ESPN analyst Todd McShay today published his second mock draft. He has the Seahawks taking Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor) at #26. We’ll continue to break down the McShay and Mel Kiper mocks to look at options for Seattle in the first round.
McShay on the pick
“Billings has freakish weight-room strength that he puts to good use as a run defender. A great athlete for the position, he displays an impressive combination of quickness and power. Billings improved his consistency as a third-year starter, and that led to him playing the best football of his career in 2015 (14.0 TFLs and 5.5 sacks).”
Billings would theoretically replace Brandon Mebane. He’s strong enough to play the nose and provide some level of disruption. The Seahawks have generally gone for quickness and unique athletic traits when spending early picks on their defense. A powerful Mebane replacement would arguably contradict that approach. Is the roster improved by replacing Mebane with a 19-year-old rookie? They’ve been able to plug players into their D-line using free agency. Spending a first round pick on Billings would be a departure from that.
Other players who were available at #26
Noah Spence (DE, Eastern Kentucky)
Spence proved he’s a top-15 talent at the Senior Bowl. He still has to convince teams he’s a changed man after his departure from Ohio State. The reports from Mobile were positive in that regard — and Spence appears destined to go very early in round one. There just isn’t anyone else with a similar combination of speed, agility, hand-use and technique. In a class littered with powerful DE’s, Spence stands out. If he does somehow last until pick #26 — the Seahawks have to consider him.
SDB projection: #12 overall to New Orleans but could go higher
Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
Tipped by many to go in the top-15, Alexander is an aggressive and confident cornerback. He plays bigger than his listed size (5-10, 190lbs) and carries himself like a top NFL corner. With one or two key injuries at the position (Kendall Fuller, Will Redmond) and Tre’Davious White and Cam Sutton opting to return to LSU and Tennessee respectively — Alexander could be competing with Eli Apple to be the top cornerback in the draft. Whether the Seahawks would consider him or not depends on length. They generally avoid cornerbacks with sub-32 inch arms.
SDB projection: #8 overall to Miami
Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
Possibly the best left tackle in college football in 2015 (Laremy Tunsil missed most of the season), Coleman combines ideal size with a gritty attitude. He’s the complete opposite of the passive Ronnie Stanley — Coleman loves to get to the second level and punish a linebacker. He talks trash to defenders. He enjoys the competitive side of the game. Teams will do their homework on his medical report after he beat cancer. His age (24) could be an issue for some. If you want a tackle or guard with an edge, Coleman provides fantastic value. A top-20 talent.
SDB projection: #23 overall to Minnesota
Jason Spriggs (T, Indiana)
The best of a pretty bad bunch of tackles in Mobile — Spriggs was generally hit and miss (just like his college career overall). He’s long and athletic and looks the part. There are some technical deficiencies in his game though — he gets beat too easily on the inside counter and his kick slide is a little laboured at times. Some believe he has to move inside but how many teams want a guard at nearly 6-6 and 301lbs? There’s a lot of upside here if he gets the right coaching. He might need to start at right tackle and eventually move across.
SDB projection: #30 overall to Denver
Nick Martin (C, Notre Dame)
Dangerously underrated, Martin was the best offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. A picture of consistency, Martin — like his brother — was born to be an offensive lineman. He has ideal size to work inside (6-4, 300lbs), plays with a fantastic physicality and doesn’t lose many 1v1 battles. The only obvious difference between Zack and Nick is quicker feet — this isn’t really a problem with Nick working at center. If you’re looking for a prospect who can start in year one and just get the job done — this is your man. He’ll be a quality starter for the next few years and like his brother, could be a perennial Pro-Bowler. The Seahawks say they want consistency and physicality in the trenches.
SDB projection: #26 overall to Seattle
Leonard Floyd (LB, Georgia)
Floyd’s a bit of an enigma. He could easily be the next Aaron Maybin — overrated based on his athletic skill set and largely ineffective because what is his best position? At the same time, there just aren’t many human beings that move as well as Floyd at 6-4 and 231lbs. On one play in 2015 he covered a teams #1 receiver running down the left sideline on a deep route. Is he a good enough pass rusher to compliment his speed and agility? He had 4.5 sacks this season and six in 2014. In Seattle his most likely role would be to replace Bruce Irvin but he’s better suited to the 3-4.
SDB projection: #19 overall to Buffalo
Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)
Fuller might be the most dynamic receiver in the draft and could easily be the first wide out taken. His ability to shift through the gears and separate is staggering. Yes, he has the occasional drop. However — there arguably hasn’t been a player entering the league with this level of raw explosion since DeSean Jackson. Fuller is a well-spoken, respectful individual with a good understanding of the game. The Seahawks probably won’t take a receiver in round one — but Fuller is their type of wide out. He has a shot to be an instant impact player.
SDB projection: #24 overall to Cincinnati
Kyler Fackrell (LB, Utah State)
Another incredibly underrated player. Fackrell’s sack numbers (only four in 2015) are misleading. PFF ranked him as one of the most disruptive players in college football and they’re absolutely right. Fackrell is a splash-play specialist. He impacts so many snaps. So while he might not always get the sack, his ability to move the quarterback, force bad throws and dictate protection is invaluable. In Seattle he would act as a pure edge rusher rather than replace Bruce Irvin. He’s a highly competitive individual with a chance to emulate Clay Matthews’ early success in the pro’s.
SDB projection: #25 overall to Pittsburgh
Cody Whitehair (T, Kansas State)
Although he played left tackle for Kansas State in 2015, Whitehair is certain to move inside to guard or center. He only has 31 and 3/8 inch arms at nearly 6-4 in height — length to make a T-Rex blush. In Mobile he took to the left guard spot with ease. Whitehair is extremely well balanced, a natural knee-bender and he understands leverage. He’s powerful and athletic and should be one of the safest picks in the draft. He’s not quite as accomplished as Nick Martin and would need a bit of time to adapt if he switches to center — but he’s solid..
SDB projection: #29 overall to Arizona
Players off the board in McShay’s mock
Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville) — #10 to the New York Giants
Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech) — #22 to Houston
Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State) — #24 to Cincinnati
Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State) — #25 to Pittsburgh