Seahawks Insider

How do you like ‘em now, Mel?

Post by Dave Boling / The News Tribune on Nov. 15, 2012 at 6:14 am with 41 Comments »
November 15, 2012 6:14 am

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Seahawks an overall grade of C-minus for their 2012 draft, and a D-minus for player value attained, worst in the league.

He saw Bruce Irvin as a late-second-round value upon whom the Hawks expended the 15th overall pick. Second-rounder Bobby Wagner met a need but could have been obtained a round later, Kiper felt, and quarterback Russell Wilson is “a great test case for shorter QBs, because he has everything else, but did they need him in the third round after grabbing Matt Flynn to come in and likely start?”

Ten games into the season, Irvin leads NFL rookies with 7.0 sacks, Wagner leads the team in overall tackles, and Wilson is 12th in the NFL with a 90.5 passer rating, second highest among rookie starters.

Our man Eric Williams had Kiper re-evaluate his thoughts as the Hawks stand 6-4. Kiper summed it up by saying it has been “a little better than I thought it would be.” Here’s his transcript of the Kiper interview:

On Wilson: “I wasn’t critical of Wilson. He didn’t go in the first or second round. I just felt like if you take him, you’ve got to realize he’s going to have to beat the odds with a quarterback who’s 5-10 and a half. We haven’t had that quarterback.

“Fran Tarkenton had a great career in the NFL. Obviously, you look at all the quarterbacks’ they’re 6-foot or taller. He’s 5-10 and a half. And to have him out there playing as well as he has, he’s been a great third-round pick. But he wasn’t a first- or a second-round pick. He went basically where he was projected to go.

“Great character, great intangibles. He has the over-the-top delivery, so we talked about not having very many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. He was a great player for two schools.

“As I said on draft day, if he was 6-foot or taller, he would have been a top 10 pick in the first round. If he were 6-2, he probably would have been a top pick overall – certainly not No. 1 ahead of Luck – but probably No. 2 right up there with RGIII.”

On Irvin: “He’s basically a one-dimensional pass rusher, and he’s given them some production. He’s given them some sacks, which is what you want him to do. There’s been some games where he’s been quiet. He’s obviously got a lot of pass rushers on that line that help him out, a lot of guys to worry about and try to neutralize.

Overall: “They’ve got some production out of this draft, there’s no question about it. Now, ultimately down the road, it’s going to be Russell Wilson. Is he a quarterback that keeps progressing and ultimately becomes a top-10, top-12 quarterback? If he does, then it’s a phenomenal draft to get him in the third round. That’s ultimately going to determine it.

“And Certainly Irvin, to see how he continues to play. Right now he’s one dimensional. He’s on the field only in pass-rush situations. So we’ll how he develops. So I think the jury is still out to see how they’ve done, but they’ve gotten a lot of numbers. They’ve gotten a lot of guys who have made the team, a lot of guys who have competed and given them some production. So right now, it’s a little better than I thought it would be.”


Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. seahawk44 says:

    Can somebody, anybody, tell me why Melt Kiper is considered a draft “expert”?

  2. montanamike2 says:

    Even when confronted with facts Kiper has pleaded that he’s still sorta right!
    He’s like the kid who gets caught shoplifting at Walmart but sticks to his innocence story after he watches the survelence video.
    These last two drafts have netted us absolute gems that we nabbed and upset the whole draft as far as picking the experts order. Gruden has the last laugh on this one. Does Kiper admit that Wilson was the “steal of the draft”?.

  3. Ewalters7354 says:

    I don’t know if Wilson was the steal of the draft, but he is playing better than expected.

    Mel Kiper is about the dumbest draft expert I’ve ever seen.He said Aaron Curry was the best player in the draff after the combine, he was also high on Blaine Gabbert and Jarmarcus Russell.This dude looks at skill set, but never smarts to go along with it. Ala Tim Ruskell…

  4. It’s too early to tell. Let’s see how this all plays out next year. If a defnece travels the easiest let’s see how the offence conducts it’s self on the road, Then will know how well or good the draft was.

