The 2018 Seahawks draft review

April 28th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

The draft class

Rashaad Penny (RB)
Rasheem Green (DE)
Will Dissly (TE)
Shaquem Griffin (LB)
Tre Flowers (CB)
Michael Dickson (P)
Jamarco Jones (T)
Jacob Martin (DE)
Alex McGough (QB)

The Seahawks commit to fixing the run

The strength of the draft in the first two rounds was running back and interior O-line. Pete Carroll spoke about fixing the run as a priority.

They made a firm statement with this draft class. They’re going to try and solve this problem.

Mike Solari, D.J. Fluker, Ed Dickson and now Rashaad Penny and Will Dissly. That’s their commitment to the run. Considering their lack of picks and cap space, that’s a decent attempt to rectify this issue.

And it needed to be a point of emphasis. The Seahawks want to be a running team. Here’s what they ‘achieved’ in 2017:

— One rushing touchdown total by a running back, scored by a scat back to close out a routine win against one of the five worst teams in the league

— A completely inept red zone rushing offense

— No 100-yard games by a running back

Running was a chore and, along with all the injuries, it derailed the 2017 season.

Taking their pick of the running backs not named Saquon and adding the consensus best blocking tight end in the draft is a statement. ‘We want to run the ball as a point of focus’. They are trying to fix the run. And that needed to be the priority in this draft.

Third time lucky on the D-line?

Malik McDowell? Sheldon Richardson?

Neither filled the need for a dynamic inside/out rusher. And with Michael Bennett’s departure, this became a big need once again.

As we discussed on Friday — Rasheem Green is raw and needs time. Pete Carroll thinks he might play at about 285-290lbs by the start of the season. Some believe he could’ve been a top-10 pick next year had he stayed at USC.

It’s not often you acquire a defensive talent like this in round three. In Penny and Green (or Rashaad and Rasheem) they landed two top-50 talents. Not bad considering they started the draft with no picks on day two.

Shaquem had to be a Seahawk

We noted before the draft there was an expectation in the league, per Bob McGinn, that the Seahawks would draft Shaquem Griffin. So it proved with their first pick in the fifth round.

It’s obviously a great story for many reasons. It was also apparent Seattle had a lot of interest in reuniting Shaquem with his brother Shaquill.

Forget the sentimentality for a moment though. Shaquem can play. And he plays hard. In this piece on April 1st we discussed his performance against Auburn in the Peach Bowl:

I can honestly say I’ve never watched a player perform with his level of intensity, effort, passion and determination. Every drop of adversity he’s faced in his life is taken onto the field with him and punished.

His Peach Bowl performance against Auburn might be the best effort I’ve ever seen from an individual player in a team sport. The only time I can recall a similar effort is when David Beckham dragged England to the 2002 World Cup with an energy sapping solo performance against Greece at Old Trafford.

Griffin gave absolutely everything against Auburn. He chased every lost cause, recorded 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Griffin’s strengths are blitzing, impacting the passer, acting as a spy and playing with relentless effort. He’ll need to be a situational rusher and nickel linebacker. That’s fine. Welcome to the modern NFL. If he can be what Malcolm Smith was in 2012-13, it’ll be a great pick. He’ll also likely become a special teams demon, a heart-and-soul leader and an inspiration for a team seeking a fresh start in 2018.

This was the pick everyone wanted to see and the Seahawks delivered.

On a side note, I bought this while I was in Florida, anticipating the Shaquem Griffin pick…

Seattle finds value on day three

Lance Zierlein thought Michael Dickson could go in rounds 3-4. Tre Flowers looked like a prototype at corner for the Seahawks at the combine. Jamarco Jones has left tackle experience at Ohio State plus ideal size/length. Along with Griffin the Seahawks added four players in round five who could all contribute quickly. Griffin and Dickson’s potential contributions are obvious. It’s always worth getting excited about a cornerback drafted by Pete Carroll in round five. Jones could be an immediate contributor as the sixth lineman.

And for an extra blast of pass rush, toughness and grit — Jacob Martin in round six will get an opportunity to make the roster.

This was a day of possible high value for the Seahawks.

UDFA will be more interesting than the last few years

Seattle has some holes on the roster this year. Players will look at them and see a more realistic opportunity to make the roster. I’m not going to be able to track all the moves as I’ll be flying across the Atlantic while the Seahawks are hammering the phones. But keep an eye on the group. If they were ever going to find the next Doug Baldwin, this could be the year it happens.

Seahawks still value special teams

Amid all of the recent issues, it’s easy to forget how much Seattle has struggled on special teams recently. The signing of Sebastien Janikowski, the drafting of Michael Dickson and the drafting of one of the best returners, punters and cover guys in the draft makes it clear. They want to fix the run and special teams.

Is this really the end of the Earl Thomas saga?

Many fans will celebrate the fact Earl Thomas wasn’t traded to Dallas (I’m one of them). Another year of Thomas is a positive for the defense. But it’s fair to question whether this was the outcome the Seahawks truly wanted and whether they just delayed the divorce for another 12 months.

The Seahawks got younger and cheaper this year. They appear unwilling to pay Earl Thomas a big third contract. And while they have the option of the franchise tag in 2019, it’s unclear whether they’d actually use it. They haven’t been inclined to do so in the past.

Thomas threatened to hold out at the Pro-Bowl without a new contract. He’s unlikely to get one now. John Schneider says he’s been reassured Thomas will not hold out by his representatives. But who knows what happens on the eve of training camp? It’s in Thomas’ best bargaining interests to take this through to camp and then make a move (whether that’s in search of a new deal or a trade). Rocking the boat now makes no sense.

Even if he plays in 2018, it’s at least reasonably possible he will simply depart as a free agent when his deal expires. And if the Seahawks try to fill numerous roster holes in free agency again, they won’t receive a compensatory pick.

That would lead to an unpalatable Richard Sherman-esque parting where the Seahawks move on from a legendary player and get absolutely nothing in return.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s not my intention to be overly negative about this situation. I know a lot of people will be relieved Earl, for now, is staying in Seattle.

Yet however unpopular a trade would’ve been this year — letting him leave for nothing in a year will be an even more unpopular occurrence.

The Seahawks say all the right things about ‘listening to every offer’ but let’s be honest — they weren’t just ‘listening’ to offers for Sherman or Thomas. Where else do reports about ‘first and third round compensation’ come from? Why were they still reportedly talking to Dallas during the third round?

They appeared to be very open to moving him and perhaps were keen to do so. Perhaps they just didn’t want to be seen to be giving him away? Which, funnily enough, is exactly what they’ll do in 12 months without a new deal or the use of the franchise tag.

So I’m not sure this saga is over. It might just be parked until nearer camp. And the Cowboys, still needing a safety, might then consider a move involving 2019 picks.

When I’m back in the UK we’ll start running through the players taken and seeing what each draft pick will be bringing to the Seahawks.

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Live blog: 2018 NFL draft (rounds 4-7)

April 28th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

The Seahawks are set to pick eight time today. Here’s today’s open thread. I will be posting thoughts on each pick as they come in and, laptop screen permitting, will do a write-up on the draft overall on the plane later.

R4 (120) — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
Mike Mayock calls him the best blocking tight end in the draft. I thought he was right up there with Dalton Schultz and Durham Smythe and as a consequence, mocked him to the Seahawks in a number of our seven rounders. He did everything they asked of him at Washington. Switched from D-line to be a blocker. No-nonsense and a coaches dream. This is yet another statement that the Seahawks want to run the ball as a point of focus. We felt running back and tight end would be a priority and they’ve addressed both positions in their first three picks.

Here’s Bob McGinn’s intel on Dissly:

A consensus choice as the best blocking tight end in the draft. “Somebody will take him late because he’s a blocking fool,” said one scout. “There’s no ‘Y’s’ (conventional tight ends) anymore. Everybody plays the spread.” Shifted from DE to TE late in the 2015 season. Adequate size (6-3 ½, 261), below-average speed (4.88) and 35 on the Wonderlic.

R5 (141) — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
Beautiful news. A fantastic story. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more impressive individual performance than Griffin’s in the Peach Bowl against Auburn. He will be a special teams demon, a heart and soul player and a situational pass rusher. This is the pick everyone wanted to see. I wrote about Griffin being an ideal fit for Seattle in this piece here.

And who could forget this?

R5 (146) — Tre Flowers (CB, Oklahoma State)
At the combine we noted that Flowers looked like a Seahawks corner and like Shaquem Griffin and Will Dissly at times included him in our seven round mocks. He worked out at safety in Indianapolis but during drills just jumped off the screen as a long, lean Seahawks cornerback prospect. Seattle has already announced he’ll be used as corner. This is turning into a great day three so far. He has legit potential to be coached into a starter at corner.

