the position to make the play, make the play, don't make the play, or aren't in the right position in the first place. All too often last year, Seattle wasn't even in the right position. Tatupu has helped in this way more than any other, which is why he deserves Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, though, realistically he won't win it unless Seattle truly dominates the NFC.
rawkhrdr: I love LOFA, no I really do. I think I will buy that Tatupu jersey, and wear it proudly like you said we would all be doing shortly
dfarrar777: Rob called it right on target.

Hawkstorian: Who do you project as top 5 in the '06 draft?
RobRang: Top 5 in 2006 - not in order because team needs will dictate that - Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Mathias Kiwanuka/AJ Hawk
dfarrar777: Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush - how do you project them as pros?
RobRang: Stars.

Gromit: Have you talked about WR's yet? 2006 draft prospects and the possibility of the Hawks going that way.
RobRang: The senior crop of WRs is pretty bad.
Gromit: I keep seeing Derek Hagan as a 1st round pick, and I just don't think he's that good.
RobRang: There are definitely some juniors to consider, but if Seattle is going to go receiver I anticipate it being in the 2nd to 3rd rounds, not in the first. Historically receiver is the draft's riskiest position and if Seattle is picking towards the end as I anticipate, there will be better players at other positions available.
RobRang: Hagan is a good player, I'm just not so sure he's a great one. Good speed. Good hands and routes (though I've seen slips in both areas, at times, here). Not a spectacular athlete. A little bit of a product of the system in my opinion. Still our #1 (rated) WR, but not an elite prospect in my mind.

dfarrar777: There really isn't a crushingly obvious ROY this year like there was with Roethlisberger last year. Who is your ROY so far, regardless of position?
RobRang: I think it very easily could end up being Ronnie Brown, the RB for Miami. He's getting stronger as the season goes on and Miami is good enough to compete for a potential playoff berth.
RobRang: Certainly some of the other defensive players deserve credit – DeMarcus Ware, Odell Thurman, Derrick Johnson, nice little cover corner Darrent Williams for the Broncos is playing his butt off. He was one of our "underrated" players...

dfarrar777: What can you tell us about new practice squad DE Nathaniel Adibi?
RobRang: Adibi is an interesting guy. Would fill the role most fans were hoping Peter Boulware would fill as a 3rd down pass rush specialist. He is a little different than the Ruskell norm in that he is known to have an inconsistent motor, but the kid has burst off the edge and can help immediately. We saw him as a 4th round prospect with a chance to surprise when he was drafted.
RobRang: Funny how many are giving Ruskell and the scouting dept. props (well deserved) but one of his greatest successes is rarely mentioned.
PithyRadish: And that is?
Jazzhawk: OK, I'm game...that would be?
dfarrar777: Chris Kluwe
Gromit: David Greene?
RobRang: Boulware has been a virtual nothing for Baltimore. In 6 games he has 4 total tackles.
PithyRadish: Don't say Chris Kluwe!
Jazzhawk: Ah yes....we've mentioned that in various threads on the main board...
Jazzhawk: He's barely seeing the field this season

PithyRadish: Figure out a way to pull Kluwe from the depths of Vikingship and bring him back here
RobRang: (The decision to cut Chris Kluwe and keep Leo Araguz, who was later released) is from a coaching staff that knows their special teams has killed them and they weren't about to let a rookie like Kluwe or a 2nd year guy like Donnie Jones be their punter. Just too risky in their mind. Kinda like starting a rookie center when you have a reliable vet already in place. Yeah, years down the road it might be great, but the likelihood of it panning out immediately is slim to none.

Jazzhawk: What DE's should we be looking at in the draft this season....how about any other postion sleepers to keep an eye on?
RobRang: No way to tell which DEs the team is looking at. Kiwanuka, Hali, Wimbley, Dumervil, Tapp are the five best seniors I've seen
Jazzhawk: Dumervil - Now there's an interesting one with some upside, or not, depending on who you listen to.
Jazzhawk: Scouts’ take on Elvis Dumervil?
RobRang: Dumervil is obviously shorter than you like and unlike other shorter DEs like Dwight Freeney, Terrell Suggs, he isn't super-explosive. He is pretty damn quick, though, and has great leverage. A good football player. someone I hope falls through the cracks and Seattle considers.
Jazzhawk: Would he be a down lineman or an OLB?
RobRang: DL in the 4-3, in my opinion. but some like him outside.

DrDiags: Why have Dallas' draft picks been so deep from the past two years?
RobRang: Give Dallas credit, they decided to change to a 3-4 in the perfect year for it. Just planned out their draft beautifully. I said hours after the draft they had the year's best and I still feel that way.

dfarrar777: Based on what you've seen and knowing his age and injury history, would you offer Joe Jurevicius a multiyear deal after this season?
Gromit: Related to the Joe question - WR core is old, can Hackett hack it?
RobRang: On Jurevicius, a 2-year deal probably, maybe a team option for 3rd. Not much more than that and not at a significant cap number
Gromit: Does (Hackett) have starting potential?
RobRang: Hackett, as I told some of the faithful Net crew at training camp is very high on this team's board. They like him and think he'll continue to develop. He's the speed threat at this point and has the tools to be successful in this league. They believe Hackett can develop into a starting receiver in this offense, yes.

PithyRadish: Rob do you think that the addition of Chris Spencer will shore up the size gap in our line then?
RobRang: Spencer will be fine. He is still a raw rookie, but he makes plays only the best can make. He'll be fine.

dfarrar777: Rob, thank you as always. It's a blast talking to you!
ArosNET: Thank you Rob so much for your time and analysis!
dfarrar777: HERE COMES THE PLUG...
PithyRadish: Thanks Rob, its always a pleasure to watch you work
HawkRibeye: Thanks Rob, appreciate your visit as always :-)
MysterMatt: Thanks, Rob. You rock!
HawkRibeye: Yes
RobRang: Thanks. Had fun, as always.


Rob Rang, one of the foremost Draft Experts in the country, is the Senior Draft Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, one of the premier draft sites in the country. Prior to that, Rob was the Owner and Editor of www.westcoastdraft.com for many years. First recognized by SportsTALK.com (now a component of ESPN Insiders), Rob's work has been featured in quality print, radio, internet, and television networks across the country. USA Today, ESPN, The Sporting News, and CBS Sportsline have all featured elements of Rob's work in the past. NFL front office executives, scouts, and collegiate scouting directors agree that Rob's work is some of the best available, as well. Gil Brandt, recognized for his 29 years as the vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys and now the head draft analyst for NFL.com, frequently uses Rob's information as a supplement to his own for the NFL's base website. His work features not only the detailed player profiles for which he has become so well known, but also historically accurate mock drafts, position breakdown lists considered even more reliable than the scouting services NFL teams typically use, and breaking information such as underclassmen declarations and the Combine results before anyone else. Based in Gig Harbor, Washington, Rob has quickly become a fixture at the elite scouting events held all over the country each year - including the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and numerous Pro Day workouts. You can contact Rob at rrang@nfldraftscout.com.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to convey our gratitude to Rob for taking time out of what is a very busy schedule to answer the questions of the Seahawks.NET community.

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