Seahawks beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta debate the best picks and more from the Seahawks' 2017 NFL Draft haul.
Now that the NFL Draft has concluded, Seahawks beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta offer some thoughts on their favorite picks, players who have the best chance to contribute immediately, and more.
Most surprising pick
The quarterback the Seahawks didn’t draft. Maybe I was duped by some of the usual smoke-and-mirrors chatter, but I really thought this would be the year the Seahawks drafted a quarterback (Remember, they haven’t done so since taking Russell Wilson in the third round in 2012). Last year’s backup quarterback situation always felt a little fuzzy with undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin, and that was before Boykin was arrested this offseason. Wilson’s various injuries didn’t force him to miss a game, but they did reinforce the fragile nature of the position and the need for a solid backup.
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Waiting as long as they did to take a defensive back: First, I agree with Jayson on the QB issue. Recall that there were national reports Friday morning that Seattle might be interested in taking a quarterback in the second round. Instead, even despite picking up four extra choices — which I thought assured taking a QB — Seattle instead waited until afterward to sign a deal with West Virginia’s Skyler Howard as an undrafted free agent. GM John Schneider also mentioned bringing in a few more QBs for the rookie mini-camp May 12-14, so Seattle may not be done adding or adjusting the QB depth. What doesn’t appear in the picture, though, is signing a veteran. It also all seems to indicate the team is confident in Boykin, both in what he can do on the field and that the legal stuff won’t amount to anything serious. I’ll also throw out there being mildly surprised Seattle waited until pick No. 90 to take a cornerback when it was obviously an area that the team wanted to emphasize and there were so many good corners there to be had. Seattle obviously is confident it got what it needed in Shaquill Griffin and Mike Tyson, listed as a safety but whom the team plans to play at cornerback, and may have felt they got in the middle rounds what they could have gotten in the first or second. The Seahawks, though, made it clear they wanted to begin building the LOB 2.0. History will show whether they got what they needed waiting as long as they did — 13 other cornerbacks were selected before the Seahawks took Griffin.
Best chance to play right away
Nazair Jones, defensive tackle: Malik McDowell, the team’s second-round pick, is also a good bet if for no other reason than defensive linemen usually factor into the rotation in some form right away. But here’s the reasoning for Jones: The Seahawks have a very clear plan for him, right away. They drafted him because he can be a pass-rushing defensive tackle (Similar to what they envisioned with Jordan Hill and what they had with Clinton McDonald). That means they’re not necessarily counting on Jones to play huge snaps right away. He just has to fill a limited, specific and needed role for the Seahawks.
Malik McDowell, defensive tackle: I’ll go with McDowell. I know he’s young and arrives with the idea that he’ll need some time to be groomed. But Seattle needs interior pass rush help immediately as well as just more depth in the rotation –- someone has to take the snaps Tony McDaniel played last season. Jones could do it, too, as Jayson mentioned. But it’s worth remembering one of the Seahawks’ regrets about 2015 was not playing Frank Clark more as a rookie. If McDowell shows he’s worthy, I’d expect the Seahawks to give him all the snaps he can handle.
Most important pick for the future
Shaquill Griffin, cornerback: Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have done exactly what he said he always intended to do: They built the NFL’s version of Cornerback U. For a while it seemed like the Seahawks had some secret cornerback-developing factory, in which the next and latest model would play opposite Richard Sherman (Brandon Browner, Byron Maxwell, Walter Thurmond). But the last two seasons have been a little leaner, as Tharold Simon and Tye Smith never developed. The Seahawks need to develop the Next Seahawks Corner, and that’s not even factoring the incredibly uncertain future of Sherman after an offseason of trade talk.
Delano Hill, safety: The Seahawks have a big decision to make with Kam Chancellor, who is entering the final year of his contract. Seattle signed Bradley McDougald, who at two-and-a-half years younger than Chancellor,as a free agent, listing him as a free safety but with the idea that he could back up at both safety spots. Hill is listed as a strong safety. If Seattle feels comfortable quickly with that tandem, as well as fourth-round pick Tedric Thompson, it could go a long way toward shaping the moves Seattle makes in the next year or so regarding the futures for the founding members of the LOB.
Most Seahawks-y pick
David Moore, wide receiver: Not even Moore thought he was going to get drafted. “Not at all,” he told reporters. The Seahawks took him as a high-upside bet in the seventh round because he’s pretty big (6-1, 219 pounds) and fast and Pete Carroll called him a “stud.” It’s the kind of gamble the Seahawks love taking on freaky but raw athletes in the later rounds.
Justin Senior, offensive tackle: Senior isn’t a reach in the same way as Moore, having been a three year starter at Mississippi State. But he is in another way — the team is drafting him while publicly acknowledging that he is going to need a little prodding to get where he needs to be physically and in terms of commitment. Schneider said Saturday that Senior put on about 20 pounds between his junior and senior seasons and then more afterward, which caused him to slide in the draft. “(He) knows that I think this is a pretty cool wake-up call for him, being selected when he was selected,’’ Schneider said. As with McDowell, the Seahawks are banking that their culture and coaching will get the best out of Senior, and maybe give them a future starting OL in the sixth round.
Shaquill Griffin, cornerback: Hard to hear about his loyalty to his twin brother, his desire to be a motivational speaker and the track team he founded in his hometown and not like the pick. Plus, he’s the highest-drafted cornerback of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era and an important part of what the future looks like for this team.
David Moore, wide receiver: As Jayson noted, Moore admitted he hadn’t expected to get drafted — you rarely hear that. And as Jayson wrote, he’s sort of the most prototypical Seahawky-type gamble, a pick based almost solely on physical projection. The final few receiving spots are far from certain — this appears a big year for the likes of Kasen Williams and Kenny Lawler, as well — and it’ll be fun to see where and how Moore fits in.