  5. ryanryan says:

    i don’t think there isn’t anything offensive in what kiper is saying. wagner was a two down linebacker until kj went down. irvin is only playing passing downs and has been streaky. wilson still has room to develop and its possible that he regress.

    it my opinion, however, all 3 are much better than i had even hoped for thus far. i was really hoping to land kendricks over wagner – stupid me. wilson was going to take years to develop – stupid me. i really didn’t have irvin on my radar AT ALL – stupid me.

    if you are looking to have kiper to say ‘stupid me’ you are dreaming…after all, a draft class cannot be evaluated after 10 games so he can stick to his guns all he wants while we get to watch these kids play well.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    It’s easy to point out Kiper’s incorrect draft predictions and the idiocy of placing a grade on a draft only moments after it’s completed. Low hanging fruit, there. But regarding his player evaluations from a thoroughness and accurate perspective, he’s been one of the best in the business over the last 20+ years. His “Draft Reports” are just awesome. 150(ish) pages of in-depth player evaluations. This is what he had to say about Irvin, as an example:

    “After an impressive Jr. campaign where he burst onto the national scene, Irvin saw his sack total cut in half this year. Some of that can be attributed to his being identified as the key guy teams had to handle, so they chipped and double teamed him a lot. However, he didn’t adjust as well as he needed to. There were some game where Irvin was very active but there were others where I just didn’t hear his name called much. He’s an ideal 3-4 attacking OLB and he has a lot of skills you want in a player at that position. Going into this year I thought Irvin could be a 1st round pick, be he didn’t materialize into that this year. Still, there’s a lot to like about his game.”

    Sound about right to me. Yes he’s a blowhard, and easy to jab at. But he’s a so-called “draft expert” because of his knowledge and his track record of accurate player evaluations. Now, if you want to talk dumb “draft experts” look no further than his compatriot Tod McShay. He knows nothing more than anyone who has even a peripheral knowledge of college football. He’s a complete moron.

  7. I wonder if Mel realizes that way out here in the Pacific Northwest we actually do have Cable TV, computers, Ipads, Smart phones, Youtube, etc. and we all know exactly what he said about the Seahawks draft picks?

  8. Helenahawk says:

    Kiper has to protect his name as a draft expert, so his reluctance to admit he was incorrect is to be expected. The admission he made is probably as far as he is willing to go, and I find it significant.
    However, I bet he cools his jets about heckling PC &JS on next years draft.

  9. mojjonation says:

    I know it is a bye week, but can we stop giving helmet head any press? If it wasn’t for the draft, he wouldn’t have a job.

  10. monmornQB says:

    Melt Kiper is garbage. He hasn’t has a decent evaluation of a player unless it’s the same as 100% of the rest of the evaluators. He wrong an awful lot to be such an arogant *&$.

  11. sherminator says:

    Predicting the draft is not only about player evaluation, is also about Front Office evaluation. Kiper is trying to predict what the NFL personnel people value in players. Clearly, every team, the Seahawks included, were scared off by Russell Wilson lack of height. It is very hard to project where a very talented player with a major flaw will be picked. You need to have good insight into the thinking of the decision makers. PC & JS must really skew the field for the draftniks.

  12. Hammajamma says:

    I agree with Duke’s comment on McShay. He’s got Kiper’s audacity without the knowledge. Frequently wanders into ass clown territory.

  13. Back in the early days of draft coverage on tv Kiper was THE pioneer. He was the only real expert to turn to. In these days of info access he is a bit of a dinosaur but he is historically the biggest name in the draft analysis business.

  14. Don’t forget that the internet didn’t exist in 1984 when Kiper was chosen to do the ESPN draft show.

  15. samoanalii says:

    Oh please, unless Russell is a SuperBowl MVP he’ll never admit he was wrong, and even then…

  16. I’m not sure who the biggest sh** talker among “NFL experts” is, but Kiper’s got to be right up there with the likes of Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, etc. Seriously, you could not get enough rolls of duct tape to shut these clowns up. There’s a lot of them at ESPN.

    Kiper really does have that little extra snugness about him though, like he couldn’t ever possibly be wrong about any analysis he’s ever made. What a douche bag.

