The Seahawks are more or less in the same position they were a year ago. Their biggest needs are in the trenches. They still need to reassert themselves as the bullies of the NFC.
That’s not a big shock. With hindsight it was probably always going to be a two-draft rebuild to become the bullies again. It was never going to be easy to rebuild the O-line, replace the presence of Marshawn Lynch and also replace the likes of Brandon Mebane on defense (while also finding another inside/out rusher).
This seven-round mock is never going to be accurate at the end of November, long before we even discover who will/won’t declare or boost their stock at the Senior Bowl or Combine. That said, it’s an opportunity to highlight some names and talk about something other than the disappointing game in Tampa Bay.
Before I get into the seven-rounder, here’s a top-40 projection:
1. Cleveland Browns — Myles Garrett (EDGE, Texas A&M)
2. San Francisco 49ers — Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)
4. Chicago Bears — Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama)
5. New York Jets — Tim Williams (EDGE, Alabama)
6. Cincinnati Bengals — Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)
7. Carolina Panthers — Takkarist McKinley (EDGE, UCLA)
8. Tennessee Titans (via LA) — Jamal Adams (S, LSU)
9. Green Bay Packers — Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State)
10. New Orleans Saints — Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)
11. San Diego Chargers — Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)
12. Arizona Cardinals — Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State)
13. Tennessee Titans — Justin Evans (S, Texas A&M)
14. Baltimore Ravens — Demarcus Walker (DE, Florida State)
15. Indianapolis Colts — Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Dawuane Smoot (EDGE, Illinois)
17. Buffalo Bills — O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)
18. Cleveland Browns (via Eagles) — Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)
19. Philadelphia eagles (via Vikings) — John Ross (WR, Washington)
20. Miami Dolphins — Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut)
21. Pittsburgh Steelers — Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson)
22. Atlanta Falcons — Malik McDowell (DE, Michigan State)
23. Detroit Lions — Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)
24. Houston Texans — Charles Harris (EDGE, Missouri)
25. Washington — Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford)
26. Kansas City Chiefs — Jarrad Davis (LB, Florida)
27. New York Giants — Quincy Wilson (CB, Florida)
28. Denver Broncos — Sidney Jones (CB, Washington)
29. Seattle Seahawks — Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
30. New England Patriots — Budda Baker (S, Washington)
31. Oakland Raiders — Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)
32. Dallas Cowboys — Carl Lawson (EDGE, Auburn)
33. Cleveland Browns — Ryan Anderson (LB, Alabama)
34. San Francisco 49ers — Alex Anzalone (LB, Florida)
35. Chicago Bears — Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
36. Jacksonville Jaguars — Cam Sutton (CB, Tennessee)
37. New York Jets — Jalen Tabor (CB, Florida)
38. Cincinnati Bengals — Caleb Brantley (DT, Florida)
39. Los Angeles Rams — Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford)
40. Green Bay Packers — Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt)
Seahawks seven round projection
Round 1 — Garett Bolles (T, Utah)
I’ve talked a lot about Bolles already — but here’s a quick refresher on why he could be an ideal pick for the Seahawks. He’s battled adversity throughout his life, facing a difficult childhood before being arrested for vandalism. He was kicked out of the house by his father and taken in by another family. He’s since completely turned his life around in a similar fashion to Bruce Irvin — going through the JUCO’s and being courted by virtually every major college in the NCAA.
There’s no question in my mind that Bolles is the best left tackle in college football and is destined to go in round one. Is it realistic he falls to the Seahawks if he declares? Possibly not. What works in their favour is the fact he turns 25 next May so he’s not necessarily a 10-year option in the NFL. With this looking like a particularly loaded defensive draft he might slip through the cracks.
Bolles could play left or right tackle at the next level. He’s a physical tone-setter — a terrific run blocker with the balance, loose hips and athletic profile to excel in pass-pro too. He’s a bully on the field and now a family man off it, expecting his first child with his wife. He just screams ‘Seahawks’.
The need is also abundantly clear too. Neither Garry Gilliam or Bradley Sowell look like a long-term option at right tackle and it’s still too early to judge George Fant’s staying power.
