NFL draft analysts were generally complimentary to what the Seahawks did this year.
If many draft analysts weren’t necessarily overly enthusiastic about the Seahawks’ 2017 11-man haul, most also thought it was more than good enough.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. awarded it a C-plus, writing he could “quibble’’ with the value Seattle got with some picks — essentially, he thought there were a few players drafted more highly than he thought they needed to be.
But most draft analysts gave Seattle B’s, with Chad Reuter of NFL.com awarding the Seahawks an A-minus.
Then there was Kiper’s ESPN colleague, Todd McShay, who raved about Seattle’s wheeling and dealing during a conference call on Sunday.
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“I thought they killed it,’’ McShay said of Seattle’s trading down three times to acquire four extra picks while still getting a player most considered a first-rounder — Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell — in the second round at No. 35 overall.
“To me that was one of the value moves of the entire draft,’’ McShay said. “Especially when you consider the history of (coach) Pete Carroll and (general manager) John Schneider and how many players they have found in the later rounds, knowing that that is a skill of theirs.’’
McShay said he thinks McDowell was “one of’’ the players the Seahawks wanted all along at 26 and being able to move down and get four more players — which turned out to be safety Delano Hill, safety Tedric Thompson, cornerback Mike Tyson and running back Chris Carson — “was brilliant.’’
McShay added he had consistently mocked McDowell to the Seahawks early before deciding that McDowell was likely slipping out of the first round.
“I think McDowell is going to thrive there,’’ McShay said. “I always thought he was a scheme fit (with the Seahawks).’’
Kiper said he also thinks McDowell has a chance to pay off for the Seahawks, comparing his situation to that a year ago of Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones, who fell out of the first round for similar worries about his consistency and fell to the Chiefs in the second round at pick No. 37. Jones emerged as a starter for Kansas City and key defensive player down the stretch.
“Very similar players,’’ Kiper said. “Kansas City traded out of the first round (in 2016) and got Jones. Seattle did the same thing to get McDowell. So two players that ended up in the second round when their talent should have indicated top 10. … These guys can be as good as they want to be. It’s up to Seattle to get it out of him.’’
Kiper also said he especially liked the pick of receiver Amara Dabroh in the third round.
“I think he can help that receiving corps,’’ Kiper said. “He had a really good year. … He did a good job during the Ohio State game and he beat some good corners there for Ohio State.’’
Here’s a sampling of some other grades and comments from some NFL draft analysts.
Comment: “Life comes at you fast. A year ago at this time, the Seahawks had a secondary to envy and a great D-line, with arguably the best safety (Earl Thomas) and cornerback (Richard Sherman) in the league and name defenders up front. Those secondary players guys are still great, but Thomas is coming off a serious injury, and Sherman trade talk has dominated the spring. Up front, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril? They’re both 31. So the defensive backfield was clearly a priority, as the Seahawks nabbed a trio of safeties (Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, Mike Tyson), as well as a cornerback (Shaquill Griffin). It’s insurance everywhere for Thomas, Sherman and Kam Chancellor. And up front, the Seahawks got a great value in Malik McDowell at 35 even after trading back a couple of times, as well as Nazir Jones, an interesting D-line prospect with a great story. I can quibble with value at a couple of spots here, but if they get the best of McDowell, that’s a potentially massive steal. Elsewhere, they hit a need for another wide receiver with Amara Darboh, and he was a good value — they got the No. 90 player on my board at No. 106. And then there’s that pesky O-line. It’s been a mess, and Seattle added help with Ethan Pocic, who could play either center or guard. Overall, Seattle did pretty well. Value was up and down, but they hit needs and are trying to stay ahead of attrition on defense.”
Comment: “For the fourth time in five years, they popped out of the first round but accrued six Day 2 picks in the process. Four of the top five selections this year were devoted to an aging defense, the exception being second-round C Ethan Pocic, who should nail down an interior spot for a beleaguered front. DT Malik McDowell, Seattle’s first selection at 35th overall, could be a major disruptor if Pete Carroll’s staff can unleash his talent and competitive spirit. Third round defensive backs Shaquill Griffin and Delano Hill have work ahead to find their homes in the Legion of Boom. Amara Darboh could be a nice No. 2 wideout in a few years.”
Comment: “After struggling to protect quarterback Russell Wilson (as well as run the football), most presumed the Seahawks would make offensive line their top and perhaps only priority on draft day. Instead, general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll opted to stick with the defensive-oriented strategy that helped the club establish itself as a powerhouse in the first place, using four of their first five picks on that side of the ball. The club led off with Michigan State‘s freakish (albeit inconsistent) 6-foot-6, 295-pound Malik McDowell at No. 35 overall before restocking an aging secondary with UCF‘s twitchy cornerback Shaquill Griffin, hard-hitting Michigan safety Delano Hill and rugged North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones.