  17. *smugness

  18. madpunter88 says:

    Kiper’s comments now only serve to indict the entire idea of assigning grades moments after a pick is made. I don’t disagree with his more recent assessment — Wilson is still a work in progress and, while quite successful so far, it is still early. Irvin has definitely been streaky and benefits from a stellar defense overall. Wagner is playing well and is clearly a good choice as a second rounder — he probably could have given him a little more love. The Seahawks only need look back on Aaron Curry to see that early production from a LB is no guarantee; Wagner is out-performing as a second rounder.

    But the fallacy of the grades right after the draft is they rarely consider the team’s situation accurately. Kiper’s justification for Irvin’s high sack total is that he is playing alongside other linemen who make it easier for him to accumulate sacks. So, in other words, he is filling the exact role the Seahawks drafted him for — to be the final piece of their DL as the sack specialist. They were criticized for taking him because he was one dimensional…but they only needed that one dimension and he has excelled in that role. He has made the team better and is statistically leading all rookies in sacks; so by every conceivable definition he was not a “reach.”

  19. RW would have to end up as a Top 10 QB to make picking him in the 3rd round a good deal? Seriously? Most teams would be satisfied with having a 3rd rounder turn into their solid backup QB.

  20. I sit in the middle with Kiper. He definitely knows what he’s talking about. He typically is the most accurate of all analysts in observations of physical skill set. Being that his eye leans towards fact and visual evidence he does less in the department of evaluating intangibles. But let’s be honest…who is good at being evaluating intangibles? It’s intangible for a reason.

    Kiper IS the best in the business. The only unfortunate thing about it is that he knows it….

  21. Duke–The point is, Kiper will not admit he was wrong, and he was. He didnt think Irvin would have 7 sacks at this point. Hell, Aldon Smith had plenty of games where he disappeared last year, yet he was considered a stud rookie. He also was a pass-rush specialist. Irvin was drafted to be a pass-rush specialist and Carrol made it clear he wasnt expecting Irvin to be an every down player, certainly not as a rookie. And Irvin will likely eclipse SMiths rookie year sack totals. So how is he a reach? Not to mention the other teams that were right behind Seattle waiting to pick Irvin..and I believe it. Face it, dude was wrong and now sounds like a d-bag who wont fess up.

    Not to mention that Wagner is already handling the defensive calls and is playing better than LB’s drafted in his round and even above him. He was wrong about Wagner as well. Very wrong, not just a little. Wilson has played better than the other rookie qb’s for the most part, and certainly better than the third round qb’s of history. And Kiper did NOT think the third round was where Wilson would go, he thought Wilson was a later-round pick. So he was very wrong there as well.

    And what about Robert Turbin?! The guy has flashed real talent, speed and power and is light years better than Washington as a backup to Lynch. The guy was a freaking steal in the fourth round. He’s a 1,000 yard back in his own right, waiting for the opportunity. And Jaye Howard, Jeremy Lane, Winston Guy, etc have all contributed some this season and thats not necessarily the case with later-round picks.

    So overall, the Hawks draft thus far looks like a A- at worst. Fess up Kiper!

  22. And its not like Kiper hasnt been consistently very wrong about a lot of players–he has. And its truly funny when a guy he thought was great falls in the draft, or a team picks someone he didnt predict, he gets so pissy! That guy is damned funny, without trying!

  23. The facts as they are now in the present, are that three of Seattle’s top picks are on pace to break, even shatter and set a new bar for Seahawks rookies. Irvin, however “one dimensional” he may be will have set a new record for sacks by a rookie before this regular season is done; book it. Yes, and Irvin will also more than likely give this team double digit sacks in his rookie year. How’s that for “one dimensional”? Thank you, I’ll take that every year. Similar things were said about Terrell Suggs after his rookie year, and all he did was go on to be come one of dominant forces on a Baltimore team that year in and out ranks with the best defenses in the game.

    Bobby Wagner is a tackling machine, and although he’s not made many plays in coverage he’s handling his assignments enough to keep seeing the field in nickel situations. He is also on pace to set a new Seahawks record for total tackles by a rookie, and is being given serious mention among DRoY candidates. He has 81 total tackles now, which ties him with NaVorro Bowman and James Laurinaitis for the lead among NFC West backers. This kid’s got game, and he is only going to get better.

