Early 2021 draft watch-list & mock draft competition results

April 26th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Florida’s Kyle Pitts is an exciting prospect for 2021

Firstly — here’s a new podcast from Brandan and I discussing Seattle’s draft class, the day three picks in particular and what happens next…

Early 2021 watch-list

The early outlook for next year shows some star, big-name talent destined to go early and once again it could be a good class at receiver. The big difference in 2021? It appears to be significantly better at tight end, with a handful of potential top-40 picks.

If you want some homework for the next few weeks, check out these players…

Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
Lawrence will be the #1 overall pick in 2021. He’s highly accurate, athletic, perfectly sized and a born winner. He can do it all.

Penei Sewell (T, Oregon)
There’s a fairly good chance Sewell will be the #2 overall pick, unless another QB needy team lands in this spot. He’s a prototype left tackle with great size.

Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State)
A former five-star recruit, Parsons is capable of being a top-five pick at linebacker. He’s fast, physical and explosive and one of college football’s best players.

Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
He exploded onto the scene in 2019 and was virtually unstoppable at times. He can run a 4.09 short shuttle and he’s highly explosive. The only question is his deep speed and whether he’ll be as dominant without Joe Burrow.

Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue)
Speed, speed, speed. He’s already run a 4.33 at SPARQ but he also managed a 43 (!!!) inch vertical. A fantastic athlete like this will always go early.

Shaun Wade (CB, Ohio State)
I think he would’ve been a high pick this year. He’s a five-star talent who is water-tight in coverage but with the recovery speed and fight to be a top cornerback.

Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama)
Had he not suffered an ACL tear before the season started, Moses could’ve entered the draft this year and been a top-15 pick. He’s a 132.48 SPARQ talent.

Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
It was a major shock when he opted not to declare for the draft this year. He ran a 4.43 at SPARQ and jumped a 37 inch vertical. He will be a high draft pick.

Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
He’s a tight end but he plays like he could be a #1 target. He destroys teams on in-cutting routes. His catching radius is superb. He was already running a 4.70 at 6-6, 240lbs in High School and it won’t be a surprise if he gets that down to the 4.5’s.

DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
He had a coming out party in 2019 and was, at times, arguably Alabama’s top receiving threat. He’s extremely quick, sure-handed and he kills teams on slants.

Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
He’s quick and explosive (37 inch vertical) and is rapidly developing into a big time playmaker in the SEC.

Reshod Bateman (WR, Minnesota)
He was incredible in 2019. He caught everything. He took over games and dominated — making improbable grabs, scoring touchdowns and looking every bit a quality pro prospect.

Kwity Paye (EDGE, Michigan)
He’s explosive and active off the edge with excellent bend-and-straighten and the ability to threaten with speed or power.

Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
Another player who stunned everyone when he chose not to declare this year. He has fantastic size, explosive power and he can be a threat as a runner or receiver.

Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
He’s good but not as good as the media say. He plays in an offense that churns out mass production at quarterback every season. He needs to take another step forward in 2021 but he’ll miss J.K. Dobbins.

Liam Eichenberg (T, Notre Dame)
Good kick-slide and gets into position very quickly when defending the edge. He has ideal tackle size at 6-6 and 305lbs and has a chance to develop into a first rounder.

Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State)
His body control running routes is superb. He can contort and twist to make difficult catches. It would be nice to see him play in-line a bit more for the sake of a complete assessment but he’s a dynamic, natural receiving tight end with huge potential.

Gregory Rousseau (DE, Miami)
He looks like a long, lean EDGE but he does his best work with the bull rush and moving inside. If he can develop a speed rush too — he could be a high pick. He needs to threaten the edge more often.

Marvin Wilson (DT, Florida State)
A former #4 overall recruit who incredibly ran a 4.56 short shuttle at 332lbs at SPARQ. He has the athletic potential to be a very high draft pick.

Walker Little (T, Stanford)
He’s 6-8 and has fantastic size. He was the top SPARQ scorer in his class at offensive tackle (107.25). He needs to bounce back from an injury plagued 2019.

Jake Ferguson (TE, Wisconsin)
A former four star recruit, Ferguson ran a 4.15 short shuttle at SPARQ and added a 35 inch vertical. He’s a traditional blocker who needs to become a regular feature in the passing game.

Nate Landman (LB, Colorado)
Full blooded, all-action linebacker who jumped a 37 inch vertical at SPARQ. He’s been nicknamed ‘the hammer’ by teammates. Landman has 260 tackles in the last two seasons and hasn’t missed a single game. He’s the heart and soul leader on Colorado’s defense.

Jamie Newman (QB, Georgia)
He’s transferred from Wake Forest where his deep-ball throwing was exceptional. His placement, velocity and accuracy downfield is impressive. He has a chance to make a name for himself at Georgia.

Brevin Jordan (TE, Miami)
The #20 overall recruit in 2018 — Jordan ran a 4.21 short shuttle at 250lbs at SPARQ. That kind of short area quickness and change of direction will put him on the NFL map. He’s a unit who gets around the field and is tough to bring down.

Carlos Basham Jr (DE, Wake Forest)
He’s a bit of a clean up artist but you see flashes of real quickness and power. If you give him a route to the QB he can explode, eat up ground quickly and finish.

Seth Williams (WR, Auburn)
He’s so smooth as a route runner and glides into position. He tracks the ball well, makes difficult catches and he looks like a 4.4 runner with good size.

Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State)
His stock will depend on his recovery from injury and his testing. He doesn’t look like anything more than a 4.5 runner but he has incredible body control, no wasted movement and he has a natural ability to track the football.

Damonte Coxie (WR, Memphis)
He’s tall and lean with long arms — creating a big catching radius. He runs the red line well and he’s an accomplished pass catcher. His stock will depend on his ability to run well and prove to teams he can create easy separation at the next level.

Brock Purdy (QB, Iowa State)
He’s creative, mobile, can throw from difficult angles and off his back-foot with velocity, he can deliver a touch pass or drive the ball downfield. He’s one to watch.

Mock draft competition results

Another big thanks to community member David for setting this up. He sent me this note to reveal the results…

Thanks everyone for participating and for a great and very needed draft season! The last 3 days & nights bore witness to both emotional highs & some entertaining lows. Once the dust settled and the BAC levels lowered, the SDB community once again finds itself united in support our bless-ed Hawks. Now the results are in. Out of 160-ish entries, (I counted on my fingers so if you think you got jobbed let me know) these are the number of times each of the Seahawks’ draft picks were chosen by a member.

Jordyn Brooks @ 1.27 — 0
Darrell Taylor @ 2.48 — 28
Damien Lewis @ 3.69 — 14
Colby Parkinson @ 4.133 — 0
DeeJay Dallas @ 4.144 — 0
Alton Robinson @ 5.148 — 8
Freddie Swain @ 6.214 — 1
Stephen Sullivan @ 7.251 — 2

There was a 3 way tie at the top.

TDD correctly guessed Darrell Taylor & Damien Lewis.
Greg Haugsven got Darrell Taylor & Alton Robinson.
NickATL got Damien Lewis & Alton Robinson.

We had to go to the 1st tie breaker. Who got their players in the correct round? Drum roll please………………

Ladies and gentlemen… Put your hands together for SDB’s inaugural Mock Draft Champion…

NickATL!!!! who correctly guessed both Lewis in the 3rd and Robinson in the 5th. Congratulations!!!

Rounding out the bottom of the pack was none other than our very own Kenny Sloth… A Ducks fan of all things (-1).
Thanks again y’all and hopefully we get to enjoy a 2020 NFL season followed by a 2021 NFL Draft.

Peace out!
DC

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Instant reaction: Thoughts on Seattle’s 2020 draft

April 25th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Seahawks 2020 draft class

R1 — Jordyn Brooks (LB)
R2 — Darrell Taylor (EDGE)
R3 — Damien Lewis (G)
R4 — Colby Parkinson (TE)
R4 — Deejay Dallas (RB)
R5 — Alton Robinson (DE)
R6 — Freddie Swain (WR)
R7 — Stephen Sullivan (TE)

Thoughts on Seattle’s 2020 draft

The Seahawks know they need to be tougher.

They’re no longer the bully in the NFL. They’re not even the bully in the NFC West.

The attitude, intensity and swagger of the LOB era is missing. Their run defense is poor. Their pass rush is poor. They miss tackles. They struggle to defend the perimeter.

They’re trying to fix the problem.

They added a thumping, physical linebacker, a speedy edge rusher who plays with attitude and a violent run blocker with their first three picks. They followed it up with more pass rush help, a big move TE and a fierce running back.

They’re going to keep trying to create the team they want. They crave to be the punishing, physical, take-your-soul team that they used to be.

Smart, tough, reliable.

It makes sense. It’s reasonable. It’s something they’ll need to reclaim if they’re going to get back to the top.

If you take a step back and acknowledge, rightly, that the Seahawks were never going to blow your socks off with this class — you can look at it through a positive lens. It wasn’t realistic to address the large collection of needs they had. They needed to do more in free agency for that to be the case. They’ve added fast, physical tough guys with upside and potential. That’s a good thing.

There are also issues though.

They didn’t draft a defensive tackle to help anchor or provide pass rush. In a reasonable DT class, that’s disappointing.

They drafted two pass rushers but they still require the veteran proven quality of a Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen. It’s an absolute must that they secure one of those two as soon as possible.

They’ve not added a nickel corner. They need one. Ugo Amadi is not a guaranteed solution.

They’ve not added a developmental left tackle or further competition for Brandon Shell.

They’ll need to add at least one more running back to the stable.

There’s so much that still needs to be done.

While there’s nothing this draft class could really do to change this — the Seahawks have not moved the needle this off-season towards winning a Super Bowl. San Francisco added two first round picks then stole Trent Williams from Washington. The Cardinals nabbed DeAndre Hopkins and Isaiah Simmons.

In comparison, the Seahawks have been strangely quiet. They’ve padded their depth. Their biggest investment so far is on a linebacker — despite the fact Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are taking up $25m in cap space this year.

Russell Wilson keeps Seattle a contender of sorts but his presence shouldn’t be taken for granted. You can’t pretend that this team isn’t dragged along by the quarterback. It is. And there’s been a lack of aggression this off-season. Failing to land the pass rushers in free agency or improve the front seven forced them to prioritise both areas in a draft that was superior at offensive tackle and the skill positions early.

Russell Wilson called for superstars. They haven’t been added.

The roster, currently, is good enough to once again make the playoffs. Taking the next step — being a genuine contender and reaching a Super Bowl — requires more talent. Whether it’s developed or added. There’s still an awful lot of work to do.

The problem is — they no longer have the benefit of draft picks and a heap of cap space to work with. They are somewhat limited — even if they start cutting the likes of Justin Britt to create space.

The next few weeks are vital. They have to find a way, somehow, to add more.

Thoughts on each pick

R1 — Jordyn Brooks (LB, Texas Tech)
I need to spend some time over the next few days studying him closer but the initial thought is you can see why the Seahawks like him. He’s extremely physical. He knifes through gaps with suddenness and explodes to the ball carrier. His attitude and intensity will appeal to a team still seeking an edge. His ability to defend the run and handle the perimeter is much needed.

R2 — Darrell Taylor (EDGE, Tennessee))
He bends-and-straightens as an edge rusher as well as anyone in this class. He’s classically sized for the position with the length and build to play early downs and get after the quarterback. His pass rush win percentage (18.6%) is good. He needs to develop a repertoire and develop his technique vs the run. He might not have a major impact early in his career but he has the upside to develop into a top pass rusher. Going into the 2019 season he was being tipped as a first round possibility.