R5 (156) — Michael Dickson (P, Texas)
Considered by many to be the best punter in the draft, Lance Zierlein projected him as a possible third or fourth rounder. Jon Ryan has been a great Seahawk but his performances regressed in 2017. This pick could provide a potential saving down the line. Here’s Bob McGinn’s sources on Dickson:

Three-year regular from Sydney, Australia. “He’s got a heck of a leg,” said one coach. “What’s concerning is he’s Australian and he doesn’t have your typical American punting style. He turns the ball a little sideways. He’s got a tremendous fast leg. You just worry a little bit about him being consistently good. He was fantastic for Texas last year (47.4), and you’ve always got to revert back to the film. He held this year, too.” Finished with a school-record average of 45.3. “He’s the Pineiro of the punters,” said another coach. “He has no idea what he’s doing. He probably has the most upside but also the lowest floor. He will take a ton of refinement but you may have a Pro Bowl punter for a long time.”

R5 (168) — Jamarco Jones (T, Ohio State)
He started at left tackle for a couple of years but his tape was pretty safe and average. There wasn’t too much to get excited about and that showed up at the combine. He only had a 24 inch vertical and he nearly topped five seconds in the shirt shuttle (4.99). That said, he has decent size and 35 1/8 inch arms. He might compete at right tackle or be the sixth O-liner and extra blocker. Bob McGinn’s sources see him purely as a guard:

Apprenticed behind Taylor Decker (Lions) in 2014-’15 before starting at LT in 2016-’17. “Has to be a guard,” said one scout. “Kind of a bad body guy. More of a guard athlete.” Longest arms (35 1/8) of the guards. “I thought he was a guard who could play right tackle in a pinch because he has played left tackle in an elite program and wasn’t terrible at it,” said a second scout. “He’d be an interesting guard because he is athletic. For teams that think he can play tackle, he may be a second-rounder. He’s not strong (18 reps on the bench) but he plays with a pretty good degree of toughness. Doesn’t fit the usual Ohio State offensive line profile but he is talented.” From Chicago (De La Salle).

R6 (186) — Jacob Martin (DE, Temple)
Under the old staff Temple produced some really tough, physical players. Martin is a classic example of that. The Seahawks named him a LEO and he’ll rush the edge. Lance Zierlein compared him to Haason Reddick physically in his NFL.com bio. He ran a 4.69 but only managed a 1.68 10-yard split at his pro-day. He also jumped a 34.5 inch vertical and had a 10-1 broad jump so he’s explosive if not particularly quick. He had a nice 6.90 three cone. They need a LEO.

R7 (220) — Alex McGough (QB, FIU)
The Seahawks finish their draft by taking a quarterback. It’s only the second time Seattle has drafted a QB in the Carroll era. McGough had a team visit and had some late buzz. He’ll compete to be the backup.

Just about to board the plane but the draft review piece will be up shortly.

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Instant reaction: Seahawks draft Rasheem Green

April 27th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

For weeks we wondered if this could be ‘the day’ for the Seahawks. The second round was loaded with talent and Seattle, known for trading down and out of round one, were being linked with another big move.

Instead, it ended up being a relatively quiet second day of the draft.

They took took Rashaad Penny with the #27 pick yesterday and after moving down were able to acquire the #76 pick. They made one more small move to #79 and eventually drafted USC defensive end Rasheem Green. They didn’t trade Earl Thomas and they didn’t work a way back into the second frame.

Strangely for the Seahawks, it was all pretty straight forward.

They now have eight picks on day three, taking the total to ten. Tony Pauline told us before the draft that the Seahawks wanted to pick ten times in this draft.

So what about Rasheem Green?

Having tried to find a solution at this position with Malik McDowell and Sheldon Richardson, maybe it’s third time lucky?

He’s a powerful inside/out rusher with major upside. A few weeks ago I mocked him in the first round to Carolina. When he declared he was being projected as a late first or early second round possibility. I had him in the same talent tier as Rashaad Penny and a top-50 prospect.

With Michael Bennett departing and Cliff Avril’s future unclear, they needed to add a pass rusher. In the third round, this is great value.

Here’s what an anonymous AFC regional scout said about Green courtesy of NFL.com:

“I wanted him to go back to school because he probably would have been a top-10 pick next year. He’s not strong enough to handle NFL guys yet so this year may be a redshirt year for him. He’s got some serious juice though. He’s going to be a dude when it all comes together.”

And here’s what Bob McGinn’s sources said about him:

Third-year junior played DE in a 3-4 defense and moved inside on passing downs. “He’s naturally an outside guy,” said one scout. “One of the reasons he’s leaving is there was word they planned on him continuing to work inside. He sees himself as a defensive end. He’s super talented and super young (will turn 21 in May). He needs to get stronger. Probably would have benefited staying in an extra year. His best football is ahead of him.” Finished with 117 tackles (20 for loss) and 16 ½ sacks. Two teams have major medical concerns about his knee. “Kind of a potential guy,” said a third scout. “He’s got some inside pass rush. He’s not quite man enough inside and doesn’t have quite the juice outside. You’re hoping to project him to 3-technique. He doesn’t like going inside because I don’t think he’s tough enough.” From Los Angeles.

Clearly Green’s not the finished article. You see that when you watch the USC tape. However, plays like this lining up at nose tackle speak volumes for his potential:

Just look at the way be bullies his way into the backfield from an interior position:

It’s these types of plays working inside that really stood out when watching McDowell at Michigan State. McDowell should never have been asked to play as much nose tackle as he was at MSU. He still excelled. And it’s exactly the same situation with Green. He’s an EDGE or inside/out rusher and yet he still won when asked to play as the anchor inside.

You do not see Billy Price beaten like this. I repeat, this doesn’t happen to Billy Price:

Can he rush the edge too? You bet:

There are some concerns too. The splash plays are great but there are also times when he should just drop the anchor, hold his point and defend the gap or side he’s working. Notre Dame had some success handling him with a combo of Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. That’s a formidable duo to come up against but it would’ve been nice to see him hold his own a little bit more, drop the anchor or come up with a counter:

Is he an alpha? The Seahawks used to have some BAMF’s up front. Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Sheldon Richardson, Tony McDaniel. They need Green to help set the tone, not just provide potential and athleticism.

At the combine he ran a 4.73 with a 1.65 split. That’s not bad at 275lbs but it’s not special like Frank Clark’s workout. His explosive testing topped McDowell’s marks (32.5 inch vertical, 9-10 broad).

Once again though it’s the short shuttle that was likely an important factor. He ran a 4.39 which is really good for his size. McDowell ran a 4.53 which was also good as a comparison. The Seahawks generally look for defensive linemen who run a good short shuttle.

So what’s next looking at day three?

According to Bob McGinn, many teams expect the Seahawks to select Shaquem Griffin at some point. They have the picks to make that happen. Multiple other defensive linemen are available (Andrew Brown, Tim Settle, Jalyn Samuels) and there’s a nice crop of tight ends. Luke Falk also remains on the board, as does Kyle Lauletta.

Sadly it looks like the medical concerns are serious for Maurice Hurst and Josh Sweat who remain on the board.

One final general point — it was interesting to see the linebackers who ran well in the short shuttle all going in round three. Fred Warner, Oren Burks and Dorian O’Daniel all left the board on day two.

Tomorrow promises to be a vital day with eight picks to come.

I’m going to be flying back to the UK tomorrow so will do my best to update the blog throughout day three. There will be an open thread and the picks will be posted as they come in. The plane has WIFI which helps. Not helping is the fact I dropped my laptop on the floor just before the Green pick and the screen has broken. Great timing!

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Live blog: 2018 NFL draft (rounds 2 & 3)

April 27th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

I’ll be updating this piece with thoughts on every pick as they come in. Please don’t tip picks in the comments section before they’re announced.

Second round

#33 Cleveland Browns — Austin Corbett (T, Nevada)
Fantastic pick by the Browns and this clearly legitimises the suggestion Cleveland was looking to trade up to #18 to get a tackle. Corbett doesn’t have the incredible length but he and Isaiah Wynn were the best two left tackles in college football in 2017. Great value.

#34 New York Giants — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
The Giants signed Nate Solder in free agency, drafted Saquon Barkley at #2 and now added Will Hernandez. They are turning their offense into a scary force. People will quibble about what they’re doing but the Giants are going physical, tough and explosive. They’ll win games in 2018 with these moves.

#35 Cleveland Browns — Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
If the Seahawks had traded down from #18, collected #33 and #35 and then drafted Corbett and Chubb — a lot of people in this community would’ve been very happy. The Browns smashed it out of the park with their first two picks. Baker Mayfield, Austin Corbett and Nick Chubb are great picks for their offense.

#36 Indianapolis Colts — Darius Leonard (LB, South Carolina State)
At the Senior Bowl he looked fantastic. At the combine, not so much. He ran only a 4.70. However, he has 34.5 inch arms and he’s all attitude. Hits like a hammer. Given time he can be a nice addition.

