Saturday draft notes — Updated TEF scores, Darius Robinson, Vikings plans & a confirmed story from 2010

Updated TEF scores

Following all of the pro-days, data is now available for players who didn’t do all three tests (bench, vertical, broad) at the combine to produce a TEF score (measuring explosive traits). The formula was explained in our combine preview. Basically, a score over 3.00 determines an explosive testing result.

Here’s the updated list for the 2024 draft class:

Beaux Limmer — 3.68
Mason McCormick — 3.60
Jarrett Kingston — 3.44
Troy Fautanu — 3.27
C.J. Hanson — 3.21
Dylan McMahon — 3.20
Frank Crum — 3.19
Tanor Bortolini — 3.16
Brandon Coleman — 3.16
Josiah Ezirim — 3.13
Kingsley Suamataia — 3.11
Jacob Monk — 3.10
Jackson Powers-Johnson — 3.04
Joe Alt — 3.02
Kinglsey Eguakun — 3.02
Matt Lee — 3.01
Jordan Morgan — 2.96
Tanor Bortolini — 2.94
Dominick Puni — 2.90
Nick Gargiulo — 2.90
Blake Fisher — 2.89
Karsen Barnhart — 2.87
Jalen Sundell — 2.87
Roger Rosengarten — 2.85
Charles Turner — 2.84
Brady Latham — 2.84
Christian Haynes — 2.83
Zach Frazier — 2.82
KT Leveston — 2.81
Delmar Glaze — 2.79
Gottlieb Ayedze — 2.75
Amarius Mims — 2.72
Trente Jones — 2.71
Drake Nugent — 2.70
Sataoa Laumea — 2.69
Cooper Beebe — 2.66
Javon Foster — 2.66
Keaton Bills — 2.66
Matthew Jones — 2.62
Javion Cohen — 2.56
Isaiah Adams — 2.45
Nathan Thomas — 2.43
Travis Glover — 2.42
X’Zauvea Gadlin — 2.40
Andrew Coker — 2.37
Anim Dankwah — 2.32

With 16 confirmed ‘explosive’ testers (anything over 3.00 is ideally explosive) this is now easily the most explosive O-line class since we started testing in 2016. The highest number of confirmed explosive testers we had previously was eight in 2020.

Several other players, who are virtually guaranteed to be explosive testers, haven’t completed a full set of tests (basically, they didn’t do a bench press). Here are projected scores for players who didn’t do the bench — using the average number of reps for the class:

Tylan Grable — 3.41
Garret Greenfield — 3.35
Caedan Wallace — 3.20
Taliese Fuaga — 3.08
Tyler Guyton — 3.05
Christian Mahogany — 3.04
Olu Fashanu — 3.02
Trevor Keegan — 2.92
Jeremy Flax — 2.66
Layden Robinson — 2.90
Andrew Ray — 2.43

With the confirmed and projected TEF results for this year, there are 23 explosive offensive linemen in total with several on the borderline of reaching the 3.00 mark. I will stress that explosive testing isn’t a measure of success/failure. Teams do pay attention to it, though. Short shuttle times are also vital in some schemes. Dominick Puni scoring a 2.90 in TEF and registering a 4.40 short shuttle, for example, is very appealing.

The following players didn’t test to accumulate even a projected score:

Graham Barton
Zak Zinter
Nick Samac
Sedrick Van Pran
Kiran Amegadjie
Ethan Driskell
Matt Goncalves
JC Latham

You could argue there’s never been a better year to have an offensive line need.

Here’s a list of the top explosive testers since 2016, with the 2024 prospects in bold (projected scores are noted with a ‘p’):

Beaux Limmer — 3.68
Iosua Opeta — 3.62
Mason McCormick — 3.60
Jason Spriggs — 3.54
Braden Smith — 3.52
Tristan Wirfs — 3.47
Jarrett Kingston — 3.44
Cole Strange — 3.42
Tylan Grable — 3.41 (p)
Peter Skoronski — 3.37
Bernhard Raimann — 3.37
Garret Greenfield — 3.35 (p)
Zion Johnson — 3.33
Zach Tom — 3.33 (p)
Kolton Miller — 3.31
Connor McGovern: 3.29
Troy Fautanu — 3.27
Hakeem Adeniji — 3.27
Andrew Vorhees — 3.26
Cesar Ruiz — 3.25
Forrest Lamp — 3.23
Phil Haynes — 3.22
Wyatt Teller — 3.22
Scott Quessenberry — 3.22
Austin Jackson — 3.21
C.J. Hanson — 3.21
John Simpson — 3.20
Dylan McMahon — 3.20
Caedan Wallace — 3.20 (p)
Frank Crum — 3.19
Chris Lindstrom — 3.18
Connor Williams — 3.18
Anthony Bradford — 3.17
Jovaughan Gwyn — 3.17
Tanor Bortolini — 3.16
Brandon Coleman — 3.16
Ezra Cleveland — 3.16
Garrett Bradbury — 3.15

A quick final point — if you want to know why Troy Fautanu might go in the top-10 — being as explosive as he is to go with his A++ character, exceptional athleticism, a highly aggressive playing style, being willing to take coaching and positional flexibility is why. He’s a can’t-miss prospect.

Why Marshawn Kneeland and Jonah Elliss are generating buzz

Kneeland is being talked about as a potential late first rounder, while there’s chatter about Elliss in round two.

I think it’s physical potential combined with agility. Kneeland is 267lbs and ran a 4.18 short shuttle. That’s incredible agility for a man that size. He isn’t quick — running a 1.65 10-yard split and a 4.75 forty. Yet his agility testing is excellent.

Elliss ran a 4.17 short shuttle at 243lbs and jumped a 38 inch vertical plus a 10-0 broad jump. His three cone was a remarkable 6.69.

I’ll also throw a third name into the mix. Braylen Trice couldn’t perform as intended at the combine due to illness. He’d had the flu and dropped weight as a consequence. He was only 245lbs at the combine. By pro-day, he was back up to 259lbs. He ran a 4.19 short shuttle. Trice was one of the most disruptive, consistent players in college football last year. Don’t be surprised if he also goes higher than people originally thought.

The shuttle highlights body control when changing direction, agility and quickness. These are important traits for a pass rusher.

For example:

Maxx Crosby (255lbs) — 4.13
TJ Watt (252lbs) — 4.13
Nick Bosa (266lbs) — 4.14
Aidan Hutchinson (260lbs) — 4.15
Khalil Mack (251lbs) — 4.18
Trey Hendrickson (266lbs) — 4.20
Joey Bosa (269lbs) — 4.21
Josh Allen (262lbs) — 4.23

There’s a fairly consistent theme here among players with strong agility testing and how it translates to the next level. It’s not that way for everyone though — Micah Parsons ran a 4.40.

Here’s how the edge rushers in this class tested (note — some didn’t run a short shuttle):

Jonah Elliss — 4.17
Marshawn Kneeland — 4.18
Bralen Trice — 4.19
Chop Robinson — 4.25
Gabe Murphy — 4.31
Adisa Isaac — 4.33
Laiatu Latu — 4.34
Brennan Jackson — 4.34
Jalyx Hunt — 4.38
Jaylen Harrell — 4.39
Jared Verse — 4.44
Austin Booker — 4.47
Mo Kamara — 4.49
Grayson Murphy — 4.56

Darius Robinson to go earlier than expected?

Todd McShay tweeted on Friday that he considers Robinson a top-20 player since the Senior Bowl and that he’s a likely first round lock. I think there’s a reasonable chance his floor is the late first with Detroit (#29), Baltimore (#30) and San Francisco (#31) all viable landing spots.

I also continue to think he could be a target for the Seahawks. We know John Schneider has tremendous respect for the Senior Bowl. Only this week, he referenced Tyler Lockett’s great week in Mobile when discussing drafting him in 2015. Robinson was named the best practise player at the Senior Bowl this year after a dominating, outstanding week.

He’s versatile and capable of playing across the line. This is something Mike Macdonald will presumably be interested in, given he loves to deceive to create pressure. Robinson is a heart-and-soul type, who can help set the tone for the new era. There’s every chance he can emerge as the vocal leader of the defense within two years. He is the type of player you can imagine Pittsburgh or Baltimore drafting.

I also think Robinson’s a lot more disruptive than people realise. Granted, he lacks fantastic speed and agility. He did have a 35 inch vertical and a 9-3 broad jump at 285lbs though. His style of play is ungainly at times and occasionally out of control — but he reminded me of Jadeveon Clowney in that regard.

I’ll again reference what I was told by someone who used to work for Ron Wolf (Schneider’s mentor). Wolf’s approach was to focus on the trenches, not linger on combine testing and stick to the tape. I got a real sense that Wolf had a genuine preference for physical toughness up front and building through the lines. It doesn’t mean Schneider shares that approach. Robinson does fit the profile, though, of the kind of player I think Wolf would be interested in.

Let’s also remember — Devon Witherspoon didn’t do any testing a year ago and they took him with the fifth overall pick because they liked his playing style and attitude. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had great agility testing but his long-speed was enough of a question mark to keep him on the board until pick #20. He didn’t run a forty. In 2022, Charles Cross did not test very well at the combine.

On Witherspoon, how would people have reacted if he ran an OK forty a year ago at 181lbs? He’s an older player (turns 24 this year) and he lacks great size. Lance Zierlein, in his write-up of Witherspoon, said this:

“There are snaps where he gets behind and stays behind due to a lack of premium speed and closing burst.”

If he’d run, say, a 4.45 at 181lbs, would people have been saying he’s not athletic enough or special enough to take early? And a year on, wouldn’t that opinion have changed?

That’s why I think it’s important to stress that just because L.J. Collier wasn’t a great tester five years ago, it doesn’t mean every player you draft has to be a twitched-up workout warrior to succeed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks traded down a bit and eventually took Robinson with their first pick. He’s far from the only option for them — but I suspect he might be under consideration.

I still think Minnesota might shock the NFL

When the Vikings acquired the #23 pick from Houston, at the time it felt like a move into the top four was imminent. Over the years we’ve seen several trades weeks before the draft. Yet even after the pro-day and private workouts, Minnesota remains in possession of #11 and #23.

I think there are two potential reasons why. One theory is they know they have an advantage over other teams because they can offer two first rounders this year. The Broncos, for example, can’t even offer a second rounder in this draft. It’s possible they’ve offered #11 and #23, plus some change, to teams like Arizona and New England and are waiting them out. If Minnesota knows their offer is the best, it could just be a waiting game. If the Cardinals end up taking #11 and #23 and Minnesota gets to keep its 2025 first rounder, that’ll be a masterclass in patience and leverage by the Vikings.

