More on Durham and Carpenter, Plus Hats
I’ve got a few short items for you today, starting with some answers to the questions some of you asked about Kris Durham last week. Finding game tape on college prospects can be a major headache. Sometimes all you find is a few brief minutes of highlights on Youtube that some twentysomething has set to a bland, derivative rap/rock soundtrack1, if you find anything at all.
That is, unless the prospect in question played for a school in the Southeastern Conference, in which case you can watch every game he starred in online whenever you feel like at the SEC’s website. And wouldn’t you know it, Durham’s school Georgia just so happens to be a charter member of the SEC. Isn’t life grand? (If you’d like some help zeroing in on games in which Durham was heavily featured, here’s a list of every college game in which he registered a catch.)
The more I see of Durham, two things become increasingly clear: 1) he’s a much better player than his college stat line would seem to indicate, and 2) Aaron Murray is a wildly inaccurate passer. On deep routes, Durham got behind defenders on a consistent basis, and on those rare occasions when a pass hit him in stride he proved to be a surprisingly elusive runner for a guy his size. He was also adept at settling into holes in zone coverage, and in general just made great plays on horribly thrown balls. I’ve only watched games from his senior year, but I haven’t seen much in the way of dropped balls. When a pass failed to connect, it was almost always because it was too off-target for him to make a play on it.
Durham also looks comfortable as a blocker in the running game. I don’t recall seeing him assigned to block a linebacker, so I can’t speak to his ability there, but he tracks defensive backs well and looks good blocking in space. Granted, it’s not unusual for a wide receiver from an SEC school to have some ability to run block, but it’s nice to see it on film all the same.
In short, I'm really starting to see why John Schneider drafted this guy (from what I understand, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli had a similar grade for Durham). Durham's stat lines at Georgia are not impressive, but the more I watch the more I get the impression of a talented player overshadowed by teammate AJ Green. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do when the pads finally go on this offseason.
Next up, here’s a short piece by Zee Samnani on our first round pick James Carpenter:
When the Seahawks were on the clock at 25, I though that they would take CB Jimmy Smith from Colorado, OL Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin, or trade down (which was my best bet). So when James Carpenter’s name was called, it would be an understatement to say I was shocked. I’m not going to bash Carpenter and say that he won’t be a good player, but everyone knows he was a bit of a reach at that spot. I know that there were a couple of trades that fell through at the last minute, but the Seahawks really should have tried harder to trade down. At the very least they could have gotten more picks in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Carpenter would’ve still been there in the 2nd round, as he wasn’t very high on most scouts’ boards.
But although he was a reach, this young man can be a very good player in this league. I could really see him anchoring the right side of the offensive line for years to come. Remember, he helped carry Alabama to a national title and helped Mark Ingram earn his Heisman (every great running back has great blocking). At 6’4”, 321 lbs, Carpenter is a beast. He has very good technique and has the ability to overpower defensive ends. The only problem I can point out is that he has trouble against speed rushers. He doesn’t have the lateral agility to mirror those guys running around the edge.
Overall, this could be an amazing pick for the Seahawks. Carpenter will really boost the running game, and I believe that along with Okung he will be a key part of the o-line for a really long time. Next time, I will analyze the Seahawks’ next pick, OG John Moffitt from Wisconsin.
Finally, Seahawk Addicts reader Jeff Gadley recently asked me if I could pass on the word to you guys that his wife Johna is making hats for sale, and after seeing some examples of her work (pictures: 1, 2, 3, and 4) I agreed. I only asked that Jeff give you guys some more information about the whole endeavor, and here’s what he had to say:
My wife Johna is amazing at knitting, and she’s done it most of her adult life. To make a long story short, one day we saw a kid wearing a poorly knitted Seahawks hat and I asked her if she could make something like that. Of course she said yes, so I did some research to see if there was anything like it available on the web and didn’t find anything so we decided to start making hats in team colors.
It took her a couple of tries to get the pattern down, but once she did the sales took off. Aside from the NFL, we’ve also done hats in NBA, NHL, and MLB team colors as well as hats for high school teams, hats for Breast Cancer awareness, even hats with movie themes. You name it, and she can do it. The hats are made out of yarn, so they can be washed by hand without losing their shape. The mohawk fringe on top does not unravel easily, but if it does the strands can just be twisted back together.
1 I’m starting to think that Youtube actively discourages anyone capable of pairing videos with interesting music from uploading clips -- sort of a conspiracy against folks with taste, if you will.