#37 Indianapolis Colts — Braden Smith (G, Auburn)
The most explosive O-line tester we’ve had since starting TEF. Smith is a right guard with power and major athleticism. The Colts’ interior line now consists of Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith. That trio has the potential to be the best in the league. Auburn set the tone up front with their running game.

#38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
The Buccs have already won the draft for me. Give them an A-Grade. They traded down, collected two valuable second round picks and still drafted Vita Vea. Now they get Ronald Jones II, the second coming of Jamaal Charles. Bravo, Buccs. Bravo.

#39 Chicago Bears — James Daniels (C, Iowa)
James Daniels is really athletic and he’s right up there with Frank Ragnow and Billy Price. The Bears are having a solid draft so far with Roquan Smith and Daniels. They added weapons in free agency and now they’re drafting some solid pieces.

#40 Denver Broncos — Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
This could help nudge along an Earl Thomas trade. The Cowboys were said to be targeting Sutton at #50. That pick is edging closer. It’s now or never for a trade. Sutton is a big target with exceptional agility. They need some weapons on offense.

#41 Tennessee Titans (via Oakland) — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
The Raiders traded down 16 picks to #57 so it’s a big jump up by the Titans. Harold Landry was one of the more overrated players in the draft for me. A one-dimensional speed-rusher who needs to win with initial quickness or it’s over. He had a rough day against Notre Dame’s O-line. He’s not a bad player he’s just not as good as many people projected coming into the draft.

#42 Miami Dolphins — Mike Gesicki (TE, Penn State)
He had an outstanding combine. He’s explosive and an enormous target. He doesn’t block. So you’re taking him to be a big slot receiver and red zone threat. He’s a long strider so his forty yard dash (4.54) doesn’t show up on tape.

#43 Detroit Lions (via New England) — Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)
The Lions moved up from #51, jumping ahead of the Redskins. Jay Gruden went public about Washington’s desire to add a running back. Was it a wise move? Love this move by the Lions. Frank Ragnow and Kerryon Johnson is a great duo for the Lions. Johnson turned Auburn into a contender in the SEC. That’s five running backs off the board by pick #43. My prediction was 6-8 and that Derrius Guice would last beyond the names already taken.

#44 San Francisco 49ers (via Washington) — Dante Pettis (WR, Washington)
With Detroit jumping up and taking Kerryon Johnson, the Redskins trade down. Coincidence? Nope. Jay Gruden really shouldn’t have talked about their desire to draft a runner in round two. The Niners jumped up 15 spots to get to pick #44 and select Dante Pettis. Great return man, reliable target. This one won’t go down well with Huskies/Seahawks fans.

#45 Green Bay Packers — Josh Jackson (CB, Iowa)
The Packers took a corner with their first pick at #18 and now select a corner/safety hybrid. On top of that their first pick a year ago was Kevin King. That’s a lot of draft stock in the secondary. Jackson had a horrendous combine, having to re-start multiple drills. He only ran a 4.56 too. He did have big time production on the field last year.

#46 Kansas City Chiefs (via Cincinnati) — Breeland Speaks (DE, Ole Miss)
The Chiefs (without a first round pick) move up eight spots from #54. John Clayton said this morning they contacted Seattle about dealing for the #27 pick. That would’ve been a huge drop for the Seahawks, too far. Love this pick though. Speaks had a freaky 1.65 10-yard split at 283lbs. He works the EDGE like a much lighter pass rusher. If you watch his highlights you’d think he was a first rounder. The long-form tape shows some inconsistency. However, he’s an exciting talent worthy of going this early. He has length too (34 inch arms).

#47 Arizona Cardinals — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
In our mock we had the Seahawks taking Christian Kirk at #50. He ends up in the NFC West but with the Cardinals. He’s a great special teamer and he takes the top off the offense. This is a weapon for Josh Rosen to grow with. Great character, great work ethic. There’s some Golden Tate to his game. He’ll be a weapon.

#48 Los Angeles Chargers — Uchenna Nwosu (LB, USC)
Going into the draft the feeling was LA needed some interior beef to defend the run. Instead they’ve taken an EDGE/LB hybrid and a box safety. Nwosu plays with intensity, he’s a leader and a great character. He’s undersized but they’ve taken defenders with this kind of profile in the past.

#49 Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts) — Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota State)
The Eagles trade up three spots to get ahead of the Cowboys. Originally they traded down from #32 to #52 (the Ravens took Lamar Jackson). This would’ve been Seattle’s second round pick (the one they traded for Sheldon Richardson). I like this pick for Philly. Firstly, they jump the Cowboys (potentially looking for a replacement for the retiring Jason Witten). Secondly, they lost a TE in free agency. They use their tight ends well. Athletic guy. Nice get for the Eagles.

#50 Dallas Cowboys — Connor Williams (G, Texas)
Is this officially the end of the saga? The Cowboys don’t trade for Earl Thomas. They spend their second round pick. Are the Cowboys trying to play off Seattle’s desperation and get them to give up Earl for a third rounder? Maybe. The Cowboys take Connor Williams here. Some teams were concerned about his make-up. His 2017 tape wasn’t great. The Cowboys love to take offensive linemen early. They don’t fill holes at receiver, tight end or safety though.

#51 Chicago Bears (via New England) — Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis)
The Patriots traded this pick for a later round selection and a 2019 second rounder. They clearly didn’t like the options on the board here. Anthony Miller was the top receiver in the draft in my opinion. Gritty, competitive, makes plays, elevated Memphis. Great pick.

#52 Indianapolis Colts — Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
There was a big belief that Kemoko Turay would go in round two and here he is. His potential is through the roof. He had some injury issues with his shoulder. He had a great Senior Bowl week.

#53 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — M.J. Stewart (CB, North Carolina)
Having praised Tampa Bay so much for their first two picks, this is a head scratcher. He lacks length, he isn’t fast and he isn’t big. They needed a corner but Isaiah Oliver is a far superior player.

#54 Cincinnati Bengals — Jessie Bates III (S, Wake Forest)
Really like Jessie Bates III’s potential. The Bengals needed a safety. In his redshirt freshman year he was a ball hawk and teams stayed away from him last season. Good character and he’ll continue to develop and improve at the next level. There’s some value taking Bates III this late in the second round.

#55 Carolina Panthers — Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)
There was always a belief the Panthers would target a corner and a receiver early. They took explosive D.J. Moore in the first round and add electric Donte Jackson here. Two big time athletes.

#56 New England Patriots (via Tampa Bay) — Duke Dawson (CB, Florida)
The Pats move up from #63 to jump ahead of the Oakland Raiders. This is such a Patriots move. Duke Dawson is very much a New England type defensive back. He’s a 4.46 runner with 31.5 inch arms. I thought both Dawson and M.J. Stewart would go later than this.

#57 Oakland Raiders — P.J. Hall (DT, Sam Houston State)
This is a big move. P.J. Hall had a sensational pro-day workout and was getting a lot of publicity in the media building up to the draft. He was a production machine in college. He’s a squatty, physical bundle of power and effort.

#58 Atlanta Falcons — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
Isaiah Oliver finally leaves the board. The Falcons went for value with both their early picks. Calvin Ridley in round one, Oliver here. He’s a long press-corner. I thought he was the best corner in the draft. You’ve got to love Atlanta’s secondary.

#59 Washington Redskins — Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
Derrius Guice probably owes an apology to Dan Hatman. The character concerns clearly were legit among NFL teams. At this point it’s a value pick for the Redskins. But he fell for reasons people were unwilling to accept throughout the draft process. Mike Mayock also stated on the NFL Network a potentially ’embarrassing’ issue that could come to light for Guice and the team that drafts him. There’s also this.

#60 Pittsburgh Steelers — James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State)
The Steelers always do a good job finding value at receiver. They do it time and time again. James Washington can get downfield and make big plays. He has a unique body shape. He’s shorter and squatty but he has really long arms and a nice catching radius. He can separate, he can take the top off a defense.

#61 Jacksonville Jaguars — D.J. Chark (WR, LSU)
The Jaguars took an inside/out rusher with their first pick and now take a receiver. They haven’t addressed their run defense up the middle or the way they defend deep passes downfield. Which is surprising. D.J. Chark is very quick and had a great Senior Bowl. But he was majorly inconsistent and occasionally very frustrating (see his game against Alabama, 2017).

#62 Minnesota Vikings — Brian O’Neill (T, Pittsburgh)
He’s a converted tight end and it shows in both his exciting athleticism and his quite ugly tape. He was bullied at the Senior Bowl, pushed around and beaten like a drum by multiple different EDGE rushers. He’s an upside pick who needs major work.

#63 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via New England) — Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
The Buccs knocked their first two picks out of the park. This is a really good pick too. Carlton Davis is long and looks like a Seahawks type cornerback. Getting him this late in round two is great value.

