First of all, if you missed this weeks podcast don’t forget to check it out (see below). We had Matt Brown on (he attended the National Championship game) and talked about the Seahawks/Panthers game this weekend.
Mel Kiper published his first 2016 mock draft today. I’ll keep using the ESPN mock drafts (via Kiper and Todd McShay) to look at players we aren’t considering because we assume they won’t be available.
For example, I personally believe Shon Coleman is worthy of a high grade and don’t expect him to get out of the top-20. I also appreciate many others feel differently — whether that’s down to his age (24) or battle with cancer.
Both Kiper and McShay had Coleman available for the Seahawks in their respective initial projections.
I broke down McShay’s first mock here. Today let’s look at Kiper’s mock to see who was unavailable to the Seahawks in my projection last week:
Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
My projection: #5 overall
Kiper pairs the Seahawks with Apple using the #26 pick. I think this would be a fantastic get for Seattle. Although they trust their ability to find and develop cornerbacks in the later rounds, Apple appears to be a good fit for this team. He doesn’t get beat deep and keeps everything in front — plus he’s long and athletic. He generally tackles well in the open field. Plugging Apple into the position across from Richard Sherman would prevent the almost annual problem solving they need to do at cornerback.
Shon Coleman (T, Auburn)
My projection: #6 overall
He’s officially declared for the draft now and I’m still shocked people aren’t looking at him as a viable early first round pick. I believe he is eligible for the Senior Bowl and hopefully he receives an invite. Coleman has everything you want in a tackle prospect — nimble feet, a decent kick-slide, the ability to lock-on and finish, the desire to reach the second level and punish linebackers and he plays with an edge. His age (24) doesn’t bother me. If you get five good years out of him it’ll be worth it.
Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
My projection: #8 overall
White is still deciding whether or not to declare. I still believe he’s destined to be a fine pro with the upside to be excellent. He’s very athletic and a typical cover corner. He offers something as a kick returner and was singled out for the coveted #18 jersey (reserved annually at LSU for the most respected, high character player on the team). He’s not quite as long as Eli Apple but if he does declare it’s hard to imagine him not going in the first frame. Coaches will want Tre’Davious White on their team.
Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State)
My projection: #10 overall
Kiper doesn’t have Lee in the first round, which is pretty surprising given the way he performed in 2015. If there’s one player ready and waiting to launch his stock into the top-15 it’s this guy. On the field he flashes great instinct and patience — but he also has the closing speed and burst to race to the ball and finish. He’s an effective blitzer and can cover with ease. Character wise he’s perfect — a well spoken, mature individual. He’s a perfect package for any team needing a defensive cornerstone and could easily fit into Seattle’s defense.
Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
My projection: #17 overall
At times in 2015 he looked unstoppable — a genuine game-changer with a unique skill set. His ability to make all kinds of catches (contested, deep, explosive break, high-point) made him a Heisman contender. Then Baylor’s quarterback got injured and his production fell off a cliff. He went from record-setting numbers to M.I.A. The big test now is to find out whether he’s the brilliant athlete he appeared to be in college. Can he run in the 4.3/4.4 range? If so — the flair and quality he showed in the first half of the season could tempt a team to see if he can be another X-factor receiver.
Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
My projection: #21 overall
With decent size (6-3, 210lbs) and deceptive mobility — Thomas could easily wind up as a productive NFL receiver. Urban Mayer doesn’t use a wide-open air raid offense ideal for mass production. Thomas’ stats aren’t outstanding — but he always seemed to be making key plays for Ohio State in 2015. He basically pulled down Kendall Fuller’s pants in week one with a brilliant stop-and-go route for a touchdown. He showed tremendous agility on a juking lunge to the end zone against Notre Dame. The Seahawks might consider an athletic, big receiver if they lose Jermaine Kearse.
Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State)
My projection: #22 overall
A player who makes things happen. Unlike Derrick Henry he doesn’t require huge gaping lanes and a seam to run into and accelerate. Elliott takes the hit and moves the pile. He’s adept at blocking in pass protection and he’s a useful tool in the passing game. He’s a physical runner with the ability and speed to be a home-run hitter too. The Seahawks are going to be moving on from Marshawn Lynch. It’s perhaps unlikely they seek to pair Thomas Rawls with a first round partner — but Elliott is a talented prospect.
These are probably the positions to monitor based on Seattle’s possible needs. With Russell Okung (T), Jeremy Lane (CB), Bruce Irvin (LB) and J.R. Sweezy (G) the big-name free agents in waiting — they might need to replenish at one or two key positions.
It’s also worth noting today that Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton and Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams both officially announced they aren’t turning pro. They could both easily be top-15 picks in 2017.