• Chad Blue

Players To Know: 2018 Seahawks Draft Preview

Updated: Oct 29, 2018


Armani Watts

Texas A&M, FS, 5'11" 205 lbs.


Strengths: If there is one thing the 4-year starter at Safety for the Aggies knows it's turnovers. Up through his Junior year, Watts generated 237 total tackles -14 for loss, 6 Interceptions, 3 Fumble Recoveries, and 4 forced fumbles. Through the first four games of the 2017 season, Watts has 35 total tackles - 2 for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions. Watts is an aggressive playmaker with excellent 'click and close' ability. Very good sideline to sideline speed. While he only weighs 205 lbs., Watts still delivers the 'pop' in his hits and does not shy away from contact. An aggressive downhill tackler. Very good eye-hand coordination. Made a game-sealing interception in double overtime against the Tennessee Volunteers in 2016 and another game-sealing interception in overtime against Arkansas in 2017. Returned a block FG for a TD as a Freshman (negated due to penalty). 2017 Jim Thorpe Watch List Nominee.


Weaknesses:

Man coverage needs major improvement. Gets caught peeking into the backfield too often, thus pump fakes tends to put him out of place while in coverage. Will be late getting in deep third coverage and has allowed deep balls to get past him. Struggles to shed blocks once he's engaged. Needs better consistency with open-field tackling. Needs to come to balance in tackle-ready position more quickly on third-level stops. Suffered a torn hamstring that ended his season in 2016.

Seahawks fit:

Watts embodies the Pete Carroll philosophy - it's all about the ball. Watts plays the game with passion and intensity and has the innate ability to step up in critical situations. With the uncertainty of re-signing Bradly McDougald this coming off-season, Watts can serve as a viable backup until he gets acclimated to the NFL game while studying under Earl Thomas. The Seahawks may very well re-sign Earl to an extension by the end of the 2018 season in which the signing of Watts may be unnecessary. But, if the Seahawks are looking to keep youth on defense while keeping future cap space in mind, then drafting a playmaker like Watts makes sense. Some scouts has the Aggie safety going in the late 1st or early 2nd round.

Troy Fumagalli

Wisconsin, TE, 6'6" 250 lbs.


Strengths: Good size and very good athleticism. Lined up wide, in the slot and as both move and in­line tight end for the Badgers. Very good speed off the line and is a matchup nightmare against linebackers one on one. Knows when to flatten crossing routes to create separation from safeties. Has good body control and catch radius with a 'go get it' attitude as a receiver. Positions his body well to box out defenders on high balls and high points the ball very well. Finds holes in zone coverage and works himself into open, easy throws for quarterbacks on the move. Finishes runs after the catch with rugged effort. A tough, no-nonsense run blocker and isn't afraid to battle when engaged. Takes good angles and gets into good blocking position on zone runs. 2017 John Mackey Award Preseason Nominee.

Weaknesses:

Lacks elite downfield speed. Does not possess great elusiveness after the catch. Frame could use additional functional mass as he is not powerful enough yet to handle NFL edge power as in­line blocker. Experienced a high rate of dropped passes in 2016, dropping 6 of 53 catchable passes (Pro Football Focus.)

Seahawks Fit:

The more I read about Fumagalli, the more I like this kid.

Fumagalli was born with amniotic band syndrome, caused when fibrous amniotic bands wrap around fetal parts and cut off circulation to limbs or digits while a baby is in the womb. His father said Troy's left index finger was so underdeveloped that it required amputation days after he was born (ESPN). When his Badger teammate and team captain, Jack Cichy, announced that he would be missing the 2017 season with a torn ACL, Fumagalli wore Cichy's number (48) in the opening game of the 2017 season in tribute to Cichy. Since Zach Miller, the Seahawks have been missing a tight end with an even combination of good catching and blocking skills. Jimmy Graham is a great receiver but terrible blocker. Luke Willson, more often than not gets the job done, but is not particularly spectacular in either aspect and is set to be free agent in 2018. Nick Vannett has not materialized into either a great blocker or receiver within his first two years. Fumagalli comes from a pro style offense that runs a mix of power and zone blocking schemes. The kid knows how to block and prides himself as a run blocker. He may not have blazing speed and look all that smooth running routes, but he knows how to gain separation against defenders with his eyes and intelligence. Some scouting sites has Fumagalli as a second day prospect, but don't be surprised to see his draft stock rise to the late 1st round as the season goes on and after the NFL Combine. He has a great personal story, shows he is a compassionate teammate, and is a damn good football player. I would love to see Fumagalli in Blue and Green.

Kendall Joseph

Clemson, LB, 6'0" 230 lbs.


Strengths: The leader of the Tigers defense, Joseph is a very smart defender with excellent instincts and tackling ability. Tallied 124 tackles - 13.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks as a redshirt sophmore. He recognizes the play and diagnoses where to run once the ball is snapped and diagnoses screens very well. Good closing speed but can be beat by backs with elite speed. Slippery against larger blockers. Very good at sorting through the trash to make a tackle. Has the agility and foot quickness to handle coverage responsibilities.

Weaknesses:

Undersized for an inside linebacker. Frame may be maxed out to add additional functional mass. Struggles to get clean once a lineman gets his hands inside of him. Opts to run around blocks more than take them on. While a good tackler, hits don't provide much 'pop.'

Seahawks Fit:

Joseph is roughly the same size as Bobby Wagner. While Joseph may not have the same straight line speed as Bobby, Joseph displays the athleticism, instincts and intelligence which Bobby and KJ possess. With Wilhoite, Garvin, and McDonald all set to become free agents next season, Kendall Joseph may be a value 3rd day pick.

Connor Williams

Texas, Tackle, 6'6" 315 lbs.


We all know the Seahawks could benefit from a legit offensive tackle. We as fans have grown tired of the 'wait and see' process that has become the norm the last few years after the departure of Russell Okung. Connor Williams would have been that Tackle we've been looking for. I say 'would have been' because Williams suffered a knee injury during the September 16 matchup against USC which required surgery to repair. His timetable to return is yet to be determined. Prior to his injury, Connor was my favorite tackle prospect of the 2018 draft pool. Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame may get more notoriety in the press due to his size and experience at left and Right Tackle, but Connor was a pure dog in the trenches and even at the second and third levels. He was excellent at walling off all pass rushers, leading the draft class in Pass Blocking Efficiency with a score of 99.2 (Pro Football Focus). He may not have had feet like McGlinchey but he was still very athletic to get to the second level and had the intelligence to take proper angles to seal off defenders. He had the third highest percentage of positively-graded blocks in his draft grade (PFF.)

The question remains 'Can Connor Williams return this season? If so, will his performance drop or will he be able to get back to his performance level before his injury?'

Connor Williams was already a 1st round lock before his injury. Now with the medical flags, Connor Williams may have slipped down the draft ladder. Just how far is yet to be determined.

#2018NFLDraft #ConnorWilliamsTexas #ArmaniWattsTexasAampM #KendallJosephClemson

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