#64 Indianapolis Colts (via Cleveland) — Tyquan Lewis (DE, Ohio State)
The Colts move up a few spots from #67. I’ve been higher on Tyquan Lewis than most. He’s incredibly explosive. He’s tough, physical, all-business and will be a leader on defense. He can work inside/out and he was great at the Senior Bowl.

That concludes the second round. The Seahawks didn’t trade Earl Thomas for the #50 pick and didn’t find a way back into the second frame. However, there is still a ton of value on offer in round three at multiple positions, including tight end and D-line (two possible target areas). And for that reason — don’t rule out a Thomas trade just yet.

Third round

#65 Oakland Raiders — Brandon Parker (T, North Carolina A&T)
Some teams really liked Brandon Parker. Bob McGinn’s sources had some nice things to say about his major potential. He’s big, long and a prototypical looking tackle. They’ll try and develop him. Tom Cable gets two rookies to work with.

#66 New York Giants — Lorenzo Carter (LB, Georgia)
An underachiever with major talent, Lorenzo Carter has first round skills. He’s fast, explosive and showed against Notre Dame he can be a devastating SAM/LEO. The Giants needed a pass rusher and it’ll be interesting to see how they use him. Justin Houston (ex-Georgia) was a third round pick back in the day. Carter has the potential to be a steal too.

#67 Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis) — Chad Thomas (DE, Miami)
It’s interesting that Chad Thomas came off the board before a number of other players. Some teams had concerns about whether football was his priority in life. He helped produce a song with Rick Ross and he plays a number of instruments. He’s talented but is he fully committed to being a great football player?

#68 Houston Texans — Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
This is Houston’s first pick in the draft and they get a player many believed could land in round one. He’s a 4.40 runner but doesn’t always show it on the field. He’s more of a box safety than a rangy free safety. He doesn’t hit like his brother but he closes just as well. He was worth a second round pick at least so this is good value.

#69 New York Giants — B.J. Hill (DT, NC State)
This is the pick New York collected for dealing Jason Pierre-Paul. And what a pick it is. Hill was the leader on the NC State defense. He’s big, nasty, tough, physical. He helps set the tone. He had a great 4.53 short shuttle (a key test at defensive tackle). The Giants are having a fantastic draft. Saquon Barkley and Will Hernandez on offense (playing to the strength of the first two rounds) then Lorenzo Carter and B.J. Hill in round three (playing to the day two value). Bravo, Dave Gettleman.

#70 San Francisco 49ers — Fred Warner (LB, BYU)
Speaking of the importance of the short shuttle, Fred Warner ran a 4.28. It’s an important test at linebacker too. Another player considered a leader. This is a high character, athletic, mobile, productive linebacker. Solid pick.

#71 Denver Broncos — Royce Freeman (RB, Oregon)
I thought Freeman would sneak into round two. The Broncos needed a running back. They added two ‘names’ on offense — Courtland Sutton and Royce Freeman. They need both to produce. Freeman is a big back who plays small/quick.

#72 New York Jets — Nathan Shepherd (DT, Fort Hays State)
I remember the first day of the Senior Bowl. Here was this small school guy, absolutely bossing the LOS. Then he hurt his hand and was unable to do any more in Mobile. Even so, he made an impression. Great pick here in round three for the Jets.

#73 Miami Dolphins — Jerome Baker (LB, Ohio State)
Very athletic and mobile linebacker. Does well in coverage but not a thumper and didn’t have enough splash plays in 2017. You kind of wanted to see more. He was an explosive tester at the combine.

#74 Washington Redskins (via San Francisco)– Geron Christian (T, Louisville)
The Redskins moved up here. There was a feeling he could sneak into the late first round. Nobody really thought he was going to declare. Long arms (35 inches) and big hands. Lots of potential to work with here. He’ll be a redshirt in 2018.

#75 Kansas City Chiefs (via Oakland) —
The Chiefs jumped ahead of the Seahawks. Were Seattle preparing to take Derrick Nnadi? They had him in for a meeting. He’s a tough interior defender with sneaky ability as a pass rusher. He could be Brandon Mebane.

#76 Pittsburgh Steelers (via Seattle) — Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State)
The Seahawks traded down three picks to #79 with the Steelers. They only got a seventh rounder in return (#220). It’ll be interesting to see if they were targeting Derrick Nnadi. Pittsburgh took James Washington a few picks ago and now go and get his former quarterback. It was time for the Steelers to start planning ahead. They jumped ahead of the Bengals.

#77 Cincinnati Bengals — Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
It’s a bit of a surprise Hubbard fell this far but he had a disappointing 2017 season and didn’t elevate his stock. He had a nice three-cone at the combine.

#78 Cincinnati Bengals — Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
A big time athlete and former SPARQ star. The Bengals fill another need and continue to draft solidly this year.

#79 Seattle Seahawks — Rasheem Green (DE, USC)
The Seahawks get their inside/out rusher. There was a feeling Rasheem Green could’ve been a top-10 pick next year had he opted not to declare. He had a great inside rush against Billy Price in USC’s Bowl game. The Seahawks needed to find another pass rusher and replace Michael Bennett. They do that here. Shortly before the pick was made I dropped my laptop on a hard floor and it’s broken. Great timing!

#80 Houston Texans — Martinas Rankin (T, Mississippi State)
I was never a big fan of Rankin’s. He might have to move inside to guard or center, yet Houston’s need is at tackle.

#81 Dallas Cowboys — Michael Gallup (WR, Colorado State)
The laptop is well and truly broken so I’m going to keep this brief from here on in. Hopefully Orlando airport has some good deals on Apple Macbook Pro’s. Gallup had a nice Senior Bowl but the Cowboys left it late to address their need at receiver.

#82 Detroit Lions — Tracy Walker (S, Louisiana Lafayette)
Not a player I spent much time watching but he was seen as a late riser and the Lions needed a safety.

#83 Baltimore Ravens — Orlando Brown (T, Oklahoma)
From Orlando airport to Orlando Brown. His father player for the Ravens. He had a terrible, historically bad combine. That dropped him from a potential first round pick to a third rounder. Eventually someone was going to take a shot on him.

#84 Los Angeles Chargers — Justin Jones (DT, NC State)
Really like this pick. The Chargers needed to do something to help their interior run defense. This is it. Justin Jones is so physical, intense and combined with B.J. Hill did a great job defending the run at NC State. He had a terrific Senior Bowl week.

#85 Carolina Panthers — Rashaan Gaulden (S, Tennessee)
He’s not the biggest or the fastest safety but he’s tenacious and flies around making plays.

#86 Baltimore Ravens — Mark Andrews (TE, Oklahoma)
The Ravens take a tight end in rounds one and three. Andrews was a bit overrated during the season. He ran the same handful of routes for Oklahoma. Another non-blocking TE. Not a physical mismatch in terms of size/speed.

#87 Oakland Raiders (via LA Rams) — Arden Key (DE, LSU)
A year ago people thought Arden Key was a possible top-10 pick. His 2017 as a year was a mess. He didn’t play well enough when he finally made it onto the field. He’s worth taking a shot on in the third round but can you trust him to make it happen?

#88 Green Bay Packers — Oren Burks (LB, Vanderbilt)
Like Fred Warner, a leader on defense and a very agile, quick linebacker. He was expected to go in this range so this is fair value.

#89 Los Angeles Rams (via Oakland) — Joe Noteboom (T, TCU)
This is LA’s first pick in the draft. Some teams really like Joe Noteboom’s potential. They might be able to redshirt him and develop him. There’s plenty to work with here.

#90 Atlanta Falcons — Deadrin Senat (DT, South Florida)
He’s battled a lot of adversity. I didn’t spend enough time on him to judge properly here but the Falcons needed to add to their D-line at some point.

#91 New Orleans Saints — Tre’Quan Smith (WR, UCF)
This is only New Orleans’ second pick this year. They spent their second rounder on Alvin Kamara a year ago. Smith has some major athletic potential.

#92 Pittsburgh Steelers — Chukwuma Okorafor (T, Western Michigan)
We’re seeing a lot of players with ‘potential’ coming off the board in round three. It’s a little bit of a surprise to see Tim Settle and one or two more ‘proven’ players still on the board. I watched a fair bit of Okorafor during the season and was underwhelmed.

#93 Jacksonville Jaguars — Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
I’m not sure why Ronnie Harrison is still on the board. Todd McShay said on ESPN ‘you’re not drafting your best friend he can be a bit ebrasive’. Did he rub people up the wrong way? Either way it’s great value here. He’s not going to solve Jacksonville’s issue defending deep passes though. He’s a pure strong safety.

#94 Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Alex Cappa (T, Humboldt State)
He gained a lot of admirers at the Senior Bowl. Mike Mayock raved about him. He’s edgy and plays with an attitude. Can he make the significant step up from Humboldt State to the NFL?

