Ezra Butler, OLB, Nevada
I love the way this kid plays the game. He’s big (6-2, 244) and he’s got excellent athleticism. He loves to attack and he’s always moving forward. Butler was a standout on defense for the Wolf Pack during his five years in Reno, first along the defensive line as a freshman and then as a pass-rushing outside linebacker his final three seasons. He basically lived in the backfield, totaling 49.5 tackles-for-loss once he got on the field. He was also an all-WAC performer in both 2006 and 2007.
Where Butler needs work is in coverage. He’s never done much of it, so he’s a player that will need time to develop that part of his game, but he can be a special teams demon while looking to replace the departed Kevin Bentley who was a valuable backup for the Seahawks.
Butler’s speed, athleticism and motor are something you cannot teach and to add him to a backup spot behind Seattle’s talented trio of starters would be a minor-coup if the Seahawks think he’s fluid and flexible enough to play in reverse.
Nick Watkins, OLB, Clemson
Watkins comes from a college that has produced a ton of top linebacking talent over the years, including Seattle’s own Leroy Hill. Watkins is built very much like Hill and he’s got the same football I.Q. that Hill possesses.
With his speed and instincts, Watkins was able to amass over 333 tackles while starting his final three seasons in Death Valley and he’s also good at playing in reverse while trying to cover backs and tight ends.
Even better, Watkins was a standout on the Tigers’ special teams and that is where he would be the biggest benefit to a team like Seattle who lost the captain of their special teams when LB Niko Koutouvides opted to head to Denver in free agency.
Spencer Larsen, MLB, Arizona
The thing I like most about Larsen is his maturity and leadership. Seattle doesn’t have a true backup middle linebacker now that Koutouvides is gone and someone like Larsen could come in and pick up the system quickly.
After starting as a true freshman in 2002, Larsen, who is LDS, left on a mission for two years, but then returned in 2005 and had 51 stops in just eight games. As a junior in 2006, Larsen notched 89 tackles and 10.5 tackles-for-loss, but it was 2007 that really distinguished his career.
As a senior, Larsen managed to lead the Pac 10 by posting 131 tackles, 15.5 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries and also earned First Team All-Pac 10 honors for his efforts. When you consider the conference is littered with such top linebacker prospects as USC’s Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, Cal’s Anthony Felder and Zach Follett, that is saying a lot.
If he was faster, you might be looking at a first day selection, but his forty time at the combine (4.91) makes him no better than a late-round selection. However, if he produces like he’s capable of, Larsen could end up being a great pickup late on day two.
The release of Shaun Alexander didn’t surprise very many who follow the Seahawks, but his release could mean Seattle is in the market to pick up another tailback who has some size and speed.
Parmele would be a perfect fit in Seattle’s system. He’s big (5-11, 225) and he’s got excellent speed (4.47) for a back of his dimensions. In a pass-oriented offense, Parmele managed to post over 2,600 yards and 24 touchdowns the past two seasons.
He’s a physical runner that has great feet in the hole and he really runs behind his pads. Defensive backs don’t like the tackle him and linebackers rarely get a good angle on him. He needs to work on his hands, as that would add another dimension to his game, but there is no doubting his skills as a runner.
Because of a torn left quad in late October, Young has fallen in a lot of team’s eyes to the end of the Draft, but he’s a player that has second or third round talent. He showed up in our Six to Watch for the fourth round as well, but that's indicative of the extreme swing in the draft players with injuries can experience.
Young is a versatile player who has seen time at both tackle and guard and was successful at both positions against some of the best competition in the country. As a junior he started every game at right tackle and this past season he started the eight games he was healthy for at left tackle.
Young’s versatility and talent make him a player that could be a steal this late in the Draft if teams make the mistake of passing on him. His size, tenacity and athleticism make him a very intriguing prospect and he’d be a player the Seahawks would look long and hard at if he’s available with their sixth round selection.
Because he hasn’t played along the offensive line very long – just three years – Giacomini is definitely one of the more raw offensive line prospects in the Draft, however, with his size and athleticism, a team, if they are patient enough, could be getting a first-round talent.
Giacomini has excellent feet and size (6-7, 306) and his athleticism is rare for a man his size. He played in a passing offense at Louisville so the kid has had plenty of experience facing pass-rushers and last year, as the starting left tackle, he allowed only two sacks while helping lead an offense that ranked forth in the nation.
If Seattle is patient, a player with Giacomini’s natural skills could end up paying huge dividends down the road in a year or two.
Who Will Seattle Pick? This was a really tough choice for me. On the one hand you have two solid line prospects with question marks, a very talented big-back and three productive linebackers.
It would be easy to pick one of the linebackers because of Seattle’s need for more depth and speed that can be used on special teams, but I have to go with a player who could fill some big shoes down the road, so the pick is Giacomini.
I love the kid’s athleticism
and the fact that with some good coaching and he could learn from Walter Jones
for a two or three years, just makes him even more intriguing. He’s got
all the physical tools you could want in a left tackle prospect and it will
be interesting to see how he develops over the next few years.
The "Six to Watch" Series