R3 — Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
He’s a top-50 talent in this draft. He’s perfectly suited to play guard with the size and length (33 inch arms) to bulldoze opponents. The Seahawks love explosive linemen and he scored a 97.1 in weighted TEF. He was superb at the Senior Bowl, scoring PFF’s top grade in 1v1’s among offensive linemen. Lewis is a physical tone-setter in the running game who plays with passion and leaves everything on the field.

R4 — Colby Parkinson (TE, Stanford)
Going into the 2019 season, Parkinson was being touted as a potential first round pick. He was used as a big receiver at Stanford and didn’t do much blocking at all. Reportedly he didn’t drop a single pass in 2019. The Seahawks possibly saw a player with first round potential who suffered a little bit as Stanford stalled. We’ve noted consistently how much attention they pay to the three cone at tight end. Anything around 7.10 is the ballpark. Parkinson ran a 7.15. They could try to develop him into a complete TE or they could use him as a big target.

R4 — Deejay Dallas (RB, Miami)
Dallas was on our list of ‘physical ideals’ from the combine. He also runs with toughness and physicality. He lacks the top level explosion to jump-cut from tacklers and his upside will always be somewhat tempered. However — he loves to hammer defenders and gain yards after contact and if he’s given a crease he has just enough speed to break off considerable gains. They badly needed some depth at running back.

R5 — Alton Robinson (DE, Syracuse)
His tape is underwhelming considering his physical profile and he didn’t shine at the Senior Bowl. His pass rush win percentage is 15.9% which is in the ‘good not great’ bracket. However, we’ve consistently noted they pay attention to the short shuttle on the D-line and his 4.32 time was the second fastest at this years combine. He’s also an explosive tester scoring a 3.41 in TEF (the same mark as Marcus Davenport).

R6 — Freddie Swain (WR, Florida)
He’s a 4.46 runner and we know the Seahawks want their wide outs in the 4.4 range. Swain is a slot receiver with the quickness to separate and he has no limitations in terms of running across the middle to get open or sprinting downfield. His route running needs some work. His main asset to Seattle will likely be his ability to compete quickly as a kick returner.

R7 — Stephen Sullivan (TE, LSU)
Sullivan had an incredible journey to LSU and he has outstanding length (35.5 inch arms) on a 6-5, 248lbs frame. He ran a 4.66 at the combine and jumped a 36.5 inch vertical. His agility testing, however, was dreadful. That’s one of the main reasons he’s lasted this long. He’s a high character team player who could develop into a big target (the Seahawks are listing him as a receiver). He had a good Senior Bowl. Hopefully he produces some of this magic in Seattle.

Undrafted free agents

I will update this list as we go along. Here are the reported signings so far:

Anthony Gordon (QB, Washington State)
Eli Mencer (DE, Ualbany)
Anthony Jones (RB, Florida Atlantic)
Chris Miller (S, Baylor)
Gavin Heslop (CB, Stony Brook)
Seth Dawkins (WR, Louisville)
Marcus Webb (DT, Troy)
Debione Renfro (CB, Texas A&M)
Kemah Siverand (CB, Oklahoma State)
Josh Avery (DT, Southeast Missouri)
Tyler Mabry (TE, Maryland)
Tommy Champion (T, Mississippi State)
Aaron Fuller (WR, Washington)

Other draft notes

— The first pick was a difficult one to project. After that? I’m happy with the way we identified potential targets. Things like the three cone for tight ends, weighted TEF for offensive linemen, explosive traits and size for running backs and the short shuttle for pass rushers all proved accurate yet again. It shows we generally know what to look for. All of their selections apart from Stephen Sullivan were listed on our board. Realistically I’m not sure we could’ve done much more to prepare for this draft.

— I take a lot of pride in getting more first round players right (28) than any other mock draft scored by the Huddle Report. I liked the way we approached this draft and that will be a lesson for future years.

— I much preferred the broadcasting format they were forced into due to coronavirus. Can we keep it? It was fun, intimate and cut away a lot of the fat.

— Trey Wingo is a superb host. World class. The gold standard.

— Running backs don’t matter? 10 went in the first three rounds and 12 in the first 120 picks.

— Well done to the NFL for persisting with the draft. Lots of people criticised the decision and used the overused ‘tone deaf’ term. We all needed a distraction and the NFL provided it in a safe and professional manner. This was the most enjoyable draft experience I can recall from a broadcasting and entertainment perspective.

A message to the community

None of us ever thought we’d be in this situation — trying to work our way through a global pandemic. I don’t know how many of you have had the virus, have the symptoms currently or have family or friends who are suffering. You may even have lost loved ones. Yet the fact we’ve been able to spend these last few weeks talking Seahawks and draft — I’ve found it energising. A needed distraction from the reality of the situation we all face.

We’ve done things we haven’t done before with the interviews and videos. It’s been a pleasure, from the start of the college football season to this point at the end of April. That’s because of the people in this community. We don’t always agree. We can argue. But we’ll always come together and continue to be civil.

Thank you for supporting this web site. Thank you for caring about anything I have to say. Thank you for giving me an opportunity. And I hope Seahawks Draft Blog has helped — and will continue to help — during this difficult time.

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Live: 2020 NFL Draft (rounds 4-7)

April 25th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Seahawks picks

Round four (#133) — Colby Parkinson (TE, Stanford)
He’s a tall, lean, move-TE. The Cardinal used him as a receiver and he didn’t do much blocking. He’s 6-7 and 252lbs with 33 1/4 inch arms. He ran a 7.15 three cone — which is in the ballpark. Again — it’s the three cone that’s the big thing here. He only ran a 4.77. But a good three cone puts you on the radar at this position. According to PFF, he didn’t drop a single pass in 2019. Going into the 2019 season he was being talked up as a player who could rise into the first round range. It never happened — but that’s the potential he has.

Round four (#144) — Deejay Dallas (RB, Miami)
Yet again, we’ve been able to identify a Seahawks running back. He was on our physical profile list from the combine. He fits their size and explosive trait ideals. He’s 5-10, 217lbs and jumped a 33.5 inch vertical and a 9-11 broad. He finishes his runs. He’s tough — just as they like. This isn’t a surprise at all — and they badly needed to add some depth at the position.

Round five (#148) — Alton Robinson (DE, Syracuse)
He ran a superb 4.32 short shuttle (second best time at the combine) and that’s a test we’ve identified that really matters for defensive lineman and Seattle. His 4.69 forty shows off his athleticism and he had an explosive 35.5 inch vertical. They probably had him this low due to a lack of length (32 3/8 inch arms) but in this range you can take a shot. His pass rush win percentage was only OK — it’s 15.9%.

Round six (#214) — Freddie Swain (WR, Florida)
Once again, the Seahawks target a 4.4 (4.46) runner at receiver. I had him on the horizontal board as a seventh round possibility. Seattle uses their last pick to tap into the deep receiver class. He’s considered a contender to return punts in the NFL and a dynamic slot receiver. However, he’s also been knocked for his attention to detail when running routes.

Round seven (#251) — Stephen Sullivan (TE, LSU)
The Seahawks traded their 2021 sixth rounder to Miami to jump back into the seventh round. Stephen Sullivan had an incredible journey to LSU and he has incredible length (35.5 inch arms) on a 6-5, 248lbs frame. He ran a 4.66 at the combine and jumped a 36.5 inch vertical. His agility testing, however, was dreadful. That’s one of the main reasons he’s lasted this long. He’s a high character team player who could develop into a big target (much like Colby Parkinson).

2020 draft class

R1 — Jordyn Brooks (LB)
R2 — Darrell Taylor (EDGE)
R3 — Damien Lewis (G)
R4 — Colby Parkinson (TE)
R4 — Deejay Dallas (RB)
R5 — Alton Robinson (DE)
R6 — Freddie Swain (WR)
R7 — Stephen Sullivan (TE)

Here’s a short podcast Brandan and I recorded reflecting on day two…

 

Day two review: Seahawks make two quality additions

April 24th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Today was a good day for the Seahawks.

Granted — a significant number of holes remain unaddressed.

They haven’t added a defensive tackle or running back and the options are really thin going into day three. It’s increasingly likely they will have to sign a veteran at each position after the draft. Isaiah Crowell or Marshawn Lynch (or both) could be in play, along with ‘Snacks’ Harrison or Brandon Mebane.

This was a really strong receiver class and yet the Seahawks haven’t been able to tap into the supply yet. They also haven’t been able to add an offensive tackle — either to compete with Brandon Shell or be developed as an heir apparent to Duane Brown.

There’s a lot of work to do both in the draft and the veteran market in order for the Seahawks to be in a position where we can say, with confidence, they can seriously challenge for the Super Bowl.

Yet the two picks today should be applauded.

Darrell Taylor has outstanding potential and he fills arguably Seattle’s greatest need — speed off the edge. They didn’t have any last season and it was a major issue. The Seahawks have collected bigger defensive ends in recent years but haven’t been able to add a player to fill the ‘premium’ pass rush role.

Taylor is unrefined and will need work. His repertoire is limited and he’ll need to prove he’s capable of playing early downs. He struggled against Georgia’s two first round tackles and he wasn’t particularly consistent. While his highlights tape showed flashes usually reserved for a top-15 talent — his overall game tape was much less inspiring.

The flashes, however, still offered a glimpse of that rare and coveted ability to explode off the edge with speed then bend-and-straighten to the QB. He has the powerful frame to convert speed-to-power and he’s so fluid when he times things up.

This wasn’t a twitchy pass rush class. The Seahawks made sure they landed one of the few players who had that quickness and burst.

It was good to see them show conviction to go up and get their guy, too. That has worked for them in the past. Trading up for Tyler Lockett, Jarran Reed and D.K. Metcalf has delivered three of their best picks in recent memory. Taking a chance on raw physical upside has also worked in the case of Metcalf and Frank Clark.

Taylor’s win percentage was 18.6% — marginally lower than Yetur Gross-Matos’ (18.9%) but superior to A.J. Epenesa (17.5%), Marlon Davidson (16.2%) and K’Lavon Chaisson (13.1%).

A report from the Seattle Times claimed that had the Seahawks completed a proposed trade with Green Bay to move back from #27 to #30, the Ravens would’ve taken Jordyn Brooks. Had that been the case, Taylor might’ve been their pick at #30 (Schneider has now confirmed this).

To get a player in Brooks at #27 that they really like then move up aggressively to also add Taylor — that feels like a win for the defense. They’re faster, tougher and capable of threatening teams after adding these two players. That’s a big positive — even if they still need to add at least two more significant defensive linemen.

Damien Lewis is a top-50 player in my opinion.

I thought he was a clear second round pick.

Frankly, I don’t care if the Seahawks now have 19 offensive linemen on their roster and enough guards to set up a union. Lewis was too good to pass up.

I suspect that’s what they were thinking too. I think this was a BPA pick. They saw him there at #69 and made their move. If they too also viewed him as a top-50 talent, that’s great value. Superb value.

So what makes him so good?

Violence.

Lewis is a punishing blocker who takes the fight to the opponent. He loves to get down and dirty in the trenches and Clyde Edwards-Helaire often ran behind him for big productive gains.

If Lloyd Cushenberry is the technician and Saahdiq Charles the athlete — Lewis is the beast on the LSU line.

We’ve often highlighted the importance of the Senior Bowl for Seattle’s picks. Lewis was the best offensive lineman in Mobile. He earned PFF’s highest grade in the 1v1 drills and won 69% of his contests. In the game itself I recall on one scoring drive he reached the second level at full speed and hammered a defender. In one 1v1 session the coaches asked Jabari Zuniga and Lewis to face-off in three back-to-back snaps (the only players to do it). It was clear there was an admiration and respect for Lewis.