#95 San Francisco 49ers — Tarvarius Moore (S, Southern Miss)
He’s a really explosive player. He wasn’t invited to the combine. Some people thought he was one of the top safety’s in the class. There’s plenty to work with but he’ll need guidance.

#96 Buffalo Bills — Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
I thought the Bills might do this in the late second round. Harrison Phillips is a lot like Kyle Williams and could be the heir apparent for the Bills legend.

#97 Arizona Cardinals — Mason Cole (C, Michigan)
He played left tackle as a freshman. He’ll be an interior guy at the next level. They are clearly trying to build pieces around Josh Rosen. Cole is decent. Nothing special.

#98 Houston Texans — Jordan Akins (TE, UCF)
Another UCF player leaves the board but it isn’t Shaquem Griffin. Another player with big potential. He can stretch the seam and make plays. It’ll be interesting to see him working with DeShaun Watson.

#99 Denver Broncos — Isaac Yiadom (CB, Boston College)
I liked what I saw from Isaac Yiadom. He’s a solid corner with Seahawks size. At the end of the third he’s worth a shot.

#100 Kansas City Chiefs — Dorian O’Daniel (LB, Clemson)
He was quietly a major impact player for Clemson last year. He’s a skull collector on special teams. He didn’t run a fast forty yard dash but he had an exceptional short shuttle.

 

Day two primer — things to consider

April 27th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

— What are the Seahawks going to do today? Currently they only have the #76 pick. The third round EDGE options might be severely limited but that’s not the case for general defensive linemen. Bob McGinn’s league sources have Tyquan Lewis, B.J. Hill, Rasheem Green, Derrick Nnadi, Da’Shawn Hand, Jalyn Holmes, Justin Jones, Andrew Brown, Nathan Shepherd and Duke Ejiofor slated to go between rounds 3-4. Josh Sweat is touted to go between rounds 3-5 due to injury concerns and thus might not be on Seattle’s board. So if the Seahawks want to add an inside/out rusher or a defensive tackle, they’ll likely have an opportunity to do that today.

— If the Seahawks are truly committed to fixing the run (and the Rashaad Penny pick certainly suggests they are) — tight end could be a position to watch today. Ed Dickson is a short term solution and Nick Vannett hasn’t shown much in two years. Tyrone Swoopes is the only other TE on the roster currently. With Dallas Goedert, Ian Thomas, Mike Gesicki, Daltzon Schultz, Durham Smythe and Will Dislly all remaining on the board, this could be a target position. Keep an eye on Indiana’s Thomas. He’s a gritty player who has battled significant adversity. He’s considered to be ‘all football’ and a willing blocker. He had a workout pre-draft and has massive potential. He also, funnily enough, helped Rashaan Penny break off a huge run in the Senior Bowl with a terrific wham block:

— With the Seahawks re-signing Byron Maxwell, a hole has been filled at corner. Any lingering possibility of an early-round cornerback has likely been eliminated. If the Seahawks address this position it’ll likely be on day three when the likes of Holton Hill and Tony Brown might be slated to go.

— A reminder that McGinn’s multiple sources believe Shaquem Griffin will be drafted by the Seahawks:

Some teams appear convinced that Griffin will join his twin brother, Shaquill, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill, a third-round pick last year from UCF, had a strong rookie season as a starting cornerback.

“Just the vibe I’m getting from things,” said one scout. “Some of the comments made by some of their guys about the type of kid he is and the football player he is and what he embodies.”

Pick #76 might be a little too early for Griffin but he could very much be a fourth round target tomorrow.

— Overall the third day of this draft will present a fantastic opportunity to load up on defense. If you’re a Seahawks fan panicking about the fact they didn’t go defense last night, don’t be. The strength of this draft class in rounds 1/2 was clear — running back, interior O-line. The strength on day three will be defense.

— What’s going to happen with Earl Thomas? Either way it’ll be good to finally move on from this saga, played out uncomfortably through the media. If/when the Cowboys make a pick at #50 we’ll likely have a conclusion to the matter. If the Seahawks don’t trade Thomas, however, it kinds of feels like they might be setting themselves up for a repeat of the Richard Sherman situation. Consider trade offers all off-season, not get an offer you like, part ways for zero compensation a year later. And that won’t be any more palatable than trading him for say a third round pick this year and something next year.

— I made two podcast appearances last night immediately after round one. The first was on Tasteful Profanity. We did a quickfire reaction to every pick and I’d highly recommend checking it out below. My spot starts at 1:09:45:

I also did a full review of Seattle’s pick at #27 with Kenny:

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Instant reaction: Seahawks take Penny, 49ers spoil trade?

April 26th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

There’s lots to get into so here we go…

Did the 49ers spoil Seattle’s trade plans?

A year ago Tony Pauline correctly forecast a first round trade between Seattle and Atlanta. This year he predicted the Seahawks would deal with Cleveland.

The package? The Browns trade up to #18 to get a left tackle. With Joe Thomas retiring it was a big need. The two obvious targets were Mike McGlinchey and Kolton Miller.

Seattle was reportedly set to receive #33 and #35 as part of the deal. An ideal, dream scenario for a team missing second and third round picks.

Then the San Francisco 49ers said… ‘not so fast‘.

The Niners snatched McGlinchey off the board at #9. With Joe Staley turning 34 in August, it’s an understandable move. San Francisco needs to protect Jimmy Garoppolo. Good offensive tackles are an endangered species. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan probably don’t plan on picking in the top-10 again any time soon. So they invested in their quarterback for the long term for the second time during this off-season.

In the process, they possibly scuppered Seattle’s plan.

Oakland immediately traded down from #10 once McGlinchey left the board. We paired the Raiders with the Notre Dame tackle in our ‘final’ mock draft. Oakland dropped down five spots and took Kolton Miller off the board.

Trade plans with Cleveland, over.

Had the Niners taken Tremaine Edmunds instead as many predicted, the Raiders probably take McGlinchey. It’s possible, in that scenario, Miller falls to #18 and the trade is consummated.

Instead the Seahawks had to look elsewhere. And you can tell they were looking elsewhere. Green Bay had only just moved down from #14 to #27, trading with the Saints. It’s hard to imagine this was all part of some long term plan pre-draft.

John Schneider relied on an old friend to get the move down he was looking for.

To go from #18 to #27 the Seahawks got a fair deal according to this trade chart:

#18 = 900 points

#27 = 680
#76 = 210
#186 = 16.6
Total = 906.6

It wasn’t #33 and #35 as speculated but it still helped the Seahawks pick twice in a more favourable range.

Seahawks make a statement — ‘we want to fix the run’

They did it again. Despite all the talk about Isaiah Oliver, Austin Corbett, the pass rush and anything else you want to throw in. They did exactly what they said they would do.

Try to fix the run.

That was the priority. This is a running team. They’ve not had their identity for two years now purely because they can’t run the ball. By taking Rashaad Penny with the #27 pick, they made a statement.

You might not think running the ball is important. The Seahawks disagree.

Every draft is a learning experience and with this one I should’ve stuck to my guns. We spent months talking about fixing the run. And then in the last couple of weeks we’ve mocked Christian Kirk and Isaiah Oliver to Seattle with their first pick.

That’s today’s lesson. They haven’t taken a cornerback early and unless they trade Earl Thomas in the next 24 hours, that will remain the case for another year. I even wrote a piece stating explicitly they wouldn’t take a corner early. Why didn’t I heed my own advice? They didn’t take a receiver first. They took a runner. As we thought they would for weeks. Until I flipped at the end.

So what do we know about Penny?

He’s a player we consistently ranked in our top-50 during the process. He was one of the first running backs we talked about on the blog during the season. And after the combine we noted his name as a possible physical fit based on Seattle’s drafting trend at the position.

Here’s what Bob McGinn’s sources had to say about Penny after projecting him to go in round two:

Played second fiddle to prolific Donnel Pumphrey for three seasons before exploding for 2,248 yards as a senior. “That little kid there last year (Pumphrey) ran for a billion yards and now he’s run for a bunch,” said one scout. “That system there is tremendous. Good size and straight-line burst. I don’t think he has good feel or a lot of niftiness.” Impressed in the Senior Bowl. Tremendous kickoff returner. “Runs primarily out of an I backfield but when he runs the spread option he’s got feet, got acceleration,” a second scout said. “Great hands. Makes guys miss. Got great contact balance.” Finished with 487 carries for 3,643 yards (7.5) and 38 TDs along with 42 receptions for 479 yards. “He runs high,” a third scout said. “I don’t like his pad level. He’s strong and he’s very fast.” From Norwalk, Calif.

He’s a solid second round running back taken at #27.

So what do we make of that?

