The Replacements

By Jared Stanger

We are on the precipice of one of the most transitional offseasons in Seattle Seahawks history. The uncertainty of who is still going to be here coming week 1 of the 2018 season is massive.

The way John Schneider structured many of the vet contracts, including many of the 1-year guys signed just prior to 2017, have left a huge chunk of the roster about to hit free agency. Add to that the players that are coming off injuries this year, and may not hold as much value ON the team as being cap-cut OFF the team. Add to that viable, healthy players that may hold better value in trade than they do remaining on the team. It becomes a huge potential turnover.

So this article is going to be an attempt to locate players in the 2018 draft that would best replace pretty much every potential roster loss that could pop up here in a few weeks/months. There is no judgment about draft position or logistics of getting these guys drafted…it is simply, “okay, here is the 1A option if we lose X player.” Pretty much the only rule, for me, is that I’m not considering players that look locked in to a top-15 draft position.

God, where do we start?

TE Jimmy Graham – TE Mike Gesicki

With shared backgrounds as basketball players, and shared skills for running/high-pointing and shared flaws as blockers; if you want the guy this draft that can do similar things to Graham, I think you target Gesicki.

TE Luke Willson – TE Durham Smythe

I don’t know that this is a very close match. Smythe is a better blocker, and Willson is a better athlete. But from a roster standpoint, I think Seattle needs one fewer TE athlete and one more TE blocker. Ideally, this happens in concert with signing an athlete TE.

WR Tanner McEvoy – WR Marcell Ateman

2017 was a huge step back in performance for McEvoy, and as a player that you haven’t invested a ton in (2016 UDFA); I don’t think you sweat moving on from him very much. This draft has potentially a nice collection of WR that could represent a similar profile to Tanner. Contenders include Marcell Ateman, Allen Lazard, Jaleel Scott, Auden Tate, Simmie Cobbs, Equanimeous St Brown, Jake Wieneke.

I’m currently tending toward Ateman or Tate.

WR Paul Richardson – WR Cedrick Wilson

Part of me wants to say DJ Chark because he just had a nice Senior Bowl game, and is one of the top 5 deep threats in the country this year, but I just get a better sense of Cedrick Wilson’s overall game. Cedrick is showing more on screens, slants, crossers, while still being a decent deep threat; while DJ is far too one-trick as a go-route runner.

WR JD McKissic – WR DJ Moore

I’m calling McKissic a WR right here because, although they moved him to RB this year, with 46 rushes and 46 pass targets; McKissic was equal parts RB and WR. And the guy I’d replace him with is definitely more a WR. DJ Moore at 5’11″/215lbs is built very much like a RB, but with 80 receptions to 5 rushes, he has more experience at WR.

Moore’s game has many shades of Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin; so if you were to lose Doug or Tyler Lockett for some reason this year; Moore would also be my pick for their spot.

RB Eddie Lacy – RB Royce Freeman

This isn’t a like-for-like swap. This is replacing a guy that had to cut weight to get to 5’11″/238lbs, with a guy that makes 6’0″/238lbs look carved from stone. Freeman isn’t the broken tackles, hammer that Lacy was at one point. That role might have been better-filled by a Kareem Hunt last year. But Freeman is a tough-running, bell-cow, three-down type back.

RB Thomas Rawls – RB Ronald Jones

Again, not as much of a hammer going forward, but RoJo has enough broken tackle power, plus in his case it is augmented with truly elite speed. If you find that slow guys aren’t able to gain enough speed to hit holes with power, get guys that are fast enough to hit holes before they close.

RB CJ Prosise – RB Malik Williams

In this case, we’re gaining MORE of a hammer than what we’re losing. Prosise is notoriously fragile. Williams broke his arm in a game October 5th last year, but was back playing again with a few snaps on October 28th (then had a bye week, then played pretty significant snaps November 11th). I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of someone returning from a broken bone in 23 days. Regardless, Williams is 6’3″/221lbs and I think a sleeper in the making.

CB Jeremy Lane – CB Isaac Yiadom

This isn’t a great draft for CB’s. So if you’re thinking of getting multiple to replace Lane, Shead, and Sherman; you may need to reconsider. Yiadom rolled into the Senior Bowl measuring 6’1″/187lbs with 32 1/4″ arms. Mike Mayock (a fellow Boston College alum) kept saying on the broadcast that Isaac has 4.4 speed. For comparison, Lane came out of school at 6’0″/190lbs with a 4.48s official forty.

OG Luke Joeckel – OL Connor Williams

There are, potentially, a ton of moving parts on the OL. Joeckel is UFA, Britt may be a trade piece, Ifedi may be moved off of RT, etc. The options at LG could include Rees Odhiambo, Ethan Pocic, free agent, draftpick LG, draftpick LT moved to LG.

