Seahawks Draft: Pick Six

By Jared Stanger

There are a ton of indications that this offseason will be a massive transition for the Seahawks. There are an unfortunately high number of pending unrestricted free agents. There are some serious injury question marks. There is a terrible salary cap situation. And there is a pretty brutal draft situation with no current draft picks on day two of the draft.

I’m not a doctor, so I can’t even come close to predicting how the injury situation plays out. I’m terrible with salary cap, so I’m not going to be the guy that can predict who is re-upped and/or who is brought in from outside free agency. I’m simply going to attack the roster problems through the draft, and plug the holes caused by FA/injury with new, young draft talent.

Specifically, this is my attempt to suggest the single best player at a variety of potential position problems spots, that can be filled in the draft from roughly #25-#60 overall. The idea behind that 35-pick range is: Seattle starting at #18 overall (where they sit if the season ended today), and trading back 1-2 times to augment rounds 1-3 of the draft with a little bit better balance.

In my mind, I want Seattle to draft four times in the first three rounds. They currently only draft once in that range. It will take some serious maneuvering to get to four. Three is not implausible. Assuming they can complete the appropriate trades; these are the players I would look to target.

Offensive Line: Tyrell Crosby

I’ve been beating the drum for Tyrell all year. I’ve seen his draft value anywhere from a bubble-1st to a 4th round pick. I’ve got him in the 2nd, top 60. His college experience is mostly at Left Tackle, with some early-career play at Right Tackle. I could see him give you a value similar to what New Orleans got from Ryan Ramczyk this year: primarily a RT, with spot starting at LT. I’m also curious if he could transition inside to Left Guard.

In essence, Tyrell would replace UFA Luke Joeckel on the roster, and either Joeckel or Germain Ifedi in the lineup (Brown-Crosby-Britt-Pocic-Ifedi or Brown-Pocic-Britt-Ifedi-Crosby).

Running Back: Damien Harris

Another guy that I’ve been coveting all year; Harris is, to me, the best combination of size/speed/hands/vision/toughness available late-1st to early-2nd round. You probably don’t get close to Saquon Barkley at all, you may see Derrius Guice around that #18 pick but I’m not sure his value is significantly more than Harris at #30 plus more picks.

Harris replaces Eddie Lacy on the roster, and in theory Chris Carson replaces Thomas Rawls, yielding a 2018 RB room of Carson, Harris, Mike Davis, JD McKissic. Prosper.

Safety: Deshon Elliott

Safety is one of a few spots in this next draft that could be of high need for Seattle, but aren’t high quality fields in terms of available talent in the class. Kam Chancellor is potentially never returning from his injury. Earl Thomas made comments this week that suggest he may leave after his contract expires in 2018 and Seattle may be better off trading him while he still has a year left. McDougald is a free agent, but could/should be retained if possible.

After a quality 2017 safety class, with good depth, I think 2018 is kinda brutal. You’ve got two studs at the very top in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James (in that order), and then a huge dropoff to a group that includes Ronnie Harrison, Marcus Allen, Armani Watts, Justin Reid. I think that group is mostly 3rd rounders, and the long-term evaluation may not even give you that value.

I think Deshon Elliott is THEE value play. Mostly a free safety on tape, but at 6’2″/210lbs, I think Elliott can also play strong with his physicality and tackling ability. Elliott a disrupter that effects all aspects of the game: 63 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 9 PBU, 3 FF, and 6 INT (t-4th in the country). His athleticism may not match Fitzpatrick/James, but he will test very well, I think.

Defensive End: Duke Ejiofor

I think DE and pressuring the QB is a huge problem currently, and going forward. Avril has probably played his last snap as a Seahawk. McDowell may NEVER play a snap as a Seahawk. Bennett might be done as a pro bowl level talent. Clark is kinda on his own right now.

Unfortunately, defensive end is similar to safety this year: basically no depth. But DE is more like: Bradley Chubb and then drop-off. The mix of guys in the 2nd tier goes: Arden Key, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Harold Landry, Sam Hubbard, Rasheem Green, Jalyn Holmes, Dorance Armstrong.

Arden Key has the kind of redflags that could cause him to drop, and his 2016 status is the kind of thing Seattle has historically latched onto while disregarding 2017 tape (Ifedi, McDowell). I wouldn’t be shocked that Seattle likes either of the Clemson guys (I prefer Bryant). I have a feeling Seattle likes Green a lot, but I really don’t like his tape. The guy that I think is simply the best player on tape, with a solid combination of size/athleticism/production, at the right value, is Duke Ejiofor.

