Before I get into the notes, check out my latest interview with a NFL draft prospect. This time it’s Michigan center and future first round pick Cesar Ruiz…
Are the Seahawks trying to use the draft to their advantage?
As we edge closer to the draft and with Seattle’s pass rush need still mostly unaddressed, I’ve been trying to figure out what the plan is.
Could they be trying to use the draft as leverage?
The event on April 23rd provides a deadline of sorts without having to spell it out.
For example — Jadeveon Clowney might think his options will be better in a few months. However, teams who end up spending picks on defensive linemen will be less inclined to make a move. There aren’t going to be many teams with the cap space and potential to contend willing to pay him what he’s currently being offered.
That doesn’t excuse Seattle’s inactivity. They called Clowney a ‘huge priority’ and consistently stated their desire to fix the pass rush. Just because he received a cold market doesn’t mean he has to accept whatever the Seahawks offer. He’s well within his rights to think he carried Seattle’s D-line in 2019 and that he’s a superior player to Dee Ford and Olivier Vernon — two players paid an annual salary at about the rate he’s now asking for.
The Seahawks are still risking losing him and weakening their team in 2020. For the sake of getting him at their value and padding the roster with journeymen — that warrants a critique.
Even so — it stands to reason that both parties will want/need this sorted by April 23rd. The Seahawks don’t need to set a deadline and neither does Clowney. One exists in the form of the draft. If nothing is resolved three or four days beforehand, they’ll possibly move on.
What about other options?
Everson Griffen’s quiet off-season seems to indicate he’s being particularly selective on his next move. Understandably so, given his recent mental health struggles. It feels a little bit like that option will always will be there for Seattle and it could be that Griffen signs anyway, whatever happens with Clowney, either before or after the draft.
I do wonder if Yannick Ngakoue remains a possibility too. A few teams might be playing the game a bit here. With both the player and team seemingly prepared to move on — now it’s about Jacksonville trying to get maximum value. And while they won’t give him away (just like Seattle refused to give away Earl Thomas) — there will also come a time when they understand they’ve got to get the best possible return this year. As we saw with Clowney in Houston, Ngakoue’s value will only decrease if this goes beyond the draft.
The Seahawks might still be willing to do a deal similar to the one Tony Pauline suggested. That would mean trading #27 to Jacksonville and then swapping #59 for #42. The Jaguars get another first round pick but they also move down a bit in round two. The Seahawks get Nagkoue and still pick twice in the first two rounds.
Any trade will almost certainly depend on what happens with Clowney. Plus you’d have to wonder why they’d be willing to pay Ngakoue a big contract but not Frank Clark or Clowney. The Seahawks aren’t going to go into next season with Benson Mayowa, Bruce Irvin, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and a rookie as their pass rush though. They just aren’t. And if the Clowney deal doesn’t work itself out — then Ngakoue probably remains an option.
A year ago the Frank Clark trade happened two days before the draft. That’s when things ramp up. It could be that Nagkoue is similarly dealt in that timeframe. The Jaguars will have exhausted all avenues and they’ll know what’s on offer. As long as someone is making a reasonable proposal (which is probably a late first or second round pick), then a trade remains very possible.
As much as we’ve critiqued the off-season so far (and rightly so because at the moment the biggest need remains unaddressed) — there’s still an opportunity to get this right. That’s necessary because while there are some pass rush options in this class (likely between picks #35-75) this is very much a draft where you want the freedom to target skill position players and offensive linemen.
Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s two round mock draft with detailed commentary on each pick…
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