This is a quality long term investment in a player who perfectly fits Seattle’s offense. Both Lewis and Taylor tick the 33-inch arm mark. Lewis scored highly in w/TEF (97.1) showing a high level of explosive athleticism at 327lbs.

He’s also shown tremendous character and grit. I interviewed him three weeks ago and his journey to LSU is incredible. Listen for yourself…

There’s still so much that needs to be done, particularly in the veteran market, but the Seahawks made two important and quality additions on day two.

Who’s left?

At defensive end, at what point does the production of Bradlee Anae and Curtis Weaver trump their less-than-ideal physical profile? Trevis Gipson is an Obum Gwachum-style project and remains available.

Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence and Benito Jones stand out as remaining options at defensive tackle — but keep an eye on Teair Tart later on.

Bryce Hall remains on the board and while his serious leg injury is clearly a concern, eventually he will provide a worthwhile shot at getting a starting cornerback with size and length.

There are plenty of nickel/hybrid options — from Amik Robertson to L’Jarius Sneed to Kenny Robinson and John Reid.

Nick Harris, Tyler Biadasz and Keith Ismael are still on the board at center while
Saahdiq Charles or Alex Taylor could provide a project at tackle. Prince Tega Wanogho remains available for some reason but shouldn’t last long in round four. Other guards remain available too but I’m not sure they’ll revisit that position to go for the full 20.

Running back options are running out but Anthony McFarland is worth a shot eventually. Hunter Bryant will provide fantastic value at tight end in round four. John Reed could be selected as a specialist kick returner.

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Live: 2020 NFL Draft (rounds 2&3)

April 24th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Welcome to the live blog. I’ll be posting thoughts on every pick as they come in.

Join in via the comments section but please — no tipping picks.

This is a key day for the Seahawks. There are lots of good players still available. Their picks at #59 and #64 match up well to the pass rushers and defensive linemen.

Second round

#33 Cincinnati — Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson)
Higgins is fine. He can be productive, especially with Joe Burrow. He needs a big target. But I can’t get over him pulling out of the combine because he needed a ‘rest’.

#34 Indianapolis — Michael Pittman Jr (WR, USC)
The second round kicks off with a run on receivers. This was a big need for the Colts. Pittman is a classy player. The concern is whether he’ll be able to separate.

#35 Detroit — D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia)
And now here comes the run on running backs. Detroit will have a tandem of Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift. That’s a good duo.

#36 New York Giants — Xavier McKinney (S, Alabama)
He was always overrated by the media. He’s not a rangy safety, he’s a 4.6 runner and he was blitzed a lot. You can get after him in the running game.

#37 New England — Kyle Dugger (S, Lenoir-Rhyne)
This is such a Patriots pick. Versatile safety. Physical. Alpha male. A perfect fit.

#38 Carolina — Yetur Gross-Matos (DE, Penn State)
Roger Goodell said Gross-ma-toast! He must’ve been speaking to JC this week. They needed a bigger end to compliment Brian Burns. I like it when a team commits to improve one particular unit and Derrick Brown plus Gross-Matos will do that.

#39 Miami — Robert Hunt (T, Louisiana-Lafayette)
Superb pick for Miami. Whether he plays guard or tackle, he has a chance to be a long-time exceptional offensive lineman. This is superb value.

#40 Houston — Ross Blacklock (DT, TCU)
I was never a big fan of Blacklock’s. Didn’t have a great short shuttle and his win percentage wasn’t anything special. Shorter arms.

#41 Indianapolis (v/CLE) — Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin)
The Colts moved up three spots to secure Taylor. They’re building around Philip Rivers and this is tremendous value. A stud player with outstanding upside.

#42 Jacksonville — Laviska Shenault (WR, Colorado)
He can be a playmaker but you’ve got to have a plan for him. He’s caught between a runner and a receiver and he needs a manufactured role.

#43 Chicago — Cole Kmet (TE, Notre Dame)
Everyone says he put on a show at the combine. Check his three cone. It was poor. And that’s the test that history tells us really matters.

#44 Cleveland — Grant Delpit (S, LSU)
A year ago they took Greedy Williams when he fell. History repeats here. Delpit is a top-15 talent. Goodness knows what the league found out for him to last this long.

#45 Tampa Bay — Antoine Winfield (S, Minnesota)
Wonderful player. A huge playmaker. Fast, fluid, mature. Tampa Bay’s productive off-season continues.

#46 Denver — K.J. Hamler (WR, Penn State)
I like this move. You’ve got to try and outgun Kansas City. You’ve got to give Drew Lock a fighting chance. Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant and now Hamler can help create a dynamic offense.

#47 Atlanta — Marlon Davidson (DT, Auburn)
He’s full of personality but what is his position? Can he adjust to play three technique? It’s a big question mark.

#48 Seattle (v/NYJ) — Darrell Taylor (DE, Tennessee)
The Seahawks trade #101 to move up 11 spots to go and get… Darrell Taylor. A highly athletic, massive potential pass rusher. I love the pick. Go and get some pass rush. Go and get some upside.

#49 Pittsburgh — Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame)
Claypool is a fantastic, physical specimen. He’ll do it all — special teams, blocking and receiving. The Steelers always hit on receivers.

#50 Chicago — Jaylon Johnson (CB, Utah)
There was a feeling he could sneak into the back end of round one. This is decent value at pick #50.

#51 Dallas — Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama)
Dallas double down on value. Whatever anyone says about Jerry Jones — the man has drafted well for a few years now. Diggs can track the ball, he has ideal size and he has as much potential as his brother.

#52 LA Rams — Cam Akers (RB, Florida State)
The Seahawks better get on the phone to Isaiah Crowell or the Beast. The fantastic five are down to just J.K. Dobbins. It’s a great scheme fit, unfortunately for Seattle.

#53 Philadelphia — Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)
This is interesting. Not sure how Hurts or Carson Wentz will feel about this. Wentz will wonder if he’s looking over his shoulder. Hurts will wonder if he’s going to be stuck behind another QB — just like he was in Alabama.

#54 Buffalo — A.J. Epenesa (DE, Iowa)
I said I wouldn’t take him in the top-50. The NFL seemed to agree. Look — he can do some things well. But he’s lacks quickness. He won’t find easy wins in the NFL. He’ll have to make it happen. He needs to get quicker and stronger.

#55 Baltimore — J.K. Dobbins (RB, Ohio State)
There go the top five runners. Now there’s a serious drop to the next tier. The Ravens love to run and Dobbins is highly explosive and athletic. He delivers in big games.

#56 Miami — Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
Really like Miami’s two picks today. Robert Hunt and now big Raekwon. That’s a lot of toughness and physicality. He has Calais Campbell level potential.

#57 LA Rams — Van Jefferson (WR, Florida)
He’s very polished and well coached. We don’t have testing numbers though. What is his upside?

#58 Minnesota — Ezra Cleveland (T, Boise State)
He was getting a lot of first round buzz but he lasted deep into round two. The Vikings needed some O-line help. He is very explosive and athletic.

#59 New York Jets (v/SEA) — Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
This was Seattle’s original pick. It’s unclear why Mims lasted this long. The Jets get good value and fill two big needs with Mekhi Becton and now Mims.

#60 New England (v/BAL) — Josh Uche (EDGE, Michigan)
Another great and typical defensive fit for New England. They took Chase Winovich a year ago. They love players with this kind of size and pass rush production. The Pats are taking their guys. They moved up a few spots here in a deal with the Ravens.

#61 Tennessee — Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU)
This is good value. He lacks size and length but he competes well above his size and like Trevon Diggs he can track the ball.

#62 Green Bay — A.J. Dillon (RB, Boston College)
This is a reach for me. He’s hugely athletic and powerful but he’s also a north-south type who is a bit stiff. There’s no jump cut.

#63 Kansas City — Willie Gay Jr (LB, Mississippi State)
As you can probably guess, I love this Chiefs draft. They’ve taken two of my favourite players. Gay is a fantastic athlete comparable to Bobby Wagner and he’s a playmaker.

#64 Carolina (v/SEA) — Jeremy Chinn (S, Southern Illinois)
The Seahawks have traded down to pick #69 and gain pick #148 (the second pick in round five). I mocked Chinn to the Panthers a couple of times. They needed a safety and Chinn is a dynamic, fast last line of the defense. He’s got range. I don’t know why people think he can play linebacker though. He’s 100% a safety.

Round three

#65 Cincinnati — Logan Wilson (LB, Wyoming)
Love this pick. Wilson is physical and he flies to the football. He’s a leader and was a three-year captain at Wyoming. He had a ton of interceptions. Superb value here.

#66 Washington — Antonio Gibson (RB, Memphis)
The player many talked about in the build up to the draft about his ability to switch from receiver to running back.

#67 Detroit — Julian Okwara (DE, Notre Dame)
He’s going to join his brother in Detroit. This is a great value pick. He had a 23% win rate. He has speed and length. He’s stronger than people think.

#68 New York Jets — Ashtyn Davis (S, California)
This is the pick the Jets got for Leonard Williams. I wasn’t a fan of Davis. Great athlete but his tape is all over the place sometimes.

#69 Seattle (v/CAR) — Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
I love Damien Lewis. I loved interviewing him. He’s a powerful monster of a man. He was superb at the Senior Bowl. This is great value. I thought he was a second rounder. He scored an excellent 97.1 in weighted TEF. Great day for Seattle.

#70 Miami — Brandon Jones (S, Texas)
There were no testing numbers for Jones and this is probably a round higher than most expected.

#71 Baltimore — Justin Madubuike (DT, Texas A&M)
In the last week there were some reports there were character concerns with Madubuike. Nevertheless, he’s highly athletic and has a lot of potential.

#72 Arizona — Josh Jones (T, Houston)
I was never big on Josh Jones. It’ll be interesting to see if there was a reason for him lasting this long. Or maybe the league just weren’t keen.

#73 Jacksonville — DaVon Hamilton (DT, Ohio State)
This is a quality pick for the Jaguars. He can pressure up the middle and he can anchor. He has a lot of potential.

#74 New Orleans (v/CLE) — Zack Baun (LB, Wisconsin)
I was never big on Baun. He couldn’t play rush edge at 238lbs. Yet that’s what he did best at Wisconsin. So now he has to transition to linebacker. And nobody knows how that’ll go.

#75 Detroit — Jonah Jackson (G, Ohio State)
He wasn’t great at the Senior Bowl but his tape was good. He adjusted well to the change at Ohio State. You can see why the Belichick coaching/front office tree like him.

#76 Tampa Bay — Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB, Vanderbilt)
Many believe he suffered due to Vandy’s collapse in 2019. Going into the season he was very highly rated. I liked him. A flier on him here could turn into a steal.

#77 Denver — Micheal Ojemudia (CB, Iowa)
This is a lot earlier than expected. He has Seahawks size. The cornerbacks have really flown off the board in the early rounds.

#78 Atlanta — Matt Hennessy (C, Temple)
This could mean they save some money on Alex Mack. I thought Hennessy was really good at the Senior Bowl.

#79 New York Jets — Jabari Zuniga (DE, Florida)
There goes Zuniga. He had a 20% win percentage and he has a ton of upside. I’m not crazy about Ashtyn Davis but overall I like this Jets class.

#80 Las Vegas — Lynn Bowden Jr. (WR, Kentucky)
Bowden doesn’t look that fast (and he dodged the combine) but he just has a knack of making plays. They can use him in so many ways. He has a Raider attitude.

#81 Las Vegas — Bryan Edwards (WR, South Carolina)
I love this pick. Fantastic value. He’s incredibly talented and set records at South Carolina. He plays with fire. He’s an ideal compliment to Henry Ruggs and Lynn Bowden. A classic west-coast-offense type.