At 6’3″/275 lbs; Ejiofor is almost the identical size to Michael Bennett when he came out of college. Duke also has been used in a similar way by Wake Forest; giving him a mix of reps at DE and some DT. I like a lot of what Duke put on tape, but more importantly I think there is still some untapped upside still to come.

Draftscout has Ejiofor as their #82 overall player currently. I think he’s a 2nd-rounder all day. If you can get him #60-64 range, after trading back your 1st round pick once or twice, then you’ve accomplished adding a much-needed DE, while still getting a hell of a player at RB or OT with your first pick. If you can identify the Russell Wilson player available at #75, it allows you to get Bobby Wagner at #47 (I always think in terms of drafting backwards).

Tightend: Dallas Goedert

A third position that was stronger in 2017 than it will be in 2018. But there are a few high-end names of intrigue, and then the depth is okay, but it’s just more along the lines of a Zach Miller than the big-time TE athletes we saw last year.

With Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson both pending UFA, tightend will be a need, but will it be a priority? This wouldn’t be my favorite strategy due to the value I think a TE brings combined with what I think are bigger needs.

2018 TE feels a little like 2018 CB to me, in that I would like to target a more niche type at each position that isn’t carrying huge buzz/pricetag. Which is to say: an inline, blocking TE, and a nickel-slot CB. If you scout well and target correctly, both can be had 5th-6th rounds.

If Seattle DID go TE early, Mark Andrews is probably gone, Mike Gesicki has some appeal as a former basketball player that wins jumpballs, but I likely go Dallas Goedert. None of these three in the top tier are great blockers, but I like Goedert’s hands, combined with his RAC.

Wide Receiver: DJ Moore

Of all of the players on this list, I think Moore at WR is the least likely to happen. Much like TE, there are bigger needs at other positions, but unlike TE I think the WR depth is actually pretty good. Which means some really good WR will just come rolling off the board while we sit and wish we still had our native 2nd and 3rd round picks. 2018 WR may be a little similar to 2017 CB in that they push it down because of depth. They should still take one by the 4th round, though.

I’ve got a pretty refined wish list for WR this year…with practicality/value in mind, I think it’s: Anthony Miller, DJ Moore, Cedrick Wilson, Jaleel Scott, Marcell Ateman. For purposes of this piece, I think the two that qualify and need to be drafted before #60 are Anthony Miller and DJ Moore.

I’m taking DJ Moore for multiple reasons, not the least of which are his resemblances to Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. He LOOKS like a guy John Schneider would covet.

So there are my pick-six picks. If Seattle can manage their draft picks and draftboard correctly, I think it is plausible to come away with two of these six. If they can get three, that’s an incredible job.

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December 2017 SeaMock

By Jared Stanger

The Seahawks have just decisively beat the NFL-best-record Philadelphia Eagles putting themselves back into a playoff spot, and the tentative #23 overall draft position. There is no change in my belief that this is a full-on trade-back year.

I sketched out a few trade possibilities, and really the only one I like is the Cleveland Browns who own like 20% of the total picks in the entire draft. I think the specific Cleveland trade I’d try for is #39 and #65. That puts Seattle at upper-third of the 2nd round and first pick of the 3rd round, after having a drop from #23 to #119 without the trade.

(Literally, as I’m writing this mock draft news has broken that John Dorsey has been named the new Cleveland Browns’ GM. The same John Dorsey that John Schneider knows from back in his Green Bay scouting days.)

Due to the number of trades John Schneider has made, including trading one pick to New England only to have New England trade the same pick back, there is conflicting information about the rest of Seattle’s draft slate. My best approximation (after the 1st trade back) is: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 5th, 7th, 7th, 7th. Which is pretty solid. So I’ll leave it there.

Let’s start with an obvious call.

#39- RB Damien Harris

It will be interesting to see how this RB class shakes out. Some people see Harris the way I do and would value him higher than even this spot. Others have other RB they value more, that would allow Damien to fall to here. I tend to think most people, generally, think RB’s will be drafted higher and in greater numbers than what the league actually ends up drafting. If you can ID the eventual top two RB, the rest will be available from the 2nd round down.