Will Hernandez might be a guy that Solari will really be drawn to at LG. Wyatt Teller might be a slightly lesser talent with better athleticism. Both are pretty nasty. And then there is a slight possibility that a guy like Connor Williams is still available and could play LG for a year or two before returning to LT.

I’m gonna go with the guy more similar to Joeckel, the current LT Connor Williams.

OT Germain Ifedi – OT Tyrell Crosby

The report is that new OL coach Mike Solari prefers athletic OT, in which case we may see justice with Ifedi moved back to RG or benched. The more athletic OT in this draft is Brian O’Neill, but the better OT in this draft (with athleticism that may surprise at the combine) is Tyrell Crosby.

Tyrell hasn’t played RT in 2-3 years, but he has done it and pretty well. I posted some of his freshman tape going against Joey Bosa. Plus, Tyrell would give you that Ryan Ramczyk option of filling in at LT if Duane Brown misses time.

OLB Dewey McDonald – Shaquem Griffin

I actually like Shaquem better, in theory, as a strong safety, but he wouldn’t be my first pick there. Shaquem at 223lbs is not far off from the likes of Mike Morgan or Malcolm Smith when they came out of USC, in terms of size. It’s possible he plays OLB. He would definitely be a special teams stud (and probably future captain there).

OLB Terence Garvin/Michael Wilhoite – LB Darius Leonard

Seattle has quite a few LB spots that might need plugging. They pulled a bunch from free agency last year, and may find some more gems that way in UFA this year. Leonard led all players in tackles at the Senior Bowl yesterday and is emerging with some more buzz recently. I think he could hedge you at SLB1 and ILB2.

DT Sheldon Richardson – DT Sheldon Richardson

2 things: 1) Sheldon’s market and price may not be what we had heard it would be when we first acquired him. But I get the sense both sides could be interested in at least a 1-year deal. 2) I really don’t like the draft class at DT. If I had to do it; I’d take a flyer on a guy like Kentavious Street or Drew Bailey.

DL Malik McDowell – DL Dion Jordan

This should really be a pretty high priority.

DE Cliff Avril – DE Dorance Armstrong

Full disclosure: I don’t like replacing Cliff this year. Not from the draft. But I think he needs to be in this story because he’s one of the players most likely to not return. Dorance Armstrong is not as big as Cliff, nor did he have a good year in 2017. He was the best defender on a bad Kansas team, and I think teams could gameplan around him with doubles and counter-playcalling. His production fell from 10 sacks, 20 TFL in 2016 to 1.5 sacks, 9 TFL this year. Pretty brutal. He was forced to become more of a run and chase LB. But the passrush upside once looked like this:

DE Michael Bennett – DE Duke Ejiofor

I think this one is one of the closest comps. Bennett is 6’4″/274lbs, Ejiofor is listed 6’4″/275lbs. Bennett plays DE and can rush at DT on 3rd down. Ejiofor has done the same at Wake Forest. I even noticed Bennett used a two-hand swipe in the pro bowl from the left side that I’m about to show you from Duke coming from RDE.

And, since Bennett plays a couple different spots, Duke gets a second video of him at DT.

SS Kam Chancellor – SS Deshon Elliott

I’ve read some question Deshon’s athleticism. I hope that is because they’re thinking of him as a Free Safety. Even then, I sort of don’t see it. But either way, whatever athleticism he has will play up more at Strong Safety. He has plenty of size at 6’2″/210lbs and really strong tackling to play up in he box. There are some guys in this draft that probably hit harder than Elliott, but I’m going with a higher floor player.

FS Earl Thomas – FS Jeremy Reaves

Reaves has a strong physical resemblance to Earl (5’11″/204lbs to 5’10″/210lbs), and hopefully he can hit a 4.4s forty. Earl’s a 4.3 guy, but that’s really tough to find ever, and especially without a top-15 pick.

FB __ – FB Nick Bawden

Seattle never really replaced Tre Madden as their rostered fullback, so they may keep that spot unoccupied. If they don’t; I’ll take the guy that lead-blocked for the leading rusher in the country. He’s a brute, but he also shares a trait with former FB Michael Robinson: he used to play QB.

PK Blair Walsh – Daniel Day-Lewis character from “My Left Foot”

I mean…it couldn’t be worse, right??

But seriously…I’ve got Trevor Moore as the nice value pick at PK. His accuracy over 40 yards was one of the better marks in the country.

P Jon Ryan – P Michael Dickson

I think the back end of the 2018 draft class is pretty thin, so taking a punter or a kicker makes a certain amount of sense. Dickson was 3rd in the country last year in average punt yardage.

QB Austin Davis – QB Kyle Lauletta

My hunch is that with Davis’ experience working with Brian Schottenheimer, the team will bring Davis back. But if they decide to go younger, I was EXTREMELY impressed with Lauletta in the Senior Bowl. I even went back to some of his 2017 tape while the Senior Bowl was still going on.