#82 Dallas — Neville Gallimore (DT, Oklahoma)
Gallimore was a weird prospect. He ran a great forty but his short shuttle and three cone was abysmal. He was superb at the Senior Bowl but underwhelming on tape.

#83 Denver — Lloyd Cushenberry III (C, LSU)
He’s a really smart, consistent player. He’s not a flashy athlete. The Broncos will get a solid interior lineman though. He’s not a violent blocker like Damien Lewis.

#84 LA Rams — Terrell Lewis (DE, Alabama)
The injuries have taken a toll. He just tried to get through last season. He didn’t even try to rush the edge and plant his leg. He looks the part but will he ever be healthy?

#85 Indianapolis — Julian Blackmon (S, Utah)
On the conference all with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham this week, he was effusive in his praise of Blackmon. He talked about him more than any other Utah draft prospect.

#86 Buffalo — Zack Moss (RB, Utah)
For all the pissing and moaning by some Seahawks fans and media, the NFL has made sure the running backs have flown off the board in the first three rounds. Moss is really tough and he runs hard but he’s not a difference making athlete. Seattle’s depth at running back is going to be a question mark next season.

#87 New England — Afernee Jennings (DE, Alabama)
I thought he looked spent at Alabama. However, he’s another classic Patriots fit in terms of playing style and frame.

#88 Cleveland — Jordan Elliott (DT, Missouri)
PFF loved Elliott and Josh Jones. I didn’t at all. Both lasted into round three. I’ve no idea what PFF saw.

#89 Minnesota — Cam Dantzler (CB, Mississippi State)
His tape is fine. He’s sparky. He played well. But he’s small and lacks length.

#90 Houston — Jonathan Greenard (DE, Florida)
He’s an alpha. Great character. Good agility testing. But he’s not fast enough to trouble the edge as a pass rusher and the wrist injury is a concern.

#91 New England (v/LV) — Devin Asiasi (TE, UCLA)
Awesome pick. The Pats are having a great draft and I love this aggressive move to trade up and get Asiasi. He’s so underrated. He’s a natural running the seam and he has soft hands. He’ll be great in New England.

#92 Baltimore — Devin Duvernay (WR, Texas)
He took a lot of screens at Texas. He’s very mature and a good character. He’s a 4.3 runner. Lot’s of potential here. It’s a nice fit for Baltimore.

#93 Tennessee — Darrynton Evans (RB, Appalachian State)
Another running back off the board. I guess they don’t matter. He looked good at the combine. Nice quick feet and he’s quick.

#94 Green Bay — Josiah Deguara (TE, Cincinnati)
He had some admirers but I’m really surprised he’s gone ahead of Hunter Bryant. For me Bryant and Asiasi were the top two TE’s in this class.

#95 Denver — McTelvin Agim (DT, Arkansas)
I thought he could be a day three option for Seattle. The defensive tackles have left the board — apart from Leki Fotu. Increasingly it looks like a veteran fix there.

#96 Kansas City — Lucas Niang (T, TCU)
He surely only lasted this long due to the injury issues. It’s worth a flier in this range for a team that is already loaded.

#97 Cleveland — Jacob Phillips (LB, LSU)
He was supposed to be the big star this year, not Patrick Queen. It worked the other way round. Yet he’s still found a home in a decent range.

#98 Baltimore — Malik Harrison (LB, Ohio State)
This is a very Ravens-style Baltimore draft. They have a clear type. It all seems so obvious after. He’s a thumping 3-4 inside linebacker.

#99 New York Giants — Matt Peart (T, Connecticut)
He’s raw and needs a lot of work. However, he has ridiculous size and length and he’s highly explosive. As a raw talent — his potential is immense.

#100 Las Vegas — Tanner Muse (S, Clemson)
Of course. Mike Mayock loves these Clemson guys. Muse is that honest, hard-working type but with major athletic traits that didn’t show on tape.

#101 New England (v/NYJ) — Dalton Keene (TE, Virginia Tech)
The Patriots move up again for another tight end. He ran a superb three cone and that really matters. He’ll be a nice compliment to Devin Asiasi.

#102 Pittsburgh — Alex Highsmith (DE, Charlotte)
He had a nice win percentage of 21.7% but I couldn’t get excited about him on tape.

#103 Philadelphia — Davion Taylor (LB, Colorado)
He’s lightning quick and will fly around. He’s an Eagles type linebacker.

#104 LA Rams — Terrell Burgess (S, Utah)
He’s played corner and safety and his best fit at the next level could be at nickel.

#105 New Orleans (v/MIN) — Adam Trautman (TE, Dayton)
The Saints move up again in a trade with the Vikings. Trautman has the great three cone. There was some talk he could go as early as round two.

#106 Baltimore — Tyre Phillips (G, Mississippi State)
I liked Phillips. He deserved more attention for the way he played at the Senior Bowl. He’s massive and will kick inside perfectly to guard. This is, again, a very Baltimore type pick.

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Looking ahead to day two

April 24th, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

I won’t have an opportunity to watch Jordyn Brooks tape until the conclusion of the draft. I’m eager to get started, having (wrongly) assumed that linebacker wasn’t a position worthy of this level of investment.

It’s been brought to attention that he made a stop on 15.1% of his run defense snaps in 2019, which led all linebackers in the draft. He ran a 4.53. These are positive things. We’ve talked a lot about the need to be more physical when defending the perimeter. They can’t, as I’ve said too many times (but I’ll say it again), have their linebackers being blocked by Aaron Rodgers.

It’s still a really difficult pick to justify, though.

Firstly, the investment level at the linebacker positive is reaching an obscene level. Bobby Wagner is being paid $18m a year, with a 2020 cap hit of just under $15m. K.J. Wright is still on the books on a $10m contract. That’s $25m for two linebackers alone — a huge chunk of the salary cap this year. Now they’re about to guarantee a further $10m to a third linebacker in Brooks.

It’s not just the money either. They’ve spent a first round, third round and fifth round pick on the position in the last 12 months — and yet the old guard are the presumed starters again in 2020.

At the same time, they were unwilling to pay Frank Clark or Jadeveon Clowney to bolster the pass rush. Now they’re left with a significant task of repairing that area of the team with an increasingly smaller amount of money to play with.

I’ve seen it suggested that Brooks could be a SAM — at least initially. And yet the base-defense experiment a year ago was hardly a success. It’s exploitable against the dynamic TE’s in Seattle’s division and despite having the 4.4 speed of Mychal Kendricks last year, they still struggled to defend the perimeter.

If he’s more of a long term successor to either Wagner or Wright — it’s extremely difficult to justify an investment on this scale to secure a position like this. Especially when there are gaping holes on the roster that remain unaddressed.

As I asked yesterday — what’s the plan?

While the Cardinals have added DeAndre Hopkins and Isaiah Simmons and the 49ers Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk, the Seahawks run the serious risk of losing their top defensive lineman. They’ve only signed journeymen as a counter. They haven’t made any significant additions to the offense apart from a 35-year-old tight end who had to choose between one more season or moving into a broadcasting booth.

The Seahawks have collected offensive linemen — bringing a mix of backups, busts and retired players in for a big competition. They’ve zapped cap space re-signing their restricted free agents and their fringe, replacement level players.

Their biggest off-season move so far is to add a thumping middle linebacker.

None of this is a review of Jordyn Brooks as a player. Let’s wish him the best as he starts his Seahawks career. Hopefully he goes on to be a terrific player for this team.

In terms of moving the needle towards winning a Super Bowl, however — how can anyone say the moves they’ve made so far has made that any more likely? You could even reasonably argue that if they lose Clowney they are worse.

That makes today a huge day. The Seahawks have two second round picks at #59 and #64. They won’t pick again until #101. Trading down from #59 and #64 feels pretty futile if it’s with the intention of adding to the seven selections they have. What are you going to get in return? Some day three fodder?

This team needs contributors in the front end of the draft at serious positions of need. They still require D-line help (EDGE and DT). They should attempt to come out of this class with a receiver and a running back. It would be wise to at least try and find an offensive tackle with the potential to develop as a prospective starter.

I wouldn’t hold out much hope on any of the top runners lasting to #59 — or even into a range where you can move up. The value now, in the second round, for Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins is too good. Clyde Edwards-Helaire going at #32 could and should launch a run on the position.

It’s possible Cam Akers will be there when they pick. A receiver like Bryan Edwards could be available in the late second. It’ll be interesting to see where Chase Claypool lands (keep an eye on New England at #37).

There are still offensive linemen available — such as Josh Jones, Robert Hunt, Prince Tega Wanogho and Lucas Niang.

The end of the second round has always felt like the best place to target the D-line. Josh Uche and Julian Okwara are still available — and so are most of the other ‘big name’ defensive linemen that we correctly identified during the college season wouldn’t go as early as many expected (Gross-Matos, Epenesa).

Darrell Taylor has been a hot name in the last 24 hours and if nothing else — he would provide a heap of potential working the edge.

As expected — none of the defensive tackles being touted for the late first actually came off the board. The Seahawks will have opportunities to make a solid investment there.

And while they haven’t added any new picks so far — how many of you would like to see them commit to someone by moving up in round two? Given the success of Jarran Reed, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf — it should encourage people if they do move up to get ‘their guy’ in the second frame. They have a spare fourth rounder to play with. Yet their inability to trade out of #27 limits their ability to move down.

Finally, a couple of notes. It’s now been confirmed that I finished third in the Huddle Report this year. I also got 28 out of 32 first round players right — more than anyone else. Considering how many people enter the Huddle Report each year (and it includes all of the ‘big name’ analysts) — I’m very happy with that.

I also joined Brandan Schulze last night to reflect on Seattle’s surprising first round pick…

 

Thoughts on the Jordyn Brooks pick

April 23rd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

What exactly is the plan?

There’s time, over the next couple of days, for clarity to emerge. There are still another six rounds. The Seahawks pick twice in round two — at #59 and #64.

Yet a strange and confusing off-season is getting even stranger.

The Seahawks ended 2019 needing to dramatically improve their pass rush. So far, they’ve lost Quinton Jefferson and reached a stalemate with Jadeveon Clowney. In response, they added Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin.

Russell Wilson called for superstars at the Pro Bowl. Instead, they spent considerable cap space retaining their restricted free agents and fringe players, before adding a host of low-level free agents.

It always felt like we needed to see the draft to get a real feel for the blueprint.

Yet here we are. Their most significant investment is on a… linebacker.

They didn’t cut K.J. Wright when it was financially beneficial to do so. A year ago, they traded up for Cody Barton in round three and then added Ben Burr-Kirven.

It’s not immediately obvious where Brooks fits in.

Lance Zierlein offers the following review:

“While his tackle production has been good in all four seasons, it’s hard not to come away from tape study feeling like his numbers should be even higher with his athletic traits and above-average instincts. Attacking blocks with better hand usage and greater physicality should allow him to eliminate some negative reps and become a more impactful player. He’s a potential future starter as an inside linebacker in even or odd fronts, but concerns with coverage duties could impact how teams see him as an every-down linebacker.”

It’s not a glowing review. But it gets worse.

Zierlein also notes that Brooks, “Failed to rise to the occasion against Oklahoma” before adding, “Gassed in late second quarter by Sooners’ pace.”

That’s not encouraging when they’re due to face the Rams, Niners and Kyler Murray six times in a season.

Where does he play? They’re not moving Bobby Wagner — he’s a heart and soul player who would cost Seattle $22m for him to play somewhere else in 2020. Do they cut Wright now? If it’s planning ahead for life after Wright — is a ‘weakside linebacker of the future’ really necessary?