Harris will surprise at the combine. And that may be when he rises out of this range. But for now:

If Harris is gone, I pivot to Royce Freeman. Not quite as fast as Harris, but special in his own right. Super durable, good hands, and great intangibles. You hope for Le’veon Bell upside from Royce.

I think the early 3rd round pick is the toughest to call. My hunch is that, because this overall class is not a great defensive class, Seattle will force a defensive player about this range. They could go DE to hedge for the injured Cliff Avril, or they could go SS to hedge for the injured Kam Chancellor.

I’ve seen projections of Texas’ Deshon Elliott available this late…he’d be a very cool player, though in my opinion likely doesn’t last this long in the actual draft. I genuinely don’t think this DE class is a good group and would suggest, if they can afford it, instead you go after Ziggy Ansah or Demarcus Lawrence in free agency.

Instead of defense, I’m just going to stick with my guy.

#65- OL Tyrell Crosby

There’s a fairly strong possibility that Seattle re-ups Luke Joeckel to be their LG for another 2-3 years, and it’s almost impossible that they give up on Germain Ifedi after only two poor years, so there wouldn’t theoretically be a place for Tyrell. But, in my mind, I pass on Joeckel due to his two recent knee surgeries and the fact that we now need to pay Duane Brown (and possibly a FA DE).

Tyrell has put together a fantastic Senior season, recently winning the Morris Trophy for best Pac-12 offensive lineman as chosen by opposing defensive lineman. His primary college position has been left tackle, but he has played some right tackle as well. I don’t know that I’ve seen him play left guard, but at one point Joeckel probably hadn’t either. I just have a feeling Tyrell’s run-blocking talent would translate really well at LG.

It would also be pretty interesting to see which TE are available in the early 3rd. Dallas Goedert from South Dakota State looks to be an impressive talent, but will his small school affiliation end up hurting him? Ian Thomas from Indiana I only recently took a look at after he was named to the Senior Bowl, and he has some intriguing skillsets. He may shoot up the board after the combine.

We now find ourselves in the 4th round, and I think the Seahawks will actually take a WR here (after drafting a DE in the 3rd). But in the narrative of my mock it’s just too hard to justify going three consecutive offensive players, and I already used my “get an offensive lineman out of jail free” card last round.

Instead, I’m trying to find that undervalued pass rusher. Might be a guy with a redflag, might be a small-schooler, might be an undersized guy. My particular guy is the latter.

There are actually quite a few passrushers this year that run around 6’1″-6’2″/240-255lbs: Anthony Winbush from Ball State, Ola Adeniyi from Toledo, Trent Harris from Miami, Jacob Martin from Temple, etc. After seeing 6’1″/260lb Dwight Freeney look so good as a Seahawk, I kind of have it in my head that there could be a way to find value looking for a guy of similar stature.

#119- DE/OLB Cece Jefferson

Jefferson is listed this year at 6’1″/242lbs after previously playing at around 261lbs. Only a Junior, and there isn’t really a buzz on him after only posting 4.5 sacks. But after Florida fired Jim McElwain, maybe a fair amount of their underclassmen declare early.

I’ve only watched one tape of Cece from 2017, but it was a pretty big game: 9 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 0.5 sack. He looks particularly strong vs the run.

The passrush isn’t yet as refined, but he flashes. And certainly shows traits that I’m intrigued by.

As I said, I don’t love this DE class, but here in the 4th round/day 3 you can take a little more risk.

I’m really counting on what I think is a deep WR class to allow for someone to drop because we’re now entering the 5th round where Seattle should start with three picks.

I’ve had a very strong sense about two things in this WR class: Seattle really likes Memphis’ Anthony Miller, but more than that Seattle is looking for a WR that is 6’3″+, and should enjoy the volume of that group available this year.

Last week I made this list of the college explosive receiving play leaderboard:

With only a few exceptions; I kinda think that’s the list Seattle should be thinking about. You could argue adding a trio of Juniors that are all pushing 6’5″: Equanimeous St Brown, Auden Tate, and James Gardner. And then the Seniors: Jaylen Smith and DJ Chark.

If we filter those names down to a more specific set of traits and skills; I choose to focus on Cedrick Wilson, Marcell Ateman, James Gardner, Jaleel Scott, and Auden Tate. I think that’s a GREAT list. I had a list last of year of my 5 preferred/expected Seahawk CB interests (which included Shaquill Griffin)…I was pretty happy with that group, and I’m pretty happy with this group of WR.

