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Live blog: 2018 NFL draft (first round)

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

I’ll be updating this piece with thoughts on every pick as they come in. After the first round I’ll write a review and be making two podcast appearances (will post audio).

#1 Cleveland Browns — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
This had been reported all day. In terms of pure performance on the field, Mayfield topped Darnold, Allen, Rosen and the rest. He was the Heisman winner, led Oklahoma in the incredible Rose Bowl against Georgia and won on the road at Ohio State. He’s a winner with a winners attitude. Character problems? Overstated. Now the Browns need to find a left tackle to protect him. Go get the #18 pick…

#2 New York Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
The best player in the draft. Forget all the nonsense about running back value. This guy is a superstar in the making and a future face of the NFL. Now the Giants have Saquon, Odell and Evan Engram for a generation. That’s an explosive offense trio worth paying a ticket to watch. There will be loads of handwringing about not taking a quarterback. Big deal. Football doesn’t have to be over analysed to the Nth degree. The Giants can win games with Eli Manning, Nate Solder and this trio of playmakers.

#3 New York Jets — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
The Jets traded up knowing they would get one of the top quarterbacks. Some criticised the trade but look what happened. They ended up with the player many saw as the best QB in the draft and it didn’t even cost them a future first rounder. It was a great move by the Jets and this is a fantastic opportunity to get the franchise back on track. There’s plenty of Carson Palmer to his game but he’s a better improviser.

#4 Cleveland Browns — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
It’s not a shock that Cleveland took Denzel Ward. It’s just a shock they took him at number four. I posted a fresh mock earlier when it became clear Mayfield would be the top pick. I had the Browns trading down to #12 and taking Ward. Clearly they needed a corner and they just addressed that need right here. They passed on Bradley Chubb which is interesting. If the Browns trade up to #18 later I think the Cleveland fans in Dallas might start a riot. They’re not happy.

#5 Denver Broncos — Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
The Broncos saw an opportunity and took it. Von Miller + Bradley Chubb is a mean duo working the edge. Vance Joseph looked a bit out of his depth as a Head Coach last season and we’ll see if Case Keenum is good enough to give this team a jolt. They need a lot more to add to the roster. The Broncos are another trade-up candidate. Chubb could’ve been a top-10 pick a year ago. Terrific player, athlete and character.

#6 Indianapolis Colts — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
The second best player in the draft after Saquon Barkley. The Colts need to build around Andrew Luck. They wasted his healthy years and now it’s time to get things right. Nelson could be a Pro-Bowler in year one. He has some Steve Hutchinson to his game. He’s big, physical, nasty and focused. He had a TEF score of 3.07 so he’s an explosive blocker too. He’s a top-10 pick in most drafts.

#7 Buffalo Bills (via Tampa Bay) — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
The Bills, as expected, trade up for a quarterback. Adam Schefter says Denver and Buffalo had a trade agreed for #5 but Denver reneged when Bradley Chubb fell to #5. The Bills might end up getting a better deal as a consequence after waiting two more picks. Allen has everything physically. The question marks surround his performance in college which was poor albeit on a lousy team. He looked superb at the Senior Bowl. The Bills gave up #53 and #56 to move up. It’s a good deal for Tampa Bay and Buffalo gets to keep #22 and their 2019 first round pick.

#8 Chicago Bears — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
It’s a fit because Vic Fangio does well clogging up the middle and keeping his linebackers clean. If Roquan Smith can run to the ball and play read-and-react, he’s exceptional. He’s a no-nonsense player with flash ability. The problem is if teams can get their O-liners to the second level. He struggles shedding blocks and it was apparent against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Keep him clean, he’s money. If you don’t, he can be a liability.

#9 San Francisco 49ers — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
My initial reaction to this pick was surprise. Then after a moment, I got it. They have an ageing left tackle in Joe Staley. They just gave a fortune to Jimmy Garoppolo. He is their future. And the NFL is suffering with an offensive tackle problem. The good ones go early. The Niners probably don’t plan on picking this early again any time soon. It’s not an exciting pick but it could be a good one. McGlinchey is solid if unspectacular and a big time character guy. This won’t help Seattle if Kolton Miller leaves the board before #18.

#10 Arizona Cardinals (via Oakland) — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
The Cardinals trade up for a quarterback. I mocked the Raiders to take Mike McGlinchey last night. The Niners pick possibly inspired this move. I also had Miami taking Josh Rosen. So this was possibly a perfect storm with the Cardinals wanting to jump ahead of Miami and the Raiders preferring to move down when McGlinchey was taken. Rosen is the more natural passer in this QB class. He dropped due to injury and character concerns. The Cardinals only had to give up a third and fifth round pick to move up. Whatever you think about Rosen, it’s a great deal for Arizona to go and get a quarterback.

#11 Miami Dolphins — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
He’s always been a bit overrated. Solid but not exciting. A decent athlete but nothing special. He’s not a rangy free safety or a natural corner. Malik Hooker was better a year ago and I think Keanu Neal and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were better too. He’ll be a solid, safe option for Miami. Good guy but not a big vocal leader. It’ll be interesting to see how Miami uses him. Tremaine Edmunds and Vita Vea have bigger upside in my opinion. It’s a surprise that Edmunds is still on the board.

#12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Buffalo) — Vita Vea (DT, WashingtoN)
Congratulations to the Buccs. They are the big winners of the top-12 picks. They traded down five spots, collected two extremely valuable second round picks and still got Vita Vea. Imagine Gerald McCoy next to Vea with Jason Pierre-Paul working the edge. Fantastic pick, fantastic trade down. Kudos to the Buccs. Vea is rare air. He could be another Haloti Ngata. In my mock I had Tampa Bay trading down for Vea.

#13 Washington Redskins — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
The Redskins needed a defensive lineman. They likely had their heart set on Vita Vea. Payne looked really good in the college football playoffs and every bit a top-15 pick against Georgia. He’s more explosive than some of Alabama’s other recent early rounder D-liners. However, he only had ONE single tackle for a loss in 2017. That’s pretty striking on a team like Alabama that dominates up front every week.

#14 New Orleans Saints (via Green Bay) — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
Huge shocker. Not that Marcus Davenport went at #15. He’s a tremendous pass rusher. It’s that this is the move the Saints made after moving up. He is so raw and might not be an impact rusher. And New Orleans spent two first round picks to get him. It’s a risky move. I thought they were going to take Lamar Jackson and plan for life after Drew Brees. The Saints traded their 2019 first round pick and a fifth rounder this year to go from #27 to #15.

#15 Oakland Raiders (via Arizona) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
That could possibly be the end of Seattle’s shot to trade down with the Browns. The Raiders traded down when Mike McGlinchey was taken by San Francisco and they simply moved onto the next best tackle. The Niners, by taking McGlinchey, possibly killed Seattle’s best trade offer. Fingers crossed Denver or someone else wants to trade up for Lamar Jackson. Kolton Miller is highly athletic and he’s enormous. You’re taking potential here.

