Draft Chat Transcript: Tony Pauline

On April 21, TFY Draft Premiew, Scout.com and CNN/SI draft expert Tony Pauline answered the questions of the Seahawks.NET faithful in the NETNation Chat Room. Tony provided a wealth of information - everything from who he thinks the Seahawks might pick at #31, to his takes on those players who have visited Seattle, to the sleepers you may see on the second day. This transcript is a must-see for all draft-crazy diehards!

SeaTown81:: non-Seahawk question before we start. - whats the odds Houston actually deals the top pick?
SeaTown81:: I’ve read stuff, but not sure if its legit
TonyPauline:: Seatown...highly unlikely; no one will want to pay the price
SeaTown81:: that’s what i thought
TonyPauline:: They are negotiating with both Bush and Williams and want Reggie in the fold before the draft...

dfarrar777:: What is the latest on Lendale White?
TonyPauline:: there is a lot of suspicious activity surrounding White...
TonyPauline:: First- there was a rumor at the USC pro-day on April 2nd, before the announcement about the hamstring injury that he would not run before the draft
TonyPauline:: Second, people want to know why a chiropractor from Denver is making these announcements about reading the MRI rather than an orthopedist or a specialist...

TonyPauline:: the bottom line is White could easily fall out of the first 50 selections
SeaTown81:: whoa
stevelargent:: wow
dfarrar777:: Wow.

Gromit:: Tony . . . Kelly Jennings. Will he be available at 31, does he fit our suystem, and would we take him is Hali or Kiwi is on board?
TonyPauline:: Gromit...Jennings should be available at 31 and is a solid fit, though he lacks a physical nature to his game...I think with the depth at the CB position Seattle would take one of the two DE's you mentioned then come back and take a CB later

dfarrar777:: Who do you currently have Seattle taking at #31?
TonyPauline:: dfarrar..Tamba Hali

SeaTown81:: so where is Vince young gonna go? i keep hearing that people aren’t that high on him, but then i read that teams in the top 3 want him.
TonyPauline:: Seatown...the Raiders will take him...probably at 7 or ealier if they get antsy and move up

dfarrar777:: The news about Jason Allen’s hip has been all over the place - everything from "great physicals -no problem" to "degenerative condition - out of the first round". What’s the most recent you’ve heard about him?
TonyPauline:: dfarr...excellent question. We've heard both as well but should have most of the combine medical reports by next week and will post them on the top players with injury concerns (sims, Allen, Cromartie)

stevelargent:: If the better DEs are gone by 31, do you see us going corner? Cromartie or Hill perhaps?
TonyPauline:: stevelarge...yes, definitely, though both of the players you mentioned will probably be off the board
Hawkstorian:: I have an off-beat sort of question ... the Seahawks really need a blocking tight-end... who in the draft fits that bill in the 4th or 5th round?
TonyPauline:: Hawkstorian..Jeff King of Va Tech in round five is one of the hidden treasures in this draft at TE...solid blocker and good pass catcher
Hawkstorian:: Sold

stevelargent:: who may be there?
TonyPauline:: stevelarg...Kelly Jennings, possibly Ashton Youboty

SeaTown81:: any University of Washington or WSU players making any waves draft-wise?
TonyPauline:: Seatown...Joe Toledo of UW....some have talk out there he could go as early as late part of round two...I feel he is more an early 4
dfarrar777:: Piggyback on Seatown - where do you see Jerome Harrison going, round-wise? How do you rate him as a pro prospect?
dfarr...Harrison could go late two/early three...he is a very natural, instinctive ball carrier with great vision and a feel for the game...my concern is his size, or lack thereof

dfarrar777:: What’s your take on Fresno state's Richard Marshall? Is he a more finished player that would make an impact sooner than some of the bigger name CBs?
TonyPauline:: dfarr...just the opposite...a tremendous athlete with great upside but needs a lot of polish...if he stayed for his senior campaign he's easily a top 20 selection in '07 baring injury...I like him but he needs work

dfarrar777:: who of the top ten CBs is the most ready to start in the NFL?
TonyPauline:: dfarr- Tye Hill, Jason Allen if healthy and Michael Huff, if a team projects him to CB