It’ll surprise many just because his second name isn’t ‘Chubb’, ‘Jones II’, ‘Johnson’, ‘Guice’ or ‘Michel’. Yet the Seahawks had their pick of the bunch and took their guy. Had they taken Nick Chubb or Ronald Jones II, most would’ve applauded the move (unless your part of the anti-run movement). They clearly think Penny is a better option. So give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s see how he gets on.

Ideally they would’ve been able to move down a few more spots and take Penny. Clearly that deal wasn’t available.

Earlier today I called for the Seahawks to try to fix the run. For that reason, I think this was a positive move.

You’ve also got to love this reaction:

When do they next pick?

Unless they trade Earl Thomas, they’ll next be on the clock at pick #76 (Green Bay’s third round pick).

Today’s big winner?

Tampa Bay. They were able to get one of the best 5-6 players in the draft after trading down. Vita Vea is an exceptional player with Haloti Ngata potential. The Buccs’ D-line now consists of Vea, Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry.

Not only did they get one of the best players in the class at #12, they also acquired two valuable second round picks from Buffalo in the process. Kudos to the Buccs. This was a fantastic move.

Head scratching move?

The Saints traded up to #14 from #27 to select Marcus Davenport. He’s a terrific prospect with major upside. He’s also incredibly raw. The move cost New Orleans their 2019 pick. It’s a bit of a gamble. The Saints are going all-in with Drew Brees and are not planning ahead at quarterback. Lamar Jackson would’ve been there at #27.

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Live blog: 2018 NFL draft (first round)

April 26th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

I’ll be updating this piece with thoughts on every pick as they come in. After the first round I’ll write a review and be making two podcast appearances (will post audio).

#1 Cleveland Browns — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
This had been reported all day. In terms of pure performance on the field, Mayfield topped Darnold, Allen, Rosen and the rest. He was the Heisman winner, led Oklahoma in the incredible Rose Bowl against Georgia and won on the road at Ohio State. He’s a winner with a winners attitude. Character problems? Overstated. Now the Browns need to find a left tackle to protect him. Go get the #18 pick…

#2 New York Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
The best player in the draft. Forget all the nonsense about running back value. This guy is a superstar in the making and a future face of the NFL. Now the Giants have Saquon, Odell and Evan Engram for a generation. That’s an explosive offense trio worth paying a ticket to watch. There will be loads of handwringing about not taking a quarterback. Big deal. Football doesn’t have to be over analysed to the Nth degree. The Giants can win games with Eli Manning, Nate Solder and this trio of playmakers.

#3 New York Jets — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
The Jets traded up knowing they would get one of the top quarterbacks. Some criticised the trade but look what happened. They ended up with the player many saw as the best QB in the draft and it didn’t even cost them a future first rounder. It was a great move by the Jets and this is a fantastic opportunity to get the franchise back on track. There’s plenty of Carson Palmer to his game but he’s a better improviser.

#4 Cleveland Browns — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
It’s not a shock that Cleveland took Denzel Ward. It’s just a shock they took him at number four. I posted a fresh mock earlier when it became clear Mayfield would be the top pick. I had the Browns trading down to #12 and taking Ward. Clearly they needed a corner and they just addressed that need right here. They passed on Bradley Chubb which is interesting. If the Browns trade up to #18 later I think the Cleveland fans in Dallas might start a riot. They’re not happy.

#5 Denver Broncos — Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
The Broncos saw an opportunity and took it. Von Miller + Bradley Chubb is a mean duo working the edge. Vance Joseph looked a bit out of his depth as a Head Coach last season and we’ll see if Case Keenum is good enough to give this team a jolt. They need a lot more to add to the roster. The Broncos are another trade-up candidate. Chubb could’ve been a top-10 pick a year ago. Terrific player, athlete and character.

#6 Indianapolis Colts — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
The second best player in the draft after Saquon Barkley. The Colts need to build around Andrew Luck. They wasted his healthy years and now it’s time to get things right. Nelson could be a Pro-Bowler in year one. He has some Steve Hutchinson to his game. He’s big, physical, nasty and focused. He had a TEF score of 3.07 so he’s an explosive blocker too. He’s a top-10 pick in most drafts.

#7 Buffalo Bills (via Tampa Bay) — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
The Bills, as expected, trade up for a quarterback. Adam Schefter says Denver and Buffalo had a trade agreed for #5 but Denver reneged when Bradley Chubb fell to #5. The Bills might end up getting a better deal as a consequence after waiting two more picks. Allen has everything physically. The question marks surround his performance in college which was poor albeit on a lousy team. He looked superb at the Senior Bowl. The Bills gave up #53 and #56 to move up. It’s a good deal for Tampa Bay and Buffalo gets to keep #22 and their 2019 first round pick.

#8 Chicago Bears — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
It’s a fit because Vic Fangio does well clogging up the middle and keeping his linebackers clean. If Roquan Smith can run to the ball and play read-and-react, he’s exceptional. He’s a no-nonsense player with flash ability. The problem is if teams can get their O-liners to the second level. He struggles shedding blocks and it was apparent against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Keep him clean, he’s money. If you don’t, he can be a liability.

#9 San Francisco 49ers — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
My initial reaction to this pick was surprise. Then after a moment, I got it. They have an ageing left tackle in Joe Staley. They just gave a fortune to Jimmy Garoppolo. He is their future. And the NFL is suffering with an offensive tackle problem. The good ones go early. The Niners probably don’t plan on picking this early again any time soon. It’s not an exciting pick but it could be a good one. McGlinchey is solid if unspectacular and a big time character guy. This won’t help Seattle if Kolton Miller leaves the board before #18.

#10 Arizona Cardinals (via Oakland) — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
The Cardinals trade up for a quarterback. I mocked the Raiders to take Mike McGlinchey last night. The Niners pick possibly inspired this move. I also had Miami taking Josh Rosen. So this was possibly a perfect storm with the Cardinals wanting to jump ahead of Miami and the Raiders preferring to move down when McGlinchey was taken. Rosen is the more natural passer in this QB class. He dropped due to injury and character concerns. The Cardinals only had to give up a third and fifth round pick to move up. Whatever you think about Rosen, it’s a great deal for Arizona to go and get a quarterback.

#11 Miami Dolphins — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
He’s always been a bit overrated. Solid but not exciting. A decent athlete but nothing special. He’s not a rangy free safety or a natural corner. Malik Hooker was better a year ago and I think Keanu Neal and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were better too. He’ll be a solid, safe option for Miami. Good guy but not a big vocal leader. It’ll be interesting to see how Miami uses him. Tremaine Edmunds and Vita Vea have bigger upside in my opinion. It’s a surprise that Edmunds is still on the board.

#12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Buffalo) — Vita Vea (DT, WashingtoN)
Congratulations to the Buccs. They are the big winners of the top-12 picks. They traded down five spots, collected two extremely valuable second round picks and still got Vita Vea. Imagine Gerald McCoy next to Vea with Jason Pierre-Paul working the edge. Fantastic pick, fantastic trade down. Kudos to the Buccs. Vea is rare air. He could be another Haloti Ngata. In my mock I had Tampa Bay trading down for Vea.

#13 Washington Redskins — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
The Redskins needed a defensive lineman. They likely had their heart set on Vita Vea. Payne looked really good in the college football playoffs and every bit a top-15 pick against Georgia. He’s more explosive than some of Alabama’s other recent early rounder D-liners. However, he only had ONE single tackle for a loss in 2017. That’s pretty striking on a team like Alabama that dominates up front every week.

#14 New Orleans Saints (via Green Bay) — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
Huge shocker. Not that Marcus Davenport went at #15. He’s a tremendous pass rusher. It’s that this is the move the Saints made after moving up. He is so raw and might not be an impact rusher. And New Orleans spent two first round picks to get him. It’s a risky move. I thought they were going to take Lamar Jackson and plan for life after Drew Brees. The Saints traded their 2019 first round pick and a fifth rounder this year to go from #27 to #15.

#15 Oakland Raiders (via Arizona) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
That could possibly be the end of Seattle’s shot to trade down with the Browns. The Raiders traded down when Mike McGlinchey was taken by San Francisco and they simply moved onto the next best tackle. The Niners, by taking McGlinchey, possibly killed Seattle’s best trade offer. Fingers crossed Denver or someone else wants to trade up for Lamar Jackson. Kolton Miller is highly athletic and he’s enormous. You’re taking potential here.

#16 Buffalo Bills (via Baltimore) — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
Buffalo gave up a third rounder to move from #22 to #16. The Bills also received a fifth rounder in the deal. This is the second time Buffalo traded up in the first round and it’s a great move. Tremaine Edmunds is a spectacular player with major potential. There just isn’t anyone like him in the league. That’s possibly why he dropped. Teams like what they know. Buffalo gets a top-10 talent at #16. He does hesitate sometimes off the snap and has a false step. It’s his only flaw. He’s long, athletic and physical.