    Russell Wilson himself is likely going to set numerous Seahawks rookie records. He might not be RoY, but he will likely own the best rookie season by a Seahawks QB when it’s all said and done in 2012.

    Does Kiper at all even hint to any of this? Not really. He’s deflecting quite a bit. And I’ll cut him a little slack on Russ. Need to see what Russ looks like the rest of this year and then the next two to really know, IMO. From my perspective, it’s looking like Pete and John knocked it out of the park with this draft, and that’s w/out mentioning what Turbin’s impact will mean to this team, or what Greg Scruggs might look like another year or two from now. We still don’t know much about Jaye Howard or Winston Guy either.

  24. Dave Boling says:

    STTBM … good point to toss in some of the lower-round guys. On the topic of Turbin, I thought it was crucial not only that he had 7 carries (because Marshawn’s attempts total of 212 is second most in the NFL) in the Jets game, but he made one of the really big plays that was a little lost in the shuffle — recovering the Wilson fumble on the Hawks’ own 7 in the second quarter. If NY recovers that, they could easily go up 14-7.

    Despite some injury issues and limited snaps, seventh-rounder Greg Scruggs has two sacks this year, which matches the total of Quentin Copes and is higher than Melvin Ingram (.5 sacks) — a pair of mid-first-round picks who were predicted to have early impact.

  25. Hawksince77 says:

    ryanryan wrote: “wagner was a two down linebacker until kj went down.”

    If I’m not mistaken, PC had Wagner on the field all three downs some time ago, well before KJ was hurt. Hill was taken off the field in nickle, so Wagner actually progressed faster at the position than I think most expected.

    Dukeshire quoted Kiper as follows:

    “After an impressive Jr. campaign where he burst onto the national scene, Irvin saw his sack total cut in half this year. Some of that can be attributed to his being identified as the key guy teams had to handle, so they chipped and double teamed him a lot. However, he didn’t adjust as well as he needed to.”

    As I recall, Irvin got some ungodly number of sacks his junior (something like 22 – two lazy to look it up) as a rushs specialist, but in his senior year, his position changed, and he was essentially an every-down lineman in Virginia’s odd 3/3/3 (or some damn thing) defense, and he was routinely asked to beat double teams and guard/centers.

    That’s why his sack numbers plummeted. He was still the same player, simply asked to play a position he wasn’t suited to succeed in.

    That’s why I thought he could be had at a discount (second or third round) despite his potential to be a first-round value.

    Obviously I was mistaken…

  26. Carlsonkid says:

    I stopped listening to anything that comes out of Mel Kipers mouth years ago . Him and Bayless are the worst .

    Not a peep about Wagner or Turbin in his reevaluation of the Hawks draft , and both players are solid value for where they were picked . I had high hopes for Winston Guy but that hasn’t really panned out . The fact Sweezy is a decent project at guard is nothing short of remarkable . My biggest disappointment would have to be our DT from Florida , Howard . Haven’t seen hide nor hair of him .

    Overall , I’d say a solid B+ on this years draft .

  27. PugetHawk says:

    I think you have to find three starters every year in the draft no matter what round they are picked in. That would mean you turn over each position almost every seven years. Out of those three, one has to be a Pro-Bowl caliber player to be a Super Bowl contender. Depth guys are changed out a lot through draft and free agency but still important for special teams.

    That’s my evaluation. I think we hit that mark every year since the new management took over so I am happy.

  28. Dukeshire says:

    Hawksince77 – And that’s what Kiper elluded to.

    And yes, Wagner has been a 3 down ‘Backer nearly all season.

  29. I was stunned like all of us when they announced Irvin. But after reading about his speed and sack totals, I understood the pick. Then when I read of PCs relationship with Irvin, I felt better about his past. And of course now, they were right with their evaluation about how he would help the team. Ultimately, I’d hoped for 6 sacks, thereby doubling the 2nd most sacks from a player last year, so I’m happy.

    The question was always in my mind, whether he could have been gotten later. I for one am skeptical that other teams were waiting to take Irvin right after us. That’s the word from JS and PC, of course they’d say that.

