The news this week that Seahawks rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor is not ready to return to practice was another blow for the team’s second-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll held out hope that Taylor might be able to make it back this week following the team’s “mini-bye,’’ that he might be on the road to seeing game action this season. It remains unclear if, or when, Taylor may be able to play.
That news came on the heels of the Seahawks putting seventh-round pick Stephen Sullivan on Injured Reserve with a hip flexor injury, ending his season.
Despite the bad news for those two members of the team’s eight-man rookie class, things were looking up for others.
Offensive lineman Damien Lewis further proved his worth by stepping in at center for Thursday’s pivotal win over the Arizona Cardinals. Fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson is ready to take on a greater role with the loss of veteran tight end Greg Olsen.
All of which makes it a good time to review the progress of the Seahawks’ 2020 draft, which has some good, some bad, and still needs more time before rendering a judgment.
Linebacker Jordyn Brooks
First round, 27th overall
After overcoming an early knee injury, Brooks has developed a consistent role the past five games as the starter at weakside linebacker in the base defense, coming off the field in the nickel. He’s played at least 32% of the snaps in those five games. Brooks has 22 tackles, one for a loss and one pass defense in eight games. Carroll praised Brooks this week saying “the running and hitting” aspect of his game stands out. “There’s a toughness about him, and he’s doing a really good job of being the first pick and being humble and just working hard,’’ Carroll said. “So I’m really, really thrilled about that pick and what he contributes to this thing.’’ Pro Football Focus was less enthusiastic about Brooks this week in its review of all 32 first-round picks, writing: “This season, Brooks has been gradually working his way into a defined role. Like his fellow rookie linebackers, however, opposing offenses have exploited him more often than he’s been making impact plays for the defense.’’
Defensive end Darrell Taylor
Second round, 48th overall
As noted, Taylor — who played at Tennessee — has not yet been able to return to practice and it’s unclear when he will. Carroll said Tuesday the team was waiting for the results of another doctor’s report before he could be cleared. With six games left, time is running out for Taylor to make a significant mark this season. But the Seahawks may be hoping he could at least make it back for the final few games and the playoffs.
Offensive lineman Damien Lewis
Third round, 69th overall
Lewis is definitively the Seahawks’ top rookie for 2020, having started every game and played every snap in all but two. He’s started nine games at right guard and last week at center as an injury fill-in. With Ethan Pocic expected back, Lewis will return to right guard. Pro Football Focus has raved about Lewis, rating him this week as the ninth-best out of 83 guards, with the third-highest run blocking grade.
Tight end Colby Parkinson
Fourth, 133rd overall
Parkinson, who began the year on the Non-Football Injury list after breaking a bone in his foot during a training session in June, has played just three snaps — the final three kneeldowns in the win over the 49ers. But with Olsen out, he will step into a role as the third tight end behind Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister.
Running back DeeJay Dallas
Fourth round, 144th overall
Dallas started two games earlier this season due to injury, but with Chris Carson expected back and Carlos Hyde having returned, Dallas has returned to a reserve role. He’s played 126 snaps with 101 yards rushing on 30 carries and 100 yards on 15 receptions. He played just seven snaps against Arizona, mostly in the two-minute back role. With Travis Homer dealing with injuries, Dallas may continue in that role for a while.
Defensive end Alton Robinson
Fifth round, 148th overall
Robinson has been active for the past eight games and has 223 snaps, playing 37% or more of the snaps in every game except the two against Arizona, when the Seahawks changed things up to defend Kyler Murray. Robinson played 12 snaps Thursday, losing some playing time with Benson Mayowa back. Robinson has two sacks and 10 tackles and is listed by PFF as having nine total hurries.
Receiver Freddie Swain
Sixth round, 214th overall
Swain has played consistently all year as the team’s fourth receiver, getting from 19% to 43% of the snaps in every game. Swain, also dealing with a foot injury of late, has 10 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. His receptions have come on 14 targets and Russell Wilson has a 125.3 passer rating when throwing to Swain.
Tight end Stephen Sullivan
Seventh round, 251st overall
Sullivan, drafted as a tight end, was moved to defensive end in October when injuries hit the position, and played 22 snaps against the 49ers, making one assisted tackle. But he was placed on IR this week with a hip/sports hernia issue which requires surgery. Carroll said he will return to being a tight end next season, a spot with some uncertainty with Olsen on a one-year contract and Hollister able to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.