It’s now NFL draft week, which to a whole lot of people might be as fun as NFL games themselves.
The action starts with the first round Thursday, though Seahawks fans know the drill — their favorite team might not have a selection walked to the podium until Friday.
Seattle holds the 21st choice, but that’s one of just a league-low four the Seahawks currently have, thanks to the Duane Brown (for a second-rounder), Brett Hundley (sixth) and Shalom Luani (seventh) trades.
And that’s led to a whole lot of speculation that the Seahawks will inevitably trade down to acquire more mid-round selections.
That thought is reflected in some of the latest mock drafts published in the past few weeks as the big weekend has drawn nearer.
Because not even the teams have a real clue how the draft is going to unfold, the mocks obviously don’t have an incredibly high hit rate. Still, they are worth perusing to get a sense of who people who follow it closely think the Seahawks might take.
So, here’s a roundup of some of the latest mocks with a few of my comments added.
THE PICK: 42. *PROJECTED TRADE DOWN* Seattle (from Cincinnati): Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame.
WHAT THEY SAID: “The schematic fit isn’t quite clear, but Tillery was dominant for stretches and should fit as a disruptor up front in the Seahawks’ Cover-3.”
MY COMMENT: Tillery has been one of the more commonly mocked players to the Seahawks. He played almost 92 percent of his snaps at Notre Dame at either nose tackle or defensive tackle, according to Sports Info Solutions, so Tillery would likely come in as a player the Seahawks would see complementing Jarran Reed, Poona Ford and the others they have playing the tackle spots already. The Seahawks say they want to give a contract extension to Reed, who is entering the final year of his deal. But if they didn’t and they grabbed someone like Tillery, it might give them some options/leverage down the road.
THE PICK: Cornerback Greedy Williams, Louisiana State.
WHAT THEY SAID: “It’s been a long time since the Seahawks took a DB this high – 2010, in fact. Yep, the Earl Thomas year. It has been mostly Round 3-and-lower investments since then, and it’s slowly starting to show. There’s talent in the secondary, just not enough of it. Williams can help. No, he’s not perfect. He’s immature. He looked like a player who didn’t want to tackle against Georgia. But the high-end talent is real, and it’s got to be tempting for a Seahawks team that coaches up its talented DBs well over the years. This would be a nice fit.”
MY COMMENT: Edholm picked Williams earlier in the year as well. And as I wrote then, “to repeat every time Williams comes up — and as Edholm notes — Seattle hasn’t drafted a cornerback higher than the third round in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, with maybe their best picks at this spot coming in the fifth round or later (Richard Sherman, Tre Flowers, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane). Williams also is being regarded a real boom-or-bust type, in part due to concerns about his run defense. Given all that, and the presence of Flowers and Shaquill Griffin as returning starters, this seems a little less likely of a pick to me than some others on this list. But if the Seahawks really think Williams is all that, then maybe they really will get Greedy.”
THE PICK: Safety Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Projecting the Seahawks to pick here may be a waste of time as the club has traded its first pick (either to move down or for a veteran) the past seven years. What’s more, the team currently has just four selections this year. Abram possesses the speed and physicality this club prioritizes, however, and safety is a position of concern.”
MY COMMENT: Listed at just less than 6-foot and 215 pounds, Abram is regarded as able to play both the strong and free spots, and that versatility would suit Seattle well as it attempts to solidify its secondary in the post-Legion of Boom era. Seattle already has the trio of Bradley McDougald, Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill to fill its safety spots this year — with Hill and Thompson essentially set to compete to play alongside McDougald. But adding competition makes sense. Abram also is said able to play the slot, and that could also make him enticing.
THE PICK: Safety Nasir Adderley, Delaware.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Adderley has legit free safety skills and the Seahawks need a true free safety with Earl Thomas’ departure.”
MY COMMENT: Adderley played primarily free safety at Delaware, and McDougald might be a better fit at strong safety, so maybe the Seahawks would envision that kind of a pairing. Carroll has spoken highly of Hill and Thompson throughout the offseason, but the draft will provide more clarity to how they really feel about their safety spot.
THE PICK: Reuter predicts a Seahawks trade with the Rams, giving Seattle the 31st selection and then giving the Seahawks defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Simmons’ talent is too overwhelming for the Seahawks to pass up. Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider will pick up much-needed middle-round picks in this deal: one of the Rams‘ third-round selections and a fifth-rounder.”