    Is it a good draft if you pick a guy in the first round, who nobody else would have taken until the 3rd round, (even if he turns out to be the 2nd coming of Lawrence Taylor or Derrek Thomas)? Admittedly, they did trade down once getting more value for their pick. Could they have traded down again? Feels like they could have gotten more value for the pick. And in that sense, as much as Kiper is a blow hard, I find myself agreeing with his half-hearted re-evaluation of the Hawks draft.

  30. At this point, w/the Hawks at 6-4, and RW the #12 QB in the league by rating — you’ve got to give the Hawks credit for moving up in the 3rd and snagging a guy who is probably now at least a low-first round value. You don’t think Cleveland wouldn’t like to have him in instead of Weeden?

    His production has way outstripped what you would expect from a 3rd round pick rookie.

    Irvin has been up and down. Big chunks of games go by w/out noticing his presence sometimes, but I’m still good with the pick overall. He’s shown me enough to believe that he’ll get better, and that his athletic ability was worth the risk of the pick given how important the role of pass-rusher is in today’s NFL. Dismissing him as ‘one-dimensional’ is a little silly imo, because that one-dimension is one of the most in-demand skills we have in this QB-driven league.

  31. I think that Kiper makes some very good points on where Russell Wilson and Bruce Irvin are right now and what they need to do to become top-end players going forward.

  32. jawpeace says:

    As far as draft experts go, I don’t expect them to be perfect. But I would respect them more not less if they would admit I was wrong about this guy or this teams draft grade.
    But in all reality you can judge a draft only after a few years down the line. You can be happy with what is beginning to become evident. But as far as labels of bust or average player or a perennial pro bowl player. I think they should be with held. I remember after Tez rookie year so many were calling him a bust and a total waste of a pick. I was in the other camp lets wait and see, he is a rookie, came in late and has had good flashes not great ten games into his rookie year. I liked his potential. After ten games I did not see the HOF he would become but at least I did not call him a bust.

  33. I have no idea how this guy has a job!

  34. Dukeshire says:

    I wonder how many people here have actually bothered to read Kiper’s draft book, as opposed to just hear the ESPN sound bites?

  35. LOL…wow…Kiper was certainly doing the two-step dance in that interview. I mean come on man… Man up. When you’re wrong…when you’ve made a mistake…when you’ve judged something wrong…own up to it. People will have a lot more respect for you.

  36. All that hair goop has reached the sub dermal level of Mel’s skull and is affecting his thinking. The draft could be one of the Hawks’ best. Irvin, Wagner, Wilson, Turbin are either starting or playing heavy minutes. and have star potential all over them. Then you add Scruggs, Sweezy and Lane as strong contributors in backup or special teams roles and the back end of your draft is potentially very strong moving forward. Typically NFL players improve the most between year 1 and year 2. If Howard and Guy are able to make a leap in on the field performance — this team is loaded on defense.

    If Mel is so great at evaluating talent — why hasn’t an NFL team hired him as a GM?

  37. I mean really, who gives a rat’s ass what someone says about a team’s draft performance? This kind of crap is just an excuse for more yadda-yadda from someone who wants to figure out how to leverage the skill he has for pre-draft assessment into something he can continue to pontificate about long after the draft is over. The reality is, it is more yadda-yadda and does not matter for squat once those players being analyzed hit the field. All that really matters in this league is whether your star is rising or falling. The Hawks’ star is rising, so as far as I am concerned, PC and JS are doing a great job drafting and I could care less if someone thinks Irvin should have been taken in the 2nd round.

  38. Dukeshire says:

    Because being a GM entails so much more that simply evaluating talent. What Kiper does, and those like him do, and what GMs of NFL teams do are as similar as those who make movies and those who critique them.

    Another thing I wonder: why does anyone give a rip what arbitrary grade is placed on a draft? Does that somehow impact how successful the Seahawks will or will not be? No. “Oh no… he gave us a C-. We’re at least a B.” lol. Get real.

  39. When we drafted Irvin, I was thrilled to get a “situational” pass rusher. That’s what we needed most!

  40. hawkdawg says:

    Kiper in this interview did not say one thing about Wagner, who is on everybody’s short list for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Ooops.

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