Seahawks Pro Day Notebook: Duke, Kentucky, and Ohio State

With pro days coming to a close, Corbin Smith and Matty Brown examine several intriguing prospects from Duke, Kentucky, and Ohio State who could pique Seattle's interest in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.
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With NFL Scouting Combine testing cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the significance of pro days has increased dramatically in 2021. Once an event which people looked at skeptically, they are now of great importance. The concern regarding inflated and inaccurate numbers remains valid, but where else can you get the testing numbers of NFL Draft prospects? Nowhere. The months of March and April are going to be busy as each school showcases their eligible stars.

Over the next several weeks, Matty F. Brown and Corbin Smith will take a deep dive into testing numbers for prospects who may be on the Seahawks radar heading towards the 2021 NFL Draft. Wrapping up the series, the duo examines pro day results for Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State, and a handful of other programs from last week.

Duke

Like his cousin Darrell Revis, Mark Gilbert plays cornerback. Gilbert ran a 4.47-second 40-yard-dash, 7.05-second 3 cone, and 4.37-second short shuttle. He jumped 36 inches in the vertical and 10 foot, 10 inches in the broad jump. Gilbert, who turns 24 June 1, finished his pro day with 13 bench press reps.

The corner’s measurables likely remove him from Seahawks consideration. He was 6-foot and 1/8-inch and weighed 186 pounds with 31 1/4-inch arms – short of Seattle’s famous 32-inch mark. Gilbert’s on-tape movement skills and scrappiness may see him on the Seahawks’ draft board as a nickel, but Seattle already has two young options in this area in Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair. -Matty F. Brown

After re-signing Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa, the Seahawks aren't necessarily in the market for a LEO defensive end. But Chris Rumph offers intrigue as a Bruce Irvin-type hybrid who could transition to SAM linebacker while also offering the ability to rush off the edge on passing downs, as he amassed 14.5 sacks over his final two seasons with the Blue Devils against ACC competition.

Unfortunately, a hamstring injury prevented Rumph from putting his athleticism on display at Duke's pro day event. He did measure in at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds with 33 3/4-inch arms, presenting decent size and length for an outside linebacker in Seattle's scheme. On tape, he's a twitchy "tweener" who has enough movement skills and athletic fluidity to drop into coverage, which could make him worth a day three flier as a potential SAM. -Corbin Smith

Kentucky

Kelvin Joseph is the second corner on this final pro day list. He is considered by some analysts to be a first round pick. The 20-year old certainly has the talent, with ball skills and production (four interceptions in nine 2020 games). His ball-hawking is especially impressive visioning the quarterback from midpoint Cover 3 technique.

The twitch in his game showed up in testing. At 5-foot-11 and 1/2-inches, 197 pounds with 31 7/8-inch arms, Joseph ran a blistering 4.34-second 40-yard dash. The rest of his numbers were a 7.21-second 3-cone, 4.22-second short shuttle, 35-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-8-inch broad jump, and 14 bench press reps.

Joseph’s profile might be more of a slot corner in Seattle and he does have inside/outside traits. His jam technique doesn’t scream Seahawks though, plus the rest of his technique is inconsistent. Concerns over his character have been reported, with Joseph suspended from LSU’s 2018 bowl game for violating team rules. After transferring to Kentucky and impressing in his 2020 year, coaches told him to opt out for the rest of the season due to effort concerns.

“That’s not how we’re going to do this at Kentucky,” explained defensive coordinator Mark Stoops on November 30. "I can’t just have him out there standing around saying, ‘I’m not playing in this game.’” -Matty F. Brown

While Joseph ended his time in Lexington on poor terms, Jackson exits as one of the program's most decorated linemen. A three-year starter, he plays with far greater power and pop at the point of attack than anticipated at 293 pounds and he possesses the lateral quickness and movement skills to excel in a zone-centric scheme, which should appeal to the Seahawks. He's also a cerebral player who excels at making line calls and picking up stunts and blitzes in pass protection.

For undisclosed reasons, Jackson chose not to participate in most of the athletic testing at Kentucky's pro day, though he did post a 31 1/2-inch vertical jump. He also took part in positional drills with scouts on hand and impressed with his mobility in that capacity.

