Trade up for a receiver? Stay put? Draft the best offensive lineman on your board?
Our conversations over the last few weeks have been dominated by these questions. This weekend, two different seven-round mocks highlight the possibility that Seattle’s front office will be having the same debate.
Evan Silva and Josh Norris have put together a list of needs and a seven round Seahawks projection.
Silva: “Seattle’s offensive line could afford upgrades, beginning with center and left guard…. The Seahawks have one of the NFL’s weakest receiver corps.”
Norris’ mock has them taking Devin Funchess at #63: “The Super Bowl and acquiring Jimmy Graham makes it seem like Seattle is putting an emphasis on contested catches.”
Funchess is an interesting case. It’s logical to expect the Seahawks will target size. They already have one of the better slot receivers in Doug Baldwin. They’re likely to add a smaller receiver who can return kicks on day three (more on that later). Outside of one-game wonder Chris Matthews there’s a distinct lack of size on the perimeter.
They went away from this last year, seemingly believing speed and the intermediate game would mesh nicely with their power-run attack. Let’s call it the ‘Percy Harvin blueprint’. When Harvin departed the Seahawks lacked the punch to make it work. Having already lost their best contested-catch maker in Golden Tate, they didn’t really have a red-line winner who could make the tough grab.
The reported interest in Vincent Jackson before the trade deadline suggested a change in philosophy. In fairness to the Seahawks, nobody can argue they’re stuck in their ways. They’re willing to evolve.
This probably doesn’t stop with Jimmy Graham. It’s not about one player, in particular a player who’s going to work the middle exploiting match-ups against linebackers. They need that taller outside threat — and they’re unlikely to thrust all their hopes solely on Matthews based on the Super Bowl.
There’s a reason Tony Pauline is reporting interest in Dorial Green-Beckham and a reason why we’ve spent so much talking about him as a possible trade target. Seattle’s offense will always be run-first — but that puts more pressure on the passing game when you do throw the ball. With Baldwin in the slot, Graham working the seam and a dynamic big target outside — the Seahawks can finally field an offense as potent as the league-leading defense.
If they can’t get into range for DGB — the closest alternative is Funchess. He’s slower, less sudden and has nothing like Green-Beckham’s upside. There are question marks about his drive at Michigan. He certainly underwhelmed. But he is a big target who can make plays downfield, box-out defenders and win contested catches.
He wasn’t always reliable at Michigan. It kind of makes this performance against Ohio State all the more frustrating:
He’s making tough grabs, he’s finding ways to get open. He has a chunk play downfield. He looks good.
We just didn’t see enough of this in college.
He’s definitely a build-up speed runner but he can eat up space with long strides. He has one of the best head-fakes you’ll see, setting up a corner to the inside before a nifty little double move to create separation.
If the Seahawks just want a big target they can work with, Funchess could be a consolation prize if DGB ends up elsewhere. He isn’t too dissimilar to Mike Williams. That might put you off — but clearly Carroll has time for that kind of receiver.
Funchess didn’t have a great combine, running a 4.70 at 232lbs. You’re not drafting him to run by people though. You’d be drafting him for this:
The great thing about Green-Beckham is the rare gliding ability at his size and the YAC potential. He’s a downfield threat at a playing weight of around 225lbs. That’s insane. Funchess isn’t the same smooth athlete. He can go up and get a football though — and he has underrated ball-skills and the ability to work to get open.
There are divided opinions on him. Lance Zierlein has him down as the #88 player in the draft. Bob McGinn’s anonymous scouts have him right behind Green-Beckham with an early second round grade: “I wouldn’t take him first (round) but I’d take him early two.”
It’s an alternative option that could be a possibility at #63 or with a small move up the board. Make no mistake though — he’s no DGB. Is he ‘Seahawky’ enough? Is he the gritty determined character they want at the position? Or is he just a slightly passive big target without the offsetting speed and dynamism DGB provides?
Norris has the Seahawks taking Frank Clark at the bottom of round three: “Clark is an outstanding athlete who flashes bend and a conversion of speed to power.” If you’re looking for an impact D-end in the middle rounds, Clark’s probably the best bet (if you can live with the character flags).
You can see the mock for yourself but Norris also gives the Seahawks guard Mark Glowinski and center Shaq Mason in round four. My only question here — is Glowinski big enough? Seattle has used major size at left guard under Tom Cable. Ty Montgomery is also taken in round five.
Increasingly Montgomery is being paired with the Seahawks. He’s tough and plays with grit. He can be more than just a kick-return specialist — although he excels there. Character wise he ticks all the adequate boxes and seems like he’d fit right into Seattle’s ultra-competitive locker room. I’d almost be surprised if he wasn’t taken in round four or five. Whenever they can get him.
The Seahawks need a productive kick-returner who can contribute. Special teams is the one unit on the roster (kick returns specifically) that can dramatically improve in 2015. It’s going to be a priority. So much so — don’t be shocked if some of Seattle’s later round picks or UDFA’s carry specific special teams qualities.
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) April 26, 2015
Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter have also put together a seven-rounder for Seattle. They have the Seahawks taking Hroniss Grasu at #63, Tre McBride in round three and of course Ty Montgomery is a fourth round selection.
Both scenarios make a lot of sense. The Seahawks can take the big receiver early and address a defensive need (or even running back) in round three because the depth is so good on the O-line this year. Yet if the options at receiver don’t match up at #63 (and a trade up isn’t possible) taking the top offensive lineman on your board in round two makes just as much sense.
Grasu is intelligent, athletic and just a really solid prospect. You have to be comfortable with the injury history (could be a difference maker given Max Unger’s health issues) but nobody is going to be left scratching their heads if the Seahawks take Grasu at #63. McBride isn’t a big, physical mismatch like DGB or Funchess, but he’s ultra-competitive, wins the contested catch, is certainly athletic enough with special teams value and he’s a great character guy.
You can easily imagine both players in Seattle.
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Everyone will have their own opinion on what they should do — but for a while now it seems like the options are:
1. Trade-up for a receiver
2. Look at the remaining wide-outs at #63
3. Take the best O-lineman on your board
These two seven-round mocks are a further example of that situation. I think we’ll almost certainly see a power running back drafted in rounds 3-5 (neither mock has considered that scenario). Mike Davis remains an option. It’s interesting that in some quarters he’s rated as high as a third rounder — and yet Bob McGinn’s poll of scouts had him outside the top-12 for the position. If the Seahawks can get him in round four — keep an eye on that. With Todd Gurley now expected to go in the top 10-15 and Melvin Gordon likely to follow, we could see the entire class jolted upwards slightly.
The Seahawks have had a lot of success finding cornerbacks in the fifth and sixth round range. They’ll surely add a corner at some point — but it’s probably unlikely to be early unless a big name suffers an unexpected fall. It was good to see SDB favorite Damien Swann projected to Seattle in Norris’ mock. He lacks ideal arm length but he’s a real playmaker.
A heads-up for the rest of the week. We’ll have a podcast on the blog on Tuesday, with a final mock draft on the Wednesday. I’ll probably do two rounds and cover rounds 3-7 for the Seahawks. On Thursday I’ll be doing a live Google Hangout for the third draft in a row with Kenny and the guys at Field Gulls.