The NFL draft remains more than two months away, but mock draft season is in full force, with those who try to guess which players will go where offering seemingly daily predictions this time of year.
Mock draft season, though, may feel somewhat muted for Seattle fans this year as the Seahawks do not have a first-round pick and at the moment are not slated to make a selection until No. 56 overall in the second round, their only scheduled pick in the first two days. The draft runs from April 29 to May 1.
Only two other times in franchise history has Seattle waited as long to make its first pick — in 2015 when the team chose Frank Clark at No. 63 overall and in 2013 when the Seahawks tabbed Christine Michael at No. 62 overall.
So who might Seattle get at 56?
In what should be no surprise, most mocksters have Seattle taking an offensive lineman, a position that was something of a need even before Russell Wilson’s comments ratcheted up the pressure on the team to improve its front line.
The caveat with looking ahead to the draft, of course, is that Seattle — and all other teams — could address their most pressing needs in free agency.
But until then, Seattle’s apparent needs are still its needs, and mock drafts reflect as much.
Let’s look at what a few mocks predict for the Seahawks — including one who sees Seattle looking just across the lake for its first pick.
Guard Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Their comment: “It’s no secret that Russell Wilson is upset with Seattle’s brass for giving him a below-average offensive line year after year. While some of the hits and sacks he takes are on him, there are improvements to be made up front — specifically along the interior offensive line. Davis is a high-risk, high-reward type of pick. He has a knee issue that caused him to go down several times in 2020, but Davis was clearly one of the best pass-protecting interior offensive linemen in college football the year prior. He logged 459 pass-block snaps in 2019 and did not allow a single sack or hit on the quarterback. The physical skill set is there. The only question is, can he stay healthy?’’
My comment: Davis makes a ton of sense, assuming Seattle hasn’t signed an obvious starter in free agency, with one potential complication — he played right guard at Ohio State. It’s left guard where Seattle has needs, with the retirement of Mike Iupati (who wasn’t expected to be back with Seattle anyway) and with Jordan Simmons a restricted free agent. Seattle has an established right guard in Damien Lewis, a third-round pick in 2020. So the question for Seattle would be if Davis can make the switch to the left side without any hiccups. That may not seem like a big deal, but it’s at least something to consider. Otherwise, there’s a ton to like about Davis, who many think won’t fall this far and has an impressive family — his grandfather is Hall of Famer Willie Davis, a key part of the Lombardi-era Packers.
Guard Trey Smith, Tennessee
His comment: “In the offseason, Seattle wanted to get back to running the ball. The current offensive line just isn’t going to cut it. Trey Smith is the epitome of bully-ball. Pairing him with Damien Lewis gives Seattle a dominant guard duo with plenty of power and physicality.’’
Guard Trey Smith, Tennessee
His comment: “Trey Smith may not make it past the first round due to his sheer size — over 6-foot-4, 312 pounds — and overall talent. During his freshman year, he started all 12 games at left tackle for the Vols, earning Freshman All-American honors, but sat out the entire 2018 season due to two separate instances of blood clots in his lungs. Smith returned to the team in 2019, where he lined up at guard and played well enough to earn a spot on the All-SEC first team two years in a row. His tremendous power, great hand technique, overall drive and general football smarts should make him an appealing prospect for any team; however, his general lack of mobility and previous health issues could see him slip into the Seahawks’ range.’’
My comment: As noted above, Smith played left guard the last two years with the Vols, so at least the transition to the Seahawks for him would not involve having to adjust to a new side. And not that teams don’t scout all colleges, but Seattle obviously dug deep into Tennessee a year ago when it took end Darrell Taylor in the second round.
Offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
My comment: NFL.com simply listed Leatherwood here without a comment. Many mocks have Leatherwood going higher based on an impressive college career that included winning the Outland Trophy in 2020 and earning consensus All-American honors while playing left tackle for the powerful Crimson Tide. But he struggled a little bit in a practice against quick rushers on the edge at the Senior Bowl causing some to think he may be a better fit in the NFL as a guard — he played right guard for the Tide in 2018. That could make him an ideal candidate for Seattle if he’s really available at 56.
Cornerback Elijah Molden, Washington
Their comment: “Realistically, the Seahawks are not trading Russell Wilson. His desire for more protection, though, will likely be addressed by two steps. First, altering the offensive game plan to incorporate short-to-intermediate passes to get the ball out quicker. Second, replacing Mike Iupati with someone in free agency. Cap space is tight for just about every team in 2021, but it is not too difficult to make room via contract restructures — Seattle has a few options here. Cap space is not unlimited, though, and a player like Shaquill Griffin may be too expensive for Seattle. Maybe Quinton Dunbar comes back; however, they need contingency plans. Elijah Molden is much more of a nickel corner and would be competing with Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi for playing time. Pete Carroll’s mantra is “always compete” and creating an environment for Blair, Amadi and Molden (or any acquisition) to battle for a role is what this team is about.’’
My comment: I’m really not sure a nickel corner — which is what the 5-10, 190-pound Molden is viewed as being in the NFL — is how Seattle would go with its first pick. Overlooked in the talk of Seattle’s free-agent corners is D.J. Reed. His emergence last year means Seattle really needs to re-sign only one of Dunbar or Griffin, with Blair and Amadi still around to be the nickels (Blair was said to be recovering on schedule from his ACL injury) and with Tre Flowers still around for one more year as depth. If both Griffin and Dunbar get away in free agency, then Seattle’s corner needs are obviously greater. But the hunch here is that at least one returns, with Dunbar maybe more likely given the potential markets for each.
Cornerback Paulson Adebo, Stanford
His comment: “Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar are both unrestricted free agents. Adebo is a first-round talent who is strong in press coverage and smart in zone. He has prototypical size and plenty of speed to keep up with the burners.’’
My comment: If Seattle were to go with a corner with its first pick, the 6-1, 192-pound Adebo might make more sense as a prototypical boundary corner — the very profile of Adebo comes with some version of the phrases “long arms’’ and “excellent length’’ and we know how Seattle values that trait.
Adebo opted out of the 2020 season so his Pro Day next month will be pivotal.