|Know Your Enemy: NFC West Edition|
A day-by-day look at how the Seahawks' NFC West rivals operated during the 2014 NFL Draft.
With the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft now one-week old, we take a look back at how the Seahawks' 2014 opponents operated during the most-hyped and highly-anticipated day of the League's annual event.
Below, check out the players Seattle's 2014 opponents targeted on day one of the draft. You'll notice we excluded the Seahawks' NFC West foes, but that's because we covered them extensively during draft weekend in another "Know Your Enemy" series, the links to which you can find in the table on the right side of this page.
These are the top players Seahawks fans will help welcome to the League in 2014:
Green Bay Packers, Alabama FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
The Pick: Round 1, No. 21 Overall
The Player: Alabama FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6-foot-1, 208 pounds)
Pick Analysis: "That pick made a ton of sense for the Packers. Of all the safeties in draft, this guy had the best range. He plays faster than his NFL Scouting Combine 40-yard dash time (4.58 seconds). He misses surprisingly few tackles, and as a center fielder he's a natural. For a big guy, his movement skills are very natural." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Appeared in all 14 games for the national champion Crimson Tide in 2012, recording four pass breakups and five interceptions - tied for the lead in the SEC. Made 51 tackles and snagged two picks in 11 games in 2013, when he played closer to the line of scrimmage.
What He's Saying: "Everything happens for a reason. I put that picture up, and here I am a Packer." - Clinton-Dix, via Packers.com, on posting a photo of himself wearing a Green Bay Packers t-shirt to his Instagram account three weeks before the 2014 NFL Draft.
What It Means: Green Bay fills a need a safety - a position that didn't record a single interception for the Packers last season. The team lost safeties M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian this offseason, so Clinton-Dix has a strong chance to start right away alongside fifth-year veteran Morgan Burnett.
Denver Broncos, Ohio St. CB Bradley Roby
The Pick: Round 1, No. 31 Overall
Pick Analysis: "The Broncos signed Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward in free agency. But they really need some help at the other corner spot and nickel until Chris Harris comes back. Jared Abbrederis from Wisconsin ate him alive, and that is what concerns me." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Started 11-of-12 games played for the Buckeyes in 2013, recording 70 tackles, 13 passes defensed, and three interceptions, including one he returned 63 yards for a touchdown against Illinois.
What He's Saying: "Obviously I thought I was better than some of the guys who got picked before me, but God works in a long way. I’m very grateful. Just being on a Super Bowl team, being on a course like that early on in my career, it’s great." - Roby, via DenverBroncos.com, minutes after learning he had been selected by the defending AFC champion.
What It Means: General manager John Elway said Roby will provide "immediate help" in the team's secondary, which has been an area the Broncos have looked to improve this offseason after the Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" led the way in a 43-8 win over Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Dallas Cowboys, Notre Dame OT Zach Martin
The Pick: Round 1, No. 16 Overall
Pick Analysis: "The Cowboys went from one of the wild cards of the draft (Johnny Manziel) to one of the safest picks of the draft. He played in 52 games at Notre Dame (the most in school history); he never missed a game. I contend he's the only player in the draft who can start at every position on the offensive line. The knock on him is his arm length (32 7/8-inch arms). At the Senior Bowl, he stoned everybody all week long." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Two-time team captain who started all 39 games at left tackle for the Fighting Irish from 2011-13.
What He's Saying: "My mom asked to look up some of the offensive linemen on the team, and I saw their birthdays and I’m a little older than both of them – that’s a little weird. It’s already a great group, and it’s going to be fun to play with some guys that are younger too." - Martin - age 23, via DallasCowboys.com, on playing alongside fellow first-round offensive linemen Tyron Smith (No. 9 overall, 2011) and Travis Frederick (No. 31 overall, 2013).
What It Means: Martin has the versatility to play on the inside or outside of the offensive line. Dallas adds depth to their young and talented position group who could benefit from playing guard in his formative years before shifting outside to tackle and taking on the NFL's top pass rushers.