#16 Buffalo Bills (via Baltimore) — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
Buffalo gave up a third rounder to move from #22 to #16. The Bills also received a fifth rounder in the deal. This is the second time Buffalo traded up in the first round and it’s a great move. Tremaine Edmunds is a spectacular player with major potential. There just isn’t anyone like him in the league. That’s possibly why he dropped. Teams like what they know. Buffalo gets a top-10 talent at #16. He does hesitate sometimes off the snap and has a false step. It’s his only flaw. He’s long, athletic and physical.

#17 Los Angeles Chargers — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
Derwin James has always been a bit overrated. He’s an alpha, he’s athletic and he’s physical. There’s no question marks there. The thing is, he just doesn’t make that many plays. You watch the tape and he makes a tackle at the second level. Great. You want to see more. He struggles in space and had a horrible snap against Antonio Callaway in the slot. He’s a box safety. A good one. But he is what he is.

#18 Green Bay Packers (via Seattle) — Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
An old friend leaps in to save the day. The Seahawks saw a potentially lucrative deal with the Cleveland Browns go up in smoke when Mike McGlinchey and Kolton Miller were snatched off the board. Now they move down nine spots and get a third and a sixth in return. They now own the #27 pick, originally belonging to New Orleans. It shows how determined they were to move down. This isn’t exactly a ‘haul’. However, according to this trade value chart it was a fair deal. You can make a case for Alexander being better than Denzel Ward. He’s competitive and talented.

#19 Dallas Cowboys — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
This is a fantastic get for the Cowboys. Linebacker was a big need. I noted in this piece in early March just how good Vander Esch is. Physically he’s very similar to Luke Kuechly. He flies to the ball, plays with range and intensity. He’s everything you want in a linebacker. He can play outside early and move inside when Sean Lee misses his handful of games (as he does every year). Terrific pick for the Dallas Cowboys.

Player trade — the Oakland Raiders have traded a third round pick to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant

#20 Detroit Lions — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
The Lions had a big need at center so this makes sense. He’s been underrated throughout the whole process. He’s been in every top-50 list we’ve had dating all the way back to the college season. He’s a brilliant, physical blocker and a tone-setter. The Lions will not regret this pick and they have a blossoming, tough O-line to work with. The Bengals are probably cursing at pick #21.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
Speaking of underrated players, come on down Billy Price. Like Ragnow he’s all attitude. At times he gets carried away trying to be too aggressive. That’s a minor issue considering the toughness, dedication and athleticism he’s going to provide at center. He’s a terrific player and the Bengals solved a big problem at a major position of need. They would’ve likely taken Ragnow but Price is a nice consolation prize.

#22 Tennessee Titans (via Baltimore, Buffalo) — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
The Titans trade up to keep Rashaan Evans away from the New England Patriots. This is the pick Baltimore collected after trading down with Buffalo. Evans is an alpha and plays every game with his hair on fire. He isn’t the most athletic or explosive player but he just gets after it. Derrius Guice suggested in pre-season Alabama were ‘scared’ of LSU’s running game. Evans took it upon himself to hammer Guice every time he touched the ball. It was an ass-kicking.

#23 New England Patriots — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
The New England Patriots do it again. Isaiah Wynn is one of the 15 best players in the draft. He does everything well. He was the best left tackle in college football in 2017 along with Austin Corbett. The Pats could try him at left tackle even though many project him inside. This is a fantastic get for the Pats.

#24 Carolina Panthers — D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)
The first receiver off the board is D.J. Moore. He’s an incredible athlete. He’s built like a running back with a thick, muscular lower body. He can get downfield and he’s a YAC master. That said, Wisconsin cornerback Nick Nelson absolutely shut him down and held him without a catch.

#25 Baltimore Ravens (via Tennessee) — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
There was plenty of talk about Baltimore wanting a tight end. The Ravens were linked with Da’Ron Payne too. When the Redskins took Payne, it’s possible they moved on to Plan B. Hayden Hurst turns 25 in August. He’s old for a rookie. They have to believe they can still get seven years out of him. They’ve been looking for a tight end solution for a long time. He plays with an AFC North attitude.

#26 Atlanta Falcons — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
Calvin Ridley isn’t great in any way in terms of body shape or speed. He’s small, not exactly lightning quick and his interviews are a bit unnecessarily testy sometimes. That said, he’s a nice compliment to the bigger receivers they already have. It’s a value pick if you like Ridley. Otherwise, you have to wonder if they really addressed a key need here. This type of player wasn’t the difference for Atlanta last season.

#27 Seattle Seahawks — Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
Huge shock. The Seahawks said fixing the run was their priority. They meant it. They’ve taken a running back in the first round — but it wasn’t the one many expected. It’s not Nick Chubb. It’s not Kerryon Johnson. It’s not Ronald Jones II or Derrius Guice. It’s not Austin Corbett or Isaiah Oliver. They did what they said they were going to do. Fix the run. He’s a size fit (5-11, 220lbs) and his explosive testing (10-0 broad, 32.5 inch vertical) was in their ballpark too. It’s a pick that will drive Seahawks twitter crazy and for that, we can all be grateful I suppose. Here’s what Bob McGinn’s sources said about Penny:

Played second fiddle to prolific Donnel Pumphrey for three seasons before exploding for 2,248 yards as a senior. “That little kid there last year (Pumphrey) ran for a billion yards and now he’s run for a bunch,” said one scout. “That system there is tremendous. Good size and straight-line burst. I don’t think he has good feel or a lot of niftiness.” Impressed in the Senior Bowl. Tremendous kickoff returner. “Runs primarily out of an I backfield but when he runs the spread option he’s got feet, got acceleration,” a second scout said. “Great hands. Makes guys miss. Got great contact balance.” Finished with 487 carries for 3,643 yards (7.5) and 38 TDs along with 42 receptions for 479 yards. “He runs high,” a third scout said. “I don’t like his pad level. He’s strong and he’s very fast.” From Norwalk, Calif.

The Seahawks are committing to their running game. That is their statement tonight.

#28 Pittsburgh Steelers — Terrell Edmunds (S, Virginia Tech)
Kudos to Jason La Canfora who was reporting consistently that Edmunds would go in the first round. He’s an even quicker, more explosive version of his brother playing safety. He could be a linebacker/safety hybrid. He’s a leader and a tremendous athlete. There are things he needs to work on too.

#29 Jacksonville Jaguars — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
Jacksonville needs to defend the run better but Bryan is more of a pass rusher. He’s an inside/out type with great potential. The Jaguars have loaded up on both lines. They’ll hope that can mask two issues — the quarterback and their inability to defend the deep downfield shot.

#30 Minnesota Vikings — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
Mike Hughes’ tape is really good. He’s not the biggest or fastest corner. That said, you have to like his grit and knack of being around the ball. I prefer Isaiah Oliver personally. Yet the Vikings have done a good job drafting for their defense in recent years.

