A prediction on what will happen over the next three days
The Seahawks will trade down multiple times. They might trade both #21 and #29. The key to a successful draft this year is to get what you can in rounds 2-3. That’s the strong area of this class with the best value. Can they pick 4-5 times on day two? That’s the way to control this draft.
The Seahawks should get some good offers
Baltimore at #22 need O-line and receiver help. So do many of the teams in the 20’s and 30’s. The Packers at #30 need weapons and have been linked to the quarterbacks. Other teams will want to secure the fifth year option at the end of round one. The Seahawks couldn’t be better placed to receive trade interest.
They will get their guys
They always do. Last year they had their pick of the running backs and took a player at #27 who most expected to be solidly in round two. Forget the consensus. Focus on what they look for in players and individuals. Don’t be surprised if, after the first two days of the draft, Seattle ignores the big names, moves around and then takes players who simply ‘fit’.
What do I want to happen?
Defense, defense, defense.
I can live without a high pick at receiver and the eternal complaining that will happen when he doesn’t get enough targets. In 2018 they re-established their identity. They ran the ball, used play-action and wanted to keep things tight.
They also need to play great defense for this work. So build up the unit. Get more speed. Defend the run better. Rush the passer. Get some playmakers. This is a strong defensive draft so focus on the defense.
Will the Seahawks take a defensive back early?
Practically every mock I’ve read in the last 24 hours has the Seahawks taking a DB with one of their first two picks. See for yourself:
We’ve seen this in the past and often it’s people outside of the Seahawks bubble not really understanding that Carroll and Schneider prefer to draft defensive backs later.
That said, there have been a few whispers that the Seahawks might buck a trend. Brock Huard mused a few weeks ago that this ‘could’ be the year they think about a cornerback early. Meanwhile, Eric Galko connected the Seahawks to interest in Byron Murphy not so long ago and he continued to make that link in his final mock draft.
The tier list
I’ve been really strict with this. I didn’t want to just list half the draft and not provide any real value.
These are the players I think they might consider at #21 if they last that far.
Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)
I’ve only listed three names. I just don’t see many options that would dissuade them from moving back. Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence will be long gone. I’m still not sold on them spending a first round pick on an injury redshirt like Jeffery Simmons. Supposedly there are some medical concerns about Clelin Ferrell. If these three names are off the board at #21 — it’s probably time to move down.
Why these three? Gary is a complete base-end with a sensational physical profile. Sweat’s 4.41 doesn’t get enough attention and his size/length is off the charts. Burns will always be a concern vs the run and his size is a question mark but his speed and pass rush percentage could be intriguing.
These are the players I think they might consider at #29 or after trading back into the early second round.
N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State)
Terry McLaurin (WR, Ohio State)
Parris Campbell (WR, Ohio State)
Darnell Savage (S, Maryland)
Jaylon Ferguson (DE, Louisiana Tech)
L.J. Collier (DE, TCU)
Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
These three receivers all fit based on athletic profile, maturity and a lack of ego. The Seahawks offense isn’t a high-target offense. It’s about maxing out your opportunities, being willing to block and function as a unit. These three are capable of doing that.
Darnell Savage is listed because 4.36 speed is 4.36 speed. You can’t coach that. It also helps he jumped a 39.5 inch vertical. That’s a special athletic profile that Carroll might want to get his hands on.
Jaylon Ferguson could be a base-end alternative to Rashan Gary. A lot has been said about Ferguson’s pro-day. Here’s a reminder that not everyone thought it was a disaster. L.J. Collier is one of my favourite players in the draft. I wish he tested better but here’s the facts — he’s a bad ass who wins with power, hand-use, speed, stunts and setting up blockers. Both he and Ferguson excelled in pressure percentage.
I added Byron Murphy because I think it should at least be a consideration that the Seahawks might want the best cornerback in the draft to play as a nickel hybrid.
In my mock yesterday I had the Seahawks moving from #29 to #41 in a trade with the Broncos. Here are some of the prospects I think they might consider in that range or later.
Ben Banogu (EDGE, TCU)
Trysten Hill (DT, UCF)
Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame)
Chase Winovich (EDGE, Michigan)
Juan Thornhill (S, Virginia)
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)
Lonnie Johnson (CB, Kentucky)
Sean Bunting (CB, Central Michigan)
Justin Layne (CB, Michigan State)
Isaiah Johnson (CB, Houston)
Dawson Knox (TE, Ole Miss)
Oshane Ximines (EDGE, Old Dominion)
Ben Banogu is more athlete than football player and he’ll need major work to develop into an effective NFL pass rusher. However, he has the kind of profile they want and they’ve never been afraid to coach up traits. Trysten Hill and Jerry Tillery are both excellent athletes.
Juan Thornhill is a bit overrated to me. You’ve got to love the six interceptions and his fantastic combine. His tape was still a bit underwhelming. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson plays with a spark. He had 9.5 TFL’s from the nickel position in 2018 and he competes to shed blocks and make plays.
Chase Winovich is one of the hardest players to project this year. His passion for the game is unmatched. He ran an incredible short shuttle of 4.11, ran an elite 1.5 10-yard split and a 4.59 forty. His pressure percentage is excellent. Yet he had a mediocre broad jump and he lacks ideal length. For all of these reasons I think he’s best suited to a pure 3-4 scheme playing in space.
I’m intrigued by the sheer numbers of ‘Seahawks style’ cornerbacks in this draft. The four names listed here are all expected to go in rounds 2-3. They’re all long, physical and explosive. Anyone who’s spent any time following the Carroll Seahawks knows they don’t draft cornerbacks early. However — we’re talking about four quality corners here. They won’t last. It needs to be seen to be believed but I’m putting their names on the list just in case.
Dawson Knox has been steadily rising this off-season. Why is he a fit for the Seahawks? He blocks, he never complained about a lack of targets at Ole Miss and he ran a sub-7.10 three cone (which seemingly matters in Seattle).
Oshane Ximines had the second best pass rush percentage in college football (24.5%) in 2018. He’s a high character, passionate football player who could take a physical step forward in a pro-setup. If they don’t get an EDGE early and others leave the board quickly, he could be an alternative.
Tomorrow I’ll publish a new tier list based on the prospects still available looking at day two possibilities.
We’re planning to record a podcast after the first round but if this doesn’t happen — I’ll seriously consider hosting a Google Hangout to offer some further thoughts.
I’ll also be live blogging throughout the first round and I hope you’ll join in with your comments.
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