Oakland Raiders, Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack
The Pick: Round 1, No. 5 Overall
Pick Analysis: "He ran 4.65 (40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine), but he's faster than that. His game tape against Ohio State is single best game tape against Ohio State I'd ever seen. He plays with intensity. He's going to be an All-Pro." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Three-time first-team All-MAC player who started all 48 games played for the Bulls from 2010-13, totaling 327 tackles (75 for loss, which tied the NCAA record), 28.5 sacks, and a NCAA record 16 forced fumbles.
What He's Saying: "I was a basketball guy. I didn’t play until my junior year. In the spring, my coach came into my class room, picked me out of class and I have been playing football ever since.” - Mack, via Raiders.com, on not playing football until his junior year of high school.
What It Means: Adds a highly-proven playmaker to the defensive side of the football, immediately improving a Raiders pass rush that managed 38.0 sacks last season (T-18th NFL).
New York Giants, LSU WR Odell Beckham
The Pick: Round 1, No. 12 Overall
Pick Analysis: "His mother was an All-American sprinter at LSU. His dad played football at LSU. He's got all the measurables. He's also one of best route runners in this draft. He's very advanced in terms of his route running." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Appeared in 40 games for the Tigers from 2011-13, tallying 143 catches for 2,340 yards and 12 touchdowns. Set the LSU single-season record for all-purpose yards in 2013 (2,315), contributing as a receiver, punt and kick returner. Averaged 8.2 yards on 68 punt returns and 24.9 yards on 42 kickoff returns in his collegiate career.
What He's Saying: “I definitely think that I can come in and, if I get the opportunity to play, I could bring a lot of things – a deep threat or whatever the team needs me to do. Hopefully, I get to return some punts and kicks.” - Beckham, via NYGiants.com
What It Means: The Giants add a speedy (4.43-second 40-yard dash), dynamic receiver/returner to an offense that was in need of more weapons for quarterback Eli Manning.
San Diego Chargers, TCU CB Jason Verrett
The Pick: Round 1, No. 25 Overall
Pick Analysis: "This is one of my favorite players in the entire draft. The knock is his size (5-foot-9, 189 pounds), but he's feisty and so competitive. Sometimes a bigger wideout can take advantage of a matchup against him." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: In three seasons at TCU (2011-13), totaled 160 tackles, 34 passes defensed, and nine interceptions, six of which came during the 2012 season to lead the Big 12. Named co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
What He's Saying: “I played against a lot of guys that were 6’2, 6’3 but once the ball’s in the air, I’m definitely a competitor. I feel like I showed versatility on the college level, being able to play in the slot, being able to play on the outside. I just want to carry that over to the next level, learn from the veterans, learn from the DB coaches and make plays.” - Verrett, via Chargers.com
What It Means: The Chargers add an instinctive, aggressive, and fast (4.38-second 40-yard dash) defensive back who despite his smaller stature has proven he's not afraid to take on the game's bigger receivers.
Washington Redskins, Stanford OLB Trent Murphy
The Pick: Round 2, No. 47 Overall (Washington did not have a first-round pick)
Pick Analysis: "This will be interesting to see how he's used. I liked him better as an outside linebacker. He led the NCAA in sacks (15 in 2013), but he's not an explosive dynamic pass rusher. But he's relentless." -- NFL analyst Charles Davis
What He's Done: Played in 41 games for the Cardinal from 2011-13, racking up 158 tackles (51.5 for loss) and 31.5 sacks. Played as a down defensive lineman who rushed the passer in nickel packages. Was the NFL Combine's top performer in the three-cone drill (6.78 seconds).
What He's Saying: "It definitely shows, acknowledges, I was high on their board. They really, really wanted to take me and that kind of means a lot to be a team’s first pick even though it was not in the first round. I couldn’t be more excited to be that guy and to put that weight on my shoulders and to wake up every day and give it my best effort and pushing myself and the organization to new levels." - Murphy, via Redskins.com, on what it meant to be the team's first pick in the draft.