#31 New England Patriots — Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
Bill Belichick is a master. He doubles down on Georgia studs. Sony Michel isn’t a fit everywhere (including, in my opinion, Seattle). However, he’s a perfect fit for the Patriots offense. He’s their type of back. Great move by the Pats. Adam Schefter says some teams had some concern about Michel’s left knee. He injured an ACL in High School and Chris Mortensen added it was a ‘little loose’ at the combine.

#32 Baltimore Ravens (via Philadelphia) — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
The Ravens moved up and took Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the day. Joe Flacco probably feels a little nervous today. Personally I’d rather face Josh Rosen twice a year than Jackson. The Ravens did the smart thing planning ahead. Jackson was the most electric player in college football for two years straight. Major talent.

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Some final thoughts ahead of the draft

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

— A year ago Tony Pauline correctly reported the Seahawks had a deal in place to trade down with the Atlanta Falcons. Hours before the start of the draft, Tony is now predicting the Seahawks will trade with Cleveland. The Browns would get #18 to draft a left tackle (Mike McGlinchey or Kolton Miller) and the Seahawks would get picks #33 and #35. That would be an incredible haul for Seattle. Right at the start of day two they could address two huge needs. It could be a cornerback (Isaiah Oliver), defensive lineman (Josh Sweat, Maurice Hurst), running back (Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones II), receiver (Christian Kirk) or offensive lineman (Austin Corbett, Billy Price). In terms of dream scenarios, this is it.

— Bob McGinn (another extremely well sourced reporter) says the league thinks Seattle will draft Shaquem Griffin at some point:

Some teams appear convinced that Griffin will join his twin brother, Shaquill, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill, a third-round pick last year from UCF, had a strong rookie season as a starting cornerback.

“Just the vibe I’m getting from things,” said one scout. “Some of the comments made by some of their guys about the type of kid he is and the football player he is and what he embodies.”

— Whatever the Seahawks do over the next few days, I hope there’s a strong focus on fixing the running game. New needs have emerged with Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett departing. Yet Seattle’s running game remains the biggest issue on the team. Pete Carroll can put together a defense. But for two years the running game has been a mess. And Carroll wants to be a running team. This is a draft set up for a team to fix their running game. It’s a very strong draft for offensive linemen and running backs in the first two rounds. If you really want to fix the run, commit to it.

— I’ll be doing a live blog throughout the first round. I’m also set to do a podcast with Kenny after the first round and make an appearance on the Beast Pode. I’ll post the audio on here later. I’ll also be doing a write-up either reviewing Seattle’s first round pick or assessing the remaining options for round two.

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Updated draft day mock

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

This isn’t the one sent to the Huddle Report. However, with the news out there that Baker Mayfield is set to be the #1 pick, I decided to do a first round update…

#1 Cleveland — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#2 NY Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 NY Jets (via Ind) — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#4 Cleveland (via Hou) — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
#5 Denver — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
#6 Indianapolis (via NYJ) — Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)
#7 Tampa Bay — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#8 Chicago — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#9 San Francisco — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
#10 Oakland — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
#11 Miami — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
#12 Cleveland (via Buf, Cin) — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
#13 Washington — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#14 Green Bay — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
#15 Arizona — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#16 Baltimore — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
#17 LA Chargers — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
#18 Cleveland (via Sea) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
#19 Dallas — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
#20 Detroit — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
#21 Cincinnati (via Buf) — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
#22 Buffalo — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
#23 New England — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
#24 Carolina — Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
#25 Tennessee — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
#26 Atlanta — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
#27 New Orleans — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
#28 Denver (via Pittsburgh) — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
#29 Jacksonville — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
#30 Minnesota — Austin Corbett (G, Nevada)
#31 New England — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
#32 Philadelphia — James Daniels (C, Iowa)

My Seahawks seven rounder wouldn’t change:

(33) — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
R2 (50) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
R2 (64) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)
R3 (90) — Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
R4 (114) — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
R4 (120) — Dorance Armstrong (DE, Kansas)
R5 (141) — Leon Jacobs (LB, Wisconsin)
R5 (146) — Kameron Kelly (S, San Diego State)
R5 (156) — Tony Brown (CB, Alabama)
R5 (168) — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
R7 (226) — Kyle Allen (QB, Houston)
R7 (248) — Keith Kirkwood (WR, Temple)

The final 2018 mock draft

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

This is my final mock draft to be sent to the Huddle Report for scoring. It includes:

— Two rounds
— Multiple trades
— An Earl Thomas to Dallas trade
— A full Seahawks seven-round projection

First round

#1 Cleveland — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
#2 NY Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 NY Jets (via Ind) — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#4 Cleveland (via Hou) — Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)
#5 Buffalo (via Den) — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
#6 Indianapolis (via NYJ) — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
#7 San Francisco (via TB) — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
#8 Chicago — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#9 Tampa Bay (via SF) — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#10 Oakland — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
#11 Miami — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#12 Denver (via Buf, Cin) — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
#13 Washington — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
#14 Green Bay — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
#15 Arizona — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#16 Baltimore — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
#17 LA Chargers — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#18 Cleveland (via Sea) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
#19 Atlanta (via Dal) — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
#20 Detroit — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
#21 Cincinnati (via Buf) — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
#22 Denver (via Buf, KC) — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
#23 New England (via LAR) — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
#24 Carolina — Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
#25 Tennessee — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
#26 Dallas (via Atl) — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
#27 New Orleans — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
#28 Pittsburgh — Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
#29 Jacksonville — D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)
#30 Minnesota — James Daniels (C, Iowa)
#31 New England — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
#32 Philadelphia — Austin Corbett (G, Nevada)

How would this leave things for the Seahawks?

Having dropped down to #33 from #18, there are many things to consider:

— What are the cliffs at each position? Which areas can you address in rounds 4-7 and feel like you added a potential starter? Which positions are thin after rounds 1-3?

— How do you fix the run? This has been a consistent stated priority after two miserable years running the ball. Are you willing to roll with what you’ve got at running back, tight end and the offensive line? Is it all about Mike Solari’s ability to turn things around? Or do you need to seriously consider the three positions early in the draft? Especially when this appears to be a tailor-made draft for fixing a running game.

— Is the biggest hole on the roster the void left by Richard Sherman? With Byron Maxwell unsigned they might feel like they have to address this need as a priority if they wish to be competitive in 2018. Both Tony Pauline and Ian Rapoport have linked the Seahawks with Isaiah Oliver today. Drafting him early would solve a major need and arguably he has more potential than any other cornerback in this class to achieve greatness. However, this isn’t the way the Seahawks do things at corner. They run a scheme that allows them to plug in prototypes bought at a discount. It’d be a big departure from how they’ve done things in the past and that has to be taken into account.

— There’s a serious lack of edge rushers in this draft and that could force the Seahawks to consider the position early. Yet who are the smart, reliable and tough players at the position with no injury or character risks? There are players they could draft early, such as Kemoko Turay or Josh Sweat, but they’d be taking the kind of gamble they appear less willing to take this year.