I know there may be 2-3 more guys I didn’t cover specifically, either because they were more a bench player or their spot could be covered by someone else on this list.

Bookmark this page, because my hunch is it may be a really cool revisit after the draft.

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New Year Mock Draft

By Jared Stanger

Welcome to 2018. It’s a new year, it’s potentially a new look Seattle Seahawks, so it’s time for a new mock draft.

In 2017, I had generally stuck to constructing mock drafts that I would make. This mock draft is more representative of what I think Seattle will do.

Let’s start with where they stand today (before comp picks are added across the league):

#1.18, #4.114, #5.132, #5.138, #5.158, #7.200, #7.219

I’m guessing a bit on the 7th round picks because there was movement on about 4 unique picks, and it’s not entirely clear which picks were moved (and/or re-moved) in which deals. But I believe after adding 7’s for Kearse, Brock, Marsh, and losing 7’s for Coleman and Battle; there should be two 7’s remaining. I’m using the Jets and Vikings 7’s in this mock.

Seattle has secured the #18 overall pick. I think they NEED to trade enough so that they end up with three picks in the top 80 overall (I’d prefer four, but tough to do). This may include trading veteran players. Trading #18 can get you to about #33 + #63 + #129, which is two picks in the 2nd plus first pick in the 5th (all from Cleveland, now run by John Dorsey, a friend of the family). Then, I need to trade a vet that will net you at least a 3rd. That type of trade would (hopefully) also clear some cap space.

As I look at the cap situation (which is not my forte), the best vet players to trade without further hurting future cap, but also potentially netting a 3rd round pick, are in order:

Tyler Lockett
KJ Wright
Earl Thomas
Germain Ifedi

Earl should draw more than a 3rd. Ifedi might not get a 3rd, but he would be my first choice if he could. Lock and KJ are right about that 3rd round range. After his Dallas outburst, I would do a deal for Earl. But this is the “what would Seattle do” mock, so there is no way Pete parts with Earl. I’m gonna do the deal for Lock. I will send him to San Francisco for the #71 overall (might also consider Carolina).

After two trades, the board now looks more like:

#2.33, #2.63, #3.71, #4.114, #5.129, #5.132, #5.138, #5.158, #7.200, #7.219

I think there’s some wiggle room there to move a couple 5th’s, or a 5th and the 4th, to move up once towards the #90-100 range. That would be a day-of decision. For now, I won’t make that trade up. Let’s get to it.

#33 – Alabama RB Damien Harris

I have a pretty short list of the RB’s I think Seattle is highest on, and of that list, that would be available AND correct value at #33, I think Harris is the guy.

A power back at 5’11″/221lbs, but with speed that will surprise people at the combine, Harris is what I estimate to be Seattle’s ideal type of RB. Nick Chubb and Royce Freeman are in that same vein if they want to try to wait for a bit more value. But Harris is the one I think they like. He doesn’t have as much tread-wear as Freeman, and he doesn’t have the injury history that Chubb has.

And he’s just flat out good.

#63 – Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor

I really think this pick comes down to two players: Ejiofor and Texas S Deshon Elliott. And both could be gone before here. I feel less confident that Elliott will be available. If replacing Kam is a higher priority, Elliott might be the pick at #33 and then you try to get Chubb or Freeman at #63.

I’m also going DE here because I think it’s a pretty big need. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril both sound to be on the verge of retiring and/or being cut. That’s a lot of passrush needing to be replaced. If Seattle stays in the 1st round, my guess is that their primary target would be a DE (one of the Clemson guys…maybe a Junior we haven’t heard declare yet).

My personal opinion is that Ejiofor isn’t far off from some of the 1st-round projected DE. He gives you comparable size (6’4″/275lbs), comparable production (6.5 sacks, 16.5 TFL, 9 hurries), with a bit of upside still left on the bone, but at a 2nd round price. He also has experience rushing inside as a 3T (very much a Bennett type).

This is one of my favorite olimpico sacks from all of 2018:

#71 – Maryland WR DJ Moore

With the pick acquired by trading Lockett, I’m acquiring a WR that more resembles a thicker combination of Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, while also giving you some return ability.

DJ Moore is 5’11″/215lbs, finished 2017 with 80 catches for 1033 yards and 8 TD’s, was #20 in the country in punt returns at 10.20ypr, had some snaps as a true RB (5×61 yards, 1 TD), and was one of the best tackle-breaking WR I’ve seen since Golden. He was the clear #1 weapon on a team without many weapons, and he still got his touches. These are all things that I think Seattle values.

#114- Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby

In researching this mock I checked around at where most of my guys were tracking in terms of value. Winning the draft is generally not about nailing your first round pick. It’s about identifying great 2nd and 3rd round picks (Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson) that allow you some leeway in the 1st.