What It Means: Redskins coach Jay Gruden has said Murphy's role on defense is still to be determined - he could play linebacker or move to defensive end in obvious passing situations. But the team secured an individual whose toughness and hard-working mentality defined his success at the collegiate level - necessary traits when making the transition to the NFL.
Carolina Panthers, Florida St. WR Kelvin Benjamin
The Pick: Round 1, No. 28 Overall
The Player: Florida St. WR Kelvin Benjamin (6-foot-5, 240 pounds)
What He's Done: Recorded 30 catches for 495 yards and four scores as a redshirt freshman in 2012. Followed that up with a 54-catch, 1,011-yard, 15-touchdown season in 2013.
What He's Saying: "I really just had to grow up and understand what I wanted to be in life. I needed to grow up as a person." Benjamin, via Panthers.com, on his increase in production from 2012 to 2013.
What It Means: The Panthers needed help at wide receiver and they found it in Benjamin. The team released all-time leading receiver Steve Smith this offseason, who landed with the Baltimore Ravens. Free-agency also claimed the Panthers' Tedd Ginn (Arizona Cardinals), Brandon LaFell (New England Patriots), and Domenik Hixon (Chicago Bears). It's clear Carolina will look to Benjamin to contribute right away. He has the tools to be a No. 1 wideout in the NFL, creating mismatches with his size, jump-ball ability, and massive 83-inch wingspan.
Kansas City Chiefs, Auburn OLB/DE Dee Ford
The Pick: Round 1, No. 23 Overall
Pick Analysis: "Ford played well toward the end of the season and then ripped up the Senior Bowl. What is his scheme fit? That's the question. In Kansas City, they have to pay two defensive ends, Tamba Hali (set to become a free agent in 2016) and Justin Houston (set to become a free agent in 2015)." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Appeared in 22 games over his final two seasons (2012-13) with the Tigers, racking up 63 tackles (21 for loss) and 17.5 sacks.
What He's Saying: "To actually talk to these guys, to Andy Reid, John Dorsey and (Chiefs DC) Bob Sutton, I’m at a loss for words. It’s such a blessing to have your dreams come true. I see these guys on TV and these are some of the best coaches in the world, and I was humbled by their call. I hope I don’t talk too much; I’m just so happy!” Ford, via KCChiefs.com
What It Means: Playing alongside Chiefs Pro Bowl linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston should work to Ford's advantage. He'll have time to develop his skills in pass coverage and run defense while primarily focusing on what he does best - get after the passer.
Philadelphia Eagles, Louisville OLB Marcus Smith
The Pick: Round 1, No. 26 Overall
The Player: Louisville OLB Marcus Smith (6-foot-3, 251 pounds)
Pick Analysis: "Marcus Smith is a pretty exciting edge player. The important thing ultimately is 'can this kid play?' They have Connor Barwin on one side and Trent Cole, who will turn 32 years old, on the other. In that scheme he's a perfect fit. The pick attacks an area of need for the Eagles, and they got some extra picks in the process." -- NFL analyst Mike Mayock
What He's Done: Was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, when he recorded 42 tackles (18.5 for loss) and 14.5 sacks to go along with three passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and a blocked kick in 13 games played.
What He's Saying: "It took me a year to settle in going from quarterback to linebacker because I had to get the mentality of a defensive player that knocks people down on the other side of the ball. I think what I've learned over the years, I've gotten better each year and this year I had an outbreak. I feel like I can carry everything that I did this year to the NFL. I want to make an impact right away and I know the coaches they have in Philly will train me up and get me ready for the season coming up." - Smith, via PhiladelphiaEagles.com, on his transition from high school quarterback to collegiate linebacker.
What It Means: Relatively new to the position, but Smith adds a fast (4.68-second 40-yard dash), versatile presence behind veteran linebackers Trent Cole and Connor Barwin who has proven he can rush the passer and who has also demonstrated an ability to drop into coverage.