Saturday, February 25, 2012
Sizing up Devon Still for the Seahawks
By Mike Sando
INDIANAPOLIS — Devon Still played multiple spots on the defensive line at Penn State.
A first-round prospect in the 2012 NFL draft, Still's versatility could make him appealing for the Seattle Seahawks in particular. Their success in converting Red Bryant from traditional defensive tackle to five-technique end could focus their attention on players with Still's versatility.
"[Bryant] has totally transformed his role on our football team and even to the point where we look for players to play like him as we look through our roster because he's 335 pounds — that's when he's trimmed down and in shape — and he's a monster playing on the tight-end side," coach Pete Carroll said from the NFL scouting combine.
Still lacks Bryant's girth. He appeared sturdy and athletic during his media appearance Saturday, affirmed by impressive combine measurements: 302 pounds on a 6-foot-5 frame. Still's neck appeared even bigger with silver Beats by Dr. Dre headphones around it and a black knit cap from Bommarito training centers on his head. The Big Ten's defensive player of the year called himself "hands down" the best defensive tackle in the draft.
Draft analyst Rob Rang has projected Still as a candidate for Seattle at No. 12, even projecting him as the Seahawks' pick in that spot during recent mock drafts.
"Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback," Rang wrote, "but in beating the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens last year, and matching up well with division champion San Francisco, the club may not be willing to reach to fill a perceived need. ... Still could help inside at defensive tackle, as well as provide flexibility at the five-technique defensive end position should Bryant be heavily pursued in free agency."
Bryant's situation will be resolved before the draft. Still could be a consideration for Denver or Kansas City, as well. The Chiefs pick 11th, just ahead of Seattle, after winning a coin flip to break a tie in draft order.
The Seahawks aren't the only NFC West team that could use a versatile defensive tackle.
The St. Louis Rams definitely need help at tackle. They hold the second overall choice and figure to remain near the top five even if they trade back, but Still would not fill their obvious need for playmaking help.