MY COMMENT: Simmons suffered an ACL tear a few months ago while training and it’s unclear exactly when he will be ready, so this would be more of a pick for the future than 2019. That might make more sense if the Seahawks are indeed able to trade down and add more picks. A potentially risky pick on a player who might not be available in 2019 — or at least, available for all of it and playing at 100 percent — might not be the way Seattle would want to go if it does not add more picks.
THE PICK: Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, Clemson.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Wilkins returned for his senior season at Clemson, and it turned out to be his best. In addition to helping the Tigers to a national title, Wilkins set career bests in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (14.0). He’s one of the most versatile players in this draft class.”
MY COMMENT: Yet another selection of yet another defensive lineman for the Seahawks, which speaks to what is perceived to be one of the best classes of defensive linemen available in a draft in years, as well as Seattle’s perceived needs for help up front. Fun note about Wilkins? He worked for a time last year as a kindergarten teacher.
THE PICK: Tight end Noah Fant, Iowa, after trade with Houston to move to 23.
WHAT THEY SAID: “The Seahawks obsessed with combine metrics, and Fant was clearly the most athletic tight end in Indianapolis this year. Awesome value after the trade back.”
MY COMMENT: Seattle’s tight end is definitely intriguing. On the surface, Seattle seems set for 2019, assuming Will Dissly makes it back from a petellar tendon injury, to join returnees Ed Dickson and Nick Vannett. On the other hand, Dissly’s injury is a tricky one to come back from, Vannett is entering the last year of his rookie deal and Dickson’s contract makes him susceptible to being a salary cap casualty each of the next two years (and especially in 2020, when he would be 32 and Seattle could save $3.4 million against the cap with just an $866,668 dead cap hit).
THE PICK: Cornerback Byron Murphy, Washington, at 29 after trade with Kansas City.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Seahawks get No. 29, 63, 214 for No. 21, 124. The Seahawks enter the draft with only four picks, but they’ve shown they’re willing to move back as much as possible on draft day, so I can definitely see them bringing in more talent than you’d think. I’d expect they’d be willing to trade back again here, but after another team makes the inevitable Daniel Jones trade-up ahead of them, they’re content to stay put and take my favorite corner in this class in Byron Murphy, who doesn’t have the prototypical size of a Seahawks corner but is so smooth otherwise.”
MY COMMENT: So, quite the interesting trade there, one that would add a second-round selection for Seattle and give the Seahawks a lot more flexibility in the draft, and more ability to go strictly “best player available,” which Murphy might well be at that point. Seattle has Shaquill Griffin and Flowers each in the fold for at least two more years on rookie deals at cornerback, so how much of an immediate need cornerback is might be debatable. On the other hand, cornerback is such an important position in today’s NFL, and with the way Carroll likes to play, that you can never have enough good ones.
THE PICK: Defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
WHAT THEY SAID: “They have Frank Clark and some young guys, but they always seem to have a bunch of edge rushers. Ferrell has the talent to dominate, but inconsistency has been a problem.”
MY COMMENT: Clark’s future is obviously unclear, but even with Clark on the roster Seattle needs pass-rushing help. Ferrell played primarily on the right side at Clemson, according to Sports Info Solutions, which also is where Clark has been at his most productive. But a good rotation is good to have, and there would be plenty of ways to get both on the field at the same time.
THE PICK: Receiver A.J. Brown, Mississippi.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I don’t believe the Seahawks will be drafting at No. 21. They’ll likely trade down once or twice into the 30-40 range and select a prospect who should be taken in that area. Perhaps that prospect will be A.J. Brown, whose impressive combine numbers have been overlooked because of what D.K. Metcalf did. The Seahawks could use a third receiver to go with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. Brown was a great weapon for Ole Miss the past couple of years despite the turmoil. Unlike his more-athletic teammate, D.K. Metcalf, Brown was actually productive while in school.
MY COMMENT: I made my case a few weeks ago for why I thought receiver was a big need for Seattle and why Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry might be a really good fit. But the 6-1, 230-pound Brown also fits the mold and was wildly productive in college with 160 catches for 2,572 yards his final two seasons at Ole Miss, including 17 touchdowns. He played primarily in the slot for Ole Miss and Seattle might think it needs that with Doug Baldwin’s injury issues and long-term uncertainty.
THE PICK: Simmons.
WHAT THEY SAID: “He did suffer an ACL tear in February, but I would not be surprised if, five years from now, Simmons is viewed as the best player from this draft class.”
MY COMMENT: Another vote for Seattle to take a chance and take Simmons.