My other theory is they’ve been targeting Michael Penix Jr all along and want to add Byron Murphy in round one too. In this situation, they could take Murphy at #11 and then trade up above the Raiders at #12 to get Penix Jr. Alternatively, you take Penix Jr at #11 and then have the Broncos, Raiders, Saints and Colts to trade with — all of which I’d suggest are unlikely to draft Murphy. Going from #23 to #15 might not even cost you a 2025 first rounder.

If you’re going to spend #11, #23 and another high pick to move up for J.J. McCarthy, I think it’s a far better deal to use those picks to secure Murphy and Penix Jr instead.

The Vikings had Murphy in for a visit recently and he’s an ideal pick to complete their defense. Meanwhile, Penix Jr is ideally placed to start quickly. He’d play behind a decent line, throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson, playing in a dome for one of the best young offensive-minded coaches in the league.

This would give the Vikings a shot to be really good within the next two years.

Minnesota has a savvy front office. I think they’re being creative in a way I wish the Seahawks would be, while they’ve also done a very good job identifying great talent in value areas. Be ready for them pulling off the shock of round one by not moving up into the top four.

A confirmed story!

Finally, it’s taken 14 years but it was great to finally confirm, to some extent, something I wrote about during the 2010 draft. Regulars might recall that I had a connected source ‘back in the day’. That same source was the one who told me Marshawn Lynch was coming to Seattle via trade:

I saved that screenshot because it’s not every day you get to share credit with Jay Glazer. Anyway, per the source, in the 2010 draft, originally the Seahawks were thinking they might be able to draft Eric Berry at #6 and Trent Williams at #14. Williams was widely considered a mid/late first round pick until the combine, where his stock exploded. He ended up going fourth overall. Berry also went fifth overall. Thus, Seattle pivoted to Russell Okung and Earl Thomas.

John Schneider talked about the 2010 draft on his Seattle Sports show on Thursday and mentioned that it was ‘Russell Okung or Trent Williams and Eric Berry or Earl Thomas’. I’m going to take that as validation of what we originally said, back on the old ‘blogspot’ website.

It’s fun to think how different things would’ve been if the LOB featured Berry instead of Thomas and if it was Williams playing left tackle instead of Okung. Imagine going from Walter Jones and the career he had to Williams and the career he’s having.

If you missed it yesterday please check out my interview with Troy Fautanu. He’s such a good player to talk to, so help support content like this by checking out our conversation, liking the video and leaving a comment:

If you enjoy the blog and appreciate what we do — why not consider supporting the site via Patreon — (click here)

An interview with Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu

I had the privilege today to interview Troy Fautanu, the exceptional offensive tackle from Washington. We talked about a number of topics — including the influence of Scott Huff and Ryan Grubb on his career, his playing mentality, whether he’d be interested in playing for the Seahawks and more. Please do check this interview out and share it around in other places if you can. Let’s get a lot of eyes on this — because Troy was fantastic to speak to and you’ll definitely enjoy listening to him.

A four round mock draft and a Seahawks seven-rounder

I’ve never done a four-round mock before. This is what happens when you’re on a seven-hour flight and none of the films on the plane are any good. I also wanted to run through some scenarios today with two weeks to go until the draft, including:

— The likelihood of Troy Fautanu & Taliese Fuaga being off the board by #16 and how the Seahawks pivot after that

— What a realistic trade-down scenario looks like

— How the Seahawks gain a pick in the ideal range to select a starting guard for this year

— What I think a Ron Wolf-influenced John Schneider might do now he’s in charge

If you want to see the four-round mock draft as one big list without any comments, click here.

First round

#1 Chicago (v/CAR) — Caleb Williams (QB, USC)
Williams has been locked in as the #1 pick since the minute the 2022 college season ended.

#2 Washington — Jayden Daniels (QB, LSU)
Daniels will be the second quarterback off the board.

#3 New England — Drake Maye -(QB, North Carolina)
I still think it’s very plausible that Eliot Wolf will prefer to trade down, grab a haul of picks and draft an offensive lineman instead.

TRADE #4 Minnesota (v/ARI) — JJ McCarthy (QB, Michigan)
The Vikings might still spring a surprise and use their stock to secure Michael Penix Jr and Byron Murphy — but they’re very analytically focused and McCarthy has the best data. This move costs them #11, #23 and a first next year.

TRADE #5 NY Jets (v/LAC) — Marvin Harrison Jr (WR, Ohio State)
The Jets are in extreme win-now mode and aggressively trade up to get arguably the best player in the draft, giving up their 2025 first rounder.

#6 New York Giants — Rome Odunze (WR, Washington)
He’s as close to a sure-thing as you’ll find.

#7 Tennessee — Malik Nabers (WR, LSU)
Brian Callahan once said in an interview that the key to success in the modern NFL is your quarterback and receivers. The Bengals drafted Ja’Marr Chase ahead of Penei Sewell and the Titans could follow suit. Plus, Brian brought his dad in — the best O-line coach in the league — to sort out the protection for Will Levis.

#8 Atlanta — Dallas Turner (DE, Alabama)
I thought his tape was underwhelming but the physical upside is unquestionable.

#9 Chicago — Troy Fautanu (T, Washington)
The best left tackle in the draft.

#10 LA Chargers (v/NYJ) — Taliese Fuaga (T, Oregon State)
The Chargers trade down and secure a player who screams ‘Harbaugh’.

#11 Arizona (v/MIN) — Jared Verse (DE, Florida State)
The Cardinals move down seven places and take a much needed pass rusher.

#12 Denver — Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia)
The Broncos don’t force things at quarterback and take the best player available.

#13 Las Vegas — Michael Penix Jr (QB, Washington)
Al Davis would be proud to see his team select the QB with the best deep ball in the draft.

#14 New Orleans — Joe Alt (T, Notre Dame)
I think teams will rate Fautanu and Fuaga higher.

#15 Indianapolis — Quinyon Mitchell (CB, Toledo)
The Colts fill a big need with a player who has excelled in the pre-draft process.

TRADE #16 Arizona (v/SEA) — Brian Thomas Jr (WR, LSU)
The Cardinals weren’t afraid to talk trade with the Seahawks at #5 a year ago and they pick up the phone again here. They repeat the act of trading down, then back up to go and get their new WR1, jumping the Jaguars. They give the Seahawks pick #66 and Seattle sends #179 to Arizona.

#17 Jacksonville — Terrion Arnold (CB, Alabama)
With Thomas Jr off the board, they pivot to Arnold at cornerback.

#18 Cincinnati — JC Latham (T, Alabama)
The Bengals love size at offensive tackle and Latham can start at guard as a rookie.

#19 LA Rams — Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)
This feels pretty scary.

#20 Pittsburgh — Amarius Mims (T, Alabama)
His upside is through the roof and he’ll go in the top-20.

#21 Miami — Laiatu Latu (DE, UCLA)
With injuries galore at this position, the Dolphins tap into the value on offer with Latu still available.

#22 Philadelphia — Chop Robinson (DE, Penn State)
With the top two cornerbacks off the board, the Eagles turn their attentions to an EDGE with the ability to be Philly’s answer to Micah Parsons.

TRADE #23 Washington (v/SEA, ARI, MIN, HOU) — Olu Fashanu (T, Penn State)
The Seahawks trade down for a second time, with the Commanders jumping up to usurp Dallas and Green Bay for an offensive tackle. They give Seattle #78 and #222 and swap the #152 pick to the Seahawks for #192. Seattle turns #16 into #36, #66 and #78.

#24 Dallas — Graham Barton (T/G/C, Duke)
The Cowboys seem to always do a good job drafting early for their O-line.

#25 Green Bay — Tyler Guyton (T, Oklahoma)
He has the ability to play left or right tackle.

#26 Tampa Bay — Jackson Powers-Johnson (C, Oregon)
The Buccs have a hole at center and they’ve liked size at this position in the past.

#27 Arizona (v/HOU) — Cooper DeJean (CB, Iowa)
Many people think he fits the Eagles’ defense — which means he’s also a fit for Jonathan Gannon. The Cardinals add Verse, Thomas Jr and DeJean in round one and get Minnesota’s 2025 first rounder too.

#28 Buffalo — Adonai Mitchell (WR, Texas)
The Bills get their Stefon Diggs replacement.

#29 Detroit — Nate Wiggins (CB, Clemson)
The Lions have a big need at corner and while he’s not the ‘dog’ that Devon Witherspoon was, they have similar playing styles. The Lions supposedly liked Witherspoon a lot.

TRADE #30 Tennessee (v/BAL) — Jordan Morgan (T/G, Arizona)
The Titans jump back into the first round to secure a player some believe can stay at left tackle, despite his short arms.

#31 San Francisco — Jer’Zhan Newton (DT, Illinois)
The 49ers love to invest in their defensive line in round one.

#32 Kansas City — Ladd McKonkey (WR, Georgia)
He could go earlier than this — he’s a fantastic player.

Round Two

#33 Carolina — Xavier Worthy (WR, Texas)
The Panthers need to keep adding weapons for Bryce Young.

#34 New England — Ricky Pearsall (WR, Florida)
The Patriots have to give their new QB a fighting chance and that means drafting a player who will go earlier than people think.

#35 Arizona — Kool-aid McKinstry (CB, Alabama)
If they use Cooper DeJean as a versatile chess piece, they’ll still need another outside cornerback.

#36 Seattle (v/WAS) — Darius Robinson (DE, Missouri)
Ron Wolf’s mantra was about building the trenches, focus on the tape and don’t worry too much about testing. Robinson fits that perfectly. He’s the type of player the Ravens would draft and his versatility, strength and ability to develop into ‘the’ voice in the locker room could appeal to the Seahawks.

#37 LA Chargers — Braden Fiske (DT, Florida State)
Harbaugh gets a new Justin Smith for his defense. Smith and Fiske both have short arms but they have similar playing styles and they’re both athletes.

#38 Baltimore (v/TEN) — Edgerrin Cooper (LB, Texas A&M)
The Ravens trade down and address a key need. Cooper is a perfect fit to replace Patrick Queen.

#39 Carolina (v/NYG) — Kamari Lassiter (CB, Georgia)
He’s being underrated in the media.

#40 Washington (v/CHI) — Ben Sinnott (TE, Kansas State)
He could be this year’s Sam LaPorta.

#41 Green Bay (v/NYJ) — Junior Colson (LB, Michigan)
A solid player who’s good at everything but not great in any particular area.

