It was reported today that Western Kentucky receiver Malachi Corley is taking an ‘official 30’ visit to the Seahawks. It’s the second confirmed meeting, following the news that UTEP linebacker Tyrice Knight will also be travelling to Seattle.

What does the apparent interest in Corley suggest?

I think it’s indicative of a potential plan for the Seahawks in this draft. I was speaking to a source I really respect today and he made a reasonable point, whether you agree or not. This class is too good on day two. The only justification in his mind for not trading down would be if you’re taking a quarterback of the future at #16. Otherwise, move down.

Again, just park your own personal view on that take for a second and let’s imagine that’s how the Seahawks feel. They might believe they’re better off picking three times between, say, #25-81 rather than just once at #16 and then waiting 65 picks to select again. You’d have to believe the player at #16 was truly something special. Now, you can make an argument for some of the players in this class fitting that description. The Seahawks might not see it the same way.

I see both sides. Another former #16 pick, Brian Burns, would’ve been an excellent addition for the Seahawks in 2019. Instead they had a pick in the 20’s, traded down further, and took L.J. Collier. The last thing the Seahawks want to do is watch someone else get a great player when they own #16, only for John Schneider to settle on quantity and whiff on another Collier/Marquise Blair double (for context, I didn’t dislike either pick at the time).

On the other hand, the history of the #16 pick is pretty boom or bust. Along with Burns we’ve seen Marlon Humphrey, Taylor Decker, Zack Martin and Ryan Kerrigan taken at #16 over the last few years. We’ve also had E.J. Manuel, Kevin Johnson and Zaven Collins. Last year’s #16 pick, Emmanuel Forbes, endured a baptism of fire as a rookie in Washington. I’m sure plenty of teams picking right in the middle of round one believed they’d got the guy who slipped through the elite cracks but the results have been a mixed bag.

If the Seahawks were to move down aggressively — meaning into the late first round or beyond — they might be able to get a decent haul to fill out their board. In this draft, that could put them into a fairly enticing range where some of the second round picks stand as much chance of succeeding as those in the mid-first.

Corley is a good example of that type of player but he’s not alone. Lance Zierlein compares him to Deebo Samuel and others have said the same thing. Purely based on his frame, you can see why that connection is being made. On tape he runs through contact brilliantly, he finishes every reception, he’s adept at a lot of the modern route concepts, he produces terrific YAC potential and yet when he operates in a more conventional receiver role he knows how to get open.

He’s different to what the Seahawks have and anyone with the upside of Samuel warrants consideration.

Do I think Seattle’s top pick will be a receiver this year? No. However, it’s also worth remembering their approach from the last two drafts. They’ve focused on best player available and sticking to their board.

I’d recommend reading the excellent ‘Inside the draft room’ article from a year ago, where John Boyle reported nuggets of info from, well, the draft room. It’s good a reminder of their process. They had needs but didn’t reach. They let their grading do the talking. They added players at non-critical need areas. There’s no reason to think anything will be different this year.

If Malachi Corley was extremely highly rated on their final board, to the extent you think he’s a top-20 player and you can get him at, say, #40 — that’s just good value. Even if you don’t agree with that opinion — that’s the ideal process for any team in the draft. Don’t force needs, focus on the talent.

Part of the problem with their 2019 draft was the focus on need. As it happens, that was Deebo Samuel’s draft year. They’ve played him every year since. I wonder if they’ve rued their decision to focus on the glaring need (D-line) rather than being able to pair Samuel with D.K. Metcalf, who they traded up to select in round two?

Corley, for me, fits into a grading range that contains a lot of players. There are a ton of receivers in this group unsurprisingly. It’s where the likes of Ben Sinnott will slot and I don’t think the media realises how early he’s going to go. He could be a surprise target for Seattle too. They might see an alpha in Darius Robinson — whose rushing style is ungainly at times but his disruption also feels somewhat akin to a poor-man’s bigger version of Jadeveon Clowney — just with more consistency. This is also where I think Cooper Beebe and Jackson Powers-Johnson could fit in, plus Braden Fiske and others.

This is the glorious mystery of a new era combined with Seattle’s approach to the draft over the last two years. I still think if they stay at #16 the chances are it’ll be an offensive tackle — but I wouldn’t rule out one of the dynamic edge rushers. If they trade down, it could be any position. Whoever is top of the board. It could even be someone like Quinyon Mitchell or Terrion Arnold.

This is where I tend to agree with the source I referenced before. Unless it’s a potential franchise quarterback you’re taking at #16, you have to consider trading down in this class. It’ll be a very tricky call to make if you really like someone available at #16 — but the Seahawks can ill-afford to wait until pick #81 to select again. Not because it’ll mean missing out on specific positions on day two. Simply because they won’t be able to keep enhancing their roster and adding talent via ‘best player available’ — the plan that is always the key to good drafting.

A final point — we all acknowledge left guard is a glaring hole at the moment. I also sense many fans are not enthused by the idea of Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford taking on bigger roles in 2024. However — it seems clear the Seahawks targeted these two players in this range specifically, believing they could get value. Boyle’s piece from earlier also highlighted Seattle’s interest in fourth round center Jake Andrews, who was selected by New England. It seems the Seahawks — aided by Steve Hutchinson as an advisor — believe they can possibly find ‘their guys’. I’m not sure, with Hutchinson advising, we have enough evidence so far to say this isn’t true.

If Oluwatimi and Bradford both really come along under the guidance of Scott Huff, it will — to an extent — justify Schneider’s comments about interior offensive linemen being over-drafted and overpaid.

This is a draft class full of very interesting interior O-liners who are set to be taken between rounds 3-5. That’s another reason for moving down, getting extra stock — to be able to add talent and competition to the interior line, while also addressing other positions too.