Today was a good day for the Seahawks.
Granted — a significant number of holes remain unaddressed.
They haven’t added a defensive tackle or running back and the options are really thin going into day three. It’s increasingly likely they will have to sign a veteran at each position after the draft. Isaiah Crowell or Marshawn Lynch (or both) could be in play, along with ‘Snacks’ Harrison or Brandon Mebane.
This was a really strong receiver class and yet the Seahawks haven’t been able to tap into the supply yet. They also haven’t been able to add an offensive tackle — either to compete with Brandon Shell or be developed as an heir apparent to Duane Brown.
There’s a lot of work to do both in the draft and the veteran market in order for the Seahawks to be in a position where we can say, with confidence, they can seriously challenge for the Super Bowl.
Yet the two picks today should be applauded.
Darrell Taylor has outstanding potential and he fills arguably Seattle’s greatest need — speed off the edge. They didn’t have any last season and it was a major issue. The Seahawks have collected bigger defensive ends in recent years but haven’t been able to add a player to fill the ‘premium’ pass rush role.
Taylor is unrefined and will need work. His repertoire is limited and he’ll need to prove he’s capable of playing early downs. He struggled against Georgia’s two first round tackles and he wasn’t particularly consistent. While his highlights tape showed flashes usually reserved for a top-15 talent — his overall game tape was much less inspiring.
The flashes, however, still offered a glimpse of that rare and coveted ability to explode off the edge with speed then bend-and-straighten to the QB. He has the powerful frame to convert speed-to-power and he’s so fluid when he times things up.
This wasn’t a twitchy pass rush class. The Seahawks made sure they landed one of the few players who had that quickness and burst.
It was good to see them show conviction to go up and get their guy, too. That has worked for them in the past. Trading up for Tyler Lockett, Jarran Reed and D.K. Metcalf has delivered three of their best picks in recent memory. Taking a chance on raw physical upside has also worked in the case of Metcalf and Frank Clark.
Taylor’s win percentage was 18.6% — marginally lower than Yetur Gross-Matos’ (18.9%) but superior to A.J. Epenesa (17.5%), Marlon Davidson (16.2%) and K’Lavon Chaisson (13.1%).
A report from the Seattle Times claimed that had the Seahawks completed a proposed trade with Green Bay to move back from #27 to #30, the Ravens would’ve taken Jordyn Brooks. Had that been the case, Taylor might’ve been their pick at #30 (Schneider has now confirmed this).
To get a player in Brooks at #27 that they really like then move up aggressively to also add Taylor — that feels like a win for the defense. They’re faster, tougher and capable of threatening teams after adding these two players. That’s a big positive — even if they still need to add at least two more significant defensive linemen.
— Rob Staton (@robstaton) April 25, 2020
Damien Lewis is a top-50 player in my opinion.
I thought he was a clear second round pick.
Frankly, I don’t care if the Seahawks now have 19 offensive linemen on their roster and enough guards to set up a union. Lewis was too good to pass up.
I suspect that’s what they were thinking too. I think this was a BPA pick. They saw him there at #69 and made their move. If they too also viewed him as a top-50 talent, that’s great value. Superb value.
So what makes him so good?
Lewis is a punishing blocker who takes the fight to the opponent. He loves to get down and dirty in the trenches and Clyde Edwards-Helaire often ran behind him for big productive gains.
If Lloyd Cushenberry is the technician and Saahdiq Charles the athlete — Lewis is the beast on the LSU line.
We’ve often highlighted the importance of the Senior Bowl for Seattle’s picks. Lewis was the best offensive lineman in Mobile. He earned PFF’s highest grade in the 1v1 drills and won 69% of his contests. In the game itself I recall on one scoring drive he reached the second level at full speed and hammered a defender. In one 1v1 session the coaches asked Jabari Zuniga and Lewis to face-off in three back-to-back snaps (the only players to do it). It was clear there was an admiration and respect for Lewis.
This is a quality long term investment in a player who perfectly fits Seattle’s offense. Both Lewis and Taylor tick the 33-inch arm mark. Lewis scored highly in w/TEF (97.1) showing a high level of explosive athleticism at 327lbs.
He’s also shown tremendous character and grit. I interviewed him three weeks ago and his journey to LSU is incredible. Listen for yourself…
There’s still so much that needs to be done, particularly in the veteran market, but the Seahawks made two important and quality additions on day two.
At defensive end, at what point does the production of Bradlee Anae and Curtis Weaver trump their less-than-ideal physical profile? Trevis Gipson is an Obum Gwachum-style project and remains available.
Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence and Benito Jones stand out as remaining options at defensive tackle — but keep an eye on Teair Tart later on.
Bryce Hall remains on the board and while his serious leg injury is clearly a concern, eventually he will provide a worthwhile shot at getting a starting cornerback with size and length.
There are plenty of nickel/hybrid options — from Amik Robertson to L’Jarius Sneed to Kenny Robinson and John Reid.
Nick Harris, Tyler Biadasz and Keith Ismael are still on the board at center while
Saahdiq Charles or Alex Taylor could provide a project at tackle. Prince Tega Wanogho remains available for some reason but shouldn’t last long in round four. Other guards remain available too but I’m not sure they’ll revisit that position to go for the full 20.
Running back options are running out but Anthony McFarland is worth a shot eventually. Hunter Bryant will provide fantastic value at tight end in round four. John Reed could be selected as a specialist kick returner.
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