#42 Houston (v/MIN) — Mike Sanristil (CB, Michigan)
He seems like a player DeMeco Ryans will really like.

#43 Atlanta — T.J. Tampa (CB, Iowa State)
I loved his tape and have been on the round two bandwagon for a long time.

#44 Las Vegas — Troy Franklin (WR, Oregon)
The Raiders get a Duck for their new Husky to throw to downfield.

#45 New Orleans (v/DEN) — Keon Coleman (WR, Florida State)
He has a chance to be really good, regardless of a substandard forty time.

#46 Indianapolis — Malachi Corley (WR, Western Kentucky)
The ‘YAC King’ would bring a new element to the Colts’ offense.

#47 NY Giants (v/SEA) — Max Melton (CB, Rutgers)
He’s one of the big risers as the draft nears.

#48 Jacksonville — Xavier Legette (WR, South Carolina)
He has good size and dynamic downfield ability.

#49 Cincinnati — Ruke Orhorhoro (DT, Clemson)
He has everything — length, toughness and athleticism.

#50 Philadelphia (v/NO) — Javon Bullard (S, Georgia)
He’s an Eagle.

#51 Pittsburgh — Zach Frazier (C, West Virginia)
A tough, brutal center who fits the Steelers perfectly.

#52 LA Rams — Spencer Rattler (QB, South Carolina)
This is also a scary thought.

#53 Philadelphia — J’Tavion Sanders (TE, Texas)
The Eagles like to invest in depth at this position.

#54 Cleveland — Jalen McMillan (WR, Washington)
Too many people are sleeping on McMillan.

#55 Miami — Roman Wilson (WR, Michigan)
Another speed merchant for Miami.

#56 Dallas — Michael Hall Jr (DT, Ohio State)
He’s inconsistent and there are some speculated character issues — but as a specialist interior rusher he can deliver dynamism.

#57 Tampa Bay — Payton Wilson (LB, NC State)
Another player who would go earlier but for the injuries.

#58 Green Bay — Cole Bishop (S, Utah)
There’s a real feeling he’ll land in the late second round

#59 Houston — Tyler Nubin (S, Minnesota)
The best overall safety in the draft.

#60 Buffalo — Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (S, Texas Tech)
He’s so smooth, fast and instinctive.

#61 Detroit — Ja’Lynn Polk (WR, Washington)
He’s known as a ‘dog’ who plays through pain — another knee-cap biter for Detroit.

#62 Baltimore — Roger Rosengarten (T, Washington)
Another player the Seahawks and Ravens will both probably be eyeing.

#63 San Francisco — Cooper Beebe (G, Kansas State)
The 49ers add an immediate starter to their O-line.

#64 Kansas City — Kingsley Suamataia (T, BYU)
I think he has feet like cement but plenty of others like him earlier than this.

Round three

#65 Carolina — Tykee Smith (S, Georgia)

#66 Seattle (v/ARI) — Christian Haynes (G, Connecticut)
He plays with an edge, he’s athletic, he has the length they like and he’s high character. The Seahawks will probably want to try and get a pick in this range to tap into the Beebe/Haynes/Puni trio.

#67 Washington — Marshawn Kneeland (DE, Western Kentucky)
#68 New England — Patrick Paul (T, Houston)
#69 LA Chargers — Blake Corum (RB, Michigan)
#70 NY Giants — Dominick Puni (G, Kansas)
#71 Arizona (v/TEN) — T’Vondre Sweat (DT, Texas)
#72 NY Jets — Jaden Hicks (S, Washington State)
#73 Detroit (v/MIN) — Zak Zinter (G, Michigan)
#74 Atlanta — Mekhi Wingo (DT, LSU)
#75 Chicago — Bralen Trice (DE, Washington)
#76 Denver — Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)
#77 Las Vegas — Trey Benson (RB, Florida State)

#78 Seattle (v/WAS, SEA) — Theo Johnson (TE, Penn State)
The Seahawks regain their native pick from Washington after trading down in round one and take a dynamic athlete at tight end.

#79 Atlanta (v/JAX) — Ennis Rakestraw Jr (CB, Missouri)
#80 Cincinnati — Chris Braswell (DE, Alabama)

#81 Seattle (v/NO) — Dominique Hampton (S, Washington)
I can’t think of a better fit for Mike Macdonald’s system. Hampton is a quiet killer who played everywhere for Washington. He’s a great athlete, he’s disciplined and does his job very well. He’s going to go earlier than people realise.

#82 Indianapolis — Dewayne Carter (DT, Duke)
#83 LA Rams — Adisa Isaac (DE, Penn State)
#84 Pittsburgh — Jamari Thrash (WR, Louisville)
#85 Cleveland — Jaylen Wright (RB, Tennessee)
#86 Houston (v/PHI) — Jonathon Brooks (RB, Texas)
#87 Dallas — Sedrick Van Pran (C, Georgia)
#88 Green Bay — Brandon Dorlus (DE, Oregon)
#89 Tampa Bay — Cam Hart (CB, Notre Dame)
#90 Arizona (v/HOU) — Beaux Limmer (G, Arkansas)
#91 Green Bay (v/BUF) — Andru Phillips (CB, Kentucky)
#92 Tampa Bay (v/DET) — Caedan Wallace (T, Penn State)
#93 Baltimore — Calen Bullock (S, USC)
#94 San Francisco — Isaac Guerendo (RB, Rutgers)
#95 Kansas City — Cedric Gray (LB, North Carolina)
#96 Jacksonville — Kris Jenkins (DT, Michigan)
#97 Cincinnati — Javon Foster (T, Missouri)
#98 Pittsburgh (v/PHI) — Renardo Green (CB, Florida State)
#99 LA Rams — Trevin Wallace (LB, Kentucky)
#100 Washington (v/SF) — Brandon Coleman (T/G, TCU)

Round four

#101 Carolina — Marshawn Lloyd (RB, USC)

#102 Seattle (v/WAS) — McKinley Jackson (DT, Texas A&M)
He has the same kind of attitude and personality as Jarran Reed, was the emotional leader of the Texas A&M defense and he’s a warrior you want in the key games.

#103 New England — Jacob Cowing (WR, Arizona)
#104 Arizona — Maason Smith (DT, LSU)
#105 LA Chargers — Tip Reiman (TE, Illinois)
#106 Tennessee — Mason McCormick (G, South Dakota State)
#107 NY Giants — Ray Davis (RB, Kentucky)
#108 Minnesota — Brenden Rice (WR, USC)
#109 Atlanta — Tez Walker (WR, North Carolina)
#110 LA Chargers (v/CHI) — Javon Baker (WR, UCF)
#111 NY Jets — Malik Mustapha (S, Wake Forest)
#112 Las Vegas — Jeremiah Trotter (LB, Clemson)
#113 Baltimore (v/DEN) — Malik Washington (WR, Virginia)
#114 Jacksonville — Cade Stover (TE, Ohio State)
#115 Cincinnati — Jared Wiley (TE, TCU)
#116 Jacksonville (v/NO) — Jarvis Brownlee Jr (CB, Louisville)
#117 Indianapolis — Tylan Grable (T, UCF)

#118 Seattle — Ryan Flournoy (WR, SE Missouri State)
The Seahawks have often taken receivers in round four with Schneider as GM and Flournoy is their type of guy. He’s a high-character, sudden receiver with enormous hands who excelled during Senior Bowl week.

#119 Pittsburgh — Christian Mahogany (G, Boston College)
#120 Philadelphia (v/LAR) — D.J. James (CB, Auburn)
#121 Denver (v/MIA) — Jaylen Harrell (DE, Michigan)
#122 Chicago (v/PHI) — Brennan Jackson (DE, Washington State)
#123 Houston — Luke McCaffrey (WR, Rice)
#124 San Francisco (v/DAL) — Kitan Oladapo (S, Oregon State)
#125 Tampa Bay — Justin Eboigbe (DE, Alabama)
#126 Green Bay — Josh Newton (CB, TCU)
#127 Houston — Fabien Lovett (DT, Florida State)
#128 Buffalo — Tyrice Knight (LB, UTEP)
#129 Minnesota (v/DET) — Beau Brade (S, Maryland)
#130 Baltimore — Jarrett Kingston (G, USC)
#131 Kansas City — Kris Abrams-Draine (CB, Missouri)
#132 San Francisco — Kiran Amegadjie (T, Yale)
#133 Buffalo — Will Shipley (RB, Clemson)
#134 NY Jets (v/BUF) — Blake Fisher (T, Notre Dame)
#135 San Francisco — Michael Pratt (QB, Tulane)

The trades explained

Minnesota trades #11, #23 and their 2025 first round pick to Arizona for #4
The Vikings clearly have a plan after acquiring the #23 pick from Houston. Trading into the top-five still seems most likely (in this instance to land J.J. McCarthy) although I do wonder if they’ll instead try to work out a way to turn their picks into Michael Penix Jr and Byron Murphy.

The New York Jets trade #10 and their 2025 first round pick to the LA Chargers for #5
The Jets owner, GM and Head Coach are all desperately needing this season to be a success. They’ve band-aided an O-line together, they’ll hope Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy and in this scenario, they trade up to #5 to land another big-name target in Marvin Harrison Jr.

Arizona trades #23 and #66 to Seattle for #16 and #179
Per the trade chart, the points difference between #16 and #23 is 240 points. The #66 pick is worth 260 points and #179 is worth 20 points. Perfect. The Cardinals traded down and then up a year ago and they repeat the act here to get ahead of Jacksonville for Brian Thomas Jr.

Washington trades #36, #78, #152 and #222 to Seattle for #23 and #192
There’s a 220 points difference between picks #23 and #36. #78, #152 and #222 add up to 233 points, while #192 is worth 15 points. In total, this is 218 points so it’s almost perfect. The Commanders have a ton of stock and badly need a left tackle to protect their new quarterback, so they trade up for the falling Olu Fashanu.

Tennessee trades #38 and a 2025 third rounder to Baltimore for #30
The Titans took Malik Nabers at #7 so they move back into the late first round to get a left tackle in Jordan Morgan.