JSinCT:: Tony, when teams invite groups of players for a workout, how much can they really find out? Ex: SF had close to 40 guys today according to one player I talked to.
TonyPauline:: JSinCT...good question...they look for different things...for example- if they bring D'Brickashaw Ferguson in, they want to get him on the scale and make sure he is a true 300-pounder...if they bring Winston Justice in they want to interview him to make sure he does not have a screw loose upstairs...Eric Winston they check his knee...Marcus McNeil his back...so they do learn a good deal

dfarrar777:: What’s the difference between a visit and a private workout? What generally happens at each?
TonyPauline:: dfarr...a visit is they will bring the player in, walk him around the facility, interview him and maybe check him out medically...a private workout they get the kid in shorts and sneakers then usually put him through a battery of position specific drills.
JSinCT:: Would you say it's a fair deal that if a player doesn't have a private visit/meeting with a coach or a coordinator, it's more likely their prospect are "undrafted" free agent ?
TonyPauline:: JSinCT...not necessarily...in the mid-to-late rounds teams will take chance and let scouts or position coaches have a big say or maybe state their case as to why a player who was not brought in should be drafted...Tennessee did it last year with Michael Roos in round two
Gromit:: I know a lot of teams won't bring a guy in specifically because they are interested. TB didn't visit with Carnell Williams last year just to disguise their interest.
TonyPauline:: Gromit...that is the case in some instances...in other instances teams feel they know enough about a player...AJ Hawk's people told me last week Green Bay was not planning on bringing him in as they feel they know everything about him.

Gromit:: There's a couple of DEs who have dropped for no apparent reason . . . Darryl Tapp and my personal favorite, Tamba Hali. What's the deal with these guys?
TonyPauline:: Gromit- Tapp just lacks any semblance of size/speed and is a true 'tweener; to small for DE and to slow for OLB...Hali nhad a dissapointing post-season. He was very non-descript at the Senior Bowl, wieghed 263 at his Pro-Day (12 less than his combine wieght) and only did 17 reps on the bench...that raised a few eyebrows.
SNDavidson left

dfarrar777:: What do you think the Niners will do with second first-rounder? Might they go corner and do you see that affecting Seattle's strategy?
TonyPauline:: dfarrar...they have a desperate need for LB's as well...if Greewway is available I think that is the way they go...maybe Wimbley and move him to OLB

dfarrar777:: Two Purdue players have popped up on Seattle's radar - Ray Edwards and Rob Ninkovich - What are your thoughts about each, and could you talk about why Ninkovich replaced Edwards as a starter?
TonyPauline:: dfarr...Edwards is tremendously talented. Back in September I had him rated as a top five DE; but he is also lazy and a guy that likes to pin his ears back and just rush up the field. Which is why he was benched. Ninkovich is smaller but a hell of a lot more intense and a real warrior. He has some size concerns and is strictly a pass rusher or possible OLB in a 34.

Gromit:: In addition to Ninkovich, another under the radar player on Seattle's watch list is Indiana's Ben Ishola. What do you have on him as a rising prospect, and when will he go on draft weekend?
dfarrar777:: Good Q on Ishola
TonyPauline:: Gromit....Ishola is green as grass...great athlete still trying to be a football player. More of a practice squad type of guy

dfarrar777:: Who do you regard as some later-round steals at DE?
TonyPauline:: dfarr....Jason Hall, Tennessee....Jason Hatcher of Grambling and Moe Thompson, former South Carolina star
Gromit:: Love Jason Hatcher . . . glad to see him mentioned.

dfarrar777:: Who are some other second-day sleeper guys you love, regardless of position?
TonyPauline:: dfarr...Willie Colon/G/Hofstra...Albert Toeina/T/Tennessee...Joshua Tinch/WR/Lousville, Cameron Vaughn/LB/LSU

stevelargent:: Are there any offensive players you could envision Seattle going after as early as round 2?
TonyPauline:: stevelargent...only if a top offensive lineman somehow falls into their laps.

Gromit:: Non-Seahawk question. One of my personal Favorites is Brodie Croyle. I see him as the 2nd best QB in the draft. Who has shown interest in Brodie, and where do you see him getting drafted?
TonyPauline:: Gromit...in a little bit of irony the feature article on Sports Illustrated this morning was about the ten most overrated prospects in the draft...written by me...Brodie Croyle was #1...anyway- the Vikings like him a lot. I think he is selected in round three
dfarrar777:: Tony's article can be seen here
SeaTown81:: vikings like him? not surprising

DrDiags:: Non-Seahawk Question: New England cannot be serious about Gramatica as their opening day kicker. What is the word on them drafting one?
TonyPauline:: DrDiags...the kickers in this draft are terrible...I don't see much value in any of them.

Gromit:: Another "Cannot be serious" . . . New Orleans drafting Williams with Grant and Smith on board? Why Mario, when they could really use D-Brick?
TonyPauline:: Gromit...what you say makes a lot of sense...then again there is a train of thought out there that Williams has the potential to be so good you cannot pass up on him as you'll regret it down the road as he develops into a monster defensive linemen.

dfarrar777:: Who's the most underrated player in this year's draft?
TonyPauline:: dfarr...at the top of the draft I think it is Tye Hill...middle rounds RB Quinton Ganther of Utah...late frames Joshua Tinch of Louisville