What may take Jackson out of the equation for Seattle, however, is his lack of length. The team has only drafted one offensive lineman with sub-33-inch arms in Joey Hunt, who still had large 10-inch hands. Jackson only has 8 1/4-inch hands, so he's undersized in every sense of the word at the position, which could be a deal breaker come draft weekend. -Corbin Smith

Ohio State

At Ohio State’s March 30 pro day, Shaun Wade was unable to participate due to a turf toe injury that he suffered in the 2020 college football season. Yet we did get the corner’s measurements, with Wade at 6-foot and 5/8 inches and weighing 196 pounds with 33 1/2-inch arms. That, combined with Wade playing in a very similar defensive system as Seattle, made him massively intriguing.

Wade was able to test April 14 at Justin Fields’ second pro day. The corner managed to make headlines of his own, running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, then jumping 10-foot-3 inches in the broad and 37.5 inches vertically.

Lots of evaluators project Wade as a safety. However, his athletic profile and experience in Seahawks corner techniques (like Read 1/3 and Zebra 1/3) will surely see Seattle take a deep look at Wade as an outside corner. Wade was a slot corner before moving to the outside in 2020. He struggled down the stretch with press transitions (balance is an issue) and off coverage stems. However, these issues could partially be explained by Wade’s turf toe. Plus, he was playing against a high level of competition. A lengthy tape study is in order. -Matty F. Brown

After starting the past two years for the Buckeyes, center Josh Myers would be a sound option for the Seahawks to consider at pick No. 56 in the second round as a long-term option at the position. The Rimington Trophy finalist plays bigger than his listed 310 pounds both as a run blocker and pass protector, rarely gets pushed around in the trenches, and offers versatility as a capable blocker in man and zone schemes.

Due to a foot injury suffered during the Big Ten championship game, however, Myers wasn't able to do anything except the bench press at Ohio State's pro day. With scouts most concerned about his athletic traits, particularly in pass protection mirroring athletic interior rushers, not being able to participate in other drills could cause him to slide a bit. From Seattle's perspective, like Jackson, his lack of length (32-inch arms) could also take him off the team's draft board. -Corbin Smith

Other Notable Pro Day Performances

UAB

After impressing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Blazers receiver Austin Watkins Jr. turned in a decent albeit not great pro day performance. Measuring in at 6-foot-1 and weighing 208 pounds, he was clocked at 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted 18 bench press reps. In terms of explosiveness, Watkins turned in a pedestrian 31 1/2-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 8-inch broad jump. He did not run the 3-cone drill or short shuttle, casting further questions about his change of direction skills. While the test scores were underwhelming, he could remain a day three option for the Seahawks due to his route running savvy and collegiate production.

Meanwhile, defensive end Jordan Smith did not do his draft stock any favors. Weighing in at 264 pounds, he ran a slow 4.80-second 40-yard dash and performed even more poorly in the 3-cone drill, barely finishing in under eight seconds. His 33-inch vertical may have helped salvage his workout to an extent and the fact he had 8.0 sacks in 2019 could keep him on some draft boards, but the overall athletic profile won't impress teams like the Seahawks. -Corbin Smith

Ball State

While Antonio Phillips technically ‘participated’ in Ball State’s Pro Day, the corner did not work out after undergoing a March 17 Microdiscectomy. That was a shame, given Phillips measured 5-foot-11 and 3/4 inches and weighed 186 pounds with 32 1/2-inch arms at the College Gridiron Showcase in January. He plays physically, is comfortable in press and has impressive movement skills. With the lack of testing and low level of competition, Phillips is an illustration that the 2021 NFL Draft has a number of long corners who are likely to be available to the Seahawks in the day three to undrafted free agent range. -Matty F. Brown

USC

Olaijah Griffin missed USC’s official pro day after a positive COVID test. The CB was able to return to campus last week, where his lack of size was shown: 5-foot-11 and 1/2 inches, 31 7/8-inch arms, and a weight of just 176 pounds. Though Griffin does play with bravado, he does suffer from a lack of play strength on tape. The rest of his testing was poor for his light weight: 4.53-second 40-yard dash, 7.04-second 3-cone, 4.38-second short shuttle 34-inch vertical, and 9-foot-11-inch broad jump. Not surprisingly, Griffin chose to skip the bench press. -Matty F. Brown