The fact Seattle’s two tackle spots remain unaddressed with Duane Brown and Brandon Shell both free agents feels like an enormous tell. The Seahawks are going to address tackle in the first three rounds. It’s just a question of who they take.
I’ve bored everyone to death about this not being a draft to target a left tackle which makes me think they will set about re-signing Brown after the draft. However, that still leaves the right tackle spot open (and I don’t expect in any way they are assuming Jake Curhan has it nailed).
Trevor Penning might be their guy, assuming the top pass rushers are gone. They love size and explosive traits and Penning has them. He’s a 3.03 TEF tester with a 6-7, 330lbs frame. Running a 4.89 forty at that size was incredible really.
Penning will be a very high pick as a consequence of this. People like to predict ‘surprise’ picks at this time of year. My suggestion would be Penning going #6 overall to the Panthers if Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are off the board. Scott Fitterer worked for the Seahawks. The chances are he retains some of their ideas and preferences.
I could never imagine the Seahawks taking a non-explosive, moderately athletic tackle in the top-10. After all, Russell Okung was a 3.37 TEF tester with rare 36 inch arms and ideal size.
I’m very sceptical of Carolina taking Charles Cross. I think if there’s a player who could hear his name called earlier than people think it’ll be Penning at #6 overall.
The league remains desperate for tackle prospects. Here’s one with insane athleticism, explosive traits and massive size.
And all of those reasons are why he could be a prime option for Seattle.
I maintain that he needs major technical work. It was really hard to watch how he handled the 1v1’s at the Senior Bowl. He was susceptible to the inside-move and lost some reps. He started to over-compensate. The defenders noticed it so ran to the inside then countered with speed-to-power. He’d end up off-balance and the results were not good.
It was tough watching Kyron Johnson run through him (but he also did the same to Abraham Lucas to be fair).
My long-term worry is that Penning will prove to be at his best when he doesn’t have to defend the edge and can just line up head-on and demolish. That’s what he’s good at. He worked out at the Senior Bowl at right guard and when I saw that it felt like a bit of a reveal on what the league thinks might be his fit.
No doubt he could be a really good right guard. I’d prefer not to launch a new era of Seahawks football with a tackle who might have to kick inside to guard.
Yet it’d be foolish to ignore how much he ‘fits’ Seattle. It’s very easy to imagine them drafting Penning and putting him at right tackle, then re-signing Brown. That would give Penning some development time and he could be the heir apparent at left tackle.
Would he fit the new blocking scheme in Seattle? A quick reminder that Andrew Whitworth is the exact same size as Penning (6-7, 330lbs) and right tackle Rob Havenstein is even bigger (6-8, 330lbs).
It’s a plan — one that makes sense even if it’s not what a lot of fans (including me) would prefer. It’s definitely one to file in the ‘this could plausibly happen’ cabinet.
I guess it just feels like a rich man’s James Carpenter situation. A college left tackle with a lot of intriguing traits and some good tape. Yet it feels like the end result could be very similar. A decent career at guard but perhaps no second contract in Seattle at a time everyone is hoping this pick is more of an Earl Thomas-level success story.
It’d also be wrong to completely write-off Penning. I like him as a player. He was one of the first 2022 prospects I wrote about back in September. If you read the piece you’ll see it’s a glowing review.
There are plenty of tackles with far fewer traits, less upside and much more hype who have been taken very early and flamed out.
If there’s a rush on pass rushers and offensive lineman as expected in the top-10 then the Seahawks might prefer to simply jump aboard that train.
And are we as Seahawks fans really going to complain about drafting an offensive tackle, of all positions?
They might even be able to make a pick like this after moving down (although I think the Jets at #10 could easily pull Penning off the board). If Garrett Wilson is taken in the top-eight (and increasingly people think he will be) then it increases the chances of no cornerbacks being taken by #9.
That could create a scenario where teams like Minnesota at #12 and Houston at #13 are fighting to move up to select Sauce Gardner.
