WR Kendall Wright
At 5102 and 196 lbs Wright is not a big receiver, but I do like his lower body thickness. His explosiveness was very evident last night, as he was able to change speeds effectively and use his first step burst to separate from defenders in space. One issue that concerns me is that he had three body catches last night – he needs to prove he can consistently pluck the ball away from his body if he is to become a reliable receiving threat. He also needs to improve his blocking going forward, as last night he struggled with stopping his feet on contact, reaching and falling off his block.
DT Mike Martin
I liked what I saw from Martin last night as he was able to get involved in several plays with his hustle and strong hand usage. He was generally able to beat his man off the ball with his first step quickness and used his violent hands to set up a variety of moves. He also impressed with his awareness, as he was able to sniff out multiple play actions and bootlegs by keeping his head up and watching the QB. I do worry about his ability to shed effectively once locked onto because of his smaller frame and short arms, but he certainly looks like he can be an effective player on a rotational basis.
OLB Zach Brown
Brown didn’t have a bad first night and definitely flashed his speed and fluidity, but I definitely have concerns about how he addresses blockers. In particular, he struggled to diagnose side blocks in lateral pursuit plays and did not use his hands to effectively protect his frame. He was also fooled twice by play action, something I did not feel he struggled with in college. All this being said his lateral agility and recovery speed are very impressive attributes of his game, and will help him adjust in the interim as he learns how to better address blockers.
TE Taylor Thompson
Fans will need to be patient with Thompson as he is still learning the position, but his experience as a DE at SMU serves him well in a number of areas. First off, I like his ability as his blocker because he understands leverage and knows how to get his feet around to seal his man off the play side. I was also impressed with his physicality getting in and out of his breaks, as he was not afraid to use his natural strength and solid frame to create separation on his routes. One area he clearly needs to improve upon quickly is his ball security; a defender was able to punch a ball out of his possession to force a fumble, and he generally did not run with the ball properly protected. He needs time and reps in order to develop his route running and catching skills, but Titans fans should be excited about his total package.
ILB Bobby Wagner
Wagner is clearly athletic enough to start in the NFL but his instincts are a major concern. Last night he was too hesitant off the snap and let blockers get on top of him and lock him up. He also took too many false steps, allowing linemen to seal him out of the play. Hopefully last night was simply a case of a young player making large jump in competition level (Wagner played his college ball at Utah State) and he will improve his read and reaction skills as well as his ability to shed blocks throughout the rest of the preseason.
DE Bruce Irvin
Last night Irvin looked like an athlete just starting to play football. He has very good first step quickness and lateral agility, but he is too easily neutralized at the POA and does not use his hands or foot quicks to set up a variety of moves. His lack of bulk is also a concern, as blockers seemed to engulf him as soon as they got their hands on him. Unless he learns an effective countermove and improves his hand usage drastically, I’d be surprised if he contributes this year as anything more than a situational pass rusher.
RB Robert Turbin
Turbin is going to get an opportunity to play early because of Marshawn Lynch’s legal issues, but once Lynch returns the key for Turbin’s continued playing time will be his abilities on third down. If last night is any indication, he is right on schedule. He did a good job of coming up aggressively to pick up blitzes and was also effective as a receiver out of the backfield. My biggest concern with him is that he is so tightly wound he appears to lack foot quickness and burst. He was much more productive as a north/south runner last night, as he struggled to effectively take the edge. He seems to be a bit of a build-up runner in the mold of Brandon Jacobs or LeGarrette Blount, and could struggle to break tackles at the LOS.
QB Russell Wilson
Wilson had a fairly impressive debut for Seattle last night. He demonstrated a quick, compact release and showed good zip on all of his throws. He attempted 7 throws in the 0-4 yard range and the only inaccurate ball was a screen pass that he didn’t loft high enough to clear the free lineman. In the 5-14 yard range he was accurate on 6-8 balls, with his first throw of the game low after scrambling to his right and his only real glaring mistake, a badly underthrown ball into the middle of the field that a dropping LB was able to intercept in the end zone. He slightly underthrew a deep ball to Braylon Edwards down the left sideline because he didn’t finish his lower body mechanics properly, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this throw because he gave his man a chance to make a play on the ball (which Edwards did, resulting in a long TD reception). Wilson did not attempt any throws in the intermediate 15-24 yard range, and this is something I’ll be interested to track going forward. A lot of his throws were off play action or designed roll outs, so as the preseason progresses I want to see more of how he handles the pocket; he needs to show that he can stare down the barrel of the gun and deliver accurately while absorbing a hit, as well be able to correctly identify and adjust the line protections.