Last week we had a look at Todd McShay’s mock draft and the options available to the Seahawks at #32.
As the Huddle Report points out, last years ‘top’ mock draft only guessed 12 correct picks. The options at #32 are wide ranging given it’s the final pick in round one. We can’t assume my mock will be unusually accurate because it probably won’t be. We need to look at other projections to debate as many different scenarios as possible.
As with McShay’s, Mel Kiper’s mock hides behind a pay wall. I can’t reveal all of the picks in round one, but here’s a selection of the players off the board by #32:
Ryan Shazier (LB, Ohio State) — drafted by Green Bay at #21
Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State) — drafted by Philadelphia at #22
Marqise Lee (WR, USC) — drafted by Kansas City at #23
Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA) — drafted by San Diego at #25
Cody Latimer (WR, Indiana) — drafted by New Orleans at #27
Morgan Moses (T, Virginia) — drafted by Carolina at #28
Ra’Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota) — drafted by New England at #29
A lot of good players get agonisingly close to Seattle. It even makes you wonder if they’d consider a small move up the board to avoid missing out?
I think it’s increasingly unlikely Cody Latimer lasts until #32. The more you watch the more you like. He’s a fantastic receiver, potentially the 4th or 5th best in a good group. Going to New Orleans at #27 is a good shout. I spent a bit of time researching other teams this week and a lot of Saints fans think they’ll go receiver in the first round. They also have a very active front office in New Orleans so don’t be surprised if they trade up.
Kiper had the Seahawks taking Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame). I can see the thinking considering he has Red Bryant type size, he’s a former 5-star recruit who reportedly managed a 4.8 at +300lbs. He’s still recovering from a foot injury that kept him out of the combine.
I also suspect they’ll feel they can add a big bodied defensive lineman later on. Tuitt isn’t a brilliant pass rusher. A run stuffing defensive lineman in round one doesn’t seem very ‘Seahawks’.
Pete Carroll has talked about adapting the defense following Bryant’s release. A like-for-like replacement is perhaps unlikely. Tony McDaniel has already been tagged as a possible five technique which could mean Jordan Hill gets an opportunity to start alongside Brandon Mebane. They may wish to add another interior pass rusher such as Ra’Shede Hageman to the rotation — and according to Kiper’s mock they’d only have to jump ahead of New England at #29 to land him.
Kiper’s mock follows a similar pattern to my own projection with eight receivers leaving the board in round one. He ends with Jordan Matthews going to the 49ers at #30. Personally I think that’d be a significant reach, but it also wouldn’t be a total shock. His personality matches well with Jim Harbaugh’s. I can kind of see it.
Not only does he have a high number of receivers off the board, none of the really appealing defensive options for Seattle suffer a drop. Shazier, Barr and Hageman are all gone. Interestingly in McShay’s mock both Shazier and Barr were available at #32.
Based on Kiper’s projection the Seahawks could come really close to several players and miss out. And that could mean they’re willing to take a chance at #32, as I’ve tried to portray below.
Here are the options that I believe could be in play for Seattle, based on the availability in Kiper’s mock:
Joel Bitonio (T, Nevada)
Kiper has Bitonio leaving the board at #50 to Miami
You know my take on Bitonio by now, so I’ll just give you the highlights. People complain about his arm length, yet he has exactly the same arm length as Taylor Lewan (33 7/8 inches) and he actually has longer arms than Jake Matthews (33 3/8 inches). So what’s the issue if it isn’t a problem for Lewan and Matthews?
He had an exceptional combine in every single drill apart from the bench press. If lifting weights is the only problem — I’m not concerned. He can learn to get stronger in a pro-weight room. And again, Matthews only managed 24 reps compared to Bitonio’s 22. On tape he shut down Anthony Barr and handled his business against Florida State. He performed admirably against Boise State and Demarcus Lawrence.
Try him at left or right tackle and if it doesn’t work, plug him in at guard for the next ten years. For me he can be Logan Mankins inside or a very serviceable starting right tackle.
Demarcus Lawrence (DE, Boise State)
Kiper has Lawrence leaving the board at #41 to Buffalo
A 4.80 forty might be too slow for the Seahawks, but a 1.62 10-yard split will get their attention. Jadeveon Clowney had a 1.59 split while Aaron Donald had a 1.63. That’s some get off by Lawrence and ultimately a more important time than his forty yard dash. There’s a little bit of Aldon Smith to his game — and let’s not forget Smith also ran a 4.74 but clocked an impressive split of 1.66.
Like Smith there are also some character concerns. He served suspensions at Boise State and those need to be checked out. Seattle is scheduled to give Lawrence a private workout before the draft according to Adam Caplan.
I suspect they’ll consider adding another pass rusher depending on how the board falls. If a whole host of receivers are gone including Cody Latimer and perhaps if Bitonio is also taken before #32 it becomes more realistic. There’s just a lot of question marks here and while the Seahawks are right to do their due diligence — this still seems like a wild card option. For me he’s a better fit for the 49ers at #30 and he could easily land in San Francisco — or, potentially, with the Cardinals.
Marcus Smith (DE, Louisville)
Not included in Kiper’s two-round mock
I was a bit surprised not to see Smith’s name in round two at least. In a draft with so few legit pass rushers I can’t see him getting out of the 30’s. If we’re talking about 10-yard splits how about this one — a 1.57 at the combine to go alongside a 4.68 forty. Smith also has terrific length at 6-3 and 251lbs with 34 inch arms.