Seahawks fans would flip-out if they passed on Gardner to move down because the media’s fed you a steady diet of relentless praise for Gardner. He’s a good player and I like him. I’m not convinced, though, that he’s as good as some would have you believe. He’s not done any testing other than running a forty (why?) and a reminder that there are people in the league (I’ve spoken to one of them) who firmly believe Derek Stingley Jr is still the best cornerback in this draft (even though the same source expected Gardner to be the first corner taken).
If it means acquiring an extra high pick to drop to #12 or #13, that wouldn’t be terrible. They might be prepared to take their chances on Penning getting beyond the Jets and Commanders. Stingley Jr could last. I do think there’s a chance that some teams (maybe the Seahawks) view Zion Johnson as being worthy of a similar grade to Zack Martin. Plus my source in the league (and again, you’ll have to trust me on his legitimacy but I assure you it’s a great source) mentioned last week that George Karlaftis is seen by some as basically Aidan Hutchinson just available later.
So the options are there and frankly — that might be where the good odds are for Seattle right now. If the likes of Jermaine Johnson are gone — and he will be — then exploiting other teams in need of a corner or receiver could make sense. Especially if it lands you another welcome day two pick in this beautifully deep draft.
If they don’t take a tackle with the top pick then it becomes a target later on. I still think if you want to run the ball brilliantly the best option is to find a way to draft Zion Johnson and Tyler Linderbaum and stick them next to Damien Lewis. If they don’t do this and look at tackle in round two — Abraham Lucas would be a plug-and-play right tackle.
It’s shameful really that his exceptional combine performance received so little attention. His on-field work-outs were by far the best of any of his peers. Ikem Ekwonu’s performance was filled with mistakes, errors and not finishing properly yet we were treated to endless talk of him going #1 overall during the NFL Network’s coverage. Lucas did everything at a high level. His testing results make him a 2.97 TEF tester and he ran a blistering 4.40 short shuttle.
Not only that, he was great at the Senior Bowl too. Better than many of the other players who got more praise.
Lucas is an excellent talent who has been underrated for far too long.
Tyler Smith on the other hand has become quite overrated. I don’t like the way he defends the edge and to me looks like a right tackle at best but more likely a guard. However, his demeanour and run-blocking skill could make him an option if he drops into round two.
Rasheed Walker was an interesting name on Seattle’s ‘official 30’ visit list. He hasn’t done any pre-draft testing and comes across as a bit of an enigma. On tape he flashes moments where you think — this guy could be one of the best in the league. Then there are moments where his effort isn’t close to 100% or he gets sloppy in his technique.
I think they legitimately wanted to work out who he is in that meeting. Who knows what impression he made. If it was a positive one they might view him as a round three fall-back.
It’s not rocket science to work out a little bit of their thinking though. No tackles signed means one will be drafted quite early. No hedge linebackers signed after releasing Bobby Wagner suggests they will take one quite early.
While a lot of focus has been on positions like cornerback, pass rush and quarterback — the evidence suggests those aren’t the areas they will pursue. They’ve signed three cornerbacks and like Tre Brown. They’ve spent a fair amount of money on Uchenna Nwosu (in my opinion because they could see the way the top pass rushers were rising out of reach at #9). They will probably add another quarterback but by signing Geno Smith and adding Drew Lock — and with no rookies in this draft in a serious position to start early — the chances are they’ll just spend a later round pick on a Kaleb Eleby or Jack Coan.
If opportunities are there they will take them — such as Jermaine Johnson lasting to #9 or Tyler Linderbaum being in range. If not, that’s why you hedge.
My opinion might change in the next two weeks but right now I’d think one of their first three picks will be a tackle and one will be a linebacker. The other could be another pass rusher but it’s also possible at the top of round two a player remains available they just feel is too good — regardless of position — that they need to take. It could be a quarterback. It could be Linderbaum. I would expect them to draft a running back in round three.
That would be my best guess as of today.
One big decision I’ll need to make in my next mock is whether to pair Carolina with Penning at #6 with Neal and Ekwonu off the board — or whether I have him in range for Seattle.
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