And what does this say for Cody Barton?

Meanwhile the pass rush remains seriously undermanned. There’s no heir apparent for Duane Brown or serious challenger to Brandon Shell. They haven’t added a dynamic weapon for the offense.

What it means is at #59 and #64 — the needs we (not unfairly) felt they needed to address, still need to be addressed. Except now they’ve used their key asset and they didn’t turn #27 into further picks between #64 and #101.

Tomorrow they’re set to pick three times. There are still a lot of good players on the board.

They’ve got a ton of work to do though. They’re well into this off-season now and it’s hard to say with any conviction that they’re a better team.

I need to watch Jordyn Brooks tape. On the plus side, he ran a 4.53 but didn’t do any other testing so it’s hard to paint a proper picture of his physical potential.

Finally, if anyone’s interested, my mock draft finished third overall for scoring.

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Live: 2020 NFL Draft (first round)

April 23rd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Welcome to the live blog. I’ll be posting thoughts on every pick as they come in.

Join in via the comments section but please — no tipping picks.

#1 Cincinnati — Joe Burrow (QB, LSU)
The obvious pick. The best player in college football in 2019 and the Bengals will hope for better days with their new star.

#2 Washington — Chase Young (DE, Ohio State)
The top two picks were locked in weeks ago. The Redskins will try to mimic the Niners by loading up on defensive linemen.

#3 Detroit — Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State)
He’s a terrific talent. The best corner to enter the league since Patrick Peterson. Tall, long, fast, physical.

#4 New York Giants — Andrew Thomas (T, Georgia)
Remember when the media had him going in the late first a few months ago? He’s been a top five pick since day one.

#5 Miami — Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
This is a huge gamble. $30m guaranteed for a player who is recovering from a serious hip injury, who you haven’t been able to give a medical to.

#6 LA Chargers — Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
Herbert is erratic and far from a sure thing. He’s also athletic, creative and has a strong arm. When you need a QB, Miami and LA are showing you have to take a chance.

#7 Carolina — Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
Terrific player. The second or third best in the draft. He can anchor, rush and he was disruptive in every game last season.

#8 Arizona — Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)
He’s a fantastic athlete who will be able to spy Russell Wilson and cover George Kittle, provide pass rush and he can attack from so many angles.

#9 Jacksonville — C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida)
Clearly the teams who were looking to move up aren’t feeling it. The Jaguars needed a corner and this made sense. Henderson is incredibly quick and smooth but he can track the ball better and his tackling is suspect.

#10 Cleveland — Jedrick Wills (T, Alabama)
All the talk was the tackles would go off the board quickly. It took to pick ten for the second to leave the board. The Browns didn’t waste any time picking Wills.

#11 New York Jets — Mekhi Becton (T, Louisville)
The Jets really needed to get a tackle and this made a lot of sense. He’s an incredible athlete but needs to work on his pass sets. It’s surprising to see Tristan Wirfs lasting this long. What’s the story there?

#12 Las Vegas — Henry Ruggs (WR, Alabama)
Ruggs isn’t just about speed. He catches well, he’s better in the red zone than you’d expect and you’ll have to have a plan for him on defense every week.

#13 Tampa Bay (v/SF) — Tristan Wirfs (T, Iowa)
The first trade sees Tampa Bay swap places with the Niners. I don’t think anyone expected Wirfs to last this long. He’s a great fit at right tackle.

#14 San Francisco — Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
Kinlaw is a beast. He was a true top-10 talent. The Niners essentially swapped out DeForest Buckner and replaced him with a cheaper — yet potentially superior — player.

#15 Denver — Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
I’ve said for a long time — Jeudy is ideal for a team with a young quarterback. He’s a terrific route runner and very reliable. This is a smart move to help Drew Lock.

#16 Atlanta — A.J. Terrell (CB, Clemson)
Terrell was a hot name late in the process. He’s a 4.42 runner and he can stick in coverage. He has shorter than ideal arms but he was trending towards the top-20.

#17 Dallas — Ceedee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
The Cowboys have big needs on defense and a new hole at center — but clearly they felt the value was too good here. They paid Amari Cooper and now they have Lamb.

#18 Miami — Austin Jackson (T, USC)
They needed to draft a left tackle and that’s what Jackson is. He’s raw and needs time. Yet the potential to be special is very much there.

#19 Las Vegas — Damon Arnette (CB, Ohio State)
Arnette is a quality player. He’s really good. It’s a big surprise and a reach — but he’s talented. He’s so physical and tough but he can cover too. He’s small though and lacks length.

#20 Jacksonville — K’Lavon Chaisson (EDGE, LSU)
I’m really surprised by this. The Jaguars now have two pass rushers who are 255-260lbs (with Josh Allen). His pass rush win percentage is poor. He has injuries. He’s a quality person though and will help improve the locker room.

#21 Philadelphia — Jalen Reagor (WR, TCU)
Reagor is a fantastic player. He’s so explosive and physical. He can get downfield but his terrific lower body power enables him to leap above taller defenders and high-point. Great pick.

#22 Minnesota — Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU)
The Vikings swap Stefon Diggs for Jefferson. He’s mature, consistent, plays above his size to win contested catches and he’s a safe pair of hands.

#23 LA Chargers (v/NE) — Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)
The Chargers move way up, jumping from #37 up to #23. It only cost them a third rounder. That won’t encourage the Seahawks if they want to move down. If the price to go down 14 spots is a third rounder, that’s not great value. Murray is high character, highly athletic and he packs a punch.

#24 New Orleans — Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan)
I’m not sure how he fits a year after they selected Erik McCoy and after recently extending Andrus Peat. However, Ruiz is a fantastic player and person. The value here is superb.

#25 San Francisco (v/MIN) — Brandon Aiyuk (WR, Arizona State)
The third trade and it’s a surprise to see the Niners move up, considering how few picks they have in this class. Even so — they lost Emmanuel Sanders and have gone up to make sure they get the receiver they want. Aiyuk is going to be a terror in that offense. His acceleration plus his ability to beat you deep and in space is incredible. This was a good day for the Niners.

#26 Green Bay (v/MIA) — Jordan Love (QB, Utah State)
In my final mock I had Green Bay trade with the Seahawks at #27. Instead, they go a spot further and deal with Miami. They weren’t trying to get above Seattle because they made the move for a QB. The Packers are planning for life after Aaron Rodgers.

#27 Seattle — Jordyn Brooks (LB, Texas Tech)
It’s a stunner. The Seahawks take a linebacker in round one. He’s a 4.54 runner but he didn’t do any of the other tests at the combine. They didn’t go O-line, D-line, running back or receiver. I’m going to need some time to work this out. Is it to replace Mychal Kendricks? Is it planning for life beyond K.J. Wright? And if so, did that really warrant a first round pick a year after they traded up in round three to get Cody Barton? In terms of need, fit and board — I’m struggling to understand the thought process.

#28 Baltimore — Patrick Queen (LB, LSU)
I like Patrick Queen. He’s an ideal fit for the Ravens. He fits their mentality and their approach. The Ravens continue to move forward.

#29 Tennessee — Isaiah Wilson (T, Georgia)
Isaiah Wilson is really good. He was always destined for round one and this is an ideal pick for a team who want to batter opponents with Derrick Henry.

#30 Miami (v/GB) — Noah Igbinoghene (CB, Auburn)
He’s another player who was said to be rising late. The Dolphins already signed Byron Jones so this doesn’t say much for the future of Xavier Howard.

#31 Minnesota (v/SF) — Jeff Gladney (CB, TCU)
Mike Zimmer loves to draft cornerbacks and it’s not a surprise to see one go here.

#32 Kansas City — Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, LSU)
Big Clyde is a superstar waiting to happen in this offense. What a pick. Perfect.

 

The final 2020 mock draft

April 22nd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

This is my final 2020 mock draft to send to the Huddle Report for scoring.

Here’s a few quick Seahawks thoughts before getting into the mock…

— This whole draft is about working out the right range for Seattle to address all of their needs. D-line, O-line, receiver, running back, nickel.

— At the top of the draft the strength is receiver, offensive tackle and running back. In the late second and third round, there’s going to be some nice value on the defensive line.

— A lot of people will just want the team to draft a pass rusher or offensive lineman first. And that’s fine. But the objective is to adequately address a number of needs — not tick off each need by order of importance.

— John Schneider mentioned in yesterday’s press conference that the additions made to the offensive line gave them the best opportunity to go best player available with their top pick. I don’t think this means they won’t go O-line first but it was an interesting remark, combined with a reiteration of how difficult it is to find offensive linemen in the draft. Does the overloading of the O-line provide the freedom to draft a skill player first?

— Pete Carroll and Schneider both talked about how difficult it’s going to be for young players this year, with the lack of rookie camps and OTA’s. More than ever they could be seeking physically and mentally mature players with their early picks.

— The language used when discussing Jadeveon Clowney felt quite deliberate. It was basically, ‘we’ve moved on because we had to but you just never know…‘ — and I took that to mean they hold out some hope of bringing him back still. After all, they haven’t added anyone else. And while they noted the 15.5 sacks provided by Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin in 2019 — they combined for only 7.5 the year before. The complete lack of activity involving Clowney, Everson Griffen, Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon makes me think this is a situation that will be addressed after the draft. They run a serious risk of missing out altogether, of course, but it might benefit them to have the rest of the league see a glaring need if it masks your true intentions over the next three days.

Onto the mock draft… and I have the Seahawks making a first round pick…

Final 2020 mock draft

#1 Cincinnati — Joe Burrow (QB, LSU)
#2 Washington — Chase Young (EDGE, Ohio State)
#3 Detroit — Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State)
#4 New York Giants — Tristan Wirfs (G, Iowa)
#5 Miami — Andrew Thomas (T, Georgia)
#6 LA Chargers — Justin Herbert (QB, Miami)
#7 Carolina — Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
#8 Arizona — Jedrick Wills (G, Alabama)
#9 Tampa Bay (v/JAX) — Mekhi Becton (T, Louisville)
#10 Atlanta (v/CLE) — Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)
#11 New York Jets — CeeDee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
#12 Las Vegas — Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
#13 San Francisco — Henry Ruggs (WR, Alabama)
#14 Jacksonville — C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida)
#15 Denver — Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
#16 Cleveland (v/ATL) — Ezra Cleveland (T, Boise State)
#17 Dallas — Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan)
#18 Miami — Jordan Love (QB Utah State)
#19 Las Vegas (v/CHI) — A.J. Terrell (CB, Clemson)
#20 Jacksonville (v/LA) — Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
#21 Philadelphia — Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU)
#22 Minnesota (v/BUF) — Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
#23 New England — Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)
#24 New Orleans — Brandon Aiyuk (WR, Arizona State)
#25 Minnesota — Jaylon Johnson (CB, Utah)
#26 Miami (v/HOU) — K’Lavon Chaisson (DE, LSU)
#27 Green Bay (v/SEA) — Jalen Reagor (WR, TCU)
#28 Baltimore — Patrick Queen (LB, LSU)
#29 Tennessee — Isaiah Wilson (T, Georgia)
#30 Seattle — Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin)
#31 LA Chargers (v/SF) — Austin Jackson (T, USC)
#32 Kansas City — Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, LSU)

The trades explained

Trade #1 — Tampa Bay (#14) to Jacksonville (#9)
The Buccs are all-in on the Tom Brady experiment. They move up five spots to get right tackle Mekhi Becton.

Trade #2 — Atlanta (#16) to Cleveland (#14)
The Falcons are being touted for a move up. The money is on them trading up for a corner but don’t rule out Isaiah Simmons as an alternative.