— Do they need to draft a touchdown maker early? They had no production from the running backs last year and they’ve lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. If Russell Wilson is going to be more of a focal point in 2018 he’ll need some help.

Second round

#33 Seattle (via Cle) — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
#34 NY Giants — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
#35 Cleveland — Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
#36 Indianapolis — Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
#37 Indianapolis — Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
#38 Tampa Bay — Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
#39 Chicago — Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
#40 Denver — Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
#41 Oakland — Geron Christian (T, Louisville)
#42 Miami — Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota State)
#43 New England (via SF) — Tyrell Crosby (T, Oregon)
#44 Washington — Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
#45 Green Bay — Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
#46 Cincinnati — Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
#47 Arizona — Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
#48 LA Chargers — Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State)
#49 Indianapolis — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
#50 Seattle (via Dal) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
#51 Detroit — Ian Thomas (TE, Indiana)
#52 Baltimore — Lorenzo Carter (LB, Georgia)
#53 Buffalo — Braden Smith (G, Auburn)
#54 Kansas City — Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
#55 Carolina — Rasheem Green (DE, USC)
#56 Denver (via Buf, LAR) — Connor Williams (G, Texas)
#57 Tennessee — Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
#58 Atlanta — Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)
#59 San Francisco (via NO) — Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
#60 Pittsburgh — B.J. Hill (DT, NC State)
#61 Jacksonville — Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
#62 Minnesota — Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
#63 Chicago (via NE) — Jessie Bates III (S, Wake Forest)
#64 Seattle (via Cle, Phi) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)

The trades

— Buffalo trades #12, #22 and a 2019 pick to Denver for #5 to select Josh Allen

— The San Francisco 49ers trade #9 and #74 to Tampa Bay for #7 to select Tremaine Edmunds

— Cleveland trades #33, #64 and #114 to Seattle for #18 to select Kolton Miller

— Atlanta trades #26 and #90 to Dallas for the #19 pick to select Taven Bryan

— Dallas trades #50 and #90 to Seattle for Earl Thomas

Seahawks seven rounder

R2 (33) — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
R2 (50) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
R2 (64) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)
R3 (90) — Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
R4 (114) — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
R4 (120) — Dorance Armstrong (DE, Kansas)
R5 (141) — Leon Jacobs (LB, Wisconsin)
R5 (146) — Kameron Kelly (S, San Diego State)
R5 (156) — Tony Brown (CB, Alabama)
R5 (168) — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
R7 (226) — Kyle Allen (QB, Houston)
R7 (248) — Keith Kirkwood (WR, Temple)

Notes

— In this projection I’ve included an Earl Thomas trade. The Cowboys trade down from #19 with Atlanta and collect a third round pick. They then use that pick and #50 to deal for Thomas. I’m not passing comment on whether I think it’s the right or wrong thing to do. I just think there’s a pretty good chance of it happening. The good news is in two days time the saga will be over one way or another.

— I’ve tried to fill multiple needs for the Seahawks, assessing where the cliffs are to maximise the number of contributors they can collect. The toughest challenge facing the Seahawks will be to bolster the D-line. The options are so thin at EDGE both in the early and later rounds. I have them passing on the early EDGE rushers (Josh Sweat, Kemoko Turay) and taking Dorance Armstrong later. I still think Andrew Brown is a viable target given his strong character, versatility and fantastic short shuttle time (a test that appeals to Seattle for defensive linemen).

— I’m not sure this is a seven-round projection that sufficiently addresses the running game. I still believe there’s a chance the Seahawks focus their attention on fixing the run. That could mean taking an offensive lineman and a running back with two of their first three picks. Yet there are so many new needs and areas to address you’ll have to see where the cliffs are in order to get ‘your guys’. And they may just think Kalen Ballage in round three and having the opportunity to go CB-WR-DL in round two is a better use of resources than taking Nick Chubb or Ronald Jones II earlier.

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Top-100: A Seahawks tier board

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Before we get started, if you missed yesterday’s podcast check it out below…

Tier one (5)

Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
Vita Vea (DT, Washington)

These are the elite five. None of this group will last to #18 but if they did, you wouldn’t trade down. The crème de la crème of the 2018 draft and five potential stars of the future.

Tier two (4)

Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)

I thought about not including the top quarterbacks. After all, the Seahawks aren’t going to be trading into the top-10 to land a new QB. Darnold, Mayfield and Allen appear locks to go in the top-10. Rosen’s stock is a little less clear although in terms of talent, he’s the more natural passer in the group.

Tier three (5)

Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)

These are the players I would separate from the enormous middle class. Ronald Jones II and Isaiah Wynn likely won’t go in the top-20 but you’ll be hard pushed to find better tape than theirs in 2017.

Tier four (20)

Austin Corbett (G, Nevada)
Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
James Daniels (C, Iowa)
Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
Derwin James (S, Florida State)
Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis)
Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)
Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)

Some of these players will go in the top-20. Others will last into the 30’s or 40’s. You can make a case that Austin Corbett, Billy Price, Frank Ragnow and James Daniels deserve better grades than Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick. This is why I think trading down from #18 is inevitable. If you can get Corbett, Price, Maurice Hurst, Christian Kirk, Nick Chubb or Isaiah Oliver after trading down, you do it. Because the player at #18 isn’t going to possess a significantly higher grade than the player you take at #33, #38 or #40.

Tier five (34)

Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State)
Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
Ian Thomas (TE, Indiana)
Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota State)
Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
Braden Smith (G, Auburn)
Jessie Bates III (S, Wake Forest)
Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
Nick Nelson (CB, Wisconsin)
Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
Royce Freeman (RB, Oregon)
Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
Josh Sweat (DE, Florida State)
Lorenzo Carter (LB, Georgia)
Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
Rasheem Green (DE, USC)
Terrell Edmunds (S, Virginia Tech)
Breeland Speaks (DE, Ole Miss)
Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)
B.J. Hill (DT, NC State)
Derrick Nnadi (DT, Florida State)
Tyquan Lewis (DE, Ohio State)
Josey Jewell (LB, Iowa)

I didn’t see the point in ranking Denzel Ward any higher because Seattle probably won’t draft a short armed corner in round one. But he’s good enough that if he somehow lasted into the early second there’s no point not having him on the board.

I think Harold Landry is quite overrated. He’s often paired with the Seahawks in mock drafts but seems like a mirage to me. One of Bob McGinn’s sources said this about Landry: “He’s not a first-round property. I don’t think he can stand up (in a 3-4). He’s too tight in the hips. He’s a little guy and he doesn’t have the burst. Fool’s gold.” Another said: “Not a physical guy. Not strong at the point of attack. Doesn’t really play hard. Not a dynamic pass rusher. He’s more of a fall-into-sacks guy.” I’m not taking him off the board but this ranking represents where I think his stock should be in relation to the Seahawks.

Someone like Hayden Hurst could land in the late first round. Ditto Sam Hubbard. But Tyquan Lewis, Derrick Nnadi, Josey Jewell and B.J. Hill could end up being high impact players. Assuming the Seahawks trade down and acquire at least a second and third round pick in return, the likes of Speaks, Brown, Hill, Nnandi and Lewis would all be fine and underrated selections for a team needing to add to the D-line.

