There’s enough movement here to suggest this is more than just guesswork. For example, Daniel Jeremiah has consistently put Kevin White ahead of Amari Cooper in his top-50 big board. I think all of his previous four mock drafts had White being taken before Cooper. Today — Cooper goes first. There’s no reason to make this kind of late switch without a bit of inside info.
A lot of other moves coincide with some of the ‘vibes’ doing the rounds recently. Marcus Mariota is at #2 with the feeling it won’t be Tennessee making the pick. Cedric Ogbuehi goes in the early second — we’ve been hearing he’ll go earlier than many expect. Mario Edwards Jr is at #40 — representing his high placing according to several recent reports. Nelson Agholor goes in the top #20. The whole mock is pretty much a representation of current trends.
It also sums up perfectly the situation facing the Seahawks at #63.
For many weeks we’ve talked about the likely options for Seattle. Here’s a quick refresher:
1. Trade up in round two using the fourth round pick acquired in the Jimmy Graham trade. Realistically this could get you into the #48-52 range. Philadelphia made a similar move last year to draft Jordan Matthews. The target here would be one of the top-8 receivers.
2. Stay put and draft the best remaining receiver.
3. Stay put and take the best offensive lineman on your board.
The interest in this receiver class will likely make the options pretty thin at #63. Jeremiah has Carolina at #57 and Baltimore at #58 drafting for the position (Devin Smith & Devin Funchess). By the time Seattle was on the clock ten had been drafted.
We’ve spent a lot of time debating whether they could trade up for Dorial Green-Beckham, who is taken by the Jets at #37. The pick makes a lot of sense. In some of my own recent mock drafts I’ve had New York drafting Kevin White at #6, eliminating the need to take a receiver in round two. If the Jets go defense early, DGB is a viable option at #37.
Having said that, if he gets past the Jets the fall out of the top-50 is possible. Seattle would likely need to jump both Carolina and Baltimore — and while we’ve discussed the likelihood of either franchise taking a receiver with Green-Beckham’s specific off-field red flags, I believe this won’t be an issue. Jeremiah — who used to work for the Ravens — specifically states: “The Ravens are looking for a big, athletic target for Joe Flacco.” DGB fits like a glove and could be the pick if he lasts long enough.
Trading in front of Carolina and Baltimore won’t be a problem for the sake of the fourth rounder. Trading up to #37 is a bit too rich. It would cost you possibly an additional fourth rounder or maybe a future third. The Seahawks can afford to sacrifice one of their three fourth rounders, but surely not two. The depth on the offensive and defensive line in that range probably won’t allow it.
Would they trade up for Smith or Funchess? I’m not convinced. I’m a big fan of Smith’s big play ability and he has some DeSean Jackson to his game as a downfield threat. You can find receivers like this later in the draft, however. Funchess, at least physically, would offer the kind of taller ‘box-out’ receiver they currently lack. Yet he had such an underwhelming career at Michigan and lacks the kind of tenacity and grit you usually see in a Seahawks receiver. He also had a sluggish combine and didn’t look sudden enough to be a force at the next level. He’s kind of a poor mans Big Mike Williams.
Conceding a fourth for the huge upside of a DGB is one thing. Conceding it for a player like Funchess just seems unlikely.
They could stay put and gamble on Sammie Coates — although the drops are a major concern there. They could take Tyler Lockett — but again you can probably find a smaller, shiftier receiver and kick returner later on. If they aren’t moving up and they’re presented with a board like this, taking the top offensive lineman available is probably the best plan.
Cue Jeremiah pairing Seattle with South Carolina guard A.J. Cann at #63.
The Seahawks have taken a pure guard in this range before — trading down from the late second round before taking John Moffitt in 2011. Cann is very much a guard-only prospect. He has 32 5/8 inch arms, he’s 6-3, 313lbs and runs in the mid 5.4’s. There’s little to get excited about in terms of athleticism or size. He’s just a really solid, plug-in-and-play guard. That won’t be unattractive for the Seahawks as they attempt to fill two big holes on the O-line. Cann’s also the type of player they haven’t really shown interest in since the Moffitt pick.
He isn’t a big second-level blocker although that’s sometimes used to beat a prospect in terms of the ZBS. Some schemes don’t call for it. You’re not going to rush to the second level if you’re instructed to do the opposite. He’s pretty hard to move off the spot and he doesn’t get bull-rushed. You see some real power at times. Seattle likes mobility and athleticism to a point but they’ve always used a big powerful guy at left guard under Tom Cable.
The football purists will love the move. Solid, no-thrills guard. Meat and potatoes. Not entirely Seahawky, though. But if he’s top of their board, isn’t that the point? That’s what the plan calls for.
There are alternatives of course. Ty Sambrailo is available. He too has the massive size Seattle likes for the left guard position but he has the added bonus of some tackle experience. He was also tested at center during a recent visit to Seattle. Florida State’s Tre Jackson is on the board and has a little more upside (arguably) than Cann. He too has the size (330lbs) and if anything could stand to lose some weight. He’s fleshy. The last thing the Seahawks need is another ill-conditioned left guard.
There are several fast risers to consider too. Missouri’s Mitch Morse is gaining a ton of momentum. Ditto West Virginia’s Mark Glowinski. You’ve got Jamon Brown at Louisville and of course Ali Marpet from Hobart. It’s fair to say all would be a reach in the late second — but didn’t they draft Justin Britt in that exact range a year ago?
The difference between this year and last of course is the third round pick plus a bevvy of picks in rounds 4-5. Seattle didn’t have that luxury a year ago — and there wasn’t the fantastic O-line depth we’re seeing this year.
Jeremiah’s mock does a good job painting the situation for Seahawks fans. If they can’t move up for someone like DGB and the receiver options aren’t great at #63, they kind of have to just take the best O-liner. It might not be a flashy pick. It might be a reach. It is what it is. The #63 spot isn’t a great time to enter the draft. You’re caught between some good value at the top of round two and some decent value in the middle of round three. You can make a case for moving down — but who really wants to move up? And do you need any more late rounders when you already have 11 picks — most of which come on day three?
The volume of picks and the poor value at #63 calls for one to be sacrificed in a second round trade. I suspect it’s what they’d like to do. Yet if the player you want isn’t in range — there’s very little you can do. If a potentially elite, dynamic receiver with some flaws like DGB goes in the top-40, you kind of have to take it on the chin. If he lasts up towards pick #50 — watch out. And there is some sentiment that he could fall out of the top-50. If it doesn’t happen, it increases the likelihood of an O-line pick in round two.
Seattle’s visit with Mario Edwards Jr. also adds a layer of intrigue. The defensive options later in this draft are thinner than the O-line options. Could they move up for a defender if DGB is out of reach?
If they take an offensive lineman at #63 I think we could see a defensive lineman drafted at the back end of round three (is Frank Clark a possibility?). Then in round four you can focus on drafting from a large pool of athletic offensive linemen, you can look at running back and finding a receiver/kick returner.
Possible round 2-4 projection based on Jeremiah’s mock
Round 2: O-lineman
Round 3: D-lineman
Round 4: Running back
Round 4: O-lineman (center?)
Round 4: Receiver/return man