Full Seahawks seven-round projection

#36 (v/WAS) — Darius Robinson (DE, Missouri)
#66 (v/ARI) — Christian Haynes (G, Connecticut)
#78 (v/WAS, SEA) — Theo Johnson (TE, Penn State)
#81 (v/NO) — Dominique Hampton (S, Washington)
#102 (v/WAS) — McKinley Jackson (DT, Texas A&M)
#118 — Ryan Flournoy (WR, SE Missouri State)
#152 — (v/WAS, SEA) Nathaniel Watson (LB, Mississippi State)
#222 (v/WAS) — Karsen Barnhart (G, Michigan)
#235 — Emani Bailey (RB, TCU)

The thought process with this mock

I do think there’s a strong chance the Seahawks will ‘stick and pick’ if Fautanu or Fuaga are available at #16. If not, I think that’s the trigger point to try and trade down to gain more stock. This isn’t a deep roster currently — and they need to add talent in various positions. They also need to develop foundations for the new Head Coach.

What does that mean? It means a very trench-heavy, identity-setting draft class. It means prioritising toughness, physical play up front, versatility and trying to increase the level of violence on both sides of the ball. The Seahawks became increasingly finesse in the late Carroll years. There’s nothing finesse about this group.

While Robinson lacks twitch and agility, he does carry a lot of qualities I think Schneider and Macdonald will admire. He can play across the line, he can occupy blocks to create opportunities for others, his run defense is very good and he can wreak havoc. Kirby Smart highlighted him by name before Missouri’s game against Georgia. There’s some Jadeveon Clowney to his game (albeit a less-athletic version) in that while he looks ungainly and out of control at times, he still F’s plays up. He was dominant at the Senior Bowl, winning practise player of the week.

I also think Robinson could develop quickly into the voice of the team. Former Missouri team mates rave about him. I’ve interviewed one of them. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest within three years, this could be Robinson’s team.

The Seahawks have a huge need at guard but Schneider has made it clear he doesn’t intend to necessarily address that area in round one. Thus, the sweet-spot is going to be approximately pick #60-80 — where Cooper Beebe, Christian Haynes and Dominick Puni are set to go. Zak Zinter could also go in this range, medicals permitting.

By trading back they get the early third rounder they need to be in with a chance of getting one of these players. Haynes has everything they’re looking for — athleticism, intensity, an unmatched passion for the game, scheme-fit, aggression. He’d be a rookie starter filling a huge void in a value range.

Trading down a second time to gain another third round secures Theo Johnson — an extremely dynamic tight end whose best football will come at the next level. The Seahawks need to draft another tight end at some point and Ryan Grubb will have a lot of fun scheming opportunities for Johnson and Noah Fant.

Dominique Hampton is an ideal ‘Kyle Hamilton’ type defender who can play anywhere at safety and offer discipline, execution, violence and consistency. He tested brilliantly at the combine and will go earlier than many people think.

McKinley Jackson is toughness personified. When he speaks, teammates listen. He carries some of the leadership qualities you see from Jarran Reed and with Reed out of contract after this season, a pick like this would be ideal for planning ahead. He’s very capable of playing the one or three technique.

Ryan Flournoy is the kind of receiver the Seahawks take a chance on — extremely high character, great hands, enormous hands, sudden with excellent speed. He has a legit chance to shine in the NFL, despite not being one of the big names in this fantastic receiver class.

Nathaniel Watson called the plays on defense for Mississippi State and is a great blitzer (21 career sacks). These are things Macdonald has said are important for players in his scheme. Karsen Barnhart has positional versatility on the offensive line and Emani Bailey has the third-down ability to replace Deejay Dallas.

A lot of people will not be excited by a class like this. However, I do think it’s somewhat likely. The Seahawks know what type of team they want to be — they keep telling us what it is. With a new Head Coach fresh from the Harbaugh tree, it’s time to create an aggressive, tough, physical football team. This class would further enable you to achieve that goal. A lot of these players are also versatile and intelligent — which equally feels important for Macdonald.

Some thoughts on Seattle’s official-30 visits so far

The names are drip-feeding in as reporters share information on Twitter and players such as Matt Goncalves, Theo Johnson and Kam Kinchens share pictures on Instagram — but here are the confirmed names that have taken or are due to take official visits to Seattle so far:

Tyrice Knight (LB, UTEP)
Malachi Corley (WR, Western Kentucky)
John Rhys Plumlee (QB, UCF)
Grayson Murphy (EDGE, UCLA)
Nathaniel Watson (LB, Mississippi State)
Khristian Boyd (DT, Northern Iowa)
Theo Johnson (TE, Penn State)
Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)
Chop Robinson (EDGE, Penn State)
Travis Glover (T, Georgia State)
Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)
T’Vondre Sweat (DT, Texas)
Jared Verse (DE, Florida State)
Spencer Rattler (QB, South Carolina)
Matt Goncalves (T, Pittsburgh)
Kam Kinchens (S, Miami)
Qwan’Tez Stiggers (CB, Toronto)
Jowon Briggs (DT, Cincinnati)

I’m waiting on confirmation of a couple of players too, an offensive and defensive lineman, one of which visited Seattle last week and one who received an invitation just ahead of the weekend. (EDIT — one of them was Jowon Briggs, now confirmed).

If you look through Seattle’s draft history, they’ve taken players who visited. They’ve also been extremely careful to show minimal interest in other players they are targeting.

There were a couple of interesting anecdotes shared last week. ESPN’s Brady Henderson told Brian Nemhauser on HawkBlogger Mornings that a player really soured the Seahawks during one visit, as he complained about a busy pre-draft schedule and spent a ton of time on his phone. Albert Breer said the Patriots were put off A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel because they shared the same agent, had done a series of visits together and had become quite chummy. Thus, when they visited New England, they seemed a little too ‘relaxed’ together. It put off Bill Belichick, who instead drafted N’Keal Harry, who Breer said was known for turning on the fake charm during meetings.

Clearly, these things can produce a mixed-bag of results.

Malik McDowell visited Seattle in 2017. He had serious character flags but clearly was able to convince the Seahawks to roll the dice on his remarkable talent (it’s a shame we never got to see what he could do). A year ago, Devon Witherspoon visited the Seahawks (as did Anthony Bradford and Jerick Reed).

Of the list of 16 names above, the visits will have different meanings.

For example, Matt Goncalves has had serious injury issues at Pittsburgh. It’s possible his visit is about medical checks and completing his profile in terms of health/longevity.

Grayson Murphy, Qwan’Tez Stiggers and Khristian Boyd were not invited to the combine. Inviting them could be about medical checks too, plus having meetings that were not possible in Indianapolis.

If you follow the tea-leaves, increasingly it looks like five quarterbacks will be off the board before Seattle’s pick at #16 — Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, Drake Maye and Michael Penix Jr.

As noted on the blog and on the HawkBlogger Draft roundtable on Sunday, Bo Nix’s stock is ice-cold. He’s doing the rounds in the media, which is never a good sign this close to the draft. Todd McShay this week suggested he hasn’t spoken to a single team that has a first round grade on Nix. After a seriously underwhelming Senior Bowl and combine, all of Nix’s limitations were exposed. In my latest mock draft, I had Nix dropping into round three.

Spencer Rattler, meanwhile, is going to be a second round pick.

The Seahawks meeting with the two quarterbacks who are realistically going to be available to them isn’t a surprise. They need to start drafting quarterbacks. If either is available to Seattle, in a range they are comfortable, they need to be ready and prepared.

It’s also possible they would’ve had Penix Jr in for a visit, if they hadn’t already hired his former offensive coordinator. They could also invite him to the local pro-day. But they likely have all the intel they need on a player who should still be considered an option if he lasts to #16 (that seems increasingly unlikely).

The meeting with T’Vondre Sweat was likely arranged before his recent arrest and DWI charge. It’ll be convenient timing for Seattle to be able to grill him on that incident. They’ll also likely want to see what shape he’s in. It’s OK being 366lbs at the combine but if you’re 380-400lbs now it’ll reaffirm concerns teams have about his commitment to staying in shape. Drinking beyond the legal limited weeks before the draft then getting in a vehicle doesn’t seem like a good sign in that regard.

Nathaniel Watson has had some character issues in the past, including an arrest for an alleged DUI. The Seahawks will likely want to get to know what he’s all about too.

Kam Kinchens did not have a good 2023 season, in my opinion. There are things to like about his game — particularly his turnover production. However, his ability in space is majorly suspect. This play below sums up the problem:

There’s a feeling, after a bad combine, that Kinchens could drop into the fourth or even the fifth round range. He’s been seriously overrated in the media, including several mocks putting him in the first round during the college season. If he tumbles down the board, provided you’re willing to play him in a role that limits his weakness in space, he can be a useful addition. Getting intel on him is a good idea. He’s a serious individual and a man of few words — but he’s been praised for his attitude and the way he leads by example. Importantly for the Seahawks and Mike Macdonald’s system, he’s played all over the field — he’s a very versatile safety.

Then there are the ‘big’ names that are being widely tipped to be taken in range of the #16 pick — Jared Verse, Chop Robinson and Byron Murphy.

I do think all three are very viable options for the Seahawks. My opinion for a long time now has been that Troy Fautanu and Taliese Fuaga will be 1a and 1b in terms of preference for Seattle — with both being sufficiently good enough to snub trading down.

If both are gone — and if no reasonable trade-down offer is received — the Seahawks will have to pick. Verse, Robinson and Murphy make a lot of sense in a ‘best player available’ sense.

Verse has the kind of speed-to-power intensity that succeeds in the NFL. He’s a violent pass rusher, who does a ton of work both versus the pass and run and he’s adept at creating opportunities for others. Florida State loved to stunt him inside and have Braden Fiske peel around the edge. Macdonald loves to stunt too.

Robinson’s get-off and burst is elite-level. It’s something the Seahawks simply don’t have among their current group of edge rushers. His upside potential is to be a Micah Parsons-type pass rusher.

There aren’t many human’s like Murphy. You don’t often see players with his thick lower body yet minimal body fat on the top-half. He’s factory-made to play defensive tackle. His lower half reminds me of Jarran Reed when he was at Alabama — and he can similarly anchor and hold position because he’s so sturdy and explosive in his arse and thighs. Texas actually played Murphy, not Sweat, at nose tackle for a number of snaps in 2023. Yet he has the kind of twitch and athleticism of a pure pass rushing three-technique. The only issue is whether he’s capable of turning a high percentage of pressures in college to more finishing production. Is he ‘just’ a major disruptor or can he wreck games?

Gathering info on this trio makes a lot of sense. It’s also perhaps interesting that they’ve brought them in but none of the other first round offensive tackles have visited. We’ll see if the likes of J.C. Latham, Amarius Mims and Tyler Guyton make a trip. You could look at the lack of names here in two ways. Either they’re trying to mask their intentions — or if they can’t get to Fautanu and Fuaga, perhaps they are prepared to pivot to a highly graded defender.

