Skill players balling for the Seahawks
Eric Gray, HB, Oklahoma. Let me flip the script here and tell you right now why Mr. Gray is a sleeper. He ran a 4.62 40 and only did 12 reps on the bench press. At 5'9 1/2" and 207 pounds, no one should expect elite speed. However, that is the summation of his football sins. Well, I believe the fact that he transferred to Oklahoma after two years at Tennessee is unconscionable. I recognize for most 12s, that isn't even worthy of consideration. I suppose it did get him closer to Seattle, so I guess in the end it's okay.
Now let's look at what Eric Gray can do. As a sophomore, he led the Volunteers in rushing and tied for the team lead in total touchdowns. Apparently, that wasn't enough (sniffs your correspondent), so he skedaddled off to the Sooners. He played well as a junior but really showed his talent his senior year with 1372 yards on 212 carries, finding the end zone 11 times. He also pulled down 34 catches for 238 yards. He's adept on screens and more than willing to do the dirty work of staying in and blocking. I'm pretty sure both of those talents would find much favor with Geno Smith.
Roschon Johnson, HB, Texas. You might look at Johnson as Gray's mirror image. Well, sorta. At 6'0" and 219 pounds, Johnson is just a little bigger. He's also slightly faster, at least when you look at top end speed. Johnson came in at 4.58 for the combine. But Gray hit that top speed quickly, much more quickly than Johnson. The Longhorn product is much more in the cut of the prototypical power back.
Johnson saw action in 47 games for Texas, totaling 2,190 yards on 392 carries. He found the end zone 23 times and only fumbled once. Yeah, I like that ratio, too. He also caught 56 passes for 420 yards, so he's not a player you'd have to take out on third down. In fact, considering his predilection for laying out blitzing linebackers, I'd say it would be wise to keep him in the game on third down. You know, for those rare times KW needs a rest. Several scouts have called him a bulldozer, or a guy who'll get the tough yards. Yes, please. Now that would be an amazing value pick.
Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue. Jones is one of the few sleeper prospects I've listed that has met with the Seahawks. With his 4.43 speed, I think it's understandable that Carroll and Schneider were interested in him. While Jones is only 5'11" and 175 pounds, he was a major producer in his senior year. He never got on track at Iowa, but after transferring to Purdue, everything clicked. Jones caught 110 balls for 1,361 yards and a dozen scores. His QB rating when targeted was 118.1. While that's not exactly elite, like Jalin Hyatt's 149.0, it's not chopped liver, either.
Jones has soft hands and is exceptional at using his body to create space on contested catches. Gee, 12s, who does that sound like; anyone you know? Is there anyone on the Hawks roster right now that's 5'10", goes a buck 80, and can catch anything within two zip codes of his location? No, I'm not saying Jones is the next Tyler Lockett. As I wrote about Ronnie Hickman, all these guys have to do is be the best versions of themselves.
Now about that comparison between Jones and Lockett: these weaknesses are from the NFL's draft profile page. But who are they about; the Hawks future Hall of Fame player or the possible rookie? Very slightly built. Struggles with physical cornerbacks and can be redirected in his routes
Press coverage could be an issue for him on the next level.
High percentage of tries are contested. Lacking suddenness to shake press.
Has trouble blowing by tight man coverage downfield.
The first three were written about our man Lockett, and the second group was about Jones. Seems like number 16 turned out a little better than the draft experts predicted. That's the great thing about sleepers. Will they all come through? No, of course not. For every Chris Carson, the Seahawks have drafted there have been, oh, how many seventh-round picks that didn't even make the practice squad? Feel free to look it up; you'll receive a fabulous no-prize. The successes are what make the sleepers so fun for us 12s, and so valuable for our Seahawks.