The Seahawks did add two offensive linemen, burly blockers Ethan Pocic and Justin Senior from the SEC, but neither possesses the agility and balance most teams require of its tackles, so expecting either rookie to solve Seattle’s pass blocking woes is probably unrealistic. Seattle prioritizes power, versatility and toughness in its offensive linemen, which the former LSU and Mississippi State blockers do boast. It also loves length and ball skills in its defensive backs, which Griffin and Hill — as well as Day 3 picks Tedric Thompson and Mike Thompson — offer. Carroll’s well-documented feud with Jim Harbaugh aside, Seattle won big when adding two of the latter’s pupils from Stanford in Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin. The club seemed confident in its post-draft press conference that both Hill and fellow Michigan standout Amara Darboh, a physically imposing wideout, could help this club.”
Comment: “There are major positive and negative aspects to Seattle’s draft class. Beginning with the former, the Seahawks did a masterful job of trading down multiple times to acquire assets. For just sliding down nine spots, they picked up third-, fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks. That was quite the haul. However, the negative aspect of their class was some of the players they picked. Malik McDowell was one of the least-motivated players in the draft, and the consensus was that he was one of the worst interviews at the combine. If Pete Carroll can get him to play hard, he’ll be a miracle worker. I don’t see it happening. Meanwhile, I had third-round selection Delano Hill as a late-round prospect. Hill could potentially fill a need at safety if Kam Chancellor departs via free agency next spring, but I didn’t have him highly rated. The Seahawks addressed some needs, picking up Ethan Pocic, Shaq Griffin and Justin Senior. I didn’t understand the Pocic pick at the time, but perhaps Seattle is going to use him at center and slide Justin Britt back outside. Otherwise, it’s not a very logical move, and I thought Pocic was a bit of a reach anyway. Griffin was a nice pick to help at cornerback, while Senior gives some hope at tackle, but not very much. Seattle has one of the top front offices in the NFL, so this haul could look a lot better in a couple of years than it does now, but I’m not overly optimistic about it. The trading was great, but the execution wasn’t as promising.”
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: B-
Overall grade: A-
Comment: “Like Green Bay, Seattle made a great trade to move out of the first round. Sure, they lost they chance at a fifth-year option on a player by taking the deal but that’s OK. They’re not looking to lock up a quarterback, so they’ll make do. John Schneider switched spots with Jacksonville in the early second round, picking up a sixth-rounder. They picked up the defensive lineman they were eyeing in the first round, Malik McDowell, so chalk that up as a win. Picking Pocic gives them inside-outside versatility, though I wonder how he’ll handle NFL defenders at his height. Shaquill Griffin is a little-known corner from Central Florida who brings physicality and athleticism. Schneider got a safety in Delano Hill later in the third round. He gives them special teams help and an aggressive attitude. Nazair Jones is a tall, long tackle/end combo who fits Seattle quite well. They picked up a solid receiver in Amara Darboh, who parlayed his excellent senior year into a third-round spot. Picking Tedric Thompson in the fourth round helps build depth at safety, though his tackling and history of concussions are concerning. Justin Senior is a potential swing tackle that impressed at times in the SEC. Chris Carson in the seventh is a good backup for Eddie Lacy.”
Comment: GM John Schneider traded down three times in a row to begin the Seahawks’ draft, dropping from No. 26, to 31, to 34, and finally 35, and adding pick Nos. 90, 111, 187, and 226 along the way, ultimately moving down only nine slots for that haul. Seattle kicked off round two with one of the most talented if riskiest defensive linemen in the draft (McDowell), and a player I’d rather bet on as a Seahawk than with other teams. Especially for a cornerback-needy roster, I thought Griffin was one of the best picks of round three. Hill’s late third-round selection was considerably less impressive. Third-round compensatory pick Jones is a low-ceiling prospect who projects as an early-down run stuffer only. Fellow compensatory third-rounder Darboh is an unlikely short- or long-term contributor. Tyson played safety at Cincinnati, but he could be looked at corner in Seattle. Senior, Moore, and Carson were traits-based late-round fliers. I liked that the Seahawks took multiple shots at defensive backs, adding to a secondary that badly needs a talent infusion. While Pocic is the only likely Week 1 starter, McDowell, Griffin, and Jones all profile as players capable of making early impacts. A solid, if unspectacular haul.