Picking one of those WR in the 5th means you’ve, to a degree, put your fate in the hands of the league, and allowed others to dictate who is left, rather than being more aggressive. It’s not my favorite strategy, but if you spot a position of depth, this is how you find value.

Some specifics to this group:

Scott is the best leaper. Tate might have the best hands. Wilson looks the fastest. Gardner is the biggest mystery. And Ateman is the best blocker.

I honestly vacillate all over the place as to which guy to give my actual pick to.

#135- WR Marcell Ateman

In the end I’m taking the guy that has the best all-around game. Hands, high-pointing, RAC, redzone, blocking, explosivity. Ateman is above average at all of them.

#143- QB JT Barrett

Early on in the 2017 college season, Seattle was conspicuously present at a lot of games featuring a lot of the high-end QB prospects. While that did seem to slow down after about a month, I’m still wondering if they make a move for a new backup to Russell in the next two drafts.

I’ve had Seattle taking Barrett in previous mocks, and I’m keeping him in this one. I don’t see a lot of draft media very high on him, but I sort of enjoy that they don’t. I think it will allow him to fall to a nice value spot.

With Barrett you get: top 5 TD’s, top 8 passer rating, top 20 completion %, plus 732 yards and 10 TD’s rushing (45 combined TD’s).

#159- TE Durham Smythe

It’s been a little strange watching the Seahawks scout the college TE’s this year. Mostly because it’s been more like how they HAVEN’T scouted the college TE’s. I have no feel for what they’re looking for or how high up they’d go.

Smythe is 6’5″/257lbs, comes from a school with great tradition of producing good pro TE, but who is himself a guy with zero to no buzz. He has only 13 catches and 1 TD on the year. But a lot of that is because Notre Dame found themselves this year running the ball about 62% of their offensive plays. On top of not throwing the ball much; when they did throw, Notre Dame only completed 51% of passes. Smythe had about 8% of their total completions.

BUT…….Durham averaged 18.00ypc on his 13 catches. So there is a suggested element of explosivity there. There is also a pretty solid blocking skillset in the tape.

The idea here is that Seattle may not be able to replace Jimmy Graham this year via draft (try to re-sign), but maybe they can replace Luke Willson and save a little bit of cap room. This is also about the place Luke Willson was drafted 5 years ago.

#200- CB Parry Nickerson

Much like the 2018 DE class, I don’t really care for the 2018 CB class. Too many very good corners came out last year. But, with Quill in place, with Sherm coming back, with Shead coming back, with Coleman deserving to stay; really the biggest change I would make at CB is cutting Lane and replacing him with someone younger and cheaper.

My feeling is that there might be a similar draft value as Lane was in 2012; in 2018. Lane was a 6’0″/190lb 6th round pick out of a small school in Louisiana. Parry Nickerson here is a 6’0″/180lb 7th round pick out of a small school in Louisiana.

After a slow start to his 2017 season (primarily due to facing two triple-option teams that never throw within Tulane’s first four games), Nickerson has finished the season with 55  tackles, 2 TFL, 8 PBU, and 6 INT (*4th in the BCS).

Nickerson has some exceptionally quick feet, and shows really good vertical on tape. I thought Parry acquitted himself VERY well when 1v1 with one of 2017’s best WR: Anthony Miller.

Again:

#222- OLB Cayson Collins

This pick is basically just a personal pet project fave. An intuition pick. Seattle needs to get younger, cheaper, and healthier at the SAM spot with Wilhoite/Garvin/Forrest/McDonald all either free agents or hurt.

I like what I’ve seen from Collins. Good instincts, good tackler, good intangibles. If I remember correctly, he’s played well on special teams when asked to.

#223- PK Trevor Moore

Walsh is still a problem. We kinda thought he would be when he was signed, and he only teased us briefly with looking fixed in preseason before going broken again in some pretty inopportune times.

This is THEE value pick at PK this year. Your Daniel Carlson’s will cost way too much. Moore will almost certainly go undrafted in reality, but I’m spending a draftpick to lock him up.

Final Tally:

#39- RB Damien Harris
#65- OL Tyrell Crosby
#119- DE Cece Jefferson
#135- WR Marcell Ateman
#143- QB JT Barrett
#159- TE Durham Smythe
#200- CB Parry Nickerson
#222- OLB Cayson Collins
#223- PK Trevor Moore