Personally, I think that would be a savvy move. There is some risk with the tackles. Latham is massive, talented and light on his feet — but we’ve seen several huge offensive tackles come into the NFL in recent years and struggle because they’re ‘too’ big. Mims has talent for days but he had eight college starts. Guyton is very quick and athletic — but it’s hard to forget watching Darius Robinson beat him off the edge at the Senior Bowl.

Verse, Robinson and Murphy just seem like surer things. You can well imagine all three becoming key starters in the league.

It’s just a shame the Seahawks have a huge black-hole between picks #16 and #81. Not feeling comfortable sticking and picking, to try and fill that void, is difficult to stomach. If they get a great trade offer, though, it’ll be extremely tempting to get more shots at this talented class.

I’d love to know how Schneider went from a year ago openly talking about how they wanted to get more picks for the 2024 draft (after acquiring an extra third rounder from Denver) because they thought it was a deeper class, to ending up in a situation where they have only picks #16 and #81 in the top-100.

If you missed it earlier, check out Curtis Allen’s awesome new article on Seattle’s quarterback situation in relation to the draft.

Curtis Allen: Why the Seahawks shouldn’t draft a quarterback this year, and why they should

This is a guest article written by Curtis Allen…

With several quarterbacks available in this draft and the Seahawks having two quarterbacks on the roster who have had varying degrees of NFL success, there has been much discussion about whether they should break their draft cycle habit and seriously invest in the quarterback position for the first time since they drafted Russell Wilson in 2012.

It would be beneficial to explore both sides of this question as objectively as possible.

Why The Seahawks Should Not Draft a Quarterback

1-They have several long-term needs at other positions

The new administration has done an admirable job of filling the holes on the roster for this season.  However, many of the moves are merely temporary fixes.  Thankfully, many of the positions the Seahawks need to address have deep pools of prospects available in this year’s draft.  There is agreeable symmetry.

The Offensive Line is where the most questions are.  Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford have not yet established themselves as long-term options.  There are injury concerns about Abe Lucas.  Nobody knows who the starting Left Guard will be at this point.

Thankfully, this draft is the richest in recent memory for Offensive Line picks, something that should not be taken for granted.  There is quality all along the line available for the team to choose from.

Tyler Lockett is currently scheduled for a $31 million cap hit in 2025 and may choose to retire next year.  Noah Fant is the only contracted Tight End for 2025.

This draft is rich in Wide Receiver prospects and there are some Tight Ends who could match up very nicely with the team’s style of play.

On the Defensive Line, Jarran Reed and Jonathan Hankins are free agents next year and are in their 30’s.  Dre’Mont Jones is an open question and may not be on the team next year.  Mike Morris and Cameron Young are still mostly unknowns.  As we all know, investment along the Defensive Line is always a priority.

There is depth at the interior spot in this draft, something that is not a common occurrence.  Byron Murphy, T’vondre Sweat, Darius Robinson, Mekhi Wingo and Ruke Orhorhoro are among several tempting targets to pair with Leonard Williams.

In the pass rush spot, the team is well-provisioned — but they may not be able to say no if someone like Chop Robinson or Jared Verse is there at pick 16.

The Safety position has several intriguing prospects in the draft and the team only has Rayshawn Jenkins and Jerrick Reed contracted for 2025.

At the Inside Linebacker spot, the team has only Drake Thomas contracted in 2025.  Enough said.

They have so many needs, they could be forgiven for avoiding the Quarterback position in this draft and building their roster base with a new administration entering their first season.

In fact, it might play to their advantage to have a Quarterback or two sitting there at pick 16.  Some starry-eyed team might be talked into giving up more than they should to get their preferred target and the Seahawks could give their roster reset a charge by trading down and tapping into the depth of this draft at several positions.

2-They Have Already “Drafted” a Quarterback (technically)

By swapping picks with Washington to acquire Sam Howell, it could be argued they have already made their investment in the Quarterback position for the offseason.

Nobody should think of Howell as the long-term solution — but there are several intriguing reasons to consider him a prospect for the team.

As several outlets have noted, Howell is the same age as some of the Quarterbacks entering the draft but has two seasons of NFL experience already.  With eighteen career starts, he has a leg up on those prospects.

Backup Quarterbacks at his age coming off a 17-start, 3900-yard, 21-Touchdown season are not readily available for a simple mid-round pick.

Not to be ignored is that Howell threw 21 Interceptions and took 65 Sacks for Washington last year.

It is fair to say a good chunk of those sacks were Howell’s doing.  Washington’s Offensive Line performed adequately, and Howell frequently suffered from the classic ‘rookie trying to do too much’ syndrome.

It is worth noting that 40 of those sacks came in the first seven games of Howell’s season, starts 2-8 of his NFL career (a crazy average of 5.7 sacks per game).  The final 10 games of the season saw Howell’s rate drop to a more earthly 2.5 sacks per game.

Something else needs to be said, though:  The Commanders ran out by far the most lopsided run/pass split in the NFL last year, with a 34/66 split.

Just for reference, the next highest split came from Cincinnati at 36.5/63.5, a 2.5% swing, and only five other franchises were above 60% passing.

The point being, Eric Bienemy and Ron Rivera intentionally game-planned to place their young Quarterback in front of the cannons and asked him to advance while dodging live fire like no other Quarterback in the NFL.

While still learning the position!

And Howell did it — and lived to tell the tale.

As a thought experiment, ask yourself how, say, Michael Penix Jr, J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye would have done in Year Two of their NFL careers with that kind of setup?

That has got to account for something.  To take that kind of beating and keep going.  When John Schneider says the team got a gamer in Howell, you can take that to the bank.

Is Howell the long-term future at the position for the Seahawks?  Possibly.

At the very least, his acquisition demonstrates a step in the right direction of addressing the position.  And it may be the only one the Seahawks intend to make this year.

3-Geno Smith Deserves a Chance to Work with This New Regime

2023 was not a great year for Smith.  His numbers were a sharp decline from the previous year.

A good portion of his regression could be directly apportioned to the coaching staff.  There is an obvious connection between the product on the field last year and the Seahawks ownership choosing to move in a different direction this offseason.

First, the low-hanging fruit.  The defense the team rolled out was very poor.  They were #25 in the NFL in Points Allowed and #31 in Rushing Yards Allowed.  That alone puts the offense under enormous strain.

On the other side of the ball, we have the Seahawks’ running game.  This is one of the most under-the-radar aspects about the 2023 team.  Their average dropped from 4.8 yards per carry in 2022 (#7 overall) to 4.1 yards per carry (#16 overall) last season.

Both factors conspired to make the Seahawks the worst team in the NFL in terms of time of possession.  Seriously – the bottom half the league averaged 28-29 minutes per game.  The Seahawks averaged 26.5 minutes per game.  They were the worst by a wide margin.

That means the Seahawks constantly asked Smith to not only be highly effective to keep up with the other team’s offense, but to be highly efficient at the same time, knowing the offense would not get the ball often or with much clock.

Add to that, their game-planning was egregiously bad at times, further hamstringing Smith in the performance of his duties.

All this before we talk about the team going stretches of the season without their starting Offensive Tackles.

One of the biggest effects on Smith’s play was his explosive ability diminished in dramatic fashion last year.

In 2022 he had 18 touchdown passes that were 15 yards or longer.  In 2023?  He only had six.

How would, say, Will Levis or C.J. Stroud have performed for the Seahawks in 2023 with those factors working against them?

There is an argument to be made that stabilizing the defense and a renewed focus on the running game would give Smith many more chances to be successful in 2024.

He has a very workable cap hit in 2024, with a current number of $26.4 million.  For 2025, his current cap hit is $38.5 million.  (Keep in mind that $15 million of escalators are available to him with an improved performance in 2024.)

If the Seahawks want to extend Smith, they can pick up almost $19 million of cap room in 2025.  Cap hits of $26.4 million in 2024 (age 34), $19.5 million in 2025 (age 35) and say a $30-35 million number in 2026 (age 36) are easily workable for both Smith and the Seahawks.

Why the Seahawks Should Draft a Quarterback

1-The Priority of the Position

If you do not have a top-five NFL Quarterback, you always need to be on the lookout for one.

John Schneider made comments after the draft last year about acquiring a Quarterback.  He has followed that up by making many comments this offseason about how the Seahawks have neglected the position when it comes to the draft.

He is aware of their history.

We talked above about all their other roster needs.  Those needs are real.  And some of them are acute.  But a top Quarterback comes along so rarely, if you do not have one, it should be always be considered the most important need.

If there is a Quarterback the Seahawks rate available at pick #16 (or if they can work out a reasonable trade up), they are almost duty-bound to select him.

There might be another reason to draft a Quarterback that is unique to the Seahawks:

Their coaching staff is set up very, very well to take advantage of the depth in this draft and free agent market.

Mike Macdonald has demonstrated an ability to develop players on defense that do not cost the team a premium in draft capital or salary cap space.  He has an energetic staff on defense, ready to implement his vision and several talented veteran players already at his disposal.

On the offensive side of the ball, Ryan Grubb and Scott Huff will bring a depth of knowledge not unlike Pete Carroll did when he first came to the Seahawks from USC.  Being involved in recruiting, playing with and against the top college talent, and scouting opposition players to prepare to win games at the highest level gives them a leg up like no other team has.

It is very possible that we see a Seahawks team that can make good use of this brief window to add late-round picks and undrafted free agents that can provide an impact.

That being the case, they could easily reason that they can afford to skip needy areas early in the draft in favor of a big-ticket item like a Quarterback.

2-The Timeline of this Team Strongly Warrants Selecting a Quarterback

The Seahawks are bringing in whole new systems on both sides of the ball.  That fact alone warrants a ‘honeymoon season’ on expectations to get the entire organization aligned.

Both Schneider and Macdonald have demonstrated with their words and their attendance (or lack thereof) at functions like the Scouting Combine and Pro Days that they are extremely busy putting their imprint on this organization.

It is already time for their first actual football activity starting Monday.  There they will start laying the foundation for how they practice, what the organization expects of their players and installing the basic tenets of their offense and defense on the practice field.

While the roster is by no means complete, they have several good pieces that can ease this transition in 2024 and be ready in 2025 or 2026 to make a deep playoff run.

Geno Smith will be 35-36 around the time this team is ready to seriously compete.  The rising cap cost and the question of a performance drop-off as he ages must be considered.  That is not a popular notion among fans but given the dramatic impact on team success the Quarterback has, I can guarantee you it is being discussed inside Seahawk Headquarters.