I’ve had Tyrell as a 2nd rounder for some time, but it turns out many others are valuing him a couple rounds later. Draftscout has him as their #137 overall, another site had him like at #180. Maybe those are outdated and his stock has risen. Maybe that’s closer to market rate. In this mock, I’m going to take it as market rate and get someone I really value at a steep discount.

I recently went back to rewatch tape of Tyrell as a Right Tackle. I wanted to see if he had any kind of issue going right side vs left side like some OL do. I watched tape of him in both his 2014 playoff game and in the National Championship game vs eventual #3 overall pick Joey Bosa. Even as a freshman, I thought Tyrell held up extremely well vs the competition. I make this pick with plans to do what New Orleans did with Ryan Ramczyk: starter at RT with ability to step in as LT if injury pops up. Ifedi goes to the bench.

Another option at #114 could be Virginia Tech LG Wyatt Teller. If Joeckel walks, or you can’t afford him, you could try to leave Ifedi at RT and draft Teller or Crosby to play LG.

#129 – USC DE Rasheem Green

I think I’d like to get a Safety here, but I really don’t think any available fit the value. So I’m double-dipping on the Michael Bennett type DE/DT hybrids. Green is identical to Ejiofor at 6’4″/275lbs, but in my studying played far more DT for USC than DE. I think that was misuse. I never truly saw him develop as an interior player. But Green was a highly touted recruit that posted a very good production year: 12.5 TFL, 10.0 sacks, 5 hurries, 4 PBU. And I have a good sense that Seattle is interested.

#132 – Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman

Some picks you make because you have a dropoff at the position expected shortly after, some picks you make because they are right in the sweet spot of a position group’s value range. This is the latter. I look at the big board and see a nice swathe of value on WR in this range. You could pull the trigger here, or you could wait for #138 if you sense a run on a shallower position group that needs to be at #132 instead.

With Lockett “traded”, PRich a free agent (potentially replaced by David Moore), and McEvoy a huge disappointment in year two; I’m also double-dipping at WR because I think the draft warrants it. WR targets at this range could include: Cedrick Wilson, Auden Tate, Marcell Ateman, Jaleel Scott.

Honestly, I like that whole group. Cedrick probably the least impressive on 50/50 balls, but could closer approximate a taller PRich. The other three are bigger, slower guys, but that all show very well in the air. I think Ateman is the most well-rounded of the three, with Tate being probably the best pure receiver. Kind of a coin flip. Until Tate actually declares, I think I’ll go with Ateman. But in future mocks…may reverse that.

#138 – Notre Dame TE Durham Smythe

This is a need position, but not in a great year for it. So I think you take a flyer on a guy with good fundamentals, that may surprise once he’s out of the disaster that is the Notre Dame passing game. If you can get a Zach Miller out of a 5th round pick, I think that’s solid. If you can get a Luke Willson, well you’re at least par for the course.

#158 – Ohio State QB JT Barrett

I think Barrett is very underrated. I think his floor will be a great backup, but his upside is somewhere in the Tyrod Taylor-Dak Prescott vein.

#200 – Tulane CB Parry Nickerson

I like this draft, in general, for a Justin Coleman type CB. I think you can find that body-type and skillset throughout the draft. I think I’d prefer to target this job in the 6th round, but Seattle has no 6th. I think the two best options are Nickerson and VT’s Greg Stroman. Both are identical 6’0″/180lbs.

Nickerson gives a bit more ball-skills with 6 INT and better tackling ability.┬áStroman perhaps the better cover guy, and gives you the additional benefit of a punt returner (11.34ypr, 2 TD). Another coin flip. I go Nickerson on my sense that he’s a tougher personality.

#219 – North Carolina LB Cayson Collins

Last pick of the draft, we go for some athletic LB depth that could contribute early-on for special teams, and potentially play some WILL down the road.

Final tally:

#33 – RB Damien Harris
#63 – DE Duke Ejiofor
#71 – WR DJ Moore
#114 – OT Tyrell Crosby
#128 – DE Rasheem Green
#132 – WR Marcell Ateman
#138 – TE Durham Smythe
#158 – QB JT Barrett
#200 – CB Parry Nickerson
#219 – LB Cayson Collins

After skewing 6 defense (including 4 of first 5, and 6 of first 8), 5 offense in 2017; I have Seattle flipping that to 6 offense, 4 defense in 2018. It fits more in-line with what this class is providing. We don’t have them drafting a DT or a S, but they drafted two of each in 2017. It might be unlikely for them to draft two WR (after drafting two in 2017), but as I described; I have PRich an UFA with a high price tag, McEvoy cut for lack of performance, and Tyler Lockett victim of trade to add picks.