Round 2 — Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Alabama) or Derrick Nnadi (DT, Florida State)
Tomlinson ticks several boxes. He’s a former four-star recruit with a background including track & field and wrestling. He’s a punishing, physical tough guy with good gap control. He has great length and size (6-3, 308lbs, 33 1/4 inch arms, 10 inch hands) and he has a terrific physique with minimal bad weight.
Importantly, he’s also battled adversity and has an interesting personality. Tomlinson’s father died when he was five and his mother passed away in 2011. This article by Terrin Waack highlights his backstory and why he might also interest the Seahawks.
Tomlinson isn’t just a great athlete — he’s also a talented musician and an artist. You know that has to appeal to Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks did draft Jarran Reed a year ago and you could argue Tomlinson is too similar. He’s not much of a pass rusher and the Seahawks have been trying to find some interior pressure (Jordan Hill, Quinton Jefferson, Damontre Moore, John Jenkins). You can never have too many solid D-liners though for your rotation — and with the likes of Takk McKinley likely to go very early (possibly top-10) they might not be able to lean on the draft to get an inside/out rusher.
Tomlinson’s frame isn’t totally unsuited to playing DE/DT and he might be able to develop into that type of role in the future.
Nnadi on the other hand has shown to be more of a pass rush threat. He’s been an absolute terror for Florida State all season. He and Demarcus Walker have provided a formidable duo — helping to turn FSU’s floundering defense into virtually a top unit over the course of the season.
He has 5.5 sacks in 2016 plus 9.5 TFL’s. You’ll often find Nnadi a split-second behind Walker in the backfield — and frequently the pair combine to provide stats for each other.
Nnadi is well sized to work as an inside rusher. He’s squatty with an incredibly powerful base. He’s 6-1 and 312lbs and carries the weight really well. He’ll bull-rush his way into the backfield but he’s also capable of flashing a swim/rip or winning with a quick get-off.
It’s his supreme strength and power that sets him apart from other prospects though. We know the Seahawks love unique traits. How about this for Nnadi, per Ryan S. Clark:
Nnadi now can bench 525 pounds and squat an amazing 750. In other words, he’s about 30 pounds away from being able to bench Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield (182 pounds) and Bobo Wilson (184 pounds) all at the same time.
And as for the 750 pounds? It’s like squatting two of freshman offensive lineman Mike Arnold (339 pounds) — and that’s still 72 pounds below his max.
“He’s the strongest guy I’ve ever met in my life,” redshirt sophomore tight end Ryan Izzo said. “When he goes to do max, he fills up the whole bar [with plates]. The bar is bending. When he touches [his butt] on the ground, he’s probably the strongest guy I’ve seen honestly.”
You see this freakish power every week and on virtually every snap. He’s a player that impacts games. He’s a disruptor — a splash play specialist with core production in terms of sacks.
At the next level at the very least you’ll get a guy who can absorb double teams and provide the occasional spark. His upside could be a Kawann Short-style stat-collector. He has a similar size and playing style to Short. They also share a similar concern entering the league. Short’s stamina was seen as an issue at Purdue and Nnadi is spelled a lot more than Walker (who plays virtually every snap). Those troubles haven’t prevented Short making an impact in Carolina — and won’t necessarily be a problem for Nnadi either.
It wouldn’t be a total shock if Nnadi worked his way into late first round contention — if he declares.
Round 3 — Haason Reddick (LB, Temple)
The Seahawks love freaky athletes. At his junior pro-day, Reddick reportedly ran a 4.47 at 6-1 and 235lbs. He also supposedly had a 10-10 in the broad jump and a 36-inch vertical. That’s special.
His production is exceptional too. In 2016 he has 21.5 TFL’s in 12 games, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He’s a hybrid linebacker/DE and could fit in nicely as a SAM/LEO in Seattle.
He’s a former walk-on who was told there was no place for him on the team. A change of coaching staff at Temple led to one last chance and he took it and eventually earned a scholarship.