A Quarterback drafted in 2024 who has been groomed for a season – or has even perhaps won the job as a rookie like Russell Wilson did – would be ideally placed to rapidly rise just as this team is hitting its stride on both sides of the ball.  The Seahawks would have enough cap room to both pay their core players acquired in the 2022 and 2023 drafts and add some premier talent from the market.

As an aside, to me this is why Michael Penix Jr is an intriguing prospect for the Seahawks to consider if he is available to them.  He has the arm strength, athletic ability and leadership traits you want in a Quarterback in excess.

But Penix might be perfectly placed to be a unique draft pick in recent NFL history, as a player who:

— Would have time to develop if that is what the Seahawks decide is needed.  Geno Smith could guide this team, Sam Howell could be the primary backup, and Penix can just focus on learning the nuances of the NFL and eventually emerge after a period like Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love or Patrick Mahomes did.

— Is not starting out on a team with expansion-level talent.  He would have three fantastic Wide Receivers, two bookend Offensive Tackles, a top Tight End and three Running Backs who can be pressure-release valves as he adjusts to the game.  Not to mention an improved defense.

— Would step into an offensive system he has lived and breathed for the last two years.  He has strong relationships with Grubb and Huff.  He would know their terminology, how they think, how they relate to their players and have a leg up like no other rookie would have.  No doubt Grubb will not implement the exact same offense in the NFL that he ran at Washington.  Yet Penix has a knowledge base to work from that no one else on the offense will.  He might be a team leader from Day One, schooling teammates in the system and acting as a facilitator between the players and coaches.

There is more than the usual incentive for the Seahawks to consider Penix.

3-The Value Proposition

Hitting on a Quarterback on a rookie contract is the best and easiest way to substantially increase your viability as a Super Bowl contender.

The Seahawks practically invented this method, paying Russell Wilson $300,000 a year and building around him.

Look at what the Houston Texans have done by hitting on a rookie Quarterback and having an excellent Defensive Head Coach.  The Seahawks could be even better-placed to replicate that model, as they are not starting with a team that has ‘expansion-plus’ level roster talent that the Texans did.

The 2025 salary cap situation is already very, very tight for the Seahawks and they will need to create room to continue progressing.  Shedding a veteran Quarterback’s salary is a very big way to do that.

4-The Current Quarterbacks on the Roster Have a Ceiling

We can all agree that for Sam Howell to become a Super Bowl-winning Quarterback, a dramatic and unexpected improvement will need to happen.

What about Geno Smith?  What is his ceiling?

Most agree that he slots in at about the #10-15 Quarterback in the NFL.

Is that good enough to get the Seahawks to a Championship?  Honestly.

Championship-caliber Quarterbacks elevate their teams in a way that others cannot.   

When the defense is being trampled.  When the offensive line is leaky and the running game is not clicking.  When they’ve thrown a couple of poor interceptions.  When they’re on the road in a tough environment and it is cold and raining.

Top Quarterbacks buckle down, command the game and will their teams to victory more often than not.

Brass tacks:  Is Geno Smith that kind of Quarterback?

He is a good Quarterback.  At times, a very good Quarterback.

But we frequently see ‘Goldilocks’ type of play from Smith.

He is very good if the offensive line is having a good day.  If the defense makes stops and does not let the team get too far behind.  If the running game is more than just an attempt to keep defenders honest.

If their safety takes a ball off his forehead and it comes down in the arms of the good guys.

Then we get the ‘very good’ version of Smith.  But otherwise, it is hard to depend on him to overcome big obstacles.

John Schneider has acknowledged this in his words this offseason.  Asked to assess Smith’s play as quarterback, he pointed out he has had good halves and not-good halves in each of the last two seasons.

Schneider and Macdonald also frequently pivoted to talking up Drew Lock when asked about the Quarterback position from Day One, and had steadfastly refused to openly say that Smith is their starting Quarterback for 2024 until very recently.

These are not the comments of a leadership team that believes Smith is The Guy to elevate them to a championship.

One path they could pursue is to focus intently on building up every other spot on the roster to make everything just right for Smith to succeed.  But at that point, would it be too late because Smith has aged out of the game and is carrying a prohibitively expensive cap number?

If the answer to these concerns leans more toward yes than no, the Seahawks need to commit to drafting a Quarterback.  The downside of taking that chance cannot outweigh the upside of staying with the familiar and comfortable if that choice cannot take them where they want to go.

——

What do you think?  Should the Seahawks draft a Quarterback this year or not? Have your say in the comments section.

Monday draft notes: T’Vondre Sweat tanks stock, Bo Nix visits Seattle, Cooper DeJean Seahawks chatter & more

T’Vondre Sweat tanks his stock

There were already concerns about Sweat within the league. The feeling before the 2023 college season was he couldn’t control his weight and that he’d failed to live up to his talent at Texas. There was hope the light had finally switched on going into his final season — and so it proved. Sweat had a terrific 2023.

The weight concerns remained, though. They developed further when he refused to weigh-in at the Senior Bowl. Sweat performed very well in Mobile and when he weighed in at 366lbs at the combine, things seemed to be going well.

That is until he was arrested on Sunday morning and charged with DWI.

When you’re two-and-a-half weeks away from the draft, not being able to keep your nose clean means one of two things. Either Sweat has a problem, or he’s incredibly stupid. Neither will do much for his stock.

Further to this, it’s now being reported that Sweat was ‘up front’ with teams about his ‘partying’ and that he ‘made it a point of emphasis (to teams) that it was all in the past’. So much for that.

This is going to tank his stock. Like I said, there were already concerns about his weight and conditioning. Now it appears he lied to teams that he’s stopped partying — and has shown he cannot be trusted when he’s being charged with a DWI so close to the draft. He couldn’t even just stay at home for a fortnight and binge Netflix or whatever.

There were already people thinking he’d last into round three. Where he goes now is anyone’s guess.

The Seahawks might be sensing an opportunity here. Reportedly, he’s set to visit Seattle for an official visit later this week. If he’s tanked his stock enough to end up in day three, it’d be a shot to nothing.

Bo Nix visits the Seahawks

You can read too much into these things but it was certainly interesting to hear the Oregon quarterback had taken an official visit to Seattle.

So what does it mean?

My best guess is this — Nix’s stock seems to be sinking. He’s doing a lot of media — doing long interviews with Colin Cowherd and Chris Simms recently. While the likes of Michael Penix Jr are being talked up a ton, Nix’s name has mostly dropped off the radar apart from the occasional, slightly lazy, connection to Sean Payton and Denver.

In my latest mock draft I had the Broncos trading up for J.J. McCarthy, with the Vikings instead pursuing Penix Jr (more on that in a moment). If this scenario came to pass, who takes Nix? He doesn’t feel like a Raider. After a mediocre combine and Senior Bowl, it’s possible he could drop into round three.

Maybe the Seahawks are anticipating this possibility? I have Nix graded in round three. If he’s there for Seattle, it’d be justifiable to consider him. If their intention is to start taking shots at quarterback until they find the guy, this would make sense.

After all, John Schneider was in Green Bay when the Packers used a second rounder on Brian Brohm, despite having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers on the roster. When you don’t have the long-term answer, you look until you find it.

Ryan Grubb also attended Nix’s pro-day in person. I think they’re doing homework here. But I’m not convinced it’s much more than due diligence just in case Nix is available in a range few anticipated at the turn of the year.

One thing to remember — it’s been reported fairly extensively that Schneider liked Andy Dalton a lot in 2011. It’s even been suggested they had his name written on a card that was never turned in. Just keep that in mind.

The truth about Cooper DeJean

I’ve seen an increasing number of people suggest the Seahawks might use a first round pick on the Iowa defender, with the feeling he could be Mike Macdonald’s ‘Kyle Hamilton’ in Seattle.

I think this is 2+2=5, just like the talk about Seattle signing Patrick Queen, Geno Stone or Jadeveon Clowney because they were in Baltimore.

The truth is DeJean is nothing like Hamilton. They don’t have similar playing styles, physical profiles or college backgrounds. DeJean played almost exclusively as a zone cornerback in college. He had 1183 snaps at corner for Iowa in 2022 and 2023. He only had 173 snaps in the slot, 23 in the box and one snap at deep safety.

Projecting him to safety based on this is pure guesswork. I get the feeling it’s because it’s widely accepted that his biggest flaw as a prospect is stiffness in his hips in transition. So because he’s a great athlete and had some opportunistic picks, stick him at safety. There’s nothing to say he’ll make that transition smoothly — so it’d be a gamble for any team in round one. Especially one with major issues in the trenches who just signed two veteran safety’s.

There’s really no reason for the Seahawks to do this. There are a cluster of safety’s set to be available between rounds 2-4 who’ve actually done roles similar to Hamilton’s in Baltimore. Cole Bishop for example had 247 deep snaps, 180 snaps in the box, 25 at corner and 97 in the slot in 2023. He had 553 snaps in the slot or the box in 2022. Dominique Hampton had 366 at deep safety, 296 in the box, 249 in the slot and 36 at cornerback in 2023. He had 503 in the slot in 2022 alone.

Hampton is far better suited to this role and I think he’ll be a round three pick, maybe early fourth. If the Seahawks really believe they need this type of player — they’re better off taking someone like that.

As far as athleticism goes — DeJean ran a 4.43 pro-day forty today. Bishop ran a 4.45 at the combine. Why would you take one in the first round, when Bishop (and others) will be available later?

What the Ron Wolf tree tells us

A few weeks ago I was speaking to someone who used to work for Wolf. I asked what his approach to drafting was, given John Schneider credits Wolf as a mentor. I was told that Wolf was big on the trenches. ‘Trenches, trenches, trenches’ was the way it was emphasised to me. Very little focus was paid to the combine. Wolf wanted football players and relied on the tape. A good testing performance would simply give you a nudge to return to the tape to see if there was anything you’d missed.

What does this mean for the Seahawks in the 2024 draft? They might not focus on certain physical traits the way they did under Carroll (although, that said, the Packers seem to share similar preferences and ideals under Brian Gutekunst). Physically dominant trench players (but not necessarily amazing testers) could be the focus — even if said players lack eye-catching ‘twitch’.

It’s why I’m keeping Darius Robinson in mind. I think the Seahawks are going to focus on the O-line. However, if they trade down and out of range for the best O-liners, Robinson could be an alternative first pick. He’s the type of player Baltimore and Pittsburgh draft. Cam Heyward ran the same forty and jumped the same vertical (he was only 9lbs heavier). Robinson is big, physical, mature, has supreme leadership qualities and can play numerous positions on the D-line. He might not be the best athlete and there may be some stiffness in his movement — but he went to the Senior Bowl and showed he can win 1v1.