It’s at this point that the EDGE rush options fall off the proverbial cliff.

Why aren’t Sony Michel and Derrius Guice higher? Michel fumbles too often and with Guice it’s character. Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson could both go in the first round but don’t fit Seattle’s physical profile at corner, so I’ve placed them in tier six.

Tier six (17)

Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
Luke Falk (QB, Washington State)
Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State)
D.J. Chark (WR, LSU)
Dante Pettis (WR, Washington)
Holton Hill (CB, Texas)
Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
Connor Williams (G, Texas)
Geron Christian (T, Louisville)
Tyrell Crosby (T, Oregon)
Nathan Shepherd (DT, Fort Hays State)
Justin Jones (DT, NC State)
Keke Coutee (WR, Texas A&M)
Jalyn Holmes (DE, Ohio State)
Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
Tarvarius Moore (S, Southern Miss)
Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)

Some of the names in this list stand out more than others. Realistically the Seahawks could target Kalen Ballage and Shaquem Griffin. Holton Hill could be a hedge if they don’t acquire Isaiah Oliver, Keke Coutee could be an alternative to Christian Kirk and Jalyn Holmes could be an alternative to some of the defensive linemen.

Tier seven (15)

Quenton Meeks (CB, Stanford)
Kameron Kelly (DB, San Diego State)
Dalton Schultz (TE, Stanford)
Durham Smythe (TE, Notre Dame)
Mike Gesicki (TE, Penn State)
Tony Brown (CB, Alabama)
John Kelly (RB, Tennessee)
Brian O’Neill (T, Pittsburgh)
Dorance Armstrong (DE, Kansas)
Leon Jacobs (LB, Wisconsin)
Natrell Jamerson (S, Wisconsin)
Jaylen Samuels (RB, NC State)
Isaac Yiadom (CB, Boston College)
Oren Burks (LB, Vanderbilt)
Micah Kiser (LB, Virginia)

This group further illustrates the kind of depth that will be on offer stretching into rounds three and four. The prospects listed here will provoke mixed opinions. For me, it’s a really talented group.

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Monday notes: Character, cliffs & more

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Before we get started — here is the final Field Gulls draft podcast before Thursday. Check it out below…

Seahawks make it clear — they’re not going to take another big risk

Smart, tough, reliable.

High character.

All football.

These are words you hear a lot in the lead up to the draft. With the Seahawks, the words don’t feel quite so empty this year.

Last week we suggested the Malik McDowell mistake would influence the Seahawks. Today, that was all but confirmed by John Schneider and Pete Carroll:

The McDowell error cost two high picks. The one they used after trading down from #26 and the one they spent on Sheldon Richardson.

They won’t want a repeat.

On day three the stakes aren’t quite as high. They might be more willing to take a chance on someone in rounds 4-7. But with the early picks — expect a renewed emphasis on character.

The cliffs are important this year

The Seahawks have multiple needs to fill. This isn’t going to be a ‘focus on one area’ type of draft. They need to add to the D-line, secondary, fix the running game, replace some of the lost production at WR/TE and find depth at linebacker.

With limited early round stock there’s only one way to do this. Identify the cliffs at each position. If you can get a corner on day three but not an EDGE, that has to play into your thinking.

This year we’re not going to be able to assess Seattle’s draft until the conclusion. Some of their day three picks will be the most important. They’re going to need to find some competition and some potential starters in that range.

Dallas ‘waiting on Earl Thomas to become a free agent’

Forget the draft, if there’s one reason for this week to hurry along it’s to finally conclude the Earl Thomas trade saga.

The Seahawks and Cowboys have both been using the media to try and gain leverage. Initially there was the report Seattle wanted (and apparently could get) a first and third round pick for Thomas. It doesn’t take Poirot to work out the source.

Now the Cowboys are using the media to suggest they’ll wait a year and get Thomas for free when he reaches free agency. It’s a very blatant attempt by Dallas to smoke out the Seahawks.

There’s probably a compromise of sorts to be had. It’s hard to imagine Jerry Jones sitting patiently on day two knowing he can make a big splash. That could be Seattle’s ace up their sleeve.

That’s not to say a trade is necessarily the right move. However, surey only the most optimistic fan envisages a long term future for Thomas in Seattle. The writing, as they say, is on the wall.

Josh Sweat’s knee a concern

There are mixed signals on Sweat’s health going into the draft. Jason La Canfora says he could sneak into the late first.

Ian Rapoport is less optimistic, noting some teams aren’t comfortable with his short or long term future.

Bob McGinn’s NFL sources share that opinion:

“He’s got (knee) problems… He’s going to fall. Big time. He could only practice once a week in college. He’s a talented dude. Good player.”

McGinn as a consequence projects Sweat will go in the third-to-fifth round range. He previously ranked him in round two — so this is a new development.

With such a weak EDGE class the Seahawks might be willing to take a chance on Sweat. That said, given their apparent desire to avoid risk this year, they might end up looking in a different direction.

Tony Pauline projects a big trade for Seattle

In his latest mock published today, Tony has the Seahawks trading the #18 pick to Denver. In return they get the #40 pick, the #96 pick and a 2019 first rounder.

It’s an interesting proposition. The Broncos move up to get Lamar Jackson.

Such a deal would allow the Seahawks to pick twice on day two (probably the minimum they’re aiming for). The big positive would be the 2019 first rounder. The Broncos were terrible last season and it’s not unfair to wonder whether Vance Joseph is out of his depth. That first rounder could easily end up being a top-10 pick.

Tony has the Seahawks taking Austin Corbett (not the greatest need but would be a terrific pick) and Dorance Armstrong. The Armstrong pick is a bit of a reach at #96. For what it’s worth, such a deal would enable the Seahawks to take Christian Kirk and Kalen Ballage, two players they worked out together in Arizona recently.

If they did trade Earl Thomas for a package including pick #50, they would also be able to draft one of Josh Sweat, Sam Hubbard or Rasheem Green to bolster the D-line.

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The top six players at each position

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

These are my personal rankings, not a projection based on what I think the Seahawks will do. For those following the blog since September, there won’t be many surprises here. My opinion hasn’t changed on many players since the end of the college season.

Quarterback

1. Sam Darnold (USC)
2. Josh Rosen (UCLA)
3. Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
4. Josh Allen (Wyoming)
5. Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
6. Luke Falk (Washington State)

Based on how he performed at the Senior Bowl, it’d be easy to put Josh Allen at #1. He looked like a totally different player when not handling the duty of trying to make Wyoming relevant. But how are you going to prioritise? Some teams will have Allen at the top because he has the highest ceiling. I’m going in a different direction because Darnold, Rosen and Mayfield all showed more on the field (and it’s not like they’re lacking potential).