He had 14.5 sacks in 2013 and could be taken before team mate Teddy Bridgewater. I spent a bit of time watching Bridgewater earlier today and overall I’d probably grade Smith higher. I’m really not sure why Twitter is so aghast at the possibility Teddy could fall. That’s a debate for another day I guess…
Smith has a knack for stripping the football. He could stand to get stronger — although in fairness he’s a converted quarterback still adapting to defense. His arms lack definition and with a good pre-season in the weight room he could be even better.
The 10-yard split is again the crucial part here. I think the Seahawks love extreme speed off the edge. Bruce Irvin ran an official 4.50 while Cliff Avril managed a a 4.51. Smith’s 4.68 doesn’t look all that great in comparison.
Now let’s compare the 10-yard splits: Irvin (1.55), Avril (1.50), Smith (1.57). Avril’s time was explosive, but Smith compares well. And it’s worth noting he also topped Avril in the broad jump (10.1 vs 9.9) and the vertical (35 inches vs 32.5) — two other tests used to determine how explosive a player is.
I’m not sure how vital the forty times are compared to the split, broad and vertical jumps. Smith is an explosive athlete and he could be an option for the Seahawks at #32 if a cluster of wide outs and tackles leave the board before their pick.
Both Lawrence and Smith in my view are vastly superior to Dee Ford and Kony Ealy.
Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss)
Kiper has Moncrief leaving the board at #57 to San Diego
Moncrief doesn’t compete well enough for the ball in the air, but it’s really the only thing stopping him being a very attractive option for Seattle. He carries 221lbs incredibly well on a frame just shy of 6-3. He ran a 4.41 at the combine with an impressive 39.5 inch vertical. He had a 10-yard split of 1.50 which is better than 5-9, 189lbs Brandin Cooks (who ran a 4.33).
There’s just so much to work with here it’s unreal. As is the case with many receivers in this class, he had very little support from his college quarterback. Ole Miss’ offense has had an identity crisis ever since Hugh Freeze took over. Bo Wallace was regularly swapped in and out for a read-option replacement. There was very little fluidity to the passing attack and it hurt Moncrief’s production — particularly in 2013.
He needs to show stronger hands and he needs to high point better — but he has incredible leaping ability and it’s not like he’s totally useless in 50/50 situations. His best football will almost certainly come at the next level. For me there’s a great chance he’ll land in round one but he might end up competing with Cody Latimer to be taken in the 21-32 range. If Latimer has leapfrogged him on a few boards — it’s possible he lasts until #32.
Nobody should be disappointed if the Seahawks take Moncrief in round one. He eats up a cushion and shows crisp breaks in his routes. He can make people miss in the open field and explode. He’ll take the quick hitters Seattle threw at Golden Tate and when he wants to block — he can block. He’s another explosive player with a ton of upside.
Dominique Easley (DT, Florida)
Not included in Kiper’s two-round projection
In Kiper’s mock Easley was available at #64, but I’m going to bring him up here anyway. I don’t believe the Seahawks will take him in round one because the two knee injuries have to be a concern.
Yet he appears to be coming along in his rehab. He moved well at his pro-day last week and considering he picked up the injury in September — there’s at least some chance he’ll be ready for training camp. By July he’ll have been in rehab for 10 months.
Let’s just imagine this scenario. 7-8 receivers leave the board in round one including Cody Latimer, Odell Beckham Jr and any other wide out we’d expect the Seahawks to covet. Joel Bitonio perhaps leaves the board in the 20’s with Morgan Moses going to one of Miami at #19 or Arizona at #20. No defensive prospects like Anthony Barr or Ryan Shazier drop to #32 and one or both of Demarcus Lawrence and Marcus Smith get over-drafted due to a lack of alternative pass rushers.
Suddenly, the options aren’t that great. And you’re struggling to generate a deal to move down.
If they feel comfortable about Easley’s ability to stay healthy and make a full recovery — why wouldn’t you at least consider him here? Injury free he’s a legit top-25 pick. Maybe even top-15. And you can get him at #32.
The 49ers took Tank Carradine at #40 last year and had to redshirt him. The Seahawks wouldn’t have to redshirt Easley because he picked up the injury months before the end of last season. You could potentially get a disruptive, edgy three technique who consistently collapses the pocket from the interior. Plug him into the rotation with Bennett and Avril rushing the edge and it looks like a deadly combo.
The Seahawks want difference makers in round one and that’s what a healthy Easley can be. You could get another Sheldon Richardson but in the late first round.
Let’s put it this way — if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft him at #37 how would you react? Would you say it’s worth a gamble in round two? Would you say it’s justifiable in that range? If so — it’s only five picks later than Seattle and the Buccs aren’t the defending Super Bowl Champions.
I’m not trying to convince people this is going to happen or even should happen — but I think we should talk about it. If they were able to take a shot on Easley at #32, draft an offensive tackle at #64 (one of Ja’Wuan James or Antonio Richardson for example) and hunt for value the rest of the way — would that be a bad draft for Seattle? I think a worse draft would be to force the situation if all of the top receivers and tackles are off the board by the end of round one.
Easley is a major wild card — a player who could be taken before the #32 pick and could just as easily drop into the round 3-5 range depending on how teams view his injury history. It’s worth noting the Seahawks have used picks in the third and fourth round to search for interior pass rushers — and it’s unclear if they’d consider the position early without a top player being available. There’s also Dan Quinn’s insider knowledge to consider here.
I’d hate the Seahawks to pick Easley without us having this discussion though. His talent is worthy of a conversation about the #32 pick — even if the injuries scare you off.