Abe Lucas could be the key to the draft

If the Seahawks really do believe he has a ‘chronic’ knee injury, the chances of them drafting a right tackle are massively increased. This is an unusually strong draft at right tackle.

There’s a lot of talk online about Troy Fautanu and Taliese Fuaga — for good reason. I think they’ll be 1a and 1b targets for Seattle (I just don’t expect either to last to #16). After that, you hear chatter about Byron Murphy and players like DeJean who we talked about earlier.

There’s not enough talk about the right tackles given the concern about Lucas. J.C. Latham, Amarius Mims and Tyler Guyton are very realistic options for Seattle. Any decision on whether to trade down could be dictated by their confidence in one of the three being available, or Graham Barton, if they trade down — assuming Fautanu and Fuaga are gone.

Either way — given Seattle’s O-line needs, lack of investment in the unit so far this year and the fact it’s a great offensive line draft — I’d be shocked if the Seahawks didn’t use two of their first three picks on offensive linemen. They might do what they did in 2011 and go O-line in round one, then in round three. They might even try to use one of their fourth rounders to move up from #81.

A scenario where they go one of Fautanu/Fuaga (to play right tackle), or if they’re gone one of Latham/Mims/Guyton (to play right tackle), then find a way to get into the Christian Haynes, Cooper Beebe, Dominick Puni, Zak Zinter range for a guard. If they end up taking Barton with their top pick, they might try to get Roger Rosengarten to play right tackle.

If they can hit on two really talented offensive linemen in this draft, the class will be a success. It would give them a chance, under Scott Huff and Ryan Grubb’s guidance, to create an aggressive, young, athletic O-line.

Further thoughts on Minnesota’s draft plan

In my latest mock, I had the Vikings shocking the NFL. They didn’t trade up from #11 and instead drafted Byron Murphy. Then, they traded up from #23 to #12 to get Michael Penix Jr.

The thought is, what’s better? Spending three first round picks to get J.J. McCarthy? Or spending three first round picks to get Murphy and Penix Jr? It’s a no-brainer for me.

I think they are interested in moving up to #4 but they’re trying to smoke Arizona out. They know the Broncos can’t beat their best offer, because they have two first round picks this year. All Denver can do is offer three firsts, eliminating a serious chance to build around their QB until 2027.

Can you do that for McCarthy? I appreciate people in the media now saying ‘the league likes him better than fans and amateur scouts’. Fine. But is he worth spending three first round picks on? There’s a difference between justifying taking him with your native pick in round one and mortgaging your next two drafts to acquire him.

I suspect Minnesota has offered Arizona #11 and #23 and are holding that position. The Cardinals are trying to get others to offer more and then it’ll be up to Denver to determine whether they want to do something daft. If they do, Minnesota pivoting to Penix Jr could be extremely plausible.

Low and behold, the Vikings had Murphy in for an official-30 visit today.

I’ll say this though — if Minnesota comes out of this draft with Murphy and Penix to add to what they already have, I’d be pretty jealous.

Updated full two-round mock draft and a Seahawks seven-rounder

I think today’s mock is a realistic and fair projection for the Seahawks. I think it’d deserve a reasonable review if it happened, very much in the ‘they did the best they could’ category. However, I also think it’s nowhere near enough for this team to get to where it needs to be.

I was listening to Brian Nemhauser recently and he made a point I very much agree with. The Seahawks need a transformational draft. We’ve seen teams do it. Look at the Texans. They’ve gone from league laughing stock to contender in 12 months — all based on a highly successful 2023 draft class.

Other teams have also propelled themselves into contention with a strong draft. The Saints in 2017 drafted Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams, Alvin Kamara, Alex Anzalone and Trey Hendrickson. They had a 39-15 regular season record over the next four seasons, dominated the NFC South and only missed out on a Super Bowl appearance due to incredible misfortune in playoff games against the Rams and Vikings.

I still think the Seahawks had good drafts in 2022 and 2023. I don’t think either has been transformational, though. The 2022 class flirted with it but key players didn’t take the big step forward we hoped in 2023. Now, it’s starting to look ‘decent’ rather than ‘transformational’.

Perhaps the hope is the new coaching staff can elevate both classes? If the argument is that Pete Carroll and his staff essentially held everyone back over the last two years, then it’s organisational malpractice that they didn’t move on from Carroll sooner. It’s weird to think now that they allowed Carroll the chance to be in control when the Wilson trade haul was used, then fired him immediately after the resources were spent.

Admittedly, having a transformational draft isn’t easy — otherwise every non-contender would do it. Yet the Seahawks are going to have to have one of these classes — as they did in the 2010-12 period every year — to propel themselves out of middling franchise status.

The draft I’ve projected below isn’t transformational. It won’t tilt the field in Seattle’s favour in the NFC West. It’ll be a good draft and we’ll be able to say it deserves a thumbs up. They need more than that though. Somehow, if we want this team to be great again, they’re going to have to find a way to do something special in a draft. Otherwise they’ll remain stuck in the middle ground of the NFL, with the best case scenario being a ‘make up the numbers’ playoff appearance.

It’s a full two-round projection below with five trades included. I’ve pitched some different scenarios here that I think are quite interesting and not that unrealistic. I’ve given my reasoning on the trades and thoughts on Seattle’s picks below. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Round one

#1 Chicago (v/CAR) — Caleb Williams (QB, USC)
It’s been a foregone conclusion for a long time that Williams would be the #1 pick.

#2 Washington — Jayden Daniels (QB, LSU)
For me, he’s the clear #2 quarterback on the board.

#3 New England — Drake Maye -(QB, North Carolina)
I think they could easily trade out of this spot, with Eliot Wolf targeting an offensive lineman with the first pick instead of a quarterback.

TRADE #4 Denver (v/ARI) — JJ McCarthy (QB, Michigan)
We all assume this will be Minnesota’s move — but what if they have a different plan? Instead, the Broncos are the aggressor.

#5 LA Chargers — Marvin Harrison Jr (WR, Ohio State)
For all the talk of O-line, they need a receiver and are perfectly placed to land a potential star.

#6 New York Giants — Rome Odunze (WR, Washington)
Tony Pauline mentioned this week that some teams worry about Malik Nabers going to a big-city team and have Odunze rated above him as a consequence.

#7 Tennessee — Malik Nabers (WR, LSU)
Everyone says they’ll go O-line here. Brian Callahan is on the record as saying the modern NFL relies on dynamic quarterback and receiver play. He’ll trust his dad to put together a functioning offensive line. Remember when everyone thought the Bengals, with Callahan as OC, should take a tackle and they took a dynamic LSU receiver instead? That worked out OK.

#8 Atlanta — Dallas Turner (DE, Alabama)
I think Turner’s tape is massively underwhelming but there’s no doubt he’s a physical specimen.

#9 Chicago — Troy Fautanu (T, Washington)
I think he’s the best left tackle in the draft and teams may well agree.

#10 NY Jets — Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia)
They’re in win-now mode and take another dynamic weapon.

#11 Minnesota — Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)
The Vikings don’t trade up — yet — and instead stay right here and take Byron Murphy to be a dynamic interior rusher.

TRADE #12 Minnesota (v/ARI, DEN) — Michael Penix Jr (QB, Washington)
Now the Vikings trade up — right in front of the Raiders. The Cardinals move down again, accumulating future first round picks from both Denver and Minnesota. In this scenario, the Vikings’ plan wasn’t to use their picks to trade into the top-five. It was to make sure they get Murphy and a quarterback in an attempt to contend ASAP.

#13 Las Vegas — Taliese Fuaga (T, Oregon State)
After missing out on Penix Jr, they settle for a Raiders’ style O-liner.

#14 New Orleans — Joe Alt (T, Notre Dame)
Everyone thinks he’ll be the first O-liner taken but he just reminds me of Mike McGlinchey.

#15 Indianapolis — Quinyon Mitchell (CB, Toledo)
The Colts have a need at cornerback and Mitchell’s had an outstanding draft process.

TRADE #16 Philadelphia (v/SEA) — Terrion Arnold (CB, Alabama)
With the first cornerback coming off the board at #15, the Eagles don’t hang about. They give the Seahawks a fourth rounder (#120), a fifth rounder (#161) and swap a second round pick in 2025 for a fourth rounder to move up.

#17 Jacksonville — Brian Thomas Jr (WR, LSU)
After losing Calvin Ridley, the Jaguars get a replacement.

#18 Cincinnati — JC Latham (T, Alabama)
The Bengals love size on their offensive line. Latham can play guard in year one, then kick outside to right tackle in year two.

#19 LA Rams — Chop Robinson (DE, Penn State)
The Rams get a steal with Robinson’s dynamic get-off and remarkable edge-bending ability. He’s wildly underrated with special qualities.

#20 Pittsburgh — Amarius Mims (T, Alabama)
There’s a feeling the incredible looking Mims won’t get out of the top-20.

#21 Miami — Laiatu Latu (DE, UCLA)
With injuries to their starters, the Dolphins might be prepared to tap into the value of taking Latu here.

#22 Seattle — Graham Barton (T/G/C, Duke)
The Seahawks have Steve Hutchinson as an advisor in their draft room. Hutchinson was 6-5, 315lbs, had shorter arms (32 1/8 inches) and played with an edge. He might see a bit of himself in Barton, who’s 6-5, 313lbs, has 32 7/8 inch arms and plays with an edge.

#23 Arizona (v/MIN, HOU, CLE) — Jared Verse (DE, Florida State)
After trading down 19 spots, they still get Verse and a haul of picks. What a draft this would be for the Cardinals.

#24 Dallas — Olu Fashanu (T, Penn State)
I think he might last longer than people think.

#25 Green Bay — Tyler Guyton (T, Oklahoma)
They need to add to the tackle position and Guyton can play on the left or right side of the line.

TRADE #26 Washington (v/TB) — Jordan Morgan (T/G, Arizona)
The Commanders see the left tackle options running out so move up in a deal with the Buccs to get Morgan.

#27 Arizona (v/HOU) — Nate Wiggins (CB, Clemson)
The Cardinals continue to build their defense up with a fast, talented cornerback.

#28 Buffalo — Adonai Mitchell (WR, Texas)
The Bills replace Stefon Diggs without needing to trade up.

#29 Detroit — Kamari Lassiter (CB, Georgia)
I think people are sleeping way too much on Lassiter, who I liked a lot on tape and in combine drills.