#17 Los Angeles Chargers — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
Derwin James has always been a bit overrated. He’s an alpha, he’s athletic and he’s physical. There’s no question marks there. The thing is, he just doesn’t make that many plays. You watch the tape and he makes a tackle at the second level. Great. You want to see more. He struggles in space and had a horrible snap against Antonio Callaway in the slot. He’s a box safety. A good one. But he is what he is.

#18 Green Bay Packers (via Seattle) — Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
An old friend leaps in to save the day. The Seahawks saw a potentially lucrative deal with the Cleveland Browns go up in smoke when Mike McGlinchey and Kolton Miller were snatched off the board. Now they move down nine spots and get a third and a sixth in return. They now own the #27 pick, originally belonging to New Orleans. It shows how determined they were to move down. This isn’t exactly a ‘haul’. However, according to this trade value chart it was a fair deal. You can make a case for Alexander being better than Denzel Ward. He’s competitive and talented.

#19 Dallas Cowboys — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
This is a fantastic get for the Cowboys. Linebacker was a big need. I noted in this piece in early March just how good Vander Esch is. Physically he’s very similar to Luke Kuechly. He flies to the ball, plays with range and intensity. He’s everything you want in a linebacker. He can play outside early and move inside when Sean Lee misses his handful of games (as he does every year). Terrific pick for the Dallas Cowboys.

Player trade — the Oakland Raiders have traded a third round pick to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant

#20 Detroit Lions — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
The Lions had a big need at center so this makes sense. He’s been underrated throughout the whole process. He’s been in every top-50 list we’ve had dating all the way back to the college season. He’s a brilliant, physical blocker and a tone-setter. The Lions will not regret this pick and they have a blossoming, tough O-line to work with. The Bengals are probably cursing at pick #21.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
Speaking of underrated players, come on down Billy Price. Like Ragnow he’s all attitude. At times he gets carried away trying to be too aggressive. That’s a minor issue considering the toughness, dedication and athleticism he’s going to provide at center. He’s a terrific player and the Bengals solved a big problem at a major position of need. They would’ve likely taken Ragnow but Price is a nice consolation prize.

#22 Tennessee Titans (via Baltimore, Buffalo) — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
The Titans trade up to keep Rashaan Evans away from the New England Patriots. This is the pick Baltimore collected after trading down with Buffalo. Evans is an alpha and plays every game with his hair on fire. He isn’t the most athletic or explosive player but he just gets after it. Derrius Guice suggested in pre-season Alabama were ‘scared’ of LSU’s running game. Evans took it upon himself to hammer Guice every time he touched the ball. It was an ass-kicking.

#23 New England Patriots — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
The New England Patriots do it again. Isaiah Wynn is one of the 15 best players in the draft. He does everything well. He was the best left tackle in college football in 2017 along with Austin Corbett. The Pats could try him at left tackle even though many project him inside. This is a fantastic get for the Pats.

#24 Carolina Panthers — D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)
The first receiver off the board is D.J. Moore. He’s an incredible athlete. He’s built like a running back with a thick, muscular lower body. He can get downfield and he’s a YAC master. That said, Wisconsin cornerback Nick Nelson absolutely shut him down and held him without a catch.

#25 Baltimore Ravens (via Tennessee) — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
There was plenty of talk about Baltimore wanting a tight end. The Ravens were linked with Da’Ron Payne too. When the Redskins took Payne, it’s possible they moved on to Plan B. Hayden Hurst turns 25 in August. He’s old for a rookie. They have to believe they can still get seven years out of him. They’ve been looking for a tight end solution for a long time. He plays with an AFC North attitude.

#26 Atlanta Falcons — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
Calvin Ridley isn’t great in any way in terms of body shape or speed. He’s small, not exactly lightning quick and his interviews are a bit unnecessarily testy sometimes. That said, he’s a nice compliment to the bigger receivers they already have. It’s a value pick if you like Ridley. Otherwise, you have to wonder if they really addressed a key need here. This type of player wasn’t the difference for Atlanta last season.

#27 Seattle Seahawks — Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
Huge shock. The Seahawks said fixing the run was their priority. They meant it. They’ve taken a running back in the first round — but it wasn’t the one many expected. It’s not Nick Chubb. It’s not Kerryon Johnson. It’s not Ronald Jones II or Derrius Guice. It’s not Austin Corbett or Isaiah Oliver. They did what they said they were going to do. Fix the run. He’s a size fit (5-11, 220lbs) and his explosive testing (10-0 broad, 32.5 inch vertical) was in their ballpark too. It’s a pick that will drive Seahawks twitter crazy and for that, we can all be grateful I suppose. Here’s what Bob McGinn’s sources said about Penny:

Played second fiddle to prolific Donnel Pumphrey for three seasons before exploding for 2,248 yards as a senior. “That little kid there last year (Pumphrey) ran for a billion yards and now he’s run for a bunch,” said one scout. “That system there is tremendous. Good size and straight-line burst. I don’t think he has good feel or a lot of niftiness.” Impressed in the Senior Bowl. Tremendous kickoff returner. “Runs primarily out of an I backfield but when he runs the spread option he’s got feet, got acceleration,” a second scout said. “Great hands. Makes guys miss. Got great contact balance.” Finished with 487 carries for 3,643 yards (7.5) and 38 TDs along with 42 receptions for 479 yards. “He runs high,” a third scout said. “I don’t like his pad level. He’s strong and he’s very fast.” From Norwalk, Calif.

The Seahawks are committing to their running game. That is their statement tonight.

#28 Pittsburgh Steelers — Terrell Edmunds (S, Virginia Tech)
Kudos to Jason La Canfora who was reporting consistently that Edmunds would go in the first round. He’s an even quicker, more explosive version of his brother playing safety. He could be a linebacker/safety hybrid. He’s a leader and a tremendous athlete. There are things he needs to work on too.

#29 Jacksonville Jaguars — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
Jacksonville needs to defend the run better but Bryan is more of a pass rusher. He’s an inside/out type with great potential. The Jaguars have loaded up on both lines. They’ll hope that can mask two issues — the quarterback and their inability to defend the deep downfield shot.

#30 Minnesota Vikings — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
Mike Hughes’ tape is really good. He’s not the biggest or fastest corner. That said, you have to like his grit and knack of being around the ball. I prefer Isaiah Oliver personally. Yet the Vikings have done a good job drafting for their defense in recent years.

#31 New England Patriots — Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
Bill Belichick is a master. He doubles down on Georgia studs. Sony Michel isn’t a fit everywhere (including, in my opinion, Seattle). However, he’s a perfect fit for the Patriots offense. He’s their type of back. Great move by the Pats. Adam Schefter says some teams had some concern about Michel’s left knee. He injured an ACL in High School and Chris Mortensen added it was a ‘little loose’ at the combine.

#32 Baltimore Ravens (via Philadelphia) — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
The Ravens moved up and took Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the day. Joe Flacco probably feels a little nervous today. Personally I’d rather face Josh Rosen twice a year than Jackson. The Ravens did the smart thing planning ahead. Jackson was the most electric player in college football for two years straight. Major talent.

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Some final thoughts ahead of the draft

April 26th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

— A year ago Tony Pauline correctly reported the Seahawks had a deal in place to trade down with the Atlanta Falcons. Hours before the start of the draft, Tony is now predicting the Seahawks will trade with Cleveland. The Browns would get #18 to draft a left tackle (Mike McGlinchey or Kolton Miller) and the Seahawks would get picks #33 and #35. That would be an incredible haul for Seattle. Right at the start of day two they could address two huge needs. It could be a cornerback (Isaiah Oliver), defensive lineman (Josh Sweat, Maurice Hurst), running back (Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones II), receiver (Christian Kirk) or offensive lineman (Austin Corbett, Billy Price). In terms of dream scenarios, this is it.

— Bob McGinn (another extremely well sourced reporter) says the league thinks Seattle will draft Shaquem Griffin at some point:

Some teams appear convinced that Griffin will join his twin brother, Shaquill, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill, a third-round pick last year from UCF, had a strong rookie season as a starting cornerback.

“Just the vibe I’m getting from things,” said one scout. “Some of the comments made by some of their guys about the type of kid he is and the football player he is and what he embodies.”

— Whatever the Seahawks do over the next few days, I hope there’s a strong focus on fixing the running game. New needs have emerged with Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett departing. Yet Seattle’s running game remains the biggest issue on the team. Pete Carroll can put together a defense. But for two years the running game has been a mess. And Carroll wants to be a running team. This is a draft set up for a team to fix their running game. It’s a very strong draft for offensive linemen and running backs in the first two rounds. If you really want to fix the run, commit to it.