Running back

1. Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
2. Ronald Jones II (USC)
3. Nick Chubb (Georgia)
4. Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)
5. Derrius Guice (LSU)
6. Sony Michel (Georgia)

Saquon Barkley is the clear #1 and for me, Ronald Jones II is the clear #2. The comparisons to Jamaal Charles are warranted, he’s a truly dynamic playmaker and could have an Alvin Kamara-type impact as a rookie. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Seahawks have Kalen Ballage ahead of some of these names.

Wide receiver

1. Anthony Miller (Memphis)
2. Christian Kirk (Texas A&M)
3. D.J. Moore (Maryland)
4. Calvin Ridley (Alabama)
5. Courtland Sutton (SMU)
6. James Washington (Oklahoma State)

I put Anthony Miller in the top-20 of my first mock draft and felt he was the best receiver in the draft. Nothing has shifted my opinion since. He isn’t going to go in the top-20 because he’s not fast and there were some injury concerns. It’s a down year for the position overall but if I had to bet on one guy, it’d be Miller.

Tight end

1. Ian Thomas (Indiana)
2. Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)
3. Hayden Hurst (South Carolina)
4. Dalton Schultz (Stanford)
5. Durham Smythe (Notre Dame)
6. Mike Gesicki (Penn State)

I’m still not sold on this group and don’t think any should go in round one. Ian Thomas has the biggest upside and 2-3 years down the line might be the best tight end from this class. I’m ranking the blockers (Schultz, Smythe) higher than most for their ability to do one thing really well.

Offensive tackle

1. Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)
2. Kolton Miller (UCLA)
3. Geron Christian (Louisville)
4. Tyrell Crosby (Oregon)
5. Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh)
6. Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)

The best two tackles in college football last season were Isaiah Wynn and Austin Corbett but both are projected to move inside. Regardless, Mike McGlinchey and Kolton Miller could go in the top-20.

Guard/center

1. Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)
2. Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)
3. Austin Corbett (Nevada)
4. Billy Price (Ohio State)
5. Frank Ragnow (Arkansas)
6. James Daniels (Iowa)
7. Will Hernandez (UTEP)
8. Braden Smith (Auburn)

Now you’re talking. What a group. Quenton Nelson is the clear #1 and a top-10 pick. Isaiah Wynn and Austin Corbett are both fantastic talents and deserve to go in the first round. There’s nothing between Billy Price, Frank Ragnow, James Daniels and Will Hernandez. They’re all top-50 talents. If any go in round one, it’d be fair. I added a seventh and eighth prospect to this group because it was too difficult to leave the names out.

EDGE

1. Bradley Chubb (NC State)
2. Marcus Davenport (UTSA)
3. Harold Landry (Boston College)
4. Kemoko Turay (Rutgers)
5. Josh Sweat (Florida State)
6. Lorenzo Carter (Georgia)

The EDGE options are severely limited this year. Marcus Davenport is raw and needs time. Harold Landry is a bit of a mirage and will be over-drafted. Josh Sweat has frustrating tape and too often is late off the ball (but he has a top-10 physical profile). Kemoko Turay might be the one who shines from this group along with Bradley Chubb.

Defensive tackle

1. Vita Vea (Washington)
2. Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
3. Tim Settle (Virginia Tech)
4. Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)
5. B.J. Hill (NC State)
6. Derrick Nnadi (Florida State)

Vita Vea is a top-10 talent. Incredible player. Maurice Hurst might be a specialist interior rusher but he’ll be a good one. Tim Settle has some Warren Sapp to his play. Both B.J. Hill and Derrick Nnadi have the potential to be terrific pro’s.

Inside/out rusher

1. Taven Bryan (Florida)
2. Rasheem Green (USC)
3. Sam Hubbard (Ohio State)
4. Andrew Brown (Virginia)
5. Breeland Speeks (Ole Miss)
6. Tyquan Lewis (Ohio State)

Taven Bryan and Tim Settle both deserve to go early. Rasheem Green could’ve been a top-20 pick in 2019 had he returned to USC and continued to develop. Andrew Brown and Breeland Speeks could sneak into round two.

Linebacker

1. Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech)
2. Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State)
3. Roquan Smith (Georgia)
4. Rashaan Evans (Alabama)
5. Malik Jefferson (Texas)
6. Josey Jewell (Iowa)

The first three names here won’t last long. If the injury concerns over Leighton Vander Esch are overstated, all three could go in the top-12. Rashaan Evans plays with his hair on fire and so does Josey Jewell. They’re both incredibly fun players born to play in the old AFC North.

Cornerback

1. Isaiah Oliver (Colorado)
2. Nick Nelson (Wisconsin)
3. Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
4. Jaire Alexander (Louisville)
5. Carlton Davis (Auburn)
6. Joshua Jackson (Iowa)

There are some inconsistent moments from Isaiah Oliver but his combination of length, athleticism, agility and savvy get him to #1. Nick Nelson is the best cover corner in the draft (watch him shut-out Maryland’s D.J. Moore). Denzel Ward and Jaire Alexander are very good but they’re undersized.

Safety

1. Derwin James (Florida State)
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
3. Jessie Bates III (Wake Forest)
4. Ronnie Harrison (Alabama)
5. Justin Reid (Stanford)
6. Terrell Edmunds (Virginia Tech)

I think Derwin James is a 15-25 type prospect. He has incredible size and athleticism but you just want to see more. Minkah Fitzpatrick isn’t better than Earl Thomas, Keanu Neal or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and doesn’t deserve to go earlier (but possibly will). I like Jessie Bates III’s potential and keep an eye on Terrell Edmunds.

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Updated mock draft: 21st April

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

This is the penultimate projection this year. I’ll post my final mock on Wednesday and submit it to the Huddle Report for scoring.

Again it’s a full two-round mock with a Seahawks seven rounder to follow…

#1 Cleveland — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
#2 NY Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 NY Jets (via Ind) — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#4 Cleveland (via Hou) — Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)
#5 Buffalo (via Den) — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
#6 Indianapolis (via NYJ) — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#7 Tampa Bay — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
#8 New England (via Chi) — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#9 San Francisco — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
#10 Oakland — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
#11 Miami — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
#12 Denver (via Buf, Cin) — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
#13 Washington — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#14 Green Bay — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
#15 Arizona — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#16 Baltimore — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
#17 LA Chargers — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#18 Cleveland (via Sea) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
#19 Dallas — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
#20 Detroit — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
#21 Cincinnati (via Buf) — James Daniels (C, Iowa)
#22 Denver (via Buf, KC) — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
#23 Chicago (via NE, LAR) — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
#24 Carolina — Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
#25 Tennessee — Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
#26 Atlanta — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
#27 New Orleans — Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
#28 Pittsburgh — Jessie Bates III (S, Wake Forest)
#29 Jacksonville — Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
#30 Minnesota — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
#31 Chicago (via NE) — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
#32 Philadelphia — Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)