#30 Baltimore — Ladd McKonkey (WR, Georgia)
The Ravens take a dynamic outside receiver who is Mr. Reliable with excellent upside.

#31 San Francisco — Jer’Zhan Newton (DT, Illinois)
The 49ers continue to use first round picks on their defensive line.

#32 Kansas City — Cooper DeJean (CB, Iowa)
The Chiefs generally draft for top-tier physical traits.

Round two

TRADE #33 Tennessee (v/CAR) — Roger Rosengarten (T, Washington)
#34 New England — Kingsley Suamataia (T, BYU)
#35 Arizona — Ricky Pearsall (WR, Florida)
#36 Tampa Bay (v/WAS) — Jackson Powers-Johnson (C, Oregon)
#37 LA Chargers — Darius Robinson (DE, Missouri)
#38 Carolina (v/TEN) — Xavier Worthy (WR, Texas)
#39 Carolina (v/NYG) — Ben Sinnott (TE, Kansas State)
#40 Washington (v/CHI) — Malachi Corley (WR, Western Kentucky)
#41 Green Bay (v/NYJ) — Junior Colson (LB, Michigan)
#42 Houston (v/MIN) — Kool-aid McKinstry (CB, Alabama)
#43 Atlanta — T.J. Tampa (CB, Iowa State)
#44 Las Vegas — Troy Franklin (WR, Oregon)
#45 New Orleans (v/DEN) — Keon Coleman (WR, Florida State)
#46 Indianapolis — Braden Fiske (DT, Florida State)
#47 NY Giants (v/SEA) — Mike Sainristil (CB, Michigan)
#48 Jacksonville — Michael Hall Jr (DT, Ohio State)
#49 Cincinnati — T’Vondre Sweat (DT, Texas)
#50 Philadelphia (v/NO) — Javon Bullard (S, Georgia)
#51 Pittsburgh — Roman Wilson (WR, Michigan)
#52 LA Rams — Spencer Rattler (QB, South Carolina)
#53 Philadelphia — Xavier Legette (WR, South Carolina)
#54 Cleveland — Edgerrin Cooper (LB, Mississippi State)
#55 Miami — Cooper Beebe (G, Kansas State)
#56 Dallas — Zach Frazier (C, West Virginia)
#57 Tampa Bay — Payton Wilson (LB, NC State)
#58 Green Bay — Cole Bishop (S, Utah)
#59 Houston — J’Tavion Sanders (TE, Texas)
#60 Buffalo — Tyler Nubin (S, Minnesota)
#61 Detroit — Ja’Lynn Polk (WR, Washington)
#62 Baltimore — Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (S, Texas Tech)
#63 San Francisco — Christian Haynes (G, Connecticut)
#64 Kansas City — Jalen McMillan (WR, Washington)

Players not included in the two-round mock

Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)
Zak Zinter (G, Michigan)
Theo Johnson (TE, Penn State)
Ruke Orhorhoro (DT, Clemson)
Bralen Trice (DE, Washington)
Chris Braswell (DE, Alabama)
Brandon Coleman (T, TCU)
Jermaine Burton (WR, Alabama)
Trey Benson (RB, Florida State)
Jaylen Wright (RB, Tennessee)

The trades explained

Denver trades #12 plus their 2025 & 2026 first rounders to Arizona for the #4 pick
The Broncos make their move to get J.J. McCarthy, giving up a haul of picks to do so. Sean Payton has never been afraid to use future picks to get the guy he wants.

Minnesota trades #23, #108 and their 2025 first rounder and 2026 second rounder to Arizona for the #11 pick
The Cardinals come out of this mock in possession of Denver and Minnesota’s first round picks next year, plus Denver’s first and Minnesota’s second in 2026. They are still able to select Jared Verse and Nate Wiggins in round one. They win the 2024 draft.

Philadelphia trades #22, #120, #161 and a 2025 second rounder to Seattle for the #16 pick and a 2025 fourth rounder
The Eagles need youth and talent at cornerback and after seeing Quinyon Mitchell leave the board at #15, they don’t hang around and make a move to get Terrion Arnold.

Washington trades #34 and #78 to Tampa Bay for the #26 pick
The Commanders need a left tackle and find a willing trade partner in the Buccs, allowing them to move up for Jordan Morgan.

Tennessee trades #38, #106 and #182 to Carolina for the #33 pick
The Titans work a deal with the Panthers before round two kicks off, enabling them to jump ahead of New England so they can select Roger Rosengarten (who has the ability to play left or right tackle).

Thoughts on the Seahawks’ first round pick

I continue to think if Troy Fautanu and Taliese Fuaga are off the board at #16, the Seahawks will trade down. That was the case in this projection and I think this scenario is very likely.

Ideally they’d get a big offer that includes an additional day-two pick, preferably a second rounder. However, I think teams will really value their second round picks in this class and will be wary to give them away. Plus, trade-up candidates such as Dallas, Green Bay and Buffalo all address needs without having to trade up in this mock.

I have the Seahawks doing a deal with the Eagles to get a fourth and fifth round pick this year, plus a swap of picks in 2025 (Seattle gets Philly’s second rounder, the Eagles get the Seahawks’ fourth rounder). It’s fair value per the trade chart, given the 2025 second rounder will carry the value of a third. The Seahawks accept their fate in this draft, get something of real value for next year and trade down into a range where they can still get a player they really like in round one.

The Eagles are very much in ‘win right now’ mode and might be prepared to be aggressive, as they have been in the past.

Graham Barton is plugged in at left guard immediately, with the Seahawks seeing value in his ability to potentially play center or tackle too. His talent is worthy of the 22nd pick — so it’s a nice case of need meeting value.

This would leave the Seahawks with a third rounder (#81), three fourth rounders (#102, #118, #120), a fifth rounder (#161) two sixth rounders (#179, #192) and a seventh rounder (#235).

They’d have the option to use all of those picks — and there will be good options through to round four — or they could use this stock to move up from #81 if a player they really like drops into range. Or, they could package two fourth’s to get back into round three.

Seahawks seven round mock

#22 (R1) Graham Barton (T/G/C, Duke)

As discussed above, he’d be a plug-and-play offensive lineman drafted in a range that matches need with talent.

Seahawks trade #120 to the New York Giants to move from #81 to #70

#70 (R3) Bralen Trice (DE, Washington)

Trice was sick prior to the combine, lost a ton of weight and performed poorly. His stock has dropped. The Seahawks might sense an opportunity to trade up and get excellent value. Trice had the same pass rush grade (per PFF) as Jared Verse (90.8) and he was well ahead of Dallas Turner (89.3). He led the NCAA in pressures (80) and hurries (53) in 2023, plus he was second for QB hits (19). This is an opportunity to add a dynamic talent at a value range.

#102 (R4) Dominique Hampton (S, Washington)

I’m not a Husky fan before anyone asks — but tapping into a team that reached the National Championship game isn’t a bad thing. Hampton is a dynamic athlete and a versatile safety who plays with toughness and discipline. He’d be an ideal fit in Macdonald’s defense.

#118 (R4) Ryan Flournoy (WR, SE Missouri State)

He shone at the Senior Bowl, gaining separation with ease in 1v1’s. He ran a 4.44 and jumped a 39.5 inch vertical. He also has massive 10 1/8 inch hands for a player who’s only 6-1 and 202lbs. Flournoy is well known for his high level of football character.

#161 (R5) Nathaniel Watson (LB, Mississippi State)

Macdonald says his defenders need to blitz. Nobody blitzes better than Watson, with 21 college sacks from linebacker. He has an old-school mentality, fits perfectly for the 3-4 defensive system and has quickness shown via a 1.59 10-yard split. Watson also called the plays on defense for Mississippi State.

#179 (R6) Jack Westover (TE, Washington)

Another Husky pick — but Westover was clutch in big moments during the 2023 season. The Seahawks need to add a tight end at some point and if they get this far without adding one, Westover would be a good option.

#192 (R6) Karsen Barnhart (G, Michigan)

The Seahawks met with him at Michigan’s pro-day. He has positional versatility, everyone on that Michigan line plays with toughness and he has some explosive ability (9-3 broad jump).

#235 (R7) Emani Bailey (RB, TCU)

He’s an ideal third-down back — capable of running crisp routes with soft hands. As a runner, he finishes and plays with aggression. He shone during the Senior Bowl game and should’ve been MVP.

Thoughts on the Seahawks’ seven rounder

It might not be the flashiest draft but if the Seahawks can’t fill the hole between #16 and #81 by trading down, this might be the type of class they end up with. There’s no guarantee better offers will be available to trade down.

Barton would fill a void at guard and could develop into an all-pro at his position — he has the talent to achieve it. Trice’s stock might’ve taken a hit after the combine but he was a regular impact player at UW and could be a third round steal, enabling the Seahawks to get a top-50 talent.

Hampton is a far better player than I think people realise and could be an immediate impact player, while Flournoy could easily be a nice receiver option for the future when Tyler Lockett eventually moves on. Watson has starter level potential while Westover, Barnhart and Bailey provide depth.

The addition of Trice could allow the Seahawks to save money by cutting Darrell Taylor or trading Dre’Mont Jones after June 1st to create cap room.

Again, it feels like a plausible projection and one that it’d be difficult to challenge if this is all they can get to trade down. Is a draft like this going to dramatically alter Seattle’s ability to be a contender, though? Sadly, I don’t think so.

Is there anything they can do differently to have a transformational draft?

I think there are two possible options. One, is to hit on a player so good that he completely transforms one side of the ball. Typically that only happens when you land a franchise quarterback or a true, elite pass rusher.

The other is to accumulate numerous picks in the first three rounds and hit on a lot of players in a big way. That would mean trading down and getting a great offer.

In this scenario, with five quarterbacks off the board by pick #12, the chances of getting a franchise-changing quarterback are remote. The available player who I do think could have difference making ability is Chop Robinson. There is legitimately some Micah Parsons to his game. His get-off is top-notch and his ability to bend and straighten off the edge is incredible. If you stick and pick at #16, take him, and he becomes anything close to Parsons — that could be transformational. It’s good to see the Seahawks arranged an official-30 visit with Robinson.

Can they get a great offer to move down? Sure. But as noted in the mock — this isn’t the kind of class where teams are likely to be desperate to relieve themselves of day two picks. Plus, the Seahawks won’t be the only team looking to move down. That means, perhaps, there’s a case to be made for sticking and picking at #16 if a player like Robinson is available — rolling the dice on a high upside talent with blue-chip credentials, rather than just trying to have the kind of ‘decent’ draft I’ve projected above.

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