— I’ll be doing a live blog throughout the first round. I’m also set to do a podcast with Kenny after the first round and make an appearance on the Beast Pode. I’ll post the audio on here later. I’ll also be doing a write-up either reviewing Seattle’s first round pick or assessing the remaining options for round two.

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Updated draft day mock

April 26th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

This isn’t the one sent to the Huddle Report. However, with the news out there that Baker Mayfield is set to be the #1 pick, I decided to do a first round update…

#1 Cleveland — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#2 NY Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 NY Jets (via Ind) — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#4 Cleveland (via Hou) — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
#5 Denver — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
#6 Indianapolis (via NYJ) — Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)
#7 Tampa Bay — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#8 Chicago — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#9 San Francisco — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
#10 Oakland — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
#11 Miami — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
#12 Cleveland (via Buf, Cin) — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
#13 Washington — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#14 Green Bay — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
#15 Arizona — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#16 Baltimore — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
#17 LA Chargers — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
#18 Cleveland (via Sea) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
#19 Dallas — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
#20 Detroit — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
#21 Cincinnati (via Buf) — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
#22 Buffalo — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
#23 New England — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
#24 Carolina — Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
#25 Tennessee — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
#26 Atlanta — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
#27 New Orleans — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
#28 Denver (via Pittsburgh) — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
#29 Jacksonville — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
#30 Minnesota — Austin Corbett (G, Nevada)
#31 New England — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
#32 Philadelphia — James Daniels (C, Iowa)

My Seahawks seven rounder wouldn’t change:

(33) — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
R2 (50) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
R2 (64) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)
R3 (90) — Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
R4 (114) — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
R4 (120) — Dorance Armstrong (DE, Kansas)
R5 (141) — Leon Jacobs (LB, Wisconsin)
R5 (146) — Kameron Kelly (S, San Diego State)
R5 (156) — Tony Brown (CB, Alabama)
R5 (168) — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
R7 (226) — Kyle Allen (QB, Houston)
R7 (248) — Keith Kirkwood (WR, Temple)

 

The final 2018 mock draft

April 25th, 2018 | Written by Rob Staton

This is my final mock draft to be sent to the Huddle Report for scoring. It includes:

— Two rounds
— Multiple trades
— An Earl Thomas to Dallas trade
— A full Seahawks seven-round projection

First round

#1 Cleveland — Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
#2 NY Giants — Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
#3 NY Jets (via Ind) — Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
#4 Cleveland (via Hou) — Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)
#5 Buffalo (via Den) — Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
#6 Indianapolis (via NYJ) — Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
#7 San Francisco (via TB) — Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
#8 Chicago — Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
#9 Tampa Bay (via SF) — Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
#10 Oakland — Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
#11 Miami — Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
#12 Denver (via Buf, Cin) — Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
#13 Washington — Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
#14 Green Bay — Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
#15 Arizona — Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
#16 Baltimore — Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
#17 LA Chargers — Derwin James (S, Florida State)
#18 Cleveland (via Sea) — Kolton Miller (T, UCLA)
#19 Atlanta (via Dal) — Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)
#20 Detroit — Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
#21 Cincinnati (via Buf) — Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)
#22 Denver (via Buf, KC) — Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)
#23 New England (via LAR) — Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
#24 Carolina — Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)
#25 Tennessee — Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)
#26 Dallas (via Atl) — Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
#27 New Orleans — Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)
#28 Pittsburgh — Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
#29 Jacksonville — D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)
#30 Minnesota — James Daniels (C, Iowa)
#31 New England — Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
#32 Philadelphia — Austin Corbett (G, Nevada)

How would this leave things for the Seahawks?

Having dropped down to #33 from #18, there are many things to consider:

— What are the cliffs at each position? Which areas can you address in rounds 4-7 and feel like you added a potential starter? Which positions are thin after rounds 1-3?

— How do you fix the run? This has been a consistent stated priority after two miserable years running the ball. Are you willing to roll with what you’ve got at running back, tight end and the offensive line? Is it all about Mike Solari’s ability to turn things around? Or do you need to seriously consider the three positions early in the draft? Especially when this appears to be a tailor-made draft for fixing a running game.

— Is the biggest hole on the roster the void left by Richard Sherman? With Byron Maxwell unsigned they might feel like they have to address this need as a priority if they wish to be competitive in 2018. Both Tony Pauline and Ian Rapoport have linked the Seahawks with Isaiah Oliver today. Drafting him early would solve a major need and arguably he has more potential than any other cornerback in this class to achieve greatness. However, this isn’t the way the Seahawks do things at corner. They run a scheme that allows them to plug in prototypes bought at a discount. It’d be a big departure from how they’ve done things in the past and that has to be taken into account.

— There’s a serious lack of edge rushers in this draft and that could force the Seahawks to consider the position early. Yet who are the smart, reliable and tough players at the position with no injury or character risks? There are players they could draft early, such as Kemoko Turay or Josh Sweat, but they’d be taking the kind of gamble they appear less willing to take this year.

— Do they need to draft a touchdown maker early? They had no production from the running backs last year and they’ve lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. If Russell Wilson is going to be more of a focal point in 2018 he’ll need some help.

Second round

#33 Seattle (via Cle) — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
#34 NY Giants — Billy Price (C, Ohio State)
#35 Cleveland — Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
#36 Indianapolis — Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
#37 Indianapolis — Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
#38 Tampa Bay — Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
#39 Chicago — Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)
#40 Denver — Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
#41 Oakland — Geron Christian (T, Louisville)
#42 Miami — Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota State)
#43 New England (via SF) — Tyrell Crosby (T, Oregon)
#44 Washington — Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
#45 Green Bay — Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
#46 Cincinnati — Ronnie Harrison (S, Alabama)
#47 Arizona — Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
#48 LA Chargers — Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State)
#49 Indianapolis — Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
#50 Seattle (via Dal) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
#51 Detroit — Ian Thomas (TE, Indiana)
#52 Baltimore — Lorenzo Carter (LB, Georgia)
#53 Buffalo — Braden Smith (G, Auburn)
#54 Kansas City — Kemoko Turay (DE, Rutgers)
#55 Carolina — Rasheem Green (DE, USC)
#56 Denver (via Buf, LAR) — Connor Williams (G, Texas)
#57 Tennessee — Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
#58 Atlanta — Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)
#59 San Francisco (via NO) — Rashaad Penny (RB, San Diego State)
#60 Pittsburgh — B.J. Hill (DT, NC State)
#61 Jacksonville — Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
#62 Minnesota — Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
#63 Chicago (via NE) — Jessie Bates III (S, Wake Forest)
#64 Seattle (via Cle, Phi) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)

The trades

— Buffalo trades #12, #22 and a 2019 pick to Denver for #5 to select Josh Allen

— The San Francisco 49ers trade #9 and #74 to Tampa Bay for #7 to select Tremaine Edmunds

— Cleveland trades #33, #64 and #114 to Seattle for #18 to select Kolton Miller

— Atlanta trades #26 and #90 to Dallas for the #19 pick to select Taven Bryan

— Dallas trades #50 and #90 to Seattle for Earl Thomas

Seahawks seven rounder

R2 (33) — Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)
R2 (50) — Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
R2 (64) — Andrew Brown (DE, Virginia)
R3 (90) — Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
R4 (114) — Shaquem Griffin (LB, UCF)
R4 (120) — Dorance Armstrong (DE, Kansas)
R5 (141) — Leon Jacobs (LB, Wisconsin)
R5 (146) — Kameron Kelly (S, San Diego State)
R5 (156) — Tony Brown (CB, Alabama)
R5 (168) — Will Dissly (TE, Washington)
R7 (226) — Kyle Allen (QB, Houston)
R7 (248) — Keith Kirkwood (WR, Temple)

Notes

— In this projection I’ve included an Earl Thomas trade. The Cowboys trade down from #19 with Atlanta and collect a third round pick. They then use that pick and #50 to deal for Thomas. I’m not passing comment on whether I think it’s the right or wrong thing to do. I just think there’s a pretty good chance of it happening. The good news is in two days time the saga will be over one way or another.

— I’ve tried to fill multiple needs for the Seahawks, assessing where the cliffs are to maximise the number of contributors they can collect. The toughest challenge facing the Seahawks will be to bolster the D-line. The options are so thin at EDGE both in the early and later rounds. I have them passing on the early EDGE rushers (Josh Sweat, Kemoko Turay) and taking Dorance Armstrong later. I still think Andrew Brown is a viable target given his strong character, versatility and fantastic short shuttle time (a test that appeals to Seattle for defensive linemen).

— I’m not sure this is a seven-round projection that sufficiently addresses the running game. I still believe there’s a chance the Seahawks focus their attention on fixing the run. That could mean taking an offensive lineman and a running back with two of their first three picks. Yet there are so many new needs and areas to address you’ll have to see where the cliffs are in order to get ‘your guys’. And they may just think Kalen Ballage in round three and having the opportunity to go CB-WR-DL in round two is a better use of resources than taking Nick Chubb or Ronald Jones II earlier.

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