1. Browns — Myles Garrett (EDGE, Texas A&M)
2. 49ers — Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)
3. Jaguars — Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)
4. Bears — Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama)
5. Jets — Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)
6. Titans (via Rams) — Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan)
7. Browns (via Eagles) — Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State)
8. Chargers — Jamal Adams (S, LSU)
9. Cardinals — Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)
10. Bengals — Tim Williams (EDGE, Alabama)
11. Panthers — Takkarist McKinley (EDGE, UCLA)
12. Saints — Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
13. Bills — O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
14. Colts — Ryan Ramczyk (T, Wisconsin)
15. Eagles (via Vikings) — John Ross (WR, Washington)
16. Washington — Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)
17. Titans — Sidney Jones (CB, Washington)
18. Ravens — Demarcus Walker (DE, Florida State)
19. Buccaneers — Adoree’ Jackson (CB, USC)
20. Packers — Quincy Wilson (CB, Florida)
21. Broncos — Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
22. Texans — Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)
23. Miami — Jalen Tabor (CB, Florida)
24. Giants — Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford)
25. Lions — Taco Charlton (EDGE, Michigan)
26. Steelers — Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson)
27. Falcons — Budda Baker (S, Washington)
28. Chiefs — Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
29. **TRADE** Browns — Deshone Kizer (QB, Notre Dame)
30. Raiders — Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford)
31. Patriots — Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut)
32. Cowboys — Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)
Top-10 in round two
33. Seahawks — ??????
34. 49ers — JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, USC)
35. Jaguars — Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
36. Bears — Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida)
37. Rams — Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)
38. Jets — Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)
39. Chargers — Cam Robinson (T, Alabama)
40. Eagles — Kevin King (CB, Washington)
41. Cardinals — Derrick Nnadi (DT, Florida State)
42. Panthers — Justin Evans (S, Texas A&M)
1. I had the Seahawks trading out of the first round. They don’t own a fourth or fifth round pick, so such a scenario to acquire a day three selection is very possible.
2. You’ll notice I didn’t actually put the Seahawks with a prospect. There’s a reason for that, explained below.
3. I’m not entirely satisfied with the mock draft — but that’s testament to the quality of the players. I wanted to get the two Ohio State cornerbacks (Lattimore and Conley) into round one. I wanted to get Justin Evans into the first frame. I wanted to put Derek Barnett higher than #32. I couldn’t find a way this time — and that highlights how interesting this draft class is.
So why no pick for the Seahawks? I’m battling with the direction they could go and rather than offer an opinion, I want yours.
Let me offer some scenarios:
Repair the running game
Is the big need here to make sure the running game is back to normal (by the Seahawks standards) in 2017? It certainly feels like teams are treating the offense differently these days. Less eight-man boxes, less focus on stopping the run. More pass rush. More feeling that if you stop Russell Wilson you can give the Seahawks a major offensive headache.
Do they spend their first pick on a physical, tone-setting runner to compliment what they already have? Do they force teams to focus on the man in the backfield? Is that what’s missing? That Marshawn Lynch fear factor? That punishing inside runner?
Is someone like D’Onta Foreman the answer or is it about further additions to the O-line? Bolles and Ramcyzk are off the board in this mock. Cam Robinson, to quote Bob McGinn’s source, is “talented but he gets lazy.” Is that a Seahawks O-liner?
Is this a situation that can be addressed later on? Are you prepared to wait for a Chad Wheeler, Adam Bisnowaty type in the middle rounds and a running back like James Conner or Samaje Perine?
That might make sense in terms of value — but if it doesn’t have the desired effect and the offense looks the same in 2017, will you rue not making a bigger splash?
Find another defensive tackle or inside/out rusher
This mock assumes Vita Vea won’t declare. Elijah Qualls could be an option if he does turn pro. Derrick Nnadi, Chris Wormley, Caleb Brantley, Dalvin Tomlinson and others are still on the board.
The Seahawks certainly lack an interior impacter. Someone who makes life easier for the EDGE guys and can move or impact the QB without necessarily racking up 10 sacks. Someone equally capable of being stout vs the run and holding a double team.
