Ethan Pocic

West Notes: Lynch, Johnson, Seahawks

With both Josh Allen and Josh Rosen still on the board when the Broncos picked at No. 5, Denver bypassed the draft’s top-tier quarterback contingent and instead took a player in Bradley Chubb John Elway wanted enough to nullify a trade with the Bills. Paxton Lynch likely factored into that decision. The No. 26 overall pick in 2016, Lynch has struggled with performance and injuries in his two-year career. And after he lost a one-sided competition to Trevor Siemian last year, Lynch is no longer competing for the starting job. But Elway is not ready to throw in the towel on the former Memphis standout. Picking another quarterback would have essentially doomed Lynch’s Denver tenure. The Broncos are not going to bring in another QB for OTAs, and while Elway didn’t rule out a possible addition later in the offseason, Denver’s QB room could well be Case Keenum, Chad Kelly and Lynch by the time camp commences.

We are not kicking him to the curb. He can still develop,” Elway said, via Mike Klis of 9News. “When we drafted him two years ago, as I said, we knew it was going to take some time. We are not going to bring another one in for OTAs. We will take a peek at that. It will be those two and Case. We are going to OTAs with those guys and go from there.”

The Broncos are clearly betting big on Keenum’s 2017 being a legitimate turning point and not an aberration, and the respective showings of Allen and Rosen may be tied, to some degree, to the Broncos’ decision to go with Keenum instead. And the Broncos now have a season to further evaluate Lynch before his fifth-year option decision — regarding a steep 2019 salary that will likely be north of $15MM — comes next May.

Here’s the latest from some other Western-division headquarters.

  • The Seahawks are going to experiment with two rookies at different positions. Fifth-round pick Tre Flowers will shift from safety to cornerback, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. The 6-foot-3 Oklahoma State product fits the profile of a player the Seahawks would prefer at corner, although he played mostly safety at the Big 12 program. Seattle made a similar move last May in shuttling Mike Tyson from safety to corner. Additionally, the team will try fifth-round offensive lineman Jamarco Jones at both tackle and guard, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Jones started the past two seasons as Ohio State’s left tackle. Condotta adds the Hawks have Ethan Pocic and newcomer D.J. Fluker tentatively tabbed as starters at left and right guard, respectively.
  • Speaking of positional preferences, the Raiders may view Derrick Johnson as a middle linebacker, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. While this would make sense because of Johnson’s extensive experience as a Chiefs inside linebacker, the last time he played in a 4-3 scheme he served as an outside ‘backer. Prior to the Chiefs moving to a 3-4 look in 2009, Johnson spent most of his time on the outside. He started for four seasons in that role. Bair adds that it appears Tahir Whitehead is slated to play on the outside, noting that Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow may be competing for the middle ‘backer job. Whitehead has experience at both middle and outside linebacker in a 4-3 setup.
  • Seattle may look to add wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow, per Condotta. Despite being a 2017 UDFA, Stringfellow came to the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp and fared well. Pete Carroll indicated Stringfellow’s 6-foot-2, 218-pound frame is something the team is intrigued by. The Seahawks would have to waive a player from their 90-man offseason roster to make room for the former Ole Miss Rebel and Washington Husky.

NFC Notes: Griffin, Stafford, Forbath, 49ers

The Seahawks defense continues to take hits on the injury front as the team has now learned that starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin has been ruled out for Sunday’s game vs. the 49ers with a concussion, according to Gregg Bell of The News Tribune (Twitter link). Bell adds that lineman Oday Aboushi will miss the matchup with a shoulder injury as well, so Seattle will once again have to expose backups to expansive playing time.

It would seem that cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane will get the starts on the outside, with either rookie Ethan Pocic or third-year lineman Mark Glowinski filling in for Aboushi at right guard.

Seattle’s roster looks a whole lot different without the likes of Griffin, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in the starting lineup, which has contributed greatly to the Seahawks up-and-down sort of season. The team still has an outstanding defensive line and is right in the thick of the playoff race, but is currently facing a lot of adversity as it continues to lose quality players as the season wears on.

  • In what was a tremendous show of resiliency on Thanksgiving, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford actually finished the game after he suffered what looked to be a serious leg injury. However, even though the talented QB was able to return, you can clearly see that he is not 100% in a video posted to Instagram by Davie Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, depicting Stafford hobbling away after his postgame press conference. It remains to be seen whether Stafford can continue to play in the weeks to come, but we should learn more about the overall severity of the injury next week.
  • Vikings kicker Kai Forbath apparently cut his foot on the nullified block field goal, but should not miss any time moving forward, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Forbath had been one of the best kickers in the league up until the last few weeks when he missed two field goals against the Rams and suffered the aforementioned blocked kick yesterday.
  • The 49ers are as expected not in playoff contention this year, but still await some key decisions on potential free agents at season’s end. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, looked at six impending free agents who could be on the way out after the 2017 season is over. Branch noted running back Carlos Hyde, safety Eric Reid, center Daniel Kilgore, defensive end Aaron Lynch, defensive lineman Tank Carradine and cornerback Dontae Johnson as all guys that seemed primed to test the open market. There are a variety of factors that go into these decisions, but it’s interesting to see how the team may approach these players in the final six weeks of the season given their impending free agency.

Draft Pick Signings: 6/9/17

The latest draft signings:

  • The Seahawks have announced the signing of second-round offensive lineman Ethan Pocic, the 58th overall pick. With Pocic under contract, the Seahawks have signed nine members of their 11-player draft class. After mostly serving as a center at LSU, where he was a first-team All-American in 2016, Pocic has lined up at both guard and right tackle with Seattle this spring. As of now, Oday Aboushi (LG), Mark Glowinski (RG) and Germain Ifedi (RT) are the Seahawks’ penciled-in starters at those positions.