Like Bolles and Tomlinson — Reddick hasn’t had it easy. And yet here he is — on the brink of a pro-career and proving people wrong. The guy’s a grown man, you watch his interviews and feel like he’d fit in Seattle’s locker room. Production + athleticism + grit + battling adversity = a potential Seahawk.
Round 3 — Elijah Hood (RB, North Carolina)
Compensatory pick — Bruce Irvin
It feels likely the Seahawks will add a running back at some point during the 2016 draft. The injuries they’ve faced this year and the sudden departure of Christine Michael has tested the depth — and that’s despite coming into the year with some nice options at RB.
We know the Seahawks have a ‘type’ at running back. And while Pete Carroll did admittedly discuss an ‘ideal’ frame during a recent press conference (making reference to a stud athlete at around 230lbs) — they’ve consistently drafted players in the 5-10/220lbs range:
Robert Turbin — 5-10, 222lbs
Spencer Ware — 5-10, 228lbs
Christine Michael — 5-10, 220lbs
C.J. Prosise — 6-0, 220lbs
Alex Collins — 5-10, 217lbs
As noted in this piece I wrote for Field Gulls, they also focus on explosive athleticism. Turbin, Michael and Prosise are all very similar athletes.
Assuming the Seahawks don’t get a shot at the holy grail (Leonard Fournette), they might look to add another runner in the middle rounds.
Elijah Hood competed at the 2013 Nike SPARQ combine and at 6-0 and 221lbs, he ran a 4.48, jumped a 42.5-inch vertical and had a 4.2 in the short shuttle. His SPARQ score is an incredible 133.47 (anything over 130 is considered pretty special).
Hood fits perfectly with the type of runner the Seahawks have drafted in the past. He also has major production — 25 touchdowns in the last two seasons and well over 2000 rushing yards.
You see on tape his willingness to finish runs (also important) and not dip out of bounds voluntarily. He is sudden and capable of breaking off big gains at the second level but he also has the size to run up the gut. His personality is engaging and chatty without being overbearing. If the Seahawks remain consistent in the running backs they target — Hood could easily be on their radar.
Round 6 — Shalom Luani (S, Washington State)
Pete Carroll was asked about the Apple Cup last week and mentioned that they (the Seahawks) had watched a lot of Washington State this year. It might be because they’ve fallen for safety Shalom Luani.
Again, we know the Seahawks love athletes who show grit and fight to make a career out of football. Luani, originally from American Samoa, basically travelled to the U.S. alone with no house, no scholarship and about $400 in his pocket trying to realise his dream of playing college football.
This article highlights how he ended up living in a garage in a house homing 20 players. When they were evicted, a chance encounter led to an opportunity in the JUCO’s and then eventually a shot in the NCAA. It’s an incredible journey and I’d highly recommend checking out the article linked at the beginning of this paragraph.
Luani has played safety and nickel so he has some versatility. He’s been touted as a possible ‘deathbacker’ too — earning praise from the man who virtually invented the position (Deone Bucannon). I watched a couple of games of Wazzu before the Apple Cup and he’s a playmaker — he has eight interceptions in the last two seasons, he hits like a hammer and he could contribute on special teams immediately.
He could go a lot earlier than this but I wanted to include him in this initial seven-round mock — plus Tony Pauline noted him as an UDFA candidate in his pre-season rankings so it’s not totally improbable he could last well into day three.
Round 6 — Kevin King (CB, Washington)
Compensatory pick — J.R. Sweezy
King has great size and like Luani might end up going a lot earlier than this. Tony Pauline projected him in this range during pre-season and a loaded class of corners could see him last a little longer than perhaps his talent warrants.
He’s a bit boom-or-bust at times. There’s no doubting his athletic profile and size (6-3, 195lbs). He’s a playmaker too — his incredible one-handed interception against Arizona State was testament to that. It was only his second pick of the season though and there have been times when teams have had success against King when they try and avoid Sidney Jones on the opposite side of the field.
He could be a nice project for the Seahawks and we know they like to wait until the later rounds or UDFA to draft and develop their cornerbacks.