Trade #3 — Green Bay (#30) to Seattle (#27)
The Packers and Seahawks have struck a deal in round one the last two years. They make it a hat-trick here — with the Packers leaping ahead of Baltimore to get the receiver they want.

Trade #4 — LA Chargers (#37) to San Francisco (#31)
The Chargers need a left tackle and the Niners need extra picks. LA moves back into the late first round for Austin Jackson.

Thoughts on the Seahawks pick

Seattle could do a number of different things. Their biggest need is pass rush — so it won’t be a surprise if they trade down into a range where a player such as Josh Uche or Julian Okwara can be selected. They could do with competition at offensive tackle — so the likes of Robert Hunt, Isaiah Wilson, Austin Jackson, Ezra Cleveland and Josh Jones are all options. They’ve regularly tapped into the strength of a draft early — and this year that’s receiver.

Over the weekend I wrote about the need to become tougher, stronger and better along both lines. I mocked Hunt, who can play guard or tackle, to the Seahawks in my seven round mock draft at the weekend.

So why Jonathan Taylor in this final scenario?

It’s a top-heavy running back class — with potential superstars available early. When John Schneider says the O-line additions give them the best possible opportunity to go BPA first up, this could be what he’s talking about.

From a sheer talent point of view, Taylor and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are top-20 in this class. They’d only be available at #27 or later because of the way the league views running back value in 2020. So while ideally you’d wait on the position and address another need — this is an opportunity to get a great player with your top pick.

The value range for defensive linemen is going to be the second and third round. So they can still address those needs later. They can get a DaVon Hamilton, Raekwon Davis, Leki Fotu or Justin Madubuike to play inside. They can get a Josh Uche, Julian Okwara, Jabari Zuniga or Darrell Taylor. They can also find a way to add a receiver — such as South Carolina’s brilliant Bryan Edwards.

Furthermore, Taylor is a perfect fit for the offensive scheme and his physical profile is perfectly matched to the Seahawks’ ideals at running back. There’s a reason he’s been expressing his interest in Seattle during interviews. He knows that this would be a good match.

Chris Carson is recovering from a broken hip and has had an injury plagued career in college and the pro’s. Rashaad Penny is recovering from a serious knee injury. Seattle wants to run the ball and the offense struggled mightily when their depth was depleted at the end of last season.

Drafting Taylor gives you a potential star to pair with Russell Wilson for the next five years. He’ll be able to contribute early, unlike many other rookies during this coronavirus impacted year. There’d be no pressure to extend Carson. Yes — it’s another running back and many would protest against that. But if you want the Seahawks to do two things — get one of the best players in the draft and still fill their needs — this is an opportunity to do that.

Taylor might not last to #27 or #30, of course. He could easily go to the Dolphins at #18 or #26. Watch out for the Buccs too. If that was the case — I think they’d probably trade deeper into the draft and that would bring the offensive linemen, Josh Uche and the receivers into play. And let’s be right here — that scenario is just as likely as them taking Taylor in the late first.

This is a draft filled with unknowns and question marks. Taylor is one of the few players with a full testing profile, a long and productive college career, high character and major upside. He’s a physical, exciting playmaker and he’d be a good selection for the Seahawks late in the first round.

Whether he’s the pick or not — the Seahawks need to come out of this draft having bolstered the D-line and pass rush, added a nickel corner and running back and they need to tap into the great receiver class at some point. If possible, they also need to draft a developmental left tackle to train behind Duane Brown.

When I review the horizontal board I published over the last few days, there’s a clear pathway to be able to address all of these needs. As with any draft, the key is to pick the spots where you can hit every position. A draft is a puzzle where you have to match up the prospects you want with positional needs and the best range to address those needs.

The Seahawks can do that this year.

Before I hand over to Dave and the mock draft competition — I wanted to say a few words to the community here. This has been, without doubt, the busiest draft season we’ve had in +11 years of doing this blog. That’s mainly been due to the lockdown, of course, but I’ve really appreciated all of your contributions in the comments section, your feedback and your support.

I’d like to give a special mention to ‘Sea Mode’ for creating the graphic at the top of the page and for his continued presence as an active member of the community. To all of the regulars, the newbies and those who don’t comment that often — thank you.

Blogging is yesterday’s news by and large. The times have moved on to YouTube and 220-character analysis on Twitter. Yet there’s still a group of people who enjoy long form articles and I’m grateful that you’re willing to indulge a bloke from Yorkshire in his interest of the Seahawks and the NFL draft.

Cheers.

Mock draft competition

One of our community members (Dave) wanted to put together a mock draft competition this year. He explains below how to get involved…

SDB Mock Draft Competition Submission Post

Quick recap folks,

Pick 12 players that you think Seattle will draft. They can be in any round, at any pick and you can use the same pick multiple times. The goal is to get the most ‘hits’. For tie breaking purposes, please format your picks by round & overall pick number (1.27 2.59 etc.) You can go here for a visual of who holds each pick in the draft. If you feel the need to explain your mock please do so below your entry.

How to WIN?

1. Whoever gets the highest number of correct players drafted by the Seahawks with their 12 picks shall be crowned the winner!
2. In the event of a tie, whoever has the highest number of correct players chosen in the correct round wins.
3. In the event of a further tie, whoever has their correct players selected closest to their actual overall draft number is the winner. (Ex; Blogger A guessed 3.101 & the actual slot was 5.150 for a difference of 49. Blogger B guessed 6.194 & the actual slot was 6.184 for a difference of 10. Blogger B wins)
4. Coin toss

Be sure to post your mock draft entries in this thread before the cut off time of 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT on Thursday, April 23rd. If you guess even 1 correct you’ll beat my sham entry posted below!

2.41 Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
2.59 Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
3.71 Akeem Davis-Gaither, OLB, Appalachian State
3.71 Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
3.80 Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
3.101 A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
4.121 Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana
4.133 Leki Fotu, DT, Utah
4.144 Trevis Gipson, DE, Tulsa
6.214 Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes, CB, Tulane
6.214 Calvin Taylor Jr., DL, Kentucky
6.214 Kamren Curl, DB, Arkansas

Enjoy! –DC–

Good luck to everyone taking part. I will arrange a prize for the winner.

Pre-draft links and podcasts

I took part in two podcasts last night. I’ve posted the embed links below for both:

Here are some other key links:

Seahawks 2020 draft guide
Seahawks seven-round mock draft
Horizontal board and thoughts on the importance of addressing the trenches

If you missed any of our lockdown interview series, here are the links to listen to all of the conversations:

Jim Nagy (Senior Bowl Executive Director)
Robert Hunt (G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette)
Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan)
Lance Zierlein (NFL.com analyst)
Scot McCloughan (former NFL GM)
Michael Lombardi (former NFL GM)
Mike Renner (PFF draft analyst)
Tony Pauline (Draft insider)
Prince Tega Wanogho (T, Auburn)
Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
Amik Robertson (CB, Louisiana Tech)
Kyle Whittingham (Head Coach, Utah)

You can now support Seahawks Draft Blog via Patreon by clicking the tab below.

Become a Patron!

 

Seahawks 2020 draft guide: Identifying potential targets

April 21st, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

The Seahawks, like all teams, have preferences and ideals. Over the last 10 years we’ve been able to uncover trends, enabling us to identify potential draft targets.

Here’s a list of names that could be on Seattle’s radar and why…

Tight end

The Seahawks appear to focus on agility testing at the position. They haven’t drafted or signed a tight end who ran slower than a 7.10 three cone. All of their additions also performed well in the short shuttle:

Luke Willson — 4.29 (ss), 7.08 (3c)
Will Dissly — 4.40 (ss), 7.07 (3c)
Nick Vannett — 4.20 (ss), 7.05 (3c)
Anthony McCoy — 4.57 (ss), 6.99 (3c)
Zach Miller — 4.42 (ss), 7.01 (3c)
Jimmy Graham — 4.45 (ss), 6.90 (3c)
Greg Olsen — 4.48 (ss), 7.04 (3c)

There are four players in this draft class who fit the bill. If they draft a tight end — which is less likely following the signing of Greg Olsen and the re-signing of Luke Willson and Jacob Hollister — these are names to keep an eye on:

Adam Trautman — 4.27 (ss), 6.78 (3c)
Charlie Taumoepeau — 4.27 (ss), 7.00 (3c)
Dalton Keene — 4.19 (ss), 7.07 (3c)
Hunter Bryant — 4.46 (ss), 7.08 (3c)

Wide receiver

In a decade under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have focused on receivers who run a 4.4 or faster:

Paul Richardson — 4.40
Golden Tate — 4.42
Tyler Lockett — 4.40
Kris Durham — 4.46
Kevin Norwood — 4.48
Amara Darboh — 4.45
David Moore — 4.42
D.K. Metcalf — 4.33

They’ve only drafted three receivers who didn’t run a 4.4 forty or faster — Kenny Lawler (4.64), Chris Harper (4.50) and John Ursua (4.56). Lawler and Ursua were seventh round picks. Harper was a fourth rounder.

Therefore it’s unlikely they will spend a high pick on a receiver unless he has run a 4.4 or faster. Clearly they value speed and suddenness.

22 players ran a forty yard dash at 4.50 or faster so there are plenty of options in this deep receiver class. The question will be how early do they want to take one? Can they wait and use the depth to their advantage? Or do they want to take one early to further help Russell Wilson? The signing of Phillip Dorsett at least provides a hedge for the position going into the draft.

Henry Ruggs — 4.21
Quez Watkins — 4.35
Denzel Mims — 4.38
Darnell Mooney — 4.38
Devin Duvernay — 4.39
Antonio Gibson — 4.39
Chase Claypool — 4.42
John Hightower — 4.43
Justin Jefferson — 4.43
Isaiah Coulter — 4.45
Jerry Jeudy — 4.45
Jeff Thomas — 4.45
Tyrie Cleveland — 4.46
Freddie Swain — 4.46
Stephen Guidry — 4.47
Jalen Reagor — 4.47
Joe Reed — 4.47
K.J. Osborn — 4.48
Dezmon Patmon — 4.48
Donovan Peoples-Jones — 4.48
Brandon Aiyuk — 4.50
Trishton Jackson — 4.50
CeeDee Lamb — 4.50

There are also some receivers who didn’t run at the combine but could easily have qualified. K.J. Hamler almost certainly would’ve run a 4.4 or faster. Bryan Edwards ran a 4.53 at SPARQ in High School and would’ve had a good opportunity to test in the 4.4’s. Lynn Bowden and Van Jefferson also didn’t run a forty at the combine.

From this list they probably also need to find a specialist kick returner. As a senior, Virginia’s Joe Reed was named first-team All-ACC as an all-purpose player and return specialist. He scored twice as a returner in 2019 while averaging 33.2 yards per return — tied for second in the FBS nationally. He’s also adept at covering kicks. The Seahawks could save a pick specifically to bring in a return man.

Considering whoever will be drafted will essentially be competing to be WR3 — it’ll be important to contribute in different ways. Being able to operate in the slot and feature on special teams could be important. The quicker, speedier receivers such as Jalen Reagor, Devin Duvernay, K.J. Hamler and Lynn Bowden tick those boxes but so do the bigger targets like Chase Claypool, Bryan Edwards and Brandon Aiyuk.

On-target catch-rate is also important. The Seahawks like efficiency with their pass-catchers:

Justin Jefferson – 96.3%
Brandon Aiyuk – 93.5%
Michael Pittman – 93.4%
Van Jefferson – 91.8%
Bryan Edwards – 90.9%
Tyler Johnson – 89.3%
Laviska Shenault – 88.7%
Tee Higgins – 87.3%
Denzel Mims- 86.8%
Jalen Reagor – 83.3%
KJ Hamler – 80.7%

Pay particular attention to the top-five, all scoring in the 90% range.