DrDiags:: Another NE Patriots question - Will they go after a replacement for Dillon in this year's draft. Omit if already answered.
TonyPauline:: DrDiags...most likely they will take an RB in the first day if a good one is staring them in the face

dfarrar777:: Tony, we'd like to get your take on some kids who have been confirmed as visiting Seattle...
TonyPauline:: dfarr...give me the names you want to hear about

dfarrar777:: Fred Matua/OL/USC ?
TonyPauline:: Matua is a nasty, small area blocker. He showed surprising athleticism at his pro-day and has solidified himself as a top five guards in this draft. Good updside

dfarrar777:: Corey Mays/LB/Notre Dame?
TonyPauline:: Corey Mays...a kid I really like a lot...Brandon Hoyte got more press out in ND but Mays is an explosive LB who seems to be a late bloomer just hitting his stride...he has really flown under the radar screen but has a chance to make a roster- we have a report posted on him and venture to bet will be one of the few sites that does.

dfarrar777:: Antoine Bethea/S/Howard? Bethea is a free safety - Could he move to corner?
TonyPauline:: Bethea...really an outstanding athlete with great explosion and hitting skills...that said he is unpolished, runs around like a chicken whose head was cut off at times and must improve his cover skills

Domenik Hixon/WR/Akron
TonyPauline:: Hixon offers terrific size/speed numbers and good upside...needs to complete his game but has potential as a #4

Gromit:: FB Hill from Miami . . . really a FB, or just a goal line/3rd down RB?
TonyPauline:: Gromit...more of a back-up WCO fullback...lacks the size and mentality to be a true lead blocker but has some impressive offensive skills carrying the ball or catching it.

dfarrar777:: Not a Seahawk visit, but we have an interview going up with Syracuse’s Damien Rhodes tomorrow - someone from your neck of the woods. Is he an NFL-caliber running back who was caught in a bad offense?
TonyPauline:: dfarr. ...I've always though Rhodes was very underrated by scouts..not really physical and dances around to much but has good skill and potential as a situational/#3 back.
dfarrar777:: Great kid - very humble.

dfarrar777:: In your experience, how tied together are low Wonderlic scores with any sort of inability to grasp complex game plans? And why aren’t players told their Wonderlic scores at the Combine? Not one kid i've talked to this month knew their Wonderlic.
TonyPauline:: dfarr..a great deal though it's more prospects with higher scores easily/quickly grasp on to any/all systems. The Wonderlic numbers are closely held...we have them every year but don't post them...a low score could stigmatize someone...it does not always mean they are "Stupid" as many perceive- some people are just not good test-takers...

DrDiags:: Which team consistently rates best on talent acquisition? Just your opinion over the past 10 years
TonyPauline:: DrDiags...well, first you've got to say the Pats with what they've done on the field.

dfarrar777:: Who is the best player you think might not be drafted, and why?
TonyPauline:: idfarr...interesting question. I'll say linebacker Kevin Simon of Tennessee...he looked like the next coming as a sophomore then had a serious knee injury at the start of '04 and did not look like the same player last season...if he gets back to health he is an explosive LB

SeaTown81:: should we be confident with Tim Ruskell's draft abilities or should we be cautious in that last year with Tatupu and Hill was a bit of a lucky year
TonyPauline:: Seatown...he took a few chances and they paid off...part of the equation of good drafting is being able to develop the players you select...the Lions draft good players yet do squat in area of player development...in this case Seattle fans should not worry…

TonyPauline:: okay fellas...11PM here in NY...and Carlos Delgado just hit another home run for the Mets
SeaTown81:: thanks for your time
dfarrar777:: Tony, thank you so very much for taking the time - we greatly appreciate it.
SeaTown81:: good stuff
TonyPauline:: good luck to the Hawks next weekend and hopefully we'll chat again soon.

Respected as one of the most detailed and well-researched NFL Draft analysts in the business, TFY Draft Preview President Tony Pauline has brought in-depth player information to football fans for more than a decade.

Originally working with reporters and draft publications in the New York area more than 15 years ago, Tony branched out in 1997, quickly making the TFY Draft Preview a household name amongst draftniks and NFL scouts.

The 2006 TFY Draft Guide will be the ninth consecutive year Tony has published what is considered the most comprehensive NFL Draft guide, a 64-page magazine covering more than 681 player profiles and in-depth scouting reports, all of which can be found at http://nfldraft.scout.com/index.html.

The draft is a year round event for Tony, as he spends his summers watching three-to-four game films daily, then his fall weekends traveling the country to personally scout the nation's top prospects in action.

Since 2000, Tony has offered what is now considered groundbreaking, live coverage of both the Senior Bowl and combine, the most important pre-draft scouting events of the year. He has also been the NFL Draft analyst for SportsIllustrated.com since 2002. Always the first to report stories from either venue, his exhaustive evaluations throughout the year are used as a research tool by NFL franchises and fans alike.

Seahawks.NET would like to thank Tony for taking the time to chat with us during the busiest time of his year.

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