#33 Tampa Bay (via Sea, Cle) — Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
#34 NY Giants — Austin Corbett (T, Nevada)
#35 Cleveland — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
#36 Indianapolis — D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)
#37 Indianapolis — Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
#38 Seattle (via TB) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
#39 Chicago — Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
#40 Denver — Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
#41 Oakland — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
#42 Miami — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
#43 New England (via SF) — Tyrell Crosby (T, Oregon)
#44 Washington — Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
#45 Green Bay — Josh Sweat (DE, Florida State)
#46 Cincinnati — Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
#47 Arizona — Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
#48 LA Chargers — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
#49 Indianapolis — Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
#50 Dallas — Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
#51 Detroit — Ian Thomas (TE, Indiana)
#52 Baltimore — Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota State)
#53 Denver (via Buf) — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
#54 Kansas City — Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)
#55 Carolina — Rasheem Green (DE, USC)
#56 Buffalo (via LAR) — Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
#57 Tennessee — Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
#58 Atlanta — Chris Williams (T, Texas)
#59 San Francisco (via NO) — Royce Freeman (RB, Oregon)
#60 Pittsburgh — Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
#61 Jacksonville — Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State)
#62 Minnesota — Lorenzo Carter (LB, Georgia)
#63 Chicago (via NE) — Geron Christian (T, Louisville)
#64 Seattle (via Cle, Phi) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)

The trades

— Buffalo trades #12, #22, #53 and a 2019 pick to Denver for the #5 pick

— New England trades #23, #31 and #63 to Chicago for the #8 pick

— Cleveland trades #33, #64 and #114 to Seattle for the #18 pick

— Tampa Bay trades #38 and #102 to Seattle for the #33 pick

— Seattle trades #102 and #141 to New England for the #95 pick

Seahawks seven rounder

#38 — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
#64 — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)
#95 — Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
#114 — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
#120 — Holton Hill (CB, Texas)
#146 — Tony Brown (CB, Alabama)
#156 — Natrell Jamerson (S, Wisconsin)
#168 — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
#226 — Poona Ford (DT, Texas)
#248 — Kyle Allen (QB, Houston)

Seahawks notes

— Tony Pauline told us last week the Seahawks want to have 10 picks in this draft. The moves made here (trade down twice, trade up once) enables this to happen.

— The point of the mock was to create competition at multiple spots. The one glaring omission is an EDGE. If the Seahawks do in fact trade Earl Thomas for a second round pick, it could enable them to bring in someone like Josh Sweat or Kemoko Turay.

— Ronnie Harrison, Ronald Jones II, Dallas Goedert, Nick Chubb, Ian Thomas, Austin Corbett, Billy Price and Maurice Hurst were also considered early in round two.

— This isn’t how I’d go about fixing the run game. I’m not the one making the picks though. At this late stage in the process I’m trying to project what they’re going to do, not what I would do.

— I’ve spent a bit more time watching Holton Hill and Tony Brown in the last couple of days. Tough, long, physical, quick, confident — they genuinely look so much like Seahawks cornerbacks. Hill could compete to start at outside corner, Brown would be competing to play in the slot. Both can tackle and if nothing else, provide some special teams value.

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Six days to go… Seahawks predictions & thoughts

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Are the Seahawks going to trade down?

Yes. They’re in the middle of a major re-tool. They’re not going to pick at #18 and then watch 101 prospects leave the board before they pick again. It’s not happening. Not this year, not with their needs. Furthermore, this is a draft with only a handful of players who warrant legit first round grades. It’s unlikely many, if any, fall to #18. The person you take at #18 might have a similar grade to the player taken at #45 this year. Trade down, fill out your board, add talent at multiple positions.

What’s the ideal trade down?

Hope that someone (e.g. Cleveland) wants to move up for an offensive tackle. There are likely only two first round tackles this year — Mike McGlinchey and Kolton Miller. If you want one of them, you might need a top-20 pick. If the Browns are willing to give Seattle #33, #64 and a fourth or fifth rounder to move up to #18 — that’s your deal.

Do you still think the Seahawks will take Christian Kirk with their first pick after trading down?

I think it’s very possible for three reasons. One, he’s the ideal fit for Air Coryell. Two, every single piece written about Kirk refers to his high character, attitude and work ethic. Three, to quote one of Bob McGinn’s scouting sources: “This is the worst wide-receiver draft I’ve seen in my life.” So if you want to add a receiver, you might need to do it early. The Seahawks lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson plus Tyler Lockett’s in a contract year. They need to add to the passing game.

What about their second pick?

A name to keep an eye on is Virginia’s Andrew Brown. I think he’s underrated and destined to be a top-75 selection. He’s a former five-star recruit with a relentless motor. He gives everything on the field. He ran a 4.48 short shuttle at 296lbs. The Seahawks have focused on the short shuttle with their defensive line additions (Quinton Jefferson — 4.37, Jordan Hill — 4.51, Jaye Howard — 4.47, Malik McDowell — 4.53). He has nearly 35 inch arms and can play inside/out. He’s your Michael Bennett replacement. USC’s Rasheem Green is another possibility — as is Ole Miss’ Breeland Speaks in the middle rounds.

What about the running game?

It’s strange that after spending so long talking about ‘fixing the run’ as a priority and the great options at running back — I’m now here suggesting they might wait on the position. I still maintain we were right to spend so long on that area of the team. I don’t regret spending a lot of time discussing running backs, interior offensive linemen and blocking tight ends. It’s still possible Seattle focuses on improving the run with their early picks. Yet as time has passed, I think it’s become less apparent they’ll do this with their first couple of picks. However, if they wait to address the running game and then struggle to run the ball for a third year in a row in 2018, they won’t have an excuse. Not with the first two rounds in this draft class. It’s tailor-made to help repair a running game. My thoughts on the top runners in this draft (Ronald Jones II, Nick Chubb etc) haven’t changed.

So what will they do with the running game?

It’s still possible they draft a running back early or a lineman like Austin Corbett. We shouldn’t rule it out. That said, Pete Carroll and John Schneider going to workout Christian Kirk and Kalen Ballage feels like an important piece of information. Ballage won’t be everyone’s top choice at the position. He had a very inconsistent college career. He’s flattered to deceive and there’s a very real possibility he’d end up being another Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise or Chris Carson — promising much but either being injured or inconsistent. However, he has the ideal physical profile for the position. We know they like running backs with size and explosive traits. We know they like unique players. Ballage has the potential to be positively freaky. He’s a superb pass catcher and could be the perfect modern day runner. Bob McGinn’s league sources say this about Ballage:

Scout #1: “Everybody will have question marks on his ability to play the physical game of football… But he’s got the size and the speed combination that will make him be a great asset to any organization.”

Scout #2: “He’s talented… Really good route runner. He has a chance to be dynamic. But he’s got to prove it over the long haul that he can do it day in and day out from the standpoint of being tough. I could see somebody jumping up in the third round because the talent is there.”

Like it or not, Pete Carroll looks for potential in a player and backs his staff to coach them up. Ballage can be dynamic. He is talented. He could also be a mirage. But the Seahawks might think taking him is only as much of a risk as rolling the dice on Derrius Guice’s reported character concerns, Ronald Jones II’s size or Sony Michel’s fumble problems.