Offensive linemen

For the last few years we’ve used a formula called TEF to measure explosive physical traits. It proved to be an accurate way of predicting which offensive linemen the Seahawks might be targeting. For a full breakdown of what the formula is, click here.

Why is measuring explosive traits important? That’s what the league and the Seahawks specifically seem to be looking for. Two years ago, only seven offensive linemen scored an optimal 3.00 or higher in TEF. Of the seven, Quenton Nelson and Kolton Miller were both high first round picks. Braden Smith, Connor Williams and Will Hernandez were second round picks. In 2019, only eight players scored an optimal 3.00 or higher. This included Chris Lindstrom, Garrett Bradbury, Andre Dillard and Kaleb McGary (all drafted in round one). Erik McCoy and Elgton Jenkins were also top-50 picks. It’s not a coincidence that the most explosive offensive linemen are being drafted early.

The Seahawks also place a premium on arm length. You’ve got to be at +33 inches.

The following players tested well in TEF and also have the necessary arm length:

Tristan Wirfs — 3.47
Hakeem Adeniji — 3.27
Cesar Ruiz — 3.25
Austin Jackson — 3.21
John Simpson — 3.20
Ezra Cleveland — 3.16
Matt Peart — 3.08

It’s also important to take weight into consideration when judging a prospect. A player at 350lbs is going to find it harder to excel in the broad and vertical jumps compared to a 300lbs lineman. For that reason, we created a new formula called weighted TEF (click here for a breakdown).

The following players all have +33 inch arms and tested strongly in weighted TEF:

Tristan Wirfs — 111.0
Isaiah Wilson — 103.6
Austin Jackson — 103.4
John Simpson — 102.7
Cesar Ruiz — 99.8
Hakeem Adeniji — 98.8
Ezra Cleveland — 98.3
Matt Peart — 98.0
Damien Lewis — 97.1

Using the two lists and eliminating players such as Tristan Wirfs who won’t be available, the following players could be potential targets for Seattle:

Isaiah Wilson
Austin Jackson
John Simpson
Cesar Ruiz
Hakeem Adeniji
Ezra Cleveland
Matt Peart
Damien Lewis

There were several players who didn’t test or weren’t invited to the combine who could also be on the radar. We know the Seahawks like size, physicality and run blocking on the offensive line. Robert Hunt, who I’ve been mocking to Seattle with their first pick, couldn’t test due to a sports hernia injury but could easily be on their radar — as could his team mate Kevin Dotson who wasn’t invited to Indianapolis. LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry, Auburn’s Price Tega Wanogho and TCU’s Lucas Niang also didn’t test. Another LSU blocker, Saahdiq Charles, ran an impressive 5.05 forty but didn’t do any other testing.

There are also some really tough, physical guards such as Logan Stenberg or Shane Lemieux — but with so many players added in free agency already, it’s harder to imagine them adding more options into the mix.

One other quick note. They could do with coming out of this draft having added someone who can be developed to play left tackle. That could be an earlier pick — but it’d be an expensive move for a player who might not start for a year or two. It could be a later pick. Either way — playing left tackle is not like the other positions. You have to be a top athlete. Your footwork and quickness has to be spot on. Austin Jackson and Ezra Cleveland are the two obvious early options. Saahdiq Charles, Matt Peart and Alex Taylor are more developmental types.

Running backs

The Seahawks have a type at running back. They’ve consistently drafted players with a similar physical profile. These players are usually about 5-11 in height, around 220lbs in weight and they’re explosive — testing in the +35 inch vertical and +10′ broad range.

It’s made it fairly straight forward to figure out who they might like. Here are the players we identified from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 combines as probable targets:

2016:

C.J. Prosise — 6-0, 220lbs, 35.5 inch vert, 10-1 broad
Kenneth Dixon — 5-10, 215lbs, 37.5 inch vert, 10-8 broad

2017:

Christopher Carson — 6-0, 218lbs, 37 inch vert, 10-10 broad
Brian Hill — 6-0, 219lbs, 34 inch vert, 10-5 broad
Alvin Kamara — 5-10, 214lbs, 39.5 inch vert, 10-11 broad
Joe Williams — 5-11, 210lbs, 35 inch vert, 10-5 broad

2018:

Saquon Barkley — 6-0, 233lbs, 41 inch vert DNP broad
Kerryon Johnson — 511, 213lbs 40 inch vert, 10-6 broad
Bo Scarborough — 6-0, 228lbs, 40 inch vert, 10-9 broad
Nick Chubb — 5-11, 227lbs, 38.5 inch vert, 10-8 broad
John Kelly — 5-10, 216lbs, 35 inch vert, 10-0 broad
Lavon Coleman — 5-10, 223lbs, 33 inch vert, 10-0 broad
Rashaad Penny — 5-11, 220lbs, 32.5 inch vert, 10-0 broad
Royce Freeman — 5-11, 229lbs, 34 inch vert, 9-10 broad

They drafted a player from each of the groups — Prosise, Carson and Penny. They eventually added Bo Scarborough during the 2018 season too and had Lavon Coleman on the practise squad.

Two players in the 2020 draft really stand out as prototypes:

Jonathan Taylor — 5-10, 226lbs, 36 inch vert, 10-3 broad
Cam Akers — 5-10, 217lbs, 35.5 inch vert, 10-2 broad

Taylor in particular could be attractive to the Seahawks. You could say he’s ‘Taylor made’ for Seattle. He’s a power back with ideal size yet is capable of accelerating to the tune of a 4.39 forty yard dash. According to PFF, he had 3921 yards after contact in his Wisconsin career. Last season alone he had 61 explosive runs. He had all this success despite facing stacked boxes nearly every week as teams zoned in on him as Wisconsin’s greatest threat.

His ability to run through contact and be a threat to score every time he has the football is a Pete Carroll dream.

He might not last to #27 and if the Seahawks trade down again there’s very little chance he’ll be waiting for them. If they want him to be Russell Wilson’s explosive partner in crime for the next five years, they’ll need to take him early if he’s available. Don’t be surprised if he goes in the top-25.

Akers could be Plan B. He has all of the physical tools the Seahawks want. He’ll be cheaper — possibly available in the late second or early third round. He could be an option at pick #64.

There were some other players who potentially qualify too:

Deejay Dallas — 5-10, 217lbs, 33.5 inch vert, 9-11 broad
AJ Dillon — 6-0, 247lbs, 41 inch vert, 10-11 broad
Zack Moss — 5-9, 223lbs, 33 inch vert, DNP broad
James Robinson — 5-9, 219lbs, 40 inch vert, 10-5 broad
Patrick Taylor — 6-0, 217lbs, 34 inch vert, 10-3 broad
Michael Warren II — 5-9, 226lbs, DNP vert, DNP broad

The other name to mention is Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s too good to ignore. He doesn’t fit their size preference at 5-7 and 207lbs. However, he’s highly explosive (39.5 inch vertical) and simply one of the best players in the entire draft class. I wrote about him in more detail here. He’s the rare type of talent, like Russell Wilson, where you throw out the preferences on size and just accept he’s a quality player.

Defensive tackle

Seattle’s scheme depends upon gap discipline, control and the ability to defend the run. You can’t do that without length and leverage. They haven’t drafted a defensive tackle with sub-33 inch arms before for a reason. That would rule out the likes of Ross Blacklock and Neville Gallimore — two players who are often mocked to Seattle.

There’s another reason why both players are unlikely targets. The short shuttle. The Seahawks seem to place a big emphasis on it for defensive linemen. Blacklock ran a poor 4.67 and Gallimore a 5.01 (!!!).

Rasheem Green, Quinton Jefferson, Jordan Hill, Jaye Howard and Malik McDowell all tested superbly in the short shuttle (4.39, 4.37, 4.51, 4.47 and 4.53 respectively) and had +33 inch arms.

There are not many options in this class unfortunately. Jason Strowbridge ran a very good 4.37 but he only has 32 3/8 inch arms and is more of an inside/out type defender. James Lynch is suited to a similar role and ran a 4.39 shuttle but he only has 31 7/8 inch arms.

Justin Madubuile is an option. He’s an ideal one-gapper with 33.5 inch arms. He plays on the shoulder of the offensive lineman and does a good job defending the run. He ran a 4.83 at the combine and looked terrific. He didn’t run a short shuttle but did manage a 7.37 three cone. His pass rush win percentage of 14.8% is third among defensive tackles in this draft behind only Jordan Elliott and Javon Kinlaw.

There just aren’t many other defensive tackles with that quick-twitch ability and the length Seattle craves.

For that reason, I think they will target a different type of tackle. They haven’t replaced Al Woods who was 6-4 and 330lbs. They could look for someone with anchor ability, power and length to play the one technique — in an attempt to free-up Jarran Reed to try and get back to his 10.5 sack form of 2018.

DaVon Hamilton is 6-4 and 320lbs with 33 inch arms. He’s very underrated and not merely a nose tackle. He shows some quickness to shoot gaps and impact plays in the backfield. He had 10.5 TFL’s in 2019, six sacks and his pass rush win percentage (12.6%) is the same as Ross Blacklock’s at 290lbs and is superior to Jeffery Simmons (11.8%) and Ed Oliver (11.4%) from a year ago. Furthermore, his 73% win percentage in 1v1 drills at the Senior Bowl was second only to Zach Baun (75%). We know the Seahawks pay close to attention to the top performers in Mobile. He could be an option in the late second or third round.

Leki Fotu is 6-4 and 330lbs with 34 1/4 inch arms. He’s also extremely powerful and big. He doesn’t always make the most of his size and power and he needs to be more consistent. He could be a plug-in-and-play tackle next to Reed though — replacing the size and presence lost by Woods. He could be available in the third or fourth round.

Raekwon Davis is 6-6 and 311lbs with 34 inch arms. His testing is similar to Calais Campbell and he also played inside/out at Alabama. He anchors against the run superbly, plays with great leverage despite his height and he’s shown flashes as a pass rusher. He can do more in that regard and there are some maturity question marks. Even so — the Seahawks have been looking for their version of Calais for a long time and Davis could be it.

It seems very likely Seattle will draft a defensive tackle. Madubuike, Hamilton, Fotu and Davis could be on their radar early. Two names to monitor later on are McTelvin Agim and Teair Tart.

Defensive end or EDGE

For LEO’s they’ve sought twitchy athletes with great burst. Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril ran 1.55 and 1.50 10-yard splits respectively. Anything in the 1.5’s is considered ‘elite’. The splits are also important for inside/out rushers. Malik McDowell ran a 1.69 split at 295lbs. Rasheem Green ran a 1.65 at 275lbs.

Bruce Irvin (4.03) and Frank Clark (4.05) both ran incredible short shuttles. Cassius Marsh’s 4.25 and Obum Gwacham’s 4.28 were also really good.

Again, arm length is important and they’ve consistently sought defensive linemen with +33 inch arms.

The Seahawks went against their established preferences when they selected L.J. Collier in the first round last year. Collier ran a 4.91 forty with a 1.75 10-yard split. He followed it up with a 4.78 short shuttle. His selection was a major outlier and his lack of success as a rookie could impact their decision making this year.

The only issue is — as we noted at the combine — there aren’t many options in this draft.

Jabari Zuniga ran a 1.61 split at 264lbs and then, as explained in this article, he had one of the most impressive explosive testing performances in recent history. He played inside/out at Florida and could be an option. In terms of length, bizarrely his arms measured at 32 7/8 inches at the combine and 33 1/8 inches at the Senior Bowl. If you split the difference, he checks that box.