Round 7 — Dante Pettis (WR, Washington)
The Seahawks have been willing to bring in later round or UDFA receivers — especially from Washington. Pettis isn’t likely to be an early round pick at 6-1 and 190lbs. Like Jermaine Kearse he’s made a lot of nice plays for the Huskies but that didn’t stop him going undrafted.
He is a touchdown maker (14 in 2016) and could be the next Husky given an opportunity to make the roster in Seattle. A lack of great size didn’t put off the Seahawks drafting Kenny Lawler in the seventh round and he had a similarly productive final season for Cal in 2015 (13 touchdowns).
— Other potential targets include:
John Ross (WR, Washington)
Possible range: Round 1
The Seahawks love explosive speed and playmaking quality. Ross has 17 total touchdowns this season with at least one more game to go. He’s battled adversity to come back even stronger after injury setbacks. He’s a twitchy, speedy, scoring machine. They already have Tyler Lockett but one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL (Sunday excluded) is never going to turn their nose up at a guy like this. He probably goes top-20 but if he falls into range, he could be a ‘Hawk.
Dawuane Smoot (EDGE, Illinois)
Possible range: Round 1
He fires off the edge like a cannon and plays with a great intensity. He looks like a LEO prospect who could develop into a SAM like Bruce Irvin. With players like Takk McKinley potentially rising up into the top-12 — prospects like Smoot could last into range for Seattle. The likes of Carl Lawson, Charles Harris and Demarcus Walker are also possibilities.
Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut)
Possible range: Round 1
Compared to former UConn safety Byron Jones as an athlete, Melifonwu has lined up in the slot, as a single high safety, at strong safety and blitzing from the SAM this season. He’s an instinctive, big-hitting sure-tackler with the range and size to play multiple positions. He could be tried at corner, he could be used at strong safety or even linebacker like Mark Barron. Expect a big combine performance and a major rise up the boards.
Any of Washington’s defensive front
Possible range: Round 2
Watching them live last week sold me on the potential of this trio (plus Budda Baker was brilliant too). Vita Vea, Elijah Qualls and Greg Gaines are the real deal. I’m not sure which, if any, will declare for the draft — but they all provide a great combination of size, surprising athleticism and tenacity vs the run. Gaines is built like a nose but gets off blocks exceptionally well, Vea looked like the best pass rusher vs ASU but Qualls also has his qualities. Chris Peterson has a good group on both sides of the ball and it’ll be a surprise if the Seahawks don’t tap into this talent stream in 2017.
Jehu Chesson (WR, Michigan)
Possible range: Rounds 2-4
A receiver who does it all — he has special teams value as a gunner or returner, he’s a tremendous run blocker and he can be a clutch receiver. The Seahawks still lack size on the outside at receiver and Chesson could be a good-value, developmental option in this draft class. His run-blocking and special teams ability will get him on the field early in his career.
Adam Bisnowaty (T, Pittsburgh)
Possible range: Rounds 3-5
Ideally suited to kick inside to guard, Bisnowaty was a four-star recruit with a wrestling and basketball background. He’s a tough guy with plus athleticism who plays a bit like Ethan Mathis. Mark Glowinski hasn’t been fantastic so far at left guard and they might look to add some competition there. Bisnowaty’s play has increasingly improved as the season progressed.
Marquis Haynes (LB, Ole Miss)
Possible range: Rounds 4-6
A playmaker for the Rebels with 10 TFL’s, six sacks and eight QB hurries in 2016. He also has three forced fumbles and an interception. If he tests well at the combine he could be a potential SAM/LEO target.
Note — The Seahawks traded their fourth round pick to the Patriots for the chance to draft Quinton Jefferson in 2016. They were also stripped of their fifth round pick due to OTA violations.
It’s also worth remembering there will likely be some money to spend in free agency. According to Spotrac, the Seahawks are estimated to have $27.2m in free cap room in 2017. While some of that will likely go towards rewarding Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and possibly Cliff Avril — it likely won’t preclude the Seahawks from being able to fill one or two needs using the open market.