What range would they have to target him?

It’s probably going to have to be round three. The potential is there and someone will take a chance on him. At the very least he’d be an excellent third down back, so he won’t hang around. I’m not totally convinced by Ballage myself. But it’s plausible they like him.

How are they going to add speed?

Pete Carroll felt the Rams were faster across the board during the 42-7 pasting at the end of last season. It was an honest and sadly correct assessment. On top of fixing the run, getting more speed on the team seems vital. It’s one of the reasons why Christian Kirk might be a fit. More speed, more competition, fix the run plus strong, tough, reliable players. If they want to add speed, tenacity, grit, special teams value and pass rushing talent — one name springs to mind. Shaquem Griffin.

What about other defensive positions?

It’s a nice class for fast, explosive linebackers. They might be able to convince several coveted UDFA’s to come in and compete. They need young depth at the position. Someone like Zaire Franklin at Syracuse could be someone they draft in the later rounds or bring in as an UDFA. If they can’t land a corner like Isaiah Oliver in round two, Texas’ Holton Hill could/should be a hedge in rounds 4/5. Adding another nickel corner is important with Justin Coleman an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Wisconsin’s Nick Nelson or Alabama’s Tony Brown could be options here. Brown in particular has the attitude, big personality, hitting ability and special teams value they like. Whatever happens with Earl Thomas, they could probably do with adding competition at safety. Natrell Jamerson warrants interest. They’ve been looking at interior pass rushers (Maurice Hurst, Poona Ford) and bigger nose tackles (Vita Vea, Derrick Nnadi). They also need another EDGE. If Josh Sweat isn’t an early pick, Dorance Armstrong could be a day three alternative. Kemoko Turay should be a name of interest too. This will be a good draft to fill out a defense.

Will they draft a tight end?

Probably. Ed Dickson is a short-term option and Nick Vannett hasn’t done much in two years. Tyrone Swoopes can only really be seen as camp competition for now. If they manage to acquire multiple day two picks, the likes of Dallas Goedert and Ian Thomas could come into play. Both could go in the top-50 though — so they might be forced to wait on the position. There are decent blocking tight ends available later (Durham Smythe, Dalton Schultz) but the Seahawks might just go for Will Dissly on day three. He’s a coaches dream and arguably the best blocker in the class. If a high-ceiling type like Goedert and Thomas isn’t available, Dissly could come into play.

Everyone says they’ll draft O-line early. Why aren’t you projecting that?

The Seahawks have already spend the following on their O-line:

Duane Brown — second + third rounder
Ethan Pocic — second rounder
Justin Britt — second rounder + big contract extension
Germain Ifedi — first rounder
Rees Odhiambo — third rounder

They’ve also signed D.J. Fluker in free agency, invested time and effort into George Fant and recently changed O-line coaches, bringing in Mike Solari.

Eventually you’ve got to try and develop someone, not just keep pumping high picks into a unit. If they draft a guard early, for example, it likely just means cutting Fluker or benching Pocic. It’s probably time to just let Solari work with these players.

They invited both Austin Corbett and Billy Price to the VMAC. Both are exceptional talents in this draft class. Both would be fine picks. There’s no reason to completely rule out an early O-line pick. It might just be unlikely this year.

So what’s the key to this draft?

Just. Add. Talent. The roster needs an infusion of young quality. Players with competitive spirit, high athleticism, size, speed and grit. Go for value. Whatever you think about the recent drafting history in Seattle, they always do a good job identifying positional talent cliffs and the range where they can get ‘their’ guys. Go find a new core group.

I intend to do a Google Hangout later today at about 7pm or 8pm PST. I’ll be providing more info based on Bob McGinn’s sources. There’s some interesting insight on the running back, receiver and tight end classes. I’ll post the video at the top of the page and you can watch live or on catch-up.

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Seahawks meet with Vita Vea — what does it mean?

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

In the video above, Ian Rapoport reports the Seahawks brass had dinner with Vita Vea this week. Rapoport also notes they’d have to move up if they wanted to get him.

It’s hard to know what to make of the meeting. Vea probably won’t make it to #18 — and the chances of Seattle even using the pick appear remote. Picking at #18 and not again until #120 remains an extremely unlikely scenario, especially for a team in the middle of a major re-tooling job.

They don’t have the stock to move up either. If they needed to get ahead of Washington at #13 (Vea’s apparent draft floor), they’d need to spend a pick worth the equivalent of a late second round pick. A collection of fifth rounders isn’t going to get it done.

The only scenario where Vea to Seattle makes moderate sense is if he somehow does drop into range and the Seahawks deal Earl Thomas for at least a second and third round pick. That affords them the opportunity to add talent in the early rounds and avoid a wait of 102 picks.

Overall the meeting was probably a case of due diligence. Just in case.

After all, two days before last years draft Tony Pauline reported the following:

— The Seahawks had a trade deal set up with Atlanta to allow the Falcons to move up to #26 to take a pass rusher (this happened)

— The Seahawks were targeting Garret Bolles with their pick after moving down

— Tom Cable made a late visit (Sunday before the draft) to the Utah campus to meet with Bolles

In the end Bolles was taken off the board by Denver with the #20 pick. There was never any chance to take him at #26, let alone after moving down to #31. Yet the Seahawks were apparently preparing, late in the process, to target a particular player. And they met with said prospect.

This could be a similar situation. Perhaps they’re getting a sense Vea might fall into range at #18? And perhaps they think he’s one of the very top players in the draft (he is). So they’re doing some late work on a player who, originally, had been seen to be well out of range.

That’s just a team doing what it needs to do pre-draft. Yet, sadly, the reality is Vea will almost certainly be gone in the top-13. The Redskins desperately need a nose tackle. There aren’t many humans on the planet with Vea’s size, athleticism, mobility and power. He’s a much better player than Danny Shelton (the #12 pick in 2015). He might be the second coming of Haloti Ngata.

Bob McGinn’s league sources listed Vea as a player ‘likely’ to be gone by pick #14. Here are the quotes provided by McGinn:

Scout #1: “He’s top 10. He’s a man. For a 350-pound guy he does (have movement). Plays hard. He just powers guys. Violent. Strong. He’s good.”

Scout #2: “He’s better than Shelton… Wide shoulders, good arm length, big butt, thighs, calves. He’s got some bad belly, though. You can’t believe how this guy can bend and squat. I saw him in warmups.”

In Tony Pauline’s latest mock draft, he paired Vea with the Dolphins at #11.

Vea would be a tremendous addition for the Seahawks. The type of bully up front that would help them control the LOS and shut down the run. He’s a two-down player for the most part — but the type you still take early. He’d help set the tone, home and away. The Seahawks are going to win games under Pete Carroll by shutting down the run and running well. Vea helps you achieve that.

Sadly, you’re probably more likely to watch him do his thing in Miami or Washington in 2018. He’s just too good to last.

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