For a while they’ve needed a classic three-technique but it might be difficult to find in this class. They’ve missed the 2013 and 2014 production of Clinton McDonald and Jordan Hill (6.5 sacks each). Filling that void would certainly help the defense get back to its best. Some will argue it’s Seattle’s biggest need.
It might also be tough to find a really good inside/out rusher with a lot of the better options off the board in this mock.
Yet the defense is still #2 in points conceded and they have a shot to be #1 in that category for an unprecedented fifth year in a row. If it wasn’t for the Green Bay meltdown they’d virtually have the title in the bag. And let’s not forget — that nightmare in Lambeau was inspired by a six-turnover performance on offense. Is the defense good enough to think much of the focus should be on the other side of the ball?
With cap room to spend in 2017 this could be an area they look at in free agency. The Seahawks have a better record for finding veteran D-liners than they do drafting them. And yet along with safety and cornerback — D-line is probably the strength of the 2017 draft class.
The addition of John Jenkins was an intriguing one, especially with Pete Carroll referencing the need to find more interior pass rush when he signed his contract. Are they looking for a massive big man who also provides some disruption? This class is rich in players like that. If they could get anywhere near Vita Vea they’d probably be all over it. They might settle for Qualls or Greg Gaines if they declare. There are plenty of alternatives too.
On a side note I think they’ll really like this Husky team. Pettis, Ross, Mathis, the trio of D-liners, Jones, Baker, Coleman. Plus Shalom Luani at Washington State (more on him in a moment). The local guys might stick around.
Take a safety
Obi Melifonwu is pretty unique. His size, range, athleticism and upside are ridiculous. There isn’t really anyone like him. That will appeal to a lot of teams including the Seahawks. He also might be a bit of a luxury that doesn’t really address the pressing issues on this team.
Justin Evans is a hard-hitting, fun to watch safety. He’s not close to being as rangy as Earl though. He’s still a really good player.
Budda Baker is the guy I think you can make the best case for in this scenario but he’s off the board. Earl Thomas’ threat to retire makes this a talking point. Assuming he comes back, taking a safety early seems a long shot. Especially with players like Shalom Luani possibly available later. And it’s worth noting — Kris Richard and Richard Sherman both stated in the last 24 hours they fully expect Thomas to continue playing.
Luani is a really intriguing player. There is a little bit of Troy Polamalu to his game. Depending on how he performs at the combine — don’t be surprised if he starts to fly up many boards. If he’s around in rounds 2-3 for the Seahawks, he could be someone they take a long look at. He might sneak into the top-40.
Make a big splash
Maybe it’s time for Seattle to trade up to add another star on a reasonable contract? Doesn’t it feel like they need a boost? Are they going to get that picking in the same areas as the last four drafts?
Jalen Ramsey, the #5 pick this year, has a cap hit of $7.4m in 2019. That’s the final year of his deal. If you move up for a top prospect you can get fantastic value. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time for this team to consider adding another impact player? Making another bold move?
Leonard Fournette? Jonathan Allen?
The risk is clear — if the player doesn’t work out, the investment is so rich it can set a franchise back considerably. Yet the Seahawks already have a good team. They survived the Percy Harvin bust. Even in this muddled, confusing 2016 season they’re on track to be the NFC’s #2 seed. They are seemingly better placed than most teams to make a splash. And if it worked — it could be the thing that puts them over the top again.
I’ve never thought the Seahawks trading up was remotely likely in previous drafts. It’s still unlikely and would require a team being willing to cut a deal. But for the first time since 2008 — I think it’s at least worth discussing as an option.
Yes it could be an expensive gamble. Yet an expected third round compensatory pick in 2017 would mean the Seahawks would still pick three times in the first three rounds if they trade up and spend their second round pick as well as a future first rounder plus change.
The price tag might just be too rich. And that means collecting talent in the way they’ve done in the previous two drafts. If they were able to get an interior disruptor on defense, some safety help such as Luani, another talented running back and a right tackle — they would feel good about their situation. Plus they have the money to go and make at least one significant move in free agency.
But just imagine having another stud like Fournette in that backfield, or someone like Allen rushing inside. Maybe it’s best not to think about how cool that would be.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments section.