Many pass rushers didn’t test at the combine which is problematic. However, Carroll has referenced pass rush win percentage and pressure percentage in the past (including after drafting Collier).

These are the only pressure percentage numbers we have:

Josh Uche — 23.3%
Terrell Lewis — 19.8%
Zach Baun — 16.5%
Jabari Zuniga — 15.8%
James Lynch — 15.7%
A.J. Epenesa — 13.4%
Jordan Elliott — 12.7%
Marlon Davidson — 12.2%
Javon Kinlaw — 12.1%
Derrick Brown — 9.8%

We also know Julian Okwara (19.1%) and Curtis Weaver (18.2%) led all draft eligible pass rushers in pressure percentage for 2018 and 2019 combined. Chase Young was third with 17.6%.

Here are the pass rush win percentage numbers:

Chase Young — 27.2%
Josh Uche — 27%
Julian Okwara — 23%
Curtis Weaver — 22.9%
Alex Highsmith — 21.7%
Khalid Kareem — 21.4%
Bradlee Anae — 20.2%
Zach Baun — 20.1%
Jabari Zuniga — 20%
Terrell Lewis — 19.8%
Trevis Gipson — 19.2%
Carter Coughlin — 19%
Yetur Gross-Matos — 18.9%
Darrell Taylor — 18.6%
Jonathan Garvin — 18.5%
A.J. Epenesa — 17.5%
Jon Greenard — 17.2%
Marlon Davidson — 16.2%
Alton Robinson — 15.9%
James Lynch — 15.5%
Trevon Hill — 15.3%
Kenny Willekes — 14.6%
K’Lavon Chaisson — 13.1%

Seattle desperately needs quickness and players who create pressure. The fact that Josh Uche performs so well in both areas, has +33 inch arms and had an exceptional Senior Bowl could put him squarely on Seattle’s radar. He has been compared to Yannick Ngakoue. Julian Okwara also has speed, length and underrated power. He looks like an ideal LEO and he could be an alternative to Uche.

Trevis Gipson is raw and a major development project. He only did the bench press at the combine. He does have 34 inch arms though and his win percentage of 19.2% could make him an intriguing later round option. Darrell Taylor’s injury history will likely have a major impact on his stock but he’s a former five-star recruit with 33 inch arms and a solid 18.6% win percentage. He bends-and-straightens better than anyone other than Josh Uche and with his size (267lbs) is a lot more suited to playing early downs at defensive end.

Please note K’Lavon Chaisson’s 13.1% pass rush win percentage as the lowest in the draft. He also has short arms and an injury history.

Based on the limited testing options, the lack of data and the percentages above, the following players appear to be realistic targets in terms of EDGE rush:

Josh Uche
Julian Okwara
Jabari Zuniga
Darrell Taylor
Trevis Gipson

Failing to retain Jadeveon Clowney could also leave the Seahawks needing a proper five technique (unless they believe L.J. Collier can fill the void). Khalid Kareem would need to add size but his win percentage of 21.4% is impressive. It’s a role that Zuniga or Yetur Gross-Matos could handle. Marlon Davidson has the kind of personality and passion for the game they appreciate — although his win percentage (16.2%) is slightly lower than ideal.

This is a pass rush class filled with question marks. There are too many unknowns, incomplete physical profiles, injury flags or inconsistencies. The Seahawks need some dynamism and raw speed and athleticism working the edge. The key in the draft will be to determine what equates to value? What is the right range to roll the dice at a position of high need? For me that means this — are you prepared to draft Uche or Okwara with potentially your first or second pick? Or are you better off addressing other areas of the team and waiting on the upside of Taylor or Gipson?

They might just pass and focus on Clowney, Everson Griffen and any other available veteran after the draft.

Linebackers

The Seahawks have looked for two types of player at linebacker — freakish athletes and players with great short-area quickness and agility.

Kevin Pierre-Louis, Korey Toomer, Malcolm Smith and Eric Pinkins all ran between a 4.44 and a 4.51 in the forty. Shaquem Griffin ran a 4.38. Pierre-Louis, Smith and Pinkins all jumped +39 inches in the vertical. Bobby Wagner was a 4.4 runner at his pro-day with a 39.5-inch vertical.

They’ve also targeted players who performed especially well in the short shuttle. Here are the top-15 short shuttle times by linebackers since 2010:

Jordan Tripp — 3.96
Nick Bellore — 4.00

Ben Heeney — 4.00
Mike Mohamed — 4.00
Nick Vigil — 4.00
Kevin Pierre-Louis — 4.02
Stephone Anthony — 4.03
Cody Barton — 4.03
Dakota Allen — 4.03
Von Miller — 4.06
Josh Hull — 4.07
Dorian O’Daniel — 4.07
Avery Williamson — 4.07
Shaq Thompson — 4.08
Ben Burr-Kirven — 4.09

The players in bold have either been drafted or signed by the Seahawks during the Pete Carroll era. A third of the players.

Nobody ran a 4.10 or faster at the 2020 combine. Missouri’s Cale Garrett ran the fastest time at 4.13. There are no obvious targets here as a consequence.

However, there are several outstanding athletes who warrant attention.

Willie Gay’s combine performance was eerily similar to Bobby Wagner’s display at his pro-day in 2012. They ran the same 4.46 forty, jumped the same 39.5 inch vertical and the difference in both their three cone and short shuttle times was 0.02 seconds. Physically, they are basically the same.

Kenneth Murray ran a 4.52 and jumped a 38 inch vertical, while Patrick Queen ran a 4.50 and jumped a 35 inch vertical.

Logan Wilson ran a 4.63 forty and a 4.27 short shuttle. He’s a three year captain at Wyoming and flies to the ball, sheds blocks and has a knack for collecting interceptions.

Malik Harrison is more of a north/south defender best suited to playing MLB in a 3-4. However, he ran a 4.66 forty and a 4.33 short shuttle, jumped a 36 inch vertical and had one of the best three cones in recent memory by a linebacker (6.83).

Davion Taylor ran a 4.49 at the combine at 228lbs. He has since run in the late 4.3’s. He also recorded a 4.26 short shuttle, a 6.96 three cone and he jumped a 35 inch vertical. He’s undersized but has excellent speed and explosive traits.

I’m not sure how important this position will be to the Seahawks early in the draft but these players are all good enough athletes to list as potential targets:

Willie Gay
Kenneth Murray
Patrick Queen
Logan Wilson
Malik Harrison
Davion Taylor

Cornerback

By now everyone knows what the Seahawks like in a corner. Every CB drafted in the Pete Carroll era has had 32 inch arms. Those players are generally physical and tall and take pride in defending the run.

The options are paper thin at outside cornerback. Quinton Dunbar could be their one addition this year. There’s just a real dearth of available cornerbacks in this draft who fit Seattle’s requirements.

Michael Ojemudia has the kind of size and length they like if they were to draft someone. Bryce Hall is another option — although his recent ugly leg injury could cause concern and he might face a redshirt season anyway. They could tap into the potential of Madre Harper as a priority free agent.

The more pressing need is nickel cornerback. It’s much harder to pin down what the Seahawks specifically look for here, due to the obscure nature of the additions made over the years. It doesn’t appear the outside cornerback arm length and size parameters matter (Justin Coleman is 5-10 with 31 1/4 inch arms). Quickness and agility, predictably, seems to be important. Coleman tested superbly in the short shuttle (3.98) and three cone (6.61).

Very few of the cornerbacks ran the short shuttle and three cone at this years combine. Penn State’s John Reid ran a 4.49 forty, a 6.95 three cone and a 3.97 short shuttle. He’s 5-10 and 187lbs and in the nickel cornerback range. He’s considered to be highly competitive and physical and could be a target.

L’Jarius Sneed ran a 4.37 and Javelin Guidry a 4.30. Both players have the foot-speed and quickness to cover in the slot. Terrell Burgess’ 4.46 could also put him on the radar. He’s mixed between safety and corner but appears well suited to a nickel role.

Keep an eye on Amik Robertson. He might only be 5-8 but he’s a tone-setter who delivers big hits, he’s a turnover machine and his energy, confidence and determination is infectious. He told us recently he’d had a productive FaceTime meeting with the Seahawks.

Other potential targets include Josiah Scott (ran a 4.42, great production at Michigan State) and Myles Bryant (praised for his character and ability to play bigger than he is).

Tony Pauline also connected the Seahawks to Jaylon Johnson today — a player expected to go in the top-45. He’s a physical corner and for a few years now — from Tony and other sources, the Seahawks have been linked with early round corners. We’ll see if it becomes a reality this year.

Trevon Diggs
Michael Ojemudia
Bryce Hall
Jaylon Johnson
Amik Robertson
John Reid
Terrell Burgess
L’Jarius Sneed
Javelin Guidry
Josiah Scott
Myles Bryant
Madre Harper

Safety

There’s a diverse mix of physical profiles in the players they’ve taken, making safety a difficult position to project. They seem to like an assortment of things — speed, playmaking, hitting and toughness — but there isn’t a specific size/speed/length prototype.

There are players you can imagine them liking. Antoine Winfield Jr is a ball hawk with great speed and he had a superb combine. Jeremy Chinn is a fluid runner with great suddenness and size. Kyle Dugger is an alpha male with physicality and special teams value. At some point in the draft Grant Delpit is going to provide tremendous value. Kenny Robinson has the range, playmaking production and desire to hit that could prove intriguing.

Ashtyn Davis is highly athletic and football smart but his tape was underwhelming. He, along with the big hitting Chris Miller, the alpha Antoine Brooks Jr, the production of K’Von Wallace and the ultra tough J.R. Reed could also be possible targets. Josh Metellus looked better than expected during combine drills too.

Speaking to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham earlier today, I was also struck by how positively he spoke about Julian Blackmon — hailing his attitude and versatility as a safety or corner.

Antoine Winfield Jr
Jeremy Chinn
Grant Delpit
Kyle Dugger
Kennty Robinson
Ashtyn Davis
Chris Miller
Antoine Brooks Jr
K’Von Wallace
J.R. Reed
Josh Metellus
Julian Blackmon

What do the Seahawks need?

I noted this week the need to bolster the trenches and become tougher and more physical. Clearly the defensive line — and in particular the pass rush — is an area that requires major improvement.

Adding another right tackle with imposing traits (Robert Hunt, Isaiah Wilson, Josh Jones) is necessary. They need a big physical defensive tackle (DaVon Hamilton, Leki Fotu, Raekwon Davis). Bigger, tougher, stronger aren’t just buzz words for the Seahawks in this draft.

They need speed off the edge. While the options are limited, can they come out of this draft with a Josh Uche, Julian Okwara, Darrell Taylor, Jabari Zuniga or Trevis Gipson?

It’s a terrific skill position class, ideal to come away with a receiver and running back at some point.

It’s also important for the Seahawks to come out with at least one high upside prospect. It has paid off before with D.K. Metcalf and Frank Clark. Jonathan Taylor, Chase Claypool, Willie Gay Jr, Jabari Zuniga, Darrell Taylor and Jeremy Chinn for example, all have incredible upside.

Pre draft interviews

If you missed any of our lockdown interview series, here are the links to listen to all of the conversations:

Jim Nagy (Senior Bowl Executive Director)
Robert Hunt (G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette)
Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan)
Lance Zierlein (NFL.com analyst)
Scot McCloughan (former NFL GM)
Michael Lombardi (former NFL GM)
Mike Renner (PFF draft analyst)
Tony Pauline (Draft insider)
Prince Tega Wanogho (T, Auburn)
Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
Amik Robertson (CB, Louisiana Tech)
Kyle Whittingham (Head Coach, Utah)

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